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Saturday, April 18, 2015

BR1M - Those who 'stole' RM3.34 million of our money must be charged, tried and convicted?

What 3.4 million of BR1M money lost? Who took it? It is easy to allege that it was the people - and the fault was with the Banks - but I wonder. Well, BR1M payments could have been made by directly banking it into the accounts of the people entitled - or vide cheques made out in their names. But this government chose to issue vouchers with 'no names of the beneficiary'. Well, would that not make it easy for others to have taken these vouchers and cashed it in?  

In any event, I say that the government must investigate and charge these people who have 'embezzled' the peoples' money - yes, it was our money - not the BN's money..not Najib's money. How come we have not heard of any person being charged yet more so since it has been happening from 2012? The guilty must be found and charged in court - and if it was really the people who have been awarded - I say that such behavior cannot be tolerated? Or maybe, it was 'friends' that took it and thus no action... Stealing from the government is a serious offence...cheating Malaysians of the money intended to assist the poor is a serious offence. The guilty must be found, charged, tried and sentenced - mere recovery is not enough... or accepting 'refunding' is not the solution.

BR1M - an admission by this Malaysian BN government that they have failed the people. It is an acknowledgment that households earning less than RM4,000 are earning not enough today, and in need of financial assistance from the government.

BR1M - is also a poorly thought off scheme to help the POOR - It is totally illogical to give the SAME amount of financial assistance to the very poor households (those that may be earning even RM1,00 and less) the same as households earning RM3,000. The poorer the household, the more the assistance that need be given.

BR1M - is not a long-term solution. It makes sense to give out cash assistance one time to victims of flood, etc - but BR1M is giving 'welfare assistance' to all households that earn less than RM4,000 a month. BR1M encourage dependence - not a solution that is sustainable that will assist people to earn more in the future and escape their current state of poverty...or financial problems. Look at the earlier FELDA scheme - where the poor and landless were given land and opportunity to escape poverty >> now that was a good scheme and those in the FELDA program are well off today.

BR1M is something based on government discretion - when it really should be entrenched in law as a RIGHT - a certain right for households earning less than RM4,000 - it should be enacted as law with the Social Welfare Department being the the department in charge.

BR1M is inconsistent with previous and present government actions. BR1M being an acknowledgment that households earning less than RM4,000 need financial assistance to be OK - and noting that the working members of most household is 2, being both spouses, and as such why is the Minimum Wage rate only RM900? Should it not be at least RM2,000? or RM1,500?

The government continues to do things that will only increase the Cost of Living - there was the removal of subsidies from basic items required by every family, ....

Double-dipping cost govt RM3.34m under BR1M


PETALING JAYA: The government overpaid a total of RM3.34 million in Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) due to irresponsible recipients cashing their vouchers more than once.

The amount was a combination of the total BR1M payment made from 2012 until 2014, the Auditor-General’s Report 2014 Series 1 released today showed.

The report stated that a total of 2,188, or 0.05%, recipients for BR1M 2012 cashed their vouchers at least more than once amounting to RM1.11 million, 2,490 (0.04%) recipients for BR1M 2013 amounting to RM1.14 million and 1,899 (0.03%) recipients in the first phase of BR1M 2014 amounted to RM1.09 million.

As of Dec 31 last year, 1,555 recipients from BR1M 2012, 1,850 recipients from BR1M 2013 and 1,401 recipients from BR1M 2014 who had double-cashed their vouchers failed to refund the money to the Finance Ministry.

The report added from the interview with the coordinating officers in charge of BR1M distribution, it was found that the banks opened an offline mobile counter and only brought the list of recipients, cash money and verification stamp.

The payment was given to BR1M recipients through the name list without making further checks thorough the online database, the report said.

“This opened up a space for the BR1M recipients to take advantage by cashing their vouchers more than once,” the report added.

The report recommended replacing the BR1M voucher with an approval letter for recipients without bank accounts to prevent a recurrence of cashing BR1M vouchers more than once.

It also suggested the government should increase awareness among recipients on the requirement to open a bank account to channel cash assistance directly into their account.

The payment of BR1M is one of the initiatives under the National Key Results Areas (NKRAs) undertaken by the government in address the issue of cost of living to ease the rakyat’s burden.

The government distributed RM2.09 billion cash assistance to 4.2 million recipients in the implementation of BR1M 2012, RM2.83 billion to 6.8 million recipients in BR1M 2013 and RM3.64 billion to seven million recipients in BR1M 2014. - The Sun Daily, 6/4/2015, Double-dipping cost govt RM3.34m under BR1M



Monday April 13, 2015 MYT 8:28:24 AM

‘BSN not among banks that made multiple BR1M payouts'

PETALING JAYA: Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) has clarified that it was not among those banks that had made multiple payments to some recipients of the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M).

In the 2014 Auditor-General’s Report, it was pointed out that some recipients were paid more than once due to an absence of real-time links between various banks and the BR1M database to identify individuals who had already been paid.

“BSN wishes to highlight that this occurred due to the absence of links between banks, which will enable the updating of payment records to a common database on a real-time basis,” said BSN deputy chief exeuctive for retail banking Datuk Yunos Abd Ghani in a statement yesterday.

He stressed that BSN only paid BR1M recipients once, and that “the other payments made by different banks resulted in multiple payments to the same recipients”.

The Auditor-General reported that over 6,000 Malaysians have abused BR1M by making fraudulent claims for the cash aid that cost the Government more than RM3mil between 2012 and 2014.

Some fraudsters had been found to have made up to four overlapping claims during each BR1M payout.

According to BSN, it had implemented an online and real-time system to manage BR1M payments since it began assisting the Government in channelling the money to ease the burden of the low income group.

“Verification of recipients’ identity was done through biometric and MyKad authentication. With all these processes in place it is totally impossible for BSN to concede double claims.

“Payments were only made after clearance had been obtained online and payment records updated within seconds,” said Yunos, who added that the practice of updating the common database on a weekly basis had created a window of opportunity for unscrupulous recipients to make repeat claims.

“As far as BSN is concerned, all payments had been made using genuine serialised vouchers with security features in place.”

More information can be obtained by calling BSN at 1300 88 1900 or visiting www.mybsn.com.my. - Star, 13/4/2015, ‘BSN not among banks that made multiple BR1M payouts'

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Keep hands off cash from service charges, MTUC tells bosses.



Service Charge is just - well, the tipping system would only benefit the front line employees... but not the others.  What is collected now is shared amongst all employees, and this is good....

Some are getting confused that this is SERVICE TAX (like Sales Tax), both of which have been replaced by this new GST - Get a better understanding - follow this link - Stop interfering with workers' service charge - it is NOT the old service tax or sales tax now replaced by GST?

Well, it all seem to have started when one Deputy Minister started by directing attention to this service charge, and even suggested customers may not have to pay this ...then we have 2 PKR MPs talking about a private member's bill (PKR MPs, Sim Tze Tzin and Manivannan, being anti-worker? Use worker entitlement for cleanliness courses?), and recently there was report of a DAP MP refusing to pay service charge (http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2015/04/13/Tanjong-MP-refuses-to-pay-service-charge/) . We expect better from our MPs - and depriving workers at hotels/restaurants of their 'tips' - which in Malaysia comes as service charge is shameful. I believe these Opposition MPs fell into the 'trap' set by that Deputy Minister - a good tactic to divert opposition to GST by focussing anger towards workers' service charge. Hopefully, these MPs have apologized and clarified matters... or will ego keep them n this path towards what....abolition of 'service charge' in Malaysia????

Why then is service charge placed as an addition to the cost of product/service? Well, that is transparency - the customer is kept in the know that this 10% is going not to the employer/business but rather to the employees of the establishment.

Well, it could always have been hidden - as part of the cost of the price of product/services and thereafter, the employer could take out 10% and hand it over to the employees as being  their 'tip money or service charge'. Yes, it could have BUT the move was in favour of transparency. Employers also was clear as to which was their own money, and which was really workers' monies. 

Likewise, the government also likes this kind of transparency - not only now but also before. So when you get your bill/receipt, it will be most clear how much was for tax (then it would have been for government tax, and then that would have been the service tax - now replaced by GST), and there would have been always been the 'service charge'.

Keep hands off cash from service charges, MTUC tells bosses


PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Trade Unions Congress is urging employers to keep their hands off the service charge money which belongs to employees.

The call follows reports that the majority of hotels had been using the service charge to meet the minimum wage for their employees. Following this, there have been suggestions to abolish the charge altogether. 

MTUC secretary-general N. Gopal Krishnam said it was wrong for employers to take the amount gained from the service charge to make up for any shortfall to the RM900 minimum wage set by the Government.

He also said the service charge system should continue due to the low earnings that hotel workers got.
“Service charge is not something new. It has been there since the hotel industry started in the country,” he added.

He also agreed that service charge gave more income stability for the workers compared to the tipping practice.

“Service charge is transparent while tipping is not. Some might get RM800 and some might get zero.
“Whatever they receive (through service charge), they are sharing the money and all workers will get a fair amount based on their performance,” he said
.
Krishnam, however, expressed regret that the Government was rushing into resolving the matters without listening to all parties involved.

“A tripartite meeting between the Government, employers and employees is essential to help improve the matter,” he said.

Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan, however, said ho
tel and restaurant business owners were allowed to add some of the entire amount collected from the service charge to complete the minimum wage requirement.

“Based on the guidelines on the implementation of the minimum wages, hoteliers and restaurateurs are given permission to use a portion or full collection from the service charge to be made a part of the salary paid to the workers.

He also said that it would be unfair for employers if the service charge was abolished as they would have to fork out a large portion of money to meet the minimum wage requirement. 

On the requirement that only hotels and eating establishments with a collective agreement with their workers can collect a 10% service charge, Shamsuddin regarded that as unfair. The requirement came about following the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) on April 1.

“This will also lead to disputes between employers and employees as matters related to service charge have already been included in the appointment letter,” Shamsuddin said - Star Online, 11/4/2015, Keep hands off cash from service charges, MTUC tells bosses

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sedition Act amendment - how many in favour how many against? Transparency?

Was there a vote taken when the Sedition Act was amended? If an MP do not call for it, and 15 others support the call - we will not get a vote -- which will tell us exactly how many voted in favour, and how many voted against? When POTA was being voted on, we had the actual number of votes - and that revealed that 26 PR MPs were absent .... Would PR take the position not to anymore call for such voting ...or will they take the position to always insist that individual votes be taken into account... I did not see the votes for the Sedition Act amendment ( haven't had a chance to see the Hansard yet...?]

When do our Members of Parliament actually vote and we get the results - how many voted in favour, and how many opposed... for this we need to look at the Standing Orders of the Dewan Rakyat of Malaysia (in Malay they call it Peraturan Mesyuarat....), in particular Order 46(3), (4) until the end of Order 47 - all of  which I have tried to copy below (if not sure, just go the Parliamentary websiite and verify...)

Well, the power to get actual votes on any matter - the power lies with our Members of Parliament - all that is required is for at least 15 MPs to ask for it >>> and we will get actual results - how many in favour and how many opposed.

Although, each individual MP when he has to vote - can vote YES, No or abstain [ Order 47(2)] BUT strangely when the results are announced, the number of persons abstaining is not mentioned{see 47(3)] - In my opinion, there should an announcement of the total number of peoseons voting, the number of Ayes(Yes), Nay(No, Number of Abstention....

Since  the Tellers shall ask each member separately how he desires to vote, and the Setiausaha shall enter on the Votes and Proceedings a record of each member’s vote and of the members who abstained from voting (47(1)), this record of the votes of each and every member should be part of the Hansard, or shall at least be disclosed publicly....

When POTA came up for voting, our Opposition MPs present did the needful to make sure each and every member voted, and that we will get the final result ....how many for and how many against...

And this is how, we came to know that there were 26 absent Pakatan Rakyat MPs when it came to the time the votes were cast.... and Malaysians demanded answers - but somehow I do not recall what were the numbers that voted for and against the Sedition Act amendments....Did PR direct its MPs to no more call for a 'vote' in reliance of Order 46(4)? And if there was no such call, I will have to say that I am totally disappointed with our Opposition MPs... 

Why did they do this? To hide from Malaysian the fact about numbers of MPs absent from Parliament when votes are being cast....Anyway, I am yet to see the Hansard for the day the Sedition Act amendments were voted on...Malaysiakini report tells us that some Opposition MNPs were still absent - BUT what was the vote - how many in favour, and how many Opposed..

Taking of Individual MP votes is a good thing - MPs will have to actively cast a vote - YES, NO or ABSTAIN. And there will a record of the votes... 

STANDING ORDERS of the DEWAN  RAKYAT of MALAYSIA

46. (1) No member may speak to any question after the same has been fully put from the Chair.

(2) A question is fully put, when the Chair has collected the voices both of the Ayes and of the Noes.

(3) When the question has been put by the Chair at the conclusion of the debate the votes shall be taken by voices Ayes  and Noes and (provided that no member then claims a division) the result shall be declared by the Chair.

(4) If the opinion of the Chair as to the decision of a question is challenged by any member calling for a division, the Chair shall call upon members desiring a division to rise in their places. If less than fifteen members so rise, the Chair shall either declare the result forthwith or order a division. If fifteen or more members so rise, the Chair shall order a division, and shall, after such warning as he may consider necessary, appoint Tellers.

(5) In proceedings relating to amendments to the Constitution or in respect of delimitation of constituencies or in all other cases where the specified amount of votes are required, the Chair shall order a division.

47. (1) When a division has been ordered, the Tellers shall ask each member separately how he desires to vote, and the Setiausaha shall enter on the Votes and Proceedings a record of each member’s vote and of the members who abstained from voting.

(2) When a member is asked how he desires to vote at a division, he may answer either by voting for the Ayes or for the Noes, or by expressly stating that he abstains from voting. A member shall not answer in a manner inconsistent with any opinion which he may have expressed when the voices were taken collectively.

(3) When every member present has been asked how he desires to vote, the Chair shall state the numbers voting for the Ayes and for the Noes respectively and shall then declare the result of the division, or give his casting vote, as the case may require.

(4) If a member states that he voted in error or that his vote has been counted wrongly, he may claim to have his vote altered, provided that such request is made as soon as the Chair has announced the numbers and before the Chair has declared the result of the division.

(5) A member shall not vote on any subject in which he has a direct personal pecuniary interest (other than the matter of remuneration under any provision of the Constitution), but a motion to disallow a member’s vote on this ground may only be made immediately after the numbers of the members voting on the question have been declared. If a motion for disallowance of a member’s vote is agreed to, the Chair shall direct the Setiausaha to correct the numbers voting in the division accordingly.


Below is an extract from the Hansard, just to show how MP Manivannan a/l Gowindasamy [Kapar] moved for a Vote accoding to Order 46(4) - and how more that 15 MPs stood up in support ---

Timbalan Yang di-Pertua [Datuk Haji Ismail bin Haji Mohamed Said]:  Masalahnya ialah bahawa rang undang-undang ini dibacakan kali yang ketiga dan diluluskan sekarang.   

Tuan Manivannan a/l Gowindasamy [Kapar]:  Belah bahagi, Tuan Yang di-Pertua. [Lebih 15 orang Ahli berdiri minta diadakan belah bahagian] 

Timbalan Yang di-Pertua [Datuk Haji Ismail bin Haji Mohamed Said]: Ahli-ahli Yang Berhormat, oleh kerana lebih daripada 15 orang bangun meminta diadakan belah bahagian, maka mengikut Peraturan Mesyuarat 46(4), saya memerintahkan supaya suatu belah bahagian diadakan sekarang.

Setiausaha, sila bunyikan loceng selama dua minit.

■0220  [Loceng dibunyikan]  

Timbalan Yang di-Pertua [Dato' Haji Ismail bin Haji Mohamed Said]: Ahli-ahli Yang Berhormat yang menjadi penghitung undi sila ambil tempat masing-masing di hadapan blok Yang Berhormat.  Undian dijalankan sekarang.   [Dewan berbelah bahagi]  [Pengundian dijalankan] 

Timbalan Yang di-Pertua [Dato' Haji Ismail bin Haji Mohamed Said]: Ahli-ahli Yang Berhormat, inilah keputusannya.  Ahli-ahli yang bersetuju 79 undi ... [Tepuk] Ahli-ahli yang tidak bersetuju 60 undi ... [Tepuk] [Rang undang-undang dilaporkan dengan tiada pindaan, dibacakan kali yang ketiga dan diluluskan]

Related Earlier Posts:-

Having to perform surgery certainly not a good excuse for absent MP? Be a full-time MP or quit?

The 26 absent MPs need apologize not try to justify absence during voting on POTA?

26 Pakatan MPs who were absent when POTA was passed in Parliament should resign?


 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Having to perform surgery certainly not a good excuse for absent MP? Be a full-time MP or quit?

When you get elected as a MP, the people's representative, everything else should be put on hold for at least 5 years (the length of your term as MP) - and this includes your current employment, profession, business, agricultural endeavors, etc... When you become MP, you become 'PUBLIC SERVANT' - and you get paid for it...

You cannot and should not be a part-time MP - but alas, it seems to be such a case for some...
 
Thus, is having to perform a surgery the following morning a GOOD REASON to justify absence from Parliament session? I believe it is a very bad reason. The question we must be asking is why is he performing surgery during Parliament session (9 Mar - 10 April 2015). Now, it is important to note that Parliament was sitting on the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th - so should our good doctor have even scheduled a surgery on any of those days? 

The reasonable answer would have to be 'NO' - Was it also not being a bit irresponsible doing this when you know when Parliament is sitting?
Senarai Aturan Urusan Mesyuarat
Mesyuarat Pertama, Penggal Ketiga Parlimen Ketiga Belas (2015)

9 Mac 2015 - 9 April 2015

According to Malaysiakini report, the reason why this Member of Parliament was absent during the POTA vote, which certainly was NOT a good reason for a sitting MP. See what was reported as follows:-

'But perhaps one of the most interesting story for skipping the final Pota vote was that from DAP’s Kampar MP Dr Ko Chung Sen. Ko was in Parliament until midnight, two hours before the final vote and was compelled to leave because he had to perform a surgery on a critically ill patient at 9am in Ipoh on Tuesday....'
Every MP knows the date when Parliament sits - and they also know the agenda of each and every day of Parliamentary sitting. They also know that Parliamentary proceedings can go into wee hours of the following morning especially when it involves some Bill that this government will most likely desperately try to pass....

When you get elected as a MP, the people's representative, everything else should be put on hold - and this includes your current employment, profession, business, agricultural endeavors, etc... 

You cannot and should not be a part-time MP - but alas, it seems to be such a case and so we we have a case of many being simply 'show face' MPs...

Being a people's representative demands FULL-TIME  commitment. Let us consider what a MP will have to do....

a) Prepare for Parliamentary sessions 
- and that means considering the various Bills that the government intends to present, researching, getting constituent feedback, developing the arguments that you may be wanting to advance when the opportunity arises in Parliament, ....and yes LOBBYING other MPs both from the Opposition and the Government..., making statements, etc..By looking at the quality of intervention...or the lack-off, one can easily evaluate the state of preparedness of the MP

- Get ready and submit his/her 15 questions for each and every Parliamentary session

22 (4)  Seseorang  ahli  tidak  boleh  bertanya  lebih daripada  10  pertanyaan  bagi  Jawapan  Lisan  dan tidak  lebih  daripada  5  pertanyaan  bagi  Jawapan Bertulis  dalam  mana-mana  satu  mesyuarat  Majlis. -PERATURAN-PERATURAN  MAJLIS MESYUARAT  DEWAN  RAKYAT
- Get ready and submits his/her 'Private Member Bill' or Resolutions for Parliament, etc

- and do much more ...see  MPs and ADUNs should be FULL TIME peoples' representative ...

Now, Lim Kit Siang and Teresa Kok would be good examples - they are both 'full-time MPs', I believe. Not to be distracted by their other business...or businesses.

Look at the amount of time Kit Siang must be spending researching issues and coming up with statements - some say that Kit Siang sometimes can issue up to 4 'comprehensive well-reasearched' statements on different issues - and he use to make sure it also got translated into many different languages. He has a BLOG - and there are entries everyday... and really all MPs, Senators and ADUNs must have at the very least a website or a blog > the means in which they communicate with their constituents and the public at large... 

Twitter is not good enough... it is short few comments - inadequate for the purpose of communicating a point of view, argument, etc... 

Well, we Malaysians pay you MPs to do your job ...and you are paid really well >>> so no reason to be distracted with other employment, business, etc... so just be an MP - and be a GOOD MP...

Now our good doctor, from his reported comments in Malaysiakini - he is also failing his obligation being a good doctor and in so doing is putting his patients at risk? I say, either be a doctor and resign as MP. Or be a good MP, and put everything else on hold for 5 years. You cannot and should not be both ...

"I operated on the patient without lunch. I was near collapse. We nearly lost the patient," Ko, who is one of Malaysia's few cardiothoracic surgeon, told Malaysiakini.

Many people come to you for 'enlightenment' - they want you to help them understand issues, arguments, etc...they want you to be able to talk about 'alternative' ways of doing things other than the BN way... They want to have serious dialogues with their MP... but alas many a MP is only able to smile, shake hands, and give 'donations'.... they are quick to walk away claiming 'prior engagements, etc' - well, the reason is that they fear that any prolonged conversation will reveal their personal failings, inaptitude, shortcomings....?

We strive for a first class Parliament - and for that we need first class Parliamentarians... totally dedicated to being MPs for their term of office...MPs need spend a lot of time studying and updating themselves with knowledge...

I say that if you cannot do your job as MP - please resign... it may be best to return back to your professional practice, businesses, etc...  do not cheat the people for that is exactly what you do when you fail to be the BEST MP you can be - undistracted for the 4-5 years period of office as MP and PUBLIC SERVANT...

My quick comments on some of the other reasons advanced by absent MPs:-

'Prior commitments' - this is lame and cannot be accepted at all. You know when Parliament sits, so why are you making 'prior commitments' on these days??

Sick - If you genuinely suddenly fell sick, then this will be an acceptable reason - but when such Bills like POTA is up for voting, ...

Long-Time Illness/Cancer, etc - Well, it is sad but really these MPs must evaluate and see whether they can perform their duties for the constituencies...and if they cannot, best step aside and let another be elected....

Wife hospitalized have to look after young child - well, here I do not know for there may be other matters which I am not privy to. Not clear whether he is absent for that day, or for that entire parliamentary session. Maybe, the question to ask is that if you were an employer, would you accept the absence of your employee for such a reason... for really, this is job of an MP (attending Parliament is not some extra curricular activity...or hobby)..
 

Not all Pakatan absentees playing truant

On April 7, Malaysians woke up to news of a new law allowing detention without trial of suspected terrorists, with no judicial oversight, being passed.

Much of the outcry was not so much because the law was open to abuse, but because it was passed with a vote that was less than the total number of Pakatan Rakyat MPs.

The bill was passed 79 votes to 60, when there are 86 Pakatan MPs.

Many felt that Pakatan could have defeated the Prevention of Terrorism Bill (Pota) had there not been absenteeism and that the absentees were as villainous as those who tabled and passed the bill.

Others believe this is misplaced, given that BN could call for reinforcements whenever Pakatan MPs show up in force, as they had done in the past.

However, absenteeism from crucial votes at the Dewan Rakyat begs the question of whether all Pakatan MPs are truly committed to being a meaningful opposition and fulfilling the mandate given to keep the government in check and put their objections on record.

On Friday, after several days of research, Malaysiakini published a list of MPs that had either admitted to being absent or were suspected of being absent during the final vote on Pota.

During the research process, it was found that there were a number of MPs that had legitimate reasons to be absent or skip the vote which dragged on the 2.25am.

Severe illness

Several, like PKR’s Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh are seriously ill. In February, it was reported that she is battling cancer. Not all cases of serious illnesses can be mentioned in this article due to privacy reasons.

PAS’ Tumpat MP Kamaruddin Jaafar had to attend to family matters, including a three-year-old child, after his wife was hospitalised. He had sought permission from PAS party deputy whip Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad to be excused from the sitting.

Others were just feeling ill that particular night. One of them was PAS’ Kota Raja MP Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud (right), who even showed her medical chit.

Another was DAP’s Gelang Patah MP Lim Kit Siang, one of most prolific MPs in the country and a senior parliamentarian.

According to DAP whip Anthony Loke, the 74-year-old was feeling under the weather that day and was at the Dewan Rakyat between 7.30pm and 10.30pm.

PKR’s Wangsa Maju MP Tan Kwee Keong revealed that he was still recovering from a brain surgery. He was reported to have suffered a stroke late February.

Despite their circumstances, Kamaruddin, Siti Mariah, Tan and Lim all voted on another crucial bill - the amendments to the Sedition Act 1948 - when the vote was called at 2.30am Friday.

According to Lim's minders, he retired to his Parliament office because he was still ill, and entered the House later to vote.

Other obligations

But perhaps one of the most interesting story for skipping the final Pota vote was that from DAP’s Kampar MP Dr Ko Chung Sen.

Ko was in Parliament until midnight, two hours before the final vote and was compelled to leave because he had to perform a surgery on a critically ill patient at 9am in Ipoh on Tuesday.


After the surgery, Ko appeared again in Parliament on Tuesday. On Friday morning, he stayed back until the final vote against the bill to amend the Sedition Act and performed another surgery on the same patient that afternoon.

"I operated on the patient without lunch. I was near collapse. We nearly lost the patient," Ko, who is one of Malaysia's few cardiothoracic surgeon, told Malaysiakini.

Others like PAS’ Pasir Mas MP Nik Aziz Nik Abduh said he left because he had prior engagements.

PAS' Rantau Panjang MP, who left earlier that night because she did not feel well, said she was not informed there was a bloc vote.

Readers can examine the reasons the MPs missed the final Pota vote by referring to the list below.

Additional reporting by Alyaa Azhar and Aidila Razak

(Editor's note: If your name has been wrongly-listed below, please contact us at editor@malaysiakini.com. If do not see the list below, you may want to disable your browser ad blocker or click here.)
- Malaysiakini, 12/4/2015, Not all Pakatan absentees playing truant
 
 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Stop interfering with workers' service charge - it is NOT the old service tax or sales tax now replaced by GST?

Wonder whether this whole focus suddenly on 'service charge collected by employers and paid to workers' is nothing more that a distraction GST and related issues...

Service Charge is very different from Service Tax. Taxes go to the government, whilst this service charge goes to the employees...Service Tax have been replaced by GST... but service charge, which is no tax, remains as it should...


“The rationale behind the introduction of service charge was a combination of a desire to replace cash tips given by hotel and restaurant patrons to employees for services rendered as well as a need to ensure that employees other than front line employees and those who come into direct contact with patrons and customers would also receive their fair share of the tips.” - Kesatuan Kebangsaan Pekerja-Pekerja Hotel, Bar & Restoran, Semenanjung Malaysia v. Hotel Equatorial (M) Sdn Bhd [2008] 3 ILR 590 (Award No. 1356 of 2008) at p. 601
“The better the service provided, the more the employer receives by way of sales and employees are rewarded for the better service.”- Pudu Sinar Sdn Bhd v. National Union of Hotel, Bar & Restaurant Workers, Peninsular Malaysia [2002] 1 ILR 833 (Award No. 241 of 2002) at p. 836
Service charges is not merely a product of Collective Bargaining Agreement(CBA) being an agreement between Unions and Employers - many a hotel and restaurant, who do not even have a Union have the practice of service charge in place.

Hence, it was rather foolish for the Ministry to issue the said Directive that:-

(a) required this 10 percent service charge to be stipulated in collective agreements( Well, as mentioned this practice is really based on an agreement between employer and workers, and it happens even where there is any union, and obviously no CA or CBA)}. This government has not facilitated the formation, easy registration and immediate recognition of unions... This government has been silent with regard to 'union busting activities, some of were in GLC or government linked companies,....so are we surprised that not all workers in the service sector are unionized? So now, do not simply say that workers will not get service charge anymore ....if it is not stipulated in CAs..

(b)  Require a CERTIFICATE (from presumably the Ministry) displayed on the premises before they can collect 'service charge' (So what, workers are to lose this 'service charge' for a few days/months until their employer gets the Certificate and display it - this is not only absurd but unjust - the 'service charge' arises from an agreement between employer and workers - so why is the BN Government interfering?)

(c) Threatening employers/business of  being 'charged under Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011' ???

The Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism (Ministry has recently issued a directive on the service charge imposed by restaurant and hotel operators that the 10 percent service charge must be stipulated in the collective agreement (CA) between employers and employees before businesses can impose the service charge... In addition, the outlet must display the certificate on their premises so that the consumer will know they will have to pay the service charge; otherwise they will be charged under Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011.

Suspend gov't decision on service charge

A major concern after the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST), with effect from April 1, 2015, is the resulting effects on businesses whether the imposition of service charge shall be allowed.

The Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism (Ministry has recently issued a directive on the service charge imposed by restaurant and hotel operators that the 10 percent service charge must be stipulated in the collective agreement (CA) between employers and employees before businesses can impose the service charge.

In addition, the outlet must display the certificate on their premises so that the consumer will know they will have to pay the service charge; otherwise they will be charged under Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011.

The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) opined that the government announced this implementation hastily and has caused confusion and chaos among the public.

Subsequently, consumers who are unhappy to pay both service charge and GST have refused to pay the service charge.

This has greatly affected the operation of the businesses and thus put them in dilemma.

Internationally accepted practice

ACCCIM indicated that there are differences between service charge and service tax.

Service charge is the fees collected by businesses which usually will be distributed to the employees.

Restaurants and hotel operators around the world have this convention by imposing the service charge all this while.

Service tax is a form of indirect tax imposed on specified services which are collected by businesses and submitted to the Royal Malaysian Customs Department. This service tax has now been replaced with GST.

ACCCIM opined that businesses and the market need time to adapt to the new taxation regime.

The government should not hastily announce any new policy or implementation; also GST expounded by various government departments shall be consistent in order to avoid confusion in the market.

ACCCIM stablishing task force on tax

Currently, there is no single piece of legislation to regulate the collection of service charge in the country.

ACCCIM urged the relevant stakeholders to have a consultative dialogue to further explore and discuss the need for the implementation of service charge.

Before any decision or clear guidelines are made, the government authority should suspend the directive given so as not to put a blow on the industry, especially the food and beverage industry and hotel operators, and affect the income of the employees of these sectors.

In view that our country is at the early stage of implementation of GST, business community will encounter problems and difficulties.

ACCCIM hereby announces the establishment of an ACCCIM tax steering task force of which members of the task force are comprises of tax experts and qualified accountants, to collect feedback and study the issues encountered by the business community, and thereafter, submit to the GST monitoring committee of the Finance Ministry as well as GST technical committee of the Royal Malaysian Customs Department through our representatives for discussion and deliberation.   



LIM KOK CHEONG is president of the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia.
Source:- Malaysiakini, 11/4/2015,  Suspend gov't decision on service charge

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