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Is Ong Ka Ting going to apologise as MCA President on behalf of Tee Kiat for stepping on the toes of UMNO Youth leader?
(Parliment, Friday) : When UMNO Youth leader and Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein declared “war” on Datuk Ong Tee Keat, MCA National Vice President and Deputy Higher Education Minister on Tuesday, Hishammuddin said he was hurt by the “manner, words and location” used by Ong as “a high-ranking officer in MCA and Barisan Nasional” in making the “irresponsible statement that government officers are corrupt in public”. (Malaysiakini 12.9.06)
Is the MCA President, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting now going to apologise on behalf of Tee Kiat for “a high-ranking officer in MCA” stepping on the toes of the UMNO Youth leader?
Or is Hishammuddin fully satisfied that the four MCA Ministers had supported the Cabinet decision on Wednesday to reprimand Ong for speaking up against “leakages” and abuses of funds earmarked for repair of Chinese primary schools to prevent avoidable deaths or serious injuries to teachers and students like the tragic case of SJKC Keat Hwa (near Alor Star) teacher, Chan Boon Heng, 42, who died of internal injuries after falling through rotting termite-infested floorboards last September?
I do not believe that Chan Boon Heng’s soul would rest in peace at the “hijacking” of the issue – to ensure that there is no misuse of a single sen of the RM10 million allocated to repair 114 Chinese primary schools, 71 Tamil schools and 25 missionary schools to make the school premises safe for our teachers and students and that there would not be another tragic death like his.
This should be the priority agenda of the Cabinet, as serious “leakages” and abuses of funds in government contracts and projects, including those of the Education Ministry, is an open secret. Everybody knows about it and if Cabinet Ministers do not know, then either they are lying or they are not living in the real world.
The expose of “leakages” and abuses of funds for the repair of the two schools, SJKC Kung Yu and SJKC Ai Hwa should have given the Education Minister and the Cabinet the “golden opportunity” to launch a “clean up” campaign to eradicate the “human termites” pocketing public funds with delivery of sub-standard government projects which pose physical dangers in school premises to teachers and students – such as delivering RM3,000 worth of work for a RM30,000 school-repair project.
Instead, the issues of accountability, integrity and the safety for teachers and students, had been sidestepped, providing another instance where the whistleblower is again pilloried for highlighting “leakages” and misappropriation of public funds, coupled the bureaucratic and meaningless statements whether by the Deputy Education Minister Datuk Hon Choon Khim claiming that only one of the 140 national-type Chinese schools had faced problems involving repair works or by the Education Ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Dr. Zulkurnain Awang that the repair bills for the two Chinese schools in Johore had been completed, the bills paid and thus the “issue of misappropriation…do not arise”.
With such naivette and/or indifference, is it any wonder that Malaysia’s ranking in the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index had been on the relentless decline from No. 23 in 1995 to No. 37 in 2003, falling down further to No. 39 for 2004 and 2005 despite the pledge by the new Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to break from the corruption of the past and to lead a clean and incorruptible administration?
The Cabinet decision on Wednesday reprimanding Ong for speaking up against “leakages” and abuses of funds in school repair projects is a shame and disgrace for the following reasons:
DAP MPs will question the misplacement of priorities by Hishammuddin in Parliament in the Ministerial winding-up of the budget debate next week. Can we expect support from principled MPs, not only from MCA, but also Gerakan, MIC, UMNO and other Barisan Nasional component parties?
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman