Monday, November 30, 2009

malaysiakini HOPES the BTN "Revamp" will Work Wonders...

It is good to hope that the BN can change to provide an inclusive government that is fair to all its citizens; regardless of where they came from.
But I just wonder why a few ministers are now trying to change the tune that some leaders like the DPM were whistling just a few days ago.
When the row about the BTN broke, some UMNO leaders claimed that the BTN was all good and those who are against the program do not know anything about it as no one was allowed to record and report on what went on behind closed doors.
Now malaysiakini reports a Revamp for controversial BTN courses just after a deluge of criticisms from those who attended such courses.
Courses like the BTN can be very useful to create understanding among the various races but like any tool, if it is abused or delivered by the wrong people, it will do more harm than good.
Just having a "revamp" is not good enough. What is needed is to have the veil lifted from the BTN program and allow anyone to review the contents and the service providers.
In other words, the OSA will not apply to BTN matters.
Already many thousands over the years have been indoctrinated with the incorrect teaching and need to be "reformed". Otherwise the people in more senior posts are still acting with the wrong training.
To me a "revamp" is not good enough. This is one area where the government must engage the opposition to create a BTN program that benefits Malaysia and not just the BN.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

SYABAS malaysiakini! May YOU Grow Old with a NEW MALAYSIA....

Today marks the 10th anniversary celebration of malaysiakini, that many independent minded Malaysians consider to be in the forefront of the new awakening of a national consciousness; and hopefully one that will move away from the ever-hastening chasm of evil that will destroy Malaysia.
We are close to the swift current that will plunge the nation over the "Niagara Falls" of destruction that will morph the nation into the next Zimbabwee.
Just read the news articles and you will get a framework of how this bountiful land has been mismanaged unto the point of getting into a terrible rut of low growth and few FDIs.

A quick snap-shot from malaysiakini:

1.MITI Minister sells the idea that the government is getting a multi-million ringgit convention "for free" when he gives away prime land in KL without an open tender.

2.The MB of NS is being investigated for a RM10mil overseas fund transfer without approval from Bank Negara. I wonder if the thinking was that this is definitely more sophisticated than taking the money out in bags like the former Selangor counter-part.

3.The most damning article is the feedback about the BTN courses conducted by the government. According to malaysiakini readers 'BTN promotes unity? My foot' . I have not seen the contents of this BTN program nor have I asked my daughter about any such course she attended when she studied at IMU about 5 years ago - but that was a private university so the modules may be different.The reaction in the malaysiakini article from actual participants is telling.

The DPM has come out in defence of the course and he mentioned on TV3 about the course being "revised" to reflect 1Malaysia.
Then we have the MB of Selangor banning all state officials from attending the BTN courses as he considers the course a brainwashing program to glorify the ruling parties.

Courses like BTN can do more harm than good if the trainers and the content are skewed and with ill intention. From some of the criticism we hear about, it appears that civil servants are being indoctrinated to support the ruling party, no matter what the consequences.
Perhaps this can explain how the legitimate state leaders were locked out of the Perak state legislature and the police even took part in the overthrow of the PR state government. Instead of showing loyalty to the local state leaders who happened to be in opposition, the civil service decided to follow their BTN training.

Of course I am just throwing wild punches here but to me a course like the BTN must be really free of gender bias, racial bias, religious bias and political bias if it is to be of any benefit to our young citizens.
If we do not root out these inclinations in our young, it will only get worse if they mix with the older folks who were brainwashed and may want change but do not know how. That is a clear and present danger.

If civil servants are being told that only BN can and should rule Malaysia, perhaps that explains why the Auditor-General Annual Report shows the many shortcomings and even abuses that are repeated each year with little or no corrective actions taken.
How do we continue with such BTN courses? It will be good if both sides of the political divide can get together to discuss how the BTN should be improved. A joint committee with representatives from both sides should be formed to monitor and approve the course modules. And that should also apply to the NS camps that probably were created to extend the BTN "influence" to a younger target audience.
The PM has mentioned how difficult it is to change. I suggest the BTN is a monster they created and they must surely tame this monster before it destroys Malaysia.
If the BN cannot change this tack of a destructive brainwashing that will surely wreck the nation, we must change this government in the next general elections before it is too late.
malaysiakini and supporters, enjoy your hard-earned accolades but make sure you return refreshed and ready for the BATTLE ahead.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

malaysiakini REPORTS an Early Christmas GIFT from MITI

This impressive looking building is the MATRADE Center in KL, completed after many years of delay and million ringgit cost over-runs.
Too date it has not been established what was the cause of the project's shortcomings.
Maybe the ministry in charge of the project has learned a few valuable lessons as they have now embarked on MATRADE 2.0 as described in this malaysiakini article headed Malaysia in dire need of a convention center".
MITI has a simple plan to get such a mega-convention center.
According to the Malaysian Insider, Matrade gets expo centre for ‘free’, says Mustapa.
According to the article,
"Mustapa explained that building-for-land deal is good value for the Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade).

“The valuation of the land in 2007 is RM197 million and we are getting RM628 million’s worth building so we are getting value for money for us. We need a big centre,” he told reporters in parliament here.

The mammoth expo centre being built on a 13.1-acre site in Jalan Duta here is to be developed by Naza TTDI, a unit of the Naza Group, in exchange for 62.5 acres of state land at RM226 per square foot although the market value of the land could reach RM1.5 billion. The entire project will have a gross development value of RM15 billion."

The reasons given for awarding the award to the NAZA group is incredulous as apparently it was based on the fact that the company approached the ministry first with the idea of getting such a "free convention center".
NAZA has been the approved AP receiver for thousands of APs and one can only speculate why they have also been favoured with such a land grant.
If you consider the Insider article, the government will be receiving a RM628m building in exchange for RM1.5b of prime land, so in effect, NAZA already makes a profit of RM872m just on the market value of the land, less land improvement charges. Looks as if NAZA is getting the land for free instead of MITI!

Just because they came up with the concept should not prevent the ministry from having an open or restricted tender from 5 or 6 different parties so that the government maximises the proceeeds from this valuable parcel of land.
In fact the Ministry of Finance should have firm restrictions on such transactions like:
1.Any deal above RM50m must have at least 2 qualified bids
2.Any deal above RM100m must have at least 4 qualified bids
3.Any deal above RM500m must have at least 6 qualified bids

Now it seems if you can get the ear of the Minister, you can come away with some nice freebies.
I remember reading an article about the time when Tun Tan Siew Sin was the Minister of Finance. At the time, MCA was a powerful member of the Alliance (before the BN).
TT wanted to take a few days leave and went to see the Tunku. TAR told him to take the time off.
TT asked, "Who will look after my duties when I am away?"
TAR replied that he would take care of things.
According to the story, TT did not take his leave on that occassion.

Nowadays UMNO controls the Finance Ministry and the results have not been sterling. Just read the Horror Reports of the Auditor-General each year and you will know what I mean.

MATRADE 2.0 for FREE? NAW! Tell me another tall tale, please.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Is this the start of CHANGE in Malaysia?
There is an ongoing tussle between states and the federal government about oil royalties especially in Kelantan and Terrengganu.
It seems that the state gets a royalty only for oil mined 2 miles from the shore and anything beyond that goes to the federal government.
You will remember that the federal government even stopped paying the royalty to the Terrengganu government directly when the state fell to the opposition but instead appointed federal officers to administer the fund.
To me, the federal government appears to be cheating the states as even though the state government is in the opposition hands, that does not give the federal government the right to withhold payment to the state.
Apart from cheating the citizens of the state who elected the state government, this kind of high-handed and unethical behaviour damages the relationship that exists between the state and federal governments.
It is the right of a democracy that voters get to choose their state and federal governments. The PM has offered to make some payments to Kelantan but the category falls under "pity" and not "rights".
So the latest article in malaysiakini "Ku Li to head oil royalty caucus" is an interesting development and can show the way how a better working relationship can be worked out between the state and federal governments.
If Malaysia is to prosper and succeed to become a developed nation, all leaders must accept that whoever is in charge at Putrajaya must be fair to all states whether or not it is controlled by opposition parties.
Apart from oil royalties, I also suggest that each state be entitled to a development grant equal to 20% of all taxes collected by the federal government from each state.
My opinion is that states should be given more autonomy as too many projects emanating from the EPU have not benefitted the taxpayers much.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

malaysiakini on the IGP's Work Attitude and Logic

Since the High Court ruled that the MACC cannot question detainees overnight, the spot-light has shifted to the police lock-up rules.
It appears that the police too are subject to rules with regard to those in the lock-up.
The IGP made a strange suggestion about the lock-up rules and fortunately many Malaysians now realise that such enforcement agencies must abide with the rules as described in this letter 'Close at 5pm': IGP's comment shocking.
We know that the IGP has been working years past the official retirement age and I suggest his appointment should be reviewed by the PAC as his attitude reflects a cavalier attitude.
This is the reason why Malaysia desperately needs the IPCMC so that ordinary citizens can feel that the police is being controlled with adequate provisions for our own safety.

Monday, November 23, 2009

An Eventful Trip to Cambodia

My wife attended a Bankers' Conference in Phnom Pehn and I tagged along for our first visit to the capital city of Cambodia.
It was not a great holiday; but definitely it had its share of memorable incidents.
When we arrived at the airport, there was a welcoming committee that garlanded each of us with a Cambodian shawl.
We were met by the airport immigration chief who took our passports and breezed us through the immigration formalities - we got back the passports at the conference hotel, the Inter-Continental.
One of the welcoming staff then followed us through Customs and we were then ushered into a government registered car. We were seated right at the back of the Silkair flight and seeing no one else around, my wife assumed that we were the last to get out of airport. During the 15-minute from the airport, I remarked to my wife that something was not quite right as I expected us to be transferred by bus and not a private vehicle.
Still, it was a moment to enjoy - being treated with such VIP status. We managed to check into the hotel without the passports and spent a few hours resting in our room. Then my wife decided to check for our passports at the front desk and sure enough, it had been delivered there. She also discovered that she had been mistaken for another ASEAN bankers' official who bore only the slightest resemblance to my dear wife. The reception committee had decided the person had put on some weight to morph into my wife! The person is actually 2 to 3 inches shorter than my wife.
One of the sight-seeing tours they arranged for a visit to the Torture Museum where thousands were tortured before they were sent to the Killing Fields. Of course many did not survive the months of torture.
It is not an enjoyable place to visit and the atmosphere of death still prevails. I will not bring children below 12 years to visit this place. I had to skip the rest of the tour as I had a severe bout of food poisoning and rushed back to the hotel just in time to unload. That was a worrying 10-minute ride using a "tut-tut and cost me US$2 - the greenback is almost an official currency here.
We spent 2 nights at the Inter-Continental for the conference and decided to book a room at the Sunway Hotel which is much closer to the riverside, the main happenings place.
I booked a room using AGODA but made a mistake in the check-in date. For some unknown reason, the date I chose was one week later than the date I needed.
When I realised the mistake, I tried to amend the date but according to Agoda, they could not change the date as the hotel policy on the special room rate was to charge the full booking payment - that is for US$95.
So I made another booking with the correct date and paid another US$95. When we checked into the Sunway, they advised me they also had another booking for the later date. My wife did not know of the mistake so while she was napping in our room, I sneaked out and went down to the reception to inquire about the extra booking and the penalty for a cancellation with one week's notice.
The duty manager saw me and advised that she would check with AGODA to find out about the mistake. She assured me that the hotel would not charge me but there could be an administrative fee charged by AGODA.
Sunway Hotel is commended for contacting AGODA and not imposing any penalty. I also received an email from AGODA advising that I will get a full refund.
We also requested a late check-out on Saturday and the hotel obliged, allowing us to stay in our room untill 2pm.
On our last night in Phnom Penh, we went for a walk along the Riverside and I tripped and twisted my left ankle at the start of the 2km walk. At the time it was OK but when we got back, the foot was hurting. Perhaps the hour-long foot reflexology did not help matters.
At the airport for the flight back to Singapore, my wife requested for a wheel-chair for me and that was also arranged back in Changi. That was my first experience as a wheel-chair passenger. Both sides took good care and SilkAir is thanked for their caring service. One stewardess also gave me her arm to hold on as I hobbled into and out of the plane.
Cambodia is making speedy progress to catch up with the rest of ASEAN and being a young country, they have the capacity to develop at a faster rate although the economic crisis has also affected their annual growth.
I will be seeing the doctor today and hopefully by tomorrow, I will not need to hobble around. Spending long hours in bed is definitely not my cup of tea.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Perry Mason Mystery? The Case of the RECALCITRANT ATTORNEY-GENERAL

malaysiakini has this interesting story on how Karpal would prosecute Lingam.
It surely is a dereliction of duty when the so-called Law Minister declares that he does not know under what law the lawyer who was seen on tape to be influencing a senior judge should be charged.
I suggest the UK university that awarded him the law degree should be informed that their prominent(?) alumni has brought their reputation into disrepute.
The Malaysian Bar should also seriously question if Malaysia deserves such a useless Law Minister.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

WOT? malaysiakini Readers Respond to the Question About 2-Party System...

Of course there is no ideal time to introduce a 2-party system just like some people will say the PR parties are not ready to even govern the states.
That is what you would expect those in the establishment to claim and that includes many if not most in the civil service.
But as the wisdom of malaysiakini readers shows in this article 2-party system: 'People ready, Umno is not' many Malaysians believe that the battle against corruption will not happen unless the BN is put in opposition.
To me the reason the Indonesian government appears to be taking serious steps to curb corruption is because the voters there have shown their power in the electoral process and are able to change the government in a peaceful manner.
For Malaysians, the question to be asked is, "Are you going to wait for UMNO to reform itself?"
If not, then the only answer is get it out of government and that is what you must do in the next elections.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The DPM Flouts the LAW!

Each year, the government spends millions of ringgit on road safety campaigns and yet the statistics are not inproving as the death toll spirals upwards.
The basic reason is the lack of a continuous and consistent law enforcement as the traffic police only operate on a "fits and starts" strategy and each year thousands of poorly trained motorists take to the roads.
Just look at the photo courtesy of the Star newspapers. Our DPM believes that he is above and beyond the law, riding pillion without a proper safety helmet in a rural area.
Of course the traffic is quite light in such remote areas but the law does not make any concession as a fall from a motor-bike at any speed can be fatal on account of brain damage.
But then again, maybe this DPM is advertising the fact that he does not have any brain to be damaged and hence no need for the crash helmet?
That may be the case but his poor example has caused years of traffic safety efforts to be flushed down the toilet.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

malaysiakini and the RM24billion LOSSES

Maybe the word "losses" is not really appropriate for that amount relates to the amount of money that Malaysians have been duped of in various schemes that involve corruption, improper tenders, cheating and CBT in government purchases as highlighted in the annual Auditor-General's report.
The amount is higlighted in a letter by a malaysiakini reader Najib, get us back our RM24 billion now who believes that the PM is capable of such a mammoth task when he has really come out with nothing new except do away with the "race" item in government forms and declared Malaysia Day a public holiday.
The AG's Annual Report is a glaring annual exercise to show that the other AG's office has become a political office rather than the guardian of law and order.
You will notice that major scandals like the PKFZ will generate umpteeen probes but each end up as a NFA file in the AG's office.
We all know that the civil service has become largely a BN stooge and there is an incestous connection between top civil servants and the government leaders so don't expect drastic measures to curb the abuse in the government tender system. But kudos to the Penang state government for having more open tenders as this is a good way to reduce corrupt practices.
My suggestion is that unless we follow the Chinese example of capital punishment for serious corruption, we cannot expect to turn back that massive gravy train of kick-backs and corruption.

Monday, November 2, 2009

malaysiakini and the BN's FAILED Education SYSTEM

After so many years of independence, Malaysia is still struggling to develop a good education system.
But the recalcitrant government with so many failed policies like the "back to English, then flip-flop to the old system" has proved that it cannot provide good leadership in this most vital component of nation-building.
malaysiakini highlights the dilemma in the article PM: No shift in vernacular school policy yet .
Some PTAs have already requested for permission to carry on with the English medium program but the bureaucrats insist on trying to control the freedom to a basic education program that is preferred by parents for their children.
After all the PM has conceded that vernacular schools will stay so why not just accept another school program that teaches in the English medium?
I believe that the Pakatan parties can win a few more states and hopefully form the next federal government if they make education a cornerstone of their election mainfesto.
Only they will we be able to create a good education system for all Malaysians.