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

Thursday, September 18, 2008

malaysiakini Should Give this FRIENDLY ADVICE to the POLICE CHIEF


We know it must be a tough job enforcing the law, especially when the political tension is so high according to this malaysiakini article Don't speculate on gov't takeover, warn police.

However, it is a hopeless task as I guess the bookies are already taking bets on the number of defectors, when the takeover will happen, whether the police will arrest Anwar to protect him under ISA and so on.

As the law enforcement agency, the police must be seen to be fair and firm to all parties. In fact they can even advise the PM that the situation should be decided soon by calling for that Emergency debate in Parliament. That is the proper venue where someone will be put in his proper place.

It is not fair to expect the police to chase speculation shadows when real tragedies/crime have not abated.
Speculation is merely part of the political instability that has been caused by the impasse between the two groups.

malaysiakini Reports that the PM BLINKED?

It looks as if the PM is afraid of meeting Anwar's challenge of the "NO CONFIDENCE" motion in Parlaiment as reported in this malaysiakini article PM rejects 'no confidence' session as he says -
"I don't see the need as the Parliament will sit after Ramadhan," Abdullah told reporters after chairing an Umno supreme council meeting at Putra World Trade Centre today.
The Parliament is set to resume its sittings on Oct 13.


Anwar wanted to meet the PM to discuss national issues like the political uncertainty and now this Parliament debate should be the crunch session whereby Anwar has to show that he has support of the majority of the MPs.

That is what Malaysia is urgently waiting for as it is now like a ship without a rudder. Why has the PM blinked?

malaysiakini and the SHOWDOWN at PARLIAMENT?


I believe that this is the solution that 90% of all Malaysians want to see as it will prove that after 51 years of independence, our politicians are prepared to relinquish power via a peaceful process.

This malaysiakini article Anwar seeks emergency House session is a fair request as the PM had declined a suggestion to meet with the Opposition leaders.

Malaysia no doubt can be considered a successful nation but we need new leadership that can help us progress faster. Just like a champion athlete cannot win all the races all the time, there is no written law that says Malaysia must have a BN government or none at all.

I am sure that a peaceful handover will ensure that we will finally emerge with a successful 2-party system and I am also very confident that if the (new) government does not perform to the high expectations, they may not be returned in the next General Elections.

The declaration of Emergency is not justified and will definitely jettison our international stature maybe just above Zimbabwee.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

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Managed to resolve a feed issue, so please go to the new site
MalaysiaWatch4
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malaysiakini a Harbinger of GREAT NEWS Too

Lately most of the articles have been rather serious, especially with the political instabilty after the March elections.
But the news in malaysiakini that the USM picked as Apex university shows that is government is still able to make some good decisions without political overtones.

OK I don't know if there were any political factors but Penang is an opposition state and it is good that the Higher Education Ministry was able to make this decision. I think USM started off as a teacher's training college the MTC as some of my school-mates were trained there as teachers.

Perhaps being far away from the political center has enabled the USM to develop more as an academic centre compared to UM that has more political activities.

This should be a good lesson for UM and perhaps UiTM to improve. The former is taking up the challenge as UM not deterred, to strive for global status .

The NST article mentions that
"One of the initiatives taken in this direction was the setting up of a RM30 million fund to send local UM students on foreign exchange programmes, she added.

"Our aim is to send 1,000 students a year supported by the fund." "


I always thought that to upgrade a university one needs quality lecturers and good teaching methods to attract better students. I think the money would be better spent to send some good lecturers overseas to improve their skills and then bond them for say two years for each year of study and a defined career growth path.

Friday, September 5, 2008

malaysiakini indicates Not only BN but UMNO Appears to be BREAKING UP

Following the March elections and the Permatang Pauh by-elections, the BN coalition has been buffeted by winds akin to a major hurricane that wreaks havoc and great damage.

Perhaps the loss was too traumatic as only 4 years earlier, the BN was returned with the greatest majority and the opposition was almost wiped out.

This article in malaysiakini shows how fragile is the cement that is keeping UMNO together when Penang UMNO backs Ahmad, Snubs Pak Lah . A year ago such an incident would be unheard of.

I wonder if Ahmad Ismail has adopted such a hard line as he wants to antagonise the Chinese or just to increase the pressure on the PM to resign.
It is quite possible that the top leadership of UMNO has lost the confidence of UMNO members at the grass roots level.
There have been calls for AAB to quit from many quarters, even UMNO members. The party has various mechanisms in place to reduce contests for the top leadership and in a party crisis, members will break away more readily and voice their discontent.

Of course this is the worst time for the party as morale is weak and any wrong moves could result in a major UMNO schism. If democratic principles had been religiously followed and money politics eradicated, UMNO would not be in this predicament now.

malaysiakini Promotes CHANGE


If you have been following the USA Presidential Campaigns, you will notice that both the Republicans and Democrats are promoting change.
In Malaysia malaysiakini has been an important change agent since it was launched and you can see the difference in the people's response to it.

In the early days there were not many letters and very few wanted their names published. Today if you look at the feedback, there is a variety of issues discussed and people have become more open. There is hope for this nation as most of the views are well-articulated and with good reasoning.

That is how a nation advances, by making use of all its talents and not side-lining large portions of its population.
This freedom of expression has spread to the Perlis mufti according to this malaysiakini article Perlis mufti keeps 'em guessing over poem .

The funny thing about change is that some wise person said, "The more things change, the more they remain the same".

Thanks to You Tube for the famous protest song of the 60s "Time's they are a'Changing" by Peter, Paul and Mary". I attended a concert by them in the UK when I was a student in the late 60s.

I Think malaysiakini Should Start a "Life's Funny" Section

Most of the articles in malaysiakini are really serious.
Sodomy, Police Breaking into Houses, Corruption of Top Leaders etc.

You need a dose of humour to get through some of the articles.
This story got my attention - Trip not aimed at derailing Sept 16 defections.

The story describes how many BN MPs are being rounded up to get sent overseas as
"The budget had provided for huge allocations to develop the agricultural industry.

"This trip would provide a good experience to improve the agricultural sector," said Tiong."


According to the Star article, Barisan reps asked to hand in passports for study trip it seems that some of the MPs who have been selected appear to be out of the loop.

I wonder if this is how the BNBBC approaches new laws like the pending DNA Act. Now a study trip on that would be more justified as seen by the cavalier manner with which it was rushed through.

So maybe that section should be "Believe it or Not" and not "Life's Funny".

malaysiakini Suggests Najib Apologise but this Time it Should be UMNO's Turn

According to the malaysiakini article, Another dose of racism? Over to you Najib all government scholars have to undergo 5-day induction courses that reinforce the notion that non-Malays are all immigrants and therefore cannot have equal rights as citizens of Malaysia.

malaysiakini mentions these types of courses have been going on for many years and people were simply too scared to report or complain about the matter.
Nowadays we spend more than RM600m each year on the NS Scheme and the results are hardly significant to mention. Of course some children do enjoy their 3-months away from home.

It is not completely hopeless yet. Many of us who visit government offices will note some of the staff are still kind and courteous though some can also be haughty.
Before things turn horribly worse, the government should appoint a multi-racial panel of sorts to review the teaching material for such a course.

Otherwise the government may be accused of conducting brain-washing courses that will be more at home in North Korea. Maybe the UMNO guy who refuses to apologise is a product of this training?

malaysiakini asks Pray for CHEAP PETROL? I Suggest Better to PRAY for a GOOD Government....

I do not agree with this article from malaysiakini headed PM: Pray for lower fuel prices .

Not when Malaysia is still a net exporter of oil and our sweet crude fetches a premium compared to the lower grade that we import.

I urge all Malaysians to pray instead for good government that has to struggle to keep things in balance; from tackling rising inflation and the great divisive forces of racism that are driving our citizens apart.

A Government that upholds the rule of law and implements the findings of its own Royal Inquiries and ensures that massive losses in the Annual Auditor-General's Reports are acted upon.

Finally let us pray that any new government is not simply the same old government but with a different coating.

Let us ensure that all citizens enjoy the NEW DEAL. Think about it - with good governance we would not have to worry about oil prices as a responsible government will be able to manage the economic problems more effectively than hoping on the vagaries of the futures market.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Good Profile of a RECALCITRANT Leader from malaysiakini

Do you remember how our PM tried to smoothe things over with "I'll have a word with him. He did not mean what he said."

Apparently the PM was mistaken as even after the humbling apology by the DPM on behalf of UMNO and the government, the person who uttered those offending words is not apologetic as according to the malaysiakini article, Ahmad Ismail: I'll not apologise .

Now we all know that some leaders used to stoke racial sentiments whenever the time comes for the leadership elections but this person's stance is really unacceptable and shows the failure of our system where some people have been indoctrinated with too much self-importance.

Let us see how the police and UMNO handle this member.

malaysiakini Reports on MISSING LINK for the WANTON WASTAGE

So far the Horror Story on how many billions of ringgit have been lost in the Auditor-General's Annual Report is about RM1.5billion and rising.

You can read the AG's Report on their web-site but there is no English translation except in the correction of press articles - they are quite precise.

malaysiakini has this article headed Special unit to do spot-checks on gov't depts.

While the actions of the AG's office can prevent minor mistakes and negligence from developing into massive losses, it seems to me that having more reports will not do much to stem leakages unless there is a more positive control and strict actions taken against those responsible for the losses.

For example, the malaysiakini article reports

"When asked about the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) probe on the irregularities in financial management as highlighted in the Auditor-General's Report 2007, Ambrin said that "all information is available on the AG's website" and it was up to the ACA to investigate.

"The website is open to the public and to the media. So there is no reason for the ACA not to access the website," said Ambrin."


This is a major flaw that must be addressed if Malaysia is not to keep losing billions each year on account of negligence and corruption.
Surely it is possible for the AG's office to submit its official report to the PM's office with a copy to the ACA with some defined criteria to investigate wrong-doings like for example:

1.Project exceeds budget by 15%
2.Project completion delayed by 3 months
3.Variation orders more than 20% of project
4.Project exceeds budget by more than RM5m
5.Ministry overall budget exceeded by RM50m or 15% whichever is more.

Already the government's spending is growing out of control and we really need to control the monies more diligently. Since we are paying for 2 Finance Ministers, maybe one of them should do allocations and the other take control of prudence and corrective actions?
Remember the oil revenue will soon be gone and then we may not be able to pay even one Finance Minister.

We MUST Heed malaysiakini's DIRE WARNING on the MOTHER of ALL DRACONIAN LAWS

I am of course referring to the proposed DNA Act that has proved defective in Australia as according to a lawyer, DNA evidence can go terribly wrong: lawyer .

Already Malaysia has many repressive laws like the ISA, Sedition Act and we have the corruption in major law enforcement arms like the Police and Judiciary where major reforms like the IPCMC have not been adopted.

How can we introduce the DNA Act without first implementing the IPCMC? It appears that the DNA Act as things stand in Malaysia is going to be the APEX LAW of Malaysia as it gives the Police unparalleled powers to "fix" problems.

It is similar to the killing of criminals without proper due process but in a more scientific manner - the Courts do the killing as the DNA evidence cannot be refuted or challenged. Remember we have laws that provide the mandatory death sentence?

According to the malaysiakini article, police are

"reviewing 7,000 cases that had used DNA evidence after it was found that DNA evidence used to convict a murder suspect, Russell John Gesah, was contaminated.
Gesah was earlier convicted of a 1984 murder of a mother and her young daughter.
"

It does not matter whether PR or BN is in power. Such a law is really bad and I urge you to sign petitions and show your disagreement by writing to your MP at the very least.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Surprised that malaysiakini Promotes TDM's Blog

"Dr M seeks support to give PM the boot" is the rallying call of the malaysiakini article.

Many people are not happy with the BN leadership and it seems that Anwar's PR coalition appears to be taking a more legitimate manner to take over the government though some are not happy at the concept of cross-overs. Now cross-overs are not illegal and I suppose we should thank TDM for that convenience.

The restrictions or qualifying numbers of nominations for top UMNO posts were also contrived during his stewardship and now he says "UMNO leaders are useless"?

I don't see how the "country will be destroyed" if the opposition takes over. Maybe the business interests of some cronies. And also those who have been stealing big time from the nation might have to skip the free pass as in Monopoly - you don't collect your $200 but may end up in jail.

As for UMNO, even if AAB is forced to step down, the party is going nowhere except into the history books unless it takes the next 5 years in opposition and reinvents itself into a nationalistic but non-racist party. I hope they can achieve that for it will enable Malaysia to become a 2-party system.

malaysiakini Riddle - What Happens when You Combine MASSIVE WEALTH and PROFLIGATE SPENDING?

Seriously the Auditor-General's Annual Report should be renamed "Malaysia Annual Report of Horror Spending" as that would cause more ordinary folks to read where the major leaks are in our financial expenditure.

We have two Finance Ministers but apparently no one controls how the money of our wealthy nation is being used - they simply make major allocations and then find ways to squeeze the monies from the ordinary folks.

Just look at this article from malaysiakini - Navy overspent RM114 mil on jetty HQ and see how easy it is to squander funds without any problems.

The malaysiakini article also mentions that the "crooked bridge project" costing "RM1.27 billion Custom, Immigration and Quarantine building at Bukit Chagar, Johor Bahru did not undergo an open tender process."
Now we also know that the project started even though Singapore did not agree. No that should be corrected - the project started despite Singapore's objection.

But the Works Minister at the time is no longer in Parliament so don't hold your breath for any justification. BTW the project is still incomplete and was supposed to end by 2007.

Will ABDULLAH Choose ANWAR or NAJIB?

I believe Malaysia is on the brink of a political upheaval as the last General Elections showed that many Malays have decided that the BN government has lost much of its credibilty.

Instead of reading and understanding the writing on the wall, the BN parties have not taken the voters' message to heart and most decided to present a makeover by electing new leaders.

Of course ANWAR has played a major role in becoming the catalyst and leader for change. He is a good communicator and perhaps his stint overseas provided him the chance to hone his skills.

This article in malaysiakini indicates that Meeting Agong? Not yet, says Anwar plans to take over the government are quite advanced.

Another article in malaysiakini titled "Sept 16: What will 'cornered animal' BN do?" paints a bleak scenario of the country becoming like another Zimbabwee.
That can happen if extremists are allowed to stage incidents like riots but this time it could be worse as Malays could be fighting Malays.

To their credit the police have been able to keep such incidents from erupting especially in the recent PP elections.

Our PM started office with well publicised intentions and perhaps he promised too much but delivered too little. His announced handing over power in 2010 combined with the growing momentum of Anwar's movement has resulted in what is commonly called a "lame duck" government.

The BN will find it difficult to win the next round if a snap elections is called and declaring a national emergency will damage Malaysia's future for many years.

I am in no position to know the details of any discussions between PR and BN leaders and so this merely the view of an armchair writer.
I agree with many Malaysians that AAB is basically a good man but he has been misinformed and made too many poor decisions to lead the nation. I believe he will not want to see the nation damaged by strife caused by irresponsible elements.

He could reach out to Anwar and suggest by-elections for those seats where the MPs want to cross-over together with getting most uniformed units to cast their ballots at normal ballot stations instead of the postal votes that would be restricted to only those on active duty.

Or he could realise that the BN will be mauled as the parties have not changed and the voters will vote PR. So instead of inviting a political thrashing, he could disband the BN, resign and ask the Agong to select the next Prime Minister.

That way he could really get the BN parties to rethink their future in the opposition. I am sure that with proper policies and strategies with good leadership, the BN will be able to become part of the two-party system that can propel Malaysia forward.

"SORRY" is the WRONG Word.....

Remember the corny line from the movie "Love Story" that goes like this: "Love Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry"?

The movie was a hit with romantics and and somehow UMNO apologising to the Chinese seems a little strange.
The Chinese are upset as a division leader asked the Chinese to bugger off as they were "immigrants" as described in this malaysiakini article Ahmad-bashing continues. After all, how many of us can claim to be "Orang Asli"?Even the ex-MB of Selangor has not more than 3 generations who were born here.

I believe under the Sedition laws, the police have enough reports to investigate the remark for the matter can incite racial ill feelings and create civil unrest.

Even though the remarks were made during the PP by-elections, it was at a public gathering and should not be treated as an internal matter.

No doubt UMNO leaders are slowly coming to a little more maturity, it appears that the initial reaction from the top leaders was most disappointing,to be polite. UMNO members are not above the law and the police would gain more respect from the public if they act according to the law and not look first as to who is the law-breaker.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The BN Parties' Theme Song?



With so much political wrangling and racist tensions going on, perhaps learning this song may ease some of the pain. Apart from taking extra strong Panadol!

The article from malaysiakini tells more of the developments under
PKR leader poaching whole parties, not just MPs


That surely sounds like something major is brewing.

Thanks to YouTube (Connie Francis sings "Who's Sorry Now.")

The GOVERNMENT is Not "FAT and UNWIELDY" - It is OBESE!


That chart from malaysiakini should be a marketer's dream but unfortunately it is one of government expenditure and becomes the taxpayers' nightmare.

This article in malaysiakini needs to be corrected - Gov't has grown 'fat and unwieldy'.
Seriously, the bureaucracy has grown in numbers by leaps and bounds.Just look at the number of Cabinet posts that generate even more positions in government.

I think there are two major causes for the huge government expenditure:

1.Instead of a reduction in the civil servants, employment is being extended and more unemployable graduates are being absorbed.
2.Much monies have been spent in IT systems and while many areas have increased productivity, the number of workers has not been trimmed.

Now we know that there is always corruption in the system and thus businessmen have to pay more - you pay more taxes to support the system and then then there will be more obstacles to prevent you from doing business. Many things need "consultants" and facilitators.

ANWAR Should Take Over the Government on Higher Ground

Although we do have laws that allow elected MPs to cross-over, taking over the government in this manner is subject to abuse as money politics is now practised by some parties.

He won a fantastic campaign in Permatang Pauh and the results show that more Malaysians welcome a change of government.

malaysiakini has the article Sept 16: What will 'cornered animal' BN do? and the possibilities do not look good for the nation.
The writer mentions emergency rule, ops lallang and even assassination as the desperate measures that can occur.

I am sure most of the moderate Malaysians prefer to see political problems settled fast as the uncertainty is definitely affecting business and investments.

Anwar must ensure that he wins the government on a higher ground and he can do this through the following:

1.Ask all those wanting to cross-over to resign their seats and recontest under the PR coalition.
2.The Government allows free and fair elections and postal votes are only allowed for those on active duty in remote areas. Otherwise arrange for these voters to cast their votes at normal stations. The numbers can be easily verified based on records.

Just as Anwar asked PP voters to grant him a larger victory which they did, now it is the time of those wavering MPs to let the voters decide.
I know we have those laws that allow for defections but I suggest those laws are the basic cause of the beginning of political corruption.

All peace-loving Malaysians should pray that those who strive to lead us will be granted wisdom and not be blinded by the seduction of power.

RACISM in Malaysia - the Sun Never SETS?


malaysiakini has this article Racism still haunts nation at 51st Merdeka
In many nations like Australia there are laws against racism and a racist remark will lead to law suits and that is one way to reduce racist incidents.

In Malaysia we have a culture of supporting race-based political parties that have ruled the nation for 51 years and it seems that instead of improving race relations, these parties are actually contributing to the deterioration in race relations.

What compounds the matter is that the law enforcers, the police appear to have forgotten their role and duty of upholding laws and just adopt their own sense of justice. Once the police become biased, they really lose their effectiveness and no one will trust them.

For example, some people were allowed to demonstrate against the USA when Rice visited Malaysia but HINDRAF demos were met with considerable force.

The malaysiakini article mentions that "the big businesses and vested interests that have backed the Barisan’s stay in power who will push for the status quo to remain".

Big business does not like political instability as decisions cannot be made for further investment etc. Of course vested interests do not want change as they will lose much and some of them will have to go to jail.
But for most Malaysians who know that reducing corruption will mean that some of the 25% to 30% leakages can be curbed, they are waiting for the BN sun to set so that Malaysia can be born again. Do take the orange poll on the left if you have not done so.

Photo: Sunset in Inside Passage, Alaska. From ms VEENDAM

Monday, September 1, 2008

WRONG to Use Police for POLITICAL PLOYS

malaysiakini has this report "Special Branch probes defection rumours: S'wak MP".

In Malaysia the laws allow MPs to cross-over and this law was passed many years ago by the BN government to "facilitate" a change-over of the Sabah state legislature.
Now this law has come back to haunt the BN as Anwar Ibrahim strives to get MPs to defect to the opposition and thereby takeover the government.

Since there is no law against a cross-over, the police should not be involved with politicians unless some of those MPs are being investigated for other crimes. Otherwise investors will surely get the notion that we are a police state.

No doubt the political situation is not very stable but we are a democracy and the government needs to get its house in order and get on with the job.

They should call for a snap elections if the cross-over is imminent and take their chances with the good citizens of Malaysia. Is that not what democracy is all about?

Photo: Thanks to AP

SURELY We Have Enough PUBLIC HOLIDAYS?

Of course everyone enjoys a public holiday but I don't support the idea of the Pakatan states being given an extra holiday to celebrate the annual Malaysia Day on Sept 16 like their East Malaysian counterparts. according to the malaysiakini article.

I suggest that Anwar organises some fund-raising activities among the 5 states on a Saturday when civil servants don't work to gauge whether the people want to improve solidarity with the people in Sabah and Sarawak.

The funds raised can be used to improve the lot of the poor in the two states and I am sure that will be much appreciated by the folks over there.
Has anyone calculated the economic costs of an extra shutdown of all those factories?
Maybe they can substitute one of the state holidays for Malaysia Day instead? Now that would be a different kettle of fish.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

RM1 BILLION LOST and Counting

Did you know that based on the latest Auditor-General's Report during the last 2 days the amount lost/squandered/wasted/cheated has topped RM1 Billion?

malaysiakini has two reports so far:
Bakun dam comes under fire
RM10m worth of teaching equipment 'missing'


I suggest to malaysiakini they should do a summary of all the losses as it has already topped RM1 billion to date.

The NST is running a few good articles on the wanton wastage of the derelict ministries. This is really a shocker for our 51st year celebrations. With such wastage going unchecked, it seems no one is held accountable.
Today's Merdeka "present" shows that Half billion spent, RM25m returns for an overseas project/disaster that rivals the Proton adventure with motocycles.

Instead of rushing new bills through Parliament, why are the MPs not discussing what actions should be taken to stem the endless wastage?
I suggest that the ACA should open an investigation file into any deviations that exceed RM50million on any particular project or any ministry that has a total of RM100m deviations in total.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

If Proper Actions are Taken with Every AG's REPORT, CORRUPTION Can Be Controlled

I don't mean Attorney-General but Auditor-General whose painstaking work each year is a major "Don't Do List" for the various ministries.

Unfortunately for those who worry where their hard earned contributions go in the form of taxes, it seems each year is a like a broken record with the amounts getting larger and larger.

malaysiakini has this report of RM9.56m worth of teaching equipment 'missing'.

An even more shocking report is made of the Bakun dam where malaysiakini also reports further financial leaks.
"An additional RM708 million was approved by the Finance Ministry although the contract has clearly stated that any risk for additional cost should be borne by MCHJV."

No wonder the government can be generous to grant the RM20 free electricity.
If you consider the RM20 free electricity per month and supposing that is granted to 300000 households, the total amount per year is only RM6million.

I wonder if there is any serious debate in Parliament on the Auditor-Generals's Report?

BUDGET 2009 - What the Money People Say

The earlier piece was to provide some dramatic relief after all the hoohah in the recent Permatang Pauh by-elections.

Now this is what the real experts are saying. OK experts too get their views mixed up but don't just listen to the MSM and malaysiakini.

Bloomberg's take:
"Malaysia Puts Ratings at Risk on Politics, Ballooning Deficit"
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601080&sid=a.r4678RYnZ8&refer=asia

If ratings fall, it means that borrowing costs may go up.

BUDGET 2009 - What the TV Stations and Newspapers Do NOT Report?

malaysiakini has this article headed:

"Najib: It's not a populist budget!"
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/88861

citizen1 thinks: "After your recent outburst about how some Malaysians are ungrateful about the fuel price reduction, are you trying to be more diplomatic? Maybe you want to swear on that too?"

The article also has some remarks made by various people.

"Dr Maximus Ongkili, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation:
This is not a politically motivated move as these are the basic demands of the people. The government is very sensitive to the voice of the people especially in Sabah and Sarawak. We have been voicing it in our state assemblies that the basic needs should be met. And this is our focused action on the matter. But we will see how sincere the government is in tackling those problems.

citizen2: "Let the goodies flow. They (Putrajaya) will listen more so long as you do not pledge"

Hishamuddin Hussein, Minister of Education:
I am very happy with the allocations and thankful to the government despite our unstable economic situation. The allocation given to the ministry is also much higher than last year's as we have received an extra RM1.8 billion in this budget. This proves that the government is making public education as a priority and I admit that this huge amount of allocation would give me a bigger responsibility and I will make sure that it will be channelled to the right hands.

citizen3: "Whose hands might that be? You are responsible to ensure the success of the improvement of English. What is the status?"

Liow Tiong Lai, Minister of Health:
We are very happy with the government's plan. We were given special funds to build clinics in rural areas and the budget provided for us to continue to uplift the services of our health delivery system in the country and the government has put that in the right direction.
(On higher taxes for cigarettes) This is a very strong sign of the commitment of the government to get people to quit smoking, especially the young people. Smoking is bad for the health. So the government will continue with the anti-smoking campaign. We hope that the increase of the price will deter the people from smoking.

citizen4: "You will definitely uplift the health system by bringing home those recalcitrant doctors who were on overseas scholarships!"

Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Minister of Information:
This is a popular budget and we are accused of being populist. Populist means when the crude oil price goes up, they would say they would bring down the price. Now that is populist rather than realistic. But the government admits that when the oil price goes up, we would also increase the price. This budget is a realistic plan for the time being.

citizen5:"So you lost the debate. Your last remark indicates the budget is a stop-gap without much long-range thinking and focus"

Nor Mohamed Yakcop, Minister of Finance (II):
The deficit will increase this year, but this is only a one-off deficit as it will go down next year in 2009 as the government's revenue will increase. The deficit will also go down due to the taxes paid by Petronas as the company would pay the taxes this year according to last year's deficit, which is much lower.But this year, our deficit has increased, and next year Petronas would be paying the taxes according to this year's much higher amount of deficit.

citizen6: "Either malaysiakini reporter misquoted you or you yourself don't understand what you are saying!"

Shahrir Abdul Samad, Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs:
The government will give RM20 free electricity for poor home owners only. We are not copying the Selangor government that gives RM20 free water without considering they are poor or not. We are giving to those who do not actually use a lot of electricity, that fall in the income bracket that really needs help.We have for those who need help that can't improve their lives in the economic position. It is the government's responsibility to increase the social safety net. That is a group that needs help and assistance and by assisting those behind the poverty line including pensioners who can't really find any other way to increase their income. But for those who are above that line, particularly in the employed public sector, the budget is encouraging the employers to give benefits that can be claimed as a deductible expenses from their taxes. So it is a direct way for the private sector to be more productive.

citizen7: "I guess the Government takes us for fools about not copying the free water move. I like the bit about social safety net. It probably means cronies will be provided double or triple safety nets - after all they are higher maintenance"

Friday, August 29, 2008

NOTHING Much to Shout About but SOME CONCERNS.

So how do you like the Budget for 2009?

You can read how some of the PR leaders react in this malaysiakini article:
"Anwar: Fundamental flaws remain"
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/88860

I am sure you will read in the MSM tomorrow how good the budget is and how caring the government is. Someone even managed to get the "feel good" vibes again!

Some concerns about the allocations:

The PM's "development allocation for the Prime Minister’s Department has increased tremendously from RM3.6 billion last year to RM10.22 billion this year." That seems to be a massive increase and indicates a lack of disciplined planning and appears to be more for contingencies.

While the RM1000 bonus for civil servants will help ease their financial burden, the government appears to have no program to reduce the numbers. We have too large a civil service mainly because the government has been absorbing jobless graduates instead of upgrading their skills and the local courses. Meanwhile the private sector has many vacancies that cannot be filled.

This also applies to the minimum pension sum of RM720. With an ever increasing number of pensioners, those paying taxes will be having a heavier burden.

I wonder what is the oil price that is the basis of this budget. We know that oil has dropped in recent weeks and the US sub-prime crisis is still on. Are we going to simply pump more oil? Or does PETRONAS have hidden reserves?

Helping the really poor with RM20 free electricity should not be a long term strategy. I would suggest that at least one child of every poor family (say below RM2000 per month) be granted a scholarship to study a practical course in university or technical school so that the poverty cycle can be broken within a few years.

SYABAS to the ACA for PUSPAKOM Action!

This is one government agency that has exhibited a new lease of life ever since they did not have to get the sanction of the AG's office to bring cases to trial.

In any nation that wants to fight corruption properly, the fewer people in the chain of command the more effective the battle against corruption will be. The ACA can be even more effective if it becomes independent of the PM's office.

In recent months we have seen action being taken against Immigration officers and now the latest story as described in this malaysiakini article:
"ACA officers pose as tea boys to bust scam"
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/88810

All it takes is an application of the saying, "Where there is a will, there is a way."

Just like to share a little incident that happened in Hawaii more than 10 years ago.
My family of 6 was walking along the main shopping center in Honolulu when suddenly there was some scuffling nearby and we saw a guy being arrested.
There was a sexily clad woman and she was being assisted by cops in uniform. Basically the guy was being arrested for agreeing a price with the "prostitute" cop.

It is good that the Transport Minister also wants the JPJ to be investigated for I suspect learner drivers are still being passed even though they are not up to standard.

An even more startling scandal has been reported by the Sun.
http://www.sun2surf.com/article.cfm?id=25223.
Land alienation should always be thoroughly investigated as it is such an old method of corruption. I remember in Ipoh a play-ground in the center of the city was halved in the 70s and given to some connected parties.
In the case of Bandar Utama land the ACA should look into those secret meetings.

Graphics: thanks to http://freefever.com/animatedgifs/money4.html

WHY the BN LOST PP and WHY They Will Lose the 13GE


After all the storm and fury of the PERMATANG PAUH by-elections with so many letters written in malaysiakini on why the BN last so badly, we should chill out a little and enjoy our Hari Kebangsaan this 31st August.

The usual comments about studying in depth the by-elections results will be made. Maybe Andy Williams can tell them in this light-hearted song.

Those of you who aspire to become MPs of whatever party, get some free lessons on how to deliver good speeches like Obama, Hillary and Gore. They can uplift the spirit and not send you to Slumberland!

Thanks to You Tube (Andy Williams "A Fool Never Learns")

Putting the Cart Before the Horse in PARLIAMENT

We are all quite familiar with how how bills or new laws get passed in the Malaysian Parliament.
Voters are seldom or never consulted by their MPs and most times it is left to NGOs to protest or sign petitions after the bills are rushed through.

So it is no surprise that the new leader of the Opposition led a charge of opposition MPs out of the House yesterday as covered by this malaysiakini article:
"DNA bill: PKR supremo leads walkout in protest"
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/88784

The Home Minister "has insisted on not setting the parliamentary select committee to re-examine the new bill, which oppositions legislators had argued as fundamentally flawed and politically-motivated."

In most democracies it is the parliamentary select committee that sets the ball rolling so that when bills are up for debate most of the defects would have been ironed out and the public would have been educated on the proposed law so that they can inform their MP their views.

It appears this Parliament may be running on borrowed time and they want to get the "flawed" bill rushed through.
Even a BN MP has questioned the wisdom of such an act for some basic weakness.
http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/8/29/parliament/22196407&sec=parliament
The sad thing is that he was the lone voice of dissent. Syabas to the Sabah MP - we need more people like you in Parliament.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Another INQUIRY on the Police - More to Come with No IPCMC

malaysiakini is covering the SUHAKAM Public Inquiry:

"Cop: Mechanic knocked me over"
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/88773

I worry about the reporting or the testimony.
In the first section there is mention of "momentary loss of consciousness" but the cop only testified

"I saw a car speeding towards us and the next thing I knew, I was knocked over and floored. After a short moment, I got back on my feet and I examined my injuries," said the 26-year-old.

Then he mentions:
"(Even though) my hand was not bruised or bleeding, my hand felt hurt," he said.

but his baton got broken
"I let the baton hang on my right hand. After the car hit me, I could see the other half of the baton was under one of the tires."

Also the cop mentions he saw the doctor but did not take the medicine or use the MC as
"The attending doctor only gave some medicine for me to take but I did not take it as I did not feel the need to. I also did not take any MC (medical certificate)," said Mohd Azniey.

Looks as if the Suhakam panel is quite right to feel unsatisfied with his answer. It seems the FRU used excessive force for an incident that could have been caused by one or two parties.

The second cop to testify provided some comic relief.
He had forgotten to wear his spectacles and was manning traffic in the front row and "manning traffic"
Therefore he was unable to identify anyone during the fracas.

How could he "man traffic" competently when his eyesight was faulty at the time of the incident. Maybe he did not provide the proper signals and thereby contributed to the "accident"?

I wonder what is the PR's stand on the IPCMC?

Malaysia Today BANNED but More than a Thousand FLOWERS Have Bloomed

Most of us cannot access Malaysia Today as the MCMC has ordered all local ISPs to bar the web-site according to this malaysiakini article:

"Malaysia Today blocked! Order from MCMC"
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/88683

Raja Petra is considered the most influential blogger in Malaysia as his site has really influenced many readers with his daring write-ups on various scandals. I do not know the man but definitely he was an influence to me starting my own blog.

So I would like to pay tribute to this Malaysian who played an important role in opening the minds of Malaysians to think a little out of the box.

We may not be able to visit the site in Malaysia but his work will carry on for a thousand flowers have bloomed.

What's NEXT after PERMATANG PAUH?

Following the huge success of Anwar in the by-elections, there are renewed calls for changes in UMNO as indicated by this article in malaysiakini:
"Muhyiddin worried, calls for swift changes"
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/88714

The UMNO leader did not mention what kind of change but others like TDM has called on UMNO to get rid of his own hand-picked successor.

It sort of makes me wonder what is the basic ideology of UMNO that it now depends so urgently on change after being the ruling party for 51 years.

So as we approach our Hari Kebangsaan this 31st August 2008, please take a minute and give your feed-back on the poll (orange column) at left and tell your view on the MPs crossing-over.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

So WHO Picked Abdullah?

malaysiakini has this article that is appropriately headlined:
"Dr M to Umno: Pick Abdullah, pick defeat"
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/88692

Someone should remind him that he was the person who picked Abdullah when he decided to step down. Now Abdullah is carrying on with this most undemocratic practice instead of allowing better quality to move up the leadership ladder and renew the party.

No party in Malaysia will be able to form the government if it does not have the support of a cross-section of the population.

Too bad TDM did not reform UMNO to become more inclusive of others before he retired. He is sadly mistaken to think that people did not really want to vote for Anwar.
UMNO needs a major makeover if it wants to remain relevant and that means new leaders that are acceptable to more Malaysians.

The MESSAGE from Permatang Pauh is LOUD and CLEAR

Of course a by-elections like PP is strictly not a method to select our Prime Minister.
As Malaysia follows the Westminster style of parliamentary democracy, the party or coalition that commands the most number of seats gets to select the PM.

For Malaya since independence, UMNO has been the overlord of the ruling parties, that somehow it seems automatic that an UMNO leader becomes the PM.

The system created some stability and most Malaysians with their usual tiadapathic attitude accepted the situation. Some years ago, UMNO changed its democratic practices and made changes to its own election rules that make contesting the top posts very difficult and the system of naming one's successor became normal.

Effectively this means that the Prime Minister gets selected by fewer and fewer people and money politics has been reported by many leaders. So far the most they have done is rename the term and call in the ACA who recently asked them to provide evidence for them to check out the problems.

But the message from PP is loud and clear. People are tired of the old ways and dirty politics.
After more than 50 years in power, some leaders will definitely resist being ousted.
malaysiakini has this analysis:
"PKR leader begins uncertain journey to Putrajaya"
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/88656

The BN will make another grave mistake if they think stopping just Anwar will change history. More Malaysians now share his vision for a better future for all citizens with a fair distribution of the nation's wealth; with a helping hand given to those who need it and being able to practise a religious faith without interference.

Truly Malaysia is a blessed nation but somehow we lowered our guard against complacent and corrupt leadership that is bankrupt of the vision that can make Malaysia great.
As we come to celebrate our 51th year of freedom let us contemplate how we can contribute more to nation-building.

Will the Government Award ANWAR RM1million?

malaysiakini has this story:
"Anwar gets BIGGER majority"
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/88579

If you consider how Anwar was able to convince the simple but smart folks of Permatang Pauh to deliver a larger majority compared to his wife, it seems Anwar's feat can be considered as equivalent to winning a gold medal in the Olympics.

Consider the odds:
  1. The Elections Commission contrived to reduce the turnout by holding the polls on a working day.
  2. All the BN government resources were focussed in Permatang Pauh with election goodies being doled out in generous amounts.
  3. Dirty tricks were employed, notably using religious tactics to smear him.

The government would have gained more respect from the fence-sitters (not that many left) if no ministers had campaigned using official functions and resources.

If the EC had been directed to hold the by-elections on a Saturday or Sunday. Now it looks like the government was using a bull-dozer to kill a mosquito and the mosquito won!

The PKR can also thank the DAP state government for granting the public holiday for that put the icing on the cake as I am sure most PKR would have taken the day off if they really had to.

That is the price that has to be paid if we value our freedom.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

CONGRATS to the Voters of PERMATANG PAUH!

malaysiakini did a great job to get out the results in a timely manner.
I guess the Democratic Convention and more serious events like the mass protest in Bangkok diverted attention from the by-elections.

The Elections Commission tried to disadvantage PKR by holding the byelections on a working day but the state government had the last laugh by declaring a public holiday. Maybe we can get out of this type of unfair tactics by the EC by a small change in the election laws that includes a public holiday to be granted for any elections.

While Anwar has been returned to Parliament with a greater majority, it appears that the Speaker of the Dewan Rak'yat wants to deny him an earlier return.
According to the Star,

Pandikar Amin said although the by-election result would be announced tonight, he would still have to wait for a formal letter from the EC before he can fix a date for the new MP to take his oath.
“I do not see any urgency for me to fix a quick date. For all you know, the newly elected MP may want to go for a holiday first, or even for an umrah before coming to the Dewan Rakyat,” he said yesterday."

Obviously this chap is treating Parliament like his hobby. Does he want 10,000 voters turning up in Parliament to ensure that their MP is treated with the proper respect?

Malaysia is now entering unchartered territory as far as politics is concerned. It seems that the population is ready for change and it is up to the government to respond with definitive measures. The first step is for the PM to advise the Speaker to get off his high chair and welcome Anwar to Parliament.

Surprised at Poll Results

As I enter the 4th year of blogging I invited readers to give some feedback on my blog MalaysiaWatch and the following results are a little surprising at first:

150 readers took the trouble to take part and I thank you for the feedback.
  1. 89 readers or 59% chose "Just Continue with the Current Style"
  2. 37 readers or 25% chose "You Are Too Kind to the BN Government"
  3. 12 or 8% picked "Please Write on More Diverse Topics"
  4. 11 or 7% picked "It's Time You Stopped Writing"
  5. 1 or 1% chose "You Are Too Harsh to the Government"

Perhaps the main reason for the response in #2 ie "You Are Too Kind to the BN Government" is that most of my readers come from malaysiakini and people who read it tend to be anti-BN?

That could also explain the low score for #5.

Maybe if readers suggest what they would like me to write about, I will try to oblige!

For those who advised #4 well, I guess you know what you need to do.

My writing is not pro or anti-government but pro-Malaysia and I hope to see the transformation of Malaysia into a vibrant democracy with a 2 or 3-party system in my lifetime.

Monday, August 25, 2008

PERMATANG PAUH - The Basic Reason Why the BN Will Lose

They did not learn anything after they almost lost the March elections.
No new vision on how to build a united nation even when we are now approaching 51 years as a nation since 1957(Malaya).

After more than 35 years of affirmative action that made a few really wealthy but left tens of thousands still struggling to survive, the BN still clings to its plan of action that favours mostly cronies.

So the by-elections will be another loss for it as even faraway places like PP can know of all the various scandals in Putrajaya; the most recent being the Altantuuya murder case that seems so hard to find a motive that will convince most observers.

They have charged Anwar with another sodomy charge and various reports indicate that the BN has been playing the Saiful swearing on the Koran over and over at various locations.
malaysiakini has this report:
"Sodomy claim: What some Malays say"
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/88561

If Anwar's case is heard, I wonder if all those screenings can be a cause for lodging a report for contempt as the matter is subjudice.

I think this second charge is not believed by most people as too much sex can become boring. If you have watched adult movies will know what I mean - it's like eating too much rich food - the human can only take in so much.

It is a shame that instead of casting a new vision for Malaysians like what Anwar is doing, the BN leaders only spout the same old rhetorics.

PERMATANG PAUH - Najib's Body Language on BBC Indicates Defeat

malaysiakini does not carry this news.
If you have Astro, catch the BBC news.
I watched it in Singapore so not sure if it would have been edited out for Malaysians.

Najib was shown speaking to a BBC interviewer and his body language was tired and he also gave out a pronounced sigh as if he was really worried and frustrated.

There is no indication when the interview was recorded and we are not really sure how good some politicians are at acting for the screen. But based on that BBC broadcast, Najib surely looks defeated.

PERMATANG PAUH - Tainting Religion with Politics


People say religion and politics should not be mixed for it is indeed a most explosive combination.

That is one of the reasons why Malaysia has been relatively peaceful compared to other countries that achieved independence after World War 2.


The Malaysian constitution that created a secular state with Islam as the official religion was the guideline to steer the nation through the mine-field of race and religion.

However in recent years, some politicians have been playing up the race and religion cards and the race-religious factors can be stoked so easily.

In most countries, usually it is the smaller opposition parties that play on these sensitive topics but in Malaysia the ruling party, the BN seems to be the main culprit.

Just see how their latest ploy on Saiful's swearing on the Koran appears to have backfired.
malaysiakini has the story:
"Ustaz puts BN campaign in tatters"

We should keep religion out of politics or even those who practise a religion can be corrupted.
Photo: Iceberg calving, Alaska. If we mix religion with politics, a nation can break up.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

PERMATANG PAUH - Dirty Politics by Both Sides


malaysiakini has this story:
"Money and groceries for votes"
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/88462

It seems that both the BN and PR that is contesting the PP by-elections are trying to influence voters' sentiments with all types of goodies and shows how desperate both sides are to win the seat.

Malaysian politics has never scaled great heights since Merdeka but nowadays it seems we are entering the era of gutter politics with candidates hurling abuse and innuendoes at each other.

How should voters react to such tactics? It is difficult to reject such "bribes" but the bottom line is that if you are really in such a desperate situation, you could take the money/goods and then vote for the candidate that will really help you improve your life and existence. Refusing could become risky if you reject such gifts outright for some people could get upset.

Beware of strange people bearing gifts for they will promise you anything but fail to deliver.
I am surprised that malaysiakini did not carry this story:
" Govt to pay compensation up to RM100,000 to each family in Kampung Bagan Serai "
http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Sunday/NewsBreak/20080824172957/Article/index_html
The gist of this story is that a government has been instructed to take over the area from a private land0wner and pay the squatters between RM24k and RM100k compared to the offer of RM1000 to RM2000 by the owner.

I didn't know the government has so much monies to be paying squatters that kind of incentive. Coming right on the eve of the by-elections it should be considered a blatant form of vote-buying. Would the ACA act on such complaints?
Photo: Taken from ms Veendam, Inside Passage Alaska. Decline of the ruling party or the new dawn for Anwar?

PERMATANG PAUH - Absolutely No Influence on ACA and the Fuel Price Drop?

malaysiakini has this report:
"Two Perak excos to be charged on Monday"
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/88402

If you didn't notice it, that day is the eve of the PP by-elections.
Life is strange, isn't it when so many events coincide to take advantage of a staged event, like the polls?

No wonder Anwar and his team must be wondering how life can be full of such surprises like the oil price drop that has enabled the authorities to reduce fuel prices ahead of their broadcast intentions as they did not want to use such tactics to win votes.

Action by the ACA against corrupt officials should be welcomed by all Malaysians; irrespective of political affiliations.
You will note that the ACA has become more active in recent months after they were freed of the AG's decision-making powers. Now they can decide if they want matters to go to trial.
A small step but an important one. I just wonder - the PR officials with only a few months power can get a few guys arrested - the BN with more than 50 years in control should have a few more cases.

I think the ACA need not even dig/pry into new cases. Remember the "18 sharks" cases that are still in the AG's office with no action recommended? That should be a rich source of trail materials.
Do you think the ACA should take back those files and review?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

PERMATANG PAUH - How Many Ministers Does it Take to Contest a By-elections?

I am sure most of you would have heard the racist joke about "How many --------(any race you don't like) does it take to change a light-bulb?"

The answer is : "5 or 6. One to hold the bulb and the others to turn him around so that the bulb gets screwed in!"

Something like that.
My heading is about the heavy concentration of federal ministers in Permatang Pauh just to help the BN win the seat.

According to this malaysiakini article:
"BN stars camp in to ensure victory"
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/88418
there are at least

"Since the start of the campaigning period, the deputy prime minister has almost made this mixed area his second home, with almost daily visits.Add ministers from health, sports, education, higher education, housing and local government and the number of deputies, Ahmad Abdullah Badawi can even hold a cabinet meeting in Permatang Pauh if he wants to."

No wonder the nation is regressing. The Cabinet is not paying enough attention to serious matters like improving the sorry state of affairs in our education system and the hospitals but prefer to waste taxpayers' monies on campaigning a meaningless by-elections for the government.

I believe more than one minister has mentioned that losing the seat will not change the government so why abuse your powers and neglect your duties in Putrajaya?

Of course if you took annual leave and paid all your own expenses on this campaign jaunt, I offer you my thousand apologies.

PERMATANG PAUH - the PM and his MERRY MEN?

Sounds a bit like Robin Hood and his Merry Men? I considered "the PM and his Gay Men" but perhaps that would be a tad sensitive.

History has it that Robin Hood was a friend of the poor and so maybe our PM wants to emulate that. After all he did break his word that the fuel price would not be reduced before the by-elections just a few days back and yesterday the price got reduced.

It seems as if the whole Cabinet panicked when they read malaysiakini's alarming headlines:
"Inflation hits a new 27-year high"
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/88358

Somehow I get the impression that no one in the Cabinet predicted that inflation would definitely accelerate with the hefty fuel and electricity increases - after all, Bank Negara's governor in her somnabulistic voice always manages to reassure everyone that inflation "would moderate" ever so gently.

Just like the PM's short excursion on KL's transport system showed how woefully inadequate the system is, maybe we should give our BNM governors RM50 and ask them to buy some daily foodstuff.

If I were voting in PP I would vote against the BN as I don't expect prices to come down by even 10% unless it is a controlled item. There is such a thing as price stickiness or enertia. It is harder for prices to come down after a recent rise. Just look at the hawker prices. A bowl of noodles now costs RM4 instead of RM3.50 - don't expect any price reduction.

The fuel hike and reduction have been poorly conceived and managed - it shows a basic lack of follow-through thinking and things are still being done on an ad hoc basis.

Friday, August 22, 2008

PERMATANG PAUH - Desperate Moves to Get VOTES

I wrote this on August 11
http://malaysiawatch3.blogspot.com/2008/08/fuel-prices-to-come-down-before-just.html

and today the government has announced a fuel reduction, according to this malaysiakini story:
"Gov't slashes petrol price by 15 sen"
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/88353

Nothing really exceptional about the fuel reduction as the oil price is way below its peak and now around US$115 a barrel.
What is remarkable is that the PM has been stating on TV that the price will only be reviewed on August 31st and not before the by-elections.

It makes one wonder if such a person is worthy of our trust to safeguard our national interests.
He should have waffled on "about when the time is right" etc and not answer the question directly - this way he loses what little credibilty he has.

PERMATANG PAUH - Abuse of Government Machinery

This only shows how useless and impotent is the Elections Commission when top leaders make use of government (ie taxpayers') machinery to boost their party in elections.

Permatang Pauh is actually a small by-elections as even if the ruling party loses, it does not change the balance of seats in Parliament. But the BN is desperate to keep Anwar out as he will definitely put the PR coalition in a strong position to try and win the next GE if there are no BN members crossing over.
Maybe the BN has been in power for so long they cannot understand the concept of separation of government official duties and political campaigning.

malaysiakini has this complaint:
" Do not abuse gov't machinery, Najib told"
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/88279

We do have some committees on Integrity etc. Maybe they should take a look at the activities of the various ministers and deputy ministers and tell give us an opinion.

How do we check?It is not really rocket science. Look at their schedules for the past 6 months on engagements and other activities. Compare with their present appointments. One should be able to check if suddenly there is a significant focus in PP.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Aftermath of the Bar Forum Chaos - Now AVRIL'S Concert in Danger

You would have read about how the police did not prevent a mob from interfering with a legally organised forum by the Bar Council as they wanted to discuss religious matters.

malaysiakini has a story related to that incident:
"Aborted forum: I did right, says PKR MP"
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/88196

I don't want to discuss the rights and wrongs of any group but I believe our constitution guarantees freedom of association if no crimes are being committed.So how can the Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister dictate terms on when it can or cannot be held?http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Thursday/National/2327430/Article/index_html
No one is being forced to attend this concert and I am sure the tickets will be quite expensive.

But we should not accept such flimsy excuses for disrupting such activities.Maybe it reflects the mindset of the authorities - throw a spanner in the works on anything that causes Malaysians to think with a critical mind?

PS. I am no fan of Avril and am not sure what are her famous hits!
photo: Thanks to http://www.cbc.ca/gfx/images/arts/photos/2007/10/19/avril-lavigne-cp-3764827.jpg

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Please Go to Malaysiawatch4

New posts for MalaysiaWatch can be read at
http://malaysiawatch4.blogspot.com
Thanks for your interest.

Friday, August 15, 2008

PKR, DAP and PAS NEED to Cooperate More

malaysiakini has this article headed:

"PAS chief tells allies: Don't sideline us"
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/87878

For the PAS to make such a public appeal indicates that the PR coalition needs to improve its lines of communications. For one PAS could have informed its partners that it was going to hold talks with UMNO on Islamic matters.

To earn trust, one has practise good principles of honesty, integrity and responsibility. Holding secret meetings is not going to earn anyone's trust.

A council of state leaders as suggested would be good to learn and progress together but I would suggest that PAS should not try to impose its religious convictions on the other parties but adopt universal principles of good governance.

I would also suggest that some states could work together to set up a central purchasing department and get more competitive bids for common items.

Voters of PERMATANG PAUH - Your Date with Destiny

Perhaps it is appopriate that Anwar has decided to fight for his return to Parliament in Permatang Pauh for it is a Malay heartland far remote from the concrete jungle of the cities like Kuala Lumpur where the well-educated voter will support anyone against the BN.

It is left to the rural folks in PP to decide on the destiny of Anwar. According to most observers, Anwar's opponent stands little chance against a Prime Minister in waiting as indicated by this malaysiakini article:
"Anwar asks voters to save country"
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/87784

The danger for Anwar is that given such an opponent who appears to have cried at the mere thought of the struggle, his supporters may take victory for granted and not bother to return home to vote.

I don't really like to pin the future of the nation on just one man but putting Anwar into Parliament will definitely augur well for the progress of democracy as we prepare to celebrate 51 years of independence.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Our Racist Teachers and UnEmployable Graduates - MAIN Features of a FAILED Education System

Two stories in malaysiakini this week highlight some major problems in Malaysia's education system:
"Samy: Take severe action against 'racist' teacher"
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/87716
and
'Who is instigating UiTM students?'
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/87764
The first story tells how a female teacher used coarse and insulting words on her secondary school students and was "rewarded" with a transfer to a smart school nearer her home. No wonder parents are angry at this reaction from the Ministry of Education.

The UiTM students appear to be beyond redemption and most likely they will discover the harsh reality of life once they graduate and cannot find jobs, let alone earn RM1000 per month.

These two stories reflect problems in both Education Ministries:

  1. Teachers are not well trained and motivated and some teachers do not deserve that position of trust.
  2. Political interference in local universities and dubious appointments have resulted in the downward spiral in standards.

In the late 60s, UM was recognised as a university of national prestige and only top students were able to enter its doors. Nowadays it is easily outranked by all the universities in Singapore.

To any parent who is disappointed that UiTM will not be open to your son/daughter do not despair. If your kid is in the upper 15% of his class in secondary school, try and send him to complete his education in Singapore. He may take a year longer to complete secondary education but after that getting a bursary to study in a Singapore University or Polytechnic is almost guaranteed if he qualifies.

That is the reason thousands of Malaysian students from JB brave the Causeway jams every day. That is the price you have to pay but I tell you it has been worth it for my four children who all completed their secondary schooling there.

That UiTM Demo - How PATHETIC and also SAD

If you watched the students' demo and also the threatening remarks of a UiTM official on TV3 a few days back, you would feel sorry for such people as they do not know that they are the real victims of the BN's brainwashing for more than 50 years.

Maybe it is the strategy of the ruling powers to forever keep compliant such a section of the population with their NEP ideology of "Never Enabled Principles" so that those at the upper levels will reap the maximum benefits.

What does the future hold for such graduates? Well, you could hope to be noticed for some worthwhile scheme ala sodomy and maybe your future will be better. For the 99% of the rest, you get a degree that no one except the government and your college will recognise.

malaysiakini has the story here:
"PM vetoes call to open UiTM to non-Malays"
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/87721

I did not know our PM had such veto powers. This episode shows how serious the race problem is in our universities when national leaders are not prepared to face the problems of their own making.
The ultimate losers are those who graduate from universities of dubious distinction. Even if the doors were opened to others, only the very desperate would want to be admitted.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Let's Blame GOD for MRR2 Failures.....

malaysiakini has this story:
"PAC: Cabinet followed proper procedures in selection of engineers"
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/87689

So far no one has thought of blaming God for this expensive fiasco that is creating massive jams in KL.
In most cases when a mistake or error is made, after all the BN is only human, the rectification works is done to a higher standard than the original so that people will forget about the mistake.

This has not happened to the ill-fated MRR2 project where the expensive repairs are now in doubt and contrary to the PAC's Chairman's confidence that only
"The carbon fibre snapped. Out of 26 done, only one (snapped). Do you blame JKR for that?", Azmi said".

This is a man-made project of materials, procedures and controls and if even there is a single failure it is only a question of time before others fail.

I had a brief look at a paper on carbon fibres and concrete structure below:
http://www.ghd.com.au/aptrixpublishing.nsf/AttachmentsByTitle/PP+CarbonFibreStrengthening+PDF/$FILE/littlebridge.pdf

It indicates that highly skilled workers properly supervised are needed to do the installation.
The following extract shows the possible problem areas:

"6.1 Placing of the carbon fibre composite
No work was permitted at temperatures higher than 25ºC or lower than 5ºC. Wind speed was to be
minimal and there was to be no risk of rain.
The system layers were built up as follows in a continuous process ( 5. to 11. without interruption ):
1. Preparation and repair (if necessary) of soffit
2. Vacuum clean
3. Apply primer
4. Place levelling layer, Concresive 1446 (if necessary)
5. First layer of saturant
6. First layer of carbon fibre
7. Second layer of saturant
8. Second layer of carbon fibre
9. Third layer of saturant
10. Third layer of carbon fibre
11. Final layer of saturant
12. Barracryl D protective coating (applied after testing)
Special tools were used for the working of the saturant through the carbon fibre to create a
homogeneous and wrinkle-free composite. Figure 6 shows the first layer - a levelling layer of
Concresive 1446 - being placed on the
first beam in span 1."


Were there short cuts taken to hasten the repair works? At least one member of the PAC was in the correct frame of mind when he suggested
"more concrete proposals would be formulated to ensure long-lasting solutions for the MMR2 once the investigation report had been finalised and a full PAC meeting had deliberated on the findings".

The battle for PERMATANG PAUH


malaysiakini has this article on the by-elections:
"Will Permatang Pauh stand by him?"


It is a shame that the Election Commission has made the polling day on a work day; thereby creating problems for outstation workers who are being deprived of their voting rights.

Any person with a little intelligence will able to see that the EC has opened its bag of "dirty tricks".

By disrupting the schools' operations, the EC is also inconveniencing thousands of parents who will need to make extra plans for their kids when they attend make-up lessons on a Saturday. See how much the government "cares" for ordinary folks by making them spend more?
According to the malaysiakini article, the BN has 24,642 members registered in PP, with 19,000 UMNO members.
However if you look at the results of the recent elections, only 16,950 voters voted for the UMNO candidate.
I expect Anwar to win this seat very comfortably if his supporters do not take things for granted. BN members are still in denial mode and Anwar's return to Parliament should bode better times for Malaysia.
After more than 50 years in power, UMNO needs time to reinvent itself. Just look at how a senior party official talks of how corruption has spread its tentacles far and wide in the party.
"Muhyiddin: Vote-buying rampant in Umno"
graphics: thanks to m'kini

Don't Just Revisit but Resolve the '88 Judicial Crisis

malaysiakini is starting a series of article on the '88 Judicial Crisis and starts off with :
"Revisiting the '88 judiciary crisis"
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/87646

While it is good for such articles to educate younger Malaysians, we need to do more to resolve all the problems that resulted from the ferocious onslaught on the Judiciary that has resulted in a terminally afflicted institution that impinges on all aspects of our lives such as:
  1. Religious conversion cases
  2. Business conflicts
  3. Corruption trials
  4. Election fraud

Once the Judiciary is compromised and the police force gets corrupted, it does not take long for the cancer to spread to other bodies like political parties though some will attest that the latter were corrupted long before the other two got afflicted.

So how does a corrupt police officer investigate a corrupt politician who knows a corrupt judge? Do subscribe to malaysiakini and read the series of articles. Maybe you may be able to suggest how we can get out of this Gordian knot.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Time that More Malaysians Grew Up and the IPCMC is Introduced

It is really sad and pathetic that some Malaysians are still unable to discuss serious matters without resorting to threats even after more than 50 years of being an independent nation.

I am referring to the thugs who stormed into the Bar Council building with the connivance of the police who seemed incapable of controlling a 300-strong crowd who were able to "overcome" the mighty police with only their loud protests.


This is not the first time that the police gave in to a ruly crowd as the Article 11 meetings some time ago were also disrupted in the same manner.
It is a sign of our turbulent times that the ISA is being suggested by some quarters for the organisers of the forum who merely organised a civilised forum on how Islam affects the lives of ordinary Malaysians and the problems resulting from questionable conversions as indicated in this malaysiakini report:
"Ambiga stands firm amidst ISA calls"

Is it not pathetic that the ISA is being called for when the police failed to do their duty properly when they allowed a religious mob to disrupt a properly convened meeting where Islamic scholars were also contributing to a meaningful discussion to explain Islamic concepts?
Photo: Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska. The tremendous force of the ice-field causes the ice to break off. The rights of the citizens will eventually overcome the forces that suppress our liberties.


Monday, August 11, 2008

FUEL Prices to Come Down just before PERMATANG PAUH Elections?

This would be a probable move by the BN to show that they can reduce fuel prices as it will counter the claim by Anwar that his government will reduce fuel prices when it comes to power.

Perhaps that is the message intended by this malaysiakini article:
"Koh: Adjust fuel prices twice a month"

My prediction is that the price for petrol will be reduced by at least 0.20sen a litre just before the PP elections.
Anyone can tell any good stories about improvements to public transport in their own areas? We took the bus in Vancouver and paid C$2.50 each for a trip that would cost less than RM2 in Malaysia. (From Gastown area to Granville Island).
The sign specified exact change but we did not know that it had to be in coins so the driver could not issue us tickets.
Instead he told us to just "get on" and advised us to get ready the proper fees for the next ride. Later on, another couple got on and they too got a free ride. I'm not certain about the legal implications of riding without paying for the ticket but it is not such a good idea.
Photo: Vancouver bus.




Deja Vu for ANWAR's Case?

It seems that the BN is getting desperate to keep Anwar from wresting political power in Malaysia as seen in this malaysiakini article:

"Sodomy II: A case of deja vu"
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/87548
After so many years in power it is not surprising that the authorities will make use of any institution that has been tainted to perpetuate its longevity.

However, the perception among the common people is that this latest sodomy charge has been filed to delay Anwar's return to Parliament where he hopes to get BN members to pass the "no confidence" motion.

We can expect more dramatic developments in the weeks around the Permatang Pauh elections and the following are 2 possibilities:
  1. A snap polls for Malaysia
  2. Declaration of emergency rule

It is also possible that Event2 may follow Event1 if more Malaysians vote against the BN as people demand change.

For those interested to learn more about "deja vu" here is a simple explanation:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%A9j%C3%A0_vu

Saturday, August 9, 2008

ALASKA Trip Ends on a SOUR Note

My wife and I are back in Vancouver after a fabulous trip to Alaska.

We took a 7-day cruise from Vancouver to Seward on ms VEENDAM where there was too much food to eat.
From Seeward we took a 6-hour scenic train ride to Anchorage. Alaska is called the "Last Frontier" and is heaven for those who like wild-life and the great outdoors.

We did some excursions but hardly any that would qualify as adventurous - the most we did was to get off the shuttle bus in Denali National Park and walk on our own along the gravel road for about 45 minutes. You can definitely find many quiet areas in Alaska and we saw many wild animals - Alaska is bear country.

It is a far cry from the sorry stories I still see being published in malaysiakini; especially how the police are still allowing protesters to disrupt meaningful discussions on religious issues as in this article:

"Syed Hamid: Event cut short to avoid tension"
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/87536
In the USA, it is difficult to read anything about Malaysia and all the news is about the upcoming Presidential elections.

Returned to "civilisation" yesterday. When we went to collect our bags, I noticed that one bag had been taped and I thought that the latches were faulty and the bag had burst open. Then my wife said that the authorities may have forced the bag open as it looked suspicious. Sure enough there were tell-tale signs of a forced entry. The combination locks had been prised open with screwdrivers(?) and the edges were deformed.
So what was in the bag? There were 2 items that may have caused the alarm bells to go off. One was a box of 24 small cans of salmon and the other was a trolley frame with wheels but I think those salmon cans are the main suspect as it was a rectangular form.
My suitcase had been prised open and we should have made an official complaint to the airlines. Do you think I would have been compensated? After all they could have called us to open the bag. This is what happens when innocent people are subject to heavy-handed enforcement without defined channels for damages.

photo: Glacier meets the sea - taken about 2 miles away from ms Veendam in Glacier Bay, Alaska.

Friday, July 25, 2008

PRISONERS of their OWN Making and POLITICAL PARTIES without WORTHY PRINCIPLES.

These 2 articles in malaysiakini indicate the serious nature of the problems afflicting our nation Malaysia:

"Police prisoners of circumstances under Anwar"
http://www.malaysiakini.com/letters/86752
I know readers must be a little fed up when I mention IPCMC but that body would have also protected the police from being manipulated by leaders who have no principles.
Of course we also need to ensure that the most senior posts of the police are held by people of the utmost integrity to ensure that corruption does not rise to the top.

In that sense, the IGP should be somebody who is perceived to be even cleaner than the PM as the latter can be voted out by the people every 4 years but the former can do grave injustice to ordinary folks over many years.

The second article:
"PM confirms power share deal with PAS"
http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/86757
shows the extent to which UMNO is prepared to go to remain in power. The action indicates that it operates on a simple principle that it will do anything to retain political power. It seems that the decison to let the state keep their expensive toys is akin to the hasty RM1bil grants each to Sabah and Sarawak to them the 2 states within the BN.

There is an excellent article by Dr Collin Abraham on
"Ombudsman for national unity reforms"
http://www.malaysiakini.com/opinions/86663 about a national unity government to get Malaysia out of its sorry and sad state of affairs and maybe Raja Nazrin's recent comments about the royals being more involved in nation-building bears serious consideration as politicians have been given too much leeway by everyone.

Now it is up to each and every one of us to save Malaysia from impending doom. I think our Doomsday clock is now half past eleven.

GREETINGS from VANCOUVER!

It is 12:30am here and my wife and I arrived from Singapore after an 18-hour flight via Incheon, South Korea.

All we did in South Korea was get off the plane with all our belongings, get a transit pass and then do a walk-around back to the plane but through another security screening.
It seems quite a waste of time as if you manage to get on the plane the first time with whatever dangerous stuff you plan to do, you would not wait to go through another security screening.

At Changi, I did not have any issues with the hand-carry, but at Incheon, they wanted me to open the bag. I guess my binoculars looked suspicious using different equipment to scan or the person checking wanted to make sure.

Incheon is a relatively new airport and was completed in 2001. You can read their first annual report here:
http://www.airport.kr/notice/NoticeList.iia?functioncode=3

The taxi ride from Vancouver airport to downtown cost C$40 and we needed a larger cab. Staying one night at the Historic Ramada on West Pender St. The hotel does not look impressive from the exterior but inside it is quite nice. The original hotel was built in 1918.

Later this evening we are boarding the Veendam, a cruise ship of the Holland America Line and we will sail to Anchorage, Alaska where we will drive to Fairbanks and back via Vadez, the scene of the Esso major oil spill some years ago. We expect to see plenty of ice on the voyage and the trip.

It is kind of a dream trip for me. When I got my scholarship to study in the UK in the late 60s, the original plan of the company was to send my colleague and I by ship and in those days that meant a 30-day sail via the Suez canal. They changed their minds when the time came and I felt a little cheesed off. Besides that was the first time I flew in a plane on such a long trip. It was the third flight, the first 2 were from Subang to Ipoh(balik kampong) and back just before I left Malaysia.

I'm not sure how convenient or cheap it will be surf the Net on the ship so don't know when I will post next.

Fantastic day in Vancouver. Clear and sunny skies with temperature of 18C. We arrived at 12:45pm local time and I went to sleep after dinner at about 9:30pm as too jet-lagged and now I will try to get back to sleep at 1am. Hope tomorrow my system would have adjusted to the new time zone.

Vancouver is a beautiful city with a fantastic location but if you walk about, you will notice that the streets are quite dirty with many cigarette butts all over the place. There is a city law that states no one is allowed to smoke within 6meters of a building entrance so that forces all smokers out on the streets.