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updates from bangkok

It is 11 pm Bangkok time. We arrived late due to some flight issues and got in to the hotel at 7 pm. I unpacked and went to the dinner hosted by the Thai Deputy Speaker. I caught up with the Vietnamese and Burmese MPs that came to my house for dinner and durian in July. I also caught up with the Cambodians and Singaporeans too. Did not manage to see my friends from Brunei, Thailand or Indonesia.

After dinner (I ate very little, my stomach still somewhat unwell), YB Syed Ibrahim, Senator Bob and I, invited Hon. Pritam Singh (Singaporean Opposition Leader) to join us to go to tailors at MBK. We took a grab, got to MBK and found the tailor recommended by Syed’s wife. We had suits and shirts made. Cheaper than KL by 30%. Then we took the MRT, called BTS here, back to the hotel.

Tomorrow, the conference will begin proper at 9 am, officiated by former Thai PM, Chuan Leekpai.

long day at the parliament

20th of August – Another long day in Parliament. I met my interns in Parliament at 9.10 am, shot Monday Night Chat and then attended a PAC hearing on DBKL. The current mayor, Dato Nor Hashim was formerly MPSJ mayor. I greeted him as a dear friend, but still gave him and his DBKL officers some heated questions. The hearing will now be adjourned sine die, to enable an audit to be conducted and thereafter report back to us.

At around 12 noon, I met Sandra, a student doing her IB extended essay on palm oil. She is currently studying in UWC Maastricht, and she knows my former intern Nadira. I answered her questions and then dashed off for a super quick lunch before another meeting with visitors Natalie and Daphne. Natalie, a Malaysian who lives in London is writing a report on the financial and tax status of charities in Malaysia.

After that it was back to another PAC hearing on Finas. In attendance with other officials was the actor Hans Issac, who is now chairman of Finas. His appearance got the ladies in the PAC, a bit flustered. This last PAC meeting for the day ended at 5 pm.

Meanwhile, YB Michelle Ng attended the MPSJ Engineering Department meeting at 3pm on the cause of flood. She updated me at 5.15 pm.

The meeting had the following findings.

The causes of the flood are:-

1. Extraordinary heavy rainfall. Rainfall is considered heavy between 30mm-40mm. The fateful Saturday recorded 160mm of rainfall.

2. Development over the last decade has increased ‘run off surfaces’. There remains only about 10% of land in Subang Jaya that can absorb water; i.e grass, trees. All other surfaces are either hardened or concretised.

3. The combination of the above two matters, means the drain capacity was insufficient to cope with the flash flood.

According to YB Michelle, the MPSJ Engineering Department has in place proposals to improve drain capacity. They have even prepared tender documents. The issue now is money, or the lack of it. MPSJ will be appealing for additional funding from state and federal governments.

PAC investigation on development and land transactions by DBKL

19th of August – Good afternoon. I am in Parliament today for a whole day of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meetings. Tomorrow, I will be back again for more PAC meetings. Then on Wednesday, back to Parliament again but for an ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) meeting.

While Parliament is currently not sitting for Parliamentary debates, subsidiary Parliamentary works such as PAC and ASEAN matters, mean that I will be spending a substantial part of my work hours in Parliament.

This morning, we had Derek Fernandez to testify before the PAC. I have known Derek for years and he helped my office to stop the Sports City project in Kelana Jaya, 3 years ago.

The PAC is investigating the settlement of many suspicious development and land transactions by DBKL under the Pakatan Harapan government. This investigation started some two months ago, with the testimony of YB Khalid Samad, the minister for FT and will likely take another 4 to 6 months to complete.

Weekend with community cooking & KPUM law reform competition

18th of August – Yesterday, I had a mix of work events and also some family time. The day started with an early 7.30 am breakfast with my mum (she lives in Singapore and is visiting for a few days), brother, sister and nephew and nieces.

Then I attended a community cooking program in USJ 6, where they cooked laksa Johor. I took questions and provided answers from the residents on the flash flood and recent political problems.

Then I went to USJ1 Angsana to give a short encouragement speech to children preparing for UPSR exams. This is a motivational and tuition camp for underprivileged children. Then I went to a basketball competition (under 18, 3 on 3) in USJ Laman Sukan, organised by youths from the local Leo Club.

At 12 noon to 4.30, I was at Brickfields Asia College to judge the law reform policy competition organised by KPUM. Team Aphrodite won; an all women team comprising of friends from LSE, UITM and UIA. The competition was very tight, the four finalists were separated by 1 to 2 points only.

On the downside, I was stuck for an hour in a car park when my car battery went flat. I had to call my mechanic Alan to bring a new battery.

Thereafter, I joined my mother for an important family gathering dinner, followed by durians. My officer represented me instead for the Subang Jaya Di Zang Wang Pu Sa dinner.

intern farewell : cyrene

Our office said goodbye to our intern Cyrene yesterday. We took her to Good Taste Restaurant in Puchong for her farewell lunch. She will be continuing her degree in Economics and managment, and we have invited her to return for a second round of internship.

Besides her supercool hair and retro style, Cyrene is bright, hardworking, and resourceful. We enjoyed her presence in the office, giving the office a good vibe. She also provided courteous and professional services to my constituents. She took part in policy matters and even Parliament officials have noticed her. She is very well liked by my officers and her fellow interns. In short, she did well at all fronts.

We wish her all the best and look forward for her 2nd tour of duty with the P104 family.