Speech by Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on the 2012 Budget on Thursday, 13th October 2011:
Malaysia not on the cusp of major national transformational change to restore national unity, achieve excellence and regain international competitiveness
Prime Minister-cum-Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 2012 Budget achieved many “firsts” in Malaysian parliamentary and budgetary history.
First, it beat all the other 53 budgets since 1957 in being the greatest cornucopia of goodies for votes in the forthcoming 13th general elections to reach out for voter support from a whole swathe of targetted groups comprising important vote-banks.
Second, it ranks at the most brazen and cynical budget exercise chalking up the highest Federal Government debt in history – set to break the RM500 billion mark next year, when for 2011, the Federal government debt to GDP (Gross Domestic Product) ratio of 53.8% has increased by 12% from RM 407 billion 2010 (i.e. 53.1% of GDP) to RM456 billion in 2011.
After 13 consecutive years of budget deficit, the Federal Government debt has increased by leaps and bounds – more than quadrupling from RM103 billion in 1998 when it was 38.3% to GDP to RM455.7 billion in 2011 or 53.8% to GDP.
Thirdly, in painting an overly-rosy picture of the economic future without taking into realistic account the grim international picture.
Never before has any budget met with so many “nay sayers” among economists, market analysts and even banks with regard to its projections of economic growth, dismissing Najib’s growth figures as too high.
The leading “nay sayer” is the RHB Research Institute whose growth projection is significantly lower than Najib’s forecast of five to six per cent for 2012 – warning that Malaysia’s economic growth could slow to just 3.6 per cent next year from a projected 4.3 per cent this year due to the increasing risk of a double dip global recession.
The research house said that the risk of a double-dip global recession is high and rising as both the US and Europe cannot withstand another shock although a recession could be averted if leaders in both continents act fast enough to contain the debt crises and avert a contagion that could lead to a complete meltdown in confidence.
Bank of America Global Research estimated Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) to grow at 4.2 per cent in 2012 while Maybank Investment Bank said it expected Malaysia’s GDP to expand at between 3.5-4 per cent. CIMB Investment Bank forecast a GDP growth of 3.8 per cent next year.
Writing on Najib’s “rosy growth projections” in his 2012 Budget, commentator Ong Kian Ming warned:
“If nominal GDP growth rates for 2011 and 2012 were cut by between 1% to 2%, the projected government deficit to nominal GDP would increase to 5.3% to 5.6% from the 4.7% announced. This can easily increase to beyond 6.0% if a supplementary budget of RM10b is passed after the 2012 Budget, especially if another ‘stimulus’ package is seen to be needed.”
Fourthly, another “first” for the 2012 Budget is that it is probably the most misleading and deceptive when compared to all the previous budgets. Its theme is “National Transformation Policy: Welfare for the Rakyat, Well-being for the Nation” but it has failed in effecting any national transformation to pave the way for Malaysia to become a developed and high-income nation by 2020.
This is because the inequitable and corrupt system which bred decades of injustice, inequality and exploitation remains completely untouched.
The 2012 Budget is designed to win the next general elections for Najib and not to reform and transform the country’s system, structures and institutions to end the rot which has seen Malaysia losing out in international competitiveness and being overtaken by more and more countries in national, economic and human resource development including in South East Asia.
Is Malaysia on the cusp of a major national transformation to restore national unity, achieve excellence and regain international competitiveness after the slew of policy initiatives, like the “1Malaysia, People First, Performance Now” and the impementation of the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) with seven National Key Result Areas (NKRAs), Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) with 12 National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs), the New Economic Model with eight Strategic Reform Initiatives (SRIs), and latest the Political Transformation Programme to repeal and reform undemocratic laws?
We are still very far from it and the following events and incidents in the past few weeks and months are salutary reminders of this solemn fact that we still have a very long way to go to have any transformational mindset and mentality, viz:
Exclusion of Malaysian universities from Times Higher Education (THE) 400 Top World University Ranking 2011/12.
The recent release of the Times Higher Education (THE) 400 Top World University Ranking 2011/12, where not a single Malaysian university is included, has punctured the elation and euphoria just two months ago over the QS 200 World University Rankings 2011/12 which saw University of Malaya making to the top 200 Top Universities moving 40 places to 167 compared to 2010.
In the QS World University Rankings 2011/12, four other Malaysian universities slid down the rankings – University Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) ranked 279 this year compared to 263 in 2010; Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) ranked 335 (309 last year); Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) ranked 358 (319 last year) and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) at between 401 and 450 (365 last year).
But in the just-released THE 400 Top World University Ranking 2011/12, none of the Malaysian universities made it into the placings.
A total of 60 Asian Universities made it into the THE 400 Top World University Ranking, with 16 from Japan, 10 from China, eight from Taiwan, seven from South Korea, six from Hong Kong, two from Singapore, and one each from India and Thailand.
Of special interest is the inclusion of Mahidol University, which made the local headlines during the inquest into the mysterious death of Teoh Beng Hock in August last year, when the MACC Legal Counsel Abdul Razak Musa made a spectacle of himself when he attacked the qualifications of renowned Thai forensic pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand as not recognised in Malaysia, earning her rebuttal that Mahidol is one of the world’s top ranked universities – which is again confirmed by the latest THE 400 Top World University Ranking.
The Higher Education Minister, Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin in his response said that Malaysian universities will be ready to be part of the Times Higher Education top 400 ranking in six to seven years from now.
He said the THE ranking is based 62.5 per cent on high impact research and citations, which is still a new area for local universities.
This is a most shocking admission. When the QS World University Rankings were announced in September, Khaled said this showed that Malaysian universities are competitive – as reflected by seven Malaysian universities ranked in the top 600 bracket out of more than 30,000 universities globally which participated in the exercise.
But he has a different excuse for the adverse THE rankings.
We should not be too obsessed with the different university rankings but we cannot apply double standards claiming them to be relevant and important when our universities are ranked while dismissing the rankings as irrelevant and unimportant when our universities are excluded.
We must accept that the annual university rankings by reputable organisations or institutions provide an useful assessment of the international ranking and competitiveness of our universities.
What Malaysians want to know is why the country’s leading universities, in particular the premier university, the University of Malaya and USM, which was acclaimed at the apex university, could not hold their ground with other universities in the Asian-Pacific region as they had started with comparative rankings.
For instance, in the fifties and sixties, University of Malaya was on par with other universities in the region – like the National University of Singapore, the University of Hong Kong and regarded as superior to most universities in Australia.
Today, in the THE 400 World University Ranking 2011-12, the University of Hong Kong is ranked No. 34, University of Melbourne 37, Australian National University 38, National University of Singapore 40, University of Sydney No. 58, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology 62, University of Queensland 74,Monash University 117, Chinese University of Hong Kong 151, Nanyang Tecnological University 169, University of Auckland 173, University of New South Wales 173, University of Western Australia 189, City University of Hong Kong 193, etc.
Fifty years ago, Malaysians would regard the University of Malaya as at par or even superior to the hundreds of universities listed in the THE Top 400 World University Ranking – and reading such a list should be a sombre reminder as to how low our premier university have fallen in the international ranking of universities.
Why did it happen? Are we prepared to learn from its mistakes? And if we are not prepared to make our universities great institutions, what is the national transformation that we are talking about?
The undemocratic clampdown on July 9 peaceful Bersih 2.0 rally for fair, free and clean elections.
Democratic and political transformation must be furthest from the mind of a government which could mount the undemocratic clampdown on the July 9 Bersih 2.0 rally for free, fair and clean elections, launching mass arrests, locking down the Federal Capital and irresponsibly, indiscriminately and recklessly firing tear gas and chemically-laced water cannon at peaceful and patriotic demonstrators, including Pakatan Rakyat and Bersih 2.0 leaders.
The weeks before and after the historic Bersih 2.0 rally were undoubtedly the worst period for Datuk Seri Najib Razak since becoming the sixth Malaysian Prime Minister 27 months ago in April 2009 – his greatest failure of leadership which made him the object of ridicule and scorn not only in the country but also internationally, and forcing him to cut short his overseas trip.
Are Malaysians to believe that it was during this period that Najib had a sudden change of heart as to be converted to the agenda to democratisation and political transformation resulting in the establishment of the Parliamentary Select Committee on electoral reforms and the announcements on the repeal or amendment of repressive undemocratic laws like the Internal Security Act?
Or are these political ploys to recover lost political and electoral ground as a result of the gross misjudgement and mishandling of the July 9 Bersih 2.0 rally – without any real political intention or will to set in motion a full democratisation process in the country?
Time will soon tell. If the next general elections is held without far-reaching changes to the electoral laws and system in the country by ensuring that there would be a clean and comprehensive electoral roll where every eligible voter whether inside or outside country is able to vote on polling day, an end to phantom and illegal voters, eradication of electoral frauds and abuses especially postal ballots and money politics, the acceptance of the concept of a caretaker government between dissolution of Parliament and Polling Day and end to misuse of government funds, resources and personnel for electioneering purposes, fair access to media by contesting candidates and parties, the Barisan Nasional government will stand exposed as being insincere and dishonest in wanting a free, fair and free elections system for the 13th General Elections.
This applies also to the removal of the arsenal of arbitrary and repressive laws which deny Malaysians their fundamental liberties and human rights – not just repeal of the Internal Security Act, but also draconian legislation or provisions whether Printing Presses and Publications Act, the Police Act, the Official Secrets Act, the Sedition Act, the Universities and University Colleges Act, etc.
Continued degradation instead of restoration of independence, professionalism and integrity of key national institutions in the country.
(a) Great flaw of TBH RCI report – failure to affix responsibility for TBH’s death on MACC despite evidence galore
The Teoh Beng Hock Royal Commission of Inquiry did not contribute to the restoration of public confidence in the independence, professionalism and integrity of key national institutions but their continued degradation.
A great flaw of the Teoh Beng Hock (TBH) Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) report is its failure to affix responsibility for Beng Hock’s death on the MACC although there were evidence galore before the RCI proceedings.
It was not just persons, namely various MACC officers led by Hishammuddin Hashim the then Selangor MACC Deputy Director and the “mastermind” of the illegal and massive 33-officer MACC “operation”, who must bear responsibility for Beng Hock’s death but also the institution of MACC as well.
The RCI report only made oblique references to the MACC’s role and responsibility for Beng Hock’s death without going for the jugular to pinpoint directly to MACC’s liability and responsibility.
This is most unsatisfactory and an abdication of responsibility of the TBH RCI on its specific term of reference “to enquire into the death of Teoh Beng Hock and the circumstances surrounding and contributing to his death”.
For instance, Para 336 of the TBH RCI said: “336: We are of the view that the death of TBH should not be in vain and all attempts should be made to improve the functioning of the MACC and the administration of criminal justice in the country as a result of our inquiry into the workings of the MACC. The evidence adduced showed that the MACC officers were prepared to go to great lengths to lie.”
The scandal of Beng Hock’s tragic death at the MACC headquarters in Shah Alam on July 16, 2009 is not just MACC officers “were prepared to go to great lengths to lie” but the MACC as an institution which went to great lengths to participate in a conspiracy of silence and lies to pervert the course of justice to “cover up” the actual causes and circumstances of Beng Hock’s death.
The TBH RCI pinpointed Hishammuddin Hashim as “the seniormost officer who was in overall command of the operation” who was “clearly accountable” for what transpired to TBH at the Selangor MACC – causing his death.
But at present, Hishammuddin has remained scotfree as full-fledged senior MACC officer who has merely been taken off investigation duties when he and other MACC officers should be charged for causing Beng Hock’s death.
Beng Hock’s death would would been “in vain” if firstly, his killers remain free and unpunished; and secondly, the MACC is not held responsible and liable for his death and instead allowed to “go to great lengths” to participate in a “cover-up” of the actual causes and circumstances of Beng Hock’s death at the TBH RCI, with MACC officers telling “lies after lies” at the RCI.
When there should be condemnatory strictures, the TBH RCI merely observed weakly that instead of “being impartial in assisting us to arrive at the truth of what happened to TBH on that fateful night of the 15th and early morning of the 16th”, MACC took sides with the MACC Counsel Datuk Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah defending the MACC officers called to testify.
The Bar Council, in its submission to the TBH RCI was more direct and straightforward in its criticism of the MACC’s role at the royal commission of inquiry. It said:
“One would have expected the MACC to have led the charge in this inquiry to ascertain the truth and thereby restore its credibility. Instead, it failed to draw a distinction between itself and the officers, and chose to align itself with its officers who may have been involved, responsible and/or privy to the cause of death of Teoh Beng Hock. The absence of separate representation is telling. MACC as a whole chose to defend the actions of its officers rather than assist in the investigation. The MACC adopted the posture of a defendant throughout the course of this inquiry.
“The Commission has had to deal with witnesses primarily from MACC who have either been evasive, misleading and/or lied. It has also been shown that the MACC had suppressed, tampered with and destroyed evidence.
“In the circumstances, it has been a difficult task to piece together the evidence to establish what actually transpired at Plaza Masalam leading to Teoh Beng Hock’s death.”
Why did the TBH RCI shirk from its responsibility to censure the MACC for its role at the RCI which “suppressed, tampered with and destroyed evidence”, frustrating and perverting the course of justice at the TBH RCI to find out the actual causes and circumstances of Beng Hock’s death?
The Bar Council in its submission said the RCI provided “classic evidence of the saying that an institution is only as good as its people.”
“ It is important that the officers of MACC tasked with preventing, detecting and eradicating corruption possess the qualities of integrity, independence and intelligence, what may be conveniently referred to as the three “I”s.
“Whilst the Commissioners have recognised that MACC as an institution must be preserved and its image, reputation and functioning enhanced, it must also be recognised that this can only be brought about if the people entrusted with the powers of the institution were brought to task for abuse.”
The TBH RCI has ended without MACC and MACC officers being held to task for their ultimate abuse – causing Beng Hock’s death while under the control, care and custody of MACC!
A “golden opportunity” was missed by the RCI to examine why the MACC is “world’s apart in terms of repute, public perception and functioning” from Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) – when MACC is supposed to be modelled after the ICAC!
Based on the TBH RCI proceedings, the Bar Council recommended that the RCI should make a finding that the MACC and its officers should be held responsible for TBH’s death and that they had also perpetrated a cover up on the causes and circumstances of TBH’s death at the RCI.
If Beng Hock’s death is not to be in vain, both MACC and its officers must be held responsible for his death and cover-up.
Justice for Beng Hock demands that there should be a re-opening of inquiry into Beng Hock’s killers by a high-level special investigations squad, to pursue the new evidence and leads provided by the RCI and to break the conspiracy of “blue wall of silence”of MACC officers to pinpoint and to bring to book Beng Hock’s killers.
Although a RCI has not proved to be efficacious and effective in ensuring justice, calls for its establishment will continue to be made if it remains the only recourse open to the aggrieved parties.
This is why the family of the second case of mysterious MACC death from height, Ahmad Sarbaini Mohamad, has rejected the coroner’s “death by misadventure” verdict on his death and is demanding a RCI.
There are many suspicious circumstances about the 56-year-old Customs assistant director Sarbaini falling nine metres to his death at the MACC KL Office on April 6, especially why the CCTV footage during Sarbaini’s visit to the MACC Kuala Lumpur office was intentionally erased with testimony by a police expert from the police forensics labs in Cheras that the CCTV (footage) had been tampered with by someone skilled.
I call on all MPs to support this call and urge the Prime Minister to announce such a RCI into Sarbaini’s death in the winding-up of the debate.
(b) Judicial tribunal into serious allegations of graft and abuse of power against Attorney-General Abdul Ghani Patail
In the past few months, many serious allegations of graft and abuse of power had been made against the Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail notably by the former Kuala Lumpur CID Chief Mat Zain Ibrahim in a series of open letters, former MACC panel member Tan Sri Robert Phang and blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin.
These allegations included falsifying facts and evidence in Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s infamous “black eye” incident in 1998, the graft case against Shahidan Shafie and the judicial abuses in the Altantunya Shaaribuu murder trial.
Unless Gani Patail take legal action against these allegations, the Prime Minister should set up a tribunal to clear the name of the Attorney-General as these are very serious allegations which if unrebutted can only undermine public confidence in the professionalism, independence and integrity of the Attorney-General but also key national institutions, including the judiciary, the police and the MACC.
(c) Substantive motion to set up tribunal to investigate judicial misconduct of Court of Appeal judge Datuk Abdul Malik bin Ishak on plagiarism should be given priority for debate and decision
For the first time, there is a substantive motion in Parliament as required under Article 127 of the Federal Constitution stipulating support by not less 1/4 than the total number of MPs in Parliament as a precondition for parliamentary discussion of conduct of judge.
In this case, the motion by the DAP MP for Bukit Glugor Karpal Singh to refer Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Abdul Malik bin Ishak to a tribunal to investigate serious charges of plagiarism against Abdul Malik and to suspend him for three months while awaiting the outcome of the tribunal has met the requisite notice of having the support of 59 MPs.
I call on the Prime Minister to give top priority for this substantive motion on a Court of Apeal Judge to be debated and decided and not left to “die” on the House Order Paper which will lapse and be ignored if the government does not agree to allocate parliamentary time for debate.
Najib talks about wanting to make Malaysia “the best democracy in the world”. He should start by respecting the most elementary practices in established Parliaments in developed democracies – in this case, accept that there are parliamentary business like the motion for a tribunal to investigate into the Court of Appeal judge -which are given parliamentary priority regardless of who is the government of the day as they impinge directly on doctrine of separation of powers among the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary.
Can the Prime Minister state when he would agree to allow MPs to debate and decide on the judicial substantive motion for a tribunal on the serious charge of plagiarism against Justice Abdul Malik – or whether he would be using the subterfuge of the government deciding on allocation and use of parliamentary time by killing the motion by denying time to debate the substantive motion?
Government withholding of Auditor-General’s Reports in time for budget debate latest proof that Najib’s government is not walking the talk of government and economic transformations.
The Government withholding of the Auditor-General’s Reports in time for budget debate is the latest proof that the Najib government is not walking the talk of government and economic transformations.
The promise in the various transformation programmes that “well-governed and leaner government institutions will be held accountable to performance-based outcomes in line with the GTP.” were all broken in one blow when the Auditor-General’s Reports were not made available to MPs for the budget debate.
The only reason why the Auditor-General’s Reports are not ready to be tabled in time for the budget debate, although the Auditor-General’s Reports for this year had been completed earlier than last year’s reports, is clearly to deny MPs the opportunity to highlight government and budgetary weaknesses, failings, abuses of power and misappropriations.
It is proof that the government is regressing instead of progressing despite all the talk of GTP, ETP and now PTP!
Proposals which would have given meaning to 2012 Budget as a National Transformation Policy
The theme of of the 2012 Budget is: “National Transformation Policy: Welfare for the Rakyat, Wellbeing of the Nation.”
It is supposed to be a very important budget as it is open up a new decade of National Transformation Policy or DTN effective from 2011 to 2020 when Malaysia is to become developed and high-income nation.
The National Transformation Policy is the final lap of development policies starting with the New Economic Policy 1971-1990, National Development Policy 1991-2000 and the national Vision Policy 2001-2010.
But is there “transformational” in the 2012 Budget which is to usher in a decade of transformation in Malaysia? I can’t find anything transformational or even visionary at all.
If the 2012 Budget is a transformational one ushering a decade of transformations to make Malaysia increasingly competitive, inclusive, sustainable and prosperous, then it would have contained all or most of the following policies and programmes:
Affirmative policies based on meritocracy and need.
Open Tenders for all government contracts
No Tolerance for Corruption with ll-out war against corruption, without or favour – starting with Sarawak and Sabah with establishment of special anti-corruption task force in each state.
Taking immediate steps to restore public confidence in the independence, professionalism and integrity of the key national institution s – esp. Judiciary, AG’s office, Police, MACC and Election Commission
Increase of oil royalties from 5% to 20% for the oil royalties – with the 20% oil royalty for Sabah and Sarawak devoted to the welfare and wellbeing of the ordinary Sabahans and Sarawakians and not for he benefit of a handful of powerful people in the two states.
Save Kampung Tambatuon
In May this year I visited Kampung Tambatuon at the foothills of Mount Kinabalu and which will be totally drowned in a proposed RM450 million Tambatuon Dam project.
Although the proposed Tambatuon Dam had been mooted for two years, there had been no proper and full consultation by the relevant authorities, including the MP for Kota Belud, who has become the strongest advocate for the Dam project, with the people who would be directly affected with the destruction of their traditional habitat and way of life.
The people of Kampung Tambatuon and concerned communities have protested to the various state authorities against the proposed Tambatuon Dam project.
For instance, there is the memorandum to the Sabah Chief Minister and other authorities by the Jawatankuasa Induk Badan Bertindak Bantahan Pembinaan Empangan Sungai Kadamaian Kampung Tambatuon in November 2010, signed by its Pengerusi Jahim Singkui, Ketua Kampong Kampong Tambatuon Amin Goling, Ketua Kampung Kampung Ratau, Mait Matundian, Ketua Kampung Bundu Paka Singan Loki, Wakil Mukim Kabayau Sayhui Sumbin and Ketua Kampung, Kampung Lingkubang Kubing Sudompong, entitled “Memorandum Bantahan Rancangan Pembinaan Empangan Tambatuon Di Kampung Tambatuon – Sungai Kedamaian – Kota Belud”, which read:
“Sebagaimana Yang Berhormat telah sedia maklum bahawa pembinaan empangan di sungai Kadamaian yang terletak di Kampong Tambatuon, Kota Belud akan mengakibatkan Kampung Tambatuon sebuah perkampungan asli yang telah wujud sejak sebelum Malaysia merdeka dan sedang berkembang maju akan tenggelam sementara tiga buah perkampungan lagi akan dipindahkan iaitu Kampung Bundu Paka, Kampung Lingkubang dan Kampung Kaung Ulu.
“Sesungguhnya kami penduduk kampong yang terlibat amat terkejut dan kecewa kerana seolah olah pembinaan empangan tersebut tidak dibertimbangkan kesan baik dan buruk bukan sahaja kepada penduduk kampong yang terlibat tetapi juga kesan yang menyeluruh iaitu bencana yang mungkin berlaku kepada penduduk di sepanjang sungai Kadamaian dan di seluruh daerah Kota Belud seandainya pembinaan empangaten ini nanti mengalami masalah yang tidak dijangka akan berlaku.
“Maka dengan itu, kami berharap dengan memorandum ini pihak Kerajaan Negeri Sabah memastikan agar kehidupan kami terus terjamin dengan MEMBATALKAN RANCANGAN PEMBINAAN EMPANGAN TAMBATUON di Kampung Tambatuon ini. Ini juga adalah selaras dengan konsep 1MALAYSIA, RAKYAT DIDAHULUKAN, PENCAPAIAN DIUTAMAKAN.
“Sebagai makluman awal pihak Kerajaan Negeri Sabah dan Yang Berhormat Datuk, kami telah tinggal, mendiami dan mengusahakan kawasan kawasan kami di kampong kami sejak dari datuk nenek moyang kami yakni sekurang kurangnya 8 generasi (Menurut cerita datuk-nenek kami mungkin sudah 17 generasi). Sebagai penduduk yang memegang status Warganegara Malaysia dan merupakan Anak Negeri Sabah, kami sedar dan percaya bahawa kami berhak keatas kehidupan dan tanah adat kami. Pihak Kerajaan Malaysia juga telah memberi pengiktirafan dan komitmen untuk menghormati Hak Hak Orang Asal Sedunia dengan menyokong dan menerima deklarasi Pertubuhan Bangsa Bangsa Bersatu Berkenaan Hak Hak Orang Asal Sedunia.”
The time has come for Parliament and the Federal Government to take fully into account the views, grievances and concerns of the people of Kampung Tambatuon and adjacent kampungs as well as their unanimous stand that the authorities
“BATALKAN SERTA MERTA CADANGAN RANCANGAN PEMBINAAN EMPANGAN TAMBATUON DI KAMPONG TAMBATUON DI SUNGAI KADAMAIAN, KOTA BELUD ATAU MEMINDAHKANNYA DI TEMPAT YANG TIDAK MENYUSAHYKAN PENDUDUK ORANG ASAL”.
The worst flooding in decades of the region’s rice growing areas in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam – with about 1.5 million ha of padi fields or about the size of 21 Singapores having been damaged or are at risk from floods – has again brought to the fore the problem of food security for Malaysia.
This however cannot detract from the need for the people who will be directly affected by the proposed Tambatuon Dam, whether from Kampung Tambatuon, the other kampungs on Sungai Kadamaian and in Kota Belud to be fully consulted and involved in every step of the decision-making process about whether a Tambatuon Dam is necessary, or whether increasing padi yields and Malaysia’s comparatively low rice productivity is a better way to look after Malaysia’s food security; taking cognisance of the fact that the problem in Kota Belud is not that there is not enough water but too much water with very inefficient drainage and irrigation system;b whether a series of small dams rather than a mega-dam would be more appropriate and sustainable and the need for structural and institutional reforms whether in size of landholdings, susidies and price of padi and the role of Bernas and its Sabah subsidiary, Sazarice.
I call on all the relevant government authorities whether at federal or state level to fully consult and involve the people who will be directly affected by the dam project before a final decision is reached.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor