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Demolishment of Chapel dedicated to St Joseph, Saujana Impian

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 26th of August 2016

Demolishment of Chapel dedicated to St Joseph, Saujana Impian

I refer to the media statement of Ng Chok Sin, MCA Religious Harmony Bureau Deputy Chairman and MCA Selangor State Liaison Committee Secretary which was issued on the 24th of August, 2016.[1] In his statement, he levelled many unfounded and baseless accusations against Wan Azizah, PKR President and State Assembly representative for Kajang, against the Kajang Municipal Council (MPKj) and against DAP and PKR, for allowing the demolishment of a chapel structure dedicated to St Joseph in Saujana Impian, Kajang.

Ng Chok Sin’s statement was totally irresponsible and unbecoming of a political leader. If he had bothered to put in just a bit of effort to find out more about the situation, he would have easily found out that the local authorities as well as the state government had been discussing the matter with the Catholic church and the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) since the beginning of the year.

He would also have found out that the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, Most Reverend Julian Leow, had issued a letter on the 19th of August, 2016 to the parishioners of the Holy Family Church in Kajang to explain why he agreed to allow the local authority, namely MPKJ, to demolish of what is now the remains of the chapel dedicated to St Joseph which was previously used by workers from the Brehma Estate, which no longer exists. (See Appendix 1 below) In this letter, the Archbishop also informed the parish priest, Father Surain, to cooperate and assist the local council, wherever possible, to ensure that no untoward incidents take place.

This letter was read out during all masses on the weekend of the 20th and 21st of August at the Holy Family Church in Kajang so as to ensure that the proper information was channelled to the parishioners.

In a letter dated on the 19th of August, 2016, to Selangor Exco member, Elizabeth Wong, Archbishop Julian Leow also confirmed that he had no objections to the local authority tearing down what remains of the chapel located along Jalan Saujana Impian, Kajang. He also thanked the Selangor Exco for “your kind concern and engaging in a dialogue on this sensitive issue and coming to an amicable solution on this matter”.  (See Appendix 2 below)

Because of the media coverage on this issue, which Ng Chok Sin is partly responsible for, Archbishop Julian had to issue another statement today to restate his position on the matter at hand. In this letter he appealed to the individuals who were preventing the demolition work by MPKj to “respect the lawful right of the council to carry out their duty and to remind everyone that the decision to demolish the unused chapel was made after due process was followed”. (See Appendix 3 below)

I call upon Ng Chok Sin to apologize to Wan Azizah, MPKj, PKR and DAP for his baseless and unfounded accusations. In addition, I call upon Ng Chok Sin to apologize to Archbishop Julian Leow for making it seem as if the Catholic church had been irresponsible in not taking part in the decision making process to decide the fate of the chapel. Now that the facts surrounding this matter are clear to the general public, as a responsible public figure, Ng should issue an unconditional apology to all the parties who have been aggrieved by his irresponsible statement.

Dr. Ong Kian Ming
Member of Parliament for Serdang

Appendix 1: Letter from the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur to the parishioners of Holy Family Church, Kajang (the closet Catholic church to the St Joseph chapel)

Appendix 2: Letter from the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur to YB Elizabeth Wong, Selangor EXCO

Appendix 3: Press Statement by the office of the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur on the 25th of August, 2016

[1] http://theheatmalaysia.com/Main/Callous-bid-to-destroy-church-at-night

Mismatch in demand and supply of civil service positions shows that many Malaysians have not escaped from the middle income trap

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Member of Parliament for Serdang, on the 24th of August 2016

Mismatch in demand and supply of civil service positions shows that many Malaysians have not escaped from the middle income trap

When the Economic Transformation Program (ETP) was first launched in 2010, one of its key performance indicators was the creation of an additional 3.3 million jobs by 2020 over 60 percent of which will be in the medium-income or high income salary brackets. Last week, PEMANDU CEO, Datuk Seri Idris Jala, was reported as saying that Malaysia has moved out of the middle income trap.[1] A deeper analysis and understanding of some of the job figures say otherwise.

If the ETP was successful in creating a vibrant and growing economy that is driven by the private sector, this should result in the creation of many desirable and well-paying jobs in the private sector. But according to figures released by the Public Service Commission (or Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Awam (SPA)), the demand for public sector jobs is at an unbelievable high level and far outstrips the supply of such jobs.

From 2011 to 2015, the SPA received more than 1 million applications for jobs in the civil service. This figure reached a high of 2.1 million in 2013 before falling to 1.59m in 2014 and increasing to 1.63m in 2015 (See Table 1 below). These are very high figures especially considering that the number of civil servants in Malaysia was 1.6m in 2015. While jobs in the civil service will continue to be desirable because of job security and other perks (such as medical care, various allowances and government pensions), this high demand is an indicator that the private sector is not offering enough well-paying jobs to stem the demand for public sector jobs.

What should be equally worrying is that the number of civil service jobs being offered has decreased from 46,503 in 2011 to 30,964 in 2015. This means that only a small handful of applications are successful in entering into the civil service and this % has decreased from 4.1% in 2011 to 1 mere 1.9% in 2015. This raises the question of what jobs the unsuccessful applicants end up doing.

Among those successful applicants, a majority (plurality, in some years) of them have only up to a certificate level qualification at most. For example, in 2015, 54% of the successful applicants were hired for jobs which required only a PMR, SPM or Certificate level qualification (See Table 2 below).

This is a clear indicator that those who desire civil service jobs the most are also those with the lowest qualifications. This is not surprising given that many jobs at the bottom of the economic ladder have been taken up by foreign labour. The only place where foreign labour cannot hold jobs is in the civil service, hence the high number of applications and also appointments at this level.

This can be seen from the statistics from job application for specific jobs which are taken from the Public Service Commission website.[2] Chart 1 shows the applications and appointments for the position of a general assistant at the Grade 11 level which pays approximately RM1200 as a monthly salary and requires a minimum of PMR as an academic qualification. There were 87281 applicants for 16 positions (0.02%).

Chart 2 shows the number of applicants and appointments for the position of a food preparation assistant at the Grade 17 level which pays approximately RM1400 as a monthly salary and requires a minimum of SPM as an academic qualification. There were 65041 applications for 24 positions (0.04%).

Chart 3 shows the applications and appointments for the position of an IT officer at the Grade 41 level which pays approximately RM2300 a month and requires a minimum of a degree as an academic qualification. There were 17895 applicants for 61 positions (0.34%).

Charts 1 to 3 shows that the demand for public sector jobs far outstrips supply and that the mismatch between demand and supply is at its most acute at the level which requires the lowest academic qualification.

From a GDP per capita standpoint, Malaysia may have escaped the middle income trap. But those who have benefitted from this increase are the top 20% to 30% with high wages and also businesses which earn large profits but don’t share their earnings with their workers, especially those at the bottom of the ladder.

For the bottom 40%, the struggle to get out of the middle income trap continues and many of them are still hoping to obtain the security of a public sector job which are becoming more and more scarce.

Dr. Ong Kian Ming
Member of Parliament for Serdang

Chart 1: Applications for General Assistant Grade 11

Chart 2: Applications for Food Preparation Assistant N17

Chart 3: Applications for an IT officer Grade 41

[1] http://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2016/08/17/idris-jala-malaysia-no-longer-in-middle-income-trap/

[2] http://online.spa.gov.my/online/index.php. It is possible that some of the applicants would have applied for multiple jobs thereby inflating the application statistics e.g. people who apply for the N41, N17 and even N11 jobs. If this was the case, it would only highlight the lack of opportunity in the job market if even those who are qualified to apply for graduate level entry positions would also want to apply for positions which only require a SPM or PMR qualification.