Speech By Datuk Ong Seng Khek, President of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (“KLSCAH”) At the KLSCAH 2020 Annual General Meeting

A very good morning to delegates coming from all over Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, board directors and media representatives.

It is honoured to have everyone here to attend our general meeting and fulfilling our part of obligations and responsibilities. I would like to first deliver the summary of events that we have done throughout the year.

KLSCAH’s affairs Under the Pandemic

As we are all aware, KLSCAH AGM which was originally scheduled on June had to be postponed to September due to COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, I would like to express my gratitude to all of you who are present today, while also strictly abiding Standard Operating Procedure (“SOP”) set down by Malaysian National Security Council, in order for this AGM to proceed as scheduled.

On 18th of March 2020, the Malaysian government took the unprecedented step to implement Movement Restriction Order (“MCO”) in an effort to contain the outbreak. Numerous extensions were later enforced due to the uncertainty of the pandemic.

In view of the surge of COVID cases, hospitals nationwide were facing shortages of medical supplies. As a result, KLSCAH has initiated a donation drive since 23 March to support these healthcare front liners. As of 1st June, we have received a financial contribution in total RM451,000 backed by our members and affiliated organisations. All donations have gone to purchase of medical supplies such as surgical masks, face shields, disinfectants, surgical gowns, shoe covers and others to be distributed across 10 hospitals in Klang Valley.

In addition, KLSCAH and United Chinese School Committees’ Association Of Malaysia (“Dong Zong”) has jointly raised RM65,000 for the family of the late Nadila Rahmat, a nurse at the Sultanah Fatimah Specialist Hospital in Muar, Johor who had died of Covid-19. We hope to honour front liners’ contributions and sacrifices as well as to lighten the burden of her family.

In May 2020, KLSCAH also donated RM10,000 for purchasing daily necessities to be distributed among 100 of Muslim families residing in Hang Tuah flats and Brickfields area, in hope for the underprivileged beneficiaries to celebrate Hari Raya with joy.

On behalf of 37th KLSCAH Board of Directors, I would like to pay tribute to all of the members and affiliated organisations who have supported KLSCAH’s donation drive during MCO, in aid of our effort in distributing medical supplies to all the healthcare front liners.

The contagious virus is ruthless but there is warmth in humanity. The pandemic has made me quickly realised that organisations like us should explore beyond our comfort zone, bravely innovate and seek changes instead of standing alone. It is through this donation drive that we have established a deeper connection with our members and we hope to build a more close-knitted community in future.

Recovery Movement Control Order (“RMCO”) has now been extended to Dec 31. The new cluster emerged from Lahad Datu area in Sabah has caused the spike to the initially slowdown on confirmed cases. I hope that everyone will strictly abide by the COVID-19 SOP, maintain personal hygiene and practice social distancing among each other.

Burdens of medical front liners have been shortly alleviated by various COVID-19 relief efforts, with medical supplies fully replenished in some of the hospitals. However, in order to avoid another wave of the infection which may cause reoccurrence of depletion of medical supplies, I  hereby call upon the government to form cooperative relationship between hospitals, non-governmental organisations, non-profit organisations to ensure that there will no delay in supplying medical supplies to hospital  in light of shortages.

Resurrect the Preparation of Kuala Lumpur Museum

It has been about 2 years since the founding of The Kuala Lumpur Museum’s Preparatory Office. Starting from scratch, we have successfully launched the initial phase of 《KLSCAH’s Exhibition: A Century Chronicle of Kuala Lumpur》Exhibition in November last year. The exhibition has received positive feedback from the public and extensive coverage from the media and is indeed a remarkable milestone for the Preparatory Office.

The Exhibition aims to showcase the history and past affairs of Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia since the founding of KLSCAH from 1923. Initially, the Preparatory Office has also planned to set up Kuala Lumpur Museum within the venue space of the building before the centennial celebration of KLSCAH. By doing so, we are hoping to present the comprehensive and rightful depiction of history and development of Kuala Lumpur dating back 180 years ago. It is the collective pioneering effort of Chinese, Malays, Indians and predecessors from other ethnics which makes Kuala Lumpur one of the first-tier ranks cities in the world.

Therefore, we felt the responsibility to exhibit the complete history of the founding of Kuala Lumpur and its subsequent development. None of the museum is doing this at the moment and it became the sole reason of KLSCAH initiating this Preparatory Office.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a sharp drop in venue rental revenue of KLSCAH, sponsorships for The Kuala Lumpur Museum has suffered setbacks resulting in slow progress. We are hoping to obtain 10 sponsorships with each amounting RM300,000 for the costs of establishing The Kuala Lumpur Museum as we are currently short of funds amounting 3 to 5 million ringgit.

Insufficient funds has been a major obstacles for the successful establishment of The Kuala Lumpur Museum. Uncertainties lie ahead as we are unsure that whether The Museum can be set up before the centennial celebration of KLSCAH. Regardless, I hope that my successor will be able to persist and accomplish this project at the end of the day.

Issue on Raub Illegally Occupied Durian Farmland

Recently, the Kuantan High Court granted the Raub durian farmers group an interim stay order against the Pahang state government with regard to the land legalisation scheme to reclaim their farmland. This means the farmers can temporarily resume operations without interference from the state authorities for two months before the hearing of the matter on Oct 28. However, it has came to our attention that these farmers were summoned by the MACC to have their statements recorded. I am concerned and worried about the development of the land encroachment issue and KLSCAH have numerously taken actions to stand in solidarity with the victims including issuing public statements and holding webinar.

On 17th September, it is with heavy heart that we learned the hardships that these farmers have went through in exchange of fruitful harvest after an on-site investigation that we have conducted in Raub. KLSCAH has been paying close attention to social dynamics and livelihood issues and that is why it is our obligation to support these affected farmers on the issue.

According to the Federal Constitution of Malaysia, land matters fall under the state’s jurisdiction including transfer of lands, approval of land title. In fact, there are farmers from different sectors enduring similar issues aside from durian farmers, which escalates the land conflicts between state governments and farmers.

Apart from that, state governments have frequent facilitate the culture of rent seeking to attain unfair agreements with private companies, in order for the minority elites to extract huge profits while sidelining the durian farmers whom have been struggling to obtain permits to legalise their operations.

KLSCAH urges the state governments to legalise more farmlands and evenly distribute to farmers of different ethics and races. I hereby encourage Pahang state government should resolve the Raub land dispute by having a peaceful dialogue with the durian farmers and KLSCAH is more than willing to bridge the communication between both parties. I also urge to the affected farmers to not be discourages and KLSCAH will continue to support and aid Raub farmers.

Wawasan 2020

30 years ago, the then-Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir anticipated Malaysia as a high-income and democratically matured country in Wawasan 2020. However, as we approach the end of 2020, with Malaysia still stuck in middle income trap, democracy dwindles as a series of political turmoil unfolds.

2020 is an extraordinary year, along with the pandemic and movement restriction orders, we have embraced political crisis in Malaysia such as the Sheraton move and Sabah state election. The political landscape in Malaysia has shifted rapidly since February. While the opposition leader has gained nation’s attention as he proclaimed that supermajority has been obtained by him, the country braces for another political predicament.

Sabah Re-election

As of yesterday, Sabah citizens has elected their respective state legislators for 73 constituencies out of 446 candidates.

Gabungan Rakyat Sabah, the coalition led by Perikatan Nasional, BN and PBS has successfully won 38 seats, managed to form the state government. While Warisan Plus has managed to secure 32 seats, with independent candidates winning the remaining 3 seats.

With Warisan Plus suffering defeat from the state election, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal has also ceased to be the chief minister of Sabah.

The outcome of Sabah election resonates with the political instability that exists since the Sheraton move on February. Gabungan Rakyat Sabah has managed to form state administration with 38 seats which will represents a simple majority of existing government. I congratulate to all of the winning state representatives, and wish upon GRS coalition a smooth formation of government.

Due to the prevalence of party hopping culture in Sabah, the state administration might face instability in future if such culture exists. This is an issue that shall not be undermine by both ruling and opposition party.

Since the implementation of Movement Control Order, KLSCAH has organised 14 Current Events Webinar Series to date including the discussion of the existing party hopping culture, analysing Anti Parti Hopping legislation, Recall of MPs Act etc. We will be having the 15th Webinar Series tomorrow at 8pm discussing Sabah election, Anwar’s gambit and the current politics affairs.

As the nation eyes upon Malaysia’s political instability caused by party-hopping culture, KLSCAH has put upon ourself to promote civil awareness while encouraging others to do the same. I also put forward the proposal of Recall of MPs Act to be consider by government during legislating process which outlaws party-hopping

Provided that the anti-party hopping legislation could be dealt with under the existing constitutional framework, and political party hoppers is forbid to enter election without a five year ban, a comprehensive anti-hopping mechanism may be a desirable solution. However, the government hasn’t taken any action to resolve party-hopping culture within the political landscape despite heated discussion within the people. We hope that the government could take action and initiate reform by facing up the consequences of party-hopping.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin Getting the Upper Hand

On the other hand, PPBM has won 11 seats from the Sabah election, which is 3 seats lesser than UMNO. However, PPBM has actually fared well as a newly established political party.

We can tell from the election result that PPBM has further consolidated its political influence. Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is now able to strengthen its leadership and negotiate MPs seating arrangement with his allies from a higher bargaining power.

The nation will be expecting Sarawak’s election and even General election after the Sabah’s victory. As the Sabah’s voter turnout is merely 66.6%, we encourage Malaysia citizens to fulfil their civic roles and vote.

Thank you.

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