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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Encourage big companies to pay their contractors

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw calls on the big companies to pay their contractors who have fulfilled their contracts.

The Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak should take upon himself to encourage companies to pay their contractors. It has become a habit for some contractors to delay payment of contractors. Although these contractors have done their work, some companies still invent excuses to defer or stop payment.

As the Finance Minister has asked for ideas through his blog and email, I have reminded him of the non-payment by companies to contractors. I hope he investigates this immediately and presents solutions to break the bad habit of some companies.

According to the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), there are about 303 government projects nationwide worth RM9.2 billion. Whether these are implemented using the Malaysia Industrialised Building System (IBS) or other system, all must be done fairly consistent with international standard. The government can show leadership by paying its contractors promptly.

The world economic recession causes havoc. Our export-oriented industry is affected. Although we may not be as badly hit as countries such as Singapore, our economy is slowing down. The U.K. is officially in recession. Our construction industry, manufacturing and small and medium enterprises are beginning to suffer.

Last November, the Government announced the first stimulus package of RM 7 billion. This is being given in stages. Let us hope that this package is distributed efficiently.

Happy New Year. Let us wish that the Year of the Ox bring good tidings: the economy will recover fast.

Tan Seng Giaw

Monday, January 19, 2009

Let Chinese New Year usher in economic recovery

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw wishes all people Happy New Year.

Good Riddance to The Year of The Rat.
Welcome The Year of The Cow, which, we hope, will bring good tidings to the economy.

Last year, the American subprime fiasco gave rise to world economic recession. Although Malaysian economy has not been hit as badly as that during the 1997 crisis, we are facing big challenges. All, especially the Government, must tighten the belt, reduce wastage and improve efficiency.

Pakatan Rakyat (PAS) won the Kuala Terengganu by-election, signifying the momentum from the March 8 tsunami last year. Although some had brought up religious and racial issues, the voters were not influenced. Since the 70s last century, Terengganu has been producing offshore oil. Yet, it is the second poorest state in the country. According to an official figure, from 2000 to 2008, the oil royalty for the state amounted to RM6.1 billion. Where has the money gone?

The national incidence of crimes makes people unhappy: snatch-thieving, robbery, theft, murder, rape and so forth. For example, on 14 January, 2009, over thirty vehicles at Taman Aman Putri in Jinjang North were splashed with acid; only 15 owners reported to the police. We hope that during the Chinese New Year, the police will step up its efforts against crimes so that the people will feel safer.

Last year, Parliament passed the Anti-Corruption Commission Act; the Director of the Anti-Corruption Agency Datuk Seri Ahmad Said has become the first Commissioner. When he wants to charge a person in court for corruption, he must get approval of the Attorney-General. This limits his power. Ahmad Said says that more people of influence are being investigated. Let us hope that all corrupt people face the same laws.

The price of petrol, diesel and gas should go down further. This will lighten the burden of the public. We have to be very cautious in managing subsidies, which can be abused.

Let The Year of The Cow prevent inflation and stop the increase of price of all goods.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Show all complete contract documents

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw calls on the Works Minister Datuk Mohamed Zin to present more complete documents on the 22 highways in the ministry's library, instead of just general documents as seen in the Smart Tunnel. Some older highways do have more documents.

On 6.1.09, Dr Tan comments on the statement of the Highway Board Director-General Datuk Mohamad Razali who denies that there is lack of sincerity in making contract documents public.

The Director-General should look at all the documents presented at the ministry's library. He will find that some such as the Smart Tunnel show only general contracts with no appendices. He should try to make incomplete documents complete.

Before the 1st of this month, the Works Ministry did not make these contract documents public. People suspected that there was a lack of transparency. Now, the public can queue up to view these documents; it is more open. If the materials are more comprehensive, then the people can understand them better.

I saw the Smart Tunnel contract yesterday. Reading the document, I don't feel the freshness. Since 2002, city folks have known that the project costs RM1.933 billion, the land cost being RM20 million. The concessionaire is Smart Holdings that has the concession for 40 years.

For instance, we want to know the shares structure of Smart Holdings: MMC 30%, Anglo-Oriental 20% and Gamuda 50%. Under what circumstance will MMC hand over its 30% to Anglo-Oriental?

Besides flood mitigating measures, there are no appendices to show the amount of toll collected and the ways with which compensation for reducing or refusing to increase toll rate are calculated.

The double deck motorway goes through the tunnel. Smart Holdings manages the tunnel including traffic control and surveillance system, toll plazas, flood gates, and traffic lanes. But, there are no details on the motorway.

Denying the public access to contract documents is one thing. Exhibiting less than complete documents is another. The Minister and the Director-General should show the various documents which are missing.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw