• The government should aggressively pursue companies which owe big debts to the government rather than just focusing on PTPTN defaulters

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 28th of October 2014

    The government should aggressively pursue companies which owe big debts to the government rather than just focusing on PTPTN defaulters

    In my budget speech yesterday, I highlighted a number of companies which repayment arrears on their federal government loans which run into millions and sometimes billions of ringgit. They include a number of private companies as well as some companies which are owned by the government via the Ministry of Finance Incorporated and Khazanah Nasional.

    The repayment arrears of these companies were listed out in Schedule 2.28 of the Financial Statement and Financial Management of the Ministries / Agencies of the Federal Government as part of the 2012 Auditor General Report.[1] For example, Perwaja Steel Sdn Bhd and Equal Concept Sdn Bhd, which holds an indirect stake in Perwaja Steel, were listed as having arrears of RM32.27 million and RM22.5 million in year ending 2012. The report also showed the amount of the outstanding loan which had to be serviced by these companies and the amount paid by these companies. For example, Perwaja Steel and Equal Concept’s loan repayments were listed as RM30.42m and RM21.57m respectively. Both companies failed to pay a single cent of their loan repayment in 2012.

    Not only that, Perwaja Steel and Equal Concept both had their arrears written off / restructured to the tune of RM58.06m and RM41.52m respectively. In other words, not only was Perwaja Steel and Equal Concept not punished for their failure to service their loans, they were ‘rewarded’ by the federal government by having part of their arrears written off / restructured.

    These were not the only two private companies to have repayment arrears with the federal government that were not properly serviced. According to Table 1 above, others include the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) which failed to pay a single cent of its RM17.49m repayment in 2012, Lebuhraya Shapadu (which was in the process of being liquidated in 2011) which failed to fully pay the RM23.92m repayment in 2012, Premium Agro Products which failed to make any repayment on its RM8.29 repayment in 2012, Agro Qas which only paid RM0.97m of its RM3.69m repayment in 2012, White Heron Dairy Farm which failed to make any payment on its RM2.84 repayment in 2012, MY Ikan which failed to make any payment on its RM1.9 million repayment in 2012, A-Winn Global Market Service which failed to make any payment on its RM1.11 million repayment in 2012 and Airport Limo (M) which failed to make any payment on its RM2.2m repayment in 2012.

    And this does not even include the loans to private companies which the government has to write off such as the RM244 million outstanding loan of Invent QJaya, a company started and controlled by Dr Sadeg Fareq, which had to be liquidated in 2006 after accusations of illicit money transfers for the owner.[2]

    Nor does it include the RM4.6 billion soft loan which the government gave to the Port Klang Authority in order to ‘bail-out’ the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project.[3]

    The federal government has to be consistent in its approach towards pursuing loan defaulters. Right now, it seems that those who owe millions, hundreds of millions and even billions are let off but those who owe a few thousand are pursued relentlessly. PTPTN defaulters are threatened with a credit blacklist while the directors and owners of companies which owe millions to the government are free to continue to be directors, own and run other companies.

    To paraphrase John Paul Getty, “If you owe the government a few hundred Ringgit, that’s your problem, if you owe the government a few million Ringgit that’s the government’s problem.” That’s the current problem with our government’s attitude towards its loans and debts.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    [1] or “Penyata Kewangan dan Pengurusan Kewangan Kementerian / Jabatan Kerajaan Persekutuan

    [2] http://promahathir.blogspot.com/2006/12/court-orders-inventqjaya-to-be-wound.html

    [3] http://www.pkfz.com/content/news/pressclippings/local/2007/nov07/Nov%2030%20-%20TheEdgeDaily_BW.pdf

     

  • 2015 Budget shows that the Prime Minister has failed his promise to decrease unnecessary expenditure and to increase transparency in government spending

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 10th October, 2014

    2015 Budget shows that the Prime Minister has failed his promise to decrease unnecessary expenditure and to increase transparency in government spending

    Prime Minister Najib has announced that the 2015 budget will incur an estimated expenditure of RM273.94 billion, an increase of RM9.74 billion from the announced 2014 budget of RM264.2, at increase of 3.7%.

    At the same time, the Economic Report 2014/2015 has estimated that the amount spent on subsidies will be reduced from RM40.6b to RM37.7b, a decrease of RM2.9b or 7.1%. This is a result of the continued subsidy rationalisation program and expected increase in the price of petrol and diesel.

    While the people will be burdened with an increase in the cost of living due to the subsidy rationalisation program and the introduction of GST in 2015, it is clear from the 2015 Budget that the government has not tightened its own belt.

    According to the Economic Report 2014/2015, the amount spent on supplies and services, which is where much of the wastage that is reported year in year out in the National Audit Report comes from, is expected to rise from RM36.4b to RM38.1b, an increase of RM1.7b or 4.6%.

    This is in spite of the promise made by Prime Minister Najib that the public sector will undertake 11 cuts in expenditure.[1]

    At the same time, the estimated expenditure in the Prime Minister’s Office is expected to increase by RM2.6 billion which is the largest absolute increase among all the Ministries, even more than the RM2.03 billion increase in the Ministry of Education’s allocation. (See Table 1 below)

    This includes items in the development expenditure which lacks total transparency in terms of the purpose of expenditure. For example, under the title ‘Projek Khas’ or special projects, the development expenditure has increased from RM180m in 2014 to RM1.61 billion in 2015, an increase of RM1.43b or a 793.1% increase!

    This kind of black box spending is exactly what the Anti-Corruption NKRA under the Government Transformation Program (GTP) was and is trying to reduce. Sadly, it seems that the Prime Minister has not taken the advice of the unit within his own Ministry.

    The upcoming debate sessions will present an opportune time for Pakatan Rakyat Members of Parliament to question the spending and policies of put forth in the 2015 Budget and for us to present our alternative policies, some of which have been outlined in the Pakatan Rakyat Alternative Budget 2015.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    [1] http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2013/12/31/Costcutting-measures-start-tomorrow-Public-sector-will-see-11-steps-implemented-to-compensate-for-pr/

  • In Malaysia, it is not an offense to threaten to burn bibles or buildings

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 8th of October, 2014

    In Malaysia, it is not an offense to threaten to burn bibles or buildings

    On the 22nd of May, 2014, a group of UMNO Youth Federal Territories leaders and members, led by Razlan Rafii, protested in front of the DAP Headquarters at Jalan Yew, off Jalan Pudu. During this protest, Razlan Rafii threatened to burn down the DAP Headquarters. I made a police report on the same day at the Pudu Police Department (Laporan Polis PUDU/004003/14) and provided video evidence to the police of the threats made by Razlan Rafii.

    On the 26th of May, the police arrested 6 UMNO Youth leaders, including Razlan Rafii. It was reported that they were being probed under Section 427 of the Penal Code for causing mischief and damage and Section 506 for criminal intimidation.[1] It is very clear under Section 506 of the Penal Code that a threat to cause the destruction of any property by fire is punishable offence (see below).

    Punishment for criminal intimidation

    506. Whoever commits the offence of criminal intimidation shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both; and if the threat is to cause death or grievous hurt, or to cause the destruction of any property by fire, or to cause an offence punishable with death or imprisonment, or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, or to impute unchastity to a woman, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years or with fine or with both.

    I asked a Parliamentary question to obtain an update on the progress of this case in this current session and I received the following reply yesterday from the Minister of Home Affairs:

    Kertas Siasatan telah lengkap dan telah diedarkan ke Pejabat Peguam Negara pada 17 September 2014 dan telah memutuskan kes No Further Action (NFA). Siasatan diteruskan bagi kesalahan di bawah Sekysen 9 (5) Akta Perhimpunan Aman kerana berhimpun tanpa kebenaran atau notis.

    Translation: The investigation papers have been completed and passed on to the Attorney General’s Office on the 17th of September and the decision was made of No Further Action on this case. The investigation will continue to determine if any offence under Section 9 (5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act had taken place because of assembling without permission or giving of advance notice.

    I strongly condemn the decision made by the Attorney General not to prosecute and charge Razlan Rafii when he had clearly threatened to burn down the DAP Headquarters. His actions were widely reported in the newspapers and was captured and uploaded on youtube for public consumption. I even identified Razlan Rafii in a line-up conducted by the police. Does this mean that the Attorney General is giving tacit approval for others to threaten to burn down the buildings housing the offices of opposition parties? Or that it is okay to threaten to burn down buildings more generally and not face any consequences?

    In yesterday’s Parliamentary questions, Lim Guan Eng, MP for Bagan, also asked if any action would be taken against the president of Perkasa, Ibrahim Ali, for threatening to burn the Malay bibles.[2] The Parliamentary reply was the following:

    Berhubung kes membabitkan Dato’ Ibrahim bin Ali, Presiden PERKASA, hasil siasatan Polis DiRaja Malaysia (PDRM) menunjukkan bahawa:

    (a)    Kata-kata yang diucapkan oleh beliau adalah ditujukan kepada individu-individu yang telah mengedar naskhah “Bible” yang mengandungi kalimah Allah dan juga tulisan Jawi kepada pelajar-pelajar di Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Jelutong, Pulau Pinang termasuk pelajar Melayu

    (b)   Kenyataan yang dibuat oleh beliau tersebut tidak berniat untuk menimbulkan kekecohan agama tetapi hanya untuk mempertahankan kesucian agama Islam.

    Translation: In relation to the case involving Dato’ Ibrahim bin Ali, President of PERKASA, the investigation conducted by the Royal Malaysian Police showed that:

    (a)    The words spoken by Dato’ Ibrahim was directed at the individuals who were distributing copies of the ‘Bible’ which contained the world Allah and also Jawi writing to students in SMK Jelutong, Pulau Pinang including Malay students

    (b)   The statements made by Dato’ Ibrahim was not intended to incite religious tensions but only to protect the sanctity of Islam

    Does this mean that one can now threaten to burn sacred texts of other religions all in the name of protecting one’s own religion?

    Taking the results of both of these cases, does that mean that it is now permissible to threaten to burn down churches where BM or Indonesian bibles containing the word Allah are being used by Christians?

    These decisions make a total mockery of Prime Minister Najib’s attempt to ‘brand’ Malaysia internationally as a so called “Moderate” country when his government allows those who threaten to burn down buildings and bibles to go unpunished.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    [1] https://my.news.yahoo.com/cops-arrest-6-umno-youth-leaders-over-burn-134500460.html

    [2] http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/01/19/burn-allah-bibles-perkasa-chief-tells-muslims/

  • Parliament Questions: 3rd Session 2014 (7.10.2014 – 27.11.2014)

    Questions for the Third Parliamentary Session 2014 – Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Member of Parliament for Serdang

    Oral Questions

    1) Dr. Ong Kian Ming (Serdang) asks the Minister of Education to explain why RM6.5 million was allocated to build SRJK Bukit Serdang with 36 classrooms but the school that was built only has 22 classrooms.

    2) Dr. Ong Kian Ming (Serdang) asks the Prime Minister to disclose the government allocation given to Perdana University under the Public Private Partnership and why this funding should continue given the non-payment of fees to the Johns Hopkins University that led to JHU breaking off ties with the PUGSOM program.

    3) Dr. Ong Kian Ming (Serdang) asks the Minister of Education to explain why the Program Ijazah Luar Negara (PILN) was cancelled without public notice despite the announcement on the 16th of April 2012 by the Minister that this scholarship would be available to non-bursary students.

    4) Dr. Ong Kian Ming (Serdang) asks the Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water to explain why a 50MW solar farm project was directly awarded to 1MDB given that there are many other Malaysian companies with a much more established track record in solar farm projects.

    5) Dr. Ong Kian Ming (Serdang) asks the Minister for Natural Resources and Environment to state what Malaysia is doing, within the context of ASEAN, to get Indonesia to ratify the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution.

    6) Dr. Ong Kian Ming (Serdang) asks Minister of Home Affairs on the status of the investigation into Police Report PUDU/004003/14 and why the UMNO Youth leader who threatened to burn down the DAP Headquarters, Razlan Rafii, has not been charged yet despite the evidence produced against him.

    7) Dr. Ong Kian Ming (Serdang) asks the Prime Minister to state the status of the tender for the Waste to Energy Plant in Taman Beringin, Kepong, the names of the companies which have been selected and whether the terms of the tender will be disclosed publicly.

    8) Dr. Ong Kian Ming (Serdang) asks the Finance Minister to state if Customs will investigate any possible links between the murder of the Deputy DG of Customs, Datuk Shaharuddin Ibrahim, and his investigation into a Langkawi-based car smuggling syndicate and whether the victims of this car smuggling syndicate can have their outstanding custom duties waived.

    9) Dr. Ong Kian Ming (Serdang) asks the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development to state the progress of ‘Ops Qaseh’ and how this operation helps in reducing the problem of homelessness in the country.

    10) Dr. Ong Kian Ming (Serdang) asks the Minister for Youth and Sports on whether he will invite Members of Parliament to be part of his #FitMalaysia campaign.

    Written Questions

    1) Dr. Ong Kian Ming (Serdang) asks the Minister of Education to list down all the universities where recipients of the JPA overseas scholarship were sent to from 2011 to 2014.

    2) Dr. Ong Kian Ming (Serdang) asks the Minister of Federal Territories to state the steps which are being taken to improve the infrastructure and the traffic flow at and near the roundabout outside the Selangor Turf Club and whether these plans will be part of the 11th Malaysian Plan.

    3) Dr. Ong Kian Ming (Serdang) asks the Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water to state the projected electricity demand and plans for electricity delivery / ‘generation fuel mix’ for Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak for every year from 2015 to 2030.

    4) Dr. Ong Kian Ming (Serdang) asks the Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water to state the steps taken to ensure that the criteria for the Social and Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA) carried out in the development plans of dams are in accordance with international human rights standards as set out in the UNDHR & UNDRIP.

    5) Dr.Ong Kian Ming (Serdang) asks the Prime Minister to state the number of voters for each parliament constituency based on the most recent electoral roll update.

  • Why not consider using SPM trial exam results instead of SPM forecast results for initial entry into pre-university and foundation programs?

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 2nd of October 2014

    Why not consider using SPM trial exam results instead of SPM forecast results for initial entry into pre-university and foundation programs?

    Instead of listening to the voices of the parents and students who will be affected by the latest Ministry of Education ruling to stop the use of forecast results for the initial entry into foundation and pre-university programs in private colleges and universities, the Minister of Education II, Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, has chosen to defend this foolish decision made by his Ministry.

    The Minister of Education II was quoted to have said that the prohibition against SPM students using their forecast results to enrol into private colleges is “nothing new”.[1] In addition, in a statement issued by the Ministry of Education on Tuesday, 29th of September, 2014, the Ministry said that to say that the forecast results “can no longer be used” is not accurate since only actual SPM results were needed to enrol for matriculation, pre-university and diploma courses approved by the Ministry.[2]

    Firstly, let me respond that it is not accurate for the Ministry to say that forecast results are used by private colleges and universities for enrolment into pre-university and foundation programs. It would be more accurate to say that initial entry into these programs are based on forecast results but that continued enrolment is based on the students achieving the conditional offer given by their respective colleges for their actual SPM results. Hence, if students fail to achieve these results, they would not allow to continue in these programs.

    Secondly, the Ministry was reported to have said that ‘it was concerned with the quality of services offered by the institutions and that the regulation follows the “best practices” of the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA).’ If the Ministry feels that using the forecast results for initial entry into pre-university and foundational programs are not consistent with “best practices”, it needs to made known the number and % of students who gain entry into these programs but later do not fulfil the conditional offer. According to statistics presented by the Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities (MACPU), most schools reported a dropout rate due to the non-fulfilment of the SPM conditional offer at “less than 1% and 2%.”[3] Some schools even reported 0% of non-fulfilment of the SPM conditional offer.

    Thirdly, if the Ministry feels that using the forecast results are somehow not consistent with “best practices” i.e. meaning that some schools artificially increase the forecast results so that they are better than the resulting SPM result , then why not allow the use of the SPM trial results for initial entry into the foundation and pre-university programs? After all, SPM trial results are set by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry can always ask the private colleges and universities to verify the SPM trial exam results online.[4]

    We must be aware that the minimum requirements set by the MQA for entry into pre-university and foundation programs in private colleges is only 5 credits for any 5 SPM subjects. The likelihood that someone who is capable of obtaining 5 SPM credits in a trial exam and failing to achieve a similar standard for the actual SPM result is very low, as shown by the MACPU statistics above.

    I strongly urge both Ministers of Education to listen to the voice of the students and parents and also of that of their own colleague in cabinet – Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong – who has publicly disagreed with this policy. The use of SPM forecast results for the initial entry into pre-university and foundation programs should be restored. If the Ministry, really has doubts about the accuracy and quality of using forecast results, the policy could easily be changed to using the official MOE approved SPM trial results for initial entry into these programs. The enrolment of these students can only be confirmed after their actual SPM results are released, which is the standard practice now.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    [1] http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/09/30/Idris-Jusoh-SPM/

    [2] http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/09/30/education-ministry-never-allow-spm-forecast-results/

    [3] http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/09/28/Form-Five-students-unhappy-with-forecast-result-ruling/

    [4] http://sapsnkra.moe.gov.my/ibubapa2/index.php

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