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

Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Few Subsidy Monsters Created by the Government ....

This interesting letter in malaysiakini shows how the government created its own monsters for fuel and gas subsidies.
http://www.malaysiakini.com/letters/83708 (free!)

It is an excellent letter and it describes the one-sided approach the government took to encourage the development of the IPPs. Of course the agreements are all secret like the blood-sucking toll agreements that are claimed to be protected under the OSA.

Remember a few months back, the former Works Minister proclaimed the toll agreements would be made public and then only after a few days of cheap publicity, they claimed they needed the consent of the other party before the agreement could be made public?

My guess is that they realised that the toll agreement would have caused the downfall of any government in the polls and that is why they kept quiet about the sordid deals.

Just a salient quote from the letter:

"Petronas has paid out RM58.2 billion in gas subsidies since 1997, out of which, RM26.7 billion has gone into the pockets of the IPPs".

The BMC Fracas Reflects Malaysia's Frail Democracy....

You can read a slew of stories in malaysiakini from the latest decision by the Cabinet to require the access road to be kept open, to the unfortunate youth who was badly beaten by FRU officers, to the charge of attempted murder that is being brought against him for trying to drive through a cordon of FRU officers.

The stage for this drama is set in Selangor and it appears that both the state and federal governments have not yet worked out how to co-exist for the greater good of all Malaysians.

That explains the near anarchy that was allowed to fester; from the construction of barricades to deny residents the right of way t their housing estate, to the demolition of the barricade by the residents and the inordinate delay by the Cabinet to reach their latest decision.

Given that more states may fall into opposition hands in the future, it is perhaps timely for MPs to consider laws that give more urgency to settle disputes of this type in the future.

Otherwise instead of a frail democracy, we may well turn into a failed democracy.
The person who justified the use of such excessive force should resign and the police OC at the scene should be severely reprimanded .

We cannot have police riding roughshod over unarmed civilians unless we are a police state.

Friday, May 30, 2008

It's Really Hard to Change One's Life-style.......

There is an interesting feature in malaysiakini headed

"M'sian missions going 'overboard' for VIP wives?"

One aspect of this story that is highlighted is that the embassy in London was able to respond by fax within a few hours.

I wonder if the ambassador had to be awakened from his sleep as London is behind Malaysia by a few hours? We have heard of a few stories where even the phone is not answered properly when Malaysians abroad try to call for assistance.

One method I would suggest for all embassy staff to do is to record daily time sheets where the working day and all official duties are recorded in 30-minute segments.
If anything it will definitely improve the efficiency of the embassies and avoid such frivolous claims?

There would be a definite record of such unofficial assistance to those who are struggling to change their life-style.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Between Spending Taxpayers' Monies on Many Foreigners Retail and Wasting on Government Projects Wholesale...

It was quite painful to listen to the PM struggling to explain on TV3 on how they were going to ensure that subsidies on essential goods would be designed to help only those who were poor.

There was some mention of taxing larger capacity cars etc and also based on a person's income - I guess you will soon get your income tax embedded in your MyKad so that soon all supermarkets will read your MyKad and charge you accordingly.

I wonder if anyone has done any sums on the possible outcome of the ban on foreign cars especially those from Singapore who enter JB with at least 3/4 tank. I think most will not purchase more than RM40 of petrol.

If we assume that the market price for unsubsidised fuel is nearer RM60, it means that each motorist enjoys a subsidy of RM20 by coming over.

Let us suppose that 10,000 on average do this and also spend say RM250 on other items like shopping, restaurants and entertainment.

The net effect is this:
The government will lose RM200,000 on the subsidy leakage but the JB economy will lose
RM2,500,000 in revenue per day.

It is simply naive for some state leaders to assume that the tourist trade will not be effected. I daresay that lifestyle type of companies will be hard hit and a few hundred JB-ians will lose their jobs.

But coming back to wasting on government projects wholesale:
In this article from malaysiakini
it seems that

“The e-tanah (e-land) project in Penang had failed miserably. We are talking about RM60 million worth of taxpayers money going down the drain and we want to look at what happened there so that this can be avoided in the future,” he said.

So what else is new, you ponder?
Well each year we spend RM600m on the NS scheme where your children get good experience in tolerating all kinds of food poisoning.

But no use to complain. Not a matter of urgency or public interest as no one has died. If you like conspiracy theories, you could be forgiven if you wildly speculate that maybe our defense forces are trying out new defence strategies.

I mean you can't really advance far if you have to go to the toilet every 5 minutes, can you?

It Takes Only 10 Seconds of Madness to Destroy Years of Goodwill

I wonder what was going through the minds of those 20 odd FRU officers who dragged this 21-year old youth from his car and beat him to a pulp.

You can read the story in the malaysiakini article headed:

"BMC fracas: Police beat up youth".
(Do subscribe for a few months to check them out)

For a nation that is governed by laws, the authorities need the cooperation of the majority of citizens so that a limited police force is able to uphold laws and the police need our help urgently.

Using such excessive force to arrest an alleged felon will definitely lose more support for the police who must accept the IPCMC without further delay.

Why is the government still so silent on the matter?

The latest report indicates that no barricades will be allowed and the matter will be resolved by the two companies. If only those in high positions had taken this stance in the first place.

We are still a peaceful nation but events like this can easily escalate into more serious acts of sabotage.

photo: thanks to malaysiakini

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Selangor Government Should Have Been Told This Earlier.....

This story in malaysiakini has the heading:

"S'gor MB: State firm owns stake in Grand Saga"

shows that the state appointed executives (from the previous administration) did not do their duties properly and allowed a state of anarchy to develop; from residents tearing down barricades to thugs protecting the barrier to the excessive use of force by the police.

I expect there would be one or two directors appointed by the state government and it is a disgrace that they allowed this situation to continue.

Of course any concession would like more people to part with their monies; even roadside robbers have that inclination.

If I were the MB, those director/s would be asked to resign.

No Use Talking of Subsidies on Basic Items when the Whole Nation Operates on the Subsidy Principle?

You can read why the Domestic Trade Minister thinks he has to ban foreign motorists from buying fuel in this malaysiakini article:

"No fuel stop for foreigners at the border"

No doubt Malaysians have been enjoying cheap fuel prices when compared to other nations but we are an oil-producing nation and that should be expected. After all we did use oil monies to put up that grand PETRONAS TWIN TOWERS to satisfy some nationalistic egos and made some millionaires in the process.

But this ban of fuel to foreigners is going to create some interesting scenarios such as:

1. Malaysians will learn how to transfer fuel from Malaysian-registered cars to foreign vehicles.
2. Some business owners will provide this service to their loyal customers.
3. As usual the clamp-down will be done vigorously - for ONE week or month.
4. Singapore may relax the three-quarter tank rule and surprisingly find that cars will still be filled when they return from Malaysia.
5. Remote petrol stations will see a dramatic spike in sales.

But how does Malaysia operate on the Subsidy Principle? For more than 35 years the government has been pushing the NEP down our throats and that is the mother of all subsidies!

Correcting malaysiakini's Heading to "Malaysia is 'lackadaisical'"

There is an article in malaysiakini headed:
Batu Puteh: Malaysia was 'lackadaisical'

I have just returned from the land office in Johor Bahru after paying quit rent. Now May is the busy month for this department as you pay a extra charge after May 31st.

I took a queue number and noted there were 87 persons in the queue and the number of cashiers serving the public was three.

By the time I paid the quit rent it took about 60 minutes.
That is why I say "Malaysia is lackadaisical" if you study the operations of this department.

Those three girls were doing a good job and trying their best to cope with the large numbers but it seems this department has not changed much in the last 50 years except for the following items:

1. There is a large sign that proclaims they qualify for some QUALITY system.
2. The offices are now air-conditioned.
3 They now use computers to process payments.

I went to this office last Friday at 2pm but it was closed and I did not want to wait 45 minutes.

The offices hours displayed were:
Monday to Thursday : 8:00am to 4:00pm with lunch break 1:00pm to 2:00pm
Friday: 8:00am to 4:00pm with lunch/prayer break 11:30am to 2:45pm

Is that not too big a break for Friday prayers? In Malaysia most mosques will be within a 3-mile radius of a government office.

Now if we assume the staff work until 5:00pm for the 5 days, the actual hours of work total 37.75 hours.
I don't want to quibble about the hours worked but the level of service.
During a peak month like May, when only 3 out of 8 counters are manned, it seems the department has a lackadaisical attitude towards prompt service.

They actually had two other staff at the counters but one was just issuing queue numbers from the ticket machine while the other just more or less told people, "Yeah you don't need any other document - that one will do".

Other areas where there could be improvements:

1. Sending out the annual statements so that owners can pay through other channels like the post offices and TNB, TMB and MPJB.

2. Allow payments using personal cheques.

3. On-line payments using local banks.

On the other hand, I guess it may be they are very busy trying to locate that missing letter from 1953?

Graphics: thanks to malaysiakini

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Typical Knee-Jerk Reactions of So-called Malaysian Leaders

There must be something in the air we breathe or the water we drink that somehow creates the knee-jerk reactions whenever problems crop up.

Not much thinking is done into the various problems but someone gets a flash in the pan idea and Presto we get the instant mee solution; without much thought of problems down the road.

Just consider the following:

1. Crooked bridge when Singapore refused to cooperate on the straight bridge.

2. National Service was launched with a 4-month lead time.

3. Banning petrol to foreign vehicles in border areas.

4. Getting rid of the "sexy" uniforms for school girls.

5. Getting all hot and bothered over the loss of Pedro Blanca.

I have written about Item 3 here and JB's economy will soon have a serious economic downturn.

There is an excellent letter written in malaysiakini about Pulau Pisang here that explains how our so-called leaders spend so much time in trivial pursuits.

Only those sexy girls' uniform I have not covered before - need some more inspiration!

Why Get Upset about "Licence to Kill"?

There is this article in malaysiakini about an uproar in Parliament over the phrase "Licence to Kill".

Now if someone has used this phrase to describe the deaths during the National Service program, I wonder if anyone would have complained.

But you will recall that a motion to debate the most recent death a few weeks ago was denied as the matter was deemed by the Speaker to not be of public interest.

That's the way Malaysians are - seldom concerned about issues unless it involves our own children. Do ministers send their children to benefit from the NS program?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Petrol Ban in JB for Foreign Vehicles? Expect Many Companies to Close Shop.

I heard on the 8pm TV3 news that foreign vehicles will not be sold fuel as a means to control the sale of subsidised fuel to foreigners within a 30km radius of the border.

Places such as Kulai and Pontian were mentioned and it is ironic that it is the MP for JB who devised such a scheme.

Combined with the "crime-infested" zone that JB has, this could be the last nail in the coffin for many of Johor's service companies in the JB zone.

It also discriminates against Malaysians who have to drive Singapore-registered vehicles. Shahrir can expect to lose a few thousand more votes in the next round for this hare-brained scheme.

The Chances of Becoming Malaysia's Next Prime Minister?

This letter in malaysiakini is entitled:

"If fate is not changed, Najib will be the next PM"

The letter is not too flattering about our PMs and there is so much smoke about who should take over from AAB if and when he has to resign.

It seems that every day there is a new crisis reported in malaysiakini over the PM's shaky position and ordinary folks must be wondering how our economy is being affected.

Instead of trying to determine the best time for the PM to resign so there is a "smooth transition" of power, I suggest that all Malaysians should ponder seriously on the succession model that appears to have major flaws.

Just look at AAB. He was chosen by TDM who now openly challenges the PM and can even demand his resignation. Najib is favored by TDM but what happens if he too decides to do things his way? Another person sanctioned by TDM?

If you have been watching the USA Democratic Party's campaign of Hilary Clinton against Barack Obama, they have been debating issues for months as to who would make a better candidate - the campaign is vigorous and both must pass public scrutiny of their policies and grace under pressure. Both parties must get the votes of the grassroots.

In Malaysia we know that UMNO has about 3million members and out of this number perhaps 30 people decide on who leads UMNO and that translates into being appointed the PM.

Isn't that an inefficient method to select Malaysia's most important leader? We need to develop new methods to select our PM and just restricting the decision to UMNO may not result in the best person.

Here's another way:

BN* parties should hold a congress once in 2 or 3 years. Those qualified should offer themselves up for the PM's post and the candidates after being vetted will participate in a series of debates that will be conducted in each state over a 3-month period.

Each state will vote after the debate but the results will be revealed only after the last debate.
I feel that anyone who seeks public office must be prepared to work for it and not have it handed over on a golden platter.

P.S. If the next PM is not from BN*, then change to PR.

malaysiakini's Article "MB: RM27m spent by BN reps in two months"

This clearly shows that the MPs used public funds to try and influence the results in the last General Elections.

I don't think there are laws at present to curb such wanton abuse of the privilege to enable MPs to initiate minor projects for the benefit of their constituencies.

The following would be in order to prevent such abuse in the future.

1. The funds for each year cannot be spent in one go but must be credited with a monthly budget. This means that the annual budget must be divided equally among the 12 months. If you do not spend in January, you are allowed to spend January's and February's allocation in February.

2. The funds cannot be accumulated for more than 3 months so that more minor projects can be carried out.

3. Not more than 20% of the funds can be used for any single project and in any particular kampong/area.

I am sure that if such rules are properly laid out and enforced by the state treasury, we need not spend much energy lamenting such abuses in the future.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

malaysiakini's Feature on Mahathir's Warning... In Defence of Our PM


The government should take serious note of his comments.
As the former PM he has undue influence and making such warnings like ......

He said "extremists" among different communities had begun to voice their opposition and make unfair demands on the government, trying to "divide rather than unite."

does not help stability. Which extremist is he referring to?
He then suggests a quick-fix that if the PM resigns all be well again.

"Because of this weakness (of the government) there is a tendency for centrifugal forces to draw away from each other. The answer to this is for the prime minister to step down. He has not acknowledged that he has failed the party," he said.

Do you think that with his preferred choice for PM all the problems faced by BN will be whistled away?

I think he is the most recalcitrant leader who does not know his time to lead is over and now he is even willing to overthrow a duly elected Prime Minister.
All loyal Malaysians should support our PM on this issue or Malaysia can disrupt into a leadership chaos and even more political instability.

On malaysiakini's "Batu Puteh goes to Singapore"

I wonder if we really expected to have a chance at the ICJ.
Put it down to our "tiadapa" maintenance culture. When the lighthouse was being built - that was the time that Johor should have protested to the British on the land title rights.
If you think about it this island is so remote the state administration at the time probably could not be bothered over such a remote outcrop.
I imagine they probably also did not know how to operate a lighthouse.
They had another chance in 1957 when Malaya became independent but I think the government of the day was quite content to let Singapore run the lighthouse as no problems had been reported and fishermen continued to fish in the waters nearby.
I think both countries realised the importance of Pedro Blanca (a Portuguese or Dutch name?) after maritime laws were changed to define the economic zones of one's territorial waters.
I expected Singapore to win as there is a saying "Possession is nine-tenths of the law." Also their legal experts are well-known figures.
For Malaysia I wonder what has been the legal costs to date. If we enter such matters at the ICJ, we must be better prepared or else a TKO would be preferable.
Not all is doom and gloom though. At least the ICJ's decision will enable fishermen to carry on their trade. But the lighthouse will be deemed a security area.
Graphics: thanks to malaysiakini

Friday, May 23, 2008

Now malaysiakini Describes UMNO as a 50-year old Cow

You can read the heading here.

Let's hope they don't get sued for calling UMNO such a name. I mean a cow that old is probably not fit for anything except perhaps to be turned into fish food pellets - definitely no more milk and I think the skin is not good enough for tanning.

Such is the new freedom in many Malaysians minds today that people are now willing to discuss the pros and cons of the AAB-TDM conflict and you notice that the share market is behaving normally - that is a good sign that investors have not been spooked.

But returning to the old cow concept - I don't think the brains will be of much use, don't you think so too?

Concessions or Daylight Robbery?

You can read about the ongoing saga about the Cheras toll in this malaysiakini article.

The basic question for the Cheras toll is whether the company has the right to block off an existing access road to force residents of a housing area to detour through a toll system. If you are a fair person, it seems unjust that the state government would have allowed such a thing happening.

There is even a more questionable concession that has been highlighted in the NST today.

"SELANGOR ASSEMBLY: Water tariffs in Klang Valley to go up by 37pc"

That has been approved for 1st Jan 2009.
One wonders how the authorities allowed such an agreement to be approved and it follows the highway toll agreements with rate increases every 3 years.

I suggest such major concessions should only be awarded with the following clauses:
1.The government holds a golden share that allows it to buy back the concession based on the tangible assets of the company.
2.The government is entitled to the super-profits of the company that is deemed to be any profits that is more than 20% margin on revenue.
3.The majority stake of the company must be at least owned by the general public and no group must hold more than 20% stake.
4.For water companies, NRW above 10%(non-revenue water or losses) will not be allowed as a deductible expense.

Now does anyone want to create a concession to charge for the air we breathe?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Can UMNO be Born Again?

malaysiakini has this feature asking the question:

Why doesn't Pak Lah fight back?

It seems that the PM is prepared to accept many blows from TDM and only occassionally puts up a defensive block when the punishment is too unbearable.

Following the March elections I reckon most UMNO leaders especially the PM realises that the BN parties need to undergo major makeovers before they can hope to do well in any further elections and therefore having a public confrontation would only damage the party further and possible put it beyond redemption.

Furthermore the PM cannot be seen to be a vengeful and spiteful person as he needs to uphold the dignity of his office. So he will only respond by granting the AG's office more competent staff and better resources to pursue the work created by the Lingam Commission.

NATIONAL SERVICE - Two Interesting Letters in malaysiakini

If you have teenage children you need to read these 2 well-written letters on the NS in malaysiakini

Inquiry need for 'murderous' NS programme and
Nothing coincidental about NS deaths

There was also an article in the MSM about the authorities wanting to introduce "community service" to those who object to the idea of NS. While an alternative service is a good step, I wonder why they still want to charge the youths, get them convicted and then impose the "community service" on them.

It seems to indicate that the people in the NS administration realise that it is only a question of time before more parents will strongly object to the hastily drawn up plan to foster greater harmony among our young adults.

I believe that the mixing of our young has been twarted by the education system itself where many Malays are sent to residential schools that are off-limits to others. A major step for better racial harmony would be taken if these schools had at least a 20% non-Malay intake so that no one is brought up in an isolationist environment.

I also believe that those belonging to approved uniformed groups like the Scouts, St. John's and Cadets in secondary school for at least 3 years would satisfy 80% of the NS program.

During those 3 years, they could be required to undertake community service programs perhaps once a month. After the SPM all youths will attend a one-month camp to complete NS objectives.

I just wonder...the Outward Bound School can train adults in leadership and teamwork in 28 days. Why do we still need 3 months for NS with the extra exposure to death and food poisoning for our young citizens?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Headlines from malaysiakini : "Hop out of BN, Mahathir tells MPs"

It is interesting that malaysiakini is providing such extensive coverage to TDM's call to overthrow the BN government.

The article really calls on BN MPs to do a "flip-flop" and treats the voters like some unknown and unseen factor to be simply disregarded as to who should be leading the nation.

Thus far the AAB leadership has been brave enough to hold two Royal Commissions and allowed the reports to be made public. Now let us see what actions they will take to restore Malaysia's good name that has been badly tarnished.

Luckily only a few MPs do behave like lemmings.

Reflecting on Life's Turns and Vicissitudes....

There are many inspiring words in the Holy Books such as the Bible and the Koran and I find this passage from Ecclesiastes appropriate:

"Everything has its own time, and there is a specific time for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pull out what was planted,
a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build up,
a time to cry and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to hug and a time to stop hugging,
a time to start looking and a time to stop looking, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear apart and a time to sew together, a time to keep quiet and a time to speak out,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace."

As humans the challenge is to realise and understand what time it is now.

Photo: Lake District, UK 2007
Bible source: http://gwt.scripturetext.com/ecclesiastes/3.htm

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Disappointing Printing Experience.

Only 50 copies of the Lingam Commission Report were available for sale to the public according to this report from malaysiakini and they allowed buyers unlimited purchases.

This is an unhappy state of affairs.Even though the price is quite steep, I would expect that at least 300 copies of this report can be sold.

I wonder what type of printing they do. The old method with those individual characters set in a block and then each page printed and bound by hand? Although malaysiakini has taken the initiative to post the report online, we should modernise the printing process of such reports so that hundreds of people can read it at the same time.

As it is, one buyer was able to purchase 20% of all the units for sale. Using an inquiry website, they could have gauged the demand and then geared up the production.
Why make buyers queue up and pay tolls etc when buying can be done online?

Photo: thanks to M'kini


The results of the poll that asked the question

"What Do You Think the Prime Minister Should Do for the Sake of Malaysia?"

remain almost the same though the number who took the polls has risen to 240.

91 readers or 38% gave the answer "The Game is Over - Go Gracefully"

The remainder prefer him to stay and take different important actions. Please take the poll if you have not done so.

A Strange Story from malaysiakini or Straight from the Horse's Mouth

Under the story headed "Shahrir: Prepare for another general election", it is suggested that Malaysia may need to go to the polls if many leaders abandon UMNO and follow TDM's lead.

This appears to be foolhardy on two counts:

1.If enough UMNO leaders leave, the BN will be in no position to compete in any general elections.

2.Even if no one leaves any BN party and a poll is conducted, the BN could also lose as there is much unhappiness in Sabah an Sarawak. Furthermore the BN will not be able to make use of state facilities in many areas.

In the article, the PM is also described as like 'horse that has lost its rider' . I thought the man is in control of the vehicle (horse) and not the other way around.

Maybe that is why UMNO is so screwed up now. I expect the BN will lose even more seats in any elections within the next 2 years. Don't forget the states do not need to follow the national polls unless under BN control.

As a Malaysian who is keen to see the 2-party system progress, it is disappointing to witness the denial syndrome in the BN components.

Monday, May 19, 2008

malaysiakini sounds like MSM with heading "Mahathir Quits UMNO"

That captured the headlines for all media and shows that TDM is still a very active player.
Too bad his puppet on a string has cut the ropes and now we are seeing all the elements of the great Malaysian sandiwara but this time, the stakes have been notched up a little.

So what should we do? We all know that the BN component parties have been gutted after the March elections as Malaysians gave them a big slap in the face for the many years of abusive treatment.

It is a little sad that even after the great brush off many of the BN parties continue in their denial that the 40-year long party has ended and are still trying to put Humpty Dumpty back on the wall.

To me, all the UMNO ministers quitting the party should not matter much to Malaysia. It will give all Malaysians a good opportunity to start with fresh, dynamic leaders who are not tainted by the past.

One possible scenario with a major UMNO walkout would be for AAB to form a government of national unity with the remaining MPs. Highly improbable but in politics anything is possible and I suggest such a Plan B should be considered seriously now.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Government Must Investigate Those Implicated in Judge-Fixing....

This is a different ball game from soccer match-fixing as the results are far-reaching and affect the very fabric of society.

malaysiakini has this heading for an article related to the Lingam Inquiry Report that implicated TDM:

Dr M challenges gov't to charge him

We all recall that TDM did not help much in the inquiry as he "did not remember" much but now he has a quick flashback and suggests

"I want them to charge me in court. Only then will I have the opportunity to expose more conflicts faced by the judges, including those who have implicated me," he told reporters.

It seems that the former PM is playing a game of poker with high stakes - the outcome could be that Malaysia gets the chance to get rid of the malignant cancer of corruption in its vital organs or we simply refuse treatment and just wait a final outcome - a painful death of becoming a failed state.

Those charged with doing the follow-up to the Lingam Inquiry should be screened by a Parliamentary Committee to ensure they too are not tainted....if the AG feels he has been compromised he should disqualify himself and even offer to retire.

This is too big a case to be sorted out by the AG's office without a higher oversight and I don't mean only the PM's department as that may be construed as a personal battle against his predecessor.

To his credit, the PM has called for the MSM to allow the investigations to be done properly and not conduct the trial in the media. I suggest the media too has a proper role to play. They can report accurately on the progress of the case and educate the public on the issues of state.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

It GetsCuriouser and Curiouser - the Indelible Ink Story that Won't Disappear..

malaysiakini has this curious story headed

EC chief: Cabinet disapproved of indelible ink
Looks as if there is more to this story than has been told.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Headlines from malaysiakini : "Commission: Act against Dr M, 5 others"

All Malaysians should welcome the news that the Lingam Inquiry Report will be made available to the public.

This will be a major step to reviving the good name of the Judiciary.
However the price of RM542 per copy is rather steep and I suggest the authorities should allow third-party printers to make a cheaper version at less than RM100 each as I am sure many ordinary citizens will buy a copy of this historical report.

Lingam Inquiry - We Want the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Whole Truth..

I hope the Cabinet decides to release the Lingam Inquiry Report as suggested by this article in malaysiakini.

Aliran President makes a good case that

"It concerns the nation. The citizens are the stakeholders. As such, it cannot be left to one individual to decide whether this nation should have access to the information disclosed in the report."

Also the NST has already started the witchhunt and it appears to be a selective one at that.

The government will gain some credibilty if it releases the report rather than take further action, if any based on a damage control mode.

Unfair Game at the Sports Ministry?

Most people will be pleased when your employer banks in more money into your account but this lady is convinced that corruption is involved.

But unfortunately the ACA cannot take up the case as they are convinced that there is not enough evidence.
Already they took the bank account and her hand-phone that contained the various SMS messages about how the scam would work.

I am sure she is quite disappointed at the negative outcome even after supplying such evidence that would have caused her great inconvenience.

I guess the NSC has too much funds that they keep paying salaries to phantom employees.
Do you think anyone at the NSC will be disciplined for padding the payroll?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

SPEECHLESS over the Time Allotted to MPs!

I wonder if this Deputy Speaker knows how to do his job properly.

How do you expect an MP to deliver a speech in 2 minutes?
Earlier speakers were given 15 minutes.

According to the article,
He (Nazri) said he would meet the opposition leadership as well as backbenchers to work out a formula for time management as well as allowing certain representatives from each party, who are well versed in a subject, to take part in the debate.

I wonder why this was not done earlier?
There should be no restriction on speakers as we want new MPs to show their speaking abilities too. Before the start of each session, a list of intending speakers should be drawn up and the time requested should be stated. That way if the session is too long, the time will be cut proportionately; with a minumum time given of at least 7 minutes.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

National Service - the DPM Protests Too Much

The DPM was quoted by malaysiakini to have said in Parliament:

"I would like to inform the House that the programme has been well-received by the rakyat despite the cases of death. The confidence of the rakyat shows through the applications to voluntarily take part in the programme which has increased from 929 applicants (2007) to 1,137 (2008)".
If that is the case, they should make it a voluntary program with no need to take risks with the lives of our youths.

He can quote figures like 0.004% death rate and it does seem rather callous. When your child dies, it is 100% death.

He could have explained that all trainees would be given a thorough medical examination before being allowed to participate and that the program would be shortened to reduce costs. Also RMAF helicopters would be deployed to ferry sick trainees to hospitals when necessary.

That is the type of assurance that parents need and should demand.

photo: thanks to malaysiakini

Sex Education is Best Left to Parents and Schools and not NS

Given the problems in the NS scheme where sick trainees do not get effective treatment that can result in deaths as in 2 recent cases, I don't believe that sex education is the best subject to be taught in the mixed camps where poor supervision may result in unintended consequences.

What do they hope to achieve? A few babies conceived in NS camps? I suggest that parents and the teachers in schools would be the best teachers for sex education that should begin before or at the onset of puberty.

By the time the youths enter NS, it is more a question of controlling their raging hormones. A few talks on AIDS and HIV would be OK together with the caution for those who may be duped into become drug mules.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Big Ears Do Not Translate into Good Listening Ability

Remember the campaigns just before the GE2008 by Bersih and Hindraf?
The government did not heed the ample warnings and assumed that they would win without tacklng the various issues.

Now even after losing the much-vaunted 2/3 majority, the BN leaders still assume they will be able to stay in power.

Already Sabah leaders have complained publicly that they are being treated like "step-children" or even worse beggars.

Do you reckon the Sabah MPs will need to join the Opposition ranks before their requests will even be considered?

We Need a Time-out for National Service....

So another trainee has died and the family is suing the government for negligence.
In today's NST, there is a letter from the Chairman of the NS Scheme, Lee Lam Thye who happens to be an old classmate in secondary school.

In his letter he writes:

"There is only so much I can do as a non-executive chairman".
He appears frustrated that after spending so much effort for the NS, all the work is negated without the caring approach.

May I suggest he requests for an executive status and put things right or withdraw his support for such a program?

Once I supported the NS and thought it would be good for my son to attend but he was not called up. Now I am glad he was not exposed to such a risky program.
There was some talk about how expensive it would be to do a proper medical check for all trainees.

I suggest the camp period can be reduced by 2 weeks and the RM300 cost savings can immediately be used for the check-up. That will include X-rays, lung capacity and a general check-up. There is also an urgent need for the medical staff at the camps to realise that not all ailments will be solved with a dose of Panadol and rest.

We should also move towards NS for all youths beginning from the secondary schools (week-ends within the same states without stay-in) and culminating in a one-month program for all after the SPM.

I consider the current scheme as "too little, too late" as most of the youths would have developed strong habits by the age of 18 years.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Social Contract? Tell Me if Your Grown-up Children Follow Everything You Say.

I agree with the Professor that the "social contract" is an invention of slick politicians; most of whom could out-talk secondhand car dealers that you find distasteful to deal with.

Maybe for the struggle to gain independence, the various races had to forge a united stand or the British could have refused our Merdeka.

It is similar to the BN or PR relationships. To do well in elections, they have to make some arrangements and after that it is always a testing time.

It is pretty naive for leaders to insist that a social contract can exist between races forever and we are gullible if we accept that notion. Such understanding is extended only if everyone strives to make things work on a daily basis.

It is the same with political parties. The concept of "ketuanan" is fatally flawed and no one party is ordained to rule Malaysia on a permanent basis.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

How Many Police Reports Will be Needed for Karpal Singh?

So far 9 reports have been made throughout the nation and now even the PM wants to get into the action.

I hope the Perak royalty will treat this matter as a legal examination of their constitutional role and not a question of respect.
Just as the Rulers have certain authority with our system of constitutional monarchy, so too do citizens like Karpal Singh have rights that should be defended by everyone.

The police should be quite busy catching those dangerous villains prying on innocent civilians (just look at that poor bleeding victim) than receiving more police reports; especially from those who were not direct witnesses at Karpal's speech.
The police should discourage people from making reports based on hearsay evidence.

As for the PM, the faster he reads the 100+ page report of the Lingam Commission, the sooner we can hear his major decision......ZZZZZzzzz

Photo: Thanks to NST

Friday, May 9, 2008

Some Pertinent Questions We Can Ask the PM on Scholarships.

The government gave out almost 30,000 scholarships between 2004 and 2007 but unfortunately the PM only gave a one-liner to a question in Parliament.

Perhaps someone can ask him to give some more details as illustrated.
Apart from the scholastic records, we can also add these columns for each scholarship recipient:

Monthly family income range:
How many siblings have also received scholarships:

The Government's Unfair Treatment of our Young Citizens....

It is disappointing to read that many young Malaysians have been deprived of the opportunities to improve themselves via tertiary education.

This can be seen from the PM's response to a question on government scholarships as shown in the table that is derived from the NST article.
If I assume that all are equally intelligent and some of you will disagree to that notion, at least an additional 15.4% of the scholarships should have been given to non-Bumis based on the population ratio.

Thus about 4486 young Malaysians were treated unfairly by the authorities as they are using a flawed and indefensible policy to award scholarships.

Heavy-Handed Act of the Local Authorities.....

It takes years for a tree to grow and provide us with its cooling shade and cleansing properties.

Yet it seems very little thinking was done to get this man out of his tree house.

Granted, he had built an illegal shed on the tree but that does not make the tree an illegal object. Of course simply chopping down the tree is the easiest method but it reflects badly on all the slogans we shout about saving the planet.

Photo: thanks to NST.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

This Level of Service More Suited to Bygone Times When We Used Donkeys....

In the good old days like a 100 years ago, justice was slow and sometimes it took ages for justice to be administered. You see they used pigeons to carry messages.

Going by the slowness with which Raja Petra is being released after posting bail today, it seems that the administrative procedures have not changed much for a hundred years and perhaps the judicial review should also include some court procedures.

According to malaysiakini's report, bail release takes 24 hours and according to the lawyer,
"Bail release takes 24 hours. Judge Nurmala Salim won't make any exception in our case," he told reporters after meeting the judge in chambers.

If we had a more efficient administrative system, the bail should be payable online and the order to produce can be emailed simultaneously to both the police and the prison department from the justice department.
Isn't that what an E-Government should strive for? Or is that meant to be in another world or life-time?

In fact the justice department should be run so that one judge or other court official should be on late duties like up to 7pm so that those who post bail can be released on the same day.

That would also cut down on the food bill in the prisons.

A Good Example of the Poor Maintenance Culture...

No I am not talking about the leaking roof in the Parliament building that occurred after the infamous multi-million roof repairs - now they claim it is the air-cond drain that gets restricted with the heavy rain run off.

This article about KTM got my attention.
The article states:
"The company has 80 EMUs, 30 of which are being used for its KTM Komuter service. The rest are in the workshop."

WOW! 50 out of 80 EMUs are down. That is a very high percentage. I would guess that 20 of those EMUs have been lying around for months as no one knows which spare part has been cannibalised for use elsewhere.

The article also mentions that they are going to buy another 13 new EMUs by 2010. I wonder how long will it take for these to get stuck in the workshop too.

If I were the minister, I would make better use of a consultant to audit KTM's management and staff training procedures together with the safety audit.

With such a massive breakdown of EMUs, something is terribly wrong.

We Can't WAIT so L-O-N-G for the Slow Readers in the Works Ministry.....

If you take the number of years it took for the PDRM to voice their concerns over the IPCMC, we really do not want to wait months for the Works Ministry to study the various toll agreements.

The quick solution to shine a bright light on the secret tolls is to make all those agreements public and I am sure many Malaysians will be able to suggest an equitable solution for the owners, the public and the government.

If you take the case of the Cheras toll protesters, you must feel for them. The housing estate was already there when the government awarded the toll concession and created a tolled highway that included the residents' main access road; thereby creating a captive population in a township.

Such restrictions could have been avoided if we used a more efficient way to collect tolls. For example with the overhead gantry and electronic toll collection, these residents could be provided with the IVU(in vehicle unit) that gives them free access to a specific toll.

The other aspect is that tolls should be revised downwards when the traffic exceeds the projected flow.

The long term solution is for the government to take back all the toll roads once the agreement ends.

Photo: Thanks to the Star

Does This Reflect the Corruption in the Police Force ?

Soccer has been called "the beautiful game" but today's report in the NST shows how corruption and bribery has invaded the pitch and also the dressing rooms.

Just imagine that! At least 9 players have been investigated for being alleged match- fixers. That would be about 85% of the team on the take.
Are they working for the same syndicate or from different groups? Most likely the latter as it would be difficult to get the desired results if working for different groups.

It probably started with one or two players who then recruited the rest.
The FA should fine the team and also ban the police team from competing for 2 or 3 years. If they don't have the gumption to do that, the PDRM itself should withdraw voluntarily to show they do not tolerate such criminal activities.

On a broader note, this type of corruption can happen in any department that is small and where the people have to work closely together to get results. Just think of the prominent murder case in town.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Jailing of Raja Petra and Showcasing our System of Justice

This is a good opportunity for the worldwide media to see how a person in Malaysia is treated for making accusations in a blog.

Coming at a time when the Commission of Inquiry is about to release its findings on the Lingam tapes, I don't see how such a heavy-handed treatment of a writer is going to win the authorities any friends as far as press freedom is concerned.

The more appropriate recourse for the aggrieved party would be to sue the pants off Raja Petra instead of using the government machinery to enforce justice.

Sedition? I don't agree that accusing a minister of wrong-doing amounts to such an act. The government should not be placed in such a compromising position.

Has anyone uncovered all the details of how the immigration records of Altantuuya and her friend got deleted? Or is there a similar story as in the case of the vanishing ink smugglers?

Helping the People of Myanmar....

Natural disasters like tsunamis and earthquakes create so much death and destruction that at times we feel we can really do little to help.

But whatever little aid we offer can mean the difference between the life and death of a fellow human being and it is good that Mercy Malaysia has embarked on a recon mission there while the Star has set up the infrastructure to channel funds to MM.

It is sad to hear a news report that India gave the military regime 24hours notice but it appears that few people got any warning. We also see the political wrangling that goes on whenever aid agencies try to enter such controlled societies.

The URL for Mercy Malaysia in the Star article is also wrong and reflects poorly on their double-checking procedures.
Here is the correct URL.
It is unfortunate that MM still does not offer online donations using Credit Cards.

I found this organisation and they are able to accept CC payments. They already operate in Myanmar and claim that 90% of funds are spent on actual relief work.

I find this statement in the Star article a little strange:
"At press time, Mercy Malaysia was coming up with a list of essential pharmaceutical drugs."

I would have expected that such a basic list of essential drugs would be known well ahead of such calamities.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

If We Have Phantom voters, We Need Some Phantom Ink....

I wonder who should be more upset - the ruling party or the opposition?

It seems that both the EC and the police contrived to create a conspiracy of the smugglers who did not exist, except in somebody's mind.

According to malaysiakini, there is no evidence of any ink and we wasted RM2.4m for nothing.
They want us now to believe that the ink smugglers have vanished.
What a SHAME!

Parliament Broadcasts Seem Too Costly at RM100k

I wonder what kind of broadcast contract has been drawn up that costs RM100k per day.
After all the main costs are the hire of equipment, cameramen and the broadcast channel. The actors and comedians get no pay!

I'm going to make some simplistic assumptions and if you have better figures, please let me know:

2 cameras and related equipment at RM5000 per day equals RM10,000
4 crew at RM300 per day equals RM1,200
Broadband link @ RM100 per day RM100

The direct cost for such a link is RM11,300 per day. The footage could be transmitted to RTM where it could be broadcast with a slight delay of a few minutes. It is not necessary to use ASTRO directly as that would be quite expensive for the satellite link-up.

The Information Ministry could also encourage Malaysians to purchase Tv sets that can link to the Internet.


Recently there was an article lamenting the dearth of qualified candidates for overseas postings in the Malaysian diplomatic corps.

You see the standard of English is so poor that it would really bring down the good name of Malaysia, especially for investors who may have business proposals. Already Malaysians residing abroad have written about the poor response at our foreign missions.

Now the brand new Foreign Minister has proposed that females travelling abroad should require consent letters from their parents or employers before they are allowed to leave the country.

It is good that saner minds have prevailed and the minister now suggests that it was meant to be for minors only.

Do you think with his communications ability this minister will be able to discuss important matters with other foreign dignitaries without making a major boo-boo?
For all we know Malaysia might declare war on another nation and we will be told it was meant to be a protest action only.

Shades of Saudi Arabia! Where women cannot go anywhere without a male escort.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Leaving a Bitter Taste in Charitable Associations....

I find the ongoing spat with the so-called charitable associations of the state governments distasteful.
Looking at the way they reacted, it seems that they were meant mainly for the purpose of parading the VVIP wives at public functions so that they could wear all their finery and expensive jewelry.

The RoS too has to answer some questions for allowing such associations to be dissolved and funds taken out without some pertinent questions. I remember setting up a Residents' Association and one of the conditions was that membership must be open to ALL residents of the taman. One cannot form exclusive associations and bar individuals based on race, sex, etc.

Funds were also collected from the public and even state organisations and I suggest the state should pursue this matter diligently. Otherwise no one will donate to such bodies in future.

The past President of the association would be part of the new Exco (as the Immediate Past President) and be able to offer guidance and ensure that the objectives of the body are carried out. Is that not a more civilised way of doing things?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Great for the CM of Penang to Fly Economy Class But He's Not the Only One....

I read somewhere that Warren Buffet too flies coach in the USA but am not sure what was the source.

Closer home, I once sat next to the an elderly British gent on the flight from KL to Singapore in economy class. That was in the late 70s.

He was the owner of the Boh tea plantations in Cameron Hghlands; a Mr Tristan Russell.
It seems that some wealthy people know how to preserve their monies. After all, the trip from KL to Singapore or Penang takes about an hour so why pay three times for a seat on the flight?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Live Parliament . Carry On as It Should Become Better, Not Worse

I do not agree that we should stop televising the debates(?) in Parliament.
After one week of such antics, I am sure our MPs will surely improve their debating skills.

One thing that could have improved the scheme is that the Speaker and Deputy Speakers are all from the BN; thereby creating a bias towards the BN.
Surely the BN should have supported the PR candidate as one of the Deputy Speakers?

Or all the BN MPs so incompetent they cannot have an impartial Speaker?

PS. I going for a short trip to Phuket and so may not post for a few days.