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

Friday, February 29, 2008

Procrastination and the Decline of Malaysia

Malaysians and Singaporeans share this common failing - we tend to procrastinate a lot.
I believe it has something to do with our predictable climate - we have sunshine every day and it rains every few days. Which means in the old days you could plant some crops and survive even if you are lazy and want to do the minimum of planting crops that will grow all the year round.

Unfortunately this habit of procrastination has encroached into our political life and even though most people will complain about many issues, they still will not make that mind-set change that will put a "x" on that ballot paper and empower a new government to run the nation.

Of course the BN says now is not the time to experiment .

Could you expect them to say anything else?
We can of course procrastinate some more and keep the BN in power with their race-based rhetorics.

We can also create a Brave New Malaysia where our children can grow together and enjoy the rewards of their efforts and not have to struggle overseas as their own country denies them a fair go.

If we consider the following that has been created by 50 years of not changing the government when we have an election, it is important to let others have the chance to show us a better way of doing things :

1.The failure to implement the IPCMC shows a serious problem within the police or the politicians or both.

2.The decline of the integrity of the Judiciary as indicated by the Lingam tapes.

3.The continued secrecy with respect to all the toll agreements that make KL a motorists' nightmare.

3.The precipitous decline of the education system with policy flip-flops that have harmed our children's progress in education.

4.The NEP which continues to enrich cronies and the connected while thousands are deprived of fair opportunities.

The BN government had so many chances to implement NEP programs based on needs and not not race but has opted not to do so. I guess once you get used to "Gucci", it is difficult to use a "Padini".

I'm done with procrastinating. How about you?
The least we should aim for is to get rid of that 2/3 majority and let the opposition run 2 or 3 states so we can check them out.

That way we will get the BN to reform and if they do not do so, we can let them go in the next elections.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

How Malaysian Voters Can be Marginalised.....

(click2 to enlarge)

All the details were analysed from the Star supplement on 25th February 2008.
Basically, all the seats were analysed and the table shows the ratio of the smallest seat compared to the largest seat in the state.

The results are interesting:

The smallest ratio within the state is for Perlis at 1.19 which means the largest seat has about 20% more votes - that seems a reasonable and acceptable difference.

The largest ratio is for the Federal Territories where the puny seat of Putrajaya has only 6608 voters compared with 72628 voters for Bandar Tun Razak - this means that about 1 voter in Putrajaya has the same power as 11 voters from BTR. How can this be acceptable? The seat of Putrajaya should be scrapped or combined with any of the other FT seats or one of the Selangor seats. There is really no compelling reason for a special seat here.

If you care to check out the table on the composition of the largest seats and the smallest seats for the different states, another disturbing trend is seen.

For the smallest seats, all 14 seats are Malay majority.
For the largest seats, 9 have Malay majority while 5 have Chinese majority.

Sarawak also has more disturbing trends.
Two new seats were created, namely P128 Sibuti(22,143)(carved out of Miri) and P221 Limbang(20,315) carved out of Bukit Mas (now known as P222 Lawas). If one looks at the composition of Sibuti, it is designed to create another seat for the Malay/Melanau as Miri(55,963) is still strongly Chinese dominated.

Why did they not create 2 more equal seats from the old Miri with about 38,000 voters each?

Why create Limbang and Lawas by splitting Bukit Mas(~36,000) when Stampin(P196) remains untouched with more than 67,000 voters? Unless the basic reason is that the latter is 75% Chinese?

Is this the type of manipulations we should tolerate from the EC? How can Malaysians enjoy a fair and free elections? Shame on the EC!

Gerrymandering an Art or Science in Malaysia?

Do you think the Elections Commission is guilty of gerrymandering?
What that means is that the EC will create seat boundaries that can benefit certain parties or groups?

There was an interview with malaysiakini published that made some leaders unhappy.

Hoping that the work of the EC is beyond reproach and that they are all honourable men with great integrity, I decided to analyse the Parliamentary seats for the General Elections.
(click2 to enlarge)
This table shows the comparison of the average of the seats in each state.
The state with the highest average is Selangor and the lowest is Sarawak. The ratio between Selangor/Sarawak is 2.72 which means that Selangor voters are somewhat disfranchised as their representation has been effectively reduced.

Using the state with the lowest average (in our case, Sarawak), the number of seats that should be allocated to all other states are calculated with a more consistent bias like equal parity, 1.25 ratio and 1.50 ratio. Assuming that 1.25 is a reasonable ratio that can be applied to the nation, we are short of at least 50 parliamentary seats.

I suggest the work of the EC should be subject to a Parliamentary review and the EC should also publish its principles on which new seats are created and what basis they use to delineate new seats.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

That 2/3 Majority and Illogical Arguments from the DPM

Elections Fever is an interesting ailment as often we can hear all kinds of flawed reasoning to hoodwink the electorate.

According to this NST article, our acting "DPM stressed that it was crucial for the BN to retain its two-thirds majority in parliament as a prerequisite of strong government."

"Having a strong government would, among others, build confidence among investors. In this era of globalisation, they would only invest in our capital market if they had confidence.

"If we have a weak government which can collapse at any time, they would and invest in other countries which have a stronger and more stable government."

What happened during the last Parliament when BN won 90% of the seats? During that period, Malaysia lost out to other more competitive and transparent markets like Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia and China.

If we just look at the bloated Cabinet, that is what happens when the BN became too successful - they simply created more posts to feed the winners; always at the taxpayers expense.

Given the better coperation among the opposition this time, it is possible that the BN will lose its arrogant 2/3 majority position and I hope that happens for it will be the start of a more responsive and responsible government.

Are you going to make it happen?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Slip-shod Justice in Malaysia

I wonder how many cases are like this in Malaysia?

It seems that the initial hearing was flawed as the medical report should have been required to conclude that a trial was in order.

Now an innocent man has spent 4 years in jail and his family has endured untold suffering. He should sue the government for his 4 years of unlawful imprisonment.

Also don't forget taxpayers have perhaps wasted RM36,500 based on 4 years x 365 days x RM25 (per day) to keep him in jail.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Report Cards are for School Kids lah.....

So the government has published its own report card to tell us how well the nation is progressing.

I'm not sure about you but I always thought that report cards are things that kids used to bring home to show their parents how well they are doing at school.

Some parents know how well their kids are doing even before the kids bring home the reports. In the good old days, some kids were astute enough to alter marks so that unsuspecting parents could be fooled for a while.

Sometimes you could get away with it untill the final exams when the truth will be revealed.

Looking at the performance of the government during the past 4 years, it has performed OK in some areas but failed abysmally in some critical areas.

The BN manifesto with its slogan of "Security, peace and prosperity" can be looked at from a few different angles.

Security for the big-shots who use traffic police to block roads so they can speed to their "important tasks" while ordinary folks still worry about daylight robbery and snatch thieves and abductions on a regular basis?

Peace for the families whose deceased members are taken away and buried with alien rituals because judges do not decide on conscience but are religiously biased?

Prosperity for every family with children given a fair chance at tertiary education or just those with the proper connections?

As for the DAP, I watched Lim Guan Eng on Tv3 last night and thought the segment was not too encouraging.
His message was something like "sure BN is going to win big...."

Then in the DAP manifesto, they promise RM6000 bonus for each poor family as in this NST report.
An unfortunate choice of words as bonus implies a reward and it also contradicts the admission that the BN is going to win. No need to make a promise that you feel is not going to happen.
It would have been better if the message from the DAP had been, "Beating the BN is really difficult as they control all the MSM but if you want and are ready to change, nothing is impossible. The power to change lies with each of you."

Then if they want to talk about that RM6000, it will be in the form of a "Poverty Alleviation Package" that can include skills training etc.

Some of you may be upset that I am critical of the DAP but my stance is that all politicians can be trusted as far as you can throw them and that is not very far.

Someone recently wrote in a letter in malaysiakini that with the 2/3 majority, the Constitution has been changed more than 600 times and look at the mess the nation is in right now.

So I am promoting that we change our thinking and deny the BN their much sought 2/3 majority and if they want the nation to progress, they should reverse some of those 600 changes with the help of the opposition parties. That way it will represent more of the will of the people and not just a rubber-stamp Parliament.

The USA elections is near and you can hear some fine speeches as aspiring candidates from all parties need to appear in televised debates and the people choose their preferred candidates to contest. This is taken from one such candidate.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time.
We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.
We are the change that we seek.”

- Barack Obama.

Are you willing to help change Malaysia?

Man Does Not Live By Cooking Oil Alone.......

As part of the General Elections in Malaysia, the BN has paid good money for a full-page advert praising itself for keeping prices low for a few staple products like flour, cooking oil and petrol.

They compare the prices of these goods to those in neighbouring countries and of course all the items are cheaper here. I wonder why toll charges are not included as they are also a main contributor to the rising cost of living.

I spent Sunday in Singapore and visited the NTUC Supermarket that just opened below the block where my wife's flat is located. As usual I did some price checks and quickly became like one of those Singaporeans who often go "Cheap, Cheap" when shopping in Malaysia.

I had spotted some lovely apples and oranges of superior quality that were going for a reasonable price. I bought some at S$1.65 and S$1.55 for five pieces each. That works out to RM3.72 and RM3.50 or RM0.75 to RM0.70 each.

The quality was really good and you could pick and choose the best ones. Just a few days earlier I had bought six oranges in a netting at a major supermarket chain and it cost me RM6.99. Now if I had to grade the quality in terms of size and eating enjoyment, the ones bought in Singapore would be rated at "A" and the JB ones at "D".

I guess the "D" grading could also apply to some political parties and those they propose to represent us at the coming General Elections. Maybe like those apples and oranges, we should examine the candidates more carefully and not simply buy all that expensive packaging.

Photo: Thanks to http://www.shopgetorganized.com/images/p31504b.jpg. We can give those bananas to MPs who behave like apes!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Nominating a Candidate for Elections - A Need for Plan B

This is a mystery but given that money politics is a possibility anywhere, political parties should always have a Plan B for Nomination Day.

Otherwise all your chances are gone if your candidate does not show up. What a way to lose a seat.

We all know that politics is a dirty game and some politicians will stoop to very dirty tactics. In this case the freedom of the people to elect their representative has been denied.

The time to submit nomination papers also seems very short. For better security and to avoid confrontations among the rivals, the time should be at least 3 hours.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Malaysians Can Get Away with Murder.....

The facts of this case are disturbing.

According to the article,

"According to the statement of facts, a colleague had asked Mohd Daim to hurt or cause the death of Leong who worked at the outlet.
On the night of Dec 31, Mohd Daim and Muzaffar waited for Leong to emerge from the discotheque and followed him to his car. Mohd Daim shot Leong four times with a revolver in the left shoulder, waist and thigh. A post-mortem report revealed that Leong died from excessive blood loss."

MD was asked to carry out a murder and yet he is getting away with such a simple jail sentence.
Is he licensed to own a revolver?
Who asked him to carry out the killing?

What is the DPP thinking?
"However, Deputy Public Prosecutor Ahmad Ishrakh Saad said that a life had tragically been lost."

This is not a tragic loss of life. That happens in an accident. This was a cold-blooded murder. Where is the justice in Malaysia?

Can We Have Elections Every Two Years in Malaysia?

YES...that could be the solution to keep Malaysians a happy lot.

Chinese New Year and Christmas have ended and still the good things flow through to Malaysians.

Prices have been frozen apart from the sickening tolls that go up relentlessly, thanks to the ultra-secret toll agreements. But you can be sure there will be a slew of price increases over a wide range of products after the elections.

I think petrol will go up by at least RM0.20 per litre. Already in the supermarkets, your shopping ringgit has shrunk by about 10% to 25% depending on the items in the grocery basket. The simple staple of instant noodles or cream crackers now sell for about 30% more compared to 12 months ago.

Yessir! Maybe we can have elections every 2 years so that simple initiatives like these will be carried out more regularly; rather than become a carrot just on the eve of an election.

Think the DPM considers the people to be donkeys?

Photo: thanks to http://oboerista.files.wordpress.com/2007/08/carrots2.jpg

Friday, February 22, 2008

Redeeming the Sins of their Fathers?

Let's be fair.

If children take over their father's constituency it may be a good or bad thing, depending on the circumstances.

In some rare cases the children may possess better character and higher qualifications than the parents.

In most cases the children may just be a proxy for their fathers and it will be the "Same Old, Same Old." Don't expect any changes except that things will deteriorate with more energy and fervour.

I would also worry about the local party organisers. Suppose the retiring MP has served for three terms. Don't tell me that during those 15 years or less, he was not supported by loyal supporters? It shows that the party has not developed its members for leadership roles.

Is politics meant to be the new royalty where people can inherit power without proper credentials?

DAP Campaign Song - excellent!

Making Things Happen for the Future of Malaysia

I had lunch yesterday with three friends and our age ranged from about 50 to 68; all old guys.

Of course the elections was a hot topic and I casually remarked that I would definitely vote opposition even if it were PAS in my area. I have never voted for PAS before but I think the BN needs to be shaken from its race-based formulations.

My three friends were rather shocked and argued that even if the opposition were to win more seats what could they achieve?

So I told them that if everyone adopts that attitude, things would never improve in Malaysia. The shocking fact is that we all agree that things are "really bad" and someone even mentioned "no hope left" for Malaysia as other countries are rapidly overtaking us.

Someone mentioned "what can our 4 votes do?"
So I told him that we all need to go back home and speak to our relatives and friends that all of us have a part to play and not simply hope that a miracle will happen and things will improve without out efforts.

I am sure you have all heard of the frogs that are swimming in a pot of water that is being brought to the boil. I just wonder if during the past 25 years, the temperature has already reached the fatal temperature and many Malaysians simply cannot believe they can make things happen if they choose.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Rather Pricey Computers?

The Immigration Department has made good use of technology to improve efficiency and I wrote earlier on how I got a new passport within the hour.

This new equipment will reduce the hassle for foreign workers who do not have their documents and reduce the amount of unnecessary arrests.

However the price quoted at RM9000 per computer appears rather high as one can get a good laptop for half the price. Equipment to read thumbprints or to scan IDs may cost a few hundred ringgit.

Another case to become a footnote in the A-G's report for 2008?

Photo: Thanks to the Star

Use your vote wisely!

There is a saying, "You get the government you deserve."

I wonder if that applies to countries like Malaysia where electoral boundaries are created by the Elections Commission that enables rural voters to have a disproportionate share of seats in Parliament; sometimes in the order of 3:1 ratio in their favour.

However I still urge all Malaysians not to be complacent but to come out to vote and play your role in the democratic process. If you believe the government has failed in its duties, you should vote against the BN that many feel have become too arrogant after ruling the nation for 50 years.

No political party is perfect that that also applies to BN parties.
The DAP's problems have been high-lighted in the press and malaysiakini with the incumbent from Batu Gajah refusing to contest for whatever reasons.

To me a political party should operate on the basis of principles and not personalities and the DAP should respect her wish and move forward. If the matter is handled in a sensible and sensitive manner, it should be possible for her to return to active politics in the future.

For the BN I found the PM's television clip rather insipid when he remarked the candidates' list was not final untill he gave his approval. Looks like BN is operating like a dictatorship with the Chairman of BN playing the role of emperor. What happened to the equal partnership?
It looks as if all the BN components are willing and eager to comply like wimps.
If the seats had been allocated and agreed among the parties, why should the PM need to dictate which person is proposed by his party?
No wonder we end up with MPs who are so compliant in Parliament with barely an original thought except when the bodily functions of women are involved.

There are the main issues that I am not happy about:

1.The delay in the completion of the "crooked" no bridge in JB. The project was launched in indecent haste and we had to "compensate" the contractor for the cancellation of about RM300m.

2.The switch to English for education. No proper planning as usual and even today, teachers still use BM to teach as it seems 85% of the students cannot understand the lessons in English.

3.Failure to implement to IPCMC is an indication that the police are just too corrupt to be reformed by an equally corrupt administration.

4.Inquiry on the Lingam tapes. Appears more like damage control especially since the elections are called before the report is published. It looks like the first 3-man panel was just to buy time.

Can you add to this list?

Graphics: Someone sent it in an email

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Lessons from Cambodia

Just returned from Siem Reap where my wife and I spent a few days - it so happened that it covered Valentine's Day and just before our 30th Wedding Anniversary. Maybe I am getting sentimental in my old age!

I believe Angkor Wat is an important trip that all Malaysians should take as it can provide some important lessons for a multi-religious nation like Malaysia.
The ruins are really outstanding and prices are affordable especially since AirAsia flies here.

This is not really a travel blog but these are the main points about Angkor Wat that I experienced:

1.The economy runs on the US$ in parallel with the local currency that plays a minor role - mainly to return change that is less than US$1. Collecting taxes must be a headache for the Finance Ministry.

2.English is spoken widely and among the locals even in remote areas, I think the standard of English among the people is better then in Malaysia. We had a driver who told us he learned English after one year of listening to programs like BBC, CNN. He was quite a good speaker and I estimate his standard to be that of a Primary 6 level from a Singapore school.

3.Security is good and we did not feel any danger when walking about the streets at night. Police are stationed at certain points in town.

4.The temples ruins give a good documentary of how religious conquests caused the destruction of man's creation. The temples were destroyed mainly by conquests of Hindu and Buddhist regimes with some Muslim influence via the Chams. But as the photo shows, long after man abandons his creation, the jungle claims back everything. It shows the stark power of nature compared to man's influence.

A visit to Seam Reap would be incomplete without attending a concert by Dr Beat Richner who founded the Children's Hospital where any child can get free treatment. He has been active in Cambodia since the 70s and you can learn more about this truly remarkable doctor here

In brief, if you could only travel to one temple ruins in your life, I would recommend the ruins of Angkor Wat. A three-night break would be enough for most travellers.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

An Interesting Incident for BN to Note....

I confess that I still buy the newspapers as it forms a sort of morning ritual.
Somehow reading the papers in one's hands is a totally different experience from reading on the computer screen.

Today, the elderly Malay gent was clearly agitated. I was about to pick up and pay for my papers when he blurted out something like, "Crooks! Must kick all the BN out".

He was not a complete stranger as I had met him at the same shop a few times. So I replied "Shocking, isn't it?" and pointing to the headlines on the Lingam tapes.

"But the folks in the kampung will still support for a few RM".

"Those people are blind. The old folks do not know." he replied as he went home.
Think I will have more interesting conversations with him in the near future.

This is the first time I have heard a near stranger voicing his feelings so openly.
Maybe Malaysians are finally waking from their careless slumber.

OBAMA's message is short and sweet for Malaysians. "WE WANT CHANGE!"

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Postpone the Elections Untill the RCI Makes its Findings

malaysiakini has this astonishing story headed

"Explosive revelations against Lingam" in the reality show that is the Royal Inquiry on the Lingam Tapes.

Why does the ACA seem to defer legal action when "big fish" are involved? It's like having a Bomba that will only come out to fight small fires.
With a major inferno raging, they will say, "the fire is too big".

Looks like they left the best for last but let us hope this government will have the moral courage to get the nation off the slippery slope to utter decadence. We are not there yet.

Maybe we should postpone the elections until we see what actions are taken after the RCI makes its recommendations.

Wrong to Use ACA for Screening Potential Candidates

This is the height of political arrogance and is clearly abuse of power.
Furthermore it shows that the ACA has become a tool of their political masters and the government agency is being used for the wrong purpose.

We all know the ACA has been struggling to get convictions for important corruption cases especially when it involves the rich and the important.

According to this article in the New Straits Times,

"He also did not say if these people would be charged in court.

“We have an agreement with the ACA that all information will remain confidential,” he added.

He said there was no point revealing their names as they had not been charged in court."

Can the ACA make such agreements?
Is the ACA authorised to use their resources to check out such private matters when no corruption report has been officially lodged?
Where is the professionalism and dedication to their official duties when top politicians can order the ACA to do their bidding?

This is a real let-down after all the recent budget increase to upgrade the nation's anti-corruption capability.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Election Fever and a CNY Bonanza....

Aaahh... it's the season of double give-aways and the name of the company says it all.

The story from NST provides scarce details on whether it was an open tender or the negotiated type (wink, wink) so favoured by the authorities that tend to add another 40 to 50% variation orders as the project develops its own profit generating spin-offs.

A few comparisons will help:

According to the article,
A similar airport was built about 1998 near Bintulu for RM380m (Deferred Payment Scheme)

10 years later, a smaller airport is being built - let us assume it is 30% smaller overall(runway length is the same). The price increase is derived from

700m/380m x 1.3% or 239%

for a 20% downsize, the price increase is

700/380 x 1.2 or 221%

The price increase appears reasonable after about 10 years after taking into account inflation, building materials and labour increases.

A more comprehensive comparison should be made with airports built around the same time and I found this article that looks interesting.

This B747-rated airport was completed in 1999 at a cost of 230crore or US$58.080m or RM188.337m (all at current money rates).

The article does not specify about land costs but "1300 acres of land was acquired for the construction of the airport from about 2600 land owners and 822 families were resettled under a rehabilitation package" but it appears that land costs are a separate account.

The new airport in Malaysia too does not provide more details like land costs apart from being of "international standard" - such are the types of contracts generously awarded under the OSA regime that many in power will forget the minor details after some years.

Now the Indians could build their airport for RM188m while we doled out RM380m and still continue with the preferred contractor scheme.

Sure some alarm bills should be ringing?
(Click on the clock and watch the action!)

Graphics: Thanks to http://www.animationlibrary.com/animation/25495/Alarm_jumps_2/

Thursday, February 7, 2008

CNY Poll - What is Your Impression on the Royal Commission for the Lingam Tapes?

Please take the latest poll on MALAYSIAWATCH POLL 33.

Ideas to Improve the Quality of the High Court Judges

That was the aim of MALAYSIAWATCH POLL 32 that posed the question-

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

Thanks to the 68 readers who took the trouble to share their views:

30 pollsters or 44% chose "We Should Have a Commission to Appoint Judges"

14 or 21% felt that "Muslim Judges Should Not Allow Themselves to be Influenced by Religious Beliefs"

13 or 19% chose "The Judges Should be More Multi-racial and Multi-Religious"

6 or 9% felt that "We Need to Take Correct Actions Based on the Lingam Tapes"

5 or 7% chose "The System is All Right Now"

Based on the poll 93% want the system to improve.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Can Malaysians Change?

This is something for you to ponder during the CNY break.
If you have time to watch CNN, there is a very good coverage on the elections for the Presidency of the United States of America.

I watched both Obama and Clinton as they gave speeches to their supporters in the midst of "Super Tuesday" an important mark in the election campaign to win delegates for the presidential nomination.

Obama seemed more confident and spoke as if he were the US President. It was interesting that both candidates praised the other person and so avoided a split in the Democratic Party.

Obama message was "We Can Change" and change was the major theme of his campaign. One interesting fact of his bid for the nomination was that he managed to raise more than US$20m in donations from ordinary folks by using the Internet.

Maybe this is one way the opposition can quickly raise funds for the general elections in Malaysia. For BN, money is no object as the leaders simply cheat by making use of government machinery and facilities.

One sentence from Obama's speech is significant. He said,
"You are the change you seek."

What that means is don't depend on anyone else to make the change - if you want change you have to start with yourself.
The first thing to do to help Malaysia progress is to help the Opposition win more seats in the next Parliament.

Wishing You a Prosperous Lunar New Year!

The rat is a wily creature and has been able to survive close to humans despite our attempts to eradicate its population.
So as we approach the Year of the Rat, I wish all readers that ability to strive to help our nation Malaysia progress and remove those in power who are holding the nation to ransom.

Just observe how the Americans are leading in the process of change - for the first time, the USA may vote in a black or a female President.

We have still a long way to go.
If you decide to travel during this long break, take special care as there will be some learner drivers who have just passed the driving test and they will definitely cause some accidents on the congested highways.

Graphics: thanks to http://www.123greetings.com

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Reflecting the Government's Lacksadaisical Indiscipline......

Oops they did it again....
Just as the Eye on Malaysia loses more money with each spin of its wheel, we now note that Putrajaya will also go down this wayward path of splurging monies on dubious projects.

Why don't they offer to pay RM5m for that ill-located Eye and bring it to Putrajaya on wheels rather than sinking RM30m on a project that will become a financial burden? That way, the wheel can be transported anywhere in Malaysia maybe to coincide with Merdeka celebrations.

The project costs are also alarming. RM30m could be better used to improve the public transport system in KL and the Klang valley. But if some private company wants to build this tower, they could be allocated land at a special price for a 10 to 20 years lease.

Another tower made the news on the same day - but the heading was rather inauspicious.

"Wiring-glitch delays Malacca’s revolving tower"
According to the story,

"He said technicians had wrongly fixed the cables and junction boxes had not been installed at all."

Guess someone was trying to cut costs. I wonder who pays for the Swiss engineers who are now staying for an additional two weeks at a cost of at least RM1500 per day. If we assume just 2 engineers, that would mean RM4000 per day including hotel costs etc.

Maybe it's the same contractor who gave them lemons for the Malacca cctvs that were in the news about a month ago.

Photo: thanks to the Star

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Basic Integrity Lacking in Government Leaders

The Star newspaper says it all.

"Barisan Nasional big guns roll into northern state to hand out goodies"
It sure looks like an election campaign and the election fever is definitely on. But since when?
The Prime Minister has yet to dissolve Parliament and yet all the government leaders are working 24/7 to ensure they retain power.

In other words they are campaigning using taxpayers' funds and resources. The Elections Commission should look into such electioneering since the date has not been officially announced.

Even Pakistan with all its troubles made a decent 2-month long period for their elections and better still, they installed a caretaker government.

Perhaps this analogy may help clarify the situation:

Suppose you are robbed while you are outdoors by some robbers.
You plead with them and they return you a few ringgit so you can get home.
Are you supposed to feel grateful for their "kind" act?

I suggest that the goodies being so freely doled out are like peanuts leftover from a much larger horde.
SHAME on the Government Leaders for abuse of power!

Friday, February 1, 2008

NO Siree! There Could Not Have Been any "Gentleman's Agreement!

As reported in malaysiakini and the MSM, the PM has rejected TDM's claim that there was a gentleman's agreement for the former to step down after one term in office to make way for his preferred kaki.

I must say this is a novel way to run a modern state; correction a third world nation where one can dictate who gets the most powerful position in the land. I guess a Prime Minister can also then make a selection as follows:

"Okay AAA for the next 2 terms,
then BBB for 2 terms,
my son for as long as he likes,
then CCC for 2 terms,
DDD for 2 terms,
then my grandson for as long as he likes"

Does it not look ridiculous? The citizens are being denied the chance to elect their leaders. Just look at the ongoing USA Presidential elections. At the end of the campaign, the Americans will know what the candidate stands for and can decide on the issues.

As for a "gentleman's agreement" the basic ingredient is missing - we need to have two gentlemen for this and I don't think we had that. It also seems incredulous for TDM with his vast experience in politics to have operated on that basis - maybe he forgot where he put the agreement or maybe the videotape?

I guess he would need more positive proof to show the so-called "gentleman's agreement."

One act of ungentlemanly conduct I can remember was when during the "Buy British Last" campaign many years ago, the British owned property Carcosa was rudely taken back from the British government.