Pakatan Harapan will terminate PEMANDU and conduct a forensic audit of all of its activities

Media Statement by Pakatan Harapan Manifesto and Policy Committee issued on the 5th of May, 2017

Pakatan Harapan will terminate PEMANDU and conduct a forensic audit of all of its activities

The Performance and Management Delivery Unit (PEMANDU) in the Prime Minister’s Department was launched by the Prime Minister with much hype in 2010. Since its creation, PEMANDU has commandeered much power and resources, spent a lot of money on publicity seeking events and took the lead in ‘spin doctoring’ many of the supposed achievements by the BN government. In reality, it has failed to deliver on its main KPI, failed to be accountable to parliament and the public and most recently, ensnared itself in possible conflict of interest situations. Upon winning GE14, Pakatan Harapan will abolish all government contracts with the newly formed PEMANDU Associates Sdn Bhd and initiate an extensive forensic audit into all of the activities of PEMANDU Corporation including disclosing the salaries of the directors of PEMANDU and all the salient financial terms payable to this private company. Instead of engaging expensive external consultants to direct the civil service, Pakatan Harapan will channel resources directly to the civil service to empower them to do their jobs professionally and to introduce reforms that will make the civil service more independent, transparent and effective.

(i) Failure to meet its GNI per capita target for a high-income nation

The key target outlined in the Economic Transformation Program (ETP) 2010 Roadmap Report was for Malaysia to reach a high income nation status of US$15,000 GNI per capita by 2020 (See Exhibit 1 below).


Source: ETP Roadmap 2010, pg.9

This target has been referred to in each of the ETP Annual Reports from 2011 to 2014 and also in the 2015 National Transformation Program Annual Report. But what is clear is that we are still very far from the US$15,000 GNI per capita target as show in Chart 1 below. In fact, Malaysia’s GNI per capita has increased by a mere US$490, from US$8636 in 2010 to US$9057 per capita in 2016, or a 4.9% in 6 years. (See Chart 1 below) Based on this statistic alone, PEMANDU has failed.

Chart 1: GNI per capita current prices (US$) 2010 to 2016

Source: GNI statistics are from the Department of Statistics, Exchange rate data is the World Bank data showing the average US$ to RM exchange rate for that year (Figures differ slightly from the World Bank GNI data calculated using the Atlas method)

The issue has been previously highlighted by IDEAS Head of Research Ali Salman and raises questions as to whether Malaysia can reach the high-income nation target by 2020.[1]

(ii)                Failure of Accountability

In a piece in The Malaysian Insight, a PEMANDU executive stated the following: PEMANDU also reported to the EPU, the Prime Minister’s Department and was accountable to Parliament.[2] We are unsure as to what the executive’s understanding of parliamentary accountability is, but in his 6 years as a member of the cabinet, the CEO of PEMANDU, Idris Jala, never once appeared in parliament to answer any single parliamentary question that concerned PEMANDU. In fact, he never answered anything or said anything in parliament. Given that he was heading two programs – the ETP and the Government Transformation Program (GTP) – that is supposed to bring about transformational changes in the country, it is disgraceful that he found it unnecessary to answer any questions in the most important elected institution in the country. This is a massive failure from an accountability standpoint.

In addition, even though PEMANDU published annual reports for the ETP and GTP and starting from 2015, the National Transformation Program (NTP), it di not table any of its reports in parliament nor distribute them to Members of Parliament. It does not table its own financial accounts in parliament nor tell parliament how much PEMANDU has spent for its various activities. And despite many public criticisms, it has not made known how much its staff gets paid, which according to some reports, is higher than the Prime Minister’s salary.[3]

Furthermore, PEMANDU has the audacity to ask for RM10 million and RM15 million from the government to organize the Global Transformation Forum 2015 and 2017 respectively at the same time as it is preaching values of fiscal prudence on the part of the federal government.[4]

While it uses the language of good corporate governance and transparency, PEMANDU does not apply any of these standards to itself.

(iii)              Conflicts of Interest

All of the staff of PEMANDU Corp, a 100% Ministry of Finance owned entity, has now been transferred to PEMANDU Associates Sdn Bhd, a private entity that is 50% owned by Idris Jala. Starting from 2017, PEMANDU Associates will sell its services to the government by placing its staff in key ministries to continue the NTP. At the same time, this new private entity will be free to sell its services to other government ministries, at home and abroad. Furthermore, since the beginning of 2017, Idris Jala has been occupying the position of the Chairman of Heineken Malaysia, a public listed company.

The position of Idris Jala as the chairman of a publicly listed company and the president of a private company which is deeply embedded into the inner workings of the federal government via its work in the NTP, raises serious questions with regards to possible conflicts of interest.[5] Until today, he has not even attempted to explain these conflicts of interest.

For these reasons and immediately upon winning GE14, Pakatan Harapan will terminate all existing contracts with PEMANDU Associates Sdn Bhd. We will initiate a forensic accounting investigation into all of the expenditure undertaken by PEMANDU Corp and BFR Institute, both of which are 100% MOF owned entities, including how much was paid to each and every celebrity speaker for the 2015 and 2017 Global Transformation Program. We will publicly disclose the salaries received by PEMANDU directors.

Finally, rather than spending obscenely on external consultants, Pakatan Harapan will channel resources directly to the civil service to empower them to carry out its functions more independently and and professionally. Pakatan Harapan will also call upon respected retired civil servants to help us reform the civil service to its former glory days of integrity, transparency and effectiveness.

Dr. Ong Kian Ming (DAP)

Wong Chen (PKR)

Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (AMANAH)

Dr Rais Hussin (PPBM)

[1] http://www.ideas.org.my/news/press-statements/government-intervention-causing-malaysia-to-lose-competitive-edge-as-average-income-of-malaysians-drops-by-15-according-%E2%80%8B%E2%80%8B-to-latest-epu-figures/

[2] https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/2430/

[3] http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/149861

[4] http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/377108

[5] http://www.beritadaily.com/idris-position-in-pemandu-and-heineken-questionable-says-dap-man/

10 questions on the Employment Insurance Scheme (EIS)

Statement by Pakatan Harapan on the Employment Insurance Scheme (EIS) on the 28th of April, 2017

10 questions on the Employment Insurance Scheme (EIS)

As we approach Labour Day on the 1st of May, we acknowledge the contributions which the workers in Malaysia have made to the country. The proposed Employment Insurance Scheme (EIS) by the Prime Minister, which is expected to be tabled in parliament in the July / August 2017 sitting, has the potential to help Malaysian workers through a transition process when they have lost their jobs. But given that the details of this scheme have not been disclosed and there is no parliamentary committee set up on look at the issue of jobs, employment and the economy, there remains many questions to be asked about the EIS.

Here, we pose the following 10 questions to be answered so that there can be greater confidence that the EIS will be an effective program to help the workers in our country.

1)                  Retrenchment compensation is currently spelled out in the Employment Act 1955 and the Employment Termination and Lay-Off Benefits (ETLB) Regulations 1980. Will the retrenchment compensation continue to be paid out by the employer after the introduction of the EIS? Will workers be worse off in the long run if retrenchment benefits are cut / abolished as part of a package deal for introducing the EIS?

2)                  The estimated amount collected will be between RM700m to RM800m a year (based on 0.25% Employers and Employees contribution, 6.5m workers, RM2000 salary). How much will the administrative costs be? Will it be as high as 25% of the amount collected as some reports have indicated?

3)                  Since the EIS is an insurance scheme like SOCSO, does this mean that employees won’t be able to get back these funds if they don’t get retrenched in their lifetime? How much disposable income will the EIS scheme take away from the regular worker over their lifetimes?

4)                  How with the EIS funds be managed? Will it be managed in the same manner as the SOCSO funds which has delivered returns that, on average, are lower than EPF’s returns?

5)                  One of the purpose of the EIS is to help retrain and reskill workers who have lost their jobs. How will these retraining and reskilling programs be different from existing programs which are being implemented by the government such as Skim Latihan 1 Malaysia (SKIM) and others? The government must provide a convincing case that the provision of retraining schemes under EIS will be more effective than current programs.

6)                  There are already existing training schemes provided and paid for by the sums collected from employers and managed by the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF). There have been numerous reports that more than RM100m of this fund has not been used by employers for retraining purposes. Can existing HRDF scheme be utilised better for retraining purposes? What is to say that the proposed EIS scheme will not end up like the HRDF scheme i.e. lots of unused funds that are not put into retraining schemes?

7)                  Initial reports indicate that only those workers who are currently being covered by SOSCO i.e. those earning less than RM4000 a month will be eligible for the EIS scheme. But many middle-income workers are also being retrenched these days including those in the financial industry and the oil and gas industry. What kinds of plans and programs does the government have to help these workers who are in the M40 category?

8)                  Estimates by Malaysian trade unions show that workers lose between RM50 million to RM100 million a year from lost compensation as a result of companies going bankrupt but RM700 million to RM800 million will be collected from the EIS scheme, half of which are coming from workers. Is this an effective approach to solving the non-compensation issue?

9)                  One of the main reasons why workers at the lower end of the economic spectrum are losing their jobs is because of employer preference for foreign workers. If the government does not have a comprehensive plan to reduce our reliance on foreign workers, how effective will the EIS scheme be? How easy will it be for the workers who have lost their jobs to find new jobs, especially when they have to compete with lower paid foreign workers?

10)               Some countries in Asia which have employment insurance schemes also feature government contributions to these schemes (Thailand – 0.25%, Taiwan – 0.1%, Vietnam – 1%). Has the government considered having its own contribution to this scheme to decrease the financial burden on employers and employees alike?

Dr. Ong Kian Ming, DAP
Sim Tze Sin, PKR
Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad, AMANAH
Dr Rais Hussin, BERSATU

Election Commission (EC) should not allow groundless and baseless objections to take place in Selangor

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 18th of April, 2017

Election Commission (EC) should not allow groundless and baseless objections to take place in Selangor

Yesterday morning, myself and my colleague, ADUN for Kuala Kubu Baru, Lee Kee Hiong, visited the Election Commission Selangor branch office in Shah Alam to observe the voters who had been objected to (Orang Kena Bantah or OKBs). According to our estimates, approximately 400 voters from 4 parliamentary constituencies – about 100 from each constituency – were objected to. Specifically, voters from the state seats of N7 Batang Kali in the P94 Hulu Selangor parliament seat, N8 Sungai Burong and N9 Permatang in the P95 Tanjong Kajang parliament seat, N23 Dusun Tua and N24 Semenyih in the P101 Hulu Langat parliament seat, N29 Seri Serdang in the P103 Puchong parliament seat.

From our visit and our interviews with the OKBs, the following was made clear:

(i) The grounds on which the OKBs were objected to were groundless and baseless. For example, voters in the P103 Puchong parliament seat were objected to based on the reason of ‘pemilih diragui’ or ‘doubtful voter’ even though there was no further proof given as to why this voter was consider as ‘doubtful’ (See Appendix 1). For voters in the P101 Hulu Langat parliament seat, the copy and paste reason given was ‘pengundi tidak dapat dikesan di alamat tersebut’ or the voter could not be identified at the registered address (See Appendix 2 below).

(ii) The only commonality shared by all the voters being objected to was that they were Chinese voters. Of the list of voters being objected to which I took pictures of Appendix 2 to Appendix 5), all of the names were Chinese names.

(iii) A number of those who made the objections did not show up on this day.

(iv) For the cases where the objectors showed up, no proof was given as to why they objected to the newly registered voters. Almost all of the OKBs who showed up spent only a few minutes in the hearing room and had their objection rejected (See Appendix 6).

Under the Elections (Registration of Electors) Regulations 2002, Section 15 (5) states that “Upon receipt of an objection under this regulation, the Registrar may, if he is of the opinion that the particulars given in the objection are insufficient, request for further information from the objector who shall furnish the information within seven days from the date he receives such request” and Section 15 (6) states that “Where the objector fails to furnish the information in the manner provided for in subregulation (5), the objection shall be deemed to have been withdrawn and the Registrar shall take no further action”.

It is clear from the EC’s own regulations that they, acting in the capacity of the Registrar, can reject these baseless objections on the grounds of insufficient evidence and information. To allow such groundless objections to be filed is to (i) make a mockery of the objection process (ii) waste the valuable time of the voters who turn up at the public hearings and (iii) deny the right of registration to those voters who did not turn up to the public hearing for various reasons e.g. could not take leave from work, no transportation to Shah Alam, attending college or university. We call upon the EC to reject the objections which fail to provide sufficient evidence and information so that the right of legitimate voters to be registered is protected and upheld.

(Selected pictures in Appendix 7 below)

Dr. Ong Kian Ming
Member of Parliament for Serdang

Appendix 1: Example of a baseless objection in Puchong

Appendix 2: List of voters objected to in P101 Hulu Langat

Appendix 3: Voters Objected to in P94 Hulu Selangor

Appendix 4: Voters Objected to in P95 Tanjong Karang

Appendix 5: Voters Objected to in P103 Puchong

Appendix 6: Sample Form of ‘Bantahan di tolak’ or Objection is rejected

Appendix 7: Pictures of Ong Kian Ming and Lee Kee Hiong at the EC office in Shah Alam