Monday, May 29, 2006

Matrade Building: Khir Toyo's silence deafening

The Selangor Chief Minister, Dato Seri Dr Mohd Khir bin Toyo, has been keeping his lips tight over the issue of Matrade Building for the past one week.
As the chairman for the state investment arm, Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Berhad (KDEB) which controlled Perangsang International Sdn Bhd (PISB) through its subsidiaries, Kumpulan Perangsang Selangor Berhad (KPS) and Kumpulan Hartanah Selangor Berhd (KHSB), Khir Toyo owes the public an explanation over the Matrade Building fiasco.
The issues pertaining to the winding-up of PISB after it was sold to a RM2 paid up company, Tajuk Modal Sdn Bhd, and had its name changed to Tajuk Construction Sdn Bhd are yet to be resolved or answered, namely, whether the winding-up of PISB/Tajuk Construction was a major part of a scheme by the Selangor state investment arm:-
( i) to avoid the liability to pay the Federal Government the penalty and damages of RM159.8 million as a result of the delay in the Matrade Building project; and
(ii) to dump all debts and losses of the Selangor state GLC into PISB/Tajuk Construction in order to have a clean bill of health for the rest of the Selangor state GLC.
Khir Toyo's silence over the issue is deafening. How could he proudly claim to be the Chief Minister of the self proclaimed "advance state" when he could not even practice transparency in his administration by telling the turth of what had actully been done by the state investment arm headed by him?
What moral authority does Khir Toyo have to preach moral and religion when he is unable to lead by example by revealing the whole truth of the matter to the people whom he owes a duty to?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Matrade Building: Ei should tell who to be blamed

My post yesterday finally caught the notice of the Star today. Besides speaking to me, the Star had referred to this blog and the relevant parts are as follows:-

Selangor Opposition Leader Teng Chang Khim said Samy Vellu was “flogging a dead horse” in calling for accountability over the Matrade debacle because a complicated legal web had rendered the main contractor PISB “dead”.

He said PISB was sold off to Tajuk Modal on July 19, 2004, for RM2 – a figure confirmed by Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo.

He said PISB was renamed Tajuk Construction Sdn Bhd on Nov 29, 2004, but due to its “inability to continue business” was wound up on Jan 18 this year.

“Under the law, once a company is wound up, that is the end. One cannot then sue the directors,” he said.

Teng asked if the winding up of PISB/Tajuk Construction was to avoid paying the Federal Government the late delivery charges and other damages.

In the same report, Dato Ei Kim Hock, one of the former directors of PISB, was reported to have said as that :-

“By all means, go after those responsible for the fiasco, but not all the directors are to be blamed because PISB had several sets of directors over the years”

Well, Ei Kim Hock should tell us then who are the directors to be blamed since he knows that not all the directors are to be blamed.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

12 percent hike for electricity tariffs

Another price hike for utility.

It's the expected electricity tariffs hike which the government annouced today, as reported by Malaysiakini, as high as 12% from June 1, 2006.

Matrade Building: Samy must demand from KDEB

As reported in the Star today, the Work Minsiter, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, said that his mininstry planned to bring former board members of Perangsang International Sdn Bhd (PISB) to court for the 9 year delay in completing the Matrade building.
Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu should direct his ministry’s demand for damages for the Matrade building fiasco at the Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Berhad (KDEB), the parent company that owned Kumpulan Perangsang Selangor Berhad (KPS) which wholly owned Perangsang International Sdn Bhd (PISB), the main contractor of the Matrade Building.

Under the present principle of our company law, the directors of a company cannot be held liable for the debt incurred by the company. Any attempt to recover the losses and damages from the directors of PISB will end up a futility.

I had queried in this blog, on April 17, April 18 and April 25 2006, the reasons behind the winding-up of PISB soon after it was sold to Tajuk Modal Sdn Bhd, a shell company with a paid-up capital of RM2, and had its name changed thereafter to Tajuk Construction Sdn Bhd.

The KDEB must now explain to the public whether the winding-up of PISB/Tajuk Construction was a major part of a scheme by the Selangor state investment arm:-

( i) to avoid the liability to pay the Federal Government the penalty and damages of RM159.8 million as a result of the delay in the Matrade Building project; and

(ii) to dump all debts and losses of the Selangor state GLC into PISB/Tajuk Construction in order to have a clean bill of health for the rest of the Selangor state GLC.
It’s time for the KDEB headed by Dato Seri Mohd Khir bin Toyo, Selangor Menteri Besar, to give the full explanation.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Sarawak Election: DAP could have won more than 6

On hindsight, the DAP could have won more than 6 seat as it did the last Saturday.
There were 3 seats where the DAP lost by slim majority, namely Repok (Kung Chin Chin, Sarikei) where Kung polled 4,966 votes and lost by 576 votes; Dudong (Steven Lu Cheng Kuok, Sibu) where Steven Lu obtained 6,951 vote and was defeated by 408 votes and Pelawan (Dr Ting Chik Ming, Sibu) where Dr Ting received 7, 112 votes and lost by 263.
Of the 3, Pelawan and Repok were, before the election, considered winnable by the DAP, although Pelawan was categorized as a "seriously winnanble" seat and Repok was a "possibly winnable" seat respectively.
Dudong was never considered a winnable seat by any standard for the BN had a strong incumbent candidate who had already announced that he would be standing for the last time. I was told that it had been a tradition in Sibu, or Sarawak for that matter, that once an incumbent candidate made such a declaration, he would be returned without problem.
Such was the prevalent belief that dragged the feet of the DAP's campaign machinery in Sibu, though they should not be blamed for so believing. Even the last ceramah the DAP held in Sibu Jaya on the eve of polling day, which I also spoke, attracted not more than 100 people when on the same night, the ceramah in Bukit Assek, Sibu, could attract more than 6,000 people. There was no indication whatsoever during the campaign period alerting the DAP machinery that situation there might have changed.
Compared to the DAP machinery in Kuching, the DAP Sibu had much more to learn, humbly. If the co-ordination among the 4 among candidates had been properly tuned up, the machinery would had been more efficient and effective to cover all the constituencies in Sibu. The 4 candidates in Sibu were not seen as a team as their 3 comrades in Kuching. There was no master plan strategy for the campaign in Sibu. Otherwise, even the margin in the lost seat of Bawang Assam could also be further reduced.
The "seriously winnable" seat of Pelawan had not been so seriously dealt with by the campaign machinery accordingly. Pelawan had been wasted. In fact, one would expect that the DAP Sibu should have put up a more formidable fight in Sibu in view of the fact that 3 of the candidates were the Sarawak DAP heavyweight leaders namely, Richard Wong Ho Leng (DAP State Chairman), David Wong (Publicity Secretary) and Dr Ting Chik Ming (Political Education Director).
Although Repok in Sarikei was considered a "possibly winnable" seat, short of sufficient and consistent back-up until the polling day had left much regret to the DAP. Chin Chin was an inexperienced candidate and much back-up support from Sibu was required. However, except for some DAP CEC leaders' support, the Sibu machinery had not been able to help much bearing in mind of its own unsolved obstacles in Sibu itself. Chin Chin just missed the boat although she fought impressively.
Be it as it may, let's hope that the same mistakes will not recur in the next elections.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Sarawak Election: Arrogance was the cause that tilted the scale

There was of course a combination of various factors that caused the loss of SUPP to the DAP in the election last Saturday. The land lease, the premium for land lease renewal, the petroleum price hike, the undelivered promises and etc.
However, the main factor that tilted the scale in favour of the DAP was the sheer arrogance of the Barisan Nasional, expecially the SUPP.
The issues were expected long before the dissolution of the state assembly. No genius was required to tell the ruling coaliation that those were the issues the opposition would zoom in.
However, the ruling coalition chose to brush them aside believing that the development card would still be the best weapon to deflect the issues that really close the the people's heart. They buried their heads in the sand and paid a high price.
If the component parties in the BN had been honest to themselves and had addressed those "nothing-new" issues in a humble manner, they might have saved a few more seats.
The SUPP had resorted to cool approach in the election campaign by putting up relatively less posters in all the major cities than they did in the past elections. In Sibu, except for some small billboards, the candidates did not even put up a single poster. Limited leaflets of outdated designs were distributed to the voters without any concerted effort to address the major issues raised by the opposition. Probably, they were unable to address those issues with plausible arguments.
In short, no serious attempt was put up to counter the attack from the opposition. The SUPP took for granted that the people in Sarawak would have to support the party as it was still regarded as the indispensable component partner in the Barisan Nasional representing the Chinese community. It had just learnt the lesson that it was no longer so.
The people is the master that decides.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Back in KL: It's confirmed DAP 6 in Sarawak

I was quite right in my prediction yesterday afternoon. All the 6 seats predicted, except for Pelawan (Ting Chik Ming, Sibu) where DAP lost by a slim majotiry of 263 votes, were won by the DAP. The other seat won was Batu Lintang (Voon Li Shan, Kuching).
Congratulation to the DAP Sarawak!
The challenge now will be to maintain the 6 and to increase the number in the next round.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Fresh from Sarawak: Seems to be 4 plus 2 now

The turnouts at DAP ceramah in various parts of the Sarawak were fantastic. 6,000 in sibu, 5,000 in Kuching, 3,000 in Bintulu, 2,000 in Miri and a singing crowd in Bintangor.

The best scenario is 4 plus 2 now, judging from the feedback from all the DAP centres. The first 4 are Meradong (Bintangor, Ting Tze Fui), Bukit Assek (Sibu, Richard wong Ho Leng), Kidurong (Bintulu, Chew Chiu Sing) and Pelawan (Sibu, Dr Ting Chik Ming). The bonuese are Kota Sentosa (Kuching, Chong Chieng Jen) and Pending (Kuching, Violet Yong Wui Wui).
Situation at polling centres are calm.
I will fly to Kuala Lumpur at 3.00 pm. and wait for the best news.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Fresh from Sarawak: Expected 3 plus bonus

Barring unexpected turn of event, the DAP Sarawak should be able to win Meradong in Bintangor (Ting Tze Fui), Bukit Assek in Sibu(Richard Wong Ho Leng) and Kidurong in Bintulu (Chew Chiu Sing, incumbent).

If there were bonuses, then Kota Sentosa in Kuching (Chong Chieng Jen) and Pending in Kuching (Violet Yong Wui Wui) seemed to be likely.

For the finale ceramah tonight, the DAP CEC speakers are Lim Guan Eng (in Sarikei, Bintangor and Sibu), Teresa Kok (Sarikei and Bintangor), Lim Kit Siang, Chong Eng and Ronnie Liu (Bintulu), Anthony Loke (Miri), Teng Chang Khim (Sibu) and Nga Kor Ming (Kuching).

Thousands of crowd are expected in all the DAP ceramah.

Fresh from Sarawak: We are almost there

If the turnout at the ceramah could be the indication of the support in Sibu, then DAP was almost certain to win in Sibu. 5000 people spending 3 hours warmly responded to the speeches.The turnout of people at the Bintangor town and a small village in Sarikei were also fantastic.

(More to come.)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Fresh from Sarawak: DAP expects victory in Sibu

I flew in Sibu from Kuching at 3.10 p.m. I will leave for Bintangor and Sarikei this evening by road and speak at 2 ceramah and back to Sibu late night to prepare for ceramah tomorrow night, eve of the polling day.

I met Teresa Kok, DAP MP for Seputeh, who was with me in Miri yesterday, at the Kuching airport. She will be at Kuching today. Chong Eng, DAP MP for Bukit Mertajam, went to the airport with me and left for Bintulu. I met Nga Kor Ming, DAP State Assemblyman for Pantai Remis, Perak, who will speak at Sibu ceramah tonight. Such is the schedule for the DAP leaders from West Malaysia in the Sarawak state election.

Our candidates in Sibu, Richard Wong Ho Leng (Bukit Assek), Ting Chik Ming (Pahlawan) and David Wong (Bawang Assam) seems to be doing well in the campaign. Another candidate in Sibu, Steven Lu (Dudong), is an underdog. Very strangely, the BN does not put up posters for their candidates except for some small billboards. For a very rare occasion, DAP candidates' faces are more prominent in this Hockchew town. Does this reflect the confidence of the respective parties?

I will speak at the Sarikei ceramah to support Kung Chin Chin (32, Master degree holder in IT), DAP candidate for Repok. Her chance seems to be quite optimistic, probably 45:55 against BN. With all the positive factors, she needs to work harder to ensure vitory. Sarikei is about one hour drive from Sibu. I have to leave at 6.00 pm.

Maradong in Bintangor, the hottest seat in this election, constested by the DAP young lady, Ting Tze Fui (24, lawyer), will be visited by the Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Lim Kit Siang, and me tonight. I will be there after Sarikei. The Chief Minister of Sarawak was there yesterday, indicating that the constituency is now blacklisted. The 5-corner fight seems to favour Tze Fui. Just keep our fingers crossed.

Fresh from Sarawak: SUPP feels threatened

The SUPP (Sarawak United People's Party), the largest party representing the Sarawak Chinese in the Sarawak BN, is feeling the heat of discontent and frustration from its traditionally strong constituencies in the major cities like Kuching, Sibu, Bintangor, Sarikei, Bintulu and Miri.

To counter the strong campaign of the opposition including the DAP, Keadilan and SNAP, the SUPP has started its dirty tactics of lies, distortion, and threat of public disorder.

People are now reminded by the SUPP leaders of the May 13 tragedy, an old but may be effective trick.

Call by the DAP for automatic renewal of land title to 99 years has been distorted and described as a mission impossible since the DAP would not be in power to do so even if the DAP won all the 12 seats contested.

The SUPP also resorts to threaten the voters that if the SUPP lost even one seat, it would lose its No.2 position in the Sarawak BN government and thereby lose its bargaining power to protect the Chinese interest in the state. It may look like a joke to many but the relatively conservative Chinese community in Sarawak may buy this argument.

The DAP Sarawak state chairman and candidate for Bukit Assek in Sibu, Richard Wong Ho Leng, has predicted that the DAP may win 7 seats and this has been prominently reported in the New Straits Times today.

While I vehemently hope that his prediction will come true, I have my reservation. Experiences in the past elections in Sarawak remind us of the dirty and unscrupulous tactics applied in the last 2 days of campaign, and even on the polling day, will turn the tide.

Be it as it may, this election is certainly the best opportunity for the DAP Sarawak to win more than 3 seats.

Fresh form Sawarak: Kuching voters love DAP ceramah

Immediately after I disembarked from the flight from Miri to Kuching at about 6.30 p.m., I rushed to the first ceramah venue at 4 1/2 mile, Sentosa, Kuching, took a quick dinner and proceeded to speak to a very responsive crowd of about 500.

The DAP candidate for Batu Lintang, Voon Li Shan, who stood against the SUPP Kuching South City Mayor, was the first speaker. A former police officer and now a lawyer by professional, Voon spoke on various local issues.

I touched on the same issues raised in the Miri ceramah. The issues might be the same but the crowd was looking forward to listening to how those similar issues were being articulated by different political leaders. They enjoyed the atmosphere of the rallies, which were rarely held due to the restraint of our draconian laws on public gathering, where they could appreciate the true meaning of freedom of expression.

The sentiment of discontent and frustration against the ruling parties was really strong in the air.

My second ceramah was at Jalan Song near Tabuan Jaya. Chong Chieng Jen, DAP MP for Bandar Kuching and DAP candidate for Kota Sentosa, was addressing to a crowd of about 1,500 people when I arrived. The enthusiastic crowd was even more responsive than the crowd in the first venue. Chong was obviously a popular figure to the Kuching voters.

I spoke for about 1 hour and 15 minutes as the crowd was so attentive that I found it hard to end my speech and disappoint them.

This is my 4th campaign in the Sarawak state election since 1991 and for the first time I feel that the real fight is on.

I will fly to Sibu this afternoon for campaigns in Sibu, Bintangor and Sarikei in the next and last 2 days.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Fresh from Sarawak: DAP Miri lodged police report against BN candidate

The DAP candidate for Pujut, Miri, lodged a police report against the BN candidate for the same constituency for allegedly involved in the corrupt practice of vote buying.

Fong Pau Teck, the DAP candidate, lodged the report through his election agent, Hii Tiong Huat, based on the newspaper report that Andy Chia Chu Fatt, BN candidate for Pujut, was present at the ceremony of handing over land titles held in the Sarawak Survey Department office in Miri yesterday and was reported to have given away some of the land titles to the settlers in North Piasau, Miri. A copy of the police report will be handed over to the Election Commission.

Andy Chia had obviously violated the provisions of the election law which prohibits the corrupt practice of vote buying. The Election Commission should take immediate and necessary actions to curb such incident or it will be accused of “closing one eye” to corrupt practice in the election campaigns.

Land has been one of the major subjects in the Sarawak state election. Most of the private lands tenure in Sarawak are 66 years and are due to expire. The uncertainty of renewal and the high renewal premiums have caused worries and anxieties among the locals.

Fresh from Sarawak: Close fight for DAP in Sarawak

Fong Pau Teck, master degree holder in sociology from University of Sothampton, United Kingdom, the DAP candidate in Pujut, Miri
I flew in Miri yesterday to give my support to the DAP candidates in the Sarawak state election.
I spoke in the ceramah in Miri downtown last night. It attracted about 500 people who listened attentively for two and a half hour to the speeches of Fong Pau Teck, DAP candidate for Pujut, Vincent Woo, DAP Assistant National Organizing Secretary, and Leong Mei Ming, Chairperson of DAP Wanita Pahang.
We covered all the major subjects including the land tenure, fuel price, petroleum royalty, education, infra structure development, fair and equal distrubution of wealth and inflation.
The SUPP President cum the First Deputy Chief Minister of Sarawak, Dato Dr George Chan, was reported in the local newspaper to have said that 3 seats were in danger of falling into the hand of the DAP, namely, Kidurong in Bintulu held by the DAP candidate, Chew Chin Sing, before the dissolution of the state assembly, Meradong in Sarikei constested DAP Ting Tze Fui, and Bukit Assek in Sibu contested Wong Ho Leng, the DAP Sarawak State Chairman.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

MP Jasin may be charged under Anti Corruption Act

Malaysiakini reported today that the MP for Jasin, Mohd Said bin Yusof, admitted that his company Binyu Sof Enterprise was the forwarding agency for a seized consignment of illegal timber.
He had also admitted earlier that he was the one who had asked the Custom Department "to close one eye" in a case involving the import of sawn timber which had breached the regulations.
On prima facie of his such admissions, he can be charged under either section 14, 15 or 16 of the Anti Corruption Act 1997 ("ACA"), in respect of corruption by a member of parliament.
Section 17 of the ACA further provides that in the event of conviction under section 14, 15 and 16, one shall be liable to imprisonment for a term ot not less than 6 months and not more than twenty years and a fine of not less than 5 times the sum or the value of the gratification which is the subject matter of the offence where such gratification is capable of being valued or is of a pecuniary nature, or ten thousand ringgit, whichever is the higher.