Monday, December 27, 2010

Singapore's THIRD-WORLD Causeway Traffic CHAOS!

Readers of my blog know I am an admirer of LKY and the fantastic trasformation he has achieved for Singapore but unfortunately there are a few instances of "third world" standards still evident in Singapore.
The most glaring example of this is the manner in which traffic is managed as it exits Singapore at the Woodlands CIQ.
I have written earlier some years back about how traffic can be improved and one of these measures was actually adopted by the traffic authorities about a year ago; ie banning the traffic from Woodlands town from joining the Causeway stream.
Last night it was bedlam as usual. It seems the authorities do not realise or expect that there would be heavy traffic on the Sunday night when many visitors want to return to get back to work on the Monday after Christmas.
It took me one hour to travel 500metres across the Woodlands Crossing as there was not a single traffic cop to ensure that motorists queued in an orderly fashion and that yellow boxes were respected.
With the opening of the IRs and wanting to increase more visitors from Malaysia to keep the tills ringing, the LTA has even reduced the hours of CAR ENTRY restrictions with Malaysian cars being allowed free entry after 12noon during the school holidays.
Maybe the LTA can follow the measures proposed by the British authorities on Heathrow's travel chaos?
For example, the KPIs of the immigration and traffic chiefs in charge of Woodlands should be:
1.No vehicle will take more than 20minutes to crossover the Woodlands Crossing.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Home for the Christmas Holidays...

Two of my daughters are back this year for Christmas and with the havoc in London, I thought that both would not make it back.
The first daughter and her husband from London were on the tarmac for a few hours before the flight was abandoned and they spent at least six hours getting back to their home.
There was no information from Heathrow and the Singapore Airline website did not have reliable updates. So my daughter and son-in-law made another trip to the airport without even knowing that the flight was leaving. They were lucky as the next day the police were barring anyone from entering who did not have a confirmed flight. So their flight was delayed further when a few bags had to be offloaded as the passeners were missing. Hardly surprising when the information was non-existent!
So the two managed to get to Singapore with about 24 hours delay.
The scenes at Heathrow apparently were like a war zone.
It's a big difference what time can do to improve the situation. My other daughter had a slightly different set of problems to navigate. Her flight was from St.John's in Newfoundland to Toronto for the first leg and then from Toronto to Changi via Heathrow.
The people at St. John's could not advise if the flight would take off from Toronto and my dughter had to fly there to find out. In Toronto they would not confirm that the flight from Heathrow was on. Her ticket was purchased from SQ and the first stage from Toronto was a code-share with Air Canada. However, the Toronto desk advised the luggage could not be checked through to Changi.
This meant that she was expected to collect her bag, check out and then check in again through security and the time frame was about 2.5hours - not easy for a huge airport like Heathrow and now there were also thousands of people milling around.
I won't describe the colourful exchanges my daughter had with the airlines' counter staff.
Her flight from Toronto was the only one of four planned that left for Heathrow and when she arrived the bags also appeared like magic in double quick time. The service was extra fast as it was the only plane to be unloaded.
By then more information was being uploaded and when I checked for her arrival yesterday, there were 9 pages of fine print of all the arrivals and departures. According to the Airport CEO, they had been able to discuss and agree with airline chiefs on a realistic schedule of flights.
Although the flight SQ317 was delayed by about an hour, it was reassuring to see that it was on both SIA and Heathrow websites.
Thus that is how we are able to have a nice family reunion in Singapore this year. When my daughter in London told us of the horrific scenes at Heathrow, we thought that was the end of the holiday plans.
So as we gather to celebrate Christmas, I wish my Christian readers a Holy Christmas and a Happy New Year.
To all readers, please spend quality time with your loved ones and if you are driving, please take extra care on the roads.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Getting Malaysians to Register as Voters

I spent about 3 hours on Saturday as a volunter with the Johor People's Action Group to help voters register and change address.
It was an interesting experience and the first time I got involved with part of the electoral process.
What was even more interesting were the different responses as I approached adults with a multi-lingual placard with the query "Have you registered as a voter?"

Some folks responded , "Yes" and gave a friendly smile - a minority.
Some said "No" and just walked off.
Many were too busy and waved me away.
A few were Singaporeans and said so but a few also did not want to disclose they had come to shop in JB. Scared of being targetted?
The site was at Sutera Mall, a popular shopping centre for Singaporeans.

The work was a little tiring unless you limited your approach and became selective but my style was to approach anyone and everyone.
I managed to get 6 to 10 persons to the table where the registration process could be completed. Maybe I will also attend training to become a polling agent.
Let's see how it goes.
There was also a registration exercise by the SPR in Taman Daya's EconMart on Sunday (for double pay?) but the approach was so low-key I wonder how many people registered.
There was the standard sign informing shoppers but it was not easy to find the officials as they placed the table in such a position that most shoppers would not notice them and also the 3 middle-aged civil servants were all seated at the table and no one approached any of the shopers.
I guess that is the basic difference between work done by civil servants and that done by an NGO.
I wonder if the SPR offers any incentives to staff to register more voters or is it just based on time spent on the job?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Water Woes of Malaysia and Especially SELANGOR....

Water is a basic necessity for mankind and one wonders why the BN government colluded with the previous Selangor government to piratise the water distribution companies that are now burdened with debt and cannot even operate without soft loans guaranteed by the MoF.
In the good old days, water was a relatively simple operation. We build reservoirs or pump water from rivers and the CEO of the Selangor Water Board would have drawn perhaps RM15,000 per month plus other allowances.
Fastforward to 2010 and we discover that the CEO of SYABAS draws a monthly salary of RM425k per month. The figure looks unbelievable.....RM425k per month for ensuring that our copious rainwater is properly pumped through the pipes?
Even the Sultan of Selangor is urging the state and federal governments to work out their differences. I wonder what he thought of the truly fabulous deal the CEO had wrangled for himself.
So the people protested in KL and were subjected to the usual treatment of tear gas and water cannon and you can read the response of malaysiakini readers here.
To me the stance taken by Selangor is correct. Water should be controlled by the state with the Federal government playing a coordinating role only.
Even in Johor, the state also went into piratisation mode when the state's water resources were sold to a public company just 3 years after the IPO where they pledged they wanted water consumers to own part of the company. It was followed by the mandatory takeover of all shareholders. And Johor's water is about the most expensive in Malaysia.
I guess they want to recoup some of the losses from Malaysians after selling the water cheaply to Singapore.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Postal Rates Increase by 100% but Delivery SLOWS

Years ago, a letter posted in KL took 3 or 4 days to reach JB but ever since the increased use of ICT etc, performance has fallen dramatically.
Today I received a letter posted from Shah Alam on 22nd November. It took 8 days to reach its destination in JB.
Previously the letter would have cost RM0.30 but the stamp required is now RM0.60.
What are the problems facing PosMalaysia?
It seems using a carrier pigeon would be cheaper and faster.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

News to MAR the Sultan of Johor's Birthday....

The timing of this malaysiakini article will put a small dent in the festivities associated with the Sultan's birthday celebrations.
It seems that the main hospital does not have enough funds to function properly.
Even if 50% of the letter were true, it is a major shame that the hospital that bears the royal name is short of funds.
Remember the other hospital in Tebrau that also carries the Johor royalty's name. That had a major fungal infection when it opened a few years ago.
The MB should be ordered to ensure that such hospitals are maintained at a certain high standard if they are to carry the name of our royalty. Otherwise the ordinary folks may feel that no one really bothers about their welfare.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Johor Baru's CIQ Sucks!

I wonder if any bus passenger using the JB RM2bil CIQ has any good words for it. I guess they don't expect us to compain when we have have to walk about 500metres to get a bus and maybe 900metres to go to City Square.
Obviously the architect or the Transport Minister has never walked through the CIQ.
Even when the CIQ was opened more than 9 months ago, bus passengers had to walk a further 500metres near the JB Railway Station to jostle for the buses that used to wait there or passengers. The main drop-off point with proper covered areas was only opened about 2 months ago.
The buses then started to drop off and pick up passengers just next to the covered area and even concrete benches were built so that passengers could sit and wait for the bus.
About 3 weeks ago, this changed and buses were allowed to drop off and pick up passengers under the covered area that is wide with 2 lanes for traffic. The only flaw is that the concrete benches are now facing the wrong side.
Then last week, things changed for the worse. Buses are only allowed to drop off passengers but cannot pick up.
Where do passengers have to wait? The answer is shocking. The new place to wait for the bus is under the pedestrian bridge between the CIQ and the Railway Station.
It seems the MBJB and the Transport Ministry cannot even organise a good systm for bus passengers.
After the imposing CIQ building, I wonder what a new visitor to Malaysia will think when he encounters our wacky bus stops. What a waste of money for the CIQ!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

WARNING! Danger for Bus Passengers at the Singapore CIQ

Thousands of bus passengers use the Woodlands CIQ on the way to Johor.
This is what happened to one passenger yesterday.
I was on my way back to JB and had disembarked from the Johor-Singapore Express at about 11:15am.
There is a wide covered walkway for bus passengers leading to the escalators for Immigration clearance. Across the walkway is a small drain maybe 35mm deep and 60mm wide and this is covered with a perforated metal grating in sections about 70cm long just resting on the drain.
Yesterday I stepped on a cover, most likely at the end and the section lifted slightly causing an elderly lady to trip. I had already stepped off the cover but I heard the sound and just saw her falling forward.
Luckily she managed to use her arm to prevent her head from striking the ground but her spectacles flew off.
A few fellow passengers helped her get on her feet and fortunately she was not badly hurt and her specs were not damaged in the fall. I am sure she is feeling sore today. The plucky lady reassured us she was OK and thanked us for helping her and I apologised to her for the accident.
A duty policeman was approached and told of the incident. He advised that the danger of the gratings had already been reported and advised me to write an official complaint.
I would have expected that the officer in charge of public safety would have taken some safety measures to prevent a recurrence.
There are 2 ways to do this:
1.Remove the small drain completely with a small gradient on the floor to prevent ponding. This is the safest solution.
2.Secure each of the gratings with 2 conceaed/recessed rawl bolts.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Disturbing ACCIDENT Caused by NEGLIGENCE?

I find this incident rather disturbing and wonder if the event cound have been prevented if we had higher safety standards on highways, especially those operated by PLUS.
Unfortunately the news report from the Star only describes it as a freak accident.
To me those photos tell a story that has not been properly checked out.
The following questions should be answered:
1.How old was the signage and when was the last time it was inspected?
2.What was the cause of the sign falling? The direct impact of the lorry or missing bolts from the base of the sign?
3.Did the bolts shear off from the impact or was there not enough thread on the nuts for a secure bolting to the foundation?
4.What was the quality of the welded structure like? Too often one can see examples of inadequate welding for structures, slightly better than spot welding but with inadequate fillet in the joint - just go inspect the RM2bil CIQ in JB and one can see poor welding.
I wonder if MIROS is conducting an inquiry into the sign failure.
Also the unfortunate victim should be adequately compensated by PLUS and anything less than RM1mil is inadequate compensation.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Malaysian Women Politicians Selling Themselves Short.....

This is an interesting article from the UMNO General Assembly.
Finally a woman has requested a fairer share of the top posts in government.
But are the Members qualified and ready to hold top positions?
Really?
If we look at other Asian countries, we have had women holding the post of President(Pakistan, Philippines) and even Prime Minister (India, Bengladesh)
So why are UMNO leaders so hesitant to aim for the very top?
Is it because Wanita UMNO is so configured that it must always play second fiddle to the men?
It seems that UMNO is not only racist but also sexist.
It is time we recognised women as equal partners for nation-building.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Budget 2011- How to REDUCE the Civil Service Costs and Boost the Economy

To me there are 2 problems that should be tackled to redress the problem of manpower and resources.
1.The civil service is overstaffed by possibly 30% and this has contributed to ever increasing operating costs, both direct and long term as in pensions and health costs.
2.Over dependence on foreign workers who are working in factories as operators, supervisors and technicians. While foreign workers do contribute to GDP, they tend to remit billions overseas that could boost the local economy if spent in Malaysia.
This Budget does not suggest how we could train the civil servants to take up some of these jobs being done by foreign workers.

I suggest the government freezes all recruitment unless the post is really critical and starts a 3-year program to train all temporary staff to take up jobs in the private sector. This is where skills training can play a more meaningful role to train people to become useful to industry.

Such training should be on a co-pay basis; with the employee paying 30% of costs until the skills upgrading is successful and he/she is placed in industry - then the full training costs can be claimed. Those who decline this option will not have their contract renewed.

In my opinion, we should target a more balanced budget with the ratio of operating:development costs being reduced to below 40%. This means that for every RM1of government revenue, only RM0.40 is needed to run the government and RM0.60 available for development.
You will find that many international companies are able to achieve this type of ratio.
Government in Malaysia has become too BIG and so INEFFICIENT. It is time we CHANGED the government to remove much of the DEADWOOD.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Malaysia Budget 2011 - Now Anyone Can become a HIGH-INCOME Person!

Are Malaysians so naive? When they refer to "high income" it means that some BN cronies will be getting highly lucrative contracts. PERIOD.

What is so special about the 100-storey megatower? It will probably cost more per square metre than any building in Malaysia.

This budget is like claiming that you can become a "high-income" person if you go out and spend all your savings and reserves on a Maserati and buy a mansion with a swimmming pool. Of course it will be enjoyable for a while but it is a surefire way to bankruptcy!

Malaysia will go bankrupt within 3 years unless moderates decide to vote a change of government in the next General Elections.
ALLAH help us all as the lunatics are now in control of the asylum!

PHOTO: Thanks to www.temptingplaces.com

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Budget 2011 Malaysia-A Blatantly Biased Election Ploy!

Just see who are the main beneficiaries and you will know whom the government is trying to win votes from.

1.Civil servants with a whole package of perks as if the civil service bill is not burdensome enough.
2.New younger voters who have not brought their first homes.

Some trinkets the government is giving us:
1.Cheaper handbags, shampoos and fancy underwear like Victoria's Secrets.
2.Tolls freeze for 5 years.

Meanwhile we have more mega-projects lined up like a 100-storey iconic(?) building that cannot be economically feasible plus a RM65mil renovation project for the PM's house-that really is the icing of the cake! People are struggling to get low-cost homes and the PM can justify a RM65mil facelift for a house that is less than 10 years old.
The other tax that will hit taxpayers hard is the 20% increase in service tax; from 5% to 6%. This will be imposed on all businesses that collect the tax and I expect most families will have to pay an extra RM20 to RM50 each month for service tax.
The only bright news is that Malaysians can undo this foolhardy budget by voting out the BN regime in the General Elections.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Miners RESCUE in Chile and Lessons for Malaysia

The 33 miners who were trapped for 69 days have been rescued amid emotional scenes and it was good to see the Chilean President and Mines Minister warmly greeting each rescued worker.
The rescue is a heroic undertaking for both the rescue teams and the trapped miners and this story is indeed one of human endurance and the heroism that humans can display in times of distress.
What is interesting is that the rescue effort was based on the principle of "under promising and over delivering" in order not to raise false hopes.
This is what the BN government needs to learn as past experience shows that the leaders promise much but deliver little.
Just like how the ETP promises to make Malaysia a developed nation by 2020 propelled by massive spending on dubious mega-projects. Do you believe we can achieve all the objectives of Vision2020 by even 2030?
I have my doubts but I hope it can be achieved by then.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Killer Roads, Killer Drivers or an Incompetent CVLB?

We are now witnessing the usual hand-wringing exercise of the authorities after the horrific crash that killed 12 people along the North-South Highway.
This is not the first case involving express buses and usually after a few weeks of noise, everything returns back to "business as usual".
Even now the association of bus companies is trying to deflect blame on inadequate guard rails as reported in this article.
Thus far I have read of thorough checks being done on the bus brake and steering system and the tyres and also checking the "black box".
I wonder if they will check the health records of the bus driver- did he suffer a heart attack or other health problem before the accident?
Why is the black box being checked only after a tragic accident? I thought these data recorders are most useful as a management tool to haul up errant drivers.
What is the record of the company in using this important tool?
I also watch the incredulous interview by an official CVLB stating that new express bus licences are being suspended to enable them to keep better control of existing bus companies. I suggest that this incident shows the CVLB is incompetent to even look after the existing bus companies.
Maybe having too few companies prevents the CVLB from suspending errant companies as the public has no other alternative if the only express bus on a particular route is suspended.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lee Kuan Yew's EULOGY......

I am an admirer of LKY and always marvel at how Singapore has been able to transform a nation with zero resources to a vibrant international metropolis.
As a frequent visitor from Johor Baru, the difference between the 2 nations is like between day and night, in areas like cleanliness, public transport and government housing.
The loss of his beloved Kwa Geok Choo must be a very heavy blow as usually it is the wife who outlives her husband.
His eulogy was touching and included many aspects of their lives together.
However, I felt that part of his eulogy was a little inappopriate when he touched on relations with Malaysia and details of the water deal with Johor, a very sensitive point with Malaysians.
My suggestion for anyone who makes a speech is to get someone to check it. The point on politics with Malaysia would be appopriate for an interview or a book but not good taste for a eulogy; especially that for one's wife.
May she rest in peace

photo: thanks to http://www.smh.com.au

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Gullible Malaysians-Should We Feel Sorry for Them?

This is an interesting news article about gullible Malaysians and how they are so easily manipulated via various means including religion.
You can read the story here.
Now if one takes the logic of this story to its ultimate conclusion, there should be two types of currency issued by the Malaysian government - "haram" money and "halal" money and the former cannot be used for religious purposes like building mosques and helping Muslims through welfare and other aid programs.
The saddest part of this story is that we have community leaders who use their influence to persuade the gullible folks to part with the little aid that they were awarded.
Meanwhile you can be sure that many such people are enjoying their wealth whether derived from haram activities or not.
Maybe someone should tell those Muslim directors to resign their directors' posts in gaming and other haram companies.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What I Think of the GTP and ETP? Or Chappati in the SKY?

The basic idea behind this obsession with Vision2020 when Malaysia is supposed to have been transformed into a developed nation is "throw as mud on the wall as possible" as inevitably some mud will stick.
Before one can even begin to fathom the basis for the projects, you need a Degree in Encryption to get the feel of all the alphabet soup like KPI, KPRA that read like some computer jargon in a technical manual.
The response as been mixed and the big questions on most people's minds are:
1. Where will the funding oome from?
2. How much funds will be "leaked" like the RM12bil in the PKFZ fiasco?

Here is what I think of all the fuss:

Suppose you are a sick man and been diagnosed with elevated blood pressure, drug addiction, diabetes and high cholesterol. Furthermore you smoke and the doctors give you 3 years maximum unless you undergo drastic lifestyle changes.
Instead of taking your doctors' advice and checking into a health clinic for a major medical makeover, you call a press conference and announce that in the next two years you are going to climb Mt. Kinabalu and also take part in your first Ironman competition in two months time.

That is how I view the "pie in the sky" as described by Lim Kit Siang.
Maybe people will understand more if he dscribed it as "chappati in the sky"?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Killers of Sosilawati?

You can find lots of information on the Net nowadays.
The MSM have not published the names of the suspects but one report mentioned that the masterminds are 2 lawyer brothers who were struck off the Bar in November 2009.
So I checked out the Malaysia Bar website and you can read the details on this page under Disciplinary Orders Nov 2009.
The 2 related names appear in the second paragraph from the bottom of the page.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Are You in Favour of the 2-PARTY System for Malaysia?


I support a two-party system for Malaysia as the BN government has not been able to deliver the goods.
Electing a PR government is no guarantee but we will also vote them out if they do not satisfy our needs.
Someone described INSANITY as
"Doing the same thing over and expecting different results".
For me, voting the for the Bankrupsi Negara regime is INSANITY.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

malaysiakini Readers Respond to Another RM5bil Hand-outs

So the Bankrupsi Negara regime still thinks it can turn against the tide by throwing another RM5bil of taxpayers funds for that mysterious 30% Bumi equity so enamoured by Malaysian pirates to deplete Malaysia's coffers.

You can read malaysiakini's readers latest riposte in What's another RM5 bil after wasting RM50 bil? . One of the justifications for this fund was to enable some to cash out their shares in order to start a business. Unless the shares are being bought above market rates, these people should just sell their shares in the open market.
Why should the government use public money to bail out incompetent investors? These people should buy Amanah Saham unit trusts and the government should use this type of money to invest in good companies with good growth potential.
Investing in the share market is for the medium to long term; at least 3 to 5 years and there is no magic formula.
Already RM50bil has been lost on account of selling off Bumi allocated shares and hence frustrating the 30% target. We cannot support this kind of financial indiscipline.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The IGP's Startling Confession....

I find this rather disturbing from the outgoing IGP.
According to the Star report IGP speaks out against third party interference, it seems that certain officials in the Home Ministry have been interfering with police work.
This is a serious allegation and a proper inquiry should be conducted to check such blatant abuse of powers.

There are two sets of culprits involved here:
1.The Home Ministry officials who are interfering with police work.
2.The police officers who accepted orders outside the chain of command.

The IGP himself should have taken firmer measures to secure the integrity of the PDRM earlier but it is better late than never.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

When Will Najib Learn His ABCs Properly?

I spent a quiet Merdeka in JB.
There was really nothing much to celebrate as all my four children are not in Malaysia.
Yesterday, I chanced to hear the PM talk about his economic ideas.
I heard a new description yesterday that indicates the PM is having problems with the alphabets.
It seems that the new formula is being promoted:

NEP=NEM=NME

Of course everyone knows about the NEP, that master-plan that has been hijacked for more than 30 years to benefit only a select group of Bankrupsi Negara cronies.
Since coming to office, Najib has created many labs to study how Malaysia can be transformed into a developed nation by 2020 even though some believe the nation could become bankrupt by 2019; given that FDIs have fallen through the floor and even the locals are moving funds abroad.

The PM thought that he would have it easy with his bold announcement of the New Economic Model or NEM.

However, many influential Malaysians with vested interests in the rent-seeking NEP including Dr Mahathir, have debunked the NEM.
I am not sure what Najib drank to celebrate our Merdeka day but it certainly clouded his speech yesterday.
Now he talks of the "New Model for the Economy". If the NEP was bad and the NEM is just and needs-based, why is there any need to cater for vested interests like APs and the unjust luxury housing discounts?

I say after spending a few million ringgit on APCO to create the image makeover for the PM, it is disappointing that the PM cannot even adopt a consistent position vis-a-vis his economic vision.
Or should we be preparing for Mirage2020 with such national leaders?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

FELDA in News for the WRONG Reasons.....

malaysiakini has this good news for the Settlers get RM11 mil from Felda after the court ruling that they had been cheated by downgrading the quality of their fruit.
It make you wonder who benefitted from such a plot to cheat the Felda settlers who are not so highly educated.
Just look at those happy faces. It is good that after 10 years of the good fight against a powerful company, they have succeeded.
Was it the buying agent of the fruit who could then supply the mills with inferior fruit and make a profit from the fruit collected from the settlers?
Already Felda has come under close scrutiny over the drastic reduction of its cash reserves over the past few years.
Certainly the Felda management should check out why and how the settlers were being cheated to prevent similar abuse elsewhere.

photo: thanks to malaysiakini

Friday, August 20, 2010

Another Product of the BTN?

malaysiakini and other MSM have this story about the Headmistress of a school in Johore who insulted her non-Malay pupils with demands they could go back to China or India.
I have no doubt that in Malaysia, most people have some racial prejudices but it seems in Malaysia, people in authority or influence can get away with public insults of others. It is definitely not helping the 1Malaysia idea that is being promoted by the PM Najib.
After many police reports were made, the Minister of Education has now ordered a probe on the
'Racist' headmistress

Sorry but you have failed in your duty as the Minister of Education for rubbishing the 1Malaysia concept with your "I am Malay first...." ideology.
How can people in authority follow your type of leadership.
There is no need for any more delaying tactics with such a probe. Just don't interfere with the police investigations.
I hope the voters in the next GE will echo the words of Donald Trump to tell you:
"YOU'RE FIRED!"

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The BULLET in the Mail.....

According to the malaysiakini report Bullet in the mail for Pua, the DAP MP has been targeted for speaking up against the housing discount for Bumis.

He did not say anything radical; just pointing out that the discount for luxury homes for Bumis should be discontinued as first-time house buyers needed more help than the privileged rich.
I would go even further to redress this housing injustice.
We need a policy that provides a housing allowance for ALL first-time house buyers for properties not exceeding RM250k. This allwance could be a tax rebate so only registered taxpayers will be assisted.
The present system is totally unjust when a person who already owns properties can get discounts simply based on race.

For this he gets a bullet in the mail?
Truly we have some sickos in Malaysia.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Desaru Trip and Death on the Road

My family spent a few days at Lotus Desaru Resort that was 100% full of mainly Singaporeans getting away for the long weekend.
The place is OK and I would rate it as a 3-star resort; with the staff struggling to hope with the 1000 holiday-makers.
The trip was marred though as there was a fatal accident about 5km before the turn-off to Johor Lama.
The road was a 2-lane road without the central divider and the accident involved a lorry trailer loaded with oil palm fruit that was headed towards Kota Tinggi and a passenger car. My daughter saw 2 bodies covered with plastic and I saw a black plastic wrapping what I thought was that of a small child.
The accident caused queues about 1km long on both sides of the accident scene and as usual motorists became impatient and started using the road shoulders to cut the queue. There was no police control except right at the scene of the mishap.
By the time we got past, the Bomba department were trying to extricate the driver of the lorry. The lorry had overturned and was blocking one lane of the road and oil palm fruit was scattered all over.
The accident delayed our arrival at the resort by about one hour.
We left on Tuesday and most of the crowd had returned on Monday, so there was a nice feel of spaciousness then and the restaurant staff were able to operate at a more sane level.
On the way back we made a brief stop at the Desaur Fruit farm and the Crocodile World at Telok Sengat. The crocodile farm was well worth the visit.
If you plan to drive during the festive season, make sure you are well and also have adequate rest before you start your journey.
If you have just passed your driving test, ask a more experienced driver to check your driving before you drive solo. That could help to prevent you becoming another fatal statistic on Malaysia's killer roads.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

VISION2020, 1MALAYSIA AND ALL THAT JAZZ!

“We were once Malaysians” so we are told
The sorry saga took 40 years to unfold
Meanwhile our institutions have turned to crap
With simple citizens falling into the traps.

When cops who pledge to guard our lives
Simply connive with crooks to cause some dives
With judges abusing the laws for political masters
The nation’s headed for impending disasters

When security laws are treated with disdain
Peaceful vigils can result in great pain
From heavy boots and chemical sprays to protest
The ordinary folks are simply no contest

Penans can protest their rights to live with trees
The bulldozers unrelenting force shows no one is free
We have become enslaved with NEP and Ketuanan*
The most vicious strains of virus for manusia-an.*

FDIs have fled from Malaysia and may never come back
An eighty percent drop is disastrous someone deserves the sack!
When will sleeping Malaysians wake up to reality?
The Bankrupsi Negara regime end made a finality.

We are still Malaysians we must uphold
Human dignity the birthright of all the fold
With proper plans to aid all the poor
Neither race nor creed to be shown the door
But first we must reclaim our rights and join the cause
To vote new leaders who respect us without pause

Vision2020 is a dream turned into nightmare
With constant plunder there’s nothing left to share
Our young have moved to distant shores
Deserted villages lie beyond our doors

If you plan to swallow the 1Malaysia crap
Learn to live on a boot-strap
If you want Malaysia to change for the better
You must break that voting fetter

After forty plus years of Bankrupsi Negara rules
Can we still ponder to remain like fools?
Allowing the corrupt and murder to rule our lives
To change for the better we must strive

So think hard but don’t take too long
The nation’s weak and heart’s not strong
Come vote the day we can freedom reclaim
Your birthright to regain Malaysia’s fame.


*Ketuanan - Malay word meaning superiority, tuan means "master"
*manusia - Malay word meaning human beings

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Why Many Malaysians Worry About 1Malaysia

When Vision2020 was crafted the people believed it.
Alas the dream has turned into a nightmare and all of us, including the foreign investors were conned.
Vision2020 was manipulated using the NEP and Ketuanan mantra to plunder the nation by the Bankrupsi Negara regime.
That should go into the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's greatest scam and the mother of all crimes that affected the lives of at least 30mil people.
You may query the 30mil number - so this is how the numbers add up.
27mil residents (2008 World Bank)
3mil resident overseas(my guess)

So it is not surprising that 1Malaysia is met with derision and scorn. It is the same snake oil salesman peddling the product with different APCO packaging, Just because it is foreign packaging does not mean the product is superior.
Malaysians have to take more control of their own destiny than rely on politicians with forked ("I am Malay first.....) tongues.

Friday, July 30, 2010

malaysiakini and the EVOLVING MINDS of Malaysians

The charging of a former Transport Minister over the billion ringgit and counting PKFZ scandal hardly raised the eye-brows of many sceptical Malaysians as they know that under the Bankrupsi Negara regime, no significant person has ever been convicted and jailed for a major corruption scandal.
You can read the reactions of malaysiakini readers in the article headed End of direct nego: 'BN's words mean nothing'.
Malaysians have not forgotten that during the Lingam commission, leading actors were able to put up a defence of "cannot remember" all the minor details that could have implicated them.
So now we have a Tun being charged in court. Why should anyone be surprised that even a Tun can be tried? After all, it is merely a title bestowed on a human and we know that many people of dubious character have been given various titles but that does not confer on them any special powers.

But back to this PKFZ case:
It definitely contains elements of the most simplistic means of stealing from the government and taxpayers:

1.Government official/s decide on a major mega project that involves land.
2.Set up the land transaction deals via a crony company.
3.The latter then becomes the dealer for the entire project; pocketing millions in easy money.
4.The project gets passed back to taxpayers; mostly with major problems.

Based on the track record of the BN government, it has always made major decisions on collective responsibility. This implies that all details of this major infrastructure project would have been carefully vetted for viability and we have so many people in the PM's EPU to study such deals to figure out if any project will lose money for the government.
So my question is:
"How is it that only the former minister is being charged?"
He could not have acted alone and what about the crony party that was able to manipulate such a deal?
Now that MACC is able to question suspects round the clock, it seems that Ling appears to be some sort of sacrificial lamb.
As for forgetful witnesses, I suggest all the Minutes of Cabinet Meetings be made public so that we lift the veil of secrecy over such meetings and related documents. Unless of course such meetings are just time-wasting exercises. The OSA can be put aside for such important issues like stealing from the public.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Little Praise for British Airways

I am not sure if BA has managed to settle their industrial dispute but my wife and I used their services recently when the problems had not yet been resolved.
We were both impressed that the cabin crew acted professionally and we did not feel that any problems existed woth management.
Well done to the crews of the flights to and from Singapore to London.
BA also does not practice age discrimination against female cabin crew unlike Asian airlines that ground you past a certain age.
One other note:
Last year when we used BA, we were put on a service operated by Qantas and the plane experienced some turbulence. Unlike the BA crew who continued serving meals even when the entire plane was rocking, the Qantas captain promptly ordered the service stopped and we did not get a hot meal prior to landing in Singapore - they just gave us biscuits and a hot drink.
Of course we cannot complain about not getting food if there is a safety issue but I think the airline can give out food vouchers like S$5 each so travellers can get a bite at the airport upon landing as a substitute.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Malaysia's Future BLEAK with Dismal FDIs

The UN report on FDIs for Malaysia tells a sorry tale of dwindling investments as Malaysia appears to be an unattractive place for foreign investors.
If you look at the chart, you will notice that apart from a drastic drop in capital inflows, more local investors are moving overseas.
The average outflow for the 10 years from 1995 to 2005 was RM6.36bil but in 2008, the figure jumped about 8 times to RM48bil and in 2009 the amount was RM25.77bil.
No doubt the investments into Indonesia and Thailand also dropped in 2008 and 2009 but the capital inflows in these two countries for 2009 is four times that for Malaysia.
Also both Thailand and Indonesia have a net gain in investments whereas for Malaysia, we have a net loss of a staggering RM21bil.
This means that investors are leaving the country and even Malaysians now prefer to invest elsewhere.
Unfortunately for Malaysia, the government is still adopting the "Ketuanan" attitude and this is causing much hardship to all Malaysians.
To me the only way to reverse the investment decline is to vote out the Bankrupsi Negara government that has not learned to govern justly even after more than 40 years in power.
It is time for voters in Malaysia to learn from the Filipinos and Indonesians that changing the government is a normal exercise in a democratic nation.



Table: thanks to malaysiakini

Laughter Yoga on the ms EURODAM

My wife and I returned from a cruise in the Baltic about 2 weeks ago. It was a 10-day cruise on the Eurodam, the latest addition of the Holland America Line.
The cruise took us to Kiel in Germany, Tallinn in Estonia, St. Petersburg in Russia, Helsinki in Finland, Stockholm in Sweden and Copenhagen in Denmark.
During the cruise, I conducted a few sessions of LY on board. LY is a method of using laughter to exercise and it can be enjoyed by all.
During one of the sessions, a passer-by just joined in the fun and he enjoyed it so much he came for each session after that and also brought his wife along. Give it a try if you get a chance - there is probably a Laughter Club near you.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Who is Running the SHOW? The Prime Minister or his Wife?

Just a few days after Malaysians were shocked at the withdrawal of more subsidies for fuel, gas and sugar the wife of the Prime Minister comes out with another demand as reported in malaysiakini's article Rosmah wants MOF to fund Wisma Wanita in all states after she opened a Wisma Wanita in Sabah.
The PM should control his wife from making such demands as she does not hold any official post in the government. Of course, she can use her charms to sweet talk her husband but this demand is out of line.
Why would any state have to spend say RM30mil just for another building project? Instead of demanding money from her husband who controls the MoF, she should do some earnest work to raise funds from the private sector or are UMNO cronies keeping a tight rein on their purses?
Besides if the Wanita programs are useful, there is no need for any special building as we have thousands of vacant shop-lets available in most towns.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

You Must LEARN This in Bolehland

The NEW BolehSPEAK for Malaysians
Here is a summary of catch phrases that all Malaysians should learn. After all it is now 2010 - years after George Orwell’s famous 1984.

Unacceptable = Approved
Price Increase = Upward Price Adjustment
Commission for Contract = Maintenance Programs
Government Flip-Flop = Reconsideration of Decision
Corruption = Facilitation Services
Crony Deals = Negotiated Contracts
Project Cost Over-runs = Project Enhancements
Leadership Crisis = Consultative Leadership

Finally all Malaysians should learn the following:
Leadership Renewal Process = You are FIRED! For the Bankrupsi Negara leaders.
Can you suggest a few more “approved” phrases?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Of SUBSIDIES and WANTON Wastages......

It so happened I topped up my car tank yesterday with cheaper fuel and so saved maybe RM5 on a full tank.
The government has been quite bold in removing subsidies from fuel, gas and sugar as all these items will directly affect consumers. They have also done a study to show that your favourite "teh tarik" should cost no more than 1.25sen based on these increases.
I guess such studies are both meaningless and worthless as petty traders and kopitiams will not bother with such details. Besides no ever raises prices by 5sen these days? So expect to pay at least 10sen price increase for all controlled food items or a 5% drop in quantity.
Of course the government is in a quandry as its own Minister has declared that we are headed for bankrupcy like Greece by 2020 if if keep on doing the same things like spending beyond our means.
Not all the blame can be laid on ordinary folks who strive to earn an honest living. The government has to support Bankrupsi Negara cronies who have caused massive losses in projects like Bakun, PKFZ and dubious commission or corruption schemes like the Scorpene purchases.
Now to top it all, it has been revealed that at least RM4billion was spent by the Prime Minister's department for 2010 to pay more than 43,000 civil servants. That sounds unbelievable but true and the figures were given by another minister. Somewhere in Putrajaya, there is a small town's population churning out useless info like that useless bit of data like 1.25sen teh tarik increase.
I daresay this PM's budget and the 43,000 civil servants should be posted to the Guiness Book of World Records.
Malaysia truly Boleh!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The WAY to Decide Elections?

I've been away on a cruise to the Baltic and only managed to catch the first half of the World Cup in London at the airport just before boarding the aircraft home.
I thought the Dutch would win as they had a more robust team with a few good strikers of the ball while the Spanish had the more painstaking game with so many passes before a shot a goal.
Anyway it was a fair result that Spain is now the World Champion.
You would have all heard about Paul the octopus who surpassed all other betting systems to get all the predictions right.
Someone sent me this photo via email and I am sure it is being widely circulated now.
So I guess Bankrupsi Negara will share the same thought as some German restaurant owners who may want to offer octopus rings on their menu!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

How to SPOT Possible Corrupt Practices in the MACC?

We all know that many Malaysians suspect that Teoh Beng Hock was murdered shortly after he was hauled in for questioning by the MACC, the authority in Malaysia that is supposed to investigate and combat corruption.
This article from the Malaysian Insider about how theMACC gets a dirty dozen sacked in 2009 is supposed to convince us that the MACC is putting up a sterling performance.

However if you read the article, the last paragraph reads:

The rest of the projects include the construction of staff quarters worth in Penang (RM12 million), Kelantan State office (RM25 million), Pahang State office (RM19 million), Perak State office (RM23 million), Kuala Lumpur MACC complex (RM25 million), Malacca state office (RM23 million) and Johor state office (RM32 million.)

I wonder why:
1.The Pahang state office costs RM19mil while the Johor office costs RM32mil. That is a price difference of RM13mil or more than 68% price difference.
2.Are these based on open tenders or the "I help you, you help me" negotiated contracts?

I would imagine that such state offices should be quite standard buildings and maybe a price difference of 15% is acceptable to suit site variations. Even the same architect can be used to reduce costs.

So how do we investigate the MACC for dubious contract dealings?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

EXCELLENT Campaign Material for PR for the Next Elections

That expose of the Canadian property empire of the Sarawak Chief Minister and the photos especially could play a most important role for the opposition in Sarawak.
No need to put into thousands of words just a few contrasting photos:

Examples:
1.One large office complex and the thousands of cleared virgin forest.
2.The Bakun hydro-power dam and an trickle of water in their new homes.
3.A powerful Sarawak river and the new expensive "homes"

The theme of the photos could be this:
"You had to give this up in order to give him this" or "Did you get a RAW Deal?"
"You Call This a FAIR Deal?"

Of course, the video of Najib's "If you vote BN, you can come to collect the cheque" speech is also priceless. No need to pay APCO Millions for such good campaign materials.
It is not only time for him to be voted out but also for the Bankrupsi Negara government to go.

Photo: thanks to http://sarawakreport.org/2010/06/exclusive-taibs-foreign-property-portfolio/

Friday, June 18, 2010

BANKRUPSI NEGARA - the Signs are OMINOUS


Much has been written and speculated about corruption and dirty politics and even a Minister has now postulated that Malaysia can become bankrupt just like the Greece model, overcome with mounting foreign debt.
So there are a few stories in the news why Malaysia seems to be unable to convince the sceptics that everything is still "honky-dory" as far as the nation's financial future is concerned.

You can read about how the Sarawak Chief Minister has amassed a vast property empire overseas in the malaysiakini article Taib family's Canadian property empire unveiled. The burning question is how did a government leader amass such a wealthy portfolio that seems more like that of the Sultan of Brunei. Now supposing such wealth had been created from exploiting the citizens of Sarawak, why did the federal leaders not probe such corrupt dealings? Or are the federal leaders guilty of similar or even grander malpractices?

The second story relates to how FELDA, the body created to help the smallholders of oil palm, appears to have become another cash cow to be drained by the government with full disclosures. It seems that cash reserves have been dramatically reduced in the past few years. Ever since it adopted a more agressive "corporate" image, it seems FELDA has forgotten that it success was the result of many years of toil by the Felda settlers. This type of GLC should have its annual accounts scrutinised by lawmakers to prevent abuse.

You also know that Shanghai's EXPO is now on but it appears that Malaysia's RM35mil pavilion has failed to draw the crowds and reviews are rather disappointing. No dazzle for Teresa Kok at Malaysia Pavilion says it all. The comments by readers are quite critical.

From one reader:
While our neighbours' pavillions were about their culture and heritage, what's inside ours is (get this) Ogawa massage chairs, A1 instant bak kut teh, Old Town White Coffee and Sepang F1 circuit. Seems more like a hypermarket than an exhibition to me. And the food? It's not made on the spot, but rather more like airplane food heated on microwaves at ridiculous prices. It is just that bad. And I am very ashamed to say that our pavillion is just one big national embarassment.

First of all, that building looks rather foreign and not native to Malaysia. It may attract visitors but the offerings inside must be appealing. Of course they bandied the 1Malaysia concept but I wonder how did the people there explain if they could not speak well in English or Mandarin?
Malaysian food is always appealing but they should have used some of that RM35mil to fly in well-known hawkers to cook roti prata, hokkien prawn mee and nasi beriyani to give the true flavour of Malaysia. Even an AirAsia promotion booth would have been welcome as Chinese now want to travel everywhere. What a missed opportunity!
As for the building, I guess the cost should be not more than RM15mil.
But I suppose the budget also includes the various first-class tickets plus 5-star hotel bills.

photo: thanks to malaysiakini

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What to DO with this BANKRUPSI NEGARA Government?



Instead of scrapping the historic Parliament House and moving to the "white elephant" Putrajaya Convention Centre, I suggest we have a more elegant solution - just scrap the BN government in the next General Elections.
If you read this article from the Malaysian Insider, the Bankrupsi Negara government has another hare-brained idea as Cabinet now mulls PICC as new Parliament House.

You will get the following facts from the MI article:
1.They renovated Parliament House for RM100mil just 5 years ago.
2.PICC was built for RM600mil and is a "white elephant" according to the minister.
3.It will cost another RM150mil "to repair" Parliament House, presumably to also allow more MPs to be seated.
4.It will cost "at least RM50mil" to renovate a temporary building.

The minister left out important details for his cost estimates. Are all these prices based on proper workouts of BQs or more the "I help you, you help me" crony contracts?
Why were the extra seats not planned for when the PH was renovated 5 years ago? Are the roofs still in danger of collapsing?

Instead of just criticing the Bankrupsi Negara government, I would like to offer the following solution to the problem.
The 2 photos offer a solution that will cost less than RM12mil during the time it takes to renovate and repair Parliament House, the bill for which should be properly calculated and subject to open tender.
The first photo shows the UK Parliament where no tables are provided and MPs are not hidden behind high compartment. (for dozing off or surfing?)Notice how the Speaker is also seated at the same level as MPs and not enthroned as in Malaysia.
I suggest a convention hall(even PICC) can be hired for say RM12mil for 12 months and the existing furniture from PH be relocated there.
By adopting the UK style of seating, the capacity of PH can be increased by about 20%without enlarging the building and that reduces costs.
So the main costs for the expansion would be to order new upholstered seats that should not cost more than RM2000 per seat. At present we have 222MPs so we should cater for 300 seats. Include microphone etc let's work on a budget of RM2500x300 or RM750,000.
The minister should be asked to provide the details of what constitutes the RM150mil repairs as the number looks rather dodgy.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Wrong PRIORITIES of the Bankrupsi Negara Government....

Two stories making their rounds that show how inept the Bankrupsi Negara government is.
One story is about the RM800mil+ new palace being constructed for the Agong - you can read malaysiakini's readers' responses here.
Has anyone read any possible justifications for another grand palace? Also another negotiated "I help you, you help me" dubious tender. What could possibly be wrong with the existing palace?
Don't be surprised if in another 6 months we read of another negotiated deal for the redevelopment of the old palace site,a prime location near the Klang River,this time at a price way BELOW market rates.
The other story that involves thousands of young Malaysians is the decision to cut back on PSD scholarships overseas for undergraduate studies.
If you put the 2 stories together, it seems the Bankrupsi Negara government has got its priorities wrong and is really sending confusing messages to Malaysians.
While it complains about the high costs of subsidies, it also appears to be oblivious that the RM800+ palace is another reminder that voters must exorcise this BN government in the next elections.
Unless you really want to become a citizen of Asia's Zimbabwe before you do anything? It may then be too late to salvage the economy for many, many years.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Every FATHER Should Teach his SON This......

No I am not talking about the birds and the bees but this is a motoring story - a little diversion from the usual rant about politics.
My son who is studying in KL was given a Myvi to drive around the city as public transport is rather inefficient.
At first I wanted him to drive a manual car just like my daughter a few years earlier but a friend told him to ask us to get him one with automatic transmission.
I delivered the car to him about six months ago; with the usual blurb about regular checking of the oil level, battery water and tyre pressure.
About 2 months ago, he had a minor accident after he changed lanes without looking over his shoulder but it seemed the other driver did not even bother to stop and hence the front passenger side has a slight grazing damage - perhaps RM400 to make good.
About 2 weeks ago, we visited him and I drove his car out for dinner. The steering had a most peculiar wobble and I thought it was the result of the accident - a case of misalignment or even a damaged shock absorber. So we asked him to send the car to the tyre shop to rectify the wobble.
Last night, my son phoned his mother and advised that the problem had been solved.
He had gone to the petrol station to pump the tyres and a guy observed that he was not pumping the tyres correctly.
My son was a science student in school but he does not understand the principle of how a tyre pump works!
You see he reckoned that you pump the tyre until you hear the air escaping! That means the tyre is full just like how a bucket of water overflows when it is full. He did not know that the tyre needs to be pumped until no more "ting-ting" sound is heard which means that the pressure in the tyre is balanced by the air pump.
That kind gentleman showed my son how to pump the tyres properly.
It is heart-warming to know that KL folks can still display such care. I really appreciate that.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I Agree We Should Have a NEW Parliament.

Let's face the naked truth.
The modus operandi of the Bankrupsi Negara government is to launch meaningless projects that do not benefit the citizens but to create opportunities for BN cronies to make mega-ringgit through the means of dubious projects like Putrajaya and now the proposed new Parliament building.
"According to malaysiakini readers,the Rakyat to 'subsidise' new RM800 mil Parliament this could be just another white elephant that will join Malaysia's growing herd of white elephants.
However I would like to correct another reader's comment that even Singapore has kept its old Parliament building.
According to wikipedia, Singapore replaced its buidling in 1999. One interesting detail of the project is that the budget approved was S$148.2m in 1992 and completed in 1999 with final cost of S$115.2m.
Now the BN(Bankrupsi Negara) government mentions a project cost of RM800m but do you think after many delays and the usual project problems the cost will be less than RM1.2b?
YES! I say we need a new Parliament - NO not a new building but a new government to sit in that old building.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Is There SOMETHING in Malacca's Drinking Water?

Some years back there was a high profile case involving the rape of a minor in Malacca, for which the Chief Minister of Penang was jailed; not for the rape but for standing for his principles in fighting to protect the girl.
Today's headlines in the Star Sex for asam pedas shop permit tells the story of how a young woman had to provide sexual favours just to obtain a business licence.
It is good that this case has been highlighted and the police should ensure this woman will be able to testify in court so that other sex predators in high office are deterred.
And hopefully the AG's office will not botch up this case or classify it as NFA.

Friday, June 4, 2010

malaysia Continues to Create Medical HISTORY!

It is possible that the rest of the world may think that Malaysians have gone MAD.
How is it possible that our universities have been able to produce doctors who make incredulous observations under oath?
I am referring to a doctor who is testifying in the case against Anwar Ibrahim. You can read malaysiakini readers' comments here Is semen in anus evidence of penetration?
According to the forensics report there was no conclusive clinical evidence of penetration, so why did the doctor say there could have been penetration?
If you recall in the Teoh Beng Hock inquiry, another doctor also claimed that Teoh had not been strangled even though there was injury to the neck area.
It seems these 2 doctors are not testifying according to scientific evidence but against it.
Regarding the semen story, it is like this:
Suppose you smeared or somebody smeared jam on your face. Can you take that to prove that you had eaten the jam?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

41% Civil Servants CORRUPT? No Wonder Malaysia is Going Bankrupt....

I wonder just how the CUEPACS President can come up with such a figure when the BN government itself does not know the figures or maybe does not care after 50 years in power.
After all, many Malaysians believe that the government too is guilty of the corruption game by paying crony contractors dubious commissions like the RM600mil just to facilitate the purchase of our two submarines.

If CUEPACS wants to work with the MACC, here are some pointers:
1.Check out all the negotiated projects with no open tenders.
2.Check officers who delay approvals or pass projects with express delivery. Departments now have such KPI and check those unusual deals that are outside KPI by +-10%.
3.Do a house check on all department heads for housing grandeur, exotic cars or expensive holidays plus those of immediate family like parents and children.
4.If #3 looks suspicious demand to audit all their bank accounts.
5.Check the land office for properties owned.

One of the basic reasons for so much corruption is that the government did not practise the "divide and rule" principle. In the old days, it was usual to find different races at the top levels of departments and people were scared to accept bribes. Managers were more prepared to report such cases as getting rid of corrupt officials could result in a promotion.
Nowadays civil servants are about 90% mono-racial and it seems the government also treats it like a fixed deposit during elections and unwilling to weed out the corrupt officers.
Just like how the PDRM thumbed their noses at the IPCMC, the civil servants can do the same to the MACC.
ALLAH help us all!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Deaths in TRAINING....Why such a long Period?

I wonder what is the annual budget for the 6-month long training that the PSD provides for PTD officers.
According to this article PSD: Training not as tough as it is for police, military Intan has trained 10,000 PTD staff since 1977 or about 300 staff per year on average.
Let us assume the cost per head for food and lodging is RM50 per day per trainee.
So each year, the basic cost for training is 300x50x6x30 equals RM2.7m.
Add in transport costs and trainer overheads we could be spending RM3m each year.
I am not suggesting that training is bad but I just wonder why it takes so long to train the PTD employees?
We should only take in the cream of the crop for PTD duties and I suggest that such people do not need 6 months training. I think a period of the 1-month OBS stint would enable the government to weed out unsuitable candidates.
After all a study of extra-curricular activities would give a quite accurate estimate of the candidates suitability and all the information that needs to be imparted can be done in the 2 to 3 months supervised work before people are posted overseas.
In a way this similar to the NS scheme - I reckon the 3-month period is simply too long and only gives us even more deficit spending. A 1-month training period is quite adequate if the program is properly devised.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The BN WAY to Bankrupt Malaysia.....

The declaration by the Minister Idris Jala that Malaysia could become bankrupt is certainly startling as we have been told consistently that we will attain developed nation status by 2020 if we let the BN government carry out with its policies of nation-building.malaysiakini readers vent their anger and frustration in this article Idris spot on about nation going bankrupt.
For any nation to remain strong, it has to manage all its resources well and in Malaysia's case, the government has become too complacent about managing the economy.
According to one reader,
Habib RAK: There is every reason to believe what Idris Jala said about the government's total debt. The government is clearly on course to get into very serious money trouble.

Idris Jala presented the actual debt at year-end from 1997 to 2009 (12 years). Consistently, it has grown, each year, at an average of over 12% per year. For the past 12 years, the current government had led it grow. Do you think they are going to change their ways overnight? No way. In fact, at year-end 2008 and 2009, it had grown 14.6% and 18.3%, respectively.


This shows that the government has not been able to able to balance the national budget the past 12 years but instead had to borrow to meet expenditure or losses like the RM12bil PKFZ scandal - don't be surprised if that is carried off the balance sheet.
In other words, the budgets have not been properly managed even when the GDP has stagnated about 6% annually, the government has not made adjustments to its operating expenses but resorted to risking our future with spending that has little economic returns.

If a government borrows money to increase capability to generate income, the borrowing may be worthwhile but simply for expenses is foolhardy.
To me the biggest savings that can be made is in the civil service where we have at least 20% to 25% overstaffing.

A major review of the civil service is long overdue. I propose the following measures can be implemented now.

1.Freeze all NEW posts. Transfer staff from surplus departments to other departments that need more manpower.
2.Stop giving extended contracts to retirees.
3.Stop giving pensions to NEW employess but put them on EPF.
4.NEW employees to be given limited medical benefits on co-pay say 25/75 employee/employer ratio.

Other measures can include:
1.Reducing the numbers of managers that are entitled to secretaries and drivers.
In Singapore, only the MDs of large companies are provided drivers and only the top 3% managers have private secretaries.

On tax relief, I will only grant ONE tax-free pension for those who earn more than one pension.

The other major step the government can do is to operate on OPEN TENDER system. Even today there is news that one company is suggesting the RM50bil buy-out of all tolled roads in the country.
The most appopriate solution would be for the government to publish all the criteria that such a proposal should include and then have an OPEN BID by different companies like:

1.Cash Offer to be paid for takeover, including the minority shareholders.
2.Toll rates freeze for say 10 years.
3.Period of toll concession like 30 years, after which a new open tender will be carried out.
4.The financial support the company will require from the government, if any.
5.Traffic forecast for various roads for next 5 years.

Seriously, if the government cannot control spending beyond our means, we need to change the government in the next elections.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A STRONG WAKE-UP CALL for MALAYSIANS

The alarm bells are sounding loud and clear.
The BN government has been MISMANAGING the economy all these years!
Why else would the minister Idris Jala state that Malaysia could become like Greece in 9 years?
According to malaysiakini readers, they believe M'sians made to pay for BN's profligacy as we all know that Malaysia is full of abundance with good soil, water and sunshine and we also are spared from earthquakes and typhoons. The usual flooding in towns is caused by over-development and lack of maintenance.
I predict a grim future unless the BN government is voted out in the next general elections.
Some BN leaders may be roped in to help a new government as a few have good leadership qualities and may be willing to help save Malaysia.
Malaysia needs ALL our best talents to weather the storm in the next few years - Indonesia made a good transition - we can learn from them.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

News from Sarawak...

I have been in Sarawak for the past five days as I attended the ToastMasters International District Convention in Miri and then went to the Mulu Caves for two days.
Reading the local newspapers, I notice that the local BN politicians are very upset that the BN lost in the Sibu by election.
Perhaps they are upset that the state elections now have to be set back.
Sarawak is quite different from Peninsula Malaysia as the majority of the folks here are Christians, mainly the SIB church. In Miri, the church has an impressive building on top of Canada Hill, the place where the first oil well was discovered in Miri, the town that was founded on oil.
Back to the local politics - in yesterday's Sarawak Tribune, James Masing of Parti Rakyak Sarawak is quoted as saying:

"When our forefathers of various social backgrounds created this nation, they understood the social holy grounds on which only certain groups may occupy (which has led to)Malaysia being peaceful for the past 50 years because of our mutual acknowledgement and respect".

The half page article had the headline on the front page:
"Don't push us" across the width of the paper.

I also visited the Mulu Caves on Tuesday for two nights and during the visit, we stopped by a Penan village on the river. The boatmen provided the tour services to and from the National Park and they made a 20-minute stop in their village to buy souvenirs.
The locally made products were hand-made but not so marketable and so not many people bought anything.
The most shocking thing about the village is that there is no infrastructure for proper electricity and water.
They used shared generator and water from the river for washing and cleaning. Some potable drinking water is provided by the national park HQ.

I guess the Minister of Land Development wants the Penan and other natives of Sarawak to retain their original condition so that tourists can come and see them in their original condition.
Sarawak is a land of plenty but it seems that the original folks have been sidelined by the ruling politicians.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What Happens when VITAL STATE Institutions FAIL

Many Malaysians feel that the Judiciary and the PDRM are failed institutions after the infamous sacking of the judges years ago and the failure to impement the IPCMC after many cases of abuse in police custody.
The latest by-election in SIBU indicates that the Elections Commission also can be put into the "failed institution" category. Just imagine the head claiming they have no powers to investigate election bribery by the Prime Minister.

To me it is not surprising as after so many years in power, the government and the political parties that have ruled for more than 50 years is in an advanced stage of decay - those in power believe that the government and the parties in control are one and the same. That is only part of human nature - man is a weak organism and power tends to corrupt.
It is up to voters- especially the younger ones to take back the power they have entrusted to politicians so that we can fix all our failed institutions. The choice is very simple - Change the government as soon as possible or you may not get the chance to do it peacefully in the future.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

SIBU Buy Election - Blatant BRIBERY by the PM


I think the PM has stepped beyond the boundary of decency and decorum of the Prime Minister's office with this campaign speech. What a disgrace for the highest elected office of Malaysia.
"He wants to meet the people"? By his own admission he says "otherwise he will not come".
It is good that the people of Sibu have rejected his grossly overextended overtures. After all, the RM5mil is the voters' money and he was really a fool to try such a blatantly corrupt approach. It seems that common folks have a better sense of right and wrong.
So I guess with the BN loss, his dreams of Sibu have turned to nightmares!

Monday, May 17, 2010

malaysiakini and SIBU ..the Mystery of the Postal Ballot

Congrats to the DAP for having wrested Sibu from the mighty BN who shamefully made use of government assets during the election campaign and who also offered all types of bribes to the Sibu voters.
At last many Malaysians are able to see through such vote-buying tactics and prepared not to give up control of their destiny by keeping the same people in power. It must be especially galling for the PM who flew there three times at taxpayers' expense to offer the Sibu folks the equivalent of "whisky and women" so that the BN could control their live for many more years.
I find the delay in announcing the postal ballots strange as these were all cast earlier and I find it unusual that the postal results were only finalised only at the end.
To reduce the chance of "accidents", these ballots should be counted earlier and as soon as the counting centre opens. Also postal ballots should be reduced to the bare minimum like ONLY for those on active duty in a location more than say 30km from the nearest polling station. We should also allow postal votes from Malaysians who are working in another state to cast their votes in the state capitals. This will apply for by elections and for general elections, we will allow all Malaysians to cast postal votes in the major cities where say there are more than 1000 overseas Malaysians like London, New York, Sydney etc.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Another SIME DARBY Fiasco

After much fanfare and under the takeover vehicle of Synergy Drive Bhd(SD), the main plantation companies of Sime Darby, Golden Hope and Guthrie Bhd were merged and subsequently SD changed its name back to Sime Darby that was touted as the largest plantation group in the world.
In the process, CIMB Investment Bank made a few hundred million just to administer the process instead of being managed by PNB and that would have saved a few dineros for the shareholders.
So Sime Darby is once again in the news for the wrong reasons - this time the Engineering Division managed to chalk up losses that some analysts suggest will surpass RM900mil for the group.
This is what usually happens when a company that is world class in one field, in this example plantations tries to grow big in areas where it is not strong. The profits made in plantations are put at risk and the group will suffer.
Not that long ago, we also had the short-lived and ill-conceived saga of Sime Bank and you can read some details of that sorry episode here.
As a former shareholder of Golden Hope who got steam-rolled in the takeover, I am glad I sold my SD shares at RM10.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Malaysia Can Learn MUCH from UK Politics....

Finally the UK has emerged with a new Prime Minister David Cameron after days of political wrangling following the inconclusive British General Elections that saw no party winning enough seats to form the government.
As they say, "Politics is the art of the possible" and the coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats may not last that long as both parties promote different policies.
Labour had been in power for 13 years and the economic crisis probably had a large role to play in their loss at the polls; plus the fact that Gordon Brown is not such a skilled communicator as Tony Blair.
It shows democracy is alive and well in the UK despite the glitches of the system that could not cater to the hundreds of late-comers who turned up too late to vote.

The main lessons that Malaysians can learn from the UK polls?
1.Changing the government is not a bad thing as it keeps political parties competitive in order to win the votes.
2.We need to hear televised debates of the main parties contending broadcast on national TV so that important issues can be debated. In this respect, Singapore is well ahead of Malaysia.
3.Major parties in the coalition should demand more important ministerial posts. In the UK, it is no less then the post of Deputy Prime Minister.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Do You Think They Will Ban "Bullets" too in the Next Elections?

Have we given the Police that much authority that they can resort to banning certain words in political campaigns?
Well it seems that the word "ALLAH" has been banned by the PDRM for the Sibu by-elections according to this malaysiakini article Police declare 'Allah' issue off limits in by-election.
I believe the OCCI has exceeded his authority and we should educate him on his proper duties.
He definitely has no authority to ban anything that is not clearly defined by any laws. Do you think "bullets" too will be banned next?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

malaysiakini Readers' Views on Police Shootings....

It is interesting that many readers have voiced their opinion on the use of deadly force by the police that have resulted in the deaths of unarmed civilians; with the latest incident being the 15-year old boy.
If only the IPCMC had been implemented, this and similar cases would have been investigated by the Commission instead of the make-shift panel formed by the Home Ministry.
Of particular interest is that the Police guidelines on the use of deadly weapons is a classified document known only to officers above a certain rank. This should be subject to review and approval by a Parliamentary select committee so that the police do not authorise themselves with more deadly powers than we are prepared to give them.

For example:
1.Shooting is allowed by any police officer at the scene when the criminal fires a shot first at the police.
2.When a driver tries to evade a road block and speeds off, the officer in charge can order his men to fire single rounds at the fleeing suspect and only to disable the car.
3.Only properly trained cops proficient in the use of firearms are allowed to shoot at an unarmed suspect.
4.The suspect is deemed unarmed unless a shot is fired first at the police. Only then can the police classify the suspect as "armed and dangerous".
5.No shots may be fired at a fleeing car unless the area is free of other traffic and bystanders if the suspect has not shot first at the police.
6.No automatic rifles will be authorised unless the suspect is armed and dangerous.

Do you think we should know about all the police rules of engagement or can you trust them to act in your best interest?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

malaysiakini and a Brief History of NUCLEAR POWER in Malaysia

To cut this article short by 2000 words, here are 2 photos to depict the before and after situation of Malaysia's very brief history of nuclear power.

malaysiakini and other media report that most ordinary folks are against the use of nuclear power in Malaysia. I guess the recent water mains burst pipes just before and after the story broke must be very relevant.

Just imagine that burst pipe contains hot water contaminated with nuclear waste.
Is that going to be our A R M E G E D D O N?
With this "ram down our throat" nuclear nightmare proposed, we need to take out this government at the next polls before the nightmare becomes a reality.

photos: thanks to the Star and malaysiakini

Results of Poll on Teoh Beng Hock Murder

This poll has been posted for about 4 months and here are the results for the 226 people who responded:

50% or 113 believe The Truth Will Never Be Revealed
31% or 71 believe They were Holding him outside the Window and his pants tore.
11% or 25 think The MACC allowed a Third Party to Kill him
3% or 7 think He Committed Suicide to protect others
2% or 5 think They Caused him Mental Distress to Jump from the Window
2% or 5 Will Accept the Official Version.

It looks as if only 2% of respondents believe the government is acting with transparency and integrity.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Say "NO!" to Nuclear Power in Malaysia.....

This will be a major disaster when the plant starts to malfunction after a few years as Malaysia does not know how to keep up with the strict maintenance procedures and invariably short cuts will be taken.
I have written a few articles before on operating a nuclear power station and why Malaysia must never use nuclear power.
If we need to change the government to prevent the use of nuclear power, that is something I am prepared to do.
Do you trust the government enough to put a nuclear power station say within 50 miles of your home?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The HEIGHT of IRRESPONSIBILITY from the IGP of Malaysia...

Malaysia's IGP will be retiring this year when his contract was extended last year but his latest statement on the public's reaction to the fatal shooting of a 15-year old makes me feel that the IGP has outlived his ability to lead the PDRM.
If the story in malaysiakini is correct about pulling cops off the streets then all MPs should demand that he be replaced immediately.
After all, the Home Minister has already declared that he knows who will be the replacement. Already the government lost much credibility when it baulked when the police top brass objected to the IPCMC.
Now we can see how the IGP is dictating terms of how the police will operate.
We simple cannot allow the tail to wag the dog!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Police Shoot-outs...Welcome to the WILD WEST of Malaysia!

A few months back, a woman was shot and she had to barge into the place where the Home Minister was in order to make her views known.
The latest police killing of a 15-year old boy has drawn many responses from malaysiakini readers who ask the question Police killings: 'When will they stop?'.

To me the questions will remain unanswered until the following happens:
1.We have a change of government or
2.The present government makes it a standard practice to hold a public inquiry whenever anyone is killed by the police or
3.We implement the IPCMC that can undertake such inquiries

Too many Malaysians have been killed by the PDRM under questionable circumstances. And no one has been held accountable.
Nowadays the police are so heavily armed that they should not be scared of petty thieves with parangs.

For a trained cop, I expect someone charging at you with a parang can be wounded at a range of 10 to 20 feet so you are not justified to shoot to kill.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

malaysiakini and the USE of CON-SULTANTS

I am sure many have heard this joke about consultants and their ilk.
Basically you can pay a consultant money and he will make up a story that you would like to hear.
That is why I have spelt the word with the emphasis on the CON part.
I got to pondering about consultants after this article in malaysikini on the TBH murder inquest. The question being asked is 'Just how did Teoh fall?'.
It seems that we are asking the wrong person this question - he was not there and can only postulate. His take also does not appear too convincing - from "fully conscious" to not sure.
At one time, any Western expert was held in high esteem but after cases like Enron, Watergate we now know that integrity is not an exclusive trait.
I just wonder how much they paid for such elusive evidence?

Another Reason WHY Malaysia MUST NOT Use Nuclear Power....


I have written a few articles about why Malaysia should not use nuclear power and today's story only adds to that argument.
In Malaysia, many of the building trades operate on the "monkey see, monkey do" concept and after a few years of following the senior "monkey", many start their own contracting companies and if they are connected, they may end up doing an Ali Baba contract that is so prevalent in Malaysia.
Today's story Sinkhole brings traffic to a halt show the level of the shoddy workmanship that goes on in many building projects.
Since this project is being managed by MBPJ which is probably the most progressive council in Malaysia, I suggest the council should examine the qualifications of the contractors doing the job.
Don't just issue the work authorisation and hope nothing goes wrong. Ensure that a competent person supervises the work as part of the conditions of the work order.
As for the unfortunate motorists, sue the local authorities for the job failure - this is not another act of ALLAH but incompetence.

photo:thanks to the STAR

Monday, April 26, 2010

So BN Won Hulu Selangor but at What Cost?

People say politics is dirty but what went on in the Hulu Selangor "buy-election" would write a new chapter in the Manual of Dirty Politics.
Straight away after returning from many days of international travel, the PM and his team of ministers started their tour of Hulu Selangor and proceeded to give out bribes left, right and centre. In fact the DPM and half the Cabinet were actively campaigning for the BN candidate, all on government or taxpayers' time. No wonder Putrajaya stopped operating for the duration of the campaign.
You see in Malaysia the ruling party has fine-tuned their dirty tricks to the minutest detail. Unfortunately the many years of corruption have affected the many institutions of democracy that many ordinary law-abiding people sadly do not know when the laws have been blatantly broken.
Why else would the PM spand so many days in HS when in the absence of the buy-election, the place would be mentioned in his appointments diary only once in 5 years? And that only in the General Elections?
For Zaid and his team, do not be disappointed for too long. Start your work for the next general elections.
I don't expect the BN will be able to afford such generous vote-buying at the national level in the next general elections.
Perhaps by then more Malaysians would have realised the imperative to CHANGE the government in order to give Malaysia a better future.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

malaysiakini and the DOGS of WAR....maybe those APCs can Also FLY?


As we get more capable leaders into the Malaysian Parliament, more errors will be discovered...you remember how a few weeks ago, a figure of RM6bil was recently changed to RM6mil after the "mistake" was pointed out by an opposition MP?
That same MP is now asking questions about the proposed idea to spend RM8bil to purchase 257 armed personnel carriers(APCs).
If you look at the spread-sheet, you will note that each APC will cost RM31mil. It is good that the MP has raised the question about the pricing and we should also all inquire why these APCs are costing more than an arm and a leg.
Not that long ago, we also awarded a multi-billion ringgit contract to build naval vessels and the venture was a spectacular failure.
I support promoting local industries but only if the price is competitive and we know what we are paying for.
In this case, it seems we are paying about four times more than what other contries have to pay.
If you study this site, you will note that APCs cost in the region of less than US$2 million each and so that equates to less than RM7mil.
So why do we have to pay so much? Unless it's a military secret that those APC's can also fly!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Are We CHANGING or WHAT?

There is a new mantra in Malaysia - CHANGE!
Maybe that meeting with President Obama after spending more than RM70mil on a public relations campaign building the Brand 1Malaysia has set off the proverbial lightbulb.
But I am not holding my breath just yet.
Even when you thought it is safe to get back in the water, you need to watch out for the many crocodiles that are just waiting for the next meal.
You remember how the education system was turned on its head just before TDM retired? They brought back "teaching in English" in the national schools within a grace period of three months - a record for major mayhem in the schools for 4 years until they reversed the policy and went back to the old ways that produces graduates who cannot survive in the private sector on account of atrocious English skills.
To me the basic reason why we have yet another set of laws withdrawn as seen in malaysiakini's Brakes on Road Transport Act revisions is that these laws are being churned out without much serious thinking.
You remember the rules on using Mykad to purchase petrol that was mooted about 3 months ago?
Well this latest withdrawal on the increased fines for traffic offences reflects the same lack of thinking through the problem.
To me, the lack of continuous and consistent enforcement is the basic reason why we have the situation of near anarchy on the roads.
Of course when all top government officials are all too occupied on a by-election we cannot any serious effort to be made to pass good laws.

Friday, April 16, 2010

CORRUPTION in DEFENSE Contracts - Nothing has Changed

It seems that Malaysia's submarine deals are being probed by the French authorities according to malaysiakini.
The wheels of justice move slowly but let's hope the French justice system is more thorough than the Malaysian system that convicted two men who did not seem to have any motive to blow up the Mongolian woman who was involved in the deal.
Of course the defense industry of France and probably most arms deals are racked by corruption scandals but at least the French have had some success in convicting the guilty parties.
The last major scandal that was brought before the courts was the infamous Dassaut case that also had an assassination of a person who had knowledge of the deal just like Altantuuya. That happened in 1988 and made major headlines. You can read the story here.
The main reason why defense contracts are prone to corruption is that it is not purely a government to government transaction like in the old days. Nowadays there are middle men and service contracts that can conceal "bribes" under secrecy agreements.
This will be a good test for the French justice system and definitely not good publicity for the Malaysian government.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

malaysiakini on the "SMALL FRY" Remark by the DPM......

So the DPM is really upset that malaysiakini attributed the words "small fry" to describe the Inter-religious body set up by the government to look at problems related to the administration of religious practices among Malaysians.
Over the past years, Malaysians have read about forced conversions among minors by a parent who suddenly changes religion, body-snatching over last-minute conversions at death and women who suddenly find themselves divorced by someone who changes religion and then gets rid of the wife.
These are all serious issues that impact heavily on families and for the DPM to consider the IFP(inter-faith panel) as something not really that important as it has no authority and no decision-making power.

I think malaysiakini's error is that it attributed the words "small fry" to the DPM when he did not actually say the words.
But if you look at the meaning of the word "small fry" it really fits the attributes given to the panel by the DPM.
Of course we know the DPM who is also the Education Minister wants English to be sidelined for many years when he cannot understand that the way he described the IFP actually falls under the meaning of "small fry".

It seems that the BN government does not take the matter of inter-religious problems seriously. Instead of a half-baked panel with zero authority, a proper inter-religious commission should have been formed.
I suggest that Malaysians spend at least 5% of their energies on matters related to inter-religious problems. What do you think?