Sunday, May 24, 2009

MCA Youth Against Bloggers' One School For All Petition


The MCA Youth criticised some bloggers and an online petition supporting the "One School for All" campaign.

MCA Youth chief Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said MCA planned to take action against bloggers who claimed that vernacular schools were causing racial tension in the country.

Wee said MCA strongly disagreed with the statements made by bloggers and might lodge a police report against them or refer them to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission.

"Statements such as gejala sekolah vernakular (vernacular school symptoms) suggest Chinese and Tamil schools are a disease in society."

Wee said Chinese and Tamil schools had been in existence since independence and it was the rights of Chinese and Indians in the country to send their children to these schools. -- NST

I'm surprised the MCA is reacting this way. I'm disappointed, actually.

This is not how MCA, nothwithstanding the fact that is is a long-time partner of Umno - should be dealing with the issue.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Saga Of Perak's Rightful Menteri Besar

Later today - at 3.30pm - the Court of Appeal will deliver its ruling on Dr Zambry Abd Kadir’s appeal against the High Court decision declaring Mohd Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin the rightful MB of Perak.

Read reports by the NST and the Star.

Will the court's decision (finally) end the political imbroglio in Perak?

What will the declared rightful MB do? And what will the defeated party do?

Will (any) action taken further by one party be acceptable to the other?
Will it leave any more room for out- manoeuvring by the other?

I don't have to be a Perak-ian to be hoping for an end to this crisis.

So, I'd like to see who the bigger party here is to want the same thing, to realize that the people are the real victims if this imbroglio is prolonged.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

UPM's (Breast) Cancer Detector

Universiti Putra Malaysia scientists have developed a new device that can detect cancer cells within five minutes.
And for women, this means they need not go through a mammogram.

UPM's Dr M. Iqbal Saripan and his team had been working on the "Wire Mesh Collimator" since 2002.

The evice, when installed in nuclear imaging machines, is more sensitive to any changes in terms of activity in human cells.

It can detect breast cancer cells as small as 1mm.

Only four public hospitals in the country -- Kuala Lumpur Hospital, University of Malaya Medical Centre, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre and Sarawak Hospital -- have nuclear imaging machines, costing about RM5.7 million each, to detect cancer cells.

Read the report in the NST by Annie Freeda Cruez HERE.

I'm due for a mammogram. The reason for this "am due" is that I've been finding excuses to delay this procedure.
My last mammogram was in 2006 and it was done under a lot of pressure from my older sisters, Mariah (Kak Ton AKA Tok Mommy) and Noraida (Kak Eda who died the following year after losing her battle with breast cancer).
Thankfully, the results (of my mammogram) were good and I was in the clear. What I thought was going to be a painful procedure turned out to be a breeze.
No pain, no flattening of the breast like roti canai (as described by some of my female friends).
It was a relief.

So, why am I delaying?
Perhaps I'm quite scared of the outcome. Of the unknown.
Perhaps I'm showing typical pre-medical procedure symptoms.

Didn't someone say that "fear has the largest eyes of all"?
I know it is easy to be brave from a safe distance so I'll try to be brave up close.

My older sister, Norlin had a scare two weeks ago after an ultra-sound procedure and a mammogram in which an irregularity was detected. It turned out to be a false alarm and she is in the clear.

My younger sister, Azah, had her mammogram done last week and she too is in the clear.

Kak Ton will be going with me for our check-up.

I told myself, as I have been doing the past two months ago, that I'd confirm our appointment "this week".

"This week, Kak Ton , this week.."

Or should I wait for this Mesh watchamacallit to be installed in the hospital near us......

Kak Eda's voice is echoing in my head ---- "Ena, don't wait, Ena don't wait........"

Aaah...God bless her!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Zainul Arifin Is NSTP's New Group Editor

Update on my earlier posting.

NSTP's Emedia chief Zainul Arifin is the group's new group editor.

Zainul, 47, is also a columnist in NST. He was Business Times editor and NST's business editor. He had also served as NST's New York correspondent.

He replaces NSTP group editor-in-chief Hishammudin Aun.

Meanwhile, former NST group editor Ahmad A Talib has been appointed the group's executive director.

Ahmad, 58, also blogs as Pahit Manis.

Read also Rocky Bru's A & Z.

Harsh Punishment For "Samseng Jalan"

Mat Rempits are now to be referred to as "samseng jalan".

The term "Mat Rempit' has been found to be somewhat glamourising for the things they've been doing.

It gives them a high and they are encouraged and, of course, emboldened, to continue doing their dangerous antics on our roads.

They are a real menace because they ride their motorcycles in big numbers -- very very fast and threatening to other road users.

Despite some of them having been caught and convicted, the punishment meted out has not been a deterrent.

Currently, the punishment for reckless driving is a jail term of not more than five years or a fine of between RM5,000 and RM10,000, or both.

But Federal traffic police chief Senior Asst Comm (II) Abd Aziz Yusof said that most of them only have to pay a fine when convicted.

He thinks this is too light. I think so too. That is why the police are calling for mandatory jail for these samseng jalan convicted of endangering the public by speeding or riding recklessly.

Abd Aziz said the (proposed) harsher punishment is meant to strike fear into them.

Well, I don't know of anybody who is tolerant, let alone, forgiving of these guys' dangerous antics on the road.

I know personally, of people who were victims of these samseng. A traumatic experience.

I am a frequent user of their favourite stretch in Damansara during times they are active - after midnight.
That is the route I take from my father's house in Section 16, PJ to my house in Taman Tun Dr Ismail.

I have had close calls with these menacing monkeys.
One time after midnight and on returning from a "tahlil" at my sister's house in Subang Jaya, I was caught at a traffic intersection near Taman Tun Dr Ismail.
I was so incensed by their antics that I wanted to mow them down but, of course, the grace of God stopped me. :-). And the fact that Adel and Shaira were with me.

All this is good, of course. Let's hope that traffic enforcement against them is just as tough, in order to be effective. Not the occasional token operations.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

H1N1 Virus -- Here Already......

I'm relieved to know that the woman passenger of flight MH091 who was quarantined at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital (HSA) in Johor Baru Sunday afternoon after she developed a fever was tested negative for H1N1 virus.

It's also good news that the two Malaysians who were confirmed to have the flu after they returned from the US on May 13, are in stable condition.

And the Health Ministry says there are no new confirmed cases.

Here's the NST report today:

Eighty-six people, including 17 foreigners, who could be infected with the influenza A (H1N1) virus are still on the "loose" in the country or may have even flown to other countries, despite widespread media coverage for them to report for medical check-ups.
It has been six days since these people, who flew in from the United States on a MAS flight (MH091) or boarded an AirAsia flight with two confirmed influenza patients have gone "missing".

The Health Ministry is desperate to contact them to ensure the "imported" disease does not spread in the country.

Health deputy director-general Datuk Dr Ramlee Rahmat said identities of the foreigners who could not be traced had been given to the World Health Organisation.

He said should there be no new cases recorded by May 20 (the end of the quarantine period), Malaysia could declare itself free from the threat of the virus, locally.
The flu virus was detected in two Malaysians who returned from the US on Malaysia Airlines flight MH091 on May 13.

The ministry widened the search for potential patients as one of them boarded an AirAsia flight, AK5358, on the same day to Penang where she was later warded.

The woman is reported to be healthy, while the 21-year-old man who has been warded in Sungai Buloh Hospital is still down with fever.

Dr Ramlee urged the passengers on the flights who had yet to come forward to call 03-88810200 / 03-88103000.

On Sunday, health officers screened 6,617 people who came into the country and detected one suspected case at the KLIA, who was sent to the Sungai Buloh Hospital but was found to be negative for the virus.

The ministry has to date quarantined 111 people classified as primary cases.

The number does not include their family members and those they had been in contact with.

All of them except for the two confirmed cases tested negative for the virus.

Dr Ramlee said as the WHO had yet to issue any travel advisory, Malaysians including students studying overseas were free to come and go out of the country.

All that said, it is good news... so far.
But we know that there are those other passengers on the two flights who have not reported to the health officers. And multiply that by the number of people they have come into contact with....and so on and so forth. Scary, isn't it?

I'm going to stop talking about it right here because as my buddy, Shamsul, rationalizes -- "there's nothing you can do about it except take the necessary precautions, so stop worrying!".

So stop worrying. What's the point, right?

But...aaah, to think that just two weeks ago, the Swine Flu, -- whoops, Influenza A or the H1N1 virus -- was way yonder in far far Mexico.

Before you could say la Cucaracha, it flu to the US, Canada......and now it's here.

Sometimes we forget that we are in the 21st century. Everything travels very very fast. Everything!

My imagination is so fertile as I am remembering a movie (or two) about the spread of a deadly virus on mother earth....

Life imitating art.....

Monday, May 18, 2009

Satu Sekolah Untuk Semua...

Do you believe that there should only exist in this country singular-language "sekolah kebangsaan" and that vernacular schools should be abolished?

Do you second the call for the government to look into making this a reality?

If you do, do join the Satu Sekolah Untuk Semua campaign and sign the petition.

If having sekolah kebangsaan for all will help fortify national integration and unity, I am all for it.

It is easy to get emotional over this issue, as we have witnessed all this while. Arguments become racial and racist.

Let's not be tempted to fall into the broiling racist stew.

Just ask ourselves if doing away with vernacular schools will help in further forging national unity.

I believe it will. Indeed it will. You need to start somewhere and some time. It will be a long process. But healing.

But I must say here that in tandem with this, the ministry must ensure that national schools are not run like "Malay" or "Islamic" schools.

Because, if we all want national integration and unity, we must eliminate segregation in schools. And segregation cannot be eliminated if our national schools are hotbeds of racial polarisation because the system promotes that. Having very narrow-minded teachers who themselves are poor examples of anak Malaysia does not help.

Indeed, Bahasa Malaysia is our national and official language.
And yes, our schools should have Bahasa Malaysia as its medium of instruction (with the exception of a few subjects). No question about it.

But. let's not force Malay-ness down the throat of our pupils. Because, if you do that, you're not going to get that integration or unity that we so want.

I know of standard one non-Malay kids being humiliated by their teachers for not understanding Malay. I don't know how widespread this is but in 1997, a friend of mine was forced to take her 7 year-old out of school because the child was in fear and trauma from his teacher's unrelenting humiliation and harangement.

The little boy was struggling with a language he was just beginning to learn. His teacher was unforgiving.

But...aah. I am digressing.

In my own secondary school experience, (from 1968 to 1972), I remember classes known as "remove classes".

These classes were of pupils from the Chinese-stream schools. The girls would be placed in these classes to prepare them to be enrolled in regular classes.
Every year, there would be large enrollment of pupils from these schools.

Being proficient in Mandarin, I had many friends among these girls. It was a strange relationship as I'd insist on speaking Mandarin while they insisted on improving their English. (The medium oif instruction then was English.)

Today, more and more Chinese kids are being enrolled in Chinese schools because I believe their parents are either concerned about the prevailing "Malay-ness" and "Islam-ness" of national schools or feel that the standards of these schools have declined, or both.

Meanwhile, we are also seeing more and more Malay children enrolling in in Chinese schools.

My hope is that as we work hard to achieve this objective, we should, at the same time, ensure a high standard of teaching English (in the English language subject) so that our future generation will not lose out in this competitive world.

Bahasa Jiwa Bangsa!
Satu Bahasa, Satu Bangsa, Satu Negara!

New Key Players In Media Prima And NSTP

I'd say they are the new head honchos in the two organizations handling media - TV and newspapers - operations.

I won't say further on the Media Prima appointment.
As for NSTP -- a senior executive will be appointed to take charge of the the overall news/editorial operations.

That's all I can say.

And oh -- it is not true that PM Najib Razak said no to Ahmad A Talib. He never said no.

Just wait for the announcement.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Perak To Have Fresh Elections

That is what Nizar Jamaluddin hopes to work towards.

Nizar who was today declared the rightful Menteri Besar by the High Court in Kuala Lumpur is seeking an audience with the Sultan Of Perak (to seek consent) for the dissolution of the State Assembly, to pave the way for elections to be held.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak said Barisan Nasional will appeal against the court decision tomorrow.

Nizar Is Perak MB

That's what the High Court ruled today.

The Court has declared Nizar Jamaluddin as the legitimate Menteri Besar of Perak.

Justice Abdul Aziz Abd Rahim said that a mentri besar can only be dismissed by a vote of no confidence, and he upheld the Stephen Kalong Ningkan ruling.

In his landmark ruling, he stated that a new Mentri Besar could not be appointed as the office had not been vacated.

The court said the fatal Barisan Nasional mistake was despite the majority of 31 against 28, the coalition failed to take a no-confidence vote against Nizar in the state assembly.

The Judge said once appointed as chief executive of the state, the Menteri Besar is only answerable to the state assembly.

The judge also said that the job of the Ruler or head of state was only to appoint a Menteri Besar and if he refuses to resign, he cannot be sacked or his position vacated.

Justice Aziz said Nizar had gone to meet the sultan on Feb 4 to seek a dissolution of the house to go back to the people.

Nizar is seeking an audience with the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, to get the royal consent to dissolve the Perak Assembly and call for fresh state elections.

Before leaving for Ipoh, he is expected to attend a Pas ceramah tonight and explain the court ruling to supporters.

Nizar told the NST that once he reaches Ipoh at whatever time, he will hold a Pakatan Rakyat Exco meeting.

Menteri Besar Zambry Abdul Kadir said that he will respect the court decision "with an open heart and mind" and will vacate his Menteri Besar office at any time soon. Zambry was not present at the court this afternoon.

The BN Exco members will follow suit to also vacate their respective offices.

Following the High Court ruling, Zambry applied for a stay of execution but it was rejected.

Zambry called on all BN supporters and people in Perak to remain calm.
(source: NST online).

Thursday, May 07, 2009

High Court To Rule On Perak's Rightful MB On Monday

Kuala Lumpur: The question of who is the rightful menteri besar of Perak will be decided Monday.

High Court (Appellate and Special Powers Division) judge Datuk Abdul Aziz Abd Rahim today fixed Monday, at 2.30pm, to deliver his decision in the judicial review application filed by ousted menteri besar Datuk Seri Mohammed Nizar Jamaluddin who is seeking the court's determination of the dispute.

On Feb 13, Nizar, 52, filed an application to the court for a declaration that he is at all material times the menteri besar of Perak.

Nizar, who was appointed as menteri besar on March 17 last year after the Parti Pakatan Rakyat-led alliance won 31 seats in the 12th general election, also sought a declaration that Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir has no right to hold the office of menteri besar.

The High Court, on April 3, granted Nizar leave to initiate the proceeding against Zambry.

Justice Abdul Aziz was the third High Court judge to hear the case, after Judicial Commissioner Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof, who had recused himself, and Justice Lau Bee Lan.

The case was referred twice to the Federal Court for its determination on the constitutional issues, but was remitted back to the High Court on last April 28.


Changes In The NST

I mean, let's face it, folks, it happens all the time.

New regime, new team. Changes are inevitable.
The issue is how drastic they're going to be.

Who will go (maybe no one), who will remain (many, I'm sure).

Changes are unnerving, I'm sure. But nothing that you're not used to.

When Abdullah Ahmad Badawi took over as PM in 2003, he effected changes in the NST when he appointed Kalimullah Hassan as group-editor-in-chief.

Kalimullah, as well all know, made drastic changes. He turned NST into a tabloid, he brought in Singapore Straits Times correspondent Brenden Pereira as executive editor (later group editor) and he got Ahirudin Attan (Rocky) removed as executive editor of the Malay Mail/Sunday Mail, and went on to literally killed an institution - The Malay Mail - and wiped out the Sunday Mail from the face of the earth.

And so on and so forth..

Of course, the Malay Mail, thanks to Media Prima and Ibrahim Md Nor, was resurrected but it lost so much ground after it's six-month suspension.

At the moment, the appointment of Ahmad Talib, former NST group editor, is waiting to be officially announced.

I was at the NST the other week to hand over something to somebody. Nothing important but needed to be done for someone.

Anyway I was then invited to have teh tarik at the canteen with a close friend and a former colleague.

While having coffee, another former colleague past by, said "hi, Ena" (with a wide smile) and just as he walked behind me, remarked softly but just loud enough : "...and they're all coming back". He sounded like it was the end of the world.

I replied ..."not yet XXXXX, not yet." And laughed.

I turned to my friend and told him that SOME people could get really spooked when they see me or Rocky or any ex-NST editor around NST especially when there's talk of this and that. And that was only my third "visit" to the NST since I left in 2006. The first two was when I needed to renew my car insurance with the NST cooperative.

Anyway, after Ahmad Talib's "unofficial" appointment as NST editorial adviser, the rumour mill has been on overdrive about other ex-NST journalists going back so much so that a certain senior executive at the editorial got so worked up.

I'd say he is real worried about the imminent changes (whatever they will be), judging from his briefing to his staff.

He ranted and raved, it seems, about why people like Ahmad Talib should not dismantle what they all had worked so hard to achieve. Blah blah blah...with some very unkind expletives thrown in.

Ohh...I'm not one to bitch about people, least of all in my blog. But since changes at NST will affect my ex-colleagues, I'd like to tell this ranter and raver to not lose sleep over this.

Take it easy, my friend. Stay cool.

If you're good, you're good.

So, with it.

Oh, did I hear you ask me about the Malay Mail.

Rocky got so many calls yesterday after the Malaysian Insider reported that he was going to the Malay Mail as CEO.

Nothing to add to that except that that's probably half the story,

New Speaker Appointed In Perak Assembly

The six-hour sitting, was finally adjourned sine die at 4.10pm.
The NST report.

Original posting:
It's a black day in Perak today when the Perak State Assembly began sitting.
Trouble began as soon as V. Sivakumar, Menteri Besar Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir, former MB Nizar Jamaluddin and the assemblymen took their seats in the august house.

Sivakumar who was still Speaker, attempted to kick Zambry and six Exco members and three independents out of the Dewan.

Here's the Star "Battleground Ipoh" account.

Pandemonium, chaos, whatever -- microphones switched off, sergeant-at-arms called to remove Zambry but they refused to do so -- and amid all that, four motions passed including one for the Speaker to be replaced and a new one appointed.

So, former Sungkai state assemblyman Datuk R. Ganesan of MIC is the new Speaker, replacing Sivakumar.

Because his microphone was the only one working (as reported in by the Press), he is in control and in charge.

Meanwhile, police nabbed several people including politicians, activitists and a blogger.

The latest on the court case of the crisis HERE.

Pakatan Rakyat wants to defer the sitting of the assembly so that the six-month deadline (from the last sitting in November) will lapse by May 13 (when the sitting adjourns) that will allow the Assembly to automatically be dissolved, paving the way for fresh elections to be called.

As for Barisan, it, of course, wants the sitting to proceed so that it can remain the government in power until the next general election.

Read all the online news for update because it is getting hotter and hotter.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Tuesdays With Bapak

During the time we were already in serious relationships with our boyfriends (read: guys with whom we thought we wanted to spend our lives), Bapak was still in detention.

I'm not sure if we could ever have those customary father-daughter talks if he had been around to witness the goings-on in our lives.

Perhaps, it was meant to be that way. To a large extent, and something which I have acknowledged, absence did make the heart grow fonder and we became much closer to Bapak those years, than we could, perhaps, ever hope to be.

Well...God moves in mysterious ways.

Those growing-up years, unlike today when I am pretty much "involved" in my kids' private lives, though very discreetly, we kept our personal and private lives, very very private. Away from prying parental eyes.

What they didn't know, wouldn't hurt them was our mantra.

The only give-away were those darn stray telephone calls we got after 8pm.

Only when we felt that they were "the one", that we were ready to introduce them to Bapak, and of course, Mak who would, by the time we told Bapak, have known the identity of these suspects.

Of course, Bapak knew our regular guy friends, as opposed to our serious boyfriends. Bapak could tell if these guys were our buddies and I suppose when there's nothing to hide, then there's really nothing to hide.

It was a baptism of fire for our boyfriends-soon-to-be-fiances-then-husbands. We must make sure these were "the" boys-to-be-men. Because meeting Bapak was not to be taken lightly. Our real fear was that they'd flee in fright after the first dose of Bapak.

The reassuring thing, if it was any reassurance at all, was that if they could face Bapak, we were sure, they could face anyone.

Kak Olin got married soon after she returned from England and secured a job with Kompleks Kewangan, while Bapak was in detention .

After Bapak was released, Kak Eda got married.

Bapak got on famously with their husbands.

By then, lucky for us, Bapak was somewhat "mellowed", not the younger, fiercer, more energetic Bapak whose roar was worse than his proverbial bite.

By the time I was into a very serious relationship, Bapak was engageable. But, we never touched on my personal relationship or the guy I was dating.

We talked about other people's relationship, other people's problems and in general.

I was about the oldest child still unmarried, single and swinging when Bapak was released, through his return to the NST.

Bapak - my siblings will attest - never meddled in his children's marriages. If they had any trouble -- and which marriage does not have -- he'd not give unsolicited advice. He'd listen if they wanted to talk to him but he'd not take sides.

He believed couples should sort things out and in time, things would get sorted out.

He told an older relative (who shall remain unnamed) of a certain someone who came to see Bapak following his first marital blow-up, this:

"We as parents cannot interfere. We can only give good advice for we do not know what actually happened in the bedroom. We only hear one side of the story. They both will give their version which is always favourable to them. They will sort it out. We'll come in only when we should, and if things get out of hand".

I remember during our omong-kosong after-dinner ramblings, in reference to someone's marital problems, he said:" You cannot push a man to a corner, or a wall. There is a limit. Dia diam-diam, terdesak, dia akan fight back."

And when a female relative complained that her husband had roughed her up, Bapak told her to take up silat, judo or some form of self-defence art.

Bapak reckoned that a woman is helpless when she is home alone with a violent husband. One solution is to be equipped that way. Not that she should engage in a duel with her hubby, but she could learn to avert the blows. And then, I suppose, flee to safety.

Serious. And it makes perfect sense. If your husband knows you know some silat or judo or aikido, he'd think twice about roughing you up. Not that husbands are generally wife-bashers, but you know, in the heat of the moment, someone can get hurt. We know this happens.

If we had any problems with our signficant other, we'd think twice about going to daddy for comfort.

"Aku tahu anak-anak aku ni...." That meant it takes two to tango.

So it was that I took his advice seriously since. Sometimes, of course I forget.

I'm not sure I can give good solid advice to my own kids.

But...aah. I'll keep it simple. Que Sera Sera.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Pak Lah Is MAS Adviser

From Bernama

Former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has been appointed as Advisor, Malaysia Airlines effective May 1.

In a statement in Kuala Lumpur today, Malaysia Airlines chairman, Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid said the board welcomed Abdullah with his wide experience and extensive contacts to the non-executive appointment and looked forward to a beneficial association with him.

Let's hope our former PM can help push Malaysia Airlines to be better than it is today.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Everything Will Be OK On May 7

When we were in Ipoh last week for the forum on the Perak crisis (the National Press Club series of national discourse), people could not stop talking about May 7.

What will be happening on May 7 when the Perak State Assembly sits? Will there be trouble given the state's political crisis?

There was concern, hence, speculations. There were also re-assurances that everything will be okay.

Today, Perak Menteri Besar Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said the safety of all 59 Perak assemblymen attending the State Assembly sitting on that day is assured.

Here's the rest of the Bernama report:

Zambry said the authorities were taking all necessary measures to faclitate the assemblymen's attendance of the sitting and would take action against anyone or group that resort to illegal action like holding unlawful gatherings to prevent it.

He said this after attending a thanksgiving function organised by Pasir Salak Umno in Kampung Gajah here yesterday.

Zambry further urged all quarters to respect the parliamentary democracy practised in the country and the laws of the nation.

Perak plunged into a crisis after the Pakatan coalition of PAS-DAP-PKR lost its majority in the assembly to the Barisan Nasional in early February, hence the need for the reassurance.