Call on Prime Minister to give his personal attention to ensure that Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries do not make empty promises in Parliament, acquiring for the government the disrepute of “cakap tak serupa bikin”
by Lim Kit Siang
(Parliament House, Friday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should give his personal attention to ensure that Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries do not make empty promises in Parliament, acquiring for the government the disrepute of “cakap tak serupa bikin”.
The previous Tuesday, 30th November 2004, during the winding-up of the debate on the 2005 budget for the Ministry of Youth and Sports, its Parliamentary Secretary S. A. Vigneswaran had promised to furnish me by before the end of this week’s parliamentary meeting a full list of receipients, whether grants or loans, from the Sports Trust Fund since it was set up in conjunction with the Commonwealth Games in 1998 to fund individuals to encourage them to excel internationally in sports.
I had queried during the committee stage debate on the Ministry’s 2005 budget estimates why the Sports Ministry had not acted in an accountable and transparent manner in the use of the Sports Trust Fund, which had some RM30 million, raising the case of motor rally driver Karamjit Singh and navigator Allen Oh, who had often faced the danger of missing out on several legs of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championships circuit because of the shortage of funds.
I told Parliament of complaints of discrimination and favouritism in the allocations from the Sports Trust Fund, not only with regard to the receipients, but also in the nature of the funding.
I had asked: “What is the basis for instance for a very selected few being given grants of a few hundred thousand ringgit for their sports pursuits, and why for instance, ex-Formula One driver, Alex Yoong, could not get a grant but only a RM300,000 loan which he had to repay?
“I understand that there is a case of a grant for one million ringgit to one individual - can the Sports Ministry Parliamentary Secretary clarify and justify?
“The Sports Minister should act in a transparent manner and make public a list of all receipients from the Sports Trust Fund, the amount given in each case and the criteria used – to avoid suspicions of arbitrary and unfair decision-making and abuses of power in the process.”
Although Vigneswaran had promised to furnish me with a full list of all receipients, both grants and loans, from the Sports Trust Fund claiming that there was nothing to hide, he had not honoured his undertaking.
I wish to remind Vigneswaran of his promise in Parliament, as recorded in the parliamentary Hansard of 30.11.04 (p 67), viz:
“Tuan Sa. Vigneswaran: Berkenaan dengan senarai tidak boleh diberi, saya boleh beri senarai. Saya akan beri senarai kepada Yang Berhormat. Senarai-senarai yang mana kita ada bagi peruntukan kepada ke semua orang. Itu memang tidak ada masalah kerana Kerajaan Barisan Nasional memang terbuka kepada sesiapa pun boleh tengok kerana ini kita bagi orang bukan kita bawa balik wang. And then macam Yang Berhormat kalau minta kita boleh bagi senarai semua yang telah mengambil atau telah diberi peruntukan di bawah Kementeraian Belia dan Sukan. Saya akan beri kepada Yang Berhormat sebelum hujung minggu depan.
“Tuan Lim Kit Siang: [Bercakap tanpa pembesar suara] … secara pinjaman.
“Tuan Sa. Vigneswaran: Itu pun saya bagi sekalilah, Yang Berhormat.”
I cannot understand why Vigneswaran is finding difficulty to honour his pledge made in Parliament ten days ago to furnish me with a full list of the receipients, with all the necessary particulars, whether grants or loans from the Sports Trust Fund, which does not speak well whether about efficiency or accountability for the Sports and Youth Ministry.
Vigneswaran will be guilty of misleading the House and abusing and breaching his parliamentary privilege in failing to keep his undertaking in Parliament to furnish me with the full list of receipients from the Sports Trust Fund.
I am giving notice that I will raise this issue in Parliament next week if Vigneswaran continues to default on his parliamentary promise.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman