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Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 20th November 2009: 

Divyashree, one of three pupils drowned in Kuala Dipang bridge tragedy, scored 4 As 3 Bs in UPSR, had ambition to become orthopaedic surgeon

V. Divyashree, 12, one of the three pupils drowned in the bridge collapse tragedy at SK Kuala Dipang in Jeram, Perak on Oct. 26 scored 4 As and 3 Bs in the UPSR results yesterday.

But the UPSR results were no comfort to her or her family. Divyashree’s life and her ambition to become an orthopaedic surgeon were snuffed out when together with two other pupils, N. Dina Deve and M. Devatharshini attending a 1Malaysia camp organized by the Education Ministry’s Co-curriculum Centre, she was drowned when the Kuala Dipang suspension bridge collapsed because of criminal negligence.

This morning, together with Perak Pakatan Rakyat elected representatives including MPs Ngeh Koo Ham (Bruas), M. Kulasegaran (Ipoh Barat), Nga Kor Ming (Taiping) and Perak State Assembly members A. Sivanesan (Sungkai), legitimate and legal Perak Speaker V. Sivakumar (Tronoh), Leong Mee Ming (Jalong), I was at the Ipoh High Court to extend support, sympathy and solidarity to the parents of the three victims of the Kuala Dipang tragedy to file a hundred-million ringgit suit against the Education Ministry for their death.

The Kuala Dipang tragedy claiming three young innocent lives should never have happened as they are casualties of a lengthening catalogue of criminal negligence and sharp drop in performance and standards of public authorities represented by greater lack of public accountability. Transparency and good governance.

Hardly a day passes without an example of such deplorable drop in standards, performance and lack of accountability of the public authorities, for instance, the unchecked rise in crime index and rampant corruption in the country.

There are at least two such items in today’s press, viz:

  • News report of “Datuk killed fleeing robbers” on a former Master Builder’s president Datuk Patrick Wong who died after he fell from the first floor of his house at Bukit Bandaraya, Bangsar while fleeing armed robbers;

  • The vindication of the beliefs of all right-thinking Malaysians that DAP political aide Teoh Beng Hock would still be alive today if the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) had not broken the law in unlawfully grilling witnesses – as ruled by the Kuala Lumpur High Court (Appellate and Special Powers Division) judge Justice Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof yesterday in the landmark Tan Boon Wah case that the MACC cannot interrogate witnesses beyond office hours.

The battle to ensure greater accountability, transparency and good governance in the Najib premiership suffered a grave blow yesterday hen Parliament was not allowed to debate a motion of “definite, urgent, public importance” Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2009 which returned the worst results for Malaysia in 15 years - not only the worst CPI rank of 56 and CPI score of 4.5, but the worst single-year drop in CPI rank by nine placings from last year’s 47th to 56th position and fall of CPI score of 0.6 from last year’s 5.1 to the present 4.5.

Huguette Labelle, chairman of Transparency International, cannot be more right when she said it was “essential to identify where corruption blocks good governance and accountability, in order to break its corrosive cycle”, adding:

“Stemming corruption requires strong oversight by parliaments, a well performing judiciary, independent and properly resourced audit and anti-corruption agencies, vigorous law enforcement, transparency in public budgets, revenue and aid flows. “

The Malaysian Parliament has failed its first test – to provide strong oversight to stem corruption.

*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor



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