Monday, November 5, 2012
Election fever kicking in
IT is almost the last lap before they face off at the coming general election, so the Yang Berhormats are wasting no time crossing swords with one another. The Automated Enforcement System (AES) seemed to be a hot topic and remained a lightning rod especially for the Opposition bench. (Under the first phase of the AES, 14 cameras have been installed to catch speedsters and those who beat the traffic lights. In the second phase, more cameras will be installed at 817 “black spots” that have been identified throughout the country.) Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri explained at the Dewan Rakyat that there was an average of 19 deaths daily on Malaysian roads with some RM9bil losses suffered from about 400,000 accidents annually. Despite “evidence” that AES had been successfully carried out in other countries, leading to fewer road accidents, the issue remained contentious here. Pakatan Rakyat MPs kept asking the Government to postpone the AES project until a review was carried out. The AES, they said, would just profit the two companies awarded the five-year RM700mil contract. Their sentiments were shared by several Independent and Barisan Nasional MPs including Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan), who suggested the project be deferred. The water issue, particularly in Selangor, also dominated the debates last week. The Pakatan state government was taken to task for refusing to budge on the Federal Government’s offer to develop Langat 2 Treatment Plant. However, Azmin Ali (PKR-Gombak) argued that Selangor had sufficient treated water amounting to 4,800mld with 10.2% reserve. This was disputed by Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin Fah Kui, who said the state’s raw water reserve stood only at 0.97%. Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan (BN-Kota Belud) accused the Selangor Government of politicising the issue and thus neglecting national interests. To break the impasse, Chin said he would propose to the Cabinet for a lab to be set up to allow both sides to come to an agreeable level on Selangor’s water reserve. On another matter, the Dewan Rakyat was told that some 35,000 investors had pumped RM10bil into the Genneva gold scheme. Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Awang Adek Hussin noted that the scheme was initially allowed as the company had operated as a gold trading company. However, concerns over a huge gap between assets and deposits led to Bank Negara stepping in.