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Tag: Ministry of Finance (page 1 of 2)

Politics Aside, Civility is a Priority

After a 3 hour long battle with Dato Johari Ghani, Finance Minister 2 yesterday on the policy stage budget yesterday, we bumped into each other in the Parliament lounge at around 3 pm today.

We shook hands, had a quick friendly chat and posed for a photo.

Before he became a minister and when he was a backbencher, we got to know each other well. He was one of the informal “breakfast club” members; he came an hour early to Parliament, prepared his files and notes ahead for a day of debate. Back then while waiting for Parliament to start, we swapped many corporate stories and occasionally consulted each other on economic and banking issues.

We may have our differences, but I respect his “rajin kerja” work ethics. We will resume our fight tomorrow when the Ministry of Finance budget goes into committee stage.

Press Statement: Why is the Government Ramming Through the Property Management Bill

PRESS STATEMENT: WHY IS THE GOVERNMENT RAMMING THROUGH THE PROPERTY MANAGEMENT BILL

The government is trying to ram through the Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents (Amendment) Bill 2017. The Bill was first read on 1st August 2017 (Tuesday) and debated on 3rd August 2017 (Thursday). The debate is set to continue on 7th August 2017 (next Monday). The speed at which this Bill is debated is highly suspicious and meant to catch Members of Parliament (MPs) unprepared.

It is also a controversial bill because it intends to regulate two distinctly separate professions: valuers and property managers. Valuers deal with property valuation, therefore rightfully falls under the purview of Ministry of Finance (MOF). On the other hand, property management is to do with organisation, management and maintenance of buildings and is under purview of Ministry of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government (KKBPKT).

In addition, the issues related to strata property management are to a large extent already regulated under the Strata Management Act 2013. This Bill, which intends to combine two different practices into one Act and place everything under the purview of MOF, is thus illogical. The more logical solution is to pass a standalone legislation that deals with property management and put it under the control of KKBPKT.

My office estimates that the entire property management fees for all residential, commercial, and office buildings in Malaysia amounts to RM1.8 billion a year. As such this is not a small industry, and that being the case, any legislation affecting it must be carefully considered. I therefore call upon all MPs to be extra vigilant when the debate continues on 7th August 2017.

In order to facilitate better debates, I demand the Finance Minister to immediately explain why this Bill is being rammed through just two days after it was first introduced. The bill essentially leapfrogged seven other prior bills.

I also demand the Finance Minister to explain what expertise he has regarding property management and why this industry should fall under his Ministry’s purview.

Lastly, he must also provide the macroeconomic and cost benefit numbers of this Bill. If he is adamant to continue to ram this Bill through Parliament this coming Monday, he must give an undertaking that his bill will not result in any increase whatsoever to property management fees.

YB Wong Chen
Member of Parliament for Kelana Jaya
4th August 2017

Press Statement: IPIC-1MDB Settlement to be Borne by Malaysian Taxpayers

The following is my press statement with regards to the IPIC-1MDB settlement, which will adversely affect Malaysia.

IPIC-1MDB Settlement to be borne by Malaysian Taxpayers

The settlement reached between IPIC and 1MDB today is a fair deal for Abu Dhabi but a very bad deal for Malaysian taxpayers. Malaysian taxpayers via the Ministry of Finance (MoF) are now exposed to more than US$6 billion (RM26.4 billion) in payments to IPIC for the financial scandals of 1MDB, where not a single person has been arrested by the Malaysian authorities.

Contrary to what will surely be portrayed in the local government media as a settlement that favours Malaysia’s interests, the announcement by IPIC in the London Stock Exchange today proved otherwise, that IPIC got exactly what it asked for and what it was legally entitled to.

In June 2016, IPIC instituted legal proceedings to recover approximately US$6.5 billion from 1MDB. Reuters reported on the matter on 14th June 2016 and provided the breakdown of the claim: “IPIC is claiming the $3.5 billion bond plus interest that amounts to $4.8 billion, the $1.2 billion loan plus interest, and about $481 million owed to Aabar — adding up to $6.5 billion, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.”

The settlement announced today is substantially the same as IPIC’s original demand in 2016, save for possibly of some minor waiver of interests. IPIC will get their US$1.2 billion in two tranches of US$603 million each in July 2017 and December 2017. More importantly, MoF will also undertake to pay all interest and principal payments from the US$3.5 billion bond which now must surely amount to more than US$4.8 billion. The settlement however makes no mention on the US$481 million owed to Aabar.

While Abu Dhabi has taken proper actions to remove from IPIC and freeze the accounts of Mr Qubaisi and Mr Husseiny, and in addition, arrested Mr Qubaisi, all the people on the Malaysian side responsible for the world’s biggest ever kleptocracy case, remain free from any actions whatsoever by the Malaysian authorities.

This settlement serves to only benefit the infamous Malaysian Official 1, Prime Minister Najib Razak and his friends. The settlement essentially allows Najib Razak to avoid a trial which would have opened a gigantic can of worms. Instead of justice and closure, this settlement today further ingrains the culture of corruption and impunity in Malaysia at the expense of the people.

Wong Chen
MP for Kelana Jaya
24th April 2017

YB Chua, please stop making statements

Last Parliamentary sitting I clashed with Deputy Finance Minister Chua Tee Yong on two occasions. Both clashes exposed the depth of his understanding on the subject matter. Unfortunately, very shallow.

First, he spent 10 minutes waxing lyrically about how the LHDN was performing better after privatisation, only to realise later when I reminded him that LHDN has never ever been privatised.

The other issue was on debt to equity swaps of MDV and Prasarana, to which he was completed clueless as to what a debt to equity swap was.

Anyway, now he has come out to defend 1MDB’s RM2 billion loan extension no.3 , suggesting that the extension is some sort of sign of confidence from the banks. For the sake of salvaging what little reputation the Ministry of Finance has, please YB Chua, please stop making statements.

Read the link here.

Budget 2015 Comments

My Budget 2015 comments on the PM budget and his dodgy GST calculations have been picked up by the Edge Weekly today. See the picture below.

edge