Wednesday, December 28, 2011

An Example of how Crooks Steal your money at the Bank.....

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A few notes:
1.they ask you to click on their link.
2.they need a few hours to steal your money!
3.spelling error in bank's name

Highlights of a Trip to South America and Singapore's SMRT's problems.....

My wife and I have just completed a 30-day trip to South America and we combined a quick tour of major tourist attractions like Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Iguassu Falls and Machu Picchu before we joined a 12-day cruise on the ms Veendam with Holland America Line that sailed from Valparaiso back to Buenos Aires from where we took the 20hour flight back to Singapore.
One of the most interesting ports of call was the Falklands Islands where we took an excursion to observe the penguins. The place was note-worthy as one has to brave 60kph winds on the open beaches where the penguins were nesting....the second was that the tenders ferrying the passengers from the cruise ship to land had to navigate very high waves of about 2 metres high and some tours could not depart from the ship.
Cape Horn was so calm that you wonder if the certificate they give you means anything important.
Still we did sail to the furtherst point south on the globe; that is if you exclude the Antartica.
Don't miss Iguassu Falls if you visit Argentina....the side from Argentina is truly spectacular.....I would rate it higher then Niagara Falls.
We both had a slight bout of altitude sickness during the time in Cusco but managed to tour Machu Pichhu without problems.
When we got back to Buenos Aires, we made a mistake of taking the subway or Subte that is very cheap like RM1 for any single journey in the system. The only problem is that the commuters do not know when a train is full.....they just pile in the bodies until you feel worse than a sardine! I wonder if anyone has been killed in the crush of bodies that occurs every rush hour.
Definitely plenty of scope for perverts! A woman dropped something and the crush was so bad she could not bend to pick it up.
So the news about Singapore's MRT problems seem pale by comparison.The Malaysian Insider has this feature Singapore MRT breakdowns douse Christmas cheer Given the high stresses caused by the high-speed trains, it is only natural that mechanical components will fail over time and it may be a question of simply replacing such components maybe after 15 years instead of 20 years. I am sure it is not an insurmountable problem with better means of analysis and improved materials.
In a sense, it is good that such failures do occur as it enables the public to learn more about such systems. I have just heard on ChannelNewsAsia that the China fast trains have a design flaw that caused the trains to crash.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

malaysiakini Reports Another HORROR Report from the Auditor-General.

Just when you think it's safe to drive on the highways comes this article in malaysiakini Senai-Desaru Highway fails road test.
Building a highway is not really rocket science and this report claims the depth constructed in some places is "not built according to specifications, with the lowest coring recorded at 72mm compared to the minimum 95mm,” .
What happens is that the highway cannot take the loading and soon the surface will become bumpy as the road sinks. This can cause accidents with subsequent loss of lives.
The consultant engineer who supervised the works should be reported to the Board of Engineers for allowing such shoddy construction that can endanger our lives.
The results show that the contractor tried to save costs by short-changing. I suggest the authorities should withhold 25% of the costs for a fund to repair the damaged sections.
Measuring the depth of the road is quite simple. How about the number of passes for compacting the different layers using the correct road construction equipment? If they cheat on materials, do you think they will not cheat on reducing the number of passes so that equipment hire costs can also be reduced?
The authorities are letting contractors get away with murder!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

malaysiakini and HUDUD Laws for Malaysia?

As the issue of hudud is again in the news, I suggest all Malaysians should ponder and reflect on how such Islamic laws can be applied for a secular nation like Malaysia.
malaysiakini describes how the PAS leader want to Discuss hudud issue with non-Muslims, PAS told.

My view on hudud is as follows:
A PR-led government can introduce hudud provided 70% of all Malaysians agree to it in a national referendum and hudud applies ONLY for Muslims AND
Muslims are allowed to change their religion FREELY with the present definition of Malay being changed so that a MALAY NEED NOT practice Islam; ie you can be a Malay without being a Muslim.

I propose this is a way forward for Malaysia. What do you think?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

EXCITED over Malaysia's 2012 Budget?

malaysiakini has a good article Salient points of Budget 2012 that summarises the main items in the budget.
No doubt the main papers and the TV channels will be full of praise for the budget proposals and a sense of euphoria will be generated.
To me it seems the BN regime has designed this budget without taking into account our future situation. Remember we had one minister declare that Malaysia is headed for BANKRUPTCY if there is no CHANGE in the government's direction?
The Budget seems to be more a populist one that engages mainly the civil servants who already consume the biggest portion of the RM232.8bil portion. Look at figure for the Budget overall costs.
It shows that for every RM1 collected, 78sen is the cost of administering the system. In other words, government is too heavy or inefficient. The years of easy oil money have resulted in a bloated administration that is surely leading us to a GREEK-type crisis and we do not have an EU-type organisation that will come to our aid.
If you analyse the balance sheets of most banks, you will find that the cost/profit ratios ranges from 40% to 60% but the Malaysian government operates at 78% and the figure is still rising.

How did we end up with such a situation? Based on what has been happening, maybe the chart should be renamed with "Management Costs" replaced with "Mismanagement Costs". You see the government has been employing unemployable graduates for many years as their concept of CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility.
If you look at the picture on the "Mismanagement Costs", the picture is equally startling.
Emoulements is 28.6%, Service & supplies 16.8%, Allotment & fixed costs 53% - these are the main cost centres.
I presume that emoulements is basically the costs of salaries and perks of existing government employees.
Service and supplies would include work that has been outsourced? Not to forget the contract for the PM's executive jets.
Allotment and fixed costs is particularly worrisome as it is a whopping 53%. I suppose it includes the costs of pensions and medical costs of retirees.

I am not at all inspired by the populist Budget as it shows the government is unable to cut costs and reign in spending.
It is definitely an Elections Budget and I believe the polls will be held during the December holidays shortly after the civil servants and the marginalised have been given their "sweets".
Instead of just announcing the way "sweets" will be distributed, the Budget Speech should include how government has tackled wastage in the past year, based on the Annual Horror Report or the Auditor-General's Annual Report. In fact, we should table the AG's Report 2 weeks before the Budget Speech so that MPs can debate the Horror Report and hopefully avoid the Horror Budget.

charts thanks to malaysiakini

Friday, September 16, 2011

malaysiakini and the REPEAL of the ISA and other Laws?

The Prime Minister's announcement of the repeal of the ISA during his Malaysia day speech must be welcomed by many Malaysians.
However a healthy dose of scepticism exists as seen in this malaysiakini article What about the many other oppressive laws?.
Many Malaysians do not trust their government anymore as even within the same speech, the PM mentions new detention laws that allows the detention of "terrorists".
In fact, the ISA was meant to detain terrorists but the government has conveniently abused the laws for many years.
One even wonders if the term "terrorist" will be defined as "anyone or any organisation that plans to undermine the BN or UMNO power".

For me the government lost its credibility when it backtracked over the implementation of the IPCMC as that showed the PDRM was capable of defying the findings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry. We also witnessed how the MACC were responsible for the death of Teoh Beng Hock and no doubt the RCI was used more for damage control even as another government official also died under suspicious circumstances.

So should we all cheer this time around? Let us see the details of the proposed laws and see how it compares with the old ISA.
Also let us examine the time frame. If the laws are repugnant, do away with them now and not as an election sweetener.
Surely even Najib cannot believe his electorate are that gullible?
And don't forget to clean up the Electoral Roll and the EC before you call for elections.

Only then will I realise that you have made a serious and sincere effort to reform Malaysia for our benefit.
Happy Malaysia Day!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

malaysiakini and Cheating in Elections....the Role of the EC?

This article shows that the Elections Commission or some of their staff could be involved in rigging the election rolls so that non-citizens can vote in the General Elections.
And now - voters with non-existent MyKad code
show that there has been a deliberate attempt to create voters who can change the outcome of the polls.
This is a serious crime as it means the rights of genuine citizens have been subverted.
We all know that politics is dirty business but we surely cannot allow the EC to be compromised as shown by these revelations.
The EC's response has been rather cavalier....they just remove these dubious voters and attribute it to technical errors!
I suggest a serious crime has been committed and we need a public inquiry as to how these names were authorised by the is possible there is a team of officials in the EC that has been bribed to register these unqualified voters.
A police report could be made but even there, we are not sure how willing is the police to investigate electoral fraud.
Do you trust the EC anymore?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

malaysiakini and the News on the Police Raiding a Church.

As you all know the next GE will be held soon and even our Bishop Paul Tan is urging Christians to hold the government accountable for what is seen as religious interference by the authorities.
Bishop Paul decries vilification of Christians

Apart from voting wisely, did you know that the entire voting process can be compromised? This means that your vote can be stolen from you through cheating in the ballot just coming out to vote is definitely not enough.
The case of PRs becoming citizens and then instant voters has been in the news but do you know other ways in which your vote becomes worthless?

Just casting your vote is not enough as the election process can be shanghaied via cheating during the voting process and even the SPR may be part of the scheme. All loyal Malaysians should try and volunteer to be a counting agent or a polling agent to prevent cheating at the polls. To find out more, go and visit the PKR/PAS/DAP office near your house and inquire about being a volunteer. You need not be a member....just be concerned that polling needs to be an exercise where cheating is reduced to a minimum. Even if you cannot be a volunteer on polling day, the knowledge you gain can make a difference.

Being a volunteer does not mean you support any political party but to ensure that the integrity of the ballot process is not compromised.
If every family provides just one adult volunteer, our freedom to vote will be safeguarded.
If you would like to learn more about being a volunteer, please contact me at haroldangus(at) and I will let the JPAG(Johor People's Action Group) know you would like to be contacted for future training sessions.

Allah help us all!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Shangaied in China! The Magical Midnight Tour by China Eastern Airlines.

My wife and I were returning to Malaysia from Canada and we were flying via China Eastern Airlines.
After arriving from Vancouver, we had a seven hour wait for the connecting flight at 23:55hrs. If you have been to Pudong International Airport, you will know that waiting here for more than 2 hours is punishment enough. The airport is spartan and lacks any shops of interest; although I must admit the architecture is quite attractive with high roofs and slanting supports.
But the interior decor and assortment of shops is really unappealing.
We managed to nap a few hours before we made for the departure gates at about 23:00hrs....something quite unusual as we are usually the last few passengers to get there.
We were there hardly 10 minutes when an official came down and started shouting "SINGAPORE!SINGAPORE! Go to hotel NOW". We were then herded up the stairs as the escalator was for only for going down. Not much fun having to climb 3 flights of steps with your hand luggage.
We then had to pass through immigration and then onto a waiting bus that was already 3/4 full of bewildered passengers and within minutes, we experienced a bumpy 20-minute ride to the hotel.
I believe the hotel had close business links to the airline. The rooms had already been allocated and all it took was a scramble to get to the reception counter where the girl took two passports and gave us a room key.
So we took the lift to the room on the 18th floor; our weary bodies looking forward to a restful night.
After checking out the room, which we found to be of reasonable standard, my wife took a shower while I rested on the bed. I was about to take my shower when the phone rang. I answered and the girl said; "Check out now!" So I asked her; "Now?" She replied; "Yes, go to airport."
We both laughed at the comical scenario; even though it was not so funny.
It took another 5 minutes to re-pack and head for the lifts. Two girls we met on the way were also half-amused; one of them had not even had time to dry her hair properly.
At the hotel reception, 4 girls were frantically working to exchange passports for hotel keys...I wonder how they handled any lost keys?
On the way out to the bus, I noticed a big stack of packaged food and I belive they would have been distributed to the rooms if we had stayed longer.
At the airport, we had to go through security and also fill up the immigration forms for departure.
The flight finally departed at about 0130hrs and we arrived in Singapore 2hours later than the original eta. The airline staff apologised profusely for the flight delay but the efforts they made to take care of us seemed misguided.
It would have been better if they had kept us at the airport longer and provided a hot meal instead of the hurried transfers to and from the hotel that caused some distress.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

malaysiakini and the Latest Astounding Tales from Malaysia...

I am taking a break during July as I will be travelling to Canada; from Vancouver right across to St. John's in Newfoundland to visit my daughter.
Things are looking ugly in Malaysia; with the police declaring the BERSIH rally illegal and wearing the yellow T-shirts too can result in an arbitrary arrest; according to the Home Minister.

This is what I wrote in malaysiakini's comments:
What utter rubbish from the Home Minister! I propose the BERSIH organisers should promote eating durian or nasi beriyani as a means to get members to join the rally. How about that? Eat durians and nasi beriyani to support the BERSIH movement!

On the 50% overspending on the National Service:
They have exceeded their budget by more than 50%. How does the government overspend like this without approval? That is why subsidies for the ordinary folks have been feed the BN cronies! This is why Malaysia is going bankrupt soon.

This is the best article from m'kini on the enormous budgets to operate the PM and DPM residences. Looks like the era of emperors is not over!

RM160k a month for electricity bills? Wow! they definitely need to change their life-styles! The basic problem is the design of the buildings which is probably fully air-conditioned - those reception halls must be major electricity guzzlers....better if they designed open-air halls with proper ventilation and high roofs properly insulated to entertain their guests.....with nice shady trees, there is really no need for air-conds. I also suggest the PM and DPM should be granted maybe RM5000 and RM3000 electricity allowances pm. If they exceed the budget, they should pay their own way.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

malaysiakini on the BERSIH Crackdown

Malaysia must be the only nation in the world that considers the use of anti-terrorism laws like the ISA to clamp down on citizens who want to march in a peaceful assembly to demand free and fair elections.
According to the malaysiakini report Bersih crackdown: 59 PSM members arrested even sitting in a bus en route to KL, where the march will be held on 9th July, can result in a police arrest.
When ordinary citizens resort to street protests, it shows serious problems of credibility for any government but when the authorities clamp down hard on any peaceful assembly, it shows that the government cares little for the common man.

The basic problem with BN government is that their main agenda is POLITICS and not really providing a good and just government.
Everything is “politicised” and crony dealing is the main exercise plus trying to destabilise the opposition states.
No one is focussing on affairs of state but sex affairs.
That is why Malaysians NEED to change this government…it is not that PR does not have problems but anyone EXCEPT BN will be better for Malaysia.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Excellent Service from the Canadian High Commission in Singapore!

My wife and I are visiting our daughter Karen in Canada and so need a Visitor's Pass to enter the country.
According to their Singapore web-site, the normal time needed for the pass is 6 working days.
We went there early on a Monday and were told that the visas could be processed and the passports only returned on the following Monday and that created a problem for us as we had planned to travel to Phuket on Saturday.
If you have not applied for a Canadian visa before, it's best to apply earlier rather than later. The form is a smart form that generates a bar-code that is read by a special machine so I guess your form is processed quickly without human intervention unless there is a "red flag" in your answer.
This is our 4th trip to Canada and so I guess that together with our age places us in a low-risk category.
Our wife told the lady of our travel plans and after some hesitation, she told us she would return our passports on Friday, and we were supposed to return them on our return from our 5-day Phuket trip for further processing on Thursday.
When I collected the passports on Friday, the visas had been approved!
I guess the lady was used to seeing many faces with looks of surprise and joy.
What a pleasant way to start a holiday to Canada.
My only grouse about the Visitor's pass application is that the processing takes place each time you visit. I suggest the USA 10-year visa system is less of a hassle and Canada can cut a lot of admin costs if they too follow the 10-year plan. Having such a visa also does not guarantee entry but subject to approval when you enter.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

malaysiakini and Travel Problems on Both Sides of the Singapore Causeway.....

The Malaysian CIQ in Johor Baru has been in the news lately; all for the wrong reasons.....not only are foreign visitors subject to hours-long queues with the new biometric scan system but 2 women were even arrested.
You can read about their ordeal in malaysiakini's Immigration forced S'pore duo to do 'nude squats'".
Before the multi-billion ringgit CIQ was completed, such an incident would not have happened as the Immigration officer also collected the toll. Nowadays, we have an automatic gantry that is activated by your Touch n Go card.
I guess what happened to the 2 women was that the immigration booth was unmanned and the green light was on with no physical closure of the lane with the usual red plastic cone.
This incident would not have occurred if the toll gantry required an input from the immigration officer that the passports have been processed. It would not have cost more than RM50 for such a control mechanism to have been planned into the system. It would have consisted of a touch switch that activated the toll collection system.
This single incident plus the tens of thousands of man-hours in queues would have negated all the hard work done to attract tourists and investments into Johor.
This biometric scanning system seems to be poorly conceived and badly implemented; especially for the Johor-Singapore crossings.
The travel problems in Singapore pale in comparison but nonetheless needs some airing.
I took my wife's car to a car wash and took out the cash card as a precaution. Of course I forgot to put it back after the job was done. Bad mistake.....I drove past the ERP gantry and got a long beep that told me I had entered the CBD without paying the toll of $1.50. My wife told me the fine was $8.00 which is more than 5 times the actual fee. ERPs are supposed to manage traffic flow but the fine is really rather high. A more acceptable rate is to fine the driver two or three times the fee.
After all the system is computerised and not paying a $0.50 toll is different from failing to pay a $2.00 toll. So different penalties would be fairer.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

malaysiakini and latest on TNB tariff hikes.....

Electricity rates have been increased so this is a good time to study why we are in this situation.
For me, the government has become too big to benefit anyone except its employees. At the last count it seems we have maybe 40% surplus civil servants as we have already spent billions in ICT without the corresponding drop in manpower. Everyone knows the BN has been giving jobs to unemployable graduates who get a one year's paid internship for on the job training and also acquiring soft skills.
That is why the federal budget cannot be managed as salaries and other benefits eat up a major portion of revenue.
But this article is about the TNB rate hikes....
TNB used to be an efficient statutory board until it became public and had to dance with IPPs that now burden it, like a mill-stone around its neck. The way IPPs were introduced could be construed as a major conspiracy to defraud Malaysians as they were given a golden hand-shake when they started....maybe a golden hand-cuff is more appopriate as the government claims the IPP agreements are protected under the OSA.
Maybe the major power shortages that saw the birth of IPPs was planned on purpose by the EPU?

According to an interview given by the Chairman of TNB who "was put out to pasture", TNB had to agree to all EPU demands.

Since our gas is about 35% cheaper (RM13.70 to RM18.23) than Thailand's, the only reasons why TNB has to charge more are:

1.It cannot generate the units to optimum capacity and
2.It must pay the IPPs a price way above their operating costs.
This is a sure way to generate expensive units when the nation has 50% plus reserve; with TNB having to restrict production when it has the highest overheads.

TNB has been bleeding while the IPPs are laughing all the way to the banks!
Just imagine TNB can produce at 8sen per kWhr but has to purchase at 14sen per kWhr -that is a cost increase of 75%.
Also according to an earlier article, we have a reserve capacity of ~50% with TNB generating only 40% as it has to buy everything the IPPs supplies.
It would be interesting to discover what are the production costs of the individual IPPs and whether any have been able to become more efficient.
The EPU imposing the 14sen rate when an IPP could offer 12sen could be considered a serious anti-competition measure and deserves a proper investigation.

The entire IPP power-sharing should be renegotiated-with TNB declaring how much supply it will buy on the open market and IPPs making their bids. TNB can then purchase units at its own cost plus maybe a margin of 10% of 50% of IPP capacity. If IPPs want to offer more they can offer at TNB cost plus x% margin. This creates more competition among IPPs.

Since the government claims it cannot disclose the IPP agreements as it is not a party, for me the only resort is to VOTE out the BN and lift the veil of the OSA secrecy that it itself imposed on the agreements.
We should also have a public inquiry on the sacking of the TNB Chairman at the time IPPs were sponsored by the government.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

malaysiakini on PEMANDU and cutting Subsidies....You Forgot the BLOATED Civil Service!

I believe in a free market in general and so I believe any government program on control and subsidies will result in distortions and an inefficient market.
We spend so much energy on trying to control prices and sometimes the cost of such control is too we have a special group like PEMANDU to propose ways on how to improve government performance.
Yes, they have proposed how the petrol price of RON95 should be increased so we can cut may RM20bil of the cost of this subsidy program.
But we all know that the civil service is also too large and I would guess by 40% overstaffing and the cost per year to taxpayers would certainly be more than RM1bil if we reduce the numbers by 100,000. So where is PEMANDU'S graph to reduce the numbers in the civil service? We have spent billions in ICT but instead of the numbers reducing, they somehow grow by leaps and bounds.

Friday, April 29, 2011

malaysiakini's Latest Article on Highway Robbery...An Overview

(please click on diagram to enlarge)
The spreadsheet is based on figure given in the malaysiakini article and if you compare some of the highway deals, there appears to be some discrepancies that can be investigated further.
If you look at the right most column, you will find that the construction costs vary quite a bit from the very expensive Penang Bridge (~RM70mil/km) to the reasonable (RM7.7mil/km) for the NSH. The NSH is an exception as the project was done over a long period like about 10 years but if you consider the other 2 highlighted projects - Grand Saga and LDP, the costs are relatively high-more than 3 times higher than the Karak Highway that was built during the same period.
Since the toll agreements are now available to the public at the PWD, I suggest someone from malaysiakini ashould get the full details of the highways; especially those that have received significant compensation from the government.
I find it absurd that for some toll companies,after receiving almost 60% back of the construction costs they still have 22 years to collect tolls.
The other major assistance to the toll companies is that the government extended the concession period for major improvements to Penang Bridge and also the NSH. Making improvements should have been part and parcel of the company's duties and the government should have included a KPI like average speed of tolled road 60kph.
If you look at the details of the Penang Bridge, the tolls should have stopped in 2009(according to Wikipedia) but because of the extra lane built later, they are still collecting tolls.
Don't you think this is highway robbery?

Friday, April 15, 2011

A WARNING for Parents! Don't Let This Happen to Your Son or Daughter....

This a another tragedy that could have been prevented.
The 3 trainee nurses were killed in a dawn accident in a car driven by the 22-year old driver who must have made an error in judgement. Tragically she was killed in the accident and so were two other passengers.
My warning to parents is please make sure you supervise your child's driving ability after passing the driving test before you allow them to drive independently.
I suggest the driving test should also include an overtaking exercise on a single-lane road. It seems that the accident occurred at a place where the road had an unbroken line - not an ideal place to overtake.
Also cars with auto-transmission are slower to respond to accelerating as compared to a car with manual gear where you can engage a lower gear quickly.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Instead of DESPERATE Moves like 15% tax for Returning Citizens, Better Schools would Help

This article shows why the Talent Corp has an impossible task to achieve.
Land for La Salle school seems to indicate that the government has been very generous to provide 1.3ha of land to build the school.
Now if you read the article, you will note that an existing school of 2000 pupils is being relocated from Brickfields to Sri Petaling.
I would guess that the land value in Brickfields is probably twice that in Sri Petaling and the Brickfields land area is probably larger than the land for the new school.
To cut a long article short, the company that is taking over the Brickfields site should pay for the construction of the new school and not burden the parents more as most are already paying taxes.
Can do for 1Malaysia?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sarawak State Elections....The PM and his Cabinet Have Abused their Official Positions

Okay, the state elections are important for BN but that does not give the PM and his Ministers the right to go electioneering as they hold important posts in government.
In the meantime, even the weekly Cabinet meetings have been cancelled or maybe that really is not so important; more like just an excuse to have coffee and snacks.
Unfortunately the Elections Commission has become like the 3 monkeys of "see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil".
You can read the malaysiakini article Najib saving Taib or seeking his ouster?
For me, I hope Sarawakians will decide that both leaders are not good for Malaysia in general and Sarawak in particular.
When they vote for a change in government, they will "kill 2 birds with 1 stone".

photo:thanks to

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Do We NEED Elections before this Problem is SOLVED?

We know the PM is busy these days trying to shore up a crumbling regime in Sarawak.
That's why he feels justified to spend 6 days campaigning in the buy elections.
The whole Cabinet is over in Sarawak and nobody is taking care of more mundane issues.
Like the case of young Malaysians who are being denied the basic right of education as in the article Future looks bleak for eight pupils.
Why are young children being marginalised through no fault of their own? In the case of the orphans the Welfare Department should have taken steps to ensure they obtained the birth certificates.
There have been cases before where the kids were not able to attend school and when they grow up and cannot find jobs, they may become gangsters or prostitutes to survive.
Is this what we can expect under 1Malaysia?

photo: thanks to the Star.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Another Death in MACC Custody....A fatal combination of Negligence and Incompetence?

I suggest the guidelines provided by the IPCMC could be applied to the MACC so that all Malaysians will know there is a properly established commission to discipline errant officers.
This latest incident, even if there is no concrete evidence that the Customs guy was murdered or committed suicide, shows that the MACC is negligent or incompetent or both as after the TBH killing, the new HQ should have a functioning CCTV system to cover entry points, corridors, interview rooms, lifts and stairwells.
It is astonishing that it seems these basic security equipment is lacking or not working or switched off.
Everyone watching porn videos during official duties?
malaysiakini's story 'MACC hasn't learnt its lesson'indicates that many feel the MACC is responsible again as in the case of Teoh Beng Hock.
It is possible that members of the powerful syndicate responsible for the loss of billions in underdeclared imports wanted to silence this Customs officer as he could have revealed more details of their operations.
The MACC comes under the PM's Department - I suggest it should directly to Parliament to have a more effective supervision and control.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Nuclear Power Plants....Malaysia can Be One STEP Ahead of Germany.....

Germany is recognised as one nation that is recognised for its advanced technology with products ranging from the famous BMW cars to advanced medical equipment.
But it seems the Germans now realise they have made a mistake with one technology as seen in this report.
For a nation that uses 25% nuclear power to plan a ZERO nuclear policy is a major turnaround.
Malaysia at the moment has ZERO nuclear stations and we should impress upon our top leaders that we do not want a nuclear power plant in Malaysia.
If we are really against nuclear power for Malaysia, we should be prepared to vote against any leaders who want such a dangerous technology for our beloved country.
Malaysia is relatively free from most natural disasters - surely we are not foolish enough to impose a life-time (allbeit shortened)of radiation for our future generations?
Please register to vote out this unnecessary EVIL from your lives.

photo:thanks to

Saturday, March 19, 2011

BEWARE MUDAH Users! Someone out there want$ YOUR $$$$....

I was clearing out my old house and had some furniture to sell.
So I advertised on Mudah as the adverts are free.
Soon after, someone sent me an email and offered a slight premium on the asking price and also asked me to remove the advert.
I said no and informed him the advert stays until I got paid.
Then he asked me to open a PayPal account and said it was very simple and even gave me the URL in his email.
My first mistake was to use that email link to sign up for PayPal. Now when you sign up for PayPal there is a section where they also ask you to confirm your account by input of credit card details etc. I tried to input that but somehow the transaction failed but the PayPal account was opened. I called up the KL helpline to confirm.
The next email I got was surprising. The buyer said he had paid RM2700 into my Paypal of which RM2200 was for shipping charges and the balance was for the furniture.
I was asked to send RM2200 via Western Union to a guy in London before PayPal would release the balance to me.
So I told him I had never agreed to such an arrangement and refused. He came back and told a sad story that he was a marine engineer somewhere and had no access to banks but his email account.
I still refused and then I received a demand notice supposedly from PayPal demanding the payment or "legal action" would be taken.
I called up PayPal in KL but they confirmed that no payments had been received.
I then forwarded the demand emails to PayPay and they have confirmed it was an attempt at phishing when some tries to steal your identity like credit card details.
In my case I think they also tried to cheat me by paying in advance to gain a future reward.
It is similar to the Nigerian letters where they say you have been named as a beneficiary to X millions and once you get interested, they ask you to forward a few thousand upfront to pay some costs.
That old saying is so true:
"A fool and his money are soon parted".

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Season of MADNESS in 1Malaysia?

Even as we are still horrified by the recent earthquakes and tsunami in Japan, we can categorise the death and destruction happening in the world as belonging into 2 different types - natural disasters and man-made.
For example, the killings in the Middle East and Libya, in particular are man-made; caused by conflict between national elites and their peoples.

Even as workers are dying in Japan after trying to prevent the plants from deteriorating and causing major radioactive fall-out, some Malaysian leaders are still adamant about the two nuclear plants proposed for Malaysia.

In the past week, we have had really idiotic remarks from even Ministers on two issues:
1.the Bibles that are printed in Bahasa
2.the insistence on going ahead with nuclear power

On the Bible issue, they have released the Bibles but with certain conditions and I am glad that the Catholic Bishop Paul Tan has compared the conditions as reminiscent of "Communist rule"

How did we ever accept such laws that enable Islamic leaders in Malaysia to decide that words like "Allah" cannot be used by other faiths that had been using them before? Such a law is evil and contrary to the 1Malaysia spirit that the PM is promoting.

Equally alarming is the adamant stance of the DPM that Malaysia is going ahead to install nuclear power stations.
There's a saying "Those whom the Gods seek to destroy, they first make mad".
Looks like the season of madness is upon Malaysia. I daresay these two important issues may tip the balance against the BN in Sarawak and the next GE.
Let us all pray to ALLAH for such a blessing.

photo: thanks to malaysiakini

Say No to Nuclear Power!

I wrote this in July 2006 against nuclear power in Malaysia.
Please check if you can relate to some of the points.
If the DPM is so insistent on this technology, I suggest he should follow the other Minister Peter Chin on a one-month study tour to the stricken nuclear plant in Japan. It is a fantastic opportunity to learn how to cope with problems related to nuclear power.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

JB's RM2bil CIQ - a Good Example of LOUSY DESIGN!

For some obscure reason, half of the road to the main entrance of JB's CIQ near City Square has been blocked off for about 2 months.(Photo is taken from the entrance and you can see the buses queuing along the main road, causing congestion)
There are usually 2 cops under the canopy here but they just stand around and chit-chat.

This is the main walkway from under the main entrance to where bus passengers alight from and board buses. Notice the width is about just a meter wide for a very busy passage. The passage also slopes about 600cm downwards so the the concrete benches after the slope is below the platform. All this ensures that anyone sitting on the benches cannot see a bus approaching until it is just 20meters away. It's simply CHAOS!

Where bus passengers wait for buses and also alight to enter the CIQ complex. Notice where the safety railing ends, the platform space is about 15cm which means only one person can pass at a time. If you are pulling luggage you cannot clear this point and have to shift it sideways. Not only that but the bus gets too close and this is a serious safety concern. Any runaway bus can kill the people sitting on the benches as there is no safety barrier.
According to the signage just before the entrance, the place where the passengers alight is the Emergency Lane and the proper place is supposed to be under the porch that is now blocked off.

A dedicated traffic warden here can help control bus movement. At present, a bus will stop whatever suits the driver's fancy and so there could be empty bays in the front section and the passengers are allowed to get down even 50meters from the entrance. I would enforce more traffic discipline and allow passengers to alight only in the dedicated space.

Overall the new CIQ is not a happy experience for bus passengers.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

malaysiakini and the Mystery of the RM10mil Walkway....

malaysiakini has this story We can build walkway cheaper, says KL mayor in which the latter justifies the decision based on cost comparisons with HongKong and Singapore, two cities that have a higher standard of living.
Here are some details gleaned from the article:
1. The walkway length is 152 meters long but it is not certain if this includes the 10meter mentioned later in the article. It seems that an extra 10meters was added after the project was awarded.

The malaysiakini article quotes:
"Answering to why the initial cost of the project (which was RM7.5 million) and now amounts to RM9.5 million, Ahmad Fuad said an extra 10 metre walkway was added between the two links."

This creates an even bigger mystery.
So the original walkway was 152 meters and cost RM7.5m and they agreed to buy another 10meters for an additional RM2m.
What kind of tender committee makes this type of decision?
Also it is mentioned that there were seven contractors. As there is such a major price difference based on the variation order of RM2mil, were all the contractors offered the same chance to bid for the extra works?

Looks like we got suckered again!

photo: thanks to malaysiakini

Friday, February 11, 2011

Update on Johor Baru's RM1.3bil CIQ (a WIP)

It is almost 2 years since the RM1.3bil CIQ was opened but sadly there are still major teething problems for this rushed job.
If you remember correctly, this was the major project announced just before TDM retired as the Prime Minister. As with many mega-projects, this one did not have an open tender to establish competitive prices.
So how does the new CIQ compare with the old one that was demolished? To me, the only benefit for motorists is that you don't need to drive through the city centre, thereby easing the city's congestion. However for most business owners that is bad news and some owners have had to close shop.
As far as driving through the new CIQ is concerned, it all depends on how many immigration booths are operating and if insufficient stations are open, the queue backs up and can be quite bad. I wonder what are the performance standards set for the CIQ?
Like traffic should not back up more than 300meters?
Even as the CIQ was opened two years back, there was an announcement that a multi-million ringgit project variation was being planned; in order to eliminate the long and winding road that was put in.
As the picture shows, this so-called improvement does not help much, especially for buses that have to share 2 lanes with cars.The blocked section on the right is for lorries and buses have to move about 250 meters further up before a special bus lane begins.

This new road has made about 5km of brand new carriageway redundant and one can see the old approach for cars of the new complex being dug up.

Barely used for two years, this is surely the result of poor planning and the rush to complete the project after Singapore refused to allow the bridge construction.

This used to be the first approach of cars to the brand new CIQ but it was at the end of a long and winding stretched that snaked from the old CIQ about 1.5km to the new CIQ complex that is on top of Bukit Chagar.The winding section is no longer in used and hence the removal of the redundant section. No doubt the rubble can be used for land-fill but it is a very expensive method to execute projects. So far they have not published the final cost for the CIQ project and a cost over-run of 20% or RM260mil will not be surprising as all the construction equipment is still on site and nebulous variation orders are being carried out.

What are facilities like for pedestrians?

(photo:thanks to
Sadly the designers for the CIQ never took the needs of pedestrians into account. I guess none of them used public transport anyway to understand the difficulties for bus passengers. I estimate that a pedestrian from Singapore walks 800meters after alighting from a bus to City Square whereas a person who starts from JB walks about 1200m from the drop-off point opposite City Square to the point where one can queue for the bus.

The next photo, taken from a bus that drops passengers at the CIQ, shows that the road here is always congested with many buses that stop here.
One problem is that many cars also head to this part of town, with cars going to the JB Central car park on the left and City Square on the right. Of course many buses also simply wait by the road-side to wait for passengers.

There are usually 2 policemen on duty under the porch area but they are more for security than traffic control. The JPJ patrol this area frequently mainly to scare off errant bus drivers and motorists rather then issue tickets on a consistent basis.
Just like the JPJ enforcement, a pedestrian can never be sure of how his or her journey is going to be affected by the constant changing of bus stops and whether one has to lug luggage just down the CIQ or another 400meters to the old Railway Station where there is another designated bus stop.
If you study the photo on the left, the buses are dropping off passengers under the covered area and the signage is correct - bus stop on the left side under the flat roofed area while the right side is for Emergencies(in Red)
Never mind that they have built concrete benches for easy access on the right side of the covered area!

Then about 2 weeks ago, they dug up a section of the new road where the buses are supposed to travel and also blocked off the entrance so that now the entire entrance to the CIQ is blocked by buses stopping on the main road. Of course this makes the traffic chaos between City Square and the CIQ even worse.

This photo on the left, taken from under the porch of the new CIQ shows buses blocking the entrances to the JB Central car park and the CIQ.

The bus stop at the Railway Station is about 300meters from the CIQ and the curious thing is that buses don't stop at the bus stop properly but stop just under the pedestrian bridge and so passengers may have to rush for buses.
Of course some bus drivers also don't bother to stop and simply ignore the passenger's frantic waving.
Be warned though that there is ZERO information at the bus stop - no indication of bus numbers and no route information for the various buses. But bus drivers are usually helpful and will tell you if you are on the wrong bus and sometimes they will advise which number you should catch.
After spending RM2bil on such a mega-project, one would have expected a world-class CIQ but this project really sucks. It was dubbed the "crooked bridge" project but maybe we should rename it the "crooked CIQ" project.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

malaysiakini and how to Spend RM1billion on an OPV or LCS?

A picture paints a thousand words.
Please feel free to amend the numbers and work out how much you would accept as overcharging?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Poor Design of Johor Baru's Multi-Million Ringgit Office...

I went to the city's offices to pay assessment today and had a closer look at the new extension that was completed about a year ago.
I would guess the cost of this building at maybe RM20mil and you will see from the photo that the original size of the MBJB's Office is about more than doubled the original size.
The new office to pay bills is well-staffed but I don't understand why they need two guys to tell you which counter to go to and also tell you which queue button to press for the ticket to wait your turn. Definitely one of them is redundant!
In fact if they had proper signs, the queue ticket machine should be at the counter where you get your bill printed and I am sure 95% of us will get it right.
On my way back to the car, I noticed 2 examples of poor design for such a new building.

Near a small flight of steps between the old and new building was this unsightly grey PVC pipe to drain water directly onto the steps. Maybe they want you to wash your feet or shoes before you step into the premises?

Of course MBJB has the usual boast about service etc and ISO Certification.
I guess neither the Datuk Bandar nor the architect used a wheel-chair to evaluate the access to the new block. In fact the old building has a better access for the wheel-chair bound.

If you study the photos carefully, there is a ramp provided - in fact they built the ramp twice going by the different colours.
The white stripe represents the curb between the car-parking level and the office apron level, a height difference of about 100mm or 4 inches. Do you think a person in a wheel-chair can get to the ramp?
As I drove around the building, I noticed that they had incorporated a multi-level car park in the building for MBJB staff. WOW! that must be the ultimate luxury. Next visit I will check out the car park that must have cost rate-payers a few million.
Such an extravagent project that benefits only a few citizens. Now if only they improved public transport in the city, those staff could have parked in a cheap car park within 5km and taken a bus to work.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Helping FLOOD Victims in Johor.....

I went on a mission today to deliver some food supplies to a few Orang Asli villages in the Endau Rompin area. We were a small party, my brother James and other member of the Ara Bumi group, an NGO of Majodi that assists the Orang Asli.
We left at about 7:30am from JB and headed north on the PLUS Highway until we reached the Kluang exit.
We then drove along Route50 the main trunk road that leads to Mersing. The low-lying areas along both sides of the road had water on both sides and in some areas near the river it looked like a huge lake.

About a kilometer before Kahang we got stuck in a traffic jam for 500 metres. The low section in the road was under water about knee high and to make matters worse, a lorry with heavy equipment had broken down thereby blocking one half of the road at the flooded section. Luckily there was a policeman on duty and he took care of motorists patiently and with a smile. Well done!

We stopped in Kahang to re-fuel and then continued towards the Orang Asli villages.
The first place Kampong Sg.Tuba was not accessible and the road was flooded soon after turning off the trunk road - maybe 200 metres before the water reached knee height and we could not contact the villagers to come and collect their rations.
So we got back on the trunk road and we could now see vast tracts of low-lying area on both sides of the road that looked like huge lakes. A few isolated home were also half-submerged in the flood.
About 5km after Kahang, the road was closed and we had to leave the Ford Ranger to continue by boat. Luckily my brother had managed to contact the Orang Asli headman and he organised the boat transport. We took the boat for about 1km to another section where a car was waiting and were driven maybe 5km closer to the village. We then took another boat to the village where the goods had been delivered to inform them how the rations were to be divided.

The Orang Asli are a happy people but maybe their lives have become more complicated as some of their lands, the Endau Rompin forests have been cleared to make way for oil palms. Some plantation owners even prohibit them frm entering the cleared lands and thus their traditions are definitely being stifled. The children really seemed to enjoy playing in the water and it seemed like an opportunity for them to learn how to swim or boat.

When it was time to leave, our only worry was that the water level was rising and we were afraid the place where we had parked the Ford Ranger might be submerged but luckily the area there was wide and the water had risen by maybe 4inches.
The ride back was bumpy as the load had been unloaded and apart from water-sodden shoes, everything was fine.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Solution is NOT the Peace Corps but REVAMPING the MINISTRY of EDUCATION

Did you read about the DPM's visit to the USA where he's going to ask Clinton to send the Peace Corps to Malaysia again?
The news only reflects the pathetic state of affairs in Malaysia's education system.
For the younger readers, the Peace Corps operated in Malaysia until the early 70s and that was the time that Malaysia made the switch to using Bahasa Malaysia as the medium of instruction in the national schools.
Nowadays the Peace Corps operates only in places where education facilities are lacking; mostly in third world countries.
I hope Clinton will tell MY he should leave the Education Ministry to more capable people.
Remember how TDM decided just months before he retired that English was going to given more importance and switched back to teaching Maths and Science in the English language?
After about 5 years of struggling with the policy switch, the government has has decided that it will switch back again even though the students and teachers are beginning to see benefits.
It seems the problems with education in Malaysia lie not with the teachers and the pupils but with the Ministry of Education.
I suggest the following measures are important and will help Malaysia more than depending on the Peace Corps.
1.Remove all political elements in education policies.
2.Ensure teachers are properly trained in English and highly motivated.
3.Encourage more male teachers (the male/female ratio should be at least 35/65)
4.Fix the maximum number of pupils in a primary class to 30 or less.

During the 5 years since the Flip-flop, it would be interesting to discover the number of English-trained teachers who have graduated. By right, these teachers should be the vanguard of the move to move education forward in Malaysia.
What about the Peace Corps? NAH I don't think it will work as most of them will be sick of the rotten society Malaysia has become.
They will probably get into trouble with the authorities as they will also try to change society with some revolutionary ideas - and not just on teaching.

Friday, January 7, 2011

So the PM Calls for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to Nullify Teoh's DEATH?

I wrote this in Lim Kit Siang's blog yesterday:

"#10 by HJ Angus on Thursday, 6 January 2011 - 10:02 pm

For those who think an RCI is going to uncover the cause of TBH’s death, I am sorry to tell you the RCI will not have a satisfactory conclusion.
If you look at the way the investigations were done both by MACC and the PDRM, there are so many indications of a cover-up at high levels.
It seems there was a grand design to prolong the inquest so that the trail becomes cold and vital clues obliterated.
So we can have a RCI and the AG will probably charge some minion with causing hurt or even torture. He goes to jail and is properly compensated but the corruption in the system prevails.
To me an RCI at this late stage is meaningless unless we get PR voted into Putrajaya and they make it one of the items to be executed.
It is imperative that any wrong-doing by anyone in uniform who has power of life and death must be vigorously exposed and punished."

In today's malaysiakini article PM: RCI will not probe cause of death it suggests that the killer/s of Teoh Beng Hock are being given a FREE ticket as the PM only wants to "probe whether Teoh Beng Hock's human rights were violated when he was grilled by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC)."

Why does the PM want to limit the scope of the commission? The essential and crying need for this commission is to determine whether the MACC caused the death of Teoh; either by actually throwing him out of the window or if they held him outside to terrify him and he slipped from their grasp. Maybe they even allowed a third party to do their dirty work.

This BN regime has lost all moral authority to govern and should be kicked out in the next GE.

Some folks will still vote for them but in Teoh's case as in the cases of Kugan and the Malay teenager, the next victim could well be your son or daughter.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

That OPEN VERDICT on the Teoh Beng Hock Inquest......

After spending hundreds of man-hours on court proceedings and millions of ringgit of taxpayers monies, it is appalling that the best the coroner can return is an "open verdict" for Teoh Beng Hock's death.
Even the manner in which the verdict has been delivered seems to be like the score in a football match as if the opposing evidence cancels each other out and so the decision is a draw.

"It's not suicide and it's not homicide" says the article from the Star but in between a young man has died by reasons unknown.

I would have expected a more positive result with some indication of probable cause. It appears the court is trying hard not to point fingers. It also shows the frightenening lack of protection of people who have to visit government offices.