Kota Kinabalu August 14, 2011: It is time for the Government to liberalise various sectors currently being monopolised as these do not deliver good quality service to the rakyat but only profits to cronies.
Inefficiency, Monopolies, Cost Of Living
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Treasurer-General, Fong Ken Sin said the root of inflation and inefficiency is crony capitalism that gives priority to cartels and monopolies.
"We need to end the monopolies of road maintenance, water supply, electricity supply, car APs, Development Plan approval monopoly and negotiated contracts that suck our nation dry," he said.
Sabah's road maintenance, in particular, is handled by five selected concessionaires, some of which gets hundreds of millions of ringgit yearly.
There is often dispute over whose jurisdiction a particular road or bridge repair should come under while the rakyat in the affected areas suffer.
Officiating at the joint-Annual General Meeting of LDP Likas and Inanam, Saturday, Fong said the Government had strived to provide low medium cost housing or houses costing from RM42,001 to RM60,000 per unit during the Seventh Malaysia Plan.
"The disappointing news is that only 20.7 per cent or 72,582 units were completed from the targeted 350,000 nationwide. There is a need to examine the cause of the problems associated with the implementation," he said.
Fong said he was involved in two such medium-cost projects in Putatan and Menggatal, both of which were managed by Syarikat Perumahan Negara Berhad but there was no money to pay the contractors.
"Eventually it ended up with the contractors taking over the projects from the Government because of lack of efficiency," he said.
Fong claimed that the inability to build medium-cost houses was due to the cost of doing business rising with too much red tape and too many little Napoleons to overcome.
"As a case in point, the inefficiency of the Central Planning Board to vet development plans all over Sabah has given developers and investors a nightmare but an opportunity for the opportunists to cari makan," he said.
Fong said there was also a need for the Government to address the higher cost of living, especially with subsidies being cut on sugar, petrol and electricity.
"Our income has gone up in tandem with the higher cost of living.
If you are single, you need RM2,500 to survive and if you are married you need RM4,000 to scrape through.
"I am afraid that if the situation gets worse, there will be a natural uprising as we have recently seen in Egypt and the Middle East," he said.
With 90 per cent of the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) depending on the drive of the private sectors, the Government only plays a 10 per cent supervisory role to ensure the programme would be successful, he said.
"We therefore need policies that are fair, just and right.
We need to tell the Government that its policies should not get in the way of doing business," he said.
Wakil Rakyat, Youth, Jobs
Meanwhile, Youth Chief Chin Shu Ying said there is need to get rid of all the "No Action Talk Only" (Nato) wakil rakyat (elected representatives) come the next General Election.
Chin who is also LDP Likas chief said an ideal wakil rakyat needs to have honesty, integrity, sincerity, intelligence, friendliness, guts and be also hardworking.
"Having integrity and sincerity means the wakil rakyat is one who has the people at heart and is genuinely concerned and has the bravery to fight for the well-being of the community, he or she intends to represent.
"A good wakil rakyat not only should be able to speak well, but also know how to do well," he said.
Chin said good elected representatives must also have the sincerity to always go down the ground to listen to the communities instead of waiting for them in an air-conditioned room.
"With so many by-elections caused by the passing of wakil rakyat due to sickness, it is also important for us to take into consideration the age and health of the candidate when making our choices," he said, adding "undoubtedly, the coming election is time for change."
"But are we going to change for the better or worse?
The last election result has brought us closer to a two-party system which is good for democracy in Malaysia.
"But have our wakil rakyat improved in terms of quality?
Did our wakil rakyat use the power given by the people to help the people?
Or are they busy advancing their own agenda to make a great show and to make a name for themselves.
"Are our leaders building their dream and using people to do it instead of fulfilling the dream of people?" he asked.
"We must realise that at the end of the day, the government formed by these wakil rakyat, be it good or bad, is chosen by us. As such, we must be prudent and wise in making our selection and decision.
"Our selection will affect not only our livelihood, but also the future of our children. We must not let temporary gains cloud our judgement.
We also must not let our emotions cloud our decision," he said.
Chin also urged the government to take stock of the problems faced by the youths of today and urgently find ways to resolve them.
"We must remember that a big portion of the voters today are from the youth and they can well decide who will form the government," he said, adding that the uprising all around the world were participated by youths.
"The youths all over the world are sending a message to us.
That they are not happy and not satisfied with the present situation.
Nowadays, it is getting more and more difficult for our youth to find jobs with a decent income.
"Even some of our young graduates find difficulty in getting a job.
With the ever rising cost of living, they are finding it more and more difficult to survive in today's world. As such, a small spark is sufficient to become a flashpoint for these youths to lose their sanity as what is happening in London now."
Chin said the Ministry of Youth and Sports has an important role to play by placing youth development as the core objective of the Ministry with sport as complementary activity.
It must also work closely together with the other ministries and the private sector to find ways to create more job opportunities for the youth.
A task force should be set up together with the Industrial Development Ministry to assist youths venture into business and enterprise, he said, adding that much can be done if the right person is sitting in the right chair.
During the joint-AGM, there was also a resolution urging the Government to speed up the construction of more flyovers and improve the public transportation system in the State Capital area to lessen congestion.
Traffic Congestion Problem, Infrastructures
Inanam Chief Yong Wui Chung said the traffic congestion problem in Kota Kinabalu was turning from bad to worse, especially during peak hours.
"We urge the government to speedily improve the situation by constructing flyovers in the few intersections with heavy traffic flow especially along Jalan Lintas and Jalan Tuaran by-pass.
"The Government must also urgently improve the public transportation system by providing more proper bus stops, bus stations and a special lane for public transport vehicles.
"While waiting for the permanent bus terminal to be completed, the condition of the temporary Wawasan bus terminal needs to be improved so that the public can have a more comfortable area to use," he said.
Yong said the construction of the North and South bound bus terminals at Kepayan and Inanam also needs to be completed as soon as possible so that the proposed long-term master traffic plan can be put in place.