Speech text of N.11 Batu Lintang State Assemblyman See Chee How, on 09 May 2014, debating on the Motion of Appreciation on the address of His Excellency, Tuan Yang Di-Pertua Negeri
Datuk Amar Speaker,
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to participate in the debate of the Motion of Appreciation on the address of His Excellency, Tuan Yang Di-Pertua Negeri, delivered on the 5 of May 2014.
I would like to join all my fellow Honourable Members in this august House to congratulate His Excellency, Tuan Yang Terutama Yang Di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak and the Right Honourable member for N.3 Tanjung Datu for their respective appointment as the Governor, and the Chief Minister of Sarawak.
Datuk Amar Speaker,
On the 6th of May, before this great Assembly, the bells proclaim the joyous tidings of the quietly awakening Sarawakians.
Indeed, I am proud to be a member of this august House which had unanimously voted in favour of a motion supporting the continuous effort by the state government to request for a revision of the tripartite agreement entered into between the federal government, state government and Petronas, and seek consideration of the federal government to increase the oil and gas royalty payment from the present 5% to 20%, or other reasonable and favourable form of arrangements to the benefits of Sarawak State so as to accelerate more development programmes particularly in the rural areas in the state of Sarawak.
From both sides of this Honourable Dewan, we have stated our stances, we have expressed our differences, as we agree to disagree. What matters most, in the end, is that this august House has reached a consensus to unanimously voted for the motion, as all Sarawakians have expected us to do.
I cherished the moment when all our Honourable members in this Dewan raised their hands instantaneously when we were called upon to vote on the motion. It was the moment that we are telling all Sarawakians and others that when it comes to safeguarding and advancing the interests of our fair land Sarawak, all our Honourable members in this august House are, I quote, “Sarawakian First”.
Datuk Amar Speaker
This motion, which I liken it to a proclamation, is a historical landmark.
It has brought out the Edmund Burke in each and every one of the Honourable members in this august House, that we are not just a member for a constituency, but a member of this great deliberative Sarawak State Assembly.
“20 percent oil and gas royalty for Sarawak”, those words were first a dream, a hope, then a belief, now a promise, and soon it will be a reality.
For this august House and all our Honourable members, let me share my train of thoughts in these verses:
Unmindful if it could materialize
Treasured is the thought it ever exists
All is well if the heart dances in dreams
Moments I wish are eternity in this august House
When hands are raised in unison and one accord
My heart resonates like never before
It warms the dark recess of mind
Fire up with love and hope entwined
It lights through the long dark night
It is like morning shining bright
Only in beautiful land of endless bliss
Enticing is a dream where hope lies
Only beauty, bliss and peace will know
Where our dream home lies,
In anticipation for faithful and united hearts
Who anchored so many hopes upon our Fair Land Sarawak.
Datuk Amar Speaker,
The Motion, is a significant landmark.
The ringing of the bells that proclaim our joyous tidings has immediately reached the shores of Sabah and Kelantan, and soonest in Trengganu.
There will be those who are skeptical. But, under the present political circumstance and development, I believe that good sense will prevail. Indeed, it is a gross injustice that can no longer stand to reason when the 4 oil producing states in the country, having collectively contributed some 48% of the federal government’s revenue, remain the poorest and least developed in the country.
I remain optimistic. If the 4 states are in sync, the parties in the tripartite agreement are able to and can readily act to discuss the motion. Afterall, Petronas is wholly owned by the federal government.
I am hopeful that the Right Honourable Chief Minister will take a pro-active approach in initiating meetings of the parties involved and to regularly report to this Honourable Dewan on the progress and development of such meetings.
Datuk Amar Speaker,
On issues affecting the State, I must applaud the Honourable Housing Minister’s proposal to build 50,000 affordable housing under the 11th Malaysia Plan, reported in the local dailies on 12 April 2014.
Meeting the needs and demands for affordable housing is a problem faced by all governments everywhere, and Sarawak is no exception.
And while affordability vary greatly, in denotations, according to different income groups, I wish to draw the attention of the Honourable Minister to a specific group of Sarawakians, who are from the families in the lower income stratum.
For the interests and welfare of these low-income earning families, I am sure our Honourable Minister of Housing would agree with me that there be no partisan politics in our efforts to look after them.
Basically from the lowest stratum of our society, this is the group of families in which there is no possibility of them being able to attain the basic necessities, if the government and public sector does not step in and intervene to uplift their social-economic status. But before we can do our part to uplift their well beings, we must know who they are and where they are. In the case of housing, we must turn to the squatter families, as an obvious target group. While some may point to the existence of pseudo squatters, I would like to believe that no individual would like or want to live in uninhabitable conditions with their families.
I am sure the Honourable Minister will also agree with me that we must protect this most vulnerable group of families within our society. But has the government conducted any survey to identify how many squatter families as determined to be so by the government, exist in each division of Sarawak and where are they in each of the Divisions? The number should include those dwelling on state land, as well as titled land. What have been the figure in terms of families, the average family size and the family-income situation over the past 10 years? Are the numbers increasing or decreasing over these past 10-20 years? How many of them have been settled into public housing, as tenants and or owners?
Then has the government any formal process to register families defined as squatters so that they can be automatically entered into the register as priority for public housing? If there is, can the Minister make it available to all Districts so that all relevant local authorities can be tasked to accept registration? If not, will the government consider introducing such a system?
My respectful concern herein is to try to get an understanding as to how the government ascertain the demands for various categories of public housing needed over each Malaysia Plan. Recalling the Honourable Minister’s announcement of 50,000 affordable housing needed in the 11th Malaysia Plan, the Minister must provide breakdown of number of units as demanded by different categories of “affordable” housing.
Then we can know what is the demand ascertained by the government for each category of housing and this can be matched with the number of squatter families identified by the government. So can the Minister provide details for the past 10 years and what lessons had been learned to bring about the 50,000 numbers in the 11th Malaysia Plan? Can the Minister provide statistics over the past 10 years in each Division of Sarawak whereby the demand had been met or not and if not, which Division had not been met?
Datuk Amar Speaker,
I want this august House to note that we in this part of the Dewan stand ready to support and assist the government in its difficult task of housing especially Sarawakians at the bottom economic stratum of the society. But we will be handicapped if we are not able to get the necessary data and statistics to enable us to provide input into the debate.
Following from this, I would like to seek clarification from the Honourable Minister in regard to state criteria to qualify for each category of public housing paid with tax-payers’ money, especially related to those being proposed in the 11th Malaysia Plan.
In this aspect, can the Minister states the names or terms of all Federal and State housing schemes available to the low-income families in Sarawak and the target groups with qualifying criteria for each scheme as contained in the proposed 50,000 units?
I would also call upon the Honourable Minister to provide the breakdown in numbers of all Federal and State housing schemes planned and delivered in each of the Divisions in Sarawak over the past 10 years and how the schemes comprise of 50,000 units in the 11th Malaysia plan will differ from those of the past 10 years?
Further, I wish that the Minister will give details as to the number of units and year of completion of the Federal and State housing schemes which are meant for rental and tenancy only that had been built in each of the divisions in Sarawak over the past 10 years and what has been the occupancy or take-up rate for each scheme in each division?
50 years after our independence, the public housing provided by the government and private sector must have been enormous, and Sarawak should have the expertise in quality developers and contractors in this regulated housing industry.
We applaud the government for intervening to make provisions for those left out of the housing market system. And on this note, I humbly seek the indulgence of the Honourable Minister to provide this Dewan with the numbers and names of developers, both in the public and private sectors, who have been awarded and designated to construct public low-cost housing for poor Sarawakians families over the past 10 years and the number of units each of these developers and contractors have delivered in each division of Sarawak over the past 10 years? And further, the project costs and whether any of these projects have remained uncompleted.
Datuk Amar Speaker,
Allow me to comment on the question of remedial work to be carried out on the damages to roads and drains caused by the developer and contractors in implementing the Kuching Centralized Sewerage Systems.
I would like to invite the Honourable Minister and his able Assistant Minister to make a trip to Green Road, more particularly the stretch of Green Road from the junction with Jalan Tun Ahmad Zaidi Adruce to the junction with Jalan Satok.
The work on the sewerage systems along this road had been completed for months, but the remedial works for the road and the drainage system is most unsatisfactory. The stretch of road has become dangerous and the drains are blocked permanently causing flooding to the road, the adjoining lanes and the residential houses in the vicinity every time it rains.
Honourable Assistant Minister had told this august House yesterday that there are guidelines for the remedial works to be carried out after the various sections of the projects have been completed. The remedial works carried out at this stretch of Green Road certainly reflects badly on the guidelines of this project.
With that, I conclude.
See Chee How
N11 Batu Lintang