YB Chong’s chairman address on 2019 DAP Sabah Annual Convention:
The past one year has been a very challenging year and trying time for us DAP and the Pakatan Harapan in general.
•Economically, we are in the general global economy downward trend, made worse by the China-US trade war
•Politically, DAP is made the bogeyman in the racial politics played up by the UMNO-PAS and MCA. The deep-state phenomena continue to sabotage our proposed reforms.
•Socially, racial polarisation continues to dominate. When we uphold the freedom of expression, fake news and hate messages is now all over the internet, social media and whatsapp messages.
When the Rakyat voted us into Government, they want to see institutional reforms and to clean up the country. We have fulfilled many of our promises. Undeniably, there are still some of our promises remain unfulfilled.
It seems that only the unfulfilled promises get highlighted while those reforms and fulfilled promises are simply ignored and slide into oblivion. It is only natural that the Opposition is only interested in highlighting those unfulfilled promises and downplay those of our fulfilled promises. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to highlight those fulfilled promises and continue to work towards fulfilling those promises not yet fulfilled.
In the past 18 months, we have achieved a lot. I will just highlight 12 of the major achievements or reforms that we the PH Government has implemented in such a short time of governing, and with the tight financial constraint of huge debt and very polarised racial sentiment that we inherited from the 55 years of Barisan Nasional (BN) government.
Reforms / Achievements of PH Government
1.Curtailing the Power of the Prime Minister to ensure better check and balance within the system.
2.Moving towards Meritocracy in the Appointment of Important Positions in Government:
•A non-Muslim was appointed as the Finance Minister
•A Sabahan non-Muslim was appointed as the Chief Justice of the country.
•A non-Muslim was appointed as the Attorney-General of the country.
3.The Opposition Member of Parliament is appointed as the chairperson of the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to decide on the agenda of the enquiry and investigation to be carried out on all Ministries’ policies, projects and programs. This will provide a more effective and stringent check and balance on the Executive.
4.Our promise to review the mega projects entered into by the previous BN government has also saved the country tens of billions of Ringgit so that the money can be put to better use in other programs and initiatives. Examples of such reviews are:
•The re-negotiation of East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) project which reduced the contract price from the initial RM65.5 billion to RM44 billion, a saving of RM21.5 billion
•The re-negotiation of MRT 2 project (for both above and underground) which reduced the contract price from the initial RM39.35 billion to RM30.53 billion, a saving of RM8.82 billion
•The re-negotiation of the LRT 3 project which reduced the contract price from the initial RM31.65 billion to RM16.63 billion, a saving of RM15.02 billion
•The termination of Lebuhraya Utara Borneo Sdn Bhd (LBU) as the Project Delivery Partner (PDP) for the Pan Borneo Highway project in Sarawak resulting in saving of an estimated RM1.2 billion
5.Intensifying the fight against corruption:
•Several high-profile personalities are now prosecuted in Court for corruption or money laundering, eg. Najib Razak (ex-Prime Minister), Zahid Hamidi (ex-Deputy Prime Minister), Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor (ex-Minister), Rosmah Mansor (ex-PM’s wife), Azeez Rahim (BN MP), Bung Mokhtar (BN MP), Isa Samad (ex-Chairman of Felda), Nasharudin (ex-Deputy President of PAS).
•Compulsory assets declaration by all cabinet ministers, deputy ministers and members of Parliament to make all elected representatives accountable to public scrutiny.
•Implementation of open tender systems for government procurement.
•Successfully tracing the money trail of 1MDB thus resulting in the return of a total sum of RM1.45 billion from the embezzled 1MDB fund. There are still ongoing efforts to trace the other embezzled fund of 1MDB.
6.The abolition of Goods and Services Tax (GST) which gives many businesses a relief from the hardship associated with the GST system together with the full refund of RM37 billion in GST and income tax which was wrongfully withheld by the previous BN Government for years.
7.Maintaining the inflation rate at below 1% for the past 18 months as compared to BN’s era when the inflation rates hovers around 2 – 3%.
8.Our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth for the first and second quarters of 2019 were 4.5% and 4.9% respectively which has outperformed all our neighbouring countries. Our total stock of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) rose by 10.3% to RM667.5 billion in the 2nd quarter of 2019, compared with RM605.1 billion a year ago.
9.Increased budgetary allocation for Chinese schools.
•More than doubled the annual allocation for Chinese schools from the previous RM50 million during BN’s time to RM117 million in year 2020, and more systematic and efficient in the disbursement of the allocation.
•Budget allocation of RM15 million in 2020 for Chinese Independent Schools compared to ZERO budget allocation during BN’s time.
10.Stabilising the petrol RON95 and diesel prices at the respective ceiling prices of RM2.08/litre and RM2.18/litre for the past one year. By comparison, BN implemented the free-floating price mechanism for both RON95 and diesel. Had BN been the government after the 14th GE, our RON95 and diesel prices would have been in the region of RM2.30 – RM2.50 per litre for the past one year.
11.Providing free healthcare protection scheme PeKa B40 to the low-income B40 BSH recipients aged 50 years old and above which includes up to RM20,000 worth of medical services. In 2020, the benefit will be extended to those B40 BSH recipients aged 40 and above. In addition, there is also the free MySalam Takaful insurance program for the B40 and in year 2020, all those earning below RM100,000 annual income will also be covered by the MySalam Takaful program.
12.Under PH Federal Government, Sabah gets the largest allocation of development fund in Budget 2020 compared to all the past years when BN was the Federal Government.
The above 12 major achievements or reforms implemented in the short 18 months are not an exhaustive list of our reforms. There are many more that we have achieved.
We were voted in to govern for 5 years. We are only in the 18th month. There is another 3 and a half years to go. I am confident that as time goes by, the Opposition will have less songs to sing while we have more fulfilled promises to showcase.
However, as members of the coalition government, we must communicate our achievements to the people. Tell the People what we have done, rather than keep talking about what we have not done. For those promises we have not delivered, let our leaders in the Government continue to work towards them.
As such, we must all work hard and all members must do the followings:
1.Stay united and focus on the Party’s agenda to move forward as the Government;
2.Work closely with our coalition parties and present a united front.
3.Help the Federal Government agencies to roll out and implement all the projects and programs that are beneficial to the People of Sabah; and
4.Counter the fake news spread by the cybertroopers and their smearing campaign with our positive campaign based on facts and figures. To do that, our members must be equipped with the knowledge and information of all Federal Government’s initiatives to help the people.
Chong Chieng Jen
National Vice Chairman