INVOKE

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.

Asset Declaration Exercise!

Have you given up on Malaysian politicians? Do you feel both sides are the same? Why do those in power continue to hide their assets?

DON’T GIVE UP!

Come and meet the MPs and ADUNs that have taken the most extraordinary step to declare their assets. Together with INVOKE Malaysia these brave MPs and ADUNs aim to kickstart a movement to eliminate political corruption.

Come and witness this historic event at USJ Summit, Centre Court from.7.30 pm to 10 pm tonight.

This event is open to all!

Come and meet Rafizi Ramli and some 20 plus MPs and ADUNs.

1. YB Laksmana Imran
2. YB Wong Chen
3. Y bhg Dato Saifuddin Nasution
4. YB Dato Johari Abdul
5. YB Kesavan
6. YB Dato Mahfuz
7. YB Dato Abdullah Sani
8. YB Dr. Hatta Ramli
9. YB Khalid Samad
10. YB Manivanan
11. YB Mujahid
12. YB Chang Lih Kang
13. YB Nik Nazmi
14. YB Hasnul
15. YB Aminuddin Haron
16. Y Bhg Tuan Syed
17. YB Dr Ismail Salleh
18. YB Azan Ismail
19. Y Bhg Dr. Tan Yee Kew
20. YB Rodziah
21. YB Fuziah Salleh
22. YB Saari Sungib
23. YB Dr Idris Ahmad
24. YB Lee Chean Chung
25. YB Tan Kar Hing
26. YB Simon Ooi
27. YB Dr Michael Jayakumar

Alternative Budget 2018 Launch

Good morning. This is Budget Day and MPs will be heading to Parliament around 2 pm. The finance minister will read the budget speech at 3.30 pm. As usual there will be 4 sets of documents; economic report, budget document, federal revenue report and finance minister text.

During and after the budget speech, I will be posting up views via Facebook. I have also been asked by ntv 7 to air some views. Then at 8.30 pm, I will be back at INVOKE Malaysia with Rafizi Ramli and Tony Pua to shoot a livestream of our budget reactions. So stay tuned for that.

The entire weekend will then be spent reading and analysing the budget documents and my officers and interns will join Leader of the Opposition, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and her team to prepare the very important Budget Reply.

The Budget Reply slated for next Monday at 11.30 am, is a formal Parliamentary event and Dato Seri Wan Azizah’s speech is expected to take about 1.5 hours. In all Westminster based Parliament, the Prime Minister, Finance Minister and key cabinet members are required to attend, but not in Malaysia. Last year’s attendance to the Budget Reply from UMNO BN cabinet was close to zero. The non-attendance reflects badly on UMNO BN but they seem to be absolutely shameless.

This culture of ponteng in Parliament is deeply ingrained and reflects the attitude of UMNO BN leaders treating Parliament as a rubber stamp. So far in the first 4 days of Parliament, Najib Razak leads in ponteng; he has yet to come into the Parliament hall. In contrast, his deputy Zahid Hamidi has made 3 appearances to answer questions as home minister.

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.

It’s Hard to Say Goodbye

Good morning. I am taking the day off from the office and will instead be working from home. The office is still open as usual, 10 am to 5 pm with Abigail and Tina holding fort. The P104 service night will also continue as usual from 8 pm to 10 pm, with Mr. Leong in charge. Monday Night Chat too will be posted tonight, as usual, courtesy of Tina. However, I will be out for dinner with my wife. It is our wedding anniversary.

This morning, I want to talk about the people who volunteer at and who support our office. My office has a core group of regular professional volunteers (lawyers, economist, math guy, property guy, JMB expert and business guy). They come in to help advise our constituents on their problems on Monday nights.

Downstairs at YB Hannah Yeoh‘s office, she has a fantastic dedicated team that works together with us on many issues. We also have our auntie brigade who volunteers on INVOKE Malaysia phone banking every Thursday night. We have volunteers who participate in our outreach programs; doctors, nurses, pharmacists, students, photographers. We also have our former interns dropping by and helping out. We also host knowledgeable speakers who come and give talks on everything from international trade, oil and gas, anti corruption systems, career prospects to geo-spatial analysis.

We too have other occasional, less visible volunteers. Andy, my high school buddy whom I have known for more than 35 years, will drop by on call and fix our computer and IT problems. He spent almost a day sorting out a computer he donated to us last week and advised us on software (see attached pic). We have WWW, a former intern who is an accountant. He does our mid year and year end office accounts. We also have Willy who gifted us a water filter dispenser and services it. There are many more who chip in to do bits and bobs to keep us going.

For our supporters that do not have time to volunteer, they support our office expenses and also the needs of our poorest constituents.

With the recent farewell of Tania and Nadirah, I have been feeling a bit down. The partings of my two key P104 family in two weeks, have been hard. However this morning, by recalling the work and dedication of my volunteers and supporters, I am somewhat lifted.

Wishing all a very productive week ahead.