Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Get Them Criminals And Make Us Feel Safe (Again)...

What happened to Dickson Wong could happen to you, your child, or a loved one.

It does sound like a cliche but I daresay that we are now living "in dangerous times". No exaggeration. I will tell you why later.

First - I'll continue with Dickson's tragic story.

The 22 year-old student died of head injuries sustained during a robbery in an alley in Taman Mayang, Petaling Jaya early Saturday (Oct 26) morning. He died without regaining consciousnes.

He was attacked by four men on two motorbikes. Passersby found him and took him to hospital.

Dickson was from Sibu, Sarawak. The criminals took all his belongings that he was left with no identification card. He was only identified the following day. His family was only made aware of
the attack on him through the newspapers.

But they managed to be with him at the hospital.

We all should be able to relate to this story, because we either have a brother, a nephew or a son -- just like Dickson.

So why do I say that we are living in "dangerous times"?

For one -- there have been so many cases of violent snatch theft and robbery that we have begun to look at everything around us just to know why and to find answers so that we can avert, avoid and prevent....
We all have been made to feel so unsafe and helpless.

And Dickson's case shows that the situation is not getting any better.

I don't have to cite cases. We have read them in the newspapers - print and online, or on  crime awareness and crime prevention websites. You have known some victims personally. Or like me -- you have been a victim yourself.

As for the police -- well, I know that they have said many things. I won't go into that because it will be like a broken record.

I do know that they have, under the NKRA to curb crime, install several features in housing estates to make it safer.

For instance in Taman Tun Dr Ismail where I live, we have more street lights and safety fences along main roads.

I'm not sure if these have helped to reduce the crime rate in our neighbourhood. But judging by the occurrences of break-in, snatch theft and robbery...

But the very good thing about TTDI is that we have a very proactive residents' association and police team who work closely together.

Also the residents themselves as a whole are a concerned lot and are active on their neighbourhood  watch website.
Most of them look out for each other.

Apparently this is not enough because TTDI continues to be a favourite target of snatch thieves and burglars -- as are some other neighbourhoods.

So, my question is -- Why is there no stopping these criminals? Why do we feel that no where is safe in the Klang Valley (and elsewhere in the country,I might add).

Some people blame drugs/drug abuse. Others feel we are victims of our own success -- affluent communities invite bad hats.

And then, of course, some blame all the ills on an inefficient police force.

We can blame everyone and everything under the sky and till the cows come home, can't we?
I don't have the answers.

But the reality is, these cases seem to be happening almost every other day. Just look at the statistics,

We despair over these cases, especially the fatal ones.

The other day, I attended a gathering of TTDI women residents and an officer of the Brickfields
police (because TTDI comes under Brickfields) on "Amanita" - an initiative under the NKRA to have home-makers (housewives) be the eyes and ears for the police in curbing crime.

The rationale is that these ladies are often at home while most others are at work and therefore can see the goings-on in their neighbourhoods.

I don't quite agree entirely but that will be in a later posting.

The lady officer -- Puan Azlin -- spoke on how we all have to do our part to prevent crime. How we must always be alert, be careful and cautious at all times, install safety and security features at our home including having a hailer or have with/on us safety gadgets such as angel alarm for our kids, pepper spray, as examples.

Frankly, it was nothing (except that Angel alarm for our kids and the hailer at home) that I have not heard or been advised before.

To be honest - at this point in our lives -- we are doing all that and more. Come on.

How much more? We have made our homes into fortresses,. Yet we are violated.

We take care not to walk along lonely and dark streets. Yet we are attacked.

We lock our car doors and hide our handbags. Yet we are attacked at traffic lights.

We are neither safe on the streets, in the park, in the neighbourhood, in our car and worse of all, in our own homes.

So, don't keep telling us to be careful and to do this or that.

Tell us that YOU are going all out to catch the criminals. To hunt them down. No rest until you nab them.

Tell us too that the task force you have set up is already in action to do this. To come down hard on these criminals that have been getting away with murder.

Let me relate to you my sister's case. It was in section 16, PJ where my sister, Nina and her family live. It happened late last year. She and her 16 year-old daughter were attacked right in front of the gate of their home by four guys on 2 motorbikes.

These guys came to both sides of the front windows of Nina's car. They smashed the windows.

Mother and daughter (who have basic martial arts skills) put up a fight but were no match to their armed assailants. Both sustained some injuries but were more shaken than anything

My sister found out later that the neighbours living on the other streets had all been victims.

Yet, no real action had been taken by the police to prevent recurrences.

The attack on my sister and daughter was just waiting to happen.
What was more disappointing was the fact that my niece managed to locate her snatched IPod using ICloud.

You'd think that with this information, the police would have taken follow-up action.

Sorry. But none whatsoever.

Sometimes I wonder what is the police stand on this besides their official one.

I'm sure they care and are concerned.

My point of view: that the bad guys have no fear of the police. Emboldened further by their drug-induced state, I imagine.

To the police -- declare war on these crimes that have made Malaysians feel absolutely unsafe to a point that many have joined in the chorus saying that Malaysia is no longer safe.
We know, of course, that Malaysia is still a very safe country.

Yet, why do we feel that nowhere is safe -- not even neighbourhoods that are considered "safe" and "nice"?

Call to arms, if you must. I will support the police on this.
Desperate times call for desperate measure.

We have the right to security and safety in our homes, streets, neighbourhoods and playgrounds.

We have done all we could to protect ourselves and our families. But, clearly there is just so much we can do.

In the process, we have become a frightened and helpless lot, resigned to have our homes and personal security violated.

Consider a "wise" advice -- to leave some valuables including your car keys in your living room  within sight of any intruder so that they'd be satisfied and not angrily invade your bedroom for what they could not get. How scary is that?

To the police, I ask - will you regard Dickson's case as just another snatch theft? Will his case be consigned to your dusty brimming files?

Will you hunt down his perpetrators?

Dickson had so much to live for.

His death should serve a purpose so that he would not have died in vain.

But I suppose that maybe too much to ask.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Salam Maal Hijrah

Selamat Menyambut Awal Muharram, wahai sahabat2 Muslimin dan Muslimat ku.
Semoga tahun baru ini akan membawa lebih kesejahteraan, kebahgiaan dan segala-gala kebaikan dan yang bererti bagi kita semua. Inshalllaah. Amiin.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Happy Deepavali!

To my Hindu brothers and sisters...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Policies Favouring The Malays Have Something To Do With "Soaring Crime"?

"..some say the country’s ethnic-based policies that favor majority Malays are partly to blame...(for soaring crime in Kuala Lumpur and urban areas across peninsular Malaysia).."

This is a line from a New York Times article - "Wave of High-Profile Crime Have Put Malaysians on The Defensive" by Thomas Fuller.

Now, how do you make sense of that sentence?  -- that "ethnic-based policies" favouring the Malays are partly to blame?

Fuller must have meant the New Economic Policy. What else could he be referring to?
The NEP was introduced in 1971 and we know why it was introduced, don't we?
And how long ago was that?

Fuller, in the second para of his article, acknowledged that Kuala Lumpur used to be "considered one of Asia;s safest cities".

And yes, I'm sure he meant that KL had been that during the time and duration the NEP and related policies were put in place.

But, he was discussing the current situation.

So, what is the connection between "ethnic-based policies favouring Malay" and "soaring crime" in KL et al...

What a load of bull!

Fuller attributed it to  "some" people...

So, he must have spoken to some Malaysians.

What kind of Malaysians, I wonder? You can't quite tell but among the people he quoted were  DAP's Tony Pua and two from the National Defense University of Malaysia - criminologist Teh Yik Koon and professor Ahmad Ghazali Abu Hassan.

But none of them actually blame these policies for the soaring crime although the good professor was quoted by Fuller to have  suggested that the "system of preference for Malays should be modified to address inequality within our society, without identifying race.”

Ahmad Ghazali said ethnic Indians were particularly in need of help and that he still believes  that poverty is the root cause of the rising crime.

Here is the article:

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia’s population has tripled over the past four decades. Its largest city, Kuala Lumpur, a place once so sparsely populated that it looked like a botanical garden, has exploded into a cosmopolitan metropolis of shopping malls, luxury hotels and sprawling suburbs.

But with modernity and urbanization came an unwanted corollary: a soaring crime rate that has blighted Kuala Lumpur, previously considered one of Asia’s safest cities, and other urban areas across Peninsular Malaysia. It is hard to find someone in Kuala Lumpur today who does not have a story about a purse snatching, a burglary or worse.

“Whatever defense we put up is not enough,” said Chong Kon Wah, a British-trained engineer who was burglarized twice at his home in the Kuala Lumpur suburbs and robbed once while in his car — all within 10 days in August.

Residents in middle-class and wealthy neighborhoods have begun to gate their communities, often without local government permission. And the demand for personal guards has soared, with the number of certified security companies nationwide more than tripling over the past decade to 712 from 200, according to the Security Services Association of Malaysia, which trains guards.

Read the full article HERE.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Chin Peng

When opposition (read:DAP) supporters, members and some of its leaders came out making a controversy of Malaysian Communist Party leader Chin Peng with suggestions that he was a hero as much as those who fought in the struggle for independence from British colonialists, I was stumped. 

I was even more stumped when people actually bought that rubbish. Hey, I am still alive. I was around when we were still under threat of communist insurgency. Reports of people killed by communist terrorists were not figment of anyone's imagination.

How they and their self-serving "intellectuals", "academcians" and "thinkers" bent backwords to rewrite history.

The things they do to instigate hatred.

I will say no more because Anak Si Hamid has articulated it well..couldn't have said it better myself.

Here is an excerpt of her posting:

History, as we know, is written by the winners. So, our analysis of history, its events and personalities, needs to be considered within a clearly-stated context to be understood.  In particular, who stands to benefit from the writing?  And who defines the terms: who defines the crooks and the heroes, the monsters and the saints, the terrorists and the freedom fighters?

Take those last two labels.  They have been bandied about, and manipulated (implicitly and explicitly) to fit into many different agenda by accredited academics and other opportunistic 'rogues, rascals, and scallywags'.   "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter"- how many times have we heard that cliché?  Often, no doubt, when talking about Palestine. And increasingly, nowadays, when talking of our own recent history here in Malaysia.

Now that LCP has departed, there seems to be a revival of the urge to rewrite Malaysia's history - most especially that of the period from 1930, through the Japanese Occupation and the 'Emergency' to Merdeka. And especially the role of LCP.  So how do we make sense of the various events and personalities that make up that history over that time?  Perhaps we need to look at the context - the context of both time and space.

In particular, the time of the post-1948 Emergency (or perhaps 'Insurrection" is a better word) coincided with the demands and wars for independence from European imperial powers.  It was also the period of the Cold War between two competing ideologies, Communist and the (so-called) Free World - and it especially saw the rise of Communist China and the war in Korea.  But the 'Emergency' had a longer  (and more particular) formative history than this.
You can read the full article HERE.

Hello Again!

If you've been wondering where I've been in the last two months, wonder no more...

I haven't left the country. I have been busy, though.

Yes, I'm still alive and kicking.

So, here I am.

Hello, again.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Salam Aidilfitri

How time flies. Begitu pantas masa berlalu...

After a month of a blessed Ramadan, it is time to celebrate Syawal. So here's wishing my Muslim brothers and sisters a wonderful Hari Raya Puasa. Ampun maaf zahir dan batin..

And a Happy holiday, everyone!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Malaysia's clash of cultures
By Jonathan Kent
BBC, Kuala Lumpur

When it comes to interpreting Islam, many Malaysians are torn between their own culture, Western influence and a growing trend towards copying all things Arabic.

A few days ago I visited P Ramlee's old house in Kuala Lumpur.

Kuala Lumpur skyline
Modernisation has been rapid
Unless you are from this part of the world you probably will not have heard of him.
But in Malaysia, more than 30 years after his death, he is still an icon.
In life he was Malaysia's Elvis and Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant and Irving Berlin all rolled into one. His modest bungalow is now a museum.
But when I visited I was alone, apart from an attendant who seemed to be hiding under his counter.
So I wandered around looking at photos from P Ramlee's films and listening to his wonderful singing voice.
'Gentle and sensual'
One of the reasons I look forward to the holidays here is because the local TV stations always screen a good selection of his movies.

P Ramlee
P Ramlee was an actor, singer, comedian, songwriter, screenwriter and film director
My favourite is the comedy Madu Tiga - or Three Honies - made in 1964.
P Ramlee plays a married man who decides to take a second and then a third bride, all with the collusion of his first wife's mischievous father.
But despite his best efforts to keep the three from finding out about one another, inevitably they meet, become friends and finally gang up on him.
It is a cautionary tale.
But what is most striking about P Ramlee's films from the 1950s and 1960s is their depiction of Malay life.
His movies are gentle and sensual, the people relaxed, fun-loving and charming. There are even jokes about gin.
Shadow puppetry
One can still catch glimpses of a Malaysia P Ramlee would have recognised, in backwaters like the east coast state of Kelantan.

Processional carving representing the head of Garuda
Hindu influence can be seen in carvings
I had travelled deep into its countryside looking for Dollah Baju Merah-Abdullah, who wears a red shirt. He is the last performer of the local brand of Wayang Kulit: shadow puppetry.
"I can't speak well," he told me, when he came out onto the porch of his little wooden house to greet me and he tapped his chest.
"I've been ill," he said.
He was not up to giving a demonstration but half-heartedly pulled out a couple of puppets from a box to show me.
I could see instantly why his is a dying art. The puppets depict heroes and gods from the Hindu epics the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
The local government in Kelantan put a stop to Dollah's performances. Likewise traditional dance.
They are considered un-Islamic.
Foreign endorsement
Elsewhere in Kelantan I met up with Nik Rashidee, the custodian of an astonishing collection of Malay woodcarvings assembled by his late brother Nik Rashidin, the greatest carver of his age.
Among the antique pieces the Hindu influence is obvious: carvings of Garuda (a Hindu deity and king of the birds) and dagger handles in the shape of Shiva's head.

Traditional Terengganu Malay wooden houses
Traditional carving is a dying art in Malaysia
They were not even exhibited in Malaysia until they had already been shown at the British Museum.
It took the endorsement of a foreign institution before locals even started to wake up to their beauty.
All these crafts are being destined to oblivion, not just by conservative Muslims who dress in the Arabic style and frown on their own culture, but also by Malaysia's rapid modernisation.
Malay people seem to love the new and shiny, not the old.
Whirlwind of change
At the same time they have been consumed by a wave of Islamicisation that swept across the world from the 1970s, a wave ridden by Malay politicians who after the Iranian revolution decided it was that, or be drowned by it.
"Now we understand what it is to be proper Muslims," people tell me, and in this rapidly developing country many have found in their faith a still centre in a whirlwind of change.
But it is not just traditional arts that are under pressure.
Looking at posters from P Ramlee's movies, I realise that films like these could not be made today.
"All we can do these days is tut tut at one another," a Malay friend tells me.
Across the country one sees the evidence of a culture of disapproval.
Young Malay women wear headscarves drawn tight around their faces; something their grandmothers never did.
Nightclubs are raided by the religious police, couples are prosecuted for holding hands and Muslims are sentenced to be whipped for drinking beer.
This is not policy. This comes from the conservative grassroots.
Behind closed doors
The federal government seems unsure how to respond.
Those who raise their voices against the new breed of religious teacher, schooled in Egypt, Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, are shouted down. "Kaffir," they scream.
And jokes about gin are just not seen as funny.
But the saddest encounter I had in Kelantan was with a criminal lawyer.
"What keeps you busy?" I asked.
"Rape," he said. "It's all rape."
Incest, drugs and rape afflict the Malay community far worse than Malaysia's large Chinese and Indian minorities.
Piety in public. Acts that lead to self-loathing behind closed doors.
There is a sense that the Malays are a people increasingly adrift, and as at ill at ease with themselves now, as their grandparents' generation appeared content.
It would have broken P Ramlee's heart.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Alvin and Vivian

I did not post anything on these two kids when they posted their "bak kut teh" Ramadan greetings on facebook two weeks ago that got so many people, - Muslims and non-Muslims - really upset.

I had wondered "why-lah?'   What was their intention? For fun/ or For real?

Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee had posted a rather mischievous and provocative Ramadan greeting. It would have been so sweet had they not shown themselves enjoying bak kut teh -- a herbal pork dish -- with a halal sign displayed.

I really cannot fathom their action. Are they really all that ignorant, insensitive, stupid or just unthinking pranksters?

Some people, or rather, their defenders have come out to say that people had overreacted. It was harmless, so why the fuss. Some Muslim apologists even said that they were not insulted by Alvivi's (Alvin-Vivian) posting. Good for them. But not everyone nor every Muslim can see the joke.
(Alvin, when asked why he did it, said "No reason. Just a joke, I guess".

Well, not everybody has a sense of humour. You see, people are free to do whatever they like. And what people do or say may not please everyone so other people are also free to react to what you say or do.

So, Alvivi  got a lot of backlash online. Police reports were made and they were arrested, detained and charged on  three charges under Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act 1948 in connection with their posting and the uploading of an obscene photograph online.
They are liable to a maximum fine of RM5,000 or up to three years' imprisonment or both.
They were denied bail which means that they were to be in remand until the disposal of their case which has been set for mention on Aug 23. Tan is in Sungai Buloh prison while Lee is in Kajang prison.

They claimed trial and later filed a revision application on the decision to deny them  bail.

Today (July 25) the High Court today allowed for their release on RM30,000 bail each in two sureties.

Judge Datuk Mohd Azman Husin made the decision after revising the sessions court decision which had earlier denied them bail after they were charged last week.

Mohd Azman also ordered the two to surrender their passports to the court and report to the nearest police station once a month.

They are also not allowed to upload any provocative comments, articles or photos on the Internet and they are prohibited from using network communication devices to repeat similar offences.

Well...if you asked me....Alvivi asked for it.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Malaysian Redevelopment and Regeneration of Battersea

and here's what the PM has to say about Malaysian involvement in the project.

"As one of London's innumerable foreign admirers, it gives me great pleasure to think that my country is helping preserve one of its most distinctive buildings."

This is an excerpt from his speech at t at the groundbreaking ceremony of the iconic Battersea Power Station project, officiated together with British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday in southwest London.

Original posting:
Malaysian investors are backing the redevelopment of the huge Battersea Power Station project that is set to change the landscape of London.

They are SP Setia, Sime Darby and EPF.

A massive project, undoubtedly but the British government is intent on preserving the iconic structures.

"This first phase of the works involves repairs to the external brickwork, wash towers, the steel frame, windows and the replacement of the four chimneys, which will be reconstructed to the highest structural standards ensuring they remain a landmark on the London skyline for generations to come."

That's how it should be.

Our definition of redevelopment when we do redevelopment projects is a world of a difference..
We build mega projects worth megabucks theme park, and theme park..
It's obscene when history and heritage are wiped out.

So at home, not surprising that we have people  keen or bent on destroying the country's the name of development? or megabucks??

Also read Rocky Bru here.
Read this, this and this.

The article below is from The Financial Times.

With its iconic white chimneys as the backdrop, the Battersea power station will this week take centre stage as one of London’s biggest regeneration projects of recent times.

Building starts on Thursday of phase one, involving 850 apartments and penthouses, which will form part of a residential and retail complex set to emerge on a 39-acre site, which has sat unused since the power station was idled in 1983.

But while the vast brick structure has been familiar to passing Londoners and tourists, what is less known is that the backers of the project are from Malaysia, a country not usually known for making splashy investments overseas.

The Battersea site was bought 12 months ago for £400m by a three-member consortium from Malaysia, which has said it believes the whole development will be worth £8bn by the time it is completed in 2024.

The Malaysian prime minister, Najib Razak, is set to officiate at a ground breaking ceremony, with London mayor Boris Johnson, at the site on Thursday.

The two biggest investors are Sime Darby, one of the world’s largest operators of palm oil plantations, and SP Setia, a large Malaysian property developer.

But the third, providing 20 per cent of the funding, is barely a household name in southeast Asia, let alone further afield: the Employees Provident Fund, the largest Malaysian government pension fund by assets.

The EPF traces its origins to a pension fund started in 1951 by the British in what was then Malaya and is now the sixth-largest pension fund in the world with Rm537bn ($169bn) in assets under management.

The EPF has grown to that size thanks to government pension rules that require 11 per cent of all employees’ salaries be channelled into a state pension scheme while a further 13 per cent is paid in by the employer.

This means that millions of Malaysians see the equivalent of a quarter of their salaries pumped into government pension funds every month.

Over time, such inflows have generated huge war chests for the EPF and its smaller rivals Permodalan Nasional Berhad, and Tabung Haji, an Islamic pension fund that helps finance Malaysian muslims’ annual pilgrimage to Mecca, in Saudi Arabia.

Yet with Kuala Lumpur’s relatively small stock and bond markets, the funds have been forced overseas in the hunt for returns.

That has propelled the EPF and PNB into the London commercial property market, helping turn Malaysia into the sector’s second-largest investor after the US.

“These guys have some of the biggest cheque books in Asia,” said Steve Clayton, senior country officer for JPMorgan in Malaysia.

 “They are in the early stages of searching for and making large cross-border investments. But, as they find more and execute more, their global influence will undoubtedly increase”.

An EPF spokesman said the fund aimed to have 23 per cent of its portfolio invested overseas by 2014/15, up from 18 per cent now.

British government officials said Malaysia’s renewed focus on the UK is matched by an effort the other way in seeking opportunities for British business in the fast-growing markets of southeast Asia.

During a visit to Kuala Lumpur last year British prime minister David Cameron – who is due to meet Mr Najib this week – pledged with his counterpart to double the value of bilateral trade to £8bn by 2016.

Britain’s investments in Malaysia have been growing steadily, if unspectacularly, since vacuum maker Dyson started using Malaysia as its global manufacturing base in 2002.

Tesco, the supermarket operator, has 44 stores in the country and Hamleys, the famed London toy store, opened a branch in Kuala Lumpur last week.

Hugo Swire, minister of state in the Foreign Office responsible for southeast Asia, on a visit to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore last week, said Britain “hadn’t done a very good sales job” in the region in recent years. But that was now changing.

“There’s been a huge increase in the number of ministerial visits. A lot of us are travelling a lot more,” he said.

The article is here.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Haze : Improvement in Singapore But Worsening in Malaysia.

Yesterday the pollution index in Singapore escalated to the "life-threatening" level, breaching the "400" mark- a record high. The previous day, the highest was 371 - already considered hazardous. 

Today it dropped to "moderate" in Singapore  but the haze --  I'd call it smog -- has intensified this side of the causeway.

This morning was a smokey choking morning in Taman Tun dr Ismail. I could hardly see the hills. Nor the towering One World Hotel.

Expectedly, the PM  has declared emergency in Muar and Ledang districts with immediate effect after API readings in the two areas surpassed the 750 mark. 

That is way too high.

According to Bernama, the PM said the haze  emergency declaration does not involve imposition of a curfew and also there is no change in the method of administration either at the state or federal level for now. 

 Muar recorded the highest with 750, followed by Bukit Rambai, Malacca (357) and Malacca City with (364).

The highest API ever recorded in Malaysia was in Sarawak in 1997 with reading of 860.

API readings as at 8am today (23/06/13) are Pasir Gudang (123), Kemaman (140), Klang (189), Balok Baru, Kuantan (137), Petaling Jaya (111), Johor Baru (114), Shah Alam (104), Port Dickson (168), Kota Tinggi (137), Banting (110), Bukit Rambai, Malacca (357), Malacca City (364), Muar (750).

Indonesia has begun seeding clouds in an attempt to create rain to extinguish the blazes in the hot spots and at the same time has launched  investigations into plantation firms suspected of starting the fire. How far these investigations will go and whether any action will be taken remains to be seen.

You know, they could have started the cloud-seeding operations before the haze got to be so bad. If this was the only way to put out the fires.

I do recall an Indonesian official saying that the government had considered cloud-seeding but decided against it as it would take two weeks.

“If there is no downpour then the haze could last for weeks, or even months. So we’ve decided to leave it in the hands of nature. And let’s just pray for that,” Indonesia's  Forestry Ministry general secretary Hadi Daryantohad said. buat pulak  cloud-seeding.
 They had given the impression that they were not going to bend backwards to make life better for us or the Singaporeans. And the truth is thye have never been quite bothered despite have fostered all sorts of undertaking to resolve the haze problem that is caused by forest fires in Sumatra.

This is not the first time we've had the smog blown in our direction. It is a yearly thing. Year in, year out. But this is the worst since 2005.  Before that, it was in 1997 -- causing serious health problems in the region as well as devastating business activities.

You can't force Indonesia to please put out the fires, to please stop those farmers from slashing and burning the plantations that will also burn the peat soil which will take such a long time to be put out. Or to please ratify the Asean Agreement on trans-boundary Haze Pollution that was adopted 12 years ago.

Singapore, so badly enveloped by the choking smog, has been pressuring Indonesia. Indonesia, in response, had,short of saying shut up.

Might as well have said shut up.. Its minister Agung Laksono told Singapore not to behave "like a child and making all this noise".

I tell you -- Indonesia is happy to have unleashed the smog. It's their message every year to Malaysia and Singapore that -- well they can send us the haze and decide how much smog we deserve.

Anyway -- let's pray for a lot of rain  now . We can't wait for June 28 -- that's the date Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has predicted that rain will fall.

Meanwhile -- take good care of yourselves during these smoggy days -- stay indoors, drink lots of water, and if you have to go out, wear a mask...

Wednesday, May 08, 2013


KUALA LUMPUR: TAN Sri Lim Phaik Gan, Malaysia's pioneer woman ambassador and one of the country's first woman lawyers, died yesterday  in Perth, Western Australia, at the age of 96.

Better known as "P.G. Lim", she was born in Britain in 1918 and was among the first Malaysian women to earn a Master's in Law from Cambridge University.

One of her best-known cases was the defence in 1948 of Lee Meng, a guerilla detained in Perak for alleged communist activities.

She also defended 11 youths sentenced to death for consorting with Indonesian infiltrators and for possessing arms during Confrontation in 1968.

Lim, who won the Merdeka Award in 2009, served as legal adviser to several unions who could not afford to hire lawyers, and often championed the underprivileged.

Former Court of Appeal judge Tan Sri V.C. George remembers that, as a pupil in chambers in 1956, "I followed her around the country, carrying her bags in court. I realised what a formidable advocate she was. She was a tough fighter, who didn't pull her punches. She was hot tempered and impatient, but worked very hard. From her, I learned to focus on the real issues and not on the fringe."

Retired lawyer Ernest Devadason also remembers his first job, working at the law firm which Lim set up: "The foundation she gave me as a young lawyer was the best I could have had and stood me in good stead."

The rest of the article

1Malaysia Foundation Trustee Lee Lam Thye has suggested that a national consultative council be set up to  address issues on national unity and racial integration.
Lee said the council should be made up of representatives of interested groups or individuals who could offer suggestions or ideas to help address the current development. 
"It is also to address key issues on how to bring the nation together after a strongly heated and bitterly-contested general election," he said in a statement (reported by Bernama).
Lee also called on all political leaders and all strata of society to immediately stop the drfit towards racial polarisation. 
"The time has come for us to identify more ethnic bridge builders and emphasize on their crucial role, at this juncture, to break down the serious racial divide in the larger interest of improving ethnic relations in our country. 
"Multiracial living and community are part of our history and heritage. They have become a key source of racial integration for years and have certainly played a part in making Malaysia a harmonious place to live, learn, work and play," he said. 
The Prime Minister had on Monday said the government would embark on national reconciliation efforts to unite the people who seemed divided in the 13th General Election. 
International Movement for a Just World (JUST) president Dr Chandra Muzaffar, who supported the formation of the council, said it was important not only for national unity, but more so for the restoration of racial relations.
"The council must represent all the political parties, individuals within or outside the political arena who can contribute ideas on solidarity and participate in sincere dialogues," he said. 
However, Chandra said the prime minister must give detailed explanation on the actual meaning of national reconciliation so that it would be truly understood by every strata of society.
Chairman of the Global Movement of Moderates Foundation Tan Sri Razali Ismail said all parties should support the idea thrown by the prime minister, as we could not allow the tension arising from the general election to worsen.
He stressed on the partiality of the government and its institutions, saying that the effort to reconcile the nation must be done with the acceptance of all races, and added that political parties should not take advantage from the effort. 
Another vital ingredient for national reconciliation, according to Razali was that the press must be free. 
"What is not right must be mentioned by the press. We cannot reconcile if the press is not free. The people must be made to have a say in the press. This is to regain the ability in making the people believe what has been distributed by the press," he said. 
He added that national reconciliation was also needed to build national consensus in addressing many internal or external issues. 
Meanwhile, the Director of the Technology Policy and International Studies Centre, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) International Campus, Profesor Dr Azmi Hassan said the quickest action that the government could do towards national reconciliation was through the formation of the cabinet.
"The make up of the cabinet members is most important to demonstrate that the Barisan Nasional (BN) government is transparent and sincere in forming a Malaysian society and championing the cause of all races in the country," said Azmi, who is also a Geostrategist Expert.
He said the cabinet that would be formed should still have a minister from the Chinese community although the MCA had stated its stand not to join the cabinet to honour the decision of the top party leadership earlier. 
Explaining further, Azmi said one of the measures that could be taken by Najib in efforts to regain the support of the Chinese voters was to make way for a representative from the Chinese non-governmental organisation (NGO) to join the cabinet.
"The situation cannot be aggravated, that's why we must invite a group that is trusted by the Chinese community such as the NGO in the fields of social, education and economy. That is the best way to reconcile the situation," he said.
For historian Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Kim, whatever measures that were being implemented by the government now and in the future towards national reconciliation, the most important question was the schooling system.
He said it was possible that now was the time for the national education system which emphasised on examination where the student must memorise to obtain high marks be replaced with a system that absorbed the spirit of patriotism among the students.
"We need to decide whether we want a national education system that would turn the young generation into citizens that give priority to the country or to become individuals who only think about self-interest," he said.
DAP national deputy chairman Dr Tan Seng Giaw said the move to promote the spirit of unity after the election process was timely, but any racial sentiment must be checked first of all.
"Solidarity must be based on policies and statements that were not inclined towards a particular race, religion or region alone," said Dr Tan, who is also the Kepong Member of Parliament. -- BERNAMA


The GE over.

We all know the results. BN won by a slim majority in parliament. It recaptured Kedah and Perak.

And the DAP won big, I must say. In some of the constituencies (mainly Chinese majority) they increased their majority.

What I remember most about  May 5 were the lies and unsubstantiated reports of black-outs, busloads of foreigners and illegal ballot boxes.

They remain unsubstantiated. So they are lies spread by irresponsible people. And then made out to be fact and used to condemn the elections as unfair. Electoral fraud?

Democracy is dead?  Oh come on.. Jangan lah berdrama. Bersandiwara. Berwayang..

Senang, senang nak burukkan Malaysia, ya?

So many are not happy with the outcome because the BN should have lost. Stolen elections?


Mr Karpal Singh is happy with the outcome. Lim Guan Eng has been sworn in as CM. Kelantan has a new MB.

Another black mark was the harassment and attacks on Malaysianswhom some thugs linked to the opposition suspected them to be foreigners and tried to prevent them from casting their votes.

 I call them samseng.

Yes,. samseng.

The GE is over. Time to move on and get on with our life.

But, looks like, for some people, it ain't over yet.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Waves Of Regret In Selangor

A report by Malaysian Digest

ON the night of March 8, 2008, after the results of the 12th general election were announced, a retiree in Ijok, Kuala Selangor was dumbfounded when he was told that the Ijok state seat had been won by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) candidate Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.
The retiree was even more crushed upon learning that his beloved state of Selangor had been taken over by the Opposition.
A wave of regret took over. For as long as he had been exercising his voting right, he never once voted for any other party besides the scale-symbol Barisan Nasional (BN), until that year.

The man reasoned that he only voted for the Opposition this time because he wanted to send a message to the BN. He just didn't think it was possible for the BN to lose control of the state altogether.

The retiree is only one example of the thousands of Selangorians who, at the time, chose to not cast their vote or voted for the Opposition as a sign of protest towards the government.

Continue reading HERE

Pakatan Can Win...

Says Anwar.
Malaysian opposition leader opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim says he believes that his three-party alliance can win this weekend's poll.
Mr Anwar is part of a broad coalition which includes moderates, Islamists and Malaysians of Chinese descent.
Prime Minister Najib Razak's National Front coalition has been in power for over 50 years.
Jonathan Head spoke to him on the campaign trail.

Watch this.

Pas-DAP Theatre of The Absurd : Dr M

PAS is  insisting that it will implement its version of hudud when Pakatan rules Malaysia.   DAP, not only Karpal Singh, but now also Lim Kit Siang, is equally adamant that it will not allow Pas' hudud laws to be used in Malaysia.
Both are bluffing because both know that Pas' hudud will never be made a part of Malaysian laws.
This is because Pas is contesting in less than half of the parliamentary seats. To change the constitution in order to introduce hudud, Pas would require a two-thirds majority in Parliament.
Only if DAP and PKR vote in favour will the constitution be changed. But DAP and PKR will not give their votes for this constitutional amendment.
For Pas, appearing to stand up against DAP on this Islamic issue is good for convincing Malays that it is still fighting for its version of Islam.
That it cannot succeed without DAP support need not be mentioned. What is important is the appearance of being Islamic. The Muslim voters can be hoodwinked by that.
DAP, which also knows that Pas' hudud will never be implemented, the appearance of fighting against Pas' version of Islamic law will convince Chinese voters that it is fighting for their cause. For this stand the Chinese will support the DAP.
It is all a sandiwara or "play-acting" by both Pas and the DAP. Both believe they can hoodwink Malay and Chinese voters in this election.
Unfortunately, the average Malay and Chinese voter may fail to read between the lines. So, the issue will stay. It is good for Pas and good for the DAP.
Then there is the sandiwara of the party symbols of Pas and DAP.
DAP announced that it would use Pas' full moon symbol in the election because the Registrar of Societies might not allow it to use its rocket symbol. The idea is to intimidate RoS.
For DAP, this is a good strategy as the members of Pas will think that DAP is now close to Pas and Islam and will vote for the DAP candidates.
Unfortunately, DAP members did not think this was a good idea. Their leaders may want to be close to Pas for political reasons but the members reject Pas and its Islamic pretensions, totally.
The DAP leaders still thought it was a good ploy to hoodwink Malays.
Pas on the other hand saw in this DAP move to use its symbol as a good way to convince its members and supporters that DAP has now understood Islam, which they had been claiming is their reason for co-habiting with the anti-Islam DAP.
Pas leaders may even really believe that they are near to converting Karpal Singh and Kit Siang. Self-deception is characteristic of Pas. They have had difficulty explaining why they reject any reconciliation with Umno, a Malay Muslim party.
The willingness of DAP to use the full moon on a green background symbol of Pas is useful for convincing their members that the DAP has become more Islamic since it is willing to use Pas' symbol.
Both DAP and Pas know all this talk about using the Pas symbol is so much nonsense. It is not the intention of DAP to do so or Pas to permit it. But it is good for politics, for hoodwinking the Malays to support Pas' virtual love affair with DAP.
Unfortunately, again Pas members resent the idea of the kafir harbi DAP using their symbol.
It was a relief for all when RoS declared there was no ban on DAP using its rocket symbol in this election.
And so ends another sandiwara, another false stage show. Still it was good while it lasted. - The New Straits Times

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"I am An Umno Member!" : Musa Hitam

Without a doubt, former deputy prime minister Tun Musa Hitam got a lot of Barisn Nasional people wondering what was going on when he made  his "Negara tak akan bankrap jika Pakatan Rakyat memerintah" remarks at a forum on March 12.

"Is he Umno or what?" - some people must have uttered, openly or quietly.

You can't blame them when they read it -- screaming like that.

Was he endorsing Pakatan?is he supporting Pakatan?

Well, no, says the man, in response to all this.

"I am an Umno and Barisan member, and I certainly wish that they win in GE13,” he said.
"As an Umno and BN member, and by that very same token, I certainly wish for BN to win this election. Indeed, I am certain that BN will win this time."

In fact, he issued a statement on this because Pakatan Rakyat has used his remarks in their campaign -- on billboards.
He's asked them to cease and desist.

"Pakatan Rakyat  seems so desperate to promote themselves and woo the electorates' support that they had resorted to using me as their major weapon to hit back at Barisan Nasional."

Musa described Pakatan's move as an "abuse of democratic privilege".

Read the report  HERE and  HERE.

I wasn't at the forum. But I've read the news reports quoting him on this. But, I still can't say whether his remarks were taken out of context.

I don't know-lah, Musa. What did you expect your friends in the BN to think?

Then again, they should know better. Musa had always been one to speak his mind.

He said he would continue to express his personal views on any political matters as and when he felt the need to.

"This is the freedom that I have always enjoyed as a member of Umno, a party which has played a most significant role in the development of our beloved country.

And, well...can't blame Pakatan, either. Won't let a good opportunity pass -- to use his words against the BN.

Gila-Lah Si Haris

Haris Ibrahim's ABU people are ready to die, ke?

No way, says  uber blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin (RPK)

"Malaysians bunch of cowards. Nak comment kat internet pun tak berani reveal real name."

The Mole spoke to RPK on Haris Ibrahim's "ready to die" statement he made on video on behalf of ABU (Anything But Umno).

That was said in a message to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
 “To Najib, understand this. [...] We will go to all lengths and at all cost to ensure that on polling day the will of the people will be heard. We hear that you and your party intend to cause trouble before, during and after polling. We are ready for you. We, many of us, are ready to die. Are you ready to die?”

Here's RPK's interview:

The Mole: "Were you part of this movement (Anything But UMNO) which Isham (Hishamuddin Rais) started in 2008?"

Raja Petra: "We were part of the All-Blogs movement, if you can remember. And also Bersih 1.0 in 2007.

There were so many different groups. Even one group that worked with Ku Li (Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah), you included."

The Mole: "You and Haris were part of the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM). Why and how did the fall-out happen?"

Raja Petra: "Because I attacked ABU and he got mad with me. I said it is not Umno that we should oppose but the Umno culture.

That got him angry. And I also attacked Anwar. That made him pissed. I also opposed Bersih 3.0 and said it is a lost cause. If we can't do it in Bersih 1.0 and 2.0 what makes you think Bersih 3.0 is going to achieve anything?"

The Mole: "How about what you think of Haris Ibrahim's 'ready to die' ABU squads?"

Raja Petra: "Gila (Crazy)".

The Mole: "Do you think Haris Ibrahim is serious about 'ready to die' and that there will actually be people like that in every polling centre/constituency?"

Raja Petra: "No way. Malaysians bunch of cowards. Nak comment kat internet pun tak berani reveal real name." (Even when they want to comment on the internet they're not brave enough to reveal their real names.)


Haris quit as the President of the MCLM in January 2012 after a fall-out with Raja Petra following their meeting in Thailand in late 2011. It is believed that Haris wanted to make the MCLM a staging platform for funds to be channeled, in preparation for the ‘Malaysian Spring’. 
In a posting at his blog The People’s Parliament in August 2012, Haris  asked readers to contribute to his ABU efforts. He provided his CIMB account number for the contributions to be channeled.
The ABU Facebook page recorded 22,249 likes and 4,620 people talking about it. That is hardly a few oddballs, probably taken in by ABU’s hatred towards UMNO/BN and their ‘Politics of Hatred’ strategy.
Considering there are 222 Parliamentary and 505 State Assembly constituencies in this upcoming 13GE, it is hardly believable that as per Haris’s claim ABU squads will monitor each of the 8,139 polling stations and escort each ballot box to the 222 tally centres.
Raja Petra is probably right to refer to Haris' plans as ‘Gila’. After all, making threats like “Ready to die” is somewhat delusional bordering on madness.-The Mole

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Aku Janji...

...kesejahteraan untuk rakyat.

Here's BN's Promise Of Hope - the coalition's manifesto for the 13th general election.

1. Easing the Cost of Living:

* Increasing BR1M up to RM1,200 for households and RM600 for singles while maintaining it on an annual basis
* Increasing 1Malaysia Book Vouchers to RM300 and Schooling Aid to RM150
* Revamping the National Automotive Policy to gradually reduce car prices by 20 to 30 per cent and increasing the competitiveness of the national cars (This one taken from OutSyed The Box).
* Increasing the number of Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia
* Introducing 1Malaysia products in petrol stations and hypermarkets
* Opening Klinik 1Malaysia in high-density housing communities
* Setting up more 1Malaysia Daycare Centres for working parents (Excellent idea)
* Lowering broadband fees by at least 20 per cent with guaranteed bandwidth
* Introducing 1Country 1Price policy for essential goods
* Introducing more 1Malaysia products driven by GLCs and the private sector

2. Uplifting Urban Well-being:
* Restructuring the government, including setting up a new ministry to reflect the pronounced urban shift in the country's demographic pattern and address urban economic and social challenges
* Increasing representation of members of the NGOs and civil society in local government (Another excellent idea).
* Rehabilitating low-cost houses and flats in the cities (Good. About time)
* Undertaking the maintenance of public housing infrastructure (Very good)
* Providing quality public housing catering specifically for the younger generation of job seekers
*Providing recreational areas and facilities to enhance the quality of life in urban centres
*Ensuring sufficient educational, training and health services and facilities
*Improving the transportation links between urban centres and their outlying areas
* Opening more Anjung Singgah shelters (temporary shelters for the homeless) in high demand areas

3. Access to Quality Health Services:
* Developing a national system that will provide every Malaysian with access to quality healthcare
* Establishing a Heart Centre and Cancer Centre in major hospitals in every zone - North, South, East & West Peninsula and Sabah and Sarawak
* Providing public facilities for dialysis treatment in every high-density area
* Introducing a card-carrying system for Malaysians with special needs to provide for discounted prices of specific medications
* Introducing a support system for palliative home care for the aged and terminally ill

4. Towards Greater Efficiency in Public Transportation:
* Expanding the Rapid Bus System to every state capital, complete with facilities for the aged and disabled
* The continued expansion of the MRT, LRT and Commuter rail systems
* Building integrated bus, rail and taxi terminals in all towns and cities
  - Re-routing bus routes to ensure more efficient and accessible services for the rakyat
* Increasing individual taxi permits
* Implementing the national high speed rail network and expanding the double tracking railway system

5. World Class Infrastructure Development and Rural Transformation:

* The rapid expansion of the North-South Expressway with more lanes and exit points
* Building a 2,300-km Pan Borneo Highway stretching from Semantan, Sarawak, to Serudung, Sabah
* Extending the East Coast Highway from Kuala Krai-Kota Baharu & Gambang-Segamat
* Constructing a new West Coast Highway from Banting to Taiping
* The gradual reduction of intra-city tolls
* Implementing the 21st Century Village concept to spur rural transformation and bring the rural community into the mainstream of development
* Building another 6,300km of paved roads in peninsular Malaysia, 2,500km in Sabah and 2,800km in Sarawak to benefit an estimated 3.3 million people
* Solving the treated water supply problem in Selangor, the Federal Territory and Kelantan
* Extending the supply of clean water to another 320,000 homes throughout the country
* Expanding electricity supply to another 6,000 homes in the peninsula, 60,000 in Sabah and 80,000 in Sarawak
* Compelling service providers to ensure quality mobile phone services and reliable wireless access coverage throughout the country

6. Strengthening Women's Participation:
* Increasing the number of women participating in national decision-making
* Promoting gender equality to maximise the potential of Malaysians in all fields, regardless of gender
* Providing more business and income-generating opportunities for women to provide them a greater sense of independence
* Creating more incentives for work-from-home initiatives, with greater emphasis on single mothers
* Opening 1Malaysia Daycare Centres in all GLCs and government offices and encouraging the private sector to do the same
* Tightening laws to prevent incidents of sexual abuse and harassment in homes and in the workplace

7. Building a Resilient, Dynamic and Innovative Economy:
* Attracting RM1.3 trillion worth of investments and creating 3.3 million new jobs, of which 2 million will be in high income sectors
* Building towards achieving per capita income of USD$15,000 (RM45,000) by 2020
* Providing special incentives for innovative and creative ventures to generate more wealth and jobs
* Implementing policies that are fair and equitable to all races in Malaysia including pro-growth policies, greater participation of the private sector & development of the capital market
* Enhancing the effectiveness of the bumiputera agenda, including bumiputeras in Sabah & Sarawak, by providing business opportunities, a stronger eco-system (e.g. training & credit facilities) and institutional support)
* Working with state governments to allocate more land & increase productivity of existing land to enhance food and livestock production
* Reforming the existing tax structure towards a more broad-based tax system and gradually reducing personal and corporate tax
* Continuing special cash payments and development & operational funding exceeding 20 per cent of oil and gas revenue to Sabah, Sarawak, Terengganu, Kelantan & Pahang
* Implementing a plan for the transformation of SMEs and establishing a National Trading Company to source overseas markets for SMEs products
* Creating & promoting more global and regional champions
* Ensuring GLCs continue to develop entrepreneurs by divesting non-strategic GLCs and increasing outsourcing programmes for bumiputera companies
* Providing RM500 million in seed funding to increase the equity of the Indian Community to at least three per cent
* Setting up a Special Unit to ensure the successful implementation of policies for the upliftment of the Indian community
* Increasing access to micro credit for all Malaysians, including RM100 million for hawkers and petty traders

8. Building towards Educational Excellence:

* Bringing Malaysia into the "top third category" of the best education systems in the world by improving the quality of national schools
* Improving the command of Bahasa Malaysia and English among students from the pre-school level, and making English a compulsory SPM pass subject in all schools
* Improving access to quality education for the rural and minority communities, especially in Sabah and Sarawak
* Providing more merit-based scholarships, with special provisions for disadvantaged communities
* Continuing special allocations to all types of schools including SKs, SJKCs, SJKTs, Sekolah Agama Bantuan Kerajaan, MRSM, Sekolah Berasrama Penuh and Mission Schools
* Expanding Single Session Schooling
* Revamping Teacher Training Colleges and raising the qualification bar for trainee teachers
* Introducing a simplified teaching and learning system for BM in Chinese and Tamil schools
* Building more schools of all types in areas of high demand
* Enhancing performance in Mathematics and Science, and developing higher order thinking skills in students
* Providing financial incentives of RM100,000 per annum for schools with classes for Special Needs children
* Converting SJKTs that wish to change status, into fully aided schools
* Setting up ICT labs in all schools that require them
* Transforming vocational schools into colleges and increasing enrolment to 20 per cent of the student population
* Expanding pre-school education to cover all types of schools
* Providing new career pathways to allow performance-based fast tracking promotion of 420,000 teachers
* Providing free and guaranteed Broadband Wifi on all campuses of public institutions
* Introducing a laptop ownership scheme in all schools bundled with Internet access

9. Enhancing Security and Public Safety:

* Boosting PDRM omnipresence with additional 4,000 police personnel per year
* Lighting up streets, alleys and lanes to further reduce street crime
* Strengthening the PDRM Motorcycle Patrol Unit by 5,000 vehicles
* Upgrading the welfare, professionalism and capability of the police, armed forces and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency
* Enhancing the total capability of the armed forces to deal with any form of incursion and external threat
* Maintaining and strengthening the police commission
* Using the 6P system to curb the influx of illegal foreigners
* Creating the Safecam Programme to link up private and public CCTV systems
* The extensive expansion of CCTV monitoring for high traffic public areas such as car parks, recreational areas, night markets and schools
* Introducing security initiatives in public housing schemes
* Enrolling an additional 50,000 police volunteer reserves to assist PDRM in patrolling and keeping streets safe

10. Nurturing Youth:

* Providing funding, training and incentives for youth-centric commercial ventures.
* Providing commercial space within shopping complexes one day in every month for youths to exhibit and market their creative products and services
* Establishing incubators to nurture quality leadership and creativity
* Creating a more resilient youth through active volunteerism in 1M4U
* Providing more free WIFI hotspots, with particular emphasis on rural and semi-urban areas
* Producing more high performance athletes at regional and international levels and promoting a more healthy lifestyle
* Revisiting laws pertaining to entertainment for the promotion of performing arts and culture

11. Weaving a Network of Social Safety Nets:

* Streamlining and improving safety net assistance through a unified database system
* Providing financial assistance and educational opportunities for lower income earners irrespective of race
* Turning Brickfields into a blind-friendly zone to serve as a model for future zones throughout the country catering to other sections of the disabled
* Setting up special courts with the same status as High Courts under the present justice system, whereby judges will be assisted by assessors chosen from among community heads, to deal specifically with NCR issues
* Gazetting all native customary land in close consultation with state governments
* Providing more income-generating opportunities within indigenous communities and increasing the intake of

 12. Promoting Islam, Religious Freedom and Harmony:

* Upholding Islam as the religion of the Federation and promoting the Syiar and Syariat of Islam in accordance with the principles of Maqasid Syariah
* Ensuring that other religions can be practiced in peace and harmony
* Assigning jurisdiction over non-Muslim matters to a Minister in the Prime Minister's Department
* Promoting the principles of moderation (Wasatiyyah) in all undertakings
* Increasing initiatives in uniting the ummah
* Unlocking income from developing wakaf land in cooperation with State Religious Authorities
* Increasing tax exemption for contributions to the construction, expansion and upkeep of places of worship
* The continuance of allocating land for the building of places of worship
* Providing more financial assistance to registered religious institutions and places of worship
* Promoting the welfare of Imams, mosque officials and guru-guru Kafa by providing service-based salaries and increments
* Upgrading the quality of Sekolah Agama Rakyat and allowing their students access to quality education and government education infrastructure
* Providing financial assistance to Sekolah Agama Rakyat and Sekolah Pondok

13. Fighting the Scourge of Corruption:

* The public disclosure of contracts to enhance transparency in government procurement
* Empowering MACC through the establishment of a Service Commission whereby the power of recruitment and service matters will lie entirely with the commission
* Elevating the Head and Senior Officers of the MACC to a higher level
* Giving equal emphasis on investigations into, and action against, bribe givers and receivers
* Fast tracking access to the Auditor-General's Performance Audit Report for immediate action
* Establishing additional special corruption Sessions and High Courts
* Implementing integrity pacts for MPs and State Assemblymen

14. Revitalising the Public Service and Enhancing Good Governance:

* Introducing the Transformative Salary Scheme for civil servants, including reviewing allowances and providing a special salary movement of three per cent to those on maximum salary, in the event there is no salary review
* Improving the civil service scheme to include more opportunities for promotion and development of talent and ensuring the quality of their general well-being
* Extending Urban Transformation Centres to all major cities and towns
* 'Merakyatkan Perkhidmatan Awam' (Endear the Public Service to the People) to ensure excellent service delivery
* Mobilising and empowering the civil service, including Local Governments and District Offices, to fulfill the demands, interests and concerns of the rakyat
* Improving counter services through the appointment of multi-racial frontliners and expanding online services for payments and applications
* Introducing recruitment programmes to ensure a fair mix of all races in the Civil Service and GLCs at all levels
* Enhancing the potential, capacity and capability of all civil servants regardless of race and gender
* Giving special attention to OKU (the disabled) to harness their full potential and capacity

15. Promises for a Global Movement of Moderates:

* Fighting for the establishment of a Palestinian state
* Supporting the realisation of Asean as an economic community in 2015
* Vying for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in order to play a prominent role in regional peace and international security through our policy of moderation
* Enhancing economics and bilateral interests with major trading partners and emerging economies
* Formulating Foreign Policy which supports our strategic political, economic and security interests
* Taking the lead in fighting trans-national crimes such as human and drug trafficking
* Spearheading humanitarian outreach programmes in conflict areas such as Gaza, the West Bank, southern Thailand, Mindanao and elsewhere

16. Providing Affordable and Secure Housing:

* Building 1,000,000 affordable homes - driven by public and private sectors- including 500,000 PR1MA houses
* Pricing PR1MA houses at least 20 per cent below market prices
* Introducing a lease and own scheme for government housing projects
* Reviving abandoned housing projects to safeguard homebuyers
* Taking over the maintenance and upkeep of all Public Housing Projects
* Assisting poor and lower income home owners to rehabilitate their houses
* Replacing squatter settlements with secure and permanent housing
* Improving housing in estate and providing houses for former estate workers through Government-Estate partnership
* Abolishing stamping fees for first home purchases priced below RM400,000

17. Preserving Nature's Resources:

* Giving financial incentives to commercial and private premises which invest in renewable green energy resources such as biomass and solar
* Allocating more space for green lungs within major cities
* Revitalising rivers and streams via increased allocations and enactment of stricter laws and by-laws, and via special UNDP and River of Life programmes
* Increasing educational programmes to inculcate appreciation of the environment
* Preserving our forest and undertaking re-forestation programmes
* Enacting stricter and updated laws to prevent illegal activities of deforestation of vital and strategic conservation areas
* Employing green and latest state-of-the-art technology in waste disposal and management.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

ABU's Scare Tactic

I am wondering whether I'll be a target of this hate group - Anything But Umno (ABU).
 Lawyer Haris Ibrahim of ABU, just the other day issued a warning to foreigners who hold MyKads.

"To foreigners who have been given MyKads, please hear this. ABU has issued warnings to all of you to stay away from our polling stations on PRU13 day. Please take this warning seriously. On polling day, ABU squads will be patrolling all polling stations and they will deal with all foreigners who are intent on defying this warning. Please, I emphasize again, take this warning seriously.

You know my IC has got a 71 which means that I am foreign-born. So, should I be worried?

Can Haris' ABU Tahan squads tell the difference - whether I had just got my IC or naturalised or whatever -  if they stop me to check my identity?

Ok..How does ABU plan to do all this?

They will be patrolling? What? like policemen? Rela? By whose authority? Their own?

ABU is a law unto themselves, is it?

Sure doesn't make it right -- at all!

Friday, April 05, 2013

So..When Is the General Election?

Now that parliament has been dissolved -- and I can hear the sighs of relief - everybody wants to know when the election is.

But be patient. We've waited this long for the announcement on the dissolution of Parlaiment, we can wait a little bit longer ...
Next Wednesday (April 10) the Election Commission will hold a special meeting to decide the nomination and polling dates for the general election.
Many reckon that the dates are the least predictable since the country's independence in 1957.

Yesterday, Datuk Seri Najib Razak chaired the Barisan Nasional supreme council meeting. Later, he told the Press a lot of things, but not the candidates list, like who's who on it. Except tosay that it will be a surprise.

"There will be an element of surprise", he said.

Najib has hinted about the kind of candidates he wants. the word is "winnable".

Well, everybody thinks they are "winnable". Former MIC chief Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu thinks he is winnable and had offered to return to Sungai Siput as candidate.

 "I am a winnable candidate, there's no doubt about it. I am willing to re-contest the Sungai Siput parliamentary seat. Internal sabotage led to my defeat there in 2008 (general election)," he told reporters at Bukit Aman police headquarters ion Wednesday after handing over RM100,000 to the families of policemen killed and injured in the Lahad Datu terrorist intrusion.

Samy Vellu is BN coordinator for Sungai Siput, is also Special Envoy to India and South Asia for Infrastructure.

Last year, he blamed his former boss, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for his defeat in the 2008 general election to Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj of the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM).

Samy Vellu, former works minister, lost by a 1,821-vote majority in his stronghold.

Wow, some sabotage, Tun must have been doing.
Of course, last GE, many veterans and stalwarts such as he, lost in their own strong turf.

Anyway, it is official that he will not be contesting this GE.

As far back as last year, the PM was asked about election candidates.

But generally, when the PM talks about BN canidates for the GE, his recurring message is that they would be the best candidate for the BN - and it doesn't matter how old they are.

I'm not sure if he will "conform" to previous practices -- we had read all this before -- a mixed list - combination of old and new faces and so on.

So far, we know that Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat will not be contesting. Neither is former Wnaita Umno chief Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz.

Said a veteran about Najib's element of surprise : "Real surprises can bring in 2008."

Without a doubt, it is a test for Najib -- between trying to please some people but not everyone.

We are waiting for the surprise....let's hope it's not a shock.
 And yes, when polling will be.

Meanwhile, tomorrow, the BN unveils its manifesto.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Daim Zainuddin NST Interview - Part Two

Here's the second and final part of the NST interview with former Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin headlined "We Should Not Waste Time With Anwar, His Time Had Come and Gone".

Back then in the 80s, Daim and Anwar were the king's men, the Team A (versus Musa Hitam's Team B). Here's a quote by Daim in NST's Up Close and Personal segment :
"Really, we should not waste time with Anwar. He is past his use-by date. His time had come and gone.
I also think that you should not give so much news space to him. That's what he likes. He does not like to be ignored, so ignore him I say. He should be left to be the entertainer that he is, dancing and singing at ceramahs. As I said his time is gone, like a burung punggok merindukan bulan, (a dog barking at the caravans, and the caravans have moved on)."

The interview that was published today:

THIS is the final part of the interview with former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin, who helped the Malaysian economy survive the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

Without mincing words, Daim discussed with New Straits Times journalists A. JALIL HAMID, RASHID YUSOF and HARIZ MOHD and photographer ZAHARI ZAKARIA the key events during the "Mahathir Years", including the events which led to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's downfall.
Question: Media reports suggested at the time of your departure from the cabinet in 1991 that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had three names in mind as the new finance minister -- Tan Sri Sanusi Junid, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Was this indeed the case?
Answer: Rafidah was then the minister for trade, having been appointed to the post after the Team A versus Team B split in 1987. Sanusi was minister for agriculture.
Dr Mahathir wasn't too sure about Anwar. He said, "I don't think Anwar can handle the ministry of finance" given his academic background. He was a graduate in Malay studies.
My counter argument went along this line -- "I think if you want him to be your successor you have to groom him.
"I can help him and guide him, give advice."
In the end, I managed to convince Dr Mahathir.
Anwar used to come to my house very often to seek my advice on matters related to the ministry of finance.
He would also bring me to to his house for lunch very often. His aunt cooked my favourite dishes.
Read the rest of the Q&A HERE.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Daim Zainuddin NST Interview - Part One

Say what you like about Malaysia's former Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin, he sure makes good copy. And especially now..everybody wants a piece of him -- wants to know what he thinks. he says it as it is.
You can choose to ignore him, to not believe a word he says.. it's a free country.
But here's the first part of the NST interview with Daim, headlined "I Want Najib To Win, Anwar Not Fit To Be PM".

WHENEVER Tun Daim Zainuddin is not orbiting the globe, he will be holed up in his workstation at Wisma YPR (Yayasan Pok Rafeah, named after his late mother).

His desk is one sprawling clutter of printouts and financial analyses helpfully sent daily by an organisation headed by a friend -- a former prime minister of a neighbouring Asian country.

The hallway is in a different galaxy. It is virtually an art gallery. He owns more than 2,000 paintings. Some paintings are now worth 10 times what he paid for. He was chairman of the National Art Gallery before he joined the cabinet. The lawyer-turned-housing developer who later became finance minister (twice) is not selling.

The range of passions is bewildering. He is a fan of Datuk Shah Rukh Khan. Daim is a significant shareholder of a bank with many branches in Africa. He is chairman of the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) audit committee.

At 74, he plays badminton with increasingly younger mates. And, he displays a Manchester United replica jersey autographed by Sir Bobby Charlton.

"I am a busybody," he explained as he greeted New Straits Times journalists -- A. JALIL HAMID, RASHID YUSOF and HARIZ MOHD -- and photographer, ZAHARI ZAKARIA, to kickstart a series of exhaustive interviews.

Daim, who had precipitated a near-crash of the stock market in 1994 with his "sell" advice and later named "chief conspirator" by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, has since sparked a media frenzy for a new reason.

It is political punditry, having correctly predicted the outcome of the March 2008 general election; so the NST prodded him for new predictions. We probed his political allegiance and provoked him even as the sessions shifted focus from one hot topic to another.

By the time we were done, newer perspectives and insights had been gleaned from the political events of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, the future of Umno, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Anwar, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Lee Kuan Yew, to the rise of China and the Arab Spring (which he jokingly referred to as "the Arab Fall").

Daim: "If you ask me, between the two, Najib or Anwar, I would choose Najib."

Question: Tun, since your retirement, you have given a number of interviews to the Chinese dailies, but hardly any to the mainstream media. Any particular reason for this?

Answer: I have been asked to give so many interviews, but all they wanted to know is when will the elections be held and what is my prediction of the outcome. So, before the election, which I predict will be by next month (he laughs), this will be my last interview.
I don't want to give any more interviews because all of you only ask about the elections and it's quite tiresome.
Also, I don't want people to misquote me. I heard people say that I had said BN would win only three states. That is not true. You must read my answers in full. I said BN, in particular Umno, must work hard, stay united and put up the best candidates to win.
Yes, I have given interviews to Chinese press mostly. The Chinese wanted to understand the thinking of the Malays. To address their concerns, I must know what is in their minds, their fears and their aspirations and they wanted to know if our economic policies are right. They want peace in the country and they know to have peace, you need political stability.
Have you read their articles on government policies? Someone will whisper to the government about this or that paper, or that this writer is being anti-establishment.
I say, "Stop!" I have read their articles. While they do criticise, they are not being anti-establishment. You argue with facts and statistics. The process will produce a healthy debate.