How can Malaysians trust the KLIA2 independent audit committee to be independent when it is the MCA president who appoints the UTAR president to head the audit committee?

The KLIA2 independent audit committee announced by Liow Tiong Lai yesterday not only has a limited scope to probe the RM4 billion KLIA2 scandal but is also headed by a political puppet.

How can Malaysians trust the KLIA2 independent audit committee to get to the bottom of the RM4 billion KLIA2 scandal when it is headed by UTAR(Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman) president Chuah Hean Teik which is owned by MCA.

By appointing a political puppet whose independence is questionable, is Liow Tiong Lai trying to whitewash and cover up the mismanagement and scandals in the construction of KLIA2 that has caused the cost of construction to balloon from RM1.7 billion to RM4 billion.

Liow will argue that he appointed Chuah Hean Teik on the merit that Chuah is the president of Federation of Engineering Institutions of Asia and Pacific (FEIAP). However the fact that Chuah also serves as the UTAR president has cast serious doubts whether he could carry out the audit on KLIA2 independently.

I urge Liow Tiong Lai to immediately widen the scope of the KLIA2 independent audit committee to include the probing of RM2.3 billion cost overrun and to reappoint an audit committee head who is truly independent.

Media Statement by Chong Zhemin, DAP Perak Economic Development Bureau Chief and Political Secretary to Taiping MP on 12 Dec 2014

Wee Ka Siong’s call to urge private firms to provide scholarship and improve school facilities is proof of MCA’s total failure to fight for a fair allocation for Chinese schools

Yesterday, MCA Deputy President Wee Ka Siong told reporters that private firms should provide scholarship and improve school facilities after attending a cheque-presentation ceremony from the Mah Sing Foundation to eight schools around Johor Baru.

Wee Ka Siong’s call proves that MCA has failed the Chinese community miserably to fight for a fair and just allocation to Chinese schools. MCA has also failed all Malaysians especially academically high flyers that they will be granted a scholarship for the hard work and effort put into years of studies.

It is the government responsibility to improve school facilities and provide scholarships to academically excelled Malaysians after collecting taxes from Malaysians.

Is Wee Ka Siong trying to shirk MCA’s responsibilities to fight for a fair allocation to Chinese schools after rejoining the cabinet? MCA has always argued that they need to rejoin the cabinet to fight for the rights of Chinese community. By shifting the responsibilities to private firms, has MCA now gone back on its own words after less than 6 months rejoining the cabinet?

There is no need for private firms to provide scholarship and improve schools facilities if BN government allocated a fair share of sum to Chinese schools. To urge private firms to improve schools facilities is a “double taxation” to the firms. Private firms have already paid taxes on the profit they made and the government should use the taxes collected to improve school facilities.

To be fair to the private firms that support Malaysian education, I urge Putrajaya to grant all education contributions as tax rebate. By granting a tax break to all education contributions, Malaysians will be more encouraged than ever to provide financial assistance to schools.

I call on Putrajaya to table a bill in parliament to amend the Income Tax Act 1967 in order to grant all types of education contributions as tax rebate. Let us solve the controversy of unfair education funding once and for all.

Media Statement by Chong Zhemin, DAP Perak Economic Development Bureau Chief and Political Secretary to Taiping MP on 29 Nov 2014

Putrajaya must also scrap sales tax, import duty and excise duty on cars after abolishing fuel subsidies in total

I cautiously welcome the announcement by Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism Minister Hasan Malek to regulate RON95 and diesel prices on a manage float system. With the current crude oil slump, this could potentially translate into lower fuel prices for Malaysians.

I urge Putrajaya to be transparent on the method of calculation of the market price for RON95 and diesel. I have previously quoted the AmResearch report in my statement on the 17 October that the breakeven of the global crude oil price is at an average of USD84.80 per barrel if RON95 remains at RM2.30 per litre without government subsidy. However on the 6 November, Deputy Finance Minister Ahmad Maslan claimed that the government is still subsidising 12 cent per litre for RON95 when the global crude oil price is at USD83.46.

This shows inconsistencies between Putrajaya’s claim and the AmResearch report. Putrajaya must be transparent and immediately disclose their calculation methodology of market prices for RON95 and diesel.

Due to the volatility of the global crude oil price, Putrajaya must adjust the prices of fuel every fortnight timely. Gobal crude oil has plunged for almost 20% since early September but Putrajaya has only adjusted the prices of RON97 two days ago.

The AmResearch report also estimated that a 10% reduction in global oil price could potentially save the government subsidies amounting to RM35.6 billion. With global crude oil plunged more than 20%, Putrajaya could potentially record a saving of RM71.2 billion in fuel subsidies.

In Budget 2015 Putrajaya has estimated to collect a total of RM17.3 billion of transport related taxes in the form of excise duty(RM8 billion), car sales tax(RM4.5 billion), import duty(RM1.1 billion) and vehicle licenses(RM2.4 billion).

With the scrapping of fuel subsidy in total, Putrajaya must also abolish all transport related taxes – excise duty, car sales tax and import duty. It is not fair for Putrajaya to scrap fuel subsidies and at the same time maintain the transport related taxes. Malaysians deserve to buy cheaper cars as we now no longer enjoy any fuel subsidy.

Media Statement by Chong Zhemin, DAP Perak Economic Development Bureau Chief and Political Secretary to the Taiping MP on 21 Nov 2014

Gerakan would be wiped out in West Malaysia and MCA left with 1 MP and 2 State Assemblyman should Gerakan and MCA only contest in Chinese majority seats.

UMNO Supreme council member Puad Zarkashi has suggested that UMNO should contest in all Parliament and state constituencies with Malay majorities. His call was immediately slammed by Gerakan and MCA leaders. Gerakan President Mah Siew Keong in particular reacted strongly to his suggestion saying that “The country should move beyond racial politics in order to secure a better future.”

It is unsurprising that Gerakan and MCA leaders have such a violent reaction towards Puad’s suggestion. If Gerakan and MCA were only allowed to contest in Chinese majority seats in the last General Election, Gerakan would be totally wiped out in West Malaysia and MCA left with only 1 MP and 2 State Assemblyman.

Bar the Teluk Intan seat which was won by a thin majority through a by-election, Gerakan would be left with two state seats in Sabah namely Tanjung Papat and Elopura. Both state seats were previously held by SAPP which quit BN prior to the last General Election.

MCA would not fare much better as they would be left with 1 Parliament seat and 2 State seats – the Labis Parliamentary seat, Paloh state seat in Johor and Machap state seat in Melaka.

It is clear that MCA who claimed to represent the Chinese was overwhelmingly rejected by the Chinese and needs to depend on UMNO for political survival. Although Gerakan claimed to represent all races, Gerakan has never opposed any of UMNO’s racist and discriminative policies which rendered their claim as political rhetoric.

It could not be more ironic for Mah Siew Keong when he refused to entertain Cheras UMNO chief Syed Ali’s suggestion to shut down Chinese schools but reacted furiously to Puad Zarkashi’s suggestion to let Gerakan and MCA contest only in Chinese majority seats.

It is clear that Mah is putting his self-interest and party interest above public interest by choosing to ignore suggestions to shut down Chinese schools. Is he afraid of UMNO withdrawing all Malay majority seats from Gerakan if he speaks up in defend of Chinese schools?

UMNO vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein predicted that the motion on vernacular schools will be the dominating topic at the coming UMNO general assembly. There is not a slight doubt that vernacular schools will come under heavy bashing during the UMNO general assembly.

During the recent MCA annual general assembly, Prime Minister Najib has assured that vernacular schools are safeguarded under the federal constitution. There is no need for UMNO to move any motion to debate about vernacular school since it is already protected by the federal constitution. Gerakan and MCA must immediately tell UMNO to withdraw all motions to shut down vernacular schools.

Will Gerakan and MCA continue to stay silent on issues concerning public interest so that UMNO will extent “life support” to Gerakan and MCA by allowing them to continue to contest in Malay majority seats?

Media Statement by Chong Zhemin, DAP Perak Economic Development Bureau Chief and Political Secretary to Taiping MP on 13 Nov 2014

With RM239 million allocations for 2014, Khairy must explain why NSI could not afford a specialist to attend to Lee Chong Wei’s injury?

The whole nation is shocked following news that world number one shuttler Lee Chong Wei failed his B sample urine test.

Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin explained during the press conference that Dexamethasone, traces of which were found in Lee Chong Wei’s urine sample is not a performance enhancing drug and is allowed for out-of-competition period.

Khairy’s argument that Dexamethhasone is not a performance enhancing drug and is allowed for out of competition is irrelevant and untenable. The fact remains that traces of Dexamethasone were found in Lee Chong Wei’s urine sample during competition period – which is against the law.

As a professional, Lee Chong Wei’s focus should be on the sport and not on the food intake and drugs prescribed. The National Sports Institute(NSI) must be fully responsible for Lee Chong Wei’s medical treatment. The reason given that National Sports Institute(NSI) referred Lee Chong Wei to a private clinic for injury treatment due to the lack of expertise is appalling.

In budget 2014, the government allocated RM239 million to pursue excellence in sports. With such a huge allocation, Khairy must explain why NSI could not afford a specialist to attend to Lee Chong Wei’s injury? The fact that NSI referred Lee Chong Wei to a private clinic should not exclude them from the chain of responsibility. NSI has the duty to ensure our athletes are free from any banned drug substance especially during tournament period.

Former Badminton world champion Han Jian of China has launched a crushing criticism on the National Sports Council(NSC) and the Badminton Association of Malaysia(BAM). In an interview with Chinapress, he was quoted saying the following,

“In the past, the National Sports Council and the Badminton Association of Malaysia did not pay attention to doping and did not take the issue seriously.”

“Moreover, in Malaysia’s sports history, such things (doping) rarely happen and they were caught off guard.”

“Malaysia did not put in enough effort into the whole (doping) system from educating to counseling athletes on the regulation. Doping is a very serious problem in sport. I have retired for 30 years. I can recall 30 years ago, when I was an athlete, China already has a very strict doping system.”

“From my personal observation, Malaysia’s approach towards doping is unprofessional and unsound; it looks more like a state of “guerilla warfare” against doping.”

Khairy must immediately explain why after 17 months in office as the sports minister, Malaysia is still in a state of “guerilla warfare” against doping. What efforts has Khairy done for the past 17 months to improve Malaysia’s doping system?

I urge all Malaysians to stand firmly behind our world number one national shuttler Lee Chong Wei during this tough period. Let us offer our unconditional support to Lee Chong Wei for the glory days and sacrifices made. Lee Chong Wei is clearly a victim of incompetence of the National Sports Institute(NSI) and National Sports Council(NSC), both under the purview of youth and sports ministry.

The NSI and NSC have both failed miserably to protect our national athletes and provide them with the necessary medical treatment. Lee Chong Wei represents Malaysia’s best chance to win an Olympic gold medal in Rio de Janeiro 2016. With this blunder, Malaysia’s hope to secure the first ever Olympic gold medal looks distant. Someone must be fully responsible and accountable for the doping-gate blunder. Heads must roll.

Khairy as the Youth and Sports minister who commands authority over both NSI and NSC must own up the mistake and resign immediately for his failure to build a professional and sound doping system.

Media Statement by Chong Zhemin, DAP Perak Economic Development Bureau Chief and Political Secretary to Taiping MP on 10 Nov 2014

Is Ahmad Maslan suffering from cognitive dissonance that he has no qualms raising petrol prices when global oil prices rise but refuse to reduce petrol price when global oil prices plummet?

Deputy Finance Minister Ahmad Maslan has said that the issue of reducing oil prices in tandem with plummeting global crude oil prices “does not arise” as the government is still subsidising RON 95 petrol and diesel prices in the country.

Ahmad Maslan poor self-justification on the decision not to reduce petrol prices contradicts Putrajaya’s previous justification to raise petrol prices – that the Global oil prices are on the rise. Why is Ahmad Maslan now taking a different stand on petrol prices when global oil price plummeted? Is he suffering from cognitive dissonance that he could now hold two contradictory stands on the same issue?

Ahmad Maslan also claimed that the government is still subsidising 12 cent per litre for RON95. Presuming Ahmad Maslan is right, the current market price for RON95 should be RM2.42 per litre. If so, what is the current market price for RON97? Putrajaya promised to float RON97 according to market price. With Global oil price fallen more than 30% since June, it is clear that Putrajaya has gone back on its promise to float RON97.

Ahmad Maslan’s claim that the government might consider implementing fuel tax should global oil prices continue to fall is most shocking and irresponsible. With a poor public transport system coupled with one of the highest vehicle to population ratio in the world; fuel tax, if implemented in Malaysia would be regressive and hit the poor the hardest.

The poor that could not afford personal transport will be burdened by fuel related expenses hike – the increase in bus fare and transport expenses. With a fuel tax, the hike in fuel related expenses would represent a higher percentage of income of the poor compare to the rich, making them suffer the most.

I urge Putrajaya to ditch the idea of fuel tax as it will further widen the inequality of income in Malaysia making the rich richer and the poor poorer. A joint study by UM and Khazanah Research Institute (KRI) has shown that the nation’s inequality is on the rise. Instead of further worsening the situation, Putrajaya must come out with plans to address Malaysia’s inequality of income.

Media Statement by Chong Zhemin, DAP Perak Economic Development Bureau Chief and Political Secretary to Taiping MP on 7 Nov 2014

Chinese national-type schools (SJKC) are open to all Malaysians and the most diverse Malaysian school; it is politician like Mohd Razlan who made baseless, unfounded and unsubstantiated accusation dangerous.

Federal Territories Umno Youth chief Mohd Razlan is wrong when he said Chinese national-type schools (SJKC) are very ‘dangerous’ if it creates enclaves where people could get by without speaking the national language.

It is a matter of fact that Chinese national-type schools (SJKC) are not only open to all Malaysians regardless of race and religion but also the most diverse and inclusive Malaysian school. According to the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013 – 2025, there are 94 percent of Bumiputera students in National primary schools, 88 percent of Chinese students in Chinese primary schools, 100 percent of Indian students in Tamil primary schools and 100 percent of Bumiputera students in religious schools.

Compare to 6 percent of non-Bumiputera students in National primary schools, Chinese primary schools have 12 percent of non-Chinese students which makes it the most diverse and inclusive Malaysian school.

According to Jiao Zong’s survey conducted in December last year, there are 30 Chinese primary schools where more than 70 percent of the students are non-Chinese students. Out of 356 Chinese Primary schools surveyed, there are 314 Chinese primary schools with non-Chinese students. All these statistics prove that Mohd Razlan accusation and assault on Chinese national-type schools are baseless, unfounded and unsubstantiated.

There is absolutely nothing dangerous about Chinese national-type schools. In fact, it is politician like Mohd Razlan who made baseless, unfounded and unsubstantiated accusation dangerous.

It is also unfair for Mohd Razlan to put the blame on SJKC schools quoting 600 students entering the national service programme could not speak Malay at all.

A survey by JobStreet.com in September last year found that 55 percent of senior managers and companies mentioned poor command of the English language as the main reason for unemployment among undergraduates.

Going by Mohd Razlan’s logic, should we put the blame or bash a particular type of school for the poor command of English language among undergraduates? Bashing and victimising a particular type of school, be it National school, Chinese primary school, Tamil primary school or religious school is completely missing the point. Instead, efforts and steps need to be taken to raise the quality of education in the schools and to improve the student’s language proficiency.

Mohd Razlan also mentioned that if there is consensus that SJKC should not be continued, they will ‘stop’ them, in which he said, meant no new vernacular school should be built.

I would like to remind Mohd Razlan that the Barisan Nasional education policy since Malaysia independence was to ‘stop’ vernacular schools. No new Chinese or Tamil primary schools are allowed to be built unless an old school was shut down.

I call on Putrajaya to abolish this discriminative, absurd and unreasonable education policy and allow Chinese and Tamil primary schools to be built according to needs. There is nothing political in making this call as education needs must stand above politics.

During the MCA annual general assembly last month, Prime Minister Najib defended Chinese Primary schools saying that SJKC are guaranteed and protected under the Federal Constitution. It is now time for Najib to walk the talk. Najib must immediately censure Mohd Razlan for launching a scathing attack on SJKC to prove that he is not a hypocrite and mean every word he said during the MCA annual general assembly.

Will Najib finally walk the talk or will he soon be exposed as double-faced – saying one thing in front of MCA delegates but another in front of UMNO members?

Media Statement by Chong Zhemin, DAP Perak Economic Development Bureau Chief and Political Secretary to Taiping MP on 6 Nov 2014

Challenge for Putrajaya to allocate education funds without breaking down into school types, be it National Schools, Chinese Primary Schools or Tamil Primary Schools to prove that the government will never marginalize any school.

Muhyiddin lied through his teeth when he said the government has never marginalized any school during the winding up debate on the Supply Bill 2015 for the Education Ministry in the Dewan Rakyat.

Muhyiddin gave the example of this year operating expenditure allocated to 8,300 national schools(RM10.9 Billion), 1,294 Chinese primary schools(RM2.4 Billion) and 523 Tamil Primary schools(RM0.97 Billion).

Muhyiddin’s use of the number of schools to justify the education allocation is not only misleading but a huge lie to hoodwink Malaysians that the education funds are distributed fairly across all types of schools.

It is open knowledge that Putrajaya has systematically marginalized Chinese and Tamil Primary schools by denying the construction of new schools. Hence the total number of Chinese and Tamil Primary schools has been decreasing ever since the country’s independence.

Instead of allowing new Chinese and Tamil schools to be built according to needs, Putrajaya came out with a “one of a kind” solution which can only be found in Malaysia – that a school needs to be shut down before another school is to be built.

This unique Malaysian Education policy has contributed to the very much stagnant or decreasing number of Chinese and Tamil Primary schools. Hence it is extremely misleading for Muhyiddin to justify the education allocation based on the number of schools.

Instead, the number of students should be a more appropriate yardstick to measure the fairness of allocation. There are 650,000 Chinese Primary school students and 97,000 Tamil Primary school students which comprised of 21.2% and 3.16% respectively of the total students population. Did the Chinese and Tamil Primary schools get 21.2% and 3.16% of the education funds allocation?

It is indisputable that the Chinese and Tamil Primary schools has been deprived of education funds and marginalized over the years. If Putrajaya is determined to ensure a fair education allocation to all schools, I hereby challenge Putrajaya to allocate education funds without breaking down into school types, be it National Schools, Chinese Primary Schools or Tamil Primary Schools.

By doing so, all types of Malaysian school regardless of National schools, Chinese Primary Schools or Tamil Primary Schools will not be deprived of development and expenditure funds as they can all apply from the same education allocation.

Is Muhyiddin prepared to put money where his mouth is? Or is Muhyiddin just paying lip service when he said the government has never marginalized any school.

Media Statement by Chong Zhemin, DAP Perak Economic Development Bureau Chief and Political Secretary to Taiping MP on 4 Nov 2014

Gerakan party leaders owe an explanation not only to Gerakan members but also to all Malaysians on the double standards employed on Gerakan and UMNO members.

The stern warning from UMNO leaders against Gerakan not to interfere with UMNO General Assembly has proven that Gerakan is an unequal partner in the Barisan Nasional Coalition.

There is no more dignity left for Gerakan when even second and third tier UMNO leaders dare to openly come out to ridicule and rubbish Gerakan’s “suggestion” to suspend members making sensitive remarks. Gerakan’s reputation has already been ripped into pieces like what UMNO members did to Koh Tsu Koon’s poster six years ago.

Gerakan party leaders now owe an explanation not only to angry, dissatisfied and disgruntled Gerakan members but also to all Malaysians on the double standards employed on Gerakan and UMNO members.

Why is there still no action taken against Zainuddin though he had made remarks similar if not worse to those by Tan Lai Soon? One cannot stop to ponder if UMNO members enjoy some sort of “special privileges” which is not owned by Gerakan members.

Throughout this whole “pendatang” episode, Gerakan President Mah Siew Keong has been extremely silent. Not only he is nowhere to be seen at the press conference announcing the suspension of Tan Lai Soon, he also failed to speak up against the obvious and apparent double standard treatment given to Tan Lai Soon and Zainuddin Maidin.

Is Mah Siew Keong so weak that he dare not speak up against UMNO? Or is he so indecisive that he could not decide whether he should speak up against UMNO? Perhaps he is both weak and indecisive just like his predecessor that he will never speak up against UMNO.

Najib doesn’t need any Tongkat Ali from Mah as his silent endorsement on the racially insensitive remarks is proof that he has long abandoned the 1 Malaysia concept. In fact, it is Mah who is in need of Tongkat Ali to salvage whatever reputation that is left for Gerakan, if any.

Media Statement by Chong Zhemin, DAP Perak Economic Development Bureau Chief and Political Secretary to Taiping MP on 26 Oct 2014

Putrajaya failed to float RON97 according to market price. Can Malaysians trust Putrajaya to implement the targeted fuel subsidy mechanism as promised?

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Deputy Finance Minister Ahmad Maslan said yesterday that the targeted fuel subsidy mechanism which provide subsidy to household earning below RM4,000 will be implemented in June 2015.

He commented further that the middle class will be given a partial subsidy and the high income group will pay the RON95 petrol according to market price.

On paper, the multi-tiered subsidy mechanism appears to plug the subsidy leakages and channel subsidies to the targeted lower income group. However the implementation of the targeted fuel subsidy mechanism is complicated, bureaucratic and troublesome.

Even with the use of a secure verification system such as MyKad or petrol subsidy card, the proposed system is still open to abuse. How will the government prevent the card to be loaned to others to purchase subsidised fuel?

With the impending GST implementation, the proposed fuel subsidy system will be a double whammy and add to the burdens of those already living in hardship.

I urge Putrajaya not to rush through the targeted fuel subsidy system hastily. Public feedback must be gathered and a more comprehensive study needs to be done on the proposed system.

Ahmad Maslan said that the high income group will pay the RON95 according to market price. We should take Ahmad Maslan’s word with a pinch of salt. This is as the government had previously promised to float the RON97 according to market price but failed to honor their promise. With the drop of global oil price, the price Malaysians paid for RON97 currently is higher than the market price.

Ahmad Maslan also mentioned that the RON95 price will be maintained until June next year. Unless the government announces the implementation of fuel tax, it will be “daylight roberry” for Malaysians who are now paying a higher than market price for RON95. This is because Putrajaya had previously promised a 28 cent per liter subsidy for RON95.

If Putrajaya words could not be trusted when implementing the current blanket fuel subsidy system, how can Malaysians trust Putrajaya to implement the targeted fuel subsidy mechanism as promised?

Media Statement by Chong Zhemin, DAP Perak Economic Development Bureau Chief and Political Secretary to Taiping MP on 24 Oct 2014