Friday, July 31, 2009

More Misreporting?

This time, it appears that the culprit is Bernama.

Penang Chief Minister has requested that Bernama correct it 30 July report and instead print the complete and accurate version of his comments on the new RM300 million Sarawak State Assembly Building. He was reported to have said:
“Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was also impressed with the new building, adding that Sarawak had the capability to provide the state with more infrastructure facilities.”
However, what he said in Bahasa Malaysia were words to this effect:
“Bangunan ini menarik perhatian. Yang menarik saya adalah pembentukan modal insan dan sumber manusia seperti dalam bidang pendidikan. Adalah penting sekolah dapat bekalan letrik kerana apa gunanya computer tanpa bekalan letrik. Penetration untuk jalur lebar(broadband) di Sarawak adalah 13%. Saya lebih berminat memberikan tumpuan kepada aspek menaikkan kadar penetration broadband atau jalur lebar ini.”
Can you tell the difference?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Public Transport "Key Result Area"

This is a letter that explains itself about the new Prime Minister's announcement on the 6 "Key Result Areas", one of which is on public transport. It is received from TRANSIT, an informal group of citizens grave concerned with this issue.

Dear Editor

RE: Key Results Area - Only a single Performance Condition for public transport?

The announcement made by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak for the Key Result area for public transport appears to focus on a single performance indicator, the implementation of 4-carriage LRT trains on the Kelana Jaya line by 2012.

TRANSIT sees this as unacceptable since it only looks at a fraction of the available and important and necessary changes that need to be done for public transport in this country.

By limiting public transport to one easily achievable performance indicator – the 4-carriage LRT trains – Najib has set the bar very, very low on improvements to public transport.

For the record, TRANSIT knows that as many as 5 of the 4-carriage trains have already been constructed and fitted out and at least 2 of these trains have already undergone testing at the Lembah Subang depot. In addition, it has been said that 4-carriage trains will start operating on the Kelana Jaya line by November of this year.

It is time to implement some real challenging performance indicators for public transport. Set the bar higher instead of setting it at a level that can be so easily achieved.

TRANSIT would like to suggest a few other performance indicators that should be introduced along with the 4-carriage LRT trains. It is a basic list that focuses only on the extension and expansion of rapid transit services that exist today, through timely improvements to governance, enforcement and building of infrastructure and purchase of trains and buses.

We feel that it is unjust that a great deal of attention has been focused on the new LRT lines, including the 4-carriage LRT trains, while no attention has been given to the overwhelming problems faced by the KTM Komuter service, which has less than 1/2 of the original fleet of EMU trains operating.

The list we have posted to our website, may seem overwhelming and impossible to achieve at first glance - but we believe that everything on the list is achievable in the timelines given – provided that there is a real political and financial committment from all levels of government and all stakeholder groups.

We have not even considered new services such as bus rapid transit or monorail in other communities, nor have we included the lines proposed in the KL City 2020 Draft Local plan.

We have also not considered basic improvements to bus operations and customer service. These are our rights as customers and should go without saying.


Moaz Yusuf Ahmad
Muhammad Zulkarnain Hamzah
on behalf of TRANSIT

Saturday, July 25, 2009

DAP Abused State Allocations?

As far as I'm concerned, the fact that our enemies in BN and its instruments like the MACC have to resort to poison pen letters and anonymous blog postings to defame DAP, and to accuse it of corruption, cannot be greater proof that the MACC has completely failed in its attempt to find corrupt activities by our MPs and state assemblymen over the past year or so.

MACC, and before that the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) has been on our tails for more than a year, under clear directives from their Barisan Nasional paymasters to detect corruption among DAP ADUNs and MPs. Everything we do, they go through with a fine toothcomb. And despite the assistance of many existing civil servants whose loyalties are still with the deposed BN Selangor government by providing countless documents and information, MACC has until today been unable to put up any case against us.

The best evidence of this is the fact that despite the vast powers in the hands of the Menteri Besar to allocate, alienate and approve land and development projects, all the MACC could do was announce with great brouhaha that they found evidence of corruption when a state agency donated cows to the poor, and that he claimed petrol expenses for his car (which he uses as his official car).

It is the sheer exasperation of BN and MACC that Teoh Beng Hock and many others had to endure hours of torturous interrogation to explain simple expenses like spending RM2,400 on flags as part of a Merdeka Day celebration. And for that, Sdr Teoh paid with his life.

And it is of greater proof of their desperation when they now have to concoct outright lies to damage our reputation, lies which could not be substantiated and proven in the court of law. BN believes in the principle that if you lie often enough, then people will take it as the truth, and this is exactly what they are doing now, in order to tarnish the image of the party.

Below is the full statement by Ean Yong Hian Wah and Ronnie Liu, state executive councillors of the Selangor Government on the controversy created by the latest anonymous poison blogpost packed with half-truths and untruths to lie to the public, and defame both of them as well as the party.

Joint Media Statement by DAP Selangor Excos, Ean Yong Hian Wah and Ronnie Liu in Petaling Jaya on 25 July 2009


The outrageous claims made in a blog article alleging misuse of state allocations by two of us is a malicious attempt to defame members of the Selangor state Exco members and to mislead the public and to discredit the state leadership.

It is a fact that all such allocations are approved and paid by the Land Office. These payments are usually approved and signed for by the Assistant District Officer on behalf of the District Officer. Payment is then made to the approved recipients. In the process, all payments must be properly supported by documents. Thus in these cases, all payments are fully supported by vouchers, receipts, invoices and photographic evidence of the programme or the project concerned.

This system has been in place for many years and was handed down from previous Barisan Nasional administrations.

Since early this year, full details of all such payments had been posted on Ronnie Liu's blog with full details such as the programme dates, the amounts and cheque numbers, and the relevant receipts.

The allegations contained in the blog article contain many flaws and mistakes that indicate the article was posted with malicious intent and with no regard for the truth. Chief of these is the allegation that a recipient of the funds, Wong Chuan How is a contractor and reportedly was a major beneficiary of projects and contracts award by Ronnie Liu.

Wong is in fact a special assistant to Liu and also a Sepang councilor.
Some cheques were made out to him as he handled miscellaneous payments in connection with some projects and programmes. These payments are also documented and supported with receipts and vouchers which may be inspected if necessary.

Some of the programmes listed relate to the periods before March 2008, so how can two of us have had access to state allocation funds then when they had not been elected as assemblymen yet?

Some of the programmes and projects listed in the article are fictitious and non-existent. For example, the allegation that funds were disbursed to buy hampers for village chiefs in Seberang Perai is far fetched as the Land Office in Selangor would never approve funds for programmes outside the constituency let alone outside the state.

The allegations that DAP takes a commission from all the payments is also ludicrous as the amounts are paid in full to the recipients and there has been no complaint on this to date. These scurrilous allegations are of course, completely unsubstantiated.

In making payment, the Land Office verifies the expenditures and would only authorise payments when there is proper supporting documentation.

The writer of the article has to date not produced any proof of his allegations.

Why are the DAP Exco members singled out for this allegations? Is there a political ploy afoot to discredit the state government?

We demand that the offending blog article be withdrawn immediately and an apology be tendered to both of us, failing which further action deemed fit should be taken.

Perhaps we should remind the public that the reports and complaints that state allocations to Barisan Nasional assemblymen in 2008 were exhausted within the first two months of the year, including a case where an assemblyman spent RM220,000 in a day!


Lazy Journalism and Unethical Reporting

OK, I'm not writing about The Star this time, so my friends at the MCA-owned Star could breathe a sigh of relief ;-). Instead, this time, it's another MCA-linked news provider, The Malaysian Mirror.

If you have read this very long convoluted article "Nightmares for Khalid after Teoh's death", then you will understand what I mean by the title of this blog post. For one reason or another, Teoh's death is being in one way or another connected to Azmin's demand for a Selangor Exco reshuffle(!?)

But most glaringly, the writer chose to take assertions and insinuation in poison-pen blog post by some UMNO blogger as a matter of fact, and reported as such. It involves me, and my party's publicity department, so I should know. They had the following to describe Teoh:
What else was Teoh? He was a former journalist at Sin Chew Daily and a former assistant to Petaling jaya Utara MP Tony Pua.

He was said to be also one of those people who video-filmed a fracas at Parliament House on March 25, involving Bukit Gelugor MP Karpal Singh and some Umno Youth members.

It is said there were two video recordings of the incident, one by a DAP member of the Ipoh Timur division and the other by an aide of Tony Pua. The second video clip was downloaded on to YouTube and the person responsible for that was said to be Teoh.

The video clipping was used by Umno Youth to its advantage as it allegedly showed that the wing did not harass the wheelchair bound Karpal Singh. For this, the DAP camp was not pleased.

Following this incident, Teoh was allegedly transferred to the State Secretariat building in Shah Alam and worked as Ean Yong’s political secretary.
By quoting such "credible" sources, and to give them validity shows the utter lack of integrity at the Malaysian Mirror. For one, Teoh NEVER worked a day for me, not even on a "by the way" basis like happening to photocopying documents for me. And two, Teoh NEVER worked for DAP's publicity department in-charge of video-recordings at the parliament, and hence he was never ever involved with the Karpal being threatened by UMNO Youth thugs case.

The above are easily verifiable facts that any reporter, no matter how junior, worth his or her salt can easily verify with either other reporters, the party or even myself. Obviously, since the above can't be printed in the Star without being sued for millions, the Malaysian Mirror has become the convenient place to disseminate these outright lies.

As to why, a reporter or journalist will want to prostitute her name and face to the article which is in all probability was not written by her, you'll have to ask her yourself. The money at the Malaysian Mirror has better be worth it.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Teoh Beng Hock Trust Fund

DAP has set up a trust fund specifically to look after the financial needs of the unborn child of the late Sdr Teoh Beng Hock. We target to raise at least RM500,000 to 600,000 and the fund shall be used for his living, medical, education and other needs. The trustees to the account are Sdri Teo Nie Ching, MP for Serdang who acts on behalf o the party, and Sdr Teoh's wife, Soh Cher Wei.

This is the ONLY trust fund set up for the welfare of Sdr Teoh’s unborn child. The family has not given consent for the setting up of any other fund for this purpose.

The details are as follows:
Name of account: “TEOH BENG HOCK TRUST FUND”
Bank account: Public Bank
Branch: Cawangan Sri Kembangan
Account No.: 3154 127 533
This fund is being launched at tonight's memorial at KL Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall and we'll keep the public updated on its progress. On behalf of the DAP and Sdr Teoh's family, we'd like to express our thanks to all generous donors.

Justice for Beng Hock Memorial Vigil (II)

As citizens of Malaysia, we continue to mourn for and remember Sdr Teoh Beng Hock (1979-2009). As Malaysians, we demand for justice, and justice must be seen to be done. As such Pakatan Rakyat is organising a Memorial Vigil with the following details:

Date: 23 July 2009 (Thursday)
Time: 8pm
Venue: Selangor-KL Chinese Assembly Hall, Jalan Maharajalela, Kuala
  • DAP National Vice Chairman, Tan Kok Wai
  • DAP Parliamentary Leader, Lim Kit Siang
  • Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng
  • PAS Vice President, Dato' Salahuddin Ayub
  • PKR Secretary-General, Datuk Salehuddin Hashim
  • SUARAM Coordinator, Tah Moon Hui
  • Others to be confirmed

Justice for Beng Hock!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Justice for Beng Hock Memorial Vigil

Venue : Stadium Kelana Jaya
Date : 19 July 2009, Sunday
Time : 4.30pm
Attire : Black
Enquiries: 03-79578022
Top Pakatan Rakyat leaders - Lim Guan Eng, Khalid Ibrahim etc., NGOs leaders will be present.

Please forward the message and come to demonstrate solidarity and our complete disgust with the powers that be.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Gerakan Youth Needs Mental Rewiring

Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng has to move out of his state official residence, Seri Teratai due to a termite infestation (actual picture on site shown). Due to the seriousness of the situation, the consultants have declared the building unsafe for occupancy until the infestation is eradicated and the repair works done.

Now, Gerakan Youth is screaming (murder) and jumping up and down because the Chief Minister have moved into a small bungalow in the mean time. They gave an ultimatum that he disclose the amount of rent which he is paying, the cost of renovation of the bungalow etc. etc. They even threatened that he should resign as the Chief Minister otherwise.

Now, if the state is paying for the rental and renovations, Gerakan Youth is well within their rights to scream for transparency, openness etc. However, the problem is, Guan Eng is paying for the rental from his own allowance! Does Guan Eng need to publicly report on how much he spends for his char koay teow for lunch paid for from his own pocket?

He gets a housing allowance of RM4,000 per month as part of his compensation package as the Chief Minister (unchanged from previous administrations). Any rental beyond RM4,000, Guan Eng will have to foot it himself!

This means that the Penang state government is not footing a single cent for the rental or renovation of the premises. What's more, whatever renovations is being done by the house owner and isn't even paid for by Guan Eng! So what's the problem?

Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon, since being appointed as a backdoor Minister in the Prime Minister's Department has also rented his house in Kuala Lumpur (or is it owned?). Should he then need to disclose how much he is paying for rental, or how much he bought his house for?

How about if Gerakan start questioning its UMNO masters how much they are paying for their houses? Have they tried paying a visit to Toyoland which is about 10 times the size and 20 times the luxury? What a bunch of sorry losers.

Muhyiddin Publicly Bribes Voters

On Saturday, Najib promised all Malaysians that he will "fight against corruption". On Sunday, his deputy offered a big bribe to the Manek Urai electorate. What great hypocrisy.

Yes, it is none other than the Deputy Prime Minister himself, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, attempted to bribe the electorate by the promise of a new RM10 million bridge, with the blatant condition that it'll only be granted if Barisan Nasional wins.
Muhyiddin, who is Umno deputy president, told the remote constituency's 12,293 voters that should they back Barisan Nasional on Tuesday, they would get a 300-metre bridge connecting Manek Urai Baru and Manek Urai Lama in Kuala Krai.

“We can build it (the bridge), insya'allah, but there is a condition. It is easy - all you need to do is to 'pangkah' (vote), but you must vote for BN. If not, there would not be any new bridge. If you want the bridge, vote BN,” Muhyiddin said.
It is an outright corrupt practice to offer monetary or financial inducements to a voter to influence his choice in the elections, and here we have the DPM himself offering the bribe, within a day of the Prime Minister himself promising to stamp out corruption. What great credibility.

For those unaware, the Election Offences Act 1954 says:
10. The following persons shall be deemed guilty of the offence of bribery:

(c) every person who, before, during or after an election, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf, makes any such gift, loan, offer, promise, procurement, or agreement as aforesaid to or for any person in order to induce such person to procure or endeavour to procure the election of any person, or the vote of any elector or voter at any election;

(d) every person who, either before or during an election, upon or in consequence of any such gift, loan, offer, promise, procurement or agreement, procures or engages,
promises or endeavours to procure, the election of any person, or the vote of any elector or voter at an election;
And anyone committed the above election offence, he or she:
...shall be guilty of a corrupt practice, and shall, on conviction by a Sessions Court, be liable, in the case referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b), to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years and to a fine of not less than one thousand ringgit and not more than five thousand ringgit, and, in any other case, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year and to a fine not exceeding two thousand ringgit. Offences under paragraphs (a) and (b) shall be seizable offences within the meaning of the Criminal Procedure Code.

(2) Every person who is convicted of a corrupt practice shall, subject to any specific provision to the contrary in any written law relating to any election, by conviction become incapable of being registered or listed as an elector or of voting at any election or of being elected at any election, and if at that date he has been elected at any election, his seat shall be vacated from the date of such conviction: Provided that such disability shall cease on the expiry of five years from such conviction.

Hence the punishment is obvious enough. Be fined up to RM5,000 or imprisoned for up to a year. But most significantly, the guilty party will be disqualified from public office, and be banned from contesting in an election for 5 years.

So, will Muhyiddin even be investigated for the above offences, much less charged and banned? Yes, I'm sure Najib can be trusted, he will do the right thing and he is a man of his words.

Sinar Harian 'Gula-Gula' Cover

It's rare that we opposition politicians get on the front cover of a Malay newspaper, not unless of course we are being accused of being anti-Malay, anti-Consititution, anti... you get the idea. The last time I was on the cover of Utusan Malaysia, it was courtesy of Khairy Jamaluddin who accused me of "insulting the Malays" back in May 2007.

So I was a little surprised when I got a copy of Sinar Harian yesterday from Gobind with my big mug on the front page, juxtaposed against the "new" prime minister, no less! What's more, I think it was the only mainstream newspaper yesterday to have an "opposing" voice on its cover.

On the 100 days Najib premiership celebrations and policy announcements, he called his ofers "Hadiah", while I called it "Gula-gula".
Ini hanya adalah 'gula-gula', bukanlah satu pengumuman yang besar seperti yang kita kehendaki selama ini. 'Gula-gula' ini tidak akan memberi kesan kepada PR.
Well, I certainly can't complain! (Except the fact that they flipped my face so that I'd be viewing right ;-))

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Najib's 100-Days Promises, What's New?

In brief, here are Najib's promises when he launched is 100-days in power celebrations:
  • The prevention of crime;
  • The fight against corruption;
  • Access to quality education;
  • The improvement of the living standards for the lower income group;
  • Improvement of rural infrastructure;;
  • Improvement of public transportation.
So what's new? We have heard all of the above before from Mahathir's era to Pak Lah to now Najib. Will things actually change?

We had such high hopes when Pak Lah made the above promises, but we all fell flat on our faces. Anyone remember the "18 big fish"? Or the "All out war against crime"? Or the twice announced public transportation fund in 2006 and 2008 (with absolutely nothing to show)?

He has rightly placed the prevention of crime on top of the list. But he has shown that he is absolutely unwilling to reform the police force, for he is obligated to them to clamp down on all civil and political dissent. Najib was so engrossed in grabbing power in Perak, maximised the use of the police to suppress dissent, which resulted in crime rising massively in the state over the past 6 months.

We are faced with the greatest financial scandal in living memory with the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone scandal. But til today, all we see is Najib washing his hands completely over the issue. Such a big scandal afflicting Malaysia, and yet, not a word from the Prime Minister. All he has mentioned about the subject so far is that the MCA president will deal with it. In other words, "Let Ong Tee Keat sink all by himself, I'm not going to get my hands dirty on this." How does that sit with his promise to "fight corruption"?

And public transportation? He must be joking. The most important move today is to consolidate all departments involved with transportation under 1 ministry/minister. And yet, when the Entrepreneurs & Cooperatives Ministry was dissolved under his cabinet reshuffle, the Commercial Vehicles and Licensing Board is transferred to the Prime Minister's office instead of the Transport Ministry. So we have the Prime Minister directly taking care of taxis and public buses, the Finance Ministry taking care of RapidKL buses, the transport ministry taking care of KTM and LRT, and the Works Ministry taking care of the road transport network. A complete recipe for disaster.

And as for quality of education? We've not seen any moves yet from the Najib's administration on this except to reverse the teaching of Maths and Science back from English to Malay. My views are expressed here.

I think Malaysians in general will do well not to have their expectations set too high, if they were to have any expectations at all. I'm certainly once bitten twice shy, and I never trust somebody who will use ruthless measures to suppress peaceful protests, clampdown media freedom and stifle dissent. At least for Pak Lah, he appeared to be more "liberal" with his management of opposing voices, whether intentional or otherwise.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

No Space, No Arrests? Minister's Reply

It was late into the evening session when I got to read out my adjournment speech on the alleged lack of space to detain illegals in Petaling Jaya as highlighted by the local OCPD. The reply came at 9.49pm and it was certainly one not worth waiting for.

In summary, it was a list of denials and even highlighting the fact that the crime index has improved in Petaling Jaya with statistics for the first 5 months of the year.

They also emphasized that over the past 17 months, they have conducted 30 raids nationwide and successfully "catching" 281 illegals who were also criminals. Umm... I'm not sure if that's such a great number... less than 2 per month in the entire country (and that includes Sabah & Sarawak).

But if you bother to read the fairly long reply below, you'd notice that nowhere in his speech he denied the fact that there really isn't enough space to "keep" illegals who are detained in Petaling Jaya, which was the essence of my question.

Was the question deliberately avoided? Or who it just an oversight by whoever who prepared the speech? You be the judge.

Timbalan Menteri Dalam Negeri II [Tuan Jelaing anak Mersat]:

Saya mengucapkan terima kasih kepada Ahli Yang Berhormat Petaling Jaya Utara yang mengemukakan usul mengenai perkara ini.

Tuan Yang di-Pertua, dakwaan Ahli Yang Berhormat Petaling Jaya Utara bahawa Ketua Polis Daerah Petaling Jaya memberikan alasan kekurangan anggota dan tempat tahanan sebagai sebab pihak polis tidak mengambil tindakan ke atas pendatang asing yang melakukan kesalahan jenayah adalah kurang tepat. Ingin saya tegaskan bahawa kementerian dan pihak polis tidak pernah sekali-kali mempunyai dasar atau ketetapan sebegitu. Saya yakin pihak polis sentiasa komited dalam usaha membendung dan memerangi jenayah.

Namun tidak saya nafikan pihak polis mempunyai kekangan dari segi bilangan anggota terutamanya di bandar-bandar besar seperti di Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru dan Petaling Jaya di mana nisbah seorang anggota polis kepada bilangan penduduk adalah tinggi, namun pihak polis tidak pernah menggunakan alasan ini untuk tidak bertegas kepada mana-mana pihak yang melakukan kesalahan. Malahan operasi pencegahan jenayah yang dilakukan oleh pihak polis dibuat secara berterusan dan dipergiatkan dari semasa ke semasa.

Tuan Yang di-Pertua, sebagai contoh bilangan kes jenayah di daerah Petaling Jaya bagi tempoh Januari hingga Mei 2008 adalah sebanyak 4,675 kes manakala bagi tempoh yang sama pada tahun 2009 adalah sebanyak 4,053 kes iaitu penurunan sebanyak 622 kes atau 13.3%.

Dari segi penyelesaian kes pula, 44% berjaya diselesaikan bagi tempoh Januari hingga Mei 2009. selain itu pihak polis juga sentiasa mengambil tindakan tegas ke atas mana-mana pihak yang terlibat dengan jenayah termasuklah pendatang asing. Dalam hal ini, pihak polis mengadakan operasi-operasi bersepadu dengan kerjasama Jabatan Imigresen, RELA, Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan dan pihak berkuasa tempatan. Tuan Yang di-Pertua, pihak polis sentiasa memandang serius terhadap kes-kes jenayah yang melibatkan pendatang asing.

Sebagai bukti, bagi tahun 2008 sehingga bulan Mei 2009, sebanyak 30 operasi khas telah diadakan di mana seramai 281 orang pendatang asing yang terlibat dengan kes jenayah telah ditangkap. Usaha berterusan yang dilaksanakan oleh pihak polis menampakkan hasil berdasarkan kes jenayah yang melibatkan pendatang asing menurun daripada 111 kes bagi tempoh Januari hingga Mei 2008 kepada 84 kes bagi tempoh yang sama pada tahun 2009.

Tuan Yang di-Pertua, saya tidak bersetuju dengan dakwaan Yang Berhormat yang menyatakan bahawa pihak polis lebih memberikan tumpuan dalam menghalang parti pembangkang mengadakan ceramah-ceramah dan perhimpunan berbanding operasi pencegahan jenayah yang lain.

Sebagai agensi penguatkuasaan undang-undang yang profesional, polis perlu mengambil tindakan ke atas mana-mana pihak yang melanggar undang-undang termasuklah ceramah atau perhimpunan sekiranya ia dibuat tanpa permit polis yang boleh menjejaskan keselamatan dan ketenteraman awam. Dalam hal ini tidak timbul isu pihak polis mengamalkan pilih kasih dalam menguatkuasakan undang-undang. Tuan Yang di-Pertua, sebagai penutup, ingin saya maklumkan di Dewan yang mulia ini bahawa usaha mengurangkan kadar jenayah sentiasa menjadi keutamaan kementerian.

Kementerian melalui PDRM sentiasa proaktif dalam mengurangkan kadar jenayah sama ada yang melibatkan rakyat tempatan mahupun pendatang asing. Tindakan secara berterusan perlu dilakukan walaupun pihak polis menghadapi kekangan dari segi kekuatan anggota. Apa yang penting di sini ialah masyarakat boleh membantu pihak polis dalam mengurangkan kadar jenayah dengan menyalurkan maklumat dan laporan berkaitan dengannya. Sekian terima kasih.

No Space, No Arrests?

I delivered an adjournment speech on the last day of Parliament (2nd July) with regards to the issue that there may not be enough places to "detain" illegal immigrants after they have been arrested in Petaling Jaya.

A residents' association organised dialogue which invited the OCPD had invited a question which asked why the police do not raid an illegal settlement located just across a small river from their houses since the source of crime of the area appears to be from there.

The Petaling Jaya OCPD had replied that they could conduct the raid. However, should they find any of them being illegals, they will have a problem "housing" them as there is a lack of space in the police lock ups etc.

Some of the residents obviously took offence at the statement and complained to me. They rightly pointed out that "the lack of space" should not be an excuse for the Police to avoid "raids" on illegal settlements. Hence I took up this question to the Minister of Home Affairs, as per the text below. The Minister's (disappointing) reply will be posted next.

Tuan yang dipertua,

Saya ingin menarik perhatian dewan kepada satu dialog polis dengan 150 orang penduduk di suatu kawasan perumahan di kawasan saya. Salah satu isu yang dikemukakan adalah masalah pendatang asing yang telah berlanjutan selama 10 tahun, yang disyaki punca utama kes jenayah seperti kes pencerobohan rumah, kecurian dan pencederaan yang semakin meningkat di kawasan perumahan mereka.

OCPD yang hadir diseru untuk mengambil tindakan segera untuk menangani masalah ini demi keselamatan para penduduk kawasan perumahan tersebut. Jawapan OCPD kepada para penduduk ialah pihak polis tidak dapat mengambil tindakan terhadap kes ini. Alasannya, jika pihak polis menyiasat dan menyerbu kawasan pendatang asing ini, dan selepas itu, mendapati bahawa kesemua adalah pendatang asing secara haram, pihak polis tidak mempunyai ruang yang mencukupi untuk menempatkan pendatang asing ini selepas mereka ditahan.

Alasan ini amat mengecewakan sekali, kerana ia mencerminkan sikap polis yang enggan berusaha untuk mengatasi isu keamanan yang dibangkitkan oleh rakyat. Terutama sekali kadar jenayah di Petaling Jaya adalah yang paling tinggi di negeri Selangor dari tahun 2000 hingga 2008. Dengan sikap OCPD ini yang tidak prihatin kepada kes jenayah yang dilaporkan, bolehkah kita berharap adanya perubahan baik terhadap kadar jenayah yang semakin meruncing di Petaling Jaya? Sikap ini hanya melanjutkan persepsi rakyat bahawa inilah bantuan polis yang sedia ada di negara kita, dan rakyat hanya boleh menerima sahaja keadaan keamanan yang sedia ada.

Soalan saya kepada Menteri Dalam Negeri, adakah jawapan “tidak cukup ruang” OCPD ini merupakan “standard response” pihak polis terhadap masalah pendatang asing? Apakah tindakan yang pihak tuan telah ambil bagi menangani masalah kadar jenayah yang disebabkan oleh influx pendatang asing yang berleluasa, dan masalah kekurangan ruang untuk menempatkan pendatang asing yang ditahan yang dijelaskan sebagai “bottleneck” bagi pihak polis untuk mengambil tindakan sepatutnya? Perlukah rakyat jelata “put up” dengan situasi ini, dan sentiasa hidup dalam rasa takut dan bimbang terhadap keselamatan mereka, atas kekurangan tindakan tegas dan cepat dari pihak tuan.

Pihak polis diraja Malaysia mempunyai lebih kurang 100,000 anggota untuk menghapuskan jenayah di negara kita. Mengapakah pihak polis mampu mengerahkan ribuan anggotanya secara cepat, cekap dan tegas untuk mengawasi dan menyekat ceramah-ceramah, majlis jamuan atau acara menyalakan lilin pihak pembangkang, yang langsung tidak mencabuli keamanan dan ketenteraman; tetapi keberkesanan dan efisiensi yang sama tidak dapat dilihat dalam usaha menangani masalah-masalah pendatang asing dan kadar jenayah yang meningkat? Bukankah usaha menghapuskan jenayah sepatutnya merupakan tugas utama yang perlu difokuskan oleh pihak polis?

Sekian, terima kasih.

Crime Rate Soars in Perak

The Perak police have announced that crime rate has soared in Perak over the first 6 months. Now, why am I not surprised?
...cases involving robbery increased by 197 cases from 541 cases in the first six months of last year to 739 cases this year, a 36 per cent hike.

Car theft from January to June this year went up from 55 for the whole of last year to 138 cases in the first six months alone this year, a jump of 150.91 per cent.

...snatching theft rose from 195 cases to 268 in the first half of the year, up 37.44 per cent.
With the Perak police being more interested to become the security forces for Barisan Nasional in protecting the power grab in Perak, as well as suppressing all forms of civil and peaceful actions by Pakatan Rakyat, it is unfortunate that the ultimate victims are the rakyat who are robbed twice over - once by BN, and another by free-roaming criminals.

And as usual, the Perak Chief Police Officer (CPO), Datuk Zulkefli Abdullah lays the blame on the people:
He was upset with the attitude of the people in the state, who did not provide information to the police about crimes in their area. He said the meet-the-people programmes at police stations held each Tuesday were not well received by the public.
How about the fact that he has diverted thousands of police personnel to conduct unnecessary road blocks, to disrupt peaceful political dinners, to confiscate video recordings of police brutality, to shut down restaurants with patrons wearing black?

No, of course arresting men (and women) in black is of utmost importance compared to fighting rampant crime.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Highway Buy Back: A Reply to Critics

Recently there has been a slate of reports by various investment banking research houses as well as the highway concessionaires themselves who have been criticising any proposed plans to buy back the highways from the concessionaires such as a Bernama news report on the 5th July, and a report by The Edge 4 weeks ago.

We have proposed that the Government should buy back all shares of PLUS Expressways Bhd which it does not already own and take over its existing asset backed liabilities for the approximate amount of RM15 billion. This amount and more, will be recovered from motorists using the North-South Highway by maintaining the existing toll rates for a period of six years. Should PLUS be acquired this year, by 2016, toll will no longer be required to be collected on PLUS owned highways.

We have also proposed that highways such as the Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong (LDP) with reasonable expropriation clauses be acquired from the concessionaires as per the terms in the concession agreements. It is estimated that the cost of buying back LDP will only cost approximately RM1.4 billion, including liabilities to be assumed by the government.

Critics have panned the above proposals based on the following reasons.
  • The funds needed for the acquisition of highways can be better utilised for other projects.
  • The acquisition of these highways which are largely in Peninsula Malaysia will anger East Malaysians who do not benefit from the funds used for buy-back.
Unfortunately, the arguments above only apply if the Government is not already spending more in terms of compensation to these highway companies. For example, toll compensation to PLUS amounted to RM655 million, RM698 million and RM731 million for 2006, 2007 and 2008 respectively. PLUS has 30 more years before the concession expires. Without even taking into consideration the direct toll collection from motorists, the Government's compensation amount over the next 30 years will exceed RM68 billion should the current toll rates be maintained, after taking into account the fact that PLUS is entitled to increase toll tariffs by 10% every 3 years.

Similarly for the LDP, assuming that toll rates are capped at RM1.60 and no traffic increase, it'll cost an estimated RM1.54 billion in compensation alone between now and the end of the concession in 2029. For both highways, it is clearly more economical for the Government to buy back these highways, allowing for more funds to be used for other projects, including those in East Malaysia.
  • There is no economic impact from money spent to buy back the highways, compared to spending them on “stimulus” projects
This will also prove to be a fallacy. The outcome of the acquisition of these highways, will mean increased in billions of disposable income for millions of Malaysians as a result of toll savings. The stimulus impact of such an increase will certainly mean a boost in domestic consumption which will benefit our economy at a time when foreign investment contribution to our economy is falling rapidly. Extra funds in the pockets of millions of Malaysians will therefore have greater stimulus impact than the billions ending in the pockets of a few via the extraordinary profits made by these highway concessionaires.
  • The Government will have problems raising the funds to execute the highway buy backs.
  • The buy backs will result in a higher budget deficit
Unlike Government borrowing for normal development and operational expenditure, the funding for these highway buy backs are tied directly to the cashflow of the highways. For example, the RM15 billion required to buy back PLUS will be repaid over 6 years via the free cashflow generated by maintaining toll at existing rates for the period of time. It will be easy for the Government to raise such funds with the security of the very stable cashflows. The nature of the borrowings will also mean that it will have no impact on the budget deficit.
  • The Government will have to bear the burden of maintenance, especially after the highways become toll-free
Yes, indeed the Government will have to bear the burden of maintening the highways. However, the cost of these maintenance have often been exaggerated. For example, the maintenance cost of the North South Expressway amounts to RM200 million while that of the LDP is RM10 million per annum. These amounts are only a tiny proportion of the compensations which the Government is already paying to the highway concessionaires annually. Furthermore, by conducting open tenders towards the maintenance of these highways, we can expect the maintenance to cost even less.

Therefore, the DAP would like to reiterate our position to the Works and Finance Ministries, as well as the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) to buy back PLUS Expressways via the stock market, as well as other highways by exercising the expropriation clauses within these agreements. The above proposals are the best options to ensure that Government funding is most effectively utilised, and the interest of the people are best protected.

Friday, July 03, 2009

I Am Not Qualified

Heh... Shadow committees list for Pakatan Rakyat is out and all sorts of analysis is being made of the list (some quite funny, others full of conspiracy theories).

Of note is by one Prof Shamsul Amri Baharuddin, the Director of the Malay World and Civilisation Academy of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia who said (in Malaysiakini) that
"(DAP's Penang deputy chief minister II) P Ramasamy is placed in the International Relations Ministry. He has a political science background but his specialty is in labour politics.

"Tony Pua (DAP publicity secretary) may have studied in Oxford but that does not mean he knows much about the higher education system," he said.
For Prof P Ramasamy, not only does he specialise in Labour politics, he has taken active part in resolving international conflicts in Sri Lanka as well as Aceh, helping with peace negotiations as well as drafting of constitutions. That's certainly more qualified that the current foreign minister, Datuk Anifah Aman who went to United States to talk about Altantuya.

As for me, yes, I did study at Oxford, and of course, that does not mean I know much about higher education. For that matter, it does not mean that I know much about anything at all, economics, finance, telecommunications, technology, transportation etc etc. So, really, I should just keep my mouth shut and let others who are experts over at the Barisan Nasional frontbench do the talking.

Do I sound incoherent? Probably. Top notch local academics like Shamsul Amri Baharuddin makes me feel stupid, and ashamed.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

PKFZ: Full Support to Stop Payment

We would like to express our fullest support to the PKA for witholding the RM660 million payment to Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd with regards to the PKFZ project.

The DAP Secretary-General, Lim Guan Eng has requested for the Transport Ministry to stop payments to KDSB or any other parties, until the culprits responsible for the scandal are arrested and charged in court yesterday, and we are elated that the PKA has agreed with the suggestion made.

The Transport Minister must now expedite the investigations into the various wrong-doings, abuse of power, conflict of interest, criminal neglect as well as possible corruption in the handling and management of the PKFZ project.

Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat must now ensure that all 222 Members of Parliament receive the long-promised but still outstanding copies of the complete PKFZ audit report by Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) before the current parliamentary session ends on Thursday, 2nd July. The delay and failure of delivering these key and critical documents signals the reluctance of the Government to reveal the truth and nothing but the whole truth to the public to ensure that the wrong-doers are duly punished.

The Minister must also demonstrate his sincerity and ministerial responsibility by giving an full account of the various wrong-doings, abuse of power and other weaknesses as found by the Ministry to date to ensure that the Parliament as well as the overall Malaysian public is given full accountability of the PKFZ, instead of continuing to evade the very pertinent questions in the minds of the people at large.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Rais Yatim Stuck in Colonial Times

During the launch of the multi-billion ringgit High Speed Broadband project yesterday, the Minister of Information, Communication and Culture, Datuk Seri Rais Yatim had stated that
“We are being colonised. The outside world presents content to us. We should create our own identity with local content. We don’t want to be followers when building society.”
The Minister could not have been more wrong in his statement. Over the past 50 years, after Malaysia's independence from our colonial British masters, Malaysia has been progressively “colonised” by UMNO and Barisan Nasional with its frequent and persistent use of colonial controls against dissent and communication, such as the Internal Security Act (ISA), the Printing, Publications and Presses Act (PPPA), the Universities and Universities Colleges Act (UUCA), the Official Secrets Act (OSA), the sedition Act and more. These are the exact tools of our British colonial masters, which have beenr retained and abused by UMNO and BN for their own political ends, with complete disregard for the interest of Malaysians at large.

On the other hand, Malaysians should be grateful to the Internet for it brought about a new era of seamless communications and openness which in essence, have de-colonise Malaysians from the iron grip of UMNO and BN. Malaysians must fully embrace the Internet for it has allowed us to “free our minds” from the repressive controls inherited from our British colonial masters.

The choice of Datuk Seri Rais Yatim as the Minister to take over the portfolio of both Information and Communications by the new Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak must have been specifically intended to curtail the new freedom found by Malaysian which is channel through the Internet. He has remained one of the many dinosaurs left over from the Mahathir's administration who has failed to understand and grasp the nature of the Internet.

In this new Internet era, the more the Government seeks to curtail and inhibit discussion and communication via the worldwide web, the bigger the backlash it will have against the Government itself. Datuk Seri Rais Yatim is only further catalysing the demise of UMNO and Barisan Nasional by seeking to impose its archaic controls mechanisms in this new globalised era.