View issues with Tan Seng Giaw

Saturday, January 20, 2007

We need transparent implementation mechanism for National Education Blueprint, 20.1.2007.

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw proposes that the Government establish a transparent mechanism to implement the National Education Blueprint in Malaysia, consistent with the Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin's emphasis of a blueprint that is not based on colour and that need every sector to participate.

We shall study the blueprint carefully. We shall continue to monitor its implementation and to give suggestions, so that we can, together, make our multi-stream education system attain world-class status.

Dr Tan comments on the National Education Blueprint launched by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on 16 January, 2oo7.

Abdullah hopes that the blueprint will be implemented properly to ensure students receive the best possible education the ministry can deliver. Then, Hishamuddin stresses that it is not based on colour, religious background or socio-economic status. He adopts a two-pronged approach to implement six thrusts - nation-building, developing human capital, strengthening national schools, narrowing the education gap, improving the teaching profession and accelerating excellence at educational institutions. We must make sure that the blueprint will not remain only a blueprint.

Malaysians agree that we must develop our education into a world-class system. In theory, the six thrusts including nation-building are acceptable. It is one thing to strengthen national schools so as to change our perception of these schools. It is another to ensure a fair treament for all schools with different streams.

The Education Minister wants everyone to participate in making the blueprint a success. Then, he would have to talk to all sectors, not just to certain people only.

We shall continue to give our comments. We reiterate that there is a need for a truly transparent mechanism to implement the blueprint.

Tan Seng Giaw

Monday, January 15, 2007

Allocate at least RM300 million for flood victims in several Malaysian states, 15.1.2007.

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw calls on the Government to allocate at least RM300 million for the flood victims in several states in Malaysia, especially Johor and Melaka.

Dr Tan comments on the second wave of flooding that has caused further suffering, including 100,000 victims in relief centres in Johor.

The unusual Monsoon rain is causing havoc especially in Johor. Besides emergency measures to protect lives, the Government must find out the losses in all aspects and the factors leading to severe flooding and inadequate rescue operations.

Before the actual assessment of the damage due to the first wave last month can be completed, the second wave results in more suffering and destruction. We hope that all the services perform their rescue operations effectively, avoiding the weaknesses seen during the first wave.
Apart from human losses during the first wave, a very minimal estimate of damage in some sectors include at least RM81 million in roads,RM11.5 million in schools, RM6.7 million in plantations, and RM6.5 million in electricity supply. Before we can know the actual damage, the second wave has inflicted more losses.

The Government should allocate at least RM300 million for the flood victims, in addition to those measures taken after the first wave, such as RM3 million from the National Welfare Foundation, RM4.816 million for 33,854 students in Johor, RM500 million loans with 2.5% interest from Bank Negara to businessmen in affected states.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Tourism allocates RM250 million for the 2007 Visit Malaysia Year(VMY). All Malaysians should support VMY to attract 20.1 million tourists to the country compared with 17.5 million last year. We hope that the tourists will bring in RMRM44.5 billion campared with RM37.4 billion in 2006.

Tan Seng Giaw

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Complete the two packages in KL flood mitigation as soon as possible, 14.1.2007.

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw calls on the Government to complete the two packages of the Kuala Lumpur flood mitigation scheme as soon as possible and to ensure that the scheme will truly mitigate flooding in the Federal Territory.

Dr Tan responds to the request by motorists, traders and hawkers to overcome the delay in the works of the two packages. Package I is to alleviate flooding from the Klang River with Smart Tunnel. Package II is to channel excess water from Gombak River, Batu River, Jinjang River and Keroh River, Kepong, to the three big lakes in Jinjang North, through underground drains.

Yesterday, the Minister for the Federal Territories Datuk Zulhasnan reassured the city folks that the operation rooms in KL and Labuan are ready to face floods in the territories. We hope that there will not be flooding and that if it were to occur, those who man operation rooms will be efficient.

The Malaysian Department of Irrigation and Drainage (D.I.D.) is implementing two pakages of the flood mitigation in KL. Package I began in 2003, to be completed in december, 2006. It is expected to be ready by June this year. After a delay, Package II started in August, 2005, works to be finished by the beginning of this year. It is expected to be operational by the end of the year.

The delay in the works causes inconvenience to motorists, affecting business. For instance, works in Jinjang along the Kepong road gives rise to traffic jams in the last one and a half years. We wish this part of the project is completed soon.

Some people including the Director-General of D.I.D. Datuk Keizrul maintain that once operational, the two packages may not be able to alleviate flooding. There are other factors such as a network of drains and rivers. The Government and the people must help to ensure that these drains and rivers are not clogged with rubbish.

The cost of the two packages is of concern. The media have quoted the cost of Package I as RM2.1 billion and that of Package II as RM500 million, or is it RM800 million, giving the total of RM2.6 billion, or RM2.9 billion.

The Government must show transparency and accountability. It has to make public the cost of the two packages assessed by an internationally-recognized professional organization. For example, an estimate shows the Smart Tunnel as costing less than RM1 billion. If the concessionaire gets RM1.3 billion, it makes over RM200 million. If it obtains RM2.1 billion, it gains RM1 billion, nearly 100%.

We understand that flood mitigation projects are expensive and that they may not be able to prevent floods. But, this does not mean that we can simply waste public fund.

Tan Seng Giaw

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The woes of credit cards and integrity,11.1.2007.

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw urges the public to be cautious in using credit cards so that they would not incur huge debts, resulting in financial difficulties or even bankruptcy.

The Government must have strict control over credit cards. This must be a step in the long-term strategy to promote integrity in Malaysia.

Dr Tan took part in the Great Debate, RTM1, Angkasapuri, on 9 January, 2007. The theme was: When does a gift become a bribe?

It was the first programme of a series on Integrity. Participants were: Dato' Dr Zambry Abd. Kadir, Perak Exco, Dr Chandra Muzaffar, President Just World and Dr Tan Seng Giaw.

Since the arrival of men on earth, they have always had good and bad behaviour. One of the bad behaviour is corruption, to give and to receive bribe.

The Government must have the political will to take effective action to find the evidence so that corrupted leaders can be prosecuted. The salaries of workers in public and private sectors such as the police must be reasonable. Today, a constable receives a salary of RM 650 a month. This is too low, especially in towns. The Government must increase the pays of police, creating a conducive atmosphere for integrity.

On the other hand, people in public and private sectors have to be cautious about the misuse of credit cards, otherwise outstanding debts will land them in a dire state. They may be susceptible to irregularities such as corruption.

Now, foreign and local companies have total creditline extended RM 49.8 billion. By May, 2005, the total outstanding balance amounted to RM12.6 billion. The current outstanding balance for the credit of less than three months is RM1.4 billion, between three to six months RM346 million and over six months RM299 million. The outstanding balance for over six months is stable at between RM300 million to RM350 million.

Credit card holders must restrict themselves in using the cards for goods and services within their ability. Those with platinum cards can obtain credit for goods and services overseas. This is even more risky. Once a cardholder runs into trouble, it would be more difficult for him or her to uphold integrity.

Tan Seng Giaw

Saturday, January 06, 2007

We need a truly independent judiciary

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw urges the Government to ensure that the Malaysian judiciary is truly independent and efficient. It should not be unfairly influenced by party politics.

Dr Tan comments on the appointment of 16 more judges to help clear backlog of cases in the whole of Malaysia. This is a step in the right direction.

Yesterday, Chief Justice of the Federal Court Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim said that following the new appointments, there were 57 High Court judges. The Federal Court judges remain at 15 and the Court of Appeal judges will be 23 with the addition of 7 new judges.

While we appreciate that there is an attempt to clear up the backlog of cases, we hope that the Government will ensure that the judiciary will not be affected by party politics.

In fact, for many years there have been complaints of political interference such as in the case of Tun Salleh Abbas. There has been calls for the review of such cases.

On the eve of the 50th Merdeka celebration, we should try our utmost to make sure that the judiciary is truly independent.

Tan Seng Giaw