Friday, February 27, 2009

LRT delayed to 2013?

This was featured in Malay Mail on 30 January 2009. You can read more about it here. Alternatively, you may visit Transit (Klang Valley)'s website and read more on the comments by TRANSIT Advisor En Moaz Yusof Ahmad. My office has yet to receive any update from Syarikat Prasarana Nasional Bhd (SPNB) via MPSJ. I will keep all residents posted once I hear from them.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Millennium Park

The much awaited demolition work at Millennium Park has finally started! I have been pushing for the site to be cleared and to be restored as a green area since taking office last year. MPSJ will begin planting trees once the site is cleared. Days of 'white elephant' projects are over and Subang Jaya residents have seen enough of wastage of taxpayers' funds in the past!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Fighting dengue in PJS 9, Bandar Sunway

Last weekend I organised an anti-dengue program in PJS 9. This was a combined effort by my office, MPSJ, Rukun Tetangga of PJS 9 (RT), Jawatankuasa Penduduk Zone 2 (JKP) and Alam Flora. 3 positive cases have been reported since January 2009. About 15 residents turned up to assist in this program. MPSJ enforcement officers conducted spot checks at houses while residents and I moved in groups to knock on neighbours' doors to distribute pamphlets and sachets of the larvicide Abate. We walked for more than 3 hours and managed to cover 867 houses. When I saw the condition of the drains there, I instructed Alam Flora to begin cleaning them immediately and we discovered that renovation debris and tiles had clogged up the drains. Next week, we will be conducting spot checks in USJ area. You can read more about it in NST and The Star.

With RT residents and JKP members

Me, telling residents to check their houses

RT members reminding their neighbours about the danger of dengue

With En Mat Nor, deputy chairman of RT knocking on doors

MPSJ enforcement officers

Alam Flora workers cleaning up drains

Friday, February 20, 2009

The best is yet to come

So many people have been telling me just how frustrated they are with the current political situation in our country. Some have told me that they regretted voting for change because of the political instability now and would prefer returning to their old style of voting - vote for stability and forget about having a stronger opposition and greater check and balance. I shudder at the thought of this! One needs to remember the reason why we are seeing such great resistance for change is simply because there is much to lose for those who have been in power for so long. For decades there have been so much abuses of power, unchecked misuse of public funds and plain dirty corruption. With a stronger opposition now, they stand to lose their illegal sources of income and some may even be charged and sent to prison if they are found guilty. With this in mind, they will fight at all costs to reclaim back power and to ensure they can continue to steal public funds from the people for their own enrichment. We are not just dealing with differences in politics; we are combating evil forces who will not rest till they secure back their powers and illegal sources of income.

Sometimes I feel equally frustrated and disillusioned about the political situation too. Sometimes I lay awake thinking of how to effect change in this land. Some days I cry while driving in between meetings thinking of what's left for the future generation in this land if we give up now. I have endured much verbal attack from political enemies, accusation after accusation of me not doing anything for my constituents and etc. No one truly understands the resistance we face daily in discharging our duties except for my fellow PR assemblymen. Robert Kennedy once said ‘Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator and change has its enemies.’ Our enemies are resisting change but we must stand firm and continue to push for a competent, accountable and transparent government. At the end of each day, as I lay myself to sleep, I ask God for strength, wisdom and protection to face the next. I look forward to the end of the term when I can tell the people of Subang Jaya that I have remained clean and have not stolen any of the taxpayers' funds. As reminded by Raja Petra in his blog "Please continue your struggle to make Malaysia a better place for our future generation. This country belongs to them and it is for them that we struggle." All hope is not lost. Come the next election, vote out the corrupt once and for all. Hang in there supporters and friends, the best is yet to come!

Finally... work can now resume!

Ahmad Zaki Resources Berhad has been permitted by the Court to remove the pedestrian bridge at Persiaran Kewajipan above. This is good news for the residents in Subang Jaya because work for Subang-Kelana link can resume soon. Read more about it here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Morality vs the rule of law

I have been holding off on this follow-up posting to my earlier article titled 'A mockery of our democratic institution' for long enough. I was especially prompted to post it after that article was picked up by Malaysiakini (read: picked up by Malaysiakini a week after my original posting, and NOT me going to Malaysiakini with my thoughts!). After what has happened to my comrade Elizabeth Wong, I need to get this out.

Some people have read into what I did not write, just like how some are inclined to only pick up what a speaker did not say. Those who disagreed with my defence of Anwar argued that I should not be defending defections. For the record, I never defended defections nor did I discuss the morality of defections. I only presented the differences in approach and the mode of takeover, executed by Najib and attempted by Anwar. My stand was built within the confines of the constitution of the day. Whether you like it or not, the law of the land today does not prohibit defections. As such, defections will happen, party-hopping will happen. What is required of us is to understand constitutionally the following: what do we allow our political leaders to do when such defections happen?

When a nation does not have an anti-hopping law, expect hopping to happen. But hear this loud and clear: I am not condoning defections! In fact, I am in full support of an anti-hopping law and necessary amendments to the current law. If we have an anti-hopping law in place, then frogs will not jump. Even if they do, they cannot remain in their seats without a fresh mandate from the voters. Simply stated, a proposed anti-hopping law must mandate a by-election for any seat of an elected rep who has switched parties. Defections are morally and ethically wrong. No two ways about it but that moral and ethical judgment is not going to stop anyone from defecting. In fact, within the boundaries of our current law, a defector is in effect exercising his or her right of association and dissociation!

So what do we do today, when our laws allow party-hopping? We have the constitution which can guide us on how to proceed when defections happen. The constitutions of the state of Perak and of the Federation of Malaysia provide clear directions on how to proceed when a leader of the respective assembly loses a confidence of the majority of the assembly members, i.e. when defections happen. Those directions set forth in the respective Constitutions must be adhered to. And that is the minimum of which we expect of our political leaders today. Anwar met that minimum expectation, Najib did not. A confidence majority in a state assembly or Parliament is not obtained or validated via a press conference. That is not constitutional. Displaying 4 defectors with the state BN chief to prove that there’s a change in the majority in the state assembly is not constitutional. So is the case if Anwar had with him the names of defecting BN MPs on a piece of paper and held a press conference to announce it. That is also unconstitutional. Anwar’s failure does not make him a villain, as much as Najib’s success does not turn him into a hero.

I am stating here the extent of respecting the rule of law. As much as I feel that the laws are inadequate at the moment, I also call for a respect of the rule of law. And if you respect the rule of law, you have no legal standing to stop defections from happening. I do not have to be pro-Anwar for the defence of how he attempted to handle the crossovers of Sept 16. I only have to be pro-justice and to respect the rule of law. Respect the right of association and dissociation that is enshrined in the Constitution and not rob someone of that right. When you do not accept a defector into your party, you are robbing that elected rep of this right. This is exactly why we need an anti-hopping law. With the law in place, it does not mean that one is robbed of the freedom of association, but instead one is not allowed to remain an elected representative without the re-endorsement of the people. This is what we want: an anti-hopping law and necessary amendments to the Constitution that will grant more power to the people.

Hear this loud and clear too. The most democratically constitutional thing to do in a federal parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarch is to go back to the constituents. Not to go back to the monarchy. Pakatan has always been prepared to go back to the voters. If Sept 16 was successful, Pakatan was prepared for a fresh, snap election. For the 4 defected state seats in Perak (including Bota), Pakatan is prepared for by-elections. If the 31 BN MPs were to come out today and pledge their support for Pakatan (as allowed for in the Constitution), do you think Pakatan Rakyat as a political coalition with the will to govern and to bring change to Malaysia should act unconstitutionally and reject the applications of these defectors? No. But we will ensure that we receive endorsement from the monarchy to go back to the people.

There is great danger in attempting to attain moral high grounds at the expense of the rule of law. This holds true for the Sept 16 plan, and more so for Elizabeth Wong. If Pakatan Rakyat were to attempt to build a moral high ground of not accepting defectors, we are doing that at the expense of our current Constitution. If you are to judge Elizabeth exclusively on moral standards, then you will have no choice but to demand her resignation. Because morally, and mind you, everyone has his or her own moral standards, it is not acceptable to some people for her to be found unclothed in her bedroom with her boyfriend. Never mind if she was sleeping or not, but can anyone show me the law which prohibits her from continuing to serve as an assemblyman?

What grave injustice would it be if that sort of moral judgment is to be handed down to Elizabeth. You will attain a moral mountain, but at the expense of justice and the rule of law. I urge Malaysians to carefully consider the morality which you preach.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My return to SMKSU

Today is Valentine's Day. While others are spending their time celebrating with their loved ones at movies, meals and malls; the parents, teachers and students of SMK Subang Utama in SS18 have chosen to return to school on Saturday to do a massive Gotong-Royong Perdana. I exhorted the students that this is a genuine way of expressing their love for their schoolmates and teachers - by cleaning up and getting rid of breeding grounds for aedes mosquitoes because dengue threatens the lives of their loved ones in school. This to me is the best demonstration of love by the young ones of Subang Jaya.

The students in Dewan Sumbangsih

Parents and teachers

Students cleaning up the gardens and drains

MPSJ and Alam Flora contractors were also present with the assistance of Mdm Theresa Ratnam Thong (MPSJ councillor for Zone 1)

Together with Mr Rudy Yong, chairman of PIBG repainting a section of the school hall

That's my name up on the board for 1995/96

This photo is taken together with the junior prefects of the school. One of the girls told me that she wants to be just like me when she grows up. This is my first invitation by a PIBG (Parent Teacher Association) to attend an event in a public school in my capacity as the state assemblyman for Subang Jaya. A big thank you to the PIBG for making this possible.

I had to hold my emotions while addressing the students and teachers because it means a lot to me to be able to finally return to my alma mater and motivate the younger leaders in our community. Being in the school hall encouraged me to press on in my journey of rebuilding the nation. In 1995, we could only dream of having our own school hall, we raised funds for one but left school too soon to see this dream materialised. 12 years later, I now addressed the school in their new school hall. This reminds me that pioneers and builders may not necessarily live to enjoy the reward of their labour. The next generation will instead reap the harvest. Someday in Malaysia we will breathe the air of real democracy. We just have to keep building for now and have faith that the uncomfortable renovation works will soon be over and God willing, we shall be able to at least bear witness to the establishment of a righteous nation.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Soil test for LRT & traffic studies by IKRAM

Soil test for proposed LRT route is being carried out in Subang Jaya. I have been waiting for months for an official reply from Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad via MPSJ since the LRT briefing in September and I have requested MPSJ to notify my office for any update(s) on this issue. I have received none. The Ministry of Transport should be more forthcoming about the LRT plans in Subang Jaya.

I have been receiving complaints about the closure of lanes in the morning rush hour by traffic policemen from Subang Jaya leading into the Federal Highway. This has resulted in massive backlog in USJ. I have conveyed this to the traffic police several times. They have taken note of it but would not change their current plan without studying it first. I don't understand this, but traffic police is not obliged to take instructions from me. I have conveyed the problems faced by the people here to them, now it's their duty to respond accordingly.

As for traffic studies by IKRAM and MPSJ on Persiaran Tujuan, I have repeatedly informed MPSJ on the severity of the problem and attended Infrastructure Committee Meetings at MPSJ to convey my dissatisfaction about the delay of these studies. I was at a press conference yesterday highlighting this problem. Read about it here.

These are only some of the many difficulties faced by the new state administration with federal agencies and some civil servants. If only all civil service agencies are as effective in all their duties as the Perak State Secretary when he chased the Pakatan MB out from his office in less than a day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

War on dengue continues...

I accompanied the MPSJ Health Team on their rounds of spot-checks and fogging at SS15 Subang Jaya last week, a day after I arrived from the US. I urge every resident to continuously inspect your homes, especially indoors for potential breeding grounds of aedes mosquitoes. Just spend 10 minutes a week and you can save your life and your neighbours' lives. Read more about dengue here. May I say it again - fogging is not the only solution! Many residents only want to see fogging done but they do not participate in cleaning and checking their own households for potential breeding grounds. Fogging only kills adult mosquitoes. Therefore it is imperative for us to cooperate by doing our part.

MPSJ has informed me that at this point, there are no hotspots in the Subang Jaya constituency yet - however we cannot afford to sit back and wait. I will be urging MPSJ to monitor public areas to ensure they are free from breeding grounds for aedes mosquitoes. If you suspect anywhere in your neighbourhood to be potential breeding grounds (clean, clear water catchments sheltered from direct sunlight), please lodge a complaint with MPSJ directly and immediately.

Efforts have also been made to coordinate with resident groups to educate neighbours. Every second week for this month and next month, I will be going to different neighbourhoods in Subang Jaya with MPSJ to conduct spot checks. Look out, you may just find me at your doorstep!

Me donning a protective mask during a fogging activity in SS15

MPSJ has informed me that breeding grounds have been found in some schools in Subang Jaya. The school authorities (and not MPSJ) are responsible for ensuring that the school compounds are free from breeding grounds. MPSJ has discovered the following in these schools:

Sek Ren Agama Integrasi SS15 - 1 breeding ground
SMK Subang Utama, SS18 - 4 breeding grounds
SMK Seafield, USJ 2 - 2 breeding grounds

I strongly urge the school authorities to take this seriously. Lives of hundreds, if not thousands of children are at stake.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Selangor Chinese New Year Open House

Last weekend I was with the Kawasan Rukun Tetangga of USJ 2 & 6 celebrating the Joy of Combined Festivals at the Summit USJ mall. The underprivileged, orphans and residents from drugs rehabilitation home were invited to be part of the Chinese New Year and Thaipusam festivals. A big thank you to the Kawasan Rukun Tetangga of USJ 2 & 6 for organising this successful event. It was celebrated by residents of different races and cultures. For residents in USJ 2 and USJ 6 who would like to participate in your Rukun Tetangga (all residents of a particular Kawasan Rukun Tetangga are automatic members), please email Pn Ramlah at for further details. Here are some photographs taken on that day:
Presentation of ang pows and gifts to single mothers from Subang Jaya

Some of the orphans pictured here, being feted to lunch

My husband and I together with En Zainal Abidin and his wife Pn Nooraida representing Masjid Al-Mukminun, USJ 2

The Selangor state Chinese New Year Open House, which was organized by MPSJ was a resounding success, attended by thousands of people at Bandar Sunway. Many were excited to simply meet our YAB Dato' Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and his EXCO members. It ended with a bang, literally, with an excellent fireworks display from the rooftop of Sunway Pyramid.

The crowd in front of the stage

A section of the crowd

Friday, February 6, 2009

A mockery of our democratic institution

To those who argue that the political crisis in Perak now is a taste of Pakatan's own medicine (referring to the Sept 16 takeover plan), they have failed to see the key differences between the two. If you remember what happened when Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim claimed to have the numbers to form the new federal government, he wrote to PM Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi requesting him to convene an emergency sitting of Parliament. This was rejected by the PM. The next constitutional option is to press for the dissolution of Parliament to make way for fresh new elections. That was also not entertained. Anwar Ibrahim exhausted the constitutional means that were available to him. If Pakatan were to act unconstitutionally and lure defections, then we will be having a new government today. But we didn't and we will not act unconstitutionally. So you can't say that Najib's coup and Pakatan's plan were one and the same.

Some may also say, well what about the earlier defection of Bota assemblyman, Datuk Nasarudin Hashim? Why did Pakatan Rakyat accept him? Why not force his seat to be vacated for a by-election? Let's keep things in perspective here. His defection was that of an opposition lawmaker to a governing lawmaker. His defection did not alter the balance of power in the State Assembly. Pakatan Rakyat remained as government, and BN as opposition. Status quo. Logically and intelligently, anyone can safely assume that Pakatan Rakyat didn't need a defection from BN. Thus, he defected on his own accord and on his own will. There was no need for Pakatan Rakyat to force him to vacate his seat as he did not win the seat on a Pakatan ticket. The Pakatan government really has no standing in forcing him to vacate a seat which wasn't earned by Pakatan in the first place!

I must say that I had great respect for Sultan Azlan Shah. Until yesterday. I wonder how he could possibly consent to the formation of a new BN state government when constitutionally, a government is still in place. And to even approve to a new Menteri Besar when the existing one is still in office? How can any state have 2 heads of government at any one time? There can only be one Menteri Besar of Perak. This is a mockery. The Menteri Besar can only be removed by the State Assembly via a vote of no-confidence or via the dissolution of the assembly. And none of these two constitutional means has been requested by BN. How can anyone claim that Najib and Anwar are one and the same?

Next, the Sultan called for a "unity" government to be formed by BN and the Independents. Let's be clear about this. The Independents are in no way legally bound to represent BN. Well, at least not yet, not till they officially become members of a BN component party. All that the Sultan and Najib has from them is a verbal assurance that "we will be friendly to BN". And just by appearing in a press conference with Najib, it justifies the change of government? What if next week these Independents were to be seen in a press conference with Pakatan? A real "unity" government envisioned by the Sultan should have been an all-inclusive government of Pakatan, BN, and the Independents. Pakatan and BN each have 28 seats, and the Independents 3. Thus, no single party or coalition has a commanding majority. If there is to be a "unity" government, it calls for a new coalition of PR-BN-Ind which is impossible. Thus, what the Sultan has called for is simply a name without substance. What "unity" if it's going to consist of only single-minded representatives - all "friendly to BN"? That's not a "unity" government, it's a BN government. This is a mockery of the intelligence of Malaysians. A beginning of what is to come with this PM-to-be.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Selangor stands by Nizar

The Selangor Backbenchers Club (comprising all Selangor Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen) met this afternoon to discuss a few matters pertaining to Selangor and at the end of the meeting, we unanimously affirmed our support for Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin and fellow Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen in Perak. Nizar's insistance on the dissolution of the state assembly reflects the principle of going back to the people for a fresh mandate and ultimately for the people of Perak to decide on their government.

Chinese New Year Open House

This Chinese New Year, I am pleased to inform you that the Selangor state government is hosting the state open house at DUN Subang Jaya. Details are stated in the banner above. MPSJ is organising the event. I hope to see residents of Subang Jaya there – all of you are invited!

I am finally home after spending more than 30 hours at airports in Raleigh, Chicago and Hong Kong. Before the takeoff at Chicago, we were told that there was a serious malfunction with the plane as an oil leak was detected. Apparently the last time a similar incident like this has ever happened was 25 years ago! I thank God they discovered this just before the takeoff otherwise I would not have made it home.

A resident in Subang Jaya has sent out a mass email to some in MCA and other residents criticising me for not putting up banners to wish the Chinese community here in conjunction with the Chinese New Year celebration. He claims that because there were no banners from me, the interest of the Chinese community is not being met.

I wish to state it clearly here that all previous festive banners put up by my office were to invite residents and to provide details of our open house celebrations, such as date, time and venue (hence the need for banners).

Since the state open house will be held at Subang Jaya, there is no need for my office to organise a separate open house here. Hence, there was no need for me to produce banners as MPSJ will be producing them. Furthermore, I am reconsidering the need to organise open house for all festivals this year due to the economic situation. I would rather use the thousands of ringgit to assist those in need in Subang Jaya.

I have a lot of respect for tradition. I celebrate Chinese New Year too, but I simply cannot comprehend the logic of such an argument where banners would indicate that your assemblymen and MPs are protecting your rights and interests. I believe real work supersedes the superficiality of banners. I see UMNO banners wishing the Chinese community; does it immediately mean that UMNO is protecting your rights? Gimmicks such as this, putting up banners, giving out calendars and umbrellas, these do not and will not hide real issues - corruption, racial discrimination, and money politics which the proponents of such gimmicks are not bold enough to confront. I am not from MCA; as such I am not elected to only look out for the rights of the Chinese. I represent Malaysians of all races in Subang Jaya. The people in BN and MCA will not understand this. When will Malaysians truly reject the arguments of race and all the excesses of race-based politics?

Monday, February 2, 2009

My official visit to the City of Wilmington

After the completion of my program, I travelled to the city of Wilmington in North Carolina. I have been invited to meet the Mayor of this city - Mr Bill Saffo [Note:Mayor is elected in Wilmington]. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the possibility of Subang Jaya entering into a Sister City relationship with the City of Wilmington. What is this Sister City relationship all about? Read more about it here.

Over the years, some places in Malaysia have entered into a Sister City relationship with other cities in the world. George Town in Penang entered into a Sister City relationship with the City of Adelaide in Australia in 1973. Other sister-cities or twin-towns for Malaysia are Kuala Lumpur-Iran, Ipoh-Fukuoka, Johor Bahru-Istanbul, Kota Kinabalu-Yongin and many more.

I did a presentation of Subang Jaya to the Mayor and 3 members of the Sister City Commission. The next step would be for the City of Wilmington to consider this application.

If successful, this relationship would increase global cooperation and promote opportunities for international partnerships for citizens, businesses, schools, and organizations in Wilmington and Subang Jaya. Activities include: cultural events, youth programs and exchanges, teacher sponsorships and exchanges, hosting international visitors, economic development and more. Two areas of focus would be an exchange program for teenagers of Subang Jaya to experience life in a public school in Wilmington and exchange of ideas on ways to improve good governance especially at the local council.

The Mayor presented me with a special wooden pen and his profound words to me were “Hopefully you can use this pen as an instrument of democracy for you in Malaysia”. A big thank you to the Ki family for your warm hospitality during my brief stay in Wilmington. I am leaving for home!
With Mayor of Wilmington - Mr Bill Saffo

Receiving the special wooden pen

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Completion of program

I arrived at Raleigh on Monday and the very same night, Steven and I were treated to a Chinese New Year feast by two new Malaysian friends we met - Ong Kian Ming and his wife, Ee Leng.
Ong Kian Ming is in his final year of his PhD studies in political science at Duke University and is a regular contributor to Malaysiakini. We had a great time discussing and catching up on politics in Malaysia.
In Raleigh, we also visited the local council there and had meetings with its commissioner, representatives from the Governor's office and Department of the Secretary of State for North Carolina.
I received my certificate of completion for this program and said goodbye to friends I have met from around the world. I left Raleigh yesterday and headed to the city of Wilmington for my final meeting with the mayor of this city. I will blog about the purpose of this meeting in my next posting.