Sunday, June 30, 2013

Jonker Walk and Jonker Drive will leave Jonker Mess


Yesterday evening, I had joined Members of Parliament for Gelang Patah, Seremban, Rasah, Bakri and of course, Kota Melaka and Bukit Katil to visit and protest the UMNO’s political vengeance against Malaccans by opening Jonker Walk to motor traffic.

The visit and protest has attracted hundreds who unanimously demanded that the Melaka state government withdraw the order to the Melaka City Council to open Jonker Walk which has become a celebrated tourist landmark in Malaysia, famed for its weekend night market.

The protests expressed over the past week by various parties have resulted in the Melaka Chief Minister backtracking and twisting the rationale and decisions to open up Jonker Walk.

While initially Datuk Idris Haron had told Kwong Wah Daily that the move was to “fulfil the people’s wishes” in reaction to MCA candidates being defeated by DAP, now he claims that the move has nothing to do with political retaliation, and everything to do with easing traffic congestion in Melaka City.

The twist and turn was so fantastic, he claimed that he has to resolve the severe congestion caused by Jonker Walk which results in up to a 4-hour journey from the city to the Ayer Keroh toll plaza. We would like to inform the Melaka Chief Minister that our journey from the city to the toll plaza yesterday, despite the crowded Jonker Walk, took us all of 30 minutes.

In addition, despite the ban on street traders which was explicitly stated in the state government directive to the City Council on 12 June 2013, Datuk Idris Haron declared 2 days ago that there was no decision to stop the street market and the 300 or so traders can continue their activities.

The above decision is not only a shocking half-reversal, it’s completely irresponsible.  Datuk Idris has only retracted the decision to “ban” the night market traders, he did not retract the decision to open up the road.  This means that all the market traders who are displaying their wares and goods on the road side as well as the tourists and customers will be facing the risk of being knocked down by on-coming traffic.

The visit to Jonker Walk also reaffirmed our fear for the safety of the people when it is clear that there is no way a car can pass through the road with the traders on the streets, what more reopening the road to two-way traffic!

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz had rightly ticked off the Melaka Chief Minister that the road is named “Jonker Walk” and not “Jonker Drive”, and insisted that the tourist destination be kept as such.  In fact, Melaka government’s convoluted and senseless decision to make it both a “Walk” and a “Drive” puts at risk the safety of tourists, residents and traders.  We will hold Datuk Idris Haron fully responsible for any untoward accidents happening as a result of opening Jonker Walk to motorised traffic.

The new Melaka Chief Minister must act like a leader and not a petty, cowardly politician.  We are more than happy to fight “politics” with BN in the state assembly or in parliament.  However, let’s keep politics out of the interest, safety and livelihood of the people of Melaka and Malaysia.  The Melaka state government must immediately withdraw the order to re-open Jonker Walk to traffic during weekend evenings, and not wait for someone to get seriously hurt.


Friday, June 28, 2013

Floundering GTP & ETP Leads to Drop in Investor Confidence


The Edge Financial Daily today reported that Malaysia has fallen sharply to 25th position from 10th on the AT Kearney’s 2013 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Confidence Index from the previous year even as emerging markets continue to attract FDI.

The report, based on a survey of 300 senior executives of the world’s leading corporations show that while these global corporations may have initially been “attracted” to the Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s “Economic Transformation Programme” (ETP), such interest has completely fizzled.  The drop is so drastic, that we are now at the bottom of the table of 25 countries.

We are now behind fellow ASEAN countries, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia, as well as other developing countries such as Poland, Chile and Argentina.

The drastic fall in Malaysia’s FDI confidence has to be strongly co-related with a fall in confidence with the Government’s ability to deliver its transformation promises, which have been in essence, more form than substance.
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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Jonker Walk: Keselamatan Terjejas

MP tak yakin keselamatan di Jonker Street

Zulaikha Zulkifli
4:46PM Jun 27 2013

Ahli Parlimen Petaling Jaya Utara Tony Pua menuntut Ketua Menteri Melaka Datuk Idris Haron bertanggungjawab ke atas keselamatan peniaga dan pengunjung di Jonker Walk apabila jalan tersebut dibuka untuk lalu lintas.

"Bila saya teliti laporan ini dengan terperinci, dia kata 300 peniaga yang ada di Jonker Walk boleh teruskan perniagaan mereka. Apa yang dia tak sebut ialah adakah jalan terus dibuka atau ditutup?

"Ini kekeliruan atau silap mata yang cuba dibuat ketua menteri Melaka. Perniagaan ada tapi jalan terus dibuka. Ini boleh menjadi isu keselamatan kepada peniaga, pengunjung dan pelancong.

“Sekiranya ada apa-apa terjadi, kerajaan negeri kena bertanggungjawab," katanya dalam sidang media di bangunan Parlimen hari ini.

Beliau mengulas kenyataan Idris semalam, bahawa 300 peniaga tersebut boleh meneruskan perniagaan mereka seperti biasa di kawasan pasar malam Jonker Walk pada setiap hujung minggu.

Idris juga menjelaskan bahawa arahan penutupan gerai yang kebanyakannya menjual cenderamata di Jonker Walk itu hanya salah faham.

Katanya, jalan sekitar Jonker Walk yang menjadi tumpuan pelancong itu dibuka semula untuk kenderaan yang ketika ini ditutup bermula 6 petang hingga 12 malam pada setiap Jumaat.

Isu menghalang peniaga berniaga di Jonker Walk pada hujung minggu, sengaja dimanipulasikan pihak tertentu demi kepentingan politik mereka, katanya lagi seperti dilaporkan Bernama semalam.

Beliau tidak berpendapat bahawa langkah tersebut akan menyukarkan pengunjung dan peniaga dan mengambil contoh amalan yang dilakukan di Oxford City, England.

Peniaga menjalankan perniagaan di kaki lima jalan raya dan kenderaan dibenar melalui kawasan di situ, katanya.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Don't Give Excuses - Keep Jonker Walk


We would like to thank Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, the new Tourism Minister for the return of sensibility over the closure of Jonker Street market by the Melaka state government

Datuk Seri Nazri said he had “appealed to Malacca Chief Minister Idris Haron not to close down the Jonker Walk night market” because “the night market is an essential part of Malacca's tourism sector and should not be closed”. "Malacca is not the only place for tourism (in Malaysia), so I hope the CM would think about this properly," he said. This attempt to return to sensibility must be applauded and supported.

However, Datuk Seri Nazri then went on to cover up for the new Melaka Chief Minister, claiming that the latter told him that the market “will be closed for four weeks as a trial to see if closing down the market alleviates traffic problems there.”  Nazri added that he hoped the CM "would think" about the closure of the night market again at the conclusion of four weeks.

This “compromise” is however, completely unacceptable.  Despite the excuse of “traffic” being raised the reason for the closure, the Datuk Idris Haron has already himself admitted in public that the act is to retaliate against the non-Malay community in Melaka.

According to Kwong Wah Daily on Monday 24 June, Datuk Idris argued that the decision passed by the Malacca executive council on June 12 to close the night market "follows the intention of the people… Now, we see most of the Malacca residents fully supporting DAP over MCA candidates, who have been serving them. Hence, we decided to cancel the night market and we hope they will be happy."

If it is not political vengeance by the immense pettiness of UMNO-Barisan Nasional led by the new Chief Minister, then why is the issue of whether the rakyat supporting DAP or MCA even relevant to “alleviating traffic problems” there?

Furthermore, it is a complete lie by Datuk Idris Haron that the night market will only be closed for four weeks as a “trial”.  I have in my possession a copy of the memo issued to the Datuk Bandar of Melaka City Council which instructed the outright closure of Jonker Street with absolutely no mention of it being a trial or a need for an official traffic study to be conducted during the so-called 1-month period.

While Pakatan Rakyat continues to serve all Malaysians regardless of whether they had voted for us, we are witnessing an increasingly vindictive Barisan Nasional where MCA threw its tantrums by shutting down all their service centres, while UMNO demonstrated their racist mindset by not only poisoning the minds of the people and destroying the people’s livelihoods.

The move is clearly akin to cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face.  Just because Datuk Idris Haron wanted to demonstrate his politcal pettiness to inflict damage to the Chinese community, he is willing to sacrifice the interest of the people of Melaka and her economy.

This major move to punish the Chinese voters, if left unchecked will only be the beginning of a series of actions which UMNO-led governments will take to discriminate against, sideline, punish as well as humiliate any of the minority races in the country which they deem not to have given support to UMNO-Barisan Nasional.

Hence we call upon the Melaka Government to immediate lift the ban on the Jonker Street night market, and stop using the pretext of “alleviating traffic problems” or they might as well close every single pasar malam and pasar tani through the state and country.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

UMNO's Political Retaliation: Why Not Cancel Chinese New Year?


In a shocking move involving political vengeance and retaliation against the non-Malay community, the new Chief Minister of Melaka, Datuk Idris Haron last week announced the closure of the Jonker Street weekend market, which is an extremely popular 13-year old tourist destination in an area often regarded as the Melaka Chinatown.

According to Kwong Wah Daily, Idris yesterday argued that the decision passed by the Malacca executive council on June 12 to close the night market "follows the intention of the people".

"Now, we see most of the Malacca residents fully supporting DAP over MCA candidates, who have been serving them. Hence, we decided to cancel the night market and we hope they will be happy," the daily quotes Idris as saying.

We had assumed that with the political demise of former Melaka Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Ali Rustam, you can’t possibly appoint a Chief Minister more reckless, arrogant and callous than him. However, Datuk Idris Haron has immediately proven us completely wrong.

The move is clearly akin to cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face.  Just because Datuk Idris Haron wanted to demonstrate his politcal pettiness to inflict damage to the Chinese community, he is willing to sacrifice the interest of the people of Melaka and her economy.

More importantly, it has proven beyond doubt that Barisan Nasional is not a “1Malaysia” government as touted by the Prime Minister and UMNO President, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, but in reality a 1UMNO party which only cares about the interest of their own leaders and cronies.

Over the past 8 weeks since the General Election, UMNO leaders and its mouthpiece, Utusan Malaysia has gone on a verbal rampage to demonise the Chinese for BN’s poor performance.  But this is the first physical act by which UMNO to victimise the Chinese community for the latter’s perceived support for Pakatan Rakyat.

In fact, we have to assume that this major move to punish the Chinese voters is a directive coming directly from the top of the UMNO leadership itself.  And if true, then this will only be the beginning of a series of actions which UMNO-led governments will take to discriminate against, sideline, punish as well as humiliate any of the minority races in the country which they deem not to have given support to UMNO-Barisan Nasional.

Perhaps, the new Tourism Minister, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz will announce a similar move to close down the historic Petaling Street.  Or why stop at just closing these “Chinatowns”, why not just cancel Christmas or even more impactful, ban Deepavali or Chinese New Year celebrations!

The acts by these UMNO governments runs in direct contrasts with the Pakatan Rakyat-led adminsitrations which goes out of its way to ensure that all their voters, regardless of political affiliation will enjoy the fruits of our administration.  When the Selangor state government provided free water to individual households or insurance for the elderly, it was granted to all regardless or race, religion or political affiliation.  This is similar in Penang, when it became the first state government to eliminate hardcore poverty in the country, despite the fact that the majority of the beneficiaries are Malays who had then supported BN.

While Pakatan Rakyat continues to serve all Malaysians regardless of whether they had voted for us, we are witnessing an increasingly vindictive Barisan Nasional where MCA threw its tantrums by shutting down all their service centres, while UMNO demonstrated their racist mindset by not only poisoning the minds of the people and destroying the people’s livelihoods.

In the past, we would have ended this statement by making a call to the Prime Minister to be the voice of moderation and uphold his commitment to his “1Malaysia”.  Today, we know that Dato’ Seri Najib Razak will just remain completely silent to the above act of closing down Jonker Street as well as other threats to the non-Malay community.  He silence not only proves his tacit approval and involvement in these actions, it also confirms that “1Malaysia” is purely a propaganda rhetoric to win votes in a General Election.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

EO Repeal Not An Excuse for Rising Crime


In recent weeks, we have heard various police officers at the local level explaining to residents that one of the key reasons for the increasing rate of crime is because of the repeal of the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance in September 2011.

The Malaysian Insider reported yesterday that Senior Federal police officers, speaking on the condition of anonymity claimed preventive laws such as the Restricted Residence Act (RRA) 1933 had been useful against hardcore criminals and syndicate kingpins.

This isn’t the first time the Police are laying the blame on the repeal of the Emergency Ordinance and the RRA as the causes for rising spate of crime.

In June 2012, Selangor’s deputy police chief, Datuk A Thaiveegan suggested the repeal of the Emergency Ordinance (EO) may have caused a hike in the state’s crime rate due to the number of suspects who could have returned to a life of felony instead of reforming.  He told Malaysiakini that “…we see there is a rise in crime (recently) because they’ve been in (detention) for too long, they need ‘exercise’, so they come out and immediately they carry out their activities”.  He did admit that he was only speculating by providing the caveat that he “can’t confirm yet (because of the EO)”.

However now, the police appear to be pleading helplessness in the fight against crime.  The sources told The Malaysian Insider, "we do not just randomly pick people off the streets and put them into detention centres. Police also gather information and statements from witnesses and verify them… But now that the government has done away with preventive laws, it is very difficult to fight these criminals with one hand tied behind our backs."

If the Police are indeed able to gather the necessary “information and statements from witnesses and verify them”, then why is it that they are not able to prosecute them in court and send them to jail?

This is a shocking state of affair because are the Police telling us that if they are unable to jail suspects without trial, then they are unable to fight crime in the country?  Are the police claiming to be so incompetent that they are unable to investigate with all required evidence to bring these alleged criminals to court and make them pay for their crimes via the rule of law?

In that case, we might as well dispense with the Court of Law altogether since the Police and the Attorney-General will find it easier to send these alleged criminals to jail and detention without trial.

In the safe cities of Hong Kong, Tokyo, London or even Singapore, none of these countries utilise “detention without trial” to keep crime low or negligible.  Their criminal investigation departments are able to detain and prosecute these criminals for the crimes they have committed with the necessary investigation and evidence.  Why is it that the Malaysian police are unable to do the same?  Are the police claiming that Malaysian criminals are more intelligent and more organised in their activities to avoid detection and prosecution?

The Malaysian Police has failed to concede that the real reason behind the weaknesses in fighting crime is the sheer misallocation of resources within the force.  Over the past 8 years, the criminal investigation department (CID) comprises barely 9% of the police force. In stark contrast, 41% of uniformed police perform management functions, while 31% are tasked with internal security and public order such as the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU), the Light Strike Force as well as the General Operations Force.

Even the Special Branch of the police has nearly the same number of personnel as the CID.  In fact the Budget figures in 2010 showed that the police produced 733,237 reports and security checks by the Special Branch, but only 211,645 criminal investigation papers. So Special Branch produced more than three times as many reports as the CID.

The 2005 Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) Report has recommended about 20,000 uniformed personnel or 22% of the force could be reassigned to go back to active core policing work. Unfortunately this recommendation was never taken seriously by the Home Ministry.

The Home Ministry and the Malaysian police must stop giving excuses to the rising spate of crime.  It must accept the findings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry carried out 8 years ago, and implement all the necessary measures to improve the effectiveness and professionalism of the police force.  The failure to do so will only see crime persist at high and increasing levels, making Malaysia unsafe not only for its citizens, but also as a conducive country of business and investment.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

KLIA2 12-month delay: More than it meets the eye

Malaysia Airports (MAHB) has finally conceded that the KLIA2 project is severely delayed has the new date set is 12 months later than the last confirmed completion date at 30 April 2014.

It was only on 8 March 2013 when Faizah Khairuddin, the MAHB general manager told the press that “the new low-cost carrier airport, KLIA2, will be ready by May 1 (2013), although its opening date has been deferred to June 28… as the later date was only set to commemorate the inauguration of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 15 years ago… the period would be utilised to perform testing, mock operation drills and commissioning activities.”

MAHB had reiterated as late as 28th March 2013 that the KLIA2 project was “on schedule” which meant completion by 1 May 2013.

However, MAHB finally conceded that the project was delayed after persistent pressure from Pakatan Rakyat elected representatives 3 weeks ago, and it was announced late yesterday that the project has been extended by a shocking 12 months.

I had joked during my 27 May press conference with Nurul Izzah Anwar, MP for Lembah Pantai that I would not be surprised if the new “low-cost” KLIA2 will only be officially launch on 28 June 2014, to commemorate not the 15th anniversay of KLIA, but the 16th.  But even I am shocked at how close to the mark I was on the prospective new opening date.

The new opening date does not tally with all the stories that MAHB and the contractors have been telling Malaysians over the past one year.

Deputy Minister of Transport, Datuk Abdul Rahim bin Bakri had informed parliament on 8 October 2012, that… “setakat 13 September 2012 status kemajuan KLIA 2 adalah mendahului jadual iaitu 61.92% berbanding jadual 56.9% dan dijangka siap pada April 2013”.

However, based on the KLIA2 main contractor UEM-Binapuri’s report, 93% of the works have already been completed as at 31 May 2013.  This means that 31% of the works have been completed in 8.5 months, but MAHB is telling us that it will take another 11 months to finish the balance of the 7% of works?

The new 30 April completion date will also mean that UEM-Binapuri will be required to pay a total of RM63.4 million in liquidated and ascertained damages (LAD) or RM199,445 per day for 318 days commencing 16 June 2013.  The UEM-Binapuri contract is worth RM997.2 million, which commenced in August 2010.  As of yesterday, Binapuri has already disputed the LAD claims, placing the blame for the delay on MAHB.

Clearly the entire story does not add up and MAHB must come clean with the real story behind the massive delay of the airport since its first scheduled completion in September 2011.  Not only has the airport been delayed by 31 months, the airport has also busted its budget of RM1.7 billion to its current total of RM4 billion today.

Given the mysterious 12 month extension to the KLIA2 deadline, Malaysians want to know what is the exact status on other related projects in KLIA2 which affects the operatability of the airport?  In particular, have all the other projects such as the control tower, aircraft aprons and the third runway all been completed as at 30 April 2013?

In fact, the main contractor for the RM268.8 million 3rd KLIA runway, KUB Malaysia announced on 8 June that the runway is only 80% completed.  Then the question that needs to be asked then is why is the LAD action taken only against UEM-Binapuri with “only” 7% of the project left to be completed, when no action is taken against KUB when 20% of the project has yet to be completed as admitted by KUB themselves?

There is certainly a lot more dirt than it meets the eye at the RM4 billion mega-scandal at KLIA2 and MAHB must stop lying and hiding the truth from Malaysians as they have done over the past 2 years.  The Ministry of Transport, with its Secretary-General, Datuk Seri Long See Wool who is himself a director in MAHB must demand full accountability and transparency to ensure that those responsible for the misdeeds are brought to book.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Malaysian Chinese are not Concerned with the Race of the Prime Minister

The misplaced tirade against the Chinese in Malaysia, whether intentional or otherwise, continues with the new Minister in Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim latest salvo published in Sinchew Daily yesterday.

He said that if the Chinese Malaysians who have been indoctrinated with “extreme racism” by the DAP can ditch their “racist mindset”, he “believes that Malaysia would one day have a prime minister of Chinese ethnicity”.

He was quoted to say “(You) cannot lead the people if (you) believe too much in racial power. If one day the Chinese could get rid of this mindset, Malaysia could also have a Chinese as prime minister”.

This statement is not only an uncalled for attempt to insult Malaysian Chinese as racists, it is a clear cut attempt to insinuate that Malaysian Chinese are a power-crazy and greedy community whose ultimate goal is to take over the Prime Ministership of this country.  It is part of UMNO’s continued attempt to divide the nation by having the Malay community remain completely frightful of the fairy-tale eventuality of losing political power.

Taking leaf from the former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed, Datuk Seri Shahidan even accused the Chinese of not participating “in activities organised by the government, but chose to be involved in the illegal street rallies held by the opposition”.

It clearly shows that to these UMNO leaders, any support given Pakatan Rakyat as an alternative to Barisan Nasional will be deemed “racist” in nature, even if the support is given to fight the blatant racism of parties like UMNO.

When Malays vote overwhelmingly for UMNO in the past, it is never “racism”. When Chinese voted for MCA in the past, that can’t be racism.  However, when Malays increased their support for Pakatan Rakyat candidates in the same election, Dr Mahathir accused DAP of spreading “propaganda” that influenced educated Malays.  And when the Chinese voted strongly for Pakatan Rakyat, that according to UMNO, is proof of Chinese “racism”. That is complete and utter gibberish coming from UMNO leaders.

UMNO leaders like Tun Dr Mahathir and Datuk Seri Shahidan perpetuate the above lies because they believe that the only way to maintain UMNO’s control of in the country and to share the wealth of the nation only with the politically connected elite, is by demonising the non-Malay community with artificial claims of “racism”, even if the claims are themselves racist.

UMNO leaders fear a Malaysia where Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Dayaks and other minority communities become united to fight cronyism and corruption among the ruling BN elite. Hence the desperate need to use all racist means keep Malaysia divided by race and religion.

The DAP never campaigned on a “Chinese” political power platform.  We never campaigned against Malay political interests.  If we did, Malaysians can be assured that such campaign speeches will be televised and condemned widely in all broadcast and print media as “proof” of DAP racism.  Instead, throughout our election campaigns, our leaders harped only on the singular point of creating a country that is free from corruption and cronyism, where the nation’s wealth can be shared among all Malaysians, and not just those who are politically connected.

For the Chinese community, they have no interest whatsoever in seeing a Chinese installed as a Prime Minister of Malaysia.  They don’t care if the Prime Minister of the country is a Malay, Indian, Kadazan or Iban, as long as he is a Prime Minister for all Malaysians and not just for a select group of cronies or race.

The Chinese community did not give their votes to PAS because PAS is a Chinese party.  They certainly did not pick Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as their preferred choice of Prime Minister because he is a Chinese.  They picked him because they see him as Malaysian first, who will fight abuse of power and prioritise the interest of the poor and disadvantaged, regardless of race, religion or creed.

UMNO Ministers and leaders will need to learn that the only way to stop the inevitability of losing their grip on power in Malaysia is to adopt the “Malaysian first” principle as espoused in their own “1Malaysia” slogan.  Their continued racist bent of their political platform will end all hopes of BN ever recovering from their election losses in 2008 and 2013.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Will the Police Revolt Again Against IPCMC?


In May 2006, the Royal Malaysian Police threatened a revolt of the force should the then Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi administration proceeded to implement the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), as proposed by the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the Police.  As a result, the proposed IPCMC legislation was ditched and the substantially watered down Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) was set up.

Now with renewed calls for the revival of the IPCMC given the failure of the EAIC, the Deputy Inspector General of Police (IGP) Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Zinin has again shunned calls to form an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

“The laws are already there. The EAIC is already there. There is no point to keep discussing the IPCMC… I feel that the laws are already there and they are stronger than the IPCMC,” he said last Saturday.

The professionalism of the police force is being questioned again with the unacceptable increase number of deaths under police detention as well as the worrying rise in crime in the country, particularly in the Klang Valley.  There are already 9 deaths under detention in less than 6 months this year.  At the same time, various gangs armed with “parangs” or machetes are terrorising open air and public eateries as well as household with increasing frequency and audacity over the past few weeks.  The above has yet to include the unprofessional handling of peaceful assemblies over the past few years where even journalists are beaten to pulp, which was condemned even by the Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM).

These incidences themselves proved that the EAIC has failed in its objectives to improve on the professionalism of our enforcement agencies.  This isn’t at all surprising given that the replacement commission was designed to fail with not only a water-down powers, but also with limited funding of only RM7 million a year. At this moment, there is only one investigator is given the ridiculous task of investigating 19 enforcement agencies when this is already its 3rd year of operations.  Worse, it has been highlighted that the sole investigator was himself involved in the controversial death of Teoh Beng Hock under Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) which makes a complete mockery of the Government’s sincerity and seriousness in tackling the above issues.

In 2006, the Police had listed down their objections in a special bulletin, listing up to 10 reasons to reject the IPCMC.  They claimed that the IPCMC is “against national security and public order”, “people will be the victims and the result will be a state of anarchy”, “crime cases will be out of control”, “the IPCMC is against the Federal Constitution, natural justice and the rule of law as it discriminates police personnel from ordinary citizens” and that the Act will “‘soften’ the police”.

What was shocking then was the threat by the Police that the IPCMC will “undermine the ruling coalition’s power”.  Senior police officers were quoted warning that “the police will vote for the opposition in the next general election due 2009” and that the “PDRM top brass will resign en bloc, policemen will refuse to work overtime and demand for an eight-hour five-day working week”, should the IPCMC be established.

The Police should not threaten another revolt over the set up of an IPCMC because clearly over the past 7 years, the situation on human rights abuses as well as crime in the country has not improved with any significance despite the ruling government’s acquiesce to the Police.

Instead the Police should support the set up of an IPCMC because the intent of the Commission is not to victimise the Police but to increase the professionalism of the Police force as well as to improve its effectiveness in carrying out its policing duties.  By supporting the IPCMC and weeding out the black sheep within the force while maintaining discipline within the force, the winners will be the Police themselves together with the rakyat.  What is more, if the Police is indeed professional and act above board as claimed, then surely there will be nothing to be fearful of the IPCMC.

We call on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, to use his new “mandate” to table a new IPCMC bill in Parliament immediately in the upcoming sitting commencing on the 24th June 2013.  Such a bold move is not only consistent with his pledge to carry out his transformation programmes, but will immediately win additional support from the people for his regime.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Auxiliary police for developers, but not Pakatan?


Auxiliary police for developers, but not Pakatan? Koh Jun Lin 9:13PM Jun 16, 2013

Damansara Utama assemblyperson Yeo Bee Yin has questioned the police’s move to approve auxiliary police forces for developers, claiming preferential treatment against Pakatan Rakyat administered states.

Yesterday, The Star reported that developer SP Setia received its first batch of 120 auxiliary police personnel, which would be placed in its housing projects in Johor, Penang and the Klang Valley.

“If SP Setia, Sunway and all these developers are able to hire auxiliary police, why not the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ)?” said Yeo (right) demanding the government to immediately approve the application.

She said this at a press conference today with a group of Petaling Jaya restaurant owners, who were expressing concerns over robberies targeting them.

She said that MBPJ had applied to the inspector-general of police to field its own auxiliary police force in 2009 but was turned down in the following year.  MBPJ applied again in 2012 and has yet to receive a response. The Subang Jaya City Council faces a similar predicament.

Coffee shops in fear

Meanwhile, she said, Johor Baru Municipal Council (MBJB) and Melaka Municipal Council (MBM) already have their auxiliary police force.

“If MBJB and MBM, which are under BN states, can get their auxiliary police, why not MBPJ under Pakatan Rakyat? Are they prioritising their politics over the security of the people here?” she said.

Meanwhile, Petaling Jaya MP Tony Pua said there is a higher police-population ratio in rural areas than in urban areas, whereas the reverse should be implemented because urban areas are inherently more prone to crime.

He also pointed out that the 2005 royal commission of inquiry had recommended that 22,000 police officers should be reallocated from other tasks to crime-fighting duties, but this was never done.

For the full article, please visit: http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/233076 and/or http://fz.com/content/pj-shop-owners-concerned-over-spike-robberies

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Why is Transport Ministry Silent on KLIA2 Fiasco?


We would like to ask why is it that the newly appointed Minister of Transport, Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein been silent as a mouse over the entire RM4 billion KLIA2 fiasco by the Malaysia Airports (MAHB)?

The current KLIA2 airport contract was scheduled to be completed by September 2011 but has been delayed at least 7 times since then with no definite deadline in sight.

MAHB has claimed that the delays plaguing the completion of KLIA2 is the result of the non-delivery of parts of the project by contractors, leading Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) to come out to say that it would impose liquidated and ascertained damages (LAD) on the responsible parties.

Unsurprisingly, the main contractors of the project all lined up to deny their complicity in the delays and placed the blame squarely on MAHB the project owner who allegedly made repeated variation orders to the original contract.

While we are not privy to the details of the dispute which is now triggering the blame game between the various parties, the question that needs to be asked is, after nearly 2 years of delay, why is it that MAHB is only coming out for the first time to blame the contractors?  If it is really the contractors who are at fault, why haven’t they been penalised with the LAD since September 2011?

As the Minister of Transport with direct purview over Malaysia Airports, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin must step in immediately to resolve this protracted scandal and bring to task all those who are responsible for the embarrassment to the nation, and the sheer waste of public funds.

What is worse is the fact that the Ministry of Transport should have been well on top of the scandal as the Secretary-General of the Ministry, Datuk Seri Long See Wool sits as a Board of Director of MAHB.  Datuk Seri Long has been a Director since 9 September 2008 and he also sits on the Board Procurement Committee and Board Risk Management Committee of MAHB.

Therefore unless the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Transport himself decides to say that he knows absolutely nothing about what is going on in the KLIA2 fiasco, the Ministry cannot deny culpability in the entire debacle.

This  drastic increase in cost has resulted in MAHB having to raise bonds amount to RM3.1 billion to date, with another RM1 billion expected to be raised in the near future, causing MAHB to take on debt which may not have been necessary in the first place.

However, the ultimate losers on the “low cost” airport which busted the budget will be the Malaysian travellers who will have to bear the cost of higher airport taxes for MAHB to repay its debts.  This will also severely impact Malaysia’s competitiveness as the hub for low-cost carriers in the Asia region.

This conundrum of higher debt will also result in a conflict of interest for Datuk Seri Long and the Ministry.  The question will be raised as to whether as a Board Member of MAHB, will Datuk Seri Long support the increase in airport taxes to help MAHB pare down its debt and raise its profitability or will he take on the regulator’s role of suppressing airport taxes to protect the interest of ordinary Malaysians as well as our competitiveness as the hub for low-cost carriers in the region?

Dato’ Seri Hishamuddin Hussein must also declare as to why the contract for Managing Director of MAHB, Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad who has helmed the company for the past 9 years will be ending in 7 June 2013, has been extended again as at 6 June 2013 for an additional year. It is clear that Tan Sri Bashir has failed to competently manage the single largest project by MAHB during his reign and his contract must not be renewed.  The failure and scandal of KLIA2 cannot be excused but Malaysians are once again victims of Barisan Nasional’s incompetence when those who fail the rakyat get their contracts renewed for the umpteenth time.

Finally, we also call upon the Minister to also support the call by Air Asia CEO, Aireen Omar to set up an independent body to probe the much-delayed construction of the new low-cost airport, KLIA2.  She said that “unless the true cause of the delay is made known, AirAsia feels there may be more finger pointing (against AirAsia or contractors) which will do nothing towards the completion of the project”.

Datuk Seri Hishamuddin, who has yet to respond to Pakatan Rakyat’s call for a meeting over this issue, must respond immediately over these issues raised and tackle the crisis which may yet worsen to ensure that the interests of Malaysians are protected.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Lawlessness Descends onto Klang Valley?

Has the Klang Valley descended into a state of lawlessness with near nightly incidence of audacious robberies in public areas?  Or is this still an issue of “perception”?

I had written on Tuesday, 11 June with regards to the audacious robberies being carried out in the Klang Valley.  Last Saturday, nearly 70 people were robbed at an open air steamboat restaurant in Cheras by a group of 10 persons armed with parangs and iron rods.  The shop owners and patrons lost more than RM20,000 and at least 2 of the customers were assaulted as a result of being too tardy with coughing up with their valuables.

Now over the past 2 nights, there were 2 incidences of armed gang robberies carried out at open air restaurants in Kepong, Cheras and Kajang on each night.  This was despite 3 suspects being picked up by the Police yesterday afternoon on the prior cases.

In fact, it was reported that the Police have received four reports on such cases in Kuala Lumpur and another in Petaling Jaya in the past two weeks.

The Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Razak himself promised Malaysias a “war against crime” on Saturday when launching the “United Against Crime” programme with much fanfare. The newly appointed Inspector General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar proudly announced on his appointment date on May 16th that he wants to make safety and security his priority and "return" the streets to the people.  But where is this “war against crime”?

It is as if these armed criminals were thumbing their noses at the Prime Minister and the Royal Malaysian Police pouring scorn on the ineffective threats issued by the latter.

In fact the situation got so ridiculous last night that these gang of 8 to 10 armed robbers can rob 2 eateries and then proceeded to enjoy and binge themselves at a local pub, following which they refused to pay and robbed the pub cashier as well!

If the Prime Minister and the new IGP is serious about this “war against crime”, they must implement the key recommendations of the 2005 Royal Commission of Inquiry recommendations for the Royal Malaysian Police.

This includes firstly the refusal by the BN Government to implement the key recommendation of the RCI report, that is the establishment of an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).  The IPCMC is “aimed at dealing with complaints regarding the police, and seeking to improve the professionalism of the police force and to make certain that doctrines, laws, rules and procedures are observed and applied by the police”.

The second key recommendation by the RCI, and perhaps more immediately effective, is the refusal of the Police to restructure the Police organisation to be more focused in fighting crime.

Over the past 8 years, the criminal investigation department (CID) comprises barely 9% of the police force, unchanged from before. In stark contrast, 41% of uniformed police perform management functions, while 31% are tasked with internal security and public order such as the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU), the Light Strike Force as well as the General Operations Force.

In fact the Budget figures in 2010 showed that the police produced 733,237 reports and security checks by the Special Branch, but only 211,645 criminal investigation papers. So Special Branch produced more than three times as many reports as the CID.  This is consistent with the fact that the new IGP seems more preoccupied in a war against civil society activists and Pakatan Rakyat leaders under the Peaceful Assembly and Sedition Acts to clamp down on anti-BN dissent, as opposed to putting up a “real” war against crime.

The 2005 RCI Report has recommended about 20,000 uniformed personnel or 22% of the force could be reassigned to go back to active core policing work. Unfortunately this recommendation has gone unheeded by the Home Ministry.

We hope that under the new Home Minister, Dato’ Seri Zahid Hamidi, the Government will no longer deem the severity of the crime issue being a matter of “public perception”.  Rampant crime is real, Malaysians do not feel safe and the only perception of crime that needs to change is that belonging to the Government.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

IPCMC & EAIC: Who Twisted?


Two days ago, I had written that Datuk Paul Low is sorely mistaken that the difference between EAIC and IPCMC is just in the name.  The difference between the two is clearly in their intent, with the former set up as a toothless tiger meant specifically as a cosmetic job to placate the public’s demand for an IPCMC, while pandering to strident objections of the police force.  The IPCMC on the other hand, was clearly an agency to check, discipline and inculcate greater professionalism in the police force.

Datuk Paul Low had pleaded victimisation immediately on 10th June, to express his “grave disappointment” at how his words have been “blatantly misrepresented for reasons best known only to Mr Tony Pua himself”.

“I fail to see how much clearer I can make it understood ...IPCMC and EAIC are only names, and what really matters is that we arrive at an independent agency that has the resources, clout and scope of influence to do the job effectively, now that the weaknesses of the existing EAIC had been more or less identified… Whether the name remains ‘EAIC’ at the end of the day… ‘EAICC’, ‘PEAIC’, etc… does it really matter? …Clearly, even a teenager would be able to conclude that my intention was never to equate the EAIC in its current form to that of the IPCMC proposed by the RCI in 2005,” he said.

So did I “blatantly misrepresent”  Paul Low’s words or his intent and as a result maligned him unfairly?

Let me remind him in his own words stated just less than 2 weeks ago on 30th May in his press conference.  Datuk Paul Low has actually stated in his own words that the “EAIC is actually the IPCMC”.  When asked if he meant that there was no need for an IPCMC with the existence of the EAIC by reporters, he specifically responded that “we already have the channel”.

Now this “teenager’s” question to him is, in the context of the above statements – did I misrepresent his words or did Datuk Paul Low twist his own words?

However, as pleaded by Datuk Paul Low himself, let me be constructive and give him the benefit of the doubt.

The point of my earlier statement was that the names of these institutions signifies and signals the intent of the Government.  And that is exactly the reason why the Government has stubbornly refused to set up an institution named “IPCMC”.  Otherwise, if it is all “just a name”, why not just change the Commission’s name from EAIC to IPCMC, and claim the moral victory of delivering what the rakyat is “crying out for”?

The RCI 2005 has even drafted a proposed IPCMC legislation which was substantively rejected by the BN Government.  The EAIC was emasculated to become essentially a “post-office” to refer cases back to the affected institution’s own disciplinary panels and committees, without any power to enforce punishment or recommendations on the guilty enforcement parties.

Datuk Paul Low has a simple position to take.  Incorporate all the recommendations made by the RCI proposal for the IPCMC into the EAIC, and Pakatan Rakyat will immediately concede that the EAIC can retain its name.  After all, to quote the Transparency Minister, it is “just a name”.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

EAIC Will Deserve Praise If It Does Its Job


Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) chairperson Datuk Seri Heliliah Mohd Yusof claims the opposition will never admit it if a government agency does a good job. Datuk Seri Heliliah said this in response to criticism from me that the EAIC was “designed to fail” from the onset.

“Will the opposition praise any government body despite it being set up with heartfelt sincerity?” she asked.

Let me declare upfront that I will be the first to praise the Government if the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) and bring to book all who are guilty of misconduct.  And this will certainly not be my first time doing so.

However, I’d like to ask the Chairperson of EAIC if she actually thinks that the Commission has delivered anywhere remotely close to what was promised?

In the past 3 years, the EAIC receive only a budget of RM7 million a year.  Today, it has only 1 investigating officer as part of a 23-man staff which include its clerks and drivers.

In terms of actual concrete actions taken since its formation in September 2011 and until the end of 2012, the EAIC had only recommended one disciplinary action and two warnings to civil servants.  In that sole case of disciplinary action, a complaint had been lodged against a police officer mid-last year for closing a case after three days.

Even in this relatively minor case of indiscipline, the EAIC CEO Nor Afizah Hanum Mokhtar admitted that she doesn’t know if the recommended disciplinary action of a demotion has actually been carried out by the Police.  This is despite the fact that within the EAIC law, the Police is required by law to feedback to EAIC on the actions taken on specific complaints and recommendations.

The fact that the Government isn’t serious, with only 1 investigating officer today to “look after” 19 government agencies. is proof of the intent for the entire exercise to fail.

The performance of EAIC is so dire, that Datuk Seri Helilah’s former colleague, former Chief Justice Abdul Hamid Mohamad had openly questioned the effectiveness of the EAIC.  Datuk Seri Helilah should perhaps be thankful that the ‘opposition’ hasn’t been more harsh in their criticism of the EAIC, perhaps its Commissioners being accused even of “sleeping on the job”.

Hence the opposition’s “criticisms” of the EAIC are entirely valid and should not be summarily dismissed by the EAIC as the chairperson did.  In fact, I would challenge the former Court of Appeal Judge, Datuk Seri Helilah to state unequivocally if the EAIC has actually served its purposed and has successfully met its founding objectives.

Audacious Armed Gang Robberies Brings Crime To New Low


Nearly 70 people were robbed at an open air steamboat restaurant in Cheras in the early hours of Saturday morning by a group of 10 persons armed with parangs and iron rods.  The shop owners and patrons lost more than RM20,000 and at least 2 of the customers were assaulted as a result of being too tardy with coughing up with their valuables.

In fact, it was reported that the Police have received four reports on such cases in Kuala Lumpur and another in Petaling Jaya in the past two weeks.  I also know as a matter of fact that there has been many of these cases occuring in various parts of Petaling Jaya commercial centres over the past 6 months, but these shops are fearful of unwanted publicity which may result in reprisals from the armed robbers.

The sheer audacity of these robberies have plunged Malaysia’s already bad crime situation to new depths.  We are not talking about an armed robbery of someone walking in a dark and isolated back street.  We are now seeing blatant armed robberies in crowded open restaurants.

As a result, the Royal Malaysian Police is being subjected to the triple crisis of confidence and credibility today.

Firstly the rise in crime and its aggressiveness has proven the Police failure in their most important task, that is to ensure that the man-on-the-street do not live in fear for their lives and property.

On Saturday, the Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Razak just launched the “United Against Crime” campaign claiming that the effort to fight crime is “a war which needs commitment and continuous support from all levels of society to create a safe surrounding for the people”.

Bernama reported that in urging all strata of society to be united to combat crime, the Prime Minister called on the private sector, specifically owners of shopping centres, to upgrade the level of security at their premises such as installing more close circuit televisions and hiring more security guards.

While the above are supplementary acts which may help mitigate crime, the ultimate responsibility of fighting crime, such as these violent and outrageous open air restaurant robberies, can only be handled by the police.  The Prime Minister is surely not asking all Malaysians to stop eating outdoors, or all restaurants, big and small, to install CCTVs and hire security guards.  Or worse, that all Malaysians should stay at home in the evenings so that they will not be unfortunately robbed at eateries.

Secondly, the Police today are more interested in playing politics than fighting crime.  To quote the Member of Parliament for Lim Kit Siang, we now have the “most political IGP” in the nation’s history.  Over the past month since Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar’s appointment, Malaysians do not see any new real initiatives, breakthrough or success in the most important challenge of the police to make safety and security the top police priority.

Instead, we see the police under the IGP coming down hard on Pakatan Rakyat leaders and social activists, although public peace and order had not been undermined in any manner.  The IGP has instructed to police force to use and abuse the Peaceful Assembly Act and the Sedition Act to intimidate and clamp down on all political dissent.

And thirdly, after the 4th death in custody within 18 days under the watch of the new IGP, the professional reputation of the police force is in complete tatters.  The latest death involving a Japanese citizen in the lock up of USJ police station is also the 9th this year.  Essentially, this points to the fact that there has been no improvements at all since the recommendations made by the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the Royal Malaysian Police in 2008.

These triple crises of confidence and credibility of the Malaysian Police puts on the spotlight on the Barisan Nasional government’s obstinate refusal to implement the key recommendation of the RCI report, that is the establishment of an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).  The IPCMC is “aimed at dealing with complaints regarding the police, and seeking to improve the professionalism of the police force and to make certain that doctrines, laws, rules and procedures are observed and applied by the police”.

The blame rests squarely on the shoulders of the BN Government.  If BN would even dream of winning back support from the urban population in Malaysia in the next general election, then it must implement the IPCMC to prevent the further deterioration of the crime situation, the continued politicisation of the police force as the catspaw for BN and any additional loss of lives of those held in custody in the lock ups.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

IPCMC and EAIC: More Than Just Names

In a statement related to a recent discussion Minister in Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Paul Low held with the MIC, several NGOs and with the cabinet on the matter, he said the 'IPCMC' and 'EAIC "are only names".

Therefore he said that a "revamped" and "beefed up" Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) is a better option than starting a fresh commission like the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

Datuk Paul Low is sorely mistaken that the difference between EAIC and IPCMC is just in the name.  The difference between the two is clearly in their intent, with the former set up as a toothless tiger meant specifically as a cosmetic job to placate the public’s demand for an IPCMC, while pandering to strident objections of the police force.  An IPCMC as recommended by the Royal Commission of Inquiry on the Royal Malaysian Police in 2005 was clearly an agency to check, discipline and inculcate greater professionalism in the police force.

Hence the former is specifically designed to fail the objectives of the latter. This has been proven over the past 3 years after the EAIC has been set up, where they receive only a budget of RM7 million a year.  Today, it has only 1 investigating officer as part of a 23-man staff which include its clerks and drivers.

Even former Chief Justice Abdul Hamid Mohamad had questioned the effectiveness of the EAIC, which since its formation in September 2011 and until the end of 2012, had only recommended one disciplinary action and two warnings to civil servants.  In that sole case of disciplinary action, a complaint had been lodged against a police officer mid-last year for closing a case after three days.

Even in this relatively minor case of indiscipline, the EAIC CEO Nor Afizah Hanum Mokhtar admitted that she doesn’t know if the recommended disciplinary action of a demotion has actually been carried out by the Police.

The fact that the Government isn’t serious, with only 1 investigating officer today to “look after” 19 government agencies- the police force, the Immigration Department, the Customs Department, the Rela Corps, the National Anti-Drug Agency, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, the Department of Environment, the Department of Occupational Safety and Health, the National Registration Department (NRD), the Department of Civil Aviation, the Road Transport Department (RTD), the Department of Industrial Relations, the Department of Fisheries, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, the Manpower Department, the Health Ministry (Enforcement), the Tourism Ministry (Enforcement and Licensing units), the Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry (Enforcement) and the Ministry of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government (Enforcement) – is proof of the intent for the entire exercise to fail.

Datuk Paul Low has added that "the cabinet more or less concluded that an extensive revamp and enlargement of the powers of the existing EAIC would be a better option than setting up a new IPCMC from scratch, as the latter would involve too much time to get up and running."  He said the three-year-old EAIC had taken two years to settle in due to "teething problems".

The abject failure of the EAIC is not due to “teething problems”.  It was because the BN Government has designed for it to fail.

In reality, what it means is that Datuk Paul Low has become just a mere spokesman to convey decisions made by the Cabinet.  It appears that he has lost all convictions in all the recommendations he has made to the Government while he as the President of Transparency International, where he was personally insistent that
“The implementation of the watereddown Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to a Special Complaints Commission (SCC) indicates the inability of the government to regulate gatekeepers.  The IPCMC, which was the recommendation of the 2005 Royal Commission, was diluted after open revolt from the top brass of the Royal Malaysian Police.”
It is disappointing that since appointed the Transparency Minister, Datuk Paul Low has now reversed his earlier position to argue that the Special Complaints Commission in the form of the EAIC is now sufficient to regulate the enforcement authorities, particularly the Police force.

Now with the latest death of a 33 year old Japanese citizen in police custody yesterday, allegedly by hanging himself, it is the 4th death in police custody in 14 days, or the 9th in 2013.  How many more deaths will it take for the Cabinet to be convinced that an effective check and balance system is desperately required to ensure and regulate the professionalism of the police, as well as to bring the all the rogues in the force to book.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Dr Mahathir Redefines Racism


The UMNO DDD brigade, exposed by Member of Parliament of Gelang Patah, Lim Kit Siang has continued their non-stop inflammatory propaganda to cast the DAP as a racist party.  The DDD brigade led by none other than former Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamed has now claimed that the proof that DAP is a racist party is that the Chinese voters voted for them, and the Chinese turn out for the recent Pakatan Rakyat rallies are high.

This accusation must rank as among the biggest piece of gibberish coming from the 88 year old UMNO President.

When Malays vote overwhelmingly for UMNO in the past, it is never “racism”.  When a 100% Malay crowd hold weekly protests against the Pakatan Rakyat government in Penang, it is not “racism”.  When Chinese voted for MCA in the past, that can’t be racism.  When Chinese also voted strongly for PAS and PKR in the current elections, PAS and PKR are not accused of racism.

When Malays increased their support for the DAP candidates in the same election, Dr Mahathir accused DAP of spreading “propaganda” that influenced educated Malays into perceiving the Barisan Nasional (BN) government as corrupt.

However, when the Chinese also voted strongly for DAP, that is proof of DAP “racism”. When many Chinese turns up at Pakatan Rakyat events, that is beyond shadow of a doubt, Chinese “racism”.  What type of senile perverted logic is that?

Dr Mahathir and his DDD brigade should perhaps look up the dictionary on the definition of “racism”.  Racism is defined in Dictionary.com as “a belief… usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others” or “a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination”.

By the above definition alone, it is proof that the real racists of this country are UMNO, Dr Mahathir and his DDD brigade.  In fact the multi-million ringgit DDD brigade has via influential blogs and the UMNO mouthpiece, Utusan Malaysia completely rewrote the definition of “racism” to fit their own political objectives.  Their objectives are to brainwash Malays and Malaysians into believing “anti-racism” as “racism”, and “racism” as their birthright.

Where else in the world can you find a party like UMNO which calls for “ketuanan Melayu” or supremacy of the Malays as its sole raison d’etre being able to dispel all notions of its racism?  While at the same time, DAP, a party that fights only for equality of opportunities, justice regardless of race and religion as well as for free and fair elections, being demonised as the most racist entity in the world.

Just because we support the doctrine of “ketuanan rakyat” or the supremacy of the people, and oppose the doctrine of the supremacy of any single race, UMNO has since the end of last year made DAP their biggest enemy to ensure the survival and continuation of their racist policies. The concerted non-stop onslaught by the DDD brigade led by Dr Mahathir, funded with hundreds of millions of ringgit is resulting in DAP facing the single biggest fight of our political history.  Their objective is nothing less than the total demise of the DAP whether via de-registration by the Registrar of Societies, the imprisonment and disqualification of our leaders via the abuse of Sedition Act and other draconian laws, and the total rejection by Malays and Malaysians of DAP as a “racist” party it is not.

The DAP will stand firm on our principles and fight all racist attacks from UMNO and Barisan Nasional.  The leaders will stand on our principles without fear or favour and are prepared to suffer all injustices meted out by the UMNO regime to ensure that our future Malaysian generations will not be trapped in the racist framework we endure today.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

KLIA2 Scandal: Blame Game Commences

The explosive blame game between Malaysia Airports and its contractors on the delays at KLIA2 triggered by the exposes led by Pakatan Rakyat confirms incompetence and mischief at the highest levels

Finally after months of blatant denials, Malaysia Airports (MAHB) has finally conceded that the KLIA2 is severely delayed.  The current KLIA2 airport contract was scheduled to be completed by September 2011 but has been delayed at least 7 times since then.

MAHB however now claimed that the delays plaguing the completion of KLIA2 is the result of the non-delivery of parts of the project by contractors, leading Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) to come out to say that it would impose liquidated and ascertained damages (LAD) on the responsible parties.

Unsurprisingly, the main contractors of the project all lined up to deny their complicity in the delays and placed the blame squarely on MAHB the project owner who allegedly made repeated variation orders to the original contract.

While we are not privy to the details of the dispute which is now triggering the blame game between the various parties, the question that needs to be asked is, after nearly 2 years of delay, why is it that MAHB is only coming out for the first time to blame the contractors?  If it is really the contractors who are at fault, why haven’t they been penalised with the LAD since September 2011?

This KLIA2 scandal has been repeatedly raised both in and out of parliament by my colleague Nurul Izzah Anwar, the Member of Parliament for Lembah Pantai and myself over the past 18 months, but never was the issue of contractor non-performance ever raised as a response both by the Ministry of Transport or MAHB.

At the end of the day, the buck stops with MAHB as the project manager and owner and the entire top management of MAHB must bear full responsbility for embarrassment and fiasco.  It is ironical that the Chief Financial Officer for MAHB, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd's (MAHB) Faizal Mansor was named Best CFO for Investor Relations (Mid Cap category) by the Malaysian Investor Relations Association (MIRA), when it was under his watch that the cost of the airport has increased more than 100% from under RM2 billion to the “latest” estimate of RM4 billion.

This  drastic increase in cost has resulted in MAHB having to raise bonds amount to RM3.1 billion to date, with another RM1 billion expected to be raised in the near future, causing MAHB to take on debt which may not have been necessary in the first place.  However, the ultimate losers on the “low cost” airport which busted the budget will be the Malaysian travellers who will have to bear the cost of higher airport taxes for MAHB to repay its debts.  This will also severely impact Malaysia’s competitiveness as the hub for low-cost carriers in the Asia region.

It has also been reported that the contract for current Managing Director of MAHB, Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad who has helmed the company for the past 9 years will be ending in June 2013, after having been extended last year.  It is clear that Tan Sri Bashir has failed to competently manage the single largest project by MAHB during his reign and his contract must not be renewed.  The failure and scandal of KLIA2 cannot be excused.

A competent successor must immediately be found to clean up the mess in MAHB to ensure that there are no further delays to the completion of the airport as well as capping the cost to taxpayers for the project.

Finally, it has been reported that there has been an independent report produced by KPMG over the KLIA2 project fiasco.  We call upon the Ministry of Transport to make public the report given the scale of the scandal and the public interest involved.  All those found guilty of negligence must be brought to book.  Pakatan Rakyat Members of Parliament will pursue this matter relentlessly until those who are responsible for this multibillion ringgit disaster is punished for their crimes.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Appeal to Paul Low: Support IPCMC


Datuk Paul Low has been a respected civil society leader at the forefront of preaching transparency and accountability while he served as the President of Transparency International Malaysian Chapter (TI-Malaysia).  His appointment to the Cabinet has hence raised expectations that Datuk Paul Low will continue his pursuit of reforming all necessary institutions to ensure that his causes while he was the TI Malaysia President will be realised the soonest possible.

It is hence heart-wrenching to see Datuk Paul Low repeatedly unwind the various positions after being appointed as a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, ostensibly to boost transparency and accountability in the BN administration.

He has given excuses why a Minister should not be required to make public declaration of assets on the basis that if a Minister’s son with RM20 million of assets may have his safety compromised.  This was despite his earlier praise for the Penang and Selangor state governments for implementing public asset declarations for all its state executive councillors as a mark of transparency and accountability.

He has deflected criticisms of the lack of transparency in Petronas as reflected in the Revenue Governance Index (RGI) where Malaysia scored a weak 46 out of 100 marks, ranking us below countries like Azerbaijan and Indonesia.  Datuk Paul Low argued that Malaysia ranked poorly because of Petronas’ non-disclosure agreements with foreign countries.  However, when it was pointed out to him that the RGI report pointed clearly to weaknesses in local disclosures, Datuk Paul Low gave a “no comment”.

What was most disheartening however was Datuk Paul Low’s refusal to endorse the Indepependent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).  He has earlier been reported to have said that there isn’t a need for an IPCMC because there is already an Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC).  He then “backtracked”  from his comments 2 days later claiming he was merely pointing out an existing mechanism in the form of the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) for death in custody victim N Dharmendran's family when asked on the need for the IPCMC.

Despite his supposed reversal, the fact remains that he has refused to endorse the IPCMC, giving the flimsiest of excuse that he “did not want to get into a tit-for-tat match over the matter”.  In 2009 however, the then TI-Malaysia President has presented in the Global Corruption Report:

The implementation of the watereddown Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to a Special Complaints Commission (SCC) indicates the inability of the government to regulate gatekeepers.  The IPCMC, which was the recommendation of the 2005 Royal Commission, was diluted after open revolt from the top brass of the Royal Malaysian Police.

As of yesterday, there are now 3 deaths in Police custody over a period of just 11 days, and 7 in 2013 alone.  No one has been punished, and the Minister of Home Affairs, Dato’ Seri Zahid Hamidi has refused to have the officers who are suspected of foul play suspended.  3 deaths in 11 days, 7 in 5 months are statistics which cannot be ignored.  Justice needs to be served and it cannot be served if there are no independent regulatory bodies to check the powers of the police force.

We appeal to the conscience of Datuk Paul Low who has often spoken up without fear or favour on issues of transparency and accountability in the past, to be the conscience in the BN cabinet.  While he was a former MCA member, today he does not belong to any political party and he is not beholden to anyone but his own moral sense of right and wrong.

Datuk Paul Low has taken the brave and bold decision to accept the Cabinet position in an attempt to do the seemingly “impossible” task of “reforming from within”.  However if he is not even willing to stand up on his own convictions that transparency and accountability are prerequisites to good governance which cannot be compromised, and to pursue justice for the victims of abuses of power, then whatever little hope the nation still have left will be lost.