View issues with Tan Seng Giaw

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry X'mas and Happy New Year.

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong wishes everyone Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Good riddance to 2005 and the disasters such as the July bombing in London and the South Asia earthquake. The first anniversary of tsunami in the Indian ocean reminds us of the need to prevent natural catastrophies, if we can, such as by having oceanic warnings as has been done in the Pacific Ocean. Some tsunami victims in affected areas like Acheh have received international assistance, but some have not.

Let us hope that this Christmas and 2006 will bring peace and happiness to the world. Will we be able to see the end of the conflicts in the Middle East, Sri Lanka and Thailand?

In Malaysia, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has set up the National Integrity Institute (IIM) and the National Integrity Plan (PIN) that have given so much hope to Malaysians. We should help him to achieve a clean, efficient and trustworthy public and private sectors.

We have such a long way to go. The lack of integrity and efficiency as seen in the endless saga of the Malaysian Airline System (MAS) and the abuse of the approved import permits (AP) of cars, steel and so forth saddens Malaysians. Mediocrity, feudalism and bloody-mindedness persist in various fields including higher education.

If we want a world-class education as enshrined in the Education Act 1996, we must have world-class vice-chancellors, professors and students. The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Malaya puts up billboards to advertise the university as world-class. This can only make the institution a world-class billboard university.

Since 2003, the introduction of the teaching of English in Mathematics and Science in all streams of primary schools causes anxiety. Many Malays and Chinese educationists insist on using mother tongue to teach maths and science. There is a fear that the teaching of Mandarin in Chinese schools will be gradually reduced. The Government should present full reports of the progress in the teaching of maths, science, mother tongue and English.

In 1987, several countries like Korea, Malaysia, and Thailand suffered from the economic crisis. Malaysia pegged its ringgit with the dollar and Korea and Thailand accepted the vagary of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. They have bitten the bullet, emerging stronger. The Malaysian Government and the people must recognize the weaknesses in our system and work together to overcome them.

There are tens of millions of Chinese tourists, eager to see the world. The number is increasing. Similarly, the middle class is expanding in India. Countries such as the U.S., the U.K., the European Union and Thailand have tried their best to attract them. They deal with genuine and less genuine tourists in their stride. Unfortunately, certain people including a small number of police have handled the situation in Malaysia unacceptable to the world. Any unnecessary detention and infringement of human dignity and rights cause furore. The terrible image deters tourists.

The less developed world protests against agricultural subsidies in industrial countries. On the other hand, how do we manage subsidies including those for petrol and diesel in our country. While it is necessary to help poor people to help themselves, it is essential to ensure that subsidies are not misused. We wish that Petronas is transparent and that the earnings from petroleum can be put into more meaningful use for the country.

Tan Seng Giaw


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