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Category: Constituency Matters (page 1 of 34)

A Not So Busy Day

Good morning. I have a not so busy day ahead. I have a lunch meeting with academic Lee Hwok Aun. Hwok Aun is currently a senior fellow at ISEAS, Singapore. He was formerly at Universiti Malaya where he did groundbreaking studies on work and racism. His research helped Rafizi Ramli and office to craft an en equal employment policy.

After that I will be joining Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to meet senior visiting diplomats from Germany. The meeting will take place in Parliament. Then I will head to my office for service night. Today will be the last day of intern Kevin; he is going to ANU, Australia to do his masters. Kevin was a key help in the asset declaration exercise last month.

Here is a quick roundup of my other events this weekend with pictures; namely a fundraiser event for a local church (where I met up with my former intern, Irin!) and the back to school charity program organised by Subang Jaya Buddhist Association.

 

I Declare!

Due to a lot of comments and questions coming in, I have updated this posting.

My net asset is estimated at RM2.3 million. Most of my assets are held in fixed deposits and investments.

I do not own any house/property. I have always been happy renting. For more than a decade, I was a tenant at the hip and old 1960s Taman Tunku apartments, paying RM1,500 a month. It was a super fantastic two bedroom apartment with sprawling grounds and nice restaurants below. My fellow tenant neighbours were mostly arty and intellectual types.

When I got married, I moved into my wife’s house. She works and has her own money. I paid for the renovations, but the house is 100% owned by her.

When I became a politician, I also made a conscious decision to keep everything liquid on a “just in case” basis. Being a politician and government critic is a relatively dangerous career. Having a house and a mortgage didn’t seem right and I didn’t see the need to speculate on a second home and become a landlord.

I do not have any debt except RM10,400 for my Honda CRV, owing to Parliament. I bought my Honda CRV under a Parliament pay deduction scheme. I am not a car person and see not much value in owning fancy cars. I much prefer books and art. I have two expensive Rolex watches, both were wedding gifts, one from my father and the other from my father in law. The irony is I hate wearing watches but will keep them for my children.

Appended are all 5 pages of my asset declaration.

Question to the Health Minister

Good morning. It is a rainy morning and at around 7 am, the sky had a strange heavy yellow tint.

After 4 years plus, I have finally been given the number two slot today in Parliament for Question Time. My question to the Health Minister on the high cost of intensive care in private hospital is based on a real life experience of a Subang Jaya family. My question is expected to be answered around 10.10 to 10.30 am this morning.

The family visited my office more than a month ago asking for help to transfer a family member from a private hospital to a public hospital. The victim was in intensive care for 2 months and they ran out of money. The bill came to a staggering RM450,000. We did manage to transfer the victim to a public hospital but unfortunately he passed away 2 weeks later.

The basic policy issue is such; the government must do a comprehensive big data study on the average number of days spent in intensive care units for specific critical illnesses. This study must also encompass baseline costs of such treatment, so to prevent the private sector from overcharging. Such a study can then help to provide a good estimate of costs to families requiring such care, so that they can make informed big financial decisions.

The current situation where consumers are not given proper estimates and information and at the same time, are driven by high emotions to save their loved ones, can be abused and lead to financial ruin of the entire family.

Today, I would recommend the minister to undertake such a study, then follow up with some form of new regulations after consulting with private hospitals on what constitutes reasonable fees. The sad truth is our government hospital’s intensive care beds are extremely limited. The waiting list for such transfers are very long and may take up to a month or more.

In the final analysis this matter is about money; either the private sector lowers its fees or the government will need to build more intensive care facilities.

In that context, please note that MO1 (the kleptocrat in charge), has happily allocated himself for 2018 a whopping development budget of RM12.2 billion to spend, compared to the entire health ministry development budget of RM1.8 billion.

So when the government tells you there is no budget for better schools, hospitals to treat cancer, better policing to fight crime, they are not telling you the full picture. There is money. Just poorly allocated to the kleptocrat.

Welfare Month 2017 – Cheque Collection

Wassup guys! Tina here, reporting from the office while our Boss is away taking a one-day break (Parliament is so tiring man).

Today marks the start of cheque collection for this year’s Bulan Kebajikan — it is hectic as usual. Unfortunately, all three of our interns are not around (Kevin is sick; Cassandra got summoned to her father’s hometown; and one of the Seans is on study leave).

Lucky for us, two of our former interns are back to the rescue! Megan (who will be joining the office as staff in December) and Ivan, came to visit and is now helping the office with the giving out of cheques.

On a side note, we received a letter from KRT (Kawasan Rukun Tetangga) PJS 10 thanking our office for helping them rebuilt their cabin that was burnt down in December 2016.

The End of a Long Week

I got home at 1.30 am (past midnight) from the INVOKE Malaysia event on Tuesday night. My loyal, hardworking and underpaid staff and interns stayed till the very end. Rafizi Ramli did most of the briefing, I played a minor role. Am attaching pictures of the event.

The Alternative Budget 2018 is now being translated by an external source. We have been working on this document for 45 days. With the work now outside of our control, we can rest a few days. So I have decided to take a short holiday with my wife and kids tomorrow. The kids have been restless during this one week of school break and I have been neglecting them of late.

We will be doing a cuti-cuti Malaysia short trip. First stop will be Gua Tempurung, then Kellie’s Castle and some local Gopeng makan. After lunch we will go to Ipoh and explore why the Lonely Planet has named Ipoh as a top 10 destination in Asia! Ipoh food is expected to be glorious. Yesterday, at the imoney talk, Prof. Jomo told me that Ipoh is now a great arts destination with artists resettling there due to cheaper property and lower cost of living.

We will be staying at Sekeping Kong Heng and tomorrow night I will meet up with some local PKR leaders to answer questions on economic policies (I can’t really stop working). On Friday, we will continue to explore Ipoh and eat more stuff before heading back to KL after lunch.

My staff will see me on Saturday and Sunday as we prepare the final layout of the Alternative Budget. My staff will also read and research the first 4 legislative bills that will be tabled in Parliament starting next Monday. This weekend is going to be pure legislative work. We have deferred all community events so that we can focus on the upcoming Parliamentary debates. I will try to debate as many bills that I can handle in this sitting. In the last July/August sitting, I debated 7 bills. I want to try to top that record. I am also expected to debate extensively on the budget itself. I must emphasise that this budget session is the most important event of the year for MPs.

On the Deepavali visits today, I want to thank YB Manivanan Gowin and Guna/Uma for being wonderful hosts. I also managed to drop by Desa Mentari to visit the scene of the fires. I spoke to En. Zaini and En.Norizan, the local community leaders who explained the complex issue of racial politics in dense urban poverty zones. I also asked YB Manivanan for his valued opinion on the matter of fireworks in the context of Deepavali. This issue clearly needs sensitivity to cultural needs as well as public safety.

The local leaders lamented that despite being banned, fireworks are openly being sold on the streets. These traders have obviously taken care of the enforcement authorities, who then turn a blind eye. The ban is not only failing but actually promotes corruption and abuses of power. YB Manivanan proposed a different solution; legalise but control the sale and usage of fireworks. He proposed the banning of all extreme fireworks, thus allowing the sale of milder fireworks for cultural purposes. In addition, he argued a designated and supervised open space should be allocated for 5 nights, rather than the current free for all dangerous discharge of fireworks in common properties of flats.

I want to explore more options on the issue. I will ask one of my new interns to look into this and see if we can discover any successful policies applied in other countries. We may do a Policy Monday on this topic in the near future.