Friday, March 26, 2010

Gamuda Offers RM10.8b for Selangor Water Assets

Gamuda's RM10.8 billion offer to acquire all water assets and maintain current prices proves beyond doubt that the existing contracts provides enormous profits to Syabas and its shareholders.

Gamuda Berhad announced yesterday that its 40 per cent-owned unit Splash is plannning a US$3.26 billion (RM10.8 billion) offer for all water assets of Selangor.

Under the offer, Splash plans to maintain water tariffs in Selangor at the current levels, with annual increases of two to three per cent, said Gamuda.

Without commenting on the merits of the offer, the terms of the offer itself proves that the current water concession agreements with all the concessionaires, particularly with Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) and its major shareholder, Puncak Niaga Holdings Bhd are overly lucrative and highly burdensome to the rakyat.

Under the current concession agreement, Syabas has the right to increase tariffs by up to 37% immediately upon meeting certain operating conditions and has already filed its intent to sue the Selangor state government for compensation for the non-increasein tariffs over the past year. Syabas will further have the right to increase tariffs by another 25% in 2012, 20% in 2015, 10% in 2018 and 5% every 3 years up til 2030.

Even in the Federal Government's proposed restructuring deal whereby it will finance the exercise via Pengurusan Aset Air Berhad (PAAB), its chief executive officer Ahmad Faizal Abdul Rahman had earlier revealed that “instead of 37% increase, it could be around 10% post restructuring”.

If a 100% commercial exercise via the offer by Splash could offer to freeze water tariffs at current levels, and still expected to make a reasonable profit, then certainly, under the Government sponsored water restructuring exercise, where the cost of borrowings would be significantly lower, prices should be even lower.

The unexpected offer by Splash also vindicates the Selangor state government's position that had the Federal Government and the Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water used the powers vested in them to fully back the state government's original offer of RM5.7 billion to acquire all the water industry assets, the state government would have had no problems in reducing the water tariffs by 5% immediately, and more in subsequent years. The Federal Government had previously rubbished these claims by the state government.

Regardless, we call upon the Federal Government to use its powers and influence to fully back the Selangor state government's revised offer of RM9.3 billion which was accepted by two of the four existing concessionaires, ABASS and Splash, but rejected by Syabas and Puncak Niaga.

In addition to a lower cost of acquisition plus lower cost of funds, profits from the provision of water services by the state government can be channelled back to the people, resulting in significantly lower tariffs compared to private concessionaires. This is because, unlike private concessionaires, the state government has no intention to make profits out of providing basic human rights services to the rakyat. Only then would we become a “people first” government.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

KJ: GST Won't Burden Consumers

In an exclusive interview with, UMNO Youth Chief Khairy Jamaluddin discusses the controversial GST bill and was in favour of quick implementation of GST.

If you have not watch my take on the same issue with Malaysiakini, it's available here.

Will NEM Fail Like NEP?

Judging by the targets set by the Government itself, that is to achieve 30% bumiputera equity, the New Economic Policy (NEP) has been proven to be a complete failure over the past 20 years as according to government data, bumiputera equity ownership has remained at 19.4% in 2006 compared to 19.2% 20 years ago in 1990, after hitting a peak of 20.6% in 1995.

The recent Government Transformation Programme (GTP) document has quoted and concurred with Tun Musa Hitam where he asked whether “our redistributive economic policies are indeed holding us back competitively... Race-based economic policies do not sit well with the realities of globalisation and free trade.”

In addition, the GTP Roadmap specifically highlighted the fact that

  • “another outcome of the NEP was a sense of deprivation, discrimination and even resentment felt by the non-Bumiputeras...”
  • “there has also been a widening of the income gap within the Bumiputera community, leading to rising discontent...”
  • “these factors have pushed many Malaysians, especially professionals, to work and reside overseas, in economically more advanced countries with attractive pull factors... there are signs that this brain drain has become increasingly serious.”

The above are clear admissions by the Government that despite the initial success of the policy during the 1970s and 1980s, the NEP has failed over the past 20 years, and hence there is an absolute need for a “New Economic Model” (NEM) as proposed by Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.

Pakatan Rakyat and DAP has been consistent is seeking a new economic agenda which is founded on merit and competition, supported by affirmative action based on needs and not race, and we are pleased that at least on paper, the Government is finally coming around to these principles.

However, the perpetual delays in the proposed NEM since the end of last year has raised serious concerns that the policy will really become a transformative economic policy which will raise Malaysia out of the doldrums.

Over the past few months we are seeing increasing pressures from race-based vested interest parties such as Perkasa and Malay NGO Consultative council which has caused the Government to waver in its original goals of the NEM. In fact, Deputy Minister of International Trade & Industry, Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir specifically pointed out that the NEM “would have the spirit of the New Economic Policy” earlier this month while many other Ministers have issued vague and conflicting statements on NEM causing further confusion.

We would like to reemphasize the fact that with an economic policy founded on merit and competition, supported by affirmative action based on needs and not race, is the best policy not only to revive Malaysia's economic fortunes, but also to uplift the plight of the poor of whom the majority are bumiputeras. We believe that any affirmative action policies based on race, such as the NEP will only result in the wealthy and more influential of that particular community benefiting from such policies, while the vast majority of the community would not benefit proportionally as proven by NEP's failure over the past 20 years.

Hence, we would like to call upon the Prime Minister to not allow his landmark NEM to become derailed into meaningless oblivion by becoming in essence the extension of the NEP, an fate suffered by the 2 previous policy replacements to the NEP, the National Development Plan (NDP) in 1991 and the National Vision Policy (NVP) in 2001.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rising Cost of Living

I was interviewed for a story on The Star Metro, published today on the rising cost of living for city dwellers. Below are my comments and excerpts from the article.  What do you think?

Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua highlighted a three-cornered situation that many Malaysian urbanites were trapped in – stagnating income, increasing cost and weak infrastructure.

He observed that a fresh graduate today commanded nearly the same pay as a graduate more than 10 years ago, in their respective professions, and there had been no increase in productivity among Malaysian workers during the past 20 years.

“While our income has to a large extent stagnated, the cost of living has increased at a rapid pace, partly due to increasing cost and shifting necessities.

“Ten years ago, a handphone and a computer would not have been regarded as a necessity but it’s something any worker cannot do without today. Hence, the burdens of a typical Malaysian worker has increased,” he said.

The situation is further compounded by weak infrastructure, he said.

“The reality is that city dwellers have no choice but to use private vehicles for travel because public transportation is unreliable, unavailable in many highly dense districts and of poor quality,” he said, citing car ownership ratio in Klang Valley is 99:100 (2002), compared to 10:100 in Singapore (2004).

“Hence, Malaysian urbanites face greater financial stress than their comparable Singaporean counterparts because the proportion of disposable income is substantially lower,” he added.

Rakyat Dibebankan Dahulu

There is no question that the Cabinet intends to approve increases to the domestic household and commercial electricity tariffs.  They have however put off the increase announcement twice this year, in the hope of being able to do so in more "conducive" environment.

However, at the same time, as the Prime Minister exhorts Malaysians to discard our "subsidy mentality", it didn't look like as if this "belt-tightening" exercise applies to large crony corporates in the power sector who continues to be able to milk maximum profits directly from Tenaga Nasional, and ultimately indirectly from the rakyat.

So I asked the following question in Parliament on the political will of the Government to restructure the Independent Power Producers (IPP) before burdening the rakyat.
Tony Pua meminta Perdana Menteri menyatakan sama ada kerajaan akan merombak semula kesemua perjanjian penjana kuasa bebas yang dijamin keuntungan yang lumayan sebelum kerajaan melaksanakan pengurangan subsidi elektrik kepada sektor komersil dan rakyat jelata.
As usual, the answer (below) provides all sorts of excuses why no such restructuring can be done and the IPPs will continue to make their billions of profits from the lobsided Power Purchasing Agreements signed and guaranteed by the Barisan Nasional government.  But when the Government becomes short of cash, they now tell you to change your subsidy mentality.  Certainly a "People First" government, burden the people first.
Untuk makluman Yang Berhormat, Kerajaan sentiasa menghormati sebarang perjanjian atau kontrak yang telah ditandatangani oleh pihak Kerajaan.  Oleh yang demikian, Kerajaan tiada rancangan untuk merombak semula atau menamatkan kontrak Perjanjian Pembelian Tenaga (PPA) secara unilateral dengan pihak IPP sebelum tamat tempoh kontrak tersebut.  Sebaliknya, pendekatan yang diambil oleh Kerajaan ialah supaya PPA tersebut dirundingkan semula.

Memandangkan rundingan semula PPA merupakan perkara yang rumit dan memerlukan tempoh masa yang agak lama untuk menentukan hasilnya, ia akan ditangani secara berasingan.

Monday, March 22, 2010


One of the curious development last year as the Prime Minister removed the 30% bumiputera requirement for public listing on Bursa Malaysia, was the set up of the RM500 million EKUINAS fund to specifically promote bumiputera participation in the local economy.

What I couldn't fully understand was how a RM500 million fund, almost fully funded by the Government, taking equity interest in various companies would actually promote or increase bumiputera participation.  So I asked the following question to the Prime Minister in parliament:

Tony Pua meminta Menteri Kewangan menyatakan bagaimana dana Equinas dapat meningkatkan penyertaan bumiputera dalam ekonomi sedangkan ia dibiayai oleh kerajaan dan bukan daripada pelabur bumiputera. Apakah perbezaan antara Equinas dengan dana pelaburan kerajaan seperti 1MDB, Khazanah dan lain-lain? 

The following was a fairly long answer, which again, did not answer the crux of my question.

Ekuiti Nasional Berhad (EKUINAS) ditubuhkan dengan tujuan meningkatkan penyertaan Bumiputera dalam ekonomi secara bermakna dan berkesan.  Ekuinas merupakan syarikat government linked private equity fund management yang bukan sahaja mengurus dana daripada sumber Kerajaan malah menjana dana dari sumber luar.  Ekuinas mempunyai empat fungsi utama iaitu:
i. menggalakkan penglibatan berkesan dan berkekalan Bumiputera dengan menguasai pemilikan dan pengurusan syarikat dalam sektor korporat;

ii. mengenal pasti usahawan Bumiputera yang berpotensi serta membina keuppayaan usahawan Bumiutera sedia ada untuk terlibat secara efektif dalam sektor pertumbuhan strategik berasaskan meritokrasi;

iii. mewujudkan usahasama tulen di antara Bumiputera dengan bukan Bumiputera dalam sektor strategik; dan

iv. meningkatkan tenaga kerja Bumiputera terutamanya dalam kategori pekerjaan pengurusan dan professional.
Melalui penekanan kepada aspek penguasaan dan pengekalan pemilikan ekuiti, Kerajaan yakin Ekuinas mampu menjadi mekanisme yang berkesan untuk meningkatkan pemilikan ekuiti Bumiputera.  Prinsip pemilihan investee company yang berasaskan meritokrasi dan ketulenan juga akan menyumbang kepada peningkatan pemilikan ekuiti Bumiputera yang lebih bermakna.

Ekuinas merupakan anak syarikat milik penuh Yayasan Ekuiti Nasional iaitu sebuah tabung amanah yang diwujudkan untuk kepentingan Bumiputera, sama seperti Permodalan Nasonal Berhad yang merupakan anak syarikat milik penuh Yayasan Pelaburan Bumiputera, sebuah tabung amanah yang diwujudkan untuk menggalakkan penyertaan Bumiputera di dalam pasaran modal.  Ini berbeza daripada 1Malaysia Development Berhad atau Khazanah Nasional Berhad yang dimiliki sepenuhnya oleh Menteri Kewangan Diperbadankan.

Maybe I'm a little thick, but with the above answer, I'm still completely clueless on how Equinas can help individual bumiputeras, and on how it sources funds other than from Government.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Video: Tony on GST

Well if you are not yet sick of the Goods & Services Tax (GST) topic, below is the link to an exclusive video interview with which was done before the BN Government chickened out and withdrew the Bill from debate in Parliament.

I had predicted a U-turn by the current Najib administration, after earlier U-turns on the 5% real property gains tax as well as the tiered petrol subsidy programme, but only after the Bill has been approved. However, it appeared that this government clearly didn't think through their policy considerations in depth, and withdrew the Bill even before debate on the pretext that "further consultations are needed with the public". The question is, why didn't they consult first, then draft/present the bill, but instead, try to force the bill through, then say consult later?

For those who prefer to read about the interview, instead of watch it over Internet video, you will find 2 reports on Malaysiakini - "U-Turn on GST was waiting to happen" and "GST = Taxation without End"

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tweet Tweet!

I've been on Twitter for more than a year now. However, it was only in the last month or two I become a little more active in interacting on Twitter, especially after getting my Blackberry Curve.

How influential are Tweets? Frankly, I don't know. Do they have limited reach to the electorate?

Before the last general elections, I would have told you that the blogs and Internet will only have limited reach to the urnab areas like Klang Valley. I was wrong. Will twitter and Facebook make a difference. So we'll see. ;-)

Anyway, below is a report of a Twit exchange between Khairy Jamaluddin, internet trailblazer Lim Kit Siang with myself butting in published by The Edge Malaysia.

DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang and Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin have been trading barbs on the micro-blogging site Twitter, over a series of questions that Lim has dubbed an “acid tests” on the 1Malaysia concept.

In a speech in parliament yesterday, Lim posed a series of questions to Cabinet ministers and said their answers would show whether they were sincerely and seriously committed to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia concept.

The questions are:
  • Whether he or she agrees to the establishment of an Opposition-headed Parliamentary Select Committee on 1Malaysia;
  • Is he or she prepared to declare that the basis of 1Malaysia is “ketuanan rakyat Malaysia” and not “ketuanan Melayu”; and
  • Is he or she prepared to endorse the objective of 1Malaysia as defined by the 1Malaysia Government Transformation Programme (GTP) Roadmap to create a nation where every Malaysian perceives himself or herself as Malaysian first, and by race, religion or region second.
On Friday, March 19, Lim said on Twitter, Umno MPs, including Khairy were stumped by the three questions he posed.

“[This is a] sad day for Malaysia after 53 years since Independence. Umno MPs find it so difficult to answer these three acid tests of 1Malaysia,” he wrote on his Twitter page.

In response to that, Khairy slammed Lim for avoiding the question for Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s regarding the APCO issue.

Anwar recently claimed the 1Malaysia concept was from APCO Worldwide, an international strategic communications company that was engaged to assist the Malaysian government in strategic communication. The opposition leader claimed that the idea originated from APCO ’s involvement in conceptualising the “One-Israel” slogan for the Israeli government.

DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua stepped in to advise Khairy to direct the question to Anwar instead of Lim, while Lim called Khairy the “Pathetic Umno Youth chief” for diverting attention to Anwar-related matter.

“On Anwar-APCO , I have no information. Let's see who is right, but this cannot justify disappearance after coming on so powerfully righteous until punctured like tyre with no air by three questions,” Lim quipped.

“Pathetic DAP dino who cannot even understand when someone has answered his ‘trick’ question. Better luck next time old man,” Khairy responded on Twitter.

Pua later added that he was proud to be a Malaysian first before considering his race and religion, “unlike all the Umno tools who don’t even believe in their own 1Malaysia rhetoric”.

Unhappy with the term “Umno tools”, Khairy told Pua he had no intention of starting a quarrel with the latter and that he should step aside.

In Lim’s tweets, the DAP man challenged the “Oxford lad” to answer the questions “if he is capable of answering them”, while Khairy called Lim a “revisionist historian as usual”.

Lim continued firing Khairy for being “the world's only Oxford grad who could not answer three simple questions”.

“The supremacy of the Constitution is the basis of 1Malaysia,” Khairy responded the three with an answer.

“Perhaps you no longer uphold the Constitution. It’s like asking a vegetarian to choose between chicken and beef for lunch. False choice. Nice try,” Khairy twitted.

Following the explanation, Lim hurled a fourth a fourth  at Khairy to suppress his “attempt to evade by mouthing generalities about the Constitution”.

The fourth question was whether Khairy would accept a Malaysian Constitution founded on the supremacy of Malaysians and not Malay supremacy.

Khairy responded by saying that Lim was just extending his false-choice question and  he “was getting under Lim’s skin”. He added the crux was that “1Malaysia gets broad-based and multi-ethnic support. Malaysian Malaysia does not”.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

GST & Other Taxing Issues @ Alor Setar

The roadshow on GST continues. I've done Ipoh, Shah Alam, Cheras, Semenyih, Johor Baru, Penang, Petaling Jaya and will now head to Alor Setar at the end of the month.

Why was Hassan Merican replaced as Petronas CEO?

I blogged on the change of guard in Petronas earlier this year.

I was curious why one of our best known CEOs in Malaysia for Petronas did not have his contract renewed and my question in parliament was addressed to the Prime Minister.  I also asked why was Omar Mustapha appointed to the Petronas Board of Directors despite the objections from Tan Sri Hassan Merican.  Of course, the reply in parliament completely avoids the essence of my question. Read it for yourself.

Tony Pua meminta Perdana Menteri menyatakan sebab Tan Sri Hassan Merican telah diganti sebagai ketua eksekutif Petronas walaupun prestasinya adalah cemerlang sejak pelantikannya pada 1995. Apakah rasional Omar Mustapha dilantik sebagai pengarah Petronas, dan sebab perlantikan beliau ditolak oleh Tan Sri Hassan?

The answer:

Kerajaan tidak menafikan bahawa Y. Bhg. Tan Sri Hassan Merican mempunyai pengalaman yang luas dalam industri petroleum. Beliau juga telah berkhidmat dengan cemerlang dalam Petronas sejak tahun 1989 sebagai Naib Presiden Kanan Kewangan sebelum dilantik sebagai Presiden dan Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif dalam tahun 1995.

Perlantikan Y.Bhg. Dato' Shamsul Azhar sebagai Presiden dan Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif yang baru juga adalah berasaskan prinsip yang sama di mana beliau juga mempunyai pengalaman yang luas dan prestasi yang cemerlang semasa perkhidmatan beliau di Petronas.  Beliau mula berkhidmat dengan Petronas pada tahun 1974 dan pernah memegang beberapa jawatan kanan iaitu Naib Presiden Perniagaan Minyak, Naib Presiden Eksplorasi (Upstream) dan Naib Presiden Maritim dan Logistik.

Namun begitu perlantikan Presiden dan Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif Petronas dan juga ahli Lembaga Pengarahnya adalah di bawah bidang kuasa penuh Y.A.B. Perdana Menteri berdasarkan pada Akta Pembangunan Petroleum 1974.

Tentang kenapa Y. Bhg. Tan Sri Hassan Merican menolak perlantikan Omar Mustapha sebagai Pengarah Petronas, persoalan ini haruslah ditujukan kepada beliau dan bukannya kepada kerajaan.

What Happened to the PKFZ Sharks?

The Prime Minister must keep his “performance now” promise to take concrete actions against the “big fishes” of the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal and decide on its future

It is now nearly 5 months since the Parliament Public Accounts Committee has tabled its damning report on the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) in parliament on 4 Nov 2009 where high profile political personalities, including a former Transport Minister, were implicated of abuse, criminal breach of trust and wrong-doings in the scandal.

The Attorney-General, Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail had promised Malaysians that more will be charged soon, after 4 persons including a former senior civil servant, Datuk Paduka OC Phang were charged by 17 December last year.

The police had even taken the step to freeze all the assets worth hundreds of millions of Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd which is owned by Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing, a Barisan Nasional Sarawak tycoon cum politician since October last year.

The Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had also assured Malaysians then that the Government “will not hesitate to act against anyone and we will not protect anyone”.

The Cabinet had also set up a “super” taskforce headed by the Government Chief Secretary, Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan to look into various aspects of the scandal, including identifying wrong-doings, instilling good corporate governance as well as reviewing its business and operational viability back in September 2009. However, it appears that despite the multiple committees which has been set up by the Government which culminated in the “super” taskforce, both the actions against wrong-doers and business “turnaround” plan is still not concluded.

We would like to ask the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail and the Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat if the resolve to bring to book the main culprits to book has completely waned, and the “big fishes” will quietly be let off the hook?

While the initial actions taken by the government to charge a few individuals were trumpeted as the Government's strong commitment to fight against institutionalized corruption, their failure to date to take any follow up actions have proven that Datuk Seri Najib's administration is all-bark and no-bite. It will serve as a major black mark against the “Government Transformation Programme” campaign where “fighting corruption” is the major pillar.

What is worse, the Government is attempting to cover up the non-viability of PKFZ with misleading positive media reports on its performance. Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat had proudly announced in January this year that PKFZ “had returned” to the black with RM15 million in revenue and RM5.2 million in operational profits. He has however failed to mention the fact that the interest alone for the 4% soft loan worth RM4.632 billion granted by the Government to bail out the project costs PKFZ RM185 million per annum.

This means that PKFZ is far from turning around and its debt is only increasing by hundreds of millions by the year. In fact, the Government might well do better in its fight to contain its budget deficit by disposing of the project than to continue putting good money after bad investments in this case.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Why Did Najib Panic On GST?

Yes, Barisan Nasional has chickened out on the proposed new legislation on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) which was intended to be tabled in parliament for approval in the current sitting. This makes our new Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, who's celebrating his one-year anniversary next month as the country's premier, a bigger flip-flop than our previous prime minister.

To date, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, despite having the motto of "performance now", has already reversed 3 key policies on the real property gains tax (RPGT), the tiered fuel subsidy scheme and now the GST. Worse, he has also delayed the announcements over the restructuring of tolled highways and his much "anticipated" New Economic Model, not once, but multiple times. The indecisiveness of the current administration is uncanny and certainly serves for juicy political analysis.

Yes, the GST Bill is now "postponed", but the economic issues affecting Malaysia (and the reasons why GST won't solve them remains). So come hear how the Government has completely lost the plot on the economy.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

BN Government U-Turns Again!

Within a short period of a few months, the Government has made several embarrassing policy U-turns after first trumpeting the new policies. Late December, the Government chose to significantly amend its 2010 Budget announcement of 5% Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT) from an unlimited time-frame to a 5 year period.

This is followed by another shocking reversal of the decision to implement the complicated tiered petrol subsidy scheme, which has already cost the government tens, if not hundreds of millions in terms of project implementation cost. The decision to execute such an impractical policy without proper public consultation exposed the 'hare-brained' nature of the Government's policy-making process.

Now, with the “postponement” of the 2nd reading of the GST Bill in parliament, it marks another loss of face for the new Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak's administration, and worse, caused the public confidence of the Government's ability to steer the economy to sink to a new low.

Besides the above U-turns, the Government has also demonstrated severe indecisiveness in dealing with pressing socio-economic issues such as the restructuring of the tolled highway infrastruture which was originally due in August 2009 but has been postponed indefinitely, tariff increase for tolled highways and electricity. Even the much anticipated cornerstone economic policy of Najib's administration, the “New Economic Model” has been delayed twice since the start of 2010 to Jun 2010.

The U-turns and indecisiveness of government policies are further compounded by its inability to practise what it preaches with regards to “open tenders” and maximising value for government owned assets. For example, the Government continues to award mega-projects such as the proposed Matrade's largest exhibition and convention centre in Malaysia which was awarded without any tender, open or closed, to Naza TTDI for RM628 million. Worse, the Government has paid for the above works with a 62.5 acres piece of land, which should have been auctioned openly to “maximise value” for the Government.

This latest U-turn only shows that the Government has not been able to get its act together in managing the country's economy, especially in dealing with the ballooning deficit and government debt which has increased to 52% of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

While the Prime Minister made several encouraging announcements with regards to the liberalisation of the economic environment in Malaysia at the start of his reign in April last year, the public's hopes on the transformation of Malaysia's economy is now severely dented with a Government that does not know what it is doing and which is missing the woods for the trees by placing priorities on items such as the GST, when it should be doing more to institutionalize best practices such as 'open tenders' to increase efficiency and competitiveness, while reducing wastage and corruption.

The 'postponement' of the GST Bill marks an early success for the efforts by Pakatan Rakyat in our campaign to oppose the tax which penalises the middle and lower income Malaysians. As the Finance Minister said that the Government wants to collate more public feedback before deciding on the GST, Pakatan Rakyat will continue with its public forums especially those which have already been organised to ensure that the rakyat gets the full facts to make informed decisions on the GST.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Tribute To DAP Founder: Dr Chen Man Hin

This tribute was presented during the Pakatan Rakyat Selangor Convention held earlier today to honour the heros of Pakatan Rakyat.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

GST Coming Near You!

Apologies for the lack of updates recently. Have been partly busy with various Chinese New Year events, as well as working on the upcoming Goods & Services Tax (GST) campaigns, plus of course all the other "mundane" stuff for the party. Plus of course, you'd excuse me for "skiving" allocating time for the missus and kids ;-)

Pakatan Rakyat's Anti-GST campaign has gotten off the ground, kicking off in Shah Alam auditorium on the 24 February. I've since made it a key theme in my dinner ceramah speeches, including the last two in Bercham, Ipoh and Kg Bemban, Batu Gajah. A whole series of forums and ceramahs specifically on the GST has also been lined up, and you can catch the debates and arguments at the following days and locations:

  • 3 Mar (Wed) 8pm - KL Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (Mandarin)
    Tony Pua (DAP) v Chua Tee Yong (MCA)
    Organised by KL Selangor Chinese Assembly Youth

  • 4 Mar (Thu) 8pm - Dewan Orang Ramai, Semenyih (Malay/Mandarin)
    Dr Hatta Ramli (PAS), Arul (PSM), Rafizi Ramli (PKR), Tony Pua (DAP)
    Organised by Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)

  • 5 Mar (Fri) 8pm - Dewan MBKj Tmn Suntex, Bt 9 Cheras (Malay/Mandarin)
    Organised by Pakatan Rakyat Hulu Langat

  • 6 Mar (Sat) 4pm - Tropical Inn, Johor Bahru (English/Malay/Mandarin)
    Organised by Pakatan Rakyat Johor

  • 8 Mar (Mon) 8pm - Dewan Kompleks Masyarakat Penyayang, Pulau Pinang (English/Malay/Mandarin)
    Organised by Pakatan Rakyat Pulau Pinang

  • (Tony Pua then takes a family holiday break from 9th - 16th ;-))

  • 17 Mar (Wed) 8pm - Crystal Crown Hotel, Petaling Jaya (note change of venue)
    Organised by Lau Weng San, ADUN Kg Tunku, PJ
  • 20 Mar (Sat) 7pm - Simpang, Taiping-Bkt Gantang Dinner Ceramah
    Organised by DAP Perak (Dinner tickets 05-2531532)

  • 27 Mar (Sat) 8pm - Alor Setar (venue to be confirmed)
  • 31 Mar (Wed) 8pm - Subang Jaya USJ (venue to be confirmed)
    Organised by Hannah Yeoh, ADUN Subang Jaya
I'm sure more ceramahs and forums are being organised. The above are just those I'm speaking in, and doesn't yet include those which involves other speakers or where I can't make it. ;-)  See you there!