Confront big issues such as inflation in Malaysia
DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw believes that we should concentrate our energy on tackling national issues such as the pressure on inflation, the shortage of rice, the jump in oil price and crimes.
Dr Tan has been asked to comment on the resignation of former president of Umno Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed from the party on 19 May, 2008.
Yesterday, 21 May, 2008, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi chaired the Umno Supreme Council special meeting to discuss the resignation and the ways to strenghthen the party that has 3 million members. The council accepts the resignation and pledges to continue the support for Abdullah.
Mahathir, who was the former premier and led Umno for 22 years, quit the party and said that he would not rejoin until Abdullah stepped down. Mahathir urges members to leave the party and Barisan Nasional (BN) members of parliament (MPs) to quit the coalition, but to refrain from joining the Opposition.
So far, Mahathir's son Mokhzani and a fromer minister and Kedah menteri besar Sanusi Junid followed his foot step, but his other son, Jerlun MP, Mukhriz, did not follow suit, maintaining that he would fight within the party.
Mahathir's action has attracted much attention. It is of great concern as we are facing many issues such as the changing international scene with the emergence of China and India, the hike in crude oil price to over US$ 130 per barrel, the fluctuations in the price of commodities including rice and inflation. How do we continue to narrow the gap, whether it be economic, digital or regional, irrespective of race?
Politics is the art of the possible. I do not know what has actually happened between Mahathir and Abdullah. The action of Umno, Abdullah and Mahathir affects the country.
The people have made their choice since the March 8 general elections. They hope that all leaders, irrespective of parties, contribute towards the management of major issues in the country.
For example, Malaysia has been in the top 20 of the world trading nations. We export much of manufactured goods especially electronic to the United States. Now, U.S. ec0nomy has slowed partly because of subprime problem, our export to the country is only 15.6% in 2007, whereas it is nearly 54% to Asia, in particular Asean, China and India.
Because of various factors including climate change, commodities like soya beans, wheat and rice experience shortage and the price goes up. Countries such as China, India, Japan, Thailand and US increase their stockpile of these commodities. For instance, Japan keeps her rice stockpile; if she releases part of it, the price of rice may go down. The Malaysian Government spends RM 50 billion for subsidies of commodities like petrol, gas, cooking oil and rice; RM 4 billion is to ensure adequate supply of foods. She buys 200,000 tonnes of rice from Thailand at an undisclosed price.
There are other major issues such as security, illegal immigration, housing, and education. We need to find solutions to them. Mahathir did champion the concept of bangsa Malaysia.
Dr Tan Seng Giaw