Buy local products as gifts, souvenirs, PJ MP urges govt agencies

KUALA LUMPUR: Consider locally made products as gifts as a part of efforts to strengthen the ringgit, a government MP proposed to the Dewan Rakyat.

Petaling Jaya MP Lee Chean Chung proposed that 30% of government agencies’ souvenir acquisitions should include products produced by local artists instead of the gifting plaques, medals, and trophies, that lack uniqueness and appeal.

“During my visit to the Charity Art Exhibition at the University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) recently, I was informed by artists that it is challenging for their work to be displayed in government buildings, let alone be purchased by public agencies.

“Our talented local artists need support. It is not charity but an opportunity for them to promote their work to local and international guests.

“Economically, this can curb imports, strengthen the ringgit, and promote Malaysian-made goods. I would like to receive feedback from the Tourism, Arts, and Culture Ministry as well as the Communication Ministry on this proposal,” he said when debating the motion of thanks on the royal address on Wednesday (Feb 28).

Lee proposed that the government should lead by example to empower the Buy Malaysian Products campaign.

“Members of the Parliament and Bank Negara have put forth this suggestion (Buy Malaysian Products campaign), urging the public to purchase locally-made goods as a step towards strengthening the ringgit.

“This campaign is too broad in its scope and difficult to achieve its goals. The government should set an example and lead through its procurement policies,” he added.

Lee also invited the Lower House members to visit the National Craft Day 2024 held at Kompleks Kraftangan in Jalan Conlay, Kuala Lumpur which will run until March 4, to support local artists and their crafts.

In a separate matter, Lee also raised the lack of a public hospital in the Petaling Jaya parliamentary area, as there are only two health clinics serving its constituents.

“Petaling Jaya is one of the most densely populated areas around the Klang Valley, with at least 360,000 residents, with an estimated population density of 6,628 people per square km.

“Did you know that Petaling Jaya has been designated as an ageing community? According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), an ageing community comprises 7% of the population aged 65 and above.

“Considering the increasing elderly population in Petaling Jaya, in addition to the density of B40 group residents and low-cost flats, especially in the Taman Medan constituency and part of the Seri Setia constituency, there is an urgent need for the establishment of a nearby public hospital easily accessible to various public groups,” he added.

Lee also said that there was not enough land space to develop a public hospital in the densely populated area, adding that strategic planning involving the Health Ministry, the Petaling Land and District Office, local authorities, Petaling Jaya Parliament, and other stakeholders was necessary to address and handle this issue sensibly.

“There is only one hospital, the University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC), under the Higher Education Ministry, that offers relatively affordable healthcare to the residents.

“If the construction of a new hospital is too costly, could the government enhance the UMMC to provide services similar to other public hospitals?

“This is not the first time this issue has been raised by my party. Hence, I sincerely hope that the Health Ministry under the leadership of YB Kuala Selangor (Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad) can take immediate initiatives for the residents of Petaling Jaya,” he added.