Saturday, January 31, 2009

malaysiakini and MAJOR WORRIES about our ECONOMIC PLANNING..

As the world totters on the brink on an economic Armageddon, Malaysians seem to have adopted their usual "tiadapathy" attitude and that Allah willing, everything will be fine.
Just 2 recent incidents that highlight the type of economic planning we seem to encourage - I would describe it as the "kite-flying method" in which some wild ideas are flown in the wind.
A few weeks back we had the proposal for Sime Darby(SD) to take control of the IJN, a widely recognised medical institute that is in the forefront of heart surgery in Malaysia. The public outcry was loud and clear and SD had to retreat.
Now this article in malaysiakini New LCCT flip-flop: Who's in charge here? describes how a new airport has been mooted and then rejected all in the space of three weeks.
Remember that RM500mil sports complex for London that was also promoted about a year back?
Somehow I wonder if the EPU makes use of the dart-board with various outrageous projects and their price tags like RM100m, 500m etc and those guys take turns during tea-breaks to throw darts to pick the next project?

Friday, January 30, 2009

malaysiakini and CORRUPTION in UMNO. How WE can SOLVE the PROBLEM....

This article in malaysiakini indicates the existence of 2 major ills that beset our nation Malaysia.
'MACC officers punched and kicked me' indicates the cases of corruption that are being investigated and also the Guantamo style tactics of the law enforcers that have resulted in deaths in police custody.
Of course it is not surprising that most UMNO members are not in favour of the proposal by their own disciplinary board chairman who suggested that some wings be abolished as "he did not want young members involved in “political bribery.”" (Source the Star 30th Jan 2009).
I suppose it also implies that it is OK for older, more senior members to do so!
Recent developments in UMNO Perak show that the problems of UMNO are deep and probably too difficult to ensure Malaysia enjoys a clean and efficient government.
Since UMNO cannot help itself to recover, the only peaceful recourse left for us the ordinary citizens who helped it to govern the nation for more than 50 years is to say:
"Thank you but the BN is now irrelevant for our needs. Take the next few years to regroup and change your policies and we will reconsider for the general elections. Now go and play an effective role as the Opposition."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

malaysiakini and another INSENSITIVE REMARK of the HOME MINISTER

Someone should compile a book on the remarks made by the Home Minister.
Remember that the reporter was held under ISA "for her own security"?
Now this latest spouting after the protests over the death of KUGAN is a worthy addition as reported in malaysiakini:
Syed Hamid: Don't see criminals as heroes, cops as demons. Well, the minister himself is confessing his own doubts about the integrity of the force under his watch.
No doubt the majority of the PDRM members are doing their duties well but we still need to get rid of the perhaps 10% who are making law enforcement into a criminal organisation and unfortunately some senior cops may be involved in the role of judge, jury and executioneer as in the case of KUGAN.
About the racial aspects of the case, it only confirms that most of the marginalised in Malaysia are the Indians as most opportunities are reserved for special people only.
If you watch movies like 16 Blocks about rogue cops, you will understand that some cops may also be in the employ of the underground and it is possible that the death of KUGAN is like that movie script.
After all, didn't the Lingam tapes affair show how the Judiciary can become tainted? Don't tell me you have forgotten that matter already?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

malaysiakini and the KUGAN Killing - a Sure Sign of the ROT

Many Malaysians do not believe that justice will be served for Kugan, the 22-year old who died in police custody.
The PDRM shows the utter contempt for human rights and it seems anyone in police custody is fair game.
You could be blown up like Altantuuya and in the case of Kugan die with torture marks on your body.
It appears that the BN government is not able to provide a basic framework of justice; with criminal elements now infesting both the police and judicial branches of the government. Maybe it is the government itself that has fallen into the web of corrupt practices with political pressure being exerted on these 2 brances of the justice system.
This article in malaysiakini asks the question Will Kugan get the justice he deserves?
The prognosis is grim unless you, the reader are prepared to make change happen in the next general elections.
To me the choice is crystal clear - Vote out the BN or the next death in police custody could be your family member.

Monday, January 26, 2009

malaysiakini and DEATH in Police Custody. Where is the OUTRAGE?

The reaction of the Home Minister about the alleged morgue incident involving relatives and friends of the murdered police detainee A Kugan is hardly surprising.
When the reporter was detained under the ISA, it was to "protect her."
Now the minister is complaining about the 2 Deputy Ministers who dared to encroach on police turf as described in this malaysiakini article 'Morgue raid': Deputy ministers can face action.
It is good that a second post-mortem is being conducted and we hope that appopriate action will be taken against the guilty parties.
When the nude squat incident occurred about 3 years ago, there seemed to be more public outrage. Have we become insensitive to such incidents in Malaysia today?
I suggest the police should not be the authority to control post-mortems. Perhaps the court should be the place to apply for such approvals.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

malaysiakini on the FAILURE of GOVERNMENT

Once again we read of another incident where a detainee has died in police custody.
Another 2 weeks ago there was another case where a detainee was allegedly tortured with boiling water.
It is more than 3 years since the official inquiry into the "nude squat" incident after which the IPCMC was mooted.
So far the government has resisted all attempts to implement that and instead gave us the "watered down" act of the MACC.
Thus it is not surprising to read in this malaysiakini article of the family's ordeal.
Of course we all need to make a tough decision - If this government cannot restore the rule of law among our law enforcers it is our duty to remove this government. Otherwise the next death in detention could be you yourself or your loved one.

Friday, January 23, 2009

malaysiakini and the RESTRICTIONS on the HERALD

It seems that the Home Ministry has issued a veiled threat to the Catholic Church on the use of the word ALLAH.
Hence I do not agree with this writer in malaysiakini who suggests that the 'Herald' must rethink its decision'.
Why does the Cabinet impose such an arbitrary rule when the matter is coming up for hearing soon?
You will recall that the discussions on Section11 were also stifled with dictatorial edicts from the PM and that could also explain why religious intolerance is getting worse in Malaysia.
It also seems that the Home Ministry is taking a tougher stance against religious figures who take part in peaceful vigils. Maybe it could be linked to this ALLAH issue.
Whether you pray to ALLAH or another GOD, it is time all Malaysians pray for deliverance.
ALLAH help us all.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

malaysiakini and the IMPENDING RECESSION

Nobody likes a recession as indicated by this article in malaysiakini. Malaysia seeks to fend off recession largely through a stimulus package as the export markets dwindle.
As Singapore is already in a recession, that country may be more willing to discuss the "Straight Bridge" project with Johor Baru again.
Malaysia was simply too foolhardy to start their end of the project without proper agreements by both sides and that is why we ended up with a CIQ that most bus travellers are most unhappy about.

I have now travelled a journey in both directions and if you think getting into JB is difficult, then you need to take the outbound bus to Woodlands.
The distance getting to JB Central is about 800meters but to leave JB you have to walk about 1200meters.

I bet the architect who designed the new CIQ did not take the bus to and from Singapore and has never walked across the Causeway.
There are two more things that can be easily improved as far as the public buses are concerned:

1.Buses like Causeway Link, SBS160&170 and Singapore Express operate hundreds of buses in total every day. The bays for these buses should be as close as possible to the escalator to reduce walking distance for thousands.
2.These buses should not require entering & reversing out of loading bays but should be provided straight through stops.

To me, if a basic infrastructure like a CIQ cannot be designed without so many flaws, I doubt if the government will be capable of designing any stimulus package that will benefit all.
Maybe they will follow Thailand and give everyone a RM500 shopping voucher?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

malaysiakini and the OBAMA CHALLENGE

It is indeed a historic day when the first black man becomes the President of the USA. We can still recall the dark days of the 60s when the civil rights movement was at its peak and the terrible assassination of Martin Luther King.
In Malaysia, the contents of his inaugural speech have special meaning. He urges everyone to take action to make the world a better place and not depend solely on the government.
malaysikini has his speech here.
I think most Malaysians have woken up and realised that they need to take more positive actions to ensure good governance. That is the choice and the duty we owe ourselves.
If the government is not doing its job properly, we need to elect better leaders to head the nation. If we do not do this basic duty, we can only blame ourselves if we get a rotten government.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

malaysiakini and the CITIZENS IMPERATIVE for CHANGE

This article in malaysiakini is hardly surprising. 'BN is not waking up' sums up the situation most appopriately.
One can imagine a train that is out of control after many years of neglect. The train driver and the mechanics have gotten used to the good life and did not realise that proper maintenance is necessary for the train to work properly.
They kicked out the last train driver and hope that the train can be brought under control but as the KT election shows, the voters do not want just a simple change of the driver.
Basically they are rejecting the manner in which the train is being driven. The next stop will be crucial and that is the next General Elections that must happen by March 2013.
I expect Malaysia will be getting a new team of train drivers and mechanics. Let the old guard take a break and hopefully be able to recover in time for another round by 2018.
Maybe that is how Vision2020 will pan out - Malaysia makes the major breaktrough as a nation by enabling the 2-party system to flourish.

PS. Take the orange poll in left column and tell us your opinion.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

malaysiakini and the IMPENDING DEMISE of the BN

After lording over Malaysians since 1957, the political parties under the leadership of UMNO now face a serious problem of survival as demonstrated in the March general elections and the two by-elections.
To be sure they have shown some signs of trying to change but it seems the patient(BN) is suffering a terminal disorder.
The brave people of Malaysia have decided that change is necessary if Malaysia is to progress. Indeed some feel that getting rid of the BN is an imperative for Malaysia to survive.
Recent revelations show that the government has been leaning backwards to favour certain cronies in lucrative contracts. Also there is a disconcerting lack of action taken against corrupt judges and VVIPs. The Bukit Antarabangsa landslide also throws up so many areas of irresponsible government.
UMNO thought they could stem the tide once they got rid of AAB but the election results show he is not the most significant factor.
This article in malaysiakini Defeat 'spells trouble for Najib' is most apt. It is possible for UMNO warlords to seek another leader to bear the responsibility for their declining fortune.
Should Najib beware "the Ides of March"?

Friday, January 16, 2009

malaysiakini and ABUSE of POWER in KT

It is not surprising to read the malaysiakini article KT returning officer steps down.
The post of KT mayor is a political appointment and not one based on local elections.It should not surprise anyone that he has decided to step down after various complaints about campaigning for the BN.
We all know that even today, the government leaders make use of taxpayers' facilities to solicit votes and even the DPM is so engrossed in winning KT, the economy can go to the dogs in the meantime.
The abuse of government machinery is so blatant that most citizens possibly take it as "biasa lah".

Thursday, January 15, 2009

malaysiakini Should STRONGLY URGE KT Voters to READ THIS

OK they have given you back your oil royalties in the form of a RM1bil investment fund.
That is good and long overdue - the federal government was wrong to stop the oil royalty in the first place.
Who gained the most when the funds were controlled during the opposition years?
A major political shift occurred in Malaysia in March 2008 and the voters in KT have an important role to play if the change is to continue.
Why should KT voters vote for more change?
Read this letter in malaysiakini and you will understand why the struggle is not done yet.
Lingam tape: Get going on action against six urges the authorities to start the corrective actions that are so important if the government is serious about cleaning up the Judiciary.
Or are we being treated to another sorry affair like the IPCMC? The lack of action in itself is a serious failure of the justice system.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

malaysiakini SUGGESTS a REASON for the GAZA DEMOS

It all boils down to a lack of a principled approach to diplomacy.
We lack courage to take actions that will affect matters in our own country.
I am referring to this comment in malaysiakini 'Syed Hamid condones killing of Tamils?' wherein our Home Minister allegedly remarked:

‘These people were not demonstrating on the issue of the Palestinians. They were actually demonstrating on the issue of Sri Lanka. The placards showed they were in support of Sri Lanka. Let us not mix the issues.'

Go figure.
On another note, when he was Foreign Minister he made several trips to have talks with the Burmese junta but so far the results are disappointing and Aung San Suu Kyi still endures house arrest. We also have thousands of Burmese refugees in Malaysia.

Maybe the Gaza reactions have to do with the concept of impossible targets. We make a target that we know cannot be achieved and then gain the maximum PR benefits from it. In this case, Malaysia does not recognise Israel and thus cannot exert any diplomatic pressure except rant like some wild animal.

So organising protests against Israel is good for Malaysian leaders. It creates nice headlines with zero results as far as the Hamas-Isreal conflict is concerned.
But Malaysians once again show they have a good heart when it comes to donating for such humanitarian causes.

Monday, January 12, 2009

malaysiakini and the POLLS for KT. What do You Think?

I wonder why the BN candidate for the KT by-election refuses to participate in a debate as described in theis malaysiakini article Wan Ahmad Farid says no to oil royalty debate on the oil royalty that was recently restored to the state.
Is he scared of being unable to defeat his opponent on such an important issue for the state? Perhaps the BN prefers to let their million ringgit dole-outs to voters do the talking for them.
Meanwhile I have created a new poll (left orange column) for 2009 and it is on the KT elections. Please take a few minutes and share with us your opinion.

malaysiakini and ADVICE for KT VOTERS

Many Malaysians hoped that the BN would take urgent steps to begin major reforms but most are quite disappointed that the ruling coalition has not been able to change its old ways.
Even the ouster of AAB by his own political party shows that the old ways die hard.
This article from malaysiakini is most apt. Will they bite the 'hand that feeds'? indicates a "master-servant" relationship between the political leaders and the electorate.
The BN machinery is up to its old tricks of granting major financial incentives just before an election and this must surely be construed as a form of vote-buying.
The idea of "biting the hand that feeds" indicates that the feeder is the master in control deciding how much and when you get a meal if any.
It is time that all the voters in KT showed those who manipulate them who is the real BOSS.
Just as the tolls contracts reveals, some people have been getting more than their fair share of feeds. Just imagine how much is left on the table for truly helping the poor and marginalised.
My advice is "Take whatever is given, but do vote for your own freedom." BTW you can expect any petrol price reduction anytime soon.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

malaysiakini and the BLATANT Double Standards of the POLICE

It was reported in the mainstream media how about 5000 Malaysians were allowed to stage a fiery protest near the US Embassy in KL; burning the USA and Israeli flags.
Such protests usually take place after Friday prayers so the majority of such demonstrators are Muslims.
It seems that the authorities allow such protests to occur as the police cannot/will not act against such a mob.
Contrast this against the action taken against a group of candle-light protesters -they numbered only 200 odd peaceful Malaysians and yet the police decided to arrest 21 of them even though the malaysiakini video shows no violent acts like burning effigies etc.
How are earth are the police ever going to win back the confidence of the ordinary citizens?
There is a definite lack of any principles applied to the police actions or in the case of the larger mob a definite climb down.

Friday, January 9, 2009

malaysiakini and the HEIGHT of IRRESPONSIBILITY

It seems that it is more than a Pavlovian response that affects some prominent Malaysians as far as the Gaza conflict is concerned.
According to this article in malaysiakini Quit your jobs, Dr M tells McDonald's, Starbucks workers, Malaysians are being encouraged to quit their already low-paid jobs at fast-food joints.
I wonder what Johor Corp that owns the KFC franchise thinks of such irrational thinking. Is the former PM going to give financial support to these workers if they cannot find other suitable employment?
Maybe he should volunteer his services as a special peace envoy from Malaysia to get the Israelis and Hamas to sit down and talk peace.
On another note, I urge all parents with school children to protest the Education Minister's grand plan to "mobilise" school children to protest against the Gaza fighting. The MoE should focus more on producing quality teachers than trying to be a rabble-rouser.

malaysiakini and WHY MALAYSIA Cannot Help in GAZA

Malaysian leaders have an almost Pavlovian response whenever fighting breaks out between Israel and the terrorist groups that control much of Palestine.
Perhaps we have been conditioned for so many years with the description of the Government of Israel as the Zionist regime.
I wonder if they refer to us as the Hadhari regime?
This letter in malaysiakini gives a clue as to why Malaysian leaders cannot really help much for a peaceful settlement in Gaza.
No doubt ordinary Malaysians will respond generously to calls for donations and there are three organisations that are asking us to contribute, namely Mercy Malaysia(MM), MCRS and the NSTP fund.
The first 2 are registered bodies that have to account for all funds received while the last one is being organised by a newspaper.
I suggest the NSTP should have used its resources to seek funds for the two registered bodies rather than start another fund. How are such donations accounted for?
For example after the tsunami of 2004 the public also donated but I don't recall seeing any accounts published by any newspaper.
Of course we should be concerned with the war in Gaza and contribute if we can. Sometimes it is better to be charitable than worry about how charities use the funds but they too should be accountable for the funds.
As for the other 2 bodies, I wonder why they cannot coordinate their efforts rather than have 2 separate teams flying off to Gaza.
I read somewhere that the leader of MM could not enter her destination and was held back about 2km away. Sometimes as the leader, one needs to be careful or your death could mean the collapse of the whole organisation.
My suggestion is that between MM and MCRS, only one coordinating team should have been sent (whoever can go earliest) and that person reports back to KL HQs who then send teams based on needs and capabilities.
It is wasteful to send separate teams as it is unnecessary duplication of efforts.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

malaysiakini and EXCESSIVE FORCE of the POLICE

I wonder if there is a pattern to it all.
According to this malaysiakini article, Suhakam: Cops guilty of excessive force when the motorist was assaulted during an incident at the Cheras toll protest.
While SUHAKAM could not make a positive identification of the culprits, I suggest the officer-in-charge should be held responsible for the order to arrest the motorist.
While the police appear to have scored major successes with the killing of several armed men in recent months, this assault of the motorist seems to indicate that the police do not practise a response based on proportionate reaction.
Is there a policy/practice of "Shoot to kill" whenever armed men are cornered?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

malaysiakini and the new HIGHWAY ROBBERS

OK that's a bit dramatic but I am sure any motorist who has to fork out tolls equivalent to equal or more than the cost of fuel must be fuming at some of the indecent profits made by some toll operators who are laughing all the way to their banks.
It seems to be a case of "Heads I Win, Tails You Lose" scheme with the toll companies.
When traffic conditions are low, the government has to compensate them but when traffic is high to the point of highway crawls, there is no recourse for the over-taxed motorist.
To me it is not necessary for the government to buy over the toll companies as suggested in this malaysiakini article Buy over highways, DAP tells govt

Since supplementary agreements have been part and parcel of prolonging our suffering, the government can introduce a special supplementary agreement based on the following :

1.The Concession will end 5 to 10 years after the company has recovered all the costs of constructing the highway with no further toll increases.
2.Profits in excess of 20% of turnover will be used in a toll adjustment exercise.
3.Company directors' salaries and benefits will be the median of companies in the KLSE.

malaysiakini and MORE on alleged POLICE BRUTALITY

It is important that the authorities act fast in such cases as the credibility of the PRDM is at stake and also the integrity of the government.
We cannot allow such policemen in the force as all it takes are a few bad cops or officers and the public will not trust a policeman anymore and crime statistics will certainly rise.
Feedback from the public has been rather muted, apart from this malaysiakini reader who says 'Police have no right to torture Indian youths' .
However I do not agree to targeting just the MIC to take action.
All political parties and NGOs should be against torture by the police on suspects.
This is precisely the reason why we truly need the IPCMC and not some watered-down version of the lame BN government.

Monday, January 5, 2009

malaysiakini and our POOR TRANSPORT SYSTEMS

It seems that public transport systems are not a major priority of the government even though a lot of hot air has been exhausted by our top leaders.
Perhaps the reason is that with poor systems, the citizens are forced to support the local car (or tin-can) industry by buying cars that will not give you much protection in a major collision.
Just visit the Puduraya bus terminal in KL and you can see for yourself how a bus station should operate 40 years ago.
There is an interesting letter in malaysiakini about a new bus terminal and the problems sound all too familiar Why not free shuttle service for Klang Sentral?
Down in JB, the RM1billion new CIQ has been operating for about 2 weeks and the following is noted:

1.The building is impressive but the operating costs esp. air-conditioning will be quite high as the roof is rather high. Also so many water features just waste energy.
2.I doubt bus passengers will enjoy all that decorative features when they have to walk so far to get to the exit at JB Central or to City Square. I estimate the distance from the CIQ exit to JB Central to be at least 500meters and there are no hand-rails on slopes to help the elderly or infirm.
3.It is rather strange that the offices of the government departments and car parks have been located between the CIQ and JB Central as this makes the walk for pedestrians even longer than necessary. The building is not fully occupied so perhaps it is part of a shopping complex and thus the poor bus passengers are being forced to make the long detour.
4.The present so-called JB Central is nothing more than a place by the road-side and it remains a mystery why the proper bus drop-off has not been completed but barricaded. This is just after the Caltex station that used to enjoy a brisk business.
5.If you take the bus after the CIQ, you will note that the escalators are located on the outside of the stairs. With the really high roof, this will ensure that it will get wet during heavy rain. Expect frequent break-downs here.
6.There are no separate motor-bike lanes on the 2-lane narrow hair-pin access roads so one can expect a few serious accidents here.

Overall, the new CIQ is a major disappointment and does not solve the traffic jams on the Causeway.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

malaysiakini and a Case of "TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE"

According to this malaysiakini article, it seems that the government is being transparent in releasing 16 out of 22 or 73% of the Highway concession agreements .
For a government that has spent billions of RM on Cyberjaya and IT, it seems that the Works Ministry is trying to make it inconvenient for the public to educate themselves on how mega-deals were awarded.
I agree with the MCA that all the deals are disclosed and not based on selectivity as mentioned in this Star article ‘Open up more on toll deals’
I expect that the 6 deals that are being protected are the earlier deals as these were probably the most lop-sided and mostly given to cronies or party-connected.
BTW, I believe I was the first person to use the word "piratisation" way back in the 80s when I used to write letters to MSM like the Star, NST and MM.
Unfortunately the NET was not in existence for the public so I cannot be certain of this claim.
But the word was used in connection to the NSH.

malaysiakini and PROGRESS towards a GRASSROOTS DEMOCRACY?

To me one of the basic problem that Malaysia has not progressed much as a democracy is that government has become too big; with the result that the ordinary man has been sidelined from many of the decisions that affect his life.
Thus this article in malaysiakini entitled No to civil servants as Penang councillors is a step in the right direction.
The question then arises,"How are local councillors selected?"
Ideally we should elect them for a maximum of perhaps 2 terms during which they cannot be involved in any business deals that are done with the local councils.
Opening up council meetings to the public would also ensure that all deals are done in a transparent fashion.
Perhaps as a interim measure, council members should disclose if they are connected to any contracts during the tender process but they must not take part in the decision to approve their own connected companies.

Friday, January 2, 2009

malaysiakini and the Fight Against CORRUPTION

Based on past experience, I really do not expect any major changes in our fight against corruption and so don't be disappointed with the of the outcome of this malaysiakini article Graft cases against big guns lodged to test MACC .
The level of corruption is so pervasive now in Malaysia involving major state institutions that nothing less than a change of government is necessary.
If you look at the way the MACC has been devised, the PM still controls all the levers that affect the corruption problem.
So the question is ,"If the PM himself is corrupt and he creates or encourages the corrupt system to flourish, how is the MACC going to take action?"

Thursday, January 1, 2009

malaysiakini and a HORRIBLE START to 2009

According to malaysiakini, the Home Ministry is wielding its heavy and clumsy hand again with the Malay-language edition of Catholic paper banned: editor.
This is against basic human rights and an insult to the National Language.
Whatever happened to freedom of religion in Malaysia?
The Catholic Church should proceed with court actions to protest this basic liberty. I also suggest our bishops should return all the Tan Sris they accepted as a sign of protest.