View issues with Tan Seng Giaw

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Build alternative road for residents of Bandar Mahkota Cheras

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw urges the federal and state Governments to build an alternative road in Bandar Mahkota Cheras.

Dr Tan made this call during the debate on the supplementary supply bill at the committee stage regarding the Public Works Department having spent over RM 76 million for maintenance works on Federal Roads on 29 May, 2008.

In the last few years, the concessionaire Grand Saga has constructed a toll road, making residents from Bandar Mahkota use it. The company erected a five-foot wall repeatedly at the slip road of Bandar Mahkota to prevent them avoiding the toll road.

Although Bandar Mahkota is in Selangor state, about two kilometres of the slip road is on federal land. As residents do not have an alternative road except going through the toll road, the Government must build an alternative road. If the cost is estimated as RM 10 million, then the federal and the state Governments should pay RM 5 million respectively.

Meanwhile, Grand Saga should not erect another barrier at the slip road. On the other hand, it and the developer of Bandar Mahkota must be sensitive to the need of the people. It is believed that the main entrance to the area is on the other side of Bandar Mahkota .

The Government must investigate why a contract has been signed with Grand Saga when there is no alternative road for the residents of the area. They have no choice but to use the toll road. If there is a barrier at the slip road, about 10,000 residents have to use the toll road every day. I have been told that if the barrier is taken down, Grand Saga claims compensation amounting to hundreds of millions of ringgits. The Government must confirm the sum claimed by the concessionaire.

Recently, there have been protests and fightings at the wall of the slip road. It was taken down three times. On 28 May, 2008, redidents removed the wall for the third time. The slip road allows them to go to Cheras-Kajang Highway, avoiding to pay toll.

On 27 May, 2008, a few residents were injured in the fraca at the site of the wall. Some claim that Grand Saga hired 'thugs'. The police must investigate the incident.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ministry of National Unity

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw proposes that the Government create Ministry of National Unity with adequate allocations and monitoring.

On 26 May, 2008, Dr Tan presented the proposal while taking part in the debate on the motion to transfer the Department of Unity and National Integration from the Prime Minister Department to the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage known as the Ministry of Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage.

National Unity is very important. It should be stressed continuously. We need to implant it in the heart of every citizen from birth to death.

We really want to achieve national unity.
We always encourage it in the community.

The absorption of unity department by another ministry gives rise to suspicion regarding the purpose of having it. Does it mean efficiency?

Unity is shifted to other ministry.
This arouses suspicion naturally.

After the General Elections on 8 March, 2008, a few people are bent on fanning racial issues in various forms. They mouth words such as ketuanan (hegemony) and social contract. But, ketuanan Malaysians (hegemony of Malaysians) is the most important.

Over the past decade, Barisan Nasional Government cry out for Bangsa Malaysia which is similar to Malaysian Malaysia. After the political psunami in the Twelfth General elections, Bangsa Malaysia is nearly put aside.

In the multiracial society, the rights of all races must be protected. Other races must not rob Malays of their rights; Malays must not trespass on the rights of other races. We must always put in greater efforts to encourage national unity. We must eradicate bad elements such as misunderstandings between races. The results and effectiveness of all allocations for having efforts like forum, seminar, convention and so forth are monitored closely.

Some deliberately raise racial issues to a rage.
They play politics only for personal advantage.

They don't care if the nation becomes restive,
As long as they they attain their objective.

I propose that the Government form Ministry of National Unity with adequate funding and effective monitoring. Such an important matter should not be simply inserted into the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage.

Ministry of Unity must be created.
For all citizens to be educated.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Thursday, May 22, 2008

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

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Commission for the appointment of judges and ethical codes

DAP Nationqal Deputy Chairman and MP Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw repeats his call for setting up Royal Commission to review all the weaknesses of the judiciary in the country.

On 21 May, 2008, Dr Tan asked a supplementary question on the original question about the Chief Justice of Malaya, the Chief Justice of Borneo (Sabah and Sarawak) and the Chief Justice of Malaysia and the plan to merge Borneo and Malaya judiciary. His Honourable (H H) Sepanggar (Datuk Eric Enchin Majimbun) asked the question.

The Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, H H Senator Datuk Mohd. Zaid Ibrahim, says that there is only one judicial system in Malaysia. The issue of merger of the judiciary does not occur. He will form a Commission to appoint judges under Article 123, Federal Constitution, with definite criteria, to ensure only qualified candidates are appointed as judges. The Chief Justice of Malaysia will retire at the end of this year.

Zaid feels that there is no need to have another Royal Commission to investigate the judiciary. Last year, the Royal Commission on the Lingam Tape reveals many matters. He emphasises ethical codes for judges.

We hope that the Commission for the appointment of judges and the ethical codes will solve the woes in the judiciary, including backlog of court cases and the public perception of the lack of transparency in the appointment of judges. Zaid has formed a committee to handle the backlog of court cases.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Friday, May 16, 2008

More training centres for 12,000 police recruits a year

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw reiterates that the Government set up more training centres, employing more instructors, instilling better discipline and add more facilities for 12,000 recruits a year, from 2008 to 2013.

The police must confirm whether it is still true that the facilities are for training only 4,000 recruits a year. There must be greater efforts to recruit more non-Malays.

The police must implement 125 recommendations of the Royal Commission, including Independent Police Complaint and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

Dr Tan repeated his suggestions in the House on 24.3.2008.

Last year the Cabinet made a decision to increase the police force from 80,000 to 140,000 in the next five years. The police has contributed to the security of the nation. We need more and better police personnel to cater for the modern world.

According to the police, in the last three years, there were 565,546 criminal cases, an average of 170,000 cases a year in the country. In the same period, there were 10,557 cases, an average of 3,600 cases, in the Kepong constituency.

We are aware that the police is taking steps such as placing more personnel in crime-prone areas, increasing the number of patrol cars and having more police stations. These require more recruits of calibre and facilities.

Is it better to divide the Sentul Police District into two?

Besides training 12,000 recruits a year, the police must consider seriously the proposal to split the Sentul Police District , which is the biggest in Kuala Lumpur, into Sentul and Wangsa Maju, or simply to increase the number of personnel and facilities under the Sentul District. Which is the better choice?

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Control inflation, 15.5.2008.

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong calls on the Special Cabinet Committee on Controlling Inflation and the Special Task Force on Handling Price Increase to work harder to control prices of goods in the country.

Although the Government insists that the current inflation rate is 2.8%, the situation is of great concern. The price of foods such as rice has gone up by leaps and bounds. One litre of kerosene was RM 2.70 in January, RM 2.90 in Mac and RM 3.20 in May this year. The price of insecticides has increased 100%, that of fertilizers from RM 1000 per 50 Kg to RM 3,000, 300%.

The Government increases grain stockpiles. We cannot keep rice for long. When goods price goes up, people tend to hoard. The Government is not able to buy 500,000 tonnes of rice from Thailand. It offers US$ 800 per tonne, but Thailand asks for RM 1,000 or more. On 14.5.2008, the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister announced that Malaysia had bought 200,000 tonnes of rice, but he did not disclose the price. The first 100,000 tonnes from Thailand will be sold between RM 1.65 to RM 1.80 per kilogramme. Apparently, Thailand would rather we do not reveal the price.

I hope that the Prime Minister will let us know, from which country he will purchase the ramaining 300,000 toones. Will it be from Vietnam, United States, Cambodia or other rice-producing countries?

Energy and food subsidy in this country is RM 45 bilion a year. Rice subsidy is RM 725 million.

International factors aggravate the rice price. This includes petroleum US$ 126 a barrel and hoarding of rice in countries such as China, India, Vietnam, Rusia dan Thailand.

I propose that the Special Cabinet Committee to Control Inflation and the Special Task Force to Handle Price Increase work harder to deal with inflation. From January 2008 to 20 April, 2008, the Ministry for Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs made 328,352 inspections on factories, wholesalers, retailers, supermarkets, night markets and so forth, confiscating goods from 550 premises worth RM 731,055.95.

The opening up of 100,000 acres of paddy land in Sabah and Sarawak with modern seed and technology may take ten years. The improvement of irrigation such as Kada, farm transport and the use of new form of energy will take years. Biofuels from palm oil has to be reviewed; unedible oils should be better alternatives.

The uncertainty in the world agriculture market, the hoarding by nations and America and Japan sending rice not cash as aids to poor nations complicate the situation. The Prime Minister should review the measures to face the world market of US$ 30 million tonnes a year.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

In Malaysia, the rights of any race must not be taken away.

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw reiterates that the rights of all races must be protected and that no one or no race can rob the rights of other races.

Dr Tan said so as part of his speech during the debate on the Royal Address in the House on 13 Mei, 2008.

The cyclone disaster in Myanma and the earthquake in China caused severe loss of lives. Malaysia express her sympathy and condolences for people of the two countries. We extend our help.

In the present parliamentary session, we welcome the 99 new members to the House. Hitherto, some have made meaningful speeches, showing their potential.

After the March 8, 2008 general elections, the House has been boisterous. During the elections, each party portrayed its policies. After the people have made their decision, all parties must be able to work together to develop the nation.

Gunung Tahan sama didaki,
Sungai Pahang sama direnang;
Jikalau semua bersatu hati,
Kerja yang payah menjadi senang.

UMNO champions the rights, custom and history of Malays; MCA cries out about the rights and education of Chinese and MIC spells out the rights and citizenships of Indians. They use tonggan, the big wok placed above a hole in the ground. Tonggan UMNO, MCA, MIC and other component parties of the National Front (BN) cooks racial issues to work up the feeling of various races. But, this type of cooking utensil is no longer practical. The emergence of China and India is changing the scenario. Now, we are using microwave and other modern cooking utensils. Our aim is to attain a developed nation status by 2020.

We must avoid brandishing the keris during party conventions; the Education Minister recognises that this is not the right thing to do. All races have rights in politics, economy, health, agriculture and so forth. There should not be any race that would usurp the rights of other races. The poor and the weak must be protected, irrespective of race and religion. We must always try our best to narrow the gap, whether it is wealth, digital or region, with courage and commitment.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Stop the monopoly of rice import;review the policy of 70% self-sufficiency.

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw calls on the Government to review seriously whether:

(1) to stop the monopoly of rice import by Bernas, (2) to decide if the policy of 70% self-sufficiency is still reasonable, (3) to open more land for paddy cultivation, (4) to ascertain whether the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs or the Ministry of Agrculture and Agro-based Industry or both are effectively in charge of the price of rice.

Recently, many factors contribute to the hike in the price of rice in the world. There is a pressure on the price of the commodity in this country. Bernas does not have competition in the import of rice. Although for many years we have asked the Government to review the part of Bernas in rice import and the strategy of 70% self-suffciency in rice. But, this fell on deaf ear.

Now, Bernas does what it likes. The relationship between consumers and Bernas can be liken to that of a sheep and a tiger, or the weak against the strong. It is time for the Government to study this state of affair and to find ways to introduce competition in rice import.

Rice of ordinary grade contains 15% broken grain and that of super grade between 5 to 10%. Ordinary grade is a controlled item. There is shortage of supply. Most Malaysians eat super grade rice.

When Bernas bought paddy from farmers, it paid RM 700 per tonne. Two months ago, other companies offered RM 1150, forcing Bernas to pay RM 1,000. The increase in rice price is not reflected in the price of paddy.

Two days ago, I said that the effort of the Government to open up land (100,000 acres) to plant paddy in Sabah and Sarawak may show its result in 10 years. The Government bases its policy of 70% self-sufficiency of rice on strategic factors. 30% are imported. It is relatively cheaper for countries such as Thailand to produce rice. Now, for the first time in history, Malaysian rice is smuggled into Thailand.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry says that a plot of paddy land (1.2 hectares or 3.3 acres) can produce 8 tonnes of paddy. That in Endau Rompin, Chui Chap and Sekinchan can reach 12 to 13 tonnes.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Friday, May 02, 2008

It is correct to continue with the direct telecast

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw calls on the Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek to be fair regarding the direct telecast of the parliamentary session and to get his fact right.

On 8.3.2008, the people spoke out for transparency and accountability. On 30.4.2008, there was a direct telecast of the question time for only 30 minutes. Because a few of both the Opposition members and the Backbenchers did not follow the Standing Order, it was chaos.

The Information Minister had no patience, threatening to stop the direct telecast. He apologized on 1.5.2008 for agreeing to the telecast, blaming a few Opposition members. Don't forget, a daily parliamentary session is from 10 am to 5.30 pm.

Today, the Cabinet agrees to continue the telecast for a short while. We do not know how short it will be. It is correct to continue. Let members of parliament get used to the new thing.

Ahmad Shabery Cheek should get the fact right. He should not be telling the world that there was only one queston asked in the one and half hours of the question time on 30.4.2008. Three questions were asked. We expected more. Perhaps, over ten. I repeat: a few members of both sides of the House did not adhere to the Standing Order. The Speaker must not be biased.

The minister should be fair to both sides of the House. After all, he is a minister for all Malaysians.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw