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Public Accounts Committee workshop

3rd of August – Good morning. I am now in my third day of Public Accounts Committee workshop organised by the UK government. We will end the workshop at 5 pm today.

Yesterday, we had our meetings in Parlimen Malaysia. Speaker Dato Ariff and PAC Chairperson Dato Noraini hosted three workshop sessions which started at 9 am and ended at 5.30 pm. We had role playing as well as briefings. I had many discussions with South Asian MPs, and shared our stories of the multitude of challenges to fight corruption and wastage.

After the event, I hosted three senior Hong Kong lawmakers to dinner with my family at Madam Kwan’s, to let them sample a variety of Malaysian food. We had a good discussion on politics and gained insights on the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.

However this meant that I had to skip the 8 pm Teh Tarik Session in Jalan Puteri 12, Bandar Puteri with YB Ng Sze Han. My apologies to the the organisers. I also want to thank Mr Gabriel, a volunteer in my office, who attended the Teh Tarik event on my behalf.

appreciation post

Hi, Paul Mae here. Today, we bid farewell to our intern, Adrean. Having interned with us for two months, Adrean assisted us in community work and parliamentary research. During his time here, Adrean proved to be a hardworking and capable individual. He will be going to Cardiff University to complete his Law degree next month. As he’s always such a bubbly guy, we’ve given him the nickname ‘Sunshine’! Here’s what he had to say about his time with us.

“Interning under YB Wong Chen is definitely a worthwhile experience for me. From parliamentary preparations to community work; everything in our job scope involves sheer dedication and impacts all levels of society. For community work, we are given the opportunity to have direct contact with constituents from all walks of life. On the national front, we are given the honour of assisting Boss in various aspects of parliamentary works. Therefore, don’t be shy! Send in your internship application now and join the fight for reformation! The P104 office is not just a policy office; we’re a family.”

community events

My very best wishes to the new Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah on Installation Day and a happy holiday to all.

I will be taking the day easy with my family, visiting the bird park, catching up with my brothers and nieces, and writing an article.

Amidst all the serious political issues brewing in the last week, I did find a bit of time to attend four community events over the weekend. This posting is to recap these events.

The big event was on Saturday morning, organised by my office. It was a gathering with all the headmasters and PIBG of all public schools in Subang. There are 51 schools in total and we handed over around RM178,000 to the PIBGs. Each PIBG receiving, on average RM3,500. The PIBGs will then distributed the money to 1,700 underprivileged students. The net result is 1,700 underprivileged students will receive RM100 each from my office.

30th of July – We have in total RM300,000 allocated for welfare support for the poor every year. This year, instead of waiting for the poor to approach us or sending our officers to find them, we decided to deputise the PIBGs to identify underprivileged students. The PIBGs then worked with the school teachers and officials to come up with a list of the students most in need. With this one event, we managed to distribute 60% of our annual budget for welfare.

We also updated all the schools on our massive RM2.5 million project to repair all 51 schools in Subang (each school getting RM50,000). This project submitted since May 2019 has been delayed by the fact that the government only has one engineer to evaluate our 51 project Bills of Quantities. The government has since added another engineer to help two weeks ago, and after two months of delay, our Balik Pulih Sekolah project is finally moving. When completed, hopefully in October and November 2019, we will hit 100% of our community budget targets for 2019.

Bearing in mind that my actual work as an MP is to legislate, drive policy making and monitor government budget, this school related programs were designed to help free up some time for my officers to focus on policy research work. Instead, at the moment, my officers are completely bogged down on these projects, which is counter productive to our real duties to do Parliament related work. In short, we need more officers and administrative resources to manage the expanded community budget.

I also attended a Teh Tarik Meet the People Session at Bandar Puteri 8, with YB Ng Sze Han, organised by the colorful Dato Samson. Then on Sunday, I attended the BK2 Malam Muhibbah with residents and also attended prayers at Sri Maha Mariamman Temple at Taman Puchong Utama. In all three events, I was given the opportunity to discuss issues and got to know the community leaders, residents and devotees.

Projek Baikpulih Sekolahku 2019 (PBS)

Last Saturday, our office had a briefing to update the schools on the progress of PBS and also hand out welfare cheques to all 51 schools in the Subang constituency to be distributed to 35 low-income students from each school. The hand over of cheques was part of our annual welfare program. This year we decided to spend 60% of our welfare allocation to help low-income students with their school meals. We gave RM100 per student.

After the cheque handover ceremony, YB Wong Chen gave the schools a presentation to explain the delay encountered in PBS. As the deadline for project application is fast approaching, we wanted to give the schools a rigorous explanation as to why there is a hold up in their project submissions and assure them that our office is doing everything we can to expedite the submission process. Initially, we only had one engineer from Pejabat Daerah Tanah Petaling (PDT Petaling) handling all the schools under YB Wong Chen’s constituency. It was very time-consuming for one engineer to visit and prepare bills of quantities (BQ) for all 51 schools. However, after multiple requests to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), who has taken on the role to monitor this project, they have agreed to give us an additional engineer to accelerate BQ preparation. Now the project submissions are moving at a slightly faster pace than before and our office is working closely with the PMO and PDT Petaling to see to it that the projects are completed by the end of this year.

Fruitful Friday

In this posting, I will put up pics and a bit of commentary of the events I attended last Friday.

The day started early at 8 am with a breakfast meeting. As I have previously stated, I will be going to Taiwan on the 4th to 7th August for an Indo-Pacific conference. The breakfast meeting was to meet my Taiwanese hosts, Ambassador Ger and Ambassador Hung. We had a good discussion on the concept of Indo-Pacific and I voiced my dissenting views on it, preferring a more ASEAN centric platform. Nevertheless, it was very good to hear the views of Ambassador Ger. His assessments on the regional geo-political issues were sharp and clever and I left the meeting, having learnt new perspectives on things.

After that, I rushed to Parliament to attend the economic forum where the Bank Governor, Terence Gomez and Anwar Ibrahim delivered speeches. Terence was the usual combative self. He delivered sharp criticisms of BN and Pakatan on the lack of financial and structural reforms of GLCs and GLICs. Anwar spoke clearly about his needs-based economic model, as opposed to a race-based model. His vision for a better Malaysia, to tackle class and inequality issues irrespective of race, is one of the main reasons why I joined PKR a decade ago.

After that I rushed to the Guan Di Temple in PJS7 for a Guan Di birthday event. Both my ADUNs, YB Ng Sze Han and YB Michelle Ng were also present. The Guan Di Temple event was an apolitical fundraiser, including VIPs from MCA attending too.

After that, I went to my office to give a talk on left-wing/right-wing economics to my interns. This was followed by an interview on anti-corruption reforms with Dr Khairul Saidah, a Universiti Malaya lecturer.

Finally on Friday night, my wife and I attended a lively dinner hosted by my neighbours, Andy and Sonia, discussing politics, big data and Brexit with Prof Milner (another neighbour).