Consumerist: My Simple Budget Wish For 2013!

Dato Jacob George

To be short – I am certain that the Premier and Finance Minister  Najib Abdul Razak will unveil a voter-pleasing budget on Friday, placing the priority on winning the toughest election the Barisan Nasional has faced since the country’s independence!

I expect the budget to reflect delay of much-needed reforms to broaden Malaysia’s tax base and reduce its dependence on oil!

I expect major measures to help poorer families struggling with rising living costs of goods and services!

I fear that if too much freebies are given it will alarm financial markets, adding further signs of fiscal slippage creating investor concerns over a steady deterioration in Malaysia’s finances and grandiose spending.

We must remember that the Malaysian economy grew at a brisk annual pace of 5.4 percent in the second quarter, but many lower-income and middle-class Malaysians have complained to CASSA that their salaries have not kept pace with rising living costs and surging house prices.

But we must be realistic and remember that our country’s public debt as a percentage of GDP is just short of its self-imposed ceiling of 55 percent – up from 43 percent in 2008 – while its budget deficit of 4.7 percent in the first half of 2012 is the third-biggest in Asia after Japan and India and with a background of a unsteady and volatile Europe specially Greece, Italy and Spain and uncertainties in the US there must be financial prudence and not flamboyant overspending!

CASSA would want the government to introduce a goods and services tax (GST) election or no election, to widen its revenue base in a country where only about 10 percent of the workforce pays income taxes and to cut fuel and subsidies that favour the rich power producers and GLCs while retaining them for the poor and marginalized!

CASSA would want the price control mechanisms to cover more goods and to include services in the consumer basket from the existing one!

CASSA would appeal that the budget will be one that exhibits financial prudence and accountability, transparency and good governance!

CASSA CAMPAIGN: PROTECTING OUR WOMEN FOLK FROM ROBBERS!

Our campaign against RACISM of all forms!

 

Tokoh Pengguna: Pemimpin Politik Pembangkang, Suruhanjaya Tidak Berkesan Dan Kerja Bodoh Mengelirukan Rakyat Dalam Isu Air?

Dato Jacob George

K’jaan Selangor Kelirukan Rakyat Dalam Isu Air

Kerajaan negeri Selangor sengaja mengelirukan orang ramai berhubung isu air di negeri ini demi memenuhi agenda politiknya, tanpa menghiraukan kepentingan pengguna dan ekonomi, kata seorang aktivis kepenggunaan terkenal, Ahad.

Presidan Persatuan Pengguna Subang dan Shah Alam (CASSA) Datuk Dr Jacob George berkata maklum balas yang beliau terima menunjukkan bahawa kebanyakan penduduk Selangor keliru tentang pihak manakah yang betul dalam isu berkenaan.

Katanya dalam keadaan yang dibelenggu kekeliruan ini, kerajaan negeri Selangor menimbulkan satu lagi perkara ke dalam isu ini bahawa tarif air akan naik sekiranya kerajaan persekutuan meneruskan rancangannya untuk membina loji rawatan air Langat 2.

Dr George berkata beliau kesal apabila mendapati beberapa anggota exco dalam kerajaan Selangor yang sebelum ini merupakan aktivis dalam badan bukan kerajaan (NGO), melihat semua perkara secara negatif, walaupun kerajaan persekutuan berniat baik dalam rancangannya untuk memperbaiki keadaan di negara ini.

“Saya terlibat dengan pelbagai NGO selama 37 tahun. Saya dapat melihat permainan mereka (dalam isu air), strategi mereka dan mereka menimbulkan perkara yang tidak relevan, semata-mata untuk menyekat langkah yang cuba dilaksanakan kerajaan persekutuan,” katanya dalam temu bual dengan Bernama.

Dr George mendakwa kerajaan negeri Selangor juga menyeret isu antara pihaknya dengan Puncak Niaga Holdings Bhd ke dalam isu air di negeri ini, sedangkan ia sepatutnya diselesaikan melalui platform lain.

Beliau berkata masa yang digunakan untuk melayan perkara yang tidak relevan itu sepatutnya digunakan untuk menyelesaikan krisis air yang bakal melanda Selangor, Kuala Lumpur dan Putrajaya.

“Kenapakah kerajaan negeri melakukan semua ini? Janganlah mencampuradukkan semua ini dan meletakkannya ke dalam satu bakul. Ini tidak betul. Ia melibatkan masa depan kami, bukan saja penduduk Selangor, tetapi juga jiran kami (di Kuala Lumpur dan Putrajaya) kerana ia (krisis air) akan memberi kesan serius,” kata Dr George.

Mengenai rancangan pembinaan loji rawatan air Langat 2 yang mendapat tentangan kerajaan negeri, presiden CASSA ini berkata semua kajian pakar menunjukkan bahawa projek itu perlu dilaksanakan dengan segera memandangkan pengeluaran air yang dirawat menurun dengan ketara, walaupun 34 loji sedia ada di Selangor beroperasi pada tahap maksimum.

Katanya dalam hal ini, kerajaan negeri sekali lagi mengelirukan pengguna apabila ia berkata semua kawasan takungan dipenuhi air dan krisis air tidak akan berlaku, walaupun perkara yang dihujahkan ialah mengenai bekalan air dirawat yang tidak mencukupi.

Beliau berkata perkara yang ingin dilakukan kerajaan persekutuan ialah melaksanakan rancangan jangka panjang untuk menangani krisis air yang bakal berlaku berikutan pertambahan penduduk dan peningkatan keperluan industri.

“Rancangan ini adalah untuk tempoh 10, 15 atau 20 tahun akan datang dan apabila bercakap tentang air, sudah pasti akan timbul masalah. Ini merupakan isu global sekarang dan setiap negara menghadapinya, berikutan masalah berkaitan cuaca, alam sekitar dan pencemaran,” katanya.

Dr George berkata projek seperti Langat 2 tidak boleh disiapkan dalam tempoh semalaman dan sebarang kelewatan yang berpunca daripada politiking, boleh menyebabkan kos untuk melaksanakannya melonjak hingga sebanyak 70 peratus.

Lagipun, kata beliau, isu ini tidak sepatutnya dipolitikkan kerana ia merupakan isu hak asasi manusia dan dalam menghadapi isu berkaitan hak pengguna, semua pihak perlu bersikap waras serta memberi fokus terhadap isu sebenar.

Dr George berkata CASSA pernah menawarkan diri menjadi orang tengah dalam konflik antara kerajaan negeri dan kerajaan persekutuan ini, tetapi kerajaan negeri Selangor menolaknya, walaupun kerajaan persekutuan memberi respons positif.

“Kami dah hantar banyak surat kepada mereka (kerajaan negeri Selangor) untuk memberi maklum balas daripada pengguna, tapi mereka tak pernah menjawabnya. Oleh itu, tahulah kami bahawa mereka tidak mahu CASSA campur tangan, tapi itu adalah pilihan mereka.

“Kami menerimanya, tapi jangan kata kami tidak tahu keadaan di lapangan. Kami turun padang untuk bercakap dengan pelbagai kumpulan masyarakat dan setiap orang bersetuju bahawa krisis air akan berlaku tidak lama lagi,” kata Dr George.

Beliau juga membidas Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Air Negara (SPAN) kerana bersikap agak membisu tentang isu air di Selangor dan perkara ini menambahkan lagi kekeliruan sedia ada.

“CASSA amat kecewa dengan SPAN dan tanggapan orang ramai terhadap SPAN agak negatif, seolah-olah ia tidak wujud. Sudah banyak kali kami menjemput mereka untuk berbahas tentang isu air, tapi mereka tidak hadir. Sekiranya mereka terus tidak berminat untuk memainkan peranan, maka tiada gunalah SPAN ditubuhkan.

“Dengan semua kuasa yang ada padanya, SPAN perlu berada di barisan hadapan untuk cuba menyelesaikan isu ini dan kekeliruan yang timbul mengenainya,” kata beliau.

CASSA CAMPAIGN: PROTECTING OUR WOMEN FOLK FROM ROBBERS!

Our campaign against RACISM of all forms!

Consumerist: Stupid Politicians, An Ineffective Commission And Water Wars?

Dato Jacob George

Wat-er confusion! The Selangor government is confusing the people over water issues in the state to suit its political agenda, and at the expense of consumers and the economy, a prominent consumer activist charged today.

Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam (Cassa) president Jacob George said, based on feedback he had received, most people in Selangor were confused over who was right and wrong.

Amidst this confusion, he said the state government had also injected, as an after-thought, a new dimension to the water issue — that water tariffs would increase if the Federal Government went ahead with building the Langat 2 water treatment plant.

George also lamented that a number of excos in the Selangor government were formerly non-governmental organisation (NGO) activists who had been looking at things negatively, no matter how well-intentioned the federal government plans were, to improve conditions in the country.

“I have been involved in NGO work for over 37 years. I could see their game-plan (over water issues), their strategies and that’s why they are bringing up irrelevant matters just to block what the federal government is trying to do,” he told Bernama in an interview.

In addition, George claimed the state government was also bringing in issues between it and Puncak Niaga Holdings Bhd into the picture, whereas they should be resolved in a different platform.

He said this unnecessary time-wasting should have been spent on resolving the impending water crisis in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.

“So, why is the state government doing all these? Don’t mix these up and place it in one basket. This is not right. This is for our future, not just for the people of Selangor but for our neighbours (in Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya), as well, because it (a water crisis) would have serious implications,” he added.

On the Langat 2 treatment plant which the state government was opposed to, the Cassa president said, all studies by experts showed the project had to be implemented without further delay due to a serious shortfall in treated water production, as the existing 34 plants in Selangor were operating at maximum capacity.

Here again, he said, the state government confused consumers by stating that the reservoirs were full of water, and that there was no crisis even in the future, although the argument was about adequate supply of treated water.

S’gor snubbed Cassa

What the federal government was concerned about, he noted, was with long-term planning addressing an impending water crisis, given the rapid population growth and the needs of industries.

“The plans are for 10, 15 or 20 years ahead, and when you talk about water, there’s definitely going to be problems. It is a global issue now, and every country is facing it, coupled with weather, environmental and pollution problems setting in,” he said.

George said projects like the Langat 2 plant could not be implemented overnight and further delays fueled by politicking, could push the cost of the project higher by as much as 70 per cent.

In the first place, he said, there was no need to politicise the issue as it was a human rights issue, and in facing an issue such as consumer rights, all sides must remain level-headed and focus on the core issue.

George revealed that Cassa had offered to mediate in the federal-state conflict over the issue but the Selangor Government had snubbed the offer, although the federal government gave positive response.

Span’s silence

“We have sent many letters to them (Selangor government), giving them the feedback from consumers and they didn’t respond even once. So, we know that they don’t want Cassa to intervene but that’s their choice.

“We accept it but don’t say that we don’t know the ground feeling. We have gone to the ground, talking to various groups of society and everyone agrees that a water crisis is just round the corner,” he observed.

He also took to task the National Water Services Commission (Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Air Negara or Span), for its relatively muted silence over water issues in Selangor, and this added to the confusion, as well.

“Cassa is very disappointed with the stand taken by Span and public perception of Span is rather negative, as if it doesn’t exist. Many times, we have invited them to debates on water issues, they didn’t attend.

“If they continue to be disinterested in playing a role, then it defeats the purpose of setting up Span.

“Span, with all its powers, should be in the forefront in trying to resolve such issues and the confusion arising from them. So far, they have failed to do this,” claimed George.

CASSA CAMPAIGN: PROTECTING OUR WOMEN FOLK FROM ROBBERS!

Our campaign against RACISM of all forms!

Consumerist: 5 Major Companies, Thugs, Bookies, Mafia Buying Up NPLs & Auctions?

Dato Jacob George

Reports indicate that Non Performing Loans (NPL) could be around RM6 Billion though this figure is denied by certain quarters.

Are major Malaysian Banks in the country involved in strategically selling o
ff NPLs to 5 major players (debt collecting Agencies) and among them, many foreigners?

Is it true that one politically connected Bank is alleged to have sold over 43 thousand NPLs to a debt collecting agency while another 28 thousand NPLs?

Are more than 63% of the victims here alleged to be Malaysian Bumiputras?

Are Bank Negara Guidelines on NPLs being followed?

Who is the ‘black hand’ manipulating the banking sector’ and creating all these injustices?

Has this matter being addressed and tabled in Parliament as it was to be in 2007 or is there a ministerial letter facilitating what could be an ‘illegal act’ as it was not tabled in Parliament as it was supposed to be?

Who is now protecting the rights, interest and hopes of affected Malaysian consumer victims?

Are Malaysian Banks now abusing their dominating positions not only through the ‘vesting order’ but through sham and syndicated auctions where there are allegations of ‘insider dealing between high officials and outsiders’, that money launderers, illegal bookies, counter band and liquor smugglers and notorious ‘Ah Longs’ and others are participating through sine biotic relationships with bank insiders?

The shocking events surrounding an 8 acre piece of land in Port Klang recently purchased by Bumiputra company Angkutan Permai (M) Sdn Bhd being sidelined through alleged syndicated auction raises many disturbing issues that if not addressed will result in the entrenchment of organized crime figures and syndicates manipulating and purchasing NPLs and ending as successful bidders in staged auctions which violates natural justice and public interest.

CASSA memorandum today to the MACC/SPRM and the Commercial Crime Division seeks to highlight the need for a special task force to monitor this sector.

There is a need to conduct an in depth probe on individuals, companies and other corporate bodies and their source of funds to curb any possibility of money laundering activities through the purchases of NPLs and properties at auction.

The Angkutan Permai (M) Sdn Bhd does raise questions whether indeed illegal bookies and others involved in organized crime are now active participants in all auctions in Malaysia!

CASSA CAMPAIGN: PROTECTING OUR WOMEN FOLK FROM ROBBERS!

Our campaign against RACISM of all forms!

Consumerist: Mala Fide In Malaysian Bank Auctions?

Dato Jacob George

Consumerist: Mala Fide In Malaysian Bank Auctions?

Persatuan Pengguna Subang dan Shah Alam (CASSA) dan Persatuan Pengguna Islam Malaysia (PPIM) menggesa Bank Negara mengkaji semula prosedur operasi standard (SOP) digunapakai pihak bank dalam urusan lelongan hartanah agar tidak ada individu yang diperdaya pihak-pihak tertentu.

Presidennya Datuk Dr Jacob George berkata ini kerana pihaknya menerima banyak aduan berkenaan dengan proses lelongan yang tidak adil dan munasabah yang menjadikan pengguna sebagai mangsa.

“Misalnya, berdasarkan laporan yang diterima CASSA, ada kes di mana tanah yang dimiliki oleh individu tertentu dilelong oleh sebuah bank yang menjalankan urusan jual beli tanah terbabit, tanpa pengetahuan pemilik tanah.

“Justeru, Bank Negara perlu melihat kembali SOP ini dengan jelas memandangkan CASSA mendapat lebih 800 aduan daripada pengguna berhubung proses lelongan yang tidak adil dan kebanyakan mereka adalah golongan berpendapatan rendah,” katanya dalam satu sidang akhbar di sini, hari ini.

Turut hadir Pegawai Kerja dan Aktivis Pengguna Persatuan Pengguna Islam Malaysia (PPIM) Mohd Mustaffa Hamzah.

Jacob berkata CASSA dan PPIM akan menghantar satu memorandum kepada Bank Negara
meminta supaya bank pusat itu menasihatkan semua bank di bawah kendaliannya meneliti semula SOP yang digunapakai pihak bank bagi urusan lelongan hartanah.

Dalam pada itu, CASSA meminta Kementerian Kewangan dan Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia menyiasat satu kes penipuan oleh sebuah bank di negara ini yang menjadi broker hartanah dengan melelong harta pemilik.

Katanya, tanah yang dimiliki oleh individu tertentu dilelong oleh sebuah bank yang menjalankan urusan jual beli tanah terbabit, tanpa pengetahuan pemilik tanah.

“Hasil siasatan CASSA mendapati tanah tersebut telah dilelong kepada ‘Along’ yang dipercayai menjalankan kerjasama dengan pihak bank yang bertanggungjawab melelong tanah tersebut.

“Setelah disiasat, CASSA mendapati golongan yang mendapat lelongan terkini tanah tersebut adalah ‘Along’ yang menjalankan sindiket haram dan bekerjasama dengan bank di negara ini,”katanya.

Sementara itu, Mohd Mustaffa meminta pihak berkuasa menyiasat perkara itu sehingga ke peringkat akar umbi agar tidak ada pengguna ditipu proses lelongan tak adil.

CASSA CAMPAIGN: PROTECTING OUR WOMEN FOLK FROM ROBBERS!

Our campaign against RACISM of all forms!