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

Monday, June 30, 2008

When Will Malaysia Get On With Meeting Global Challenges?

Since the 12th General Elections, Malaysians have experienced all kinds of new challenges, from spiralling food and fuel costs, to political uncertainties of the national leadership and the most recent news - the news surrounding Anwar Ibrahim.

We read about the mid-term review of the 9MP in this malaysiakini article:
"PM could do better in 9MP review"

After the PORR and monorail projects were "deferred" for Penang, the Second Finance Minister now declares:
"What is there to consult? These are federal projects," said Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop.

I wonder if the state government would have been consulted if it had been under BN rule?
The statement smacks of sheer arrogance and reflects poorly on the good relationship that should exist between state and federal leaders; irrespective of whether the other belongs to the opposition if Malaysia is to compete for more foreign investments.

Of course if one were dabbling in forex markets with millions of ringgit at risk, one would not consult anyone as one's position needs to be concealed. Furthermore if the betting goes against you, no one else needs to know about your massive losses.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Anwar's Case - A Timely Denial by the PM but Surely Not the Best Choice of Words....

malaysiakini carries the story:

"PM: Gov't not involved in sodomy allegation"

It is good that the PM has made a quick denial of any government involvement in the sodomy allegation but the words he is quoted appears to be rather inappropriate:

In the article, these words were quoted:
"It's always the case that those who are accused will deny it," he said.

Well, within the past 2 weeks, the PM himself was accused by Raja Petra in a SD and he took one week to deny the accusation.

It seems highly unlikely that the government is taking this action to stop Anwar in his political progress but there is a possibility that some leaders may be involved.

After all, Altantuuya was blown to bits by government servants who do not have any connection to her and also there is the mysterious deletion of the immigration records that has not been thoroughly investigated.

Malaysians can be excused a little if they doubt the ability of the police to solve politically motivated crimes since the IPCMC is still lying in the gutter or has it been C4-ed too?

ANWAR, the IGP and the AG - Someone is Guilty of Something

We have all heard about the problems within the Judiciary as indicated by the Lingam Inquiry and now we hear that the IGP and the AG are being accused of "alleged misconduct during Anwar Ibrahim's trials in 1998-1999" as written in this malaysiakini article:

"Anwar to file report against IGP, AG"

I recall one of Anwar's defence lawyer's mentioning on ChannelNewsAsia that the prosecution had fabricated evidence and I also recall that one of the dates in the case was totally wrong in that an alleged condo where the deed took place was not built at the time! And yet Anwar was adjudged "guilty" at the time.

Now this is what happens when "questionable people" are put in charge of important jobs like the IGP and the AG's offices. How do the police and the AG's offices investigate their own top guns?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

FREE ADVICE from Lee Kuan Yew for BN and PR Leaders

After 100 days of the new opposition governments in 5 states, many interviews were conducted and comments made about the various problems like this article in malaysiakini headed:

"Opposition pledges yet to be fulfilled"

No one expects everything to be honky-dory with the opposition states especially since the outgoing leaders were reported to have many important files destroyed as if state documents were their personal property. But so far no action has been reported on this destruction.

Of course the new administration in 5 states find managing a state is different from street protests but they are learning fast. But what of the BN states? It seems to be the usual "same old, same old". Life carries on as if nothing is ever going to change.

Here are some words of advice from LKY on good governance. It is most apt as there are basically 3 important points. A sort of KISS for leaders.
(KISS is "Keep It Simple, Stupid")

Speaking at the first World Cities Summit and International Water Week, he suggests:
"LKY: One freak election result is all it takes to wipe S’pore out"

The 3 main points for good governance are:
  1. A government that people have confidence in and will trust when tough decisions need to be taken.
  2. Leaders who are above board, who make decisions based on necessity, not how they will personally benefit. He said Singaporeans know they have such leaders because, over the years, “We have not got richer, Singapore has”.
  3. Most importantly, a country needs able men in charge.

So how do our leaders score on these 3 basic criteria?

If Selangor Government Gets 3 out of 10, What Score Do You Give Putrajaya?

To commerate 100 days of the new opposition state governments, the former MB of Selangor gives the new Selangor state leaders a 3 out of 10 as described in this malaysiakini article -

"Khir gives 3 out of 10 for S'gor gov't"

Coming from someone with vested interests it should be considered a good rating and the proper score should be more like 6 out of 10.

But what about the federal government?
This letter will give a fair indicator of what some people think:

"How long are we to wait for BN gov't?"

Just to quote a short paragraph:

"One of the reasons for BN’s fall from grace at the elections was for not recognising and being out of sync with the needs of the people. Our memos, our voices, our cries, our fears were simply ignored and never heard by the leaders whom the people put into power".

So what do you think should be PUTRAJAYA'S score at the review of the 9MP?
Please add a comment or take the poll on the left if you have not done so.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Why Pick on PENANG Folks or RM2billion is Small Change.

The RM30 billion extra budget for the 9MP may be necessary to offset rising costs if this had not been considered before.

However to "defer" the Penang monorail that is budgeted at RM2b appears to be rather petty and shows the vindictive nature of federal leaders especially as they promote public transport after the recent fuel hikes.

malaysiakini has the article headed:
"EPU: Penang monorail, Porr shelved"

To quote the EPU Director-General,
"They have been deferred because the priority is given to the people-centred project," Sulaiman said

I guess someone thinks the monorail is just an expensive toy like railway sets for kids to play.
It seems that the EPU may not be the best body to decide on public transport issues in Penang as they are situated in the fairyland called Putrajaya.

This is a form of taxation without representation and shows a major weakness of central planning. Otherwise with all the Malaysia Plans we should have reached developed nation status by now.

To put things into some perspective, the government spends RM1.5m each month on contracts just to upkeep the grounds in Putrajaya. Now that is a "people-centred" project.

Perhaps one way to improve government accountability would be for the federal government to provide development funds to all state governments in the form of say a 15% refund of all taxes collected - such as income tax, company tax.

This money would be used by the states to develop public transport, skills training and maintaining state roads and infrastructure.

The very least the PM could have done was to call the Penang CM to discuss which project he would prefer to defer. Cutting both projects is just being vindictive.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Maybe We Shouldn't be Too Harsh on our Immigration Officials?

malaysiakini has this story headed:
"Gov't to launch massive ops against illegals in Sabah"

Sabah has long been affected by the influx of tens of thousands of illegal immigrants so much so that the locals reckon they have been outnumbered as some of these have managed to get proper ICs.

Suddenly after the SAPP upset, the authorities are once again embarking on a massive drive to weed out the illegals and deport them.

It seems that our borders with Indonesia and the Philippines are rather porous and hundreds can easily sneak into Malaysia. Don't forget that the Philippines has a stake to Sabah - maybe we may yet have to refer this to the ICJ sometime.

But this ops provides a good photo shoot for the defense agencies in terms of protecting national security - maybe a few million ringgit will be allocated here since the PORR and monoril have been deferred.

Unless the authorities do more to conduct continuous actions against illegals, it remains just that - more a glorified PR exercise than a sustained drive.

OK need to let up a little on our immigration people as many of them do a good job at our checkpoints - in JB many Malaysians can leave the country by just waving our passports as the idea is that the Singapore side will get you if you don't have the proper papers.

Not anymore. Did you read this story?
"Dad flies off using son's passport"

Now that's a case of getting egg on your face! No wonder there is this joke about the escapee, Mas Selamat. Singaporeans will tell you as a joke - "he must be in Malaysia. See the many signs with "Selamat Datang"!
Graphics: thanks to http://blog.omy.sg/ahfon/files/2008/03/selamat-datang.GIF (mind the English!)

An Excellent Move by the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry

When you are poor life is really desperate and sometimes you do not even know if or when you are going to have the next meal.

That is the plight of Malaysia's poor who have somehow not been able to benefit from the nine Malaysia Plans the country has completed.

This article in the Star refers:
"Qualifying ceiling for disabled folk raised to RM1,200"

It is good that the government has raised the ceiling as the disabled have special needs.
The reduction of red tape for the poor is also good as they should not be shuttled from one office to another to receive aid.

I suggest one way to possibly break the cycle of poverty is to grant one local scholarship to each poor family so that they can start to fend for themselves. Poor families should also be encouraged to limit the number of children to 2 or 3 so that the parents will be able to take better care of their children.

Dear PM How Can You Claim Someone Else is Innocent?

The related article in malaysiakini is headed:
"PM: Najib and wife not involved in Altantuya murder"

The belated response of those named in Raja Petra's statutory declaration is interesting for the following reasons:
  1. The long delay is quite damaging to one's credibility rather than an immediate denial of the SD related to one's stated involvement.
  2. Does the PM arrange for 24/7 close surveillance of his subordinates so that he can really vouch for someone else's conduct?
  3. The response of the authorities is one of "killing the messenger" rather than understanding and receiving the message.

The advisors have failed badly in the damage control.

The very least they should have done was for all of those named in the SD to make an immediate public denial on the following lines:

"I am not involved directly or indirectly in the murder case. I have directed my lawyers to handle the matter and I will cooperate with the police if they need me to answer any questions."

I don't think it is appopriate for anyone to comment on a third party's innocence or otherwise. To quote Shakespeare:

"There is no art to find the mind's construction in the face." (from Macbeth)

"Time for rich to do 'national service'"?

malaysiakini has done a sterling job to encourage Malaysians to ponder and contribute ideas towards making this nation a better place but I find the letter with the above heading somewhat misleading.

Normally I would not comment on such letters but a few points need some rebuttal.

There is a suggestion that just because one is rich, the person must donate back to society. What about those who did not receive any crony deals but slogged and became wealthy by means of his own blood, sweat and tears and great financial discipline?

If government leaders became filthy rich with questionable deals that basically robbed from the citizens, they should be investigated and not placed on such pedestals that if they donated back to society as a form of national service, to quote the letter:

"They can begin this patriotic spirit by first selling off all the extra fleet of gleaming cars in their garages, the excessive plots of land and the many bungalows they or their proxies own".

The writer then suggests:

"It will certainly make every citizen fall on their knees in full homage to our exemplary leaders."

Utter balderdash! This is what happens when citizens are brainwashed into not being able to discern right from wrong - just like how judges were forced to attend "boot camps" to change their independent views with respect to the law.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Do You Know the Location of Malaysia's Own GULAG Camp?

"Judge hits back at 'devil incarnate' Mahathir"

This article in malaysiakini indicates that our judges were sent to "boot camps" so that they became more amenable to the BN government.

Such camps were described as being an educational course for the judges but the package seems to be one of intimidation and brainwashing to create judges who were compliant to the Executive after the infamous sacking of the High Court judges in 1988.

It is surprising that only one judge has come forward with such a shocking revelation - did the other judges enjoy their boot camp?

Perhaps MPs should ask the government is such indoctrination camps are still being conducted.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

PETRONAS - the Golden Eggs being Controlled by Option Holders?

This letter in malaysiakini is really shocking:
"Who are the six 'option holders' of Petronas?"

According to the letter, all the oil being pumped out of Malaysia is being channelled via a mechanism of option holders and not at the best price available to benefit all Malaysians.

As the details are also secret like the toll agreements and the IPP deals, it seems that the government has not negotiated the best deal for the ordinary folks but once again, the ugly head of cronyism rears high and unchallenged.

PETRONAS seems to be not the golden goose for all citizens but it seems the best part is creamed off and we get some of the dregs.

What is the point of being a Fortune 500 company when the fortunes are limited to the few? I suggest that any new government should rescind such secret arrangements and make all the dealings public. We really cannot afford such parasites anymore.

Graphics: thanks to http://cn1.kaboodle.com/hi/img/2/0/0/a4/0/AAAAAuK5LHUAAAAAAKQJvQ.png?v=1196635546000

Monday, June 23, 2008

Malaysia's very own DICK TURPINs

Dick Turpin was a famous highwayman of olde England who robbed travellers on the roads.
Finally the authorities managed to catch him and he was hanged.

In Malaysia we have a situation similar to the presence of many Dick Turpins.

They are also known as toll companies.

With a high concentration in the Klang Valley, they are also being encouraged to venture further south as the pickings are so easy.

Instead of reining in the robbery, the authorities appear to be encouraging the proliferation of this industry that will surely increase inflation and reduce the quality of life of many thousands of Malaysians.

One can explain that fuel prices need to be raised as oil has reached record prices in the world markets but why add on unjustifiable toll roads?

Here is a response of one malaysiakini reader:

"New h'way toll: Don't take Johoreans for granted"

Another reader provides an excellent suggestion on how to reduce the tolled road system:

"The case for Plus' privatisation"

Although I own a few PLUS shares I agree that the toll system is now damaging our economy as the automatic increase in tolls is bad for consumers. It is a one-sided "win-all" situation for the toll operators and the secret agreements make it even more unpalatable.

The government should buy back all the toll concesssions and then re-sell the company to all Malaysians who pay road tax with a transparent toll agreement that restricts net profit to perhaps 10% of tolls collected. Company managers will be paid at reasonable market rates with perhaps 5-year contracts subject to renewal based on performance.

Any other ideas for a cooperative-type company to operate a toll operation?

I would also eliminate all the toll companies for piece-meal sections but I would create a ringed toll perhaps a 30km ring around the major cities to reduce congestion in the cities with overhead gantries like Singapore but you should be able to pay tolls online if you do not have the IVU.

Of course public transport would also need to be revamped and upgraded. The mass transit system of KL is a national disgrace.

Say NO to Nuclear Power for MALAYSIA

With our proven failure in many aspects of government especially corruption in high places, going nuclear in Malaysia could be the final step that will forever destroy our "paradise" on earth.

Malaysia has so much natural resources that all we seem to do is make plans to destroy the wealth of Nature. We have ample potential for solar and wind energy plus enormous gas reserves that there should be no need to consider the nuclear option for the next 50 years.

malaysiakini has this article headed:
"Gov't to mull nuclear energy amid rising oil prices"

Here is an article I wrote about nuclear power I wrote in 2006.

My opinion is that untill Malaysia has leaders who are honest and with integrity we should never consider nuclear power. We have a major struggle to put right all the things that are wrong in the current system and that could take about 10 years of dedication of all loyal Malaysians.

Even if the government is changed, we need to test any new leaders before we go nuclear. It will not be another case of paying someone bribes to settle a problem - with nuclear accidents there may not be anyone around to settle the contamination.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Did Raja Petra Study MACBETH?

The owner of Malaysia Today has made the most startling claims that will surely test the Malaysian justice system that is reeling under many allegations of fixed judges and interference by the Executive, especially under the previous PM.

You can read the malaysiakini article here:
"Raja Petra: 'Rosmah at murder scene' "

My initial reaction is that Shakespeare wrote a most tragic play Macbeth in which the wife urges her husband Macbeth to kill the king Duncan so that her husband could rule. If not for the wife's prompting, Macbeth could have chickened out.

Sometimes a woman can be really domineering and can "force" a man to do evil deeds.
In the play, Lady Macbeth becomes delusional and wanders about the castle after the murder mumbling, "All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand."
She also develops a fetish of constantly washing her hands with: "Out damned spot......"

Sorry that is all I can remember of my Literature paper of 1964. But the couple do meet a tragic end.

Friday, June 20, 2008


The native tribes of Sarawak will become extinct if these plans to create massive hydro-electric dams are allowed to be built in Sarawak.

Even the Bakun project, that is being built after many years of delay as the cost of the undersea cable to Peninsula Malaya is very high,was perceived as a grand plot to get at the thousands of acres of prime forests.

Now this is even a grander scheme as it appears that by 2020 a major portion of Sarawak's prime forests will be under water. Of course the valuable timber would have been extracted.
According to the story in malaysiakini:
"Sarawak's 12 new dams alarm environmentalists"

"Sarawak legislation does not obligate developers to include public participation in the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process."

This means that the state can be raped of its forests and the native livelihood destroyed in the name of "progress". How ironic that Sarawak will be dammed for energy even as many villages and schools do not enjoy piped water and electricity.

Graphics: thanks to malaysiakini

Thursday, June 19, 2008

JB's RM1.2b Highway to HELL?

(click2 on image to enlarge) Highway tolls and high fuel prices are the two main factors that are fuelling inflation in Malaysia though the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister claims in this malaysiakini article:

"Inflation to surge 'substantially': Shahrir" http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/84689

that "Inflation is set to soar "substantially" in June due to high fuel prices, but it will not hit double digits".

Maybe 9.99% will still be OK?

This write-up is to show that the quickie of becoming filthy rich is now being foisted on JB-ians who have long been spared the blood-sucking tactics of the toll operators.

But not for long. According to the MalaysianInsider, a new highway is being built especially to fleece the thousands of motorists who use the Causeway.


According to the Straits Times,

"At a price tag of RM1.2 billion, it will cost roughly RM150 million per kilometre to build, according to bankers and analysts."

So the dual 3-laned highway will be 8km long or about 5 miles and will link up to the start of the NS Highway. While this is a good way to ease the congestion in JB city, this highway has many interesting questions to be answered.
  1. Singapore always practices a reciprocity arrangement as far as tolls are concerned and this has been done for many years. It is a form of a self-regulating mechanism so that no one will simply up the toll for Causeway traffic or the Second Link.
  2. According to the LTA, the current number of vehicles who exit Singapore is 16,000 and the table assumes that 11,000 cars use the Causeway. The figures are worked out using a 5% annual growth rate.
The tolls shown are my own guesses - you can make your own estimates to show that this is a most lucrative contract from any financial stand-point.
The government approves a most generous contract price and then allows you to milk the motorists for all they ar worth.
But don't take my word on the exorbitant contract price. Let's compare this project with another one that was tendered out in India. You can read the details here.
Look at the interesting highlights.
  1. There were 9 bidders
  2. The length of the highway was 9km
  3. The project cost 450 crore or 4500,000,000INR or RM341.4m
  4. The successful bidder had to pay the highway authority for the BOT project

According to the article,

"Apart from the four-lane elevated highway, there will be a main carriageway on the ground level which comprises three-lanes on either sides and a service road involving two-lanes on either sides, taking the number of lanes to 14."

In India they can build a 14-lane highway system at a cost that is one-third that of a 6-lane system we pay for in Malaysia.
We seem to have approved a project that is really exorbitant even with the increases in raw material costs during the last three years.


Some action was long expected from the East Malaysian political parties especially since they contribute so much to the BN's position in Parliament.

The PM has never worked so hard before and had to make numerous trips to the two states bearing all kinds of gifts in the form of RM1billion development projects.

So it was a little surprising that one of the BN components, the SAPP has decided to call for a vote of "no confidence" in the PM's leadership.
"No-confidence call a serious blow to Pak Lah"

As they only hold two seats in Parliament, it will most likely fail unless one of the bigger parties like MCA, MIC or Gerakan also support the motion.

This is the first time that such a "no confidence" motion has been proposed and Malaysians can experience some progress in our practice of democratic principles.
It is common in most democracies that the leader can continue once the vote is defeated.
With the vote defeated, the PM can continue with his hard work but sometimes hard work is not as important as working smart. At the moment he is having to defend too many fronts and cannot focus properly. His team needs to develop a strategy to eliminate one or two major threats to his leadership and he could even last the second term.
photo: thanks to malaysiakini

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Let's Hope PETRONAS' Financial Health is Better than This.....

PETRONAS' financial position has been kept under closed wraps ever since it was founded and only the Prime Minister knows all the fine details about how this most vital national company is being managed and what transactions it undertakes.

This is not a Mickey-Mouse company but is listed as a Fortune 500 firm that plays a most important role in Malaysia's annual budget with estimates of about 40% of the GDP.

There have been many calls for public disclosure of the annual accounts and the people in PETRONAS are peeved that Malaysians want to pry into their affairs.
There is this malaysiakini article "PETRONAS hits back at mismanagement charges"

Someone needs to remind the top managers at PETRONAS that they are answerable to all the citizens of Malaysia since they claim funds are being invested for future generations.

No doubt they do provide some financial highlights on their web-site but such an important national asset must be put under a closer scrutiny.
Perhaps the laws governing PETRONAS should be changed so that PETRONAS reports to Parliament and not the Prime Minister.

"To Leave or Not to Leave" - that is the RM64m Question

Everyone is watching and waiting to see if the BN coalition will crumble according to this article in malaysiakini article:

"BN desertion to begin tomorrow?"

Since the March 8th elections, the BN coalition has been unsteady as the PM tried his best efforts to keep the BN ship steady but the winds of change are loud and strong.
After so many years of neglect and being taken for granted, the East Malaysian parties now realise that they now play a significant role in the BN balance of power.

If the BN parties in Sarawak and Sabah leave, the government will lose their majority and will have to seek other partners if it is to remain in power.
The East Malaysians have been given billion ringgit inducements disguised as development projects to remain loyal but the rumblings remain.

It only shows that this type of money politics has little effect unless the core unhappiness is tackled but it appears that the government has been slow to understand this.
We are headed towards uncharted political waters in Malaysia.

Let us hope and pray that common sense and fair play is available in large doses for the well-being of our nation.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Are We Being Served JUSTICE?

How poignant that this photo (thanks to malaysiakini) was taken in front of the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya.

It is the 10-year struggle to register a new political party, the PSM or Parti Sosialis Malaysia.
"PSM allowed to register as political party" is the heading of malaysiakini's story: http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/84578
Now I am not their supporter and I even think Malaysia has more than enough political parties but to me the Home Ministry has wasted much resources to deny this party their rightful place to get engaged in politics.

Just imagine a 10-year wait and all the time spent by the courts to defend an indefensible decision by the ministry.
We should consider changing the laws to be more people friendly like:
  1. No party or association will be denied registration unless the RoS is able to bring specific objections against them like being a threat to law and order or national security.
  2. The registration of any party or association will be automatic on payment of a fee like RM500 after 60 days unless the RoS replies with specific objections.
The PSM has been treated unjustly for the last 10 years and it is hoped that the party adopts good policies that will attract Malaysians of all races.
By the way, if you do visit the Palace of Justice and most of Putrajaya, it looks grand from afar, but get down to the ground and you will find many construction flaws and a serious lack of maintenance.

Facing the TRUTH with PETRONAS' Accounts

This is a good way to convince Malaysians that we must learn to cope with the new era of high prices. Of course there will be some questionable expenditure like Putrajaya but the important thing is that we should now get more details about their planned capex and operating costs.

malaysiakini has this article headed:
"National oil company to open books to public"

After the drastic fuel hikes, everyone is now focussed on high energy costs and spiralling inflation and the demand for the accounts of PETRONAS to made public is loud and clear.
Maybe the government had planned to open the accounts in a move to become more transparent and the price we paid was to remove much of the subsidies for our motoring crave.

There is also a more urgent need to improve public transport system. One only has to travel from Singapore to JB by bus and then discover that after you clear Immigration, you cannot get transport to the main bus stops along Sg Segget but have to walk about 1km . Maybe the MP for JB should check this out and also how the taxi operators who wait just after the exit solicit passengers. Meters are something alien to these taxi drivers.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Malaysia's Own Reality TV Show Called "Will He or Won't He"

Forget Hilary Clinton and the Obama debates.

Malaysia has its own ongoing reality TV show on two prominent leaders; our very own PM and the man who would be PM, Anwar. Ever since the March elections, AAB has been pressured to resign but some say he has shown great fortitude to remain with a sinking ship rather than just abandon it.

In the latest episode as reported in malaysiakini headed:

"Anwar: MCA MPs will defect to Pakatan"

Anwar provides more hints on how he is going to topple the government.
I'm not what is more boring to Malaysians these days:
the Altantuuya murder trials,
the PM refusing to fix a hand-over date or
Anwar claiming more MPs are going to defect and make him the PM.
If not for the drastic fuel hike, I'm sure Malaysians would have considered the events a rather big yawn.
Photos: thanks to malaysiakini

Malaysia Really Does Not Need Lame Duck Leaders

George Bush is now on his world tour as part of his winding-down activities prior to his retirement from the Presidency in November as he is only allowed 2 terms.

He is considered a "lame duck" President and no major initiatives are expected from his leadership.

In Malaysia too, we are seeing lame duck leadership with our PM declaring that he will be handing over the leadership to his deputy; but not before December.

You can read the article in malaysiakini headed:
"Pak Lah says will not step down before December"
He also mentions that
"I will be contesting for the presidency," he told reporters, referring to the Umno leadership.

His deputy has remained coy and in a interview declared he would not challenge for the top post in the party.

It seems that these two men think that who becomes the Prime Minister of Malaysia is their sole prerogative and no one else is involved. There is a view that the party will be split if the pecking order is upset.
As long as you obey the leader and are a good boy all you do is wait your turn. What a way to pick our national leaders.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Government Suffers from More than a Credibility Gap - There is Lack of Good Leadership

"BN leader: Gov't suffers from credibility gap"

This feature in malaysiakini certianly has has truth especially after the 12th General Elections. Malaysians have been kept from the truth for so long on many matters like the IPCMC, the rot in the Judiciary, the loss of so many young talents abroad and the wanton wastage in government projects.

It has reached a stage of "us and them" with "them" being the government and their connected cronies who have sucked up and siphoned off the wealth of the nation so that now even with so many years of PETRONAS' wealth, the nation is facing a bleak future if everyone does not pull up their socks and get down to serious thinking.

Just look at the chaos in the Post Offices as thousands scrambled to reclaim the rebate after the fuel hike. You can be sure that the person who dreamed up the refund using the post office has not been to one during the last 5 years.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Excuse Me but What about the Views of 10Million Other Malaysians?

The post of Prime Minister is the most important function in the government although some of us have serious doubts about this role, given the numerous complaints about various policies and the perceived weakness in so many areas of the government.

Perhaps there is a major flaw in the method by which the PM is selected and it seems the decision is made by the outgoing PM who annoints his successor. For example AAB was chosen by TDM but the latter now claims that was his second choice.

I am not going to launch an attack on the "preferred" choice of AAB who is under pressure to resign the leadership and let Najib take over.

To me leaving this major decision to one person allbeit the PM to annoint a successor is seriously flawed and should be discouraged.
malaysiakini has the story here:
"PM, Najib have agreed on succession plan"

Just read the ongoing battle between the present and the former PMs and that itself is reason enough for all Malaysian MPs not to agree to such an outmoded method of succession. Those who vie to be PM should actively canvass among all the political parties so that the next PM can really claim to have the support of all Malaysians.

Surely Not the Way to Lead a Party to Greatness?

This is an article in malaysiakini on UMNO's leadership change problems:

"Najib explains why he won't challenge PM"
If you have been following the US Democratic candidates for the nomination, it is interesting to note that Hilary Clinton pledeged her support and asked her supporters to help Barack Obama get elected to the White House.
Of course many were disappointed that she lost the race but that is part and parcel of being in politics.
A political party also changes with the times and cannot remain stagnant or it becomes irrelevant.
Somehow his explanation come across as being quite feeble and lacking conviction, except that he wants to lead the party his father helped to found.
That is more than 50 years ago and it seems some people want to go back to those days when followers were easily led by their noses.
OK I know these days people can be influenced by filling their wallets but any political party that wants to endure must be based on sound principles and worthwhile ideals. If these do not stir the emotions of the majority of the population, it is probable that UMNO will spend a few years in the political wilderness.
Maybe you can try this. Go to the company that employed your father or mother and tell them you want to join the company so that it will progress further.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

How the NATIONAL SERVICE Scheme Got Started?

So maybe this is how the NS got started. Recalcitrant judges were sent to "boot camp" and the government found it an most effective method to produce compliant judges.

As the Law Minister indicates in this malaysiakini story:
"Zaid: No probe on judge's expose"
they know all about it but cannot or will not take action as it is a "waste of public funds".

We are urged to wait for the Judiciary Commission to be set up and who knows when that will be accomplished. Maybe by 2020?

Police reports have been made and the Lingam Report is warming the filing cabinet somewhere. This indecent inaction to proceed post haste indicates the authorities really have lost the plot.
Repairing the Judiciary's image and authority is definitely one important plank we need to fix if Malaysia is not to lose the battle against corruption.

Do all those "tainted judges" have to strip naked in public before there is any action?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Don't Cut Salaries but Give Us Sterling Service...

"Umno Youth leader: Cut salaries too"

It is all too easy to jump on the band-wagon and demand that ministers take pay cuts etc but I feel this is the wrong approach.

Our economy is actually strong enough to pay our ministers well but they should also perform at a high level of service. This means that every minister must be highly competent and able to formulate policies that can help the nation progress.

Cutting perks can actually send the wrong message like:
"yeah we really can't do much - it's the world oil price you see".

One way to cut costs is to reduce the numbers of ministers and deputies - we really have too many to operate effectively as a team.
And recently UMNO held a 2-day retreat during the working week so that really shows our ministers are not really giving their full commitment to the task of serving the nation.

That retreat should have been during the week-end and not during normal working hours.

What Else do You Expect of a FLIP-FLOP Government?

APs are in the news again, this time to show the flip-flop mechanisms at work in the government.

malaysiakini has this article headed:
"Muhyiddin: APs to be retained, for now"

It is kind of deja vu as the APs was the spark that started this blog about 3 years ago.

Some AP recipients have been enjoying these perks for more than 20 years now and just like PROTON they are still not weaned off the subsidy mentality.
Instead MITI is pandering to their whimpering and wants to appoint "a consultant" who will probably write what you want written to suit your purpose.

The public have been told to "change their lifestyle" with the fuel price hikes. It is time the government stands firm to its commitment to abolish APs by 2010.

Those who have been enjoying APs for more than 20 years would be millionaires by now or do we still need to suckle their children?

Just ponder the numbers:
Suppose we give out 30,000APs each year and each AP is valued at RM30,000.
That is RM900m in a form of subsidies given each year to a bunch of say 500 recipients.
On average, each recipient enjoys RM1.8m.

Not bad compared to the RM600 plus being doled out to the long-suffering motorists. What do you think?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Forget the Freaking Fuel Hike, Think of Getting Four Wives!

You can read the story in malaysiakini:
"Grandfather with 25 kids takes wife No 4"

Some of us envy him and many pity him. Some men struggle to keep one woman happy but here is a guy who appears to have the secret to keep three wives so happy that they are willing to testify in court they do not object to number 4.

I guess he has made it his life's work to help Malaysia attain the 70 million population target but you can wonder how our government is going to cope with that. With just 22 million plus, we seem to be reaching a stage of administration paralysis.

But maybe stories like this show that the human condition is unique - we need to take better control of our own lives and depend much less on the government. That way we can vote in a government that just provides some basics like security and racial harmony; perhaps we will be able to cut the costs of government by 30% total budget and not just entertainment.

But back to the Syariah court article. This guy has been subjected to scrutiny by the court. They should have given him a little more privacy and there is really no need to publish his monthly income. His family could now be exposed to criminal elements.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Dear PM, Your Timing Sucks.....

malaysiakini's article headed:

"PM makes RM2 bil cost cuts after fuel hike"
is yet another indication of the decision-making process of the current government.

I am sure we would have appreciated such measures more if it had been announced or debated during the last Parliament together with some warnings that the fuel subsidy system was going to be revised with assurances that the poor would be helped with some special grants.

Coming at this time after the shocking fuel hikes and the real public anger and despair, it appears to be simply an after-thought - somewhat like trying to fix a band-aid on a major bleeding wound.

I read elsewhere that we spend about RM400m each year on overseas scholarships and hardly any recipients come back to serve the government.
Isn't that a ridiculous waste of taxpayers' monies? It seems to warrant a Royal Commission to investigate this wanton waste of our human talents. The scholarship recipients and their results are not published so one can speculate that some of them will be the sons and daughters of "big shots" doing questionable degree courses. Does anyone know the types of courses of these 2000 students?

It is time we made better us of this money to grant scholarships 30% based purely on merit and the rest based on a means test of family income with scholarships granted to the best poor families - with the grants spread out among the most families; ie no family is given 2 scholarships unless there are no other qualified candidates.

Now if these 2000 foreign graduates are absorbed into the civil service and provided a proper career path, don't you think we should have an improved government administration?

Opening PETRONAS' Accounts and the Toll Agreements will Definitely Help Us Understand...

In this malaysiakini article headed
"PM: Understand reasons for fuel hike"

the PM urges
"the public would acquire the right information on the global fuel price hike phenomenon in order to really understand what the country was facing."

No one denies that oil prices have surged drastically during the past 12 months but since we are still a net exporter of oil, as far as oil is concerned Malaysian still makes a net profit irrespective of price. Furthermore our oil demands a premium as it is of low sulphur - we export top quality oil and buy the cheaper more polluting grade.

The question that needs to be asked is the details of the production sharing agreement. Did we commit our sales for many years in advance at much lower prices than the current market rates?
As far as TNB is concerned, our coal-fired generators are now using a commodity that has reached record prices recently and so TNB may be badly affected.

I agree with the PM that Malaysians should get the right information. How about opening up PETRONAS' accounts and all the secret toll agreements? That would be a step in the right direction.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


There is a proposal in the NST to increase the number of trainees from 110,000 to 140,000.

"30,000 more for National Service"
According to the article, the present budget for NS is RM500m and if the sum is prorated, the cost should be RM636m but should probably be less if recent food and fuel prices had not been increased.

There is also a proposal to set up a "forum" to review the NS program.
I would like to suggest with such recurring costs and the health/safety concerns of many parents, a "Racial Harmony Commission" should be set up to manage and control the NS scheme rather than a "meet for tea forum".

I also think ALL youths should take part in a OBS-style training that lasts not more than 30 days rather then the 3 months camps that really not achieve anything significant except to produce a few dozen happy campers.

Much of the damage to inter-racial relationships is done to our youths when we segregate them into racially dominant from secondary one and the whole education system needs serious re-thinking.

There is a very interesting letter in malaysiakini from an recent NS participant :
Parents who are concerned about the program will get some useful insights into the program.

Friday, June 6, 2008

HELLO....is there ANYONE Minding the Malaysian Cabinet?

No I don't mean the furniture as in a bookcase.

I am referring to the group of Malaysian Ministers who can came out with dastardly schemes to make life miserable for its citizens.
Just read the various articles in malaysiakini and you will get a good idea of the quality of their thought process especially with respect to the fuel hikes.
Read this article entitled
"Business group: Petrol hike too drastic"

and you will understand why I wrote in an earlier article that the government does not seem beyond a one-week time frame - is it from one Cabinet meeting to the next one?
I don't care what our economists keep proclaiming that inflation is well-contained at about 4% - for the real people who struggle to survive, the inflation rate is more like 15% with the new price hikes. For many families it is the tipping point into the monthly struggle to keep out of perpetual debt and the loan sharks.
If one reads the various comments on fuel subsidies and the various actions they took; especially the banning of sales to foreign-registered vehicles, the only conclusion to be made is that plans are poorly thought through and badly coordinated.
We all know that oil prices have risen drastically in the past year and it seems the government too has been complacent and hesistant about raising the fuel price. With their control of MSM, they should have embarked on more programs to make Malaysians aware of the situation years ago and encouraged us to be more prudent with our consumption habits.
However, the government has been too lavish with its own spending and PETRONAS monies has been used for the grand scheme of PUTRAJAYA that probably has not been designed with energy-efficient buildings so how does one persuade ordinary folks to "change their life-style"?
Each time the PM changes, some millions of ringgit must be spent to suit the new taste of the new inhabitant?
I am sure you can list a few more ideas on how the government can cut costs.
My last critique will be on the subsidy refund scheme.
The Pejabat Pos has been given the task to handle this transaction. My guess is that none of those ministers have been to this place for umpteen years.
According to the PP CEO who was shown on TV3, the payment will be made by cash if you go in person or cheques will be mailed to you. Is this not a wasteful and inefficient way to make refunds?

Why not do it as an immediate off-set for car-owners when they renew the road tax? Those who are then entitled to the rebate must submit their bank particulars to JPJ who will arrange e-payment to the individual's bank accounts.
As motor-bikes can get a RM150 rebate, I think there will be a market for scrapped motor-bikes as the registration cards can be used to claim some monies. For example, pay RM20 road tax and claim RM150 rebate?

For thing for sure about the double whammy on fuel and electricity hikes - the government has effectively killed the BN brand - it is forever etched in the minds of the people as the BARANG NAIK government. Maybe it is a strategic move by some think-tank that by making the government really unpopular, those who are clamouring to get the PM to resign will know they stand no chance in a snap election?

Photo: thanks to malaysiakini

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Common Folks Can Tackle the High Oil Prices Better than the Government...

malaysiakini has many articles on the fuel price hikes and many are really unhappy about the way Malaysia's wealth has been managed or many will say mismanaged.

This article from malaysiakini headed:

'Let me pay market price for cars too'

has many interesting points.
Cars in Malaysia are very expensive because of import duties and other tariffs like the much coveted APs.
APs we all know is a scheme restricted to special cronies and is a major subsidy program only for the very rich.

Each AP is valued at about RM20k average and some are given a few hundred each year.
Maybe the government should wean these AP holders of their addiction? No, better still cold turkey may be more effective.

That is the method the government has chosen to get everyone off the fuel subsidy. If we have to take it, why not abolish APs and slash car import duties too. After all, Proton the car baby is still wallowing in pampers.

What Makes Malaysians Special.....

I am tempted to write more about the heartless action of the government to raise fuel prices and discriminate against my 10-year old 2.2 litre Camry but I will pass for today.

Malaysians still have a good heart as seen in this story printed in the Star.

It shows the caring nature of most ordinary folks who can reach out across the racial divide and see only a fellow traveller in life who may need our help.
Now I don't think this caring person and his friend were enrolled in any NS program.

Bitter Medicine to Swallow but a Major Loophole Remains

It seemed like petrol was becoming extinct this evening as petrol stations had cars queueing up by the score until midnight or until the pumps ran empty.

I received an SMS at about 6pm with a brief message that petrol would be up by 70sen. If I had not been going out I would have stayed at home, rather then make a special trip to save RM3 or RM4 as I had just filled my tank during the week-end.

I had a meeting and on my way home, it was bedlam at the petrol stations with multiple queues, with one lane blocked on the road into the station.

So the government has taken the bold step to slowly get rid of our subsidy mentality and it is quite a big shock as previously the PETRONAS coffers were left unprotected with so much wanton spending - just go visit PUTRAJAYA and see for yourself the opulence and how much money can be spent on frivolous structures.

It is also naive to think that the cost of living is going to remain static as I expect the purchasing power of the lower income to be reduced by at least 25%.

Of course as our PM says in the malaysiakini article,
"Abdullah: We can't satisfy everyone"
(Thinking: "As long as I can still fly my executive jet at 25litre/km and spend RM1m on the next election campaign, I will continue in this tough job")

But they should have plugged a major leakage at the Thai border. Now that they will lift the ban on sales to foreign registered cars, they should impose the 3/4 tank rule on cars entering Malaysia. Otherwise one will see some cars being converted to mini fuel tankers with 2 or 3 trips each day.

But this fuel price and electricity increase means one thing. The government will not call for elections for at least 6 months unless it is going to be defeated by a vote of no confidence in Parliament.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Instead of Promoting Religious Harmony, Some Encourage Persecution

What is Malaysia turning into?

According to this NST report, these dancers were not allowed to perfom a prayer on stage as

"to respect the sensitivities of the audience, who also comprised Chinese and Malays."

This is utter rubbish from the Perak Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Department. Those who attend such performances will definitely be interested to know the reason why such a prayer is needed and who is the deity and that would enrich their experience.

Unless of course the prayers are rather long and boring and previous audience response had been negative. But most Malaysians are usually tolerant as we are exposed to prayer rituals at all official functions.

At first I was wondering why the NST was so bold to report such an incident. Now I realise while writing that Perak is under PR. So there you have it - politicians and BN-controlled MSM exploit anything and everything.

Photo: thanks to NST

A New Growth Industry for Malaysia?

According to a malaysiakini article entitled:

"Dr M's dare - set up three royal panels"

our ex-PM wants 3 royal panels to investigate alleged shenanigans of the current PM in response to the findings of the Lingam tape.

With a definite decline in foreign motorists wanting to drive in Malaysia, we need to counter this by getting tourists to fly in for some other interesting events.
We could make Malaysia the capital city for ongoing Royal Commissions of Inquiry. One of the indoor stadiums in KL would be suitable and there would definitely be a influx of Malaysians as well as foreigners.

So far we have had the following commissions:

Royal Malaysian Police - abuse of detainees
Lingam Tapes - the fixing of judges

TDM wants to do the following:

Oil for Food
Merger of ECM-Libra and Avenue Assets
wang ehsan (goodwill payment) in Terengganu

Some Sabahans want one on
Illegals Getting ICs and PRs

I am sure some people will also want the following:
May 13th Killings
Maminco Scandal
BMF Affair
Perwaja Failure
Proton Losses
Altantuuya Murder
Forex Speculation

RCIs are not cheap and take manpower and resources and so we could allow a promoter to handle the financial aspects. Probably do a schedule of 6 RCIs per year. The promoter will deposit a sum of say RM5m to RM10m to to the government for each RCI and the commission will be conducted as usual with the proper officials.
But those who attend will be charged RM10 per day or maybe RM300 for the whole RCI. Judgement will be as normal but there would also be a reality TV show on air where viewers get to cast votes on the cast.

This will create much interest in Malaysia and we will become the world-class center of legal opinion. Just think of the law students who will want to visit our show-piece.

"What Utter Rubbish!" Some of you are thinking. Let me check what funny medicine I took with my coffee this morning. Meanwhile have a nice day!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Maybe Sabahans Can Expect Overyears Changes?

Following yet another Cabinet committee formation, Committee Number 57(?) and counting - this time for the illegals problem in Sabah, malaysiakini has this article about the hopes of Sabahans:

"Don't expect overnight changes, Sabahans told"

One has the suspicion that UMNO leaders were involved in this illegals and it would not be appopriate to task them with solving the problem.

An RCI could be the best method to solve the issues but only if there is the political will to follow through. The failed IPCMC is one outcome that reflects poorly on a distinct lack of will.

The SABAH Conundrum - Don't Expect UMNO Leaders to Solve an UMNO Problem

There is an interesting article in malaysiakini headed:

"Project IC: PM's cabinet committee not new, says PBS leader"

This is the response of some Sabahans after the PM's latest visit to solve(?) the problem of illegal immigrants in the state and also the dubious means by which many from the Philippines and Indonesia were fast-tracked to Malaysian citizenship.

The problem was created when immigrants were granted ICs that eventually granted them PR status; probably with the connivance of syndicates, politicians and local authorities so much so that the illegals now outnumber the original Malaysians.

Sabahans need to assert their rights more to protect the future for future generations - in fact Sabah can become a Trojan horse for Malaysia if that state becomes a hot-bed for political extremism.

You can read more about Sabah's problems in this Special Report from malaysiakini.

No wonder Sabah leaders are unhappy with the latest "no-action" proposal from the PM.
He proposes yet another Cabinet committee to look into the problem.

This guy does not mince his words:

"Isn't this committee is the same as the one announced in 2000, chaired by him when he was the then deputy PM?"And then announced again in 2006 and chaired by the present deputy PM?" he questioned.He also recalled that there wasn't any meeting held by the committee since its formation in 2000, except in 2006 when it decided to form ‘a special court' to deal with the illegal immigrants.

Maybe it is part of the government's energy-saving campaign. Now they are re-cycling committees!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Some Crazy Ideas about the Fuel Subsidies.....

You would have read by now that the anti-inflation committee will be deciding on how best to reduce the leakage on fuel subsidies on Tuesday.

Guess they have plenty of work on their hands as your fried kueh-tiao went up from RM3.00 to RM3.50 during the past 3 months.
You can read the article in malaysiakini here.

There are a few letters in the MSM about the fuel ban, mostly from those who will be affected.
There is one letter I wish to highlight, from the Education and Research Association for Consumers Malaysia Petaling Jaya.

He/she proposes that vehicles be banned from leaving Malaysia with more than a quarter-tank of fuel!
While the idea is interesting, it needs to be tweaked a bit more. We all know that Singapore already has the 3/4 tank ruling so Singapore vehicles may fill up with perhaps RM40 for a day trip. The government has not provided any figures on the border traffic for Thailand and Singapore and the petrol sales so it is not possible to compare the "loss" at the borders.

I suggest this 3/4 tank rule can be imposed within a week at the Thai border and all foreign vehicles entering must have 3/4 tank on entering Malaysia. The Customs can install a fuel tank at the check-point where all those who fail inspection will be topped up at prices double that of the prices sold in Malaysia.

This will provide more breathing space for the authorities to come up with a better plan for reducing the fuel subsidies.

NATIONAL SERVICE Woes - Twin Dangers of Food Poisoning and Heat Stroke?

Today there is yet another report of an NS incident that involved dozens of NS trainees who were hospitalised after a jungle training exercise.

NS has been in the news regularly for the wrong reasons and about a week ago there was another report of food poisoning in another camp that had the name "Resort" in its description.
You can also read a response from a malaysiakini reader here.

In the latest incident, the trainees fell sick after a 2-day jungle trekking course and in the report, the doctor was reported to have told a trainee:
"The doctor said we had high fever and nothing else" and the report also quoted

"Johor Women, Family, Community Development and Health Committee chairman Dr Robia Kosai said the high fever affecting the trainees was not serious.
“The virus could have spread among the trainees,”

It seems so convenient to blame any incident of high fever, vomiting and nausea on unknown viruses.

Now if you care to read up and analyse their activities before the incident, it appears that these trainees could be suffering from heat exhaustion and possibly they were not able to recover from the jungle-trekking but carried out normal activities on returning to camp.

It is possible that some earlier trainees may have died from heat stroke as they were not given the proper treatment until it was too late.

If you look at the dark uniforms and berets used by the trainees, it is not a good design to reduce the chances of heat exhaustion.

Unless parents can lobby their MPs to get an independent review of the NS Scheme that sucks up RM600m each year and causes on average 4 deaths a year, each parent should warn their children about eating stale food and the symptoms of heat stress. If you have heat stress, you may not be coherent enough to recognise your own problem but you may save someone else's life.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Why Do We Always Fly Kites instead of Coming Up with Properly Thought-up Plans?

Oops Malaysia has done it again.
I am referring to the hastily announced plan to ban fuel sales to foreign vehicles in border areas.

Maybe it is a good way to get the best ideas from the public and it seems the Cabinet does not have enough capacity to think through a problem beyond the first week of implementation.

There is no serious analysis of how a ban will impact business and the local economy in the border areas.
You can read the latest non-decision in this malaysiakini article.

As far as the Thailand visitors ar concerned, they can actually ban the sales of fuels in extra containers and also limit the sale of petrol to maybe RM30 per vehicle per day. Issue each vehicle with a petrol card at the border and the driver has to produce this card to the petrol station which will punch a hole on the date before selling the petrol.

In the longer term, the idea of increasing fuel prices closer to market rates is good but we really need to examine the method and mechanism by which the poor will be assisted. It should be a special bill that will be debated in Parliament.