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

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?

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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.
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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?......

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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.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The NEP Has Failed. PERIOD

When one reads a story like this in malaysiakini,it does not a rocket scientist to figure out that a poorly implemented policy like the NEP will never succeed when there is a lack of accountability and non-existent checks and balances.

Those with the proper connections will get immensely wealthy (think APs for a start) while those who are uneducated will just get left behind. Sadly in life that happens anyway but when you start a skewed program like the NEP, there will be many who also try to become qualified and the pool of "grabbers" becomes larger all the time.

I am thinking of those recent migrants and those who marry locals. Many don't have strong religious convictions to start with and so getting converted to another religion is no big deal - after all, the bonanza is quite substantial.

Now after about 40 years people still talk about more NEP - these people are absolutely greedy and will only stop if we turn off the NEP gravy train.

I only support poverty eradication programs based on the following "race-blind" concepts:
1.The government will provide annual grants to charity groups.
2.Work for aid programs will benefit the poor based on needs testing.
3.The poor and uneducated will be counselled to care for smaller families.
4.The government will grant one scholarship for a useful career to each poor family so that the cycle of poverty will be broken.

If we simply carry on as before, do you seriously think the NEP can succeed in another 20 years?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Banks and Unhappy Employees...

Perhaps the government has given the private sector a wrong signal by giving such a massive pay increase without taking into account the effect on inflation.

So now the NUBE is organising pickets to demand a 30% salary increase plus the retention of the 2 months bonus that the banks want to abolish. You can read the article from malaysiakini and watch the video.

The people involved in the pickets do not seem to know what they are fighting for except to be swayed by their leaders.

Instead of simply making demands that banks are making excessive profits they should propose a more realistic framework of how employees can also share some of the bank profits.

A more acceptable plan would be a 15% to 20% salary increase; the retention of the 2 months bonus plus a flexible wage component that will be paid by the bank based on perhaps a percentage of annual profits after tax.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Post from Hanoi

I've just returned from a trip to Halong Bay which is a world heritage site. Today is also my 60th birthday.

But getting back to the problems in the judiciary, just look at Pakistan and see how a country can really go to the dogs with a dictator in power. It looks that the rule of law is being replaced by the rule of the gun.

We Malaysians must guard against this happening and the so-called silent majority cannot remain silent anymore unless we want things to get worse.

malaysiakini's article "Fairuz gone, but crisis remains" shows what needs to be done to improve the situation in Malaysia.

The MALAYSIAWATCH POLL (in green)also shows that 80% out of 747 readers believe "We Need a Royal Commission" or "The Chief Justice Should be Brought Before a Tribunal".

The choice of "The Independent Panel will Find the Answer" was selected by only 1%.
That really shows how much confidence we have in this toothless mechanism. For a government that has been in power since independence, it shows an utter lack of interest or intention to do the right thing.

It shows the height of arrogance couple with the dearth of integrity.
We need more capable people in government soon or I expect in about 15 years Vietnam will overtake Malaysia as a more vibrant economy.

For the silent majority, please do this. Write to your MP about your concerns in the Judiciary and ask him/her what he/she is doing about it. Better still, get a group of friends and ask to meet your MP.That should be quite an interesting adventure.

Friday, November 2, 2007

When Corruption is Allowed to Grow....

The CCID's case of alleged non-disclosure of assets as reported in malaysiakini shows what can happen when the influential and powerful do not report to a public body where everyone knows how top leaders earn their wealth.

We have a system where ministers report to the PM who keeps all details private so that the public really do not know how monies are earned.

The reason given is that ministers etc should be allowed some privacy and that the PM will ensure that everyone behaves.

This is not really good enough for a nation that wants to achieve Vision 2020 or a developed status.

For instance if the PM does not really bother about such reporting, ministers will omit many details and even worse, if the PM makes the wrong use of such information to control people, we need up with a situation where blackmail is used to influence others.

The PM reports his own details of assets to no one so it does not take a rocket scientist to appreciate the overall weakness.

It is quite simple to remedy the basic weakness. The PM should submit all details of his Cabinet and his own assets to a Parliamentary Committee that overseers assets of ministers.
Only then will Malaysians believe that the case of this CCID Director is being properly managed.