Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the 25th Anniversary Dinner organised by DAP Branches in Manjung held at Kampong Koh, Perak on Friday, 10th January 1992 at 8 p.m.
DAP calls for suspension of all government charges for its forms and services until establishment and recommendations of an all-Party Parliamentary Committee to review government services
Last week, the Treasury announced that the maximum charge it will allow government departments to charge the public for forms which had always been provided free is $1.
This is an exorbitant figure and it is unthinkable that the cost of printing any government form could be anywhere near $1 each. It is clear that the Treasury is not thinking of recovering the printing cost, but trying to profiteer from a captive public who had no option but to pay for the forms.
At the rate things are going, it will not be long before some smart aleck in the Government will propose imposing a charge based on the time taken by e member of the public to talk to government servant, in the same way tat some lawyers charge clients for the time they spend with them. The Barisan Nasional Government seems to have conveniently forgotten that the people are already paying very heavy taxes to pay for the various Government services!
Recently, the Government had been announcing salary increases for the 800,000 civil servants, as well as very hefty increases in allowances for top government servants, as well as 100% increase for the salary of the Prime Minister, 50 per cent increase for the salaries of Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries and 60 per cent increase for MPs.
However, for the public, there had only been price increases of one item after another-including the latest announcement that they may have to pay for as much as $1 each for forms which were previously provided free.
It would have provided the people some consolation if the government had at the same time taken concrete steps to end their long-standing suffering arising from the inefficiency, incompetence, irresponsibility and downright discourtesy at public counters of government offices.
However, there is no such assurance, and the public would now have to pay for the inefficiency, incompetence, irresponsibility and downright discourtesy they will experience in many government offices.
DAP regards the maximum of $1 for forms which would have to paid by the public as too exorbitant, and in any event, there could be no justification to implement new charges to the public for government services when there is no wide-ranging reform to improve the standard of government service, especially at government public counters.
DAP calls for the establishment of an all-Party Parliamentary Committee to review government service throughout the country and to make recommendations for upgrading their efficiency, competence and courtesy.
DAP calls on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr.Mahathir Mohamed, to suspend the implementation of all new government charges on the people (including charging fees for government forms) until the all-party Parliamentary Committee had made its recommendations for upgrading their efficiency, competence and courtesy of all government services and the government had adopted government service reforms.
Each Ministry which proposes to impose new charges for its forms or services should submit proposal to the all-Party Committee so that they will have to meet a public interest test.
The all-Party Parliamentary Committee should ensure that the public would not be caught with surprise in suddenly confronted with having to make multiple payments for multiple services when they go to a government department.
This could be prevented if every Ministry or department which is to impose new charges for its services or forms are required to give at least three-month public notice-which will give time for the public to object to such new charges.
There should also be Public Agency where the public could complain if a Ministry or department had imposed unfair fees either for its forms or services, as well as for poor government service, whether in terms of inefficiency, incompetence, irresponsibility or discourtesy despite the imposition of new charges on the public; and where such a Public Agency could hold public hearings to investigate into such complaints.