Floods, Higher Fuel and Anti-Hopping

By Wong Chen

March was a very difficult month. The Parliamentary Constituency of Subang was hit yet again by a flash flood on 7th March 2022. About 1,100 homes in Taman Kinrara 1 & 2 were flooded. Hundreds of shoplots in Taman Perindustrian USJ1 were also flooded. Since then, many residents and business owners are on the edge every time there are heavy rains.

The permanent solution to these occurrences of floods in the Klang Valley is the RM300 million mega project to dredge and improve the entire Klang River. This mega project was approved in 2019 during Pakatan Harapan but sadly, has yet to start.

In view of the above, MBSJ councillors, ADUNS and my office are working with the local community leaders to try to find temporary mitigation solutions. We also managed to get free voluntary services off Mr Naicker, a local resident and engineer and also the services of a large engineering firm, who wishes to remain anonymous.

Together with my ADUNs, we managed to get the local Jabatan Pengaliran dan Saliran (JPS) officers to expedite their flood mitigation project papers on building two earth bunds. I then took these JPS project papers and had several meetings with the FT and Environment and Water Ministers in Parliament. These meetings were friendly and the ministers were sympathetic. However the perennial and persistent issue of lack of budget remains.

There is some good news. About two weeks after the flash flood, we are now seeing dredging and river maintenance activities from the government on both Kolam Bohol and also Sungai Penaga. Nevertheless we are still chasing and lobbying the government to commit to the building of two earth bunds. The plan is to give temporary protection for Subang for a period until the RM300 million Klang River project kicks off and is completed.

On the flood welfare aid front, my office has allocated another RM330,000 of flood aid to home owners in response to the March floods. As of 29th March 2022, we have disbursed RM240,000 to 800 homes. We hope to fully disburse the aid fully by end of next week. Note that for the December floods, we had disbursed a sum close to RM500,000.

I wish to now change topic and provide an update on Parliamentary matters. In the recent sitting, I delivered a key speech on three key reforms needed. I was given the honour to be the first speaker for Keadilan, as YB Anwar Ibrahim, the Leader of the Opposition who was slated to speak first, had to attend to his brother’s sudden passing. After that key speech, I also gave short a speech on the Klang Valley floods and another legislative and technical speech on the obscure matter of Labuan offshore companies.

However, the more important matters in Parliament are to do with policy work and meetings; in particular, matters relating to economics and finance. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has triggered much higher fuel and food prices. These are essentially putting immense pressure on the current oil and gas, cooking gas and cooking oil subsidies of the government.

At USD100 per barrel, the Malaysian gas and petrol subsidy will become absolutely unsustainable. However, if the government fails to contain fuel and food price hikes, the economy will then face high inflation like Europe and possibly even the greater problem of economic stagflation.

On that worrying front, I have had a side meeting with the minister of finance, Tengku Zafrul. I also met up with his deputy too.Β  More importantly, I recently chaired a special select committee meeting involving the highest officials from the ministry of finance. The findings and projections are not good. Coupling this with my role and input in the National Recovery Council; I will continue to set aside all political posturing and if need be, work on a bipartisan basis on how to get the economy moving and becoming more resilient.

Another matter of great interests of the public is the anti-hopping law. Last Wednesday, Keadilan sent me to negotiate with the mandate to complete the final negotiations between most of the political parties on the anti-hopping legislation. The meeting was chaired by the law minister, YB Wan Junaidi in Parliament.

After a bit of last minute arguments, I am happy to note that the draft constitutional amendments were not fully but mostly acceptable. The matter will now go to Parliament for open debate on the 11th of April debate. It may or may not pass as we will need a 2/3rd majority, but there is reason to be hopeful. So stay tuned for that.

Lastly, I want to wish all my Muslims constituents; Selamat menyambut bulan Ramadhan Al Mubarak, dan selamat menjalani ibadah puasa.