Monday, June 30, 2008

Expected announcement at an unexpected time

Dato’ Seri Ong Ka Ting’s announcement that he will not seek re-election as MCA President was not unexpected. However, it was expected to be announced only after division election. Certain events which are not known to me must have precipitated him to make the earlier announcement. I find it difficult to believe that he have planned not to seek re-election 3 months ago. Certain tactical moves undertaken by him within the party after the election in March indicated that he was more inclined to seek re-election. He declined the nomination as a minister in order for the brother to get into cabinet.

He must have encountered many problems in discharging his duty as a MCA President. I understand from reliable sources that he had great difficulty in trying to see the Prime Minister and this has rendered him impotent in trying to solve Chinese community’s problem. This may be one of this reasons that caused his premature announcement rather than agonizing it. His position then becomes untenable as President of MCA without a Cabinet post. He virtually became a lame duck. I respect his decision not to seek re-election and I hope MCA members remain calm and united to face the party election. While he may not seek re-election, I’m sure unseen hands will be at work to ensure members who are allied to him will be voted in at the division, state and national elections.
--------------------------

马华总会长拿督斯里黄家定日前宣布在来届马华党选,不会寻求蝉联。事实上,总会长有这样的决定乃预料中事,惟却选择在区会改选之前宣布,则让人始料不及。大部分人都会以为,黄家定将在区会改选结束后才对其个人动向表态。我想,也许是出现了一些状况,促使他必须提早对外宣布。

我无法相信这是他3个月前的决定。黄家定在308大选后的一些举动和策略,显示他野心勃勃欲在党选中寻求连任,而原被推举出任部长的他却自动弃权,明显地是让路给胞兄入阁。

担任马华总会长期间,相信黄家定是面对了许多问题和困难,在执行时力不从心。根据可靠的消息,他屡屡欲约见首相不果,因此无法直接会晤首相反映华社问题,对这方面表现得无能为力。这也许是他提早作出宣布退位的原因之一吧。

由于不再是内阁部长,黄家定的总会长地位就显得弱势了,基本上他和跛脚鸭没有两样。无论如何,我尊敬他的决定,也希望马华党员能冷静待之,并团结一致面对即将来临的党选。尽管黄家定放弃连任,但我坚信幕后仍会出现隐没之手,来确保他的同盟在区会、州和中央改选中胜出。

A reply to Dr. Suresh K's comment in "Recognition of Unregistered Medical Degrees"

Prior to the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998, private healthcare facilities were licensed under the Private Hospital Act 1971 which only enabled the control of 3 types of private healthcare facilities, namely private hospitals, private maternity homes and private nursing homes. The standards imposed were minimal and non-specific, and the private sector has little information on how to establish a proper healthcare facility. The control of such licensed facilities was confined to inspection visits only as there was no provision for proper enforcement. The only penalty imposed was for operating a private healthcare facility without licence and that too was minimal, not exceeding RM1,000. There was no provision for the registration of medical and dental clinics.

The introduction of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998 and Regulations 2006, and their enforcement from May 2006, changed all these. The new Act and Regulations enabled the setting up of dedicated enforcement units in all states and a dedicated section at headquarter to monitor, inspect and ensure compliance to the new Act and Regulations.

All medical and dental clinics have now to be registered, and this facilitates inspections and checks by our enforcement officers. Enforcement officers are now empowered to seal unregistered clinics and weed out bogus doctors and unqualified personnel, all for the sake of protecting the public from unsafe practices.

The new Act now provides for the licensing of 12 types of private healthcare facilities ranging from the previous 3 to new entities like hospices, haemodialysis centres and ambulatory care centres. Quality and safety standards on physical structure, facilities, equipment, manpower and processes are provided for. All new private healthcare facilities now have to apply firstly, for an approval to establish their facility, and then, within 3 years of approval, a licence to operate the facility. The licence to operate is renewable every 2 years. These provisions enable the Ministry to ensure that private healthcare facilities continue to comply with the required standards to ensure that the services provided are safe, effective and of quality.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

PAS’ social value

Every time when I say that we should be suspicion of PAS, a lot of people will condemn me. Today, I’ll say it again. PAS with its Islamic agenda has not shown its true colours because it is not in control of the federal government. Even then, they will try hard to push for their Islamic value at the state level. First, they objected to the artist performance in Selangor and now they have this directive in Kelantan so that Muslim ladies are not supposed to wear high heels and red lipsticks.

The Muslim ladies are often blamed that such dressing would provoke the men causing rape and illicit sex. PAS leaders seem to forget what will happen to the non-Muslim ladies with red lipsticks and high heels? Are they going to be raped and sexually abused by men who cannot control themselves? While you and I may laugh at their beliefs, some of these Muslim leaders from PAS really believe in control environment and they will be very upset if their value system is challenged. Politicians should not continue to harp that women are the cause for all sexual abuses and have the simplistic view that if all women are in robe, then there will be no cases of rape.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Government servant as petty traders?/ 公务员兼商的利弊

通膨上涨,生活拮据负担日益剧增,人民无一幸免。政府体恤公务员,为缓和涨价和通膨对公务员生活带来的冲击,早前批准公务员兼职。因考虑到公务员兼职或引发的滥权、工作表现低落、恶性经济竞争等因素,关于这项决定,我不表示赞成,也在6月15日的部落贴中详析己见。今天,政府另有打算,计划批发短期小本从商执照予公务员。我认为这项计划弊过于利,因为:

1. 要启营生意需要一笔资金,若身无分文他们则必须向政府或MARA(土著)贷款。这种情况下自营生意,预见贷款摊还率将非常低。
2. 任何一种生意都需要特定的专业技术和经验。若从零开始,此刻才开始学习做生意的窍门,无可避免他们会分心,以致忽略正职,直接影响了在正职的表现。
3. 如果他们将营业执照出租,而没有亲身参与和经营这盘生意,可能会招致滥用资源等弊端。
4. 此外,这也会在传统的同行间制造竞争,促使同行迁怒于公务员。

要全面帮助低收入的人民,政府应该认真考虑为所有低收入者提供现金生活津贴,并鼓励私人领域仿效此策,以协助低收入群体渡过这个艰难时刻。别忘了,我国的1千万人力市场中,只有100万人在政府领域工作,其余的900万人来自私人机构。据了解,大部分在私人领域工作的低收入群体每月薪金低于1千500令吉,对一家三口而言,1千500令吉只能糊口。所以,在私人领域工作也不能保证生活宽裕。

据我了解,一些国家的政府每月都会为低收入家庭提供现金补贴,以拉近国民收入悬殊,更实际和有效地减轻低收入群体的生活负担。其实这项政策值得我国政府研究和效法。大马政府也应该认真考虑为低收入者直接分发现金补贴。随着石油价格逐年高涨,国际石油价格每涨一美元,作为原油出口国之一的大马每年就能赚取2亿5千万令吉。目前石油每桶已从60美元涨至143美元,以这两年的石油行情来推算,国油公司应该大唱丰收,而政府应该拥有绝对足够的流动资源,为低收入民众实施现金补贴。我的建议,并非要求国油将所有的石油受益捐作国内的燃油津贴,而是挪出将部分的利润,以现金方式帮助穷人。

我呼吁政府能慎重地考虑这项建议,因为这是帮助低收入人民最直接、简单的方法之一。政府需要做的只是鉴定低收入的定义和薪额组别,确保只有落在设定组别的人士受惠。

----------------------------------------

First, the government talked about part time job for government servant and I’ve written about this in my blog 3 weeks ago. Now, the government is thinking to give license to government servant to be petty traders on short term basis. Again, I must say that this is not a well thought out plan.

1) To start a small business, you need capital and if they take a small loan from government or MARA if they are bumiputra, it is likely they will default.
2) Any form of business needs expertise and experience. It cannot start from nowhere. If they start learning the trick of the trade, they will neglect their work.
3) Abuse will definitely set in since they can rent out license and they become absentee operators.
4) It creates competition and makes the traditional small petty traders angry with government servant.

The government should seriously think of coming out with cash or Cash of Living Allowance (COLA) to help the lower income group to tie over this difficult period. In the same way, the government should impress upon the private sector to do the same. We must not forget, out of the 10 million workforces, only 1 million is with the government, the remaining 9 million is with the private sector. The lower income group in private sector is equally suffering since majority of workers are receiving less that RM1500 per month and it is difficult to survive for a family of three on income of only RM1500 per month.
Direct funding by cash is one option that government should seriously consider. It is simple and directly benefiting the lower income group. The windfall profit from the increase of the oil price can be a source of this funding. For every US$1 increase in oil price, Petronas will make RM250 million per year. Since oil price has gone up from US$60 to US$130 a barrel in the last 2 years, Petronas is looking to bumper profit this year. I’m not advocating that Petronas profit should all be channeled as subsidy for petrol, rather one of the options is direct cash aid to the poor. What the government needs to do is to determine at what income level before they are entitled to these funding.

Logging in Kuala Muda, Kedah/ 森林贮水保护区伐木,吉打州政府逆民意而行


尽管朝野政要和人民群起反对吉打州政府在贮水区推行伐木计划,但州务大臣却无动于衷,一意孤行,让我对该大臣的做法感到惊讶和失望不已。

在从政事业初期,我的职务与环境及森林发展密不可分。我曾担任柔佛州环境委员会主席9年,同时兼任柔佛兴楼云冰(Endau Rompin)国家公园技术委员会主席长达12年。在任职期间,我感到最高兴和欣慰的是成功说服丹麦环境发展合作(DANCED)局,赞助600万令吉在兴楼云冰野林展开环境生态的教育和研究计划。此计划推行后,州政府也在2001年成功举办第2届兴楼云冰科学考察。这些促进湿地生态复育和研究发展的行动,最终引起国际社会组织的注意,更接纳我的申请,将丹绒比艾及蒲来河列为RAMSAR(注)国际重要湿地。

注:RAMSAR《拉姆萨湿地公约》是全球唯一针对单一生态系统保护的环境公约。该公约于1971年在伊朗小城拉姆萨尔举行的湿地保护研讨会议上,由30多个国家接纳和签署又称拉姆萨尔公约。公约的全名是《水禽栖息地的国际重要湿地公约》,它是一个政府间的公约,作为各国在湿地保护及其资源合理利用的准则和国际合作框架。目前已有147个成员国参与此计划。

出任这两主席职,让我真正了解、学习和珍惜自然环境和森林的重要价值。因此,当吉打州务大臣宣布将砍伐乌魯慕达河的森林保留地,我非常震惊。他显然不懂什么是森林管理,才会被误导做出如此决定。难道州务大臣不明白,林木是上帝的恩赐?
话说回来,要监督以直升机进行局部性伐木的活动有一定的困难,一不小心干扰了贮水区范围或将造成土地侵蚀和水源污染,问题非常严重。也许对大部分的政治人物而言,伐木是让州致富最快对容易的途径,可惜伐木活动往往因缺乏良好的监管而不能持久,也破坏森林的自然生态。

伐木工和森林管理员都很清楚,伐木活动开始前,必须在森林内辟建道路供载木罗里行驶,为了开辟这条道路就先要平白牺牲许多树木,不该伐的也被伐下,成为轮下凋材。而乌鲁慕达河的伐木计划,他们将建造约至少300公里长的道路,试想想多少林木被浪费,这是无法节制的大破坏啊!

做决定前,吉打州政府应该事先听取大马环境协会(MNS)和世界野生动物基金会(WWF)的意见。这两个非政府组织是环境生态事务的专家,它们的代表曾参与我主持的森林保护和发展会议,为我提供了许多宝贵的意见。要有效监督减缓森林破坏的措施确实知易行难,因此必须要认真地展开环境影响评估的研究和审查。只是此项评估工作非常学术性,无奈我国的森林和环境局正严缺这方面的专才。

早前,我不时听闻雪州民联政府非议和抨击前超州政府批准在斜坡展开建筑工程,这时候是否应该和吉打州政府的盟友进行沟通,劝劝盟友,让他们了解在贮水区伐木的后果?

也许雪州政府说了,只是吉打州政府充耳不闻?谁知道?
----------------------------------
I’m surprised and disappointed that despite the chorus of protest, the Kedah Menteri Besar is still adamant about logging the catchment area of Kuala Muda. I understand that this is the source of water for Penang island.

In the early part of my political career, I’ve always been closely associated with environment and forest development. I was the chairman of the Environment Committee in Johor for 9 years and also the chairman of the Technical Committee for Endau Rompin, Johor for 12 years. Hence, I can claim it was during this time that I managed to convince a team from DANCED (Danish Cooperation for Environment and Development) to finance an education and research project of RM6 million, deep in the jungle of Endau Rompin, an area that stretches to 45, 000 hectare on the Johor site. The second scientific expedition into Endau Rompin was also launched in the year 2001. I managed to get Tanjung Piai, the southern most tip of the continent of Asia and Sg. Pulai to be listed as the Ramsar site.

I must admit that it was during these years as chairman that I learn a lot to value the forest and the environment. Hence, I’m surprised when the MB of Kedah announced that he’s using helicopter logging which has never been tried in this country before and it is only suitable for a large forest area. He may known very little about forest management and hence ill advised. To the Kedah MB, it is God send money.

It is difficult to monitor selective logging through the helicopter. Any disruption in the catchment area will lead to erosion and pollution, often a disaster in the catchment area. Most politicians can only think of logging as revenue for the state since this is the easiest and fastest way of deriving revenue. Unfortunately, this is often unsustainable since monitoring and supervision is poor in the jungle. Loggers working hand in hand with the forestry officer are a well known fact that when they build track roads, trees which are not supposed to be chopped off will be chopped off. That’s where they derive most profits and in the case of Kuala Muda, they are supposed to do a track road of 300km. This will be to unmitigated disaster. The state government should get the advice of the Malaysia Nature Society (MNS) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for proper professional advice. These 2 NGOs used to sit in my committee in Johor for the development of forest area and I find their advice invaluable. EIA studies are often academic since it is difficult to supervise mitigating measure done in the jungle. The forestry and environment department are sadly lacking in manpower and expertise.

The PR state government of Selangor should be communicating with the PR government of Kedah since I’ve read a lot about the PR government of Selangor, criticizing the previous state government for allowing development on the slope in Selangor. Maybe they are in communication that I’m not aware off, or advice has fallen on deaf ears.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Speak But Not Heard

自我辞官以后,我发现要通过平面媒体传递我的信息相当困难。中文媒体似乎不太热衷采访我对时事和民生课题的论解,只一心一意想从我口里旁敲侧击马华党选的情势。我不想每次开口都只谈马华,如我之前多次强调,除了马华,还有很多影响普罗大众、国家生计的经济和社会课题值得我们关注。我尽量避谈马华,也是考虑到马华党选已近在眉睫。

过去半年来,我受邀参与无数个公共政治论坛,与民联阵线的国州议员同台辩论。除了在星报和星洲日报主办的两场论坛以外,我的其他演讲和言论鲜少被报道。我也曾主持多个由非政府组织主办的活动,在会上谈国家时事、政治两线制、马华的方向和前景、也分析热门经济课题如油价飙涨、通膨上升等,但最终见报的却少得可怜。

这就是政治现实。在马来西亚,尽管你言论空洞、毫无建设,言辞没有半点新闻价值,一旦你受委为部长后,媒体无不蜂拥争相报道。但若你辞职,已无一官半职,很快地便会消失在媒体世界里。如果出言批评马华或国阵领导层,你的新闻寿命更短。而那些指向马华领导层的批评或评论,相信经过一些无形的手“悉心剪裁”后,见报时基本上已肢离破碎甚至面目全非了。

我的读者们,这是否解答了你们不惑为何我突然之间在媒体中沉寂如消失了?并非我不愿通过主流媒体表达论见,只是开讲无门啊。
-------------------------------------
After I have resigned, I find difficulties in getting my message into the mainstream media. Chinese press is only interested in interviewing me about the forthcoming MCA election, but not on the current issue that affects the community. I try not to talk about MCA election since it is still 4 months away.

I have been invited as a panel speaker in a lot of political forum together with the Yang Berhormat from PR Coalition. Except the public forum with The Star and Sinchew Daily, the rest of the forums do not make it into the media. I have also officiated many functions organized by NGOs, in a same way; it did not make it to the press. In all these functions, I spoke about current affairs of the country, the emergence of 2 party system in Malaysia, the future direction of MCA, major economic issue such as fuel hike, inflation etc. Unfortunately, very little of this make it to the press.

I have said it before in Malaysia, when you are appointed as Minister today the media will pay attention although what your say is not news worthy. But if you resign as a Minister, you become invisible to the press, more so if what you have said is critical of MCA or BN leadership. As for criticism that is directed at MCA top leadership, there seems to be some unseen hand manipulating media contents so that it will not go public.

Therefore readers, please bear with me. It is not true that I am not articulating my thoughts in the main stream media, it just that I have less chance to get into the print media.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Minimum Wage in Malaysia/ 私人领域实行最低薪金


近年来,全球因面对通膨压力持续上升,在通膨加速和就业市场走软夹击之下,受薪人士无一不为通膨所苦。在公共服务领域,中央政府已迅速表示关注,也着手研究数项措施如何减轻低薪公务员的负担,这里暂且不谈有关措施的利弊成效,至少政府已有所行动。因此,私人领域也该正视有关问题,制定雇员的最低薪金或基本薪金(或称基薪)。

根据国际劳工组织(ILO)的定义,基本/最低薪金或工资是雇主必须付给绝大部分雇员的最低薪额,它可以按日薪、日薪或月薪计算。基薪薪额必须能反映国家现有的经济和社会实况,须能应付领薪者及其家人的基本生活需求。目前,全世界超过90%的国家已立法实施最低薪金政策,马来西亚尚未达致。

马来西亚职工总会曾多次呼吁政府为国内所有劳工实施法定基薪,该总会于2007年6月18日呈给首相的备忘录中,亦再次提出有关诉求。设定合理的基本工资,相信可吸引更多大马人投身本地劳工市场,以减低对外劳的依赖,更重要的是有助于缩小贫困,改善低收入人民的生活。

该总会以单身人士的基本需求为标准进行估算,建议一名劳工应享有最少900令吉的基薪。这900令吉当中,伙食和基本的维生消费就占了450令吉(50%)、住135令吉、交通130令吉;剩余还得缴交公积金、社会保险及支付其他生活消费。除了基薪,该总会也建议私人雇主应付给雇员300令吉的生活津贴(COLA),让他们能应付日益高涨的食物和生活开支。

实施法定基薪惠及受聘人士,然而有关政策亦存有一些争议,包括对雇用市场、生产力、竞争能力和通膨的效应。 有关当局担忧会加剧失业问题,而尤以低生产力员工和短工的失业率会大幅度增加。大马制造业雇主联合会(MEF)也认为,基薪政策或导致大马的生产成本增加而失去竞争力,也会迫走外资,这会直接影响雇佣市场。

纵观上述几点,是否要设立最低工资制度仍会争论不休。与其在利弊之间躇踌,我国其实可以效法一些国家,在选择性的特定领域推行职业性基薪制。基薪可以由中央政府或委任第三机构制定。由于在大都会、郊外、城镇、沙巴和砂劳越的生活消费成本皆不同,因地而异,故设定基薪必须考虑社会因素如职业性质、生活指数、薪金阶级;经济因素包括经济走势、雇用和生产水平,不能一概而论。

落实基薪政策,劳雇双方都必须作出调整。为求聘用,雇员须纠正工作态度提高生产和发挥高度工作表现,这绝对有助于提高生产力和效率。由此以来,我国无需再依赖廉价和缺乏技术的外劳。反之,我们要扭转国内的经济型态,吸引更多以熟练技工为主的资金密集型投资和工业。至于从事非公会组织性行业者,如农场、种植和工厂劳工,也会受到基薪政策法律保护。

此外,实行基本时薪制亦有助于吸引大马人从事兼职。兼职的概念应被大事鼓励,以唤醒更多大马人民的经济意识,尤其吸引青年和妇女们兼职。例如许多高技术女员工,婚后离职了,在照顾家庭之余也可选择伸缩性兼职,不但能继续发挥一技所长,也带动了国内的经济和消费市场,而我国亦达到提倡国内经济自主,减少依赖外援的目标。因此,我国中央政府应该成立一个薪金理事会,汇集政府和私人领域的专才和代表,深入检讨目前的劳雇薪金制和研究最低薪金制的可行性,确保人民领取的薪金,符合时下的经济趋势。不得忽略一点,调整薪金也是应付合降低通膨的其一方法。
------------------------------------
With inflation crippling up every day, It is time to think of a minimium wage in the private sector.

According to International Labour Organisation (ILO), minimum wage is the amount that must be paid to the majority of a country, generally on an hourly, daily or monthly basis. It is fixed ideally to cover the minimum needs of the worker and his/her family based on national economic and social conditions. More than 90 % of countries have legislation regarding minimum wage and Malaysia is not one of them. The Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) has called for this legislation and in its latest memorandum to Prime Minister on 18th. of June 2007, has requested the government to pass a minimum wage legislation to be applicable to all workers. By having a decent minimum wage, it will attract more Malaysian workers and reduce dependency on foreign labour. What is more important is to alleviate poverty and improve their livelihood.

The MTUC has requested RM900 minimum wage based on the essential and basic needs of a single person. Out of the amount, 50% goes to food and subsistence and other components include RM135 for accommodation, RM130 for transport and the rest contribution to EPF, SOCSO and other expanses. MTUC has also requested a RM300 payment for cost of living allowance (COLA) for all private sector workers due to the recent increases in food and other costs of living.

Some of the current issues in minimum wage policy include its impact on employment, productivity, inflation and the country’s competitiveness. There is fear that it will increase unemployment especially the very low productivity and casual workers. According to Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF), it will make Malaysia a more costly place to do business and thereby deter foreign investment and make Malaysia less competitive.

Instead of a single country-wide minimum wage, Malaysia can still adopt a minimum wage policy based on sectoral or occupational minimum wage. The cost of living differs from urban, rural, towns and Sabah and Sarawak. It can either be set by the government or through tripartite body. Factors that can be taken into considerations include both social and economic. They include cost of living, level of wages, safety net and economic factors include economic situation, employment and productivity levels.

It will increase productivity and efficiency as producers or employers will have to make these adjustments. Workers will have to change their attitudes towards work and increase productivity to be employed. Malaysia will not be dependent on cheap and low skilled foreign labour to drive its economy. Instead, we have to change our economy to attract more capital intensive investment and industries that require more highly skilled and trained workers. Those who work in the non-unionised sectors such as farm, plantation and factory workers will be protected with such legislation.

With an hourly minimum wage level, it will be more attractive for Malaysians to work part-time. The concept of part-time work should be encouraged so that more Malaysians can be put to work especially the youth and women. This will make them more independent and the country less dependent on foreign labour. Many highly trained women have left their careers to look after their families and they can be encouraged to go back to work with more flexi working time.

Hence, the time has come for the Government to set up a Wage Council with representatives from the government and private sectors in order to ensure that workers’ pay is reflective of the current economic scenario. All this should be adjusted to cope up with the inflation.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

新网络电台voicemedia.com


点击收听http://www.voicemedia.com.my/

我喜欢称网络媒体为新媒体。过去,网络一词对许多不谙电脑和网络科技者言,没有太大的说服力,更庸说普及。今天,影响人民思想和视野的网络媒体形式包罗万象,层出不穷,最普遍的计有电子报、部落格、网站、网络电视、电台等,这些电科时代的产物,随趋势所至竟形成一股强而有力的新媒体势力。要与时并进,与时代接轨,就得接受新元素这些的兴起和存在。我感谢voicemedia.com,一个新的网络电台的盛意邀请,给我机会分享对时下时事课题的己见。我也邀请您,闲时到www.voicemedia.com.my收听这个电台。



谢谢。

Recognition of Unregistered Medical Degrees

The Malaysia Medical Council (MMC) recognizes more than 340 Medical Universities in the world. For a small nation like Malaysia it is a huge number. Even when I was a Minister I strongly felt that we should not continue to take the easy way out by recognizing more and more Medical Universities. Some of the existing Universities we recognize may have deteriorated in their standards and some may not even exist in their previous forms. It will be a difficult task to do a scheduled audit in view of the huge number of Universities involved. A good example is the University of Iraq which is recognized by MMC but I am sure is living on its past glory.

While some of the ‘unfit’ universities are being recognized, we cannot deny that some better universities have not been recognized. In the long term, it is good to have a common entry exam for all foreign Medical graduates. If they pass the examination they are allowed to practice in Malaysia. In the same way we should also promote a common entry exam for our local Medical Faculties.

While we are aware of the acute shortage of doctors, we should not compromise on the quality and recognize degrees from dubious universities. Our problem is that in our haste to overcome the shortage of doctors, we produce more locally or recognize more foreign medical degrees. In the process, the quality of doctors is compromised.

Unlike what the parents think, we actually allow graduates from unrecognized Medical Universities to sit for the local examination with maximum of 3 tries. If they fail in 3 attempts, I personally think they should think of changing their profession. It’s cruel to say this but it is a fact. There were a few who took my suggestion seriously and changed paths to medical related disciplines instead of medicine and they are happy with the choice.

Credit transfers from unrecognized Universities to a recognized University is another way. But it only partially solves the problem. I have had the opportunity to talk to some of the examiners. What they told me made me worried about the quality of some of the doctors who are practicing in Malaysia. We must not forget, ultimately the majority of these doctors will find their way into private practice.

One step taken then was to increase the housemanship to 2 years without affecting their promotion and their eligibility for post graduate studies. For doing that I was condemned by a lot of junior doctors. Every year on an average 3-5% of doctors are not signed up at the end of the housemanship. Supervision by the senior doctors in government hospitals is poor and often it is very people centric, and very much depends on the senior doctors concerned whether they are committed and dedicated to the job.

I would prefer to have shortage of doctors but the doctors who are practicing in the government or private hospital are of good quality, rather than a full house of doctors but who are no better than sin-seh. After all, if a doctor is not sure, he should do no harm to the patient.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Never DUMP Unexported food into Local Market!

I feel sad that we have to suspend our exports of seafood to EU pending auditing of Malaysian exporters. The export of seafood is a big industry in Malaysia where the export value is about a billion per year. It is indeed sad to see that the quality of frozen seafood has deteriorated to a stage where EU bans its import. In 2007 when I was a Minister of Health, I still remember that EU Inspectors who were in Malaysia were so enthusiastic about the quality of seafood from Malaysia, EU will not compromise and tolerate when come to the standard of food products.

The EU nations are known to very strict in enforcing all the health conditions before accepting any import. This goes to show that our seafood exporters have neglected the basic hygiene, storage and transportation of seafood after inspection and auditing by EU. Malaysia seafood exporters should not take for granted that once they are accepted by EU, they will remain so forever.

I hope this frozen seafood which will not be exported will not be dumped into Malaysia market for local consumption. This will be grossly unfair to Malaysian that what is not suitable for EU nations are suitable for Rakyat Malaysia. This reminds me that Johor, which is exports vegetable, chicken, eggs and fruits to Singapore almost daily which valued about RM300 to 400million per year. The Singapore government is equally stringent on the control of pesticide and bacterial contamination on our products. When the products are rejected by the Singapore Government, the Johor State Agriculture and Health Departments has to ensure this product will not be dumped in Johor market. Some years ago, there was some controversy when some of the exporters dumped their products in Johor and were subsequently exposed.

In short, enforcement agency of Malaysia must ensure that what is not good for consumption by others is also not good to Malaysian.

------------------------------------


大马的冷冻海产因不符合特定的卫生条例,被禁止出口至欧盟。为了避免永远被欧盟除名,政府自愿向欧盟卫生及消费保护单位提出除名。虽然只是暂缓之策,但仍不免让我对此事的发生和演变感到难过。冷冻海产出口是我国一大出口项目之一,每年出口额约10亿令吉。我国育有丰富海产,本可为国家赚取丰厚的外汇,带动我国经济,但却因素质剧降被欧盟庞大市场拒于门外,实在可惜让人难过啊。

我任卫长期间,处理出口食品的安全卫生事务时曾和欧盟的卫生检察官接触,亲眼见证他们在进行任务和职责时的坚持和认真,对食品的卫生安全和品质绝不妥协。欧盟对进口的品质要求向来严格,我国的海产被禁,显示我们的海产出口商不符合最基本的卫生条例,包括储存和运输程序,以致无法通关。我国海产出口商必须紧记,今天获准进入欧盟市场的通关令并非永久准证,进口国每回都会以既定程序条例进行审核。

与此同时,我希望这些被打回国的冷冻海产不会被抛入本地的消费市场,这么做对本地消费者极不公平。有关海产若在食品卫生安全的前提下被鉴定不适合欧盟人民食用,也代表着不适合本地人民食用。远的不谈,我国南马大州――柔佛,就几乎每天出口新鲜蔬果、鸡肉和鸡蛋到新加坡。新加坡对食品安全的严格要求和欧盟不逞多让。当出口的食品被拒,柔州农业局和卫生局必将确保出口商无法把有关食品转售到本地市场。曾几何时,就有出口商把无法通关的食品售给本地消费者,被揭发后掀起很大的争议,引起人民强烈反弹。

关于食品卫生和安全如此重要的事项,对全球任何一个国家或民族,我们都必须一视同仁,希望我国的执法当局能确保本地消费者,也能食用高品质的食品,在执行任务时切记“他所不欲,勿施我民”。

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Another political drama

SAPP’s motion of no confidence against the Prime Minister is one from the high political drama. But it is unlikely to lead to a mass defection on Barisan Nasional’s partnership. SAPP has only 2 members of Parliament and 4 state assemblymen in Sabah. So pulling out of BN draws a lot of attention and it only serves to shake UMNO. But BN will be continuing in power.

In this context, a favorite question is why MCA not leaving BN?

MCA’s association with UMNO has a long history dating back to pre-independence. Through thick and thin MCA, MIC has been with UMNO. In the post 308 change political landscape, MCA has been often been accused as a running dog of UMNO. The younger generation has forgotten the early days of Malaya and the later days of Malaysia, It was through a close collaboration of MCA, MIC and UMNO that provided a solid foundation of 3 major races to work together. This formed the basis of the political and social stability in this country.

Unfortunately this is often been disregarded and dismissed by many younger generations that MCA like to live on the past glory and forget the future challenges. There is a tendency of taking for granted the social cohesion and stability which is in reality is fragile. MCA leaving BN is a big issue that needs detail deliberation. When we leave the government and the cabinet, who looks after the Chinese interest? Will PAS, DAP or PKR who has no representation in the cabinet be able to do so? It is often easier said than done.

While we may not be performing up to the expectation of the Chinese but this crucial role should not be taken lightly. I have the opportunity to serve at the state cabinet as EXCO for 3 terms and Federal Cabinet Minister nearly 1 term, my concern is if MCA leave BN, can MCA stand alone? Even DAP found it difficult and has to join forces with PAS and PKR.

I have said many times, can we trust PAS? Work with the devil you know than the devil you don’t know. Until we are clear and sure the long term objective of PAS, we will not, and should not be comfortable sleeping with PAS. Not many people are aware that PAS has the biggest organization, better resources and more members than PKR which very Anwar centric. Until then, MCA will still remains with BN and together we weather the storm.

In the post 308 we have seen the likely emergence of the 2 party systems in this country. In the long term its good for the Rakyat. However, if everybody condemn and desert BN, again we are left with one party system, the PKR. So don’t be too euphoric. While BN may have messed up and not performed to the expectation, PR is still untested. Choose the partner that you know with all its defects and deficiencies, or a partner who is untested and of unknown quality? Be rational in our thinking and not be too emotional. We may be jumping from the frying pan into the fire.
---------------------------------------
沙巴进步党欲通过动议投不信认票倒伐首相,这可是大马政史上的一大政治剧。 尽管该党来势汹汹,但要致使国阵严重分裂似乎不太可能。现有2名国会议员和4名州议员的沙巴进步党若决定要退出国阵,确实将激起层层涟漪,引来全国瞩目,但最终或只能撼动巫统,不至于击跨国阵,国阵还是会继续稳坐中央。

沙进步党的举动,自然而然促使民众对国阵其他成员党的去留表示关注。那为何马华不脱离国阵?

马华和巫统的结盟始于独立前时代。从携手抗敌到共谋独立,马华、印度国大党和巫统不避艰险、共同赴汤蹈火。但自308政治版图大变脸以来,马华一直被指盲从巫统,俗称为巫统的“走狗”,这项指责不公也不对。新生代渐渐忘了,早前的马来亚和现在的马来西亚的建立和存在,是这个联盟紧密合作所达致的成果。通过马华、印度国大党和巫统的领导和带动,我国三大种族方能在牢固的基础上共同合作,并为我国的政治和社会稳定立下根基。

不幸的,政党在建国史上的努力和付出并未确确实实受到新生代的重视和理解。部分新生代以为马华只沉醉于昔日的荣耀而忘记了未来的使命和挑战。不难发觉,有者趋于视我国当前的社会凝聚力和稳定为当然,事实上他们无法看清,这股凝聚力是脆弱的。马华是否应该退出国阵是个大课题,需要深思熟虑。若马华脱离国阵,在中央政府内,谁照顾华社的利益呢?没有中央政府代表的公正党、行动党和回教党可以做到吗?(我这么一说,肯定再度招致部落客抨击)但这是事实。很多时候,不在其位焉知其政?

我们能相信回教党吗?所谓明枪易挡,暗箭难防,除非我们对回教党的理念、长期和终极目标了如指掌,否则不该轻易和此陌生的政党“共眠”。目前,马华仍坚持与国阵相守,同舟共济。不说不知,许多人还不了解,若媲比以安华为本的公正党,回教党其实拥有更多资源、更多党员和更完善的组织架构。

308以后,我们喜见两党制雏形的诞生,长远而言,这对人民有利无弊。不过,若所有人都一味言谴国阵、遗弃国阵,失去人民支持的国阵将无立足之地。届时,我国的政治格局将打回原形,换由安华独大的公正党领导国家。因此,人民不应过于开心而忘形。

观察员无不排除部分国阵成员党将跳槽民联。国阵的表现虽未达致人民期望,但人民联盟和其成员党是否经得起考验,仍是个未知数。一个你已熟知其本性包括缺点的伙伴,及一个未经考验未知质量的陌生人,该选择哪个为盟友呢?我们必须理性思考,万不能因个人得失而感情用事,以免误下判断,因小失大。

Questioning PAS’s motive

I must congratulate and support the Sultan of Selangor for coming down hard on the state PAS Youth who protested against 2 artistes performing at the Selangor Cup matches between Selangor and Singapore. This is one example where ruler still has the role to play in a democratic society which is a multi-racial country. Nobody including PAS can impose Islamic value and others social values on other races. I hope it would serves as a warning to other Muslim leader not only from PAS but including UMNO who wanted to impose their Muslim value on other races.

Of course from this incident, as I have always said we should always be suspicious of the PAS leaders because even at the state level where they have no control over the Federal Government but are eagerly imposing their Islamic value to everyone, what’s more if PAS becomes the government at the Federal level?

So we hope the non Muslim should wake up to the political reality that we faced when PAS really comes into power at the Federal level.
----------------------------------------
雪州回青团抗议2名女艺人在雪兰莪苏丹杯赛前表演,让雪州苏丹大发雷霆,更严厉申斥回青团的举动。我非常感谢和支持苏丹的回应。这起事件,证明在大马这个民主之国,各州统治者仍有一定的要角,雪州苏丹的反应也体现他对多元种族社会的认可和肯定, 而且绝不允许任何一方面包括回教党,对其他族群实施回教教义,或有违该族群本质的其他社会价值。我希望我国所有的回教徒领袖,包括回教党和巫统能引此为鉴。

我说过,回教党的言论不能尽信。这件事进一步让我们省思,回教党领袖真正的目的和居心。瞧,在这个非由回教党掌政的州属,回教党领袖也肆无忌惮,欲对州内全体人民实施回教教义,若让该党执政中央,结果会怎样?

所以,我们不能忽视回教党的野心,所有非回教徒必须认清、面对这个现实,以免后悔莫及。

Fuel increase and inflation


Talking about the increase of oil prices, it is an unpopular move by the government, more so with the sudden steep increase that cut across and affects everybody. I’ve always said that the BN government should do more to help the poor and the service industries. If the BN government is unable to control inflation, then I am sure it is difficult to be able to get the support of the rakyat. It is a difficult job trying to control inflation. There are many forces at play outside of the control of the government. Meanwhile, the PR leaders will continue to play on these dissatisfactions without offering any concrete proposal. Not to increase the price of oil is not the solution in the long term

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

MCA MPs crossing over? Very unlikely!

With regard to Anwar’s comment that MCA MPs crossing over to PR, I think Anwar is behaving in his usual self. He’s trying to pull a fast one and he is bluffing. Reason is simple, there are only 15 MPs in MCA, 10 of them have position in the government, 4 as Ministers and 6 as deputy minister and it is unlikely that any of these with government position would defect to PR. The remaining 5 MPs from MCA who are backbencher includes the President, the vice President Dr. Fong, my son Chua Tee Yong and 2 other senior MCA MPs, and the 5 backbenchers are unlikely to defect to PR. Imagine the President of MCA crossing over to PR, which is unlikely, very, very unlikely.

Anwar has been feeding the rumour mile of BN MPs crossing over to PR. If this occurs, it will be unlikely to be from MPs in Peninsular Malaysia. If there is, it is very likely (with due respect to Sabah and Sarawak) to be from the smaller coalition partners of BN in Sabah and Sarawak.

As for me, I have been with MCA for nearly 30 years. There is no reason for me to crossover to PR. I feel that PR which is a marriage of 3 political parties is able to be together, basically because of Anwar Ibrahim. Any form of cooperation, especially in a multiracial country which is dependent on one person is a very dangerous form of cooperation.

We have not seen the real PAS with its Islamic agenda. Personally, I am suspicious of PAS leader. I feel that they are not talking about the Islamic agenda because they know it will be a waste of time since they are not in control of the federal government. Any changes that can be done at the state level is more likely to be cosmetic, unlikely to be substantial and it will only drive away the non Muslim from supporting PAS and PR. PAS, which has a bigger organization, more resources and also with better experience in running the state government is not foolish to talk about Islamic agenda openly until they are ready to do so when they are in the federal government.

What a weekend!


Last week, it was a busy weekend for me. I started the day at 8.00a.m. officiating the charity run, organized by the INTI international University in collaboration with the ROLF blue ribbon campaign. I was surprised by the good turn-up with more than 1000 people. I was given the opportunity to give away the prizes and also the presentation of the mock cheque to the Malaysian Pediatric Association. Basically, this run is organized by ROLF which is a charity organization with specific theme and campaign every year. This year, it’s called the Blue Ribbon Campaign whose main focus is to raise money so that they will be able to provide funding to childhood cancer and hopefully campaign like this would also help to raise not only money, but also the awareness of childhood cancer in this country.

Childhood cancer is in fact an important cause of cancer and often it is one of the leading causes of death among children. Unfortunately, like other developing country, childhood cancer is often detected late and treatment is often at a very late stage. In most cases, it look like a death sentence once the diagnosis is made. This should not be because with modern therapy, most childhood cancer have fairly good prognosis if they are detected earlier. Often, parents are in the state of denial when the childhood cancer is diagnosed. Often, they think that why should their young kid come down with cancer and they tend to associate cancer with the adult and often they will go shopping for doctors in order that the diagnosis may not be cancer and because of this delay and denial and unwillingness to subject the child to further treatment that cancer in children are detected late in this country and the prognosis are bad. So, campaign like the Blue Ribbon Campaign will help to instill people that childhood cancer does occur and every year in Malaysia, it affects about 1500 children. As I’ve said earlier, it can be treated if it is detected earlier but more can be done especially in the schools. Treatment is affordable in this country because it is heavily subsidized by the government. The Ministry of Health hospital treatment for childhood cancer for school children will be free. For those who are not school children, the maximum charges will not be more than RM500. Compared to the private centre, childhood cancer treatment can be very expensive and can reach up to about RM100, 000 – 200, 000. In fact, there’s a need for funding by the private sector for those who for some reasons because of backlog of cases in the hospital have opted out to receive treatment in the private sector. I am glad that I have been associated with this movement in the last 2 years.

At night I was in Batu Pahat to raise fund for Sichuan earthquake victims in Batu Pahat. It was quite an innovative way of raising fund through basketball involving Singapore Broadcasting artistes and also Malaysian artistes. I am not surprise that Singapore artistes seriously received a more enthusiastic applause and response from Malaysian crowd in the stadium in BP. The stadium can accommodate 4000 people was fairly packed and I was told by the organizer that they raised about RM300, 000. Congratulations for the good work done.

The next morning on Sunday, I officiated a fund raising ceremony for the Cheng Siew Chinese primary school. The fund raising was basically to kick off a series of fundraising by the board and PIBG of Cheng Siew in order that they can collect enough money of RM3-4 million to build 42 new classes and also a new canteen. Of course, to raise fund for Chinese schools has always been part of the work of MCA leaders. In fact, most MCA leaders and elected representatives spend at least 30 percent of their time attending Chinese school functions, including collecting money for school development. This has also been a sore point among Chinese that the government has not been fair in dispersing money to Chinese schools because under the Education Act, most of the land of Chinese schools that belong to the school board are not entitled to full funding when it comes to development. Any form of funding that is required is always very dependent on the hard work of the PIBG, the school board and the generous contribution from the Chinese community. This has always been a sore point for the Chinese educationists and this is also a point that causes the lost of confidence and votes to MCA and BN government. There is a need to find a better solution to funding and since there is a 5 year development plan every year in our country, the needs of the Chinese schools even where the land belongs to the board (bantuan modal school) should also be entitled to a more fair and democratic way of funding from the government and this should be done in a more transparent way so that the school funding will not be too dependent on contribution from Chinese community and also from who you know especially through political connection, then only can they get some funding from the ministry of education. Often, these funding would be announced just before the general election. This is often regarded as distributing sweets or goodies to the community and has been counter productive and some Chinese has regarded this as an insult to the community that the government is only keen to help Chinese school when election is nearby in the hope that because of the funding, Chinese vote will go to BN.

MCA should now advocate that since the Chinese education is part of the main stream of education and education is democratic rights of every citizen and that education freedom is enshrined in the constitution, the time has come for the government to be more fair and democratic in distributing funding to Chinese schools and that they should not be waiting until near election or visits by some ministers before the election and announcing the funding. This I am sure would help to restore a lot of confidence in BN government. Meanwhile, the Pakatan Rakyat government has been saying things which the Chinese like to hear about Chinese schools, but till this date, they have not done anything significant or to show what they said been translated into policy.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Trimming the government’s fat/ 替政府“瘦身”

Because of the rising fuel price, the government needs to balance its budget so as not to affect the credit rating of Malaysia at the international market. From the cost cutting announcement made by the PM, we save about RM2 billion per year. Our operating budget is about RM128.8 billion and development is about RM48.1 billion per year. So, the RM2 billion cut is insignificant. The 10% cut in Minister’s allowance is just symbolic.

Malaysia has this culture that when there is a function, a lot of expenditure are incurred on trivial things in order to make it a big splash. There is a lot of wastage on food and souvenirs. Even at the state level, the same sin is committed. There is one Ministry where every weekend, there are seminars throughout the whole country and this are often held in 5 star hotels and if there are non in the town, they will seek the best hotel in town. Another favourite outing for Ministry’s staffs is brainstorming. When I was the Minister, I prohibited brainstorming sessions to be held outside KL since brainstorming requires your brain rather than facilities of hotels. At that time, I even prevented functions to be held in hotel unless the crowd is big and international. A lot of ministry staffs like to hold functions in the hotel, away from Putrajaya because there are less work and more claim for mileage if its more than 30km from Putrajaya. This expenditure can be very substantial in any ministries. I see no reason why the government is worried that if less function is held in hotel, it will affect their bottom line. Hotels should be dependant on their in house guest rather than to be dependant on government’s function. There is over provision of food and tea break. We should copy from China. I had the opportunity of attending a number of conferences in China where the breakfast, tea break, lunch and dinner during function and meeting are simple. Why must we spend RM200 for food per day per person? If the government start throwing out all these unnecessary frails of the daily operating expenditure, we save well over more than RM2 billion a year.

We are famous for building the longest cake, the longest flag, longest popiah, a lot of forms but no value added component. Malaysia should condemn ministers and ministries in undertaking such program at this time of cost cutting. We spend a lot on gimmicks. Some gimmicks needs expenditure of RM150, 000 – RM200, 000. Why do we need a gimmick? It is the content of seminar that is more important. Having cultural performance as part of entertainment should also be toned down.

All these efforts would save the government billions every year. Look at how Singapore conducts its official ceremony, including international ceremonies!
---------------------------------
由于油价不断攀升,政府需要平衡预算以免影响我国在国际市场的信贷评估等级。据首相说,我们一年可省下20亿令吉开销。我们每年的行政开销约1千288亿令吉,而发展开销约481亿令吉。因此,撙节省下的20亿令吉是微不足道的,而削减部长10%的应酬津贴更只是个象征意义。
马来西亚有一种文化,就是在举办活动时,耗掉大笔经费在旁支末节的东西以使活动显得声势十足,尤其是在食物和纪念品更是铺张浪费。即使在州级的活动,也有同样陋习。有个政府部门,每个周末都要在国内举行研讨会,地点往往都选择在五星级酒店里。如果不是在城市地区,他们也都会挑当地最好的酒店。部门员工另一项出差的最爱,就是脑力激荡会议。
当我还是部长时,我不准在吉隆坡以外的地区举办脑力激荡会议。因为要集思广益,需要的是你的大脑,而不是酒店的设施。那段期间里,我甚至拒绝在酒店里办活动,除非是出席者众多的大型或国际活动。很多部门的职员喜欢在酒店和在布城以外地区举办活动,不仅工作量少,也可以报销更多里数。因为只要超过布城范围30公里就可报销里数。这些开销对任何一个部门而言,都将十分可观。我想不通为何政府要担心,一旦减少在酒店举办官方活动将会影响他们的业绩。因为,酒店的业绩应仰赖他们的房客而不是依赖官方活动。另外,官方活动也过量供应食物和茶点,这一点我们应以中国为借鉴。我曾有机会在中国出席一些会议,在活动和会议期间供应的早餐、茶点、午餐和晚餐都很简单。
为什么要我们花费每人每天200令吉的膳食费?如果政府开始摒弃日常运作开销中不必要的支出,我们每年撙节的将超过20亿令吉。我们出名在打造最长的蛋糕,最长的国旗,最长的春卷和各型各类没有附加价值的东西。在削减开支之际,凡有部长或部门仍在推动这类活动,都应遭受弹劾。我们花了很多钱在搞噱头,一些噱头需要耗费15万至20万令吉。我们为什么需要搞这些噱头?因为研讨会的内容才是重点,而作为娱乐一部分的文化表演也应减少。通过这些努力,政府每年可节省数十亿令吉,因此不妨参考新加坡官方活动如何进行仪式,包括了国际活动!

Civil Servant working part time

We have a bloated civil service with about 1.1 million people, including the army and police. When we started privatization, one of the main reasons was to trim the civil servants. At that that time about 20 years ago, with the labour workforce about 8 million and 1 million of civil servants, we are talking about in every 8 workers, there is 1 civil servant. After many privatization exercises, Telekom, TNB and etc, the number of civil servant was cut down to its original level of about 800, 000. Last year, civil servants were given about a 35% increase in salary. As far as I know, there was no such increase in salary in private sector.

The poor government delivery system is also one of the causes of the failure of BN government to fulfill its promises. The workers in local authorities can be regarded as mother of all inefficiency since they are the one that comes into contact with the rakyat, and with the growth of inefficiency, indifference and corruption, it has also become the cause of friction between the local residents and government agency. Since local authority comes directly under the state government, any federal government initiatives seem to be going no where. It is also a well known fact that part of these inefficiency and indifference among the local authority workers is that a lot of them are engaged in part-time work which unfortunately become full time. A lot of them end up as hawkers, taxi drivers, some working in restaurants and since they are from local authority, even if they are illegally operating, the enforcement officer will also close one eye and this forms another source of dissatisfaction of rakyat when it comes to enforcement by local authority. If the government allows civil servants to work part time officially, I’m afraid there will definitely be abuse, productivity affected and commitment to job lacking. Imagine government servants from enforcement units are allowed to work in private sector.

When it comes to combating inflation, it’s not just the pay. It is the lifestyle that is important. Go to any golf club, including in the smaller town, it is not uncommon to find that the early golfers are government servants. While I am not saying that government servant should not play golf, they should not be there during office hours to indulge in expensive batting and also possessing fanciful and expensive golf set and attire. Government should impress government servants that they should cut their clothes according to their size. No amount of increase of salary or supplementary income will be able to cope up with the rate of inflation unless we change our lifestyle. If you go for lunch in any hotels (not a cheap way of lunch), you will bump into mid level government officers, enjoying lunch.

Government should not encourage their own workers to work part time. What happened if the private sector also allows their workers to work part-time after office hours? There are a lot of qualified and skilled woman who are not working because of rather rigid working hours. We should encourage flexi working hours, especially in private sectors because this will encourage those presently unemployed to work. This I’m sure will supplement the income of a lot of family. Only 45% of Malaysia women are working compared to developed country that runs from 70-80% because of availability of flexi hours of employment. I’m sure this will help to reduce foreign workers.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

文告:3人小组事件成历史,马华要关注经济课题 The Result of Snoop Squad Investigation is Much Expected

11-6-08文告

(吉隆坡11日讯)马华前副总会长拿督斯里蔡细历医生说,马华秘密三人小组的调查结果乃预料中事。

他说,他并未对马华3人独立调查委员会的调查报告感到惊讶,因为这是许多党员,包括他自己所预料的结果。

不过,他认为,尽管调查已有结果,但该报告仍然无法厘清郑安泉在有关指控中所扮演的角色,他的举动和角色引起种种猜疑,对党员来说这些争议至今还是个谜。

蔡细历今日针对马华秘密三人小组的调查报告,在文告中发表他的看法。

他强调,随着调查结束,他认为有关事件已经告一段落。如今,马华应该更加关注对人民有切身影响的经济大课题,例如涨价、通膨、贫穷等。

他认为,目前,马华党员和华社迫切关注的问题是燃油价格持续上涨、国际粮食短缺所带来的连锁经济效应,这包括通货膨胀、成本飙升、百物涨价、消费市场疲弱等趋势,是否会使国家的经济减缓。

“燃油涨价后国能率先调高电费,我也接获投诉指液化石油气(Liquefied Petroleum Gas )亦涨了120%。我国的工业多依靠液化石油气发动电流操作,这表示工业的生产和营运成本将至少增加5至20%。”

他说,工业成本加重,不排除一些领域会采取裁员的节流政策,这无疑让人民的艰巨生活雪上加霜。人民甚至会担心上述趋势会否迫使另一轮的经济风暴提前到来。”

因此,蔡细历认为,马华当前应该着重讨论上述经济课题,集中更多精力和资源来协助政府和人民渡过艰辛。


The finding of the investigation is as much as I expected. I attended the hearing session as I was asked to, otherwise I would have given it a miss. To me, I’m sure most MCA members and Chinese community will agree with me that there are more pressing issues confronting MCA, than whether the snoop squad exists.

The fuel increase and the subsequent increase in electric tariff will ultimately lead to increase in cost of production and inflation. I’ve just received complaints that Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) price has gone up by 120%. Labour intensive industries that consume a lot of electricity based on LPG would have their cost of production increased by 5-20 percent depending on the nature of industry. This will definitely cause the industry to lose money. We may expect that there will be some slow down and retrenchment. To me, these are more important issues that MCA need to address and if MCA continues to harp on snoop squad issue, people will be sick of us and eventually abandon us.

文告:加速落实综合公共交通系统

10-6-08文告

(吉隆坡10日讯)马华前副总会长拿督斯里蔡细历医生促请政府在主要繁忙城市加速落实综合公共交通系统,以提高公共交通使用率来减缓涨价对人民带来的冲击。

他说,政府已减少燃油补贴,国内的燃油价格因此节节上升。政府是时候认真地全面规划和实行综合公共交通系统。在巴生谷、槟城以及新山这几个主要繁忙城市,建立完善的综合公共交通系统应列为首要发展计划,然后再扩展到芙蓉、怡保、亚庇和古晋。

蔡细历今天发表文告说,我国有许多大规模的基建发展,惟却没有完整的公共交通系统建设计划,往往出现问题都只采纳暂时或临时性的应对方案。

他指出,人民不积极响应使用公共交通的主要原因,是缺乏一体化的火车、巴士和德士综合站,即经常面对须转几趟车、无法直接到达目的地,过程麻烦耗时,车资也不便宜,因此无法鼓励和说服更多人民减少依赖私家车。

针对政府实施的现金回扣政策,蔡细历认为,2千cc以下汽车的625令吉现金回扣相等于每月52令吉“补贴”,其实对车主的帮助并不大。另外,2千500cc以上汽车不应该享有路税折扣,因为他们都是有购车能力的一群。

“在公共交通系统达到令人满意的水平之前,政府应考虑降低2千cc以下汽车的路税以及汽车入口税。不过,要让低收入人民受惠,政府应该鉴定真正贫困的人民,以现金补贴来协助他们面对涨价和通膨的后遗症。”

“更重要的是,政府应透明化处理所有税收,将部分的税收用来发展基建设施和建立综合公共交通系统。”

另一方面,蔡细历也呼吁政府检讨和修改现有的德士执照分发和营运系统。

他说,例如在机场德士营运被垄断。一般上,德士执照只发给那些有政治联系的土著人士。一些人获颁执照后将执照外租,以致衍生更多问题。心里的积怨加上受到不公的待遇,致使许多德士经营者反政府的情绪油然而生。

“因此,政府需要纠正有关偏差,根据燃油涨幅调整及实行较合理的执照收费,并严厉执法对付破坏系统的害群之马。”

他声明,中央政府处理通膨和公共交通系统课题的表现,也将决定首相和国阵未来的命运。若无法平息民怨,则加剧人民对国阵政府的不满。

Monday, June 9, 2008

Public Transportation System: Urgent Need to Improve Efficiency/ 提升公共交通系统乃当务之急

鉴于政府已减少燃油补贴,燃油价格自然上升。为减缓涨价对人民带来的冲击,政府是时候认真地全面规划和实行综合公共交通系统,尤其在巴生谷、槟城以及新山几个主要城市,建立完善的综合公共交通系统应列为首要发展计划,然后再扩展到芙蓉、怡保、亚庇和古晋。

马来西亚的公路系统向来被全世界公认为最完善、四通八达,这项美誉让我们自豪不已。不过,我国却也是建有最多大道收费站的国家。我国有许多大规模的基建发展,却没有完整的公共交通系统建设计划,往往只是暂时或临时性的方案。现有公共交通的联运系统还不理想,无法鼓励更多人民使用,而公共交通的收费也不便宜。

由于公共交通系统不完善,加上缺乏一体化的火车、巴士和德士综合站,无法为搭客提供便利,他们唯有自行开车。这也是为何许多人尝试以公共交通取代私家车,但都无法如愿。数年前,一项国际调查评定吉隆坡的交通系统比曼谷还糟,而我们却以大马的公路系统超棒、大马在东协有最高拥车率等理由,继续地自欺欺人。
随着燃油价格飙升,对通勤者而言,公共交通系统和设施已成为经济和社会问题。除非政府能改善巴生谷地区的交通系统,否则这将成为民联政府热炒的课题。
除此之外,交通系统的不足也为巴生谷的德士业者带来许多问题。例如在机场,德士营运被垄断。一般上,德士执照只发给那些有政治联系的土著人士。一些执照持有人外租德士执照,以致衍生更多问题。心里的不满和不公的待遇致使许多德士经营者反政府的情绪油然而生。
因此,有关当局应该修改德士执照批发系统,根据燃油涨幅调整及实行较合理的执照收费,并严厉执法对付破坏系统的害群之马。否则,将无法平息公众人士包括德士业者的不满。
---------------------------------------
Now that the government has partially removed the fuel subsidy, it should now move forward to develop an integrated public transportation system. This should be the number one and top most priority in the major towns in Klang Valley, Penang and JB and subsequently expanding to other cities and towns like Seremban, Ipoh, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching.

While we pride ourselves that we have one of the best road systems in the world, we also have the most toll highways. While there is massive infrastructure development, there is very little development on public transportation system and this is done on a very ad-hoc basis. Besides, there is very little integration of the transport system which deters the public from using the public transport. The fare for public transportation system itself is not cheap either.

Because of the inconveniences that the commuter has to go through and the poor integration of the rail, bus ad taxi, the commuter has no choice but to opt for their own transports. An international study conducted a few years ago had rated the KL transport system as worst than Bangkok, while we continue to convince ourselves that we have a good road system and have the highest number of car ownership in ASEAN.

With the escalating fuel cost, lack of public transportation system has become an economic and social problem to average commuters. Unless the government can improve the transportation system in Klang valley, it will continue to be the hot issues for the Pakatan Rakyat.

Apart from that, the taxis in Klang valley are also facing problem as the result of this poor transportation system. At the airports, there is absolute monopoly of taxis and taxi touts are the first person to greet you when you step out of KLIA. Welcome to Malaysia and be prepared to be cheated by the touts. Taxi permit is given to politically connected people and remains in the domain of the bumiputra. To aggravate the situation, the taxi permit holders outsource their permit for a fee. The taxi operators are left with no choice but to be anti-government and at times to be unscrupulous in order to make ends meet. A revamp of the taxi system from award of taxi permit to a more reasonable taxi fare to reflect the current fuel hike should be introduced and enforcement needs to be stepped up. Until then, public dissatisfaction towards the government will continue to grow.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Local councilors in PR-controlled states

Both the Pakatan Rakyat state government in Perak and Selangor have not finalized the appointment of local authority councillors. No major decisions have been made by the local authorities since 308 election. I hope that they are not fighting over allocations of councillors among the component parties.

Other than highlighting the weaknesses of previous state administrator and some minor popular policies, I’ve not seen any significant major policy changes or improvement by PR state government. PR must remember that they are now the ruling party in the state and they should execute policies that are of benefit to the rakyat rather than just criticizing over issues by the previous administrator and doing nothing about it. Therefore, they should appoint local councillors as soon as possible to avoid delays to the solve rakyat’s problem.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Impact of Petrol Price Increase/ 燃油涨价:政府须正视人民的诉求

国际石油价格不断暴涨,自去年5月以来涨幅高达100%。石油价格不断攀升,在经济市场掀起骨牌效应,百物涨价是必然的现象,无论是工业或住家用户都不能免受冲击。虽然油价调升是大势所趋,但让我感到失望的是,政府的燃油补贴政策却无法真正使低收入群受惠。我国近年来的油棕、橡胶等原产出口行情高涨,政府其实可以将这方面的收入用在各项大限度惠利民众的措施,缓和人民所承受的涨价压力。

去年的今天,石油价格涨至每桶60至70美元。今天,每桶石油已飙升至135美元。国际石油价格每涨一美元,作为原油出口国之一的大马每年就能赚取2亿5千万令吉。以这两年的石油行情来推算,国油公司应该大唱丰收,而政府应该拥有绝对足够的流动资源,为低收入民众实施现金补贴。

我国新燃油价格每公升从RM1.92仙调升至RM2.70(涨40%),虽然车主将享有625令吉现金回扣,但却微薄得很。如今国能已率先发出电费涨价的警告,面对种种的涨价负担,每年1千500令吉现金回扣才算合理。燃油涨价肯定牵一发动全身,生产、物运、销售成本水涨船高,两年前一碗粿条RM3.00,今天至少卖RM3.80或RM4.00。民怨已沸腾,在生活费指数沦为主要的政治课题以前,政府必须有所行动。人民接着将留意和观察政府如何应付通膨。若处理不当势必触怒全民,而在未来流失更多选票。

我一直认为大马政府增建过多和超支预算的基建设施。许多小学、中学和大学校舍、新诊所和医院规模庞大外观形同度假村,不切实际。政府冀建造宏伟建筑物来讨好人民,却忽略了服务的本质。以医药保健领域为例,医疗服务的素质才是致胜因素。这是为何在我担任卫长期间,没有接纳建议和批准增建新的中央医院。相反的,我把部门获得的拨款和资源用来提升和改善现有的医院及诊所基建、增设特定疾病护理中心如洗肾中心、增置必需仪器和医务人员培训。我认为,人民要的是高效和有素质的医疗服务,而非富丽堂皇的医院。因此,政府必须严正看待这项弊病,加以纠正以免平白浪费公帑。

我们寄望政府能落实更多新颖但实际、体恤民意的政策,以协助人民抗涨价和通膨冲击。
---------------------------------------------
The much awaited announcement has finally arrived. Petrol price at the international market have gone up by 100% since May last year. Everyone has to bite the bullet because of the increase of petrol and its impact on all industries and household. However, I’m disappointed that government’s subsidy to the lower income group is a bit too little to tie them over the increase cost of living. The government should be able to do more with the increased revenue from petroleum and export of other commodities – oil palm and rubber.

Last year at this time, petrol was hovering at about US$60 – 70 per barrel. Today, it has gone up to US$135 per barrel. For every US one dollar increase in oil at international market, Malaysia as an exporting country will get RM250 million per year. There should be a bumper profit for Petronas last year and this year and the government should be able to subsidize the lower income group in terms of cash. Presently, cash rebate of RM625 works out to be only about RM52 per month which is a pittance, considering that petrol price having gone up from RM1.92 per litre to RM2.70 (40%). A cash rebate of at least RM1500 per year would be a more appropriate figure since Malaysians have to face higher electricity tariff. With it, there is definitely increase in cost of production, cost of goods both essential and non essential will definitely go up. Two years ago, a bowl of kuay teow costs about RM3.00 but it has now increased to RM3.80/4.00.

So, the government needs to do more before the cost of living becomes a major political issue. Rakyat will be watching how government will tackle inflation. Failure to address this issue which hits all Malaysian and cost the government a lot of good will and votes from the rakyat. I always feel that the Malaysia government overbuilt and over budgeted on building of infrastructure. A lot of primary schools, secondary schools and universities, new clinics and hospitals look like resort. The government wants to impress the rakyat with imposing buildings, forgetting that in the case of healthcare, it is the quality of services that counts. This explained why during my tenure as a Minister, I would never consider building a new general hospital but maximize and make the best use of the limited resources to upgrade the existing healthcare facilities, equipments and trainings. Government must start somewhere to curb this wastage to avoid it becoming worse and more public fund goes to waste.

We can only hope that the government can come out with more innovative and caring policies and strategies to assist the rakyat that are affected by the increase of petrol price and inflation.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

National Service

National Service is a good program and one should not condemn it just because of some incidents including death. When you get a big number of 80000 people undergoing training, accidents and undesirable incidents are bound to occur. It is the people who run the program that should be made more sensitive, sensible and committed. I’ve met many trainees who vouched that they have no hesitation undergoing another training. For many young people, it is an experience leaving house for the first time and it is also an experience meeting and mixing with people from diverse background and races.

I fully agree that the quality of food can be very much improved and there is a need to cater to those who need special diet because of religion or medical condition. Apart from this, the commitment from camp commander will do a lot of good to elevate the suffering of these young trainees.

Related post: The Dilemma of National Service Training Program on 16/5/08

Role of MCA in scholarship

To be fair, not many people are aware of the role played by MCA in helping to secure more JPA scholarship for non-Malays in the Cabinet since 2000. Before 2000, every year, the number of scholarship given to non-Malays can be counted in one hand. This year, non-Malays have gone up to nearly 900. This progress has not been easy and often after the SPM and STPM result, MCA will monitor closely deserving students with good result whom should be given scholarship. Even individual cases were discussed in Cabinet.

Of course, one can argue that if selection has been fair, there is no need to involve the Cabinet to solve individual cases. In short, there have been tremendous improvement in fighting for scholarship but there are still rooms for improvement. The process of selection, especially interview should be made more transparent. Often, students with excellent academic result may not necessarily do well in interview and co-curricular activities, but it is important that the government should impress the rakyat that these 20 marks allocated for these 2 activities is not used as subtle ways to knock out deserving non-Malay students.
----------------------------
华社向来非常关注华裔领袖,尤其是马华公会如何处理影响华社的课题,而教育和奖学金是大家极之重视的两项课题。

平心而论,一直以来少之又少的人真正了解马华在争取和保留公共服务局予非土著奖学金名额方面,所扮演的角色以及所下的功夫。2000年之前,公共服务局每年颁予非土著的奖学金名额寥寥无几。今年,成功获得该奖学金的非土著生高达900人,这不是垂手既得的成果。

每每SPM和STPM考试成绩放榜,马华组织就开始留意和收集全国优秀生、奖学金申请者名单,并开设辅导管道提有关供升学的种种协助。马华甚至将优秀生落选奖学金的个案带入内阁会议讨论,确保应获颁奖学金的申请者能如愿以偿。

当然,您会认为,如果整个遴选机制是公平合理的,这些个案又何须惊动内阁?

奖学金机构的运作固有不足,我同意还有许多弊端极需纠正,不过,不能因机制的缺陷而否决了马华公会过去所做的努力。我曾经多次强调,政府机构奖学金的遴选程序,尤其是面试一环应该更透明化。一般上,品学兼优的学生不一定是个课外活动能手,也未必能在面试环节表现标青(据了解这是非土著生主要的考验)。但有关当局必须让人民相信,20%分数的面试评估是一项公正的遴选标准,而不是用来淘汰非土著申请者的杀手锏。

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Petrol price/ 早日敲定燃油价格以安民心

It’s good to hear that the Malaysia government will finally announce a new petrol price for foreigners. This decision has been long overdue. Meanwhile, I’m given to understand that many Singaporeans are hesitant to come into JB due to the new ruling. However, Singaporeans just have to accept the fact that they have to pay petrol at market prices while in Malaysia, just like what they do in Singapore. Any delay by the government in announcing their new fuel scheme will send a wrong message and affect the tourism, investment climate and economic activities in Malaysia, more so in the Iskandar Development Region. Hopefully, Datuk Shahrir Samad, coming from JB should understand this problem more than anyone else.

----------------------------------

政府即将宣布外国车辆的燃油价格,这是一项令人的鼓舞进展,也是新山和巴东勿杀居民引颈常盼的好消息。


自从贸消部宣布边境禁止外国车辆添油的措施,我了解到许多新加坡人不太愿意驾车到新山。新加坡人在国内是缴付随市场浮动的燃油价格,当他们身在大马,相信必也能接受同样事实。

因此,政府必须早日敲定燃油价格的津贴和价格,任何耽搁将传达错误讯息予新加坡人民,并打击新山的旅游和投资领域,尤其是依斯干达经济特区的投资活动。

贸消部长拿督沙里尔同样来自新山,他应该必任何人更了解这一点。

It's Datuk Dr Tan Kee Kwong Now/ 陈记光医生事件的省思

Tan Kee Kwong was my college mate in the Medical Faculty in the University of Malaya. A serious and honest worker, however a little poor in his interaction with grassroot members. He should have the right to serve if he thinks that he can contribute. The trouble with the partisan politics in this country is that often there is a clear demarcation of whether you are white or black. So either you’re with us or against us. This is aggravated by infighting within the party. So, if you have a fallout with the leadership, you’re often marginalized in your party unless you make a determined effort to continue to serve and don’t care a damn about what the leadership is trying to do to you.

Datuk Dr. Tan after the Gerakan’s party election felt marginalized and that he had no role to play within Gerakan and since he had a fairly good knowledge on land matters, why not tap into the knowledge by serving in a position set up by the Pakatan Rakyat government? Good luck and best wishes in his new undertakings.

The BN state governments should take a leaf from PR and also set up special committees to resolve long standing land issues, especially among squatters and leasehold landholders. This committee will give room for BN members who are keen to continue to serve.Oother committees which should look into at the state level for issues of transportation, temple development and recreational activities (playground, sports centre). For BN government, the tendency is to appoint EXCOs to such tasks.
They normally have a lot of work and often attended functions but less work is done. Therefore, it is crucial for BN to consider appointing appropriate people in ensuring that work is carried out efficiently so that talented people remain in BN to serve the rakyat.
-----------------------------------
拿督陈记光医生是继拿督李家全之后,第二位接受民联政府官委的民政党领袖。

陈记光医生是我大学医学系系友。他待人诚实、处事认真,唯一的不足是和基层党员缺乏互动。对于他接受雪州民联政府委为土地管理特别委员会主席职,我认为,如果他有能力和强烈意愿继续为社会贡献,他有权力接受这项官委。只是,我国的政治生态黑白分明,你我非友则敌, 而这种现象在党内更加明显。从政者如果与党领导层不咬弦,尽管你才高八斗、实力出众也难逃被边缘化的命运。

陈记光医生的情况而言,他自觉不被党领导层重视及被党边缘化。尽管他对土地事务了如指掌及具有广泛经验,但却英雄无用武之地。如今联盟州政府广招贤士,他觉得应该将其所长学以致用,继续效劳人民。当然,因为政党政党有别,难免会引起反弹。对于他的选择,我只有祝福他。

还说回头,国阵政府应该成立一个特别委员会,处理和解决悬而未决的土地问题,特别是违章建筑区和非永久地契(租赁地)课题。有关委员会可作为一个平台,让那些没有官职但有相关能力的国阵领袖/成员继续发挥所长,为民服务。

此外,国阵政府也可考虑加设个别委员会,处理州内的交通问题、庙宇发展、以及休闲活动(游乐场、体育中心)事务。国阵政府通常会将上述任务委派给各州行政议员负责,但州行政议员一方面官务缠身,又得出席许多节目,因此往往“事倍”功半。

我提出的委员会建议,至少让国阵阵营的贤才能士又发挥的空间,不仅能留住人才,也能辅助国阵政府,在周内更有效地针对地方课题给予协助。

Sunday, June 1, 2008

A reply to an email regarding NHFS

NHFS is a community based scheme and it’s not a privatized project or an insurance health scheme. The basic principle is that government will continue to subsidize healthcare but with the excess fund from those who can afford to pay for their healthcare used for other stuff. With the excess fund, it can be used to improve the environment, facilities, training and the service scheme of the health providers.

Unfortunately, when the overseas consultant who was appointed because the “EPU insisted on foreign consultants”, their report showed their total ignorance of the local healthcare system in the country and hence, the contract was terminated prematurely. Since then, I have no idea of the progress of the NHFS after I left the Ministry.

For the NHFS to be implemented, strong commitment and will is needed. First, it should not be profit oriented, the poor, the handicapped and the unemployed should remain the responsibility of the government. The pertinent question is where is the cut off point for people who can afford to pay. Second, to establish a complete data of the income of working Malaysians since there are a lot of people in this country who don't pay income tax although they are earning income that is taxable; and. Third, a system of rebates for people who contribute but never use the healthcare system of the government and last but not least, to establish an authority to supervise the scheme to prevent abuse.

Chronic Diseases/ 规范化检验防并发危机

I have read that patients with chronic disease like diabetes are to be outsourced to private doctors to reduce waiting time. It looks like a knee jeck reaction to the problem. About 30 percent of the patients in outpatient clinic in government hospital are hypertensive and diabetic. It cannot be denied that these 2 chronic diseases are badly managed.

Often the attending doctors after a very casual routine check of the patient will then prescribe medication by scrambling “repeat above”. Since there are chronic diseases affecting all major organs and with it complication, an important aspect is to be able to detect its complication at its initial stage. Unfortunately, this is often not done. Outsourcing private doctors will not solve this problem. Developing a standardized format in order for the symptoms and signs of this complication can be detected early, then nurses can be specially trained to handle these part of the job and presently. Some nurses in the hospital are pretty good at this except there are inadequate of nurses. I instructed that this format to be developed and special nurses be trained. As to its implementation, I have no idea after I have left. Nurses who are properly trained are often more efficient than the busy General Practitioner. Only when there are early signs and symptoms of complication, then it should be referred to a physician.
---------------------------------------
卫生部表示考虑将那些患有长期疾病或非急病患者送往私人诊所接受治疗,以缩短在医院就诊病人的候诊时间。

统计显示,医院门诊部的病人当中,约30%为糖尿病和高血压患者,无可否认的,这两组病人在医院所受到的对待并不太理想。通常,当病人到医院跟进治疗时,医生会为病人进行例常检查,然后一如既往般开药。

长期疾病或慢性疾病会影响人体的主要器官,并引发不同的并发症。因此,在病发初期及早发现或检测其并发症状时相当重要的。但病人和医生比例不成正比,医生无法应所有病人的需求一一执行。

因了解外包计划(outsource)并不能解决上述问题。因此,卫生部已制定一份规范化的并发症体检表格,由受训的护士为这些长期疾病病患进行检测。如果病人出现病发症状,则立即交由内科医生做进一步检验。此做法不但能协助和减轻医生的工作,更重要是可定时观察病人的病情,及早发现并发症状,减低病人出现并发感染得危机。
当然,执行前我们必须确保有足够的受训护士。在我离开卫生部以前,这项计划的研究和策划已将近完成,我也指示部门在各医院遴选和培训护士。至于何时会落实,我也非常关切。

Welcome to my Blog

As a concerned MCA member, I am trying my best to help in the process of rebuilding and repositioning of the party.

Therefore, I welcome party members and members of public to post your constructive suggestions and opinions on my blog on how to rebuild and reform the party, eventually enabling MCA to regain support from all party members and the community.


Thank you for your suggestions.