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

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Domino Effect for Falling Concrete Beams?

This reason for the flyover collapse that could have killed many motorists seems highly unlikely unless the beams had been placed in position directly above each other; ie eight beams in a vertical pile.

If you study the photo (thanks to New Straits Times) you can see that the beams appear to be all on the same level and if a "Domino Effect" was the actual cause, some broken parts should have fallen on top of each other unless we are supposed to believe that the "Domino" forces had been acting horizontally.

Having observed the massive Causeway "improvement" project in JB, in most cases the beams are placed on the same level at different positions across the span so that the roads can be built over the beams to create the dual carriageway.

Many fingers are being pointed at the contractor about short cuts etc and perhaps they had a role in this near tragedy.

Perhaps they installed the concrete beams too soon after the beams were delivered. If I were to investigate this serious incident, I would obtain samples and also production/quality records of the firm supplying the beams as concrete has a curing rate that can affect the beam strength.

I would also check how the beams had been loaded on the transport vehicle and what type of vehicle had been used and also how the crane operators had hoisted the beams just before the mishap.

As you can see, many factors could have affected the beams' integrity.
"Domino Effect?" Naah....only if you believe in Cinderella.

Disappointed with this Story from malaysiakini

This is a little light-hearted so please don't click the link at the end if you are not in the same mood.

As we all know malaysiakini has been at the leading edge of free journalism in Malaysia and even people from the New Straits Times are assigned to peek at what they do.

But this story was a trite disappointing. I studied the article carefully but could not find any names in the article. I was hoping that perhaps some of those unruly and uncouth leaders and politicians would have been included on the assignment.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Don't Just Depend on the Lawyers or malaysiakini to Defend our Liberty

The nation's lawyers have taken a bold step to highlight problems perceived in the Judiciary but in truth they need the support of all Malaysians.

This post is copied from a table of quotes from this site.
I chose the most succinct ones and added a little information about the person who said the words. However, sometimes it is not really certain who was the first person to say the words as people do use other people's ideas.

Some of these quotes are quite relevant to Malaysians as most of us are really still too complacent or ignorant or resigned about the state of affairs.

Freedom and control of government is not a new concept.

"Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you." -- Pericles, 430 B.C. (a prominent and influential statesman, orator, and general of Athens during the city's Golden Age)

"The secret of happiness is freedom. And the secret of freedom is courage." – Thucydides (an ancient Greek historian, and the author of the History of the Peloponnesian War)

"The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws." -- Tacitus, Roman senator and historian (A.D. c.56-c.115)(a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire)

The USA independence movement produced many interesting quotes on freedom.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." -- Edmund Burke
(an Irish statesman, author, orator, political theorist, and philosopher, who served for many years in the British House of Commonsand supported the US freedom fighters)
"Those who have been once intoxicated with power and have derived any kind of emolument from it can never willingly abandon it." -- Edmund Burke

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." -- Wendell Phillips, (1811-1884), (abolitionist, and columnist for The Liberator and described as most dramatic orator in the American antislavery movement)

"The greatest tyrannies are always perpetrated in the name of the noblest causes." -- Thomas Paine
(Born in Great Britain, he lived in America, having migrated to the American colonies just in time to take part in the American Revolution, mainly as the author of the powerful, widely read pamphlet, Common Sense (1776))

"The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite." -- Thomas Jefferson(the writer of the first US Constitution)
"The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first."-- Thomas Jefferson

Writers also contribute to the debate on liberty:

"If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too." -- Somerset Maugham

"In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." -- Mark Twain

"The government is merely a servant -- merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them..." -- Mark Twain

And finally the words of people in high office.

"The greatest menace to freedom is an inert people." – US Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis
"Man is not free unless government is limited." -- Ronald Reagan: Farewell Speech, 1988
"Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it." -- Milton Friedman

Perhaps you can reflect on these quotes and pick the one that strikes you most and then act on it.

What to do? Get involved soon in the local political party(doesn't matter which really) and help to make this country a better place for all. If you can read this message you are capable of helping this nation survive.

Graphics: Thanks to malaysiakini

Friday, September 28, 2007

No One Likes Change but it is INEVITABLE

So far DENIAL has been the order of the day with the authorities quickly denying the setting up of any inquiry when the "judge-fixing" tape was first disclosed; then the lawyers were barred from entering Putrajaya by bus and then press freedom was denied when the main newspaper editors were ordered not to highlight the March for Justice.
Now we have an incredible minister denying that there is a scandal or any crisis in the Judiciary.
As a picture paints a thousand words, here is my suggestion of how a crooked judge will probably operate. It is not related to any video but shows what happens when a officer of the law becomes corrupt.

(please double-click cartoon to enlarge)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Take the MalaysiaWatch Poll 30

You can read many articles on the "Judges Scandal" at malaysiakini and Malaysia Today and also the march of the lawyers to Putrajaya.

So please spend a minute and take this poll which poses the question,
"What is Your Reaction to the Video on the Judges Scandal?"

Make comments if you prefer a different answer.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Is This Not a Smoking Gun?

Did you watch the famous 8-minute tape?
If not, you are missing out on history in the making.

The video can be viewed on malaysiakini.tv and the details are really astounding.
Unless the "independent" panel appointed by the government can prove that the tape is an "April Fool's" joke in September, it suggests that some government leaders have been manipulated by a lawyer and businessmen. Or is it the other way around and some government leaders have been able to manipulate judges?

It really casts a major blot on the whole judiciary when the government interferes with the appointment of judges.

For those who have not seen the video, it show a rather rotund person with a foreground of bottles (expensive wine perhaps?) and talking on the phone. The audio is very clear and the names mentioned are distinct.

So how should the panel proceed?
I guess a voice analysis would be the starting point to make a positive identification of the speaker.

Once that is done, the details of the phone call can also be verified based on the telco's records.

After that it depends on the political will of the government and if it can subdue the aspirations of the Malaysian public.

Like it or not, we really cannot allow the Judiciary to be subject to such possible manipulations without jeopardising the future of our nation.
As Japan's leadership has shown, changing national leaders on a regular basis should be tolerable but we cannot afford a tainted judiciary.

Graphics: Thanks to http://www.numilogebooks.com/package/couvertures/mobi_images/SmokingGunThe.jpg

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

An Acid Test for Malaysia's Newspapers

Remember the Watergate story?
President Nixon tried to deny the tapes scandal until the independent Justice department and the press obtained enough information and evidence to force the President to resign or face impeachement.

Over here we have a slightly different scenario.
The public have little confidence in the major players being made fully accountable as recent cases have proved "unsolvable" with no culprits being brought to justice as in the cases of BMF, Perwaja and you can add probably a dozen more.

Apart from malaysiakini the mainstream press carries the usual subdued comments and the usual denials.

I guess if one is really involved in any fixing schemes, the usual and automatic response would be a strong denial and the Minister should not be upset if most readers feel that his remarks appear like merely an empty vessel.

So where do we go from here?
All the vital organs of the body of Malaysia appear to have a terminal cancer and we desperately need the equivalent of a brain and heart transplants to ensure our survival.

The brain represents the political leadership to ensure good policies for peace, progress and justice.

The heart represents the police and judiciary so that laws are properly enforced and all Malaysians will enjoy equal protection under the law.

The good news is that we are still fortunate to enjoy the freedom to vote in elections but the bad news is that many Malaysians still do not realise that we are being cheated of our freedom and rights.

Friday, September 7, 2007

I Thought the Rubbish is in Parliament, Not on the Roof

I watched the Works Minister trying to explain why the roof of Parliament House still leaks even though money has already been spent to rectify the problem a few months ago. Read the report from malaysiakini here.

It seemed as if the Minister was about to burst out laughing during the brief episode but I guess his years of hamming enabled him to control the urge.

Surely the latest repair job should have included the removal of any rubbish before the repairs were done.

There is more rubbish within the MPs over the years compared to any leftovers on the roof. If someone described our Cabinet as "half past six" I wonder how would some of our MPs be classified?

Photo: Thanks to http://www.cdc.gov/elcosh/docs/d0500/d000515/mess.jpgxv

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Good that the Draft for the IPCMC is Ready

I had the impression that the IPCMC had been buried for good but this is certainly good news after a wait of almost 3 years.

As I wrote in an earlier article I'm guessing that one of the conditions for the IGP's 2-year contract extension is probably the implementation of the IPCMC and don't be surprised if the IPCMC is approved just before the next general elections.

That would be a good carrot for the majority of the people are waiting to improve the performance of the police force as crime is quite rampant these days.

Since the draft is ready, it should be posted on government websites and public notices so that feedback from concerned citizens can also be considered.

As for other agencies affected by the draft bill, they should be given a time frame like 60 days to reply. We certainly cannot wait another 3 years for this important bill to be passed.

Photo: Thanks to http://www.global-b2b-network.com/direct/dbimage/50347228/Red_Carrots.jpgvx

Too Much a Burden on Judges?

I am no legal expert but the backlog of written judgements may be attributable to too much pressure being placed on one man to determine the verdict especially the death penalty.

Jury trials were decided by members of the public and people did not do jury duty on a regular basis.

It appears that some judgements by individuals may have been decided by pity or anger and may not reflect the case particulars. Hence the difficulty in presenting the written judgements.


The response was not good with only 20 pollsters as follows:

The question posed was
"How Are You Enjoying the Ride in the Bus Called Malaysia?"

12 readers or 60% felt "The Bus Company Sucks and Needs a Shakeup"

4 or 20% chose "The Bus Driver Does Not Drive Well"

3 or 15% chose "STOP the Bus. I Want to Get Off"

1 or 5% felt "I am Enjoying the Ride"

No one selected "I am Hoping to Catch Another Bus Soon"

I am taking a three-week break and will be back with hopefully a more interesting poll.

Well Done ACA for Nabbing Cheats!

It is good that the ACA has been able to nab these driving test cheats as these schools have enabled hundreds of people to drive without going through the official tests.

One wonders what type of supervision is conducted by the JPJ during the on-line tests. If computers can "be rigged" to pass candidates the whole system must be rather suspect. As they always say, "You need to follow the money" and this is how the ACA can probe deeper into this dangerous crime. The victims will be you and I when unqualified people are allowed on our dangerous roads - the killing fields of Malaysia.

Driving schools do not seem to have changed much after so many years.
This is what happened to me.
I took my lessons sometime in 1966 and paid about RM600 for the so-called "package" in those days where they guarantee a pass.
I passed at the first attempt as I was quite used to driving a big car in those days but it was mainly parking within the house compound and garage that was rather narrow.

I sent my licence back from the UK where I was studying to my brother for renewal and was informed that my licence was fake and the JPJ wanted to see me. Anyway my brother told them I was away and would not be back for a few years.

As I wanted to drive in the UK I had to take the test there but before that I took about 6 lessons. The instructor corrected a few mistakes like riding the clutch while cornering but I did pass at the first attempt and obtained the UK Driver's Licence for many categories like heavy vehicles etc.

When I returned to Malaysia the UK licence was used to obtain a new Malaysian licence and I still have the Kelas B,D,E and H approved which means I can drive a tractor!

We need to ensure that such test centers are closely supervised and those who were negligent should be sacked.

Graphics: Thanks to http://www21.sbs.com.au/alchemy/media/images/3285p_plate.jpg

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A Strange Arrangement....

I find the plan to get an officer in uniform to accompany plain clothes cops on duty rather strange.

Of course it is good that an Inspector will also do some rounds but I find little merit in this scheme as the concept of a plain clothes cop is jeopardised even before he takes the first step. Is not the cop in mufti to provide the element of surprise and to keep the criminals worried as they will not know when they can be arrested?

It seems to be an overkill response to a problem that should have been prevented if plain clothes cops are adequately trained and properly supervised.For example, plain clothes cops can offer anyone they detain the chance to see their authority cards and even to call the police station to verify their identity.

Different Strokes for Different Folks?

As we celebrate our 50 years of Independence as a nation it is sad to note that Malaysia does not take good care of all its citizens and many of our young and talented youth have to struggle with further education issues as the nation does not appear to value the benefit of retaining our human capital.

All the talk about developing human capital appears to be mere hogwash when we cannot provide our best youth scholarships to study locally and force them overseas after which they will probably never return to help the country progress further.

I wonder if the higher education ministry can provide details on how many young and talented Malaysians we have already lost.
Of particular interest are the numbers on government scholarships that have failed to return to serve after graduation. The table shown will give a quick check on how many students the nation has lost.

We cannot afford to adopt a "tiadapa" attitude as these educated Malaysians are essential to help the nation progress as our oil reserves will soon be depleted.


Monday, September 3, 2007

How Safe are the NS Camps?

With so many thousands attending the camps for National Service it is inevitable that sometime during those three months, there will be some deaths during the program.

So we should study the causes of the deaths and compare it with similar programs and even the more vigorous schemes such as training in military camps.

I think this death seems to be a case of negligence as the boy died about a week after a fall during training and the camp authorities did not send the boy to hospital untill it was too late.

Since the NS program started, the death toll seems to be creeping steadily upwards even if more protective measures have been introduced.

Allow me a share an experience during my OBS course more than 40 years ago.
We were on a whaling expedition with an overnight camp in one of the islands off Lumut, maybe it was Pangkor.

As we were bringing in the boat, I stepped on something in the water and there was a flash of movement and I felt a sharp pain on my right ankle. I quickly got into the boat and looked in the water to see what it was.

The first thought was "sea snake" and that really scared me as we were miles away from anyone and of course in those days there were no mobile phones. The throbbing pain subsided after some hours but during the next few hours I was really scared and just waiting for the poison to take effect.

The instructor told me to rest quietly and not do any rowing and he told me later that I was really pale and scared.

Anyway after I reached camp I was quite happy as after so many hours I was still alive and even though I had a wound I carried out normal duties and even took part in the 5mile road race where I finished about the top 6 trainees.

Two days later however my ankle had become swollen and tender and I reported in sick or the Instructor asked to to go to the Lumut hospital with a few other wounded. They gave me an injection and I was excused from the last 2 days program that included the 30-mile hike.

I still have a small scar from that incident. It is about 10mm long right on the bone of the outer ankle. I think the wound was caused by a small sting-ray that was buried in the sand.