View issues with Tan Seng Giaw

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Comprehensive review of all contracts given to 'Bumi' contractors and the tender system

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw calls on the Government to review comprehensively the tender system and the contracts that have been given to 'Bumiputera' for years. Have these achieved the target of helping those who really need help? Or have they only benefitted a few?

Recently, the Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib mentioned that certain contracts were open to Non-Bumiputera. This is not clear. He has to tell the public that this can be implemented. The Minister can say one thing, what actually happens can be different.

Dr Tan dwells on the directive from the Finance Ministry to the Public Works Ministry to give mechanical and electrical contracts to Bumiputera only in May, 2007.

During the last parliamentary session towards the end of last year. we brought up the issue of giving contracts to 'Bumiputera' contractors. But, the answers from the Government were not clear.

To become a developed nation, we need to address the gap between the rich and the poor, the different ethnic groups and the territories. Whatever measures taken by the Government to narrow the gap must be effective, otherwise billions of ringgits would be spent to benefit only handfuls of people. For years, especially after 1970, many contracts have been given to 'Bumiputera' contractors. Let the Government trell us whether these contracts have brought the desired results.

Since the Works Ministry has been giving mechanical and electrical contracts to 'Bumiputera' contractors, are they worth RM 4 billion or more? How many reach the desired target? How many of those who need assisstance get it?

The 2008 Budget is RM 176.9 billi0n, RM 128.8 billion for current expenditure and RM 48.1 billion for development. How many of the contracts worth RM 48.1 billion have been given to 'Bumiputera'?

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Sunday, January 20, 2008

What is the strategy against illegal immigrants?

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw reiterates that the Government nust have an effective strategy to tackle the complicated problem of illegal immigrants.

The Government should also have detailed studies of the complications and consequences of the influx of immigrants, including the socio-economic effects.

On 19.1.2008, the Secretary General at the Home Ministry Datuk Azahar announced the plan to reduce the number of legal immigrant workers by 200,000 next year and at least 500,000 by 2015. Dr Tan comments on it.

We have heard Datuk Azahar's intention to do something for citizens of Malaysia. His ministry's plan includes sending legal immigrants home, priority to deal with construction, manufacturing and plantation industries and allowing a family with over RM 5,000 income a month to employ maid. We hope the plan will succeed.

Human resources or labour depends on supply and demand. Those sectors that are facing labour shortage turns to immigrants. The coordination between Home Ministry and Human Resources Ministry must be improved; they must try to help those sectors facing labour shortage. Azahar says that his ministry has become more effective; the public can see for themselves whether this statement reflects the truth.

In the parliamentary session at the end of last year, we raised the issue of legal and illegal immigrants again, especially the socio-ecopnomic consequences, such as health, education, crime, extremist activities and so forth. The Home Ministry dithers on some of the questions.

The official figure for legal immigrants is 2,02 million. The number of illegal immigrants is unknown. Numbers such as 400 thousands, 1 million, 1.5 million were mentioned. As Malaysian shoreline is very long, they can enter the country at over 700 entry points every night. Has the law enforcers the capacity to deal with these illegals? Some suspect that certain individuals in enforcement agencies are corrupt. They keep their eyes shut on the entry of these illegals.

We shall continue to press the Government to have effective strategy for legals and illegals and to create effective mechanism for law enforcement.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Friday, January 18, 2008

2nd Finance Minister should go marketing to ascertain the real increase in prices of goods

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw urges the Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed to reassess the inflation rate in this country, whether the increase is 2 to 2.5%.

Meanwhile the Government needs an effective mechanism to control price hike and to relieve the anxiety of consumers.

The world crude oil price reaching US$ 100 per barrel, price increase in enriched flour, industrial gas and other goods, attract attention of the public.

Dr Tan refers to the comment of the Second Finance Minister that inflation rate is 4% and that the Government can maintain it on 18.1.2008.

Price increase of goods does not reflect the Government's inflation rate of 4%, that is, an increase of 2 to 2.5%. Consumers find that price hike is 30, 60 or even higher %.

As crude oil price jumps to US$ 100 per barrel, when will the Government approve further increase in the price of gas and petrol. Once the Government gives the nod, the effect will be marked.

Now, the price of gas is RM 24 for every 14 kg. If the price increase is 27 sen per kg, then it will be RM 27.78 for every 14 kg. Most forms of cooking use gas directly or indirectly such as through electricity. Tenaga Nasional Berhad uses mostly gas as fuel.

Tan Sri Nor Mohamed should do marketing personally, to ascertain the real increase in the price of goods. He will find that the inflation rate is more than 4%

The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs gets a 2008 budget allocation of RM 430 million including RM 46 million for cosumerism. Will this be used effectively against inflation? We reiterate that the Government must try its utmost to control inflation. It should not be a question of playing with the figure.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Pay attention to grouse against extra school fees

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw calls on the Education Minister YB Dato' Seri Hishamuddin to pay attention to additional fees for school activities, so as to calm down the feeling of parents.

Dr Tan issues a statement on additional school fees on 6.1.2008.

On 7 September, 2007, the Prime Minister and Finance Minister YAB Dato' Seri Abdullah presented the 2008 National Budget which allocates RM 16.4 billion for primary and secondary schools in the country.From 1 January, 2008, all school fees are scrapped and 5.7 million students are eligible for the loan scheme for textboooks.

Parents welcome free education. But, they may feel differently about extra payment.During the debate on the educational allocations last December, I reminded the Education Minister that parents would respond to additional school fees. Sure enough, as 500,000 new students throng the schools, some parents complain about additional fees. For Chinese and Tamil schools, parents have been more used to additional fees; the feeling may not be so high.

Usually, schools charge some fees for extracurricular activities and tuitions, including computer classes.The Education Minister has to assure parents that there are no irregularities in extra payments at schools.

Hisham says,"Ask your (parents') conscience! The money is for children's schools, for their benefits. If you can afford it,please contribute.If you cannot,I don't force you.But, ask yourself whether you qualify for assistance."

One guideline says that additional fee in primary schools must not exceed RM 38 and that for secondary schools RM 55. Hisham mentions RM 25 or RM 35 (per student).

I believe that the Education Minister need not be angry. He will find that the feeling of some parents about additional fee may not be so high. He ought to pay attention to parents' emotion over this type of payment and to ascertain effective ways of putting them at ease.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Friday, January 04, 2008

Crude oil at US$ 100 (RM 329):ensure supply of gas &petrol.

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw calls on the Government to ensure adequate supply of petrol, gas, flour and other goods.

As the pressure of high crude oil price, gas, flour and other commodities mounts, the Prime Minister YAB Dato' Seri Abdullah and his deputy Datuk Seri Najib must discuss with the oil giants about gas and petrol prices. We hope that they can allay the fear of the people who are affected by the vagary of price hike on essential goods.

Dr Tan comments on the crude oil price going up to US$ 100 per barrel. Apparently, this is not due to shortage of supply, but to other factors such as availability of liquidity.

Crude oil is the main energy source. The jump of its price from US$ 20 in 2002 to US$ 100 now has huge effects. Although Malaysia produces petroleum and palm oil that help to relieve the pressure, the price of petrol and gas affects industry, transport, Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB)and so forth. As its fuel is mainly gas, that TNB is considering raising electricity charges gradually is hardly surprising.

Hitherto, the Prime Minister maintains that he has not decided on the increase of the price of gas and petrol. Some guess that the hike in their price will follow soon.

Under the current pressure, some oil companies may hoard the fuel, causing shortages. Towards the end of last year, there were rumours of shortages of gas and reinforced flour. On the eve of 2008, SMS messages denoted increase in petrol price by 20 to 30 sen per litre, causing motorists to queue up at petrol stations. Hence, we hope that the Government adopt effective measures to ensure adequate supply of petrol, gas, flour and other goods.

There are people who predict that the Government will not let the increase in the price of petrol and gas before general elections. Once the elections are over, prices of these and other goods will rise. We hope that the Prime Minister regards the welfare of the people as a priority and that he will help to curb inflation that will hit the people.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Dispel people's anxiety over the price of gas

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw urges the Government to inform the people whether it intends to approve the increase of gas price in 2008, in order to dispel anxiety.

The hike in the price of reinforced flour, industrial gas and so forth has attracted much attention. How would the Government deal with the price of gas and petrol?

Dr Tan is worried about the rumour of the increase in the price of gas becom,ing a reality. The price of goods does not reflect the increase Consumer Price Index bey over 2 points. Consumers find that the price increase int he market is between 30 to 60%.

Although the Government has announced that there would not be further increase in gas price in 2007, what does it intend to do in 2008? The world price of crude oil manitains at over US$ 90 per barrel. When will the Government allow the hike in gas and petrol price? The rumour through SMS during the New Year resulted in long queues at petrol stations which sold out the fuel. Some predict that petrol price will increase after the coming general elections.

Now, the price of gas in 12 kg and 14 kg packings is RM 21 and RM 24 respectively. The rumour is that each kilogramme will go up by 24 sen or 27 sen or 60 sen. If it goes up by 27 sen per kg, 14 kg will be RM 3.78, that is, RM 27.78 per 14 kg packing.

The price rise in the reinforced flour affects the price of bread, cakes, noodles and so forth. Further increase in gas price will hit the people badly. For example, Tenaga Nasional Berhad uses mostly gas as raw material. If TNB considers raising electricy rate gradually, it would not be surprising. Restaurants, petty traders, residents and others use gas directly or indirectly.

The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs must use the 2008 budget allocation of RM 430 million effectively, especially the RM 46 million for consumer affairs. The Prime Minister Dato' Seri Abdullah and his deputy Dato' Seri Najib must discuss with the suppliers of gas and petrol about the price increase, so as to prevent inflation.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw