Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Speech @ OpScorpene Dinner Petaling Jaya

Part I

Part II

Sunday, July 24, 2011

DAP Damansara Golf Fund-Raising Tournament 2011

This will be the 4th year which we are running our golf tournament, for the purpose of raising funds to help run my Petaling Jaya Utara constituency's service centre.

I have 3-4 staff in the office at the moment to help with constituency, research and parliamentary work, plus operational expenses - rental, utilities etc., it costs our office approximately RM12,000 per month to maintain.

The Selangor state government subsidises RM50,000 per annum of an MP's office expenses, but that'll still leave us with about RM100,000 short, which are funded by public donations, as well as from my own allowance.

We hope to raise approximately RM30,000 from this event, and we look forward to your generous support!

The details are as follows:
Date: 25 Aug 2011 (Thu)
Time: 7.30 am (shot gun)
Venue: Kelab Golf Negara Subang (KGNS)
Entry fee: RM350 per pax.

Closing date: 20th Aug or up to 120 participants (1st come 1st served).
There will be plenty of prizes for golfing and lucky draw winners, as well as items for auction. While the list of prizes have not been finalised, the top prizes will include air tickets to destinations overseas ;-)

Plus, if you are lucky (or unlucky) enough, we could be on the same flight ;-)

Please contact Billy Wong at our service centre hotline: 016-2208867 if you are interested to play or to sponsor the event. Or you can email wss_billy(at)yahoo(dot)com.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ops Scorpene Fund-Raising Dinner

I have been invited to speak at the Suaram fund-raising dinner to finance the on-going investigations and trials in France with regards to the Scorpene submarines scandal when Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak was the defence minister which was shrouded with allegations of "commission" and corruption.

The other speakers for the event are Nurul Izzah Anwar, .Mohammed Sabu and Dr Kua Kia Soong.  Of course, the highlight of the evening will of course be William Bourdon who will be at he forefront leading the campaign in France.

The details are as follows:

Date: 22 July 2011
Time: 8pm
Venue: MBPJ Banquet Hall (Civic Centre)

Find out more about the campaign and how to purchase your dinner tickets here at the Suaram blog site.

See you there!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Putrajaya Must Apologise for Tung Shin Hospital Assault

The Inspector-General of Police, the Health Minister and the MCA President must immediately issue a public apology to Tung Shin Hospital for violating its sanctity and to all Malaysians for trying to cover up the misdeeds of the police force

Eleven doctors who were present at Tung Shin Hospital have bravely stepped forward to present their eye-witness accounts on the fact that the police force has violated the sanctity of the hospital and to express their disgust at the authorities for having "shamelessly denied publicly, the occurrence of these incidents..."

All three leaders, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Ismail Omar, Health Minister Dato' Seri Liow Tiong Lai and MCA President, Dato' Sri Dr Chua Soi Lek were extremely quick to deny the incidents where the police deployed tear gas and water cannons onto the hospital compounds and entered the hospital to arrest, sometimes violently, Bersih supporters who had sought refuge there.

They had defended the actions of the police despite the avalanche of visual evidence that the hospital was attacked with the most pathetic and incredulous of excuses, like the "wind" blowing the tear gas into the hospital compound or that the police "only brought in some injured demonstrators for medical treatment".

After being criticised heavily for his 'valiant' but futile attempt to defend the police, the Health Minister had attempted to salvage his reputation by pushing the blame to the Hospital board of directors instead and asked "everyone to wait for the results of police investigations into all reports on incidents that took place on Saturday."

While he was initially very quick to absolve the police from blame, Liow had the cheek to then ask "everyone to wait for the results of police investigations" after having seen the evidence otherwise. Worse, his party president, Dr Chua persisted in arguing that the videos and pictures were "unclear", proving that the former Health Minister is either physically blind or acting blind.

Now with 11 distinguished medical specialists testifying what Malaysians already know as the truth, are the IGP, Health Minister and MCA President going to procrastinate further by claiming that they need to send the video recordings and photographs to experts in the United States, this time to prove that the evidence have been, forgive the pun, 'doctored'?

The IGP and he BN Government should stop making fools of themselves to the entire watching world. The IGP must take responsibility for the infraction, and apologise immediately to the hospital for the "scant regard for the safety of patients, staff and the general public who were at the buildings that afternoon," to quote the good doctors.

The Health Minister must apologise to all Malaysians for failing to protect the hospitals under his charge by demanding accountability from the police force, and to the hospital on behalf of the federal government. He must also retract all the lamest exuses and lies he had provided to defend the actions of the police earlier, if he is sincere about respect for hospitals as a "place of convalescence", as he preached in his tweet yesterday.

Dr Chua Soi Lek, himself a practising doctor, should give voice to Malaysians who are disgusted with the actions of the police and prove that MCA is not without a backbone, remaining completely voiceless in Barisan Nasional and subsevient to Umno. He must apologise not only for MCA's failure to defend what is morally and ethically right, but also for becoming apologists for the BN state apparatus used to repress ordinary Malaysians defending their constitutional right.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bersih2.0: It's Government Clampdown that Created Chaos

Dr Chua Soi Lek needs to be educated that it’s “authoritarian” governments, and not “democracy” movements that cause loss of investor confidence

According to our Tourism Minister, Dato’ Sri Dr Ng Yen Yen, Malaysia's tourism industry incurred over RM100 million in losses due to the Bersih 2.0 rally last Saturday.

Her MCA President, Dato’ Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek went a step further, claiming that the damage from Saturday’s Bersih rally far exceeds RM100 million as the street protest adversely impacts investor confidence and tourism. He said foreigners unfamiliar with Malaysia will be swayed by the chaotic mammoth rally’s footage and reconsider investment plans or travel in the country.

“The loss is in terms of confidence, the loss of the image of Malaysia as a peace-loving country,” he told reporters yesterday.

Dr Chua Soi Lek appears blind to the fact that the “chaotic” mammoth rally in Kuala Lumpur was caused, first by the unnecessarily violent and aggressive tactics deployed by the police force against peaceful demonstrators. “Chaos” was only created when the Bersih supporters needed to run helter-skelter for cover when the police fired rounds of tear gas and liberally showered them with chemically-laced water.

Secondly, it was the Barisan Nasional government who refused permission for Bersih to use the Merdeka stadium as originally compromised, resulting in the supporters having nowhere to go to express themselves by the streets of Kuala Lumpur.

Corresponding to the 2-points above, it was the BN administration which decided to “lock-down” the city causing the alleged losses, if it is even anywhere near a plucked from the air figure like RM100 million. Had the police force cooperated with Bersih to work out a route for a peaceful march, none of the above “chaos” would have even occurred. In fact, had such cooperation taken place, the businesses would have thrived in the city centre, promoting domestic tourism.

The MCA President continues to speak the language of authoritarian governments seeking to preserve their tenuous hold on political power by arguing that street rallies will affect investor confidence.

In fact, in the week leading up to the Bersih rally, the Bursa Malaysia Composite Index completely brushed off the economic impact of the rally despite the relentless threats made and doomsday scenario painted by the Government. The Index had in fact increased from 1582.35 on Monday, 4th July to 1594.74 on Friday, 8th July.

It should also be noted that in other developing and developed countries, frequent peaceful and democratic rallies in these countries such as South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan have not in any way dented their economic performance, which remains the envy of countries like Malaysia.

Dr Chua Soi Lek should stop trying to mislead the rakyat with tired tales and threats. He should instead embrace democratic principles and speak up for the man-on-the-street, instead of talking down to them, or he should be prepared to go down in history as the worst performing MCA President ever come the next general elections.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bersih2.0: Liow Should Apologise to Hospital

Dato' Seri Liow Tiong Lai has disgraced his position as the Health Minister and the MCA Deputy President by outraging all right thinking Malaysians for his pathetic and lame defence of the police force. He has denied despite the irrefutable and mounting visual evidence that the police force has shot tear gas and deployed water cannons into the Tung Shin hospital compound during the Bersih gathering last weekend.

Liow has denied outright that the police has fired the tear gas into the compound, claiming that it was shot onto the main road, and blamed the wind for blowing the gas into the hospital compounds. He further argued that the water cannon only 'brushed' the edges of the hospital walls, and wad not shot directly into the compound.

As one seeking refuge in the compound, I can testify with absolute certainty that Liow was lying through his teeth. It is impossible that the police has fired onto the main road as the road was already cleared of protestors by then with everyone forced onto the hospital compounds in both the new and old wings. Pictures have also shown clearly that the water cannons have also been sprayed directly into the hospital and not mere 'brushed' the walls of the compound.

What is worse is Liow's complete refusal to even see the evidence for himself when reporters offered to present them to him. What's more, there are scores of eye-witness testimonies, including those from journalists present who corroborated that both the tear gas and water canons were shot into the Hospital where the Bersih supporters were seeking refuge.

Liow's attempt to blame the supporters for seeking refuge in the hospital is also mischievous because the they were being attacked by the police from both ends of Jalan Pudu, making the hospital compounds the only possible escape from the relentless firing of tear gas and chemical-laced water.

In fact, the visit by DAP leaders to the Hospital the day after was to express our thanks and appreciation to the hospital management for letting the supporters seek refuge, to apologise for the inconvenience caused and to understand if there was any damage caused.

Liow as the Health Minister should have gone to the Hospital to apologise in behalf of he Federal Government for the unwarranted actions by the police force for failing to respect the sanctity of hospitals even in times of unrest.

Instead, he had proceeded to deny and lie about what is the obvious truth in order to defend the police force, demonstrating the recalcitrance of the BN government and a complete lack of respect for the hospitals under his purview and Malaysians at large. His actions proved that MCA is only an apologist for the BN coalition, qnd disgraced himself and his party for not having spoken up for Malaysians.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Bersih2.0: Police Should Cooperate with Bersih

The DAP would like express our full support the plans outlined by Bersih chairman Datuk S Ambiga to gather in Stadium Merdeka on 9 July 2011 at 2 pm.

At the same time, we fully endorse the call for the set up of a Royal Commission for Free and Fair Elections to investigate the 8 demands by Bersih and propose the necessary reforms to our electoral system.

In addition, the Police force must cease the reckless clampdown on Bersih supporters by immediately releasing those who have been detained without conditions, and to stop all moves to charge those who have been previously arrested or questioned. The charges have become a complete mockery when 11 municipal councillors from MBKj are to be charged for wearing Bersih T-shirt in their full board meetings, with more from other local councils to be charged.

Given that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak has proposed and agreed to the Bersih rally being held in the stadium, with the consent of the King, the actions of the police, including blockading the city since the early hours of this morning is a direct affront to both the Prime Minister and the King.

We call upon the Police to instead cooperate with Bersih to ensure that the gathering on 9 July will proceed smoothly with hindrance and minimal inconvenience to the general public, and uphold our constitution which grants Malaysians the freedom of assembly and expression.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

SDB Should Talk, Not Force

by LEVEN WOON on 9 Jun, 2011

Picture and report courtesy of Komunitikini.com

The Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) should not approve a private property project at the site of two temples in Section 19, Petaling Jaya until an amicable settlement is reached with the company behind it, said Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua today.

Pua said he would lobby MBPJ about the situation faced by an Indian temple and a neighbouring Chinese temple and ask the authorities to defer its approval of the project.

Pua’s statement comes after both temples received legal notice on May 16 from landowner Selangor Dredging Berhad (SDB), requiring them to evict the temples immediately.

Pua said the notice was served in bad faith as the temple committees have been negotiating with the property company since March, which he has been mediating.

“As landowner they are entitled to issue legal notice, but as a government we are also entitled to defer approval of their development,” he told reporters and some 50 devotees at Sri Maha Mariamman temple this morning.

The property company put up the notice board required by law to inform the public of the project last week, but the last date for objection was backdated to April 19.

Pua (right) said SDB was well-aware of the existence of the 50-year-old Hindu temple and the 45-year-old Tow Boo Keong temple when it bought over the land in 2006.

“In 2007, MBPJ had deferred a development approval for the land until SDB produced a full-fledged plan and provides the temples with 10,000 sq ft of alternative land each.

“We request the developer to seriously consider this as part of the resolution,” he said.

He stressed that the devotees are willing to negotiate with the developer to reach an amicable settlement.

Sri Maha Mariaman temple committee secretary, Raman Muniandy (left), said they prefer the temple to remain where it is. He said SDB once offered to compensate the temple with RM300,000 for its relocation, but it was rejected by the devotees.

“This is the only Hindu temple in Petaling Jaya Utara; we don’t want any cent of compensation, we just want it to remain here,” he said.

Tow Boo Keong temple committee chairman, Tan Kam Piew, said the temple should ideally remain in the community because its devotees are mainly from the Damansara Bistari flats, next door.

He noted that the entire place around Jalan SS2/72, where SS 2 Mall and Ken Damansara 3 Condominium are situated, were previously the site of Kampung Damansara Dalam.

“The two temples were the places of worship for the villagers, who have since been relocated to Damansara Bistari low-cost flats,” he said.

SDB’s corporate communication department head, Yeoh Guan Jin, when contacted, clarified that the legal notice was merely to inform the temple committees of the new landowner.

“Nowhere in the letter is stated that the temples will be demolished or the devotees will be evicted,” he said.

He added that SDB is prepared to negotiate and agree on a reasonable amount of compensation.

Footnote by Tony Pua:

Please-la SDB, we are not illiterate children - "legal notice was merely to inform the temple committees of the new landowner"? You must be kidding me. Let me quote you your letter sent on 16 May 2011 from your friendly neighbourhood lawyers, Soo Thien Ming & Nashrah:

"3. We hereby give you notice that your actions amount to trespass on our client's Land and our client WILL NOT HESITATE to institute legal proceedings and pursue ALL APPROPRIATE REMEDIES under the law against you WITHOUT ANY FURTHER NOTICE."

Yes, the lawyer's letter to the temple committee sounds so friendly and amicable. Please don't try to mislead the public to save your reputation. It is extremely bad faith that you have issued letters like this to threaten the temples while we were in the midst of negotiations.

Friday, July 01, 2011

FDI: Actual vs Approved

MITI must start reporting "actual investment" figures instead of just "approved investment" to disclose the true investment picture for Malaysia due to the wide disparity between the relevant numbers

After several attempts, I have finally received a response from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MITI) with regards to the actual foreign direct investment (FDI) figures corresponding to the approved FDI into Malaysia.

The figures shed completely new light on the investment picture in Malaysia which is completely contrary to the rosy picture which as been presented by the Government over the past few months. The Minister of International Trade and Industry has been gloating about the FDI recovery and achievements in 2010 and 2011, with RM29 billion and RM11 billion to date respectively.

However, despite the relatively credible numbers reported for approved investments, the actual investment numbers are almost shocking to see.

For 2010, where the approved FDI was RM29.1 billion, to date only RM9.4 billion or 32.3% were actually invested.

If the Government were to argue that the FDI approved in 2010 is still in progress as we are still only in June 2011, the figures are not much better for 2009. In that year, RM22.9 billion has been approved, but only RM7.9 billion or 34.4% has been invested.

Even for 2008, our record year for approved FDI of RM46.1 billion, only RM29 billion has been invested with a whopping RM17.1 billion mysteriously missing-in-action.

And if one were to review the numbers over the past 15 years, only RM179.8 billion out of RM298.9 billion of approved investments have been realised. A shocking RM119.1 billion of declared FDI had disappeared without a trace.

It is hence unsurprising to see that the UNCTAD World Investment Report often presents a less than rosy picture than that presented by he Government because the former looks at "actual investments" while the latter only reports "approved investments".

We call upon the MITI Minister, Dato' Mustapa Mohamed to explain the wide disparity between the two sets of numbers and why many of the approved and promised investments never materialise. In addition, to present a more objective view of the Malaysian FDI performance, the Ministry must publish and announce both approved and actual investment figures so that investors, policy makers and the Malaysian public can measure the performance of the Malaysian economy more accurately. The Government should not just present only the positive statistics while hiding all the less than rosy stuff from the prying eyes of the public for that will only lead to self-praise and complacency, ensruing longer term decline in our economic performance.

FDI Figures: What's The Real Thing?

It has been widely reported in the media that International Trade and Industry (MITI) Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed said he is confident that the country’s foreign direct investment (FDI) will exceed RM30 billion in 2011 as FDI for the first quarter of this year has topped RM11 billion.

This compares against the achievement in 2010 of RM29.3 billion. The Minister had further confirmed the 1st quarter achievement in his parliamentary response to me on 16th June where he stated that:
Dari segi pelaburan asing, saya ingin berkongsi maklumat Ahli Yang Berhormat bahawa untuk tiga bulan pertama jumlahnya RM11 bilion berbanding RM29 bilion tahun lepas. Bermakna pada tahun ini prestasi pelaburan asing adalah amat menggalakkan berbanding dengan prestasi tahun lepas. (source: Hansard)

However a check on the MITI website revealed a completely different set of numbers.

While the statistics provided confirmed that “approved” FDI totalled RM29 billion in 2010, the “approved” FDI for the first 3 months of this year showed only a figure of RM4.6 billion, a far cry from the RM11 billion boasted by the MITI Minister.

In fact, based on the latest updates from the website, which included the April FDI figures, the amount “approved” was only RM9 billion, still lower than then figure cited by the Minister for the first 3 months. Datuk Mustapa Mohamed should clarify the glaring difference in numbers so that Malaysians and foreign investors will not be confused with the conflicting numbers, while policy-makers are able to measure the progress of the Malaysian investment climate more accurately.

In addition, MITI should not only provide numbers for “approved” FDI, but also a comparative set of numbers for “actual” FDI brought into the country post-approval. Over the years, the government has announced many “approved” investment projects which did not materialise.

The difference between the 2 sets of numbers is most glaring for the year 2009 where UNCTAD had reported a steep fall in FDI for Malaysia to only US$1.38 billion (RM4.3 billion), only a fraction of the figure provided by MITI which showed US$6.48 billion (RM20 billion) in “approved” investments.

The Minister had then admitted that the UNCTAD figure was accurate as it was measuring “actual” investments, as opposed to “approved” investments as published by his Ministry.

We look forward to improved FDI performance by Malaysia in the interest of all Malaysians. However, in order to objectively assess our performance, the Government needs to be consistent and transparent in providing all relevant figures. Any attempts to skew our investment figures or provide a less than accurate picture of our climate will only lead to poor policies and ultimately a long term decline in our economic attractiveness.