Media Statements

306 posts

Disappointed that the Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI), Mustapha Muhamed, failed to take up my challenge to set up a special parliamentary committee to monitor the implementation of the TPPA

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 27th of January, 2016

Disappointed that the Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI), Mustapha Muhamed, failed to take up my challenge to set up a special parliamentary committee to monitor the implementation of the TPPA

During my speech on the TPPA this morning, I challenged the Minister of International Trade and Industry to set up a special parliamentary committee to monitor the implementation of the TPPA during the 2 years leading up to possible ratification after the TPPA is signed on the 4th of February, 2016.

Unlike other Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), the TPPA will involve 27 amendments for 17 acts before it can be ratified by the participating countries. This special parliamentary committee would have monitored and given input for these amendments in order to ensure that they are consistent with international best practices. It would also have monitored changes in rules and procedures under the various ministries which do not require parliamentary approval. It would also have played the role of ensuring that the certification process which will be conducted by the United States is done in a way which is fair and does not privilege special interests which may try to influence the process. Finally, this committee should have the power to recommend to the Minister that Malaysia pull out of the ratification process if they find that it is not in the best interests of our country to go through with the TPPA.

Sadly, in his winding up speech, the Minister failed to even address this suggestion. This means that the process of ratifying the TPPA would be done in a less than fully transparent and accountable manner. This would undo much of the credibility which the Minister and his Ministry has built up through their public engagements to explain the TPPA.

It is not too late however for the Minister to take up this suggestion. I urge the Minister to announce the setting up of this special parliamentary committee before the signing of the TPPA in Auckland, New Zealand on the 4th of February, 2016.

Dr. Ong Kian Ming
Member of Parliament for Serdang

The newly appointed Election Commission (EC) chairman should allow Sarawakians living and working outside the state to cast votes as postal voters in the upcoming Sarawak state elections

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 23rd of January, 2016

The newly appointed Election Commission (EC) chairman should allow Sarawakians living and working outside the state to cast votes as postal voters in the upcoming Sarawak state elections

The appointment of the new EC chairman, Datu Seri Mohd Hashim bin Abdullah takes effect today, 24th of January, 2016. He replaces Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof. In the handing over ceremony which took place 2 days ago, it was reported that the EC would be asking for a budget of RM181million for the upcoming Sarawak state elections, which is approximately two and a half times the RM78m that was spent by the EC in the 2011 Sarawak state elections.[1] The outgoing EC chairman cited increases in the cost of renting vehicles and of food as some of the main reasons for the budget increase.

The incoming EC chairman should realize that the cost of going to the polls to cast a vote have also increased especially for the Sarawakians who are living and working outside the state. The transportation costs, whether it is flight tickets, bus tickets or boat tickets, have increased as a result of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).  The price of overnight stays in motels or hotels would also have increased. As has the price of food. It is especially costly for voters who have to travel from KL, Johor Bahru, Singapore and Kota Kinabalu to cast their votes in the interior areas such as Kapit, Hulu Rejang and Bakelalan.

In order to lessen the financial burdens of such voters, the EC should allow for Sarawakians living and working in Sabah, Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore to cast their votes as postal voters rather than forcing them to travel back to Sarawak to cast their votes. In the 13th general election, Sarawakians (and indeed, all Malaysians) who were living outside Malaysia and Singapore were allowed to register as postal voters. The same option should be given to Sarawakians so that they can cast their vote in the EC office or in a suitable location in every state in Peninsular Malaysia, in Sabah and also at the Malaysian embassy in Singapore a few days before the actual polling day. And just like in the 13th general election, their votes will be considered as postal votes and returned to their respective constituencies to be counted on polling day itself.

This is not a new recommendation. The parliamentary select committee on electoral reform, which was set up in 2011, listed this as one of their recommendations in its final report which was tabled in 2012. (See below)


Source: Laporan Jawatankuasa Pilihan Khas Berhubung dengan Penambahbaikan Proses Pilihan Raya, mukasurat 39.

This should be one of the first priorities of the newly appointed EC chairman in order to ease the financial burdens of Sarawakians who would otherwise have to make a costly journey to cast their votes in the upcoming Sarawak state elections.

Dr. Ong Kian Ming
Member of Parliament for Serdang

[1] http://www.thesundaily.my/news/1674119

The River of Life (RoL) project has a long way to go

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 20th of January, 2016

The River of Life (RoL) project has a long way to go

On the 11th of November, 2015, I organized a kayak expedition down a portion of the Gombak River that is part of the River of Life (RoL) project.

I wrote about my expedition in 5 facebook postings in December 2015 which were republished in Malaysiakini:

Part 1: https://www.facebook.com/ongkianming/posts/932720763449651
Part 2: https://www.facebook.com/ongkianming/posts/933071966747864
Part 3: https://www.facebook.com/ongkianming/posts/933514563370271
Part 4: https://www.facebook.com/ongkianming/posts/934347279953666
Part 5: https://www.facebook.com/ongkianming/posts/934775849910809

Now, a short 7 minute video of my kayak expedition can be access here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcV-9vfnR9c&feature=youtu.be

The release of this youtube video is a timely reminder of how far the River of Life (RoL) project has to go before the Klang and Gombak rivers can be classified as a Class IIB river that is fit for recreational activities.

Just last week, on Thursday, 14th of January, 2016, Jeffrey Lim, an avid cyclists and one of the members of my kayak expedition discovered a worrying number of dead fish along the Klang River while he was cycling near Brickfields. (See Appendix 1 below)

Jeff, who later tried to trace the source of the dead fish, concluded that the dead fish had originated further upstream, past Kampung Pauh along the Gombak River. (The photos shown below are from Jeff)

The dead fish, which may have died as a result of upstream pollution, is especially worrying given that many people eat and sell the fish they catch along the Gombak and Klang Rivers. It is a common sight to see fishermen using a rod or even fishing nets to catch fish along the Gombak and Klang rivers. (See Appendix 2 below)

I call upon the Department of Environment (DoE) to investigate the source of the dead fish and to determine if there was and still is serious pollution happening upstream along the Gombak River that may be poisoning the fish in the river. If there is no effort to monitor the level of pollution in the Gombak and Klang Rivers, the estimated RM3.4 billion that will be spend to clean up the river will be wasted.

Dr. Ong Kian Ming
Member of Parliament for Serdang

Appendix 1: Photos of Dead Fish discovered on Thursday, 14th of January, 2016

Appendix 2: People catching fish along the Gombak River