How should we judge a government?

"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing." - Malcolm X

In Malaysia, if you don't watch television or read newspapers, you are uninformed; but if you do, you are misinformed!

Why we should be against censorship in a court of law: Publicity is the very soul of justice … it keeps the judge himself, while trying, under trial. - Jeremy Bentham

"Our government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options
I suggest government... because nobody has ever been caught.

When there's too much dirt...

When there's too much dirt...
We need better tools

Prevent bullying now!

Prevent bullying now!
If you're not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist? “Orang boleh pandai setinggi langit, tapi selama ia tidak menulis, ia akan hilang di dalam masyarakat dan dari sejarah.” - Ananta Prameodya Toer (Your intellect may soar to the sky but if you do not write, you will be lost from society and to history.)

MyCen News

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Julia Yeow: 3 Lessons BN should learn from PAP

Before I post the excerpt from the article in The Malaysian Insider, I must say I find the title condescending, if not insulting to Umno-led Barisan Nasional. It is not that we do not know what needs to be done, but no way we are going to take lessons from PAP!


‘Performance legitimacy’

'Despite the incumbency factor, which was working against the PAP, the leadership’s perceived integrity and efficiency won over not only a generation of older loyalists, but also the younger and more critical Singaporeans.

When Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he would step down after the next elections, he took steps to put his retirement into place less than a month after celebrating a strong election victory.

Singaporeans know exactly what to expect when it comes to voting in PAP, and it’s simply a matter of whether or not they agree with their policies.'

Zero-tolerance for corruption and money politics

At a forum last week in Kuala Lumpur, former Singapore high commissioner to Malaysia K. Kesavapany told delegates that one strong factor leading to PAP’s strong performance in the last elections was the party’s culture of zero-tolerance for corruption.

“We’re not saying there is absolutely no corruption, but it happens at the lower levels, the officers,” Kesavapany said.

“At the leadership level, I think it’s safe to say almost every Singaporean – even the opposition – believes that the PAP is corrupt-free.

“We have also abhorred money politics right from the start… it’s simply not in our culture.”

Keeping politics free from race, religion and language

'The final, and most outstanding, legacy and practice of the PAP leadership is the exclusion of race, religion and language from politics.

This culture has been in place since the birth of the nation and has resulted in a genuine sense of shared responsibility and national pride by the vast majority of its population, including the minority ethnic groups.

“There is a need to ensure every citizen feels that he or she is fairly treated and that there is no inherent advantage or disadvantage on account of one’s race, religion or language,” said Tan.

Even with a 70% ethnic Chinese-dominated society, voter discontent in Singapore rarely stems from racial issues and policies, but rather from problems affecting quality of life and economic position – simply put, issues that transcend race and religion.'

- See more at:

Monday, October 05, 2015

Why not cut ties with China?

Let's not talk about China's current economic power and prowess as well as military might. It is obvious that China has grown to become a powerful economic and military giant (instead of just the world's most populated country), capable of helping third world countries, especially those in Africa, in infra-structures and economic development. In terms of wealth, it is also the biggest creditor to even USA!

To the ordinary Chinese in Malaysia, China is just another country whose people happen to be of the same race. Those born in China and became Malaysian citizens are dwindling in numbers because of natural death. Majority of Chinese Malaysians are born here and have no connections with their relatives (if any) in China. So it is illogical to tell them to 'go back to China' when they are not even citizens of China! My late father, born in Malaya in 1909, had never been to China. Despite ease of modern air travel, I had not been to China nor Taiwan, despite having lived in UK for a few years.

The Chinese in Malaysia are quite contented to be able to do their own things, like sending their children to Chinese schools as an option, carry on their own businesses, and get involved in politics if they are so inclined. Just because DAP is now more successful than MCA, Umno in particular seems to view it as a threat to their continued hold on to power. This could be true, but definitely not in the sense that the Chinese will control the country nor that a Chinese will be Prime Minister. The demography just does not support this, and it is Umno, which feels threatened, which is using race, religion and royalty to frighten the Malay populace to continue supporting it. Even if the opposition were to rule, and DAP's candidates won all the allocated seats, it is impossible for it to have majority in Parliament. In the last GE, DAP contested only 51 (out of 222) parliamentary seats and 102 (out of 505) state seats. Compare this with PKR's 99 and 172, and PAS's 73 and 237, respectively.

That we only have a Chinese Chief Minister in Penang and already some Malays are uncomfortable with it (to put it mildly), what is the point of arguing whether the Constitution allows a Chinese to be PM? As it is, almost all heads of government departments, institutions, universities and even city mayors are Malays. Was there any demonstration or protest by the Chinese against such obvious Malay monopoly? I believe many Chinese would not care if Chinese in MCA or Gerakan were given ministerial posts.

Have the Malays been too sensitive to anything remotely suggesting cooperation of China and Chinese Malaysians?

According to a recent report in The Star:

'In an interview on Wednesday, Dr Huang said his visit to Petaling Street (also known as Chinatown) and statements made there had been taken out of context and misinterpreted.

After the walkabout, during which he distributed mooncakes, a reporter asked Dr Huang a hypothetical question: “If there were a massive anti-Chinese riot in Malaysia, would the Chinese government interfere?”

“I told him I could only give a general and standard diplomatic reply without mentioning Malaysia,” said the envoy.

“And I said: ‘The Chinese government has always pursued peaceful co-existence and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries. But if such a situation occurs, and it affects Chinese interests, Chinese people and Chinese enterprises, undermines good diplomatic ties, China will not sit idle. For the past 66 years, our diplomats have been repeating this statement. It is our universal value.’

“I also said that we oppose extremism, racism and terrorism in any form. We also oppose any disruption to public order.”

Rest of the report:

Many Chinese Malaysians are wondering why our leaders welcome China's investments and tourists, but treat the locals with disdain, with calls for them to 'get out of the country if they did not like the political system' or 'go back to China' and calling us names like 'cina babi' and so on. We have feelings too. There were calls to close down SJKC when non-Chinese in those schools comprise 13% and increasing! Surely it must be the higher standard of education or better prospects with knowledge of Chinese language which attract them.

Why not cut diplomatic ties with China, and prevent them from investing in or visiting Malaysia? What's the point of having a 'China-Malaysia Friendship Garden in Putrajaya' when China's ambassador is not even treated with the right protocol or at least some respect?

To quote Wong Chun Wai in his recent article, Let cool heads prevail:

'Let’s be blunt. We need China but China does not really need us. We are just a small country but we have been lucky because of our historic ties and also the far-sightedness of the late Tun Abdul Razak who forged official ties with China.

More importantly, Malaysia, with its huge Malaysian Chinese community, has been able to cement the economic relations with China because we understand the Chinese language and culture – putting us above other Asean competitors except Singapore.

This is an asset because when we are able to speak Chinese, we win the minds and hearts of the mainlanders.

This is not something to politicise. And we should be thankful that the Chinese schools have been guaranteed a place in our education system.'


Saturday, October 03, 2015

Customs tell businesses: Don't use GST as excuse

I wish to refer to the news report in Malay Mail:

Now that the GST has been in force, we can leave out the pros and cons of having it. But to deny that GST has affected small businesses and even accuse them of using it as an excuse to shut down businesses is rubbing salt to injury.

Just imagine the number of small businesses, especially family-run ones like sundry shops, which were affected by the introduction of GST, and the dilemma they were in: to continue or to shut down, is so real.

To continue would mean a revamp of many years of trading practices, with the introduction of computerized point of sale and accounting. Even with much publicity (though its value in terms of answering questions left much to be desired, simply because of the use of too simplistic examples), government incentives like free seminars, business people are left with the choice of closing down or increase overheads of tens of thousands per year. Computers cost money, so does software that goes with them, plus the extra accounting charges. Of course, it would improve overall management of the business, but to someone who knows next to nothing of such new technology, it causes sleepless nights when pondering over the dilemma, as well as soon after using it.

To some seniors whose children are already into other jobs or professions, GST is like a tipping point to closing down their businesses, with a heavy heart. Who would like to be forced into making such a decision?

GST, as we have experienced since its introduction, has caused an overall increase in prices of goods and services. Never mind the simplistic explanations showing how little the effects of the tax, but everything has gone up. Some unregistered traders and coffee shop stalls have to face angry customers asking for printed bills when their prices were upped because of increases in costs of ingredients, whether they were due to GST or otherwise.

I know of someone who runs a shop trading in electrical goods. He had sleepless nights trying to understand the new software that comes with GST. Having been in the trade for many years, he said that for doing the same business, besides the initial costs of equipment, he now has to pay more than Rm10,000 in extra costs for having the system.

Costs increase across the board, whether because of GST or otherwise. How could the government control prices when the causes are numerous and hard to identify and quantify? Any strict action according to the law will affect only a very small number of unfortunate businesses without really solving the problem. But it would help if the Customs would be more sympathetic than accusing those who closed down their businesses as using GST as an excuse. It was not an excuse but a real problem which forced some to do so.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Where there's a will, there's a way...

but where there's no will, there's Distribution Act, 1958 (as amended in 1997).

The first used to ​mean that 'if you are ​determined enough, you can ​find a way to ​achieve what you ​want, ​even if it is very ​difficult.'

But the second used a play on the word 'will' which refers to 'a legal declaration by which a person, the testator, names one or more persons to manage his or her estate and provides for the distribution of his or her property at death'.

I am fascinated by wills, or their absence (intestacy - where a person died without leaving a valid will), because of the many interesting but often heart-breaking instances in real life as well as in fiction, caused by wills or because of intestacy.

In Malaysia, where non-Muslims are concerned, in cases of intestacy, the Distribution Act, 1958, as amended in 1997, applies. The following is a summary supplied by Rockwills:

When a person pass away without a Will, after all the debts are paid the administrator must distribute the remainder of his estate according to the section 6 of the Distribution Act 1958 (As amended in 1997) to lawful beneficiaries.

Section 6 of the Distribution Act 1958 (As amended in 1997) provides the following:
1. Spouse only alive (without parents or issue) – whole estate to surviving spouse
2. Issue only alive (without spouse or parents) – whole estate to issue equally
3. Parents only alive (without spouse or issue) – whole estate to parents
4. Spouse and issue alive (without parents) – spouse – 1/3 & issue – 2/3
5. Spouse, issue and parents alive – spouse – 1/4, issue – 1/2 & parents – 1/4
6. Spouse and parents alive (without issue) – spouse – 1/2 & parents – 1/2
7. Issue and parents alive (without spouse) – issue – 2/3 & parents – 1/3

The following person(s) are entitled in accordance to priority when an intestate dies without leaving a surviving spouse, child or parent:

 brothers & sisters
 uncles & aunts
 great grandparents
 great uncles & aunts

Issue: includes children and descendants of children.
Parent: Natural mother or farther of a child or the lawful mother and father of a child under the Adoption Act 1952.

It is amazing how the subject of distribution could be the cause of a wide variety of family quarrels, some of which ended up in the courts for judgment. Like written agreements, there is no perfect will. Someone somehow will feel aggrieved by its provisions.

For example, the will could treat all children as equal in distribution. Yet a normally favoured child might feel he should be entitled to more. Some Chinese families discriminate between sons and daughters: eg. daughters get lifetime gifts while only the sons share everything left upon death of testator. Some compromise by giving sons each a full share while daughters get half share. When a father did that and mother decided on equal share in her estate, one of the sons actually complained.

There is an actual case which has yet to be resolved. Years ago, maternal grandfather died intestate, leaving behind his widow and 3 children (2 sons and 1 daughter). According to the law, the widow got 1/3, while the remaining 2/3 was shared equally among the 3, each getting 2/9 of the estate.
The relationship between in-laws were not amicable for various reasons. Out of anger, one day the son-in-law told his wife that she should give up her share in her father's estate. One of her nephews jumped on that decision and to make it legal, actually took her to a lawyer's office to sign a will which in effect, bequeath her share to be distributed equally between her two brothers, directly naming their children as beneficiaries.

That will was prepared in 1975. Though with the knowledge of her children, it was anybody's guess how she actually felt. The children could sense her anger each time the matter was mentioned, and it could be due to the undue pressure from her nephew or that she had to listen to her husband against her own wish.

Years later, she asked one of her sons to prepare for her a simple will which was properly done. There was no mention of her earlier will. After her death in 1993, a Grant of Probate was granted by the High Court and her estate (excluding her share in her father's estate) was duly distributed equally among her children.

According to my basic knowledge in wills, a new will supersedes any earlier will. This means her will in 1975 had been invalidated by the later will. The main item in her father's estate is a piece of land in KL which has till today, remains unsold. There was no effort in carrying out her earlier will, by legal process, to actually transfer her share to the named beneficiaries. In other words, if that will had been invalidated by the later will, her share in her father's estate remains intact and can be considered part of her estate which can be distributed according to her new will, to her children. It could be considered as an item missing when application was made for a Grant of Probate.

When she was alive, there was a compulsory acquisition of a part of the land by the government because of road expansion. The Administrator of the Estate actually prepared a cheque for her, being her share of the compensation. She said, 'Told you I don't want any share of it, please take it back and share accordingly.' Why she said that could be due to one of a number of reasons. Being illiterate, she could be ignorant of her right as to whether she could change her mind since she made the will many years ago. As usual, her tone was one of anger each time the matter was referred to. It was simply based on a so-called 'gentleman's agreement' which was actually her husband's decision, not hers. To go back on such a promise would not seem nice. Words by some of her nephews or nieces to that effect actually troubled her. But while on the subject of honour, many questioned why the Administrator actually got the whole of his grandmother's 1/3 share of the original estate! Was there fraud or undue influence involved in the direct transfer of her share?

It should be noted that the issue of a cheque by the Estate Administrator for her share in the government compensation for compulsory acquisition, was proof or acknowledgement that her share remains intact. Unless there was any dishonest attempt at changing that fact without the knowledge of her children, the Administrator has to acknowledge the rights of her beneficiaries according to her valid will. Until the subject land is up for sale, the matter remains a mystery and a subject of discussion among would be beneficiaries. This could be a subject of future litigation.

I am also prompted to write on wills by the current serial on 8TV, TVB's Will Power, which is being aired (7.00 to 8.00 pm) from Monday to Friday.

The first episode really caught my attention because of the unusual terms in a will. A very rich man died, leaving behind his widow and two sons, as well as a secret mistress and her son (remains a secret until later).

The first part of the will provides for HK$300,000 monthly allowance each to his widow and their two sons. The second part provides for release of sufficient sums for any business venture proposed by the sons, subject to approval of a Committee of Trustees. The third and final part shall only be revealed 3 years after his death.

The initial reaction from the elder son was one of shock and disbelief, that the main part of his father's wealth has to be controlled by a group of outsiders for at least 3 years, and that he could not possibly live on HK$300,000 a month!

Anyway, the script (with more revelations of different cases in the process) is interesting enough for me to look forward to watching each episode.


Monday, September 21, 2015

Take it from an Indian, on why the Chinese succeed in life

Ramesh Rajaratnam : Why do Chinese succeed in life?

Since the Chinese in Malaysia have no testicles to decisively reprimand a certain minister for his racist rants, let me, an Indian Malaysian, remind them what being a Chinese is about.
At the outset, I got help for this article from one originally written by Dr Chan Lui Lee of Melbourne so 90 percent of the wisdom is his but 100 percent of the sarcasm is mine.

This is also meant to be a wake-up call for those who threaten everyone else (by using state machinery) and think that the country owes them a living and everyone else is a threat.

Chinese people don't go about bombing, terrorising others and creating religious hatred. They don't enter into a country on the pretext of humanitarian reasons and then, try to take over the country by applying warped ideologies.

They don't impose "no go zones" for their hosts and don't demand separate laws for themselves. They don't hatch plots to kill non-believers nor do they harbour or finance such attempts.

They live peacefully with everyone on Earth and if you sent them to Mars, they will make it very liveable too. Take along the Indians too, then it would be a thriving technology-spurred economy.

Why do Chinese succeed in life?

Here is why the Chinese are welcomed almost anywhere:

1. There are over 1.4 billion Chinese on this earth. They are like (after all, all look the same) carbon copies of each other. You get rid of one, five magically appears (like ballot boxes in some countries).
They acknowledge that they are replaceable, they are not particularly 'special'. If you think they are smart, there are a few thousand more people smarter than them. If you think they are strong, there are a few thousand people stronger than them.

2. They have been crawling all over this earth for far more centuries that most (except for the other hardy people, the Indians) civilisations. Their DNA is designed for survival. They are like cockroaches. Put them anywhere on earth and they will make a colony and thrive.
They survive on anything around and make the best of it. In Klang, they threw pig parts into a broth to feed their coolie lot a 100 years ago and today it's a delicacy. Some keep migrating but others will stay and multiply. 

3. Nobody cares if they succeed as individuals or not. But their families take pride in knowing they have succeeded. Yes, some will fail. They take nothing for granted. They don't expect privileges to fall on their laps. No one owes them anything.

4. They know they have nothing to lose if they try to succeed. They have no fear in trying. That is why Chinese are attracted to gambling. They thrive on taking risks. Winner takes all.

5. From young they are taught to count every cent. What they take for granted like money management, is not something other cultures practice at home with their children. (It didn't surprise me as I was like them too - some say I'm more Chinese than most Chinese).
But the truth is not all societies or cultures teach their young this set of survival skills because it is considered rude.
Yes, most of them can count wonderfully because they are forced to and the logic of money is pounded into them from the beginning of time (when mama tells them how much she has spent on milk and diapers). Nobody lowers the benchmark to allow them to "pass" Mathematics.

6. They acknowledge life cycles. They accept that wealth in a family stays for three generations. That, every fourth generation will have to work from scratch. That is, the first generation earns the money from scratch, second generation spends the money on education, third generation gets spoiled and wastes all the inheritance. Then they are back to square one.
Some families hang on to their wealth a little longer than most. I'm not sure where Yap Ah Loy's wealth is now but I sure hope his descendants are benefitting from it.

7. It is their culture to pressure the next generation to do better than the last. Be smarter. Be stronger. Be faster. Be more righteous. Be more pious. Be more innovative. Be more creative. Be richer. Be everything that you can be in this lifetime. And if you have some money, take it to the next life when you go.

8. Their society judges them by their achievements... and they have no choice but to do something worthwhile because Chinese New Year comes around every year and Chinese relatives have no qualms about asking them straight in their face - how much are you making? When was your last promotion? How big is your office? What car do you drive? Where do you stay?
You have boyfriend? You have girlfriend? When are you getting married? When are you having children? When is the next child? When you getting a boy? Got maid yet? Does your company send you overseas?
It never ends... so, they can't stop chasing the illusive train - they are damned to a materialistic society. If you are not Chinese, consider yourself unlucky.

9. They have been taught from young that if you have two hands, two feet, two eyes, and a mouth, what are you really doing with them? "People with no hands can do better than you!"
Chinese people never beg, they earn their living. They don't expect government contracts, they get it... well, with their hard-earned money. They sometimes buy it but that's economics.

10. Ironically, the Chinese also believe in giving back to save their rather materialistic souls. Balance is needed. The more their children succeed in life, the more their parents will give back to society as gratitude for the good fortune bestowed on their children.
Yes, that is true. See the Vincent Tans in Malaysia. And that is why Chinese society progresses in all environments.

Nobody pities them and they accept that. No one owes them anything and they know that. There are too many of them for charity to reach all of them and they acknowledge that. But that does not stop them from making a better life. Opportunity is as we make of it.

So, pardon them if they feel obliged to make a better place for themselves in this country we call home. They are not ‘puak pendatang’ and it is the same home as you and me. It is in their DNA to seek a more comfortable life. In whichever country they reside in.

But if history were to be our teacher, look around this globe. Almost every country has a Chinatown but how many government/countries are 'taken' over by the Chinese people.

Don't be afraid of them overwhelming your majority, they are not looking to conquer. China is probably the only major power (besides India) that didn't go on a crusade to further its boundaries and religion.

I think their real religion is money and there's no harm in that. The more money they make, the more to go around. Win-win for all.

If they have moved away from China and Chinese-governed countries, they are not looking for another country to administer. They are more interested in making money than to run a country, seriously.

Their representatives are only there to look after their collective welfare. I don't think a Chinese wants to be prime minister in Malaysia. He'll be better off being a business tycoon for sure.

They prefer to blend in and enjoy the fruits of their labour. They enjoy the company of like-minded people of all races. After all, just like you and me, they are only passing through a small period in the history of time... so, use their skills and we can all progress forward together.

Calling for a boycott of Chinese-owned business is not only foolish but in the end, self-destructive.'

I think this is the article by Dr Chan-Lui Lee mentioned above: Proud to be born a Chinese