Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Selamat Hari Raya!

To all my Muslim readers and their families. May you find peace in your hearts this sacred festival.
Please drive carefully and spare a thought for those who are away from their families - whether under ISA detention or serving in peace missions abroad.
Let us all strive to make Malaysia a better place for all its citizens.

Animation: thanks to http://www.animationlibrary.com/animation/25473/Realistic_candle/

malaysiakini - Let the Great ISA Debate Begin!

This poignant letter in malaysiakini Zaid Ibrahim writes open letter to PM should be read by everyone for it shows the rare UMNO member who is willing to stand up and be counted for freedom and justice.
Of course he is no angel like all of us but his letter should be the primer for a great debate in Parliament on how Malaysia can show we practise a working democracy.
The MPs should take up this urgent issue instead of waiting for brave Malaysians to continue with their candle-lit vigils and peaceful marches.

Just as the Released tankers God’s Hari Raya gift, says PM, he too can show his compassionate side by releasing all ISA detainees for Raya except those for which evidence is available to be charged in court within the next 2 weeks.
It does not cost millions of ringgit like the MISC ships but the goodwill he will generate among all Malaysians will be priceless.
Let us all pray that God will give him the courage to do this.

malaysiakini - Finance Minister Gives ASSURANCE on ECONOMY

This article in malaysiakini Political crisis paralysing economy, investment is too much gloom and doom as even though the USA economy is headed south, we have adequate reserves to ride out a recession for a few years.
According to the Finance Minister Najib: Malaysian economy has buffers (updated) we have about US$119bil (RM404.6bil)international reserves.

What is important is that projects to pump prime the economy should be those that benefit the most citizens like public transport in the main cities and also capacity building like higher education that will produce more skilled citizens.

Although the amount looks quite substantial, every project should be carefully scrutined for cost/benefit ratios and only good projects selected.
One move that helped to save Malaysia lots of money was the refusal by Bank Negara to approve the bid by Maybank for BII at unattractive prices.

malaysiakini - MURUM Dam - Is Anyone SURPRISED?

This article in malaysiakini implying that Taib family's CMS to benefit from dam should surprise no one as this is another of those mega-projects that defy logic unless major industrial projects have been planned and approved.
But we know that the output from Bakun is still not determined and who is the confirmed user of all the power to be produced.

This article reminds me of Gandhi who said:
"The world is enough for everyman's needs but the world is not enough for one man's GREED."

malaysiakini - The PM Would Not Be Facing EVICTION if He Had Acted Thus

This article from malaysiakini is the type of action that most Malaysians would have expected from the PM after he won that great victory in the 2004 Elections.
The Perak leadership took quick action as the malaysiakini article on Perak councillor sacked, special panel to probe sex scandal will definitely send a strong message to everyone that the MB means business about the proper conduct of public officials.
Instead of just forming committees to study the many problems inherited from past excesses, he should have directed the ACA to bring to trial the two or three VVIP corruption cases that they are sitting on.
Win or lose, the message would have been very clear - corruption would not be tolerated. Besides the public would be the ultimate judge as to whether the accused, the judge or the persecution were the person guilty of conduct unbecoming.
By not doing anything in the eyes of the public to remedy the various weakness in the government, the public lost confidence and felt betrayed by the trust given to him.
We definitely need more national leaders of the calibre of Perak Menteri Besar Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin.

Monday, September 29, 2008

malaysiakini - Why the PM Had to Say Goodbye EARLIER Not LATER

malaysiakini has this article 'Musical chairs' in Umno transition plan that shows the weakening position of the PM with respect to his staying on in office.
The most basic mistake he made was to display his weakness by agreeing to step down.
Even if he had a date like 2010 when he wanted to hand over, he should never have told that date to anyone; least of all to those who were waiting to pounce on any sign of weakness.

In politics, there are no gentlemen - everyone is waiting to step up and take your place.
Just see how the admittance of the preferred date of mid 2010 has been whittled down to the basic essentials - everyone now wants closure of his term. Those who want him out have used the Communist tactics of negotiating very successfully.
First they draw the line where you make the concession and then they extract more from that position. It has been very effective to change the date from mid 2010 to now perhaps March 2009.
Don't be surprised if he leaves even in late 2008 or early 2009. If he decides not to contest and Najib is given a large mandate from UMNO, that will surely be on the cards.

malaysiakini - More RAPE of Sarawak's Resources.

I always had some misgivings about the Bakun Dam.
You will recall that it was one of those mega-deals that was given without open tenders and little regard for EIA studies.
The thought at the back of my mind was always that the main purpose of the dam was the tens of thousands of acres of virgin forests that would be drowned by the dam.
Except that the timber has made some people filthy rich.

Never mind that the electricity to be produced by the Bakun dam cannot be sent to the west as the submarine cable is too expensive.
So this malaysiakini article Sarawak begins work on new RM3 bil dam only shows yet more forests are going to be decimated even when Bakun is going to result in excess capacity for Sarawak and Sabah for many years.

It is really sad that the natives will once again suffer the consequences of greedy state politicians.

malaysiakini on the ISA - People's ADVERSE Reaction

I have written a few articles on the need to revise and review the provisions of the ISA but it seems that most Malaysians want to simply repeal the draconian law as reported in this malaysiakini article 'No place for ISA in modern Malaysia'.
It is not surprising that many Malaysians feel outraged at the manner and the reasons given by those who administer the laws - ie the Home Minister and the police, both give rather unacceptable reasons for the last 3 persons arrested under the ISA.

Definitely the powers given under the ISA must be reviewed by all MPs just like how both Democrats and Republicans came together to save the USA economy.
Since the Police have such unfettered powers under the ISA, the IPCMC should be implemented without further excuses.

What a Night at the Singapore GRAND PRIX!

My wife and I went to the SGP and it was quite a night.
We had some seats at the City Hall Grandstand and the spectator turnout was great - I guess about 90% of the seats here were taken.
No I did not pay for the tickets - my wife's company was indirectly involved with some business for the Grand Prix and so some free tickets were given.
My last experience with motor racing was more than 30 years ago at the Shah Alam GP but the cars today are so much more powerful and the sports more glamarous.
I have not been to such an event since as I get bored after the first few laps and I warned my wife it would be really noisy and hot.
But Singapore put on a really good show and apart from the $3 for a bottle of water, I have no complaints.
The most memorable event of the night was when the Ferrari team gave Massa the green light at the pit stop before the fuel hose was removed - could have been a major catastrophe if there had been a fire. He lost his lead and the race.
Well done to the organisers and I am sure it will become an even greater success when the IRs roll into town.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

malaysiakini Should Check Out this NS Human Tragedy....

malaysiakini has carried a few stories on the NS program but this human tragedy has been overlooked.
This letter from NST shows that ordinary citizens have more common sense than the whole gamut of MPs who passed the NS laws and the NS Department Exempt Jane from NS stint .
You see Jane is the only sister of an NSman who died while training and her parents do not want her to go.
I believe in the USA siblings are not allowed to enlist in the same unit. This came about after many brothers were killed while in service in the military. I'm guessing the rules were made possibly in the War of Independence or maybe the First World War.
But in Malaysia, the bureaucrats rule and the parents and daughter will face the wrath of the law.
Finally some big shot will intervene and prove that we need them to do such service but surely we can make better laws?

TERRORIST Act Reported in malaysiakini - Why So FEW BN Leaders Concerned?

The molotov cocktails hurled into the house of Teresa Kok's family can be considered the act of a terrorist.
However as seen in this malaysiakini report Petrol bomb attack on Kok's home, only one BN leader has made a statement condemning the terrorist attack.
Does it mean that the other top leaders really do not bother about such "minor" incidents?
We all know that Teresa's ISA case was highlighted in the international press and keeping quiet about this incident will tell volumes to foreign investors who considered Malaysia a peaceful nation.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

malaysiakini - the Fundamental FAILURE of PUBLIC TRANSPORT

This photo from malaysiakini is testimony to the sorry state of public transport in Malaysia.
Right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, the 42-year old terminal proves that little has been done to improve public transport in Malaysia.
This building is located smack in the centre of busy roads near Chinatown and hundreds of buses have to come here to pick up and unload passengers.
If you are a passenger, the scene in the bowels of the building is like a nightmare on Elm Street - full of smoke, noise and smells.
Getting to the terminal is another nightmare if you come by public transport - Most have to cross the busy Pudu Road and then climb 2 flights of stairs with your bags.
The nearest LRT is called Plaza Rakyat but that too means a walk of about 600meters.
I could go on but let me cut it short.
This so-called terminal is a major public DISGRACE!

malaysiakini on ATTACK on Teresa Kok's House

Most Malaysians will be shocked at the attack on Teresa Kok's house as reported in this malaysiakini article Kok's house under attack.
It seems some people were upset that she complained about the food that she was given while under ISA detention and even a police report was lodged against her complaint.
We have even seen government deputy ministers having a public quarrel about the "dog food" incident.
This type of attack is really not healthy for Malaysia and the police should investigate this incident so that the culprit/s can be arrested soon.

malaysiakini on The PM's Last Cards - Any ACES Left?

The Prime Minister would not be facing his current dilemma if he had pushed more stongly for genuine reforms after his stunning results in the 11th General Elections when the economy was good and Malaysians wanted to give him a strong mandate.
So today when he faces the reality of the dirty game of politics when even his Cabinet ministers try to evict him from the top post, the PM must ponder long and hard on his options.

Does he have any options left? Actually he can decide to go for broke if he really "loves UMNO" as reported in this malaysiakini article Q&A: You can go on guessing, says Pak Lah , he should take the ultimate step to reform the party that has become obese with over-indulgence.

With his mild character, maybe the PM was regarded as too soft and a walkover for the more aggressive leaders but one has to admire the man for being able to withstand the pressure from the UMNO warlords.

His dilemma is this:
1.Will he make the struggle to compete for the President's post? It seems a bit like Anwar's claims when people in the MT tell him that he does not have the support of the grass-roots.
2.If he gives up the PM's post, will the new person be able to lead without imposing a harsher regime on ordinary Malaysians?
3.Can UMNO be reformed unless it becomes more humble in a role such as a few years in the Opposition?
4.Can Anwar actually be the saviour of UMNO indirectly if they are forced to reform as opposition back-benchers?
5.Will Badawi's finest hour be the day that he receives the award of "The PM who gave Malaysians real FREEDOM?

Friday, September 26, 2008

malaysiakini and the PM's WORK......

They say one becomes very focussed when given very bad news like "You have only 6 months left to live".
In a way, that is what happened to the Prime Minister at the UMNO Meeting when they basically forced him to commit to a deadline to hand over power.
If you read the interview from malaysiakini Q&A: You can go on guessing, says Pak Lah it seems the PM has decided not to be more open to Malaysians who supported his many reform initiatives but became disappointed when most of them petered out after some months.
Instead of using the powerful media to get everyone aboard the reforms, the PM chose to try and do it without engaging the public's support in his campaigns.

It is most disappointing when he brushes off a question with
"Everything has got to do with my work, when I am done with my work, then I am done".

Sorry, Mr PM when you give that kind of answer, no one except your loyal supporters will support your wish to carry on. Don't you realise Malaysia's economy is going to hit the rocks soon?

malaysiakini and UMNO Secrecy....What's the Big Deal?

That's the problem these days....everyone wants instant news and no one knows how to keep secrets.
Just read this article from malaysiakini 'PM has set a new deadline' can you make an intelligent guess as to whether the PM is leaving before or after the last announced date of like June 2010?
Of course anyone who has been listening to the those braying for his scalp since the last election results in March know that the PM has had to face his worst enemies within his own party.
So his position as the President of UMNO seems to be ending soon and with it all he chance to make some positive reforms to Malaysia. No doubt he started many intiatives but most ended up with little long-term effects - the most glaring of which is the still-born IPCMC.

malaysiakini on the UMNO Flip-Fop

The emergency meeting of the UMNO MT resulted in a flip-flop decision as the top leaders cannot make a firm decision and stick to it.
How sad for Malaysia that national leaders are too preoccupied with political survival to worry about the country's economic woes.
Did someone say they just reduced the price of petrol by 10sen?

The malaysiakini article AGM postponed, Pak Lah mum on plans indicates the severity of the leadership problem.

In a way the UMNO succession problem reflects the awakening of grass-roots members who want more democracy just like all ordinary citizens want more freedom. Clearly the patronage practices of UMNO belong to an era of feudal chiefs.

The only good outcome of this UMNO meeting is that it provides PAKATAN more time to plan better strategies. If the handover takes place in mid 2009 the latest time frame as expected, the person who leads UMNO must be required to get a vote of confidence passed to become the Prime Minister.

malaysiakini Should Cover the "ENGLISH in EDUCATION" Controversy

This important subject has been missing from malaysiakini and I suggest they should do a few articles on the issues, the policies and the weakness in the present system.

I understand that even after more than 5 years some teachers are still struggling to teach Maths and Science in English so it is hardly surprising that pupils also struggle with the mish-mash of language used by teachers.
Maybe the MoE should inform the public how many teachers are really qualified to teach Maths and Science using English?

So the Education Ministry is planning to introduce a new paradigm shift (sounds familiar?) for primary education as there will be More emphasis on schoolwork from 2010 .
As usual it all looks good on paper. Were the parent-teachers associations involved in the development of this new approach or is it another of those "I Had a Dream" schemes?
Unless the MoE raises the standards and salaries of teachers who create and mould our future citizens, we will always be stuck with mediocre results.

Since the emphasis is going to be on more school-work, I suggest that really weak students be required to attend some remedial classes during long school holidays so that the minimum standard of writing, reading and arithmetics is attained at Primary 6.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

malaysiakini on Yet Another TEMPLE DEMOLITION

This story from malaysiakini is quite disturbing for it shows that some people still do not realise the grave offence when a religious temple is demolished.
So it is not surprising that the MIC President Samy slams temple demolition in Pakatan-controlled S'gor as another temple was recently demolished.

We all know that Selangor is now under PAKATAN and most people expected them to be more careful about such things.
There is another report in the Star that implies the council workers had acted without authorisation. Temple demolition: ‘Officers acted against state directive’.
This is indeed a serious breakdown when council workers act without proper instructions. If guilty of such a serious breach, sacking may be too easy an option. A police report can be lodged for creating a religious disturbance.

Photo: thanks to malaysiakini

malaysiakini Reports DISCRIMINATION by ARMED FORCES?

Tattoos are part of some natives' culture and you can see from the malaysiakini photo that these tattoos usually signify major events in the Iban's life.
Therefore the authorities should check if there is indeed a practice to discriminate against such youths who want to join Malaysia's Armed Forces.
According to the malaysiakini article there is Nothing wrong with 'tattoo' soldiers and yet some of these youths were denied the chance to serve their country.

I agree that "what matters is their loyalty and bravery in the defence of their country and not the tattoos on their bodies."

Photo: thanks to malaysiakini

malaysiakini on More UMNO Politics, Less Good GOVERNANCE.....

Some people have complained about PAKATAN creating havoc by their constant talk about taking over the government but this malaysiakini article Umno supreme council to hold emergency meet shows that our government leaders are too busy with their own politics to really concentrate on the economic tsunami that is going to hit our shores soon.

Even the DPM had to cancel his visit to the UN General Assembly but the reason given was that he had to attend special briefings in his new ministry. I guess that was the politically correct answer to dish out.

All the arguments about injecting more democracy into UMNO now only shows that the party should never have compromised in 1987 when the restrictions were imposed. A political party must operate on best principles and not the leaders' convenience.
It is always better to have a smaller army with soldiers who are prepared to die for the cause then a larger one full of mercenaries who will sell you out once a better offer comes along.

It looks like Malaysia can forget about good governance and things like TI rankings untill UMNO sorts out the final solution for the leadership transition. The incoming leaders should just understand that after the next elections, they will be in the Opposition and so only those who are adaptable should venture forth.

malaysiakini - "It's the Economy, STUPID!"

Just take a look at the graphics and you will understand why the "feel good" factor is missing from the lives of most Malaysians.

You do not need to be an economist to know that probably 75%of Malaysians are struggling to cope with the escalating food and transport costs which will never go down with slight fuel price reductions.

According to the malaysiakini article FDI outflow at record high the country actually had a negative FDI in 2007 of about RM9b. If you look at the graphics FDI inflow grew by about 50% but FDI outflow almost doubled.

It appears that apart from the government increasing the pay of civil servants and pensioners, there is little capacity building to encourage even local investors to keep their monies invested locally.

In the UK, Gordon Brown has been given some sort of reprieve as most believe his expertise is needed during the current financial crisis but in Malaysia, the PM has decided to give up this important function. If the DPM was more capable in Finance, he should have been put there from day1.

One gets the impression that perhaps more people are carrying bags full of money overseas.

malaysiakini and the Continuing FALL-OUT from the ISA ABUSES

Probably close to 97% of Malaysians will agree that the ISA laws are unjust and obnoxious and the recent abuses on the Sin Chiew reporter and Teresa Kok continue to have ripple effects even among the Government ministers.

You can read the latest development on the ISA saga in this malaysiakini article where the Hindraf to hold anti-ISA vigil on Saturday so you should avoid the place unless you want to be part of the action by the FRU, water cannon and all.

Meanwhile the Home Minister is clearly agitated with all the lambasting he is attracting with this NST story Syed Hamid slams Murugiah who is a Deputy Minister who wanted to check out the quality of food served to police detainees. It seems the Minister is not happy that the police need to be investigated for poor quality food.

Does the Minister suppose that he is above the law? Maybe that is the basic problem with laws like ISA - those with the authority believe they have God-like powers.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

from malaysiakini - Petrol Price Reduction RIDICULOUS!

The petrol price reduction is really nothing to cheer about.
According to malaysiakini Govt set to cut petrol price by 10 cents - news report you can see that the price reduction is only 25sen down from the hefty 78sen increase in June.

Within a space of three months, we have seen three price adjustments and the unfortunate result is that the inflationary effect of the major increase in June is not going to be reduced by these 2 smaller decreases.

It seems that the authorities panicked in June instead of going for a series of gradual increases like 30 to 35sen in June and without the cumbersome price rebates exercise.
Are we supposed to be grateful for this?

malaysiakini and the "DOG FOOD" Outcry

Let's not miss the woods for the trees.
I agree with this malaysiakini article Don't turn ISA into outcry about 'dog food' wherein Teresa Kok was given unpalatable food during her detention under ISA.

We should be more upset about the manner in which the Home Minister is authorised to lock up anyone without trial for 2 years based entirely on his "satisfaction".
This is an evil law and if the food is considered "dog food", this law is much worse and the country can "go to the dogs" if we continue on this course.

malaysiakini-Not FAIR to Compare Our CORRUPTION with Singapore LAH!

Malaysians and Singaporeans share many common traits such as the so-called Asian values and the love of food; as seen by the many places where one can get food on a 24-hour basis.

In fact we share the same heritage as both countries have a population that came from the same "mother countries" during the colonial days and earlier - China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and nowadays from farther as locals are marrying more and more "ang moh" and bringing them home.

But that's where the similarities end. TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL has to go and spoil it all by publishing their Annual Report for 2008 and according to this malaysiakini article Malaysia slips further in corruption rankings .

It is like comparing competitors in a handicapped race - you must understand that Singapore started their war against corruption the day that Lee Kuan Yew took control and decided that good government was an essential requirement for Singapore's success and progress - that included reducing corruption and being transparent in most government matters.

Malaysia, with the abundance of natural resources, indulged in wanton excesses and announced many times they would take action against corrupt practices each time the Auditor-General's Annual Report got published and of course a few persons got arrested but each year the report gets longer as the GDP increases.

So we should stop comparing with Singapore or we will end up with heart-burn. After all they are a world-class nation but with little soul and you can't drive more than 90kph anywhere on the island. In Malaysia even our tour buses easily speed in excess of 110kph.

As for the police, well we know that they have such a cosy relationship with top politicians that between them they have managed to bury the IPCMC that would have created an important tool to instill more discipline in the force.

Maybe we should ask TI to create a new table but excluding Singapore. I mean it's really discouraging - it's like being placed in a 100m race where Usain Bolt is competing.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

malaysiakini IMPLIES the PRIME MINISTER Influences ACA?

The authorities should probe this matter for it seems the Sabah politician has made a very serious allegation against the Prime Minister in this malaysiakini article 'I stopped PM from ordering Yong's arrest' for it implies he could persuade the PM to interfere with the ACA's duties.

Now we all know that the ACA is supposed to act without fear or favour and getting directions from the PM on how to handle a case is definitely interference. Is that the reason why those sensational "big fish" cases are still pending?

It seems that Malaysia is now lagging South Africa in terms of good governance. Over there South African President Mbeki to quit when his ANC Party decided he should go.

"The party's request to Mbeki came after a judge on September 12 threw out the corruption, fraud and racketeering case against Zuma, calling it invalid and accusing Mbeki's government of political interference in the case."

If Raymond Tan's remarks are true, it shows political interference in 2 cases - asking the ACA to investigate (after SAPP pulled out)
stopping the ACA (after Raymond Tan's appeal)

malaysiakini - Now Raja Petra Detained for 2 Years Under the Unjust ISA Laws

"The law is an ass"(Oliver Twist)

Just read the section under which Raja Petra has been jailed for 2 years without recourse and anyone should realise that this ISA law is not only draconian, but unjust.
It simply puts too much powers in the hands of the Home Minister as according to this malaysiakini article Raja Petra to be sent to Kamunting.

One could liken the ISA laws like giving a 12-year old kid with the launch buttons of a ballistic missile. Just look at the collateral damage in recent weeks regarding Teresa Kok and the Sin Chew reporter and yet the words "When will they ever learn?" come to mind.

Raja Petra has already been charged and the cases are pending. This ISA detention is unjust. Clearly the ISA laws must be properly revised to include a definite judicial review unless we are to become a police state in disguise.

malaysiakini Report on NO RINGGIT REPEG

It is good that the new Finance Minister has come out quickly to state in this malaysiakini article Najib: No ringgit re-peg.
There are costs in the ringgit peg just like there are costs in trying to keep the ringgit within a certain exchange rate.

For thing for certain is that no central bank has enough reserves to bet against the market and if there is a run on your money, you will lose all your reserves very quickly betting against the speculators.

I read somewhere that Malaysia has about US$800m(?) in foreign reserves but this amount is small compared to the daily market flows. We could use up all the reserves within a week.

A ringgit peg is basically a foreign exchange control and results in lower investment flows and a repeg now will be considered the great "financial flip-flop".
The new Finance Minister must draw up comprehensive plans to make our economy more competitive and I would suggest we should be looking at producing graduates who better fit the market place, reducing the civil service by 20 to 25% by 2020 and encouraging industries that make use of IT rather than the usual mega-projects.

Projects like public transport should be boosted and designs approved that are scalable but with long-term possibilities.

Photo: thanks to malaysiakini

Monday, September 22, 2008

How Can malaysiakini Describe SEXUAL ABUSE as "Indiscretions"?

I find this article in malaysiakini outrageous.
You can read about how the 'Sexual abuse of Penan women': Company in the dark as reported by the "Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) that loggers were frequenting Penan settlements in the Middle Baram area ‘looking for women’."

From the report it appears that some workers of the logging companies prey on the local women and the situation is worse during school holidays as the workers know that the school girls are back from their boarding schools.

What upsets me is that the article describes the incidents as "The Swiss-based NGO claimed that these indiscretions have resulted in pregnancies."

Either BMF or malaysiakini is describing a criminal act as an indiscretion. Now how do you expect the police to act on this kind of statement?

Photo: Thanks to BMF

malaysiakini and the RACE RELATIONS ACT

It is so typical of politicians to think that just because they can pass laws, that is the way to solve Malaysia's problems.

You can read the malaysiakini article Race Relations Act - why now? and form your own opinion.

To me there are 3 main issues that seriouly create inter-racial problems. You will find that most ordinary Malaysians get along quite well as far as racial issues are concerned. Just observe in the markets where the stall-holders of different races cooperate with each other and there is also a friendly banter among those who share the common space.

These 3 main stumbling blocks are:
1.Racist and race-based parties like UMNO, MCA and MIC.
2.Ketuanan claims that are against the concept of all citizens being equal under the law.
3.Being forced to convert when inter-faith marriages take place. If only each partner is allowed to practise his/her own religion and the children free to choose when they reach 18 years of age.

So I wonder how the proposed Race Relation Act will address these issues?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

malaysiakini on the FINAL SOLUTION for the Political Impasse?

If one reads the dailies and malaysiakini, there is certainly political instabilty in the nation and part of the blame can actually be placed on the UMNO Supreme Council itself who want the Prime Minister to step down.

This certainly raises some doubt as to whether the person they want to succeed him has the backing of the majority of the MPs in Parliament for even some BN MPs have questioned the manner in which the draconian ISA has been abused.

So this article in malaysiakini makes sense as to how the political mess can be sorted out. Pakatan's next stop: Istana Negara should be the proper manner to handle any possible tranfer of power in government.

This could be the first time that the Agong may choose the manner in which a national crisis can be averted.

malaysiakini Readers - No Change in Sentiments for CROSS-OVERS

The number has increased from 508 to 689 but the results are about the same.

My poll asked the question:
"What is Your Feeling about MPs Crossing Over?"

This was just before nation celebrated National Day and after Anwar had emerged victor in PP.
The question was framed slightly differently from a question posed a few months back after the March results as I wanted readers to just focus on cross-overs.

Thanks to the 689 readers who took the poll.

342(262*) or 50%(52%) chose "FANTASTIC - Too Many Years in Power and BN has LOST Touch with the PEOPLE"

168(113) or 24%(22%) chose "GOOD - the Nation Needs New LEADERSHIP

92(69) or 13%(14%) picked "OK - Must Ensure MPs Have Not been BRIBED"

81(60) or 12%(12%) picked "SAD - They Should Resign and let Voters Decide"

4(2)or 1%(0%) chose "BAD - The BN Should be given a Chance to REFORM"

2(2) or 0%(0%) chose "SAD - The BN has the MANDATE from the last elections"

(Strictly speaking the last 2 results should not be 0% but less than 1%)
It is interesting to note that those who were most unhappy were concerned more about bribery and the Voters Choice.
Most people do not believe the BN can reform.
(*) numbers within brackets are the results at the last date, about 2 weeks ago.

malaysiakini Letter Shows GOVERNMENT Promotes Brain Drain at Taxpayers' Expense

I have written a few articles in my blog about how Malaysia is suffering from severe brain drain.
Even my 4 children who have been trained to degree level will probably never work in Malaysia for they all studied in Singapore.
This letter in malaysiakini shows that even the Malaysian authorities are encouraging the brain drain as the people in charge of scholarships do not bother to enforce the terms of the scholarships.
It is little wonder that in most general hospitals in Malaysia, the wait to see specialists is so long that some people joke that most likely the patient will die waiting to schedule an appointment. Of course if you know the proper "jalan", things can be speeded up.

The malaysiakini letter entitled They must be made to serve reveals that most scholarship holders do not plan to return for various reasons; the most significant of which is that the Malaysian authorities do nothing to bring them back.

I wonder why the Auditor-General's Annual Report does not state how many of these RM1million scholarship holders abscond each year with taxpayers' monies. I guess the amount drained should amount at least RM50m each year.

Friday, September 19, 2008

malaysiakini Welcomes Teresa's Release but the Draconian ISA Remains

All peace-loving and moderate Malaysians welcome the release of Teresa Kok after one week detention under the ISA.
It is good that she has decided to sue the government that appears to have abused their powers according to this malaysiakini article She plans to sue gov't for 'unlawful detention' .
The wide-ranging powers of the ISA give much powers to the police and the Home Minister and the law was intended to used against terrorists and other extremists who planned to overthrow the government by use of arms and acts of sabotage like blowing up dams and power stations.
It really shows the low intelligence quotient of the authorities concerned when they arrested the two harmless women and even Raja Petra who assailed them with his writing in Malaysia Today.
The least that the Police can do to regain a little public confidence is to be transparent and give a comprehensive press briefing to explain the "whys and wherefores" of the 3 arrests and to admit they made a mistake/abused their powers and take appropriate actions against the persons involved in this most griveous travesty of justice.

Photo: I attended this candle-light vigil at the CIC in Johor Baru last night. About 100 persons of different religious groups were present to pray for the ISA detainees.

malaysiakini Suggests No LOVE Left for BADAWI?

It must be a truly depressing feeling to know that your own colleagues have deserted you.
According to this malaysiakini article PM under pressure to quit by Oct 9 it appears the the most powerful man in Malaysia is now subject to the vagaries of fate.
Just imagine that they want him out even before Parliament is recalled.

Does the man not deserve a little respect? Even in Isreal they have just voted in a new leader for the Kadema party to replace the PM who had to resign because of corruption charges. The PM there has resigned but remains in a caretaker role for about 6 weeks while the new leader works out the coalition deals with other parties.

In Malaysia too, we have a situation that has some similarities - the leader of the main party is on the way out but no one knows for sure if the next person has the support of the majority of the MPs.

Maybe one way out for Badawi is to announce he will not stand for party elections and at least lead the BN into the next Parliamentary session. That would be the way to go with some dignity intact and not be subject to the dirty tactics of party politics.

malaysiakini's FEEDBACK from READERs Shows How Badawi Can REFORM MALAYSIA

Circumstances in Malaysia are such that our besieged Prime Minister is now in the unique position of being able to reform Malaysian politics beyond anyone's wildest dreams.

I know that I too have been quite critical of the government though quite a significant number of my readers think that "I am too kind to the BN". Maybe it's because I do not resort to expletives etc like what you find in many blogs.

Even if you look at this malaysiakini article Are you man enough, Mr PM? it is a direct insult to the PM.

We do not know the whole story and I guess our PM has been really struggling to introduce reforms but the challenge has been really too insurmountable.
The problems are really too deep and too complex. I believe that corruption has now engulfed the whole system with webs linking politicians and big business that are too difficult to unravel.

As the PM looks at the years of his service to Malaysia, the greatest thing he can grant all Malaysians is the gift of FREEDOM. He should realise that the handover is not going to change things for the better but may even worsen it and he would be powerless to do anything then.

Even as his UMNO friends want him to leave post haste like PM under pressure to quit by Oct 9 our PM can face the challenge of Anwar directly by calling for that EMERGENCY debate before October 9 as it is preferable to be voted out in Parliament than be kicked out by some of your own colleagues.

If Anwar does not have the numbers, your position will be strengthened but if you do lose, it is an honourable way to go and all Malaysians will hail you as the PM who helped introduce the greatest reform to Malaysia.
That is one way you will finally prove that you are the PM to us ALL.

PS. This means that Anwar's case should be postponed to after 15th Oct 2008.

malaysiakini Got This Headline WRONG?

There is this article in malaysiakini Najib expected to bring new blood into Finance Ministry on the recent portfolio swap between the PM and his Deputy.
Seeing that his former patron, TDM has published an article about how Pak Lah can't manage finance: Dr M , maybe it's because TDM did not disclose the lessons he learned in finance while on the job.

These include:
2.Massive Multi-million FOREX losses
4.MAS Shares

And I think one of the persons involved in the forex fiasco against his old friend George Soros is still in the ministry.

So what should that headline be? I thought "blood" is no good as they may suck more blood from us. I was hoping for "brains".

Thursday, September 18, 2008

malaysiakini HINTS at ISA for ANWAR?

This article from malaysiakini shows the immense pressure that the PM is facing; from political adversaries both from within and without. The article poses the question "Another round of ISA for Anwar?" is disturbing indeed but we should remain calm.

Anwar may be a thorn in the government's side but that is the nature of politics. The government too has not been behaving too well, especially in the manner it has been withholding development funds for the opposition states, namely Penang.

The PM was quoted by the malaysiakini article as
"Anwar wants to destroy the country and exploit the people’s trust and tarnish the country’s image abroad."

I believe he only wants to get rid of BN for the benefit of all Malaysians so that we all benefit in the many blessings that Malaysia has been bestowed.

With the control of all the media for many years except the Internet, the government has lost the credibility battle as the people realise that it has been "Mostly Talk, Little Action".

Just a few items which seriously impact the government's ability and credibility to deliver:

1.Failure to implement the IPCMC as a properly functioning body. No doubt bits and pieces have been looked at.

2.Massive increase in government expenditure but mainly in recurring costs thereby creating growing deficits.

3.Failure of the "back to English" program thereby affecting the future of tens thousands more of our children.

4.Failure to undertake serious and comprehensive reforms after the 2004 elections.

5.Failure to bring to book the horror cases reported in the Auditor-General's Annual Report each year.

After the March elections, instead of pressing on with reforms the authorities have been too busy looking over their shoulders for Anwar or his shadow. If only they had focussed on delivering the best they could instead of jumping at shadows like the recent foray of 49 MPs to Taiwan.

Once a government loses credibilty, it is most difficult to regain the public trust although a period of political calm will help. I believe arresting Anwar under the ISA would definitely create a political maelstrom that could destroy our nation.

Did the civil rights movement in the USA peter out after MLK was murdered? Did the anti-apartheid war in South Africa end because Mandela was imprisoned for so many years?

Just look at the poll results (orange column at left). It's quite telling that the smallest result is the one where people are hoping for the "BN to reform".

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

malaysiakini and the UMNO Transfer of POWER

If Malaysia wants to become a real democracy we need to develop political institutions that practise more democratic principles than at present.

For example, with UMNO the transfer of power from one leader seems to be arranged among the top leadership as if it were a family business. The grass-roots really do not get to pick their Number One but the power is given to the division heads to decide.

We know that UMNO introduced even more restrictions for the contest of the top posts with the introduction of the minimum nominations rule. Effectively this means you have to be very popular or very rich to stand for elections.

According to this malaysiakini article PM's fate rests with Umno divisions even after swapping the Finance post with his DPM, his future tenure is uncertain as many in his own party want him to leave earlier.

Of course his preferred date of 2010 is really too long and mid-2009 should be acceptable to most reasonable Malaysians. Has anyone thought about why the PM should vacate his office just because he is no longer the President of UMNO? I know that is the convention but just look how the UMNO politicking itself is also affecting investor confidence.
It is not fair to blame it all on Anwar and PAKATAN.

If the PM has decided he will quit, I think he should not even contest the UMNO elections but focus on perhaps his last 6 months in office.

Maybe we could learn a little about proper democracy from the Israeli regime, as our newscasters like to describe that democratic nation. The Prime Minister there has been charged with corruption and decided to step down. The process of picking their next leader involves all their party members who vote for up to 4 candidates in this case. It is a good example where democracy is driven by the grass-roots and quite different from UMNO that uses the top-down approach. You can watch their process
here. Their PM retains a care-taker role for a few months before stepping down.

Further away, even the UK Prime Minister is under siege as the UK economy falters with the looming recession.

malaysiakini SUPPORTS Dr M's Views?

By airing his views in this malaysiakini article MCA, Gerakan told to work with Umno to kick PM out, it seems that malaysiakini supports TDM's views on how to go about ditching the captain of the BN ship.

Let us not forget who put the captain there and how can anyone claim that
"The Pakatan is not a properly constructed coalition like BN. It is just a collection of disparate parties which come together in order to win elections by not contesting against each other." ?

But if you want to use the ship analogy, UMNO occupies all the best cabins will the smaller parties get the inside cabins with no window and the smallest party get only a hammock! And each year at their AGMs each group tries to upgrade their accommodation. Hardly a good method to foster race relations.

But I agree with his point that UMNO should have taken quick action against their member for his remarks. If appropriate action had been taken and then an apology made, that could have defused the tension.

He left during the period of the APs scandal and no action was taken then to repair the leaking ship. Maybe his appointee wanted to do major renovations but did not realise that the ship was already sinking and the March 8 elections was equivalent to the TITANIC hitting the ice-berg.

Now it is every man for himself.

malaysiakini on the END of REFORMS for Malaysia?

The resignation of the Law Minister could be the end of the long-awaited reforms that could bring Malaysia back to some level of government sanity.
We all know the cavalier attitude of the Home Minister and the police when they arrested the reporter using the ISA "to protect her."

That could qualify as the most ridiculous pretence to arrest an innocent person but such are the sweeping powers of this act that you or I could be picked up anytime as the law gives unlimited powers to the authorities.

Even the PM's concern about possible abuse is quite superficial as he remarked in this malaysiakini article PM rejects meeting with Anwar that

"When asked if the police had informed him before they arrested three persons - blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin, Selangor exco Teresa Kok and journalist Tan Hoon Cheng - under the ISA last Friday, Abdullah replied no.

“But it’s okay if they don’t inform me,” he said".

The Home Minister too had a similar answer that the Police were empowered under the law to arrest without informing him.
The means the RMP can arrest anyone under ISA and subject him or her to harsh treatment if they feel like doing so.

Let us not forget that BN politicians and the Police have contrived to keep the IPCMC from being implemented. The result is that powerful politicians can now connive with "friendly" police officers to deal with people like RPK, Teresa Kok and Tan as the PM does not need to be informed.

Governing a nation like Malaysia is a great challenge and I believe the PM should step down sooner rather than later.

malaysiakini Describes a Government in DISARRAY

The resignation of the Law Minister who found the recent ISA arrests unacceptable and his description of facing "a brick wall" among UMNO Cabinet ministers about the reforms shows a Government in disarray.
According to the malaysiakini article Outgoing minister paints damning portrait of embattled gov't, these included
"a better selection process for judges, restore the judicial power, initiate reforms to the police force and limit the executive’s power on the Internal Security Act."
Of course we all know that the ISA has been abused again and the reasons given by both the Home Minister and the Police do not match the high standards we demand of such authorities who are in charge of our safety and security.

It is the greatest mockery of justice when a Minister has the audacity to calmly state that the repressive ISA had to be used on a helpless reporter just because there were reports that "her life was in danger" and the police had to place her in protective custody. So far no one has asked who made the reports and how far those reports were investigated.

It really shows the Government is in disarray and I have written before about our ever-expanding Cabinet that is probably stepping on each other's toes as no one knows what the other is doing.

Since the Raja Muda of Perak has also touched on political leaders working together for the benefit of Malaysians, I suggest the following may restore some semblance of normality as far as the government is concerned. Anwar's quest is a different equation that has to be solved simultaneously.

1.The Prime Minister wants to step down in 2010 but I think most Malaysians think that is really too long for a person to stay in office. We do not follow the American system where there is a lame duck President for 4 years. Let's agree that the period should be shortened to 6 months after the next PM has been agreed upon by the BN parties.

2.The PM is now spending too much time on UMNO internal politics and really cannot handle national affairs adequately and so the solution is that he should withdraw from the UMNO elections completely.

3.UMNO elections should be more democratic and allow challengers to rise from the ranks. The present patronage system has not proved to be effective in producing good leaders with national appeal.

4.Whoever wins the UMNO Presidency and the Supreme Council will agree to let him be the PM for another 6 months as the handover proceeds.

Of course this will make the UMNO elections more exciting and unpredictable but it also frees the PM from all the politics and allows him more time to lead the nation.

malaysiakini Describes the STATE of the NATION

There is a saying power can affect our better judgement and this article in malaysiakini shows that the PM is very determined not to step down untill the "agreed handover date" in 2010.
Takeover a 'political lie', says Pak Lah shows a desperate man who wants to stay on even though his political shelf life ended the moment he agreed to step down.
Unfortunately in countries like the UK and Malaysia, the moment you announce a date the citizens know that nothing much else can be delivered as you are going to be a "lame duck" leader.
The PM is perceived to be a gentleman and I suspect his many years as a Foreign Minister have somehow moulded his style of leadership - always seeking consensus and being too diplomatic. This is in sharp contrast to his predecessor who knew how to exert a heavy hand.
Just like public space has been opened out, I guess that the much enlarged Cabinet members have been allowed a free rein to carry out their duties and other activities while the PM tried to steer the overburdened ship.

The words attributed to him show the deep frustration and also the delusional bent.
"This is a waste of our time. It is a game of political lies by Anwar Ibrahim and the people are choosing to believe him," Abdullah retorted at a press conference
The government controls MSM and it is ironic that the arrest of an MSM reporter and others sparked the most outrage against the Government. Also Anwar's credibility rises with the corresponding declines in the Government's popularity after scoring own goals.

It is not surprising that the PM considers Anwar's tactics unsettling and his remarks indicate a deep frustration about his own effectiveness.
After all many from his own party want him to step down but he is able to stay put as many do not want the "ghosts of Christmases past" to be paraded in Putrajaya.
Knowing that his own party is going to challenge his position, I am speculating that the Supreme Council will be persuaded to defer elections again this year so that his leadership of the party will be intact for at least a few more months.
It is not going to win any more friends but at least this could improve the political stability of the nation.
As it is now, Malaysia is like a ship without rudder and susceptible to attacks from pirates who do not understand the rule of law. And I am not referring to Anwar and his Merry Men.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Malaysiakini and the Politics of CHANGE

So the die is cast and it seems the Agong's palace will set the final stage for PAKATAN'S attempt to take over power from the government.

According to this malaysiakini article, the PM rejects meeting with Anwar as he thinks that Anwar is bluffing.

It could be a strong case of denial as agreeing to meet Anwar would surely indicate that he has lost his confidence about his BN MPs.
It would be interesting to discover who decided to defect after the latest ISA arrests as I am sure that would have been the "tipping point" for a few MPs.
It cannot be denied that Anwar has been an excellent chess/poker player all rolled into one and unfortunately for the PM, his team have been scoring too many own goals.

Malaysia is going to enter a new era of change and let us hope that Anwar will be able to deliver at least 65% of all that he has promised.

malaysiakini and Malaysia's POLITICAL POKER

There's a high stakes poker game in Malaysia and it is being played out between the BN and PAKATAN who claim to have the numbers to unseat the former.
According to this malaysiakini article PM: Takeover a 'political lie' the PM does not believe that Anwar has the numbers.

Anwar cannot disclose the names he has collected for that could possibly result in a few more ISA arrests as the government may be concerned about their safety.

So far PAKATAN has won a few rounds and somehow they show more dexterity at the guerilla tactics that has even sent 49 MPs on their first and last study tour.

Let us hope that the top leaders will make a decision that will benefit all Malaysians and not just the privileged few.

malaysiakini and How the PM Can Leave GRACEFULLY

I think most Malaysians believed that Abdullah Badawi was the leader who would lead Malaysia into calmer waters when he first took over as Prime Minister.

However the nation he took over, beset with racist politicians, was not an easy nation to govern and the excesses of the NEP with its wanton wastage in mega-projects made life really difficult and I remember one of my letters was published in malaysiakini urging that he needed more time.

Even before the 2004 elections, another of my letters urged readers to vote him on his own merits. Malaysians gave him the biggest election success but since then progress has been painfully slow.

Today even his own Cabinet ministers openly debunk his leadership according to this malaysiakini article Abdullah under siege to quit.

Quitting and handing over to another UMNO leader may not be in the best interest of Malaysians as UMNO has not changed these past few years and a leadership change now may lead to national chaos. He should know that unlike himself, some leaders are more prepared to retain power at whatever cost.

I believe that the recent ISA arrests and the public uproar should convince the PM that Malaysians want the government to go gracefully as too many mistakes have been made. Meeting with PAKATAN would be one step towards working out a smooth and peaceful transition of power.

Let's face the harsh facts. I don't see any BN leader in sight who will be able to lead a successful campaign in the next elections in 2012 even if he hands over power now. But if PAKATAN gets control now, maybe the BN can blame the next few years of economic hardships on them during the 2012 elections?

You would have heard of the saying, "Man Proposes, But God Disposes"
Source: "There are many plans in a man's heart,
Nevertheless the Lord's counsel -- that will stand." (Proverbs 19:21)

Managing a peaceful power transition to PAKATAN could be the most significant contribution that AAB may make to all Malaysians and I am sure history will remember him kindly for that.
There is another quote from Shakespeare, from Macbeth:
"Nothing in his (political*) life became him like the leaving it"

*word added, not in original quote.

malaysiakini and the IMPERATIVE for CHANGE

The latest ISA results could well signal the last days of the BN government and if you have read the latest reasoning given by the Deputy IGP for the ISA crack-downs and the plethora of letters from the ordinary folks, you will find that possibly 95% find the reasons as obnoxious and unjustified as the draconian laws.

Six months ago, many Malaysians did not support a change by toppling the current government as most wanted to do that at the General Elections. Just read this letter from malaysiakini Time to stand up and be counted -that is the anguish of the ordinary folks even in Peninsula Malaysia.

I must confess I did not support a toppling of the BN at first and I was one of those who wanted the BN and PAKATAN to work their separate turfs so that Malaysians will benefit from a more experienced group when PAKATAN takes over the Federal Government in the next GE.

But the ISA arrests have changed my mind and I believe the present government cannot be entrusted with so much wanton powers when they do not know how to use it with justice and fairness.

For too long we have allowed politicians to tell us exactly how we should live our lives and these "rulers" have rode roughshod over us with draconian laws, the most terrible of which is the ISA.

But Malaysians, like peace-loving peoples all over the world who have been oppressed for many years, have decided that they have had "ENOUGH".

After the March elections, instead of speeding up the necessary reforms the BN has made a series of unimaginable mistakes that show it could not concentrate of governing but instead focussed in keeping PAKATAN at bay as the latter made political forays against a much stronger adversary.

Call it "guerilla politics" or what you will but each time Anwar made a feint, the BN reacted by shooting itself in the foot and with the ISA arrests, it shot itself in the mouth.

I did not cast a vote in the MALAYSIAWATCH POLL(orange column at left)but I did so today. If you have never expressed your opinion on anything political, why not take a minute and take the poll? Malaysia needs everyone to "Stand up and be counted".

Monday, September 15, 2008

This Article from malaysiakini Reveals the Quality of People in Charge of OUR SECURITY

Following the flip-flop of the Home Minister on the detention of the 3 brave Malaysians detained under ISA, we now have the Deputy-IGP trying to explain why the police found it most convenient to use the ISA as it gives them the luxury to investigate the case at their convenience.

You can read the malaysiakini article Police explain ISA arrests. There is the official police statement here

Based on their statement, it appears that the police only decided to check out one side of the complaints. Never did they even consider for one minute that the mischief could have been caused by the complainer and not the person they arrested.

Of course it not easy to arrest someone like the person who made the racist speech so it's more convenient to nab the reporter - after all she is only a woman.

As far as the DAP MP is concerned, there are already reports that a mosque and a Muslim MP have already stated that Teresa was never involved with the petition but it seems no one in the police bothered to check out those stories.

If they really wanted to be fair to both sides, they should have arrested both parties and check them out. At least then no one will blame you of being biased.

No they insist they must hold her for 28 days to verify what? If this is the best the Home Ministry can offer, we should thank our lucky stars that those terrorists are too busy in Iraq. But if word gets out how inept we are in using the laws, we could be in real trouble.

The police action has really damaged the public confidence in their impartiality towards law enforcement.

malaysiakini Shows How to Call Someone "STUPID" with Finesse

There is this ongoing debate "To Teach or Not to Teach Science and Mathematics using the English Language".

This article in malaysiakini is a good example of how the older folks make use of the English language.

'Your clarification is untenable'.
Now this article would be a good test of the English language for those companies that want to check the language standard of potential employees. I did find one spelling error though; but no rewards for pointing it out.

malaysiakini Article on the Ending of LAW Reforms

It looks like the Malaysian Cabinet has been affected by termites and in danger of collapse; according to this malaysiakini article on the resignation of the Law Minister Law Minister Zaid 'tenders resignation' .

Zaid was brought into the Cabinet soon after the March elections disaster but he quickly initiated some moves towards judicial reforms. An eminent lawyer, he is against the use of the ISA.

According to the malaysiakini article, Zaid
"felt "very sad that people like Teresa, whom I know personally, can be seen as a threat."

"I can't see how a journalist doing her duty, or even Raja Petra, can be seen as a national threat. If their statements upset certain people, let the police investigate," he said."

So it looks as if the so-called law reforms will not happen under this BN government. After all, no one remembers about the IPCMC now.
We should wish him well as he still has his integrity unlike some in the present Cabinet.

malaysiakini and the End of the BN Era?

This article from malaysiakini Could this be BN's last own goal? mentions the idea of scoring an own goal.
It implies that all the leaders in UMNO and the BN are so stupid that they keep on scoring "own goals".
I wonder if there is a master-mind involved that is pulling all the strings. This person knows that reforming BN and UMNO is not possible unless the BN loses power.
Who is the person? Most likely an UMNO leader who like Mahathir realises that UMNO is not going to reform as long as it retains power.
If you observe the reactions to the latest ISA arrests, people of all political affiliations now realise the absurdity of this law and also the Home Minister's pathetic attempts at making excuses.

Photo: Ice-berg calving in Glacier Bay, Alaska. The demise of BN as we know it is as inevitable as the ice-bergs melting.

malaysiakini Reports on Large RALLY by PAKATAN - Warning

While it is good that the police have issued a permit for the rally on 16th September for PAKATAN to celebrate Malaysia Day and also to show their abhorrence of the ISA as reported in this malaysiakini article Pakatan plans anti-ISA rally tomorrow, the organisers must take all necessary precautions to ensure that such a rally takes place without incident.

In such a large gathering, it is impossible to know who is a potential trouble-maker and I suggest the following precautions:

1.Bags and handbags should be discouraged - those who bring these need to be screened.
2.Plastic bottles of water OK but must be unopened - if opened, must check to see if it is only water - ask person to drink and swallow.
3.Banners allowed but no poles or sticks.
4.No weapons of any kind like pen-knives etc

The last thing we need at this stage is for the police to intervene and have to disperse trouble-makers.
I would also not have all the PAKATAN leaders on stage at the same time for too long - perhaps a maximum of five minutes at the start of proceedings and at the end to minimise risks.

In conclusion to this safety advisory, we should note that even though Martin Luther King was killed before the blacks' emancipation, our own march to FREEDOM will not end even if any of the PAKATAN leaders cannot continue for whatever reason.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

malaysiakini Post Shows Some UMNO Leaders Can Still Think Straight

OK I know many of you might get upset with this headline after the use of ISA on the 3 Malaysians but let us not condemn all UMNO leaders as some of them still can think and speak rationally and make the correct decisions.

According to this malaysiakini article Law minister threatens to quit over ISA,the Law Minister has stated his opinion on the use of the ISA.
This kind of statement is much better than the one by the other minister in Singapore where the Prime Minister was asked to leave.

That must be the first time in history where a minister has the nerve to ask his PM to resign and then stay on in office as if he had just mentioned the weather forecast.

It seems a few UMNO leaders were not happy over the liberal use of the ISA and were able to persuade the PM to get the reporter released. Although the damage has been to public confidence in the government, it shows that UMNO still has some leaders who may be able to lead the party with a less extreme posturing in the future.

Perhaps it will soon be time for such moderate leaders to form a new multi-racial party with other BN leaders with similar ideals. Let's face the scenario for the next General Elections - I think race based political parties will be decimated in the next elections.

More from malaysiakini on why the ISA is a BAD LAW

According to this article from malaysiakini Special Branch: She's held for stoking religious tension it appears that the police can take action under the ISA even without the approval of the Home Minister who just gets informed of the police action.

Now if you study the graphics from malaysiakini, there are some details that should worry you.
The law says "any police officer without warrant" and this means even a junior police officer instead of someone senior like an ASP can take action.
If you study the details on how the police are authorised to act, there are really no controls.

If you have not forgotten we are still waiting for the IPCMC after more than 2 years to be implemented. So how can we allow the police so much authority with the ISA?

Graphics: Thanks to malaysiakini

malaysiakini Shows How BAD LAWS May Affect National Security

There are two aspects of any law :

1. How the laws have been drafted or the actual words used in the law.
2. The person authorised to enforce the law.

If you consider the ISA, you will notice that there is one major flaw with the law. It gives unlimited powers to the person in charge.
At present, the Home Minister can place anyone under the ISA and then come up with any justification and no one is answerable for any weakness in the exercise of those powers.

Put this in an analogy of a company bank account. Would you sign blank cheques and pass them to your accountant to use as and when needed? With the ISA, basically we have given blank cheques to the Home Minister for our freedom.

According to this malaysiakini article Minister: Journalist to be blamed too the fuzzy logic is that the journalist started the chain of events as

“The whole thing was started by her, (so) it was best that we talked to her,” Syed Hamid said in reply to a question during a press conference at the federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman today.

You have all heard the expression
"Shoot yourself in the foot" when someone makes a blunder. In the case of the reporter, maybe the expression can be "Shoot yourself in the mouth" as far as the ISA is concerned.

If you watch the video, at 02:05 the Minister says "....when the lifting of your hand touches the nose of another person, that's when your freedom ends."
Unfortunately the interviewer was too mild and should have asked if a bar-room brawl would warrant the use of ISA.

One other aspect of the ISA as it stands is that the law is just a tool and no doubt a very powerful tool. Now if you give a teenager the keys to a BMW Sports car, are you not going to ensure that person is properly trained and free from the effects of any drugs?

On a darker note, the wrong use of the ISA can even create more instability than it claims to prevent. Thus it is imperative that the ISA should be subject to some judicial review within say 2 weeks.

Thanks to You Tube. Al Jazeera reports on the ISA. Learn how your life can be dramatically affected by the ISA.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Even as We Remember 911 malaysiakini reports ISA ARRESTS

Both are shocking events but the ISA arrests affect us more directly as it seems the Minister on Internal Security has unparalleled powers under the draconian ISA to basically get anyone arrested and then be detained indefinitely at his convenience.

You can read about the ISA arrests in this article from malaysiakini ISA crackdown as opposition bids to seize power . How can a government make use of ISA laws in order to prevent a vote of "no confidence"?
The arrest of the journalist is really unjustified. It suggests that the authorities want reporters to write only about the good things they do.
But the photo from the Star gives us some hope. You notice that the gathering is multi-racial and with different age groups. Most of all, it was a PEACEFUL gathering. We Shall OVERCOME. (Please listen to Joan Baez in my earlier post)

malaysiakini Should Promote This for PEACE in MALAYSIA

As Malaysians struggle to find meaning in the 3 ISA arrests this song is a powerful reminder to all that the road to justice is long and arduous.
Let us learn the Serenity Prayer and adapt it for those who rule over us. (To adapt use he/she instead of I, etc)

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

In loving memory of
Fr Bertram Griffin -- 1932-2000
Requiescat in Pace

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will direct your paths.

Proverbs 3, 5-6

Thanks to You Tube. Joan Baez sings "We Shall Overcome"
Serenity Prayer from http://www.cptryon.org/prayer/special/serenity.html

Friday, September 12, 2008

malaysiakini- Reporter Nabbed Under ISA for Doing Her JOB

It is a sad day indeed when Malaysia has to arrest a reporter who wrote an article about a speech made by an UMNO leader according to this malaysiakini article Sin Chew journalist arrested

Surely the facts of the case can be clearly established such as:

1.Examine the entire article.(Unfortunately I don't read Chinese)
2.Check the speech as recorded.(If no recording, ask a few witnesses separately)

Then determine whether the actual speech or the article was more harmful to national security.

3.Based on the speech or article evaluation, examine how the harmful fallout developed.

4.Other newspapers and media also covered the subsequent events and determine how much each contributed to the insults.

Obviously there must be some truth in the reporter's work for the BN had to convene the emergency meeting to solve the matter.
How can one shoot the messenger just because you don't like the message?

malaysiakini and How the PM Stands ALONE

The PM has admitted on TV that there is no pleasure in his job but he feels obliged to finish his tasks before he hands power to his Deputy in 2010.

But according to this malaysiakini article, Najib seen backtracking on transition pact, it appears that the PM is becoming isolated in his Cabinet.

When he first came to power, most Malaysians were very happy to give him a chance to get Malaysia back on the proper track but unfortunately he promised too much and delivered too little, too late.

Thus in the March elections, the BN lost their usual 2/3 majority and life as the PM has changed dramatically.

Instead of saying the usual "I have so much to do etc", it would be good for the PM to make a TV broadcast and explain to all Malaysians in greater detail what he hopes to achieve if he is given more support, especially from his Cabinet ministers.

Make a list of 10 most critical items you want to complete before stepping down and people will better understand why you wish to complete these tasks.

Example of a list:

1.Complete IPCMC implementation
2.Formation of the Judicial Commission
3.Basic mass transport systems in 6 cities etc
4.Inter-religious Dialogue Program

It appears you have lost much support from your own party and you need the other BN partners to assist. After all, they may wish you to continue as the PM instead of other candidates.

Did You Read malaysiakini's story about PESTS?

We all have pests in our homes like rats, cockroaches, mosquitos and ants.
This article in malaysiakini takes the analogy further and talks about getting rid of a leader like a pest Dr M on getting rid of a mosquito
I think most Malaysians are not too worried about getting rid of any mosquitoes or mosquito net but we should really think more carefully about the other guy.

Photo: Thanks to Encyclop├ędie Encarta - The Everett Collection, Inc.

malaysiakini Suggests PAKATAN's Tactics a RUSE to Unsettle Government

I don't believe that PR is really serious about the takeover of Government but it is an act of brinksmanship to unnerve the Government.

This article in malaysiakini Pakatan concedes it may miss deadline>

But it looks like the style of guerilla politics is working well as the government looks shaky with even a Cabinet minister doing a Brutus on the Prime Minister.

Of course the hurried, no frenzied packing off of 49MPs to Taiwan was a graphic example of a government in disarray. I say has someone applied to the Guinness Records for the most law-makers on the same study trip?

The manner in which the authorities react also enables the PR to see who are the probable candidates to support them in the next elections.

Now that will be the final campaign for many old MPs.

malaysiakini Reports More UMNO Problems

You know the saying about troubles coming in bucketfulls?
It seems the UMNO President has really his hands and head full of problems.

First there was the UMNO warlord from Penang whose behaviour really needs some strong arm tactics; preferably from the police who are still pondering the police reports.

Then there are the inappopriate comments from his own Cabinet Minister who offered a double whammy as in these two malaysiakini articles, PM 'surprised' by Muhyiddin's U-turn and Muhyiddin: I've invited Dr M back to Umno. Imagine that! The comments about leaving sooner were made in Singapore at an international conference and I think Muhyidden has insulted the Prime Minister in public and should make a public apology.

It is not purely an UMNO matter as his remarks damage the confidence of investors that Malaysia seeks. The saying comes to mind
"With friends like these, who has need of enemies?"

Once I had the notion he seemed a capable person as he was the Johor MB but this basic disloyalty to the Prime Minister is truly deplorable.

malaysiakini Should Also Cover Stories from JB

Penang had its share of the national lime-light during the past weeks and I suggest that malaysiakini should write more about happenings in JB too.
I think there is a good story here about why it is taking the "crooked/straight bridge project" the longest time to complete.

The current Checkpoint is suffering from maintenance problems and the only recent observation is that the cameras that were so hastily installed about a year ago have been removed/stolen(?).

Long suffering motorists who have endured hours-long jams when coming from Singapore at the Singapore Woodlands Cross-over will be happy to note that the LTA have finally decided to take some action to solve the 5-year old problem.

Today they announced that cars will not be able to turn right if you approach the Causeway from Woodlands Town Center.
This is what I suggested in October 2007 Before We Praise Singapore Too Highly....
What used to happen was that motorists used to use this road to try and beat the BKE queue and usually created the situation whereby 5 lanes try to squeeze into the 2-lanes that can turn right. The resulting jam is really bad as the traffic cops only control the cross-over traffic and no one bothers about the traffic mayhem elsewhere.

It should be interesting to see how things improve.

malaysiakini Should Report More HAPPY Stories Like This

We all know that bad news sells as most people are more interested in sex scandals, corruption and other horror stories but if we read too much of the bad stuff, eventually we become numb to some of the good happenings like this story from malaysiakini Shares for Indians: Gov't agrees to work out mechanism.

It shows that the government is making some effort to address the problems of the poorer Malaysians whose cause was raised so dramatically by the HINDRAF demos. I suggest apart from this good initiative that addresses the problem more directly with the intended beneficiary, the authorities should make a more serious effort to prefer charges (not the ISA) against those 5 being held without charge.

Surely there is enough evidence to charge them for disturbing the peace, obstructing traffic, refusing to comply with legitimate order to disperse etc?

The problem with using a sledgehammer to squash a fly is that it is rather messy and you do not address the real problem - maybe your house is too dirty in the first place?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

malaysiakini's TAIWAN Escapades Part 2

According to this malaysiakini article Ops Sept 16: PKR four off to Taiwan for the cat and mouse game between the 49BN MPs and Anwar's is going into a second phase.

It should be interesting to see how both groups can evade the Taiwanese pressmen who probably find this story amusing.

Meanwhile take a few minutes to relax with this amusing tune. It's really hilarious and maybe those BN MPs can learn it during their karaoke sessions.

Thanks to You Tube for the song "Please Release Me" by the Fairfield Choraliers 2003

UNFAIR for malaysiakini to Put All the BLAME on One Guy

This article in malaysiakini Ahmad Ismail - the one-man wrecking crew is a little unfair.

To me he is just a catalyst that has tapped on all the suppressed emotions of all the members of BN parties. Sometimes the wrecking ball is a very efficient method to tear down barriers and begin to reconstruct.

You will remember that some UMNO leaders have even told the PPP to get out of the BN not that long ago.
Today it is a different story as UMNO needs the other parties to stay in power. It was quite interesting to note that the PPP President mentioned that that was the first time in the BN Council that everyone was able to speak and be heard.

So will the BN evolve faster and get ready for the next elections challenge? Will we get a Prime Minister who enjoys the support of the majority of the component parties and not just because he/she is the President of UMNO?
That is one way for the BN to progress - if you don't treat your partners with respect, you cannot expect loyalty when you need it.

Learn NURSERY RHYMES from malaysiakini....

I know this malaysiakini article Muhyiddin: I've invited Dr M back to Umno was published as serious news but if you take a wider view and have a little warped humour, you may be reminded of a childhood nursey rhyme if you belong to the older generation.

Writers like Shakespeare sometimes used nursery rhymes, poetry and plays to relate or criticise certain historical events.

I think this rhyme is appopriate:

"Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the King's horses and all the King's men
Could not put Humpty Dumpty back together again."

Need I say more?

Graphics thanks to http://www.alphabetica.com/images/bghumpty.gif

malaysiakini HINTS of the DREADED ISA

We all know of the dreaded ISA that has put the HINDRAF 5 in jail and also some Muslim extremists(?) as determined by the Home Minister.

This law is one factor that has caused the unpopularity of the BN government and even now the PM hints at having to use it according to this malaysiakini article Pak Lah: ISA not ruled out .

Dear PM I think you are making the wrong type of statements to shore up your position. The basic reason is this - you have lost much credibilty ever since the March general elections and now even your UMNO ministers have dropped many hints that you should retire sooner rather than later.

The latest Penang case shows how local politicians can damage UMNO property and prestige without any action being taken by the police, even after reports were lodged.
Now the guy is talking about travelling to other divisions, no doubt to create some sparks wherever he goes. I would have thought he should not be welcomed or entertained by any UMNO member for the 3 years. Some people have remarked that it was good his membership was not terminated as he makes a good advert of the "ugly UMNO member". Will the BN leadership have to call weekly emergency meetings based on his exploits?

Your recent history of unfortunate flip-flops show that the pressure of the job is simply too much as you have made too large a target to achieve by the time you leave office.
May I suggest just two targets by 2010 if you still intend to carry on.
1.Get the IPCMC up and running. That was perceived by most Malaysians as the major milestone to reform the police and tackle corruption.
2.Sort out the Lingam tapes Commission findings and take appropriate sooner as time is short.

The ISA is a bad law in most cases and the damage to the nation would be serious if the basic reason for its use is that the government is in danger of collapsing.
If you feel that is about to happen, you can call for snap polls and let the people be the judge of your performance. Even if you lose, the people will still remember you as Mr Nice Guy.
The second alternative to remove the endless politicking would be to work out a compromise with PR whereby there will be a coalition government of sorts untill the next General Elections. This is a wild idea but savvy politicians know how to work out such deals. That is one way to end all the speculation about the cross-overs if both the BN and PR agree to work together for the benefit of Malaysia.

After all you gave us more freedoms to express our views and enabled Malaysians to taste some freedom after more than 35 years of denial. It is heartening to note that most Malaysians are peace-loving citizens with moderate views.

I suggest imposing the ISA wholesale will not work unless you want Malaysia to become a pariah nation like Myanmar.