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Speech – State Legislative sitting Aug 22-23, 2011 August 23, 2011

Posted by wong jimmy in speech.
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YB Datuk Speaker,

 

First of all I wish all my Muslim counterparts “Selamat Berpuasa”.

I am extremely shocked to learn that the State government under UMNO and BN is requesting a supplementary budget of approximately 1.4 billion OR 1,394,566,040.00 billion to be exact. This is about 47% of the 2011 budget. I think this is a record for a supplementary budget.

Tuan Speaker

There is only way to describe this supplementary budget – poor and bad planning on the 2011 budget and mismanagement at the highest order and of which one of the root causes is rampant corruption.

Tuan Speaker

I would like to know how the government is going to finance this supplementary budget. We all know that the government has come out with a bond and another by Sabah Development Bank. Together they are worth RM1 billion and it must be repaid within five years. But I would like to remind the government that the bonds are not revenue but liability.

The question now is how much does the government really have in its coffer? Is it correct that we have only RM3 billion in the consolidated fund? How many contractors are still waiting for their payments? Is the money coming from the 7.5% oil palm surtax and 15% tax on 4-digit outlets?

Tuan Speaker

Something caught my attention in the supplementary budget. The equity investment in Innoprise Corporation Sdn Bhd ICSB of 114,550,080 million is now raised to 675 million in the supplementary budget, an increase of 589%. The money is to add to the equity investment in ICSB. It says the government is using the dividend received from ICSB to prop up the equity investment in ICSB.

I am surprise and want to know how the government comes into the picture. As far as I know ICSB is a subsidiary of Yayasan Sabah. The dividend from ICSB should be channeled to Yayasan Sabah. It is the Yayasan Sabah’s Board of Directors decision to inject the money back to ICSB and not the government.

How then ICBS contributes to the development of the State?

It is beyond doubt that this government is making Corporate history by returning dividend earned through ICSB back to ICSB, and by a government for that matter which does not have any business in ICSB

Tuan Speaker,

My other concern is under S26 the contribution to Group Development Fund (Kumpulan Wang Pembangunan) which accounted for RM300 million. In the 2011 budget, it was provided for RM400 million.

Under the same code S26, the government had placed RM100 million in the Public Trust Fund (Kumpulan Wang Amanah Berkanun) in the 2011 budget and has now requested another RM120 million in the supplementary budget. Funds for maintaining roads and bridges should be under the Public Works Department.

There is a lot of money involved for the two “expenses” above and therefore important for the government to explain fully or in detail about this “investment”.

Tuan Speaker,

The supplementary budget involving S26 (Trust Fund) and S27 (Equity investment) take up 78.5% of the said budget. They are shroud with mystery. I hope the government will bear with me on my ignorance on these “expenditures” and provide me with a more simple explanation concerning them. I am sure the public will also benefit from the explanation.

Social Welfare Assistance

There was headline news concerning the Social Welfare Services Department. I am extremely distressed by the revelation of abuse by government officers in the Social Welfare and Community Development Department. The hundreds of elderly folks who had their welfare assistance suspended, discontinued or rejected by these officers must be viewed seriously. I have already stated my concerned of this nature in the press sometimes ago but unfortunately no concrete action was taken by the Minister Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun.

I am surprised that the Welfare Services Department did not request any supplementary budget.

To be fair to the officers of the department I once again urge the government to make a Police report and also the MACC so that the complaints are not hearsay. The officers have been accused of abuse publicly and if the complaints are not investigated thoroughly then it is unfair to the officers concerned.

 

 

Eradication of Poverty

Poverty eradication is an obligation of a good and caring government. I am shocked to learn that the number of poor people in Sabah is getting higher, and more are surfacing with the introduction of eKasih program. In the 9th Malaysia Plan we were informed that Sabah has the highest poverty of 23% and also the highest in terms of abject poverty. The World Bank report in 2010 stated that Sabah is the poorest state in Malaysia with 40% poverty rate among the Rungus community.

I have to ask the Chief Minister if his declaration of Tawau as free from poverty still holds water. Poverty is putting Sabah in the news when the Prime Minister’s wife was shocked to learn of a Rungus single mother of three children living in a shack in Matunggung. At one point a Croatian Ambassador came over to Kota Marudu to help build a home for another family. Even with these public revelations, the government does not feel ashamed but continue to brag about the billions of ringgit it is getting from the Federal government.

While the people suffer in silence the government now plans to build a RM388 million administrative centre. The government is also acquiring a prime seaside land in Putatan for their administrative centre to the extent of sidelining the need for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The government is more interested in embarking on huge expensive projects such as the RM450 million Tambatuon and RM2.8 billion Kaiduan dams which are opposed by the people and of no necessity in the near future.

It looks like the poverty eradication program is only a lip service. 11-year old Dusun boy by the name of Donny hanged himself because he was ashamed to be poor. Since his death the government has not been serious in addressing the problem of poverty. The e-Kasih becomes pilih-kasih as only their supporters are given priority. And who cares about Donny?

I would like to appeal to the government to keep aside pride by asking for the review of the Petronas Act 1974. The Sabah government should fight for at least 20% of the oil royalty or even for the return of the Oil and Gas to Sabah so that this country can develop and put poverty behind us. It is unacceptable for a government to see its people suffer while natural resources are aplenty. Why do our people of Sabah suffer so that West Malaysia can modernize and fully developed? This to me is illogical.

I urge the government to emulate the DAP-led Pakatan Rakyat government which has effectively eradicate poverty including abject poverty from the island State in less than three years after assuming power. I strongly recommend that the Sabah government learn the rope from the Penang government.

Infrastructure Development

Without saying infrastructure development is important for a country to move forward. With infrastructure we can undertake rural and urban development. The four basic infrastructures which every government should be concern about are roads, electricity, water and drainage. I feel ashamed to continuously remind the Dewan and also the BN YBs and Ministers concerning the poor state of our basic infrastructure. Our roads are not just bad they are terribly bad and dangerous. I hope the YBs are not spending time rushing to hospitals to see some supporters, family members, friends and relatives involved in road accidents. Worse still, I hope YBs do not spent lots of time attending funerals caused by road accidents.

The urban roads although small appear good but the government keeps on resealing them. The village roads are small, some gravel and mud, damaged by landslips or riddled with potholes but they do not receive attention from the government. Some villages are not connected by road network. Even if the villagers have so much produce from their land they have no means of transporting them to the market. Without a good road network agricultural products cannot move, people remain subsistence and no development will arrive at their doorsteps.

Our highways are in horrible condition. There are depressions here and there, making traveling like in a boat. There are so many damaged parts of the roads and are not looked into or repaired quickly until someone close to a BN YB is dead or injured. The Sapulut-Kalabakan highway which cost about RM550 million is never sealed and now looks like a jungle timber road. Repairing and sealing the 151 km highway will now cost the tax-payer another RM300 millions. This highway alone will cost the tax payer RM850 million. Where is the government integrity on all these substandard works?   I ask if UMNO and BN are really governing the State.

The power supply issue is even more dramatic. When the coal-powered plant was shot down by the people, the government has to pay RM70 million to the contractor for preliminary works. To me this is daylight robbery of the highest order. Even a layman knows that a gas-powered plant will be more logical and viable since we are burning our gas freely out in the South China Sea. Then because of the peoples’ want for cleaner energy, an oil and gas plant is established in Kimanis. But then, the gas will be siphoned to Bintulu for processing and then send back to Sabah for the gas-powered plant. This is just ridiculous of the highest order. It is only natural the government faces a hostile public concerning their proposal.

Now after Kimanis the government wants to build a gas-powered plant in Lahad Datu. Why Lahad Datu and not Kota Belud where the oil platforms are located nearby. Only the government knows the reason why it wants the gas-powered plant to be sited in Lahad Datu and that decision is again another gullible one of the highest order.

Even with such primitive power supply in Sabah the government has decided to increase the tariff by 15%. We are facing inflation and prices of commodities are skyrocketing. People are getting poorer because wages and salaries are stagnant. We are gas and oil producer yet we are paying more for them. There seems to be no logic at all. And now the government feels excited to withdraw the subsidies that the lower income groups are depending on to survive. What the government is doing is incredibly confusing. When it is confused the people are suffering.

I urge the government to seek a review on the Petronas Act 1974 and to demand at least 20% oil royalty or the return of the resource to our care.

Sabah is blessed with plenty of rain. The rural folks are happy and will be more than happy if the government provides them water tanks. Yes, the government gives them water tanks but only during election. On top of that the BN blue colored toilet will be making its round soon. What the government should be doing is not only to provide rural folks with water tanks but also good quality roofing and gutters.

Sabah is also blessed with the mighty Crooker Range. Here, water flows to every parts of Sabah and the government should protect this catchment without compromise. The government must take advantage of these rivers from the Crooker Range to source and treat the water before supplying to the people especially the urban and semi-urban community. But with a good delivery system every houses will and should be enjoying clean treated water. Somehow, the government has failed in this aspect.

CPO

I read with interest that Sabah earned RM13.56 billion from the sales of 5.136 million tons of Crude Palm Oil (CPO) in 2010 (Daily Express 31/7/11). But what I am also interested to know is what happen to the 7.5% surtax on per metric ton of CPO, RM40/metric ton of CPO transportation to refineries and the windfall tax when price of CPO is above RM3000/metric ton?

I am unhappy and the players in the oil palm sector are also not happy that they are charged RM40/mt of CPO for the transportation fee to refineries in West Malaysia when the CPO is now send to refineries in Sabah soil.

Looking at the massive amount of money collected from the oil palm industry the government should use it to improve the road where oil palm plantation vehicles especially heavy laden lorries are using them. The government should also use the money to recruit more local people give them better wages and good living condition. A minimum wage of RM1500 per month will entice them to stay in Sabah.

I am also urging the government to implement the objective of FELDA, FELCRA and RISDA where after developing the land the agencies must hand them over to the poor and landless Sabahans. Let me emphasize that the Sabahans to be given these developed lands are the genuine Sabahans and not the new bumiputra. I would like to recommend to the government to give away 8 acres per person/family of the federal agencies land and we will see the abrupt disappearance of poverty in Sabah.

Amnesty

I read in the news that in 2008 a total of 312,837 foreigners were registered followed by another 161,747 in 2009.  In this 2011 amnesty program, about 157,966 foreigners were registered. What the government is confirming is the presence of more than half a million illegal immigrants in Sabah, and now they are duly registered and legalized.

I am including this subject in my speech today to remind the government that while foreign labour is required to drive our plantation and construction industries we must realize that they do not pay tax and also, they continue to remit money back to their home country. The presence of millions of foreigner has a drastic impact on our social, environmental, health and educational services. Even our culture is now diluted by them.

Article 153

I am reminding the government of Article 153 of the Federal Constitution whereby the Malays and Natives of Sabah and Sarawak are given special quota for matters pertaining to job opportunity, business contracts and other licenses that will help uplift their standard of living. The bumiputras have been taken care of by the government which is commendable. However I must remind the government that the non-Muslim natives should also benefit from Article 153 which is not the case at the moment. I learned that many non-Muslim native contractors have to fly to Kuala Lumpur to beg for projects from the Ministers which should not be the case. I would like to urge the government to be fair when applying Article 153.

Cement, cooking oil and timber downstream processing

Lately Sabah is facing shortage of cement and it is affecting the construction industry badly. The transporters are also affected because they have to wait for days before the only cement factory at Sepanggar can load available cement onto their lorries. I strongly urge the government to be liberal and open the business to other private companies. Competition will improve the supply of cement in Sabah.

Our country is reported to earn RM13.56 billion from oil palm from 5.136 million tons of crude palm oil (CPO) in 2010. Sabah is the largest producer of CPO and yet, today we are facing shortage of cooking oil in the market. A Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism even said that there is enough oil that we can bath with it. How silly this BN Minister?

I urge the government to quickly investigate how can there be shortage of cooking oil in Sabah when we are the largest producer of CPO? I urge the government to investigate if the subsidize commodities are smuggled to our neighbouring countries which has in one way or another caused the shortage.

I am also asking the government why it is not supporting the timber industry association by providing them with logs for downstream processing. Round logs are shipped directly to other countries without giving any consideration for downstream processing. I would like the government to reveal to the public the business transaction involving logs from Yayasan Sabah concession area. We want to know the volume, species of timber and the price we are getting from this log export.

Tuan Speaker,

RM388 million Administrative Centre

 

The proposed RM388-million administrative Centre has attracted a lot of interest. I am informed that there are ample offices spaces in Kota Kinabalu. There are free spaces in Wisma Innoprise, Wisma MUIS and even Wisma Tun Fuad Stephens. Many of these buildings are looking neglected. When the new Administrative Centre is completed there will be more empty spaces because many government agencies will move to the new centre.

When the new administrative centre is completed it will overshadow or block Menara Tun Mustapha. Everyone can see that Menara Tun Mustapha is now looking neglected. I think the government decision to have an administrative centre that is overshadowing Menara Tun Mustapha is an insult to our Father of Independence.

I think this is not a responsible decision.

I ask the Chief Minister if it is for his own glory that he wants to erect the administrative building or centre. It does not make sense when we have so many open available office spaces and also, it is not respecting the late Tun Datu Mustapha bin Datu Harun.

Conclusion

Tuan Speaker,

To me Sabah is heading to be a failed State.

The huge amount involved in this supplementary budget gives us an idea of how the government is been managed. There is incompetency is preparing the 2011 budget.

The World Bank has stated that Sabah is the poorest state in Malaysia despite the abundance of natural resources – oil and gas, oil palms, rubber and timber.

Our basic infrastructure is still in the 4th world country. The government is embarking on expensive projects that are of no necessity now such as the dams and administrative centre

The creams of our society are or have left the country in search of better life or greener pastures. The brain-drain has attributed to the slow economic growth of the country. The government has failed to create jobs. The unskilled generation cannot find any job in Sabah so they flock over to West Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei and face a bleak future.

The government went to enlarge its oil palm plantation and constructions sectors that depended on foreign workers. These workers many of them illegal are now systematically legalized, given citizenship and become voters. We are talking about 1.5 millions of them and have now overwhelmed the native population of Sabah. Indeed they are the fixed deposit of UMNO and also benefiting the other BN component parties. Despite being made new bumiputra they continue to remit money to their homeland while contributing nothing to the department of Inland Revenue. This is a political gain at the expense of the future of genuine Sabahans. The future of our children has been hijacked.

Sabah is not safe and the numerous reported serious crimes perpetuated by these new bumiputra against the local populace are driving away foreign investors. The local businessmen are also looking at China and other country to put their investment.

The civil service is been dominated by just a single race. The non-Muslims are been sidelined and marginalized. This has just happened in the case of the general manager of KKIP where a Kadazan (Melvin Disimon) who is number two was by-passed by a junior Malay officer. There are allegations of abuse in the Welfare department and Land and Survey department just to name a few.

To me it is all about management of the country wealth. The UMNO-led BN government has failed to manage this state. It is time to allow Pakatan Rakyat to manage the land below the wind. We have proven in Penang and Selangor that we can govern well, fair and transparent. There, prosperity is growing while poverty is becoming a thing of the past, a BN past and legacy.

Tuan Speaker, Saya mohon membantah permintaan Kerajaan melalui Bajet Tambahan 2011 terutama sekali perbelanjaan S26 and S27.

In conclusion I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone “Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri” in advance.

Thank you.

YB Jimmy Wong Szn Phin

ADUN N57 Sri Tanjung

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