Monday, July 28, 2008

My questions for 3rd Parliament sittings


1) Tuan Loke Siew Fook (Rasah) minta MENTERI PELAJARAN menyatakan apakah rasional Kementerian melarang wakil Lembaga Pengarah Sekolah daripada menjadi salah seorang penandatangan atau “signatory” cek Akaun Kumpulan Wang Kerajaan dan Akaun Kumpulan Wang SUWA di semua SJKC dan SMJK dan samada Kementerian akan menarik balik arahan tersebut . (19 Ogos 2008)

2) Tuan Loke Siew Fook (Rasah) minta MENTERI KEWANGAN menyatakan samada Kerajaan bercadang untuk menurunkan kadar faedah pinjaman untuk pembelian rumah untuk menjana industri perumahan dan membantu golongan berpendapatan rendah supaya lebih mampu memiliki rumah milik sendiri. Sekiranya ya, bila dan berapa kadarnya? Sekiranya tidak, mengapa? (20 Ogos 2008)

3) Tuan Loke Siew Fook (Rasah) minta MENTERI KERJA RAYA menyatakan hasil kajian yang dilaksanakan oleh pihak Kementerian mengenai terma-terma perjanjian konsesi lebuhraya di seluruh negara dan apakah tindakan susulan daripada pihak Kementerian untuk mengurangkan beban pengguna? (27 Ogos 2008)

4) Tuan Loke Siew Fook (Rasah) minta PERDANA MENTERI menyatakan samada Kerajaan akan mengubah dasar pemberian diskaun dalam pembelian rumah supaya semua rakyat Malaysia tanpa mengira kaum yang berpendapatan rendah menikmati diskaun tersebut. Sekiranya, bila dan apakah mekanismenya? Sekiranya tidak, mengapa? (28 Ogos 2008)

5) Tuan Loke Siew Fook (Rasah) minta MENTERI PERUMAHAN DAN KERAJAAN TEMPATAN menyatakan secara jelas dan terperinci langkah-langkah spesifik dan pendekatan yang diambil oleh pihak Kementerian untuk menyelesaikan masalah projek rumah terbengkalai di seluruh negara dan berapakah projek yang telah diselamatkan di Negeri Sembilan? (13 Oktober 2008)

6) Tuan Loke Siew Fook (Rasah) minta MENTERI KERJA RAYA menyatakan berapa jumlah batang lampu jalan yang telah dipasang di antara Plaza Tol Nilai Utara dengan Seremban, kos setiap batang, jumlah perbelanjaan, siapa yang menanggung perbelanjaan tersebut, siapa kontraktor yang menjalankan projek dan jenis tender yang dilaksanakan. (15 Oktober 2008)

7) Tuan Loke Siew Fook (Rasah) minta PERDANA MENTERI menyatakan secara terperinci semua aset dan tanggungan yang dimiliki oleh Khazanah Nasional Berhad dan 10 pelaburan terbesar yang sedang diceburi oleh Khazanah termasuk jenis industri, nilai pelaburan dan lokasinya. (21 Oktober 2008)

8) Tuan Loke Siew Fook (Rasah) minta MENTERI PERDAGANGAN ANTARABANGSA DAN PERINDUSTRIAN menyatakan secara terperinci semua misi perdagangan antarabangsa yang telah dijalankan dari 8 Mac 2008 sehingga terkini termasuk jumlah kos dalam setiap misi dan jumlah nilai pelaburan yang direalisasikan. Adakah pihak Kementerian menjemput Menteri Besar atau Ketua Menteri Pakatan Rakyat menyertai misi-misi tersebut?(23 Oktober 2008)

9) Tuan Loke Siew Fook (Rasah) minta PERDANA MENTERI menyatakan secara terperinci 10 langkah yang telah diambil oleh Kerajaan Persekutuan untuk mengurangkan beban perbelanjaan kerajaan dan jumlah perbelanjaan yang telah dijimatkan dalam langkah-langkah tersebut. (4 November 2008)

10) Tuan Loke Siew Fook (Rasah) minta MENTERI PERTANIAN DAN INDUSTRI ASAS TANI menyatakan apakah dasar kementerian samada membenarkan industri penternakan khinzir dihidupkan semula di kawasan Bukit Pelandok, Negeri Sembilan yang telah diberhentikan selama 10 tahun semenjak wabak JE merebak di kawasan tersebut. Kalau tidak, mengapa? (11 November 2008)


1) Tuan Loke Siew Fook (Rasah) minta PERDANA MENTERI menyatakan senarai penuh semua kereta rasmi yang dimiliki oleh Kerajaan Persekutuan dalam bilangan mengikut jenis model kereta, nilai semasa kereta-kereta tersebut dan jumlah kos penyelenggaraan mengikut setiap model kereta tersebut.

2) Tuan Loke Siew Fook (Rasah) minta MENTERI KERJA RAYA menyatakan statistik jumlah bilangan kenderaan yang masuk dan jumlah kutipan tol di Plaza Tol Seremban, Port Dickson dan Senawang mengikut bulan dari Januari hingga Oktober 2008.

3) Tuan Loke Siew Fook (Rasah) minta MENTERI PELAJARAN menyatakan secara terperinci nama sekolah-sekolah rendah dan menengah di seluruh Negeri Sembilan mengikut kategori bantuan penuh dan bantuan modal

4) Tuan Loke Siew Fook (Rasah) minta PERDANA MENTERI menyatakan secara terperinci senarai penuh projek-projek Rancangan Malaysia Kesembilan yang telah selesai dilaksanakan di seluruh Negeri Sembilan setakat ini dan senarai projek yang telah dibatalkan atau ditunda dalam Kajian Separuh Penggal untuk Negeri Sembilan

5) Tuan Loke Siew Fook (Rasah) minta MENTERI PENGGAJIAN TINGGI menyatakan statistik terperinci jumlah pelajar mengikut kaum di setiap fakulti di setiap Institusi Penggajian Tinggi Awam pada masa kini.
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Sunday, July 27, 2008

A productive weekend...

Well, it was a hectic weekend for me especially on Saturday. I think it was the most hectic day for me since 8th March..went for 6 functions on a single day. During the election campaign, i spoke in at least 4 ceramahs every night throughout the 2 weeks.

Attended the party's central executive committee (CEC) meeting on Friday night in DAP PJ Headquarters. CEC is the party's highest decision-making body. The meeting was probably the last one before the party's national congress on 23-24 August in KL. This means the CEC's term for 2004-2007 is up and a fresh committee will be elected by the delegates to the Congress. The congress was postponed for 12 months due to the general election. I have served 4 years in the CEC as the Political Education Director and glad to say that i have a 100% attendance record in all the meetings as i put CEC meetings as my top priority above everything else.

There is not much campaigning in DAP's congress unlike other political parties and i don't see the neccesity to do so. It's up to the delegates who they want to be in the CEC. My principle in the party is very simple. I never lobbied for any posts but if the party entrust me to carry out any responsibilities, i will abide to it.

I have to say that yesterday was the day that i met many of my constituents since March 8. I went for a lunch function in a Chinese temple in Rasah new village, one of the 4 chinese new villages in Rasah constituency. Hundreds of villagers were there. Later at 3 pm, went for a dialogue with the Chinese educationists group at NS Chinese Assembly Hall. The most pertinent issue discussed were the latest instructions by the Education Ministry to bar representatives from the Board of Directors of Chinese Primary Schools from signing cheques. They are worried that their influences over the schools' matters will be diminished with the move. I promised them to raise the issue in the coming Parliamentary session.

In the evening, my programme started in Ulu Temiang (an area within my Lobak state constituency). One local association organized a prayers session in conjunction with the "Kwan Ti" anniversary (a warrior during ancient China). Spent more than half an hour in the first stop.

My 2nd function was the annual dinner and AGM for Bukit Rasah Residents Associations, an establised residential area in Rasah where many local professionals and retired civil servants resides. The Chairman of the RA, Mr Keshvinder Singh is my former classmate in SPI. He handled the meeting so well and are very sincere in serving the community. Was given the privilege to give a short speech and i thank their support and pledge to work closely with the RA. Met my mandarin tutor who is a resident in the area. I also went up to Tan Sri Dato' Chan Choong Tak (former Sec-Gen of Gerakan and former President of the Senate). He is also the past President of Old Paulians' Association.

My 3rd stop for the night was the annual dinner of Wong Kei Sheung Wushu Association, a prominent chinese martial arts group in Seremban. They have produced a number of medalists in SUKMA and SEA Games in various wushu categories. Was given the chance to speak as well. Spoke about the popularity of Chinese kung fu today where even Hollywood adopted the martial arts in their films, the latest being the animated "Kung Fu Panda". I told them the word "Wushu" which is widely used in official sports events is neither an English or Malay word but a "ping yin" of the Chinese character. I also lambasted the government for not giving equal treatment to all sports associations in terms of fundings although wushu is a medal-winning sport for the country.

After 3 functions in Seremban till 9.30 pm, i rushed to Kuala Pilah to attend a Pakatan Rakyat's ceramah to a pre-dominantly Malay audience. Reached the venue around 10.30 p.m. and asked the permission to speak before Sdr Shamsul (PKR Youth Chief). Focused on whacking the state and federal UMNO leaderships and try to convince them that we should break the old political mould of racial politics. I asked them whether they have ever seen an MCA leader speaking in a Malay ceramah? I stressed that politicians of today must be able to speak up for all races and voter's evaluation shall not be based on race but on their performances and contributions to the society. I am taking the efforts to reach out to the Malay masses throughout the state and hopefully they will understand DAP better. Will be back in the area on the coming Tuesday with Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim for a ceramah perdana.

I'm supposed to rush back to attend a BBQ gathering among young DAP members in Mambau new village but by the time I reached Seremban, it was well past midnight and most of them aleady left. I am thankful to my comrade Sdr Teh Eng Kiong who drove me around last night. Last night was special in the sense that I delivered 3 speeches in 3 different languages; english, mandarin and malay. It was a day well-spent as i reached out to a very diverse electorate.

No rest on Sunday too. Went to the Seremban market where we have a weekly mobile counter to meet voters and receive complaints from 9-11 am. The MP for Seremban, Sdr John Fernandez will be there every week while other DAP assemblymen in Seremban take turns for their duties. Have some time for blogging in the afternoon and prepare my parliamentary questions (deadline tomorrow)and will attend a dialogue with abandoned house buyers in Mambau later in the evening.

That's life of DAP politicians...but no regrets about it. Happy blogging and wish you a productive week ahead!
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Friday, July 25, 2008

Report from Star Metro

Hospital urged to go electronic

THE Tuanku Ja’afar Hospital (TJH) outpatient department, which receives an average of 1,000 patients daily, should introduce an electronic registration (e-registration) system to reduce waiting time, said Rasah MP Anthony Loke Siew Fook.

He said it was necessary as he had received many complaints of long waits to see the doctor.

Loke said the matter should be expedited as the authorities had been talking about ways for a more efficient public delivery system for some time now.

“One of the reasons for the long wait is the need for patients to be manually registered. This is an outdated system and I hope that they will come up with an online registry and a system that would link up all other related areas such as the patients’ records.

“This department sees many patients daily and the bulk of them are from the lower income group,” he said.

However, services at the hospital have improved since Loke’s last visit. From this month, the outpatient department has extended its operating hours until 9.30pm on weekdays to serve the community better.

A patient who only wished to be known as Ranjini said services had improved by leaps and bounds.
“Before, coming to the outpatient clinic was at least a half-day affair. But now, the system is more efficient and we don’t have to wait so long. It is less than an hour from registration until we collect our medicine,” he said.

Currently, it takes patients anything from 10 to 30 minutes just to get from the information to the registration counter.

Patients are then assigned a number for a corresponding treatment room where they would be attended to by the doctor in charge.

Waiting their turn could again take anything from 10 minutes to half an hour depending on the number of patients and doctors for the day.

Treatment time varies depending upon the nature of illness and whether a patient would need to be referred to other departments such as the lab or radiography.

The second issue that Loke highlighted was the need for up-to-date medical equipment.

“I think the clinic needs to procure a funduscope, which is an instrument used to examine the background of the retina, as it would come in handy for the routine eye screening of diabetics to ensure that they do not suffer from vision problems.

“I understand the clinic treats many diabetics and currently it can take up to a couple of months before a patient with diabetic retinopathy to be properly diagnosed compared to instant results with a funduscope.

“Although the funduscope costs more than RM100,000, it would be well worth the investment considering its benefits,” he said.

Loke said these issues had been brought up at the mid-term review in Parliament and Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai had agreed to look into both matters.

Patients who were present during Loke’s visit were appreciative of the heavily subsidised cost of treatment at the hospital but many had the same requests on their wish list: improved efficiency and upgraded facilities.

Loke was accompanied by Temiang assemblyman Ng Chin Tsai.
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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Catch Astro Awani 501 tonight!

I am invited to appear in Astro Awani (channel 501) live at 8.30 p.m. tonight. There is a live debate programme every Thursday night on a specific topic featuring 2 politicians from opposite side. I will be debating with YB Datuk Nur Jazlan, the MP for Pulai, Johor.

The topic for tonight will be "Different political views but working together to bring in Foreign Direct Investment". I'm preparing some notes now for the debate.I've shared same stage with YB Nur Jazlan before and found him to be quite a reasonable guy, one of the rare one in UMNO. Hope it will be interesting tonight. Read more!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Do you have any questions?

Parliament was adjourned sine die last night at 9 pm after meeting for 16 days. It will meet again on 18th August for the budget session. I am back in Seremban and will spend the next one month visiting different areas in my constituency to monitor progress on the ground and to listen to feedback from the people. It is also time to meet government department heads to follow up on some outstanding issues. Anyway, I will be going to Kuantan tomorrow to attend a PKR ceramah with Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Will be back on Sunday to attend the royal banquet in conjunction with the Yang Di Pertuan Besar's official birthday.

Although we just ended our session yesterday, all MPs have to submit our questions for the next session by the end of next week! Deadline is 25 July and for my DUN questions, it is 1 August. Therefore, i would like to consult the voters in Rasah and Lobak to suggest if you have any particular question that you want to get an answer from the government. However, questions must be confined to government policies or the progress of any government projects or programs.

I welcome everyone to give their feedback ASAP but i will scan through every question before submitting and i shall reserve the rights to reject or edit any of the questions. I hope you understand my responsibilities.

For Parliament, i can ask 10 oral questions and 5 written questions. For State Assembly, can ask 6 oral questions and 10 written.

So, feel free to ask!
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Thursday, July 17, 2008

New Digital Funduscopic Camera for Klinik Kesihatan Rasah

Below is the answer from the Minister of Health, Dato' Liow Tiong Lai to my debate during the mid term review of 9th Malaysia Plan on health issues:

"Yang Berhormat bagi Rasah ada membangkitkan tentang perlunya kementerian membeli sebuah peralatan digital funduscopic camera di samping menyediakan sistem pendaftaran secara elektronik, e-registration di Klinik Kesihatan Rasah memandangkan sistem pendaftaran sedia ada yang dilakukan secara manual menyebabkan pesakit tepaksa menunggu lama.

Untuk makluman Yang Berhormat, kementerian sedang dalam proses perolehan mesin, digital funducospic camera bagi menggantikan mesin manual yang telah rosak untuk keperluan para pesakit diabetes. Kementerian juga menyedari waktu menunggu yang lama di Klinik Kesihatan Rasah di mana jumlah kedatangan pesakit adalah dianggarkan sejumlah 800 hingga 1200 orang sehari. Sehubungan dengan itu kementerian akan mengkaji tentang kegunaan sistem pendaftaran digital ini bagi memudahkan bagi pesakit mendapatkan rawatan dalam tempoh waktu yang sewajarnya." Read more!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fight for police station in Rasah Jaya

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Anwar arrested today!

Heard the news that Anwar was arrested from Kit Siang when we were having Bak Kut Teh lunch in Jalan Ipoh around 1 pm. After lunch, went to IPK Kuala Lumpur to give moral support. 4 DAP MPs including Kit Siang, Kui Lun, Kok Wai and myself went inside the IPK building led by a senior police officer. However, we were led to the canteen to meet up with other Pakatan MPs. Kit Siang advised all MPs to go back to Parliament immediately to raise up the issue.

All left in a short while as no one was allowed to meet Anwar except his wife and 2 lawyers. In Parliament, MP for Gombak Azmin Ali raised up the issue and riled up the BN MPs. A commotion broke out when Mahathir's son Mukriz said that "Rakyat mahu tahu Anwar liwat atau tak liwat" and "Saya percaya dia lakukannya". He angered many Muslim MPs when he questioned how one can prove that he was sodomised with the need of 4 witnesses in relation with Anwar's move to refer the case to Syariah court.

The commotion was cut short by the presence of the Speaker with one MP remarked "Guru dah sampai". I took part in the debate later but did not touch on Anwar's issue but recorded my solidarity with him and his family.

Looks like another political crisis is looming in the country. Let's pray that it will not happen. I appeal to everyone to remain calm and don't believe any rumours through sms. Pls verify first if you heard about anything bad.
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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

Malaysia not ready for Dispensing Separation

I almost missed the chance to ask my question in Parliament this morning no thanks to the high-handed tactic of BN who misused the police to set up raod blocks all over KL to create a tense situation and forced the "dead cat" on our throats. I am sure many who travel to KL from Seremban this morning were trapped in the massive traffic jam.

However, i made it to the Dewan Rakyat 5 minutes before my turn to ask question which was listed No 4 today. I am sure the answer by the Deputy Minister of Health was most dissapointing to the pharmacists out there. The official answer is this:

"Kerajaan pada masa ini belum bercadang untuk melaksanakan sistem Dispensing Separation untuk ubat-ubatan. Ini memandangkan persediaan dari segi logistik yang melibatkan ahli farmasi swasta perlu diuruskan terlebih dahulu."

I asked 2 supplementary questions. I told the Dewan that there are pros and cons in any system. Since the Malaysia Pharmacists Association has put a demand for such system and listed out all the reasons and benefits of this system to the general public, why don't the Ministry implement a pilot project in a few major cities and if it can be implemented successfully then it can be considered for the whole country. I also asked the Deputy Minister whether the goverment will implement the "New Pharmacy Act" anytime soon?

As usual, a standard answer was given that the Ministry will study the proposals and the new Act is still under consideration. I doubt the Deputy Minister knows what he was talking about.
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Friday, July 11, 2008

My Question listed No.4 on Monday

My final oral question for the 2nd Parliamentary sitting is listed No 4 in the Order Paper on Monday, 14 July. This is the first time in this session that my question is listed in the top 10 questions so it will definetely be answered orally by the Minister or his deputy. I have a chance to ask a supplementary question too.

Listed in the top 4 questions is a bonus too as it might be answered in the first half an hour during the live telecasts over TV1. So folks, catch TV1 on Monday from 10-10.30 am :) My question is on whether the goverment will implement "Dispensing Separation", a question the pharmacists are most interested in. Read more!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

RM752,500 constituency allocation spent in 1 month!

I have asked a parliamentary question regarding the amount of allocation spent for Rasah parliamentary constituency for the month of January and February 2008 just before Parliament was dissolved on 13th February 2008.

The answer i received today is shocking. The Deputy Minister in the PM's Department answered that there was no approval for January but for February, a total of 96 projects were approved with RM752,500.00 spent! The total allocation for this year after March 8 election is RM500,000. Are you not convinced that this allocations were spent to fish for votes? Look at the breakdown:

1) Infrastruktur Asas - Jalan (4) RM170,000
Infrastruktur Asas-lain-lain (3) RM120,000
2) Pusat Perkhidmatan (1) RM100,000
3) PIBG (9) RM37,000
4) JKKK (34) RM102,000
5) Persatuan Penduduk (27) RM58,500
6) Program Kemasyarakatan (2) RM50,000
7) NGO dan lain-lain (15) RM115,000

JUMLAH (96 PROJEK) RM752,500

I have no problem at all if the monies were spent for the benefits of the people. But I can't not be suspicious if RM100,000 spent for Pusat Perkhidmatan (Service Center). Whose service center? The former MP Datuk Goh Siow Huat's service center?

I will dig for more answers at next week's Supplementary Budget debate.
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MUST SEE! Bung Mokhtar's"hand sign" in Parliament

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Parliament Speech (3): Improving quality of public transportation

Teras 4: Meningkatkan tahap dan kemampanan kualiti hidup

Manusia perlu bekerja untuk mendapatkan mata pencarian untuk menampung nafkah hidup keluarga. Mereka menghabiskan 1/3 masa setiap hari untuk bekerja supaya memastikan ada makanan di atas meja untuk ahli keluarga mereka, ada tempat teduh yang boleh dinamakan kediaman dan memastikan keperluan hidup harian dapat dibiayai. Namun, masyarakat kontemporari Malaysia bukan sahaja mengejar keperluan hidup harian tetapi juga mementingkan aspek kualiti hidup. Salah satu kualiti dalam kehidupan ialah mereka tidak perlu membazirkan berjam-jam tiap-tiap hari di atas jalan dan mempunyai “quality time” bersama-sama dengan keluarga untuk mengeratkan percintaan di antara suami isteri dan anak-anak mereka. Sekiranya lebih ramai rakyat Malaysia mempunyai “quality time” dengan pasangan mereka, tidak payahlah Kementerian Pembangunan Keluarga, Wanita dan Masyarakat melaksanakan kempen “Satu Suami, Satu Isteri”.

Kerajaan meminta rakyat mengubah cara hidup dengan mengurangkan penggunaan kereta persendirian dan lebih menggunakan sistem pengangkutan awam. Namun, keadaan sistem pengangkutan awam yang begitu daif di negara kita perlulah diubah dahulu. YB Menteri Perdagangan Dalam Negeri dan Hal Ehwal Pengguna telah mengeluh bahawa untuk beliau menggunakan sistem pengangkutan awam ke pejabatnya, beliau terpaksa bergantung kepada isterinya menghantar beliau dari rumah ke stesen Sentral dengan kereta sendiri, selepas itu menaiki KLIA Express ke stesen Putrajaya, dan akhirnya mengarahkan pemandunya menunggu di stesen untuk menghantar beliau ke pejabat dengan kereta rasmi. Bayangkanlah, menteri kabinet sendiri mengeluh, apatah lagi dengan rakyat biasa yang tidak ada kereta yang terpaksa berhadapan dengan keadaan sebegitu hari demi hari, bulan demi bulan, tahun demi tahun.

Menteri Pengangkutan telah mengumumkan penubuhan Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam untuk mentrasnformasikan sistem pengangkutan awam Malaysia dengan menggantikan peranan yang dibahagikan oleh 10 agensi kerajaan yang berlainan yang terlibat dengan pengangkutan awam yang merupakan antara faktor penyumbang kepada ketidakeffiesienan sistem pengangkutan awam di Malaysia. Namun, saya amat mengharapkan bahawa suruhanjaya ini tidak akan berkesudahan seperti Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi atau SUHAKAM yang boleh diumpamakan sebagai seekor “harimau tanpa gigi”. Saya ingin mencadangkan kepada kerajaan supaya menubuhkan satu Jawatankuasa Pemilih Parlimen tetap atau “Parliamentary Select Commitee” untuk memantau perkembangan dan membincangkan segala pemasalahan yang dihadapi untuk memastikan sistem pengangkutan awam Malaysia benar-benar dapat diubah sehingga menjadi pilihan penggunaan rakyat Malaysia.

Walaupun projek pembinaan landasan kereta api berkembar elektrik Seremban-Gemas akan lebih banyak memanfaatkan kawasan Rembau daripada kawasan Rasah, namun sebagai “government in waiting” di Negeri Sembilan dengan mempunyai 15 kerusi DUN daripada 36 dan satu daripadanya ialah dalam Parlimen Rembau, Pakatan Rakyat Negeri Sembilan mengalu-alukan projek ini. Saya tidak menafikan bahawa penambahbaikan sistem KTM Komuter tentunya akan memberikan manfaat kepada Negeri Sembilan. Justeru itu, saya ingin meminta Menteri Pengangkutan supaya mengarahkan KTM Komuter memperbanyakkan perjalanan Komuter Express di antara Seremban dengan Kuala Lumpur yang hanya mempunyai satu trip sehari pada masa sekarang. Komuter Express yang lebih cepat perjalanannya kerana ia tidak berhenti di stesen-stesen kecil tentunya akan menggalakkan penduduk Seremban yang bekerja di KL mempunyai satu lagi pilihan alternatif.

Namun begitu, sekiranya kita ingin menjadikan sistem keretapi dan bas awam sebagai pilihan utama rakyat Malaysia, salah satu perkara yang perlu ditititberatkan dan dibudayakan ialah ketetapan waktu perkhidmatan. Saya selalu menggunakan perkhidmatan komuter untuk berulang-alik di antara Seremban dan KL tetapi tidak pernah sekali saya melihat komuter sampai ke stesen tetap pada waktu yang diumumkan seperti dalam papas notis elektronik. Begitu juga dengan bas awam dalam bandar. Saya percaya ramai ahli YB di sebelah sana pernah pergi ke Eropah dan menggunakan sistem kereta api mereka. Keefisienan sistem kereta api di Eropah khasnya di German adalah sesuatu yang perlu kita benchmarkkan. Kalau dijadualkan kereta api itu sampai 11.58, minit itulah koc itu akan sampai. Tidak seminit awal, tidak seminit pun lewat. Apakah rintangan yang kita tidak boleh capai sehingga tahap begitu di Malaysia? Tak perlulah Kementerian buat lawatan sambil belajar kerana selalu lawatan tanpa belajar. Saya cadangkan Kementerian lantik seorang konsultan kereta api dari Jerman dan letakkannya di KTM dan bagi dia 6 bulan untuk meningkatkan ketepatan waktu perkhidmatan KTM.
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Parliament Speech (2): "Colour Blind" in Poverty Eradication

Teras 3: Menangani Ketidaksamaan Sosioekonomi yang berterusan secara membina dan produktif

Falsafah pembangunan negara perlulah menjurus kepada pertumbuhan ekonomi yang boleh meningkatkan taraf sosio ekonomi semua lapisan masyarakat tanpa mengira kaum, agama, status sosial dan lokasi mereka. Agenda pembasmian kemiskinan perlulah membutakan warna atau “colour blind”. Tanggapan sesetengah pihak bahawa masalah kemiskinan tidak melibatkan masyarakat Cina adalah satu andaian yang simplistik. Walaupun 7 daripada 10 orang paling kaya di Malaysia adalah dari masyarakat Cina, ini tidak bermakna tidak ada orang miskin di kalangan masyarakat Cina Malaysia.

Penjual char okay teow di Pulau Pinang, penjaja tauge ayam di Ipoh, nelayan di Pulau Ketam, petani di Sekinchan, pemandu teksi di Kuala Lumpur dan penjual sayur di Pasar Seremban juga sama-sama menghadapi tekanan kos hidup yang begitu menghimpitkan sama seperti kaum-kaum lain di Malaysia. Kebanyakan rakyat Malaysia yang dibelenggu masalah “Ah Long” adalah peniaga-peniaga kecil dan penjaja-penjaja di kalangan masyarakat Cina kerana kekurangan dokumen sokongan menyulitkan mereka mendapatkan kemudahan kredit daripada bank.

Justeru, saya menyeru kerajaan supaya memperbesarkan lagi dana kemudahan kredit mikro dan akses terhadap kemudahan ini dibuka untuk semua rakyat Malaysia tanpa mengira kaum. Proses permohonan dalam skim kredit mikro perlulah dipermudahkan sehingga benar-benar mencapai kumpulan sasar di peringkat akar umbi.

Kerajaan Barisan Nasional sepatutnya menkaji dan memahami secara mendalam mengapa masyarakat India di Malaysia yang selama ini menjadi satu “blok undi yang begitu solid” kepada BN telah meninggalkan BN pada 8 Mac yang lalu sehingga mencetuskan “tsunami politik Malaysia”. Mengapakah pergerakan HINDRAF berjaya memobilisasikan masyarakat India sehingga menjadi satu pergerakan massa atau “mass movement” yang tidak pernah berlaku dalam sejarah 50 tahun Malaysia? Sekiranya tidak benar bahawa masyarakat India dipinggirkan oleh kerajaan BN, tidak mungkin HINDRAF akan menjadi satu “rallying point” atau “magnet” untuk menyatukan satu pergerakan “MAKKAL SAKTHI” yang begitu besar impaknya.

Mesej yang kuat telah dihantar oleh masyarakat India kepada kepimpinan BN. Terpulanglah kepada kebijaksanaan politik kepimpinan BN samada mahu mengatur strategi dan melaksanakan dasar yang lebih komprehensif untuk meningkatkan taraf sosio ekonomi masyarakat India Malaysia. Peruntukan RM 3 juta dalam Skim Pembangunan Usahawan Muda India di bawah TEKUN Nasional menampakkan ketidakikhlasan di pihak kerajaan BN. Apa yang boleh diubah dengan RM3 juta? Pengubahsuaian pejabat-pejabat untuk Menteri di bangunan Parlimen pun telah memakan belanja RM2.3 juta. Sebagai permulaan, saya mencadangkan peruntukan untuk latihan usahawan muda India ini ditingkatkan sepuluh kali ganda sehingga RM 30 juta.
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Friday, July 4, 2008

Media reports on my parliamentary speech

New Straits Times online :

DEWAN RAKYAT, July 3, 2008:

After three days of melodramatic dissidence between MP for Puchong Gobind Singh Deo and Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia that fixated the easily excitable MPs, the House may have been “converted” into a soundstage for the set of Law & Order: Dewan Rakyat for a fourth scintillating day of juicy squabbles but it was not to be. And for good reason.

But by taking away sensationalism out of the debates, the extraordinarily ordinary came in its place to allow lesser known MPs the chance to take centrestage and argue economic points of the MTR. Loke Siew Fook (DAP-Rasah) must have burnt many midnight oils to bring forth his legwork but it didn’t court controversy until he impregnated his speech with the charge that Umno committed the folly of eroding Malay trust with the inept implementation of the New Economic Policy.

Loke’s charge throttled the perennially choleric interjector Datuk Tajuddin Rahman to blast back, sans Speaker permission as always, as he accused Loke of egging away Malay fortitude, pride and rights with the DAP’s known disavowal of the NEP. Loke refused to back down, insisting that the DAP respected the NEP’s policy of raising the socio-economic status of “poor Malays and bumiputeras”, just as long as it wasn’t done the Umno way. Tajuddin laughed off Loke’s stance, scorning it as “insincere” but the argument lapsed there and then.

But there was another salient point Loke raised that subtly hit the nerve of the national psyche – the inability to maintain punctuality. He complained that the public transport the Government built was fine for its engineering marvels, especially the train services between Seremban and Kuala Lumpur, but he could not stand its continual delays, unlike the services in other developed countries where the train arrives “not a minute early and not a minute late.” That’s hitting the nail on the head for tardy Malaysians’ fondness for flagrant time keeping.

Loke proposed that the transport authorities hire a German consultant to work out the snags in six months to flush the public transport inefficiencies out of its drowsiness. “If the German fails in six months, then you can sack him and if you continue to fail to improve the system, then the Transport Minister should resign or be sacked,” he said.

The Star:

Loke Siew Fook (DAP – Rasah) said it was a myth that most Chinese were rich and doing well economically.

“The perception that there is no poor Chinese is simplistic. Although seven of the 10 richest men in Malaysia are Chinese, there are still poor Chinese,” he said.

Many Chinese traders, he said, often had to resort to borrowing from loan sharks because they lacked the documentation required to seek funds from banks and other financial institutions.

“The micro financing scheme should thus be expanded,” he added.
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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Parliament speech (1): First world human capital

Teras 2: Meningkatkan keupayaan pengetahuan dan inovasi Negara serta memupuk “Minda Kelas Pertama”.

Aset yang paling penting untuk Negara ialah modal insan dan generasi muda kita. Untuk memupuk modal insan yang berminda kelas pertama, acuhan pendidikan tidak boleh sahaja mementingkan fakta dan maklumat tetapi keupayaan untuk menimba pengetahuan, kebebasan berfikir, persekitaran yang membolehkan percambahan minda dan menghormati kepelbagaian dalam masyarakat perlulah dititikberatkan. Dasar pendidikan Negara perlulah mengambil kira unsur-unsur kepelbagaian kaum, budaya dan bahasa dalam masyarakat kita dan kepelbagaian itu sebenarnya merupakan kekuatan Malaysia.

Saya menyambut baik komitmen kerajaan untuk meningkatkan akses kepada pendidikan tertiari daripada 21.9% pada tahun 2007 kepada sasaran 40% bagi kumpulan umur 17-23 pada tahun 2010. Namun, masyarakat berpengetahuan tidak bolehlah diukur dengan angka atau jumlah pelajar universiti semata-mata. Kuantiti di tahap peringkat tertiari yang meningkat perlulah disusuri dengan kualiti yang boleh dibandingkan dengan yang terbaik di dunia. Kualiti pengajaran di kalangan ahli akademik perlulah sentiasa dipertingkatkan dan dibenchmark dengan Standard antarabangsa. Pembelajaran di kalangan siswa-siswi pula tidak boleh hanya tertumpu di dalam kelas tetapi pendedahan yang lebih besar kepada dunia luar, penguasaan bahasa Inggeris, kemahiran dalam “soft skills” dan keterampilan diri untuk memberikan keyakinan diri yang lebih tinggi di kalangan para graduan kita.

Namun, sekiranya negara ingin melihat kewujudan modal insan yang bermentaliti kelas pertama, fikiran mereka tidaklah boleh dikonkong sama sekali. Budaya bertanya soalan dan berbahas secara ilmiah perlulah dipupuk dan digalakkan. Keperihatinan orang muda terhadap perkembangan sosial dan politik negara adalah sesuatu yang perlu disemai kerana ini adalah satu proses yang cukup penting untuk melahirkan sebuah masyarakat yang bukan sahaja berpengetahuan tetapi juga mempunyai kesedaran sivik dan demokrasi yang matang. Justeru itu, kerajaan perlu menyegerakan proses mengkaji semula dan pindaan terhadap Akta Universiti dan Kolej Universiti yang telah menyemai unsur ketakutan di kalangan siswa-siswi dan menyekat mereka daripada berfikir di luar kotak.

Peluang dan akses kepada pendidikan perlulah dijadikan sebagai satu agenda yang dapat melahirkan masyarakat Malaysia yang bersatu-padu. Sebarang ketidakadilan dalam peluang terhadap pendidikan akan membantutkan proses untuk melahirkan sebuah Bangsa Malaysia yang tulen. Setiap tahun, isu biasiswa Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam telah menimbulkan pelbagai ketidaksenangan hati di kalangan pelajar cemerlang yang gagal mendapat biasiswa tersebut. Walaupun bilangan biasiswa JPA pada tahun ini telah dipertingkatkan dan lebih ramai pelajar bukan Bumiputera yang ditawarkan biasiswa, namun masih ramai lagi pelajar cemerlang yang tidak berjaya. Saya ingin menegaskan bahawa peluang biasiswa JPA yang lebih banyak kepada pelajar bukan Bumiputera tidak akan mengorbankan sama sekali peluang kepada pelajar Bumiputera yang cemerlang sekiranya bilangan biasiswa ini bertambah besar.

Saya ingin menyeru kepada kerajaan supaya mengkaji semula pelaksanaan dan dasar pemberian biasiswa JPA termasuk bagaimana menampung pelajar STPM yang cemerlang supaya tidak ada pelajar cemerlang yang tercicir daripada peluang melanjutkan pelajaran ke universiti unggul di luar negara. Kita tidak boleh membenarkan sama sekali melihat modal insan kita yang terbaik atau “the best and the brightest” seorang demi seorang kehilangan kepada negara lain khasnya Singapura yang banyak menawarkan biasiswa kepada pelajar cemerlang kerana ini akhirnya akan memburukkan lagi masalah “brain drain” di Malaysia.
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Soft skills important for our graduates

‘Finishing schools’ for undergrads
At the Dewan Rakyat

ALL public universities have been asked to set up “finishing schools” to conduct courses in soft skills for their graduates to enhance their employability.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Khaled Nordin said the universities usually required their students to join an internship course at various companies a year before they graduated.

“The students will work for the companies for a few months and then, it’s up to the firms on whether to keep them on their payroll or not. This is one way of increasing our graduates’ employability.

“However, not all graduates will have a chance to join an internship. So, the ministry has encouraged all public universities to introduce or have ready finishing schools for this purpose.

“The finishing school will provide courses such as the mastery of the English language, entrepreneurship and other personal skills to enhance their employability,” he said in reply to a supplementary question from Loke Siew Fook (DAP – Rasah).

Later at the Parliament lobby, Khaled said that the “finishing schools” referred to soft skills courses, and not a separate entity within the public universities.

“However, attendance is not compulsory. Students who feel they are lacking in this area and want to enhance their employability will be given the option to attend these courses.

“It was a ministry directive for all public universities to conduct such courses,” he said, adding that almost all the universities were now holding these courses.

It is understood that although the soft skills courses had been offered by the universities before, they were held on an ad hoc basis.

It is believed that the directive was given to public universities when Datuk Mustapa Mohamed was the Higher Education Minister.

Earlier, in the Dewan, Khaled said the ministry encouraged a close partnership between public universities and industries through internship programmes.

“The ministry has worked together with private companies and government-linked corporations as well as agencies to provide such internship programmes,” he told Ismail Mohamed Said (BN – Kuala Krau).

Khaled said the ministry had also set up an academic industry advisory board for this purpose.
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