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Press Statement by Lim Guan Eng in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, 24th January 2008:

Sharing out Petronas profits by giving RM 6,000 yearly to middle-income and poor families is more effective for Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to demonstrate he personally cares about the economic hardships caused by inflation than all the committees he chairs

DAP urges Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to give up his twin Ministerial posts in the Internal Security and Finance Ministry to be an effective Prime Minister that can lead, manage and monitor both performance and delivery in his administration to ensure good governance. The alarming rise in serious crimes and shortages of essential commodities have not only highlighted poor delivery and performance in the two Ministries but also displayed poor governance by the Prime Minister.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razakís announcement of the creation of national stockpile of essential goods and commodities as a safeguard against the impact of rising prices and ensures stable supply is an admission of failure in responding to the recent cooking oil and flour shortages. Even though the government wants to show they are serious in battling inflation and food shortages by highlighting that the Prime Minister will personally chair and supervise this national stockpile council, this demonstrates that other Ministers have not been doing their jobs and that the entire government machinery is just not performing. Is the Prime Minister not overburdened with work that he is required to chair this new national stockpile council when he has been unable to give full attention to his work as Prime Minister, Finance Minister and Internal Security Minister?

His lack of time in the Internal Security Ministry saw serious crimes rising by 13.4 per cent nationwide last year compared to 2006, particularly gang robbery without the use of firearms rising by more than 159 per cent, gang robbery with firearms up by 15%, rapes up by 30% and molest cases up by 12%. With 3,177 rapes and 2,320 outraging of modesty cases last year, this means that there are 8.7 rapes and 6.4 women molested daily last year. In other words 15 women are raped and molested a day last year.

These are only reported figures and the actual rapes and molest cases could be much more as it is generally known that for every report lodged there are as high as 5 unreported cases. Such frightening figures are unacceptable in a civilized and caring society such as Malaysia. There were only 4 rapes a day when Abdullah became Prime Minister in 2003.

Abdullahís only solution is to put in more CCTVs. What is the point when those CCTVs already put up are a waste of funds as they do not work and images are blurry? DAP regrets that Abdullah has refused to consider DAPís proposal to put 100,000 more policemen to patrol the streets and set up the Independent Police Complaints and Miconduct Commission(IPCMC) to promote effectiveness and efficiency in crime prevention.

The cooking oil shortage is most shameful despite Malaysia being the largest exporter of palm oil (14.4 million tonnes at more than 50% of world exports in 2006) and the Finance Ministry coordinating the imposition of the Cooking Oil Subsidy Scheme (COSS) to ensure stable supply and prices. What happened to the RM855 million in COSS collection from oil palm planters last year that are supposed to maintain low prices and stable supply by compensating losses suffered by cooking oil packagers?

Clearly Abdullah is unable to cope with the daily tasks in both the Internal Security and Finance Ministries. Abdullah should focus instead on the big picture of his job as Prime Minister to lead by inspiration and motivate better performance through constant co-ordination, monitoring and supervision.

If Abdullah is not bogged down, he should see that the only solution against inflation is to share out Petronas profits with the people. Giving a yearly RM 3,000 to middle-income individuals and RM 6,000 to middle-income and poor families would go a long way to make up for the loss of purchasing power caused by high inflation. Sharing out Petronas profits is more effective for the Prime Minister to show that he personally cares about the economic hardships caused by inflation faced by the people than all the committees he chairs.

Malaysians has lost hope of good governance after seeing the failure of Abdullah to balance his duties as Finance and Internal Security Ministry with his leadership as Prime Minister. No wonder Malaysians ask why Singapore without a single oil palm tree does not face cooking oil shortage as compared to Malaysia or why it is safe to walk around Singapore freely at midnight but not safe to go to the pasar malam in front of our house during the day.

The smaller crowds in Batu Caves and that Datuk Samy Vellu had to be protected by police FRU units from his own community shows that Samy is still in denial of the loss of public support and respect that requires him to resign

The smaller crowds in Batu Caves in Thaipusam celebrations this year and that Datuk Samy Vellu had to be protected by police FRU units from his own community shows that Samy is still in denial of the loss of public support and respect that requires him to resign. Both New Straits Times and the Star reported smaller crowds. This follows calls to Hindus to celebrate Thaipusam in other Hindu temples in protest against Samy leading the Thaipusam celebration in Batu Caves.

Large crowds of devotees were reported at the Sri Balasubramaniar Swamy temple in Klang and the Sri Subramaniar temple in Kuala Selangor where both temples estimated they had received more than 100,000 people each, compared with just 1,000 in previous years. The New Straits Times even said that for the first time in 40 years, the Divine Life Society (DLS) has actually been forced to throw away the free food it gives out during the Thaipusam celebrations at Batu Caves. The DLS ashram, located next to the Batu Caves temple, prepared food for 20,000 people but the lower-than-expected turnout meant some of the food would have been wasted. Clearly Samy is lying when he said that the turnout at Batu Caves was a million people remained the same as last year.

Most sad for Samy is that when he called for unity under BN, he had to make his speech to the people fully protected by FRU who stood between him and the crowd. So desperate is Samy that he even invoked Godís name that God will only help MIC and BN.

God is not politically partisan but is instead the fountain of justice. Samy should explain how he can invoke Godís help for MIC and BN when MIC and BN committed injustices such as detaining 5 Hindraf leaders without trial. The Indian community is disappointed that Samy did not respond to their united demands of the immediate release of 5 leaders unconditionally.

The biggest stumbling block to unity both amongst Indians and Malaysians are irresponsible and self-serving leaders like Samy who are willing to sacrifice public interests for selfish benefits. Unless he resigns, not only Indians but all Malaysians will not accept BNís leadership of such ilk and character that divides and discriminates the rakyat just to stay in power.

* Lim Guan Eng, DAP Secretary-General


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