Monday, June 23, 2008

Shahrir's Motion on Inflation

Domestic Trade Minister, Shahrir Samad is now tabling the Government’s motion on inflation at 11:40 am Monday 23/6/2008.

He is trying to justify the Government’s decision to increase the petrol price by 40% and diesel price by 60% on 4-6-2008.

If the Government wants to discuss this matter in Parliament, why did the Government announce the increment before it was discussed in Parliament? Therefore, this motion moved by Shahrir is just a farce. There is no sincerity in the Government to truly solve the predicament of the Rakyat.

The main reason given by Shahrir is that the subsidy on petrol and diesel is not conducive to produce a competitive breed of Malaysian and therefore detrimental to our nation’s growth.

If the government is so concerned about competitiveness, why:
1. protectionism policy in our automobile policy to allow Proton to rig huge profits for years at the expense of the Rakyat?
2. New Economic Policy whereby there must be quotas to the Bumiputras?

He has just finished. 11:56am.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Dayak, Malay and Chinese --- Chief Minister of Sarawak

The Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) Members of Parliament (MPs) and State Assemblymen (ADUNs) should take the cue from the two SAPP MPs.

This is the time for the BN MPs and ADUNs to quit from BN and make our Sarawak’s voices heard loud and clear.

As the largest opposition party in Sarawak, we, Sarawak DAP, put forth our open invitation to all BN MPs and ADUNs to join us in our struggle for the betterment of Sarawakians. They can either join our party personally as DAP members or join us on a party-party basis as equal partners to form a new alliance front.

As a united front, we shall pursue the following 3 main agendas:

1. To implement a Chief Minister rotation system whereby a Dayak, a Malay and a Chinese will take turn to be the Sarawak Chief Minister. The tenure of each Chief Minister will be for a full term after a State Election. One full term will be quite sufficient for a Chief Minister to implement his policy and some of his visions. Dayak will be the first to be the Chief Minister because they have the largest population and of the 3 main ethnic groups, Dayak is the most marginalized and impoverished ethnic group under the tyranny of Sarawak BN.

2. To demand for 20% oil royalty for Sarawak. Despite our State’s riches in natural resources, we are one of the least developed State. Sarawak has been marginalized by the BN government all these years. Therefore, we need more fund to develop.

3. To implement total reform of our Land policy:
(a) to convert all leaseholds to 999 leaseholds;
(b) to limit the validity of Section 47 Notification to 3 years; and
(c) to survey and issue land titles to all Native Customary Right (NCR) land. Under BN policy, NCR land are alienated to crony companies for large-scale plantation. The individual landowners do not get the benefits of their land. Rural Dayak NCR owners remain poor while those cronies rip the wealth of the State.

Let us put aside our political differences and party politics and form a new united front to implement the above agenda. This is what all Sarawakians want. We call it the People’s Agenda. BN government has had their chances for the past few decades but they have failed the People of Sarawak.

The time is ripe now for all right-minded and conscientious politicians to pursue this People Agenda, through this new united front together with us DAP.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Against Petrol and Diesel Price Hike 2008

Yang Amat Berhormat Perdana Menteri
c/o. Sarawak Federal Secretary
Office of Federal Secretary, Sarawak
Tingkat 17, Bangunan Sultan Iskandar,
Jalan Simpang Tiga,
93300 Kuching, Sarawak

Yang Amat Berhormat,

Re: Protest Against the 4th June 2008 fuel price hike:
· Petrol price increased by 78 sen/l and
· Diesel price increased by RM1.00/l

We, Democratic Action Party, Kuching, strongly oppose to the fuel price hike announced by the Government on 4th June, 2008. By the announcement, the petrol price was increased by 78 sen to RM2.69 per litre (in Sarawak) while diesel price was increased by RM1.00 to RM2.58 per litre (in Sarawak).

The reasons for our strong objection to the domestic fuel price increase are as follows:

1. This is by far the largest single fuel price increment in the history of Malaysia, 40% increase in petrol price and 63% increase in diesel price. The People find it extremely difficult to adjust to such a sudden and huge increase in fuel prices and the ensuing inflation resulting from such hike.

2. Petrol and diesel are derived from crude oil, our country’s most valued natural resources. The People are the owners of our country and thus its natural resources. The Government is merely the management body elected by the People to manage our country. Oil belongs to the People and the profit earned from the production and sale of crude oil ought to be utilized for the benefits of the People, one of which is affordable petrol and diesel.

3. The Government claims that the petrol and diesel sold in petrol stations are subsidized by the Government and that car owners have been enjoying too much “subsidy” on petrol and diesel. This is the biggest FALLACY.

When one purchases a car, he has to pay the Government heavy import tariffs. For example, a Toyota Vios in Thailand is only sold at approximately RM50,000.00 but it is sold at RM75,000.00 in Malaysia. Even with an average high petrol consumption of RM500.00 per month, this RM25,000.00 tariff paid to the Government is equivalent to free petrol for 8 years and 4 months.

In general, import tariff imposed by the Government increases the price of cars in Malaysia by 50% of its original prices. Therefore, when one purchases a car, he has already paid in advance the so-called “petrol subsidy” and more.

In addition, purchasers of imported cars have to pay the AP holders an average RM30,000.00 per car.

Therefore, instead of what the Government claims about subsidizing the People on petrol and diesel, car owners are actually subsidising the Government and the AP-holders.

4. Even if one were to purchase a Proton car, he has to pay for the additional “Cost of Inefficiency” brought about by protectionism in the national automobile policy.

With the AP system and high tariff imposed on foreign cars, Proton can inflate its prices above the competitive prices. It enjoys the comfort zone provided under the national automobile policy, as a result of which, it continues to be inefficient after 20 years.

The majority of the Proton car owners are not getting their value for money. They have been exploited since the inception of Proton.

Without protectionism policy, we can get much better quality cars of the same engine capacity as a Proton car, but at a lower price. A better quality car entails cheaper maintenance costs and less fuel consumption.

5. We are a net oil exporting country. Our country actually benefits from the increase in international Crude Oil Prices (COP). Compared with other oil-exporting countries, our domestic petrol and diesel prices are by far the highest. The following are some of the petrol prices in these oil-exporting countries:
Price of Petrol in Oil-exporting Countries (per litre)
· UEA --- RM1.19
· Egypt --- RM1.03
· Bahrain --- RM0.87
· Qatar --- RM0.68
· Kuwait --- RM0.67
· Saudi Arabia --- RM0.38
· Iran --- RM0.35
· Nigeria --- RM0.32
· Turkmenistan --- RM0.25
· Venezuela --- RM0.16
· Brunei --- RM1.26

The Government should compare our petrol and diesel prices with these oil-exporting countries and not pride itself for having cheaper petrol prices than the oil-importing countries.

6. For years, the Government has been encouraging the People to buy cars so that our national car, Proton, can survive despite its inferior quality.

To encourage the People to buy cars, Bank Negara lengthens the period of repayment under the Hire-purchase Agreement for buying cars from 5 years to 9 years. By implementing such policy, the Government is actually using the People’s future income (from 5 years of future income to 9 years of future income) to support the present car industry.

As a result, large number of youngsters and middle-aged group found themselves tied down with the car-loan repayment obligation for 7 – 9 years.

It is most unfair on the part of the Government to now suddenly increase the petrol and diesel prices by such huge margin and turn around to tell these car owners to change their life-style and stop using private cars.

These car owners have bound themselves to the repayment of car-loans for the next 7 – 9 years. How are they going to make the adjustment to the sudden increase in the petrol prices and the ensuing inflation?

7. Despite the so-called “subsidy”, the Government’s net income from production of oil after deducting the so-called “subsidy” on petrol and diesel is on the increase.
These figures were obtained by the Member of Parliament for Bandar Kuching in Parliament. Over these 4 years, international COP rose continuously. These figures show that increase in international COP actually increases the Government’s income.

This is further confirmed by the statement of the former Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mhamad Yacop on 2-11-2007 that:
“ the country gained about RM250 million for every US$1 increase in the price of crude oil and that amount was after paying subsidies to maintain the price of energy in the country.”

It cannot be over-emphasised that the RM250-million gain to our country is after paying the subsidy to keep the price of fuel unchanged.

Therefore increase in international COP cannot be a reason to justify the Government’s decision to increase our petrol and diesel prices.

8. Petronas’ profit has been increasing over the last few years and it is mainly attributable to the increase in the international COP.
It is estimated that given the continuous increase in international COP, Petronas’ revenue for the financial year ended on 31-3-2008 is likely to be more than RM200 billion. Again, the figure shows that the higher the international COP, the higher Petronas’ profit will be, and in turn the higher the Government’s income from oil will be.

Furthermore, Petronas is a government-linked company (GLC) charged with the production, sale and management of our country’s richest natural resources, the oil. It derives its wealth from the production, sale and management of our country’s oil. There is no justification why it should be allowed to retain the large Net Profit while the People are suffering.

There ought to be cash payment to the People to help shoulder the escalating costs of living. It is proposed by our Party (Democratic Action Party) that a more equitable distribution of our country’s riches is:
(a) For an individual whose income is less than RM3,000.00 per month, the oil profit be utilized to pay that individual a cash sum of RM3,000.00 per year; and
(b) For a household whose total income is less than RM6,000.00 per month, the oil profit be utilized to pay that household a cash sum of RM6,000.00 per year.

9. While the Government is asking the People to change their lifestyle and use more public transport, in Sarawak, the public transport system is so poorly managed that it is practically non-existent. One can hardly get around Kuching conveniently without a private car.

Before the government decides to increase the fuel prices and urge the People to use public transport system, the Government ought to have in place an efficient public transport system which has the following characteristics:
· Punctual
· Regular
· Comfortable
· Wide coverage
· Cheap

Sarawak is the largest oil-producing State in Malaysia and has contributed tremendously to the national coffer. However, it is sad that despite our riches in natural resources and our contribution, the Federal Government continues to neglect our need for an efficient public transport system.

10. The World is now facing the inflationary pressure from the rising COP and acute shortage in food supply. Our country is blessed with abundance of crude oil. With the increased income derived from the rising COP, the Government has the ability to maintain lower and affordable petrol and diesel prices.

Due to the international economic factors, our country is also experiencing inflation. Unfortunately, there is no proportionate increase in the income of the People.

Therefore, in such times of economy difficulties and uncertainties, the Government ought to refrain from increasing the domestic petrol and diesel prices.

Given the above reasons, we urge Yang Amat Berhormat to reverse the cabinet’s decision to on 4th June, 2008 to increase the prices of petrol and diesel. We urge that the petrol and diesel prices be reduced to the pre-General Election level, ie. RM1.91 per litre of petrol and RM1.58 per litre of diesel in Sarawak.

In the interest of the People, we hope our plea herein will meet your kind approval.

Dated this 17th day of June, 2008.

Yours truly,

On behalf of Democratic Action Party, Kuching,

------------------------------ ---------------------------------
YB Chong Chieng Jen YB Voon Lee Shan
MP Bandar Kuching ADUN Batu Lintang
ADUN Kota Sentosa

YB Violet Yong Wui Wui
ADUN Pending


在甘蜜街鱼、菜巴剎与小贩中心迁往新实都东菜市场营业的前一晚(14日),甘蜜街批发商因不满北市市政局的安排,欲前往甘蜜街营业,却遭到北市市政局执法人员封路阻拦,不让批发商的罗里进入甘蜜街营业。 北市市政局处理不当的行举动,引起批发商们的不满,将罗里堵满马吉街道路,情绪激动的与当局对峙起来,有者更将蔬菜抛在地上泄愤,更坚持的与北市对峙到天亮。 这场对峙行动所幸没有造成冲突事件的发生。而在15日晚上,北市市政局的强硬态度也有所软化,让批发贩们暂时在马吉街营业,并安排16日与批发商们进行会议。而在16日的会议,事件也获得解决,当局应这些批发小贩的要求,允许他们迁往实都东新市场营业,才让这次对峙风波平息。 这场批发商与北市市政局对峙的风波,主要是决策者与人民实际的需求脱节引起, 政府当局在做决策时,完全没有咨询的程序,没有考虑到人民的生活及面对的问题,决策者完全不了解人民实际需求的情况表露无遗。 如果有一个咨询的程序,就不会出现批发商与当局对峙的情况,且政策也将能够顺利推行。 今次的事件,可以给予当局一个教训,同时我们也希望今后南市与北市市政局或州政府在实行影响到人民的利益与生计的政策时,能先与相关的人士进行对话,咨询人民的对话,并以人民利益为出发。 毕竟政府是人民推选出来的,且政府也是受到人们的委托来管理国家,所以政府应将人们的利益摆在第一位,而不是依据自身意愿做出令人民无法接受的决策。

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Application for Leave to sue DBKU and MBKS. LOST

Just lost the case this morning. Court refused to grant the leave to allow the hawkers to sue DBKU and MBKS.

The Sarawak Attorney-General (SAG) was represented by Datuk JC Fong and Joseph Chioh. They objected to the application vehemently. Hard to believe, such a case, about the cancellation of the hawkers' licence, the SAG sent 2 counsels to argue and at leave stage.

Normally, the SAG will not even appear for the hearing of the application for leave. But this time, it seems that the whole machinery of the Sarawak State Government is on full gear to get these hawkers out by 15-6-2008. Something is cooking behind the scene.

We argued for 2 hours before the High Court Judge.

At the end, I think, it was the reluctance on the part of the Judge to interfere with the policy of the government that turned the table in their favour. The fact that there are only 27 out of a total of 300 hawkers taking up the case also plays a part in the his decision-making process. Datuk Fong did faise the issue.

Under our system, government policy is determined by the Executive branch of government (the Cabinet ministers), Court is concerned about the interpretation of the law passed by the Legislative. It is only on rare occasions that the Court interferes with the policy of the Executive. The decision to relocate the market is basically a policy question.

Since the Executive are chosen from the ruling party's state ADUN who are in turn chosen by the people, the people would just have to accept the Executive's policy decision. If the people disagree, then the people will have to vote them out in the next election. It is only through the change in government that we can change the ones who make policy for the State.

As what I can see, so far, the policy of the State government is making only the few super rich and well-connected ones rich and super-rich. I can bet with you, very soon the Gambier Street market area will be cleared for huge project to be carried out. No tender will be called for the award of the project. Only the company related to our political leaders will be the main contractor.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Subsidized Oil or Not?

Economically speaking, subsidy is bad as it distorts the operation of the market forces, the forces of demand and supply which will maximise the yield from our scarce resources. Therefore, subsidy on the consumption of oil is economically bad.

However, if the government thinks that subsidy is bad because it distorts the market, then likewise the heavy tariff on motor vehicles to protect Proton is equally bad, if not worse.

We, Malaysians, are not enjoying the subsidy on petrol and diesel freely. We pay for the subsidy well in advance, when we purchase a motorcar.

Take for example, the true price of a Toyota Corolla is approximately USD18,000.00 (RM60,000.00). In Malaysia, because of the heavy tariff, we have to pay RM110,000.00. A CRV is sold in Malaysia for approximately RM150,000.00, with tariff exemption, one can purchase it at the price of RM100,000.00.

On average, we pay the government an extra RM50,000.00 when we purchase such a vehicle.

For that matter, with RM50,000.00 cash received in advance, how long do you think the government can subsidize that purchaser on petrol consumption? Assuming the cost of subsidy is RM2.50 per litre, the government can subsidize at least 25,000 litre (without taking into account the future value of the RM paid in advance by us). Assuming a person uses 200 litres per month (this is very high consumption, RM380 per month before the price increase on 4-6-2008), it can last you 125 months, 10 years and 5 months.

How about proton car? I remember many years back in early 1990s, I saw a TV advertisement about Proton sale in Australia AUS$16,000.00 with unlimited mileage 3 years warranty. At that time, AUS$1 was approximately RM2.20. That was about RM35,000.00. I vaguely remembered that Proton was then sold for approximately RM45,000.00.

We, Malaysians in Malaysia, pay more to Proton so that Proton will make more profit. We are forced to buy Proton because of the heavy tariff which inflates the imported cars.

Hidden Agenda Revealed

The government is making all Malaysians pay more when we purchase motor vehicles so that Proton can survive. The Rakyat are the one subsidizing Proton and the UMNO cronies. If the BN government can force the Rakyat to subsidize Proton and the UMNO cronies, why can't the Rakyat demand reimbursement in the form of lower petrol and diesel price in the country?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Demonstration in Kuching 17-6-2008 Thuesday

We DAP are going to hold a large demonstration at Bangunan Sultan Iskandar (Federal Building), Jalan Simpang Tiga, Kuching on 17-6-2008 at 4:00 pm against the petrol and diesel price hike.

We are in the process of applying for the Polis Permit. The Police says that you need more than 7 days to apply for police permit to hold an assembly. We have complied. It is our constitutional right to hold public assembly. So, I am waiting to see what the Police is going to say. Afterall, the Police personnels and their family members are also suffering from the price hike and inflation.

We need to send a strong message to the BN government that people are suffering and angry with the price increase.

Please pass the message around. See you on Tuesday 17-6-2008 at 4:00 pm.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

4th June, 2008

SUPP celebrated its party celebration “党庆”on 4-6-2008. "4th June" is surely a day not to be forgotten for SUPP. The day the party was formed.

Ironically, while SUPP celebrates, Malaysians weep.

For all Malaysian, 4th June 2008 is a nightmare. The government increase our domestic petrol price by 78 sen (40%) and diesel price by RM1 (63%). What a day. I think many Malaysian will remember this day for a long time. For us Sarawakians, our memory will stay for at least another 3 years. That is when the next State Election is due.

Malaysia is a net oil exporter. Increase in international oil price is a "bonus" to Malaysia, yet the government is making the people suffer when Petronas is making record profits for the last few years.

The true reason for the BN government to increase the petrol and diesel prices is because of too much wastage and leakages in the system due to corruption and cronyism. Hundreds of billions of Ringgit is lost through these corrupt practices. If we do not stop it now, we will be worse in future.

We will keep up the pressure on the BN government. We want the prices to be revised downward. Otherwise, the government must:
1. abolish all tariffs on motor vehicles so that people can buy cheap car;
2. to pay out cash of RM3,000.00 per year to each individual with monthly income less than RM3,000.00 OR cash payment of RM6,000.00 per year to each household with monthly income less than RM6,000.00.
3. (long-term solution) improve a good public transport system which is cheap, regular, comfortable and wide coverage area.

Gambier Street Market, Move or Not? Leave it to the Court

I have today filed in an administrative action in the High Court of Kuching agaisnt Dewan Bandaraya Kuching Utara and Majlis Bandaraya Kuching Selatan seeking leave of the Court to quash the decision of DBKU to relocate the Gambier Street Market (GSM) to Stutong Market.

The grounds are:
1. The notice to relocate is too short. These hawkers have been trading in the GSM for decades yet the government is giving them 1 month to be relocated to another market.
2. The decision of the government to relocate the hawkers to Stutong Market is irrational and unreasonable. Thousands in the central business district of Kuching will have no market to do their marketing. Kuching will lose its historical landmark if the market were to be closed down and demolished. Hundreds of sampan operators will lose their main source of income.
3. The government based the relocation decision on the wrong facts, thinking that most of the hawkers are willing to be relocated. In fact, most of them do not want to be relocated. It was the way question was put to them by DBKU officers that it seems that they are agreeable to move. The DBKU officers asked the question as follows: "If the government were to close down the GSM, will you want a stall in Stutong Market?" This is a leading question and the answer is what the authority wants.

Another ground that was not inserted in the Court papers is that given the recent price hike in petrol and diesel, the authority should not now try to introduce such radical change of life to these hawkers. These hawkersy have been trading in GSM for decades. It means that the business there is good. To build up the customer base is not easy and surely it is made worse by the current economic situation.

My assistant, Wong King Wei, is now in Kuala Lumpur. Having got the Application filed and sealed by the Court Registry, we have to serve it on the Federal Attorney General as required by the law and it has to be served not later than 3 days before the hearing of the Application, which is fixed on 11-6-2008.

Whether we can get leave to proceed with the action against DBKU and MBKS, it is now up to the Court.