• 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

  • The 2nd public display of the delimitation exercise for Peninsular Malaysia without Selangor is highly questionable and unconstitutional

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming on the 9th of March, 2017

    The 2nd public display of the delimitation exercise for Peninsular Malaysia without Selangor is highly questionable and unconstitutional

    Yesterday, 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. This announcement was published in the mainstream press and as a Federal Government Gazette. This move by the EC is unprecedented in the history of delimitation exercises in Malaysia because it excludes the parliament and state seats in the state of Selangor in the 2nd public display. This move is also highly questionable and very likely, unconstitutional.

    According to Article 113 (6) of the Federal Constitution, there shall be separate reviews undertaken in each delimitation exercise for the “States of Malaya and for each of the States of Sabah and Sarawak”. The Federal Constitution also clearly states that the delimitation exercise for the States of Malaya (or ‘Tanah Melayu’) – in other words, Peninsular Malaysia[1] – must be undertaken as a single unit of review. The delimitation exercise for the States of Malaya cannot be presented in parliament without the inclusion of Selangor.

    This begs the question of why the EC is pushing through with this 2nd public display without Selangor. The delimitation exercise for Selangor is currently being challenged by the Selangor state government in the High Court. This legal challenge – the first time that a delimitation exercise has been challenged by a state government – has prevented the EC from starting the local enquiry process and hearing the objections to the delimitation exercise in Selangor. The legal challenge by the Selangor state government is a highly important check and balance on the ability of the EC to redraw boundaries in an arbitrary fashion, not just in Selangor, but also in other states in Peninsular Malaysia that is part of the same ‘unit of review’.

    Going by past precedent, the EC should wait for the decision of the High Court on the Selangor case before taking the next step in the delimitation process. But in the event that the High Court rules in favor of the Selangor state government, the EC cannot proceed with the public inquiry in Selangor. The EC would instead be forced to appeal the decision in the Court of Appeals and perhaps all the way to the Federal Court in order to seek a favorable ruling. This would delay the EC from presenting the completed delimitation exercise for Peninsular Malaysia to the Prime Minister for parliamentary approval.

    The EC’s decision to announce the 2nd public display for all the states in Peninsular except for Selangor shows that it may want to push through a delimitation exercise that leaves the boundaries in Selangor as it is but with the proposed changes in the other states, many of which favours the BN. If the High Court rules in favor of the Selangor state government, the EC may propose a delimitation plan to the Prime Minister with no changes in the state of Selangor to be passed in the July / August 2017 parliamentary sitting.

    The 2nd public display of the constituency delimitation exercise for Peninsular Malaysia must be challenged in court because it is unconstitutional. The actions of the EC have once again shown that it is not the independent body it should be and that Malaysians must continue to advocate for a strong and independent Election Commission.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    [1] Including the Federal Territory of Labuan

  • Concession Agreement for the Kepong Incinerator project must be publicly disclosed

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Member of Parliament for Serdang, on the 10th of February, 2017

    Concession Agreement for the Kepong Incinerator project must be publicly disclosed

    It was reported in the Edge Weekly (January 30 to February 5, 2017) that three companies have been shortlisted for the controversial 1000 ton per day solid waste incinerator in Taman Beringin, Kepong. These three companies are Malaysia Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) in partnership with South Korea’s Hyundai Rotem Co, Cenviro Sbd Bhd (formerly UEM Environment Sdn Bhd) in partnership with Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd and DRB-Hicom in partnership with Malakoff Corp Bhd and Japan’s Sumitomo Corp. It was also reported that the concession agreement to build and operate this incinerator will be awarded in March, 2017.

    Concession agreements in Malaysia, from lopsided toll contracts to the Express Rail Link (ERL) contract that allowed for unreasonable price hikes, have almost always favoured the concession holders at the expense of the consumer / user. The nature of many of these lopsided contracts were only discovered after they were signed, usually when the government has had to explain why they had to allow these concession holders to increase the price of tolls or train tickets by large and unreasonable increments.

    This incinerator will be the largest incinerator of any kind in Malaysia. Recall that much smaller scale incinerator projects in Pulau Pangkor, Pulau Langkawi and Cameron Highlands have failed in the past, at great cost to the federal government. The nature by which these contracts were awarded to the company, XCN Technology, was called into question by the Auditor General. If the Kepong Incinerator project fails, the cost to the taxpayer will be far greater than the smaller scale failures in the abovementioned locations. Recall also that this is the second time that the Kepong incinerator project has been tendered out because there was only one company that made a final submission in the first round of tenders.

    In order to avoid the mistakes of the past, I call upon the Minister in charge of the Economic Planning Unit (EPU), Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, to disclose the details of the Kepong incinerator concession agreement including the projected cost of the project, the tipping fee that will be charged to DBKL, the conditions of the waste guarantee to the company, the length of the concession period, the performance indicators and the terms by which the government can take over the project if it fails to deliver.

    In addition, the Minister must convince the raykat the need for the Kepong incinerator given that KL has started the separation of municipal waste which should decrease the overall amount of waste that needs to be disposed.

    Failure to do so will only invite more protests from the residents and the high probability that the taxpayer and the ratepayers in KL will end up footing the bill for another lopsided concession agreement.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

  • President Trump’s Muslim Ban must be strongly condemned including by Prime Minister Najib

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Member of Parliament for Serdang, on the 29th of January 2017

    President Trump’s Muslim Ban must be strongly condemned including by Prime Minister Najib

    President Donald Trump’s executive order, signed yesterday, to stop Syrian refugees from entering the United States and to stop non-US citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries – Libya, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – from entering the United States, must be strongly condemned.

    It is an inhumane action especially for those Syrian refugees who already have been granted approval to travel to and seek asylum in the United States.

    It is an unjustified action that affects thousands of students and employees who are studying and working legally in the United States.

    It is hugely disturbing action that points to further steps that may be taken by Trump including making it harder for citizens from other predominantly Muslim countries such as Malaysia, to travel to, study in and work in the United States.

    Ironically, Trump’s executive action affects citizens from these seven countries that have been invited by the United States government to visit or study or do research in the US via US state department programs such as the International Visitors Program (IVP) and the Fulbright Scholarship / Fellowship Program, just to name a few. As a former recipient of the Fulbright scholarship to the US, where I completed my PhD in political science at Duke University, I strongly condemn this action by Trump as it stands against the principles of non-discrimination and openness represented by the United States.

    Many world leaders have already criticized this executive action by President Trump.[1] Prime Minister Najib, on the 21st of January, 2017 sent out a congratulatory message to Trump on his inauguration as the 45th President of the United States. Will PM Najib also send a message to Trump to condemn this executive action that affects the citizens of these Muslim majority countries?

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    [1] http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/01/world-leaders-condemn-donald-trump-muslim-ban-170128134635041.html

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