Landslides In Bukit Setiawangsa

On 28 December 2021, I met up with the Joint Residents Associations comprising of Persatuan Penduduk Jalan Bukit Setiawangsa 123456, Persatuan Penduduk Bukit Setiawangsa 7, Persatuan Penduduk Bukit Setiawangsa and Persatuan Penduduk Puncak Setiawangsa to discuss the landslide threats facing Bukit Setiawangsa.
The heavy rain on 18 December had exposed several slopes of Bukit Setiawangsa to landslides. This was the same site of the major landslide in Bukit Setiawangsa in 2012.
I visited the sites on 19 December and duly notified the Mayor and DBKL.
DBKL has confirmed that the landslide in Bukit Setiawangsa took place in their land and Kumpulan Ikram Sdn Bhd has been hired to prepare the report for DBKL latest by 4 January 2022 to begin repair and restoration works on the site.
At the same time, I inspected the site surrounding the Air Selangor Setiawangsa pond which raised a number of concerns. I am planning a site visit with JRA and Air Selangor.
With regards to the nearby development, I urge DBKL to take proactive steps to ensure that the developer complies with the most stringent conditions to protect the local community.
In addition, the Setiawangsa constituency experienced landslides in AU3 as well as Sri Rampai.
I hope the authorities will give the immediate attention to this matter to avoid any calamity. The residents of Puncak and Bukit Setiawangsa remember vividly what happened less than 10 years ago. With the abnormal weather patterns as climate change gets worse, we cannot proceed with a business as usual approach.
I would like to congratulate the Residents Associations in Bukit and Puncak Setiawangsa for coming together and taking a proactive approach for the betterment of the local community.

Utilising The Memorandum To Achieve Reform And Stability

KEADILAN and our Pakatan Harapan partners acceptance of the government’s Memorandum was driven by our concern for the rakyat particularly on the need for institutional reforms and overcoming the socio-economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government must now promptly and comprehensively undertake the reforms it has promised.

It must redouble its efforts to fight Covid-19 in an inclusive, science-drive fashion, revive the economy as well as the livelihoods of all impacted Malaysians and decisively abandon the failed policies of the past with a bigger economic intervention.

There must be no more excuses or delays given that the current administration has accepted the Memorandum as well.

Responsibility for its success or failure lies in the words and deeds of the Prime Minister and his government.

The Memorandum is by no means a free pass or a carte blanche for them to do what they like.

The Opposition will continue to remain vigilant in its role as a watchdog to the government and the guardian of the national interest.

For its part, KEADILAN and PH will continue to discharge our duty as an active Opposition. This is not a Unity Government. We cannot and will not hesitate to call out or vote in Parliament against any move that hurts the welfare of the rakyat.

For instance, we will closely scrutinise the upcoming 2022 Budget to ensure that it not only benefits the rakyat, but also that it implements the highest standards of good governance and transparency in all spending.

If the government wishes our support to pass the Budget, it must live up to the spirit of the Memorandum and comprehensively negotiate all aspects of it to the satisfaction of PH before tabling it in Parliament.

The negotiations must also be done with the maximum amount of transparency possible and also involve related stakeholders where appropriate.

The Memorandum is hence not an end or suspension of Malaysia’s democratic and political process but an act of patriotism for the national interest on the part of KEADILAN and PH.

This same spirit will drive us to ramp up our work as a check-and-balance to the government with the goal of ensuring the country’s recovery as well as the upliftment of the rakyat.


Bankers Pay Hikes And Bonuses During Covid-19

There has been much controversy lately over senior bank officers in Malaysia receiving pay hikes, bonuses and other incentives despite the Covid-19 pandemic and the socio-economic straits it has put our country in, including many rakyat experiencing pay cuts or losing their jobs.

It is not wrong for companies—including government-linked ones—to reward and incentivise their talent, even in times of economic difficulty or crisis.

The question we should be asking rather is whether these benefits are justifiable against the performance of these banks.

It is true most of them turned a healthy profit. But we must also not forget that Malaysia’s banking sector is highly regulated now.

Turning a profit is, logically, the bare minimum in terms of how we judge the “performance” of our bankers.

So, what did they do to deserve these magnificent sums?

Also, the fact that the banks were able to pay out benefits like bonuses is surely empirical proof that the 2020 MCO loan moratorium had a negligible impact on the profitability of the banks.

Indeed, the moratorium arguably also helped stave off a deluge of non-performing loans (NPL) from their balance sheets.

As such, it is very strange that the banks and the current administration, particularly the Ministry of Finance, was adamant that the blanket loan moratorium should have been ended.

Why end it if they could still pay out these bonuses?

Why not—especially for the GLC banks who also have a national mission—be more compassionate and not hurt the livelihoods of millions of the rakyat in the pursuit of additional marginal revenue, whose purpose seems to be to fund high bonuses for the selected few?

Again, these are questions that the Boards of these banks and the Ministry of Finance must answer.


Where Does The PM Stand In Rais Yatim’s Attack On Undi18?

The President of the Dewan Negara Tan Sri Rais Yatim has been spending his downtime scraping the bottom of the barrel to come up with frankly laughable excuses over why Malaysia’s voting age should not be lowered to 18.

The so-called “Undi 18” bill to amend the Constitution had been passed by both Houses of Parliament in 2019 via a bipartisan vote and gazetted, although the lowering of the voting age and automatic voter registration will reportedly only be implemented from July 2021.

In his latest broadside, Rais has claimed that the reforms are impractical because it supposedly will take up too much time and resources.

However, the Election Commission (EC) has stated that it is confident it will be able to carry out the processes involved. As such, Rais should not cast doubt or aspersions on the competence of the EC.

He should also realise that the bill that enabled the changes was passed virtually unanimously, including by members of his own party, particularly the MP who is currently the Prime Minister.

It is increasingly clear that Rais, for whatever reason, is simply against 18-year-olds having the vote and appears to be trying to build up a case for the government to not go along with it.

If so, he should have the decency to come out and say so and face the youth of Malaysia who he is attempting to disenfranchise. If he will not do so, he should respect the Constitution as well as the parliamentary process and cease his Quixotic attempts to undermine the lowering of the voting age.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (who as noted, voted for the amendment) should clarify where he stands on Rais’ attacks on the Undi 18 reforms. I also challenge him to commit to not call for elections until the automatic voter registration process is completed and 18-year-old Malaysians are eligible to vote.

I also note reports that as many as 6 states have yet to amend their state Constitutions to lower the voting age for their legislatures to 18.

This should be done as soon as possible to support the strengthening of democracy in Malaysia—and hence, yet another reason for the Prime Minister to expedite the lifting of the Emergency to facilitate this.

Young Malaysians, especially the 18-year-old cohort, should follow as well as judge the actions of these politicians very carefully, to question whether our country’s democracy is in safe hands and vote accordingly—when they are able to.


Federal Territory Day

Today, we celebrate Federal Territory Day. Today, we celebrate Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya—not only these very special cities but also the diverse, hardworking and virtuous people who make them come alive.
This year’s celebrations unfortunately take place during the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the on-going Movement Control Order (MCO) and Emergency.
The Prime Minister has spoken and in his remarks outlined the various initiatives his government has undertaken to assist the people of the Federal Territories.
Unfortunately, the fact is that his government’s inadequate, flip-flopping response to both the public health and socio-economic crises triggered by the pandemic has negated whatever good the initiatives he has introduced may do.
Indeed, the lives of Malaysians in the Federal Territories and other urban areas in key sectors—including employment, education, infrastructure, the environment and public safety—leave much to be desired, especially for the B40s and M40s.
The best “gift” the current government can give Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya this Federal Territory Day is to commit to work more closely with its elected MPs and civil society, to listen and implement the mountains of sensible advice given in good faith, including on how to bring the pandemic under control.
This cannot take place while Parliament is not sitting, nor when members of his administration seem determined to take an adversarial relationship with a great many of the FT MPs.
The voices of the people of the FT appear to be ignored, including the most vulnerable and disadvantaged such as the young, single parents, the homeless, mentally ill and migrant workers.
The FT needs change desperately. There is no use talking about all the aid given when the MCO—which has yet to show positive results despite several weeks—hurts livelihoods without helping to bring down the soaring infections. There is still time to reverse the perilous course we are still on.
In the longer term, self-governance ought to be returned to Kuala Lumpur, in the form of restoring local council elections in the city. The best way to ensure its continued development as a world-class city will be to allow Kuala Lumpur to be governed in the interest of its residents.
The recent Court of Appeal judgement in the Taman Rimba Kiara case is proof that the Federal Government does not always know best when it comes to the lives of our great cities.
In Setiawangsa, we have the Taman Tiara Titiwangsa case, where the residents have won at the Court of Appeal level.
The Federal Territories can definitely emerge as international hubs that draw people from all over the world. But it must first be able to take care of its own people—to keep them healthy, safe and employed and that requires real leadership that has the people at its heart.
Kuala Lumpur and the Federal Territories are special cities. And their people are special. With wisdom, cooperation and genuine leadership, there’s no reason why it will not be able to recover and eventually, thrive.

Notice Of Demand From Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan In Relation To Taman Tiara Titiwangsa

I received a Notice of Demand from Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (YWP) dated 4 December 2020 through their law firm, Shahul Hamidi & Haziq.

The Notice is with regards to a press conference held in Parliament on 18 November 2020, in response to the Report of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) entitled “Penjualan Tanah Milik Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL), Kementerian Wilayah Persekutuan (KWP)”.

Amongst other demands, YWP is requesting RM10 million as compensation for statements I made on the above matter.

In pages 19-20 of the Report, PAC concluded that the Federal Territories Minister and the Mayor of Kuala Lumpur are exposed in a potential position of conflict of interest. This is because by virtue of their posts as the Federal Territories Minister and the Mayor of Kuala Lumpur, they both automatically hold the positions of Chairperson and Trustee of YWP respectively.

The PAC proposed that YWP’s structure be looked into and that the entity be reconstituted as a statutory body for it to be accountable to the government.

The PAC Report was based on proceedings held in 2019, when YB Dato’ Dr Noraini Ahmad (Parit Sulong) was the Chair of PAC. She is currently Minister of Higher Education and UMNO Wanita Chief.

YWP has an ongoing project in my constituency in Taman Tiara Titiwangsa. I have worked with the Taman Tiara Titiwangsa Residents Association prior to the 2018 elections, which continued during the Pakatan Harapan era until today.

The residents have been opposing the project.

For the record, the residents have won the case on the project against DBKL at the High Court and Court of Appeal.

YWP has similarly issued notices to four other MPs YB Wong Kah Who (current PAC Chairperson and Ipoh Timur MP), YB Tan Kok Wai (Cheras), YB Hannah Yeoh (Segambut), YB Lim Lip Eng (Kepong) as well as myself for our press statements where we were merely commenting on conclusions and recommendations made on the PAC Report.

On 26 December 2020, our lawyer, Syahredzan Johan, replied to YWP’s lawyers.

Why has YWP not taken any action against other members of the PAC including Noraini Ahmad who is both a fellow Cabinet minister and UMNO leader like Federal Territories Minister and YWP Chairperson YB Tan Sri Annuar Musa?

I will not be intimidated by their action and will continue to exercise my duties as a legislator and stand up for my constituents.