Tuesday, December 30, 2008

malaysiakini and our "SUKA SUKA" POLICE

Maybe the Home Minister has forgotten that he is not in charge of Foreign Affairs anymore.
How else can he explain the absence of any police action as detailed in this malaysiakini article, against the 500 protest Israeli air strikes outside US embassy? This is located in a prominent part of KL and allowing 500 protesters to protest for an hour appears to be an irresponsible act as KL struggles to attract foreign investments.
I do not think any permit to hold this gathering was approved so why do the police act so inconsistently?
Furthermore they are not in charge of foreign relations.
Consider this appeasement with the actions given to the candle-lit vigils and the Jerit bikers who numbered not more than 50 and it is a clear indication that the police do have practice a fair implementation of their unknown rules.
Political expediency perhaps?

malaysiakini and the KT BY-ELECTION

I concur with this malaysiakini article that any fuel price reduction will not affect voter sentiments much. In the article 'Petrol price cuts won't help BN ', the writer suggests that the Pro-opposition trend will continue.
Perhaps the more important factor would be the "bribe" of paying the oil royalty directly to the state once again but even that has limited value as the state has not yet developed programs like granting scholarships and grants to ALL poor students and families.
The usual mode of distribution is development(?) projects that enrich the few cronies via over-priced contracts.
The other aspect of fuel price adjustments is that most Malaysians know that the government is profitting from the high prices now and any miniscule adjustment is considered by the citizens as getting back a little of what is due.

BTW have you heard of any major plans to improve public transport like for JB? The new CIQ plan for bus passengers is a major disaster as they could not even provide a basic shelter for passengers who disembark at the so-called Central Bus stop.

Monday, December 29, 2008

malaysiakini and the TOP News for 2008

I have not read their list as detailed in this article Top 10 News of 2008 but here are the things I consider the most significant:

1.The beginning of the end of the USA as a world superpower. With its economy failing, the USA will lose much of its influence and will make a hasty retreat from Iraq; just like how they withdrew from Vietnam.

2.The pending demise of the BN coalition in the next elections as more moderate Malaysians realise that the BN has been in power for too long for the well-being of the nation.

3.The failure of local authorities to safeguard the safety and security of neighbourhoods as shown by the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide.

4.The rise of NGOs registered or otherwise like JERIT and the candle-lit vigils against the ISA as a sign of growing awareness among ordinary citizens to demand change in Malaysia.

5.The failure of the Prime Minister to execute the necessary reform programs for the Judiciary and the Police.

6.The inability of the federal authorities to respect and work together with states controlled by the opposition; thereby damaging the federal-state relationships.

If you have any item you consider of significance, please put in the comments section.

Friday, December 26, 2008

malaysiakini and the PROBLEMS of the NEW CIQ

After spending more than RM1bil on a new CIQ (the famous crooked bridge) project, it is a downright shame that we still read of basic problems that affect thousands of travellers who use the facility every day.
This letter in malaysiakini highlights the problem. In Traffic solutions needed for Johor's CIQ complex the writer suggests that the old complex should still be used for bus passengers and other pedestrians.
There are some advantages to this such as:
1.Perhaps 60% of passengers will disembark at the old checkpoint and walk to the town; thereby generating more revenue for the shops in the area.
2.There will be less congestion at the new CIQ.

I wonder if the authorities actually made any studies on how many actually left the buses at the old CIQ and how many walked the Causeway to/from Singapore.
The main problem with more passengers being handled at the old checkpoint is the flow of traffic and some security/safety issues.
For pedestrians, the new CIQ appears to be a traveller's nightmare.

I guess the old checkpoint will be converted into commercial space as part of the Crooked Bridge Project.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

malaysiakini and the SEASON of GOODWILL?

We all know that the NEP has been successful but mainly in making mostly BN cronies fabulously rich and other Bumis getting something from the trickle-down effect of mega-projects.
Meanwhile many tens of thousands of Malaysians are living close to the poverty level and many in Sarawak and Sabah don't even enjoy basic amenities.
So it is surprising that according to this malaysiakini article Gov't offers to help minority Malays in other countries and one wonders what is the rationale and purpose of such generosity?
Our own citizens are struggling to cope with rising costs and the government is so generous with taxpayers' monies.
I suggest that they should use UMNO funds if they want to start such a program.

Monday, December 22, 2008


OK the next year looks gloomy for at least another 9 months as the USA economy struggles with slow or negative growth.
You can read more details in this malaysiakini article Complacency comes at a price.
But there are many things we could be thankful for, such as:
1.We have established the basis of a 2-party system in Malaysia, though a little more work is necessary.
2.If you have a job and can service your loans, you are much better off than millions who are jobless and homeless.
3.If you are healthy enough to celebrate a little with your friends and family, that is a major blessing.

So as Christmas draws near, I wish all those who celebrate Christmas many blessings and a Happy New Year.

Thanks to YouTube friscochristmas.com

malaysiakini and the LESSONS from BUKIT ANTARABANGSA

The latest reports of the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide make for grim reading. According to this malaysaikini article, 1,000 barred from returning home as homes in the vicinity of the landslide are still considered unsafe.
There are many important lessons we can learn from such a landslide. These include:
1.It is just as dangerous to live at the top as at the bottom of any hill-slope.
2.Drainage systems must be in place and properly maintained.
3.Those buying property in hilly areas must learn of the risks involved and take precautionary measures.
4.Local authorities must ensure common areas are properly maintained with annual inspections of such homes for which a fee is payable.
5.No development of hill-sides allowed unless safety issues are properly enforced.
6.All those negligent persons should be brought to justice.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

malaysiakini and the NO BRAINER Problem

Why are qualified Malaysians not returning to serve in Malaysia?
It is a "no-brainer" question and has a few dimensions.

First of all, there are problems in our system such as:
1."Ketuanan Melayu" policy which creates discrimination against non-Bumis so that career prospects are severely curtailed.
2.Extremely poor working conditions, especially for new doctors.
3.Failure to administer scholarship programs properly so that bond holders are made to return after their courses.
4.Failure to prevent scholarships holders from marrying overseas and creating excuses not to return home.

Things back home are so bad that even Malays are staying back in foreign lands as life is much better there with little political meddling in appointments. So this letter in malaysiakini Chua: Why skilled M'sians don't come home is kind of a no-brainer. .
My own experience with children working overseas:
My second daughter, an accountant is working in London and after having worked in Singapore for a few years prefers the life-style there compared to Singapore.
Another daughter graduated as a doctor in Canada and has signed up at a hospital in Newfoundland. To encourage new residents, the hospital has given her a sign-up grant of C$50,000 for a 3-year contract.

So I think Malaysia is find it difficult to attract graduates home unless we have better policies and a more even handed administration.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

malaysiakini ~ to TEACH or NOT to TEACH in ENGLISH?

As the Cabinet ponders on this serious issue that will affect thousands of Malaysian children, it is good to note that the Education Ministry has listened to the views of the stakeholders such as the parents, the teachers and the school administrators.
The teachers have made their views known as based on this malaysiakini article
NUTP: Switch to English from Form 1, not Standard 1, they feel the medium change should be done in secondary school.

The switch back to English was made just before TDM retired and it must have come as a major shock to both teachers and students and I believe some teachers had more of a shock than some pupils who were familiar with using English.

All my children except one in University have completed school and they all used English as the medium in Singapore. Maybe I will relate my own experience during my school days in Malaysia between 1955 to 1966. English was the medium of instruction in the major schools and we did accept a few students in Secondary One from remove class and vernacular schools. These poor chaps had to struggle to cope with the language.

Therefore this suggestion by the NUTP will not help those who can progress faster with the English language and the Education Ministry is going to have the most difficult problem of trying to please all the interested parties.

Since feedback has been obtained from both parents and teachers, I suggest the Ministry can use the following to suit all the various demands.

1.There must be a definite plan to use English as the medium of instruction for Science and Maths by Darjah 4 in all schools. Secondary One is too late.
2.More teachers must become proficient to teach in English and definite targets should be set.
3.In any town with a few national schools, some will continue to teach in English and the rest can revert to BM or POL as selected by schools.
4.Parents will be able to choose which school they want their children to attend.

Of course it won't be easy to achieve such a scheme but I feel reverting back to the old scheme will not improve the standard of English that has sunk to new lows in recent years.

POL(Pupil's Own Language)


Most Malaysians are peace-loving folks and many are reluctant to take part in demos etc and they had the notion that the government was generally OK and most things do work even if late or erratically.
However after more than 50 years of independence, some citizens feel that the government has become complacent and many policies like the infamous NEP have failed miserably.
That is the main reason for the dramatic election results of March 2008 that saw the BN lose its coveted 2/3 majority in Parliament.
The police too have become unpopular as many believe there are many rogue cops and even some in high positions. Tne public also have the perception that police do not act with due regard to the law but more due to political considerations.
The latest police-public confrontation is over the Jerit cycle tour of Malaysia and you can read malaysiakini's readers' responses to the recent police actions against young Malaysians who were armed with their touring bicycles.
It is a historical fact that when the Japanese invaded Malaysia during the Second World War, some of their troops used bicycles to move faster.
It appears that the police want to antagonise more Malaysians to vote against the government the next time.

photo: thanks to http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/bicycle-9.jpg

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

malaysiakini on the BULL in the CHINA SHOP

The saying "Let the bull in the china shop" refers to a situation wherein a careless person is placed in a situation where he/she can do great damage or harm.
Some concerned Malaysians probably have that feeling when we have so many major laws being passed like instant noodles.
Debates are kept to a minimum and the damage is done to the Federal Constitution; especially the latest bull that has been let loose. According to this malaysiakini article, Parliament passes JAC Bill and even though there are "strong concerns from lawmakers from both sides over its constitutionality and independence."
Why the indecent haste? This bill has not even been adequately debated but simply bull-dozed through.
BTW, the PM who is so engrossed about his major reform legislation will soon be away on a retirement jaunt.
The House should have been recalled during Ramadhan instead of taking such a long break. Two weeks of proper debate on such major laws like the MACC and the JAC would have benefitted everyone.
Unless of course these bills are nothing more than mere smokescreens?

Graphics: thanks to http://www.spectator.co.uk/article_images/articledir_61/30678/1_fullsize.png(Bull looks like the UK's PM Gordon Brown)

malaysiakini and the MACC BILL-Will Anything CHANGE?

So the BN Government has managed to steamroll the MACC Bill that gives a makeover on our laws on corruption despite some objections from the Opposition benches.
This article in malaysiakini MACC Bill passed indicates our AG who is already tasked with so much of the burden of going after crooks and accumulating files that cannot continue will be the main actor under the direction of the PM.
I watched Nazri perform on the TV and his main argument was that MPs cannot control the MACC as a popular MP could get away with corruption as his popularity would protect him.
I guess the integrity of the PM overrides those of the MPs who answer to their electorate. Now do you really believe that?
To me if the AG is still the main man determining the advancement of cases, it is still back to square one.
In order words, "Show us the proof" before anything happens and even if there is proof we may decide not to bring to trial as "very susah lah".


The dust has still not settled on this tragedy and it seems the Army is not happy at accusations that their people were involved in some incidents as mentioned in this malaysiakini article 'Bukan ucapan terima kasih...'.
There is a more disturbing letter in the NST that Agencies did not act fast enough.

Bukit Antarabangsa is not in some remote jungle area but just within 8 miles of the capital city and it is indeed shocking that there is so little coordination from the authorities. Is there no defined chain of command for such disasters?
We have spent many million ringgit on equipment and training for such events and yet when it happens, security is lacking.
What is disturbing from the letter is that
" Within 48 hours, several homes in residential areas adjacent to TBU, where there was minimal or no coordination among the residents, were broken into."
I believe with better coordination, a security perimeter could have been set up to ensure outsiders are prevented from entering the disaster zone and a reasonable response time would be three hours after the report.
It's probably no use to seek an official inquiry as we all know what happened to the IPCMC.
If you want to see the area before the landslide, go to the Google Map of KL and you can see the row of houses that seem to be abandoned as the trees are too dense and there is no road for the houses.
(Set the map to max minus 3markings and use hybrid to see the road names plus the terrain; any larger setting and you get only the terrain)
Use the Impian Selatan Condo (in photo)to get your bearings.

Photo: thanks to http://all4one4all.wordpress.com/2008/12/16/news-at-ground-zero-bukit-antarabangsa/

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

malaysiakini and the GREAT RM2bil LETDOWN

Yes we spent almost RM2bil on that new CIQ complex but as usual only the rich and the well-to-do have been catered for.
Maybe we will see some improvements if the Transport Minister or the Consumer Affairs Minister try out the public transport to and from Singapore.
According to this malaysiakini letter Law and order urgently needed at CIQ Complex.
What a great disappointment that so much money has been spent and yet such a simple system for an orderly queue has been overlooked; even after the project completion has been delayed by more than a year.
This is a major planning failure - I notice too that exiting after the Immigration check for cars can be a source of accidents and near misses as it seems the traffic flow is not well regulated.

malaysiakini on the PM's PROBLEM

I wonder why the "Cops livid being targeted by IPCMC" as suggested by this malaysiakini article PM to face even bloodier battle with SCC Bill.
To put things in the correct perspective, the Royal Commission was held after it was discovered that the police had forced a "Chinese woman" to perform nude squats and the film was shown on You-Tube. After a Minister's hasty trip to China to apologise, it was discovered the victim was a Malaysian
Apart from the commission that recommended better discipline via the IPCMC that was rejected by the police, those responsible did not face any major corrective action.
Instead the government "chickened out" from disciplining the police who appear to have the upper hand as pay and perks were increased substantially as recommended by the Inquiry but the more important and fundamental control elements were omitted.
This is a major failure of the government.

Perhaps too many top leaders are working in cahoots with the police and there is the perception that it is not the police for Malaysians but police for BN leaders.
After all there is the ongoing murder trial of the murdered Mongolian woman who was allegedly blown up by members of an elite team.

The big mistake the PM made was not to implement the IPCMC when all the service conditions were improved like better pay, allowance and housing.
Based on this alone, this government has lost its moral authority to govern.

Monday, December 15, 2008

malaysiakini MISSED this IMPORTANT STORY

In an important development just before the Kuala Terengganu by-elections, the government has announced that it will revert to the original scheme of paying oil royalties to the state government.
As a major sweetener for the KT polls, a RM10Billion state sovereign fund will been set up to ensure the state will continue to enjoy development even after the oil resources are depleted.
You will remember that oil royalties were discontinued when the state fell into opposition hands and now it seems with UMNO in control again, the direct payment is deemed appopriate again.
I wonder what is the principle involved?
It is good that the state will be paid royalties directly again and not through some agent that may not have the state's best interests at heart. But the timing indicates it could be considered a form of bribery.
This move will improve the state-federal relationship and should be extended to all states as far as a fair allocation of revenues are concerned.
I suggest that we should explore how other states can benefit from such revenue sharing.
It is a little unfair that only oil royalties are calculated for revenue sharing. I believe that all states should receive some share of the taxes they generate for the federal government. In this way, states that do not have oil but whose residents pay taxes can also provide funds for state projects and better maintenance.
It will improve budget controls as too often federal projects are rather badly managed while states simply do not have enough funds.
For example, in the income tax payments, the department will refund to the state say 20% of all income and company sales taxes paid based on the address of the resident or the company.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


This malaysiakini article suggests Hillside developers 'abuse' their power and the MCA Deputy President alleges
"some hillside developers have abused their power to get approval from the local authorities to proceed with their projects" in the article.
The above graphics gives some indication of what could have happened.
It seems that some of the houses at the center of the landslide were part of an abandoned project and if you look at the graphics, you can make the logical conclusion that these decaying structures (abandoned for more than 10 years) could cause ponding and a water-logged surrounding.
So it does not really make sense for trying to suggest that property owners need to get a structural engineer to inspect your site every 6 months. Those bungalows that were destroyed below the slope failure would have passed the inspections.
I believe there are enough by-laws with the local authorities to enter abandoned properties and do appopriate maintenance works such as grass-cutting etc. In this case it would have also included the maintenance of the drainage of the abandoned houses and then bill the owners.
I suggest the state should amend land laws so that properties abandoned for more than 10 years should revert back to state ownership.
Assessment rate for hill-side properties should also be higher so that the local authorities can be held responsible for the overall integrity of the drainage systems.
But the malaysiakini article does not give exact details and I wonder how developers can "pressure" local authorities to get approvals?

Graphics: Thanks to NST

malaysiakini and BUKIT ANTARABANGSA - this SENTENCE Says it ALL

Finally KL City Hall has taken action to prevent or postpone another landslide caused by development on steep slopes.
This article published in malaysiakini says it all. This survivor believes that
We are victims of corruption.
He is so enraged that he will be going to campaign against UMNO in Kuala Terengganu by-elections - so they should hope he is not from that state or the people there are going to hear the evils of corruption and deceit.

It should not be too difficult for the authorities to discover how the land use got changed.
According to the report, the disaster area
"stands on de-gazetted forest reserve, and that whole of what is now Bukit Antarabangsa was once a water catchment area."

I would imagine the land was not de-gazetted and sold directly to the developer but passed through a few RM2 companies linked to special cronies who would have made millions through the deals.
So instead of political leaders pointing fingers, let the ACA probe this claim of corruption as lives have been lost.

Friday, December 12, 2008

malaysiakini and MIRAGE2020

We don't need TDM to proclaim that as detailed in this malaysiakini article headed Dr M: Vision 2020 now doubtful as the original plan was flawed anyway.
The 20+ years of his leadership made many fabulously rich, thousands pushed up the pecking order but sadly it was not s sustainable process but based on the "crutch mentality" aka as the AP Syndrome.
When the NEP ended, they simply repackaged it and when TDM retired he selected someone that he thought would follow the old game plan.
Any fool could have told you that Vision2020 was just a political ploy to fool most people.
In light of the new realities, we should rename this concept MIRAGE2020

malaysiakini and our NATIONAL PROBLEMS

The ongoing problems of Bukit Antarabangsa continue and even a minister has declared that the problem was probably "not man-made" so I guess we have to put that to Allah's account.
But these 2 problems cannot be caused by Allah.
First of all there is the RM5 mil to light up court complex since May 2007 which equates to roughly RM260,000 per month.
Since no comparative figures are available, it is difficult to gauge if this building is energy efficient but the number appears high.
One common problem with most government buildings is that we build without much thought to saving energy.
Instead of using those high roofs to reduce electricity usage - we can still see some fine example of this with old railway stations and churches where natural ventilation keeps the place cool, we build pseudo Moorish-style structures and then air-cond the building and set the temperature to 20C as the high venting system does not reach the floor levels effectively.
The second man-made problem is another high-profile example of incompetence or negligence or both. Of course Parliament House was the more prominent case.
In this case, the NST reports It's raining inside Putrajaya Corporation 600 business executives were given a vivid demo of how rain water can be harvested.
Maybe this is the hand of Allah at work - it is a reminder that we must take more responsibility for our duties and actions or our incompetence will be displayed for all to see.
Perhaps Allah feels not enough attention was given to the care of Bukit Antarabangsa and send this wet reminder to VIPs that even important buildings are not exempt from proper maintenance.
This type of incident rarely occurs within the private sector for the person responsible will be sacked.
So do you still think we can trust this government with operating and controlling a nuclear power plant?

Photo: Thanks to NST. Nice red bucket sets up the scene nicely!

WHY am I NOT SURPRISED at this malaysiakini Article?

So the much heralded bills on the MCAC and the JAC have been tabled but surprise, surprise there are no surprises.
Everything changes but nothing changes.
Of course there will be thousands spent on new stationery and office equipment but there really is no fundamental reform.
malaysiakini's article is headed Bills fall far short of PM's reform pledges .
Maybe when the PM plans to leave office in March 2009 and tell us it is all an APRIL FOOLs' joke and we were fools to believe he was really serious?
The PM's major weakness is that he always promises much but delivers little.
MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT with these 2 bills.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


We spend at least RM9,400,000 per annum on housing just 2 Ministers ie. the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister according to this malaysiakini article Pak Lah: Gov't spends RM6mil on my house.
So between the two of them, the nation has to fork out almost RM783,000 each month. Don't you think that's a ludicrously high amount to splurge on housing?
I suppose the money is paid to Putrajaya Holdings that is owned by the government and which is not making any profits.
I read somewhere that each year the government has to allocate funds to them to operate ~ otherwise they will not be able to maintain and operate all the white elephants in Putrajaya.
Before the government owned properties in Kenny Hills and there was no need to pay rentals. Now the government owns the Putrajaya company but has to fork out amounts fit for kings.
If we take that JUMBO-sized cabinet and do some estimates, we could come up with a guess of RM25MIL each year for the entire cabinet.
It should be interesting to discover what is the breakdown for rentals and renovations. The latter should not be a recurring sum and is usually absorbed by the landlord and calculated into the rental.
Now we get an idea when they tell us
"Change your LIFESTYLE LA"

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


After so much fanfare and whoha over creating a world-class Judiciary that can redeem some of the foul smell that followed the sacking of the judges in the 80s, we now have a tepid, watered-down version called the JAC and according to this malaysiakini article JAC to remain firmly under PM's thumb .
Instead of the cloak and dagger stuff of the 80s, this is a definite refinement and we will deal with recalcitrant judges in a more civilised manner.
Of course the PM still gets to play the Great Dictator.
Given the ease with which the PM himself gets manipulated by UMNO politics, this means that Malaysians may well experience an even darker shade of justice.
What a SHAM!

malaysiakini and FOOL MINISTERS

In Malaysia we are supporting an XXL CABINET made up of umpteen deputy ministers and once a deputy is good enough, he/she gets to be a FOOL Minister but that is spelt as FULL with all the extra perks and privileges.
Thereafter as long as he obeys all Cabinet directives he enjoys the unrivalled access to the media to make any and all kinds of FOOL statements.
Even today you can witness this SOP as according to this malaysiakini article Landslide: Minister rules out human negligence.
The experts have not completed their probes but this guy can make such a sweeping statement. It sounds like the usual remark on corruption, "There is definitely no corruption in Malaysia unless you show concrete evidence."
I'm not sure which claim is more asinine - this claim or the one from the Information Minister that developers and property owners were responsible for the land-slides.


There used to be a saying "As old as the hills" but somewhere in the obscene rush to development, people in Malaysia have ignored nature and defied all the laws that must be followed if we are not to become victims of the most powerful forces of nature.
In a way the Bukit Antarabangsa tragedies can be considered a snap-shot of the many problems that beset our nation.
First of all, there are powerful people involved in corrupt practices, from developers who see a quick profit from selling expensive properties with a view, to authorities with great appetites who approve land that is really not safe, to contractors who cut corners in construction, to local authorities who neglect proper maintenance.
As the Judiciary is still under a dark cloud after the sackings decades ago, some people even think that the very powerful can cause the disruption of justice with missing files being one of the techniques.
So it is not surprising to read this sad malaysiakini report that 'She would be alive if they had helped' - the guy's wife was in the rubble and according to him, he was only given a shovel. I wonder what is the response of those "rescuers" to this complaint? We do not know the full story and perhaps those present should tell the other side of the story too.
Even the top leaders of PKR and BN have started pointing fingers at each other. It is a sort of CATCH-22 situation as the PKR government took control of the state in March 2008 whereas the BN has been in charge for more than 50 years in Selangor.
If any blame is to be shared, it will be in the ratio of BN:PKR as 600:9 (months)ie the BN rule is about 55 TIMES more responsible for the problems than PKR.
The Selangor government should take the brave step to put an end to this vicious cycle of greed, corruption, destruction and death by setting up an official inquiry and letting the blame fall where it may.

PHOTO: Thanks to the Star. Pic shows an abandoned house near failed slope. Such houses (with damaged roofs) will be water-logged can collect excessive rainwater and collect water during heavy rains. There was a row of abandoned houses at the top of the slope.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

malaysiakini ~ Remove IMMUNITY or BETTER to REMOVE GOVERNMENT?

In the aftermath of Bukit Antarabangsa, the Bar Council urges the government in this malaysiakini article Gov't told to remove immunity for local councils as no authority can now be held responsible for such incidents that are caused by corruption, negligence and dereliction of duty.
We read in other articles that the police are acting tough against peaceful cyclists and detaining them in their ride across Malaysia.
Then there is the major showdown in education brewing over the English for Maths and Science.
The government has been extremely slow in self-reforms and some believe that money politics in party polls has become worse.
So maybe the Bar Council message needs to be modified.
If we cannot remove the immunity for local councils, the next logical move would be to remove the government in the next elections.

malaysiakini on EDUCATION ~ Back to SQUARE 1?

In a major U-turn before he retired, TDM ordered all schools to teach Maths and Science in the English language as everyone realised that the standard of English in Malaysia had fallen to abysmal lows.
It was one good thing he did before retiring 5 years ago and one can feel that more ordinary folks now accept that more can be done to improve the standard of English, especially among young adults.
I am not sure if anyone has done a study of the Malaysian education during the past 25 years but many attribute many problems of nation-building to the day that Bahasa Malaya(at the time) was used as the medium of instruction and English became just an exam paper.
I am not against BM but it should be not too difficult to realise that when BM became the Medium of Instruction(or MOI), it was the beginning of moves that widened the gap between private schools, vernacular schools and national-type schools.
Today some vernacular schools have become so influential that according to this malaysiakini article Switch or we strike, warns education group some schools are not happy with the switch back to English.
The Ministry of Education is meeting all the interest groups to make a decision on the English experiment and there will be those who oppose a switch-back as results are promising in some schools.
Let us hope that the department will make a decision that is in the best interests of our children's future. For many years, education has been a political football and our children have suffered.

photo: thanks to http://www.tiggysribticklers.com/images/bush_dunce.jpg

Monday, December 8, 2008

malaysiakini and WHY the HOME MINISTER is SO UNPOPULAR?

It seems the Police are not helping much when they use up so much resources like "manhandling teenage cyclists" as reported in malaysiakini.
Of course they are acting within their authority but one wonders if they ever use any cow sense in dealing with situations like risk/reward analysis especialy when dealing with peaceful citizens.
What does the MALAYSIAWATCH POLL Reveal?
The question was
What Do You Think about the APPEAL against RPK?
Here are the results:

Thanks to the 200 readers who took the poll.

83% or 165 readers felt The Home Minister Deserves to Be SACKED
8% or 16 felt The Home Minister Made a Big Blunder to Use the ISA
4% or 8 chose The Government Should Accept the Decision
3% or 6 chose The Home Minister is Doing a Good Job
3% or 5 chose The MPs Should Pass a Censure Motion Against the Home Minister
(rounding error in % calculations)

In the words of the famous game-show,

malaysiakini and ALARMING NEWS after the LANDSLIDES

The landslides in Bukit Antarabangsa will continue and the authorities must be blamed for allowing so many houses to be built near such steep slopes.
Now this malaysiakini article suggests that Condo 'may collapse anytime' and thousands are affected by an order to evacuate.
This is a photo I took on a recent trip to HongKong on the Peak. When I got off the tram at the top, instead of heading for the shops, I took the exit and walked to the right - the road is called Ludgar Road if I remember correctly.
It is a circular road and it took me about 80minutes at a leisurely pace. At times you could imagine being in the middle of a forest reserve as nature is everywhere, especially the birds.
The road is narrow and only a single lane for vehicles - I counted only a handful of parked cars and perhaps there were only about 20 to 30 homes that were accessed from this narrow road.
You can get a beautiful view of HK from a few points but I was more interested in the type of trees and this photo is a good specimen. Can you guess what it is?
If you examine the photo, you will notice two man-made objects - the "NO ENTRY" sign and the address of a house at the bottom right corner.
At first I thought it was a banyan tree with all those roots but on reading the sign that is placed on many trees, it is a rubber tree.
Of course HK also has landslides but if you compare the way they preserve the hill-slopes compared to what happens in Malaysia, it is not surprising that more Malaysians will become victims in future.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

malaysiakini and the WRONG FOCUS of the AUTHORITIES?

Of course the police will claim that they are just following the laws of illegal assembly when they detain peaceful cyclists as told in this malaysiakini article 16 Jerit cyclists arrested in Johor.
Don't the powers-that-be realise that such a heavy-handed approach to peaceful protests is a sure way to push more moderate Malaysians to vote for Opposition? Maybe we should thank the cops for the assistance!
This is another tragedy that should have been prevented but as usual no one is looking out for the ordinary folks.
According to the Star this accident Nine die, 19 injured in bus crash near Tangkak occurred at 2am and both the driver and co-driver were killed.
I will not be surprised if the driver had not been working overtime beyond permitted hours and had fallen asleep at the wheel.
If the company had breached labour laws, it should be hauled to court and relatives of victims should sue for compensation.
This tragedy shows how dangerous it is for drivers to be on the roads between 1am and 4am which is an important sleep period.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

malaysiakini and our MAN-MADE TRAGEDIES....

It is a sad fact of life in Malaysia that most of our tragedies are man-made.
While the latest landslide in Bukit Antarabangsa as reported in this malaysiakini article Landslide tragedy: 4 killed, one missing is not as tragic as the Highland Towers of 1993, the loss of any life through human error or greed should be avoided.
The moment such a tragedy occurs, we have the usual cacaphony of leaders calling for the immediate ban of hill-slope development.
I believe that even 15 years ago one could see high-rise apartments perched high on the Bukit Antarabangsa area and I wondered then that it really looked so precariously positioned.
I recently took a stroll around the Peak in HongKong and the view was fabulous. There were only a few houses or mansions about and also lots of maintenance of the hill-slopes - quite major civil works.
In Malaysia when a hill gets developed, it seems most of the original vegetation is removed and as many houses as possible are built.
Even the Drainage Department seems to be trying to avoid being responsible for proper drainage of the area.
According to this report the area is considered safe.
"A check on the department's website on Saturday showed that it had listed Bukit Antarabangsa as facing no risk of landslides from either a single rainstorm event or successive days of moderate rain."
It seems to me that our states need to apply more stringent rules to ensure the safe development of hill slopes.
This might include buffer zones perhaps 10meters wide so that the Drainage Department can do regular checks on faulty pipes, drains etc. Now the system seems to assume that every property owner is responsible enough to maintain his property in a safe condition.
What happens when a hill-top property is abandoned? The most common development is decay and damage to systems and that can jeopardise the properties below. With an appopriate buffer zone various authorities can examine for soil erosion, drains overflow etc.
Once a property is abandoned for more than say 10 years the state should reclaim the land and restore it back to reserve land.
Property owners who have houses built on hill-slopes should pay extra property taxes so that authorities will conduct an official inspection of the slope and certify it safe for occupation.
That way we will be able to hold local authorities liable for such tragic events that can be prevented.

Friday, December 5, 2008


malaysiakini has become a success because it reports many cases of corruption scandals - the latest sea sand being used in KK's hospital more than 25 years ago as in this malaysiakini article MP a blast from the past, warns QEH consultant. For this case no need for sabre-rattling and the authorities can decide that they want a second opinion on the remedial works if at all possible.
That would include where was the sea sand concrete placed and why it was allowed to happen.
Sometimes we make major changes and even after spending billions of ringgit, there is no major improvement but instead make life more inconvenient for consumers. Just look at the proposal for the thousands of bus commuters who travel to Singapore.
If you look at the present system in JB it is not bad but can still be improved. Now you walk about 400meters to the JB Checkpoint.
But it seems that the proposed system is going to enforce all travellers to start from the Larkin terminal that is about 12km from the town center. If this system is put in place it will mean that the poor commuters will spend at least RM2 extra each way plus all the additional time travelling.
You can read the details here.
That overhead pedestrian link-way is about 1km from the town center and is a steep slope. Walking up is going to be a major challenge.
I suggest that all buses going to Singapore be allowed to only pick up passengers at limited stops and also allow disembarkation at fixed stops.
Surely after spending so much monies on a major CIQ we should have better plans for our taxpayers?
What do you think?

malaysiakini does not CARRY this STORY

Malaysia seems to have many serious issues like foul-mouthed MPs, "Ketuanan Melayu", Lingam tapes and rampant crime.
The police have scored some major hits on serious crime but to the ordinary folks, there is definitely an air of apprehension when going out.
My house in JB was burgled this week and the person/s probably made a quick exit on hearing my car when I returned - that was 11:30am.
The police were OK as far as making reports was concerned but when they came to the house all they did was to take a photo of the broken grille. No dusting for finger-prints or checking out the area for clues.

The story I want to highlight is about what happened in Singapore at the Immigration inbound-side.
I went to Singapore at about 4pm and there were about 40 people in each of the 3 queues for the "Other passports" counters.
In one queue, there was a young Chinese mother with 2 children and she was carrying a small child who was asleep and her relative also carried a smaller child.
As usual the Singapore officers asked the queue to double up as the queue had reached the end of the waiting hall.
The young mother was about 6 turns from the Immigration checking when 2 Indian young adults asked her to go ahead of them.
SYABAS to these young adults for being kind souls. It shows that ordinary Malaysians are capable of seeing beyond race and acting with a good heart.
Unfortunately the act of kindness was not repeated further up the queue and they still had to wait in line.
I suggest to Singapore Immigration and others that it would be good if the very old (say 65+), the infirm and those with babes in arms be provided a special line where they are allowed to go straight to the end of a single queue(for others) to get some priority treatment.
If you think carrying a child is not your problem to solve, just try carrying say 8kg sack for about 25minutes.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

malaysiakini on an INDEPENDENT ACA?

I thought that the newspapers reported a few months ago that the ACA would become independent and not depend on the AG's office to bring charges on anyone.
So this malaysiakini article reporting that ACA completes probe on Lingam tape, AG to decide next suggests that the ACA is not really independent as they are not taking the final decision as to whether to press charges or not.
Already so many cases have been buried in the AG's office that many Malaysians perceive that the AG's office is one where only political opponents are entertained.
BTW what has happened to Anwar's case against the AG for allegedly fabricating evidence when he was the DPP?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

malaysiakini and BLAMING the IPPs

No one likes to accept responsibility for any problems even if they themselves are a major part of the problem.
So this article in malaysiakini asking long-suffering consumers to Don't blame IPPs for energy woes: group is quite pathetic.
Part of the blame lies with the government that gave such sweet-heart deals to the IPPs that some of them like YTL Power can make margins like 50% operating margin and net profit margin of 24%.
(Based on the Star's business section)
I think what should happen with the IPPs is that their AGREEMENTS(under OSA) should be made public so we can have a proper debate of how to put matters right.
To be fair to such companies, I believe if they make 10 to 15% consistently net profit no one is going to complain.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

malaysiakini - Which PLANET are YOU LIVING ON?

People who read malaysiakini must be getting really confused.
Some people claim Recession is HERE, measures needed now but only recently our PM proclaimed Economy expected to grow 5.5% in 2008.
Then there was Najib claiming that the crime situation in Malaysia is comparable to HongKong and Japan - I wonder if any special agents over there also double as hit men?
After the heated debates over yoga, the Cabinet now wants to up the ante with this ridiculous enforcement of banning the airing of clean laundry - maybe the government has too much "dirty laundry" hidden and now also want ordinary folks to hide their laundry.
I guess in another 20 years we will have a new generation of males who will become asexual - I mean they would have missed all those black and red undergarments that form an important part of sex education.
But seriously, do you think some crony has cornered the market for clothes dryers in Malaysia?
Ahh.. Malaysia, TRULY Absurd!

Photo:thanks to http://k43.pbase.com/g6/55/736955/2/72083592.1nclXmdq.jpg

malaysiakini and the NUDE THREAT?

Nude squad to stalk S'gor MB over rent hike as a protest against the Selangor government's decision to raise public housing rental from about RM125 per month to RM250.
I believe these rentals were fixed many years ago and the present rent does not reflect market rates.
These flats and low-cost units have to be maintained and I think the mistake of the government is that the agreement did not include rental review at a regular interval.
While the cheap rental is to help those who are considered poor, one would be surprised to look at some of the assets that tenants own.
It is not uncommon for some tenants to make good in business and own a few cars.

There should be a clearer policy guideline on those who qualify for subsidised public housing - these include:

1.A means test to check family income.
2.A repeat of the means test after 5 years to replace those who have become successful.
3.A definite rental increase every 3 or 4 years by 5% or the CPI whichever is lower.

It is ironic that many such tenants operate food business and they have no qualms to up their prices by 25 to 30%.
I suggest the MB should not be upset at the suggested threat but take it all in with a hearty guffaw - after all they are going to be totally disarmed.

malaysiakini on the SICK Hospital of KK

In Malaysia it is part of our building tradition that hospitals need to experience some "sickness" before it can be used to treat sick patients. Maybe it is a new building code so that the building will create a more sympathetic atmosphere for the visiting sick.
Remember the spanking new Sultan Ismail Hospital of Johor Bahru that is still infected with fungal growth?
Now this is an older story as described in this malaysiakini article there is Growing opposition to demolition of KK's general hospital . I wonder if soneone already has an eye to capture this valuable piece of real estate?
Perhaps the opposition is about who has managed to secure the site and the others are envious as it is probably way below the market value.
The NST has a different story on the same hospital. It seems that Sea sand the cause of 'sick' tower . This means that the Ministry was cheated by the company that built the hospital and I suggest that the government should sue the civil engineer and the contractor. It does not matter if the person responsible has died - if it was built by a company, the latter can be held liable.
For a start, the NST report should have disclosed the names of the civil engineer and the company that built the hospital.

malaysiakini on KETUANAN MELAYU and the ISA

There are two important issues that adversely affect all Malaysians as described in these malaysiakini articles:
DPM: Use BN channels to resolve Ketuanan Melayu issue and
MCA backs Kayveas on amend ISA call
Now we all can imagine what happens at BN channels where both MCA and PPP will be told to shut up or they can leave the BN; just as what happened at the PPP Congress just a few months back when Ali Rustam pointedly told PPP to leave the BN - they should have expelled him from that meeting and left the BN then.
I believe that these 2 issues are not just BN concerns but involve all Malaysians and suggest we would all benefit from a public debate similar to the one held between a Minister and Anwar on fuel prices.
Such debates will improve the public speaking skills of all MPs and those who participate should be allowed to choose which side they want to represent without party consideration.
The 2 topics are:
1.Should the ISA be abolished or amended?
2.Is Ketuanan Melayu provided for in the Federal Constitution?

Secret meetings are not really healthy and such topics should be discussed more openly.

Monday, December 1, 2008


It is good that some UMNO leaders are considering the causes of the divisiveness that are present in society and many older citizens lament the fact that today after more than 50 years of nation-building, our children do not mingle and interact as freely as say 30 years ago.
It is possible that having schools that cater to different (and separate) races contributes to separate development and therefore lost opportunities to build more cohesive ties.
So this proposal in malaysiakini by Mukhriz: Close down vernacular schools certainly attracts attention especially during the UMNO polls.
To me the more fundamental cause of national disunity is the operation of race-based political parties and I suggest that instead of merely singling out vernacular schools that reflect race-based political realities, political leaders should work out ways to permanently replace racist parties.

malaysiakini on MALAYSIA being a BIZARRE NATION

malaysiakini has this article headed When it comes to news of the bizarre, Malaysia boleh.
At least they did not use the word "queer" or that would have sent the religious scholars scurrying to their books.
Maybe those PEMPENA offices that are riddled with scandals can make use of this article to truly promote Malaysia as a nation of many attractions.
Don't just promote family holidays as I think there is a market for those interested in Bolehland attractions such as the following:

1.JB's infamous Crooked Bridge
2.KL's Ring Road should interest hundreds of civil engineers.
3.Bakun Dam for ecologists.
4.Kamunting for those thousands of civil rights activists.
5.Those 24-hour eating outlets would interest those organising eating contests.
6.Private hospitals nearby that can treat your heart attack after an eating marathon.
7.Law students who want to research on how a Judicial System can be compromised.

Any others you want to add?