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Chinese New Year Statement By Betty Chew Gek Cheng In Melaka On 6.2.2008 

Can We Take The Risk Of Putting Our Children’s Future Solely In The Hands Of UMNO And Datuk Mohd Ali Rustam Without Any Checks And Balances To Do As UMNO Likes? 

Whilst the Chinese community traditionally celebrates Chinese New Year with hopes for prosperity, peace, good health, luck and success, this Chinese New Year of the Rat is celebrated with feverish expectations of the coming 12th General Elections. The Chinese community when making their traditional prayers will also pray for wisdom in making choices that will affect our country and our children’s future. 

Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Mohd Ali Rustam is aggressively promoting “zero opposition” with confidence of winning back the remaining two state seats of Kota Laksamana and Bandar Hilir held by DAP. Ali is confident that the people will back BN, UMNO and MCA despite his record of offending the Chinese community with actions such as opposing any construction of new Chinese primary schools, unlawfully tearing down of Buddhist temple in Jasin and banning the rearing of pigs in Melaka by trying to forcefully close down pig farms on 4 September 2007.  

Should MCA succeed in getting the people to support BN and UMNO, then the Chinese community will be effectively endorsing Ali’s actions of banning pig rearing, tearing down Buddhist temples and opposing the building new Chinese schools. 

UMNO’s achievement of zero opposition equates with zero democracy and zero hopes for justice and shared prosperity. For instance, Ali had said two days ago that the RM320 million Melaka River beautification project is expected to generate RM1 billion investment in spin-off projects along the river. The question is will the people be able to benefit from the RM 1 billion in spin-off benefits when contracts are not done by open tender and in a transparent manner? Worse the Chinese community can not even bid for such government contracts. 

Furthermore is the spin-off from the RM 320 million Melaka River beautification project the cause of 143 shophouses along Melaka River in Lorong Hang Jebat, Kampung Pantai and Kampung Hulu the target of being forcibly acquired by the government. MCA first claimed that the acquisition covered only dilapidated shophouses before claiming that this was a mistake. 

MCA could not respond when DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng had exposed this as a lie by producing the government gazette of such acquisition dated 17.1.2008 and that the acquisition covered many shophouses that were not old and dilapidated but had only being recently renovated at high cost with approval from local authorities. If the Director of Land & Mines can make such a mistake by wrongly gazetting the acquisition of 143 shophouses along the Melaka River, then he should be immediately sacked for gross incompetence. Failure to do so only revealed that the Melaka State Land and Mines Director was only following the directive of the Melaka State EXCO(comprising of both MCA EXCO members) to forcibly acquire the shophouses. 

There has also been abuses of powers and huge wastage of public funds from failed projects such as the Yayasan Melaka building which the Attorney-General 2006 Report revealed was to be auctioned after not being able to pay loans of  RM 28.57 million. What is unusual is that the loans of RM 28.7 million exceeded the building cost of 25.17 million? 

The 2006 Attorney General Report also exposed that the public lost RM 10.22 million after the Ayer Keroh Country Resort was sold at RM 6.7 million when the market value was RM 15.8 milllion and the Tanjong Bidara Resort sold at RM 6 million when the market value was RM 7.12 million.  Ali also rewarded his cronies with Datukships such as Hasnoor Sidang Husin even though he had no proven track record of contribution to Melaka and was a convicted criminal who had pleaded guilty of committing criminal breach of trust.   

All these actions against public interest were done after DAP had lost the Kota Melaka parliamentary seat by 219 votes in the 2004 general elections. Can we take the risk of putting our children’s future solely in the hands of UMNO and Datuk Mohd Ali Rustam without any checks and balances to do as UMNO likes? 

Only by winning back Kota Melaka and defeating Ali’s zero opposition objective, can we stop such abuses of powers and public actions that are against the interests of both the rakyat and the Chinese community.

* Betty Chew Gek Cheng, DAP Wanita Melaka Chair And ADUN For Kota Laksamana


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