Forward    Feedback    


Protest to Prime Minister at the absence of  Ministers in Parliament to give proper and satisfactory answers on national issues of  public importance


Media Conference
by Lim Kit Siang  


(Parliament, Wednesday) : I have written to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to protest at the absence of Ministers in Parliament to give proper and satisfactory answers on national issues of public importance.


I gave two instances of what happened in Parliament yesterday.  The first concerned the long-drawn-out controversy over government statistics and data about bumiputra equity stake with three conflicting figures given on bumiputera equity ownership at Bursa Saham; (i) 36.6% as stated by Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Dr. Awang Adek in Parliament on 7th November 2006; (ii) 21.8% by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Senator Datuk Seri Effendi Norwawi in a statement outside Parliament  just before the start of  Umno general assemblies on November 13, 2006; and (iii) 33.7% in 1997, according to the University of Malaya research study entitled “Bumiputeras in the Corporate Sector – Three decades of performance 1970-2000”, by Dr. M. Fazilah Abdul Samad in 2002.


Effendi should be in Parliament to give full and satisfactory explanation for such conflicting figures, including honouring the Prime Minister’s public undertaking to make public all the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) methodology and data to restore public trust and confidence in official statistics and data instead of leaving it to the Deputy Minister Senator Datuk Abdul Rahman Suliman who only added confusion to the brew.


The second instance was the absence of the Works Minister, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu during the winding-up of the debate on the 2007 Budget estimates for the Works Ministry, as the Parliamentary Secretary,  Datuk Yoong Khoon Seng admitted that he was in no position to give any answer on the following issues which I had raised:

  1. RM400 million new Istana Negara in Jalan Duta – (i) whether this was a departure from the administration policy not to build prestigious projects; (ii) why no tender was called; (iii) why was the project awarded to Maya Maju Sdn. Bhd and what is its background and track record and (iv) why the 2007 Budget had estimated the cost of the new Istana Negara as RM500 million.

  2. Whether it is cheaper to build rather than to cancel the RM1.1 billion crooked half-bridge in Johore in view of the RM360 million compensation claim by  the contractor Gerbang Perdana Sdn. Bhd., for the cancellation costs totaled RM1.28 billion with the following items: (i) RM 360 million compensation claim by Gerbang Perdana; (ii)    RM470 million instead of the RM250 million eight-lane elevated highway from the new CIQ to the Causeway because of related works such as connecting roads and amenities; (iii)  RM170 million which had already been spent on the crooked half-bridge before it was cancelled; and (iv)   RM380 million demand for land premium by the Johore State Government.  Also why the eight-lane 800 metre-long elevated highway is so expensive as to cost RM280 million  when the average cost of quality eight-lane elevated highways meeting international standards is between RM75 million to RM80 million?

  3. Result of action taken  by government to claim compensation for the RM287 million MATRADE scandal, involving an eight-year delay and an inflated cost of over RM120 million from its original cost of RM167 million.

  4. Outcome of actions taken on abuses of public funds and leakages in the allocations for repairs of schools, with RM3,000 value of work delivered in a RM30,000 allocation in the case of the Chinese primary school in Muar.

The question of a Cabinet reshuffle is again in the news. After the great  disappointment of a jumbo-sized Cabinet despite the unprecedented landslide victory in the March 2004 general election, with events in the past three years confirming the critique of the former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad that it is “a half-past six Cabinet”, Malaysians do not have high expectations that a Cabinet reshuffle will usher in any real change or reform.


Cabinet reshuffle or otherwise, the Prime Minister should ensure that his Ministers must be responsible enough to attend Parliament to answer questions and reply to debates to meet the most elementary requirements of accountability and not to pass the buck to deputy ministers and parliamentary secretaries whose stock answers are  to promise to give written answers subsequently.



*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

Your e-mail:

Your name: 

Your friend's e-mail: 

Your friend's name: