View issues with Tan Seng Giaw

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Purchase of Eurocopters and Respect for the Public Account Committee

DAP National Deputy Chairman and Deputy Chairman for Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Dr Tan Seng Giaw believes that all people should respect PAC, including ministries. This means that whenever a ministry is requested to appear at a PAC meeting, the Secretary-General should attend. If he or she gives good reasons for his or her absence in writing, then his or her deputy can attend instead.

The Auditor-General or his or her deputy or both attends every PAC meeting.

PAC is a miniature parliament, a very important committee, appointed by the House under the Standing Order 76, to examine the accounts of the Federation, accounts of public authorities, reports of the Auditor-General and other matters it may think fit.

This morning the Ministry of Finance was asked to brief PAC on the purchase of 12 Eurocopter EC 725 helicopters to replace Nuri helicopters of the Malaysian Royal Air Force (RMAF). The secretary-general did not appear; he did not write a letter. Three secretaries to respective divisions such as Dato' Norrizan Shafie, Supervision and Monitor division, Dato' Syed Nasir Syed Ahmad and Dato' Farhana Mohd Razali came. The meeting was cancelled.

Yesterday, Dato' Abu Bakar Haji Abdullah, Chief Secretary of the Defence Ministry, Tan Sri General Azizan Ariffin, RMAF Chief and their technical personel gave briefings on the open tender to buy 12 helicopters for utility and search and rescue (SAR) for the RMAF.

The ministry did not have physical assessment such as test flying of the various helicopters; its secretary-general testified that its test pilots had flown such helicopters as EC725 during air shows like Farnborough, Paris, Brunei adn Langkawi. The estimated price of the three types of helicopters shortlisted are: Agusta Westland RM 2.4 billion, Eurocopter EC725 RM 1.6 billion and Sikorsky RM 1.26 billion.

The objective of PAC is to srutinize the purchase. The letter of intent (LOI) was issued to Eurocopter Corporation on 15 September, 2008. There is a furore over the LOI as there is suspicion of impropriety. The Prime Minister Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced on 28 October, 2008, that the deal has been put on hold because of the global economic crisis.

Malaysia needs to buy military hardware such as helicopters to meet its doctrine and requirement. But, all purchases must be transparent and accountable.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

No party political interference in universities

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw calls on all political parties especially UMNO to stop from interfering with our universities.

Universities must have freedom and independence. There should not be any form of extremism and terrorism that would disrupt a university or the country.

During the debate on the Supply Bill (Budget 2009), Dr Tan touched on the Times Higher Education (THE) --Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings 2008. No Malaysian university is in the top 200. University of Malaya (UM) is 230, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)250 and Universiti Pertanian Malaysia (UPM)320.

The top five are: 1 Harvard University, 2 Yale University, 3 University of Cambridge, 4 University of Oxford and 5 California Institute of Technology. National University of Singapore NUS) is 30.

In the 50s, UM was a branch campus if NUS (at the time, it was University of Malaya). Now UM is 230 and NUS is 30. Why?

Many factors affect a university such as traditions, social, historical and financial factors. Rankings like Times' are not the only criteria. They give an indication on the quality of a university.

It is possible for our universities to be within the top 50 of the world instead of over 200. One important constraint is party political interference. All political parties must understand that they must refrain from so doing. The top five as mentioned are not saddled with party politics.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Monday, October 20, 2008

Give the PM a chance to filfil his promise

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw believes that the Prime Minister is given a chance to fulfil his promises such as creating an independent judiciary, anti-corruption commission, freedom of the media and so forth.

Dr Tan mentioned this during the debate on the 2009 Supply Bill (Budget) on 20.10.2008.

I rise to debate on the 2009 budget during this world economic crisis and recession in the country in the next few months. I hope the measures taken since the last economic crisis in Malaysia in 1997 are enough to fence off the impending recession.

The Prime Minister has announced his intention to step down from the office in March next year. Some have ceased to respect him.

Pulau Selising ada balai
Bukan diikuti jalan putus;
Kalau kucing tiada misai,
Takkan ditakuti tikus.

'A mouse is not afraid of a cat without whiskers.'

Datuk Seri Abdullah has made many promises including an independent judiciary, free media, anti-corruption commission and economic corridors. He needs to fulfil these promises.

Media in Malaysia are controlled by a few. For instance, Utusan Malaysia, Berita Harian and The News Straits Times are monopolized by UMNO. Hence, at times news and editorials are biased. The PM would like freer media. I propose that there must be freedom with reponsibility for the media. In our plural society, we must not raise racial or religious issues that hurt other races or religions. The rights of all races and religions must be proected in the spirit of the Federal Constitution.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Thursday, October 16, 2008

How do we increase KL population to 2.2 million.

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw requests the Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Ab. Hakim to explain the effective ways to increase the city population from 1.6 million in 2005 to 2.2 million in 2020.

Dr Tan raises the population issue in the Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan which has been gazetted in November, 2004. It has set the objective of 2.2 million city folks. The draft Local Plan has been delayed by over two years.

City Hall Kuala Lumpur (CHKL) proposes to increase housing units and jobs for 2.2 million people, creating 1.4 million jobs, building 11 new railway lines, special bus routes and 14 district centres.

Now, CHKL has received 5,147 memoranda from city folks. It has extended public hearing to June, 2009. I shall raise suggestions during the hearing.

Basically, the structural plan affects not only people in KL, but also the whole of the Klang Valley. Areas outside KL have their master plans. Some KL folks have bought houses outside KL, coming in to work in the city centre. How does CHKL overcome this?

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Review the 2009 Malaysian Budget

DAP National DAP Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw proposes that the Government review the 2009 Budget´╝î consistent with the current world economic crisis because the budget to be debated in the House has been drafted much before the present financial tsunami.

Dr Tan comments on the economic slowdown in Malaysia in the face of the international economic crisis on 12.10.2008, the eve of the reopening of the House.

The vicissitude of Malaysian politics with the Prime Minister stepping down before the end of his tenure provides food for thought. The world economic crisis with U.S. shares down by 35%, Europe by 40% and Asia by 30-60% may last some time, perhaps a year.

The American subprime fiasco and the loss of financial ehtics result in the bankrupcy of banks and insurance companies, affecting the world. The U.S. which has been opposing nationalization and preaching the free enterprise, has become the country that has undertaken the biggest nationalization in history. The Congress approves the initial USD 700 billion to rescue the American economy, the final sums that may be trillions of USD being unknown.

The International Monetary Fund has appeoved USD200 billion to ease the crisis and Singapore has economic recession by definition. The change in the premiership and the jockeying for position among some leaders appear to be oblivious of the current financial tsunami.

There are no signs that Malaysia will follow the path of the 1998 economic crisis. But, we have to be very cautious. We have to tighten the belt before disaster strikes. For example, after 10 years of the measures to strengthen our banking sector, is it safe against another crisis?

The 2009 Budget is RM 207.9 billion, 154.2 billion current expenditure and RM 53.7 billion development expenditure. With the present crisis, does Malaysia have enough allocations for the whole budget? If we do not have sufficient allocations, it is futile to engage in the debate of such a budget. The Government has decided to adjourn the House during Ramadan. It looks odd to present the budget before Ramadan and debate it after the holy month. It will be better to present it when the House resumes, followed by its debate.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw