• 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/

     

  • More mistakes by the Election Commission in the 2nd Public Display of the 2016 Delimitation Exercise (or “Syor 2”)?

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Member of Parliament of Serdang, 17th of March, 2017

    More mistakes by the Election Commission in the 2nd Public Display of the 2016 Delimitation Exercise (or “Syor 2”)?

    Yesterday, I highlighted two possible mistakes by the Election Commission in the 2nd public display of the 2016 delimitation exercise (referred to as “Syor 2” here on). There was a case of a ‘missing’ polling station in Johor and also a case of a new polling station in Pahang.

    In today’s statement, I want to highlight 10 cases where the number of voters in polling stations have been changed from the first public display (Syor 1) to the second public display (Syor 2). Why is this an issue? Think of the delimitation exercise as one big jigsaw puzzle. Each polling station is one piece of the jigsaw puzzle. From Syor 1 to Syor 2, the Election Commission can shift polling stations from one state seat to another, but it cannot change the size and composition of the individual polling stations. The reasoning is simple: If voters are shifted from one polling station to another between Syor 1 and Syor 2, there is no way for the voters to know if they are the ones who have been shifted. This would obviously affect their constitutional right to object to the delimitation exercise under Syor 2.

    For example, in Syor 1, the Taman Temiang Jaya polling station in the N12 Temiang state seat under the P128 Seremban parliament seat had 2994 voters (See Figure 1 below)

    Figure 1: Taman Temiang polling station with 2994 voters in N12 Temiang under the P128 Seremban parliament seat

    However, under Syor 2, the number of voters in the Taman Temiang Jaya polling station has decreased from 2994 voters to 2412 voters (See Figure 2 below). Note that the number of voters for the other polling stations remain the same. Note also, that I am not challenging the ability of the EC to shift polling stations from one state seat to another, which is what it has done to the Kampong Nee Yan polling station (from N12 Temiang to N11 Lobak). What I am challenging is the EC’s ability to change the composition of the individual polling stations and hence the number of voters in each polling station from Syor 1 to Syor 2.

    For example, if I am one of the 2994 voters in Taman Temiang Jaya in Syor 1, I have no idea if I am still a voter in Taman Temiang Jaya in Syor 2 or if I have been shifted to another polling station. So, I cannot make an objection even if I wanted to since I have no idea which polling station or which state seat or which parliament seat I will be voting in if Syor 2 is passed in parliament.

    Figure 2: Number of voters in Taman Temiang Jaya reduced from 2994 in Syor 1 to 2412 in Syor 2

    Another example of this mistake made by the EC is found in the Sura Gate polling station in the N27 Sura state seat under the P39 Dungun parliament seat. In Syor 1, the Sura Gate polling station has 1387 voters (Figure 3 below). In Syor 2, the number of voters in Sura Gate has been increased to 2550 (Figure 4 below).

    Figure 3: Sura Gate polling station in N27 Sura state seat in P39 Dungun parliament seat with 1387 voters in Syor 1

    Figure 4: Number of voters in Sura Gate polling station increased to 2550 in Syor 2

    In total, I identified 10 such cases, whereby the number of voters in each polling station was changed from Syor 1 to Syor 2. The full list of polling stations is listed in Table 1 below.

    The EC needs to state if it has made a mistake in changing the number of voters in these polling stations from Syor 1 to Syor 2. The failure to do so may mean that the constitutional right of certain voters to voice their objections to the delimitation exercise proposal in Syor 2 are affected.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    Table 1: 10 Polling Stations where the number of voters have changed from Syor 1 to Syor 2

  • Did SPR make mistakes in Syor 2 of the Delimitation Exercise by excluding existing polling stations and adding in new polling stations?

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 16th of March, 2017

    Did SPR make mistakes in Syor 2 of the Delimitation Exercise by excluding existing polling stations and adding in new polling stations?

    On the 8th of March, 2017, the Election Commission (EC) published a notice to announce the official start of the 2nd round of the public display for the 2016 constituency delimitation exercise for Peninsular Malaysia (excluding Selangor). This notice was published in the Federal Gazette[1], in mainstream newspapers and can also be found in land offices and district offices in each state in Peninsular Malaysia.

    By going through the first delimitation proposal first published on the 15th of September, 2016 (Syor 1) and the second delimitation proposal published on the 8th of March, 2017 (Syor 2), I was able to identify polling districts (or daerah mengundi) which were included in Syor 1 but were excluded in Syor 2. For example, the polling district of Kampong Teratai, with 876 voters, was listed under the state constituency of N9 Gambir under P144 Ledang in the state of Johor (Figure 1 below). This was one of the many polling stations that were taken out of the P143 Pagoh parliament seat and moved into the P144 Ledang parliament seat.

    Figure 1: Kampong Teratai polling station with 876 voters in N9 Gambir under P144 Ledang in Johor, published in Syor 1 on the 15th of September, 2016

    Surprisingly, in Syor 2, the Kampong Teratai polling district is missing. So where did this polling station go? Why does this matter? The reason why this matters is because if the 876 voters in Kampong Teratai do not know which state and parliamentary seat they have been placed, they cannot object to the delimitation exercise as shown in Syor 2. Hence, they would be deprived of their constitutional right to object, which is spelt out in Section 5 of the Thirteenth Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

    As it turns out, it is likely that the Kampong Teratai polling station was moved back to the P143 Pagoh parliamentary constituency under the N7 Bukit Kepong state constituency. The total number of voters in N7 Bukit Kepong is given as 27350 in Syor 2 (See Figure 2 below) but the sum of voters obtained by adding up the number of voters in the 26 polling stations in N7 Bukit Kepong shown in Syor 2 is only 26474.[2] This means there is a different of 876 voters in N7 Bukit Kepong which, coincidentally is also the number of voters in the Kampung Teratai polling station which is missing from Syor 2.

    Figure 2: The 26 polling stations in N7 Bukit Kepong (under P143 Pagoh) in Syor 2 showing 27350 voters but adds up to only 26474 voters (difference of 876 voters)

    If the Election Commission (EC) has indeed made a mistake by leaving out the Kampong Teratai polling district from the N7 Bukit Kepong state seat, it should immediately publish a correction in the gazette and in the mainstream newspapers. Failure to do so may mean that this second public notice is unconstitutional.

    At the same time, I also found examples of where new polling stations were added in Syor 2. While the Election Commission has the right to add new polling stations, it must do so under Section 7 (2) of the Elections Act 1958. The Election Commission reconfigured existing and added new polling stations on the 29th of April, 2016 under this provision in the Elections Act 1958. (See Figure 3 below).

    Figure 3: Reconfiguring existing and adding new polling stations under Section 7 (2) of the Elections Act 1958 (Announced in the Federal Gazette on the 29th of April, 2016)

    If the Election Commission had wanted to add in new polling stations, it must do so under Section 7 (2) of the Elections Act 1958. It cannot do so between Syor 1 and Syor 2 of the delimitation exercise. But this was exactly what the Election Commission did when it added in the new polling station of Taman Rimba in the state constituency of N30 Mentakab under the P88 Temerloh parliamentary constituency in Syor 2 (See Figure 4 below). Taman Rimba was not a polling station in Syor 1 of the delimitation exercise.

    The adding of new polling stations affects the ability of voters to make objections to the delimitation exercise as shown in Syor 2 since voters may not know that they have been assigned to the new polling station such as the one created in N30 Mentakab. If this is the case, then their constitutional right, under Section 5 of the Thirteenth Schedule of the Federal Constitution, will be affected.

    Figure 4: Addition of a new polling station called Taman Rimba in Syor 2 in N30 Mentakab, P88 Temerloh

    Based on the evidence presented here, the Election Commission should immediately answer the following two questions: (i) have polling stations which were originally in Syor 1 been mistakenly left out in Syor 2 (e.g. Kampong Teratai in N7 Bukit Kepong under P143 Pagoh) and (ii) have there been new polling stations created in Syor 2 and why was this not done under Section 7 (2) of the Elections Act 1958.

    Failure to do so would affect the constitutionality and the procedural validity of the entire delimitation exercise for the States of Malaya.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    Appendix 1: List of polling stations and number of voters in N7 Bukit Kepong in Syor 2

    [1] http://www.federalgazette.agc.gov.my/outputp/pub_20170308_PU%20(B)%20127%20(2)%20latest.pdf

    [2] Refer to Appendix 1 below to check the total number of voters as shown in Syor 2.

  • Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg should show proof that the North Korean workers who were and are still in Sarawak are specialist workers

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 10th of March, 2017

    Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg should show proof that the North Korean workers who were and are still in Sarawak are specialist workers

    On the 8th of March, 2017, Chief Minister of Sarawak, Datuk Amar Johari Tun Openg was reported to have said that the North Koreans who are working in Sarawak are “mostly specialist workers in coal mining, bridge and hydroelectric dam projects”. [1] I received a parliamentary reply on the 17th of June, 2015 to my question on the number of North Korean workers who was then working in Malaysia. The reply stated that all of the North Korean workers in Malaysia were working in the construction and mining industries (See Figure 1 below)

    Figure 1: Parliamentary Reply received on the 17th of June, 2015

    I visited the Selantik coal mine in the Sri Aman district on the 25th of September, 2015. I did not speak to the North Korean coal miners because of concerns of safety and the language barrier. I did see that the living conditions of these workers were very basic. I also saw a woman who looked Korean coming out from one of the run-down accommodations at the mine to wash some plates. My guess at that time was that she was a cook for the North Korean workers. (See Pictures below)

    I also asked the villagers living near the coal mine and they all said that they had very little interaction with the workers there. I find it hard to believe that ‘specialist’ coal miners from North Korea would be willing to live in such basic and inhospitable living conditions which I saw at the mine. There is also nothing from my parliamentary reply to indicate that these coal miners were ‘specialist’ workers.

    Chief Minister Amar Johari can convince the public that these were indeed specialist workers by releasing information about the background, qualifications and work experience of these specialist workers as well as proof that the company employing them had advertised for these positions and were unable to fill them with Sarawakian workers.

    At a time when relations between Malaysia and North Korea is at an all-time low and with the global media’s attention focused on Malaysia because of the recent assassination of Kim Jong Nam, it is imperative that we demonstrate to the global community that proper operating procedures were followed in the employment of the North Koreans in Sarawak. Failure to do so would put Malaysia in a negative light and may even cause the downgrade in Malaysia’s position in the US state department’s Trafficking in Persons (TiP) report.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    Picture 1: Coal Mining operations in Selantik, Sri Aman in Sarawak

    Picture 2: One of the accommodation housing the North Korean workers in Selantik, Sri Aman in Sarawak

    Picture 3: One of the accommodation housing the North Korean workers in Selantik, Sri Aman in Sarawak

    Picture 4: One of the accommodation housing the North Korean workers in Selantik, Sri Aman in Sarawak

    Picture 5: A Korean looking woman coming out of one of the accommodation at the Selantik coal mine in Sri Aman to wash some dishes

    [1] http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/03/08/north-koreans-in-no-rush-to-go-home/#4grlAk1YbeqsO6oV.99

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