Monday, March 29, 2010

MP Watch: Eye on Parliament

Source: (By Ding Jo-Ann, 24/3/2010)
SEGAMBUT Member of Parliament (MP) Lim Lip Eng responds to the MP Watch: Eye on Parliament project, which asks all 222 MPs six questions.

1. Would you support the abolition/review of the Internal Security Act (ISA), in particular the provision that allows for detention without trial? Why or why not?

I wholly support the abolishment of the ISA, which accords broad and almost absolute power to the home minister to detain anyone with impunity. The [minister's] use of this power is unquestionable [in court] and has unjustly led to selective detention without trial of government opponents.

Proof that the nation's "security" was breached is often never revealed, which I suspect [may not even have existed]. Many have lost years languishing in Kamunting. For those fortunate enough to be released, there is neither an apology nor a penny of compensation. Despite the breach of detainees' and family members' fundamental human rights and the injustice, these shenanigans in the name of national security still go on.

By merely having this law, the government has set Malaysia backwards by at least 30 years! Absolute power in the hands of any leader, more often than not, will lead to temptation to misuse such power, especially with no checks and balances. Even when accusing any potential terrorist, they, too, ought to be given a chance to defend themselves in open court.

Guantanamo [Bay] is the US's shame; we don't need to continue having ours. The ISA has outlived its purpose [since] the Malayan Communist Party was rendered toothless and surrendered in 1989. Now is as good a time as any to rid ourselves of this shameful law.

2. Do you think Malaysia should be a secular or an Islamic state? Why?

Malaysia is neither a pure secular nor Islamic state. Our [founding leaders] all agreed that Islam would be the federation's religion, but at the same time, Malaysians are accorded the freedom to choose their religion. This has been guaranteed in the Federal Constitution. Everyone's interest is considered ... irrespective of the faith they practise.

Islam is also duly accorded the support of the federation due to its special position. For [Muslims], certain civil matters are decided in the syariah courts, but are never imposed on non-believers.

This unique position has preserved our nation's harmony despite the continuous presence of [groups] who try to stir up provocative issues to elevate their political position. Religion or faith is and always has been a [private] matter, and should be left as such. I don't need to punish another person according to my own beliefs so that they, too, can go to [heaven].

3. How do you define your role as an elected MP? Does Parliament provide you with the necessary infrastructure and support to fulfil your role?

I represent more than 65,000 voters in [Parliament] with all their concerns, views and interests in guiding the route this great nation will take. I do my best to ensure that their views are heard before decisions are taken and laws are passed, with God's grace.

The population from this area is very diverse. It ranges from the more well-to-do in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Sri Hartamas and Damansara, to more dire areas in Kg Segambut Dalam, Kg Sungai Penchala and Kg Bukit Lanjan.

As their elected MP, I am also tasked with solving many local issues that are left unattended by the non-elected city council. While I relish the opportunity to be able to help those in need, I have to admit that attending to all these matters with my limited resources is indeed taxing.

For me to be effective in deliberating on the diverse bills that are tabled each (parliamentary) session, having a good resource centre, capable researchers and supporting offices is critical. Currently, I can only do the best I can with my own resources. This is in contrast with the ruling party's ability to tap into entire government resources for their needs, while other non-aligned parliamentarians are left on their own. This ought to be corrected so that future laws passed will have [the benefit of] many diverse views.

On an adjacent issue, until local council and city hall elections are implemented, having greater resources accorded [so that] an MP [can] improve servicing local matters would be great.

4. Would you support a Freedom of Information Act? Why or why not?

I wholly support this Act. Secrecy allows room for devious and corrupt acts to be covered up. Decisions that affect the public ought to be made public unless it affects extremely critical issues such as national security. I doubt there are many such issues, [but even so], there ought to be a specific time bar for such secrecy.

Currently, everything is conveniently covered under the shroud of legal secrecy. Even if righteous government officers have proof of corruption or acts of betrayal to the nation, they have no recourse to expose it without the fear of being sent to jail.

Openness and transparency will bring about improved productivity, cost savings and increased government efficiency.

5. If there was one thing you could do to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Malaysia, what would it be?

I would like each parliamentary constituency to have fairer representation based on the actual number of voters rather than arbitrary delineation. Currently I represent close to 70,000 voters and perhaps 300,000 unregistered voters from Segambut. But there are other parliamentary constituencies having much fewer voters. Putrajaya, for example, has only 8,000 voters

This has created a situation where a voter in a bigger population area has less say than a voter in a smaller population area. This imbalance is rendered worse by having the "first-past-the-post" system.

To seek fairness in delineation may be close to impossible, thus an alternative is to adopt a proportional representation system in Parliament based on number of votes received.

6. Do you believe in separation of powers between the government, Parliament and judiciary? Why or why not?

This is absolutely critical to ensure check and balance in the making, enforcement and execution of laws. Currently, legislation in place shackles the courts from reviewing laws passed in Parliament. At the same time, the government is absolutely beholden to the executive.

Until this imbalance is corrected, we are placing too much power in the executive's hands. As said by Lord Acton: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great [people] are almost always bad [people]."

This is the sad reality befuddling our great nation; even good [persons] with noble purposes can do little. We have all seen noble ministers, just and wise judges and incorruptible government servants sidelined by those beholden and addicted to the executive's vast power.

Only another great political tsunami can change this and steer us on the correct course.

For other MP responses, see Full MP list

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Call centre passes MP's test…

Lim Lip Eng (left) and special assistant Nick Ong inspecting a hole in front of their office. — Picture by P.C. Lim

Source: (By Dawn Chan, 18/3/2010)

Kuala Lumpur City Hall's 24-hour toll-free call centre has received the thumbs up from Segambut member of parliament Lim Lip Eng. Lim said the level of service was satisfactory. He said more than half of the complaints he had channelled to the hotline had been dealt with. Lim said he had lodged more than 20 complaints in three months. Action was taken, he said, between two weeks and two months from the time he lodged the complaints. "Sixty per cent of my complaints, ranging from uncollected rubbish to potholes, were attended to. I understand that the remaining complaints are yet to be solved because they are waiting for allocations. Some involving illegal roadside hawkers couldn't be looked into because of political backing. However, City Hall has passed my test. I can say this complaints line is a success." Lim encouraged city residents to make full use of the toll-free number (1-800 88 3255), which is operated around the clock.
The call centre was launched by the Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan. Sidek said the call centre was set up to cater to the needs of and provide better service to the people, in line with the prime minister's 1Malaysia concept of "People first, performance now". City Hall had spent RM400,000 to set up the call centre. It is equipped with the Integrated Public Agency Complaints Monitoring System which enables the staff to monitor complaints received from the public and address them effectively. There are 21 trained staff on duty. Complaints can be made in Bahasa Malaysia, English, Mandarin and Tamil.

Police report lodged over inaction on Adorna land fraud case

No Adorna probe


THE Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has never conducted investigations into the Adorna Properties Sdn Bhd vs Boonsom Boonyanit case which took place nine years ago, Datuk Seri Nazri Abd Aziz said.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department told Lim Lip Eng (DAP — Segambut) in a written reply the criminal case did not come under the jurisdiction of the Anti-Corruption Agency then.

My question in Parliament on 17/3/2010:

Lim Lip Eng asks the Prime Minister to state why no arrest is yet to be made by the POLICE or COURT ACTION taken on all parties including the lawyers & staffs of Land & Mines Department who are involved in cheating & falsifying of documents in the land ownership transfer which became a court acse 9 years ago involving Adorna Properties Sdn Bhd –vs- Boosom Boonyanit.

DBKL transfers 14 senior officers

Source: (By BAVANI M and JAYAGANDHI JAYARAJ, 18/3/2010)

FEDERAL Territories and Urban WellBeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin has urged certain parties not to politicise the tranfer of several senior officers from the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL). “It is a normal practice to have this cross over sessions as a means to share knowledge and expertise. “We don’t want DBKL to be a closed-up organisation with no information on what goes on outside,” Nong Chik said. The minister added that he wanted DBKL officers transferred out to look at it as a learning experience.

On the point highlighted by Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng that the transfers were due to corruption and incompetence and that the officers should be investigated by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC), Nong Chik said it was untrue. “If they are guilty, we will take action against them and not transfer them. That will be absurd,” he said.

On Monday, 14 senior civil servants, including two heads of departments from DBKL were transferred to various ministries and government-linked companies under a programme called “cross fertilisation.” This is an exchange programme between employees from the Government and government-linked companies (GLCs) to make them more professional and efficient. A source from the DBKL said those who had received their letters of transfer were DBKL Health Department director Dr Zainol Ariffin Pawanchee and Zainol Ahmad from the Administration Department. The transfer also involved other senior officers from various departments who would be moved to various ministries such as the Federal Territories and Urban WellBeing Ministry, Labuan Corporation and other GLCs. “The programme was launched last year by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and is aimed at providing an insight and exposure, said the source. “The idea is to develop high performance leaders with a strong understanding of government practices as well as expedite transfer of knowledge and expertise,” he said. DBKL is the first local authority involved in the programme and according to the source, other local governments will soon follow suit. Ideally officers are exchanged over a period of two years.

When contacted, Dr Zainol confirmed the transfer and said he viewed it as a positive move. “My area of jurisdiction will be bigger and I will also be in charge of Putrajaya,’’ he said, adding that he would be the deputy director of the FT Health Department.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

MACC ready to probe PI Bala

Source: (16/3/2010)

The Malaysia Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) reiterated today that it is prepared to meet private eye P Balasubramaniam wherever and whenever he is comfortable to be interviewed.

In a written reply to Segambut DAP MP Lim Lip Eng, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz said that MACC's investigation on Balasubramaniam is still going on. Balasubramaniam (left) had claimed in an interview posted on Youtube last year that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's younger brother Nazim had offered him RM5 million to retract a statutory declaration linking the premier to slain Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu.
The private investigator had then fled the country with his family on July 5, 2008, after making the retraction and a second declaration that contradicted the contents of the first.
Lim asked whether MACC is willing to travel up to England to record Balasubramaniam's statement with the presence of the latter lawyer. "MACC will record Balasubramaniam's statement in any location he prefers," stated Mohd Nazri.

To Meet KL mayor on 18/3/2010

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ponds a dumping ground

Lim Lip Eng (right) pointed at broken underground water pipes undetected by the authorities due to lack of technology for that. (Photo by Lim)

Stomach-churning sight: The water from Sungai Keroh flowing into the polluted pond. (Photo by PRIYA MENON)

Source: (Story by PRIYA MENON, 12/3/2010)

RESIDENTS near the Segambut Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) station have been illegally dumping their domestic waste into three ponds in the area for 10 years now. The ponds were never discovered until recently after a link road between Jalan Kepong and Jalan Segambut was opened.

Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng held a press conference at the venue recently to highlight the state of the ponds. “The residents nearby have been conveniently dumping their waste into the ponds because these ponds were hidden in the past. However, with the new road it has become an eyesore,” he said. Lim industrial waste, domestic waste and animal carcasses were among the things that had been dumped into the ponds.

Sungai Keroh is the source of the ponds’ water.

“The has become a breeding ground for aedes mosquitoes due to the presence of empty bottles and cans which are the ideal places for the larvae to breed,” said Lim. According to Lim, the monsoon drain on the other side has dried up as a result of an unfinished work. “The outlet from the river to the monsoon drain has not been completed, forcing the water to flow into the pond,” he said. Lim urged the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to look at ways to clean up the ponds in light of the Kuala Lumpur Cleanliness Day 2010 launched recently. He added the DBKL’s new Cleanliness Squad should catch the culprits littering the ponds. “These ponds could become a recreational park for residents in the area. I believe many would prefer that to the stinking ponds,” Lim said.

While visiting the site, Lim also pointed out broken water pipes causing water wastage in front of a surau. “There are many places in KL with this problem and we cannot detect burst pipes because we do not have the technology for that,” he said. Lim said he would send pictures of the ponds to the DBKL for them to take remedial action. “The country is facing water shortage due to the heat wave and instead of rationing water the broken pipes whould be repaired instead,”

MP says laws need to be amended

Source: (12/3/2010)

THE fiasco surrounding the gated and guarded neighbourhood issue will not be resolved even if the Housing and Local Governmnet Ministry were to release its own set of guidelines.

In fact, any guidelines being drawn up by both the Federal and Selangor governments will be ultra vires, said planning lawyer Derek Fernandez. Fernandez said two acts of Parliament — the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974 (Act 133) and the Road Transport Act 1987 — directly prohibit any restriction of access to any public road by a private individual or residents association.

Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng, who is also a lawyer, agreed that the situation was getting out of hand and said that the laws would have to be amended before any guidelines could be enforced. Lim said that as an MP, he would push for the amendments at the next sitting of Parliament.

“Currently, every guarded scheme in the city is illegal and the only way to legalise it is to amend both the Acts; otherwise all the barricades, boom gates and steel drums obstructing public roads are an offence and can be challenged by anyone,” Fernandez said. “People should not lull themselves into a false sense of security by thinking that the guidelines will protect them from legal action against the person who is determined to remove the barricades or who uses reasonable force in exercising his right to use the road,” he added. The only solution Fernandez said is to amend Section 46 of the 1974 Act and Section 80 of the Road Transport Act by adding the words — “unless approved by the local authority” to the required sections. He said this would legalise the guidelines and make them effective.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Concern over cross junction with no traffic lights

Busy: The cross junction near Taman Sri Segambut in Kuala Lumpur.

Source: (By JAYAGANDI JAYARAJ, 4/3/2010)

A CROSS junction located opposite the Al-Qurtubi mosque near Taman Sri Segambut, Kuala Lumpur, is a cause for concern among people in the area, especially those from the nearby SRJK (T) Segambut. The junction, which has no traffic lights, is a busy place during peak hours in the mornings and evenings with criss-crossing traffic. Many accidents have taken place in the area. The junction connects motorists from Segambut to various areas such as Kepong, Sg. Buloh and housing areas in Segambut. K. Muniandy, 64, a member of the SRJK (T) Segambut’s board of trustees, said traffic was at its worst in the early morning when the streetlights were switched off at 6.30am. “The area is still dark and at the same time, motorists are criss-crossing to get to their various destinations.

“Our concern is the safety of schoolchildren who use this road to go to their school on Jalan Sri Segambut. We hope the authorities will install traffic lights here. Prevention is better than cure because we feel this junction is deadly” he said during a press conference organised by Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng yesterday. Lim said the main road at the junction also had no name, adding that he had asked the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to give the road a name and eventually install traffic lights to ease and control traffic in the area.

KL playgrounds and parks in a bad state

Source: (By BAVANI M, 4/3/2010)

KUALA Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has come under fire for neglecting parks and playgrounds in the city. Several Kuala Lumpur MPs have been receiving complaints from residents living in their constituencies that the parks and playgrounds in their neighbourhoods have not been maintained for months.

Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng said he had been inundated by e-mail with complaints from residents living in Segambut Garden, Taman Bamboo, Taman Bukit Sri Bintang, Taman Cuepacs and Sri Hartamas. According to him, most of the e-mails said the parks were in a deplorable state.

Seputeh MP Teresa Kok also said she had received e-mail from residents in Salak South Garden, Taman Desa and Kuchai Entrepreneurs Park in Jalan Kelang Lama complaining that the grass has not been cut for months.

A resident of Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) who wished to remain anonymous said the grass in the park at Jalan Athinahapan 6 had not been cut for a long time. “For as long as I can remember, City Hall has been doing a relatively good job in maintaining the public facilities here in TTDI. “However, no one has been coming to the playground to cut the grass for some months and it is almost knee-high now. “The children’s playground is busy every afternoon and there are concerns on what could be lying in the thick undergrowth. Previously, the contractors could be seen twice a month but now it’s been more than two months since the last visit,” he said. According to him, repeated calls to the DBKL Segambut office in TTDI and two separate calls to DBKL’s new hot-line had not yielded any response. A playground in Sri Hartamas was reported to be in the same state as well and a reader had written to say that the grass had not been cut for the last few months and it was now long and unsightly. “A neighbour had complained to the DBKL on numerous occasions but I have not seen any action being taken,” the reader wrote. “Previously this field was very well maintained but I guess the DBKL has some budget constraints,” the reader who wanted to be known as Low said. A visit to the park in TTDI on Tuesday showed that it was in a deplorable state. The rubbish bins were filled to the brim and garbage could be seen strewn about the ground while the badminton and basketball courts were buried by dry leaves. In Happy Garden in Seputeh, the playground at Jalan Nyaman 10 has become a meeting point for those carrying out unhealthy activities. Someone had left behind empty beer bottles and cigarettes packs on the children’s play apparatus. A similar situation was discovered in the Sri Hartamas park with rubbish scattered all over the place. The deplorable state of the parks has led to speculation on the reasons why City Hall had failed to maintain the public amenities. “I heard that they have not paid their contractors for months and, now, the contractors have refused to maintain the parks,” Teresa said.

Lim, however, alleged that due to budget constraints, the DBKL had decided to maintain the parks on its own and it could not cope with the task. Lim added that the unkempt playgrounds and parks had become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. “Sri Hartamas has been declared a dengue hotspot and I do not want Desa Hartamas to have the same label later on,” he said.

Meanwhile, a City Hall source denied both the MPs allegations and said that the contracts for park maintenance had expired and the authority was in the process of renewing it. “We are not out of money and we are certainly not doing it (cutting the grass) ourselves,” the source said, adding that the contracts would probably be renewed in April. DBKL’s landscaping and urban cleanliness department spends RM100mil a year to maintain its 14 public parks as well as hundreds of other parks and playgrounds in the federal capital.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

MP slams welfare dept for slow action

Source: (2/3/2010)

SEGAMBUT MP Lim Lip Eng slammed the Federal Territory Social Welfare Department (JKM) for sitting on a financial aid application for more than two years, then approved it right on the spot when he intervened. He said kidney patient Lim Ah Kau had submitted his application in December 2007, but did not receive any favourable reply despite numerous visits to the department office at Grand Seasons Avenue in Kuala Lumpur.

Lim Ah Kau said he needed the RM300 monthly aid to feed his family. “I have to undergo dialysis treatment in Kepong three days a week while my wife, who is unemployed, takes care of our three school-going children. “We rely solely on donations and help from friends and relatives and it’s not easy to put food on the table,” he said. Lim Ah Kau said he came to the department more than 10 times after filing his application, but all he got from the officers was “to wait for the reply.”

However, when Lim Lip Eng met the officer-in-charge together with Ah Kau at the department office, Ah Kau’s application was approved immediately. “The officer said it will normally take three months to process the application, but Ah Kau’s application was filed through Women, Family and Community Development Ministry’s Project Cari, which was only forwarded to JKM in December last year. “But Ah Kau said he didn’t go through the channel. He has been visiting this JKM office personally to apply and follow up,” Lip Eng said.

Lip Eng said his requests to meet the department’s director Noormah Abdul Rauf were denied but Noormah, upon catching wind of the press conference in the waiting area, came to talk to him. She insisted that Lip Eng could not hold a press conference there without permission from JKM headquarters. “I enquired about the delay in Ah Kau’s application but was not given an explanation. “I also asked why I was no longer allowed to collect and submit application forms on behalf of the applicants. When I came here before Chinese New Year, I was told that the applicants have to come here personally but what about those bedridden ones?

“Noormah’s reply was that ‘it could be arranged’,” Lip Eng said.

He also brought along Yap Kiew, 81, and Choong Heng, 73, to apply for welfare aid. Both of them are single and live by themselves. “I will follow up with Noormah on their applications,” Lip Eng said.