Thursday, February 21, 2013

The GE Will Be In April...

So, says my friend, Wong Sai Wan, of The Star.

He said Prime Minister Najib Razak has some unfinished business -- BN manifesto and candidates list, among others -- to deal with before feeling really good to call for a GE.

Sai Wan also pointed out that Najib would also be thinking of the Chinese voters --  "April 4 is a Thursday, many Chinese families will choose their ancestral grave cleaning rituals over the weekend of April 6 and 7.
Many Chinese travel back to their hometown to do this and polling on this weekend would prove to be unpopular." his commentary.

Laptops In Place of Textbooks For Pupils

WHEN Deputy Prime Minister  Muhyiddin Yassin visited the Daphne High School in Mobile, Alabama last month, he observed the students' learning style and was pleasantly surprised that they were using laptops and had excluded textbooks.
Read the NST report HERE.
Muhyiddin, who is Education Minister, said this was an innovative education process that Malaysian schools could emulate given that Internet and broadband facilities have been extensively installed in schools.
The school is a top-performing school.

Muhyiddin was impressed with the students' thinking skills and creativity.
He said they seem to be "independent and have good communication skills"
"When I asked them questions, they answered with confidence and without fear.
"When they came up to the rostrum to talk, they knew what exactly they wanted to say.
"It shows the level of the school's excellence, and the attitude and skills are factors which we must develop among our students."
Impressed, he said the ministry was considering providing laptops instead of textbooks to all students.
When I posted this on my FB page, I said that this is good but needs to be studied carefully. The US education system is so different from ours. Besides, it is just one school although using of laptops in schools is in practice across the globe.
There was a lot of response which was good for debate.

Before I touch on the laptop programme, let me just say here that those students who displayed confidence etc...they are typical of American students. Not peculiar to Daphne.

So, basically, I agree that we cannot be left behind. Providing laptops for students is not new (the Terengganu E book project in 2008) , but the laptops are for not in place of textbooks but to complement and enhance learning

I feel we have to put a lot of things in place first, repair here and there, overhaul here and there, decide to do away with textbooks and then implement this laptop-in-place-of-textbook programme. basically it is revolutionising learning.

My worry is that we are so good at launching, implementing but not sustaining. Also there have been cases of ambitious projects gone wrong.

My sister pointed out that we should make sure that there is zero-crime on the streets if we want our kids to be carrying laptops in their bags.

University students have been known to be targets of snatch thieves because it is known that they have laptops in their bags.

You don't fix the crime rate, our school kids will be easy targets of criminals. 

You cannot deny that this will enhance learning because it has been proven in many cases.

In fact, in the US, they're already migrating from laptops/netbooks to tablets...

So, yes..embrace the future, but fix our shortcomings first, then learn, at least from the Terengganu experience and  from the best practices elsewhere.

 Anyway, I decided to give my two cents worth in my Saturday column. Read it HERE.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

He Is Still The Richest Malaysian...

From the NST
Hong Kong-based Robert Kuok has maintained his position as Malaysia's richest man with a wealth of RM45.7 billion, despite a 8.0 per cent drop in his fortune, followed by T Ananda Krishnan and Public Bank's Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow.

IOI Corporation Bhd’s Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng maintained fourth spot while the richest Bumiputera entrepreneur in the country is Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary who came in fifth, according to Malaysian Business in a report on the 40 richest Malaysians.

Flamboyant AirAsia chief executive officer, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes was ranked as 15th  with a weath of RM1.77 billion.

Malaysian Business said the wealth of the top 40 richest Malaysians was based on the value of their stake in listed companies as at Jan 20, 2012.

Ananda narrowed the gap with Kuok with a wealth of RM42.99 billion, but it was down by about 6.0 per cent this year, from 2011.

Read the rest of the article HERE

Friday, February 08, 2013

Gong Xi Fa Cai: Najib

Crime Watch..


Three things I feel deeply about -- crime prevention because it means safety for our families and loved ones and of course, in the long run and in macro terms, our country. And crime include crime against children.

Second:: education because it affects the younger generation who is the future of our beloved country.

Third: health because it is about our well-being and it is also about cost and affordability especially for senior citizens.

Not necessarily in that order.

This morning, my youngest sister Nina witnessed a snatch theft along Jalan Dato Abu Bakar just before the traffic lights at the flyover ( left takes you to Phileo and Taman Tun Dr Ismail and right takes you to Bukit Kiara, Bukit Damansara, Bangsar and on the KL).

Two guys on a motorbike. The motorcyclist was weaving in and out of the morning traffic and got to the right side of her car, actually in between her car (Kyron) and a satria on her left.

 My sister had already got her antennae when she heard a motorbike revving up from behind

Since she and her daughter were attacked and robbed in front of the gate at their house in Section 16, PJ on Dec 19 last year, my sister has been  more aware, alert and all psyched up.

.For instance, she quickly kept a keen eye on these two guys to see what they were up to.

The motorbike slowed down and then stopped when it reached the right side of her car. The guys looked at the satria on their right. The satria was heavily tinted.

What happened next was the stuff  you hear and read about or watch on Youtube -- the motobike then went ahead and turned in front of my sister's car, almost "squeezing through", and went to the left side of a car - a Kelisa - in front of my sister's car.

The  motorbike stopped at the left-passenger front window and in one swift and hard blow, the pillion smashed the window, put his hand in, and took out a handbag.

Meanwhile, my sister, was already so angry and was about to take a left turn but the motorbike fled so quickly to the left towards.

The victim (of the Kelisa), was seen taking left, stopped by the side of the road for a while and drove off.

Meanwhile, my sister felt so helpless. The other motorists probably did not know what had happened but if they did there was nothing anyone could do because the SOBs had sped off.

My sister had already known those guys were up to no good but was not able to run them down because they had not committed anything but was too late to do anything after they had committed their crime.

Although she was not the victim, my sister lodged a police report that same day anyway for the simplke reason that she had witnessed a crime.

She said she wanted to make sure that there was on record of a crime committed.

Some people are "malas" or are simply not bothered about making a police report --perhaps nothing of value was stolen. Or perhaps, they don't think it would make any difference.

Also, it seems, policemen in some stations refuse to take down reports of "minor" crime, especially if you have not been robbed.

If you don't report, there will be no record. Perhaps that's why the crime index is low because people are not reporting, or their reports are not accepted.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Top-Up Loans For Undergraduates

Now this is good news for parents like me with kids in universities.

Prime Minister Najib Razak yesterday launched the Prihatin Pendidikan 1Malaysia scheme (SPP1M) for university students in local and foreign universities under which they can apply additional for additional study loans.

"We realise and understand the constraints that parents face when financing their children's education as the cost of education is getting expensive, especially for those studying abroad.

"This top-up scheme is a creative solution. It is unique and never been introduced before," he was quoted to have said.

SPP1M loans are up to RM100,000 for those pursuing degrees in "critical" fields, including science and technology, professional degrees, and up to RM150,000 for those specialising in certain areas of medicine.

Najib said those who take up the loans would be charged one per cent less than the base lending rate (BLR) by participating banks while the students were still studying.

For example, if the BLR is five per cent, then the interest rate would be four per cent.

After graduation, the interest rate would revert to the BLR.

Well you can read more about it online in most local news websites.

Ex-convicts Rob and Rape..

I'm so sure that many ex-convicts -- those released when the Emergency Ordinance was repealed - are roaming our city and country roads.

Day in day out, you read all these chilling stories of people being robbed.
In Kajang, a factory worker was robbed by a taxi driver and his accomplice after she had boarded the vehicle to get home to Semenyih.

Police managed to nab the two perpetrators after the woman made a report. The two have a criminal record.

Now, this other case is even worse. So, ladies, please please take care.

A 26-year-old saleswoman was abducted, robbed and taken on a terror ride before being raped by one of her assailants in Kuala Lumpur early yesterday(Wednesday).

Here is The Sun report:

Her ordeal began when she was parking her car outside her apartment compound in Taman Desa Jaya, Kepong at about 11pm on Tuesday.
As the victim, who works for a jewellery outlet in Sungai Buloh, was parking her car, a van suddenly drew up alongside.
Four men then rushed out and began smashing the windscreen and windows of her car, before dragging her into their van.
According to police sources, the woman was then blindfolded while one of the men went through her handbag for cash and valuables.
Apparently dissatisfied with the small amount of cash and her cellphone that they found in the handbag, the robbers forced her to reveal the personal identification number (PIN) of her bank automated teller machine (ATM) card.
They then went to an ATM machine from which they withdrew several thousand ringgit.
Her ordeal did not end there as the men then drove the victim to a house.
There she was threatened with harm if she did not give in to the sexual demands of a member of the gang.
It is learnt that the victim, who was blindfolded throughout the ordeal, was raped by the man while his accomplices watched.
At about 3am, the gang members dropped the victim off at an undisclosed location in Segambut.
The woman then sought the help of passers-by who took her home before she called the police.
Gombak police chief ACP Abdul Rahim Abdullah said police are on the trail of the gang members.
He said police are confident of identifying the men, who are believed to be ex-convicts.
"We are trying to trace from which bank branch they withdrew cash with her ATM card, and where she was raped.
"We believe this is the same group we busted last year and sent away to the Simpang Renggam detention centre, but they were freed following the repeal of preventive laws.
"We are working round-the-clock to track them down," Abdul Rahim said.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Relooking Cold Cases Of Missing Children

This is encouraging news - Bukit Aman has set up a federal police task force  to probe into cold cases of missing kids to determine if there are  links between past and present cases.

I've always believed that we should have had such a body by now seeing that there are just too many unsolved cases of missing kids. And those found -- turned up dead.

Already NUR (National Urgent Response) Alert is in place, although I can tell you that it is not being used as it should but that is another story, (not entirely the police's fault because NUR alert landed on their lap without any prior briefing or training or anything of that sort. One main reason is that it is called NUR -- people confuse it with The Women's Family and Community Ministry's Talian Nur, All  can say is -- I told you so)

Also read THIS.


Inspector-General of Police  Ismail Omar told the New Straits Times the findings of the task force would be used by investigating officers in new missing persons' cases.

My interest in children's welfare, protection, safety and wellbeing is deep. 

William Yau's case reminds me of the horrors of child abduction. Of course, until today, we are not sure what happened to the six year-old that led to his death -- his body was found in a river at Port Klang on Jan 25.
In my Saturday column in the NST on Feb 2, I wrote that the authorities should rethink the way they do things because their SOP has not helped in solving child abduction cases i.e. the killers -- except for a handful -- have never been caught.

Here is my article.

WE all want some closure in the death of 6-year-old William Yau Zhen Zhong. We had hoped for his safe return. We mourned when he was confirmed dead on Jan 24.
So now we wait anxiously as the police try to piece together details of his disappearance leading to his death and recovery of his body in a river.
His case -- as that of other children before him -- has affected not only his immediate family but our community because these cases are often emotionally-charged and with which people can relate to.
We are once again reminded of the horrors of child abduction.
William was found missing on Jan 16. But it was only on Jan 20 that his disappearance was made public. Immediately, the police, with the help of the community, launched a massive search for him.
The names of 8-year-old Nurin Jazlin Jazimin who was abducted in August 2007, 5-year-old Nurul Nadhhirah Abdullah or Dirang as she was fondly called (March 2012), Tin Song Sheng, 7, Ang May Hong, 10, (April 1987) and Nurul Huda Abdul Ghani, 10, (January 2004) are all familiar names of missing children. These kids, except for Song Sheng, were later found murdered.
Song Sheng who went missing in Jan 12, 1996, was believed to have been abducted from SR(J)K Taman Rasah. He was never found.

(I should have also mentioned the names of these little angels -- five year-old Nini (Sharlinie Mohd Nashar) and 2 year-old Nisha Chandramohan.
Nini went missing while playing with her elders sister about 200 metres from their house in Taman Medan in Petaling Jaya on Jan 9, 2008 while Nisha was last seen on June 4, 2010 in Mentakab, Pahang.
Neither has been found.

Monday, February 04, 2013


Blogger Helen Ang asked this: if Penang had 84 per cent Chinese voters, would DAP be willing
to grant instant citizenship en masse to Malays – which then within the span of two short years – reduced the Chinese voting strength to 57% while at the same time increasing the Malay electoral power in an inverse and corresponding proportion?

Helen said that that was what Umno did.
  • In 1955, Malays made up 84.2 percent of registered voters in Malaya.
  • Two years later was Merdeka which allowed close to one million non-Malays to become citizens between the period of 1957 and 1960.
  • Two years after Independence was the 1959 general election. This time, Malays made up only 57.1 percent of the electorate.
Through its own actions, Umno diluted its Malay voter base advantage by a whopping (84.2% -57.1% =) 27.1 percent in one fell swoop.
Now if the shoe was on the other foot,
Would the PAP-DAP — hypothetically as the ruling party — be willing to absorb and enfranchise Malays residing in the Republic of Singapore North en bloc so that as a result, Chinese voting strength suffered a drastic drop from 84 percent to 57 percent within a single election interval?

Read the rest of her posting. 

RIP - Claudia Theophilus

I really only got to know Claudia  in 2006 after I had left the New Straits Times and had begun to blog actively..
I would usually meet her at the National Press Club.
She was such a pleasant person...and really great to talk with. And that time there was so much to talk much she wanted to know ...

What a shock it was when I saw the news flash yesterday of her untimely demise.

Claudia was killed in a firearm mishap in Lebanon on Saturday. She was 42.

She was most currently working as  web producer  with Al-Jazeera English news agency in Doha.

She died after a rifle -  which she was taking a look at, went off accidentally at about  2.30am local time (about 8.30am Malaysian time).

 The incident happened in Baakleen - located about 45km  southeast of Beirut.

 Malaysian ambassador to Beirut Ilango Karuppannan said shes died shortly after she arrived at a general  hospital in the district.

The New Straits Times quoted Karuppannan as saying that  Claudia and two Lebanese  friends were taking a look at several rifles, when one of it  accidentally went off.

 “She was rushed to the hospital, but attempts to save her  life were unsuccessful,” he told the New Straits Times.

He said an initial police report did not indicate any criminal  element in the incident.

 Ilango said the embassy was informed of the incident about  noon the same day, before it sent officers to the hospital.

 He said Wisma Putra had informed Claudia’s family in Malaysia and preparations are being made to fly her body home  as soon as possible.

 He said her body will be taken to Beirut before  it is flown  back to Kuala Lumpur.

 Claudia  began her journalism career at The Sun newspaper and  Malaysiakini news portal here.
 She arrived in Lebanon on  Jan 28 to meet her friends.

May you rest in peace, dear Claudia.