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

 

Joint Statement by Johor DAP State Assemblymen on 16th June 2017 (Friday):

 

Road users’ interest should be safeguarded and prioritised by government while two expressway concessionaires in Johor are facing bankruptcy.

The news that two highway concessionaires in Johor may go bankrupt caught most Malaysians by surprise. It is common knowledge that highway concessionaire in Malaysia is a lucrative business. Usually, the agreement is such that a concessionaire is guaranteed profit at a great cost to taxpayers.

Therefore, it is surprising for Malaysians to find out that the Eastern Dispersal Link Expressway (EDL) and Senai-Desaru Highway concessionaires are now asking for government bailout. Although Work Minister Fadillah Yusoff has yet to confirm if government will bail them out, we want to remind the federal government that the interest of the rakyat should always be top priority.

On paper, these two concessionaires have been branded as Public-Private Partnership projects. However, nothing can be further from the truth. The share ownership of the concessionaires revealed that these are actually government-linked corporations (GLCs) masquerading as private sector. Essentially, these are Public-Public Partnership projects.

For the Senai-Desaru Highway, YPJ Holdings Sdn. Bhd. which is fully-owned by the Johor state government controls 30% of the stake in concessionaire.

 

In the case of EDL, the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) is the biggest shareholder of MRCB, the concessionaire of EDL.

If these are Public-Private Partnership projects as stated by the government, surely the private sector would have done its due diligence to ascertain the risks and profitability.

 

Hence, it is almost confirmed that taxpayers’ money will be used to bailout the failed companies.

 

We urge the federal and Johor state government to come clean on this matter. Both governments should:

 

  • Reveal and state if they have any financial commitment or corporate guarantee made to the two concessionaires.
  • Make public the full concessionaires contract in its terms and conditions.
  • Inform the people their plan to deal with the matter.

It was said that reduced traffic volume has affected the two concessionaires, leading to the financial problem. Why was this not foreseen at all at the beginning of the concession? Were the concessionaires or government too optimistic over the project or there were actually no proper feasibility studies done in advance?

It is best that in the future, the government should commission an independent third party to conduct a feasibility study for any project to avoid failure and wastage.

 

More importantly, the government should make sure that the interest of road users on these two expressways will not be sacrificed especially when the concessionaires are already intending to dispose of the highway assets. Johor road users know how bad the road condition is at Senai-Desaru Highway, while the EDL is a vital link to many motorists. Road users’ interest should be safeguarded and prioritised by the government.

 

 

Wong Shu Qi

Liow Cai Tung

Yeo Tung Siong

Chen Kah Eng

 

 

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

 

Media Statement by REFSA Executive Director Wong Shu Qi on 2nd June 2017 (Friday):

 

MCA president is wrong; local government election is the solution, not appointment of mayor based on ethnicity

 

MCA President, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, has suggested that appointing Chinese as mayors would increase the Chinese community’s sense of participation at the local level. Unfortunately, this race-based proposal is neither the right way to improve urban governance nor to increase Chinese’s participation in local government.

 

The real issue is how a local government deals with ratepayers, and not the mayor’s ethnicity.

 

Urban residents are disgruntled due to poor governance in the city. The sense of belonging and participation in the local government will not be improved if the appointed Chinese mayor is only meant as a rubber stamp or window dressing.

 

The fact is crystal clear that urban voters want potholes be repaired, roads paved, garbage collected, public space maintained, and public transport efficiently run. Residents will be happy and satisfied with the local government as long as these local issues are resolved.

 

Simply put, all residents regardless of ethnicity will suffer when a city government does not execute the will of the people. More importantly, the ethnic composition in most of our cities is highly mixed. About 70% of Malaysia’s population is living in urban centres. Malaysian cities are not as homogeneous as they were half a century ago.

 

Appointing a Chinese mayor will only encourage demands for Indian mayors, Kadazan mayors, Iban mayors, and so on. The ethnicity of a mayor does not matter, as long as she or he can serve the people, resolving problems and difficulties.

 

Ironically, the current mayor of London, who is a Muslim, will never be elected if Liow Tiong Lai’s idea is to be implemented. The London ratepayers voted for a Muslim mayor not because he is Muslim, or the voters are Muslims, but majority of them believed that he is the best choice to serve the city of London.

 

Hence, it is unfortunate that Liow Tiong Lai does not understand the real problem at all. His mindset is still racial-based.

 

Instead of pushing another window dressing appointment at the local level, it will be more realistic that MCA pushes for local government election. Allowing ratepayers and residents to vote for the mayor of their choice will ensure more accountability on the part of the local government.

 

As the face of cities and towns has changed a lot over the past 50 years, the results could surprise opponents of local election, as most Malaysians today may elect a capable candidate to be mayor, instead of merely an ethnic group representative.

 

 

Wong Shu Qi

 

Posted by & filed under Economics, Media Statement.

Media Statement by Johor DAP Publicity Secretary and Senai State Assemblyman Wong Shu Qi on 24th May 2017 (Wednesday) in Johor Bahru:

 

The state government must come clean about the confusing labour statistics 

The state government must come clean about the confusing labour statistics given to public in different occasions. In the reply given to me on four China mega property developments in Johor Bahru, there were 1,082 Employment Passes (EP )and 546 Professional Visit Passes (PVP) being issued.

 

  Project Employment Pass Professional Visit Pass
1 Greenland Jade Palace 15 0
2 R&F Princess Cove 223 21
3 Country Garden Danga Bay and Forest City 844 525
Total 1082 546
1682

 

Human Resources Minister Richard Riot revealed in the parliament sitting on April 6 that there were 2,146 EP issued nationwide by 31st December 2016. In other words, the four mega projects in Johor Bahru consisted of 50% of the EP which Home Ministry issued nationwide. We must not forget that two out of the three categories of EP require the applicant to have a monthly salary not less than RM5000.

In addition, Country Garden Danga Bay and Forest City stand out as the top two projects which employ the largest number of EP holders. Their employees consist of 81% of the total number of pass holders. At the same time, Country Garden announced in March that under the Forest City project, the company have 600 employees with 75% of them being Malaysians under Forest City project.

The statistic is hence very confusing to public. If Forest City does employ locals for 75% out of their 600 workers, then the Danga Bay project itself employs more EP holders than the total number of workers in Forest City.

On the other hand, Country Garden has even overtaken its two other China counterparts in applying for Professional Visit Pass (PVP). While Greenland has gotten none of such working permit, and R&F has only 21 PVPs, Country Garden has 546 PVPs. There is no statistics available publicly on how many PVPs the Home Ministry issues every year, but the discrepancy among the three China property developers makes us curious if there were foul play in the granting of PVPs.

In the answer given to me, Vidyanathan stated that there were only 106 Visit Passes (Temporary Employment) issued to the main contractor of Forest City. Judging by the scale of all four projects, the number given just does not make sense.

While we always insist that the government must impose stricter regulation on low skill migrant workers and be ready to open up to skilled migrant workers to make Malaysia a place which attracts foreign talents, we must not forget that local should always be given the priority when it comes to job opportunity.

It is therefore very disappointing that the Johor Menteri Besar condones the culture of certain investors who made migrant workers work for 7 days a week where he even complimented such behaviours in his speech. He also accepted the fact that certain investors just want to employ workers from their own country due to the language barriers. He has also committed to assist these developers to expedite their projects and lower their costs.

As a lawmaker, it is beyond doubt that I hope for my state Johor to be developed with ever more investments. Yet, we must make sure that all legal requirements are adhered to by the foreign investors. More importantly, investors must bring in business and job opportunities for local and not only benefit their own countrymen and big businesses locally.

 

Wong Shu Qi

 

 

 

 

Posted by & filed under Reading Materials.

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Media Statement by Johor DAP Publicity Secretary and Senai State Assemblyman Wong Shu Qi on 20th April 2017 (Thursday) at Saleng mobile office:

 

Will other Barisan Nasional leaders willing to defend democracy and stand up against Noh Omar’s decision?

 

It is ridiculous and absurd for the federal government to cancel, retract or delay all small infrastructure projects suppose to take place in 89 parliamentary constituency held by the opposition. The decision, made in the meeting, which Noh Omar, the Minister of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government, and all mayors attended, is undemocratic and unacceptable.

 

In the democratic system we practice today, the winner should always take care of the wellbeing of all people despite differences in political affiliation. Moreover, everyone pays tax to the federal government in spite of his or her political belief. If the ruling party punishes voters for not voting them in elections, should the voters also punish the government by refusing to pay tax as well? Obviously this is not the right way to go. Just as the people cannot choose not to pay tax, the government cannot simply marginalize certain seats or choose to run away from their duty to take care of the people.

 

This act of retaliation by Noh Omar proved that he is a narrow-minded leader who does not respect the principles of democracy. I would suggest Noh Omar to propose to his top leader, if they do not want to contest on a fair manner, they should rather call off the election, and announce themselves as a dictatorial party for Malaysia forever. They should just learn from North Korea where UMNO has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the ruling Workers’ Party. UMNO should not pretend to be a player in a democratic system but always comprises the principles of democracy.

 

I am surprised that there is not a single leader in Barisan Nasional who stands up against Noh Omar and condemn the UMNO Selangor chairman for his irresponsible and undemocratic decision. Have they lost their rational mind and courage? Or they also agree with Noh Omar to punish more than 20 million people in the country? Will other Barisan Nasional leaders willing to defend democracy and stand up against Noh Omar’s decision?

 

The silence of all Barisan Nasional leaders shows that they are not hesitate to resort to dirty tactics to win in the coming general election. They may threaten voters, launch smear campaigns, and incite the fear in to win. The tactics used by Barisan Nasional and UMNO will eventually break the people and deepen the distrust.

 

I hereby urge rational minded Malaysians to stand up against the unjust ruling and bring Malaysia back to the correct path.

 

Wong Shu Qi