Last day of the year 2019.
It was a very busy 2019 in terms of community projects, we did a total of 81 projects in Subang Jaya and Kinrara.
However, we have had a relatively disappointing 2019 for parliamentary reforms. My Parliamentary work continued with full attendance of all Parliamentary sittings, except three days when I was away overseas on official duties.
The year also saw me attending 80 hearings and meetings for the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). For 2020, I will be moving on from the PAC to chair a new select committee, The Committee on International Relations and Trade.
On diplomatic engagements, I also have had a very busy 2019. The highlight of the year for me was to go New York to give a talk at the UK Mission to the United Nations.
Throughout 2019, there were few legislative reforms passed. Most notable, was the constitutional amendment to lower the minimum age of voting to 18. This also brought in the idea of automatic registration of all voters. While I have no issue with lowering the voting age, I do have a big problem regarding the fact that compulsory voting was not included.
There was no reforms on draconian laws such as SOSMA and the Sedition Act. The IPCMC bill was postponed. The constitutional amendment to limit the terms of the prime-minister to two terms, will only be debated in March 2020. The Parliamentary Services Act bill, that would ensure greater separation of powers did not materialise in 2019. Prime Minister Question Time promised by the government also did not materialise.
Despite having had 68 parliamentary days, we have nothing much to show in terms of institutional reforms. In 2019, the New Malaysia did not make the reform leap that we had hoped and expected.
On the 2020 federal budget, I gave a critical speech which received wide coverage in the news. I intend to continue to constructively censure my own government in lieu of a lack of institutional reforms from the prime minister and cabinet.
We can no longer use the same excuses over and over again for not carrying out fundamental reforms. The sad truth is 70% of all the reforms in the manifesto do not require a lot of money, and 90% of the promised legislative reforms need only a majority vote, not 2/3rd. Do we have more than 51% in Parliament? Of course we do. As of December 2019, Pakatan Harapan and allies has 139 seats out of a total of 222, so we have 62%. We just seem to have lost or misplaced the political will to reform.
In the PAC hearings and meetings, I have consistently carried out my work without fear or favour. I have grilled my own ministers, officials and witnesses on matters regarding wastage and corruption. The biggest PAC case that I was involved in was an estimated RM600 million in annual losses from the LPG gas subsidy scheme. On the issue of the GST, I spoke out that the government overestimated the amount of GST repayable and due. On the DBKL land deals, I spoke out on the lack of transparency of deals and valuation, and that more must be done to improve overall governance. On fiscal matters, I made suggestions to the Auditor General and Accountant General on matters to tighten up financial discipline and to put in greater efforts to contain the large national debt.
A Busy Diplomatic Year:
On the diplomatic front, I have hosted 26 dinners at my house for ambassadors and foreign dignitaries in 2019. Most notably, I hosted visiting legislators and officials from Cambodian, Vietnam, Lao, Myanmar, Hong Kong, and Singapore. I also had the European Union, the Norwegian, Cuban, French, Colombian, German, Uruguayan, Danish, Taiwanese, Netherlands, and New Zealand Ambassador over to my home for dinner. I also attended multiple diplomatic events hosted by embassies, including the Mexican, Cuban, German, French, Norwegian, European Union, Italian and British.
Official Events and Trips:
2019 saw me travelling a fair bit on official trips. I was in the UK Parliament at the start of the year to study Parliamentary reforms. In early July, I was in New York to give a short speech for the United Kingdom’s United Nations mission. I shared my views on Malaysian parliamentary reforms and challenges impeding the same. In late July, I gave a talk to senior Singaporean officials who were visiting Kuala Lumpur. I talked about the state of Malaysian economics, the BRI and geo-politics. In August, I attended the CAPAC Asia meeting in Taiwan and met delegations from the Indo Pacific. In late August, I attended the AIPA conference where I championed a resolution on climate change in Bangkok. In November, I attended the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights in Phuket, where I participated in charting new policies to improve human rights in the region.
Community Projects and Events:
On the community front, I attended in total 87 community events for 2019. My volunteers and officers stood in for 46 other events on my behalf.
However, we are most proud of our community projects where I’m very happy to announce that we undertook a total of 81 projects for 2019. We have met the community spending target for Project Mesra Rakyat at the rate of 99.98%, and 98.7% of Peruntukan Khas. In other words, we have fully utilized all allocations for the community in 2019 and the breakdown is as per the infographics below.
I want to thank YB Ng Sze Han, YB Michelle Ng, all the councillors, MPSJ officers and community leaders for their dedicated service to the constituents of Parliament Subang.
I want to thank the 2019 P104 team; my officers Paul Mae, Tina, Dhinaa, Alethea, Kevin, Ivan and my volunteers Leong, Ho, Phang, James, Gabriel, Weng Wai, Wyhow, Melody, Jarrat and the two Michelles for their dedication and professional work. Lastly, I want to thank all my 2019 interns for their questions, ideas, and best efforts.
I want to particularly mention Tina, Dhinaa and Kevin, my three officers who left the office in 2019. All the very best in your future endeavours. Tina is now with a law firm practising family law and continue her fight for women rights! Dhinaa will be starting work at Karim Raslan Associates in 2020 and Kevin will continue to pursue his dream to be a lawyer.
I would also like to welcome my two new officers, former interns Alethea and Ivan. Alethea joined us in September 2019 and Ivan will be joining us full time in January 2020.
Lastly, I want to wish all my constituents and FB readers a Happy New Year!