View issues with Tan Seng Giaw

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

After 15% water bill hike, does the Government still compensate Syabas RM125 million? 31.10.2006

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong urges the Government to reveal whether after the 15% increase in water bill, the Government still has to pay the privatized water company, Syabas, RM125 million. It should also make public the complicated deal between the Government and Syabas.

Dr Tan questions the Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik on the 15% increase in water bill in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur tomorrow. Dr Lim has inherited the complex problem of water privatization , not only in Selangor, but also in other states. Hence, it is necessary for him to reveal the saga of woes, arising from the management of water.

Tomorrow, 42% of households that use less than 20 cubic metres of water daily are not affected by the price hike; 28% of households using between 20 and 30 cubic metres pay 5 to 6% extra and those using more than 30 cubic metres per day face 15% increase. Every person must conserve water. As the present economic situation is not good, 15% increase in water bill is too high. Some suggest that the increase should not be more than 8%.

How does the complexity of the water issue arise? According to Dr Lim, if the price increase starts from November this year, the Government has to pay Syabas RM125 million compensation. If it begins in January, next year, the compensation is RM152 million.

Now, the hike begins tomorrow, does it mean that the tax-payers still pay RM125 million to Syabas? The public are perplexed.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Improve greatly coordination between federal, state and local governments to reduce river pollution.

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw reiterates the urgent need to improve the coordination between Federal, State and Local Governments, as an effective step to reduce river pollution in Malaysia.

As we have repeatedly stressed, to rehabilitate the dead river in the commercial capital, the Klang River, is a test of the Government's determination. For 13 years, the Love Our River campaign has not achieved much. Over Rm10 million has been spent on it. Since 2002, it has been changed into 'One State, One River' campaign with little to show.

For over 20 years, Dr Tan has raised the river pollution issue, including the highlighting of Jinjang River pollution due to the Taman Beringin dumpsite two years ago. Jinjang River flows into Batu River which connects with Klang River. Although the Kuala Lumpur City Hall has closed down the dumpsite, the Jinjang River pollution persists.

Many of the 400 or so rivers in Malaysia are poplluted. Recently, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry states in Parliament that there are nine dead rivers in the country, namely, Sungai Juru, Sungai Pinang, Sungai Jejawi in Penang, Sungai Buloh and Sungai Klang in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, Sungai Segget, Sungai Kempas, Sungai Danga and Sungai Tukang Batu in Johor.

There are many sources of pollution such as local governments, residential households and industries. We must continue to educate. Every local government is responsible for the sources of sewage and land is under the state government. Very often anti-pollution plans from the Federal Government do not reach the state or the local level effectively. It is difficult to srutinize 144 local governments.

We desperately require improvement in the coordination of the Central, State and Local Governments, so that anti-pollution measures can reach all levels.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Should not be further increase in petrol price

There should not be further increase in petrol price in the country.

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong urges the Government against any intention to increase the price of petrol, especially in the present economic environment.

The Government should let us know what it intends to do with the savings from the reduction of the petrol subsidies. It has mentioned about using the money for welfare and other purposes to benefit the public.

Dr Tan refers to the statement yesterday by the Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk S. Veerasingam that the Government will not reduce the price of petrol despite the global price of crude oil dropping to US$57.24 (RM210) a barrel. 16.10. 2006.

The Government has promised that it will not raise petrol price until the end of 2006. In March this year, it increased petrol price by 30 sen when crude oil was US$62.91 a barrel. The retail price is RM1.92 a litre for petrol and RM1.59 for diesel. It still subsidizes petrol and diesel, accumulating more savings with the lower price.
For over two years, business atmosphere has not been good. People experience the effects of high crude price of over US$70 a barrel. Now, crude price is falling to below US$60 a barrel, Malaysians hope that the Government reduces petrol price.

What is important is that the Government keeps to its promise against increasing petrol price further. If petrol price does not go up further, the people especially businessmen will not have to bear more burden.

In March 2006, the Government announced its objective of approving petrol price hike as savings of about RM3 billion for public transport. Then, crude price went up to over US$70 a barrel, putting paid to the estimated savings.

Now, the crude price is below US$60, the savings from the reduction of petrol subsidies will be substantial. We hope that the Government will make public the amount of savings and the purpose for which these will be used.

Tan Seng Giaw

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Operations against all forms of crimes, not just illegal motorcycle racers.

Mount huge operations against all criminal activities including snatch robberies and break-ins.

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw urges the police to launch big operations against all crimes with the cooperation of the people.

This is an effective way to overcome the dilemma of Malaysians facing various criminal activities in the country.

Dr Tan notes that the Senior Assistant Commissioner II Nooryah Mohd Anvar stated yesterday that the police was determined to launch large operations against illegal motorcycle racers, mat rempit. Some also attack, injure and rob motorists.

For example, the police should investigate the following allegation: during the rush hour at 6.30 pm on 14 September, 2006, five mat rempits were said to attack a car at sixth mile Kepong Road, Jinjang, injured two motorists and robbed them of their things. These victims in their early 20s complained that the Jinjang police took their sweet time to arrive at the scene after having been informed of the crime. By that time the criminals had gone. When they lodged two police reports on the incident, some personnel were kind, but occasional ones such as an inspector were rude, using unprintable language. The police must improve its image. It must learn to love the people.

Besides big operation against illegal racers, the police should also mount operations to tackle other crimes such as snatch robberies, break-ins, rapes, kidnaps and murders. Because of various factors like the lack of personnel, the police appear helpless.

It is true that the incidence of crimes in other places such as Washington is far worse than that in Malaysia. But then, we should compare with places having relatively better security such as Melbourne.

The 2007 budget allocates RM4.9 billion to increase the efficiency of police. Hence, we would like the police to launch effective operations against all forms of crimes. Let the people feel better and safer.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

An independent body to study equity ownership in Malaysia

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw proposes that the Government set up a truly independent body to study the equity ownership of public-listed companies and the effects of affirmative actions on all races in the country.

Dr Tan comments on the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI)'s admission in the media that there were shortcomings in the assumption and calculations that led to its claim that the estimated Bumiputera equity ownership may be as high as 45%. In 1970, the New Economic Policy (NEP) set the target at 30% Bumiputera ownership.

The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has not accepted the ASLI findings. On 8 October, 2006, Umno Vice-President Tan Sri Muhyddin Yassin asked ASLI to withdraw its study, adding that it should not challenge the wisdom of the Government.

It is time that the Government appoint a genuinely independent body to study the effects of affirmative actions and the equity ownership of publiclisted companies by all races. The implementation of NEP means various affirmative actions. For instance, billions of shares have been offered especially with Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) when companies are listed, in particular since 1970. How many Bumiputeras have kept their shares? How many have sold them for huge profits? Where have they deposited their money? What happen to those Bumiputeras who deserve to be helped, but have not been given opportunities?

Huge companies such as Sime Darby, Guthrie, TNB and Pernas are government-linked companies (GLCs). They are major players. They are companies owned by 25 million Malaysians. If we assume that there are 60% Bumiputeras and 40% Non-Bumiputeras, then 60% of the shares of these GLCs are owned by Bumiputeras and 40% by Non-Bumiputeras.

Different definitions produce different findings. When Bumiputera quity is mentioned as 18.5%, there is no visible outcry.

How do Malaysians get to the bottom of the equity ownership? How do we face globalisation?

Tan Seng Giaw