• Why is the government of Malaysia spending RM15 million to subsidize an event for affluent Malaysians and big corporate organizations organized by a private company?

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 23rd of March, 2017

    Why is the government of Malaysia spending RM15 million to subsidize an event for affluent Malaysians and big corporate organizations organized by a private company?

    The Global Transformation Forum 2017, featuring internationally renowned speakers and celebrities such as Sir Richard Branson, Jack Ma and Usain Bolt, is currently taking place at the KL Convention Center from the 22nd to the 23rd of March, 2017.[1] It has a number of corporate sponsors including Tenaga, Hong Leong Bank, YTL, MMC Gamuda, KL Kepong and many others. The cost of entrance for this forum starts at RM4,000 for a basic package (“Club Pass”) and going up to RM10,000 for the most expensive package (“Signature Pass”). As of today, tickets for the Circle Pass (RM6,000) and the Signature Pass (RM10,000) has been sold out and only a limited number of Club Passes (“RM4,000) are left (See Figure 1 below).

    Figure 1: Cost and Benefits of the Club Pass, Circle Pass and Signature Pass packages for the Global Transformation Forum 2017

    If this was a purely private affair, organized by the private sector for the private sector, it would be no business of mine as a Member of Parliament (MP) to question the costs of organizing such an event. But a similar forum had previously been organized in 2015 at a cost of RM10 million to the taxpayer.

    In the parliamentary reply given to me today, the cost to the taxpayer for organizing this event has escalated to RM15 million! (See Appendix 1)

    When government funding to our universities and our hospitals are being cut left, right and center, and government subsidies for essentials such as sugar and cooking oil are being cut, why is the government subsidizing an event that will be almost exclusively attended by affluent and well-connected Malaysians? So that the Prime Minister will have more opportunities to take selfies with celebrities? This is a slap in the face of Malaysians who are suffering because of increases in the cost of living and cuts in government expenditure. The organizers of the event should be ashamed of themselves for asking the government for RM15 million to organize this forum for the rich, of the rich and by the rich.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    [1] http://globaltransformation.com/

    Appendix 1: Answer to my Parliament Question of the Government Allocation for the Global Transformation Forum 2017

  • Intention to designate the old MATIC building (Dewan Tunku Abdul Rahman) as a heritage site must be fulfilled

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Member of Parliament for Serdang, on the 19th of March, 2017

    Intention to designate the old MATIC building (Dewan Tunku Abdul Rahman) as a heritage site must be fulfilled

    On the 8th of December, 2016, the Commissioner of Heritage published a public notice to de-gazette the national heritage status of three plots of land on the Malaysian Tourism Center (MATIC) which is located along Jalan Ampang in Wilayah Persekutuan (See Appendix 1 below). This public notice raised many concerns including the president of the Badan Warisan Negara, Elizabeth Cardosa.[1] Some feared that the Dewan Tunku Abdul Rahman (currently known as the MATIC building), where Malaysia’s first Agong was installed in 1959 and where the Malaysian parliament first met in 1959, would be demolished and go the way of the Bok House.[2]

    I put in a question to the special chamber of parliament during the ongoing parliament sitting, specifically asking about the status of the MATIC building and I received an official reply from Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, the Minister of Tourism. In his reply, the Minister stated that the reason why the three plots of land were degazetted as heritage sites was because only one of the plots namely Lot 139 Section 58 has heritage value, namely the Dewan Tunku Abdul Rahman building. In his reply, the Minister also stated that the public notice to state the government’s intention to designate this building as a heritage site has already been published on the 26th of January 2017 (See Appendix 2 below).

    The Minister also gave me his verbal assurance that any construction that will take place in the plot of land adjacent to the Dewan Tunku Abdul Rahman would be in line with the conditions stipulated in the National Heritage Act 2005 including having the necessary buffer zone as a protection against the heritage site.

    I welcome this decision by the Minister to ensure that an important building in Malaysia’s history in the heart of Kuala Lumpur will be preserved and protected under the National Heritage Act 2005. As citizens who care about the history and heritage of our nation, we must continue our efforts to protect important heritage sites not just in Wilayah Persekutuan but all over the country as well. In the meantime, we will be waiting for the publication of the public notice confirming that Dewan Tunku Abdul Rahman has been officially been designated as a heritage site (since the public notice on the 26th of January only states the intention of declaring this building as a heritage site).

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    Appendix 1: Public Notice degazetting three plots of land on the Malaysian Tourism Center (MATIC) as a heritage site

    Appendix 2: Federal Government Gazette stating the intention of designating the Dewan Tunku Abdul Rahman as a heritage site

    Further References:

    1. Parliamentary Reply on degazetting of heritage sites: 1, 2 and
    2. P.U. (B) 57 Notice to Designate MATIC as a Heritage Site 

    [1] http://www.nst.com.my/news/2017/01/202296/status-revocation-not-provided-law?d=1

    [2] https://cilisos.my/for-the-first-time-in-history-malaysian-heritage-buildings-are-going-to-be-de-heritaged/

     

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