Kerajaan Persekutuan berhasrat untuk membina sejuta rumah mampu milik di semua negeri di Malaysia, termasuk di negeri-negeri yang ditadbir oleh Pakatan Harapan. Namun, nilai hartanah yang tinggi, terutamanya di negeri-negeri di bawah pentadbiran Pakatan Harapan, menjadi batu penghalang hasrat tersebut.
Masalah Di Selangor
Semasa di bawah pentadbiran Barisan Nasional, rumah mampu milik merupakan tanggungjawab badan-badan kerajaan negeri seperti Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor (PKNS). Namun, sejak pentadbiran diambil alih oleh Pakatan Rakyat pada tahun 2008, PKNS bertukar menjadi sebuah agensi yang mengejar keuntungan.
Pebangunan hartanah merupakan sumber hasil bagi kerajaan negeri dan pihak berkuasa tempatan melalui yuran tukar penggunaan tanah, pembahagian-pembahagian kecil dan lain-lain hal berkenaan dengan tanah. Kesemua kos-kos ini telah meningkat sejak pengambil alihan pentadbiran oleh Pakatan.
Penjualan tanah di bawah harga pasaran adalah salah satu cara untuk mengadakan rumah kos murah. Namun, kebiasaan tersebut telah dihapuskan. Malah, PKNS sendiri kini terpaksa membida untuk tanah pada harga pasaran?
Kita perlu meneliti prosedur-prosedur yang dikenakan terhadap para pemaju oleh pelbagai jabatan kerajaan negeri dan pihak-pihak berkuasa tempatan.
Birokrasi dan sikap berdolak-dalik merupakan sebab-sebab lazim yang melambatkan proses dan ini menambahkan lagi kos. Perbelanjaan dan faedah pinjaman bank perlu dibayar walaupun projek belum dapat dimulakan. Kita belum lagi berbincang mengenai rasuah dan ini boleh memberi kesan besar terhadap kos kerana kadar yang diminta oleh ‘orang-orang tengah’ untuk ‘melicinkan proses’ boleh menjadi besar dan untuk setiap tandatangan yang diperlukan.
Tidak meghairankanlah jika sebahagian besar pemaju berpendapat bahawa pihak kerajaan negeri dan pihak berkuasa tempatan merupakan batu halangan terhadap rumah mampu milik kerana tanah merupakan hak dan kuasa kerajaan negeri dan bukan kerajaan persekutuan. Maka, kerajaan persekutuan tiada hak untuk memperbetulkan keadaan ini.
Masalah di Pulau Pinang
Kalau gambarajah di atas menunjukkan bayaran premium tanah yang meningkat di Selangor, kita lihat gambarajah seterusnya yang menunjukkan lonjakan caj cukai hartanah di Selangor dan Pulau Pinang sejak 2008:
Kerajaan negeri dan pihak berkuasa tempatan perlu serius dalam mengotakan janji mereka untuk mengadakan rumah-rumah kos rendah dan rumah mampu milik. Di penghujung penggal kedua berkuasa di Pulau Pinang, DAP masih belum menyerahkan rumah mampu miliknya yang pertama, malah menyalahkan kerajaan persekutuan di atas kegagalannya sendiri.
Kampung-kampung tradisi, terutamanya penempatan tradisi orang-orang Melayu, dirobohkan untuk memberi laluan kepada para pemaju membangunkan kondominium mampu tengok dan lain-lain pembangunan komersil. Kerajaan negeri Pulau Pinang juga bersikap tidak bertanggung jawab menjual tanah-tanah milik kerajaan negeri kepada para pemaju hinggakan hanya tinggal baki tujuh peratus sahaja tanah kerajaan negeri di Pulau Pinang. Ini bermakna peuang untuk mendirikan rumah-rumah mampu milik di Pulau Pinang semakin halus.
Para pemaju kecil juga tidak berpeluang untuk mengambil bahagian dalam pembangunan di Pulau Pinang akibat caj-caj yang dikenakan terhadap para pemaju begitu tinggi. Kita lihat gambarajah seterusnya:
Dari gambarajah di atas kita dapat lihat kerakusan kerajaan negeri Pulau Pinang di bawah pentadbiran DAP hanya mementingkan keuntungan dan membelakangkan keperluan rakyat.
Di bawah kerajaan DAP, sumbangan perumahan kos rendah dikenakan sebanyak RM150,000 bagi setiap unit. Di bawah BN tiada caj dikenakan. Setiap gerai penjaja dikenakan RM58,000 – kenaikan sebanyak RM55,000 berbanding dengan semasa di bawah pentadbiran BN. Untuk penyediaan kemudahan komuniti seperti padang, dewan serbaguna, masjid dan surau dan sebagainya, kerajaan DAP mengenakan caj sebanyak RM500 sekaki persegi berbanding RM25 sekaki persegi di bawah BN. Untuk infrastruktur seperti jalan dan saliran, kerajaan DAP mengenakan RM15 sekaki persegi berbanding tiada caj di bawah BN untuk jalan, dan RM50,000 seekar untuk saliran berbanding RM10,000 di bawah BN.
Satu lagi bukti kerajaan DAP tidak menghiraukan keperluan rakyat ialah mengenakan caj sebanyak RM500 sekaki persegi untuk setiap tadika yang disediakan. Tiada caj dikenakan oleh pentadbiran BN Pulau Pinang sebelum ini.
Berapa pula premium tanah yang dikenakan oleh kerajaan DAP Pulau Pinang? Kita telah melihat lonjakan dahsyat di negeri Selangor sejak 2008, kita lihat pula keadaannya di Pulau Pinang:
Nampak gayanya premium tanah yang dikenakan oleh kerajaan DAP Pulau Pinang melonjak dengan begitu banyak sekali berbanding semasa di bawah pentadbiran BN pada tahun 2007. Pengurangan hanya berlaku dua kali iaitu pada tahun 2008 semasa mula-mula memegang pentadbiran negeri. Mungkin ketika ini mereka hendakkan maklumbalas positif mengenai cara DAP mentadbir negeri. Kemudian kenaikan dikenakan sedikit demi sedikit dan melonjak besar selepas memegang tampuk pentadbiran kerajaan negeri selepas 2013, kemudian turun sedikit pada tahun 2016 selepas Lim Guan Eng dihadapkan ke mahkamah di atas satu perbuatan rasuah – salahguna kuasa dan jawatan untuk kepentingan dirinya.
Caj-caj dan bayaran premium yang dikenakan terhadap para pemaju di Pulau Pinang menyebabkan rumah mampu milik di Pulau Pinang yang berkeluasan 1,000 kaki persegi menjadi RM120,000 seunit berbanding RM42,000 seunit semasa di bawah pentadbiran BN. Apabila dikenakan kadar faedah sebanyak 5 peratus setahun untuk tempoh pinjaman 30 tahun, bayaran faedah akan menjadi RM116,569.73 atau RM671.03 setiap bulan. Kos keseluruhan akan menjadi RM236,569.73 setiap unit. Adakah kadar bulanan ini mampu dibayar oleh mereka yang dari golongan berpendapatan rendah?
Keengganan kerajaan negeri Selangor di bawah PKR memberi kerjasama dengan agensi perumahan kerajaan pusat seperti PR1MA dan PPR mendatangkan masalah untuk kerajaan pusat membantu kerajaan negeri membina rumah-rumah kos rendah dan mampu milik. Setakat ini hanya 11,000 unit rumah sahaja yang daat didirikan berbanding sasaran 70,000.
Ini berbeza sekali dengan kerajaan negeri Kelantan di bawah PAS yang menerima bantuan kerajaan pusat dengan tangan terbuka. Setakat Ogos 2017, 418 unit PPR telah dibina di Machang manakala 1,000 unit telah dibina di Kota Bharu. Ini menunjukkan walaupun berlainan fahaman politik, kerajaan PAS sanggup mengenepikan perjuangan demi kesejahteraan rakyat, tidak seperti Pakatan Harapan yang tidak langsung memberi harapan kepada para pengundi.
Pandai-pandailah anda menilaikan sendiri siapa yang mendahulukan kepentingan rakyat dan siapa yang mendahulukan kepentingan keuntungan.
I received this copied in a Veterans’ WhatsApp group. I omitted some parts of the message as it was just gibberish talk:
_Copied from write up by Mej **** ***** TUDM (Rtd)_
Good afternoon to all. The fight for a free Malaysia must go on!
Let us get one thing clear – the country and the government are separate entities. Governments come and go, the country is eternal.
We owe our allegiance to the country, not to the government. Therefore, saying bad things about a bad government is not being anti-national. Most important of all, voting against a bad government is not being anti-national. A bad government does not deserve loyalty. Disloyalty to the government is not disloyalty to the country; in fact, voting out a bad government is being loyal to the country.
Right to dissent
Save our economy
Fine words they are, but for someone with some legal training to write as such shows how much understanding the author has of the Federal Constitution.
Let us address this “call”:
“Good afternoon to all. The fight for a free Malaysia must go on!
Let us get one thing clear – the country and the government are separate entities. Governments come and go, the country is eternal.
We owe our allegiance to the country, not to the government. Therefore, saying bad things about a bad government is not being anti-national. Most important of all, voting against a bad government is not being anti-national. A bad government does not deserve loyalty. Disloyalty to the government is not disloyalty to the country; in fact, voting out a bad government is being loyal to the country.”
The country and the government cannot be separated, neither can a state be separated from its state government. Yes, governments come and go, but a government is still a government. Officers and men of the civil service, the Armed Forces, the Police owe their allegiance to the King and Country. The King rules the Country, as do the Sultans their respective state, through a government that was picked by the people. Be they the Federal Government or the State Government, they administer the country and the states on behalf of the King and Sultans, as well as the Governors. This is prescribed by Article 39 of the Federal Constitution where the Executive Authority of the Federation is vested in the Yang DiPertuan Agong by him, or by the Cabinet, or by any Minister authorised by the Cabinet.
In the case of the Armed Forces, the King exercises his power through the Minister of Defence. Which is why the officers and men of the Armed Forces are required to salute the Minister of Defence who represents the King’s executive power over the Armed Forces, and the Prime Minister who is the King’s Chief Executive, representing the King.
Article 41 states that the King is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and therefore those representing the King as prescribed by Article 39 are performing their duties on behalf of the King.
Therefore, it is imperative that the Armed Forces, as well as the civil service and the Police, remain loyal to the government of the day as the government of the day represents the King – be it bad or otherwise. Whether or nor a member of the Armed Forces, or the civil service, or the Police subscribes to the government of the day politically is a secondary matter. The oath that was taken was to be loyal to the King and Country; therefore loyalty shall be given to the government of the day.
The Minister who represents the King in matters of defence is also made the Chairman of the Armed Forces Council which is responsible for the command, the discipline and the administration of the Armed Forces, except for matters relating to their operational use. This is prescribed in Article 137 of the Federal Constitution.
And it is the Parliament that passed an Act to amend and consolidate the law relating to the establishment, government and discipline of the Armed Forces is made which is called the Armed Forces Act, 1972.
It is also the Armed Forces Act, 1972 that gave the powers to the Armed Forces Council to enable Brigadier-General Datuk Fadzlette Othman Merican Idris Merican be promoted to Major-General while she is being seconded to a Federal Government Department. Section 5C of the Armed Forces Act, 1972 determines that she remains a member of the regular forces but her remuneration shall be paid by that Federal Government Department.
By the same token, even the ordinary people who are citiens of Malaysia must realise that the Federal Government represents the King, the state governments represent the resective state’s Ruler. These are governments chosen by the people but was appointed by the Rulers to administer the country and states on their behalf. The only way to change these governments is by a democratic process called ELECTIONS (unless you have not heard of that word before).
Since 1955, Pulau Pinang, Perak, Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Selangor and Sabah have all seen a change in government. If the elections were not clean, would it have been possible for the Opposition to have won cash cows such as Pulau Pinang and Selangor?
I must admit there are bad hats in the government, be it the Federal government or the states government. This is why we have seen people like Harun Idris, Mokhtar Hashim, Khir Toyo, Lim Guan Eng charged in court for corruption. All but Lim Guan Eng have served jail time. Guan Eng, who said that he is not afraid to go to prison, has been delaying his corruption trial using technical issues.
Many more state excos have also been arraigned in a court for corruption. This is not possible without agencies such as the Auditor-General’s Office and the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission which act as checks and balances to ensure that the Federal as well as states governments are run efficiently and cleanly.
Of course there are those who have yet to face the music. For example those responsible for the Maminco scandal in 1985 that saw a loss of RM1.6 billion (about RM2.56 billion in today’s terms); the Perwaja scandal in 1982 that saw a loss of about RM10 billion (RM18.73 billion in today’s terms); the BMF scandal of 1983 that had caused a loss of RM2.5 billion (RM4.5 billion today); the 1986 Deposit-Taking Cooperative Scandal that caused a loss of RM1.5 billion (about RM2.58 billion today); the RM30 billion loss by Bank Negara Malaysis through foreign exchange gambling in 1994 (RM45.25 billion today); the Malaysia Airlines scandal of 1994 with the loss of RM9.4 billion (RM14.18 billion today); the PKFZ scandal of 1999 with a loss of RM12.5 billion (RM13.5 billion in today’s terms).
The above all happened during the tenure of a certain former Prime Minister. The grand total of losses is RM67.5 billion (or RM101.3 billion in today’s terms). The amount shown does not include the bailouts reported in various books, Opposition leaders’ blogs and so on.
I do hope that the cry for a clean government will also call for the arraignment for the Prime Minister during whose tenure the financial scandals happened. Had the RM101.3 billion been put to good use during those 22 years, Sabah and Sarawak would have had SIX toll-free Pan Borneo Highways, or 1,013 80-bedded Government hospitals all over the country!
Instead, it enriched the few and killed one person.
“Right to Dissent”
I have not seen any Opposition-leaning media being taken off print or air, unlike during a certain 22-year period of my life. Malaysiakini et al are still spinning their version of what they call “balanced news” (read: news the way we want you to see it). The way these media operate reminds me of a character in Netflix’s limited series called “Godless” called A.T Grigg, a newspaper owner-editor who writes news the way he sees it, not how it truly happens.
The ISA was repealed six years ago by this present administration. Although replaced with SOSMA and POTA, it doesn’t give powers to the authorities to hold anyone without trial as the ISA did. And the ISA was being used a lot against political dissenters especially in the late 1990s during the tenure of a certain former Prime Minister.
This administration also introduced the Peaceful Assembly Act, 2012 that has allowed more freedom to assemble peacefully, unlike during those days of a certain former Prime Minister where at the slightest hint of a political dissent, you get whisked away to the University of Kamunting.
Has the author of the message been arrested yet? Of course not. Even when he actually committed sedition against Malaysia by encouraging Sarawak to secede from Malaysia.
Now, how is that seditious? If you look at Section 2 of the Sedition Act, 1948 it tells you the following:
This former Armed Forces officer also committed a crime of sedition under Section 3 (1) (b) of the same Act for encouraging Sarawak to leave Malaysia:
And you thought that the Federal Constitution protects freedom of speech? Yes, it does. But as with all other liberties, they are subjected to restrictions. Article 10(1) guarantees that every citizen has the right to freedom of speech and expression, but at the beginning of the Article it also says the following:
To dissent is okay. To dissent seditiously, or criminally, or dangerously, or incitingly, is not okay.
Any legal-trained person ought to know this, right? What more a former officer of the Armed Forces!
“Save Our Economy”
In April 2017, the World Bank forecasted that Malaysia’s GDP would be at 4.3 percent. This was revised in June 2017 to 4.9 percent due to an acceleration in domestic economic activities (people in Malaysia are actually spending more) by 5.7 percent year-on-year. The GDP growth was revised again in October 2017 to 5.2 percent.
Let me quote several reports here by the World Bank.
World Bank Group lead economist Richard Record said at a media briefing on the update that Malaysia’s robust GDP growth in the first half of 2017 was largely underpinned by strong private-sector expenditure, with additional impetus from an improvement in external demand.
“Private consumption expanded firmly this year, supported by favourable income growth amid stable labour market conditions, and improved consumer confidence. Private investment also sustained rapid growth rates during the period, reflecting mainly continued capital spending in the manufacturing and services sectors,” said Richard Record.
“On the external front, gross exports rebounded strongly from the subdued growth experienced in 2016, supported by double-digit growth in commodity and manufactured exports,” he added.
Economic watchdogs are generally bullish on the Malaysian economy’s performance, buttressed by strong expansion in private consumption and private investment. In the latest update on its World Economic Outlook, the International Monetary Fund has upped its GDP growth projection for Malaysia in 2017 to 4.8 percent from 4.5 percent previously.
Apart from that, the Asian Development Bank has also upgraded its 2017 growth outlook for Malaysia to 4.7% from 4.4%, and indicated that the two-year slowdown in economic growth is likely to have bottomed out last year.
Richard Record also predicted Malaysia’s economy for 2018 and 2019.
“We are forecasting Malaysia’s GDP to grow by 5 percent next year (2018) and 4.8 percent in 2019. Our prediction reflects how we are seeing the country’s macroeconomic fundamentals’ performance and the baseline scenario,” he said.
Online economics portal ‘Focus Economics’ also said the following:
“Economic momentum remained robust in Q3 as confirmed by more complete data. Export growth expanded by a double-digit pace in September, underscoring thriving external demand for Malaysian goods. Household spending was buoyed by a low unemployment rate in September and by higher wages, which were propped up by a thriving manufacturing sector, the key driver of industrial production growth in the quarter. The 2018 budget passed on 27 October is focused on fiscal consolidation and is expected to narrow the fiscal deficit from 3.0 percent in 2017 to 2.8 percent in 2018. Despite the tightening, the budget has consumer-friendly components that will increase disposable income. These include lower income tax rates, especially for middle-income earners; higher public wages; and increased assistance spending.”
Of course, with the oil prices continue to stay below the USD70 per barrel level, Malaysia as well as other countries will continue to experience some sluggishness in the economy. However, good fiscal policies have allowed us to grow unlike a neighbour of ours that is often quoted as being a model economy. That country’s growth have been at 2 percent in 2016, and 2.5 percent this year.
The outlook for the construction sector has taken a sharp turn for the worse, with poll respondents tipping a contraction of 4.2 per cent. The previous survey, released in June, had respondents forecasting 0.2 per cent growth in the sector.
The outlook for the accommodation and food services sector in this model country has also worsened – it is now expected to shrink 1.5 per cent, from previous estimates of a 1 per cent expansion.
Economists polled expect overall economic growth of 2.5 per cent next year for this model country, the same pace as this year.
Perhaps the author of the message we are discussing here should go down South and help revive the economy of that model country.
So, there have you. I really do not know what the fuss is about. All I can deduce is that the author of the message is all hot air – you can feel it blowing on your face, but there is no real substance there. This is the same as BERSIH, and the recycling of petty but stale issues by the Opposition just so that they can remain relevant, and justify for the allowances they receive from the pockets of the rakyat.
You can express your dissatisfaction, but always do so constructively. Especially if you are a member of the Malaysian Armed Forces and Malaysian Armed Forces Veterans.
It is no surprise that the recent DAP CEC election has retained some 90 percent of its line up. Despite being a dinosaur and having manouvered the DAP through its mother-of-all-U-turns by working with arch-nemesis Mahathir Mohamad, Lim Kit Siang emerged victorious with the most number of votes. His son, Guan Eng, despite being charged on two counts of corruption, came out third and was returned as the Secretary-General of the party.
Returned after being missing for a term is Selangor’s Ronnie Liu who is famous for trying to stop the authorities from raiding brothels and gambling dens in Selangor before DAP came into power. The ousted included the man who is the symbol of cleanliness, moderation and a corrupt-free DAP – Tan Seng Giaw.
And as for its multiracial image, only two Indians and one Punjabi were elected but not one Malay made it to the Top 20 – again, but former DAP Pahang Chairman Tengku Zulpuri Shah bin Tengku Puji was appointed Vice-Chairman. He is the sole Malay in the CEC line-up. Christopher Ross Lim, the Chinese man masquerading as Malay going by the name Zairil Khir Johari, made it at No. 19. He was born a Chinese and remains a Chinese.
Only 54 percent or 1,356 delegates attended the CEC elections out of 2,514 delegates in 2013. This shows that the support for the Lim Dynasty is waning. They can bask in party glory now but whether that will translate into actual votes especially in Pulau Pinang remains to be seen. With only 450,000 registered members, DAP relies more on its propaganda to win over the masses, who of late are drowning in flood waters and overwhelmed by landslides due to the over-development of the hills and reclamation works in Pulau Pinang.
And to appease the spirit of a dead man, the three-year dead Karpal Singh managed to get 43 votes, more than any of the Malay candidates. How Karpal could still get votes baffles me.
This sums up the image of the DAP – rotten to the core.
Former army Brigadier turned politician, Arshad Raji, seems to like the attention the electronic media has been according him lately, and he speaks about a wide spectrum of issues – from falling for Mahathir’s fake news of the so-called withdrawal of his close police protection, to the management of the floods in Pulau Pinang.
In the latter issue it was as if he was trying to downplay the Deputy Prime Minister and the BN-led Federal Government’s involvement in the management of the floods. He was right about some of it, though. Under the National Security Council Directive No.20, when a state emergency is declared following a disaster affecting two districts or more, the State Disaster Management Committee can call for assistance in the form of assets, finance, and other resources on the state level, and limited form of assistance from federal agencies within the state – the police, armed forces, civil defence etc. This does not require a call to the Deputy Prime Minister at all.
The State Disaster Management Committee is chaired by the Chief Minister or Menteri Besar while the Chief Executive is the State Secretary. But what Arshad Raji did not know, or chose to not reveal during his “press conference” was the fact that until now Lim Guan Eng has not declared a state of emergency in Pulau Pinang despite floods inundating four out of five districts in Pulau Pinang namely Seberang Prai Utara, Seberang Prai Selatan, Barat Daya and Timur Laut.
I lived in Pulau Pinang, on the pulau itself for three years and four months in the late 1980s and never once saw floods affecting the state on this level. The most I would see is pockets of areas in Datuk Keramat and the Green Lane (Jalan Masjid Negeri) – Jalan Air Itam junction near the State Mosque. Even then you could still pass the areas on your motorcycle. Having eight deaths because of floods in a year was unheard of (one died earlier in September while seven this time around).
“No rain, no floods” seems to be the best of Lim Guan Eng’s quotes pertaining to floods in Pulau Pinang. This time, the deluge is blamed on a tyhoon that is battering Vietnam, and rightfully so. Every time a typhoon hits Vietnam, the northern Peninsular states would receive an extra amount of rainfall. And since 1881, Vietnam has been battered by 68 typhoons excluding the one that has just hit them. However, the shocking bit is where 119 flash floods have hit Pulau Pinang since 2013! That is 2.5 flash floods per month for the last four years!
It does not take an engineer to tell you that when you do excessive hillside developments, the soil cannot absorb the rainwater as the oxidised topsoil would be transformed into a clay-like material. The run-offs would be washed into monsoon drains, clogging up the roadside gutters and making the storm sewers shallower as silt accumulates at the bottom. These drains flow out to sea along natural coastlines, which is why monsoon drains act as gravity sewers. In Pulau Pinang, you can hardly find a natural coastline as most beaches with gradient have been reclaimed, and the gradient tapers off, diminishing the gravity effect. Storm water therefore does not flow into the sea but accumulates and saturates the flatter grounds causing floods.
But who cares about eight deaths this year due to floods and one last year when you can make money selling condominium units to the rich? But it is this excessive development by the state government that was voted in by the Pulau Pinang people that is now killing the Pulau Pinang people and have caused untold miseries.
Everyone also knows that when it is the new moon or full moon, tides will be higher than usual, and that makes it harder for storm drains and rivers to flow water out to sea, what more when there is excessive water caused by the backlash of a typhoon.
You can see that from 1 November 2017 the moon was in an advanced waxing gibbous phase and full moon over Georgetown, Pulau Pinang occured at 12.40am on Saturday, 4 November 2017. The Malaysian Meteorological Department had issued a series of bad weather warnings for the northern Peninsular states from 31 October 2017, and every day from then on.
You can see that there was ample warning by the Malaysian Meteorological Department that the weather was going to be bad for four days. What did Lim Guan Eng or his State Disaster Management Committee do? Nothing, until it got really bad. And at 3.00am, Lim Guan Eng became a cry baby and called the Deputy Prime Minister for help, without even declaring a state emergency.
Where was his State Disaster Management Committee? Why had they not sat down to make preparations to mitigate the situation?
Lim Guan Eng was quick to point fingers at Kelantan in the aftermath of the disastrous floods at the end of 2014. He pointing out that corruption and the incompetency of the Kelantan state government, as well as the rampant hillside clearing as the causes of the floods.
Well, we know that there is rampant hillside clearing in Pulau Pinang. We also know that the Chief Minister was charged on two accounts of corruption, and we also know now that it was the incompetency of the Pulau Pinang State Disaster Management Committee led by Lim Guan Eng himself as the Chairman that had caused the situation to be worse than it should be.
Lim Guan Eng’s government’s incompetence has killed one person in floods last year, 21 people in a landslide this year, and eight people in the recent floods. This is the government that the Pulau Pinang people have voted in, and the Chief Minister chosen by them.
119 flash floods have occured since the promises above was made. And Lim Guan Eng’s government is not worried. Going by the rate the floods are killing people, there won’t be that many people left to complain about the floods – problem solved.
If you can recall I wrote that Georgetown in Pulau Pinang, and the City of Melaka in Melaka, were bestowed UNESCO Heritage Site status on 7 July 2008.
The application for the status was first made sometime in 1998 but failed to achieve the status as the documentation was not proper.
If I recall correctly, the Federal government had to step in through its Jabatan Warisan Negara (National Heritage Department) to properly structure the application to UNESCO.
In January 2007 the Nomination Dossier was submitted. In July, the official acknowledgment from UNESCO was received.
This followed a visit by officials from the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) to Georgetown and Melaka between 24 to 31 August 2007. They include Professor Yukio Nishimura who is from the Department of Urban Engineering, University of Tokyo.
Since being bestowed the status, Melaka took the necessary steps to ensure that the descendants of the historical Melaka people, its customs and sites remain preserved with very little restoration modifications done.
Both Melaka and Georgetown are similar in many ways. Some parts of both cities are time capsules of eras that have passed, eras that played a huge role in shaping the two cities. But that is where the similarities end.
In Georgetown you can hardly find the original people. Although the clans still have their presence there, only the richer ones remain on the island while poorer ones have moved to the mainland.
Gone are the sundry shops, the second-hand bookstores I used to frequent along Armenian Street, the old Chinese man weaving rattan baskets and the Malabari newsagents.
While the facade of their shops remain, inside are rows upon rows of boutique hotels and hipster cafes that are owned by foreigners and by that I mean non-citizens.
Pulau Pinang’s adamant stand to fulfill its Transportation Master Plan as wel as the selling of heritage buildings to foreigners also contribute to Georgetown losing its heritage status. Changing the landscape by the reclamation works to build three man-made islands would also destroy Pulau Pinang’s heritage.
Other than having to maintain and preserve historical buildings and sites, multi-cultural tangible and intangible heritage expressed in the great variety of religious buildings of different faiths, ethnic quarters, the many languages, worship and religious festivals, dances, costumes, art and music, food, and daily life must also continue to be preserved.
Under the guise of development the DAP-led state government of Pulau Pinang is only interested in making as much money as it possibly could. After all, land is money? Why worry about 40 buildings that nobody could live in when you have preserved five?
But what I am about to tell you will make many become apoplectic with rage – if Georgetown loses its UNESCO Heritage Site status, SO WILL MELAKA.
Yes, the UNESCO Heritage Site status was jointly awarded to both Georgetown and Melaka on 7 July 2008, and the Jabatan Warisan Negara is the body to preserve the sites as per the status. There was one joint-application to UNESCO for both cities.
But with land being a state prerogative, what chances does the department or all Pulau Pinang’s heritage NGOs have? The innocent victim here would be the people of Melaka. If robbed of its status because of the callous behaviour of the Pulau Pinang state government, the romance of showcasing historical sites to tourists in Melaka would be forever gone. So would be the businesses, the trishaw riders, and possibly some of the archaeological excavation sites.
Yes, Tokong’s greed and selfishness will not only destroy Pulau Pinang, they will destroy Melaka too. Does he care? I doubt. The people of Melaka are not going to vote for him next year.
On 7 July 2008, four months after DAP’s coming into power in Pulau Pinang, the old part of its capital Georgetown was declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site.
Georgetown, alongside Melaka, were chosen on that day because both demonstrate a succession of historical and cultural influences arising from their former function as trading ports linking East and West.
These are the most complete surviving historic city centres on the Straits of Malacca with a multi-cultural living heritage originating from the trade routes from Great Britain and Europe through the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and the Malay Archipelago to China.
Both are living testimony to the multi-cultural heritage and tradition of Asia, and European colonial influences. This multi-cultural tangible and intangible heritage is expressed in the great variety of religious buildings of different faiths, ethnic quarters, the many languages, worship and religious festivals, dances, costumes, art and music, food, and daily life.
But after nine years, Georgetown will soon lose it all. In 1966 the Alliance government of Pulau Pinang introduced the Control of Rent Act (CRA) to help original tenants in the inner-city area have the rights to enjoy low rental rates for housing, allowing them to continuously reside and practice their trades in the area. The Act was repealed and this led to a drastic increase in rent.
Without the RCA, Tokong’s DAP government is no longer restricted to raise the market price of land within the heritage site and this has led to the redevelopment of areas within the site and selling them to foreigners.
The Tokong does not care for Georgetown’s heritage sites, and this is evident in his attitude towards the preservation of the Sia Boey. The sooner he could sell that piece of land off, the more money is made.
This “don’t-care” attitude of Tokong’s is just like his Underwater Tunnel Project. The reclamation works for the project has gone full swing, yet the feasibility study for it has yet to be submitted.
The RM305 million study, which Pulau Pinang taxpayers paid for some time back, is still not completed. It was back in March this year that the Tokong said it was 87 percent complete.
Today, more than six months later, Tokong still has not submitted the feasibility study to the Ministry of Works.
Tokong will continue to give all sorts of stupid excuses for not being able to submit the report and stretch this until after the next general election if at all possible.
All we know is that while he is busy giving excuses, there would be more land within the heritage site that would be sold.
The clock is ticking, however Tokong knows how to buy more time to be able to make more money by getting rid of the UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
The above title consists of the very words that are being used by the Opposition, from the days of the Barisan Alternatif through its current form, the Pakatan Harapan.
Those words remain as their battle cry to convince voters that the Barisan Nasional, in particular UMNO, is corrupted to the core.
Hence, when long before 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion story ever happened Najib Razak announced in 2012 that the BN was to have its candidates’ list for GE13 screened by the MACC, everyone treated that as a sign of the end of the world as predicted by the Mayans.
However, the Barisan Nasional did submit its list of election candidates to the MACC recently, whereas it is the Opposition that has been resisting a similar move!
In an attempt to spin the BN’s move into something negative, left-leaning The Malaysian Incite quoted unnamed sources within UMNO lamenting the arrest of BN figures such as Latif Bandi, Isa Samad et al but failed to mention that that is the same reaction that the PKR and DAP gave when their ranks were arrested for corruption.
Well, my unnamed party insider told me even BEFORE the Haj season that the BN supreme council is happy that far lesser people have thronged the PWTC promoting themselves as GE14’s candidates ever since Najib Razak decided to submit the list to the MACC.
The Pakatan Harapan is far from being clean. Cheats and corrupted people thrive there too with the likes of Adam Rosly, the UNISEL scandal, Chegu Bard’s various reports on corrupted practices by Azmin Ali, the investigation into DAP’s corrupt practices that resulted in the death of Teoh Beng Hock, Phee Boon Poh’s abuse of position, Lim Guan Eng’s double corruption charge, just to name a few.
Let us also not forget chronic liar Rafizi Ramli who was not only found guilty of lying but also for disclosing to the public contents of documents protected under the Laws which is a breach of trust by a Parliamentarian whose job is to protect such trusts.
Recently he was exposed to have been paying himself through his own companies for services rendered to his own company in the region of RM100,000 per transaction. He also solicited funds from the public to help him pay for damages he caused the NFC by publishing lies about them.
Yet, he did not pay up as ordered by the court and chose to allow NFC to file a bankruptcy notice against him. We wonder what happened to the millions of Ringgits collected to pay NFC? Did he use the money to pay his own self?
Yet the PKR chose to protect such compulsive criminals within their ranks thinking that the voters of today have the same IQ as the ones in the 1950s, that they are stupid enough to judge. Hence the reaction by Wan Azizah when the MACC suggested for PKR’s candidates be screened by the latter.
DAP, too, reacted negatively towards the MACC’s suggestion. Pulau Pinang’s Deputy Chief Minister Ramasamy a/l Palanisamy said that the MACC cannot vet the DAP’s candidates list as the former lacks the moral authority to do so as it is reticent about those involved in the 1MDB although they have been named by the US Department of Justice (DoJ).
Again this shows the stupidity of the people in the Pakatan Harapan either by defaut or by design, with the latter perhaps trying to make fools out of their supporters.
Furthermore, the case that is being investigated by the DoJ, made public more than a year ago, has not gained much grounds as it is based on the reports made by Datuk Botox and Matthias Chang, the office and despatch boys of U-Turn Mahathir. If it was a solid criminal case, we would be sitting in front of the TV watching CNN while stuffing our face with popcorn.
The party that has a lot to do with corruption thus refusing the MACC’s help to clean its candidates list is the DAP, and not just the PKR. With Phee Boon Poh, Lim Guan Eng and maybe soon others as well, both the PKR and DAP would have a very short list of candidates that it will not be enough to cover the constituencies it already holds even if all of them ran for both Parliamentary and state seats.
That is also why Lim Guan Eng desperately clings on to power and fights on all corners to have his corruption charges dismissed on technical reasons rather than answering the charges made against him, just as long as he could remain as the corrupted but jail-free Chief Minister.
But of course, in the course of trying to discredit the MACC, Pakatan Harapan would throw everything at the MACC including the kitchen sink and onions too, a tactic they have been using against all government agencies since before the 1969 general elections. When they lose, they will automatically blame the voters and the voting system. Then again, what else is new?
This is why the public needs to rally its support towards having cleaner candidates to run for public office. Although there is nothing in the law that says that candidates must be vetted, the MACC is the agency that should be doing the vetting of candidates to ensure that they do not have the tendency to be corrupted.
Having said that, this is also the reason the MACC should be given more manpower and remuneration reviewed, as should the PDRM, instead of having Paul Low’s JITN to be formed as a new department, burdening the government further with an increased budget.