By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General, MP for Tanjung and Assemblyman for Kampong Kolam, Lim Kit Siang, in Parliament House on Friday, Oct. 24, 1986:
Congratulations to Ng Cheng Kit on his appointment as Housing Minister, and hope that it will not just benefit himself, but the people at large, and in particular the Malaysian Chinese whom MCA claims to represent
I congratulations Ng Cheng Kiat on his appointment as Minister for Housing and Local Government, and hope that his appointment will not just benefit himself, but the people at large, and in particular the Malaysian Chinese whom MCA claims to represent.
The previous MCA in Housing Ministers had been dismal failures in resolving the housing problem of the poor, and I hope Ng Cheng Kiat will be more successful. For instance, the government’s three-year crash housing programme of building 80,000 low-cost units per year fro 1986 to 1988 has hardly got off the ground, although 1986 is coming to an end.
Ng Cheng Kiat should also declare his stand on the recent proposal by Deputy Prime Minister, Ghaffar Baba, on the setting of at least one housing co-operative in each Barisan Nasional constituency to enable more people to own houses at lower cost.
Apart from the practicability of such a proposal, the scheme smacks of blatant political discrimination and bias, as it would mean discrimination against all the urban constituencies held by the DAP.
As Ng Cheng Kiat claims that MCA represents the Malaysian Chinese, he should state whether his Ministry supports Ghaffar Baba’s proposal which openly discriminates against the urban Malaysians, and the Malaysian Chinese whom MCA claims to be the sole legitimate spokesman!
If Ng Cheng Kiat dare not even answer this question, then the prospects of the new Housing Minister making a greater success of the Housing portfolio for the people looks very dubious indeed.
Secondly, as Housing and Local Government Minister, Ng Cheng Kiat must have the political convictions and democratic commitment to get Cabinet agreement to restore Municipal and local government elections, so that the people can participate and determine local government affairs.
Is Ng Cheng Kiat prepared to take a principled stand that local government elections should be restored, or will he take the narrow MCA position opposing local government elections because the MCA would not be able to win in these local government elections, and prefer to deny the people their local government elections rights to enable MCA officials to get nominated into the various Municipal and District Councils?
Thirdly, now that MCA has got another Minister in Cabinet after 10 weeks of suspension, it is the people’s hope that the MCA’s added voice in Cabinet would be seen in more positive, effective manner, as in the solution of the long-standing $1.6 billion Co-operative Finance Scandal affecting 540,000 depositors.
The 540,000 depositors in the 24 co-operatives have the right to ask the four MCA and one Gerakan Minister what they propose to do to safeguard their $1.6 billion deposits. The 540,000 depositors had waited long enough for government rescue plan for the 540,000 depositors, and I suggest that the 540,000 co-operative depositors should confront all the MCA and Gerakan Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries, as well as their MPs and Assemblymen, with one question whenever and wherever they meet them: to demand to know that the MCA and Gerakan propose to do in Cabinet to save the 540,000 depositors.
If the entry of another MCA Minister into the Cabinet cannot give any hope to the 540,000 depositors, then the people are entitled to ask what is use of the appointment of Ng Cheng Kiat as Housing and Local Government Minister?
Congratulatory Cables to Director-General of Prisons, Datuk Ibrahim Mohamed, and Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Haniff Omar, for the successful operation to end the six-day hostage drama at Pudu Prisons
I have sent congratulatory cables to the Director-General of Prisons, Datuk Ibrahim Mohamed, and the Inspector-general of Police, Tan Sri Haniff Omar, for the successful operation of the prison and police authorities to end the six-day hostage drama at Pudu Prisons, and save Dr. Radzi bin Jaafar and laboratory technologist, Abdul Aziz Abdul Majid, without firing a single shot.
The Crack Unit Tindakan Khas (UTK) – the Malaysian version of the British SAS (Special Air Service) and the American SWAT team (Special Weapons and Tactics) – have made their public debut with most commendable conduct.
The Government should give serious attention to the problem of overcrowding in prisons, as well as prison reforms to humanize the prisoners, rather than subjecting them to dehumanization because of poor prison conditions.
I seriously suggest that a Prison Reforms Committee be established comprising Malaysians outside the Prisons or Home Ministry, to give an independent study of the prisons conditions and to make recommendations for the improvement as well as necessary penal reforms where prisoners are reformed into betted citizens, rather than reduced to greater criminal instincts.
DAP warns Datuk Samy Vellu not to penalize the low-income Malaysians like motor-cyclists to pay for poor highway planning and projections, by making them to pay tolls.
The proposal by the Minister for Works, Datuk Samy Vellu, that he is asking for Cabinet approval to require motor-cyclists to pay highway tolls, is a most unconscionable proposal.
I want to warn Datuk Samy Vellu not to penalize low-income Malaysians like motoe-cyclists for his Ministry’s poor highway planning and projections by making them to pay tolls which they had been exempted till now.
Has Datuk Samy Vellu become so desperate that he is even prepared to squeeze poor Malaysians by adding toothier financial hardships I his proposal that motor-cyclists should also pay for tolls?
I would suggest to Datuk Samy Vellu that he should withdraw this proposal from Cabinet altogether.
OSA Amendment Bill will make Malaysia’s secrecy law the most draconian and repressive in the Commonwealth
The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has appealed to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, not to table the amendments to the Official Secrets Act 1972 and to seek the views of the people first.
The unprecedented government action in refusing to circulated the OSA Bill 1986 to MPs although it has been sent to Parliament shows that the Government is aware that its publication will lead to an even greater public outcry than earlier this year, when an OSA Amendment Bill was first presented. The new OSA Amendment Bill has gone further than the amendment early this year to impose secrecy on government information, effectively reducing the newspaper into government gazettes.
If the new OSA (Amendment) Bill is made into law, Malaysia will have the most draconian and repressive secrecy laws in the entire Commonwealth. I do not think Malaysians have any reason to be proud of having the most undemocratic secrecy laws in the Commonwealth, and comparable with the most authoritarian and dictatorial regimes!
It is indeed most sad that Parliamentary democracy in Malaysia has reached a stage where the Government is withholding from MPs the OSA Amendment Bill, although the Bill had been sent to Parliament. This does not indicate that the Government has a high respect for Parliament. It will be even more deplorable if the government’s tactics in withholding the OSA Amendment Bill from MPs is to give MPs the minimum time to consider, study and get public-feedback on the proposed amendments.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, cannot remain silent anymore on the OSA Amendment Bill 1986, and he should forthwith state whether he is allowing public airing of views of the proposed OSA Amendment Bill before babbling in Parliament, or he should distribute the Bill to MPs without any further delay.