Thursday, June 26, 2008

Dialogue with residents

100 days dialogue with residents organised by Nanyang Siang Pau for Kelana Jaya will be held Monday 30 June 2008 at Main Hall of Sekolah Sri Sedaya, Lot 4891, SS13/4 Subang Jaya (near 3C building) at 7:30pm.

Guests:-
  • Elizabeth Wong (EXCO for Tourism, Consumer Affairs and Environment)
  • Dr Halimah Ali (EXCO for Education, Higher Education and Human Development)
  • Loh Gwo Burne (MP Kelana Jaya)
  • Nik Nazmi (ADUN Seri Setia)
  • Hannah Yeoh (ADUN Subang Jaya)
  • Sivarasa Rasiah (MP Subang)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Set our schools free!

My mailbox has been flooded with emails from people who have expressed their support to me in speaking up against the ban on assemblymen from Pakatan Rakyat by the public schools. There is indeed a circular on this. This circular is so political, yet it is purportedly intended to free schools from politics. I have to squeeze my brain to make sense out of this.

To those who have spoken up, I thank you and it is encouraging to know that there are many brave Malaysians who will not sit around and tolerate irrational policies in order to protect their 'rice bowls'. It is important to note that civil servants' salaries are not paid by Barisan Nasional, they are paid by the many taxpayers in Malaysia. I put my 'rice bowl' aside when I joined the opposition then and decided that I would take the lead in inspiring the young to wake up from their comfort zone and stand up against injustice and corruption in this nation.

Whilst I have received a lot of support from Malaysians who can understand my concerns, I also heard from a certain few who lamented that I am disloyal to my school. Some students and teachers feel that I have caused disgrace to the good name of the school by highlighting this issue in my blog. If I had remained silent just to protect the school, I would have failed miserably as an elected representative for Subang Jaya. People voted for change, people voted for someone who would speak up fearlessly when there are good grounds for speaking up and I am again doing just that.

I am more concerned about what the students are receiving out of a circular like this, the name of the school is secondary. I have to make it clear here - it is not about SMK Subang Utama, it is about the supposedly non-political circular and the directives imposed by the Education Ministry. I am certain there are many other schools who are complying with this. I received another call from a PIBG of a school in USJ asking for some funds for their dinner but I will not be invited formally and that I can attend if I want to but they cannot acknowledge me. I will revisit this incident further down this post.

I have met up with the principal of SMK Subang Utama. An explanation has been sought. They have conveyed to me that they are required to comply with the instructions given by the Education Ministry. I am very glad that my colleague in DAP Tony Pua the Member of Parliament of PJ Utara has said that he would raise this issue in Parliament and I would like to hear our Education Minister's justification for such a circular.

The PIBG (Parent Teacher Association) chairman has also met up with me and I'm glad that they have made a stand on this. This is their stand:-
1) That we do not wish to be involved and caught in any political tussle.
2) We have no objection to prefects who are still studying in SMKSU to attend this reunion function, so long as they get consent from their parents.
3) As the Ex- Head Prefect of SMKSU, we also have no objection for Hannah Yeoh to attend this function.
I have been informed by the organiser that a formal invitation will be extended to me. Justice has been served for the reunion.

As for the circular, would other PIBGs remain silent? That PIBG of the school in USJ has told me that their 'hands are tied'. I wonder where they learned this phrase from. If their hands are tied, what is the need for a PIBG then? To merely organise fund-raising events? Shouldn't parents have a say on school policies?

I am challenging the circular on two grounds:-
a) why was the circular issued only after the General Elections 2008? (date of issuance 31 March 2008)
b) if the motive of the circular is to discourage politicians from using schools as a political platform, then justify why a certain politician is invited to officiate a formal school function recently in Subang Jaya? This person is purely a political figure and not an elected representative anymore. It shouldn't matter what position the politician assumes in the school organization, if the motive of the circular is to discourage politics then he/she should be given the same treatment accorded to everyone else.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Zero squatters policy?

Most of you are already aware of the pressing issues at the Angsana flats in USJ 1. My team came up with a program to educate the poor children by giving them communication lessons in English free of charge. We want to empower these children to be confident and to master another language. They speak mainly BM or their mother tongue Tamil or some other dialects.

We have identified 50 poor children and the program has been planned to kick start in June. When my volunteer rang up the person-in-charge who holds the keys to the public hall (dewan orang ramai), she was questioned as to why we wanted to carry out such a program. We were only requesting for an empty slot of one hour a week. We were told that we would not be able to use the hall.

Some residents of the flats informed me that the hall has now turned into a 'Dewan UMNO'. I went there to verify and it's true. You can view the photos here. They immediately locked up the compound, put up UMNO flags and our Minister for Rural and Regional Development Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib has since been there to give out gifts to some residents. This news was highlighted in the press.

My investigation with the Penghulu at the Land Office confirms that the funds for the construction of the hall came from the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development at that time. According to the faxed document from the Land Office, the name of the project is one "Membina Dewan MASYARAKAT Angsana USJ 1 Subang Jaya" at the price of RM195,000. Masyarakat means community. How did it become an UMNO hall?

Photo of the hall taken in April 2008

What we have here now is UMNO all of a sudden illegally taking up occupancy in a community hall, the one and only community hall for close to 8,000 flat dwellers in Angsana. The previous BN government pursued a zero squatters policy ruthlessly. But what has happened here? The UMNO branch in Angsana has turned into a squatter. When you occupy a land that doesn't belong to you, a squatter you have become.

Photo of the hall taken in June 2008

This is a classic example of taxpayers' funds being used to feed UMNO. Just because one is in the government, it does not mean that one can do without proper procedures and law. No one is above the law. How can we allow community assets to be used to enlarge or enrich a political party?

I am not digging the past. I am now restricted to move forward to assist the poor. In doing so, I will have to make right what is wrong. Before I build, I must ensure the foundations are strong. The residents of Angsana are angry because they are not able to have community projects in the hall. The Joint Management Body has to meet in coffeeshops because they do not have a proper meeting place.

This is the reason why I'm elected the ADUN. To be the voice for the oppressed, those robbed of their privileges as rakyat. My team and I will continue to pursue this to redeem back what rightfully belongs to the people.

Latest news from SMKSU

Updates : I have just received a call informing me that a meeting has been held in their school this morning further threatening the prefects and even the teachers - if they attend the reunion, they will be sacked. Some people think this is a minor issue. This is not a petty or a political issue. Teachers who want to attend the function to see their ex-students also face the threat of losing their jobs. Looks like the leadership style of the principal or the education ministry is nothing but suppression.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Watch what you sow...

After my last posting, I have received overwhelming support from Malaysians from all walks of life. Students, parents, ex-schoolmates, ex-teachers, residents, fellow ADUNs and MPs have expressed their unequivocal backing. Thank you for all those who have chosen to speak up and to stand alongside me BUT please do not feel sad for me, I have repeatedly said that it is not about me, it is about your sons and daughters in our public schools.

My political secretary received a call the very same day of that posting, requesting me to remove it as apparently "a decision has not been made" on whether or not I can be invited. I want to make it clear - I am not demanding to be invited to that event. It is not about my desire to grace that event in my official capacity as the ADUN for Subang Jaya. I am only pursuing an explanation as to why I am denied the right to attend this reunion.

An invitation now would not suffice. Students in school are now confused as to why the 'ban' is imposed on someone like me. I want the school authority to explain as to why a bone fide wakil rakyat who was chosen and given the mandate by the Subang Jaya people has not been allowed to attend functions in her alma mater. An irrational ban like this is a ban on the people's choice. By what power is the school operating in this manner? This is not a school for the children of Barisan Nasional members or any other political party for that matter. It is a public school, staffed by civil servants for all rightful citizens of Malaysia.

I am a citizen of Malaysia, I am a member of the public and I represent the public. I have now been discriminated against based on my occupation. It is worthy to note that there is nothing illegal about my occupation. Our public schools now have birthed a new form of discrimination against their students.

Malaysians, if you only knew the severity of such a policy on the minds of young children. This is not a political issue. It is injustice, oppression and blatant discrimination being deposited into the lives of our future generation. If this is what we are sowing in our education system today, I dread to think what the nation will reap in the not too distant future.

Friday, June 20, 2008

SMKSU Prefects' Reunion

Few months ago, I was invited to the Prefects' Reunion of SMK Subang Utama to be held next week. I just received news that I could no longer attend the function because I'm an assemblyman from Pakatan Rakyat.

Two prefects have confirmed that the teachers have issued a threat to the prefects to withdraw their invitation to me and if not, the event would be cancelled.

I am upset with this. Let me explain to you why this threat by the teachers is so fundamentally wrong:-
  • this is a private function to be held outside the school;
  • every past and present prefect is entitled to attend this event; and
  • I was the Head Prefect for 1995/1996 and was one of the pioneers to start this yearly reunion for the prefects.
I am not a criminal or a bad role model. All I did was this, exercised my right to vote, exercised my right to stand for election, to stand up for my generation and to fight corruption. As a young person, I am not afraid to stand up for righteous principles, not afraid of intimidation by the 'supposedly powerful' groups but today I am told that I am not a welcoming sight at a function which I championed and fought for many years ago.

In school, we were taught to be good role models and to be someone successful someday who will contribute positively back to the society. I have done just that. The very same people who taught me these values are now telling me that I am no longer accepted because I'm an assemblyman from Pakatan Rakyat.

Blogging about this brings tears to my eyes. Why? This is such a sad state for our schools to be in, for our young generation to endure and succumb to irrational threats like this. For 50 years, we were told not to question, not to challenge and not to speak up - even if it impinges on your fundamental rights.

I am not insisting to attend this function and neither am I insisting to be a special guest at the function. I am telling you - students, graduates, working adults and parents, if you choose to remain silent and succumb to threats like this, there is little hope left for Malaysia. It could be your daughter/son who's in my place. Remember the young ones are watching. Some are being brain-washed. Some are now confused - here you have a 29 year old assemblyman who is speaking up against corruption for the sake of our nation and they're told that this is not a welcoming figure and that she is not accepted at school or private functions.

I was a little exhausted prior to this because of work, complaints and issues but this has caused my heart to stir. It has sealed my heart for a cause. The cause is this - to continuously speak up against oppression in this nation. My conscience tells me I am right before God, I have not acted unfairly towards others by stealing taxpayers' money and I am inspiring the young to stand up for what is right.

Our education system is trying to breed students who cannot think for themselves, issue threats when everything else fails. I am the ex Head Prefect of my school and I am entitled to attend the reunion to meet up with my fellow schoolmates, to catch up on old times and share some old jokes. I am now denied that right.

How many of you would stand alongside me for this cause?

Proposed development at USJ 6

Few days ago, I attended the public hearing at MPSJ on the proposed development at USJ 6 (opposite True Fitness Taipan). So many residents turned up to protest this proposal. The developer Pujangga Budiman Sdn Bhd is proposing to develop a 9-storey building with 2 sub-basement car parks levels. Although it is commercial land, the residents were told in their Sale and Purchase Agreement that the plot of land was reserved for TM exchange.

In the hearing, the residents presented their objections. You can read more about it here.

I stand with the residents and I am also of the opinion that this area is already very congested, traffic is at a standstill in Taipan at the beginning and end of every month (when people do banking).

MPSJ has noted the residents' objections and the same would be tabled at their upcoming OSC meeting after which the same would be tabled to the State Planning Committee.

Until and unless I see car park problems and traffic condition improved in Subang Jaya, I am rather skeptical and not convinced that any future development will benefit the people. I would like to see an independent traffic impact assessment done up for this. I am not against development. I just want sustainable development.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Speakeasy session with Nurul Izzah

I was invited by the Public Relations Consultants Association to speak on the influence of new media in Malaysia. The other guest speaker was Nurul Izzah.

Both of us spoke on the role of new media in the last General Elections 2008 ("GE"). The emergence of blogs, online news providers, online forum and even SMS brought about significant change to the political atmosphere during the last GE.

Urban constituencies like Subang Jaya and Lembah Pantai have definitely received much from the new media. I hope Malaysians will continue to be politically aware and diligent in seeking truth from the media.

I am glad that young politicians like us are given a chance to present our views and expectations.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Marie Claire Women of Style & Substance 2008

I'm so humbled to have been chosen as one of the ten Women of Style & Substance 2008 by Marie Claire Malaysia. This is featured in the June issue of Marie Claire.

My dad is somehow very proud of this. When he first saw this feature in the magazine over dinner, he immediately claimed credit for me having his eyes! That's probably the first time he has ever read a woman's magazine.

I'm glad that women politicians in our country are not being left to operate and live in a detached world, as how we can sometimes be made to feel.



"Uncensored" with Francis Siah on Malaysiakini.TV

Photo courtesy of Malaysiakini

Watch my interview with Francis on Malaysiakini.tv or on YouTube.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Two temples and one political party

In the last few days I have been busy with press conference after press conference. One of the issues highlighted concerns a piece of land in PJS 7/13 in Bandar Sunway. Along this street, one can see a Hindu temple, next to it a Chinese temple and followed by a MCA building/ kindergarten. Many of you may not have gotten a full grasp of the issue as the press has been very sketchy and vague in presenting the facts of this case. As such, I will take the liberty to explain this issue to my readers.

A few weeks ago, we came across an old master plan and noticed that all three plots of lands were designated as "simpanan ugama". We proceeded to conduct our investigations and we were informed by the Land Office that the MCA Bandar Sunway branch had applied to the Land Office on 24 September 2001 for that land to be given to them for the purpose of building an office and kindergarten.

That application was rejected by the Land Office on 12 May 2003.

The current land status is meant to be an open space area or "kawasan lapang". We highlighted this to the press and questioned the legality of the building which houses the MCA Bandar Sunway branch office and kindergarten on that piece of land.

Following this, MCA Bandar Sunway branch then called for a press conference justifying their existence on that land. You can read all about it here - MCA says land given to it by Sunway Group.

I am quite surprised at their reasoning and explanation as to how they "obtained" the land. If it was given by Sunway Group to MCA Bandar Sunway as alleged, technically it should then be a private land. If that was so, why is there a need for a Temporary Occupation Licence which is granted by the State? And what about building plans approval and Certificate of Fitness for Occupation for the said building? They should be able to furnish all of these, but they have not. Instead, they focused on other peripheral issues like the sponsor for the construction cost, the VIPs who officiated the building and the license to operate the kindergarten which was never questioned.

The Subang Jaya constituency faces an acute shortage of land especially open spaces and land for religious purposes. I intend to make every effort to preserve existing land and redeem that which was lost.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Motion to free YB Kota Alam Shah

On the last day of the Selangor Legislative Assembly sitting, I was appointed to sit in the Committee of Privileges based on Standing Order 70. I also had the privilege of supporting the motion brought by YB Lau Weng San of Kampung Tunku that is a motion to free the ISA detainees including YB Kota Alam Shah immediately.

I was close to tears when I heard the accounts of YB Kota Damansara and YB Hulu Klang. They were previously detained under ISA too. The torture they had to endure while being arrested, the shame they went through and we were also told that some detainees were sodomised with wood.

When I had my chance to speak, I could not go on speaking without first apologising publicly to YB Kota Damansara and YB Hulu Klang. I had to apologise for believing and trusting the leadership of BN for many years and I seriously believed THEN that ISA was good and it was for the safety of our country. I was so blinded.

I spoke of the negative effects of ISA on the families of the detainees. I am in close contact with the wife of YB Kota Alam Shah and I was told that the school grades of the children have dropped significantly ever since their father was arrested. They used to obtain 80% and above in their exams but now they could only obtain 70% and below.

One of his kids celebrated his 9th birthday at an orphanage. Their father could not be there. The kids were suddenly made 'orphans'. I was also told that the children have become very aggressive and violent ever since their father's arrest. One wrong word uttered between them while playing, one would rise in anger and according to their mother, she has never seen this anger in her children before. This is how deep the hurt, anger and frustration penned up within their children. Sometimes they would ask their mom, "When is papa coming home?".

No one can underestimate the role of a father in a family. Now his wife has to raise the kids on her own, manage his law firm and the new service centre on her own. This is no easy task to be put on the shoulders of one woman. They have not received any new case in his law firm for 5 months now and their finances have been severely affected. At night, she could not sleep and would struggle to find strength to face the next day.

In my opinion, our nation's biggest threat is corruption and not people who would speak up for their rights. In my speech, I urged the federal government to address corruption if they were really serious about protecting this nation. What purpose is there in having the Twin Towers, a man in space, this corridor and that corridor if the basic rights of the people are not given priority? I stood to condemn ISA. For every detainee suffering in the camp, there are four to five more people at home who are suffering and bearing the cruelty of ISA. As long as ISA is not abolished, Malaysia can only dream of becoming a 'cemerlang, terbilang and gemilang' nation.

You can read more about this motion from Nik Nazmi's blog.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Selangor Legislative Assembly











The recent Selangor Legislative Assembly (21 - 26 May) created history. There was a live telecast on the entire proceeding. 31 assemblymen took part in the debate on the Sultan's address. This recorded the highest number of participants. The Speaker YB Teng Chang Khim also removed the tea break session as practiced last time to allow more time for debate. The last day went up to 9pm at night.

I had the opportunity to participate in the debate on the Sultan's address. I spoke about issues that concerned my constituency. The first item highlighted by me was the issue of gated and guarded community. Due to the lack of security, many residents are taking this into their own hands by setting up a gated and guarded community. Currently there are only guidelines issued by the previous state government. Residents have difficulty in obtaining endorsement/approval by MPSJ. The police also said that they would leave this matter to be decided by MPSJ. I urged the new state government to come up with a definite law to regulate gated and guarded community as residents are now unsure on how to pursue this matter.

I also spoke on unplanned development mushrooming in Subang Jaya. Approvals have been given to companies to develop a plot of land in the playground into food courts. There is lack of consideration given to factors such as parking space and traffic flow when approvals are given to new development. I also urged the state government to conduct a thorough study on the effect of telco towers.

Next, I touched on the allocation funds utilised by all the previous assemblymen. The funds were spent as though they were campaign funds. So much spent on meals. This habit of spending is not just present amongst the assemblymen, this habit has also been adopted by their wives in the Balkis issue.

I also highlighted the plight of the purchasers of Mutiara Court in Sunway. They were given Certificate of Fitness for Occupation but to their horror, water and electricity were not ready for connection. I have blogged about this previously. I urged the state government to probe the assemblyman for Seri Serdang on his involvement in this matter.

Another matter raised by me was the sale of Brisdale Holdings Berhad by SAP Holdings Berhad to GMB Construction Sdn Bhd for RM50,000 only. I urged the state government to conduct an investigation on this sale.

I then rebutted the claims made by the BN assemblymen. They constantly said that BN has brought development to Selangor. To this I said, yes I do not dispute that fact but more development could have taken place to improve the welfare of the rakyat if there was better management of state funds by the previous state government.

The BN assemblymen also argued that it was unfair for them to be labelled as 'zalim' (cruel) as no one in Selangor has died of hunger under the administration of the previous state government. I refuted that by saying that the 'zalim' word was used in reference to how public funds have been spent lavishly by the past officials on themselves while the people had to suffer to make a living in Selangor, in other words - stealing from the people. That to me is 'zalim'.

My final point was on the usage of the word 'terpukau'. The BN assemblymen alleged that the people of Selangor were hypnotised by the Pakatan Rakyat government for eg. they were lured by empty promises and etc. I argued that usage of such a word is offensive to the rakyat, as though they do not have a mind of their own. I said the Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen were no magicians or wizards, we do not know how to hypnotise people. The people voted for us because they believe in our fight against corruption. However, I suggested if the BN assemblymen insisted on using the 'terpukau' word, it should have been used in a better context and I suggested this- setelah 50 tahun rakyat terpukau dengan pimpinan barisan yang kononnya nasional, akhirnya pada 8 Mac 2008, mereka telah bangun dan bangkit dari pukauan ini!

There was also a Majlis Bersantap held in conjunction with this. My husband won the first prize for the bowling competition for the assemblymen category for men. Second prize went to YB Teng Chang Khim and third prize went to YB Ng Suee Lim. I'm so proud of my husband. He did well. Guess who won the first prize for the bowling competition for the assemblymen category for women? Haha, me! I am not very good at bowling but don't ask me how I won (absolutely no bribery involved).

I enjoyed the state assembly sitting this round. I enjoyed learning from seniors like YB Ng Suee Lim and our Tuan Speaker. I will blog on the motion brought by YB Lau Weng San to free the ISA detainees next.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Resignation of my special assistant Edward Yap

This is just a short notice to inform all of you that Edward YAP (not Edward Ling my political secretary) is no longer my special assistant as of 1 June 2008 due to his new work commitment. I must thank Edward Yap for all his assistance rendered to us throughout the campaign and the setting up of our service centre.

Colour blind

I was invited by the Subang Jaya Community Youth Football League (SJCYFL) to spend some time meeting the children and parents during their one-day tournament at the Alice Smith Secondary School.


I was amazed when I found out that they are all volunteers, everyone plays a part in making SJCYFL a success. The parents coach their kids. They are committed to the growth of their kids.









Here are their core-values:

1.

Unity – We will strive to promote unity among different groups within the community as well as within each team.

2.

Service – We recognize that we do not exist for ourselves and will provide an opportunity for each football team to serve the community.

3.

Discipline – We will use training and games to teach the importance of self-discipline, helping kids to see its benefits for all of life.

4.

Teamwork – We will emphasize teamwork in training and through every player having the opportunity to play in games regardless of ability.

5.

Sportsmanship – We will hold players and coaches accountable to positive attitudes toward teammates and opponents regardless of outcomes.

6.

Family – We will always seek to reinforce the value of family by encouraging family input, participation and support.


It is important to teach your kids to play together with people of all races. It is in a game like this that they would learn mutual respect. I shared with them the story I heard at the State Assembly on how children of different races are fighting against each other for space in their playground. There were no integration and core values (as above) taught to these children, hence the clashes.

When I was younger, I was told that children are 'colour blind'. They do not know how to discriminate against one another based on skin colour (unless they were taught by adults to do so). It is true. I remember when I was in school, I used to play 'getah' and 'masak-masak' with kids of all races. My best friend in primary school is Nadiya. We would go to the library, pretend to fry leaves at the porch - our masak session :), took drawing classes together and many more. We didn't know how to stop playing with each other because we were of different races. She was like my sister.

In the working world, we see the 'otherwise'. Political parties divide you based on race, some even incite the rakyat to do the same. Very sad. For my generation, we were put in the 'sekolah kebangsaan' system. I believe that system was meant to instill a sense of belonging into each child, that this nation is for all of us. In public speeches, some political leaders cloak their intention of promoting a "bangsa Malaysia" with their hidden agendas which go against the spirit of the 'Negaraku'. We sing 'the Negaraku' so often : Negaraku tanah tumpahnya darahku, rakyat hidup bersatu dan maju. Negaraku, direct translation means My Country. I am a child of this nation. This is my country and it's the same for all Malaysians.

To the young people who went through the 'sekolah kebangsaan' system, let's go back to basic. Go back to what we learned in school. Study together, play together, eat together and advance together. To be great, we must learn from the little children. I want my eyes to be like theirs. May my eyes never be provoked to see what the inciters want me to see. I want to remain colour blind.