View issues with Tan Seng Giaw

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Royal Commission on Malaysian Health System

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw proposes that the Malaysian Government sets up a Royal Commission of Enquiry to enquire into the health system and to give recommendations for its total restructuring, consistent with the modern world.

Dr Tan put forward the proposal during the debate on the allocation of RM8.7 billion for the Health Ministry in the Supply Bill, 2006, on 29 November, 2005.

Today, the Ministry of Health is facing huge challenges. The demand of the increasingly more enlightened public is difficult to meet. The ministry's organization is unwieldy: it has about 160,000 personnel with '13,000' doctors and '30,000' nurses, increasing by about 5,000 annually. It cannot go on using the old system.

There are many weaknesses such as the shortage of doctors and nurses, the long waiting lists and the unsatisfactory treatment of patients. Health is a bottomless pit.

The Minister Datuk Chua Soi Lek understands the health system. He has tried to improve certain aspects. But, there are about 280,000 outpatients and 27,000 inpatients a year. Heart outpatients and inpatients are 27,000 and 1,000 per year. Kuching General Hospital is the only hospital in the country having CT angiogram through private contributions; each machine costs RM5 million. General hospitals in the whole Peninsula has no such machine to scan the hearts of patients.

The Ministry should improve its coordination with Immigration Department and Venerinary Department to control infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, leprosy and bird influenza. The screening of immigrant workers must be more effective. As our neighbours such as Thailand and Indonesia have bird flu infection, Malaysia should enhance its preventive measures.

We urge the Health Minister to consider seriously the setting up of Royal Commission of Enquiry on all aspects of healthcare in Malaysia to meet the needs of the nation.

Monday, November 21, 2005

When will the Matrade building be completed?

National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw has, once again, asked the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) to tell the House when will its Matrade building be completed after seven years of delay.

The Public Works Department (JKR) has fined the contractor RM80 million. Who pays?

Dr Tan took part in the debate on the Supply Bill (2006 Budget) at the committee stage with the allocation of RM483.7 million t0 MITI.

Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) started its building project in 1994, to be completed in 1997. The contractor was Perangsang International Sendirian Berhad (PISB), which is a subsidiary of Kumpulan Hartanah Selangor Bhd--the investment company of the Selangor State Government. Apparently, on 26 October, 2004, PISB has been sold to a third party for RM2, as part of the revamp of Kumpulan Hartanah Selangor Bhd.

The building has had weaknesses such as the floors and the fascade. But, the biggest flaw is the contractor.

The Deputy Minister, MITI, Dato' Haji Ahmad Husni Bin Mohamad Hanadzlah says in the House on 21 November, 2005, that the final cost for the project will be RM257 million and the rescheduled date of completion is 23 March, 2005.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Multi-purpose Aedes mosquito breeding centre

DAP National Deputy Chairman dan MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw requests the Implementation and Coordination Centre (ICU) to improve its coordination with the Health Ministry and local authorities to ensure that all projects in the country do not become major
Aedes mosquito breeding centres.

Dr Tan visited the Multi-purpose Sports Centre at the Menjalara Lake Garden, Kepong, this morning to ascertain the state of the centre that has been going on for over 5 years. We do not know who is at fault. We are concerned that after spending about RM5 million, the centre has become a major Aedes aegypti breeding centre.

After seeing the centre on 23 August, 2005, Dr Tan asked the Government to ensure that the contractor completed the building according to specifications. For unknown reasons, about three months later, the project is still dangling in the air.

Recently, the incidence of dengue has increased. Aedes mosquitoes carry the virus and spread the disease. Major breeding grounds for Aedes include construction sites, especially abandoned projects. All Malaysians in particular developers and contractors should always be on the alert.

City Hall Kuala Lumpur (CHKL) is under the Prime Minister's Department. ICU is also under the same department and it has an allocation of over RM404 million. This unit acts as the secretariat for the Cabinet Committee, monitors and assesses special projects as well as assists in problematical projects.

CHKL develops the Menjalara Lake Garden which is popular. Its concept of attractive public toilet and atmosphere and modern sports facilities such as an air-conditoned badminton court is progressive. But, the implementation of the projects disappoints the public.

Yesterday, Dr Tan met Encik Hasan Hj Hamzah, Director of Architect and Special Projects Department, CHKL, about the attractive toilet, the drying lake and the abandoned multi-purpose sports centre. He has reasonable concepts about modern projects.

Today, Dr Tan finds that the sports centre has become a multi-purpose Aedes breeding centre. There were signs of whitish chemicals being used several hours ago to kill many mosquitoes in abandoned containers such as unused pipes.

The most astounding is the large pool of knee-high clear water underground from the spared tanks within the complex. There is no sign of the cloudy chemical to exterminate Aedes. The sports complex has become a multi-purpose Aedes breeding centre.

ICU, CHKL and Health Ministry must enhance their coordination and their determination to eradicate Aedes and dengue. Why should construction projects such as Menjalara Multi-purpose Sports Centre become a major Aedes breeding ground?

Monday, November 14, 2005

What is culture on luxurious toilets?

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw calls on the Government to announce the amount it spends on the campaign for clean toilets in the country.

Dr Tan met Encik Hasan Hj Hamzah, Director, Architect and Special Projects Department, City Hall, Kuala Lumpur (CHKL) on 14 November, 2005. Dr Tan had gone to the Park Department on 9 and 10 November, 2005 following public complaints on the luxurious toilet, the lake drying up, the multi-purpose sport centre uncompleted and and the unsatisfactory maintenance at the Menjalara Lake Garden, Kepong. He was referred to Hasan who was on holiday until today.

Dr Tan has asked the Prime Minister to look into the system of public holidays and the schedule required to keep all government departtments functioning during holiday seasons. On 9 and 10 November, 2005,--6 and 7 days after Hari Raya-- most departments were relatively empty. Today, Hasan has returned, but there are still members of staff who are not back.

CHKL has chosen a suitable site for a park and a sports centre. Residents from surrounding areas flock to the park every morning and evening. But, after spending many millions on the park and the sports centre, the lake in the park is drying up, the toilet is looking anything but luxurious and the sports centre remains uncompleted after more than five years.

Hasan will be providing details on the above-mentioned matters next week. His concept about luxurious toilets is seen in other countries such as China, Japan and Korea that spend millions to make their toilets comfortable. Koreans are said to hold meetings at their toilets. The Chinese are upgrading their toilets in a big way for the 2008 Olympics.

The local authority has spent over RM400,000 for the toilet at the park. This includes beautifying the surrounding area to create a good atmosphere. But, many perceive that the toilet is not worth RM400,000. The concept of making people take care of toilets and keep hygiene and cleanliness should be encouraged all over the country including villages. CHKL should correct the perception in the Menjalara Lake Garden.

Meanwhile, the Government has talked so much about looking after our toilets. It has spent millions. The public should cooperate. We hope that the Government announce the amount it has spent on the sustained campaign.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Can TNB be fair to consumers as it overcomes tempered meters?

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw calls on the Malaysian Government to monitor Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) so that the latter is fair to consumers in their efforts to eradicate falsified meters.

On 11 November, 2005, Dr Tan had a discussion with the TNB Task Force and consumers at its headquarters for Kuala Lumpur West in Jinjang. The company charges users new rate after discovering tempered meters.

Although a few Independent Power Producers (IPPs) supply electricity to TNB, it has virtual monopoly in the country. It has assets of RM60 billion with over 5 million consumers.

Recently, the company sends its task force to find out meters that have been modified. It changes the old meters with new meters approved by SIRIM. For example, a meter records 150 units of electricity used per month. The force smells rat and puts in a new meter that shows 800 units per month, over 70% more electricity consumed. The new calculation is based on the difference of 650 units a month. If the old meter is 5-year-old, TNB may include the arrears for one and a half years. The new bill may run into thousands or tens of thousands of ringgit.

Now, over 2,000 consumers in KL West have received shocking bills. Many are flabbergasted.
What syndicates are cheating TNB? If these syndicates temper with meters, they must have colluded with relevant people, including TNB employees and electrical contractors or subcontractors. TNB has meter readers and technicians who monitor electricity supply. How can thousands of falsified meters exist for years?

People should not steal electricity. If consumers are innocent, what is the meaning of punishing them with hefty bills? If a shoplot has a tempered meter and a new owner purchases the building without paying attention to the meter, TNB then presents the new owner with inflated bills based on a newly installed meter. This horrifies him or her.

The Energy, Water and Communications Ministry must take this matter seriously. It must monitor TNB's methods of sorting out tempered meters. Please treat consumers justly.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

When should officers get back to work from Hari Raya?

DAP National Deputy Chairman Dr Tan Seng Giaw calls on the Prime Minister's Department to inquire into how government departments deal with schedules for vacations and the minimal number of staff required for each department to function.

Yesterday, Dr Tan went to the Park Department at the City Hall Kuala Lumpur and found that it was not functioning. The director EncikZulkifli Endut was away until 14 November, 2005. The day before yesterday, the officer Encik Zairul Nizam was said to be on site inspection. He was supposed to be in yesterday, but was still on holidays. Dr Tan's memorandum on parks and sports centre was not handed in. A clerk wrote down the name of Puan Siti Zakiah for today.

This morning, Dr Tan went again to the department. Apparently, Puan Siti Zakiah accompanied her director for site inspection. Dr Tan waited until an officer Encik Nawawi who was familiar with the Menjalara Lake Garden, Kepong, appeared. He received the memorandum and explained the problems of the lack of water source for the lake, the uncompleted multi-purpose sports centre and the luxurious toilet. He then referred Dr Tan to Encik Hassan, the Director at the Architect Department and Puan Zarina, another architect, who were conversant with the luxurious toilet and the abandoned sports centre at Menjalara.

Dr Tan walked up the stairs from 20th to 23rd floor. Both Hassan and Zarina were still not back from holidays. They will return on 14 November, 2005. Dr Tan will be at the architects' office on that morning.

As Malaysia marches towards a developed state by 2020, the Government must work out effective schedules for over one million civil servants to go on holidays. Every department must be able to function at the height of a holiday season.

For example, yesterday a four-wheel drive vehicle rammed into the luxurious toilet, damaging the front part. Does the toilet at Menjalara Garden really cost RM400,000 or more?

In the past 5 years, the Architect Department has been supervising the construction of the multi-million ringgit sports centre at the park. What happens to the project? How much will it eventualy cost?

The lake at the garden has a tube well that pumps on alternate hours because the underground water is inadequate. During a dry season, the lake is virtually dry.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw
MP for Kepong

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Review the system of public holidays in Malaysia

DAP National Deputy Chairman Dr Tan Seng Giaw requests the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to review the system of public holidays in Malaysia, so that we can compare favourably with developed nations. How do they deal with their holiday seasons?

Dr Tan comments on this issue after visiting the Park Department at the City Hall Kuala Lumpur (CHKL) at the Taman Wawasan, Jalan Raja Abdullah, KL and found that there was nobody in charge on 9 November, 2005.

The Prime Minister stresses on integrity and delivery service. All Malaysians should help him to achieve these. But then, we noticed that during the Ramadan fasting month, some civil servants were not putting in enough efforts.

November 3, 2005 was the Hari Raya. We expect people in the public and private sectors to take some time off to celebrate the auspicious occasion. The same applies to Chinese New Year and Deepavali.

Yesterday, I rang up the Park Department to find out if the person in charge of public parks Encik Zulkifli Endut was back. I was told by one of the clerks that he would be away until 14 November, 2005. But, I was assured that his deputy and technical assistant Encik Zairul Nizam went on site inspection yesterday and that he would definitely be in today.

Lo and behold, I went to the 19th and 20th floors of the Bangunan DBKL2 and found mostly empty desks and Encik Zairul Nizam had not turned up to work. There was nobody in charge of parks and sports centres in Kepong. I am going to see if any officer would be returning to work tomorrow. For instance, we want to know why the Menjalara Lake Garden in Kepong has no lake.

The Park Department is not the only Government office in the country that is not functioning. Many others have a similar problem.

Going on holidays is important. All work and no play may make a person dull. But, six days after Hari Raya, some officers should have been back. There should be a workable schedule for every department to function.

The 2020 Vision aims to make Malaysia a developed nation. We have only 15 years. We hope that Datuk Seri Abdullah look seriously into the system of public holidays in the country including the schedules for every department. How do we ensure that the delivery system is excellent?

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Independent inquiry on the standard of Malaysian universities

DAP National Deputy Chairman Dr Tan Seng Giaw believes that we need an independent inquiry into the standard of Malaysian universities, so that we know whether higher education is moving towards world status.

The Education Act, 1996, aims at making Malaysian education attaining world standard. This is laudable.

The Times Higher Education (THE) survey puts Harvard University, USA, as number 1 and University of Malaya (UM) as 169 compared to 89 last year. The National Science University (USM) goes from 111 to nothing.

The Vice-Chancellor of UM Professor Datuk Dr Hashim Yaacob insists that the survey does not reflect the truth and that the score of UM this year is better than last year. He exhilarates as UM is 169 out of 30,000 universities in the world. According to THE, last year UM was 82 with a mark of 16.6. This year it is 169 with 23.5.

Putting up billboards at his campus to extol UM to the skies, Hashim has not convinced the world of his achievement. We require more proof. One way is to hold an independent inquiry on the standard of universities in the country.

We have 17 public universities, going on 18. What are the criteria for the appointment of vice-chancellor, dean and professor? What is the type of meritocracy for the enrolment of students?

There are many ways to assess the standard of a university. THE is one way. The public inquiry mentioned above can refer to the various standards adopted by about 30,000 universities in the globe. It may adopt the criteria recognized by the top 200 univerisities in the THE ranking?

Dr Tan Seng Giaw
MP for Kepong