A concerned Malaysian writes about Malaysian affairs. "You are the Change you Seek" Barack Obama

Monday, December 31, 2007

Good News Does Not Herald a Bright Future.....

malaysiakini welcomes the news with "Gov't backs down, Herald gets new permit" but if we consider how the problem was created by the authorities it does not augur well for our progress towards a more open democratic nation.

You see newspapers editors have to constantly walk a narrow path that does not venture into criticising government leaders and policies too much or they can run foul of the printing laws that require your publication to renew the annual printing permit.

So this so-called backdown by the authorities is not good for the following reasons:

1. It allows the so-called mini-tyrants holding power to create mischief by placing unjust conditions on your permit.
2. It creates really unnecessary work for the top leaders who should be using their energy on more important issues.

Unless our top leaders really need this kind of problem that allows them to appear "as heroes", we should practise a more sensible application of these laws as follows:

1. The PM should be advised by the appropriate minister only if any new conditions are to be imposed on publications long before it becomes an issue.

2. Permits should be granted for at least 2 years as publications can still be persecuted if they run foul of any law.

As we herald in the New Year let us pray that the spirit of enlightenment will enable our leaders to realise that they need to reduce this type of unnecessary aggravations to the national fabric that already has many tatters.

HAPPY NEW YEAR to YOU ALL!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Different View from malaysiakini on Things that Mattered in 2007....

Of course we do have serious challenges to overcome in the near future if Malaysia is not to become a nation like Pakistan where even campaigning in elections is a dangerous activity.

Our Judiciary has become infested with judges who may be influenced and the RCI formed has been tasked to tread warily lest the institution of government is weakened further. malaysiakini has a good write-up on all the issues so I will not repeat the same.

To me the most poignant story was the Chinese girl who got a new heart from a Malay boy. It spoke wonders about the kind of kinship Malaysians feel as ordinary folks who live humdrum lives and have to tolerate all kinds of hardships that the authorities do not bother to take seriously.

The second happening story were the non-violent marches (until the police fired) that ordinary folks took part in, defying the might of the police. It shows that more Malaysians are waking up to the fact that they need to do something to get Malaysia get to the proper path of integrity and transparency in government matters.

So 2007 is the Year of the Common Man or Woman. May he or she grow wiser and help Malaysia grow strong. ALLAH help us all.

That is my wish for 2008.

malaysiakini Describes the Effects of the Subashini Judgement.....

The Federal Court has made its decision but in all fairness the woman who brought her case to the courts has not received the best decision as she still has to deal with a broken family caused by a person who seems to have a convenient means to escape a failed marriage by converting to Islam.

If we had more judges with a secular outlook to adjudicate on our Federal Constitution, the man should not have been allowed to impose his will on the children under Islamic law until all details of the divorce had been settled in the civil courts.

The last MALAYSIAWATCH POLL for 2007 therefore seeks your opinion on the matter with the question -

"How Can We Improve the Quality of the High Court Judges?"

IPCMC Cannot Be Replaced with a MakeOver...

You have to admire the police for their gall.
They have been able to hoodwink or convince their political masters that the IPCMC is not a good idea and were able to delay the IPCMC for more then 2 years while the AG's officers or law students created another body the SCC so that ALL government officers are covered.

But if one studies the differences between the IPCMC, it is like comparing a ten-year old Proton with a Porsche.
That is why "Activists to form coalition against watered-down SCC" according to a malaysiakini article.

Now to add insult and insolence to their adamant refusal to the IPCMC, the police propose "to get PR makeover" according to this NST article.

It is similar to sending your poorly operating Proton for a paint job when what it sorely needs is a major overhaul.


Friday, December 28, 2007

malaysiakini's News Maker for 2007

Some would consider this choice to be in poor taste as it portrayed a person conniving to place judges who were compromised in our courts.

So it is appropriate to consider the results of MALAYSIAWATCH POLL 31 that asked the question -

"What Do You Consider to be the Most Important Function of the Royal Commission with Respect to the Tapes?"

Of the 246 readers who took the poll, the breakdown is as follows:

126 or 51% chose "Restore the Judiciary to its Proper Status"

41 or 17% chose "Bring to Trial All Those Implicated in the Tape"

38 or 15% picked "Damage Control to the Government"

25 or 10% wanted to "Establish a Commission to Appoint Judges"

16 or 7% chose "Remove all Tainted Judges"

You will note that 85% readers wanted to improve the quality of the Malaysian Judiciary.

malaysiakini's Summary on the IPCMC and SCC


(click2 on table to see details)

The MSM appears to have avoided any critical assessment on the proposed SCC but I guess that should not surprise anyone.

So this article from malaysiakini entitled "SCC vs IPCMC: Check out the difference" gives an interesting comparison between the original IPCMC and the new SCC.

The basic result of the 2-year delay by the authorities appears to be a watered-down commission that gives some measure of a complaints bureau but provides more of a pressure-relief mechanism by which the PM can practise "political tai-chi".

I have done a simple comparison of the 2 commissions as follows:

Each of the main components has been allocated a weighed value percentage to make up 100% for the seven main features.
Each feature is then given a score based on a maximum score of 10 points. The higher the score the more effective the feature compared between the two commissions.
The score is then multiplied by the weightage to get a weighted score.
The scores are then added to obtain the final score at the bottom of the table.

This is not a claim to being right. You can do your own analysis to see if the authorities have improved on the IPCMC or simply doing some "window dressing".

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Wishing You ......

Christmas Animated Gifs

Will be going to Ipoh for a few days for a family renunion.
Should be back on the blog possibly on the 28th December.

Meanwhile do ponder on how we can all work together to make Malaysia a better place as it seems we have lost much of the nation-building leadership and each group seems interested in only their own interests.

With our natural resources, all we need are good and honest leaders and Malaysia should be able to compete with Singapore in any field we choose.

Graphics: Thanks to http://www.funmunch.com/events/christmas/christmas_graphics/christmas_animated_gif_1.shtml

Friday, December 21, 2007

BEWARE! malaysiakini warns "The Iron Horse is Coming....."


I am sure many of you would have watched old cowboy movies in which the Red Indians would fight against the railroad owners as they knew that the railroad would spell the end of the type of life they led.

In those days the natives knew little about economics or what benefits the railroad would bring.

If what a malaysiakini reader's views make sense, it appears that some leaders in government are similar to the Red Indians - they do not understand the economics of the train - in this case a rather costly affair.

The main problems with this type of contract are:

No competitive tenders so the price looks suspicious
EPF will have to carry the burden as usual
The modified contract has such a generous cost escalation in 4 years.

If a private company undertakes this type of business transaction, the person responsible would be fired or reported to the police for CBT.

Funny how the authorities can continue to act in a manner that defies all logic. Maybe it is a means to create a new type of train - the Gravy Train.

Do You Think God Understands?

Whether you call Him Allah or Tuhan or The Almighty or the Great Spirit I am sure God will know what is deep in your heart or even before you think of it, God is eons ahead of us.

If you are a computer geek, just imagine God operates on super-computers that make our most powerful equipment pedestrian by nature.

So why are the mere mortals in the Interior Ministry trying to figure out what to call God as reported in malaysiakini and the blogs?

Don't these people have any other serious work to do? Like figuring out how to implement the IPCMC and reducing the crime rate in Malaysia.

There will be a small minority who will convert out of the religion they are born with but should not every human being be granted that most fundamental right? That of finding his own path to Allah or Tuhan.

Even if he decides that there is no God but money that is his right and I am sure God will know how to mould him.

Religious Persecution in Malaysia?

The article in malaysiakini on the restrictions being imposed on the Catholic newsletter does not augur well for religious freedom in Malaysia.

It appears that the authorities are trying to impose Islamic laws on all groups in Malaysia ever since Malaysia was unlawfully declared an "Islamic nation" by the former PM in order to garner more influence at the OIC meeting that was being held in KL.

He even had the Constitution amended so that judges in the secular courts routinely surrender the rights of civilians to the Islamic courts and we have already witnessed a few body snatching cases where the religion of the deceased is in doubt.

The most glaring case of religious intolerance was the church of Divine Mercy in Shah Alam where a Catholic Church was forced to shift a building even though the foundations was laid after the site had been approved. It seems the church was too close to the state mosque.

In Bali, the Indonesian authorities plan so that major religious buildings are located close to one another.

Now the latest restrictions being imposed on the Herald can be considered a form of religious persecution and the Catholic Church should take the matter up to higher authorities rather than submit to blatant oppressive practices.

All We Want for Christmas......

Christmas is a time for goodwill but according to malaysiakini, the authorities want to do a Scrooge based on the article "Catholic weekly in quandary over permit".

No it is not about a protest march ala HINDRAF or BERSIH but a publishing permit that has to be renewed EACH year.

It appears from the article that the highly enlightened people that ponder on these permits do not like the Bahasa Malaysia section and want it removed altogether.

It seems the authorities are adopting the same approach taken during the Section 11 discussions that were disallowed by the authorities as if peaceful discussions between people of different religions will weaken one party or the other.

Just imagine that. Our national language is being banned as a language to write on religious matters.

The way we celebrate non-Islamic religious festivities also leaves much to be desired. Of course the "Open House" gatherings are organised by the authorities but the gathering is merely an excuse for the overeating of unhealthy food.
For example the state Tv stations will never telecast a non-Muslim religious service during the relevant festival.

Did someone mention Civilisational?

Photo: thanks to http://www.gift--baskets.us/gift-baskets-images/christmas-cheer-bouquet.jpg

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

IPCMC - from Roaring Lion to Squeaking Mouse.....


malaysiakini reports that members of the RCI for the Police are aghast at the manner in which the IPCMC proposals were morphed into a totally different creature with so little powers and independence that some sceptics think we could save some trees by not wasting the paper to print the bills.

My enthusiasm for the SCC is now zero as it seems it will have no powers of an independent commission but will rely on third parties to investigate.

It is good that MPs and society will be granted more time to discuss the bill. After all they took more than two years to produce this inferior product so let the debates begin.

Maybe get RTM to organise debates featuring opposition MPs against BN. Let the public decide on the merits of this new animal.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Quality of Justice is Strained in Malaysia.....

The following stories are featured in malaysiakini:

1.The utter disgust of those who sat on the RCI for the IPCMC with the proposed SCC.

2.The withdrawal of the attempted murder charge as the AG admits it is difficult to determine which of the 31 suspects actually threw the brick.

3.The special meetings between the PM and the Indian groups while some ministers still deny that Indians have been marginalised with the continuation of the NEP.

4.The detention of the HINDRAF leaders under the ISA, the most draconian of laws that allow suspects to be detained indefinitely at the pleasure of a minister.

While it is good that the PM seems to be listening to the plight of the Indians, it remains to be seen how he can deliver programs that allow this minority to share in the nation's wealth and progress.

As for the Attorney-General he appears to be wasting important resources by arresting people without proper justification and his grand appearance with the attempted murder charge is a farce at best and the abuse of power at worst.

What a pity he did not take a similar stance with the high profile corruption cases that have been frozen for years. Or even the Altuntaaya murder case that appears to be almost a non-newsworthy item now.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Did malaysiakini Record this Correctly?

(click2 to enlarge)

Under the feature headed "Ex-minister to Indians: What more do you need?" the former Information Minister was reported to have said
"They have become citizens and enjoy the same as what the Malays get, so what else is not right?”

Right. He infers that all Malaysians get equal treatment but we all know the cards are stacked so heavily against non-Bumis when it concerns entry to universities, scholarships, employment and promotions in government departments.

Maybe this guy has become so used to the propaganda created by his former ministry he has brainwashed himself with his own crap.

The Indices of Poverty published in the NST some days back to try and convince the public that Indians are doing well is interesting except that not much analysis was done and no more information was given.

Just providing the percentages can give a wrong picture and then policy makers will start programs that do not address the real issues.

Under ethnic groups, the category "Others" seems to be suspect.

The results are quite erratic with the Poverty Index going up and down like the KLSI!

The Chinese and Indian groups made steady progress and both were affected by the 1997crisis.

The Bumiputeras were affected earlier than 1997; probably in 1996 and perhaps the results could be caused more by cultural practices than economic woes or perhaps it is a combination of these two factors.

For a start a Muslim can have more than one wife but most modern women do not want to welcome a second wife and hence divorce is quite common.

It would be good for such analysis to include figures for single-parent households with sub-divisions into widows and divorcees. Perhaps a percentage of the poor Bumiputera households are being created by the get-rich scheme of the NEP?

Fortunately as the numbers show, the Indices of Poverty for Bumis and Chinese are about the 1997 levels but for the Indians it has increased.

One caveat I would make about programs to eradicate poverty like the NEP. Is should never be used simply by looking at charts and percentages but the best allocation of resources.

For example it is not justified to deny better qualified students from entering universities just to achieve some quota. Every Malaysian citizen should have the right to be educated to the level of his or her competence so that he or she can enter the job market without much hassle.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Surely Malaysia is Better then the USA?

malaysiakini has this report entitled "Gov't rejects US criticism of detentions" in which the DPM has criticised the USA for holding terrorists without trial and daring to criticse the arrests of HINDRAF leaders under the ISA laws.

But why do we need to make such comparisons? Our actions should be based on conscionable thinking and we do not need to make references to any other state.

Otherwise it seems the authorities will deem it proper to justify any action by making a reference to the worst possible state.

After all the USA is officially a Godless nation whereas we are a self-proclaimed Civilisational Islamic nation.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Worse than Terrorism?.......

You can read the responses to the arrests of the HINDRAF Five in malaysiakini and also the justification for the ISA in the mainstream media.

HINDRAF leaders have been accused of links with outside terror groups like the Tamil Tigers but so far all their speeches and actions have been about peaceful demonstrations to highlight the plight of the marginalised in Malaysia.

Now if they have links with terror groups and the police have accused them of such activities, why not charge them in court and see if the police have done their jobs properly?

After all the police themselves have been accused by many of using illegal methods and even found guilty by a Malaysian court of using torture on an ISA detainee. And we know they have fought vigorously against the IPCMC.

Perhaps the ISA should have been used against a few police officers for resisting the implementation of the IPCMC for that was the rcommendation made by the special commission created by the government.

The government now appears to be unable to place the proper checks on the police and have failed the expectations of the public.
Meanwhile it is prepared to wield its draconian powers of the ISA that give unfettered authority for a few individuals to wreak havoc on the lives of innocent citizens.

Even without bullets being fired and bombs being exploded, the ISA's powers can be more destructive than those of terrorists.

Special Complaints Commission.....

According to malaysiakini, the SCC has been called a "A 'watered-down' IPCMC-type body" and this cannot be good for our progress.

Initially I had conceived such a body to be a sort of Ombudsman with a great deal of independence but looking at the people that form part of the proposed SCC like the IGP and the ACA, we are creating problems of own making.

We all know that the IPCMC was mainly about problems in the police so how does the IGP investigate perhaps his own faults in the SCC?

Maybe this SCC can still work if those with "a special seat" are temporarily excused if complaints are brought up about their own department.

One other matter is that all the recommendations of the IPCMC should also be tackled in a transparent manner and not left simply to be conveniently forgotten.

No far there has been no definitive debates in Parliament except for some inconclusive comments like "85% of the problems have been solved". Or our MPs also sleeping in Parliament?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Mother of All Draconian Laws.....

As reported in malaysiakini, the HINDRAF five are being detained under the ISA, the most draconian laws we allowed our MPs to pass in Parliament without much debate as usual.

Using the ISA to check the HINDRAF leaders is like using nuclear weapons to eliminate a rag and bones army and the fall-out will affect innocent lives.

It seems the top leaders are not thinking with much foresight and we know that the problems highlighted by the HINDRAF group have been known for some years. Ordinary Malaysians too must take some of the blame for perhaps many of us were too busy with our own problems to look at the problems facing other groups in our society.

Now it has come to the ISA something I feel should only be used with proper checks and balances. Our present laws would have made Saddam Hussein proud as it is really too powerful be be left unchecked in the hands of two or three men.

Based on the article from the Star, these are the main points:

Under Section 73 (1) of the ISA, the police can detain any individual for up to 60 days without a warrant, trial and without access to legal counsel if he was suspected to have “acted or is about to act or is likely to act in any manner prejudicial to the security of Malaysia or any part thereof or to maintenance of essential services therein or to the economic life thereof."

After 60 days, the Minister of Home Affairs can extend the period of detention without trial for up to two years, without submitting any evidence for review by the courts, by issuing a detention order, which is renewable indefinitely.

You will note the following:
Police can detain you for 60 days without warrant, no access to a lawyer just based on a suspicion.

After 60 days detention, you can be detained for 2 years without trial just with the signature of the Minister without the courts knowing anything about your case. In other words, you become a prisoner of the Minister without any state institution even looking at the facts of the case.

Now comes the killer blow. The detention order can be renewed indefinitely.

It is a sobering to realise that we celebrate our 50th year of nationhood with the application of such a law.

Remember the Guildford four? They were imprisoned in the UK on suspicion of links with the Irish terrorists but were found innocent after many years. Maybe the HINDRAF five may become similar heroes in ASEAN.

I pray that we are not creating our own terrorists with the use of such draconian laws.

Interesting Story from malaysiakini

I like this article entitled

"IPCMC-style Special Complaints Commission Bill tabled" as I wrote about such a commission in 2005 here.

Perhaps I should not worry about seeing the RMP and NST among the visitors of my blog.


Another Royal Commission of Inquiry....


2007 will be remembered not as VMY but the Year of Royal Commissions with a second inquiry to probe the infamous tape on Judicial Fixing.

It is good that the government decided to do a proper inquiry after the 3-man panel probed for more than a month and then proposed the royal inquiry. As reported in malaysiakini, some people are not happy with the chairman and also the limited scope of the inquiry.

I wonder if it is appropriate for any member of that first panel to be included in the inquiry unless their reports recommended such an inquiry. We may never know as such appointments are clouded with great secrecy.

Unless the PM gives the reasons as to why these people were selected, the public can only guess at the selection process.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

malaysiakini Missed this Important Story...

It is about the deaths of 8 Malaysians who did not confront or attack the police. All they did was to enter a bus headed to disaster and they met a sudden death at a toll plaza; the infamous Jelapang toll that has so been the cause of more than 142 accidents and numerous deaths during the past 10 years.

As many buses and lorries are not maintained properly, the brakes will usually fail during the prolonged braking that is necessary on the long downhill after the tunnel before the toll plaza.

A few years ago, a gravel bed was constructed to arrest runaway vehicles but I just wonder how many drivers are aware of its existence and how many have actually been told how to use it.

Getting the new toll plaza ready in 6 months is simply not good enough.
I suggest that PLUS should set up a check-up station before the tunnel so that vehicles that are not road-worthy are not allowed to use the tunnel. This facility should be located so that these vehicles can bypass the dangerous section of the highway.

This should be done with the JPJ so that innocent lives are not put at risk and the offending vehicles can also be booked.
Or is that asking too much?

More Like Zimbabwee than a World Class Democracy....

There is no blood on the streets but the suppression of dissenting voices as reported in malaysiakini and the newspapers shows that the fragile flower of democracy is not blossoming but being denied a new growth even as we begin our 50th year as a sovereign nation.

Even the most peaceful and placid protester is being bundled into the police vans and even manhandled with unnecessary vigour. It appears that the police are getting some revenge back on those who called for the IPCMC to be implemented.

Even the bill to extend the tenure of the EC Chairman could be passed so quickly compared to the IPCMC that has been dragged on for more than two years now. Maybe the authorities believe that if anything is dragged on for long enough, the public will soon tire. Anyone here still bother to read the Altantuuya case in the papers? For all you know those two masked men brought to court could have been switched by now as no one has seen their faces.

Perhaps like the story "The Man in the Iron Mask" the two guys in those masks could even be some unrecorded criminals who could be prevented from speaking even after their conviction.

If you follow CNN, there is a case on "water-boarding", a form of torture that is being investigated in the USA and if you watch the news clip, you will see protesters inside the building where the lawmen are questioning the general and the only thing that happens to the female protester with the placard is that she is led to the side so as not to obstruct the passage.

In our case, I would have directed the police to allow the BERSIH marchers access to the entrance to Parliament and allowed them to meet MPs who were prepared to see them. Surely feedback from citizens is a necessary tool for MPs check the sentiments on the ground?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Desperate Measures by the Authorities...

The arrest of 23 marchers on their way to Parliament as reported in malaysiakini is a sad day for democracy in Malaysia.

These people merely wanted to hand in a memorandum to their MPs protesting the passage of a bill to extend the term of the Elections Commission Chairman.

Instead of allowing a democratic process of petitioning and discussion to take place, the authorities are using a really heavy approach to handle small problems. Were they afraid the BN MPs would have kicked the bill out?

This episode show that the authorities are really desperate and only able to use brute force to crush dissent. It does not make for a healthy democracy.

As for those MPs who passed the bill, I hope some of you will not be returned to Parliament after the next elections.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Is There a Larger Conspiracy at Work?

malaysiakini has this article headed "EC chief: No other regime capable of running the country" and to me the sentiments expressed in the interview show that the EC Chairman is not really a fair person as far as conducting the general elections is concerned.

His tenure of office should not be extended under any circumstances and we should allow the person next in seniority to take over.

There have been complaints of phantom voters and other election scams and hopefully a new EC Chief will be able to address many of these problems.

Recently there was an uproar in the United Kingdom where millions of taxpayers' data was lost through negligence and this case in Malaysia also makes me wonder if there is a larger conspiracy at work.

A case like this shows how the Registration Department can create a "new person" while the original is asked to reapply for a new identity.
Is this how the Elections Commission can increase/decrease/shift voters in different constituencies so that there is no regime change?


We Live in Dangerous Times.......

Change in society is always fraught with danger and we can see that with the arrests of the laywers as reported in malaysiakini.

These were not mobs that ran about damaging cars and property but simply because they wanted to walk one kilometer to mark Human Rights Day.

So the police did arrest some of them and yes we surrendered them the powers when we allowed our MPs to approve draconian laws that required all to need to permit for something as innocent as a peaceful march.

Of course some people can get police approvals for demonstrations but it seems only those who support the government can get the permit.

The arrests of the lawyers during a peaceful march mark a watershed in the growth of the democratic awakening in Malaysia.

For too long we allowed the leaders to do the thinking and unfortunately too much wealth and opportunites have clouded the thinking process and we can see much of the problems in society.

There is this very interesting letter you can read for free here published in malaysiakini . If more Malays like Noor Aza Othman come forward and lead others we can all still make Malaysia the paradise it once was.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Can You Do a Little to Protect the Judiciary?

There is a new initiative here to improve the selection process to appoint judges.

Unlike the USA where the appointment of judges is vetted by special committees, here the PM is able to get his preferences subject only to the approval of the Agong.

This means that the PM can offer candidates that do not meet the highest standards that we the people wish for our nation.

So I encourage you to read the petition and if you agree, please send your full name and IC to

savethejudiciary@gmail.com

If you do not do a little now to help the judiciary your children will be able to do even less when the liberty of Malaysians are shackled more in the future.

Just watch the Lingam tapes and see how corruption can spread so far and wide. Ponder this question:

How high up do you think corruption in Malaysia has risen and how many institutions do you think are infected with the cancer?

Maybe an easier question would be:
Which institution/s do you think are corruption free and why do you think so?

Putting the Genie Back in the Bottle.....

As reported in malaysiakini and the mainstream media, the HINDRAF protesters have been charged with very serious offences and even the sword of the ISA is being dangled over their heads.

I wonder how effective such threats are, given that those who are protesting may well be at the end of their rational limits. I think we should all realise that any group of citizens who have been marginalised will be not be deterred by any threats.

For example if people are so distressed that they do not even know where the next meal is coming from or how to pay the next month's rent, a stint in the prison may be a welcome relief.

After all some of them are already resorting to serious crime.
What is upsetting about the publicity given to the IGP's claim of terror links is that the news is published right after those demonstrators were charged. Is not the matter sub judice and thus the IGP should not be trying to affect public opinion?

To me the first step for Malaysia should be to implement the IPCMC first before citizens will feel a little more comfortable with the free rein given to the police.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Some BN Politicians Say the Smartest Things...

But this is a rare occurrence so we should all take some note of the article in malaysiakini.

The article is headlined "PM told to overhaul his cabinet" and the politician is Kota Baru MP Zaid Ibrahim, a prominent lawyer.

Yes I agree the PM will be more effective if he does a major makeover on his cabinet soon or face a few major set-backs in the next elections.

Malaysians too need to wake up from their long slumber of 50 years and take a more active interest in current affairs and politics.

The middle class should realise that if problems like those articulated by HINDRAF are allowed to fester, being a compliant and trusting citizen does not mean you will not be affected.

We place the future of our children and grandchildren in the hands of politicians we elect. Let us make sure we empower people we can trust. Maybe, as someone once said, "Trust a politician as far as you can throw him or her."
And I don't mean down a 10-storey building.




Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Passage

Just to let you know my mother-in-law passed away at the age of 85 yesterday.
The funeral will be on Saturday in JB.

About a week ago, she lost all interest in eating and became bedridden and had to be fed liquids slowly by spoon. It seemed that her brain was shutting down her vital functions and in a way we are glad she did not suffer that stage for too long.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

One Possible Cause for Poverty among Malays?

I was pondering on the earlier article I wrote referring to malaysiakini report by the Deputy Minister that Malay households were poorer than Indian households.

Without any definitive data, I wondered how come the percentage of Malay households that is considered poor remained higher than the Indian household even after 38 years of NEP.

One possible cause is that non-Muslims are allowed to marry just one spouse whereas a Muslim is allowed four wives and hence divorce is quite common.
The most common result of a divorce is a single-parent household and hence this will increase the number of households that are considered poor.

Perhaps the ministry should provide more details of such poor families so that better remedies can be found to reduce the poor.
An effective solution may be to encourage Muslims to rein in their libido and focus on nurturing the children they already have instead on casting unchaste glances on buxom lasses.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Malays too Should be Marching Soon.....

According to malaysiakini the Deputy Rural and Regional Development Minister Zainal Abidin Osman has claimed that "the monthly household income for Indians in 2004 was RM3,456, while it was RM2,711 for Malay households and RM4,437 for Chinese."

Now we know that HINDRAF has been asking for help as the Indian community has been sidelined with the NEP.

The Deputy Minister also states the "the poverty rate and hardcore poverty in 2004 among Indians was at 2.9 percent, 8.3 percent among Malays and 0.6 percent among the Chinese."

Before we get these disgruntled citizens all protesting vigorously in the streets of KL, we should be checking to see if the NEP is being properly used to target these hardcore families.

It would be good if the authorities also provided figures on the income levels and the progress numbers at the top end of the spectrum; ie the top money makers.

We should replace the NEP and start the NBP which stands for
NEEDS BASED PROGRAM that helps ALL the poor irrespective of race.

It is really so easy for the authorities to withdraw the NEP for the rich. They can start with the 10 to 15% housing discount for those who already own a property.

Three Dead but the Main Sentiment is "The Show Must Go On"

You can read about the paratrooper deaths in malaysiakini and the mainstream press.

I watch the PM on TV3 last night and got the following vibes:

The main expression was too bad some people had to die but we have a show to put on.
TV3 did a lousy job to edit the PM's speech so that it seems the LIMA was paramount and the deaths could not be helped.

He gave the impression that he was more concerned about the show than how those people died and about those who were injured.

In Malaysia it seems we get more Armed Forces personnel getting killed via helicopter crashes, vehicle accidents and training incidents like this.

Of course soldiers should be prepared to face action under adverse conditions but how much training did these paratroopers have before this?

How were the weather conditions like and was it justified for the paratroopers to be endangered thus?

Was there a sudden change in wind patterns between the time the plane took off and the time?

How ready were the emergency and rescue operations and how soon did they arrive at the scene of the landing?

Our soldiers need better consideration for if we do not bother about their welfare they would be hard pressed to defend the nation when it really matters.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

No Truth to Claims of Indians?

For once malaysiakini and the main stream media have a common story about our PM's wrath against the claims of "ethnic cleansing".

There is even a call by a MB to revoke the citizenship of the leaders of the movement.

Instead of trying to find out what caused the group of usually compliant citizens to rebel against authority, it seems the iron glove is being shown.

It shows that the 50 years of power and authority have left the national leaders incapable of seeking workable solutions except to threaten all with fire and brimstone.

The NEP was for a fixed period and during those long years of deprivation and sacrifice by the non-Bumis, the Bumi leaders were basically given a blank cheque to solve the imbalance problems.

We can see the result in Malaysian society:

I estimate the government service is not composed of about 90% Bumis,well beyond the population ratio.
The percentage in the police and the armed forces will not be much different.
Houses still need to be provided with 10% to 15% discount even for those who already own a house.

Perhaps "ethnic cleansing" is too strong a word for that implies being forced from one's home and into exile as a refugee if you escape the death squads.
But we have a different type of discrimination formulated during the past 38 years of the NEP.

These include:
Barriers to enter university.
No access to the civil service.
Difficulties to secure business deals.

No one wants to hear any preaching about religious duties or convictions but just make sure your actions match your words.

Do remember the saying.
"What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you are saying".

Saturday, December 1, 2007

More Like a Problematic 2008 Ahead....



malaysiakini has this article headed "Uneasy December ahead" but I feel the whole of 2008 will be unsettled untill the next general elections are held in a free and fair manner.

It seems that more Malaysians have woken up to the fact that they have been cheated of so many things like:

the right to information
the right to disagree
the right to improve their status in life

on account of draconian laws like the OSA, the ISA and the blood-sucking policy of the NEP that has created a multitude of self-seeking politicians and their cronies and done little to help the really poor people of all races.

The photo was emailed to me by a friend and apparently there was an incident at the IOI Mall(in Puchong?) one or two days ago after the new toll rates were announced.

We all know that oil prices may not be controlled by anyone as it is a function of supply and demand.

But toll prices and agreements were fixed under a blanket of the greatest secrecy. It seems that it was done under cover of darkness; just like how you go about planning a bank heist.

I mean we have already paid so much toll and all that is proposed is that we keep paying for more extended periods just because they rate goes up by 10% instead of the agreed 20%.

To me this is the Archilles heel of the toll program. It is noted that the toll at the Causeway is going up by 11.5% come 2008.
The basic question is the Causeway should not be included in the Ever Increasing hikes as it was built and paid for before PLUS was formed.

Any collection here should reflect the maintenance cost of the 1km Causeway unless the JB City leaders become smart enough and reclaim what is rightfully the city's gateway.

Malaysia's Price is Right.......


(click2 on image to enlarge)

No one expects prices to stagnate especially since the government gave the over-bloated civil service a hefty pay rise.

Then we had the increase in petrol prices that ultimately gets worked into the price of daily goods.

Now malaysini has an article that we "must brace for gas and electricity price hikes".

Of course we all know that the oil price has reached almost US$100 a barrel and we also know that Malaysia will soon become a net importer of oil.

However the authorities too have shown that often they simply can't be bothered by the wanton wastage as shown in these few examples:

1.The blanket secrecy on the toll agreements.
2.The wasteful purchase/lease of the new executive jet.
3.The massive bleeding of funds into the PKFZ
4.The refusal to disclose how we are paying for a burnt-out shell of a space capsule.

The price of oil is well known and most people can understand that but the authorities have too many financial skeletons hidden in the closet.

It is time we demanded that all non-sensitive information be made public.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Going Backwards in Time?

Somehow I get the impression that the Information Ministry is trying to offset the call in malaysiakini to boycott the main newspapers.

It should be interesting to see how long they will keep this up and how often the news articles will be changed.

I estimate after three months all those nice new boards will become a public advertising place - just right for all those "Ah Long" stickers.
What do you think?

Boycott the Newspapers? Now that's Interesting....

Helen Ang writes in malaysiakini urging people to stop buying newspapers.

Her main complaint is that the Malaysian Mainstream Media (3Ms)is worse than useless as the newspapers have become merely a sounding board to parrot whatever gibberish that ministers want published.

Perhaps we could all reflect how our draconian laws muzzle the press and make newspaper editors YES-men have brought such long-established newspapers to their knees.

But newspapers do have an important role to play in society as their reach to the common folks is so much more effective than the Internet.

So we should not kill the newspapers but help them to launch campaigns to become more independent and less subservient.

For example, the newspapers could publish a series of articles on "Election Observer Handbook" published by the OSCE.
This useful guideline decribes in detail how free and fair elections are conducted and is used by 56 participating states.

If you care to browse through the handbook, there are 3 salient points that attract attention:

Allowing people to form political parties
Unimpeded access to the media
Equal suffrage which allows to seats to have voters not more 10% of other seats.

So let's use the proposed boycott to help reform our media.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Another BN Supporter Dissents Over HINDRAF...


So another BN MP has broken ranks over the HINDRAF grievances according to an article in malaysiakini.

Looks as if the BN Whip is going to quite busy in the coming weeks. If only all our MPs develop some courage to speak up, Malaysia would improve as a democratic nation.
Sadly, from the Speaker down, Parliament has become a mere ceremonial rubber stamp.

Only opposition MPs try their best to bring up important issues.

Now Go Tell the Yanks to Piss Off

Some people have told the authorities in India to back off after they complained about the treatment of the HINDRAF marchers for they are Malaysians allbeit marginalised ones.

Now malaysiakini reports that the US State Department has issued a statement that defended "the rights of Malaysians to hold peaceful protests".
Maybe the US State Department was wrongly informed that street demos are OK. After all, someone did organise a street demo to welcome the US Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice not too long ago.

So who is going to tell the Yanks to piss off?

Did you watch the debates in the USA for the coming Presidential elections? Now that is a very subversive broadcast.
All the Presidential hopefuls are lined up and have to debate questions submitted by viewers so that the people can decide who is the best candidate.

They call it the Youtube debates and maybe we should introduce such a system in Malaysia. That way, all Malaysians can weed out poor leaders before they are placed so high that they do damage to our nation. I reckon our national leaders are picked based on the influence of perhaps 30 very powerful people and the other 18 million citizens are just passengers in a not so sea-worthy vessel.

What do you think?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Using ISA to Quash HINDRAF type Gatherings?

















(click2 image to enlarge)
I read somewhere that one attains a certain level of wisdom on reaching the age of 60 but the news in malaysiakini is a little disturbing.

Our Prime Minister, in his absolute wisdom at 68 year of age, threatens to use the ISA on peaceful protesters if they insist on street demonstrations.

It seems to be an act of desperation to use such a draconian law on people with legitimate problems.

It also shows how placing too much authority and powers in the hands of a few men can jeopardise all our security and peace of mind. It is time the silent majority takes some time out to reflect on the type of leadership to whom we have entrusted the nation and the future of our children.

If the police had been allowed to grant the permit for the two demonstrations, I estimate only 10% of the police manpower would have been required to maintain orderliness with 90% less problems than what we saw.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

How Bad are the Cracks on the Penang Bridge?

So the Penang bridge has several cracks according to this report in the Star.

We have an assurance that the cracks are "all located in non-critical areas". On a bridge, what does one consider a non-critical area?

It is unfortunate that the safety report has been glossed over instead of educating the public what the actual problem is.

The occurrence of numerous cracks may be an ominous sign of overall deterioration and Penang is not really that far from the earthquake zone so there may be frequent earth vibrations that are too small to be felt but which can cause failure after many years.

The Penang authorities should publish their findings in the BEM magazine so that those in the profession can study the problem.

To put the problem of stress failure in perspective, there was a recent documentary on Astro about Aloha Flight 243 that lost a section of the fuselage during flight after minor cracks were observed in the plane's shell.

You can read the full details instead of just one or two lines.

Photo: Thanks to http://www.penang-hotels-classify.com/images/bridge1.jpg

Happy Birthday! Prime Minister

According to malaysiakini the PM turns 68 today.
Hmmm.. we share a common birth month and are both Scorpios.

Maybe that explains the quiet and secretive behaviour and public aloofness. We need to make the extra effort to make friends.

So today will refrain from any sharp remarks.Just want to share a birthday cake.
(click2 to enlarge)

Monday, November 26, 2007

malaysiakini Missed this Important Story

In a period of street clashes and tear gas, it seems that the HINDRAF rally has sucked all the editorial resources of malaysiakini and the like.

The Star has this most interesting article on how toll rates can be frozen or slowed down and I support this good idea.

It makes good economic sense for the Government to buy back all the tolled roads as that will remove the annual bargaining that is rather pitiful to hear when sums of
RM340 million a year compensation are mentioned.

It would make more sense for the EPF to buy out the highway operators instead of placing money in risky ventures abroad.

It kills 3 birds with one stone:

1.the end of the annual compensation story.
2.EPF can invest in a profitable business.
3.Malaysians can enjoy a good highway system with a reasonable toll.

Kudos to the PAC Chairman for this suggestion. Now if only they make the highway agreements public.





The HINDRAF Rally - Possible Developments

Today peace has returned to the streets of Kuala Lumpur that seems to be turning into the demonstration capital of the world.

What the two demonstrations show is that if enough people decide that issues need to be raised and people believe in the justness of their cause, no police force can beat the will of the people.

Of course the police have bullets to cause deadly injuries but no sane government is going to shoot peaceful protesters without dealing itself a mortal blow.

You can read different versions of what went down in malaysiakini and the main press. The former also has good links to blogs on the demonstrations.

The best outcome for such protests is that the authorities take a sincere look at all the problems faced by all the poor and marginalised Malaysians and there are really tens of thousands of poor Indians, Chinese and also Malays.

The ruling elites need to get back to the original noble intention of making a prosperous nation for all citizens and not just leaving crumbs for the poor and those without crony connectins.

HINDRAF appears to be well organised. They will do more for the nation if they reach out to all the other POOR Malaysians and within a few years they will become a potent political force that can re-shape Malaysia.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Working within a Flawed System?

It is a sign of awakening consciousness that the HINDRAF members decided to defy the law and stage their protest as reported in this malaysiakini article.

There were some comments by prominent leaders that for a march to occur, a police permit is required and if you don't have that, police action is necessary.
The question that can be asked is,
"Why was a police permit offered to someone when the protest march was held against the US Secretary of State a few months ago?"

Not only was that protest not disruptive but they also burned the American flag to insult a guest of the government.
I wonder if that caused the US authorities to put in less effort to enhance the photos that our police had to submit to them in the possible identification of a murder suspect in the murder of the 9-year old girl.

But back to trying to win in elections as some commentators said of those who want to form an opposition:

1.Where is the proper media coverage of opposition candidates?
2.When do the TV stations broadcast opposition messages so that we the Voters are given the opportunity to choose?
3.When will the government run the first truly democratic general elections by vacating their posts and not make use of government facilities during the election campaign?

We should learn a little from the Australians down south. Even with a booming economy, Howard was given the boot as Australians know the benefit that the country will enjoy with new leadership.

In Malaysia it seems that the more authority we surrender to the government, the more force they are prepared to use against peaceful protests.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Good News for Malays....


.... if only you get rid of leaders who brainwash the masses that you are weak and incompetent and forever insisting you need a tongkat from birth so that you can get a diamond-studden one by the time you die with the Never Enough Program that creates millionaires of cronies but perpetuates the cycle of poverty as billions are wasted on white elephant projects.

The HINDRAF protests that you read about in malaysiakini are the result of years of neglect and lack of fair policies.

The photo taken fron the front page of the Straits Times shows the top PSLE student for 2007 and she scored the highest mark ever achieved for the history of the primary 6 school year.

What is amazing is that she is a Malay and also both her parents are Malay. If you read her story, you will get the following family background.

Both her parents are non-graduates
She has a small family, with just a younger sister
Her father did not have to support another wife.

Natasha is not the first high scoring Malay. In 2005 a Malay boy scored 282 and topped his year.

So we should not perpetuate the myth in Malaysia that Malays need more crutches like the failed NEP. Instead we should have programs to empower them to achieve more and build on their success.

Picture: thanks to the Straits Times

Friday, November 23, 2007

UPM's Heavy Hand

This story in malaysiakini is rather disturbing.

A student has had his life disrupted by the decision of the authorities as according to the report
"Lee was stopped by security guards at the university’s exit and his notebook was seized on grounds that he was being investigated for being a member of an illegal student organisation.

The student initially refused to cooperate because the campus officers were not in their uniforms which led to the university accusing him of obstructing its officers from executing their duty."

They spent 3 hours deliberating on such a minor charge that should probably not have resulted in anything more than a caution.

Now a young man's life is put on hold for one year and maybe his career is also jeopardised.

Was the charge proven that he belonged to an illegal organisation?
Does the UPM have proper procedures for the security guards to follow when they want to check students?

One would imagine that security guards should only be allowed to arrest those taking part in criminal activities like theft, robbery and vandalism and not be authorised to intrude into the private affairs of students.

Perhaps he belonged to the wrong side of the political divide. Do you think the university would have taken such action if he belonged to the BN group?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Why that Royal Commission for the Judiciary is so Important for the Prime Minister...


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Most Malaysians welcome the setting up of the Royal Commission and many feel that the scope and depth of this commission should be similar to that for the IPCMC.

You can read the arguments put forward by HAKAM in this malaysiakini article that you will not find in the main newspapers.

We know that the government has had difficulties to implement all the proposals for the police but that is better than conducting a shallow white-wash inquiry that leaves the problems undiscovered.

It is like a patient discovering he has cancer and then only wanting minimal treatment.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A MakeOver for Malaysia ?

The signs of ageing are everywhere.

Just read the many articles in malaysiakini and the letters from disgruntled citizens on a gamut of issues from corruption in high places to simple things like road repairs.

Just within the past month we read the following stories:

The BERSIH March to the palace.
The need to set up a Royal Commission to check out matters regarding the Judiciary.
The collapse of a new building in BELUM.
The RM4.5b project in PKFZ
The accelerating decline of local universities in THES ratings.
The loss of FDI to other Asean nations.

As the world becomes more competitive, Malaysians need to wake up and realise that old systems do not work anymore and we need to become a more united nation spending less energy on tribal conflicts and parochial interests.

Our leaders need to foster a sense of nationhood and not play the usual racist cards even after 50 years as an independent nation.

Maybe we need a major makeover with the BN government offering to form a government of national unity together with the move to disband ALL the race-based parties that have really prevented the nation from growing up.

I predict that if we do not do anything to phase out the racist parties, Malaysia will join the same category as the poorer African nations in the next 30 years. It is not a question of "if but when".

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tell Us What You Think about the RCI for the Famous Tape.

That is the question posed for MALAYSIAWATCH POLL 31.(See Orange box at top left hand corner of page)

More then 875 readers took the poll for their reaction on how the authorities should handle the tape problem and the results were consistent.

About 80% felt that a RCI should be set up or a tribunal should be set up for the Chief Judge.

Try to select your own answer before you look at the results so the choice of the majority will not influence you.

This letter in malaysiakini makes a good introduction if you need more info to decide on the matter.

The Importance of Patriotic Citizens in the Royal Commission

Now that the government has agreed to set up a Commission of Inquiry into the infamous tape allegations, it is important that two elements are present to ensure that we are able to re-make the Judiciary so that this important body will regain its past glory.

An honest Government should not be afraid of a strong judiciary as it forms the third pillar of a strong society. For more than 20 odd years the Judiciary was infested with a wasting disease.

Therefore this article in malaysiakini needs careful consideration.

The other important criterion for the RCI is that the terms of reference should be as broad and as deep as possible and we need to cure the patient and not simply prescribe Panadol to ease the pain of a patient with a serious cancer.

Selecting a dream team is good but they won't score goals if the referee decides that the game will be played without balls.

I suggest to our PM that with his past declaration of fighting corruption, this RCI should merit his urgent attention and not left to a minister.


Elections - We Could Learn Something from Pakistan and Bengladesh

Most Malaysians think that we are much better off than Pakistan and Bengladesh; the former now under a military emergency whilst the latter has been ravaged by the ferocious cyclone that has already claimed more than 3000 lives.

But even Pakistan puts in place a caretaker government once Parliament is dissolved and hence the national leaders cannot make use of government machinery to campaign.

This seems to be a more blatant abuse of government equipment and taxpayers funds than the elections watchdog have been complaining about. You can see how little has been conceded in this malaysiakini article.

Too long a campaign is not good for developing countries like Malaysia but if emergency-stricken Pakistan can afford a campaign more than one month we should consider a reasonable period like three weeks.

Also a caretaker government would also ensure that the elections are conducted in an equitable manner and government equipment is not used in campaigning.
You can read how a caretaker government system was put in place in Bengladesh in 1996.

One can put this in the perspective of a soccer match. The referee should be neutral or the match can be biased towards one team.
With a neutral caretaker, proper broadcasting time will also be made available to all contesting parties.

Indelible ink seems so archaic but the allowing of monitors for postal votes is a positive step forward.

I suggest Mafrel should work towards the caretaker government approach plus a 3-week campaign.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

There is Much Wisdom from the former Lord President....


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In this malaysiakini article, Tun Salleh Abbas makes a rational appeal that the authorities have the power and the duty to right all the injustices wreaked on the Judiciary during the dark days of 1988.

Basically the Executive has been granting itself more and more powers untill today the entire system of government is unbalanced and it can be argued that the country operates on the whims and fancies of perhaps a dozen men and their wives.

Therefore it is important for all loyal Malaysians to let their MPs know their views and that a properly authorised Royal Commission will enable the Judiciary to make a good recovery.

Remember that without a good judiciary, the laws of the jungle prevail. If we do not summon enough courage for this effort, Malaysia could end up like Pakistan.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

BERSIH Marchers Expected Too Much from our Royalty

This report from malaysiakini may disappoint thousands who had some notion that the Agong would be able to reform the nation by submitting a petition.

The press statement from the Istana denying support for the peaceful march is to be expected for Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy.

This means that essentially the people have the ultimate power to determine their own future and destiny.

If one cares to compare, the Malaysian king has probably less influence than the Queen of England whose title is heriditary since we operate on a rotational basis.
Furthermore much of the influence and authority of our royals were reduced by laws during the last PM's tenure.

Perhaps it can be argued we removed the royals' power and the balance has tilted too much towards the Executive. As the Judiciary Fixing Scandal indicates, too much power in one branch of the government can lead to the ultimate height of tampering with the justice system.

The BERSIH march served its purpose and I suggest that the group work on other areas like voter education and awareness that will bring more tangible results at the ballot box.

The most we can expect from our Agong from this episode is perhaps a very private "broom award" ceremony as some people wrote that the Agong should have been present to accept that petition rather than playing polo elsewhere.

Wrong about the Judiciary-Fixing Tapes?

Looks as if some of us armchair critics got a few things wrong as malaysiakini just reported that a Royal Commission will be set up to investigate the matter.

I have a few articles on the subject and am proven wrong on the following counts:
1.The independent "no-power" panel will not be effective.
2.The authorities will simply ignore the findings.

In fact the poll on my blog had an overwhelming selection (80%) out of 850+ respondents choosing "the RCI" and "a tribunal for the ex-Chief Justice".

It is imperative that we all address this serious task for without a good judiciary, the foundation of society is eroded and will collapse like that RM4.5m building in Belum.

Let us support the PM to address this cornerstone of our society. A properly functioning justice system plus a police force with integrity is a basic necessity for the nation to progress. Crooked politicians can be easily replaced if an electorate is enlightened.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Malaysia's Hunt for Corrupt Projects - The State of the Nation


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As the General Elections are near, it is time to check out how the nation is faring in its proclaimed war against CORRUPTION.

There was a al Jazeera documentary recently on how it is estimated that $360billion (US$?) was siphoned out of Nigeria since 1960 and how millions still live in abject poverty.

Malaysia is definitely doing better but there is still a major task to eradicate poverty and minimise corruption. So far the latest case involved a senior police officer only. It is surprising that not a single senior politician has been caught yet.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

RCI Would Be Good But Why Consult Anwar?

I find PKR's demand a little strange in this malaysiakini article.

First of all, PKR does not lead the Opposition in Malaysia as it has only a single seat in Parliament after the BN sweep the last time.

Secondly he is not even an MP. If any person should be consulted, it should be the leader of the opposition and that would be Lim Kit Siang.

Surely the PKR should be able to concede that?
For the majority of Malaysians, it does not really matter who is appointed so long as they are persons of upright character and able to face and report the truth.

We certainly don't need a whitewash if we want things in the Judiciary to improve.



Turning Disaster into Profit?...


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Collapsing buildings and other structural failures in Malaysia are so common we need to think out of the box.

So how about this new adventure cum eco-tourism trip?

Mistaken about the Police?

I thought that the police acted with some restraint during the BERSIH rally but this story in malaysiakini may prove me wrong.

If this story is confirmed I suggest that the SUHAKAM inquiry into the Batu Buruk incident should also look into the rally on Nov 10th.

Now if the IPCMC had been functioning there would already be an avenue for such cases.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

SUHAKAM Should Not Be So Wishy-Washy

While it is good that SUHAKAM has now decided to hold a public inquiry, it should not appear to be so vacillating in its decision-making.

In the first article in malaysiakini, a spokesman was quoted as saying "Section 12 of the Human Rights Commission Act 1999 forbids the commission from investigating human rights violation complaints when related cases are being argued in court."

Today it seems the Commission has had a change of heart.

SUHAKAM should deliberate carefully before making such important decisions or it loses much of its credibility. If in doubt about legal matters it should seek proper legal advice.

This body can also request that laws be amended if they impede the proper functioning of such an important body.


BERSIH Rally...the AfterMath

In any functioning democracy, a peaceful protest or demo is part and parcel of daily life.

Often the silent majority are content to just go about their daily activities and for many, spending time out defying the law must require a serious problem.

The rally of November 10th was not about an individual but about the principles and practical workings of the voting process; without which a good democracy cannot survive long.

It is therefore sad that the Agong is being perceived as being unable to differentiate between his duties to the government and to his loyal subjects as described in this malaysiakini article.

Now it appears that the police want to take action against both marchers and their children under the Child Protection Act.

I wonder what does "rehabilitate" mean? It seems like a heavy-handed approach to children who were following the parents' bidding.

Even the action against the parents seems out of proportion to the disobeying of the authorities in not going to an illegal gathering.

For a start, the children's presence caused the police to to act less brutally against a peaceful march and a more brutal response would have damaged the police reputation even more.

I am guessing that possibly a friendly police contact may have tipped off the marchers that the police SOP is not to tear gas and water-cannon children.

I would allow demonstrations based on the following conditions:

1. Away from large town centers.
2. No unfriendly gestures like flag-burning or burning effigies.
3. Definite time limit like 4 hours and must end before 7pm.
4. Pay police for security and traffic arrangements.
5. No breach of any laws of the land.

And this will also apply to any demonstration organised by the ruling parties.

Photo: Thanks to malaysiakini


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

More Bureaucracy to Work Subsidies?......


(click2 on picture to enlarge)

I agree with this letter from malaysiakini that opposes the complication of petrol pricing for motorists so that the RM40billion subsidy will be reduced by making rich motorists pay more.

This is trying to control the economy at the micro level and will be difficult to implement as millions of transactions are involved.

We are know that any government is always very poor at cost control and Malaysia is no execption. I remember in the 70s there was an excellent documentary on the late Milton Friedman's work called "Free to Choose" and the basic lesson is that governments should be given only the smallest role in business and it is a major source of waste.

Even without looking at the jobs analysis, the Malaysian civil service is BLOATED with unproductive employees and too many Ministers compared to other countries.

Perhaps the proposed controls for the fuel subsidies will provide them something to do?

PS. MalaysiaWatch has has reached the 100,000 visitors mark. Hope you return often. Have a nice day!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Decision-Making for Police Permits


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malaysiakini has this letter that adroitly describes the Bersih petition march and I agree that the authorities would ha gained more goodwill if they had decided to grant the police permit.

It is simply impossible to control traffic in a large city unless one imposes a curfew. I am not going into all the pros and cons here but a simple flow chart will suffice to show the many decisions that need to be considered to handle this type of a demonstration.

The march was well organised and the security provided was good. The actions by the police was to be expected.

Just look at the chart and see how much simpler the work would have been if a permit had been granted. Now a lot of energy has to be used to work out the actions after Steps 5 in the chart.








We Share the PM's Concern.....

Every Malaysian parent is concerned that local universities are following the law of gravity in slippng lower each year in academic standings.

Those who are able to send their children overseas are unperturbed as they have given up on local standards.

According to this malaysiakini report, our PM has noticed and is concerned.

I don't intend to write a long argument but there is only one solution to the slippery slope. It is spelled
M E R I T O C R A C Y.

All the government needs to do is to privatise one of the local Us and grant them full autonomy to operate without being restricted by any laws related to universities. Perhaps one of the more established colleges will be able to show the way.

Give them 5 years to improve and I am sure it will solve many of our problems.
What do you think?

A Journey of a Thousand Miles....

While the marchers to the palace can claim a major victory that they were able to hand in a petition to the Agong, there is still much work to be done to make a prominent dent in the BN juggernaut.

We should be thankful for the Internet as it provides a cheap communications platform and one does not need tons of money to operate a web-site.
Special mention too should be made of malaysiakini and Malaysia Today that have been good examples of very useful sites for those interested to read and share opinions on the state of the nation.

The march to the palace only reflects the true feelings and aspirations of the common folks and one only has to search for "Malaysian blogs" to see a cross-section of the citizens' views.

It would be good for the government to take heed of such sentiments and not just dismiss bloggers as being irresponsible.

The defiance of the police and braving tear gas and water cannon is not only a sign of anger and frustration but also a plea for fairness and justice.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Moral Victory for Malaysians.....

Depending on whether you read malaysiakini or the mainstream papers, the "yellow" march to the palace to hand in a petition for electoral reforms may mark the birth of a new movement for all loyal Malaysians to defend and protect the nation.

It was a shame that the police ordered people away from the capital thereby preventing many from participating in this peaceful march.

It seems the only violence was created by the police and reports of reporters being beaten do not improve the image of the police.

To the rational observer, once the police were instructed/ordered(?) not to grant a permit for this peaceful march, there was going to be trouble and the only question was,"How much collateral damage?".

Some marchers were sprayed but all in the results were satisfactory for both the police and the marches.
The marchers managed to deliver their petition and the police managed to show they still have the ability to control a large crowd.

Mind you, this was a peaceful march and we should salute all those Malaysians who took part. You are the real guardians of the nation. Keep up the good work.

I guess the police too were told not to attack the marchers or we could have had truckloads of people with broken limbs and cracked heads.

Certainly there are lessons to be learned for both sides. Imagine what a good example for the rest of the world Malaysia would be if a permit had been granted and the march completed without a drop of chemicals being sprayed or a single marcher being unruly?

That would surely augur well for the nation's future. Maybe next time?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Winning the Battle but Losing the War ....

It would take great statemanship but it is still possible to allow a peaceful march for Malaysians.

The police are well prepared and well-equipped to uphold the laws; whether it is for crowd control or rabble rousers and with so many deployed according to this malaysiakini report I am confident they can still save the situation for the PM.

There is no doubt that the authorities can suppress and disperse all the protesters but if one analyses the situation carefully and thoughtfully, it may result in the conclusion of "Winning the Battle but Losing the War" for the authorities.

I am sure there are still some people in authority who know this in their own hearts. As happened elsewhere in the world, once the general population decides that a system needs change, no amount of force can resist that change for it is only a question of time.

The situation can still be saved if the police grant the permit and then deploy their forces to escort the marches in a peaceful and orderly manner.

Otherwise there will be mayhem on the streets and surely no one wants that. It would be a LOSE-LOSE situation.

I Think Malaysians Can be Weaned from the Government

malaysiakini has this article headlined "Gov’t to wean M’sians from subsidies" but I prefer my own heading.

Saturday will see a major clash between the police and the Bersih marchers who want to present a petition to the Agong for a freer and fairer Election Commission that has publicly declared they are really dependent on the government to operate.

It is common knowledge that polls are not really truly fair as an urban voter is under-represented compared to a rural voter and the voting conditions of the armed forces and the police remain shrouded in mystery.

The inaction with respect to the "scandalous judge" also shows the authorities prefer the problem evaporates with the retirement of the Chief Justice.

The third argument for electoral reforms could be the lack of local elections that should be the testing ground for potential candidates and a basic practice of a democracy.

These must be serious problems for the ordinary folks who have taken the trouble to spend the week-end travelling to Kuala Lumpur to try to present a petition to their king.

Yes I think it is possible to wean Malaysians from the subsidies and we should consider the next step and that is to wean Malaysians from their government. Only after the weaning will the nation truly progress.


Friday, November 9, 2007

My TWO Sen Worth on the Use of English

There is an interesting letter in malaysiakini on the use of English so today I would like to share my own experience on the use of English.

As readers will know I am a bit of a dinosaur of the old school system and completed my Sixth Form in 1966. At the time, English was the medium of instruction and Bahasa Melayu was a compulsory subject that you had to pass in order to get the SPM.

I failed that paper - maybe my essay was too political; I wrote about the follies of the Indonesian leader at the time. But that is another story.

I went to the UK on a company scholarship - that was a major milestone as my family was so poor I did not bother to apply for the local Us as I did not get any other scholarship like Colombo Plan or from the government.

When I was in the UK, my coursemates were all Brits and there were eight of us in the class. I used to point out their mistakes in English; especially spelling and grammatical errors. At first they were quite upset and had the superior attitude of "Who are you to tell us what is correct?"

But I persisted and challenged them to check the dictionary etc. After a few rounds of correcting they stopped arguing and would instead ask me if there was some doubt.

During my school days I had wonderful teachers especially the Christian Brothers like Bros. Paul, Casimir and Vincent. As a Eurasian, English is my mother tongue and years of studying in the English medium enabled me to correct my classmates in the UK.

So it is sad to read that the Education Ministry has now allowed students the option to answer the Maths and Science papers in their preferred language; either in English or BM.
It shows that the decision to re-introduce English was not properly considered and the 5-year plan is now in shambles.

What is the latest plan of the Education Ministry? How are the children in Primary One coping? How capable are the teachers?

Changing the medium of instruction is not like making instant coffee. Just like the time when BM was switched in the 70s, the use of English also needs a proper groundwork or we end up with tens of thousands of suffering students, harrassed teachers and accusing parents.

There is much serious work to be done and no amount of keris-waving will get this job done properly without a good plan.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

We Didn't Miss Much, Really..

This article in malaysiakini laments the fact that there were no newspapers in Malaysia on account of the Deepavali holiday.

So Indian newpaper vendors are being targetted as they control the supply chain. The article also suggests that "the Malays are often at the bottom of the supply chain."

I am sure that many readers will argue that Malays are always at the top of the supply chain; getting lucrative contracts that are then subcontracted to others to do the hard work.

And those newspapermen would be glad to get more profitable work to do; like being employed in the civil service.

As for farmers being poor, it is really how they manage the farms and apply themselves. No one can deny the major success of FELDA, many members there became millionaires after working the land after 20 years.

Going back to the top of the supply chain, instead of granting individuals taxi licences therby encouraging the poor to become independent, the permits were granted to a few connected companies and all the drivers became a form of cheap labour.

As for the PM's speech, it is still being delivered in a racist setting - there has been some toning down but all these years the message is still the same.

No Siree we really did not miss much and it is good those newspaper vendors took time out for their family and friends.



Happy Deepavali!

Maybe it is good that the UMNO meeting is being held during the festival of lights.

malaysiakini has an article explaining why the meeting had to take place during this major Hindu celebration.

We certainly need leaders who are enlightened to lead the nation forward. Maybe the light will shine on some on them this year.

Photo: Thanks to http://shutterbug.nu/photos/misc_lakshmipuja.jpg

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Going GLOCAL?? They Should Ban this Word....

Already we suffer from a poor English language syndrome in the schools; with many teachers being unable to teach the language properly.

Those who come from the old school system where English was the medium of instruction will know what I am talking about.

Instead of using simple terms that we can understand, the DPM has the habit of this term "glocal" that is quite mystifying.
It is supposed to mean that you think globally and act locally.

There is an interesting read here from malaysiakini.

Presumably the space tourist or astronaut from Malaysia is a example of a "glocal" Malaysian.
How about those who get crony contracts locally and then arrange to collect illegal payments overseas?
But surely we do have this type of Malaysians aplenty?

I have just one simple solution to creating more Malays who will be proud of their own successes. Get rid of the subsidy mentality induced by 37 years of NEP brainwashing and the Malays will become a proud race.

How can they attain greater success or self-esteem if they get put down all the time by their own leaders?





Another NEP Justification?


(click2 on picture to see details)

Looks as if the goal-posts are being shifted again.

What an inappropriate point to justify more NEP - this time from the PM himself as reported in malaysiakini.
He declared that "Although it has been 37 years since the introduction of the NEP, we have not made Malays rich by seizing the wealth of the non-Malays.

"The list of the richest individuals in Malaysia is still led by non-Malays,” he said in opening the annual Umno meet in Kuala Lumpur today.

If we read between the lines, it seems the NEP must continue untill the list is not led by non-Malays.

I always thought that the NEP was a poverty eradication program and not a Who's Who Ladder of the Rich and Famous.

The solution to the Maths Question =
{sum of (P times Annual Budget) for N years}/(sum of C) for N years

where P = percentage of annual budget allocated
N = number of years of the NEP
C = number of cronies for each year.

How many billions do you estimate the nation has lost due to the greed of the rich and powerful?


The Man who would Be King.....

The last time I checked, Malaysia is still a democratic nation and yet we have so-called "leaders" that want to deny others the right to express their views in a peaceful manner.

According to this malaysiakini article, the authorities have been urged to "come down hard on a planned mass rally calling for electoral reforms to be held in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 10".

This same person was offered a police permit to stage a demonstration when Condoleeza Rice came to Malaysia in July 2006.
They were allowed to burn flags and now this person is trying to deny others the same right that he so readily enjoyed.

The demo against the USA had the greater potential to harm the nation than the Bersih campaign that is asking for a free and fair elections.If the police simply deny the permit, it can be seen to be a non-partisan force and that is really bad for its already tarnished image.

The Bersih organisers should apply for a police permit and if that is denied, take them to the courts for being selective in their treatment of law-abiding Malaysians.

All moderate Malaysians should beware leaders who do not have any sense of decency and fair play.



Tuesday, November 6, 2007

To Illustrate the DPM's Speech....


I try to watch our leaders speaking as one can learn a lot from the body language etc.
Usually our DPM appears quite polished and poised but this speech as reported in malaysiakini seems rather strange with reference to the tongue, the keris and the penis.

Too much use of the latter has resulted in broken families when men cannot control their urges. Worse still, they take it out on their own children or step-children.

Methinks he should encourage them to make better use of their brains instead.

Waiting for Vanna White?


(Click2 on picture to enlarge)
We should not be too perturbed by this article in malaysiakini headed "Panel to submit ‘individual’ reports".

Most of us had the impression that the "No Authority" panel was set up just to impress the public and mainly to buy some time to ponder.

There are so many articles on the No Work Panel so maybe I will share a little about Lee Lam Thye. He was a classmate in Secondary School; IIRC from Sec3 to Sec5 and was a good speaker in school; usually being selected for debates. Patrick Teoh was another classmate. I met LLT and PT just once since school days and that was at least 25 years ago.

Here are the latest results on MALAYSIAWATCH POLL 30 that posed the question:
"What is Your Reaction to the Video on the Judges Scandal?"

Of the 754 readers who took the poll,

449 or 60% felt "We Need a Royal Commission"

150 or 20% chose "The Chief Justice Should Be Brought Before a Tribunal"

104 or 14% picked "The Authorities Will Just Ignore the Findings"

44 or 6% felt "The tape is a fake"

7 or 1% chose "The Independent Panel will Find the Answers"

It is interesting to note that the rankings did not change during the 2-month poll period.