Speech by Chiew Chiu Sing ADUN N59 Kidurong on the debate of Motion of Appreciation on Tuan Yang Terutama Yang Di-Pertua Negeri’s Address on 17th of May, 2010 in the Sarawak State Legislative Council, Kuching, Sarawak.
I rise to take part on the debate of Motion of Appreciation on Tuan Yang Terutama Yang Di-Pertua Negeri’s Address which was so graciously delivered by His Excellency the Tuan Yang Terutama Yang Di-Pertua Negeri in this May House on Monday, the 17th of May, 2010.
Forty seven years after joining to form Malaysia and after decades of development strategies, and according to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rates from 1992-2007, our country is facing decline in our economic growth.
Our export competitiveness since year 2000 is also declining seriously according to the analysis of Malaysia’s Merchandise Exports as a Percentage of World Merchandise Imports 1995-2007.
Private investments have declined in recent years while our country has become a less attractive investment destination for foreign and Malaysian investors.
We talked so much about value adding to our raw products. Yet we are not doing well with the down streams development of our oil and gas, palm oil, timber and rubber. We talked about industrialized agriculture, aquaculture and government initiatives like Bio technology, Rubber Research Institute, the Palm oil Board, MSC, Knowledge –intensive economy. And we also talked much about large scale tourism, education hub, medical tourism, halal development and others, but we only make patchy progress.
On the social aspects of our growth on knowledge, education, human development, income and wealth distribution, poverty eradication and environmental sustainability, they are not rosy either. As according to the World Bank we are just marginally below the upper middle income nations on knowledge economy index since 1995. Our education standard is also well below the upper middle income nations’ standard. And our Gini rating is far from satisfactory ranking at 49.2 in the 2007/2008 UNDP Human Development Report, close standing with countries like Mozambique, Madagascar, Costa Rica, Zimbabwe etc.
According to the Sarawak Yearbooks, our Sarawak economy grew in tandem with the nation. Our knowledge and education rating is at best equal to that of our nation’s rating, they are the middle-income group, when our income and wealth distribution and poverty eradication are significantly worst off, then our nation’s level, while the fruit of our success are not evenly distributed among the people.
Our infrastructure and social development have not kept pace with economic growth. And our commercial and growth objectives appear to dominate environmental sustainability and social needs or rights and at the neglect of good governance.
We are at a cross road and we are not doing well. We must shift into higher gear to salvage us from getting worst. What is needed is leadership, political will and good values with a sense of equity and fairness. Respect for human and traditional rights, respect for the rule of law, accountability for actions and outcomes and most of all, all these must be seen to be proper and just in the eyes of the people.
Having said that, I believe we just might be able to do better economically in the coming years. We could continue on developing our existing industries like oil and gas and tourism and use our low-cost hydro energy to drive further industrialization but we need to push very aggressively on our downstream industries for our key commodities, and get dead serious in developing our agriculture and aquaculture industries. By getting dead serious I mean it should be science based and done commercially on an industrial scale. Just look at Taiwan their orchid farming and fisheries industries are two of the many successes industries in their country, bringing in much wealth and success for the Taiwanese.
And as for our local Small and Medium Enterprises we need to further develop and strengthen them, in specific sub sectors areas in line with the industrial development plans.
On the demand side we need to grow our domestic consumption. We need aggressive measures in our marketing strategies and products development so that the products would meet the target groups in every corner of our local economy doubling or tripling the local consumption as compare to now.
We can do better in our social development also. First of all we have to accelerate our human capital and knowledge development and we can even get resources outside of Sarawak by scrapping away some of the bureaucracy so that the resources can be made more easily available.
We have about 100 universities in our country, apart from churning out degree holders, some of these institutions could be restructured in stages, to specialize, to align to meet the needs of the economy in terms of market realities. I have seen some research institutions in Taiwan that exist side by side with the industries, turning out human capital, give full support and assistance in every aspect of the industries, from management to research and development and others, so as to ensure the full success of the industries.
The Fisheries Research Institute of Taiwan has five divisions and five research centers strategically located throughout Taiwan implementing comprehensive research on the use of fishery resources, improvements in fishing technology, enhancement of fishery stocks, advancement of aquaculture technology application of biotechnology, and processing of fishery products.
Another thing that we must also do better in our social development is to give better health coverage especially to rural areas and the lower income group. We must also create more employment opportunities to raise our productivity and higher earning levels for our people especially the young ones.
Our infrastructure development must be adequate and basic amenities sufficiently provided to be in line with the economic development. So many of our rural areas still lag so far behind in social development. No pipe water, no electricity, dirt road and poor communication system.
Yes, we can do better and we must do better in our economic and social development. Like I said just now we must have the will, the leadership and good values. In other words, good governance. A government that is participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive as well as abiding by the rule of law.
Mr. Speaker, I also wish to bring out some issues in my constituency which the people are concerned about and I urge that the relevant ministries to look and act on them. First of all it is the pipe water supply to the Sebatu and Kampongs of Suai area. In fact it is the Suai river area, Ulu Niah and Sebuti also, with due respect the Honourable members from Kemena and Bekenu.
These areas are so prone to drought, drinking water and water for bathing and daily use is becoming a regular problem. I mean it happened last year in July and it happened again this year in Febuary/March where water in the water tanks ran empty and the washing and bathing water, in the streams become slow, stagnant and polluted, meandering through the oil palm estate. Worst still, the water in the streams is being polluted by the blow from the oil palm mills upstream.
I mean how could we stand it when we see our rural brothers and sisters bathing and doing washing in stagnant streams where they have to push away the green algae on the water surface first before they can dish in to get the water. And that is not just for a few days; sometimes it is like that for weeks.
Honorable Minister for planning and resource management had said in our last sitting in November that a rural water supply master plan study had been completed recently and proposals for implementation will be put up in stages in Tenth Malaysia Plan and subsequent Malaysia plan.
To the folks who are often without water, that sounds really far fetching, I mean this is the 21st century already and technology is so advance now. We have even sent a man into space. I hope that the water supply problem in the areas I just mentioned and in fact throughout Sarawak, could be given top priority and could all be dealt with immediately.
But in the mean time could the government be more sensitive and attentive by sending water trucks to supply water to those longhouses and kampongs without water immediately, before their water tanks run dry.
From what I saw last year, water truck did not start moving only until three, four weeks after the folks were out of water. Tuai Rumah had to make a trip to the Sub District Office to make a request, the Officer could be out for a meeting in Miri and thus a delay, the request then went to Miri, to the Resident office and then to a Disaster Relief Committee and to the welfare office and finally to the JKR office and only then came down to the water station in Niah. In between there could be so many delays and interruptions. And it is no wonder that by the time the trucks started moving, it had been weeks already. It was the same this year, slow.
And there were not enough water trucks. JKR only got a few numbers for all the above areas. And when the government rent temporary water trunks with tanks on lorry even then there are only so few of them. Last year when the no water situation in longhouses and kampongs at Sebatu and the Bintulu/Miri road became so bad and government water trucks was not forth coming and with no annual fund allocations for us in the opposition, I had to rent two lorries with water tanks and pay some more for the water to JKR and LAKU with my own money and go myself with another party member of to delivery the water to all the affected longhouses. In 10 days we delivered water to them all.
I cannot understand why the government had to take so long. It is not a difficult job. In fact, she could rent more trucks and go more rounds during the no water period, making sure that the rural folks have water supply at all times before the water tank run dry. I mean this is the least that the government can do especially when she cannot supply the rural folks with normal water.
Another thing I cannot understand is why do I have to pay for the water when I am using it to help the longhouse and kampong folks. If JKR send the water, government pay for it plus the transportation cost, but when I send, I have to pay for it. And if I let the government send the water, it may come only when the next rain falls. I hope the government could at least let me pump the water for free, to give to the no water rural folks. Mind you the Pakatan Rakyat government in Selangor is supplying free water to all its people there.
The 4 chinese primary schools in Bintulu are getting crowded each with an average of about 1300 students, though SRB Chung Hua has 1700 pupils. And as the Chinese students population increases in Bintulu more and more of them are being put into a fixed number of classes. As a result many of the class rooms are getting over crowded.
It is therefore right that a new Chinese primary school should be built in Bintulu next year to cater for the increase in student population as a result of the development there which is bringing in more and more people to Bintulu.
While it is important that more Chinese primary schools should be built, it is equally important that more mandarin speaking teachers should be trained and be sent to the Chinese schools. It is not right to send teachers who do not understand mandarin to teach in a mandarin speaking school. I mean how can learning be done when the teacher speaks in one language and the stuedents another.
At the moment each Chinese primary school in Bintulu has at least five of these teachers, not that there is anything personal about this, but it is really about getting the right person for the right job.
Like all other schools, Chinese primary school needs money for school maintenance and building more facilities like class rooms and others. I therefore urge that the government to allocate sufficient funds yearly to the Chinese primary school and even the Chinese Independent School and I would like to propose also that these allocations should be bank in directly to the School Board of Management Account instead of allocating it to the Education Department.
Although government do allocate some funds from time to time, to Chinese primary schools but they have always been used by political party for their political agenda. For example like the 150 million allocations of funds to all Chinese primary school for Sarawak in 2007, Bintulu’s 6 chinese primary schools did not get any at all. I mean why all others but not Bintulu .
Even the RM500, 000 allocations for the Bintulu chinese schools as announced by the then Education Minister Dato Seri Hishammudin in June 2008 during his visit to Bintulu, that had not been received by the schools either.
It has come to my understanding that the Sahati block of the SRB Chung Hua No 2, steel bar are seen exposing on the under side of the verandah for all three floors. Meaning that the steel bars which are supposed to be a part of the concrete slab are actually acting as support for the concrete of the verandah and the live load. In view of the urgency of the matter and the safety of the students could I call on the government to allocate funds to rectify the problem.
Another thing is about SRB Siong Boon. I have come to understand that the documents for the transfer of the school from Sebauh to her present site is still not in place, could the Ministry enlighten the house on the matter.
While on education matter, it has come to my attention that quite a number of Form one student in a SMK in Bintulu still do not have text books for several subjects. I mean half of the year is almost gone already and the students are still going to school without text books. More over these books cannot be bought from the book shops in town these days and Photostatting cost a lot of money when there are so many of them without text books for almost all subjects. The teachers had tried hard to get books from other schools which might have extra, but even with that the problem still could not be solved. Could the Honorable Minister also enlighten this house as to why such things occur, such that thing like this do not happen again, would the ministry review the present system of text books supply for the students to solve the problem.
During the November sitting last year, Honorable Minister for Planning and Resource Management in replying to my query on the compensation on NCR land to Rh Chaong for the construction of the Kelalong Dam in Bintulu, the Honorable Minister said that all land acquired for it had been paid compensation in 2002, involving16 longhouses of an amount RM792,900.92
Not long after I returned from the meeting, I have received a letter from several Tuai Rumahs addressed to the Prime Minister and copied to me applying to the Prime Minister for help for payment of compensation on their NCR land acquired for the construction of the Kelalong Dam.
According to them the payment made were just on some portions of their Temuda lands while those submerged and used for the construction of the Kelalong Dam were not compensated and there are 128 families of them.
Longhouse folks cannot understand why a plot of land which after being survived by the Land & Survey Department, only portion of which is compensated while the rest of which the longhouse folks is said to have no NCR rights over it. Longhouse folks there had lost everything to the construction of the dam, their crops, farm houses and everything on their temuda land and asked that the government must pay them, for all the temuda land that is submerged and used in the construction of the dam, and not just portion of it. The fact is that the temuda land which the longhouse folks did there farming on is now gone, it is their life line and is now all submerged in water, they have no where to farm anymore and that is why the compensation must be in total.
And while we are on land in Bintulu, could the Honorable Minister tell this August house the latest status of land under Section 47 in Bintulu since the last time I brought it up in the November 2009 sitting.
And also lot 4172 and lot 4173 of the old airport land. Why were the lands not tender out for sale? I have learnt of a piece of land of 0.3 acre for high rise residence in Kuching was tendered out for sale by Land and Survey Department at a reserved price of RM6.8 million. If the land at the Bintulu old airport were to do likewise I am sure it would bring in much revenue for our state government which could than use it to do more to help our people.
Ever since the moving of the Bintulu Air port to its new site, the people of Bintulu had enjoy the use of the open space at the old airport and long that the whole area could be turned into a green belt area to become the lungs of Bintulu.
We all can envisage in ten twenty years time when more and more building are built, when the area is crowded with more and more concrete shops and high rise, reserving the greenery of old Bintulu Airport to become the green lung amidst the concrete jungle where pollution is serious and city life hectic, is really going to be the crown jewel of the city then.
Like many big cities in the world such places are always admired and the wisdom and farsightedness of the leaders then who decided to keep the green for the future generation is also remembered from generations to generations.
It is therefore the hope of the Bintulu people that the government would declare the Old Bintulu Airport land to be the green belt of Bintulu and further develop the place into the green lungs of Bintulu, instead of shops and more shops which can be built elsewhere. It is easier to find land to build shops than to reserve land for the green lungs of the city.
Last, but not least, I wish to congratulate the police in Bintulu for their hard work in fighting crimes in Bintulu. According to report as of the first three months this year snatch thieves in Bintulu is recorded at zero. That is good, as the police presence are more prominent these days. But I must add that efforts must be continued and put into other areas of crime also so as to reduce them to the very mininium. People will appreciate your good work. I trust that the Kuching Police Headquarter will give the Bintulu and police throughout the state their continual total support. Thanks to them too.
One last thing Mr. Speaker, it is the road linking the Nyigu Road to the Bintulu/Tatau Road, when will it be built, as it will shorten up so much the distance from the Bintulu Town to the airport and further spur the economic growth there.
And by the time our meeting ends it is so close to Gawai already and I wish all my Dayak friends, Selamat Gawai.
Thank you Mr. Speaker.
以及飞机场的Lot 4172及Lot 4173。为何这些土地没有招标出售？我知道在古晋有一块0.3依甲可建多层公寓的土地，由土地局公开投标出售，保留价为6百80万令吉。如果在民都鲁机场的地也这么做，将会为州政府带来很多的收入，这将可用来帮助很多人民。
所以民都鲁人民希望政府宣布民都鲁旧机场为民都鲁的绿区， 并加倍的发展成为绿肺。而不是只顾于建商店。商店可以在很多地区建的， 但要保留城市的绿肺却是不容易的。