Debate Speech by YB Ting Tiong Choon on the debate of Motion of Appreciation in the Sarawak State Legislative Council

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Debate Speech by YB Ting Tiong Choon on the debate of Motion of Appreciation in the Sarawak State Legislative Council:

Tuan Speaker, thank you for giving this time to participate in the debate on the Motion in appreciation of the speech addressed by the Tuan Yang Terutama on 29th April 2019.

Clean Up Day Miri

Tuan speaker, on the Labour Day 2019, more than 2,000 people in Miri spent their morning to partake in the cleaning campaign “Clean Up Day” 2019 Miri.

The main aims of the cleaning campaign were:

1. To encourage the Miri community to care for their environment at places of living or working; and

2. To educate and encourage them to segregate recycling wastes from their household wastes.

The responses and feedbacks from the participants are extraordinary. Mirians have collected 40-50 tons of rubbish, 400kg of plastics and thousands of bottles on 501. We are now thinking of re-doing this community event on next Labour Day, bigger and better, in 2020. Hopefully it can transform into a Clean Up Sarawak, or even Clean Up Malaysia down the tract.

Tuan Speaker, cleaning event like this of course would involve disposal of rubbish wastes. and the most appropriate authority to dispose them is Miri City Council. It is a shame and sad that Miri City Council has declined to offer any assistance to dispose the wastes. And the excuse given was that MCC is busy with a separate unfounded beach cleaning campaign.

Sarawak has provided Miri City Council with resources to care and support the people residing in Miri. Our lifestyle and living environment depended heavily on how the local government governs the community and the City. I am a resident in Miri, and I am sure that most Miri residents would agree with me that Miri has not been served well by the current leadership in Miri City Council. Many residents have complained that some routine services such as grass cutting, drain cleaning, waste collection may only be carried out, when and if they lodge a complaint.

The famous Petroleum Museum on top of Canada Hill is a “must-go” tourist spot in Miri. It is also the location where hundreds of local Mirians doing their mountain track walking exercise every day. Currently, there is no public toilet available on site. Considering panoramic scenic Canada Hill has many visitors, I would think it is appropriate for the government to build public toilets on site, and possibly with showering facility.

Nearly a year has passed since the completion of the multi-millions Miri Waterfront project, Miri City Council is still unable to resolve the sickening bad odour at the Waterfront, keeping the tourists away from the beautiful scenery of Miri Waterfront. The odour was emitting from the decomposed waste and muddy soil exposed during low tide. If we can dig out the soil to below the lowest water level, then the odour can be much diminished. There is still a balance of more than RM1 million for the project, why isn’t Miri City Council do something about this repulsive smell. I can only conclude that Miri City Council is incompetence.

Mr Speaker, Miri has lost the confidence of the current leadership in Miri City Council. I would encourage the Minister for Local Government to review the current appointment of the Council, and to appoint people who are capable to manage, potentially the most liveable city in Sarawak, and care for the whole community rather than the few elites associated with GPS. (beach cleaning, septic tank desludging, Pasar Malam Sebekas)

Miri City Hall

Tuan Speaker, I am so glad that Miri is finally being allocated a budget of RM60 million by the State government to proceed with the City Hall. However, RM60 million is certainly not going to be adequate for the whole project as nearly half of this amount has been utilized to acquire the land for the City Hall.

On the 31st January 2019, Sarawak Government paid RM22.2 million for the land to build the new Miri City Hall. The land is 1.3 hectares in size, and the cost would be equivalent to RM17 million per hectare of land. According to the newspaper, the minister was reported to have said that land value “is not plucked out from the air but based on the transaction value of the respective locations as of the notice date”.

On the other hand, a block of beach front land, not far away at Lot 3559 Miri Concession Land District, was sold by the State Government to a private entity for RM1.1 million per hectare, a mere one-sixteenth of the price the government paid for the City Hall land.

Can the Minister explain to the house how these valuations were done and disclose the details of these discrepancies in their land valuation?

AMANAH SAHAM SARAWAK

Tuan Speaker, I have previously comment in this house the viability of the Amanah Saham Sarawak, but the Minister has ignored the concern. Two weeks ago, I was given this Interim Report of Amanah Saham Sarawak dated 8th of February 2019 and signed by Tan Sri Datuk Amar Haji Bujang Mohd Nor and Dato Haji Idris Haji Buang.

Amanah Saham Sarawak is a Sarawak government linked investment holding company. It was set up in 1993 with the aim of providing opportunity for Bumiputera Sarawak to enter main stream cash and equity economy collectively. And I believe most unitholders are from rural Dayaks communities where cash compensation for compulsory acquisition of NCR land were channelled to Amanah Saham Sarawak for long term “growth and income fund”.

For the information of the house, there are currently 62,361 unitholders of Amanah Saham Sarawak, holding a total of more than 457 million units. Each of this unit is guaranteed the par value of RM1 by Sarawak Government.

As on 31st December 2018, the net asset value for one unit of Amanah Saham Sarawak is a mere 2.9 cents, and Sarawak Government is liable for the rest 97.1 cents for each unit as guarantor.

The net asset of Amanah Saham Sarawak has reduced by 62% in 2018, from RM35 million to RM13 million ringgit. Most of the asset in Amanah Saham Sarawak is in cash or bank deposit or non-trading stocks. The fund has lost RM4.3 million in the last 6 months, and most of these losses were due to ludicrous management fees.

Sarawakians entrusted their government to manage the State resources and the successive BN/GPS governments have performed poorly in the past 55 years. In Amanah Saham Sarawak, the real monies of Sarawak Bumiputera unitholders and the Sarawak government were virtually disappeared in front of their eyes.

Mr Speaker, I want to spend a few minutes regarding the operation of Amanah Saham Sarawak, which I think is the 1MDB of Sarawak.

Amanah Saham Sarawak has recently changed the fund manager to Amanahraya Trustees Berhad.

There are 3 Board of Directors:

1. Dato Sri Ahmad Tarmizi Bin Haji Sulaiman

He is our State Financial Secretary since 2004.

He was the CEO of Amanah Saham Sarawak Berhad between 1993 to 2002 He is also the Chairman of Sacofa Sdn. Bhd.

2.DatukAbangHajiAbdulKarimBinTunAbangHajiOpeng,aprominentcorporate figure in Sarawak.

He is the President of the Sarawak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) He is the Chairman of Brooke Dockyard and Engineering Works Corporation

A Senior Director of Ta Ann Holdings Bhd.

A member of Sarawak Islamic Council and the President of Sarawak Bumiputra Chamber of Entrepreneurs

3. Ambrose Anak Enturan

A prominent Dayaks leader in PBB

Current member for N64 Katibas since 1991

He was Assistant Minister of Resource Planning, Assistant Minister of Finance and Assistant Minister of Rural Development and Public Utilities.

A Board of Director of Ta Ann Holding Berhad

The Executive Director of Hornbill Skyways Sdn Bhd.

We have the 3 of the most qualified persons in Sarawak sitting on the Board of Directors for Amanah Saham Sarawak and yet the Trust is now in danger of zero net asset within a year.

There are 2 other people in Amanah Saham Sarawak Berhad:

1. Pengerusi Tan Sri Datuk Amar Haji Bujang Mohd Nor

The Director of Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation The Executive Chairman of Harwood Timber Sdn Bhd

The Acting Governor of Sarawak on 2 separate occasions

2. Pengarah Dato Haji Idris Haji Buang

A member of this August House for Mara Tuang Senator for Dewan Negara between 2005 to 2008 Group Chairman of Hock Seng Lee Berhad

Director of Sarawak Energy Berhad

The Information Chief of PBB, and

A member of the Sarawak Public Account Committee.

The total asset of the fund is now only RM31.8 million (80% in cash) and it is inconceivable that ASS will able making profit again. The income for the fund is now minimal and yet the management fee is in excess of RM7 million a year. The management fee is exorbitant because the management fee of 1.5% of managed fund include the guarantee of RM444 million by Sarawak Government. So Amanah Saham Sarawak paid an extra of RM6.66 million to the fund manager for doing nothing. WHY?

It is also interesting to note that Amanah Saham Sarawak has a current liability of more than RM18 million to the fund manager as on 31 December 2018. In another word, the fund manager has not been paid for more than two and a half years.

In fact, this Fund’s expenditure has been consistently more than its income for the past few years. In 2019, the cost for managing Amanah Saham Sarawak is going to be more than 50% of the unit value and that is certainly not viable.

Tuan Speaker, has Amanah Saham Sarawak been operating while insolvent over the past few years? I predict Amanah Saham Sarawak would have no net asset before the end of the year. I would assume anyone with common sense would redeem their units immediately.

Amanah Saham Sarawak has asset of more than half a billion 25 years ago is now basically worthless to the unitholders if not guaranteed by Sarawak people. Tuan Speaker, if 5 calibre leaders mentioned above who are mainly from PBB if not all, are not able to safeguard our asset, how can Sarawakians expect GPS to preserve our resources and to protect our rights as Anak Sarawak.

Tuan Speaker, how many cases like this in Sarawak? How much public assets are mismanaged by the government? How much assets were trashed like this? Are there endemic in the Administration? I would recommend PAC to do a full investigation on Amanah Saham Sarawak before the case is taken up by MACC.

SESCO

Mr Speaker, a Pujut resident received an invoice dated 19 May 2016 with a total invoiced amount of RM935.80. The amount is made up of Admin fee RM400, MTF Bill RM500 and Arrear Bill RM35.80.

The Arrear Bill of RM35.80 was due to the alleged tampering of electricity meter by the business owner, Mdm Teo with account number ending with 5192. Following my enquiry, the business was operating for 19 months in 2012/2013 and the total electricity consumption during that period was 38,840 units. The Arrear amount of RM35.80 is equivalent to 114 units, or 0.29% discrepancy in alleged electricity theft. And this is confirmed by a SESCO staff in Miri with engineering qualification on 25 April 4 pm phone call.

According to a tender document to “Supply and Delivery of Digital Power Meter” Ref No. PCI1/16/FEN by Sarawak Energy in 2016, the requirement for Measurement Accuracy and Class was ≤ ±0.5% (Class 5). Now the measurement error for SESCO Digital Power Meter is ±0.5%, and yet SESCO is alleging her customer of stealing RM35.80, a mere 0.29% of discrepancy in analogue power meter consumption over 19

months, and a whooping fine of RM900. Can the Minister please make sure SESCO stop this barbaric act and stop harassing the public?

Mr Speaker, what are we seeing here? A government company who monopolised the essential utility and ruthlessly bullying and intimidating her customers. Sarawak Energy yearly profit is close to 1 billion ringgits, yet the electricity supply and customer services are poor and unreliable. There is frequent or even daily unplanned power interruption in Miri where businesses are suffering losses and residents made inconvenient.

I am in no way condoning the electricity theft. In fact, I think SESCO shall be seriously to identify the real culprits and I would suggest SESCO to have a serious check in their own office backyard whether some of them may be involved in and responsible for power meter tampering throughout Sarawak.

It is time that Sarawak Government shall deregulate the retail arm of the electricity supplies in Sarawak, to create a competitive supplier market, a better customer service and hopefully much cheaper power cost for Sarawakians.

Funds For all Elected Members

Tuan Speaker, I would like the cabinet to reconsider to provide funding for all the elected members of this house. More than 20% of the voters are residing within the 10 constituencies won by Pakatan Harapan members. Both BN/GPS has been depriving the fair and equitable share for all Sarawakians. We, as elected members deserve our share, and we demand equal status as all elected GPS members of this House, so that we can serve all Sarawakians in fairness.

Conclusion

Mr Speaker, I would like to have a minute time to clarify what member for Jemoreng has said earlier today. I noted he has spent at least 15 minutes of the 20 minutes given, criticising members of this House, including Pujut and Bukit Assek, and PH Federal government, of course. I would like to comment on the part member of Jemoreng implied that both myself and Bukit Asset have interfered and assisted residents of GPS territory in Ulu Baram and Kapit.

Mr Speaker, member for Marudi and the Assistance Minister of Local Government has been reported on newspaper that “no outsider to interfere in his constituent of Marudi”, and he has named my name and his predecessor for Marudi. Obviously, member for Jemoreng has picked up on that samseng-style or hooligan-styled behaviours. For that, I have written a letter to the Speaker’s office to clarify whether any member of this House is barred from serving outside their constituent. I am still waiting for the reply for the Speaker.

Tuan Speaker, I would like to assure this August House that it is always been DAP policy that “if there is a need for help, DAP will be there, regardless of who and where you are”.

With that, I conclude my debate and I wish every members and families of this house to have a safe and happy festive season during Gawai and Raya holidays.

URBAN POOR

Tuan Speaker, the GDP per Capita of Sarawak was RM44,333 in 2016, the third highest in the nation. However, the median salary for a Sarawakian was RM1,350 a month, the third lowest in Malaysia after Sabah and Kelantan. That means half of the wage earners in Sarawak is getting RM1,350 or less per month. These figures indicate the imbalances of economy cake in Sarawak. The riches are filthily rich while majority Sarawakians are surviving on low income.

Last week, our Deputy Chief Minister has revealed that a committee has been set up to identify the urban poor Ibans in Kuching. Tuan Speaker, there have been many studies and researches done on the urban poor in Sarawak. We can also see them, meet them on the streets every day.

What about the Rural poor in Lawas or Ulu Baram? What about the poor Chinese, the poor Malays and poor Penan? What about the urban poor in Sibu, Bintulu or Miri? I would expect a real caring government will mobilise the local community leaders, councillors, Tuai Rumah to assist the poor Sarawakians surrounding them now rather than just identifying the Urban poor Ibans in Kuching!

Many of the urban poor are living in squatter housing. No power line, no clean water. The excessive high cost of basic services with genset and bottled water will keep these urban poor in poverty for generation to come.