Sunday, November 30, 2008

malaysiakini and the TERROR ATTACK in INDIA

The terror attack in India is a major tragedy for all peace-loving nations but the Indian government has shown what it is to be a responsible authority.
According to this malaysiakini article Indian home minister quits over terror attack .
In Malaysia we have had so many scandals over faulty contruction, project failures and abuse of the ISA and thus far no minister has quit as a matter of honour or to preserve the Prime Minister's integrity as with so many scandals, the entire Cabinet becomes tarnished over time.
In fact we can even re-cycle leaders with major flaws.
BTW if you have not taken the green poll on the left, please take a minute and do so.

malaysiakini and IMMUNITY for the ROYALTY

At one time many years ago, the exploits of the royalty were not so royal and many were able to get away with misdeeds that need no repeating.
TDM made an important change to the laws and today only the Sultans and the Agong cannot be sued or charged.
In a constitutional monarchy, where members of the royalty do mix with ordinary citizens to socialise and do business it is important for a uniform set of rules to apply or there can be chaos.
I am sure you would have read that members of the royal family are fined regularly for speeding.
So this article in malaysiakini is a little surprising Pakatan willing to 'return royal immunity' .
Unlike the UK where there is only one royal family, we have many different royal families.
I think the present law is appropriate. No Ruler should be charged in connection with the discharge of his official duties.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

malaysiakini on Malaysia's ECONOMIC PROSPECTS....

Six months ago, no one would have predicted that important companies like Lehman Brothers(now defunct) and CitiBank would have been so adversely impacted by the sub-prime problems that has seen roughly 40% of value wiped out from equity markets.
Even today, CitiBank is negotiating with the authorities for more support.
So most Malaysians may be puzzled by the repeated pronouncements from Bank Negara that Malaysia will be only slightly affected as described in this malaysiakini article that Malaysia to escape recession: Bank Negara.
We know that Malaysia is a major exporter of goods like oil, palm oil and manufactured goods especially in electronic components and electrical goods. We know that oil and palm oil prices are depressed and in Penang they predict that Unemployment rates to soar after March.
If thousands are laid off, how can consumer demand be strong? Some folks may not even have enough to feed their families.
Unfortunatey in our Parliament we still have MPs who behave in an uncouth fashion instead of asking our Finance Minister some important questions.

Friday, November 28, 2008


The Malaysian government behaves as if it has a Treasury that is unlimited and even the global financial crisis sees it in a extravagent mood.
Firstly, according to this malaysiakini article, those over-generous IPP concessions that cost RM8 bil in excess capacity.
Now we have reserve capacity of 40% instead of a more reasonable 20 to 25% and TNB has to pay the IPPs. If IPPs install capacity in excess of their allowance, they should not be compensated and perhaps MPs should demand the IPP agreements be disclosed for a public debate.
The other aspect of government excesses as described in this NST article is that now more than 40,000 civil servants are being given the option to receive their pension .
I wonder if this is the result of the poor response to reduced EPF deductions to encourage more consumer spending?
If 40,000 people do not have to put away say RM100 monthly EPF on average, that means RM4000000 monthly will boost spending.
Of course taxpayers will bear the brunt of this generosity in the long term as already our cost of civil servants is spiralling with no sight of any control.
Just to compare with Singapore, top civil servants have to take a pay cut of about 15% next year.
In Malaysia, the problem is worsened with high pension costs and escalating medical claims. So far there are no studies done on derivative pensions caused by multiple families that can span more than 50 years.
For medical bills, I suggest all retirees be entitled to just 2 categories - third class and second class for officers. Civil servants should be encouraged to buy health insurance if they want better benefits.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

malaysiakini on MPs' ERRANT WAYS

I wonder when will our Speaker and Deputy Speaker learn to rein in MPs of both sides so that we have develop a better Parliament?
Opposition MPs are usually dealt with swiftly but when it comes to BN recalcitrant MPs, the Parliamentary Speakers just act dumb.
Is the pay and perks so lucrative they are afraid to act as a fair referee?
This malaysiakini article on MP reveals Tajuddin's 'sexual innuendos'

Meanwhile the numbers given by another Minister appears to warrant further explanation and maybe it is another case like Nazri's where the Minister is not giving the full story.
According to the NST (yesterday), they used RM9.7m for trips abroad and the table shown was derived from the numbers given yesterday but in the latest article, some numbers are missing.
If you analyse the numbers, I wonder where did the 503 officers go for their training as the amount spent per trip is just too low - maybe they attended an overnight trip to Thailand?

malaysiakini and the CONFUSING STATE of FATWAS....

Most people will understand that mixing politics and religion will create a heady cocktail and the recent furore over the practice of yoga by Muslims is a case in point.
First we have the National Fatwa Council(NFC) coming out with the proclamation that yoga is haram for Muslims.
Fortunately many Muslims in Malaysia can think clearly and this letter in malaysiakini shows that critical thinking is not lacking in Malaysia.
Fatwa must not result in confusion, injustice strongly suggests that fatwas are "to enlighten and educate the public so Muslims can arrange their affairs in accordance with Islamic teachings".

The letter also suggests that "a voluntary and optional concept throughout the history of Islam and in the current practice of other Muslim countries has been turned into an instrument of law and coercion in Malaysia".

In other words, it seems fatwas can be used in Malaysia as a form of oppression and easily manipulated for political reasons. It also makes it easier for men to control women for men have more authority in such bodies.

If Muslims are confused, the rest of the population must be wondering why they pay taxes to support such a confusing state of affairs. In other words, such unnecessary and unjustifiable expenses on enforcement would be better spent on better education and recovery programs like single mothers etc.

For a start, the NFC should not have issued such a proclamation unless it had already been approved by the Council of Rulers. Only then do we accord the Rulers with due respect as the protector of the religion.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

malaysiakini and the PALM OIL Barons

This malaysiakini article Palm oil farmers hit hard by price decline and the report in the Star should be read before we can evaluate the problems in the palm oil industry.
In the malaysiakini article, it is reported that farmers prefer to let the ripe fruit rot on the trees and this appears to be such a waste unless it is the millers who do not want to buy unless at steep discounts.
In the Star article, there is a United call for government help from the major plantation groups.
These companies are requesting that TNB burn their bio-diesel so that demand for palm oil is maintained. We know that TNB is already suffering from the lop-sided IPPs that benefitted BN cronies and taxing consumers more.
It reminds me of the comment made during the USA hearings on the Auto Big 3's request for US$billions to save the auto industry. One congressman said,
"It did not help their case when each of the CEOs flew to Washington in their executive jets."
Plantation companies have been reaping record profits in recent years and ironically on the same day, the Star published KL-Kepong's latest annual reports that showed significant increase in profits.
As a very minor stakeholder in Batu Kawan, I am glad to see the latest report but I feel these big companies should provision for bumper years as well as lean years.
For those small-holders, they should be encouraged to form co-ops so that they can achieve better economies of scale or perhaps FELDA or other large group can purchase the crops instead of wasting the fruits.
I am sure the fruits should be worth more then the cost of harvesting that is done by mostly foreign workers. Maybe all the details of this problem have not been discovered.

Photo: thanks to malaysiakini

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"TOUGH" is Not the WORD but "IMPOSSIBLE"

The future PM of Malaysia is quoted in this malaysiakini article Najib says 'tough' challenge awaits him as he intends to win back the 2/3 majority that will enable the government to ride roughshod over all the voters as happened in the past.
Perhaps he is suffering from acute jet-lag but he should realise that ARB's press conference did not answer any doubts about that murder case. Even if the world is not undergoing the present turmoil, he would suffer from a lack of credibility from many Malaysians.
Given the extreme turmoil caused by the global meltdown, he wants Malaysians to accept past standards of accountability?
Let's face it - the world is undergoing a major transition with the USA losing a lot of its financial and political clout that will surely decline over the next 20 years. The Americans have been living beyong their means for umpteen years and now the day of reckoning is nigh.
In a similar fashion, Malaysia too has been too indulgent with the NEP that has sucked the nation dry for more than 35 years with only temporary results.
So I think the going will not be tough but impossible unless he is willing to make drastic changes.


Our Parliament has all the markings of a third world country; especially when the little Napoleons who run the show are so biased in favour of the government that they cannot make any decision that go against BN MPs.
This article in malaysiakini Nazri escapes privileges committee relates how the Minister got away from being investigated for misleading the House with his claim that the judges were not sacked but asked to retire earlier.
The least he should have done was to apologise to the House for his misinformation unless he actually wanted to mislead the MPs.
Given the manner in which things operate in Malaysia, I think it is possible he was not given all the facts.
However, knowing that the Deputy Speaker was not going to decide against him, he proceeded to bait the Opposition MP who was suspended for 2 days.

malaysiakini and the YOGA Fatwa....FAIR COMMENTS?

Religion is always a sensitive subject in Malaysia and part of the reason is that non-Muslims are always not encouraged to discuss religious matters as far as Islam is concerned.
This malaysiakini article Yoga ban: 'Let Muslims deal with it' shows the range of comments.
Government policy too has not helped much in the inter-religious dialogue although at the grass-roots level there is better communications among the various religious groups.
It is impossible for non-Muslims not to be engaged in religious topics especially when certain aspects of Islam can also impact them as the undiscovered conversion of family members until death and the unpleasant practice of body-snatching for burial.
Besides non-Muslims pay most of the taxes to the government so I believe fair comment on religious issues is justified.
The other important issue is that of justice and human rights. The Jews were almost exterminated during WW2 as most of the locals were unwilling to help them.
If fair-minded people simply ignore injustices that do not affect them directly and keep their heads buried in the sand, they are ignoring their most basic human character - that of using their Allah-given ability to think critically.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Did Irene Really WIN?

malaysiakini has the article Irene Fernandez acquitted and if one looks at the details, her case has been going on for 13 years.
For the AG's office, that means a little for it is funded by taxpayers and that means public monies has been wasted on a case that they botched up years ago.
For the individual like Irene, her human rights have been encroached upon for she was charged with publishing false news about the torture of migrants under detention.
Just imagine the time wasted with all the time in court and even the control of her passport.
I hope the following will happen after her acquittal:

1.She sues for damages.
2.Those responsible for the botch-up like losing files are brought to account.

We can also be thankful that we do have some good judges left and we must ensure we protect them from the Executive so that the dark days of the Judiciary will not be repeated.

malaysiakini and the BAN on the OLYMPICS?

OK this is stretching things a little but if we use the same reasoning as the ban on YOGA as described in this malaysiakini article Fatwa Council under fire for banning yoga, then participation in the Olympics Games also becomes unacceptable.
If you read about the origin of the Ancient Olympics Games it included offerings and also competing in the nude. I recently attended an Olympics Games Exhibition in HongKong and the exhibits showed how the games were organised.
Does anyone know if Malaysia's most famous dancer Ramli Ibrahim was hauled up for performing and promoting classical Indian dance?
As a non-Muslim this fatwa appears to be encroaching on human rights and a more progressive stance would have been to advise yoga practitoners that using chants and mantras that are non-Islamic are not permitted.
Surely a mantra like "Allah is great" or similar is a good practice?

malaysiakini and WHY Missing PI Not CHARGED?

Many Malaysians believe we are a nation that practises double and maybe triple standards.
These are for ordinary folks, connected folks and the Untouchables. I leave the reader to decide which category you fall under.

According to this malaysiakini article Syed Hamid: 'Missing' PI may be extradited to answer his alleged crime of making a false Statutory Declaration. This guy made one SD stating certain facts and then within 24 hours made another SD refuting his first SD 100%. Either way, he has made one untrue SD and that makes him liable for an offence.

The Home Minister earlier disclosed that the cops interviewed him in Bangkok a few months ago and no reason was given why he was not brought back to Malaysia. Is the PI being given protection under a sort of witness protection action?
It's better for the Home Minister to explain to taxpayers why rather than worry about the "bloggers code". Maybe starting with a Minister's code would be more beneficial for taxpayers.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

malaysiakini and the AD HOC Government of MALAYSIA

This malaysiakini article Floating mechanism to manage fuel prices shows the the authorities really think only on a short term basis even though the ruling party has been in control for so many years.

The problem this time is that oil prices are now half of what the price was when the government made the drastic 60% fuel price hike in March 2008 when the oil price was about US$140 a barrel and doomsayers were saying that oil could easily reach US$200.
Most Malaysians now perceive that the government is now using low oil prices to profit out of long-suffering motorists who think a fair fuel price should be around RM1.50 a liter.

To me the major strategic mistake of the government was to actively promote 2 national car projects and try to emulate the American way of promoting car ownership instead of developing good public transport systems.
One the car projects were in place, it became a most convenient way to enrich cronies who were given undisclosed toll concessions that really became an easy way to get rich quick as most tolls were underwritten with compensation clauses.

So this floating rate mechanism is just another ploy by the government to keep the affairs of PETRONAS ultra-secret. For all you know, it may be the means to help PETRONAS tide over a difficult period of low oil prices.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

malaysiakini and the WANITA Fallout - Good for the Women

Let's hope the women leaders will show the guys a little more style and finesse in how leadership disputes should be settled.
I think Najib wanted to stay out of this one but now he too has to give some advice as indicated in this malaysiakini article Najib: Close ranks after elections.
Rafidah,the minister in charge of the controversial APs and shares allocations was allowed to let her connections prosper under TDM, was dumped by AAB after she lost her seat in the March political tsunami.
Even Shahrizat lost her seat so both women are not even MPs.
After so many years in power and having been rejected by the voters it is a mystery that Rafidah wants to contest so that she can do the "leadership transition" in June 2009 just 3 months after getting elected.
To me her leadership of Wanita effectively ended in the March elections and she should have retired from politics then. Now she wants to get reelected but what is her intention?
WANITA UMNO is not her personal fiefdom and the grassroots should demonstrate how they expect their leaders to lead.
Just like UMNO needs the injection of fresh ideas to remain relevant, the Wanita too need more democratic practices and having a leadership contest is a vital part of this development.

Friday, November 21, 2008

malaysiakini FILM FOCUS on the POLICE....

This malaysiakini article Lawyer: Police shouldn't have edited footage shows how urgently the government in authority should implement the IPCMC so that the PDRM will act with more honor and integity.
Apparently a malaysiakini reporter's video-camera was confiscated and retained for some days and when the video-camera was returned, the film of the candle-lit vigil had been tampered with.
If that is the case, the police can be considered to be tampering with evidence and the defence lawyers can definitely make a case of the police destroying evidence that could the help the case of the peaceful Malaysians.
It is time the government proves it deserves the support of all Malaysians.

malaysiakini and OIL PRICES - the DISINGENUOUS Argument of the MINISTER

This malaysiakini article Gov't should profit from low fuel prices, says Shahrir shows how the government is struggling to come to terms with declining oil prices.
I am sure most Malaysians understand that there are many processes involved in converting a barrel of crude oil into the different grades of fuel and by-products.
But once the basic material cost drops it is expected that the final products costs should all drop if all the middle-men operate on a fixed margin that is not based on percentage cost.
We also know that the government imposes taxes on oil products like fuel and we can understand that the government needs to raise funds for its operating and development budgets.
The cost of government in Malaysia has become too large and shows no sign of reduction; especially with the ever-increasing manpower numbers.
I suggest that fuel prices should be reduced to about RM1.80 and the Minister should create a special fund for the "excess fuel profit" to improve public transport in the major cities.
But have a good debate in Parliament where the pricing mechanism is disclosed; how the government budget has been adversely reduced and how much "extra taxes" are being paid by motorists now.

WARNING. I believe there are 2 major issues that the government must properly tackle if it is not to lose the next GE. These are the ISA and accounting for the fuel taxes.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

malaysiakini and Abdul Razak's WILD CLAIMS....

Of course the judge dismissed the charge against him and the AG's office decided not to appeal. To most Malaysians the manner in which the cases against the 3 accused did not seem right.
To me the most unusual fact is that the immigration records of Altantuuya and her friends were erased and the prosecution did even attempt to uncover why and how this was done.
So the article in malaysiakini that Abdul Razak: Najib not involved really carries little credibility.
This guy cheated on his wife and to me whatever he says carries little credibility.
Besides how can anyone guarantee that someone is not responsible for any crime unless you are pretty sure who committed the foul deed?
And the only way you can be sure is you did it yourself.

Graphics: thanks to

malaysiakini on the TOLLS Discount - FULL DISCLOSURE Better

The reaction of Malaysians to the toll discount as described in this malaysiakini article Longer toll discount hours requested shows that most Malaysians are thinking more critically now as some consider the midnight discount to be more unsafe for driving.
The hours between 12midnight and 2am are the most dangerous as that is the time that most people experience "deep sleep". Unless you work on a 12hour shift and adjusted to being awake those hours, driving on the highway during those hours is not recommended.
If you want to feel what it's like, just try to stay awake for those 2:30am Champion Leagues football matches or go to bed at 11pm and try to wake up at 2am.
You may save a few ringgit on tolls but a car accident may cost thousands if not your life.
It is better if the government discloses all those toll agreements and let the public study if they have been taken for a ride.
The government should also disclose all the tenders(?) received for the Waste Disposal plan that is being opposed by a few states.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

malaysiakini on the WANITA UMNO Transition

I think it will be good for Wanita UMNO if there is a challenge for the top post as indicated by this malaysiakini article Shahrizat plans to take on Rafidah as any leader worth his or her salt must be prepared to face leadership challenges.
Otherwise Shahrizat will always be known as the leader who chickened out of party elections.

After all Rafidah has declared she will step down in June 2008. If the leadership is then passed to Sharizat ala UMNO, Sharizat really has not received her mandate from the members and will be susceptible to challenge.
Those who want to lead political parties are too squeamish to battle it out via their polls, they should avoid politics.

malaysiakini and the PETROL FAIRY TALES?

In a way it is good that we had the petrol shock price increase in March 2008. Fuel prices were relatively stable until the government panicked and made the most dramatic price increase that has increased inflation by at least 20% for ordinary folks.

There is a good letter in malaysiakini on how the government wants to "eat its cake and have it too".
The letter Petrol price reductions: Don't con the rakyat.
Of course the Consumer Affairs Minister now tries to claim that Shahrir: No need for petrol subsidies.
I am sure most ordinary folks believe that indeed there is now no subsidy provided by the government. At today's oil prices of about US$60 a barrel, it is the consumer who is subsiding the government and PETRONAS is now extracting profits from taxpayers.

PETRONAS should be ordered to publish it full accounts so that all Malaysians can better understand the oil dynamics better.

Monday, November 17, 2008

malaysiakini on Hell Hath NO FURY Like a WOMAN Scorned....

malaysiakini has this telling story on Axed UM VC says its because she's a woman.
The article quotes her:
‘Just because we are women and we don’t have that thing between the legs so we are not good,’ says Rafiah Salim over her contract's non-renewal.

I think the university authorities owes everyone a proper explanation on why this lady thinks she has been victimised. Did I say "lady"?

We should hope that the authorities decide on the basis of what is between the ears and not other parts of the anatomy. As she was on contract terms that she accepted, surely it is up to the ministry to extend (or not)the contract if she was doing a good job.

malaysiakini and UMNO's FAILED Policies

UMNO has been the main political power in Malaysia since 1957 and if we consider the failure to achieve the noble objectives of the NEP, no one should have any doubt that UMNO has failed ALL Malaysians.
The reason is not hard to find - NEP objectives have been cleverly disguised so that UMNO cronies reap the cream of mega-contracts while some goodies trickle down to the other citizens who are "brainwashed" that the NEP is doing them good and should continue for the next 50 years or more.
This article in malaysiakini 'Umno must steer gov't policies' is hardly surprising. You cannot kill the goose that lays the golden eggs, can you?

Malaysians have been sleeping for 50 plus years - it is time we all woke up and take a long hard look at what is happening in the nation.

Graphics: Thanks to


Give anyone too much authority and there is a danger of gross abuse of power.
According to this malaysiakini article Peaceful anti-ISA protest in PJ a police permit was granted for the gathering in PJ but if you read some of the conditions, it is patently absurd for the police to require some conditions to be met.

I wonder if they were told to put in such conditions like:
1.No candles allowed
2.No anti-ISA T-shirts and banners allowed.

This is what happens when the BN leadership caved in when the PDRM objected to the IPCMC and now they are behaving like legalised gangsters for their BN political masters.
This government has lost the moral authority to govern anymore.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

malaysiakini and a NO-BRAINER Inquiry

Just 2 words are necessary to determine the findings of any unbiased inquiry into why many Malaysians are not interested in working for the government : KETUANAN or MERITOCRACY.
According to this malaysiakini article Why the disinterest in civil service? the EPU will conduct an official inquiry into why the problem exists.

To me it should be a no-brainer and probably the EPU is not the best organisation to do the study. I am sure there are NGOs who can produce a more independent audit of government recruitment and promotion policies.

It is no secret that many senior non-Malays were consistently bypassed for promotions in the 80s onwards and the very few who remained were too senior to move elsewhere or they became comfortable on the job.
The many protests about the woman who was appointed the PKNS GM speaks volumes of the attitude of the PKNS staff.

Unless the government is serious about transparency in the following employment factors, this so-called inquiry is a real waste of time:

1.Recruiting policy and intakes.
2.Training opportunities.
3.Promotion prospects.
4.Non-interference by "big shots"
5.Fairness and consistency in practices.

To me any government that wants to control the civil service performance and provide a good service to taxpayers should create a more balanced work force that is highly motivated.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

malaysiakini and the NO APPEAL Decision....

I think most Malaysians are surprised that the AG's office has decided not to appeal against the judge's decision to throw out the case against ARB for the alleged murder of Altuntuuya.
According to this malaysiakini article No appeal against Abdul Razak's acquittalthe DPP claims that the 'Court made a finding of fact'. The judge may be wise but he is not infallible. Is the DPP saying that he blew the case against ARB?
That seems to be the easy way out but now we have 2 masked cops who do not have a motive to kill an unknown foreign woman; let alone blow her to bits.
It seems that it is not only the police who plant incriminating evidence as seen in the decision of the Federal Court to enable the HK resident escapes gallowsbut some DPPs do not take their jobs seriously.
Maybe I should rephrase that - some DPPs really take their duties seriously as they seem to act based on political considerations. Truly we have serious problems not only with some judges and some policemen - the ENTIRE administration of justice stinks from rot.

Friday, November 14, 2008

malaysiakini and the POLICE. A Question of ARROGANCE or INCOMPETENCE?

The police are being questioned about their heavy-handed tactics against peaceful Malaysians and I just wonder if they are being arrogant or plain incompetent.
Just take the arrest of Ronnie Liu, the Selangor state Exco - this response from a malaysiakini reader says it all VoxPop: Why 8 cops to arrest Ronnie Liu?.
What a waste of police resources!
They could have saved all that manpower by just using the phone and ordering him to turn up at the police station - maybe the price of petrol has become so cheap now they can afford to send 8 cops for a joy-ride. Of course if he refuses, then by all means issue an arrest warrant.

Wait a minute! This guy is a powerful politician and even the Home Minister remarked earlier that the cops were afraid to man a police beat in the notorious Chow Kit Road area as they could contact some dangerous disease from the transvestites.
Of course after realising that was a most unbecoming statement to make for the bravado of our cops who operate outside the IPCMC, a better excuse has been given.
I really wonder if the Director of Public Relations in the PDRM is having sleepness nights? The way the police are acting is truly atrocious.
Maybe that explains the spike in the crime scene - the public now refuse to coperate with the law enforcers.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

malaysiakini and When the TRUTH is CONCEALED

This article in malaysiakini shows what happens when the truth is concealed and how embarrassing it is for a Minister to admit he did not know the full details as theKing wanted pension for sacked judges.
So the "sacked" judges were given their pensions on "grounds of compassion".
Or perhaps the authorities wanted the judges to be quiet and not seek legal redress and with a pension, they decided to call it quits.
Unless there is another official inquiry into the Dark Days of the Judiciary in 1988, this sorry episode remains another skeleton in the BN cabinet of infamy.
One other aspect about this case that puzzles me is the law on pensions.
According to what TDM mentioned in his statement that questioned the RM5mil ex-gratia paid to the former Chief Justice, he states that the guy enjoys 3 pensions - 2from his service in the Judiciary and 1 from being a state exco.
Now we all know that government maintenance costs are escalating with more and more civil servants pushing up salary and pension costs.
At one time, they wanted to put new civil servants on the EPF scheme but chickened out when CUEPACS objected; just like how the police object to the IPCMC.
It would be quite a revelation to find out the actual pension costs in terms of those enjoying multiple pensions.
I am not worried about those who get pensions of RM5000 or less and many struggle with only RM1000 per month.To cut this financial burden of pensions, I would suggest pension reforms like:

1.only one pension of one's choice qualifies as a tax-free payment.
2.other pensions are not tax-free and need to submit to income tax department.
3.studying the cost of extra wives on the pension budget life-span.

I had written earlier on the growth in government spending The GOVERNMENT is Not "FAT and UNWIELDY" - It is OBESE!

Graphics: thanks to malaysiakini.

malaysiakini and RACE Politics - Only Some Malaysians are NOT PREPARED

Further to the recent article in malaysiakini where the former PM expounds that racist parties are still relevant, my thinking is that UMNO with its supremacist policy of Ketuanan whatever they conceive it to be has made the Bumiputras to become complacent and acquiescent; willing to listen and follow leaders who may not have their best interests at heart.
Let's face the inconvenient truth - the NEP has been used to brainwash Bumis into becoming unwilling to compete as they think the government will provide them with the good life.
But just take a good look around and you will notice that perhaps out of every RM100 that is spent by the government on so-called development projects, the benefits follow an unstable pyramid somewhat like:

35% go to the top 10% political elites and cronies
25% go to the people having to manage the projects
40% trickle down to the people actually doing the work

That possibly explains why so many projects like the infamous Hospital Sultan Ismail are still having fungus problems.
So when we have 2 PMs claiming that non-Malays too can become the Prime Minister of Malaysia, they must be high on some substance like NEPbu.
Neither has spoken up in support of the Chinese who was appointed GM of Selangor PKNS. So the question that they should be asked is:
"Instead of postulating that Malaysians still want racist parties, would YOU agree to have a non-Malay to become the PM? If NO, why not?"

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

malaysiakini and RACIST Parties

According to this malaysiakini article Mahathir: Race-based politics still relevant the former PM takes the view that Malaysians still want race-based parties.

As someone who was in control of the nation during many dubious distinctions like

1.the rape of the Judiciary
2.the spread of the Ketuanan concept that has seen Malaysia lose its competitive edge
3.the decline of the local universities
4.the cult of personality and not good policies
5.the piratisation of the economy

all under the BN regime that has mainly race based parties in its fold.
Of course one does not expect the former PM to promote parties based on principles like accountability and integrity as money politics started in his time and he did little to curb it.

But the March election results has dealt a serious blow to race-based parties and it is up to us and not the former PM to ensure they get buried in the next elections.
For a start all those who have not registered to vote need to do your part and make sure your vote counts.

malaysiakini and Sending More MPS to TAIWAN

malaysiakini had a few articles on the trip to Taiwan by a busload of BN MPs all at taxpayers' expense but so far we have not heard anything on how the nation has benefitted and what projects have been secured to boost local agriculture.
Maybe it was the first time that some MPs learned that chickens came with feathers etc unlike what you can see on the supermarket shelves.
Now is a good time to send half a dozen more MPs, maybe opposition ones to learn how their justice system operates.
According to this article from the Star Taiwan ex-president formally arrested in probe. That shows their justice system has the authority to bring even the most powerful politicians to account for corruption.
In Malaysia? Well the ACA is really too busy checking out 900 odd cases of money politics and so far we only hear talk. As for the VVIP cases, I reckon they are praying for God to strike the corrupted with a bolt of lightning.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

malaysiakini and the PM's Chickening OUT

According to this malaysiakini article, Zaid Ibrahim wants the PM ticked off for buckling to pressure .
You see the PM had agreed that the amount paid to the "sacked" judges would not be disclosed as a way of giving them a little more dignity.
Now that the amount has been disclosed and even the former PM has come out with a definitive statement that indeed they were "sacked" but that the pension was not denied on humanitarian grounds, I believe this matter regarding the judges should be officially examined using a public inquiry.
Many Malaysians still have the perception that the damage inflicted on the Judiciary has still not been rectified and we must put this right.
Unless all aspects of events of 1988 are thoroughly examined, I am sure those judges will not be at peace with themselves and the treatment they received.

Monday, November 10, 2008

malaysiakini and the Home Minister's EXCUSE

According to this article in malaysiakini the Home Minister claims I knew nothing until this morning. He was referring to the incident in PJ where the police charged a group of peaceful Malaysians who were holding a candle-lit vigil against the ISA.
As usual, he wants people to give him evidence if they want to complain. As the Minister in charge of the police, surely he has the authority to speak to the officers who were present to find out what actually happened?
I must say he is doing a good job - that of making thousands of citizens very unhappy with the police and the government. Maybe he is really too busy with the UMNO elections?

malaysiakini and the POLICE CHARGE Against PEACEFUL MALAYSIANS...

Is Malaysia becoming a police state?
Remember that AAB was stymied when the police objected to the IPCMC and the bill is now being watered down to soothe the cops.
Then we had the abuse of the ISA against a few innocent citizens like the journo, the opposition MP, Raja Petra and the Hindraf 5.
As if that was not enough, the police now also haul people up if they do not like your T-shirt design.
According to the malaysiakini article the CPO of Selangor claims that Dispersal not during national anthem. The video clip shows the CPO is either ignorant of the facts or lying.

Thanks to You Tube from

malaysiakini on UMNO's WEAK Leadership...

In a way it is a confession of sorts when according to this malaysiakini article the PM claims Umno would struggle if leadership weak.
Most of us will agree that AAB has increased our space for expression and apart from the HINDRAF and RPK, the authorities have allowed most commentators a lot of freeway. As he leaves the national stage, the scene is becoming more cloudy.
Last night the cops again showed their ugly side by assaulting a peaceful gathering who wanted to express their feelings against the ISA.
There is a paradox about UMNO's weak leadership - some members think that by removing AAB the party becomes stronger but if UMNO members do not realise the "money politics" rot that has invaded their systems, the party is doomed to extinction within 10 years.
It will be somewhat similar to the Berlin Wall - standing strong for many years and then suddenly it will be demolished within weeks without much warning. Just like the Berlin Wall, UMNO's demise will be greeted with much fanfare on both sides of the Malaysia political divide.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


malaysiakini has run quite a few stories on the crossovers before 916 and this poll posed the question:

"What is Your Feeling about MPs Crossing Over?"

983 readers took the poll and here are the results:

470 readers or 48% picked FANTASTIC - Too Many Years in Power and BN has LOST Touch with the PEOPLE
235 or 24% chose GOOD - the Nation Needs New LEADERSHIP Fast
136 or 14% chose OK - Must Ensure MPs Have Not been BRIBED
138 or 13% chose SAD - They Should Resign and let Voters Decide
10 or 1% chose SAD - The BN has the MANDATE from the last elections
4 or 0%(rounding error) chose BAD - The BN Should be given a Chance to REFORM

Do take the latest poll on the ISA. It is related to the government's intention to appeal the freedom of Raja Petra by the courts as indicated by this malaysiakini article Gov't to appeal RPK release

Saturday, November 8, 2008

malaysiakini and the NEW Chief Justice - a NEW Controversy

There was a petition to the Rulers protesting the appointment of the new Chief Justice, mainly on the grounds that he was an UMNO lawyer.
That petition was ignored and the new CJ has been appointed.
Under the "new broom sweeps clean" syndrome, the CJ claims that he believes that there were two judges who were corrupt as detailed in this malaysiakini article Kit Siang to Zaki: Report 'retired corrupt judges' to ACA as this will enable the name of the Judiciary to be restored a little.
To allay fears that UMNO cases would be given special favours, the CJ wants to avoid hearing such cases as reported in this other article CJ: I won't hear Umno cases.
I think this approach is flawed as time alone will not erase the UMNO connection. If he has the capacity to judge without fear or favour, he should just treat UMNO cases like any other. That will hasten the day when the public perception of a flawed and tainted Judiciary will change for the better.
As for his own corruption experience, now that he has declared it, he should make the necessary police reports and bring the culprits to book.

malaysiakini and Raja Nazrin's Speech....Good But

As Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy with a rotation system, the role of the Rulers is largely ceremonial and apart from being the custodian of Malay rights, their powers have been largely curtailed by the former Prime Minister. We also hear about night-club brawls involving royalty so let's not forget they are mere mortals too.
So Raja Nazrin appears to put too much power in the hands of the Rulers and empowering them with superhuman powers like being "always be intelligent and wise" detracts from the good they can do as alluded to in this malaysiakini article Raja Nazrin: Rulers will not act on wrong advice
But if a person of his character and ability will sacrifice his inheritance and become a political leader, I am sure his leadership will do much to help Malaysia progress by leaps and bounds.
Let's face it. The political leadership is bankrupt in the UMNO camp and someone like Raja Nazrin could be a tremendous boost to any political organisation.

Friday, November 7, 2008

malaysiakini and the DISMISSED JUDGES...What is the TRUTH?

It is claimed the the truth will set us free.
But in the case of the six top judges who had their career curtailed, there appears to be a few schools of thought.
Now I don't argue with those who want to put a nice shine on the matter but the end result is the same - the judges had to leave their office before they wanted to do so. Some will call that constructive dismissal.
If you look at the manner in which the government offered them ex-gratia payments to the tune of RM10.5mil according to this malaysiakini article '88 crisis: RM10.5mil for 6 ex-judges it seems that the government has felt regret and remorse in the way the judges were abused and the entire Judiciary is still affected by a loss of confidence of the public.
Today the two cases that went against the government show that the Judiciary has still a few independent judges - we must salute them for doing their duties.
This article from the Malaysian Insider quotes the former Law Minister who has fallen foul of his UMNO colleagues. According to Zaid: Judges were sacked .
Between Nazri and Zaid, I have more faith in the latter and Zaid even mentions that in the 1988 crisis, "a miscarriage of justice of the gravest kind has been committed".
If that is the truth, then those responsible for the gross injustice and the rape of our Judiciary should be charged.
Malaysia will never be put right unless we correct that grave offence.

malaysiakini: Now the Government Acts Like a BIG BULLY

We all know that UMNO has always behaved like the big bully in the BN as reported by a few of the component parties.
It is therefore not surprising that in its ill-conceived plan to boost the economy, the authorities now want workers to sacrifice their retirement funds by reducing EPF deductions by 3% starting from January 2009.
It is common knowledge that many retirees do not have enough funds in the EPF when they retire and many use up the money within 5 years.
At least one union has voiced its objections to the automatic deduction as described in this malaysiakini article MAS union objects automatic EPF cuts.
They rightly claim that those who want to should opt for the deduction. Looks as if the EPF is helping the government in the role of BIG BULLY.
With computer technology, it is so easy for workers to opt in using the Internet - so why does the EPF want to disadvantage workers?
Those in the higher income bracket should also note that your income tax may increase if your EPF is reduced.
The government should look very seriously into cutting its headcount. There was a recent report that Immigration were looking to increase their numbers by 20,000. There should have been a transfer of staff rather than more people.
I also suggest that the government should offer VSS to perhaps 10% of their manpower as this could create more entrepreneurs and reduce the civil service numbers.

malaysiakini and OBAMA - BAD NEWS for the BN

President-Elect Obama is the new wind of change that will sweep the world.
Given the dire economic situation, he will have to provide the leadership that can steer the world's economy out of a recession.
This malaysiakini article 'Change or be changed' shows that many Malaysians too see and welcome the need for change in Malaysia.
The BN leadership is under the notion that just by talking and not taking action they can preserve the status quo and remain in power for many years. They prefer to remain in the time warp and enjoy all our nation's wealth with their "Ketuanan" or supremacy concept.
I predict that unless the BN undergoes radical reforms, they will go the way of the Republicans in the next elections that are held under free and fair conditions.
What can you do? If you want change to happen in Malaysia, go and tell your 5 best friends what we all need to do and convince them to do likewise.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

malaysiakini on the OBAMA Challenge to CHANGE MALAYSIA...

So a black man has defied his roots and become the first President of the USA. Already there is talk and the President-Elect and his family could become the target of extreme elements of US society as I am sure there will be a few who belong to the fringe who want to erase this historic development.
In Malaysia too, our soon to be ex-PM has come out with a remarkable statement that any Malaysian too can become the Prime Minister. He could have been a little more constructive by suggesting the 10 steps that Malaysia must take to set the stage right - or was he just sleep-talking?
As usual Joe Plumber in Malaysia can see the problems more clearly as in this malaysiakini article Your Say: 'America has changed; will we ever?'lamenting the fact that PKNS employees objected to the appointment of a Chinese woman to take up the GM's post. They did not say if the objection was that she was a Chinese or that a woman was being appointed or both.

Malaysia too can change but Obama's acceptance speech is worth listening to. He says "You did not vote for me but you voted for yourself". So if we want change, that change must come from us. We too MUST CHANGE for Malaysia.

Thanks to You Tube: Obama's Victory Speech

malaysiakini Reader Explains WHY NEP FAILED?

This letter in malaysiakini Bumi equity: NEP, Malays, non-Malays all to blame suggests that the has NEP failed and that both sides are to be blamed.
I only agree with his comment that
" the failure of the 30 percent bumi equity target as envisaged by the NEP was mainly due to the policy’s corrupt and inept implementation and outright abuse of power."

Why should the non-Malays want to share their business secrets when sometimes, as in food companies, the secret recipe is what makes them successful. As for keeping two books of accounts, even Malay businessmen can employ book-keepers to do it for them.
Already the non-Malay businessmen have to struggle with the overloaded bureaucracy to compete for government contracts (after the cream has been siphoned off)
The writer makes another telling point with:
"The 30 percent target would have been achieved long time ago if these IPO allocations were handed out to bumiputera investment institutions and not all those RM2 companies set up by political cronies purely to benefit from IPO allocations."
Now that IPOs are not as lucrative as in the 70s, the government is using mega-projects to enrich their cronies.
Just like the USA has changed their government after 8 years of Republican rule, it is time for change in Malaysia too - only we will be doing it 35 years late.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

malaysiakini and the USA's NEW Hope and VISION - What About MALAYSIA?

There are many things we can learn about the USA - the land of hope and glory.
Many of us can still recall the turbulent days of the 60s when race riots happened at regular intervals and political assassinations were part of the equation - the most prominent being John Kennedy, his brother Bobby and Martin Luther King Jr.

This malaysiakini article Obama chalks up historic win shows the great American Dream is still possible as we await the first black President of the USA.
Senator McCain made a great speech when he graciously accepted defeat and offered his support to the President-elect. Our Malaysian politicians should learn from such leaders on how to accept defeat and move on.

However this article 'Issue show-cause letter to Zaid' proves that UMNO supremacists are the new breed of racist politicians who should be rendered obsolete. Only then can Malaysia progress to a higher level. Just like Obama stood for change, we too should help people like Zaid Ibrahim to lead the change in Malaysia.

malaysiakini Article on INTERFERING in US Politics..

I thought we told the USA to butt out when they commented on Anwar's alleged sodomy charge.
Maybe this article in malaysiakini Obama win will 'boost international relations' shows that Malaysia too wants to interfere in USA affairs.
However with the sorry state of the US economy the new President will have his hands full on the domestic front and since they really cannot afford that expensive war in Iraq, we can expect a quick withdrawal from that country.
Come to think about it, Malaysia too is in such a sorry state of affairs that we really cannot afford to concern ourselves in the domestic programs of major world powers.

malaysiakini: Soon T-SHIRTS Will Carry a WARNING!

This article in malaysiakini Deepavali bash: Man held over anti-ISA T-shirt shows how remote our national leaders have become or how ludicrous our police are to decide that a simple T-Shirt can become a threat to security.
I guess there could now be an inspiration for some shirt designers to come up with a few more slogans like:

"AWAS!This T-Shirt Can Get You Arrested"
"DANGER!The Police Consider THIS a Threat!"

Looks like 1984, the book has become true in Malaysia.Be careful what you think.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

malaysiakini and the RM7bil STIMULUS...I Doubt This Will Be GOOD Enough.....

malaysiakini has this article RM7b stimulus to bolster economy and I doubt if it will solve the slowing economy.
According to the Star some features of the Economic package include:

1) RM1.2bil to be allocated to build more low- and medium-cost houses;

2) Abolishing the 5% import duties on fertilisers, cement and steel;

3) Allowing hypermarkets to close late (weekdays 11pm; weekends 1am);

4) RM500mil for the maintenance of police stations and quarters, as well as Army camps;

5) RM200mil for Chinese, Tamil, religious and mission schools;

6) RM200mil for pre-school education; and

7) Employees can reduce their EPF contributions by 3% on a voluntary basis for up to two years.

Going through each item, the folowing should be noted:

1.Building more low-cost and medium costs homes will not succeed unless unoccupied units are properly allocated and abandoned projects are revived.
2.Abolishing the 5% import duty is good as these items will lead to a slight reduction in food and building costs.
3.Hypermarkets closing later will not improve sales much and may even cause staffing problems. Workers will not be able get public transport. Doubtful as even Malaysia Mega-sales are quite empty these days.
4.This allocation of RM500mil for police and army camps is surprising. Should be a normal budget as maintenance is important on a regular basis. Now it appears a dubious project just to spend RM500mil. This monies would be better spent on improving public transport.
5.Schools should also be receiving this kind of funding on a regular basis. Some of the schools are now death-traps.
6.Pre-school education funds should be granted to all Malaysians who have children on the basis that each pre-school child will be given say RM300 or so to enroll in kindergarten - this should be an individual grant and not used to set up new kindergartens etc.
7.Suggest you do not opt to reduce EPF as it will affect your retirement funds; especially if your employer pays more than the legal requirement. Some companies pay more to EPF with a matching scheme so check it out properly.

The government should have done more to put real money into people's hands:
1.For example, pensioners cannot reduce EPF and are simply struggling to make ends meet. These people would benefit from cash grants and food rations. In Singapore the NTUC has an interesting scheme that gives a 2% discount to the elderly once a week.
2.Public transport should be seriously looked at as it directly affects the lives of ordinary folks. Our public transport is rather inefficient and even upgrading the cash payment scheme will result in better efficiencies and more collections. It is still common for the driver to give you a ticket 10% less than what you pay for.

malaysiakini and FAITH HEALERS?

In this malaysiakini article PM: Have faith in nation's ability to face crisis our retirng PM urges the people to have confidence in the leadership to steer Malaysia through the global crisis.
But if you just go through the many scandals that are being reported and the apparent lack of appetite or will to bring the culprits to book, our PM should excuse us for not being too confident for the latest leadership changes.
There is change but nothing seems to have changed.
There is lack of CREDIBILTY and INTEGRITY in the system.

malaysiakini RESULTS From the PAC..Did YOU EXPECT Otherwise?

This malaysiakini article PAC clears gov't on Eurocopter deal comes as really no surprise.
I do not recall a single case where the PAC has held any person responsible for any wrong-doings.
Yes, they do make some noises like when the Auditor-General comes up with his Annual Report of HORRORS but after a few weeks in the media limelight, all is well again in Malaysia.
Just like the records in immigration that can be wiped out by persons unknown in a recent murder case - yes MURDER can also be on the menu of those who subvert our nation.
So why is the PAC like the 65-year old who suffers impotence and needs Cialis or Viagra? The main reson is that the appointees to the PAC especially the Chairman are appointed by the government and hence they really cannot blow any whistle on wrong-doings.
For example I wonder why the PAC is described as "powerful" by the article in malaysiakini. To all intents and purposes, it merely acts as a PR body that absolves the government of any wrong-doing since it has no authority to bring the government to court.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Not Writing on malaysiakini ARTICLES today as.....

it is my 61st birthday.
Had dinner with my wife and brother last night at a nice cafe in Johor Bahru.
If you are in JB and want to eat a good steak, the George and Dragon Cafe located on the Skudai Road, just a little further up from the Royal Johor Golf Club.
The service is excellent though not so refined but the decor itself in the old section is worth a visit. Our table was set right in front of a display case of a suit of armour.
A nice place for a romantic dinner but reservations are advised.
It was full when we left at 8:40pm.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

malaysiakini and the FUEL REBATES...

malaysiakini has an article Gov't to revamp fuel rebate schemethat indicates the authorities realise the problems by such schemes.
To me the fuel rebate scheme was born of desperate thinking that did not extend beyond a one-month horizon.
Don't be surprised that with oil prices now half of what it was in June when fuel prices were hiked drastically, it is the taxpayers who are now sudsidising the government or the oil companies and not the other way around.
Of course when the fuel price went up that was the best excuse for private companies to jack up prices - now simple hawker food and bus prices have gone up by at least 30% and will not come down again.
Since Malaysia is still a net oil exporter we need an energy policy that reflects global oil prices but also takes into account the inflationary factor.
For example if the Ministry wants to control oil within a price range of say RM1.90 to RM2.20 a litre, it should account for the surplus or deficit when oil fluctuates outside the desired range.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

malaysiakini and ZAID'S Speech...GOOD But....

You can read Zaid Ibrahim's speech here.
It is quite frank and delves quite accurately into how the "Ketuanan" concept evolved.
Perhaps what is missing from the speech is how he himself gained from the NEP and why he has now decided to start his foundation to encourage the Bangsa Malaysia concept.
The ending could have been more action-oriented.

"From that trust, we can rebuild the country where we do not live in fear,
but in freedom; that the rights of all Malaysians are acknowledged,
respected and protected by the system of law that is just and fair. There
is no quest more honourable and a struggle more worthy of sacrifice".

I would have included something like:
"This is our time. Let us work together for a better Malaysia. Let us build together a just Malaysia. This must be our dream - let us make that dream come true."