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Friday, May 29, 2009

Further measures & packages to fortify Malaysian economy?

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw believes that it is time for the Prime Minister and Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib to come out with further measures including more and well-managed stimulus packages to fortify the country against the worsening economic situation.

Yesterday, Najib said that the Government would not rule out introducing another stimulus package to help strengthen the country’s economy should the global economic situation deteriorate further.

While it is difficult to predict whether the global economic depression will get worse, the Government has been painting a brighter picture of our economy. Now, Najib has revised the Gross DomesticProduct (GDP) for Malaysia this year, as between -4% and -5%, compared with -1% to +1% previously.

On 4 November, 2008 and 10 March, 2009, the Government tabled in Parliament stimulus packages of RM 7 billion and RM 60 billion respectivey. We had hoped that RM 67 billion would be sufficient to help the country face the global depression. Now, it is evident that the two packages are not enough. Meanwhile, we expect the Finance Ministry to ensure that the award of contracts and the management of over 42,000 projects thus far are done fairly and efficiently.

Besides the effective use of the RM 67 billion from the two packages, the country needs further measures including another package or packages which are managed well.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Let us have the PKFZ report immediately

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw presses the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib to make the originalversion of the Price Water House report on the Klang Port Free Zone (PKFZ) available to the public immediately.

Even if the government let us have the report today, it still does not explain the delay.

Dr Tan comments on Najib's statement to seek additional information on the PKFZ on 27.5.2009. and that the date for making it public is yet to be fixed.

Even if the report is released today, it is still very late, let alone the Government dragging its feet for a few more days.

The people are unhappy. There is a mystery surrounding the land in Pulau Indah, the land price skyrocketing and, possibly, the cost going up from RM 1.84 billion to RM 4.6 billion or more. Let us have the truth.

Truly, there are reasons to develop the PKFZ in Klang. But, the lack of transparency and accountability makes the public wonder. Port of Klang is number 16 in the world, aspiring to go higher. Hence, its development and management should be world-class.

Since the Cabinet has given the green light, let us have the report in its entirety.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Let us have a full report on the teaching of Maths and Science in English (PPSMI).

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw reiterates that the Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin make public the full report on the Teaching of Mathematics and Science in English (PPSMI).

It is unusual that after six years of PPSMI and regular reports on its progress in all primary schools, the Government has not made up its mind to publish the comprehensive report.

Let the people know the various factors that determine the success or failure of the programme. One important factor is the quality of teachers. Some teachers are not fluent in English, let alone master the ways to teach Maths and Science in English. Then, there are the atmosphere at school and at home. Those pupils whose mother tongue is not English may be at a disadvantage.

I have always insisted that the Government put in greater efforts to recruit and train teachers of all subjects including PPSMI. We need good teachers. We must have better facilities and opportunities for teachers.

On 26.5.2009, the Deputy Prime Minister said he had nearly concluded all his deliberations on PPSMI.

“The decision will be made soon. I will brief the Prime Minister before the issue is brought to the Cabinet. I will take into account all aspects, including strengthening Bahasa Malaysia, the mother tongue languages of Chinese and Tamil, and the need to further strengthen English proficiency,” he added.

The PPSMI policy was introduced in phases, beginning with Year One,Form One and Lower Six students in 2003.

There are 7,643 primary schools of all streams. Any decision will affect millions of pupils.
As the Education Ministry monitors PPSMI regularly for six years, it has a comprehensive report on the matter. Let the public have a look at it.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Is water tunnel the best way to bring water from Pahang to Selangor?

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw calls on the Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Peter Chin to explain clearly to the people the true reasons for transferring water along the proposed 44.6 km-long tunnel from Pahang to Selangor and the justification for Selangor to pay RM 80 million a year to the Pahang Government for the water.

Dr Tan does not understand fully the rationale for the project that consists of the tunnel, the Klau Dam, a raw water pump station and water pipes. Apparently, the project has been awarded to a consortium of four companies: IJM Corp Bhd, UEM Builders, Shimizu Corporation and Nishimatsu Construction Co Ltd. Is there a controversy concerning Nishimatsu? Is this the only consortium that is the best choice?

On May 25, 2009, the Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister witnessed the ceremony for the construction of the tunnel which will start on 1 June, 2009, costing RM 1.3 billion. The total cost of the project to bring water from Pahang to Selangor is estimated at RM 3.93bilion. It is scheduled for completion by 2025.

Apparently, the large part of the project will be financed through loans by the Japan International Cooperatian Agency (JICA), while the Federal Government will foot the remainder of the bill.

There are things which we don't understand. For example, is it simpler and cheaper to treat the water in Pahang and transport treated water through pipings to Selangor? Obviously, with the involvement of JICA, Japanese firms are represented. Is there anybody else who can offer more attractive alternatives?

We hope Datuk Peter Chin is able to clear up the muddiness on the water tunnel project. We need transparency and accountability.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Monday, May 25, 2009

Najib: Practise the 1 M'sia that you preach

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw reminds the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib to practise what he preaches in the One Malaysia concept, including acceptance, nationhood, integirity, meritocracy and social justice.

These principles and values are contained in the Malaysian Malaysia concept for over 40 years.

Dr Tan is keeping an eye on what Najib means by One Malaysia. Yesterday, he said that the concept should not be misused by anyone to push for extreme or unreasonable demands.

"I hope the One Malaysia concept will lead towards greater unity. It brings the appreciation of unity to a higher level from tolerance to acceptance," he added.

Extremism is unacceptable. The constant reminder of the need to unity is essential. What Najib can help is trying his utmost to realize these values.

For instance, it is not an excessive demand for the immediate release of the PricWaterHouse Report on the mystery of the Port Klang Free Zone with the outrageous price of Pulau Indah.

The Perak saga spearheaded by Najib does not augur well for nationhood and unity. Once the February 2009 event has taken place, there are implications and consequences.True, all people including Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat must work towards unity. Najib has to show that he is a statesman.

Granted that the separation of powers means that we have to respect the judiciary. We do, as seen by the endless efforts to follow the due process. But then, Perak saga is a political crisis. There is only so much the judiciary can contribute. Political crisis can be solved by political means such as having fresh elections in Perak.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Serving the people & putting One Malaysia into practice

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw agrees that the Prime Minister serves the people and the nation as a statesman.

Being a statesman includes, among many things, promotion of social justice, peace and stability.

We hope that Datuk Seri Najib serves the people and the nation, realizing the One Malaysia. One Malaysia looks like Malaysian Malaysia. What we would like to see is the implementation of the values such as meritocracy, ability, transparency and accountability.

On 21.5.2009, Dr Tan refers to the heart-to-heart speech at the Finance Ministry by Najib yesterday. He says,"Power is only a means to an end but to me the end is about serving the people and thenation."

As our Prime Minister, we hope Najib can truly serve as he wishes. Hewould have to improve his image. People within and outside the countryhave a perception about him. He must try his utmost to make the perception better.

He has listed certain values in One Malaysia and at the Malaysian Integrity Institute (IIM) such as perseverance, accountability, transparency, acceptability and trustworthiness. In his service, he should put these values into practice.

Currently, there is unhappiness over the allocations of 2,000 public scholarships. He should ensure that these are done according to merit and need. Others include the Port Klang Free Zone mystery and thePriceWaterHouse report on it as well as the total lack of scrutiny over such subsidiary of the Tourism Board as Pempena which may incur a loss of over RM30 million this year. Publish the PWH report immediately.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

No BN candidate in Penanti by-election. No BN support for an independent candidate?

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw feels that Barisan Nasional stayng out of the Penanti by-election is so different from its eagerness for by-elections previously.

If BN does not support an independent candidate, then it can be taken as genuinely staying out. Otherwise, it will be contesting indirectly.

Dr Tan gives an opinion on the decision by Barisan Nasional Supreme Council on 18.5.2009, to refrain from putting up a candidate in Penanti. It seems that it does not want to play to the tune of Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

Najib stressed that BN was more concerned with serving the people's needs and in stimulating economic recovery. BN would face the Penanti voters in the next general election and it was not scared of the by-election

Like all humans, people's representatives also have weaknesses. But, they must not be involved in such irregularities as corruption. BN is more than interested in misdemeanour of PR leaders. For example, BN gave a tough time to the previous state assemblypersons in Bukit Selambau and Penanti, so much so that they had to go. Then, BN does not field a candidate.

Servicing the people and stimulating economy are very important. Before March 8 last year, BN loved by-elections. Even when the economy was not good, it did not cite these factors as it fielded candidates. Now, BN has altered its thinking about by-elections. This boggles the mind.

Will BN truly avoid putting up a candidate in Penanti? This will depend on whether it helps an independent candidate for the constituency.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Friday, May 15, 2009

Let Najib think earnestly about fresh elections in Perak

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw calls on the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib to consider seriously on having fresh elections in Perak to solve the political saga.

In February this year, the Barisan Nasional was in indecent haste to grab power in Perak. It did not follow the Article 16(6) of the Perak Constitution. It has gone over shoes, over boots. Now, Najib declares that only the Sultan of Perak has the power to call for fresh elections should there be a need for one.

Dr Tan comments on Najib's statement on 14.5.2009 that the Barisan Nasional does not fear fresh elections in Perak.

Najib said holding fresh elections in Perak was one of the options available to settle the state government issue but it was “not something that has to happen.”

“Barisan is not afraid to face fresh elections. We know we have to face the rakyat and we will face the rakyat when the time comes,” he told a press conference after attending the Public Service’s Labour Day gathering here Thursday.

On 11.5.2009, the High Court ruled that Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin was the rightful mentri besar after finding that the post could only be decided in the State Assembly.

The next day, Datuk Zambry Abd Kadir filed an appeal against the decision in the Court of Appeal and was granted a stay of execution, pending the decision on the appeal case.

The Perak saga continues. Meanwhile, the nation has to deal with the economic woes arising from the global crisis, compounded by the world influenza A H1N1 outbreak. Malacca has meningococcal meningitis. There are increasing incidence of crimes and social problems such as illegal immigrants and poverty.

Najib acknowleges that having fresh elections in Perak is an option. We hope that he thinks about it earnestly. It is never too late to mend.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Aseanpol & better crime prevention system within Malaysia

DAP National Deputy Chairman an MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw feels that while it is a good thing to set up Aseanpol, Asean's police secretariat in Kuala Lumpur, it is very important to create an effective crime prevention and investigation system within Malaysia.

Dr Tan comments on Aseanpol in KL to improve cooperation in safety and security among the 10 member countries.

On 13.5.2009, the Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein revealed that the Cabinet agreed to the setting up of Aseanpol Secretariat similar to Interpol, saying that it would serve like Interpol but would be more focused on the issues concerning Asean members.

We hope that Aseanpol will be run professionally. The recent capture of Mas Selamat Kastari, the Jemaah Islamiah leader who escaped from Singapore gaol, is a result of cooperation between Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

Besides Aseanpol, we would like to see a better system of crime prevention and investigation, including better quality of police recruits to increase the force from over 90,000 to 150,000. Crimes such as snatch theft, robbery, murder, rape and the scurge of motorcycle gangs have incensed the public.

Today's news on the killing of five members of robbery gang in Scudai is encouraging; they robbed the house of Tan Sri Muhyiddin's political secretary Syahrin.

Occasional success in police action helps. But then, the people hope that the police have a more effective system to prevent and investigate crimes. Naturally, the public have to cooperate. We need more good recruits from all races. There should be better pay and better facilities for the police.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Milestone:High Court declares Nizar the valid Perak Menteri Besar

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw describes the High Court ruling that Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin is the rightful Menteri Besar as a milestone in the history of Malaysian politics.

Whatever the outcome of the Barisan Nasional's appeal against the ruling, the most logical step is to dissolve the Perak State Assembly and to have a new state election. This should be done according to the laws.

Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir, who is an illegal MB, should vacate his seat peacefully.

In his suit on 13 February, 2009, Nizar challenged the legitimacy of Dr Zambry and the new state government.

High court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Justice Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim read out his written judgement on 11.5.2009 for about an hour, saying that once Nizar has been appointed the MB, he is only answerable to the State Legislative Assembly.

Article 16(6) of the Perak Constitution states that if the MB ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Lagislative Assembly then, unless at his request His Royal Highness dissolves the Legislative Assembly, he shall tender the resignation of the Executive Council.

The Perak Barisan Nasional spearheaded by Datuk Seri Najib took over the state government in February. Since then, we have reminded him that the unlawful usurpation of power in Perak is not the act of a statesman. As the Prime Minister, Najib should behave as a statesman., above all political parties and all races.

Barisan Nasional would like to have a peaceful discussion with the Pakatan Rakyat over the Perak saga. This is a possible step. If Najib likes to show that he is a statesman, then he has to help dissove the Perak State Assembly according to the laws, paving the way for a new state election. Let the people decide.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Monday, May 11, 2009

Show transparency in the implementation of projects under the stimulus packages

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw reiterates that the Federal Government must show transparency, integrity and accountability in the award and implementation of all projects under the two stimulus packages.

Dr Tan follows up on the first and second packages worth RM 7 billion and 60 billion respectively.

On 10.5.2009, the chief operating officer of the Project Management Unit under the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Mohamad Zainal Azim revealed that about 42,000 projects worth RM 5.6 billion had been awarded and implemented under the two stimulus packages. 39,316 projects worth RM 3.4 billion were under the first and 2,745 projects worth RM 2.2 billion under the second. Apparently all projects under the first will be awarded by the end of May, 2009.

When the first package was presented in Parliament on 4 November, 2008 and the second on 10 March 2009, I broached the need for transparency, integrity and accountability in the award of all projects. We keep an eye on the targets, hoping that there will not be wastage.

The second Finance Minister Datuk Mohd Husni has tried to keep things in order. But then, there are other agencies involved such as the Economic Planning Unit and the Project Management Unit.

These packages are meant to strengthen the capacity of our economy to withstand the economic downturn brought on by the American and global economic crisis. The influenza A H1N1 outbreak which is relentlessly spreading to at least 29 countries has aggravated the situation.

If the above-mentioned packages are implemented properly, they will help to prepare the country to cope with the economic woe better. Once the global depression is over, is Malaysia able to make the best of the recovery?

It is not enough to disclose the number of projects and their date of completion. It is equally important to divulge the ways these projects are awarded. Is there such a thing as open tender? Are there ways and means for rent-seeking companies to acquire the projects? How effective is the monitoring of these projects?

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Friday, May 08, 2009

The creation of two speakers at the Perak State Assembly on 7.5.2009.

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw calls on the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib to improve the image of the Government so that it will be in a better position to face the economic slowdown which is aggravated by the Influenza A H1N1 global outbreak, the increasing crimes and poverty.

Dr Tan looks at the creation of two speakers in the Perak State Assembly on 7.5.2009 , in addition to two Menteri Besars and two state governments.

People within and outside the country are watching the unfolding ofthe Perak saga since February this year. The appointment of Datuk R. Ganesan as another speaker, the forcible removal of V. Sivakumar from the Assembly and the police detention of over 60 people including Members of Parliament and State Assembly members highlighted the pandemonium. The saga continues.

The rule of laws must prevail. Once two menteri besars have been appointed, the doubling of things has been set in motion. Najib has led the usurpation of the state power in great haste, giving rise to the dilemma compounded by predicament.

Najib's image is further affected. This would not help him in the efforts to strenthen our capability to overcome the global economic depression and to fight social ills such as crimes and poverty.

One way of improving the image is to dissolve the Perak State Assembly and let the people decide in a fresh state election.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Make the Port Klang Free Zone report public

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw reiterates that the PricewaterhouseCoopers report on the Port KlangFree Zone (PKFZ) should be made public.

Dr Tan feels that it is puzzling why the report has not been released. Apparently, it has been held back on technical ground.

The PKFZ saga makes people wonder what actually happened to the project to convert Pulau Indah into a free trade zone. At about 2002, once Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd knew of the intention of the Government to create the free trade zone, it bought the land of 999.5 acres at RM 3 per square foot from a cooperative. On 12.11.2002, it sold the land to the Klang Port Authority at RM 25 per square foot, totalling RM 1.9 billion. We need the report to verify the actual amount involved.

What was the part played by the previous state Government in 2002? Who are shareholders of Kuala Dimensi?

Usually, the government acquires the land for development such as the KLIA. Why did the Government not acquire Pulau Indah?

Let us overcome the 'technical issue' and make the report public.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Make public the full report on the teaching of Maths and Science in English

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw believes that the Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin should make public the full report on the teaching of Maths and Science in English.

Dr Tan is curious about Muhyddin's dithering in making a decision on the matter. Listening to myriad views from people takes time. But then, this programme started in 2003. After six years of constant monitoring, the Education Ministry has a wealth of information on the subject.

We agree with the minister that our national language is important but then so is English and this is the future of our children. Parents of children in Chinese schools also want pupils to learn Mandarin. The same applies to Tamil in Tamil schools.

What is so glaring is that in 7,643 primary schools of all streams, the quality of some teachers need to be improved. This includes KPLI, graduates who attend special courses for teachers. Some are not fluent in languages especially English. Neither are they good in teaching, leaving pupils in a sad state. Muhyddin should also look at the state of smart schools. How smart are they in all aspects?

Let the public have access to the comprehensive report on the programme. This should be part of the transparency of governance.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Monday, May 04, 2009

Replace ISA with ATA

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw calls on the Government to repeal the Internal Security Act (ISA) and replace it with Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).

Dr Tan comments on the setting up of the Law Reform Committee (LRC) to review the ISA. It is headed by Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong. Apparently, this is in keeping with the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib's promise to have a comprehensive review of the ISA. We hope the LRC does its work.

After engaging various agencies such as Legal Affairs Department, Legal Aid Department, Attorney-General, Bar Council, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and Suhakam, I hope the committee will seriously review laws that are obsolete such as ISA.

Maintaining security in the country is essential. There must be effective measures to protect the nation.

Usually, a government finds laws like ISA very useful to rope in persons with whom they are not comfortable. If these persons are truly a theat to security, their detention may help. But, very often ISA is abused. For example, in 1987-1988, over 107 people were detained under Operation Lalang; a few including Karpal Singh, Lim Kit Siang, Lim Guan Eng and I were sent to Kamunting University.

When I came out of Kamunting in 1988, I spoke more loudly inParliament about issues such as ISA and education. Since then, I have not stopped. If I were to be a threat to internal security in 1987, I should have been a greater threat in the past 22 years.

We must stop persons who are of genuine threat to the nation like terrorists. We must have effective laws against such people. On the other hand, ISA was promulgated in 1960 against Communists. It should not be used against non-Communists. The Malayan Communist Party laid down arms in 1989. Hence, there is a need to replace ISA with ATA.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Friday, May 01, 2009

Vaccines from previous virus against current A/H1N1 virus may not be effective

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw urges the Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai to explain to the people the effectiveness, or lack of it, of vaccines from previous virus and infuenza drugs such as Tamiflu against the current A/H1N1 virus.

Dr Tan comments on the minister's statement who, on 30.4.2009, said that his ministry would ask the Government to pay RM 23 million for the vaccines to be given to frontliners such as doctors and nurses and pigs. He has caused doubts among the public. Since flu virus can also come from birds such as poultry and wild ducks, will he vaccinate them?

Now, the World Health Organization (WHO) has raised its global alert to Phase 5, one phase away from a pandemic.

Malaysia has experience in health alert against viruses such as Nippah virus and Avian virus. Thiong Lai's news reflects the measures taken by his ministry. For example, there is the National Preparedness Plan for pandemic influenza technical committee that discusses the precautionary and preventive measures against a pandemic, for which the Government has allocated RM 10 million. Those who have symptoms such as fever and feeling unwell should seek medical advice and stay at home to prevent the spread of the virus by air.

The Government indentifies 28 hospitals to admit patients with flu symptoms. This is one of the preventive steps.

The mobility of humans in the world spreads the A/H1N1 very rapidly. Hence, there is the probability of a pandemic. Among the measures taken, vaccines prepared from previous virus may not be effective against the current one. Flu virus mutates. A new vsaccine may take three or more months to prepare. Hence, the minster would have to explain to the ordinary folks what he means by vaccinations.

Although some people may rush to buy flu drugs such as Tamiflu, these may not be efficacious. They may not be good for those who have no flu symptoms.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

posted by Tan Seng Giaw @ 11:26 PM 0 comments