Tuesday, March 31, 2009

World-Class Parliamentary answers

Let’s look at my parliamentary question to the Minister of Housing & Local Government and the reply I got:

“Lim Lip Eng (Segambut) minta Menteri Perumahan dan Kerajaan Tempatan menyatakan apakah garis panduan secara terperinci yang ditetapkan oleh Kerajaan Persekutuan dalam perihal industri papan iklan besar mengikut dasar ketinggian, lokasi, saiz, struktur, jenis tiang berkembar (twin pole) atau jenis tiga tiang (tripole) dan sebagainya?
Jawapan daripada Kementerian Perumahan dan Kerajaan Tempatan (KPKT): Untuk makluman Ahli Yang Berhormat, KPKT melalui Jabatan Perancangan Bandar dan Desa telah mengeluarkan “Garis Panduan Papan Iklan Luar” untuk diterima pakai oleh semua Pihak Berkuasa Tempatan (PBT) secara seragam di Semenanjung Malaysia. Antara lain, garis panduan ini mengandungi kawalan ke atas perkara – perkara seperti ketinggian, lokasi dan saiz papan iklan luar. Bagi struktur pula, kawalan yang dikenakan adalah supaya bahan papan iklan yang digunakan adalah dari bahan yang tahan lama, tidak berkarat dan mampu menampung wind load seperti yang ditentukan oleh Pihak Berkuasa Jalan yang berkenaan iaitu Lembaga Lebuhraya Malaysia, Jabatan Kerja Raya dan PBT. Garis panduan juga memerlukan supaya struktur papan iklan didirikan di atas maksimum tiga tiang dan bukan di dalam bentuk kerangka yang boleh menyumbang kepada kemerosotan visual persekitaran.”

Read & judge for yourself, this is the standard “brush-aside” answer the opposition MP will usually get in Parliament. I asked for detailed guidelines in putting up giant billboards but the Minister basically just replied yes they have such guidelines without providing much details. I asked the question because market source told me there is no clear guideline imposed by the authorities. If MPs can’t even get answers in parliament, how in Malaysia the people are to channel their enquiries and opinions to the government. Should this attitude continues, we shall go on chasing the world-class parliament dream.

Lim Lip Eng

Monday, March 30, 2009

Pahang-Selangor Raw Water Transfer Project

Malaysia was attacked by Japan during World War II. 68 years later, why our country still kowtow to Japanese bank?

Video recording of Parliament session on 26.2.2009

The reply: "Kementerian Tenaga Air Telekomunikasi ingin menjelaskan bahawa Kerajaan sentiasa memastikan segala proses perolehan yang dilaksanakan bagi projek Penyaluran Air Mentah Pahang-Selangor dibuat secara telus dan berintegriti. Untuk itu, segala proses perolehan yang dijalankan adalah mengikut tatacara dan kaedah perolehan yang telah ditetapkan oleh Kementerian Kewangan dan pada masa yang sama juga perlu mematuhi garis panduan Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Official Development Assistant (ODA) Loans. Sehubungan dengan itu, sebarang keputusan berkaitan pemberian kontrak dalam projek ini telah melalui dua proses kelulusan iaitu diluluskan oleh Kementerian Kewangan dan mendapat persetujuan (concurrence) daripada pihak JICA."

Lim Lip Eng

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Public hearing on Draft KL 2020 City Plan

I was invited to attend the above public hearing this morning at city hall building. The hearing was about 6 suggestions which I lodged last year. A city hall official started the hearing by introduced me as “a person who has objections” to Draft KL 2020 City Plan. Upon hearing that, I told the 3 hearing committees that I was invited to the hearing by city hall to give suggestions to the draft plan as correctly & clearly printed out by city hall on a name-plate placed on the table before me which read “Pemberi Cadangan”.
My suggestions range from the many existing green areas should be remained such, for e.g. Sg Penchala Malay village should be kept “green” as oppose to suggestion in the draft plan to develop the whole village, on why 3rd volume of the draft plan was not readied for the public even until now & please don’t insult the intelligence of the people by saying volume 3 is too comprehensive for public to understand as what has previously stated by a city hall spokesperson, the lack of public transportation plans in Segambut area namely, none was planned at Desa Partcity, Bandar Menjalara, Tm Sri Sinar, Tm Bukit Sri Bintang & Tm Prima Impian, insufficient lands are proposed to reserve for churches & for other religions in the draft plan and, to why there are many uncoloured maps in volume 2 as different colours were used in the draft plan to indicate the various proposed usage & density of an area.
All my suggestions/enquiries were duly noted by the 3 committees and I was told that I will be given a written reply later.
I stressed to the committees that the whole draft plan is built on the notion that in order for Kuala Lumpur to attain the status of a world class city, its population density has to be increased and to solve the “more people, more traffic & more chaos” issue, the draft plan relies on new rail lines & transit stations proposals. I pointed out to the committees if population is increased due to more high-rise housing projects yet the public transportation proposal fails to be implemented then the whole city plan is doomed & Kuala Lumpur will be in a mess. To make sure the plan will work, I suggested in the hearing that the authority must give some forms of guarantee to city folks that sufficient new public transportation system has to be readied before a new development is approved, maybe to do that in a phase by phase manner.

Lim Lip Eng

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

RM505 million to maintain 49 Fighter Jets

Prime Minister cum Defence Minister answered me in Parliament that government has to spend RM505 million just for the past 2 years to maintain 49 fighter jets (19 Hawk, 16 MiG29, 8 F/A18D & 6 Sukhoi). This does not include the cost that we need to train & maintain the qualified pilots and we have 153 pilots to fly 49 fighter jets!
I would rather have that money spent on recruiting more police to patrol our streets especially in this economic downturn & rampant crime than having a troop of pilots hanging around in the hanger with not enough jets to fly.

Lim Lip Eng

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Courts’ Proceedings to be recorded

Parliament passed an act today to amend the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC). The amendment is to allow for the recording of “any proceedings” before the courts of law by any mechanical means. Before the act was passed, I asked the Minister in charge Dato' Seri Mohamed Nazri in Parliament for clarification whether “any proceedings” include remand proceeding to which he answered yes. I further suggested to him to allow for the same recording of any interrogation of suspects at police station from the moment a suspect is arrested, brought to or called up to police station for questionings. To this, the minister said he is the minister in charge of the courts, not the police stations. He advised me to bring this issue to the minister in charge of police, Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid I suppose? I argued that we were amending the CPC, the Code that governs all aspect of criminal proceedings from the second a suspect is brought to police station, to the sentencing in court and to how a suspect can appeal against the sentence. Again, Nazri said he has no say over police matters.

Lim Lip Eng

Monday, March 16, 2009

Push comes to shove

CF issued to apartments despite no water, electricity supply
News by Noel Achariam, www.nst.com.my

Segambut member of parliament Lim Lip Eng (second from left) with home owners
outside their apartment block protesting the non-supply of water and electricity.

KUALA LUMPUR: Nearly a year after getting their keys, the owners of the Medan Putra serviced apartments in Bandar Menjalara are still unable to move in.
The reason? There is no water and electricity supply at their apartments although the certificate of fitness (CF) had been issued late last year.
The 500 home owners are now demanding to know why the CF was issued before the water and electricity supply was connected.
Their queries with the developer have drawn a blank.
Angry, more than 100 home owners staged a protest in front of the 30-storey apartment block on Saturday.
"I spend about RM900 every month servicing my bank loan and paying the maintenance fees. My apartment is completed, but I can't move in.
"I have no idea how long I can survive like this," said one of the owners, Connie Lim, 29.
She added that at present, the electricity supply at the serviced apartment was only from 9am to 6pm.
Another house owner, Chong Wei Yin, was disappointed with the developer.
"I was so excited last year when I collected the keys to my new home.
"But, when I went to my apartment, I saw that there was no water. I simply don't understand, how can the CF be issued without water and electricity supply?"
Chong said the owners had also been told to start paying their maintenance fees.
"Why do we need to pay maintenance fees, when we haven't even moved into the apartment?"
Segambut member of parliament Lim Lip Eng, who was at the protest, said that he would look into the plight of the home owners.
"The CF is an official document issued by the local authority to acknowledge that a certain building is safe and can be occupied.
"The local council should only issue the CF after all the conditions stipulated have been met, but it seems in this case, they have issued the CF without ensuring that the basic amenities are provided for," he said.
After speaking to the owners, Lip Eng and some of the home owners went to the developer's office to seek an explanation.
However, he too failed to get any answers. Instead, he was told that there would be a meeting between the developer and home owners next Wednesday and he was welcomed to attend it.
Things, however, nearly turned ugly when Lip Eng and the home owners were leaving the office.
Lip Eng and the home owners had gathered in front of the office to enable press photographers to take pictures when an employee from the developer's office rushed out and confronted them.
The man started shouting at the home owners who were brandishing placards and told the photographers to stop taking pictures.
A scuffle broke out between the man and some of the house buyers but Lip Eng managed to calm the situation.
Lip Eng, meanwhile, said he would be contacting the local authority to enquire about the CF issue.
Lawyer Derek Fernandez agreed with Lip Eng that the local authority should not have allowed vacant possession before ensuring that the building had water and electricity supply.
"City Hall has no authority to issue the CF if the basic amenities are not there. Legal action can be taken against the developer. The local authority must also issue an explanation why the water and electricity were not connected before the CF was issued."
The developer, Sri Melinger Sdn Bhd, declined to comment.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

RM528mil Flood Mitigation Project Undone

Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Ahmad Fuad was quoted saying that the independent contractor, who was awarded the RM528mil flood mitigation project to build retention ponds at Jinjang and Batu, had failed to complete the project on time in May 2007 and the delay was one of the main reasons for the March 3 flooding that caused chaos in the city. However, Fuad said he would leave it to the Federal Territories Ministry to decide on the fate of the independent contractor. This is another classic case of letting the unscrupulous off the hook by the authority with no reasonable explanation while the people are left to suffer heavy losses resulting from floods. Can the floods victims sue the authority? The answer is no after the Federal Court's decision in MPAJ v. Steven Phoa Cheng Loon & Ors. whereby the Federal Court held that the authority is granted immunity from liability for such consequences under S. 95(2) of the Street, Drainage & Building Act 1974. Can the victims sue the independent contractor instead? My answer is yes if and only if city hall is cooperative enough by giving full disclosure of the content of the contract and testifying in court against the contractor.
Lim Lip Eng

Friday, March 6, 2009

A “Cover-Up” Uncovered

Second autopsy: Doctor’s drawing of A Kugan beat-up body

A second autopsy on A Kugan (22-year-old) showed he died while being interrogated by police on Jan 20 from injuries consistent with being beaten plus a number of burn marks on his body which contradicted the first autopsy which just stated that Kugan died from fluid in his lungs. Only now the Bar Council jumped on the bandwagon, followed by MCA and et cetera urging for a thorough investigation.

Not only that the police who interrogated A Kugan and the pathologist who conducted the initial autopsy have to be suspended pending investigation, the police chief who announced that A Kugan, after he died, was suspected to have involved in a number of car thefts must be immediately sacked because even until now, the police chief does not have the least courtesy to make an unreserved apology to the decease’s family for tarnishing A Kugan’s good name. Anyone is innocent until proven guilty, that’s the rule of thumb in police business.

Lim Lip Eng