DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw calls on all Malysians within and outside the country to envision and focus on the rising expectations of the people, the new perceptions, the new types of management and the new types of governance. We look for the truth and the options.
Dr Tan spoke at The Launch of Friends of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) on 4.7.2010 at the Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, Holborn, London WC1R 4RL to about 350 people--Malaysian diaspora of various races. This seminar, 11 am to 5 pm, was organized by the Pro-Tem Committee headed by Brian Morais. firstname.lastname@example.org http://fprlaunch.eventbrite.com
Speakers included Raja Petra Kamarudin, Zaid Ibrahim (Keadilan), YB Nurul Izzah (Keadilan), YB Dr Hatta (Pas), YB Kamaruddin (Pas).
The rising expectiations of Malaysians not only in Malaysia but also in the diaspora such as in London have given rise to new visions. 8.3.2008 saw five states taken over by PR in the general elections. In the next general elections, will the BN Federal Government be replaced by PR Federal Government? It will come. We do not know how long it will take.
In the past 53 years of Malaysian Independence (Merdeka), there have been many changes. For example, there are more physical and infrastructural development and more people are educated and exposed. How many things have gone right? How many have gone wrong?
Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely (Lord Acton). People are aware of the irregularities like corruption, cumbersome bureaucracy, money politics and the lack of transparency and accountability. The BN depends on money politics with its ramifications. For instance, a divisional chief of Umno needs hundreds of thousands of ringgits to maintain the party activities. From where does he or she get the money? How much does a candidate spend contesting for divisional, state or national post within the party or the state or national seat during general elections?
How does Malaysian bureaucracy and 1.2 million civil servants rate compared with more advanced countries?
The end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time. T. S. Eliot
Having seen where we started, we would like to have leaders with integrity, clean and efficient. A minister is a chief executive officer (CEO). He or she should be paid a reasonable salary. If we take the average salary of a CEO from, say 50 corporations, in the country, that is the salary a minister or a top civil servant or a top police officer shoud get. But, if he or she is caught involvrd in corruption, he or she should be charged in court without fear or favour.
If the office hours begin at 8 am and end at 5 pm, a minster or a top civil servant, should be in office before and after the time. His or her facilities and amenities including transport should be within reasons, not excessive or luxurious.
A PR leader must be able to lead by example. An offender should be punished.
A truly independent MACC
When Tun Abdullah was Prime Minister, the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) became Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). This was a step in the right direction. But, all cases investigated by MACC must be submitted to the Attorney-General (AG) who has the constitutional rights to prosecute. For example, about 10 years ago a contractor built the Kepong flyover (Middle Ring Road 2, MRR2) of over RM200 million with 21 pillars. Some pillars cracked. The final repair bill was about RM60 million. MACC or ACA investigated the case. When the contractor and MACC were in court, the AG ordered the case to be posponed. We have yet to know whether the contractor will be prosecuted.
MACC is modelled on such examples as ICAC (Independent Commission Agiainst Corruption), Hong Kong (HK). In 2009, ICAC's budget was RM328.3 million, 0.34% of HK operating budget of RM95.9 billion. On the other hand, in 2010 MACC applies for an allocation of RM324.1 million. 51.61% were cut. It has RM156.8 million, 0.08% of Malaysian operating budget of RM191 billion.
In the next five years, MACC is supposed to increase its officers by 5,000, that is 1,000 annually. Now, it has to make do with the reshuffling of 53 new posts.
Usually, HK AG allows ICAC to prosecute if its has evidence in a case of corruption. Malaysian AG has his own ways. To give MACC the rights of prosecution, we have to amend the Federal Constitution. This requires two-third majority of the House.
We need a truly independent MACC. One way is to make it only responsible to Parliament.
Lies and Myths
For the great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie--deliberate, contrived and dishonest--but the myth: persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. John F. Kennedy.
For years, BN has been spreading lies and myths such as 'only BN can rule', 'recurrence of May 13' and 'only Umno is for Malays'.
The people are seeing through these. They are witnessing the PR Governments in Kedah, Kelantan, Penang and Selangor and the usurpation of PR Government by BN using money politics.
It is true that there are changes. More Malays are educated and enlightened. But, the main benefectors from the practice of patronage and cronyism of Umno are only a selected few. Where has the largesse of huge contracts such as the submarine deal gone?
We must have the policy of merits and needs without reference to race and religion. If we do not consider the needs of the aborigines (Orang Asli), where will they end up?
Concrete plan in all sectors
PR has to draw up concrete plan in all sectors including civil service, economy, education, eradication of poverty and health. In 20 minutes, I can only briefly mention PPSMI (Teaching of Mathematics and Science using English). While ensuring that Bahasa Malaysia is taught effectively in all schools (and fair treatment of Mandarin and Tamil schools), we should not have downgraded English. It has been a serious mistake. There are many ways to raise the standard of English such as a more practical curriculum.
Just as other subjects, teaching Maths and Science using English means competent teachers. While some teachers are good and dedicated, some are not up to the mark. Of the 386,000 teachers in Malaysia, how many are truly competent. The Education Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin agrees that the quality of some teachers is not good. He believes in courses to improve the quality of teachers. How effective are these?
Some choose the teaching profession as a last choice, a Hobson's choice. Their heart is in another profession.
From 2003 to 2009, the Education Ministry introduced PPSMI, spending over RM 5 billion. It failed miserably. (Malaysia spends 24% of its national budget on education, from pre-schools to universities and lifelong education. This tradition must be maintained. But, the money must be used appropriatrely, value for money.)
Dr Tan Seng Giaw