Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in the Penang State Assembly on Thursday, 9th June 1994 on the DAP motion deploring the failure of the Barisan Nasional State Government to keep its Prai by-election promises
Barisan Nasional State Government failure to fulfil its Prai by-election promises so evident that the Penang MCA State Delegates Conference last Sunday had to pass a resolution urging the Penang State Government and the MPSP to urgently rectify damaged roads, clogged drains and flood problems faced by the people
During the Prai by-election in 1991, the voters of Prai were promised that if they voted for the Barisan Nasional, their long-standing problems of damaged roads, clogged drains and flood problems would be history, and they would never have to worry and suffer over such mundane matters.
The voters of Prai took the Barisan Nasional at their word and cast their votes for the Barisan Nasional Prai candidate, because these promises were made not by the Barisan Nasional Prai by-election candidate, but by both the Barisan Nasional State Government as well as the Federal Government -and in particular by the Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon.
It is now almost three years, but the Barisan Nasional Government, both State and Federal, had completely forgotten their promises, and the problem of damaged roads, clogged drains and flood problems are not history for the people of Prai, but everyday problems – and in fact, in many cases, even worse than before the Prai by-election.
During the Prai by-election campaign, the Chief Minister, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, visited Prai constituency everyday to look at the damaged roads, clogged drains and the flood problems.
The people of Prai do not. expect Tsu Koon to go back to Prai every day as he did during by Prai by-election, but at least, once a month if not once a week, until all the Barisan Nasional promises had been fulfilled and the damaged roads, clogged drains and flood problems in the constituency had become a thing of the past.
This is because the people of Prai did not vote for V. Muthusamy. They voted because of Tsu Koon’s promises to resolve their long-standing agony of damaged roads, clogged drains and flood problems.
Can Tsu Koon explain why during the Prai by-election, he is prepared to look at damaged roads, poor draingage and even bad garbage collection every day, but he is not prepared to go to Prai to look at the damaged roads, poor drainage and bad garbage collection after the Barisan Nasional had won in the Prai by-election?
Tsu Koon has failed the people of Prai. The failure of the Barisan Nasional State Government to fulfil its Prai by-election promises is so evident that the Penang MCA State Delegates Conference last Sunday had to pass a resolution urging the Penang State Government and the MPSP to urgently rectify damaged, roads, clogged drains and flood problems faced by the people.
Of course, the MCA Penang State Delegates Conference resolution had also included MPPP as their target for failure to rectify damaged roads, clogged drains and the flood problems faced by the people – but we are dealing with MPSP in this debate, ,because we are focussing only on the Prai constituency.
During the Prai by-election, the Barisan Nasional is capable, of doing anything. Money is poured freely into the Prai constituency. In one instance, a Federal Minister ordered the MPSP to promptly repair four dilapidated houses and build several access access roads in Kampong Mania. The MPSP even presented itself as a very humble servant of the voters of the Prai, but after the by-election, the MPSP resumed its normal role to oppress ratepayers and the people in Prai.
Barisan Nasional Government used damaged roads, clogged drains and flood problems as ‘blackmail’ to get votes, but cleanly forgotten its by-election promises after victory
The failure of the Barisan Nasional Government to fulfil its promises to resolve the problems of damaged roadsf clogged drains and flood problems of the people of Prai is doubly reprehensible, when in the first place, this is its duty to resolve this problem – whether there is by-election or not.
What the Barisan Nasional Government did in the Prai by-election was nothing less than blackmailing the people of Prai that it would not carry but its responsibility to resolve the infrastructure problems of the people unless they voted for the BN candidate.
The Barisan Nasional state government should feel very ashamed that it had used damaged roads, clogged drains and flood problems as blackmail in the Prai by-election.
For instance, two days ago, the Minister for Housing and Local Government, Datuk Dr. Ting Chew Pen, said that local authorities will be given a week to clear clogged drains in major towns if checks showed they were unhygienic.
In this case, the MPSP and the Barisan Nasional failed in the past three years to clear the clogged drains though it was also a specific by-election promise.
It is most deplorable that the Barisan Nasional government had used damaged roads, clogged drains and flood problems as ‘blackmai’1 to get votes in the Prai by-election, and to cleanly forget about these problems after victory.
During the by-election, Tsu Koon is not only capable of making any promises, but of responding to calls by the people of Prai. The people of Prai will remember of how Tsu Koon rushed over to Chai Leng Park a few days before the polling in the by-election because of heavy flooding after a downpour the previous night.
Had Tsu Koon-ever rushed to Chai Leong Park when heavy floodings took place after the by-election?
During the by-election, Tsu Koon is capable of responding to any call by the people of Prai, but this is not the case after the by-election.
For instance, when the Indians of Seberang Prai, many of whom were from the Prai constituency, called on the Penang Chief Minister to intervene when tactless and insensitive police handling of the fire-walking ceremony and procession of Sri Mahamariamman Temple of Jalan Jetty Lama, Butterworth on 23rd May caused great tensions and the massing of some 2,000 Hindu followers outside the Butterworth Police Station, there was no response whatsoever from Dr. Koh Tsu Koon.
If Muthusamy cannot even get Tsu Koon to intervene in the tactless police and insensitive police handling of the fire-walking ceremony of Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Butterworth last month, he cannot claim to have any close working relation-ship with the Chief Minister
The Prai Assemblyman, V. Muthusamy was there and knew that the people were asking for Dr. Koh Tsu Koon. During the Prai by-election, Tsu Koon promised to appoint Muthusamy to ‘important posts’ in the state government and that he would like to have an Indian representative working closely with him.
If Muthusamy cannot even get Tsu Koon to intervene in the tactless police and insensitive police handling of the fire-walking ceremony of Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Butterworth last month, he cannot claim to have any close working relationship with the Chief Minister – especially when there is a widespread sense, of public outrage that certain police personnel should be so disrespectful of the Sri Mahamariamman Temple fire-walking ceremony and procession, even to point two machine guns at the Hindu devotees – which resulted in the lodging of 13 police reports against the police.
When the people need the support and intervention of the Penang Chief Minister, he was no where available, and the Prai Assemblyman dared not even contact the Penang Chief Minister about it.
The DAP is different. The DAP MP for Bagan and Assemblyman for Mak Manciin, Lim Hock Seng, stood, for the rights of the Hindu devotees and I immediately went to Butterworth when I got information about the problem, although I arrived at the Butterworth Police Station at midnight.
State Government would be more serious about the problem of massive traffic congestion at the Prai Industrial Estate if there are votes at stake in by-elections or general elections
I will give one final example about the difference in the attitude of the Barisan Nasional Government to the problems of the people of Prai, during the by-election and after.
I refer to the massive traffic congestion into the Prai industrial estate, as the North-South Expressway had dissected the Prai industrial area into four parts, affecting the workers and production.
The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) (northern branch) had not been, able to impress on the authorities, including the State Government and MPSP, to gravity of the traffic congestion although it had been complaining to them for a long time, to the extent that it is preparing a video presentation on the traffic woes at the Prai Industrial Estate.
If this problem had cropped out during a by-election, I think the Penang Chief Minister will not need any convincing and would have announced a by-election promise to resolve the traffic congestion at the Prai Industrial Estate if the voters supported the Barisan Nasional.
Why must the Barisan State Government see problems and promise to resolve them only when there are votes at stake in by-elections or general elections?
I call on the Chief Minister to admit that the State Government had failed to fulfil its Prai by-election promises in the past three, years, and to give a public undertaking to fulfil all these promises in the next two months – including rectifying damaged roads, clogged drains and flood problems in the constituency.