Posted by & filed under Media Statement, Transport.

Media Statement by Johor DAP Publicity Secretary and Senai State Assemblyman Wong Shu Qi on 5th January 2018 (Friday):

What have Liow Tiong Lai done to cease the toll war between Malaysia and Singapore?

Today is the fifth day into year 2018. The Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL) toll charge has been abolished for the fifth day. Yet, we have not heard from the Singapore government whether they will abolish the reciprocal charge on their side.

By having the RM13.60 EDL toll charge abolished on the Malaysian side, Singapore should also scrap their toll charge of SGD5.30 as soon as possible. It is a fact that both governments have gained windfall incomes on the expense of road users including many Johoreans since the toll war started in 2014. As a result of the egoistic showdown by those in power, ordinary citizens have to suffer increase in expenses. Local businesses and daily travellers are gravely affected, yet the two governments continue with this irresponsible act till today.

I hereby urge Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, who is the Minister of Transport, to talk to his counterpart in Singapore to make sure the Republic abolishes the reciprocal causeway toll charge. Since Singapore government always insists to match the toll charge at the Causeway, it is now the time to abolish the SGD5.30 charges to correspond with the current toll charge in Malaysia. There is no excuse to delay following the January 1 EDL toll charge abolishment.

For ordinary people, it is quite disappointing that no government leader from either side talks about the abolishment of the toll charges until today. This is a far cry from the aggressive approach taken by the leaders when implementing the charges and collecting extra income from the people a few years ago.

I sincerely hope that the issue will not be delayed further since it is already the fifth day into the new year. Let us hope that leaders of both countries can really bring new hope to the commuters who travelling frequently across the border.

Wong Shu Qi

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