View issues with Tan Seng Giaw

Friday, September 30, 2005

The mill must get by going in all Malaysian government departments

We would like to remind the Malaysian Government that it is not enough to give cost of living allowance, bonus and assistance to civil servants,it is also necessary to improve the delivery system.

The Prime Minister and Finance Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi repeated his intention to make the delivery system better. Virtually all government departments have sworn to Customers' Charter for several years. But attitude and efficiency have not changed much.

Comment by Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong on an aspect of the 2006 Federal Budget, presented by Datuk Seri Abdullah on 30 September, 2005.

At 4.00 PM today, Abdullah outlined the RM136.7 billion budget. There are positive and negative proposals.For instance, the combined allocations for the Ministries of Education and Higher Education total RM26.7 billion, that is 20% of the budget. This is encouraging. A negative aspect is the relative lack of measures for the revamp of the much vaunted delivery system.

The Finance Minister offers cost of living allowance to civil servants, from Grade 1 to Grade 54, such as RM150 a month for those working in Kuala Lumpur starting from 1 January, 2006. The existing allowances will be extended, like RM300 a month for the Fixed Public Service Allowance and RM750 a month for supervicing Koran class. For a civil servant who strives to achieve national objectives, there is bonus for 2005. A staff member with a monthly income of RM1,000 is given a bonus of one and a half months.

Over one million government workers need decent wages and allowances. Besides these incentives, the Government must review the weaknesses that exist such as lack of efficiency, bureaucracy and corruption.There must be more efforts to improve the delivery system.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Change brings life in medical education in Malaysia

Malaysian Parliament should increase its scrutiny of the standard of medical education and the quality of doctors.

We should keep an eye on the Malaysian Medical Council and the National Accreditation Board, making sure that they play effective parts in monitoring the standard of public and private medical education.

Proposal by Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong on the concern of Malaysians about the standard of medical education in the country during the debate on the allocation for the Ministry of Higher Education in the Supplementary Supply Bill on 28 September, 2005.

The House was asked to approve an allocation of RM132,171,134 that had been used for the purchase of additional equipment and building to accommodate more students at the Medical Faculties of public universities for the session 2005/2006.

The Ministry of Higher Education says that it ensures that the ratio of lecturer to medical students is 1:6 and that only a limited number of additional intake is allowed such as about 40 more students in addition to ? 80 are taken at the University of Malaya(MU). It also insists that the British Medical Council (BMC) did not withdraw recognition of the MU medical degree in the 80s. Instead, BMC is attuned towards the European Union.

There is an urgent need for the Government to enquire into the state of public and private medical education and the quality of doctors in this country. It should also tell the truth about the derecognition of the MU medical degree.

Yes, Malaysia has made progress. It has medical faculties, both public and private, producing more doctors. But, it should not just wallow in self gratification. On the contrary, it should look into the weaknesses in our medical schools and the standard of doctors from recognized foreign medical colleges. The resistance to change is chronic.

We need more and better doctors. While we want to train more medical students, we must not sacrifice the standard. We do not want the stagnation of medical schools.

During the debate on the 2006 budget next week, we shall continue to raise the problems of curriculum, admission standard, graduation requirement, educational programmes, the award of medical degrees, the appointment of professors and lecturers, research, financing and the dependence on student fees in private schools.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

How do we save the multibillion Offshore Patrol Vehicle (OPV) project?

The Government should announce the strategy to save the multibillion Offshore Patrol Vehicle (OPV) project which is an abysmal failure of privatization.

Parliamentary question by Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong on the dilemma of completing the six OPV, the original cost of which is RM5.35 billion. The Finance Minister (2) Senator Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Bin Yakop was answering questions on his ministry during the debate on the Supplementary Supply Bill on 27 September, 2005.

For months, the Public Accounts Committee, Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang and other MPs have been voicing their concern on the OPV issue. The Government claims tremendous success on privatizations since 1983. OPV project is a monster.

In December, 1995, the Finance Ministry signed a contract with Penang Shipyard Corporation (PSC) to privatize Lumut Shipyard and to build 27 units of OPV. On 1 August, 2005, the first six units of OPV were given to PSC-NDSB with the total cost of RM5.35 billion and with a down payment of 20%. The Government has paid 72%, that is, RM3.839 billion by May, 2005.

PSC-NDSB which is a subsidiary of PSC has a cash flow problem. It has asked for extra payment of RM260 million to complete the first two vessels, PV1 and PV2. But officers from the Royal Malaysian Navy (TLDM) say it only needs RM145 million.

According to the contract, PV1 was due to be completed by September, 2005. PSC-NDSB expects it to be completed by September, 2005 while the Defence Ministry says it is December, 2005. PV2 was supposed to be completed by May 2005; PSC-NDSB believes it to be October, 2005, whereas the Ministry thinks it will be April 2006.

PV1 and PV2 may cost RM2 billion each. If it were to be RM2 billion, we can get a destroyer.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Go the whole hog with improving the processing mechanism for strata titles

We call on the Malaysian Government to go the whole hog with shaking up the processing mechanism on strata titles and the management of highrise flats, apartments and condominiums. It should prepare for Vision 2020.

Part of the speech by Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong at the dialogue session with residents in Taman Indah, Kepong, Kuala Lumpur, organized by the Residents' Committee on 26 September, 2005.

For decades, the problem of strata titles for many flat dwellers has remained unresolved. Hence, the Government should go the whole hog with shaking up the processing mechanism on strata titles at all stages. An efficient mechanism will rid flat dwellers of their headache. Having obtained their titles, residents should seek assistance from one of the 144 local governments to manage their buildings, otherwise they will continue to face difficulties.

Since last week, about 200 residents in Taman Indah have got their titles. We hope their lawyers will sort things out for them. Nevertheless, many more flat dwellers are waiting for their titles in the country.

Strata title is under the Ministry of Natural Resources. Besides setting up Strata Title Department in land offices at various levels, it should use its annual allocation of nearly RM80 million effectively, to upgrade management and amend land code. It must improve efficiency and quality, consistent with the National Development Policy.

The Ministry monitors land offices at district, state and federal levels. It deals with management, finance, service and appointment of staff members in these offices. It aims to make them orderly and efficient.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Substantial allocation for maintenance of school and university buildings

We call on the Malaysian Government to allocate at least 5% of the allocation for education for the maintenance of school and university buildings in the country. Education departments and schools should have regular inspections of school buildings.

In Parliament, we shall propose to the Government to set aside at least 5% of the allocation for education for the maintenance of school and university buildings, whether they are partially- or fully-assisted schools. It is time that the Education Ministry work out an acceptable percentage of the allocation for this purpose.

Part of the speech by Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong at the party's dinner at Taman Indah, 11th Mile Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, on 24 September, 2005.

On September 11, 2005, a 43-year-old teacher Chan Boon Heng died when he fell through a termite-infested classroom floor at the Keat Hua Primary Chinese School, Alor Setar, Kedah. This is a case of injuctice. We hope the the Government will solve it.

The Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein says that there is a special allocation of RM10 million for national-type and missionary schools to undergo immediate repairs and upgrading. On 23 September, 2005, his deputy Datuk Han Choon Kim stated that besides the partially-assisted schools, some fully-assisted schools also need emergency repairs. But, the Education Minister would deal with the fully asisted schools because the RM10 million was only for partially-assisted ones. In the whole country including Sabah and Sarawak, over 100 partially-assisted schools required emergency repairs.

That the Government wants school authorities to have regular inspections of their buildings is a workable step. Apparently, most schools have submitted information on the state of their shcool buildings.

The annual national budget allocates over RM 20 billion for education including higher education, sometimes exceeding RM25 billion. The allocation for maintenance of school and university buildings is paltry. These buildings must be repaired and upgraded. Hitherto, whether they are partially- or fully-assisted, the public have given generously for their construction and maintenance. It is reasonable for the Government to give a substantial allocation for maintenance and upgrading of these buildings.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

5% target of electricity from renewable energy

We call on the Malaysian Government to make greater efforts to implement the 5% target for total electricity production from renewable energy (RE) by 2005. RE is the fifth fuel source under the Eighth Malaysia Plan (2001-2005). The others are oil, gas, hydro and coal.

The crude oil price reaching US$70 per barrel is an important factor to focus attention on RE projects.

Comment by Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong on the need to pay more attention on RE such as biomass, biogas, municipal waste, wood residues, rice husks, mix of agro waste, solar and mini-hydro.

The world crude oil price of over US$60 affects the economy. It aggravates inflation. Recently, the Malaysian Government has announced that it does not intend to let petrol and diesel price go up further until the end of this year and that there will not be increase in the road toll collection rate until the end of 2006. The people are worried about the price hike of goods.

The main electricity provider in the country, Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), is facing problems like outage, work practices, delay in processing application, dealing with repair and coordination and efficiency in distribution. It has not paid enough attention on RE.

The peak demand for electricy per annum is over 1,300 megawatts and the total energy generation capacity is about 1,900 MW. But, over 95% of energy generation is from fossil fuel such as oil, gas and coal. The Third Outline Perspective Plan (OPP3) from 2001-2010 says that Malaysia may become an oil importer by 2008. This depends on finding new oil fields and oil consumption.

In 2001, Malaysia introduced the Small Renewable Energy Project (SREP), using energy from wood based residues, palm oil biomass, mill residues and hydropower. Out of 66 applications approved, only two have been successfully connected to the grid with a capacity of 12MW.

Clearly, the Government has to do more on RE. The renewed interest in converting palm oil to diesel is reasonable. The Government has to review its incentives for RE so that investors will be attracted to SREP that involves high investment and high risk. Such incentives as income tax exemption of 70% on statuary income for 5 years may not be adequate.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Reduce outage and enhance work practices in Malaysia

We call on Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) Malaysia to reduce further electricity outage, raise operational efficiency, and enhance work practices, utilization of information technology and coordination of system operation and maintenance.

Statement by Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong on the service of the electricity provider, Tenaga Nasional Berhad on 17.9.2005.

TNB maintains that interruption of electricity supply has gone down. For example, it quotes the System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) as 281 minutes/customer/year in 2001 and 149 in 2003. Clearly, the incidence of blackouts in some areas has not increased. But, in others such as Jinjang, Kuala Lumpur, Sections SS2 and SS3, Petaling Jaya, it is still bad.

TNB has to review the correlation between SAIDI and the actual number of outages. It should reduce the inconvenience on the consumers.

On 15 September, 2005, the Minister for Energy, Water and Communications Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik made allegations against TNB such as regarding frequency of interruptions, employees purposely delaying repair works to claim overtime, attitude towards customers, and delay in application for connections of electricity. Next day, Amalgamated Union of TNB Employees lodged a police report against the Minister at the Brickfields police station to clarify matters. The Government must institute an enquiry immediately on the above-stated allegations to find out the truth.

Electricity supply in Malaysia needs improvement, including meeting the increased consumption and improving the quality of the system. The peak demand per annum has reached over 13,000 megawatts (MW) and the electricity generation capacity is about 19,000 MW. Ensuring generation capacity is one thing, and providing a better service is another.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Preparations for better delivery at KL City Hall

All must be prepared for a better delivery system in the City Hall Kuala Lumpur (CHKL) including the capacity to deal with disasters.

Comment by Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong during the Enforcement Day of the CHKL.

The Enforcement Directorate of CHKL has over 1,300 personnel with over 100 vehicles of various types. Its motto is Steadfast and Loyal. It is the biggest department in CHKL. Its vision is to support the aspiration of CHKL to make KL a world-class tropical garden city of light through the enforcement of laws. It aims to make KL clean, beautiful and orderly, creating consciousnss among cityfolks so that they are more responsible and have civic consciousness about the quality of life.

The Directorate intends to adhere to Customers' Charter. For example, it says it will take action and solve all complaints within one week.

Going through its wide-ranging activities, we notice that there are rooms for improvement. It would have to do more to acheive the vision and objectives as enshrined in the 2020 Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan with 190 policy statements. It has yet to show that it truly embraces universal values such as politeness, sincerity, honesty and integrity.

During disasters like floods and fires, the Directorate plays an active part. It has to upgrade its force to world standard in order to face all the challenges.

For instance, hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans City in United States recently. Preparations were made and warning was given. But, the sheer magnitude of the disaster overwhelmed.

If CHKL completes the local plan for the KL 2020 including making the Directorate world-class, it will be possible for KL to bid for the Olympic Summer Games in 20 years.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Contractors, developers and ethics

Just as professionals have ethical standard, developers and contractors must also have similar standard.

Professional bodies such as the Board of Engineers should make sure that members abide by ethical standard. Similarly, the Malaysian Government should have measures to ensure that developers and contractors follow similar standard. This is one way of protecting the people from being shortchanged.

Statement by Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong on the urgent need for codes of ethics in construction industry.

Today, the Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu gave a keynote address during the official opening of Forum on Integrity in construction sector at the Malaysian Institute of Integrity. He stressed on the need for integrity in the construction sector, quoting, among many things, the abandonment of the Cameron Highlands Hospital project by the contractor. He agrees that as engineers and architects have codes of ethics, so should contractors who appear to be above the professionals.

In April 2004, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said :"The effort to enhance integrity based on National Integrity Plan (NIP), and coordinated by Institut Integriti Malaysia (IIM), will form a concept that is appealing to all Malaysians. It will be a source of strength for Malaysians to manage its success and overcome its weaknesses..."

There are developers and contractors who complete projects according to specifications. But, there are those who, for one reason or another, fail miserably. They make people suffer. Would the forum on integrity help?

Apart from the Cameron Highlands Hospital project mentioned above, other projects that have caused headache include the flyover at Middle Ring Road 2 (MRR2)in Kepong, Matrade building, East Coast Highway, Penang Outer Ring Road, Johor Baru Pandan Hospital, Temerloh Hospital and 18 problematic school projects.

For over a year, 31 out of 32 pillars of the Kepong flyover (viaduct)have cracks. Four consultants from Australia, Germany and United Kingdom respectively have been engaged to study the cracks. Finally the UK consultant Halcrow Group has found crystals called ettringite in the cracks.

The two outer lanes of the six-lane flyover are closed to traffic. Meanwhile, we are still waiting for the Public Works Department to publish the report on the MRR2 flyover and to repair the cracks.

Does the Government truly intend to stop negotiated tenders and open up all tenders? Would it adopt international criteria to appoint contractors? We require effective measures to ensure that developers and contractors have codes of ethics.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Goods and Service Tax (GST) or VAT

We propose that the Government reveal the truth including the methods for implementing Goods and Service Tax (GST), so as to relieve public anxiety.

Comment by Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong on GST or Value Added Tax (VAT) as there are complaints that certain traders are charging 5% more for their goods.

Now, is the Government implementing GST? For instance, the North South Highway has Rest and Recreation Stops(R & R). There is a complaint that at the Bidor R & R, certain traders are charging 5% more for each item such as a cup of coffee. The Government should investigate the veracity of the complaint.

Truth will come to light.

For several years, we have discussed indirect taxes such as VAT. When Tun Daim first became the Finance Minister, he mentioned VAT. The Government procrastinates. The thing that is fristed is not forgiven.

Last year, the Prime Minister and Finance Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi prattled on introducing GST by 1st January, 2007. He must let us know the details of GST and the ways to implement it. These will help dispel suspicions.

GST or VAT? Are they not the same? If implemented, they will add to over RM99 billion national revenue. This is a form of indirect tax. For example, if we buy a pen, 5% more is added to the price. Those who don't buy it do not pay. Similarly, motorists who do not use the North South Highway, do not pay toll. Is it a fairer way of taxation?

More countries are adopting indirect tax system like VAT, such as Singapore and Thailand. The Finance Ministry must study the system in other countries and the mehtods suitable for Malaysia. All things are difficult before they are easy. Let the people breathe.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Taking pains over brain drain

The Government must take more pains to stop the brain drain and to attract experts such as scientists to Malaysia. How do we change the mindset that only pays lip service to talents?

Statement by Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong on the priority to develop the creative content industry as mentioned by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on 8 September, 2005 at the opening of the 9th Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC)-International Advisory Panel (IAP) meeting. 10 September, 2005.

The Prime Mnister said that the Government was re-examining the package of incentives that we offered to make the MSC a more compelling choice for investors and that MSC companies achieved sales exceeding US$1.6 billion last year.

It would be beneficial to analyse the number of ICT scientists and technologists that we have attracted and the number of homegrown ones we have managed to keep in the nine years of MSC. The number of patents for intelectual property rights gives a picture of the amount of research in the country. According to the Government, in 1996, the number of such patents in Malaysia was 141, compared with 335,061 in Japan and 127,476 in USA.

We desperately need brain to do research. There has been brain drain in the country, especially after 1970. During Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's premiership, I had heard certain ministers replying to questions in Parliament on brain drain, especially in the 80s last century. They derogated those professionals and scientists who left the country, saying 'good riddance.' Since the 90s, many leaders have shown some interest in the matter.

Genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains. Brain drain has been going on from time immemorial. Countries that receive the most brain do better. Hence, Malaysia has to take pains to overcome the lip service, mediocrity and feudal mentality.

On 8 September, 2005, Tun Mahathir commented on the need to welcome foreign scientists. We wish he had put more emphasis on this during his tenure as prime minister. He said:

"This is not about asking foreigners to take over what is rightfully ours, this is about research...if we do not take them, others will.

" Malaysia is a multi-racial country and in future, all countries will be multi-racial. For Malaysia to accept a few foreign scientists, it will not change the composition of the population in this country much.

"Today, Silicon Valley (in California) is full of Pakistanis, Indians, Iranians, Chinese and even Arabs."

Besides attracting foreign experts, keeping and luring back Malaysian experts should be a priority. There are many factors that attract these people. Hitherto, the Government incentives are not so attractive.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Mastering English

We have to keep improving the methods for the teaching of English including the teaching of Mathematics and Science using English. The plan to upgrade Malaysia's education system should include upgrading the teaching of English.

The Indians in India continue to use English as the official language and the Chinese in China have English lessions for the masses. Scadinavians, Belgians, Dutch and others often speak English fluently.

While we have to master our mother tongue, we must be proficient in other languages especially English.

Comment by Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong on the learning of languages especially English in addition to our mother tongue on 9 September, 2005.

In our polyglot society, we ask the Government to treat schools of all streams fairly. We encourage the mastery of many languages. We found it unacceptable that the Government systematically expunged English from 1970. By the early 80s, English schools were eradicated. The DAP was vilified for championing the preservation of English in addition to mother tongue.

To call a spade a spade, I remember Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad spoke in Parliament in the 80s on the importance of English. Nevertheless, for various reasons, he was caught up in the system that only stressed Bahasa Malaysia. Perhaps, he should let us know what was he up against then.

Yesterday, Tun Mahathir rehashed his view on English at the Ninth MSC International Advisory Panel meeting, by saying:

"There is a need for English to be completely mastered because the instructions are no longer going to be simple.

"It is unfortunate perhaps for the language nationalists but that is the reality today. They must not blight the future generations by objecting to the mastery and usage of the English language. They must not obstruct Malaysia's progress and development."

Some of the 18 public universities are dithering on the conversion from BM to English in the teaching of Maths and science. Students who learn English Maths and Science at Sixth Form are in practical dilemma when they enrol in universities that are not ready to offer English Maths and Science.

We need better methods, better teachers and lecturers in the teaching of English and other subjects using English as the medium such as Maths and Science.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Timeframe for local plan in Kuala Lumpur

We propose that once the local plan for Kuala Lumpur is completed by the end of 2006, there should, as far as possible, be a timeframe for its implementation in each area.

The local plan should include 190 policies to make Kuala Lumpur the international tropical garden city of light. For example, the first policy is to implement measures to develop KL as a centre of the Knowledge-Based Economy.

Statement by Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong on the briefing about local plan by the Structural Plan Department, City Hall, Kuala Lumpur(CHKL) on 8 September, 2005.

Structural Plan Kuala Lumpur(PSKL)was gazetted at the end of last year. But, after much goading, CHKL gives a briefing of its study to draw up local plan for each locality today.

There is a timeframe for four stages, starting from July, 2005 and ending in December, 2006. Without local plan, the structural plan is meaningless.

PSKL is wide-ranging, involving various sectors such as economic base, standard of living, land use, commerce, tourism, industry, transport, basic facilities, housing, social amenities, and environment.

We would like to see CHKL listening to the people, incorporating their opinions into local plan, if possible. For instance, there is not enough green lung in the city. Yet, there are trespassers on vacant land, so much so that CHKL finds it difficult to take action. Protocol roads like Kepong Road often have hodge-podge of illegal structures.

Just as Kepong, some areas require Light Rail Transit and Monorail stations and multi-purpose halls. Villages such as Kampung Baru and Jinjang need systematic planning for development.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Wrongful treatment of Tunku during Tun Hussein Onn's premiership

Umno Youth Chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein should let us know his feeling and action on the treatment of Almarhum Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra during Tun Hussein Onn's premiership.

Comment by Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong on the attitude of Hishammmuddin and his deputy Khairy Jamaludin regarding the current controversy on Tunku as Bapa Merdeka on 7 September, 2005.

Tunku played an important part in the Independence of Malaya and the creation of Malaysia. The DAP honoured him specially in a forum in Dewan Hang Tuah Melaka in 1985. I was chairman of the organizing committee.

Malaysians should respect Tunku for his role in Merdeka and nation-building. Hsihammuddin and Khairy have attacked DAP on the issue. What do they think of the treatment meted out to Tunku during Tun Hussein's tenure as premier?

In 1978 Tunku wrote the chapter, Actors on the Political Stage, in his book Viewpoints:

"Politics is a game of life, no less providential and God-sent than other fine professional careers. Very much depends on how one plays politics, and where one plays it...

"But some of the things these men (the circle that formed itself around the Government) did before they were exposed included demands to the media that I was to be given little or no publicity. I have had so much publicity in the last twenty years since I took over the leadership of UMNO, and the only bother this 'silence' ever caused me was that this black-out of any mention of me in the Press might be taken by others as a punishment for some serious offence I might have committed when I was Prime Minister.

"A book was introduced into schools which made no mention of my part in building this nation of ours. This was tantamount to libel and defamation of character, but when I knew what was behind it I kept silent. They might have overplayed their hand; all I had to do was to keep quiet."

Bapa Merdeka could be thus gagged. What hope has other people?

Hishammuddin and Khairy have chosen to play politics in their own way. Would they truly read what Tunku sensed as a libel and defammation of his character? What is their action for posthumous redress of the wrong done on Tunku?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

We call on the Malaysian Government to table a report in Parliament on the teaching of English in primary, secondary and tertiary education including Mathematics and Science.

Statement by Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong on the public concern about the teaching of English, Maths and Science in Malaysia.

In the last three years, the Government has introduced the teaching of Maths and Science in English in all streams of primary schools, including the 2-4-3 formula for Chinese and Tamil schools. The public are watching. The Government insists that everything is running smoothly. But, this matter is complicated. How many of the over three million pupils can adapt to the new policy? The Malay society have yet to show confidence in it. The Chinese suspect the effectiveness of formula 2-4-3.

We hope that the Government present a detailed report on the matter in the Third Meeting, Second Session of the 11th Parliament, starting on 19 September, 2005. Having mastered their mother-tongue, Malaysians would like to know the standard of English at all levels of education.

The public are worried about the number of competent English teachers and lecturers. When Maths and Science were taught in Mandarin, there were more than 90% passes among pupils in Chinese schools. How do they perform under the
new formula?

By the time they enrol at universities, students must be proficient in Bahasa Malaysia (BM). The 18 public universities in the country should use more English including in Maths and Science. Some still use BM. For the past three years, students in Sixth Form study Maths and Science in English. Entering universities, some find that the two subjects are still in BM; they are perlexed. What is the state of English in our universities? Is it consistent with the policy?

Monday, September 05, 2005

We urge the Malaysian Government to improve its monitoring mechanism against inflation, including the ways to manage petrol and diesel prices, so as to reduce the burden on the people.

Statement by Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong during the campaign to protest agianst further increase in petrol price in Kepong Baru, Kuala Lumpur, on 4 September, 2005.

The world crude oil price of over US$70 per barrel causes much concern. What are the measures to be taken by the Government? Consumers are worried about the rumour on the further increase in petrol price.

Since May and July this year, Malaysian petrol and diesel prices have gone up twice. The Prime Minister said yesterday that the Cabinet meeting on July 7, 2005, will discuss prices of goods, including the call to abolish road tax and reduce toll rate on our roads, thus lightening the burden on the public. We hope that the Government would not increase oil price further and that it would seriously consider the measures on road tax and toll rate.

Now, business is not good. Prices are going up and the inflation rate is over 3%. We truly need to revamp the monitoring mechanism on inflation.

The crude oil hike affects the cost of production and increase the price of imported materials, reducing our competitiveness. Further, demand by industrial countries such as Japan, US and European Union may go down.

The Cabinet meeting on Wednesday should decide on interest rate, appreciation of the ringgit and the various measures to relieve the difficulties faced by the people.

Tan Seng Giaw