View issues with Tan Seng Giaw

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Review all forms of affirmative action

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong reiterates the urgent need to review comprehensively all forms of affirmative action that has been instituted in Malaysia.

Dr Tan comments on the controversy arising from the Reuters report on 15 September, 2006, about Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew’s remark on the Chinese in the neighbouring countries.

Kuan Yew has been reported as saying: “Singapore’s neighbours have problems with their Chinese communities because they are successful and hardworking and therefore they are systemically marginalized.”

This arouses the Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, retorting that such comment is not ‘appreciated’.

Gerakan president Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik feels that the statement was wrong and uncalled for. Kuan Yew does not have to worry about rural areas.

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says that Singapore should look at how the Malays in the republic are being marginalized before criticizing Malaysia’s treatment of its ethnic Chinese.

MCA President Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting tells Malaysians to remain united and not fall into the trap of getting worked up over the remark.

“As a former prime minister, he should know this kind of remarks could have a negative impact on neighbouring countries,” he added.

Replying to questions from Berita Harian and TV3 yesterday, I said that I would like to have the full text of Kuan Yew’s speech. Talking on race and religion evokes sensitivities.

My stand is that we should have policies based on merits and needs, helping those who are weak and oppressed irrespective of race, religion or region. Once a person can stand on his or her own feet, he or she should no longer get the assistance. Let other qualified people have a chance.

This morning I received an SMS: This is a message from a supporter---‘I just listened to tv3’s night line. Come on, Kuan Yew spoke the heartfelt feelings of chinese here, yet u guys (by tan seng giaw) join the bn clowns in condemning him. I am very disappointed.’

I replied with an SMS: “I’ve no control of the media. I’ve asked for the full text of Kuan Yew’s speech. Why should I support the abuse of the affirmative action under which I’ve been a victim? Tan Seng Giaw.”

That person sent another SMS message: ‘ I’ll convey the message to the supporter. I didn’t watch TV news, so I can’t comment his views.’

So much for modern information technology.

Nevertheless, I have reiterated that The Government must review comprehensively all forms of affirmative action including those under the New Economic Policy to ascertain as much as possible those who have succeeded and those who have suffered as well as to recommend ways and means of helping only qualified people.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Don't regulate doctors to the teeth

Do not regulate doctors to the teeth. Consult medical bodies for more acceptable regulations such as on design of clinics and emergency facilities.

Establish workable mechanism to select more suitable candidates to be trained as doctors.

Promulgate laws to protect doctors who help during emergencies.

Formulate guidelines and codes of ethics for managed care.

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw took part in the debate on the 2007 Supply Bill (Budget) on 7.9.2006 when he also spoke briefly on the enforcement of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act (PHFSA) 1998.

The Health Ministry has been trying to enforce the PHFSA. For example, in the general design requirement of clinics, it did insist that the doors and stairs must be at least four feet wide and all clinics must have emergency equipment. (The Health Minister Datuk (Dr) Chua Soi Lek, having practised privately for some years as a doctor, is trying to see things in the right perspective).

The Director-General (DG) of Health has good intention to weed out black sheep and to protect the public. But, he is obsessed with public health, being relatively unfamiliar with the conditions of practising physicians and surgeons.

We are short of doctors in government hospitals and rural areas. We require better doctors. In Malaysia, the Government seems to be concerned with training more of them. Just because students have good examinations results, it does not mean that they are suitable to be doctors. Some are not. Much as parents yearning that their children become doctors, the Government must have workable mechanism to select more suitable candidates to be trained as doctors.

Like all professions, there are black sheep in medicine. However, most doctors are ethical. It is not reasonable to regulate them to the teeth.

For the General Design Requirement of clinics under the PHFSA, the DG should have consulted various medical bodies for more acceptable regulations.

Most doctors would like to help patients in emergency. But, as society changes, the Government must promulgate laws to protect them.

There is an urgent need to formulate guidelines and codes of ethics for managed care to ensure that things are run ethically, including payment to doctors in time. As it is, doctors wait for a long time to get paid. This must change.

Monday, September 11, 2006

2007 budget:eradicate all forms of wanton waste

Eradicate wanton wastage to achieve the National Mission contained in the 2007 Budget

National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw urges the Government to step up the mechanism to prevent all forms of wastage including corruption as one of the steps to ‘implement National Mission towards achieving National Vision’.

Summary of the speech by Dr Tan during the debate on the 2007 Supply Bill (Budget) in the Dewan Rakyat on 7.9.2006.

I rise to speak in this debate with anxiety because this is the most expansionary budget in the history of the House. The Prime Minister and Finance Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi showed his prudence in the 2005 and 2006 budgets. Now, in the RM159.4 billion allocation of the 2007 Budget, RM112.9 is for operating expenditure and RM46.5 billion for development. This the biggest development expenditure compared with that in the previous budgets. Previously the PM was prudent and there was criticism about slow development projects and contractors were unhappy. In 2007, many projects will be opened for tender and implemented.

Datuk Seri Abdullah says that the economic growth is forecast to be 5.8% (not 6% as originally stated), private sector investment increases by 10.1%, private investment is expected to increase by 10.1%, the current account in the balance of payments is estimated to record a surplus of16.7% of Gross National Product (GNP), revenues will increase by 11.8% to RM134.8 billion and budget deficit is 3.4% of Gross Domestic Product(GDP) in 2007 compared with 3.5% in 2006. Although these are positive signs, we are very worried because the budget is the most expansionary in the history of this House. Without this expansionary budget, will the GDP grow by at least 5%? Various problems such as the lack of integrity and wanton waste raise anxiety.

Will the Government be able to stimulate people of all races to work hard to make the National Mission a success? This Mission is to move the economy up the value chain, raise the capacity for knowledge, address socio-economic inequalities, improve quality of life and strengthen implementation capacity.

Practise ethics and integrity

In the past two years, the Government has formed Integrity Management Committee in all ministries, departments and Federal Government and State Government agencies. It has formulated National Integrity Plan(NIP) and set up Malaysia Integrity Institute (MII).The Prime Minister says that the launching of PIN and the institute will be a catalyst for the attainment of the objective of enhancing integrity. All these will enable Malaysia to forge ahead towardsbecoming a developed nation in its own mould, as well as to emerge as a nation of excellence, glory and distinction.

NIP presents Target 2008 to reduce corruption, increase efficiency, enhance governance, strengthen family and improve life. We hope that all members of parliament will lead other sectors in embracing and practising Target 2008. Members of parliament must help promote NIP by creating a comprehensive mechanism to involve all sectors such as the private sector, political parties, non-government organization, religions, media, women, youths and students, in the campaign to enhance integrity in an integrated manner.

In the last two years, MII has sponsored about 800 programmes in the whole country. We propose that these programmes are also introduced in schools and teachers' institutes. According to MII, it is setting up branches at state level, publish reading materials in various languages, involve world bodies such as United Nations DevelopmentProgramme (U.N.D.P.) and create National Integrity Index, starting withPerak. These are preventive. Jeremy Pope from U.N.D.P. is helping the institute to produce Malaysian Integrity Source Book.

Professor Datuk Dr Syed Hussein Alatas, an intelectual, does not take this index seriously. He says:"If a leader truly wants to attempt to fight against corruption, he or she must be prepared to be a political martyr. If he or she is not prepared to do so, how can he or she try to eradicate corruption."

The MII report must be tabled for debate in the House every year. (to be continued)

Sunday, September 03, 2006

2007 budget:needs greater efforts to fight inflation and protect ordinary people, 2.9.2006.

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw urges the Government to take more effective measures against inflation, such as by stepping up enforcement and fulfilling the promise against reducing petrol subsidies.

Dr Tan comments on inflation following the 2007 budget presented by the Prime Minister and Finance Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on 1.9.2006.

The RM159.5 billon budget has increase and decrease in taxes, tax relieves and incentives, such as corporate tax going down from 28% to 26% by 2008, further taxes on cigarettes and alcohol, abolition of government examinations fees and rebate for the purchase of computer from RM500 to RM3, 000. The media are full of good news.

We hope that these changes in taxes and relieves will produce desirable effects. The allocation of RM24.68 billion for education and training attracts attention. However, we must not forget the general feeling of ordinary people about price increases and business atmosphere, including hawkers and petty traders. The Government must try its utmost to help the public.

From 2000 to 2004, Malaysian Consumer Price Index (CPI) has risen from 2% in 2004, to 3% in 2005 and 3.9% in 2006. Although this may not be as high as some countries, it still hurts.
Datuk Seri Abdullah reaffirms his intention of keeping the present level of petrol subsidy of 19 billion a year. We hope he fulfills his promise.

His wishes to improve enforcement on the price of essential goods should be transformed into more effective measures. There must be review of the methods of enforcement. We need clean, efficient and trustworthy enforcement personnel.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Rapid KL must also follow rules and regulations

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw urges Rapid KL to give better service and to follow rules and regulations just as other bus companies. If there are exceptions for the company, then it will be unfair for other bus companies.

Dr Tan comments on the increase in the number of buses for Rapid KL under the RM10 billion public transportation plan to be implemented by Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad (SPNB) as announced by the Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on 29 August, 2006.

The RM10 billion allocation is to create an efficient and cost-effective public transport system in the Klang Valley. This includes the improvement in the LRT network. It is hoped that in future there will not be LRT passengers trapped because of various reasons such as floods.

Is Rapid KL a slow bus service?

Early next year, Rapid KL will have 1,130 new buses and the present 600 buses which will be repaired, totalling 1,730 buses. We expect that the service will be good and that its buses will follow rules and regulations.

At present, there are complaints of passengers having to change buses from the suburb to the centre of KL frequently, whereas there are more direct routes provided by other companies. Very often, we see Rapid KL buses parking at bus stations instead of bus terminals. While other buses are charged for indiscriminate parking, do they get the same treatment?

Are there special privileges for Rapid KL?

The Government wishes to increase the the percentage of public transport passengers from 11% to 40% as seen in big cities worldwide. If this is attained, we can reduce traffic congestion. On the other hand, SPNB must show to other bus companies that it does not enjoy special privileges.

On principle, we welcome the intention to inprove public transport. In practice, Rapid KL must show good example as well as giving good service to passengers. It should review the number of changes of buses in various routes. It should differentiate between bus terminals and bus stations.