Posted by & filed under Media Statement, Transport, Urban Issues.


Media Statement by Johor DAP Publicity Secretary and Senai State Assemblyman Wong Shu Qi on 30th October 2017 (Monday):

Is Khaled Nordin ready to apologise and retract his wrongful accusation three years ago?

Khaled Nordin’s statement on the abolishment of EDL toll charge exposed him to be a politician without principle. More importantly, as a Menteri Besar, he was ignored, set aside and not consulted at all by the federal government on the toll charge.

Following the EDL toll charge announcement made by Prime Minister Najib Razak last Friday, Khaled Nordin commented yesterday that a lot of Malaysians will be benefited as well. Hence, it is not true that only Singaporeans benefited from the abolishment of EDL toll charge.

It seems like Khaled Nordin has totally forgotten what he had said three years ago when EDL toll charge was implemented on 1st August 2014. He was obviously ignorant of the true situation at that time, or he did not prioritise Malaysian road users, or he simply just wanted to oppose whatever stance which DAP took despite it being in the interest of Malaysians and Johoreans.

When DAP parliamentary leader and MP for Gelang Patah, Lim Kit Siang questioned the 480% toll hike at CIQ, Khaled Nordin first attempted to confuse the public on toll hike with VEP charge and accused that whoever that is against the toll hike are speaking for Singaporeans and not Malaysians. Now, it is Najib Razak who announced the abolishment, may I know if Khaled Nordin would call Najib Razak a “wakil rakyat Singapura” just like he insinuated against Lim Kit Siang?

DAP has been against the EDL toll charge on the basis that it was promised by Najib Razak in 2013 general election to be toll free. Yet, Barisan Nasional government went against its own general election promise. More outrageously, state leaders who were not consulted by Najib Razak on the toll hike. In order to cover up their betrayal against their own manifesto, Johor BN ended up making childish and wrongful accusations. It demonstrated how haphazard the process of political decision-making in Barisan Nasional.

It is now confirmed that Khaled Nordin was not consulted in 2014 when toll hike was announced even though he was already Menteri Besar at that time. On abolishment last Friday, he was clearly not informed in advance as well, otherwise he would not contradicted himself so blatantly. Is the Johor government really involved in all the major decision making process which affect our local economy? I doubt it.

Khaled Nordin is now left with three options: Either he should apologise to Lim Kit Siang for his wrongful and malicious accusation three years ago. Or, if he does not intend to do so, he should be ready to call Najib Razak a “wakil rakyat Singapura”. Or should Khaled Nordin fail to do any of the above, he is admitting that he is a “munafik” (hypocrite) who lacks principle. The ball is now in the Menteri Besar’s court.

Wong Shu Qi

Posted by & filed under Media Statement, Reading Materials.


Media Statement by Johor DAP Publicity Secretary and Senai State Assemblyman Wong Shu Qi on 25th October 2017 (Wednesday):

Health Minister should immediately look into the media report on recycling of disposable devices at all government hospitals and fight for more budget in public healthcare sector in 2018 budget.

It is a horror to read the Free Malaysia Today report on the re-usage of disposable devices at government hospitals. The reason for this atrocious act is due to shortage of fund from the government.

According to Free Malaysia Today report released this morning, the “lack of funds is driving some government hospitals to recycle single-use devices at the risk of patient safety”. The internal source claimed that there was a cut of RM1billion in government health budget.

This issue should not be taken lightly as it is a potential Malaysian public health crisis. Communicable diseases will spread easily if single-use devices are indeed recycled for re-usage in government hospitals. This is definitely a crisis that is preventable and should not had happen in the first place.

Hence, I urge Health Minister, Datuk Seri S. Subramaniam to clarify the fact as soon as possible and give assurance to Malaysians that our public health standard will not be compromised. As Director-General of Health Ministry, Datuk Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah has pointed out in his prompt reply today, it is a practice that other countries do the same. It is at best that the Health Ministry provides the full list of 229 single-use devices known to be reusable by having proper sterilisation.

More importantly, public health should not be sacrificed even under austerity. The poor and lower income group are worst hit if there is any cut in public health budget.

Yet, there is a trend in cutting healthcare budget from 2016 to 2017. For example, the 2016 budget for Pharmacy and Public Health Supply was RM803,740,500, and it was reduced to RM707,700,100 in year 2017. There was almost a RM100 million cut for this expenditure in the budget.

On the other hand, the budget for Pharmacy and Supply was reduced from RM1,595,601,600 in 2016 to RM1,292,761,700 in 2017. It was a whopping RM302 million reduction for the category.

Will there be more reduction for the public healthcare sector in the upcoming budget? As it is, public healthcare sector is already suffering, any further reduction may launch a health crisis especially among the poor and lower income group.

Datuk Seri S. Subramaniam is responsible to ensure that healthcare for Malaysians will not be neglected in the 2018 budget.

Wong Shu Qi

Posted by & filed under Local Governance, Media Statement, Reading Materials, Transport, Urban Issues.

Media Statement by Johor DAP Publicity Secretary and Senai State Assemblyman Wong Shu Qi on 14th October 2017 (Saturday):

More details from federal and state government are needed to justify the cost of the pricey Johor Bahru Bus Rapid Transit project

For the people who have been waiting for the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project in Johor Bahru, last week’s launch was just another theatrics. Nothing concrete was announced except now the project has a higher price tag of RM2.56 billion, and a guaranteed profit for its private investor.

Prime Minister Najib Razak’s announcement of the BRT was nothing new. In fact it was utter disappointment to Johoreans. In November 2016, we were already informed that federal government allocated about RM1 billion for the BRT project. The only new thing in this latest re-annoucement is, the cost has more than doubled within less than a year’s time even before any construction is done.

By comparison with BRT construction cost worldwide, this latest cost of Johor BRT at RM2.56 billion for a 51 km track is very expensive. One reason for the preference of BRT in many developing countries and cities is because it is cheaper to construct and maintain compared to options such as the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT). The BRT system can also easily be expanded to suit the fast changing landscape of the city.

However, with a RM2.56billion price tag, our Johor BRT will cost us RM50 million for every kilometre of bus lane. Internationally, the average cost for BRT is USD10 million a kilometre. In other words, Johor Bahru BRT is roughly 25% more expensive than normal. This is not including the cost of inflation which will eventually be factored in later.

Why is our BRT so much more expensive?

The government must reveal more information about this long delayed project beginning with why the ballooning cost, how many kilometres of the BRT will be on elevated structure, and details of the private concessionaires involved etc.

Public transport should not be designed as a profit-oriented venture. It must serve the people from the very start, good and rational design, cost efficiency, proper maintenance, economical for riders. The Johor Bahru BRT on the other hand is on to a bad start: multiple delays, high cost which got higher, lack of information and public consultation.

Wong Shu Qi

Posted by & filed under Housing, Media Statement, Urban Governance, Urban Issues.

Media Statement by Johor DAP Publicity Secretary and Senai State Assemblyman Wong Shu Qi on 9thSeptember 2017 (Saturday):

Party Quota System in affordable housing scheme must go!

It is almost an open secret that applicants of Johor state affordable housing schemes are forced to pay bribe in order to get a unit of their dream home.

Applicants have to go through middlemen who have close connection to Barisan Nasional (BN).

No matter how the Johor BN government euphemise or whitewash the whole setup, for example by calling it Kuota Menegak Kerajaan (KMK), it is ultimately abuse of power.

Early this year, a woman had lodged police report against an agent who allegedly collected money for “assisting” in application of Johor affordable housing. The agent, Umi Khalsom, later admitted in her Statutory Declaration that she has good connection with UMNO politicians. It is clearly a case of corruption and abuse of power. Unfortunately, police only investigated the case from the angle of cheating only.

Johor Pakatan Harapan leaders had submitted related documents to MACC in August 2017. Yet, all the UMNO leaders implicated in the case are still in denial. They pretend that nothing has happened and go about business as usual.

If the KMK system is indeed open and transparent, the state EXCO should answer in the state legislative assembly on the criteria of successful application of the Johor affordable housing. However, the EXCO refused to give an answer when State Assemblymen for Yong Peng and Penggaram both asked such question two years ago in the assembly. Why is it so difficult to answer such simple and straightforward question pertaining to this important issue? Or is the state government hiding something from the people and in this case the systemic abuse of power which has developed into an industry for rent-seeking middlemen to profit from poor applicants of state housing projects?

According to official statistics, since 2013, there are 119,696 applicants of affordable housing in Johor recorded. Out of these, only 9,773 applicants were successful in getting their dream home. In other words, approval rate is only 8%.

On the other hand, I was informed that 4,988 units of houses were distributed through the KMK system. In short, more than half the affordable housing applicants had to go through the party quota system to get their unit!

According to Umi Khalsom’s Statutory Declaration, she collected RM6,000 for every application. If this is the rate for all the applicants, we can conclude that the business is definitely a lucrative one amounting to about RM30 million for all the applications so far.

Khairil Malik, the Political Secretary to the Menteri Besar of Johor, who was among those named in Umi Khalsom’s Statutory Declaration, denied any involvement. MACC and the police cannot view this case lightly as it involved a very important sector, housing for the people and UMNO leaders of high office were implicated. The public deserve an answer.

But whatever it is, the KMK system must go. Government resources and public monies are not goodies to be distributed by political parties to gain votes, much less to make a profit. It should be abolished and Johor Pakatan Harapan will abolish this black box operation to make affordable housing application process an open and transparent system.

 

Wong Shu Qi