View issues with Tan Seng Giaw

Friday, September 25, 2009

Effective mechanism to instil integrity in the banking system.

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw believes that besides extensive review of legislation for central banks such as Bank Negara, we need an effective mechanism to ensure integrity in the banking system.

Dr Tan notices the statement by Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz that central banks need supporting legal framework to address the dynamic changes in conditions in the current global financial system. She spoke at the fifth Banking and Financial Law School 2009 conference in Kuala Lumpur on 24.9.2009.

She pointed out that those in the advanced financial systems have resorted to unorthodox measures to prevent a systemic collapse of the global financial system.

She says,"While action has been based on the sense of urgency and to avoid a total collapse of the system, in the aftermath of the crisis, an extensive review of the legislation needs to be made."

Although Malaysia's export is affected by the global financial crisis, she does not have it as bad as others because of the existing banking system. Nevertheless, there were people who did not follow financial procedures such as the good concept of the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ), becoming a multibillion scandal as financial procedures were not strictly followed.

Over three decades ago, the RM2.5 billion Bank Bumiputera Finance (BMF) scandal resulted in a death and tightening of the the banking system. Then, the 1997 Asian economic crisis that started in Thailand also hit Malaysia badly with further streamlining of the system. Hence, we are not as badly affected by the current financial tsunami.

In July, 2009, Parliament passed the Central Bank of Malaysia Act 2009. Although Bank of Thailand assistant governor Krirk Vanikkul described Malaysia's new central banking legislation as "powerful and exclusive", the act may require further amendments to strengthen banking sector integrity.

The executive vice-president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Thomas C. Baxter feels that the main challenge for central bankers is to prevent another crisis as severe as the one just experienced. The closure of the Lehman Brothers in September 2008 in New York sparked off the financial crisis.

We must prevent another crisis by having better laws and enforcement. Further, we have to promote and strengthen integrity and ethics in all sectors including the Cabinet, the Prime Minister and his Ministers.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Better quality in public and private universities in Malaysia.

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw calls on the Higher Education Minister to step up his efforts to improve the quality of public and private universities, so that Malaysia will truly become an international education hub. Whatever system he uses, it should be fair and just, making sure that it is effective.

Dr Tan notices the the Rating System for Malaysian Higher Education Institutions (Setara). It is not compulsory for private universities to take part. But, Higher Edcuation Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Khalid Nordin wants to make it compulsory next year.

There are 20 public universities and over 20 private universities inthe country. The quality of these universities must be improved. Hitherto, only the Science University in Penang has been designated Apex university. Although it made a mistake in the enrolment of students recently, we would like to see that USM will reach the apex. Other universities, in particular Malaya University and National University are trying to show that they are better than USM.

Foreign university campuses such as Nottingham, Monash and Curtin would want to maintain their quality through their own system. But, other private universities must find their own ways to provide quality education, including the intake of students.

Apparently, the Setara system analyses university courses on sixareas, namely, academic staff, student selectivity, research, academic programmes, resources and management. Whatever it is, Khalid would have to be certain that it is fair and just.

The minister must find ways and means to get our univeristies to be among the top 100 or even top 50 of the world. So far, none has achieved that. Even to get into the top 200 is difficult.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Friday, September 18, 2009

Need genuine efforts to identify children who do not go to school.

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw calls on the Education Ministry to improve its methods of identifying children who do not go to school.

As the ministry would like to make sure that all children go to school, it should work out better methods of keeping up-to-date records of children who do not attend schools.The ministry records showing between 80,000 and 125,000 children who do not go to school may not necessarily reflect the true situation.

On 18.9.2009, Dr Tan comments on the statement of Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong who said that strategies would be formulated to convince parents to send their children to schools yesterday.

All are agreed that it is not enough to have compulsory education at primary school. We have to ensure that no children are left out. Indeed, the logical step is to make secondary education compulsory with adequate facilities for various types of students.

I have asked the Education Ministry about the number of children who are not at schools. The answer has not been satisfactory. Now, the Eduction Minister comes out with classes for adults to instil in them the importance of education and pre-schools.

I hope the ministry conducts a detailed study on the number of children who are not at schools and the reasons for their absence. I would like to see the strategies that are effective in solving the problem.

The ministry must show that these strategies are value for money.Between 2003 and 2009, it spent at least RM3.2 billion to implement the teaching of Mathematics and Science using English (PPSMI) which has been stopped. As the results have not been encouraging, the public are against PPSMI. Even though the number of children absent froms chools may not be that big, we still would like to see the ministry adopting workable strategies.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Thursday, September 17, 2009

H1N1 Vaccine:clear guideline for 400,000 people eligible?

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw calls on the Health Ministry to issue clear guideline for the people eligible for the 400,000 doses of Influenza A H1N1 vaccine, so that 27 million Malaysians will not feel that they have been unfairly treated.

It is urgent for the ministry to ensure that the initial batch of 40,000 doses go to the people who deserve such vaccination.

We understand that the vaccine will be given to priority groups such as doctors, nurses, pregnant women and children.

On 17.8.2009, Dr Tan comments further on the H1N1 vaccine.

Yesterday, Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai confirmed that 40,000 of the 400,000 doses of vaccine ordered by his ministry from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) would arrive in the country by next month. The remaining 360,000 doses would reach here by early January 2010. This order was said to cost RM14 million.

If similar vaccine from China and Taiwan has the quality and the price is reasonable, then the ministry should also order from them. But then, pharmaceutical trade is complicated. There are many factors including traditional channel. European companies such as GSK have been here for years.

According to media report, the minister said that although this batch of vaccine had not undergone clinical trial and the ministry believed that it was safe to use. This statement causes doubt. Datuk Seri Liow should get experts from the ministry to clarify. A reputable firm such as GSK usually subjects its products to clinical trials before these products are produced in mass. Otherwise, an unreliable vaccine that causes unacceptable side-effects on patients mean that it has to pay massive compensation.

Liow has said,"we are also in the process of building a vaccine-producing facility. Ninebio Sdn Bhd has been directed to set up the plant." The ministry must be very careful. Even if we can set up such a plant, it has to be transparent and accountable. Let us learn from the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal in which the people involved did not follow financial procedure and did not manage properly. There was no open tender.

Influenza virus mutates. The pandemic may get worse any time. We need extra measures to improve medical facilities. But, there must be strict supervision so that hundreds of milllion of public fund will not be misused and wasted.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Monday, September 14, 2009

Najib should ensure integrity at all levels.

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw reiterates that the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak should really show leadership by example such as ensuring that leaders like ministers do have integrity, consistent with his focus to serve the people, paying attention to the needs of the 27 million citizens of the country.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister insisted that everything else was secondary and that this was one of the key reasons he had adopted the1Malaysia concept when he took over the helm.

Najib says, "I have taken this approach since I took over as the prime minister -- I go down to the ground without protocol, without large gatherings."

The people expect the Government to be efficient, transparent andaccountable. While Najib puts emphasis on Key Performance Indices (KPIs), we would like to see the Prime Minister upholds the Constitution, Parliament and Good Governance based on integrity.

Among the things is that he has to show his determination to eradicate corruption. The abuseof power and the sheer wastage of public fund are big problems as shown in the cases of Port Klang FreeZone (PKFZ) scandal and the death of Teoh beng Hock at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) building in Shah Alam.

The people of all races are clamouring for integrity at all levels. In 2004, Tun Abdullah launched the Integrity Institute of Malaysia (IIM) and National Integrity Plan (NIP). Najib has taken part in some of the programmes of IIM. We would like to see how he puts the NIP into practice. For example, how far has he achieved cooperation between politics and the administration machinery? The ways he solves the PKFZ scandal and the death of Teoh Beng Hock may throw light into the seriousness with which Najib he embraces integrity.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Friday, September 11, 2009

Constant monitoring of police in crime prevention

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw calls on the Government to ensure that there is constant monitoring of personnel in hot spots nationwide and the effectiveness of the Lestari neighbourliness programme. There should not be irregularities, especially on the eve of festive occasions.

The public should cooperate with the police and other agencies such as the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry so that crime prevention programmes are successful.

According to Deputy PrimeMinister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin there are positive results in 30 areas to reduce crime. These are hotspots with high crime rates and social problems under the Lestari neighbourliness programme in Johor, the Federal Territory, Selangor and Penang. Apparently, these are trial projects initiated by the National Social Council with the cooperation of the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry and the police.

The Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein says that the government spent about RM5.6 million in the first phase and is spending RM4.3 million in the second phase.

There are many factors contributing to crimes, including poverty. Crime prevention would involve many aspects, not just police action in hotspots.

Both the Deputy Primi Minister and the Home Minister talk about evaluation, sustainability and long-lasting programmes. Indeed, we need to insist on these things. Let us hope that the RM9.9 million spent on the programme are value for money. The fund should not be miused.

While we are paying attention to the Lestari neighbourliness programme, the police are stationing more personnel in cities such as Kuala Lumpur. There are many road blocks.

The Home Ministry should monitor strictly police personnel on patrol whether in hotspots, at road blocks and other areas. There are complaints that a few are on the take, especially on the eve of festive occasions. As it is difficult to find proof and witness, it is necessary to have strict surveillance.

We have over 90,000 police personnel. We require more to meet the150,000 target. We need good police men and women of all races.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Malaysia's digital divide: our broadband?

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw calls on the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to take concrete measures to overcome the digital divide within the country as well as between Malaysia and other countries such as Korea and Singapore.

For a start, can the Prime Minister announce the report of the Smart Schools project and the achievement in the broadband and fastlane technology in the country? What is the target of broadband? Have we attained 20%? When are we getting on to 80% or higher as the Koreans have done?

As Chairman of the National IT Council, we hope that the Prime Minister is able to take effective steps to deal with the digital divide. He has mentioned e-soveriegnty, e-agriculture, e-services and digital social inclusion. We expect him to work on these seriously.

We shall continue to encourage Malaysians to learn to use the technology. We must catch up. On the other hand, Malaysia has to improve broadband and fastlane technology. It is only a matter of time before a newer, faster and more efficient technology is available.

What Datuk Seri Najib can do is to check the number of government departments and agencies which are effectively using e-mail and broadband. It is not unusual to find out that the emails of certain departments are not functioning. For example, I have sent messages to the Kuala Lumpur City Hall, Very often, these messages are sent back. There are officers whose emails do function.

Certain departments such as the Federal Territory or Kuala Lumpur Welfare Department do not appear to have email address. On several occasions, I asked the personal assistant to the director whether her boss had email address. She said that she would check and ring me back. She had not done so for months.

We have heard the Cabinet's intention to upgrade ICT, such as to install highspeed broadband and make nearly 10,000 schools Smart Schools. But, we are waiting for the Government to let us know how successful are these projects. What are their Key Performance Indices (KPIs)?

Dr Tan Seng Giaw