Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Of Directorship, Peoples Reps, PKR-DAP, Penang Land Reclamation, Corruption, Similarities with BN, ALTERNATIVE 'Opposition'???

A lot of reactions and media reports about the 'sacking'  of PKR ADUNs from Penang GLCs (or government owned companies). Well, it raises some disturbing concerns about our Opposition(PAS-DAP-PKR, and maybe that new Amanah now), the 'alternative", and their practices. We are looking at the questionable deals about appointment of Directors in GLCs, the disturbing fact that peoples' representatives are being appointed Directors in Companies - which would impact their primary concern being the good of the people, environment, workers, unions, etc...how will they vote where the two interests are in conflict with one another - in favour of businesses or in favour of the people? Is it time for Malaysians to look at new alternatives, if this is sad state of the current Opposition? 

One may have accepted such conduct from the PKR, being composed of previous members of the Barisan Nasional(BN) parties, but DAP? The similarities with the BN are most disturbing. Elected peoples' reps, now being paid so much more, should and must be full-time 'wakil rakyats', and certainly not distracted with their other professional or business interests - and, if they cannot give us the required full-time commitment, they should just resign, or we should just elect those who can be so... These distractions affect them becoming the best 'peoples' rep' they can be....with quality, knowledge ...but alas, some of these reps and their parties seems to 'self-centred', and concerned more with 'positions', power and money? The best interest of the people especially the poor and marginalised, the environment, justice and human rights may continue to suffer unless there are changes in policies and practices...  


DIRECTORSHIP in government-linked companies given to politicians of ruling party, Members of  Parliament, State Assembly persons(ADUN),... is WRONG, in my opinion. Well, most Directors get allowances/payments (which could range from RM10k to even higher) - and what happens when a 'peoples' representative' gets appointed? Does he keep this money for himself - or does he hand it back to the government? 

Our elected representatives (MPs/ADUNs/Senators/etc) today gets paid well, and remember that it is the people who are paying their salary/allowances. They should be FULL TIME peoples' representatives - and, given the number of the constituents in the constituencies, the amount of work to be done in the Parliament/State Assemblies, etc

Peoples' representatives have to be paying attention to all aspects of the political, socio-economic, and cultural life of the community. They have be playing an effective  'check and balance' role - and all these means a lot of study, research, consultation/meetings with the people they represent...., they need to take up peoples' issues, they should be striving for improvement ...reformasi...etc. They need to be asking QUESTIONS and thereafter making known the answers they receive - especially those answers that do not get an oral answer and is not reported in the Hansard, and also answers to questions asked outside the Parliament/State Assembly...

Now, when it comes to the ruling coalition, some of these 'peoples representatives' are called to be Cabinet Members and State Excos - meaning that here to they have the additional responsibility of governing the state - they become the EXECUTIVE.


Now, the other 'peoples' representatives' of the ruling coalition, commonly called the 'Back Bencher's' club - have the serious job of keeping an eye on the EXECUTIVE - to ensure all is done justly and correctly. They monitor the government ...they point out the wrongs of the EXECUTIVE, they question...

BUT, if the State government makes them Directors in Government-Linked companies(GLC), can they still be free to be the 'checks and balance'?. [As it is, a GAG ORDER is allegedly placed on peoples' representative by their respective parties - that prevents them from publicly disagreeing with the leadership, even the Executive, publicly supporting an opposing view - which may be coming from an 'Opposition' peoples' representative or party, even if in their heart and mind they do agree OR even if their constituents are of the similar view... SAD but true - and we call this Democracy - 'Parliamentary Democracy' - The 'WHIP' should be abolished - what is disturbing is that both BN and the Opposition does the same. We call them peoples' reps - but in practice they are seem to more like their 'party reps'


Government appointed directors of GLCs and government-owned businesses - In my opinion, these must be best public officers from the relevant Ministries and/or Departments > and whatever monies that they get paid as Directors must flow back to the government, and not kept by them personally. This is logical as they are the people that is familiar with the said scope of business of the company - and have the necessary know-how.

If politicians, NOT elected resp, are to be appointed as Directors representing their parties - their function is primarily to make sure that there is no 'hanky panky' - but even then, there must be familiarity with the said business and business practice.


Best, if elected reps even from the ruling coalition are appointed to a Parliamentary/State Assembly  Oversight or 'Select Committee' tasked with overseeing the actions of such GLCs and government-owned companies. They will ensure that nothing wrong is to be done or done. They are the 'eyes and ears' of the people. They may even be handling inquiries and even hearings concerning the said company...and these proceedings should even be open to the public.


CORRUPTION? - Now, the appointment of select ADUNs/MPs as Directors can be perceived as 'corruption' or 'pay offs' to ensure no problems and/or queries in all matters, and total loyalty and silence even when the government(Executive) may be doing something that is wrong or against party policy. They become 'compromised' peoples' reps - why? because if they do their work as peoples' reps properly, they may end up being removed and lose all that 'additional money' and probably other influences in the company when it comes to awarding projects/contracts, etc > which could also be corruptible 'influences'.


DIRECTORS are responsible for the company, its operation, policy and businesses - and with businesses, the primary object is profit. When peoples' representatives are so influenced, will they even want to support necessary policies and legislations for the best interest of the people, the State, the environment - will they even speak up? Because, now their interest and concern is the well-being of the business and profits. More likely they will not support increased Minimum Wages, higher standard of working condition or even environmental protection, the policy that insist on regular employment, unionisation, abolition of the contractor for labour, etc - WHY? Directors primary concern is the wellbeing of the company and its profits...There is clearly a CONFLICT OF INTEREST with their being elected 'peoples' representatives - who now are also paid very well and enjoy good work benefits when it comes to medical/hospitalization benefits and even pension...

Political Parties may want a say in the Directors to be appointed, and even if the party wants to nominate someone - he/she must be familiar with the said business. A person who is not familiar, more likely than not would just be a 'seat warmer' giving no significant contributions to the business.


As such, one must really also consider whether governments should even own or be involved in business at all.  It tends to make a government pro-business, and as such their actions may no longer be for the best interest of the people, the environment, the workers and/or unions. In the face of injustice and human rights violation, when the people plea to the government - will they heed the cries of the people, or have they been compromised by their business concerns and interests? Pleas for justice and human rights may also not be entertained by the government. Two recent cases that comes to mind is the case of Government owned Malaysian Airlines(MAS and now MAB], and the GLC DRB Hicom. 


DIRECTORSHIPS - well, this also can lead to discrimination amongst the elected reps - Why should one be blessed with extra income, influence and power but not another? 

DIRECTORSHIP - well, what has happened in Penang recently is of interest, and so too the reaction of the PKR Deputy President? 


* Well,  two PKR assemblymen have been sacked as directors of Penang state government companies apparently because they and three others from PKR abstained in the state assembly on an opposition-sponsored motion to halt land reclamation projects off the island. Well, it was it was an Opposition(BN) motion, and the ruling coalition(DAP-PKR-PAS-Amanah) decided that all their ADUNs will vote against the motion - well, an indication that our peoples' reps are no more true peoples' free to vote as they want after taking into cnsideration all relevant matters, especially the peoples' veiw...

* Well, they were not 'suspended' from the State Legislative Assembly - but merely as 'Directors' in some GLCs - so, why is Azmin(PKR's Deputy President & Selangor MB) reacting in this way? Should not PKR be only concerned about matters in the State Legislative Assembly...Azmin is apparently not so concerned about 'whether land reclamation should stop or not?" - but rather is protesting the removal of PKR ADUNs from the Directorship in GLCs? 


Was there a deal/arrangement between PKR and DAP that so many of their ADUNs or party members will be appointed as Directors in government-owned and/or GLCs of Penang? This, in my opinion, is so wrong... Are these political parties and their candidates offering themselves as 'peoples' representative' candidates in General Elections for an additional selfish reason of making self-enrichment or enrichment opportunities for their political parties, when I believe they only concern should be being an effective and efficient peoples' representative - ADUN/MP? Well, I say, reject such people in the next General Elections - we want people who are there to be the peoples' representative - nothing else, and now we pay them also quite a lot in remunerations and additional allowances. 


My position( which I hope is a position that is shared also by most Malaysians) has been that they should be full-time 'wakil rakyat' - and they should not be still involved in any other businesses. If they still want to only spend just 'some time' being peoples' representative - but other times pursuing their professional careers and other business interests, then we do not need such people...We need only those who will be willing to be committed full-time, not part-timers] After all, being party members, they already spend a lot of time being involved in party matters - and, so when they are also involved in other 'side businesses' - when will they have the time to be good peoples' reps??


Azmin's and PKR's reaction is disappointing - let's compare with the amount of public reaction they had to the MAS issue, for the Bauxite issue, for the Minimum Wage issue, for the Lynas and Bukit Koman issue,... just Google it up, and we see sadly that some of these political parties in Malaysia have been sadly lacking - their concerns seem to be more about matters of self interest or party interest - not so much the people, the environment, workers, unions, etc... More concern must also be for marginalized groups, the poor, etc...

'Animal Farm' Phenomena - Slowly transforming into what you sought to replace...?

The concern now is whether the alternative Opposition, we hoped for, are slowly being transformed and becoming similar to the Barisan Nasional(BN) that Malaysians were hoping to remove and replace. This is more so since they managed to win and govern several State governments - Penang, Selangor, Kelantan, Perak(for a while), Trengganu(for a term) and Kedah(for a term). What happened in George Orwell's, 'Animal Farm' maybe also happening to the PKR-PAS-DAP(and now the new Amanah) Opposition coalition. For so long, as many people was of the position that they want something other than the BN, this Opposition reaped the benefit by gaining more votes, more seats and the chance to even govern Malaysia in the near future. But, given these disturbing 'similarities' with the BN coalition, they wanted to remove, one worry about the future of Malaysia.


I believe that the Opposition realises their predicament - that what they have is not real support of the people - but merely just a reaction arising from a desperate desire of Malaysians to have a change - an alternative that will be better. Looking just at the peaceful assemblies organized in recent times, it must be noted that it was not these Opposition parties that initiated or led, but it was really civil society groups and individuals that did. The Opposition, sensing the people's support for some of these campaigns, rather than be left out will come out with a statement of support asking their members to participate. Will these Opposition parties like PAS-DAP-PKR (or the new Amanah) be able to get as many people for programs they themselves initiate and organize? Even, if they were to organize a peaceful assembly calling for Anwar's release, will they get the public support? I doubt it. 

Whilst civil society takes the lead for 'free and fair elections', protests against the GST and TPPA, the failure of the Opposition to initiate and organize such protests of public concern is disturbing.


Now, the motion that caused this PKR-DAP problem was a motion calling for a halt land reclamation projects off the island. How did the Penang government deal with it? Was it 'I was elected in during the last elections, so I will decide what's best for the people? If people are unhappy, they can express themselves come next election'???. Did the Penang government give the people of Penang a say in the matter? 

REFERENDUM - that would have been good where the people of Penang will have the opportunity to vote on the question whether the reclamation be halted or not? Now, in a democratic countries like Switzerland, even for a bridge or road to be built, there will be a Referendum - and this, I believe, is more democratic. Penang 'alternative' government could have done this to see where the people stand on this issue.

Taking it just to the Parliament or State Assembly, debating and voting just does not work - more so when MPs/ADUNs have no real freedom of expression, opinion or even vote. Even if you abstain, and not object, you get penalized because you did do as you were told. 

What happened to the making of Malaysia more democratic? What about the democratic elections at the kampung/kampung barus/taman/ etc - and there is no law preventing the State government doing this? What happened to the Local Council Elections pledge - abandoned? Well, the PKR-DAP-PAS assured us after 2008, that 25% independent civil society persons will be appointed to local councils, well Selangor just dropped that to less than 2%. This measure, was an interim measures, until we all get to democratically chose and vote in our own Local Councillors. 


So, our political parties and politicians need to re-evaluate themselves and change - OR risk the wrath of the people. Good people also need step forward and offer themselves as candidates for elections. Sadly, after the Opposition started winning, many started joining not because of driving desire for public service, justice or human rights - but rather for some other 'wrong reasons'. 

The Opposition strategy of keeping all of us focused on the wrongdoings of the BN is good, but is it enough? People are not fools - they also see what you are doing...

See related posts:-

MPs and ADUNs should be FULL TIME peoples' representative ...

Malaysian MPs - Party or People's Representative? Abolish the WHIP?

51 kini menuntut DRB HICOM MENGHORMATI HAK RAKYAT UNTUK MENGAMBIL BAHAGIAN DALAM PROSES DEMOKRASI DI MALAYSIA – Hentikan tindakan disiplin terhadap pekerja kerana melaksanakan hak politik mereka

64 :- Repeal MAS Law That Suspends Or Deny Existing Worker And Trade Union Rights And Access To Justice – Laws that deny worker rights to assist businesses should never be enacted

67 Groups :- Government-Owned MAB, the new Malaysian Airlines Operator, Must Recognize Unions and Not Deny Freedom of Association

Justice for MAS Employees Before MAS Bhd loses its business/assets/capacity on 31st August?

Malaysian Bar adopts Resolution on Worker Rights at AGM on 15/3/2014

MTUC - Right To Participate In Peaceful Assemblies Is Constitutionally Guaranteed Right Of Workers

Azmin Ali and PKR-DAP-PAS(Amanah?) in Selangor reduces NGO/Professionals in Local Council to less than 2% from once about 25%?


‘Backstabber’ PKR pair sacked from Penang govt companies

 | February 20, 2016
Guan Eng says when you lose confidence in a person how can they function effectively 'especially when I am chairperson?'
PETALING JAYA: Two PKR assemblymen have been sacked as directors of Penang state government companies apparently because they and three others from PKR abstained in the state assembly on an opposition-sponsored motion to halt land reclamation projects off the island.

The chief minister, Lim Guan Eng, was quoted as saying the two had “backstabbed us when they abstained from voting against the motion”. He also questioned whether they could function effectively and professionally as directors “especially when I am chairperson”.

The two are Ong Chin Wen, assemblyman for Bukit Tengah, and Cheah Kah Peng, the member for Kebun Bunga. Ong has confirmed receiving the termination letter but declined further comment but Cheah has yet to comment about the matter, according to Malaysiakini.

The report quoted Lim as saying: “When you have clearly taken a decision and later reneged on it, what confidence would I have that you would not do that again to me? If this happens in any other company, your post will be immediately revoked”

Ong is PKR’s whip in the state assembly. He was removed as director of Penang Invest, the state investment promotion agency, and from Island Golf Properties Bhd, a subsidiary company of Penang Development Corporation.

Cheah was dropped as a director of the Penang Hill Corporation.

The boards of the three companies are chaired by the chief minister.

Lim was quoted as saying: “When you lose confidence in a person who agreed with you and then reneged on their agreement, how can they function effectively and professionally, especially when I am chairperson?”

He said members of the state government had agreed not to support the reclamation motion, filed by Pulau Betong assemblyman Muhammad Farid Saad of Umno. One DAP member, Teh Yee Cheu, assemblyman for Tanjung Bungah voted to support the motion.

Lim said the PKR five had “later backstabbed us when they abstained from voting against the motion,” according to the report.

Land reclamation has been a controversial subject in Penang after it was revealed that the state government had plans to allow a massive 3,000 hectare reclamation off the south coast by developers involved in building a road tunnel across the North Channel to the mainland. The tunnel forms part of a RM28 billion transport master plan championed by Lim.

“Now, we have no confidence they will be able to function professionally and effectively and if I, as a chairperson, have no confidence in you, it is only natural that you should know what to do,” Lim said, according to Malaysiakini.

Ong has said the five “voted based on conscience”, while Cheah has said that elected representatives from PKR would continue to defend the public interest.

Three other assembly members, also from PKR, had also abstained: Lee Khai Loon (Machang Bubok), T Jayabalan (Batu Uban), and Norlela Ariffin (Penanti).

Lee is also a director of a state-owned company.

Lim was also asked why the termination of the directorships was carried out during the Chinese New Year period. He said the two men were informed in January. It was also raised and discussed by the state executive council. “It’s an administrative matter,” he said.

He said he did not have any problem with other PKR leaders such as Rashid Hasnon, who is one of two deputy chief ministers. After the state assembly vote, Lim had accused the PKR assemblymen of trying to stage a coup against Rashid.

He also had no problem with Sungai Bakap assemblyman Maktar Shapee, who is deputy speaker, or with Lee, the report said. - FMT News, 20/2/2016

Azmin: Sacked two were just doing their jobs

 | February 21, 2016 
PKR objects to terminations of two assemblymen, says Penang state govt action not warranted.

PETALING JAYA: Azmin Ali, deputy president of PKR has defended two Penang assemblymen who have been sacked from their board positions at state-owned agencies. They should not have been reprimanded for expressing their views, he said today.

Azmin said the two assemblymen, both members of PKR, should not have had their contracts terminated for merely carrying out their responsibilities, adding that they had not made slanderous accusations.

The two men are Ong Chin Wen, who is PKR whip in the state assembly and assemblyman for Bukit Tengah; and Kebun Bunga assemblyman Cheah Kah Peng.

“The assemblymen used the platform of the state assembly to give their views and feedback. They were not being slanderous. What we (as a party) reject is the culture of slander or allegations,” he was quoted as saying today.

“But as state assemblymen, they gave their opinions and feedback, and this matter does not warrant any action,” said Azmin, according to Star Online.

The two men and three others from PKR had abstained on an Umno-backed motion to halt plans for a massive land reclamation project off the south coast.

Yesterday, Penang’s Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng, was quoted as describing the two assemblyman as “backstabbers”. He accused them of reneging on an agreement to vote against the motion. 

The five PKR assembly members had said they had voted by their conscience in the public interest. Land reclamation projects, wide-scale property development, and road widening works in Penang have caused a continuing public outcry.

Azmin, who is menteri besar of Selangor, spoke to reporters while at a Chinese New Year open house hosted by Bukit Lanjan assemblyman Elizabeth Wong.

He said the PKR central political bureau objected to the action against the two assembly members.

The bureau had written to the state government two weeks ago when a proposal was raised for the termination of the two men’s appointments as board directors of three state agencies. The bureau had called for proper discussions on the issue.

At the state assembly in November, the DAP’s Teh Yee Cheu, a noted environmentalist, had voted in favour of the motion, which had called for public hearings for land reclamation and suspension of all new reclamation plans until oceanic, environmental and social impact studies were carried out.

Ong, Cheah, Dr Norlela Ariffin (Penanti), Dr T. Jayabalan (Batu Uban), and Lee Khai Loon (Machang Bubuk) all abstained. - FMT News, 21/2/2016


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