June 2011 DUN Speech of DAP YB for Meradong Ting Tze Fui
Mr. Speaker, I am much obliged for this opportunity to participate in this debate in appreciation for the address of Tuan Yang Terutama Yang Dipertua Negeri Sarawak delivered in this August house on 21st June 2011.
First of all, I wish to record my heartfelt thanks to all the voters in Meradong to vote for DAP and yes, I am back! The Honourable Member for Bawang Assan, the “Motion King” of this State Assembly, your futile effort in suspending Opposition members one after another has enabled our leader, the Honourable Member for Bukit Assek to bring a strengthened troop of 12 to this State Assembly. Be assured, our leader shall lead perhaps, 24 of us back to this State Assembly in five year time, if you persist in your effort to expel some more of us from this sacred Assembly.
Mr. Speaker, this State Assembly housed in this grand RM300 million building sits for a a period of 16 days only per year, i.e a total of 80 days over the next five years. Therefore, there is so much wastage and under-utilization of this very grandiose DUN building. I do hereby strongly suggest that this State Assembly should sit at least 3 sessions a year so that the voice and plight of the people can be brought to this State Assembly more often.
Mr. Speaker, unlike the BN backbenchers in this August House who always start their speeches by giving the BN State Government or Chief Minister the most glorifying compliments they can ever think of, I would like to raise some local issues pertaining to my constituents in Meradong.
a. Water Disruption Problem
Mr. Speaker, water supply is most essential to all lives living.The frequent water disruptions occurring in particular in Sg Petai, Selidap, Sg. Bakong, Jalan KJD and Lemayong areas in my constituency have been particularly acute in the past year. Residents in these areas have been put to tremendous inconvenience, due to disruptions and insufficient supply of clean piped water. Many folks have been forced to buy drinking water at a great financial burden to the residents, especially to the lower income groups.
The persistent water supply disruptions reflect not only the serious internal problems of the local Water Board but they have demonstrated clearly the sheer incompetence of the staffs of the Water Board. Perhaps it is high time for all the staffs of the Water Board to cooperate and work together so that they may be able to find the root causes and the solutions to the water supply disruption problems which have been ongoing for all too often in Meradong for the past many months. It is also high time for the Honourable Minister for Public Utilities to get the staffs of the Water board to buck up.
The State Government has consistently claimed to have spent millions and millions on infrastructure developments and other amenities, yet on the other hand, there are numerous substandard and inferior services and problems such as water supply disruptions, regular electricity blackouts, poor roads and drainage conditions which remain long unresolved.
Therefore, if a country is unable to provide satisfactorily the very basic necessity such as water supply to all our countrymen, how is Malaysia going to achieve Wawasan 2020, and be elevated into an advanced nation in 2020?
- Rejang Bridge
Mr. Speaker, I wish to speak out on behalf of all the people in the Central Region of Sarawak that it is high time to abolish the Rejang bridge tolls.This is an utmost and earnest appeal, not a rubbish suggestion deserving to be dumped into a Trineken rubbish bin prepared by Minister for Land Development!
Since Woodville Sdn.Bhd, the concessionaire of the bridge toll has been fully paid in kind, doesn’t the State or Federal government have sufficient fund to buy back the bridge and let all bridge users free access? A Pakatan Rakyat government would promise to buy back the concessionaire’s right to collect bridge tolls and it would provide unrestricted access to all bridge users. The abolition of the bridge toll should spur faster economic growth of the West bank of the Rejang River.
Mr. Speaker, in view of the many NCR landowners, whose land has been grabbed over the years by big corporations with the cohort of the State Government, it is just so sad to hear from the Government Ministers, especially Member for Layar to persistently condemning the Opposition as against development. But how ironic has it been for the Member for Layar, on several occasions, to lambast the Opposition to be so effective in suppressing and oppressing the natives?
When the Opposition does speak out, on matters relating to NCR landowners, rest be assured that we are all the way for all of you. We have your vital interests over your land in our heart. We want to protect your very legitimate claims over your land by speaking out loudly and clearly on your behalf and against indiscriminate and wanton land grabs by big or dormant companies.
I produce herewith a copy of the letter dated 20th November 2008 and signed by the permanent secretary of the Ministry for Land Development. The said letter has granted an approval to one company called Vertical Drive Sdn. Bhd. to invest and develop a total of 48199 hectares of NCR land in which 26596 ha. Is situated at KJD/lower Julau area in Meradong where many longhouses folks are being adversely affected.
How on earth can this dormant company, which was incorporated on 3.6 2008 beg ranted 48199 ha. of NCR land in less than 6 months time on 20.11.2008.
Does the Minister for Land Development agree that when more than 100,000 acres of land are being grabbed, there would be hundreds, if not thousands of NCR landowners who have inhabited on the said land for decades, who shall be displaced from their homeland permanently and unconscionably?
When large tract of land are being converted to large-scale cultivation of oil palms, inevitably there is little regard by the authority to the adverse environmental impact, in particular the effect of tree-felling in the water catchment area in Meradong which fall within the above stated 100,000 acres of land. Moreover due to widespread use of fertilizer it is unavoidable that the water supply would be polluted and poisonous thereby rendering long-term consumption of water from these areas unsafe.
Nowadays, the price of fertilizer, pesticides, and other agriculture chemicals have gone up drastically. In Meradong, farmers can hardly get any form of subsidy from Jabatan Pertanian. Yet they have to virtually beg for the supply of fertilizer through BN elected representatives.
When the Agricultural Department’s role as administrative department has been usurped by BN elected representatives, who are supposed to be lawmakers, what function does the Jabatan Pertanian serve really? It seems the agriculture department only exists in name!
Mr. Speaker, Sarawak has millions and millions of hectares of fertile land laying in waste and idling. If the State Government has been more pro-small farming, Sarawak would not have to import 70% of its rice requirements while West Malaysia is 70% self-sufficient in rice consumption.
Mr. Speaker, I have spoken at length before in favour of granting small acreage of farm land to small farmholders for the purpose of cultivating rice, fruits or vegetables. To-date, hardly any small plots of land have been granted to smalltime farmers while thousands and thousands of acres of valuable land are one after another, alienated to big corporations or CM related companies. In the process, millions and millions of RM are being made by greedy middlemen, family members or brokers.
Mr. Speaker, the gentlemen across the Bench may gloat about the fact that you still have an absolute number of 56 and that there are only 15 of us on the Opposition Bench. But rest be assured that our number may be small but we shall speak out without any fear for all Sarawakians.
Now that the 10th Sarawak State Election is over, there are some pertinent facts which are clear and emerging. The opposition has gained 45% of the total votes cast and yet there are only 15 of us here. But the BN with 55% of the votes have 55 seats in this State Assembly.
Why? Pure and simple, it is the grossly unfair gerrymander found in our electoral system that has been blatantly manipulated and perpetrated by this BN government to entrench its stronghold of political power. The concept of 1 vote 1 value and proportionate representation have long been thrown out of the window. Many young people who are residing and working outside the State have all been robbed the right to vote and disenfranchised unreasonably.
Under the present gerrymandered electoral system, 7 out of the 71 seats have more than 25,000 registered voters while 26 seats have less than 10,000 voters each.
Mr. Speaker, how to justify the seat of Pending having 29,488 voters while the neighbouring seat of Satok has only 10,431 voters? How do you justify Palawan comprising 28,808 voters while the neighbouring seat of Nangka merely has 14,197 voters? There are such seats, eg. Daro having only 7,305 voters and Layar merely 8,109 voters.
**Mr. Speaker, we cannot continue to have these grossly gerrymandered and distorted electoral boundaries to persist. SUPP has been marvelously silent and completely incompetent on the issue of electoral reforms for the past 40 over years. It has utterly failed to fight for extra seat allocations or to have the electoral boundaries redrawn so that more seats could be created justly in favour of the urban voters.**
Mr. Speaker, we need to urgently introduce vital reforms to the current state’s unfair, unrepresentative and undemocratic electoral system to reflect the true essence of democracy, i.e 1 vote 1 value. We genuinely require a fairer and truly representative electoral system that is not biased against any particular ethnic group or geographical location.
Mr. Speaker, if the Chief Minister is truly sincere in upholding real democratic principles and ideals, he shall without hesitation and strongly endorse my calls for genuine electoral reforms. The Chief Minister’s claim of being the Chief Minister for all Sarawakians would run into the smack of the face of democracy and his so-called vision of all inclusive politics to look after the interests of all races in Sarawak would only sound like a smokescreen, if he is against bona fide reforms.
Truly, the Chief Minister has been the longest serving CEO of this sizable state of Sarawak which has tremendous wealth and natural resources, from water, land, timber to minerals, oil and gas etc. On the other hand, Singapore, the size of the Bakun Dam and without any natural resources is such a great contrast to Sarawak undeniably.
Mr. Speaker, 30 long years at the helm of the political power in Sarawak should have enabled the Chief Minister to turn Sarawak into the richest state in Malaysia. What is so sad for the Chinese community has been to hear from this longest serving Chief Minister to utter a regretful statement to the effect that after 30 years in power, he did not know what the Chinese community really wants.
Mr. Speaker, I wish to tell the Chief Minister loud and clear the Chinese community wants things like open tenders, less nepotism or cronyism, elimination of corruption and crimes, equal treatment of all races, automatic renewal of all expiring land leases with a nominal sum as premiums together with the lifting of Section 47 impositions soonest possible; to help to achieve the full recognition of Unified Examination Certificate; the reintroduction of local council election and to assist to eliminate the perennial controversy over the award of scholarships; to fight for extra oil royalties from 5% to 20% which would generate extra yearly RM6 to 7 billion for Sarawak; to abolish the Rejang Bridge tolls and to achieve a truly Malaysian’s Malaysia, People First, and not Family First. These are the important things which are dear in the heart for which the Chinese community wants the Government to display greater understanding, redress, concern, assistance or concrete actions to be taken.
Mr. Speaker, the Chinese community has repeatedly urged the Government to provide annual financial grant to Chinese Independent schools. Yes, Chief Minister has given a token gesture by granting 2,000 hectares of land prior to the 416 state election, possibly in the most remote part of Kapit Division.
Sarawak belongs to all people of Sarawak. If the Honourable Chief Minister as the Minister of Planning and Resource Management was able to grant hundreds acres of prime land to a dormant company ' Monarda Sdn. Bhd.' In which CM's son owns 52 percent of the total shares, why can’t he just endow 27 acres out of 270 acres of prime land to all the Chinese independent school in Sarawak which would benefit not just one person only but thousands and thousands of students statewide?
Generally, Mr.Speaker, people want a fairer and more egalitarian society wherein they are being treated equally like all other races, to be given more business and public service opportunities and equal distribution of natural resources and wealth.
Now, one thing both the Opposition and the Members of the Government Bench can share joyfully is to position ourselves together for the final countdown of the century and to witness the historic grand finale of this undoubtedly the longest serving Chief Minister of Sarawak, after all of us have been waiting an eternity for the last curtain to be drawn.
Brain Drain / Labour Outflow
Mr. Speaker, the problem of brain drain stems from social, economic and political injustices embedded in this society plus a system of perpetuated built -in discrimination. Whatever awards, tenders or privileges given out should be based on merits irrespective of race, religion and gender.
Mr. Speaker, it is a fact that Government revenue comes from various avenues of direct or indirect taxes imposed or derived from all tax-paying Malaysians and companies with registered businesses in Malaysia. The caretakers of the public funds are the Government of the day and the public bureaucrats who are supposed to utilize and dispense the public funds fairly and prudently.
Sadly, we are faced with the yearly and persisting situation of Malaysian Public Services Department in bungling and thereby denying the JPA scholarships to 363 top scoring 8A+ students in the SPM examination this year.
**This State Government has failed year after year to show any care and concern towards this never-ending problem by failing to make any effective representations to the Federal Government to redress the balance so that the perennial and unjustifiable scholarship awards can be rectified to the satisfaction of all concerned.**
Mr. Speaker, regrettably may other countries such as Singapore would be glad to offer our disappointed bright students to their countries for further studies of their choices, many of these top students, upon completion of their tertiary studies would unlikely return to serve Malaysia or Sarawak.
Mr. Speaker, when so many of our young professionals leave our country, our state, where are we going to find qualified staff and skilled labourers to serve our labour needs of our schools, hospitals and industries, especially SCORE which the State Government claims is going to generate thousands and thousands of job opportunities?
We have been a good net exporter of skilled and qualified professionals, but even a bigger and greater importer of unskilled labourers which number amounts to about seven million nationally, which is equivalent to a quarter of the nation’s population. So what is the State Government going to do with our industries so dependent on the influx of unskilled labourers from Indonesia, Bangladesh or the Philippines and so forth?
There is no wonder that in the past 20 years, a million Malaysians have emigrated overseas. In Sarawak the worst hit is the central region where Sibu, Bintangor, Sarikei and the peripheral towns are more and more like retirement towns because most of the young and able-bodied people are working elsewhere overseas or in West Malaysia.
Mr. Speaker, this is not caused by the Opposition! This sorry state of affairs is the direct consequence of the BN unfair rule for the past half a century.
Mr. Speaker, the result of the recent Sarawak State election clearly demonstrated that people are demanding changes, real changes! It is hoped that with this in mind the State Government will show genuine care and concern for all the people in Sarawak. As the Opposition members have been duly elected by more than 45% of Sarawakians, it is further hoped the Government shall treat us with due respects.