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

Sunday, August 31, 2008

RM1 BILLION LOST and Counting

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, August 30, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BUDGET 2009 - What the Money People Say

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

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

Bloomberg's take:
"Malaysia Puts Ratings at Risk on Politics, Ballooning Deficit"

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

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

malaysiakini has this article headed:

"Najib: It's not a populist budget!"

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

The article also has some remarks made by various people.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 29, 2008

NOTHING Much to Shout About but SOME CONCERNS.

So how do you like the Budget for 2009?

You can read how some of the PR leaders react in this malaysiakini article:
"Anwar: Fundamental flaws remain"

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

Some concerns about the allocations:

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

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

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

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

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

SYABAS to the ACA for PUSPAKOM Action!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Putting the Cart Before the Horse in PARLIAMENT

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

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

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

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

It appears this Parliament may be running on borrowed time and they want to get the "flawed" bill rushed through.
Even a BN MP has questioned the wisdom of such an act for some basic weakness.
The sad thing is that he was the lone voice of dissent. Syabas to the Sabah MP - we need more people like you in Parliament.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

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

malaysiakini is covering the SUHAKAM Public Inquiry:

"Cop: Mechanic knocked me over"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Malaysia Today BANNED but More than a Thousand FLOWERS Have Bloomed

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

"Malaysia Today blocked! Order from MCMC"

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

So WHO Picked Abdullah?

malaysiakini has this article that is appropriately headlined:
"Dr M to Umno: Pick Abdullah, pick defeat"

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

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

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

The MESSAGE from Permatang Pauh is LOUD and CLEAR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will the Government Award ANWAR RM1million?

malaysiakini has this story:
"Anwar gets BIGGER majority"

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


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

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

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

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

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

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

Surprised at Poll Results

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

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

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

That could also explain the low score for #5.

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

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

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

Monday, August 25, 2008

PERMATANG PAUH - The Basic Reason Why the BN Will Lose

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PERMATANG PAUH - Tainting Religion with Politics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, August 24, 2008

PERMATANG PAUH - Dirty Politics by Both Sides

malaysiakini has this story:
"Money and groceries for votes"

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

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

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

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

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

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

malaysiakini has this report:
"Two Perak excos to be charged on Monday"

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

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

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

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

Saturday, August 23, 2008

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

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

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

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

According to this malaysiakini article:
"BN stars camp in to ensure victory"
there are at least

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

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

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

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


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

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

It seems as if the whole Cabinet panicked when they read malaysiakini's alarming headlines:
"Inflation hits a new 27-year high"

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 22, 2008

PERMATANG PAUH - Desperate Moves to Get VOTES

I wrote this on August 11

and today the government has announced a fuel reduction, according to this malaysiakini story:
"Gov't slashes petrol price by 15 sen"

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

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

PERMATANG PAUH - Abuse of Government Machinery

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

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

malaysiakini has this complaint:
" Do not abuse gov't machinery, Najib told"

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

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

Thursday, August 21, 2008

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

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

malaysiakini has a story related to that incident:
"Aborted forum: I did right, says PKR MP"

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

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

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

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Please Go to Malaysiawatch4

New posts for MalaysiaWatch can be read at
Thanks for your interest.

Friday, August 15, 2008

PKR, DAP and PAS NEED to Cooperate More

malaysiakini has this article headed:

"PAS chief tells allies: Don't sideline us"

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

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

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

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

Voters of PERMATANG PAUH - Your Date with Destiny

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

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

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

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

Thursday, August 14, 2008

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

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

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

These two stories reflect problems in both Education Ministries:

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

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

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

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

That UiTM Demo - How PATHETIC and also SAD

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

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

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

malaysiakini has the story here:
"PM vetoes call to open UiTM to non-Malays"

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

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

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

malaysiakini has this story:
"PAC: Cabinet followed proper procedures in selection of engineers"

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

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

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

I had a brief look at a paper on carbon fibres and concrete structure below:

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

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

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

The battle for PERMATANG PAUH

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

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

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

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

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

malaysiakini is starting a series of article on the '88 Judicial Crisis and starts off with :
"Revisiting the '88 judiciary crisis"

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Time that More Malaysians Grew Up and the IPCMC is Introduced

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 11, 2008

FUEL Prices to Come Down just before PERMATANG PAUH Elections?

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

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

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

Deja Vu for ANWAR's Case?

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

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

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

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

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

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


Saturday, August 9, 2008

ALASKA Trip Ends on a SOUR Note

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

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

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

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

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

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

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