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

Monday, March 31, 2008

No Need to Scrap Penang Ferry if There is Better Cooperation

The ferry service is now under the Transport Ministry that is seeking to discontinue this useful if unprofitable operation as soon as the Penang Bridge expansion work is completed.

This is what happens when this kind of operation is decided at Putrajaya. This ferry operation should managed by the Penang authorities, with the federal government providing an annual budget to Penang.

This budget could be based on some formula to subsidise public transport and the funds could come from road tax and excise duties on cars purchased by the Penang population.

photo: thanks to http://www.intproperties.com/cutenews/data/upimages/Penang_KOMTAR.jpg

Major Flooding Forecast for Kedah Within the Next 10 Years

From a drainage viewpoint, this plan to create a 360ha island close to 3 river mouths must surely be considered fool-hardy.
But then when one considers the RM83b project being mooted that will bring profits within a few years, it is not really shocking.

I wonder who are the professionals appointed to the Kedah state Exco?
Apart from the flooding, the fishermen in the area will definitely be affected as the refinery and ship operations will cause pollution.

UMNO Reforms - More Leaders Finding their Courage to Speak Up

One positive result brought about by the recent General Elections is that a new wind of change is sweeping through many political parties and even UMNO, the party that has been at the centre of the government since MERDEKA is finding it necessary to contemplate reform to regain its dominant position.

Even the former PM lamented that he was not able to reform UMNO and change the Malay mindset in one of his many speeches. I am not sure if he was referring to the UMNO mindset or the other Malays who decided to vote opposition recently.

TDM forgets that it was he who created the UMNO election system whereby the rules were changed so that top leaders were "protected" from challengers by means of the qualifying requirements. UMNO had been ruled strictly from the "top down" approach and the grassroots were merely the "ants" doing all the work and having little say in the party direction.

Malaysians should thank AAB for allowing the democratic space to grow and even UMNO is now enjoying a fresh breeze. Many claim that AAB brought about his own downfall with his carefree non-chalant style of appearing to do nothing but some of us feel his style has enabled Malaysia to get some hope that things can change for the better of the nation.

Let us hope that UMNO leaders who are acceptable to all Malaysians will take up the challenge and offer themselves for the top posts.

Graphics: thanks to http://www.fotw.us/images/m/my%7Dumno.gif

Sunday, March 30, 2008

YES! Most Malaysians Want the HINDRAF 5 Released or Charged...

It is morally wrong to have a law like the ISA that empowers the government to detain anyone without trial for 2 years and then indefinitely at the sole pleasure of the Interior Minister.

It is also a dangerous thing to have one person with the authority that cannot be challenged in a court.

Sammy Vellu's statementis encouraging and it is time for all like-minded Malaysians to send this message to the Prime Minister.

We should not accept that slip-shod investigations by the authorities can be covered by such a draconian law. Release them or charge them in court.

Let's Encourage Common Decency Among Politicians....

This photo (thanks to the Star)speaks volumes of the common decency that can be practised by politicians.
We have often witnessed the uglier side of politicians, with the crudes remarks made in Parliament and the sexist jokes that were common in the last sitting.
Hopefully, those episodes will be things of the past, with many of those MPs being shown the door in the last general elections.

Politics is the art or science of possibilities and there are no permanent enemies. Both federal and state leaders need to work closely together if the GDP figures are to be realised.
So this photo shows that both sides understand this need. The CM of Penang took the trouble to greet the PM, even though he was not on an official visit to the state and the PM responded with graciousness.

C'mon Education Director-General, Why Practise Double Think?

Small wonder that the Education Ministry is producing students who cannot read and write properly, especially when we have a DG of Education who cannot give simple answers as to whether Opposition state leaders cannot be invited to functions of the ministry.
I wrote yesterday about the Deputy DG of Penang who gave such a lame excuse about not inviting the new Chief Minister to an official function.

He mentions people might "politicise" such events but don't we always see that with the "Another Project by BN Government"?
The sooner government servants realise that they must serve all, regardless of political affialations, the faster we will develop as a nation.

I am sure during the recent campaign, many BN candidates and acting Ministers would have made speeches at official functions extolling people to vote BN. Now, that is the height of politicising official events.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Such a Puerile Excuse from the Education Ministry

Many parents do not have much trust in the quality of the standard of education in Malaysia and that accounts for the hundred odd buses that ply the Causeway every day, taking thousands of young Malaysians to schools in Singapore where they are assured of a good quality education and easy access to further education.

Apart from the Education Minister who thinks little of brandishing his keris in the name of all that is sacred, we now see the Deputy director of the state education department in Penang now trying to make a lame excuse as to why the Chief Minister of Penang was not invited to "attend the closing ceremony of the state schools' athletic tournament at the state stadium in Batu Kawan yesterday."
The reason was "due to time constraints".

It was not that the new Chief Minister gave this reason as he was too busy but the committee did not ask him to attend.

Elections ended on 8th March and that gave the committee almost 3 whole weeks to prepare the invitation for the new Chief Minister. No doubt people in Penang were in some shock after the elections but one would hope that the Deputy-director would be capable of more clarity in his thinking.

The ISA Should be Properly Used for National Security and Not Political Convenience

Some people say laws like the ISA should be abolished but since September 11, many nations have passed laws similar to the ISA where suspects can be detained to protect national security.

Malaysia too has the ISA and many critics feel that it has been used more for "political convenience" than genuine national security.

After spending millions to upgrade the capability of the police, one wonders why they cannot find enough evidence to charge ISA detainees in court. Remember under the present ISA laws, you are held at the pleasure of the Interior Minister who has glibly remarked in malaysiakini about Manoharon, the newly elected people's choice for Kota Alam Shah, "You definitely can't be at two places at the same time,"

And the reason? It is implied that he does not like the idea that the people selected this person while under ISA detention.
Just as the Lingam tape fiasco shows, there is always a great danger that one man with unfettered powers like the ISA can cause major damage to a nation unless his actions come under public scrutiny.

For the ISA laws, there must be a judicial review after 30 days.
Our present ISA is akin to giving someone the only key to a bunker where nuclear warheads are stored and ready for activation. In the ISA, it is our basic rights and freedom that will be destroyed.

Is PETRONAS Being Used for the Benefit of All Malaysians or Just for BN Projects?

The new CM of Penang must be pissed off with the PETRONAS claim that oil profits are not used for infrastructure projects.

As reported in this newspaper article, PETRONAS was quite involved in the development of KLCC and the capital at PUTRAJAYA.

One would expect that an important and strategic infrastructure project like the second bridge would also be a good investment for PETRONAS.
Unless PETRONAS money is reserved solely for BN projects?

One of the Best Letters I Have Read About the Malay Dilemma

Anyone who wants to understand the basic problem facing UMNO and the Malays should read this excellent letter(free) published in malaysiakini.

The writer demonstrates good writing skills and a uncanny perception of the Malay mind-set. AAB will really need to put on his thinking cap and needs the support of all moderate Malaysians if he is to overcome such a massive problem.

The very life and spirit of Malaysia is at stake.

Friday, March 28, 2008

KEDAH and Hitting the Jackpot with Black Gold

As commodities prices have surged with oil at US$100 a barrel and gold about US$1000 an ounce, it is not strange that some people are confused about the prospects of black gold with the proposed mega-pipeline project.

Maybe this story should have been delayed untill April 1st so that it could qualify as as April Fool's Joke.

But some people are serious about spending RM33b more on a project that was budgetted at RM50b when it was mooted in 2007 and this article decribes how it would be a strategic mistake.

I guess we should only make sure that no EPF monies is put at risk here and we should probably not buy shares in banks that fund this project.

It is really astonishing that the newspaper article also mentions that they think it will be a piece of cake.
"Officials of the project said despite the huge increase in costs, they were confident of recouping their investments within a few years."
It is particularly disturbing that the project is being shifted back to Sungei Limau, that just happens to be the MB's constituency.

Maybe building oil refineries is just like setting up 7-Eleven Stores?

UMNO - the Dilemma is Clear. Reform or Be Reformed

It is good that UMNO has decided not to postpone its AGM any more as it surely needs to act urgently to take steps to recapture the hearts and minds of more Malaysians if it wants to remain relevant in Malaysian politics.

Many voters will say that they did not really vote for the BR opposition parties but they actually wanted to give the urgent message to the BN and especially UMNO that they were really unhappy with many issues.

Perhaps the supreme council can modify the rules to contest top leadership posts in the party by halving the nominations required to be eligible. For example if 60 divisions now are required, that figure could be reduced to 30. This will allow younger and more dynamic leaders to contest and bring a new vitality to the party.

It will also allow more vigorous debate on how UMNO can become the party of all Malaysians. Many of its members are highly qualified and they should know that Malaysians want to move away from racist politics that has stifled the freedom and liberty of all Malaysians.
Many have spent years in the USA, the land of the free and home of the brave,to be able to observe that we have been practising an unhealthy brand of politics that marginalises everyone except the ruling elites.

By modifying the contest rules, those trying to make sudden leadership changes will have more time to make better proposals rather than simply ousting the old guard with an EGM.

UMNO members should ponder carefully about how they want the party to reform. Business as usual is not an option.

The BR states need only to perform about 20% better than the BN states to be returned in the next elections. Before then, the BN needs to reform or be reformed as the BN Opposition.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Too Much POWER Will Kill You?

Freddie Mercury was one of the greatest performers in recent times with a fantastic voice and great stage presence.
This music video "Too Much Love will Kill You" has words that will also be appropriate if you use the word "power" instead of "love".
His band QUEEN will be performing in Singapore the rock musical "We Will Rock You."

Maybank Foray into Indonesia and Bursa Malaysia

The bank's shares fell on news that it is spending RM4.8b cash to acquire a bank in Indonesia for 4.6times the book value.

This appears to be a very adventurous venture for a bank that essentially depends on the Malaysian government for most of its business.
It is interesting to note that the seller Fullerton Financial Holdings is part of Temasek, the Singapore government body.

I do not know anything about PT Bank Internasional Indonesia Tbk so I would only like to comment about the Jakarta Stock Exchange procedures that require Maybank to undertake the same offer to minority share-holders.

This is good for transparency principles but in Malaysia, there were cases where majority shareholders sold off their stakes and left the minority in the lurch.So all the talk about improving Bursa Malaysia like merging the Main and Second Boards is pure crap when minority share-holders are taken for a ride.

Bursa Malaysia also now has a minimum RM40 brokerage for trades of any value so that screws the small-timer even more.

Photos Don't Lie But They May Not Tell the Whole Story....

From the Star's front page:

"Although the Smart Tunnel in Kuala Lumpur was designed primarily for flood prevention, its role in reducing traffic jams was brought to the fore during the recent four-day closure of the tunnel to divert floodwaters. Motorists complained of constant traffic jams in the Sungai Besi area ever since the tunnel was closed at 6pm last Saturday following a heavy storm. These two pictures taken on Wednesday reveal the effectiveness of the tunnel in reducing traffic congestion. The top picture was taken during the morning rush hour while the picture below was taken at 7.10pm, soon after the tunnel was reopened to traffic. — Bernama/KAMARUL ARIFFIN/The Star"

Do you notice the claim that the SMART Tunnel has the "effectiveness of the tunnel in reducing traffic congestion"?
But the difference in the time is like between sunrise and sunset.
If they really wanted to show the effectiveness, the photos should be taken at the same time plus or minus 5 minutes.
No wonder many people are boycotting MSM - such blatant misleading stories.

Photos: thanks to the Star

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Saying "SORRY" is Not Enough, Don't You Think?

So the Cabinet has decided not to pursue the idea of saying "sorry" to the former Lord President who was unjustly sacked through the appointment of a kangaroo court consisting of judges who would benefit if they found him guilty of incompetence or whatever charge they wanted.

Sadly as the Lingam episode shows, the Judiciary is still suffering from the effects of that sorry episode.

Maybe the official "sorry" may implicate some ministers who were also in the Cabinet at the time and open the open to demands for another official inquiry. It also tends to suggest that the Lingam tape inquiry is not going to get a good ending and put things in the judiciary right.

If it was TDM who committed the error, what is so wrong about him apologising?
It will be up to the electorate to settle this issue in the 13th General Elections. Perhaps the BR should make this a major plank.

The UMNO Conundrum or How to Stay in Power Forever....

Something is not quite right when the leading political party of Malaysia wants to keep postponing elections like indefinitely.

But there are still leaders in the party who know what is the right thing to do.
I understand that elections were supposed to be held in 2007 but it was postponed to after the General Elections. MCA too deferred their elections but are now going ahead as they want to get on with re-building the party.

But UMNO is in a dilemma. Now members are asking that it become more democratic and also allow more contenders to challenge for the top posts.

But isn't that a basic right and practice of any political party so that those selected as leaders are really those with the most support?
Just observe the Presidential race in the USA. They spend months testing and probing the candidates before they make a selection and even then the best candidate may not be selected.

It is definitely superior to the UMNO process where there is an "understood" succession plan and the party leadership is treated like a modern day feudal society.
I say "Let the best man win".

The Prime Minister and the Power Vacuum

When AAB was returned in the 2004 elections, he enjoyed the strongest mandate that Malaysians had ever given the BN, allbeit with some help of the conniving Elections Commission that has been delineating new seats in Sabah and Sarawak to discriminate against voters in Peninsular Malaysia.

He enjoyed almost supreme power holding the posts of PM, Finance Minister and Interior Minister. Some thought he was also Malaysia'a flying ambassador with so many overseas tours that it was considered necessary to lease not buy a spanking executive jet.

Unfortunately he lost sight of the basic reason why most Malaysians welcomed him as the new PM. They thought he was the light at the end of a dark and long tunnel.

Now in the aftermath of the 12GE, the PM is a wounded leader and even people in his own party must be plotting to seek his downfall. He has lost much of the "winner's aura" and most people accept it is only a question of time before he goes.

Even his own party leaders have scoffed at his authority as in the MB's appointment in Perlis and now Terengganu. It may have little to do with personalities but there is now a power vacuum surrounding the PM and nature abhors a vacuum.

CORRUPTION - New Asset Forms Not the Solution

I just wonder what else they will think of next to delay action on all the serious corruption cases that most Malaysians know about.
These cases have been around for many years but it seems the ACA is being tasked to other menial tasks like designing asset declaration forms that distract them from their core mission and compentency; though some will say incompetency.

Maybe we cannot blame them entirely for they are not truly independent but came under the PM's department so that creates s possible conflict of interest as Malaysians know that the PM's department became so powerful in the recent past.
It is time to re-visit the role and position of the ACA with respect to the battle against CORRUPTION before it devours our nation.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

GEDDIT? We'll Do Everything to Fight Crime Except Don't Mention IPCMC

So the police force will look pretty now in their new outfits to combat crime.
I thought they had a fashion makeover about 3 years ago.

I'm making a wild guess here. If 100,000 sets of uniforms are needed at RM50 per set, that is RM5 million that is being spent so
“The new uniform will make them move faster as they need not put on the metal badge,”

I suggest that RM5m would be better spent on weight reduction programs for the many officers one can see in uniform who are seriously obese.

I always had the impression that if we had the IPCMC to provide a proper framework for law enforcement, that will make a significant step towards better enforcement of laws.

FORGIVENESS is a Good Human Trait But........

It is being proposed that the Malaysian government "apologise" to the former Lord President for his dismissal in 1988 as he was considered not friendly enough to government cases.
To his credit, the Former Lord President welcomes the proposal for the apology as I am sure he knows that he was treated harshly for trying to do his job properly.

This is like the recent apology in Australia where the government apologised to thousands of Aborigines who suffered as a result of a practice in the former British colony where thousands of aboriginal children were forcibly taken from their families to be raised as "civilised people".
But the idea to apologise appears to be a convenient solution as it permits those who were responsible for the gravest injustice to one of Malaysia's august institutions - the Judiciary, that many consider to be the most important of the 3 pillars of society, to escape without the proper administration of justice.

The sacking of the former Lord President and those gallant judges who lined up to protect him may be considered to be the most heinous crime committed against all Malaysians.
As the Lingam Inquiry suggests, we are still suffering from the the dark days of 1988. It is as if the Judiciary had been raped and what we can observe are the illegitimate offsprings of that crime.
Unlike the situation in Australia, where the perpetrators of the official policy are long gone, the Malaysian perpetrators are still around and enjoying the fruits of their evil deeds.
I am sure we have enough honest law-makers and competent law enforcers to determine how to proceed in this matter.
An apology is simply too convenient a whitewash.

Monday, March 24, 2008

CORRUPTION - the Young Only Follow the Leaders

It should not surprise anyone that young adults are prone to being involved in bribery. They are always being told to "change their life-styles" and the TV ads always show what is success but it is all about material goods.

There are religious programs but sadly all the programs cater to only 65% of the population.
This means that 35% of the population are deprived of religious teaching that will help them to be honest and thus this 35% will be influencing the others who may also be struggling to keep clean.

Recent developments like the famous Lingam tapes that reveal weakness in the Judiciary and the IPCMC failure also tend to send the message that "Malaysia is a Corrupt State".

So now we have another bureaucratic body like "Anti-Corruption Secretariat for Institutions of Higher Learning".
It appears that the authorities are willing to wait untill all those involved in serious corrupt practices are dead before they will proclaim "The Anti-corruption Drive has been Successful!"

A Special Song Dedicated to ALL BN Leaders who Lost....

Terengganu Politics - Is There More to It than Disapproval of the Former MB?

The decision by the Terengganu palace to reject the BN nominee for the post of MB even though he is supported by the majority of the elected reps, unlike the situation in Perlis, indicates that perhaps it is not such a simple disagreement between Putrajaya and Terengganu.

At one time Terengganu enjoyed a state income worth hundreds of millions of ringgit in oil royalties but the federal government amended the constitution years ago so that the people of Terengganu were denied this direct payment.

That happened as the federal government did not want the opposition state to enjoy such funds. The royalty payment was instead converted into a "development fund" under the control of Putrajaya.

Instead of the opposition being able to develop the state based on the needs of its own residents, power over the fund was transferred to the federal government; as at the time the 2/3 supremacy allowed it unfettered authority.

With the loss of another 5 states to the opposition and a weakened PM, I believe this rejection of the MB is to show that Terengganu is still unhappy about being denied the right to decide on how to use the royalties.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Malaysia's New Freedom - the After-birth Pains

Birth is a most painful experience - men and only watch while their wives endure the delivery process that may take hours.

Malaysia too has undergone a painful process and we are now in a transition mode from a weak baby that hopefully will attain adulthood.

Looking at the results on the appointment of the MB in Terengganu, we now have a whole spectrum of political appointments that could form a theme for students of political science.
"Variations on the Appointment of MBs in Malaysia".

Let us hope this latest solution is accepted in good faith by all political leaders.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Elections are Over, it is Time to Get On with the Nation-building

The 12th General Elections are over and we witnessed the massive losses of the ruling BN coalition, even though they made improper use of taxpayers' monies by continuing to act as the government after Parliament had been dissolved.

I daresay that if those leaders on the campaign trail worked half as hard during the past 4 years as they did during those 14days, we would have achieved Developed Nation Status by now. OK enough wishful thinking.

In most civilised countries after an elections, the leaders of both sides will come together to work for the benefit of all citizens. Debates will be held before bills are passed so that citizens can be part of the democratic process.
I suggest to the new Information Minister that his first task should be getting the proceedings in Parliament televised live so that those interested can watch and evaluate our MPs in action.
With the new cast in Parliament, that could turn out to be "Malaysia's Best Reality Show".

Before we get to that stage however, there is some disturbing news that some MPs are considering switching sides and I feel this is most unhealthy for the nation. Such rumours create instability and are bad for investors who prefer a more settled political environment and if they believe the government can be so easily changed by party-hoppers, they will take their monies elsewhere.

Malaysia is still learning some lessons in the transfer of power as seen in the formation of new state administrations and I suggest toppling the central government by inducing MPs to switch side is a bad and unhealthy practice for the nation.

People may claim that no money is paid but the incentive of being on the winning team and future benefits is ever present. Do you think voters are still so gullible?

Therefore I suggest that the following law be debated and passed:

1.MPs may not switch parties for 3 years after being elected unless they are expelled from their party.
2.MPs who switch parties on their own are required to resign and not allowed to contest in the same seat for 5 years.

This will be a good exercise for the new Parliament as the 2/3 supremacy is absent and good arguments will carry the motion.
Can we call it the Angus Anti-Hopping Law?

Friday, March 21, 2008

As Usual UMNO Rules......

(click2 on image to enlarge)
No wonder the East Malaysians are not too happy with their share of Cabinet posts. According to malaysiakini, one MP is mulling shifting to PKR.

Of the 34 posts with ministers' rank,UMNO took 24 or 70.5% with the other 29.5% to be shared among the other parties in the 14-party BN. Hardly a fair distribution, don't you think? And the really glamorous portfolios are also assigned to UMNO MPs.

For the second tier of deputy ministers, there is a fairer distribution of posts, with UMNO taking 14 out of 32 posts or about 44%. That would be a more equitable ratio if applied to the ministers' posts.

With 2 deputy ministers declining, I guess those 2 posts could be given to other parties.

I thought the Cabinet should consist of those who can really do good work and not simply a reward for those who got elected by fair means or foul.

With one MP resigning, there could be a move for more East Malaysians to go independent and create a stalemate in Parliament short of supporting a no confidence vote. Maybe that way they will get the attention of the federal authorities to really do more to help the poor in Sabah and Sarawak.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Such a Jantan Cabinet - No Wonder WANITA UMNO is Pissed Off

As we all know politics is a dirty game and one should be prepared to be betrayed by one's closest allies if it suits them.
It is natural for the Wanita Umno chief Rafidah to be angry that she was made used of for the GE Campaign. I am sure if she had been told not to contest UMNO would have lost a few more seats.

The Cabinet lineup is a major affront to women voters as you can see only two women in the Cabinet photo(thanks to NST).
Meanwhile in Pakistan they have just elected a woman to be the Speaker.

Women are already more capable than men in many fields as years of more females than men studying in universities has produced more women graduates in Malaysia. All they need to do is change their mind-set and start the struggle for equal opportunities and less discrimination.

Someone with the capabililites of Rafidah could have become Malaysia's "Margaret Thatcher" but perhaps she was misguided and made some major mistakes, notable the share issue problem and the APs fiasco.
Maybe the women of Malaysia could start an All Women's Party? After all there are more females than males in Malaysia.

Important Lessons from the Royals.......

Some people feel that royalty in modern society are just for ceremonial and historical reasons but the results of the recent elections show that our Royals can provide a stabilising influence in the aftermath of elections.

This NST story tells the background to the Perlis appointments.

This reinforces the need for a caretaker government during elections and perhaps the person to lead the caretaker government could be appointed by the Ruler for two months or less so that the elected representatives can make a good decision as to who should lead the state or the nation.

This person must be well respected and trust-worthy to ensure that no documents are destroyed to cover up wrongdoings.

All in, one could say that Malaysians could not have wished for a better result for the 12th GE. We all have been blessed with the best opportunity to progress towards Vision2020 with renewed enthusiasm.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Progressive Cabinet or the Next Shadow Cabinet?

Here are two quick flaws that I see in the Cabinet and this does not reflect on any particular individuals but based on principles:

1.A person should not be holding a portfolio for too long as that tends to breed carelessness and familiarity; not to forget making the person more susceptible to avenues of corruption or breach of trust. For example in banks, some staff in sensitive areas must take leave so that misdeeds can be uncovered. Two terms should be the most for ministers and deputies.

2.Appointing an advisor with minister rank for a portfolio that already has a minister is a no-no. Expect fireworks here or a cat-fight.

The basic structure is still way too large. I always thought a Cabinet is meant to be easy to lead and manage but this one can easily be halved; just as someone mentioned in malaysiakini.

I would also move away from the fixed notion that the DPM would be the automatic successor and suggest 2 DPMs would give more flexibility in case of health or other setbacks. The Negri idea of a two-year term can be applied to the DPM would allow the PM to check out the leadership qualities of others.

With 15 ministers holding enlarged portfolios and more deputies, there would be more competition to perform well.

Unless this new Cabinet can perform beyond our expectations before the next elections, they have a few years to practise being in the next Shadow Cabinet.

Photo:thanks to http://www.fightdump.com/thumbnails/11776050981290.jpg

Malaysia's Cabinet - Colours Paint a Thousand Words

(click2 on image to enlarge and see true colours)
The long awaited Cabinet has been announced and there must be many disappointed parties; especially in the GERAKAN and MIC that fared rather poorly and also among the East Malaysian parties who only have been given fringe portfolios.

It appears to be more a rear-guard action; with the circling of the wagons before the onslaught of a superior force - the awakening of Malaysians.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Initial Reaction to the New Cabinet....


I think the Cabinet is still way too large for Malaysia and some of the familiar faces are still there.
So what is the game plan? Performance review after 12 months and if no results have to resign?

It is also unhealthy for any minister to remain too long in one post. In the government service getting a transfer is normal after a few years. That reduces relationships from becoming too cosy.

I wonder if during Cabinet meetings they carry on with their "Datuk and Datuk Seri or Tan Sri"?
I bet before you finish all the salutations many will forget the point they want to make!

Basic Precautions Lacking in Many Hazadous Factories....

Did you know that materials like flour and coal can cause explosions with the correct particle-to-air ratio is present?
All it takes is an intense heat source like a welding arc to explode the mixture of the fine particles in the air and the chain reaction will take place. Those workers would have been killed instantly.

This incident indicates that a flour explosion occurred in the tunnel as most probably no one bothered to check if a dangerous condition existed.

Most factory owners always rush maintenance works and short cuts are the norm. No wonder students shun away from engineering as a career.

What Do You Think of MPs who Cross-Over?

That is the question for MALAYSIAWATCHPOLL 35 since malaysiakini has reported that AI is in East Malaysia trying to get some of them to cross over to BR?

Please take a minute and share your ideas. Comments are most appreciated.

Some Support for AAB to Continue as the PM

Compared to the Go/Stay answers in Malaysia Today's poll where the poll attracted tens of thosands with the majority wanting Go (~90% but the poll has been removed)MALAYSIAWATCH POLL 35 attracted 150 replies.

Thanks to the 150 readers who took the trouble to evaluate the possibilities.
These are the findings to the question:

"What Are Your Views on Abdullah Badawi Remaining as the PM of Malaysia?"

53% Want him to go with these suggestions:

39% or 59 readers picked "He Should Resign Immediately and Let BN Appoint the Next PM"

14% or 21 readers chose "He Should Follow TDM's Advice and Appoint the DPM to Take Over"

46%(1% rounding error)Want him to stay with these ideas:

33% or 50 readers chose "He Should Work Closely with the Opposition to Develop More Decentralized Government"

8% or 12 readers chose "He Should Stay On and Allow More Democratic Practices in BN and the administration"

5% or 8 readers chose "He Should Just Continue as Before"

Monday, March 17, 2008

NEP is Dead.....Long Live the NEP!!

According to an East Malaysian MP, the NEP should not be discussed anymore as it has now been replaced with the NDP or National Development Policy/Program.

But has anyone noticed any difference between the two since the NDP began? They merely wasted more monies to promote the "new brand" after the makeover.

It is like a situation where you have scruffy-looking gangsters demanding extortion money from you for many years and then one fine day, the same guy appears all spiffed up but now he drives a BMW5 Series. And you have to pay more as they have changed their lifestyle.

The NEP began with good intentions but over the past 35+ odd years it became the fast track vehicle to immense wealth for perhaps 10000 odd people linked to the ruling elites.

You will find many of their exclusive homes in the various state capitals but with a large number in Kuala Lumpur.

The NEP now stands for Nefarious Enrichment of Parasites. What do you think?

FANTASTIC! Kedah Becomes First State to.....

go 100% paperless.

and most KL folks think they are ahead in the IT age with new technologies.

Well today's report in the Star mentions like in the old fable "all the cupboards were bare".

In this case, "All documents from the offices of the Mentri Besar and executive councillors in Kedah have gone missing."

Surely if the Kedah folks had gone paperless, they would have made a grand party of it with the usual "Malaysia Boleh!" outcry?

There is a smell of dirty rats here and the whole Exco should be hauled over the coals. Together with any civil servants and others who have abetted in the great cover-up.

Meanwhile any computer experts in forensic science and data recovery should offer their services to the Kedah and Selangor authorities as their services should be quite useful.
It is quite difficult to eliminate all traces of wrong-doing as I don't believe any contingency plans were in place.

English Lesson Straight from the Papers....

I always tell people don't read the newspapers or watch Malaysian TV programmes if you want to improve your English.

And even programmes from Singapore do have the occassional blooper.

But this article from the Star was a bad attempt at implying something that was not actually said.

The paragraph read

"Lim had also said that the NEP, which was introduced in 1971 after the May 13, 1969, racial riots to eradicate poverty and restructure society, was the source of “cronyism, corruption and inefficiency.” "

It was pretty sharp of the new government in Penang to pick out the inference and a protest was made to Bernama who have since apologised.

If you had watched the TV segment and read the article, the majority of folks would not notice the difference between the two and I too had not paid attention to the newspaper article.

Yes this paragraph is incorrect and mischievous. If they wanted to give the background details, the NEP info should have been placed in a different paragraph.

The weakness of the NEP could have been mentioned and it would be fair to say that most of the Malaysians who voted for the DAP/PKR/PAS coalition share the same sentiments.

What of the Bernama apology? It should have been a front page apology plus a donation of RM100k to any of Bernama's favourite charities in Penang.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Essential Reading for ALL Government Leaders

Before major efforts are made to reform any of the major political parties, all of them are encouraged to read this book that is being sold for less than RM40 in Malaysia.

It is easy to read and has many illustrations for those who are literally challenged. Time taken will be about one hour.

Graphics: thanks to amazon.com

After the March 8th Earthquake, Some Aftershocks....

If one considers the election results as an earthquake, the events that followed can be likened to aftershocks as Malaysians grappled with the earth-shaking event. Some Malaysians were really bewildered as no one here has experienced an earthquake of such magnitude and some were unable to cope.

First the BR coalition had difficulties hammering out the composition of the state governments in Perak and Selangor, where there was also some "documents cleansing" as the old team wanted to tidy up the offices.

Now even the BN government has difficulties to appoint the MB of its choosing as the respective Rulers want to be given their rights to decide on who should be the MB. We seldom heard of such objections before and so perhaps there has been unhappiness too among the rulers especially since TDM curbed the powers and influence during his tenure of office.

Overall I think this is all good to expand the democratic space in Malaysia. Power brokers are also clamouring for the Prime Minister to step down and pass the reins to the next-in-succession as if one political party has been given the divine right to choose who becomes the Prime Minister.

Ideally it would be good if the PM is selected by all voters just like in the USA but that is quite a radical change and perhaps may only occur in another 50 years. I believe our model now is one where the person that commands the support of the majority of newly-elected MPs is deemed to become the PM.

Now we all know that seat boundaries are fixed so that Sabah and especially Sarawak have many more seats than the Peninsula with respect to the population and so West Malaysians have been marginalised as far as the "one-man,one vote goes" (except for Putrajaya where one man is equal to 12 votes!)

I suggest the following changes be implemented for the next GE.

1.A caretaker PM is appointed - someone who is not contesting in the elections.
2.After the elections, the MBs are appointed by the MPs elected to the state assemblies and the respective heads of states. BN Central or BR Central should only play advisory roles to the rulers if they ask.
3.After the state governments, Parliament is convened and the MPs of all parties will meet to nominate the MP for the PM's post who commands the majority support and I suggest the pledge should be for a minimum of 3 years.

That is one method to enable states to enjoy more democracy and reduce the stiflying control of central government that is really quite unhealthy for democracy to flourish.

It is good that the present government has started major projects in Kelantan as after all the federal government is the government for all states and not just BN controlled states.
There must be a mind-set change and federal projects should cease from displaying the usual "Another BN Government Project" signs.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Procrastinate Or Change!

Change is inevitable.
If you do not accept change, the world changes without you and you will be left behind.

Just observe the changes you can see around you.
Two simple examples: the mobile phone and the Internet.

15 years ago,most of us did not use a mobile phone but today even primary school children use this modern technology.

What of the Internet? Did you know some people are managing million dollar business just with the click of the mouse?

What is the cause of such changes?

Human beings have this great ability to change things and that is what really sets them apart from the other creatures.

How do we change things? The French philospher and mathematician Descartes has this famous concept "I Think Therefore I Am!"

Animals don't think they just simply react based on instincts.

Unfortunately there is another side of the ability to think. This NEGATIVE side is called Procrastination. That means putting off doing things for later and for some people, later means NEVER.

How many of you here never procrastinate? So many admit to procrastination. I too am guilty and I think I qualify at expert level.

What is wrong with procrastination?
Have you heard people say the following?:

"I wish I had spent more time with my children"
"I wish I had saved more when I was younger"
"I wish I had studied harder at school"

That is the result of procrastination.

What are some of the things you want to change?

Maybe you are in a bad relationship
Perhaps you want to quit smoking
Be careful what you want to change for your wish can really come true!
Some of you will remember that I mentioned in my last speech that some people want to change the government and see what happened!

How do you go about change?
1.Analyse the problem
2.Develop possible solutions and consider what/if scenarios
3.Decide what will happen in the worst case scenario and if you are prepared to accept that.
4.Make a plan of action - plan to change
5 Take action - change to plan
6.Take corrective action if necessary.
7.Enjoy the results.

There have been quite a few elections in the past 6 months and the one most publicised is the USA Presidential Elections to be held in November.
If you watched CNN or BBC, you can hear Obama speeches and I quote from one of these on change:
"You are the change you seek"
"You are the change you are waiting for".

That sounds like you have been procrastinating but Obama says it in a nice way.
Before I conclude can I ask the members here:

Has my speech convinced you to start doing your TM projects again?
VPE please take note.

(This is an expanded version of a speech I gave for my ToastMasters Club in Johor Baru that won the Champion award. After winning I decided to do the next project)

Friday, March 14, 2008

If the Prime Minister is Forced to Resign......

According to a report in malaysiakini, there are calls for the Prime Minister to resign following the poor showing in the elections.

Will history repeat itself or will Malaysians now stand to protect the PM who has been duly elected and sworn in?
Remember the last time it happened in 1969, our new democracy slowly turned into a nation with more and more restrictive laws untill the new awakening on 8th March 2008.

There is no doubt that apart from the dark days of May 13th, Malaysia enjoyed relative peace and harmony and this long period has enabled all races to progress as Malaysia is a fantastically wealthy nation, although the poor will complain that the wealth has not been distributed fairly.

This call to resign is not progressive and the matter should be brought up in the proper place - that is the House of Parliament where the MPs can pass a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister.

I am not sure if he can simply step down or dissolve Parliament for new elections.
If he has to resign the office of the PM, I suggest the procedure of the Perak Regent can be applied - that is all the component political parties that support the incoming Prime Minister should give a written pledge for at least 4 years.

We need to bring some stablility to Malaysia that seems to be rocked by political uncertainty.

The New Political Realities in Malaysia

The voters have decided and we now have the new state governments properly elected.
All Malaysians should accept the results of the Elections and put politics aside to enable to let Malaysians get back to work.

The BN lost in major states but the PM still has enough majority in Malaysia to lead the nation but already people from his own party have started to clamour for his resignation.

It seems some people lose no time to get rid of old leaders so that their path to the top is cleared. These people probably don't realise that the "bad old days" are gone and Malaysians now want more freedom and transparency.

This is not the right time to remove the PM as the nation is still recovering from the shock results. My opinion is that AAB is the best PM for this tumultous period as his calming but firm demeanor will enable the wounds to heal and allow both the BN and the BR to learn how to evolve into a proper 2-system democracy.
Even TDM confessed he was unable to reform UMNO but AAB will be able to do that.

Is there anywhere in the Constitution that says the BN must lead the nation in perpetuity?

No! 6-3-1 is Not .......

the new team formation by any football club.
It is the BR set-up for the Perak Government and it is a fair distribution; being a compromise between the number of seats won by the respective parties and the composition of the population of Perak.

An an anak Perak, my ardent wish is that the government leads and manages with wisdom and justice and fair opportunities for all; with the marginalised and handicapped being properly taken care of with programs that empower them.

SYABAS to DAP, PKR and PAS for showing the way to BN that has 14 parties to engage in horse-trading to come up with a overweight Cabinet.

The Police Have Been Doing a Great Job for the Elections.....

I know I have been critical of the RMP especially with respect to the IPCMC but they deserve full praise for the way they have managed to control the security situation in the nation.

The first and proactive step was the banning of all victory parades and a tight lid on public gatherings by all parties. We need time to understand how the election results will change the future.

One writer in malaysiakini calls it the e-volution and definitely it can be compared to the breaking down of the Berlin Wall.

For Malaysians it was not a physical barrier that was not breached and eliminated but a mental one. Let us hope more Malaysians, especially national leaders will also change their mind-set.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Prime Minister Can Lead Malaysia to Calmer Waters if......

I am no apologist for AAB but if I recall history, Winston Churchill was a great Prime Minister during World War 2 but immediately after the war the British voted him out of office.

In the aftermath of the 12th GE, there are many sore losers(too much money and power lost?) and there is talk that some people want the PM to resign.

Of course the results were not good for the BN and I suggest a person with less principles could have taken drastic actions to upset the election results. Remember we still have the draconian ISA and the force of the law to quell unrest.

It has been done before and I think some people still think that is an option.With emergency rule and the opposition in jail, we could have become another Myanmar or Kenya with disastrous results.

Malaysia today is finely balanced with power at Putrajaya held by the BN and 5 major states under the BR. The PM has proved he is willing to accept the decision of the people and promises to do more to win over the disenchanted voters who deserted the BN.

Both BN and BR should find ways to work together so that a "win-win" solution is found. The next elections will be crucial and I bet any group that still operates on racist policies will be buried.

Perak Barisan Rak'yat - Get Your Act Together Fast!

Lucky for you the palace has shown greater wisdom and patience than all your leaders put together.

That is an elegant solution for each elected assemblyman/woman to sign the declaration of cooperation and support for a BR Rak'yat Government.

Do your horse-trading and no need to create too much publicity untill you actually get installed and get the administration running. In fact I suggest all the three parties should refrain on the horse-trading involved as you don't really want wounds to fester.

Now is the time to prove to your supporters that you really can change Malaysia for the better. I think you have 12 months to show some good results.

Perak's Barisan Rak'yat - No C4 Needed

It looks like the BR's frail coalition for Perak may implode given that the DAP has issued a statement that it will boycott the swearing-in of the PAS candidate who was chosen by the Perak ruler.

I just don't understand this position as the three names from DAP,PKR and PAS were submitted for consideration for the palace to choose. If the PAS was not supported for the post given they hold only 6 seats, the name should not have been submitted.
If they needed 3 names, these names could have been only from the DAP and PKR.

Now that the palace has made the official choice it would be an insult for anyone to boycott the swearing-in ceremony as it proves that the coalition is not workable even before the first day at work.

It is also a grave insult against the Perak royalty that is much loved and respected by Malaysians.

It was definitely a mistake to submit three names but this proposed boycott is a more serious mistake than the first. The DAP's supporters must surely realise that this mistake is part of a learning curve and will be able to forgive their error.

But most Malaysians who voted the party will be upset if they make the second mistake and jeopardise the chance of running a state government for a few years and showing us what you can achieve.

It is time to show statesmanship and not political arrogance.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

It is Time for P.E.A.C.E after the Elections....

The citizens have spoken in the latest elections that was not flawless but the results showed there is integrity in the system.

Rightly or wrongly, the people have empowered the opposition to operate 5 states in Peninsula Malaysia and the new Chief Minister of Penang has indicated that open tender system for contracts will be used to reduce corrupt practices.

Some feel that the NEP will be abolished but I thought that happened years ago unless it has morphed into a Never Ending Policy.

The opposition including PKR, DAP and PAS offered their manifesto based on the New Economic Agenda and the people in the states went for it.

So the PM should not be upset with the new approach to ensuring a fair and just society. It may turn out better results than what the Federal Government has so far achieved in more then 35 years.

Malaysians in all states will now be able to compare the performance of the different states without too much difficulty; based on the Auditor-General's Report.
I wrote this in 2005 and it offers some ideas on a new basis to help the poor and marginalised.

Political Jigsaw -- Time for M&As?

In the aftermath of the 12th GE that saw the major losses of the MCA, Gerakan and MIC, it is time for these parties to do what failing companies do - consider the M&A route and convince UMNO to take them in as partners in the changed political landscape.

It will also reduce the headache of any future PM who now has to juggle with so many component parties to produce the world-beating Cabinet numbers. Granting Cabinet posts by numbers just to appease the numerous parties does not create an efficient or effective Cabinet. The concept of meritocracy should be applied more judiciously.

It is pertinent to note that all the three party Presidents have declined a Cabinet post. Could it be they fully realise the futility of stemming the tide of the liberated Malaysian mind?

See the Difference between Penang and Selangor Handovers?

In both states, the ruling party lost but in Penang the former Chief Minister did his job well under difficult circumstances and deserves our thanks for even taking the trouble to attend the swearing-in of the in-coming Chief Minister.


In Selangor a vastly different scenario was enfolding and it appears that numerous files were directed to be shredded after the results. We know that Selangor has some unusual land deals like the PKFZ and the recently deceased DUN and one cannot but suspect that important evidence may have been lost.

Based on such suspicious behaviour it important for the new state authorities to probe other means to uncover any corrupt practices of the previous officials.
Meanwhile there should be a lock-down of the State Secretariat Building and no one should enter unless accompanied by someone from the new government.

This unwarranted destruction of official files only shows the importance of a proper caretaker government during such elections.

Look on the Bright Side of the Malaysian Elections

Although the BN lost heavily in many states, it still controls Parliament with a comfortable majority.

All political party strategists should now be working hard to plan for the next GE to be held within 5 years as Malaysians are now well informed with many sources of information and a greater awareness of human rights and current affairs.

The local MSM should carry more balanced reporting and editing as people are more savvy these days; especially the young and educated.

During the past month countries in other nations produced the following results:

Kenya - results disputed and riots

Pakistan - President now has to rule with an Opposition in control of Parliament

Spain - no change in government but Prime Minister has to operate with a minority

In fact the results in Malaysia can be considered ideal - the BN still runs the nation with a stable majority allbeit not a 2/3 supremacy and the BR runs a few states to give them the opportunity to show us they have a better way to serve Malaysians.

We could not have asked for a better result and the race is now on to prove to Malaysians that we can change for the better.

It Should Be Easy for UMNO to Re-Vitalize Itself

Just return to the great ideals of its founder the great Onn Jaafar who had the foresight to want all Malaysians within his party.

Fifty years ago, people were not so well-informed and he left the party he founded because he could not get his ideas accepted.

As the opposition parties have proved in the elections, the majority of people in the Peninsula are ready for the ideals of Onn Jaafar. UMNO can emerge from the elections as


and be able to absorb all the race-based parties.

Money politics and cronyism should be eliminated and the NEP should be replaced with a policy that helps all Malaysians based on needs and not race.

Truly Malaysia can become a great nation if UMNO reforms itself and becomes a unifying party. I am sure with a party powered with great ideals and not the lure of money, it will still be able to attract many followers.

The saying, "Ask not UMNO can do for you but what you can do for UMNO" applies. Those seeking great wealth need not apply.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Let's Not Support Malaysian Cross-over Politicians

There is some talk that some politicians are being enticed to join the BN to regain their 2/3 supremacy or to BR so that they can take over the government.

We all know politics can be a sordid game and people do change over time. But let's draw the line at this.

How do we entice people to cross-over? It's that ugly monster of money politics again and we should slay that beast before we end back on the slippery slope.

It would be OK for an elected representative to resign his seat and re-contest on a different political party ticket but would you trust someone like that to represent you?

I suggest to BR to administer those 4 new states properly before you embark on the Grand Design. Remember you need to show that you can do better than the BN before the rest of the nation will grant you due consideration at the 13th GE.

BN Government and RTM Still Living in the Dinosaur Age...

It should be the Malaysian Government but I don't know why our national leaders still talk about BN Government.(Is that a new country?)

We all know that AAB has been sworn in as the Prime Minister of Malaysia and not BN Land or has anyone seen a different version of the official declaration?

He has the mandate to lead all Malaysians to "peace, prosperity and security" and I suggest the best way forward for Malaysia is to work out practical ways to cooperate with the major states of Selangor, Perak and Penang and Kedah that are now under opposition rule.

RTM should also have aired the swearing-in of the other Chief Ministers as it is the official station and should provide better coverage of such important events. Instead I saw a snippet of an rather apologetic and self-pitying speech by the former Information Minister.

Looking at the scenario on both sides, I wonder who has more need for super Panadol -the Opposition that won so many states and now has to find qualified people or the Government that has to find ways to recover from a major setback.

For thing for sure. If the BN continues on their present tack, they may end up on the opposite side of Parliament come the 13th GE.
That's a lucky number for some.

Maybe the BN Would Not Have Lost So Heavily if......

I wrote this piece in 2006 and wonder how the results would have been affected they had taken action to implement the concept.

Never mind. The good people of Malaysia, especially the compliant majority and some fence sitters have made the decision for them.
(click2 on image for action)
I wonder if or when the BN will decide to become the next multi-racial party like PKR or the DAP?
That clock is ticking for racist parties and it is 5 years or less to oblivion.

Monday, March 10, 2008

We Should Thank BN Leaders for Accepting the Results with Some Grace....

I am glad that the PM has shown determination to stay in the PM's post as I think the nation has enough shocks to last for a year at least.
A less caring person would have simply abandoned ship and left utter chaos.

The writing is on the wall for BN parties and they should urgently work out plans to merge their components and create THE BN Party that is multi-racial or I suggest they will lose in the next elections within the next 5 years.

After all the BN has been working together for so long it is easier for them to merge than the BR who have made great progress towards a non-race based political force.

If AAB can create this BN party I am sure Malaysia will recognise him as the PM who enriched our human capital by helping to create our 2-party system.

Managing Expectations and Guerilla Warfare in Malaysia......

No Malaysia is not having any conflict and there is peace and stability in the nation.
At the elections many citizens voted across racial lines just to show the government that they are no longer willing to stay on a boat that was headed towards the Niagara Falls of racism and religious fanaticism.

I think the mistake the BN made was not in the 2008 Elections but in the 2004 campaign when they promised to create Utopia in Malaysia with "Glory, Excellence...." just after emerging from 22 years that saw the Judiciary emasculated, and cronyism raised to the heavens.

There was a promise to eradicate corruption even though no country has succeeded there.

The past 4 years also saw the formation of 2 Royal Commissions - one was completed but the IPCMC was a still-birth while the second is playing out.

Then we have the high profile murder case of Altantuuya whose immigration records were mysteriously erased causing many to wonder how that could happen. Is there an unknown computer virus called "Getting Rid of Records of People You Want Killed?"
We also have those unknown accused except for the names. Will it be possible that if the 2 men are convicted and sentenced to death, they will be replaced when sentence is carried out with 2 illegal immigrants of similar build?

But back to the present scenario. The BN has been returned with 140 out of 222 seats and that is 63% of the seats. The BN should be able to manage with the majority of 29seats. Compared with General Musharraf of Pakistan who has to contend with an opposition Parliament, it should be workable.

Why give anyone the blank check to change the Constitution at will? Look at the massive mess it has created in race and religious interrelations. In fact this government has the opportunity to undo some of those changes with the cooperation of the Opposition.

My point on guerilla warfare in Malaysia is that it was done in Cyber-space and the Opposition won there. MSM was so one-sided that eventually people turned to the WWW to read other views.

This is only the beginning to nurture our democracy. There is no turning back.

Aftermath - Where Do We Go from Here?

The STAR front page said it all "Political Tsunami" leaving some parties of the ruling BN demolished beyond repair.

The voters from all races have given a resounding chorus to our political leaders that we want a more responsive and responsible government and the transfer of another 4 states to be administered under the DAP, PKR and PAS gives all Malaysians the chance to evaluate their capability to lead and manage a progressive state.

Two easy suggestions for the Penang, Kedah, Perak and Selangor governments:
1.Direct all local councils to open all council meetings to the public unless it is a matter of national security.

2.Remove the bumi discount for property unless it is for a first time property purchase.

The PM can also work more closely with the opposition to begin giving back more power and authority to the states as at present there is really too much control in Putrajaya.

The nation would benefit more if projects are discussed and approved with the state governments before mega-projects are launched. That is the way all the rak'yat can contribute and participate to help Malaysia progress as a nation.

The notion that opposition areas should be denied development is archaic and a good government will ensure that these areas are treated equitably will ensure that people know they have a fair and just leader.

There is no place for arrogant rulers to dictate based on their personal likes and dislikes.

Truly a "Defining Moment" for Malaysia

Anwar's description of the victory of the people is most apt and reflects the many years he spent in the political wilderness honing his skills.

My wife attended the recent conference on risk in Singapore and said he is a good public speaker.

SYABAS to all Malaysians who voted to change the political landscape. I was wrong to condemn and belittle people who took a long time to DEMAND CHANGE during the past 3 years of this blog. Apart from one peterp and zawi who do give feedback, I sometimes feel I am writing in a vacuum. Even football players need encouragement from their fans!

As for the present PM who is under great pressure to resign, my feeling is that he is uniquely placed to steer the ship to calm waters and allow our new FREEDOM to emerge.

The immediate reaction for most people is to call for his resignation.
But If you think ponder more deeply, you may realize that with the election results, the BN actually has the best reason to reform itself and UMNO can take the lead to develop the BN into a non-racist political force.

I suggest removing him and carrying on business as usual will do little to advance the interests of the BN, Bangsa Malaysia and Vision 2020. We now have the best opportunity to decentralize government and allow more local government leaders to lead in their states. We can now evaluate the performance of 4 major political forces in state governments – BN, PAS, PKR and the DAP.

I support AAB as the PM if he is willing to lead all Malaysians who have given the strongest message yet that they are willing and able to select people who are leaders and not just rulers who rule with draconian laws.

Please take the poll on this idea (left column).

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Do You Think Abdullah Badawi Should be the Prime Minister?

That is the question posed in MALAYSIAWATCH POLL 35 that asks the question

"What Are Your Views on Abdullah Badawi Remaining as the PM of Malaysia?"

The first reaction would probably be "Just Go" but I think he still can serve the nation.
This is an important question to answer as you realise that he will be under great pressure to resign after the loss of the 2/3 majority.

My opinion is given in an earlier article.

I Support Badawi to Remain as the PM

Given the drubbing the BN received in the elections, I suggest that AAB should remain as the PM.

After all it was during his last tenure that Malaysia experienced an awakening and I am sure he is man enough to learn from this bitter defeat. What he should do is to clean up his own party and allow democracy to flourish there too.

If UMNO is not truly democratic by allowing leadership contests at all levels, how can the government itself uphold democratic principles?

The 12 GE shows that more Malaysians are prepared to vote for a more equitable society where its citizens are given fair opportunities to develop their potential.

Probably some rivals may be plotting his downfall but I will support him as the PM for the next 5 years as Malaysia is entering a very interesting phase of political awakening.
What do you think?

Good to Safeguard Government Property but........

The Star has this story headed "Cops seal Selangor state secretariat" and the article mentions

"We took charge of the building, as it belongs to or is under the jurisdiction of the state secretary, who is also the caretaker of the state.

“No one other than him or his deputy or appointed officials, is allowed to enter,” he said when asked about officials from the previous administration trying to force their way into the building."

I suggest that to avoid possible complications, absolutely no one should be allowed access into the building unless accompanied by a third party, like a person authorised by the incoming administration.

My suspicious nature urges me to suggest that the government has been in power for so long it is possible for unhealthy links to have been developed with supposedly neutral persons.

Winning or Losing is Part of Politics......

Congrats to all the winners and "try again" to the losers.
Malaysia made history by returning so many states to the opposition and in a way it seems that most of Peninsula Malaysia has sent a very strong signal to the leaders of the BN.

Some people have written that the BN may be toppled by the next round but the game of politics is strange as the election results have shown. If the playing field is more even I am sure the opposition would have done better.

To me this is the best result and the opposition does not really have enough experience to govern the nation as some parties like PKR and DAP have never ruled states before.

The result gives the BN government the chance to prove that it is not really such an uncaring government and one way to show this is not to deny the opposition states appropriate funds as planned.

I watched the outgoing Chief Minister of Penang last night and he gave a good example of how to accept defeat. That is how good leaders react in defeat.

Kudos too to the IGP who announced the ban on street celebrations as tensions were high and unruly elements can exploit the situation.

Those who lost should read the life story of Abraham Lincoln, the USA President. Take a break and if politics is really in your blood, I am sure you will say like Arnold S, "I'll be back!!"

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Malaysia's 12th General Elections - the Biggest Winner

No it is not the opposition parties that did so well.
To me the biggest winner is you, the concerned citizen who took the trouble to cast your vote as a responsible citizen.

The BN if it is wise will form a government of national unity and invite the opposition to hold some ministerial posts so that Malaysia will progress as a nation.

As for the Elections Commission, it is sad that some officers were involved in the boat accident in Sarawak but fortunately no one was killed.
What puzzles me is that these brave officials risked their lives doing a good job in dangerous conditions and yet in the security of the police and army camps near towns, the EC officials allowed the police and army to administer the voting. This can raise many questions.

I suggest there should be a Special Parliamentary Committee to do a thorough audit on the goings-on in the EC. The indelible ink being "overlooked" though they knew the law is a scandal in itself.

Now that there are more opposition MPs, the role of the citizen does not end. "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance"(Burke?).

Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom

Maybe we are becoming a global village and the winds of change from one part of the globe can reach Malaysia.

Perhaps the 50th anniversary of our nationhood may have awakened many of us that the old style racist politics is not doing the nation any good.

Or is it the power of the Internet and mobile phone technology that has diminished the value of the control of MSM as people switch off.

Perhaps the last minute cancellation of the use of indelible ink and that really threatening speech from the acting PM must have upset thousands of loyal Malaysians.

Of course it could be the cumulative effect of so many different factors.

Here are the results of MALAYSIAWATCH POLL 34 that asked the question:

"For the Future of Malaysians What Would You Consider to be the Best Result of the General Elections?"

Thanks to the 70 respondents who took the straw poll.

37 readers or 53% chose "The BN Loses the 2/3 Majority and Two or Three States"

26 readers or 37% chose "The BN Loses and the Opposition Wins with a Simple Majority"

5 readers or 7% chose "I Refuse to Vote as the Elections Commission is Not Fair"

2 readers or 3% chose "The BN Wins with 2/3 Majority and all States"

It seems that a major shift will take place after the 12th General Elections. It may be the start of the blossoming of a more democratic and fair administration. Let our thousand flowers bloom.

Photo: Thanks to http://www.dailyyonder.com/files/u2/dy-indiana-wildflowers500.jpg

Friday, March 7, 2008

Keeping Safe After the Elections....

That's a problem with the present scenario where we do not install a caretaker government during the elections.

Supposing a few prominent big shots were to lose their seats and want to cause public disorder, how will the acting Prime Minister react, after he has even proclaimed in a speech that the Chinese and Indians would suffer if they did not support the BN components?

Is there any contingency plan by the police in the first place to handle disturbances?
Will these plans ensure that all citizens are properly protected and that trouble-makers will be speedily and severely dealt with?

So to the victorious parties, take care when you celebrate and be on the lookout for trouble. ALLAH help us all to keep the peace.

May the Light Shine on Malaysians who Love their Country and Especially the Fence-sitters

I find the PM's latest speech outrageous.
After a speech a few weeks ago proclaiming to be "PM for all Malaysians", he now says if the Chinese component parties lose, there will not be any post for Chinese in the Cabinet.

Reminds me of the book, "Big Ears, Black Heart" that I may decide to write.
The PM is essentially telling all the Chinese and Indian citizens that he will not take care of them unless they support the BN. Is that not blackmail of the supreme degree?

Of course if we grant them another overwhelming mandate, there is no telling where this government will take the nation. Already we are famous for world class scandals.

Yesterday I said that I would not put my list of dissatisfactions here but you can read some of them in this article I wrote in 2004 entitled Vision 2020 or "Malaysia Dreamin" .

If you have been sitting on the fence for some time now, it should be quite uncomfortable. Why not get off the fence and help decide the future direction for our nation?

MALAYSIA needs you and every vote counts. Some young people are driving home from Singapore to vote and you too should do your duty to safeguard the nation's future. I assure you that you will experience a deep sense of satisfaction after you cast your ballot.

Advice to Outstation Voters

CONGRATS on taking the trouble to be actively involved in the democratic process.
It is important for the nation that your voice is heard loud and clear.

Drive carefully and make sure you are not in breach of any laws or delays could cost you your opportunity to tell the different parties how you have judged their performance during the past 4 years.

For those returning from Singapore, allow more time to clear the CIQs, possibly another one or two hours more unless that runaway is caught by Friday.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Remember the Hit Song from the TITANIC?

Here's an idea for a similar song for the BN entitled "My Sins Will Go On".
I am sure you can make a list of at least 10 things about the government that make you unhappy.

I don't want to make a list as you will have different grievances and my list will probably be too long, starting from the BMF Scandal!

The BN has been "demanding" a strong mandate so that Malaysia can "progress" further but I believe even with a majority of 10 MPs, Malaysia will still be a nation of peace and prosperity provided the government is fair and just to all citizens, irrespective of race or religion.

In fact the government should be fair and just to all states, even those who voted in the Opposition into the state government. After all, the population in opposition states pay income tax and service tax and we should not accept blackmail to coerce the voters.

The latest boo-boo on the indelible ink problems that was "overlooked" by the Elections Commission shows that the BN is suffering from fatigue and familiarity that breeds contempt for the process of government after 50 years.

I suggest denying the BN that 2/3 supremacy in Parliament would be the best way to let them recuperate and reinvent itself for the future of Malaysia. That also is the preferred choice in the Poll on the left column. Do let us know your views.

Photo:thanks to http://mediaserv.tvnetco.com/DATA/tvnbranson/titanicmuseum/images/med/titanic-outside_M_.jpg (New Titanic museum in USA. I have been to the one in Halifax, Nova Scotia where my daughter studied)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Penang Moto-Go-la Billion Ringgit Deal.....

I'm not a trained economist but it seems that Malaysia is going to face severe challenges if the arrangement by the outgoing Chief Minister is anything to go by.

Motorola has been offered a RM1b project in order to entice them to stay in Penang and secure the "10,000 jobs" and local companies who are suppliers.

The foreign company will also pump in RM350m over the next 5 years.
The question that should be pondered is, "After the 5 years, WHAT?"

It seems that Motorola is getting the better deal and Malaysia has underwritten that project in Penang for free and we are committed to purchase an additional RM650m equipment without any proper tender.

I predict the company will relocate to Vietnam or China after 5 years and it is time for the ministries to work out better business strategies than this type of crude bargaining.

Make it the Last Black Mark for the BN Government

malaysiakini has this story entitled "Shock reversal: Indelible ink plan erased".
(all articles are free for a week)

So the Elections Commission has retracted its decision to use the indelible ink as a means to prevent problems during the elections.

This "marking ink" method is already used in other countries and one can only wonder why the following problems were not settled before Parliament was dissolved:

1.Amending the election rules to require the marking with black ink. Seeing that the government controlled more than 90% of the seats, the bill would have taken perhaps 20 minutes to pass as this ink was also favoured by the opposition to reduce fraud.

2.Why did the Law Ministry not provide any proper opinion on the legal complications?

The basic problem why this simple ink problem cannot be countered is that there is no proper caretaker government in place that will decide on such problems. All the past leaders are too busy trying to get another round of their lucrative positions.

After all the government has total control on the main stream media that it could have easily come out with public advice on the potential cheats.
Messages could have been broadcast on radio, tv, Astro, sms, newspapers on the procedure. The reason to scrap is not quite convincing and opens the old "double-voting" dilemma.

On balance I think the number of duped voters with a marked finger would have been easy to double check on the roll compared to a "multiple voter" who is invisible in the suspect electoral rolls. But of course if the person has been sanctioned by the EC to vote in a few places, checking that roll in one place will not reduce the fraud.

The basic issue that needs to be answered is "Are there still phantom voters in the electoral rolls?"

I suggest this latest black spot on the BN Government should be the last we endure with the 2/3 majority.
Since the latest inquiry on the Lingam tapes shows how the Judiciary can be tainted, I believe that there are probably many other black spots in the Elections Commission.

photo: thanks to http://www.dick-blick.com/items/211/26/21126-group0ww-xs.jpg

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

You Have the Power to Help Change Malaysia

Yes the patient called Malaysia is really sick but what are you going to do about it?

The acting PM appears to be unable to cure the patient with his present team and even if he gets another 2/3 majority, do you think the new team will be able to save that critically ill patient?

How did Malaysia become so sick in the first place? We always gave them a blank cheque without any questions asked via the 2/3 majority that allowed the leaders to tinker with all kinds of treatments and diets in the first place.

We encouraged people to get corrupted because we paid too little attention as to how the government spent our monies so long as the nation was at peace and ordinary folks could somehow eke out a living.

Then some bright sparks discovered that there was untold wealth in privatisation or I prefer "piratisation" under the Malaysia Incorporated mantra that spawned a few dozen millionaires and their ilk.

Such "easy money" bandits quickly learned their trade and their network quickly reached the very core of the nation - ie the police, the politicians and the judiciary.

Corruption has spread like a malignant cancer that we need some drastic treatment to some of these organs and the General Elections is one way for you the voter to decide on the treatment.

We can shock those politicians into action. Denying the same team their desired 2/3 majority would be an effective method to send a message to the politicians that we are your masters and that you lead and manage at our pleasure.

Just look at the EC's decision not to use the indelible ink? Was it an elaborate and expensive trick to forestall the actions of groups like mafrel and bersih?
How many injustices of denying Malaysians the basic right to a fair and free elections will it take before you exercise your right and duty to save our nation for our future generations?

BN Campaign - Big Time Stealing from the Rak'yat

Nowadays there is some discussion on the role of a caretaker government that runs the routine tasks of adminstration while a nation goes to the polls in a few weeks or a few months.

This will allow the political leaders of the last administration to canvass actively but without the benefit of making use of government machinery and facilities.

But in Malaysia with the "Boleh" mantra some leaders have developed stealing big time from the rakyat into a fine art.

During the past few days the acting government leaders have worked so hard, often going with a few hours of sleep each day that one gets the impression they may not be able to do any good work for a few years untill the next elections. It seems they have promised and created all kinds of incentives if they were returned to power. I wonder what are the legal implications of such moves like the creation of 600 odd promotion grades for Lt-Colonels?

It is done by the government that technically should have no legal standing; much like the millions granted to schools etc. Some legal eagle should bring this up in the courts?

No one criticises them for campaigning so hard.
But they should not be using government facilities to help them get reelected.
Just look at the photo, courtesy of the New Straits Times and you wonder why the DPM has "not changed his lifestyle" and campaigned without using the official plane.

There was a demonstration against rising prices in early 2008 at KLCC where hundreds gathered to protest against rising costs and people were angry at the DPM who once proclaimed that they "should change their lifestlyes". Of course he still needs that executive jet to buzz around.

Can you imagine the difference in lifestyles?
To me the stealing of the rak'yat's monies during an election campaign is reason enough to deny them the 2/3 majority.

There really is little honesty and integrity among the present leaders in the acting government.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Singapore Lockdown

I returned from Singapore today and the escape of the JI prisoner is having a severe effect on transport leaving Singapore as all vehicles are being thoroughly checked at the Causeway.

I normally take the bus 170 or 160 from the Kranji MRT but today I checked the road just before the train stopped at Kranji and noticed that the lorries were queueing all the way from the Causeway right up to the MRT station and some lorries were double queued. That was also the situation when I entered the country on Saturday.

So I decided to stay on the train to the next stop, that is Marsiling, and took the 950 bus. Most people take the bus from Kranji and one has three options instead of one. The 950 bus approaches the Checkpoint from a different junction that has no lorries.

There were more policemen at the Checkpoint with the wanted posters prominently displayed but no reward money. I thought that would be a good incentive for the public to become more alert?

It took me 5 minutes to clear immigration but the bus was only cleared about 20 minutes later.

It should be interesting to learn how it was so easy to get out of that "top security" prison. I don't think he could have done it alone.

A Wake-up Call to the Silent Majority....

As we approach the general elections in Malaysia, this article that I posted in February 2006 should be read before you make your decision for the polls.

It is time for the silent majority to make their voices heard. If you do not speak up with your vote, the next your vote may become even less meaningful as the Elections Commission has a practice of creating new seats that further marginalise the silent majority.

For the Future of Malaysia......

"For the Future of Malaysians What Would You Consider to be the Best Result of the General Elections?"

That is the question for you to ponder for MALAYSIAWATCH POLL 34.
Please take a minute to tell us what you believe.

Malaysia - It Pays to Become a Politician

Did you know that it's profitable to become an MP?

According to this NST article, a senior minister since 1978 can receive a gratuity of RM251,000 plus a one-time pension of RM59,000.

Isn't that really good money in addition to the perks one gets as an MP?
I wonder how the formula is modified for those who hold more than one portfolio as a minister? Is the person given three gratuities for the different portfolios?
That would be quite a bonanza!

The article also mentions that if a civil servant receives his gratuity before the ACA can convict him for corruption, he gets to keep the gratuity. Considering that the ACA appears to be not too efficient at getting convictions in a timely manner, we should change that law so that the government (taxpayers) can get back the gratuity for any case for corruption if the corrupt practice was committed while in government service.

The gratuity awarded should be a conditional one.