Tajol Rosli should accept with an open heart the BN defeat not only in Ipoh Timor but also in Ipoh Barat and Batu Gajah and to respond positively to the strong  protest votes against the high-handed or insensitive policies of Ipoh City Council and State Government  in the past decade to make Ipoh and Kinta Valley great and exciting once again

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(IpohSaturday): In announcing yesterday that he would himself head the special committee to study the reasons for the Barisan Nasional defeat in the Kinta Valley in the March 21 general election,  Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazali said:

"I can accept BN's defeat in Ipoh Timor because DAP national chairman Lim Kit Siang contested there but I cannot accept the loss in Ipoh Barat and Batu Gajah. There must be something wrong why we lost in the Kinta Valley. The voters in Ipoh Timor wanted Kit Siang to be in Parliament but we should not have lost in Ipoh Barat and Batu Gajah."

Tajol Rosli should accept with an open heart the BN defeat not only in Ipoh Timor but also in Ipoh Barat and Batu Gajah and to respond positively,  among other things, to the strong  protest votes against the high-handed or insensitive development policies and measures of the Ipoh City Council and State Government in the past decade.

Tajol Rosli has said that the  committee would take a re-look at  the development plans in Kinta Valley and study the government's weaknesses with regard to the transportation system, market facilities and squatters' problem “for the comfort of Ipoh residents”.

This decision is most welcome and commendable. He should however not confine the composition of the committee to Perak BN component party leaders but should open its membership to representatives of the civil society, such as the Perak Chinese Chambers of Commerce, dislocated farmers and Taxi Drivers' Association, as well as invite representations and  hold public hearings for any interested members of the public to come forward to  give their views for the BN’s defeat in the three parliamentary seats in Kinta Valley.

If the committee headed by Tajol Rosli is to benefit the people of Ipoh and Kinta Valley, he should conduct a thoroughgoing  review of the failures of government development policies in the past decade, starting by re-visiting  the long-standing and unresolved controversy over the irregular and improper construction of the light industrial estate in the heart of massive housing estates in Ipoh Garden East, which is against all planning laws and industrial development guidelines. 

Tajol Rosli  should personally  rectify the four-year failure of the Perak State Government and the Ipoh City Council to comply with his directive in August 2000 to demolish nine factory buildings  in the light industrial estate as well as for Ipoh City Council to allocate RM100,000 to provide a children's playground and a landscaped garden to reduce the health, environment and safety hazards to the residents posed by the light industrial estate in their midst.

Tajol Rosli’s  committee should also trawl the media, both printed and electronic, to study the views expressed about the lessons of the BN’s defeat in Ipoh Timor, Ipoh Barat and Batu Gajah in the Kinta Valley.

For instance, in a letter to Malaysiakini by one Lim Beng Sun on April 1, the writer complained that “Over the years, the Ipoh City Council has become complacent and less effective in serving the people”.  He has written an excellent overview of the plight and challenge of Ipoh, which should serve as basis for the Tajol Rosli committee to review development for Ipoh and Kinta Valley.

Lim Beng Sun wrote:

“Instead of playing a more participative role in the development of the city, the present Datuk Bandar has chosen to go after couples holding hands in public in his moral campaign to wipe out vice in the city…

“The state administration has been less than proactive in ensuring continued development for the city. The previous mentri besar has done very little for the city and the state as a whole, compared to the menteri besar of states like Negeri Sembilan, Melaka or Johor.

“Almost every state has a vision that it strives to achieve, like Kedah 2010 or Melaka 2010. What about Perak, once the most developed and richest state in Malaysia? It has not changed much for 20 years since the fall of the tin mining industry. Will it be in time to achieve Vision 2020?

“Perak is too dependent on Penang and Selangor in many aspects, be it job or education opportunities. It is sad that Ipoh, being the state capital, and even accorded city status many years ago, has nothing to offer to its people and the whole state of Perak.

“Every year, thousands of students have to leave Ipoh to further their studies. When they complete their studies, they see no reason to return to their beloved city which has no jobs to offer them.

“With this in mind, shouldn’t the state government fight for a local university to be built in Ipoh besides encouraging the establishment of other private universities and colleges in the city?

“It is hard to attract investments to the city since Ipoh’s airport is under-utilised with no direct air links to international cities. For a start, the airport should be located further from the city because its current proximity has deterred the development of high-rise buildings in the city centre.

“Promote the city as a food haven and international tourist destination, with direct air links to cities like Singapore and Hong Kong. The dynamics of such cities will be able to assist Ipoh in becoming a world-class city.

“More tourism projects should be planned for the city. The current project by Sunway City Ipoh in developing an international spa resort is a step in the right direction.

“The glory days of Ipoh will not return if the present administration has no ambitions to pay special attention the city. Much more need to be done rather than hanging up stylish slogans around the city.

“We hope that the present mentri besar will make sure that developing the city and state is his top priority.”

DAP is prepared to fully co-operate with Tajol Rosli,  the Perak State Government and the Ipoh City Council to mobilize the efforts and participation of everyone to make Ipoh and Kinta Valley great and exciting once again.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman & Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor