• Election Commission (EC) Chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, should focus on the proposals of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on electoral reform rather than the proposal of Ridhuan Tee

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 5th of May, 2015

    Election Commission (EC) Chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, should focus on the proposals of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on electoral reform rather than the proposal of Ridhuan Tee

    It was reported in the media that EC Chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, is studying Ridhuan Tee’s proposal that candidates who want to stand for elections must have at least an SPM credit in Bahasa Malaysia (BM). I strongly suggest that the EC uses its time to focus on the studies that the EC promised it would conduct following the proposals of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on electoral reform.

    Following the publication of the findings of the PSC on electoral reform, the EC chairman published a response on the 19th of April, 2012. Among the promises made by the EC chairman was that the EC would study in greater depth and detail, including from the constitutional, legal, regulatory, technical and managerial angles, the recommendations that could not be implemented in time for the 13th general elections.

    The recommendations which require a more careful study include (i) the preparation of guidelines and procedures for a caretaker government (ii) the possibility of automatic registration of eligible voters (iii) the proposal to separate the main functions of the EC namely the registration of voters, the conduct of elections and the redrawing of electoral boundaries (iv) the proposal to have at least one third of parliamentary seats from Sabah and Sarawak (v) the possibility of improving or changing our current First-Past-the-Post electoral (FPTP) system to a mixture of FPTP and Proportionate Representation (PR) or a strictly PR system.

    More than 3 years after the response issued by the EC Chairman, we have not seen any of these studies being published or even publicly discussed by the EC.

    Rather than putting effort into studying the Ridhuan Tee’s proposal, the EC should instead deliver on its promises made more than 3 years ago, which is to publish its findings and studies on the specific recommendations made by the PSC on electoral reform as highlighted above.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    Reference: Kenyataan Media Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya Malaysia 19 April 2012

  • Last minute cancellation of the “Thirst 2015” concert at the Mines International Exhibition and Convention Center gives Malaysia a bad name

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang on the 26th of April, 2015

    Last minute cancellation of the “Thirst 2015” concert at the Mines International Exhibition and Convention Center gives Malaysia a bad name

    The “Thirst: We are all Stardust” 2015 concert that was supposed to be held at the Mines International Exhibition and Convention Center (MIECC) was cancelled at the last minute yesterday on the 25th of April, 2015.

    Here are the sequence of events, according to information available to me, that led to this cancellation.

    The Serdang IPD had issued a letter on the 25th of March, 2015, saying that they had no objections to the staging of this event (Appendix 1).

    MPSJ had issued a temporary permit to the organizers, Future Sound Asia Sdn Bhd, on the 21st of April, 2015 for the staging of the concert subject to certain conditions being fulfilled including ensuring that there would be no one under the age of 18 attending the concert and ensuring that no Muslims would be allowed to attend the concert (Appendix 2).

    On the afternoon of Friday, 24th of April, the police sent a letter to MPSJ stating that they would not support the concert. As a result, MPSj was forced to withdraw the entertainment permit to the organizers of the event (Appendix 3). The reason for the withdrawal of the police support for this event was not stated. This is the ONLY reason why MPSj withdrew the entertainment license.

    The last minute attempts by different parties to request for the assistance and support of the police for this event failed. As such, the organizers had no choice but to cancel the event and to promise refunds to all those who had bought tickets to the event.

    While the police have the right not to support any entertainment event based on valid and legitimate reasons, it is unfair to the organizers of any large scale event when the withdrawal of support comes at the 11th hour and without any stated reason. To my knowledge, the organizers had obtained the support of the Anti-Dadah Agency and the Narcotics Division who would place their officers on duty on the night of the event. To my knowledge, the organizers and the sponsors had already spent millions of ringgit to organize and promote this event.

    It is very disappointing for the ticker holders, the organizers, the performers and all the other stakeholders that this event had to be cancelled at the last minute. It also dents the reputation of Malaysia as a destination to hold international level entertainment events because of the possibility that such events may have to be cancelled at the last minute due to the withdrawal of permits.

    At the very least, I hope that the police can come out to give an explanation on why they withdrew their support for this event at the last minute. Moving forward, I call for a transparent Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on the part of the police for such events so that all stakeholders can take the necessary steps to prevent such a cancellation from happening again, without legitimate reasons given.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    Appendix 1: Letter from the IPD Serdang stating that they had no objections to the staging of the event (March 25, 2015)

    Appendix 2: Temporary Permit (Permit Sementara) issued by MPSJ on the 21st of April, 2015



    Appendix 3: Withdrawal of the entertainment permit by MPSj after receiving a letter from the IPD Serdang that the police had withdrawn their support for this event

  • Why was 1MDB given a tariff rate hike of 22% for its yet to be built 50MW Solar Farm?

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 20th of April, 2015

    Why was 1MDB given a tariff rate hike of 22% for its yet to be built 50MW Solar Farm?

    It was reported in the Edge Financial Daily today that the proposed 1MDB Solar Farm has been given a hike it its electricity tariff from 41 sen per kWH to 50 sen per kWH, an increase of 9 sen or 22%.[1] The reason given, according to this report, was that the “previous tariff was deemed simply too low for the project to be feasible. The new tariff was negotiated on the basis that Edra caps its internal rate of return for the project at a maximum of 9%.”

    If this report is true, then the Ministry for Energy, Green Technology and Water (or KeTTHA) has a lot of explaining to do. Firstly, if Edra Global, a subsidiary of 1MDB, felt that the initial tariff rate of 41 sen per kWH was too low, why did KeTTHA not allow for an open tender in the market for the proposed 50MW solar farm, which would be the largest solar farm project in Malaysia? In fact, KeTTHA should have allowed for an open tender in the first place instead of awarding this project to 1MDB, which has no experience of building and operating any solar projects, on a direct negotiation basis. An open tender for this proposed solar farm would have ensured the best pricing for Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) and set the benchmark for future solar farm projects.

    An argument can also be made that the tariff rate of 50 sen per kwH is too high by market standards.

    According to the tariff rates found in the website for the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA), the minimum feed-in-tariff (FiT) for solar power installations which are more than 10MW but less than 30MW has been dropping steadily over time (Table 1 below). These ‘digression rates’ were introduced because of the rapidly falling installation costs of solar panels due to improvements in technology.

    Table 1: Minimum Tariff per kWH for Solar PV Feed in Tariff for installations >10MW but less than 30MW

    Date of FiT installation 1 Jan 2012 1 Jan 2013 28 March 2013 1 Jan 2014 15 March 2014 1 Jan 2015
    Minimum Tariff per kWH 85 sen 78.2 sen 68 sen 54.4 sen 61.2 sen 49 sen

    Source: www.seda.gov.my

    For installations starting on the 1st of January 2015, the minimum feed in tariff was 49 sen (See graphic below). There are very good reasons to expect a 50MW solar farm to be able to offer a tariff lower than the 49 sen per kWh under SEDA’s Feed-in-Tariff. Firstly, a solar farm of that size will inevitably have greater economies of scale e.g. lower per unit installation costs and lower per unit land acquisition costs. Secondly, the solar farm will only be completed at a later date which means that the costs of the solar PV can drop further because of improved technology. Thirdly, the proposed contract between 1MDB and Tenaga is for 25 years which is longer than the 21 years under the Feed in Tariff. A longer contract means a longer period of guaranteed returns which means that more players would have been willing to accept a lower tariff in exchange for the longer contract.

    Given this information, one cannot help but to think that this tariff hike is an attempt to help ‘bail out’ 1MDB by providing more favourable financial terms for its subsidiary, Edra Global, to be listed.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    Graphic 1: Fit Rates for Solar PV (Non Individual) starting from the 1st of January 2015

    [1] http://www.theedgemarkets.com/en/article/1mdb%E2%80%99s-solar-farm-gets-tariff-hike

  • GERAKAN MP, Liang Teck Meng, should be ashamed of himself for defending the indefensible

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 19th of April, 2015

    GERAKAN MP, Liang Teck Meng, should be ashamed of himself for defending the indefensible

    GERAKAN MP for Simpang Renggam, Liang Teck Meng, defended the amendments of the Sedition Act by saying the following: “If BN can deliver the goodwill of the amendments clearly to the people and also people understand the rationale of it, they (DAP) can be unseated in the next general election.”[1] It is sad to see how far a party that is supposed to be the “conscience of the BN” has fallen in its pathetic and disgusting attempt to defend the amendments to the Sedition Act.

    Liang Teck Meng must be either blind or deaf or both if he thinks that the amendments to the Sedition Act were proposed in a spirit of “goodwill”. Was it the same spirit of “goodwill” which led the government to charge the cartoonist Zunar on 9 counts under the Sedition Act for his cartoons criticizing the judicial decisions to uphold the sodomy convictions against Anwar Ibrahim? Was it the same spirit of “goodwill” which led to the overnight detention and police investigation against MP for Lembah Pantai, Nurul Izzah, for a speech she made in parliament criticizing the judiciary? Was it’s the same spirit of “goodwill” which led to the overnight detention and subsequent charges under the Sedition Act against 4 journalists from the Malaysian Insider and the publisher of the Edge Media Group?

    Liang Teck Meng must also think that the voters in Malaysia are stupid when he said that “In contrast, the government is actually giving greater freedom and protection to the people through recent legislative efforts… Gerakan reckons the potential threat of creating religious tension in the social media and concurs that certain control and monitoring should be introduced to keep it in check”. Is he totally ignorant of the double standards which are practised by the authorities in this country? Is he not aware that no action was taken against Ibrahim Ali even though he threatened to publicly burn copies of the Bible? Has he not read about how Minister for Agriculture, Ismail Sabri, was given the VIP treatment when he was allowed to give his statement over the telephone after his infamous Facebook post asking Malay consumers to boycott Chinese traders and businessmen? And how former Deputy Minister, Mashitah Ibrahim, was also given such a VIP treatment after she made the baseless accusation that a Chinese person had burnt a copy of the Quran in Kedah?

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    [1] http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/295687

  • GERAKAN as the conscience of the Barisan Nasional (BN) – My Foot!

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 7th of April 2015

    GERAKAN as the conscience of the Barisan Nasional (BN) – My Foot!

    The Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) was passed at 230am this morning despite the best efforts of Pakatan Rakyat MPs to ask for the bill to be referred to a parliamentary select committee for further discussion and refinement. While it was not surprising that the UMNO Home Minister, Datuk Zahid Hamidi, would want to bulldoze this bill through parliament, it was disgraceful that GERAKAN, represented by its President and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Dato’ Mah Siew Keong and Simpang Renggam Member of Parliament, Liang Teck Meng, did not even utter a squeak of protest against POTA which allows for indefinite detention without trial.

    GERAKAN has often been called the ‘conscience of the BN’ and has previously voiced out its opposition against the Internal Security Act (ISA). As recent as October 2013, GERAKAN, in a booklet entitled “Gerakan Speak Up” had the following statement:

    Gerakan has been at the forefront of opposing preventive detention and have spoken up against the ISA, EO and other draconian laws. Recently, we also voiced our concerns with the amendments to the Prevention of Crime Act. The Central Bureau on the Law and Human Rights has been consistent in its fight for laws that conform to international human rights norms and Malaysia’s own human rights obligations. We have also been critical of the heavy handed actions of the police and have consistently supported the formation of the IPCMC.[1]

    When I was debating the amendments to Section 13 to 28 of the POTA bill proposed by Hanipa Maidin, Member of Parliament for Sepang, I invited the sole GERAKAN backbencher, Member of Parliament for Simpang Renggam, Liang Teck Meng to give him a chance to defend his party’s position on the POTA bill. His disappointing reply was “Malas nak jawab” (Lazy to reply).

    It is highly disappointing that the supposed conscience of the Barisan Nasional could not even be bothered to mount a defence of the controversial POTA bill that allows for indefinite detention without trial.

    At the same time, MCA, which lauded the abolishment of the Internal Security Act (ISA) and also the initial announcement of the abolishment of the Seditions Act[2], was also amazingly silent during the debate on the amendments to the POTA bill.

    With the so-called defenders of liberal and democratic values like GERAKAN and the MCA in BN, the protection of human rights in Malaysia is facing dark times.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    [1] https://www.google.com.my/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCEQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gerakan.org.my%2Fndc%2Fmaterials%2Fitem%2Fdownload%2F22_35d58734fec5e7e0c6759ba889112543&ei=9C0jVebcCMbbuQSWrYCYAQ&usg=AFQjCNGrEu5FmDGnfQJZWkhS5tmqmNxtQg&sig2=By-GKuYNeZyy-rbNlsJiaw&bvm=bv.89947451,d.c2E

    [2] http://www.mca.org.my/en/press-statement-by-mca-deputy-president-dato%E2%80%99-sri-liow-tiong-lai-on-the-abolishment-of-the-sedition-act/

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