Ipoh experiencing her worse economic woes and erosion of her residents’ rights after 8 years  BN/MCA rule - the need for a strong DAP in Ipoh

37th DAP Anniversary ‘Love Malaysia Save Malaysia’ dinner
by Ngeh Koo Ham

(Ipoh, Sunday): The MCA told the Chinese community in 1995 & 1999 General Elections that for the Chinese community’s voice to be heard, they must support the MCA so that MCA will have the clout to bargain for the Chinese community in Barisan Nasional (BN). 

Ipoh with the most densely concentrated Chinese population in Perak responded with over-whelming support. All the BN/(MCA & Gerakan) candidates were elected in the 2 Parliamentary and 5 State constituencies in Ipoh in the last 2 General Elections.


But time has shown that the people of Ipoh have been cheated.


The MCA President recently declared that he is only a soldier who will that all orders from his Commander, UMNO President, Dato’ Seri Mahathir Mohammad. All these years he and MCA elected representatives could only say ‘Ya’ (yes) dan ‘betul’ (right) to anything that UMNO says.


Not only has MCA cheated the Chinese, our Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Mahathir Mohammad from UMNO has also cheated the Chinese Community. Prior to the 1999 General Election, our PM has agreed in principle to accept the 20-point requests from Suqiu committee but after getting the Chinese support in the 1999 General Election our PM described those in the Suqiu committee as extremists and liken them to the Communists and the Al Maunah group.


If the people of Ipoh continue to vote for the MCA despite the unfair racial policies of BN and its declaration Malaysia is an Islamic state, then the Chinese are sending a message to the Government that such discriminatory racial policy and the declaration are acceptable by them. It may a way of no return. We shall bear the guilt of leaving to our children a nation with such policies.


Prof Dr. Andy Choo Kong Hing, a Molecular geneticist at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Melbourne was back in Ipoh for Chinese New Year to visit this parents. He has successfully cloned the gene that causes blood to clot in 1982 and has relieve thousands of Australians from their fear of living with haemophilia, a hereditary disorder. When asked if he will return and work in Malaysia on a permanent basis, his answer is a clear ‘No’. In Australia he had been awarded several prestigious research grants and last year alone he was given a grant Aus$2 Million (RM4.4 Million). He was also awarded with a share in the Aus$5 Million (RM11 Million) grant given to 15 researchers who plan to commercialise their findings.


Where will he be if he had stayed on in Malaysia ? This example can be multiplied many time over. The people cannot afford to continue to support the racial policies of BN.


DAP members struggled hard to bring about a fair and just society in Malaysia irrespective of race or religion and would like also to ensure that Malaysia remains a secular democratic state. The last 2 general elections defeat has been a great blow to DAP. In 1990 Perak DAP has about 13,000 active members. This number has declined to less than 3,000 after 1999. Many left frustrated because they felt their sacrifice was not being appreciated. The people of Ipoh must decide if they still want DAP to continue.


The people must support the multiracial, multireligious and a fair and just society that DAP advocates.


The MCA has promised that as one of the component party of the ruling coalition, it will bring prosperity and development to Ipoh.


What has happened to Ipoh in the last 8 years of BN/MCA reign ?


1.                  Ipoh is experiencing its worse economic woes. A quarter (24.6%) of the business space in Ipoh is unoccupied. The people of are becoming poorer because of their asset depreciation.  I do not see the MCA MPs of Ipoh asking for a fair share of development funds for Ipoh during the budget speeches. A fair share of development fund for Ipoh should be at least RM1.0 billion a year.


2.                  The Ipoh residents pay the highest assessment rate in the country with properties paying as high as 16% of their annual rents but the services provided by the City Council are poor. There are so few recreational parks in Ipoh. So much funds were wasted in paying for very expensive parking meters and lamp posts. Just completed road with nice pavement blocks were dug up and new decorative giant flower pots replaced. In order to get more money the Ipoh City Council has announce that it will be expanding its jurisdiction to surrounding areas. Service is expected to deteriorate further. No MCA elected representative has spoken out against the abuses of funds of the city council.


3.                  MCA elected representatives do not dare to object to the unfair redelineation exercise by the Election Commission which erode the electoral rights of the Chinese and the Ipoh residents. The Election Commission is proposing to create only 1 additional Parliamentary seat in Perak and it will be at one of the least populated constituency in Perak i.e the Gerik constituency which has only 38,637 voters in 1999. The new constituency of Lenggong will have only 21,248 voters and the new Gerik constituency will have only 23,999 voters. The Parliamentary  constituencies of Ipoh Timur  which has 77,884 voters and Ipoh Barat which has 71,355 voters  as in 1999 remain unchanged. One vote in Lenggong is equal to almost 4 votes in Ipoh.


4.                  Though a city and the capital of Perak not a single MCA MP from Ipoh has appointed to be a Minister, a deputy Minister or a parliamentary secretary or any of its state Assemblymen made an Executive Councillor (Exco) of the State.


5.                  Ipoh associations who are receiving grants from MCA elected representatives were forced to compromise their stand as  non political organizations. They are asked to openly support MCA and to attack the DAP.


6.                  The people in Ipoh are asked to stomach corrupt practices. Many have complained that they do not receive the full amount pledged by the elected representatives. A portion of the grant has to be paid or deducted by the agents assigned by the elected representative.


If DAP candidates are elected, we promise to be a effective watch dog and ensure that development will be faster with funds properly spent. The rapid development in the developed countries like the United State, Britain and the European countries proves to us that a strong opposition will bring about more rapid development to a country apart from ensuring that the country will be a more democratic and a freer society. We will also ensure that Ipoh gets a fair share of the yearly development fund from the Federal Government Budget.


* Ngeh Koo Ham, DAP Perak Chairman