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!

"Our government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan
Was he referring to Malaysia? Seems so apt...

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options

How the Chinese control the economy

How the Chinese control the economy

MyCen News

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Will Obama go after Osama?

Soon after Sept 11, America was paranoid with arrivals at airports having Muslim names. Who would have thought that Senator Obama now stands a chance of becoming President of USA!

The wonderful thing about American democracy is that no one is denied a chance to become President - it is colour blind.

What we have in Malaysia, even after 50 years of independence is that the political system is still racially based, with the 3 major races having a political party each to look after their racial rights and privileges. We even have it in the Constitution that only a Malay can be Prime Minister! The fact that the Malays constitute the majority race means even if there were no such eligibility requirement, it is most unlikely that a non-Malay can become a PM in the foreseeable future. It would be a sign of maturity if we could aim towards a true equality of the races to start with - how about having the eligibility of other races becoming the PM of Malaysia be ‘being born in Malaya/Malaysia on or after August 31, 1957’?

I can understand why Umno will never consider such a proposal. Besides having the vested interests in ruling the country for the past 50 years, it has assumed to have the divine right to continue its rule forever.

Lim Kit Siang said former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is right when he said yesterday that the Barisan Nasional (BN) and Umno are incapable of reforming themselves without pressures from the electorate.

Now, we have Anwar (deemed a traitor to Umno) who promised a more equitable needs-based system, which if properly carried out, would ensure less corruption.

Hamdan Ibrahim, in his letter to Malaysiakini: "I refer to the Malaysiakini report Anwar: Bumi policies affect investments.Our former deputy premier has opened a Pandora’s box by saying that bumiputera policies affect investment. The NEP - a ‘sacred cow’ for the Malay community for more than three decades - has had its share of successes and failures. But there are still some people, especially in Umno, who think the policy should be maintained so that Malays can catch up economically with other races in this country."

To Umno, the threat to their continued leadership comes from the other Malay parties like PAS and PKR, not from any of its obedient coalition partners nor DAP. It would need a paradigm shift in the people’s mindset before we can get out of this present racial divide.

Percy Chan in his letter, 'A plea to all Malaysian politicians' in Malaysia Today: "You are in politics to serve the country and its people. In that light it is imperative to put national interest ahead of your personal interest."

"As a passionate and concerned citizen the message to all of you is we are fed-up of all this. We, the nation need change and I quote Sen. Obama from his recent victory speech in South Carolina. Americans, especially young, voting Americans want change and they are turning away the old geriatrics in power and electing people like Obama. We are seeing a tsunami of change in American politics. They can contemplate a Black President – that’s an epic mind-shift. I quote:

“We need to have politics of commonsense & innovation – a shared sacrifice & shared prosperity… In my meetings with so many people, I did not see a black South Carolina, I did not see a White South Carolina, and I saw a South Carolina”

"These inspirational words not only apply to Americans but to all mankind. Take a page from that and we may yet save ourselves."

It would be nice to have a political system where there is no clamour among politicians for positions, because of the chance to enrich themselves, but where the politicians diligently serve the country and the public, as if it is a national service. No harm in dreaming about it, is there?

Heaven or Hell Choice in Voting

Just received this from my friend in Australia:

Given a new twist ahead of the coming elections......


This joke can be enjoyed by everyone. Not only that. It is politically
correct and with a moral lesson.

VOTE WISELY IN THE COMING ELECTION

=====================================================

While walking down the street one day a Malaysian Boleh Minister is tragically hit by a truck and dies.

His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

"Welcome to heaven," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you."

"No problem, just let me in," says the man.

"Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity."

"Really, I have made up my mind. I want to be in heaven," says the Yang Berhormat

"I'm sorry, but we have our rules," says St. Peter.

And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.

Everyone is very happy and dressed in the finest batik there is. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people. They play a friendly
game of golf and then indulge themselves on lobsters, caviar and the most expensive food there is.

Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go.

Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises.

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him.

"Now it' s time to visit heaven."

So, 24 hours pass with the Yang Berhormat joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St.
Peter returns.

"Well, then, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity."

The Yang Berhormat reflects for a minute, then he answers: "Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think Ai yam better off in hell."

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. Now the doors of the elevator open and he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage.

He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above.

The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder.

"I don't understand," stammers the Yang Berhormat. "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?"

The devil looks at him, smiles and says, "Yesterday we were campaigning just like you during an election...... Today you voted."

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Top lawyer or top liar?


Before we have the Royal Commission of Inquiry, when Lingam was first mentioned as the alleged lawyer in the video, he was described as a top lawyer. But even then, as I read his credentials, I had my doubts as he joined the corporate sector before starting his legal practice and his most famous client was Dr. Mahathir. So he was a ‘top lawyer’ because of his association with our then Prime Minister and the alleged ‘pom, pom, pom’ in successive wins in legal cases. Now that the RCI got under way, more accusations were thrown at each other, if selective amnesia was not conveniently claimed. Our perception of the judiciary is at its lowest ever in terms of integrity.

One good thing about RCI is that, regardless of any perception of bias on the part of its panel, replies by witnesses under cross-examination are likely to be incriminating if there were any attempt at not telling the truth. Already, attempts at having the proceedings heard in camera are being questioned if there were anything to hide.

In the meantime, we get to see ex-PM and ex-Chief Justices being questioned like any ordinary folks – what an interesting start to the new 2008!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Boycott Mainstream Media?

Our one and only comparatively independent The Sun, is likely to be muted, just like the rest of the newspapers… or organs of propaganda. Was it 20 years ago, that The Star lost its independence with the removal of the columns ‘As I see it’ by Tunku and ‘Without fear or favour’ by Dr. Tan Chee Khoon? If you can’t beat them, buy them since our cronies are so rich and it is payback time.

I wonder what will happen to Nades and the rest of the award-winning investigative journalists? Vincent Tan was known to have made MGG Pillai a bankrupt for slander before he died a broken man but a fearless critic to the end. Money is power and in politics, money can buy power as most people have a price, if it is right.

With the impending General Elections, the national leaders are beginning to visit the various states. If only we can say, ‘No, thank you’ as it is costing at least hundreds of thousand ringgit per visit, not counting the loss in terms of ‘man-hours’ of civil servants who are obliged to make up the numbers to show that the national leader is well received. Soon after a so-called official visit, Najib visited the Umno operations centre, so convenient.

I still remember when Suhakam visited Perak a couple of years ago and it turned out to be a ‘accompany the Menteri Besar to welcome the Suhakam Commissioners’ where government officials from all over Perak were told to come and meet them at the grand State Assembly Building in Ipoh. I would have thought Suhakam was set up to deal with ordinary folks with problems involving breaches of human rights!

Yet, recently, the Chief Secretary told the civil servants not to get involved in politics (read opposition politics), just like students must not be involved unless to do with Umno, MCA or MIC.

It is nauseating to read news reports, and to watch national television news and documentary, all favourable to the ruling party – too good to be true. Having known their bias reports, we cannot help feeling cynical even if the report happens to be true!

Last night, watched TV and our PM was announcing to the civil servants of our high ratings overseas. Any praise is well received but any criticism has an agenda.

So when I read Bersih’s statement in Malaysia Today, I realise I am not alone:

State Media belongs to all Malaysians, not Barisan Nasional
Posted by Raja Petra
Monday, 28 January 2008


The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) stresses that all forms of state media, including RTM, belong to all Malaysians and is not the private property of Barisan Nasional.

BERSIH reminds Deputy Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi that 36% of the Malaysian electorate who voted for the Opposition in 2004 are taxpayers too and 36% of the operations cost of RTM is therefore funded by Opposition voters. This also means that 36% of Ahmad Zahid’s salary is paid for by these 36% Opposition voters who disagree with his political stand.

The Deputy Minister has insulted all Malaysians by condescendingly saying that the Ministry would study "whether allowing opposition leaders to campaign through RTM in the next general election will benefit the people", as reported by Bernama on 24 January 2008. Whether the Opposition or Barisan Nasional's campaign message will "benefit the people" is up to Malaysians and not the Ministry.

As the Malay saying goes, "berani kerana benar, takut kerana salah" (meaning “one is brave when right, and afraid when in the wrong”), if the Barisan Nasional is confident that their campaign message is more beneficiary to the people, why should its leaders be afraid of sharing the stage with Opposition leaders? Why should they deny voters the opportunity to make an informed decision?

PM Abdullah Badawi has been boasting to world leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland about Malaysia’s successes. Has he no guts to face Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang and Hadi Awang at home in a live televised debate during the elections?

BERSIH urges Deputy Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to get his facts right. Opposition leaders from the three major opposition parties like Mustafa Kamil, Saifudin Nasution, Shamsul Iskandar, Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad, Husam Musa, Dr Lo'Lo’ Ghazali, Lim Guan Eng, Loke Siew Fook, Dr. Tan Seng Giaw, Teng Chang Khim (DAP) have all appeared on Debat Perdana. However, Opposition panelists tend to be unfairly treated on the show as they are often cut short in their presentations or when giving answers to the questions raised.

All BERSIH is asking for is to have RTM organize Debat Perdana-type programmes featuring contesting candidates during the election campaign period, along the lines of Australia's Leader Debate or American-style televised debates for presidential candidates.

BERSIH stresses that a level playing field – beginning with a respect for the boundary between the party and the state – is a basic and necessary condition for clean, free and fair elections.

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's partisan comment clearly highlights the need for an Administrative Neutrality Act, which BERSIH has called for in addition to its short-term demands of the abolition of domestic postal voting, a thorough cleanup of the electoral roll, the use of indelible ink and equitable access to the media.

Issued by BERSIH steering committee members:
Wong Chin Huat - Chair, Writers Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)
V. Gayathry - Executive Director, Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bullshit! Reply to Kalimullah's hogwash

Kalimullah’s reference to the ‘tall poppy syndrome’ seems to have missed the point.. Why can’t he see the difference between success resulting from one’s own ability and success due to political support?

On Tony Fernandes, “He bought a bankrupt airline that no one wanted and turned it into one of the most successful low-cost carriers in the world. AirAsia is a globally known brand that has made Malaysia proud. But yet, there are detractors who claim Tony succeeded because of political support. Hogwash!”

With due respect to Tony and his ability as a CEO, in Malaysia, almost all big businesses require approval from the political leaders. The immediate reaction from some members of the public seems to suggest he is fronting some politicians or he has to make large contributions to ruling party without which, no way can he be allowed the leeway to do much with the airline. For a recent example, he is known to have complained bitterly about Singapore’s refusal to allow AirAsia landing rights. Yet, recently, there was approval – was it a coincidence or due to political connections, which made the difference in Singapore?

I wonder how much of ‘AirAsia is a globally known brand’ was due to advertising hype rather than profitability. Making use of advertisements in the right place like Manchester United created a lot of worldwide publicity, which any marketing man worth his salt would have thought of. Recently, he made a major blunder in betting wrongly on the price of oil, which showed he is only human after all.

During their heydays, who would have thought Halim Saad and ‘Midas’ Samsuddin could fail? While in business, one should be humble as there are many factors beyond our control. Those relying on political support are likely to face problems when there is none.

Just like gambling and share market speculation (short term), businesses depend to a certain extent on luck or whatever one might describe it. So long as you are still gambling or in business, you cannot claim success too soon as you can never tell what will happen next (in gambling) or in the economy within and without the country. My mother used to say ‘one should not boast that one has a good life until one is gone and it is best left to others to describe it’.

On Nasimuddin, “If the APs were removed tomorrow, Nasimuddin would still be successful because he has diversified into property development, livestock rearing, hotels and assembly and manufacturing of cars. His businesses are housed worldwide.”

So what? That does not explain why he should have been given the preferential treatment in the first place, to have unlimited (limited only by the demand for them) APs which could be sold for tens of thousand each. If I am not mistaken, while the ordinary person has to pay the duties on an imported vehicle before he can have it for sale, Naza is allowed to bring in the vehicles first and only need to pay when there was a firm sale. If this is true, isn’t this special favour due to political support?

If even the ex-PM complained specifically about the unfairness of the issuance of APs, there must be some truth in it. Since then, Nasimuddin decided to diversify into assembly of Kia vehicles and was given the approval despite the obvious protection given to Proton and Perodua by Tun. Again it was pretty obvious that had Tun remained as PM, Nasimuddin would not stand a chance. Wasn’t this political support, given by Pak Lah? While we can say with hindsight that he was brilliant in going into car assembly, it does not in any way refute the allegation of having made it with political support, does it? Having made hundreds of millions to start with, being able to diversify his businesses is not such an achievement to boast about.

Naza was lucky to have vain people with easy money from rent-seeking who were willing to pay exorbitant sums to be exclusive and be different. There is a joke among retirees and pensioners, that if an ordinary person were to be given a Ferrari with conditions like ‘to be maintained and used daily and road tax to be renewed upon expiry’ he would be made a bankrupt soon! With this in mind, one can imagine why rent-seekers require loads of cash to maintain their standard of living.

The public is still paying for the protection of our national cars. Besides having to pay higher prices for cars over the years, the AFTA effects meant those who owned any type of vehicles actually lost at least a few thousand each because of the reduction in new car prices which devalued all the existing cars. If Proton were to fail, can you imagine the billions wasted on propping up an inefficient manufacturer? Other than the North-South Expressway, I cannot think of another project, which burdened more people to benefit some.

Can Kalimullah claim that ECM Libra would have been able to take-over Avenue without political support? Can he claim that Bumiputra Commerce’s take-over of Southern Bank was without political arm-twisting?

I am sure fair-minded people are fed up of opportunists making use of nepotism and cronyism and it would be better if they just keep quiet instead of boasting about it.

I hope Malaysiakini in blogs would mention this posting so that our great Kalimullah would spot it.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Put your arm on my shoulder...


The Star, Jan 19, front page quoted Tun Eusoff Chin: “When the man puts his hand on your shoulder, you can’t simply shove it aside” yet the famous picture next to it shows his left hand on Lingam’s shoulder! So it looks more like Lingam unable to shove it aside instead!

Tun Dr. Mahathir has been known for his excellent memory and sharp mind, yet when questioned, he could not remember most details. We are fortunate that he was fit to be questioned after his recent operations and most people hope the RCI would unravel some truth, if not all. It was ironic that on the one hand, the Chairman asked people to come forward, yet Lingam’s brother, Karasu is not welcome!

Most people could not stand VK Lingam’s evasiveness to the last minute – what a contrast to his boastful, ‘I put him there’ – serves him right.

Whatever the outcome of the RCI, the display of the answers given to the questions by each, tells us much about a person’s character.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I can see clearly now...

the hype is gone. Imagine the catchy beat and tune of the song sung by Johnny Nash.

Thanks to the internet and online news portals like Malaysiakini and Malaysia Today, and numerous blogsites, the public is getting the true picture of how unfair our present political system is.

For every seat in parliament, on the average, the following number of Malaysians voted for each party:

GOVERNMENT PARTIES
UMNO - 22,782 voters
MCA - 34,652 voters
MIC - 24,616 voters

OPPOSITION PARTIES
DAP - 57,278 voters
PAS - 150,211 voters
PKR - 617,518 voters

(Testimony of the great work of art by our EC Chairman and his legacy for the past six General Elections and the coming Grand Finale)

According to the previous GE (2004):-

UMNO received 35.9% of the popular votes but has 109 parliamentary seats or almost 50% of all parliamentary seats. In total, Barisan received 63.8% of the popular votes but has 198 parliamentary seats or 90.4% of all parliamentary seats. The opposition received 36.2% of the popular votes but has only 20 parliamentary seats or 9% of all parliamentary seats.

The decision-making power process within our present cabinet (euphemised as ‘power sharing’) is as follows:-

1. UMNO not only controls the parliament via Barisan, it has allocated itself 24 cabinet positions or 71% of all cabinet positions.
2. MCA has 5 cabinet positions or 15% of the cabinet positions.
3. MIC has 1 cabinet position or 3 % of the cabinet positions.
4. Gerakan has 1 cabinet position or 3% of the cabinet positions.
5. Other component parties hold 3 cabinet positions or 8% of the cabinet positions.
6. The opposition with 36.2% of all the popular votes is not given a single cabinet position. (due to the ‘first past the post’ system which requires a free and fair election the lack of which the people in Bersih are complaining about)

"According to Nazri, the defective law minister, the majority of Malaysians, the likes of you and I, are responsible for this.

On 26th July, 2004, in a debate between Nazri and Yang Berkhidmat Lim Kit Siang entitled “ISA - Yes or No?”, Nazri said that the BN’s victory in every election was proof that the rakyat was saying ‘Yes’ to the ISA.

Read Lee Ban Chen’s take on the debate HERE .
You know what? I think Nazri is right.

Every Malaysian who has continued to vote in BN whilst there have been human beings detained at Kamunting, have been guilty of denying their fellow human beings the basic right of liberty and freedom; the right to be charged and to defend themselves at trial.

After Ops Lalang in 1987, we failed the detainees then by giving BN the vote in 1990.

Let’s not fail our 75 brothers and sisters now languishing in Kamunting.

Nazri says a vote for BN is a ‘Yes’ vote for the ISA.

Well, now vote ‘No’ for the ISA."

Excerpt from a Malaysiakini letter,

Kayveas dares attack Samy, not Rustam
Vijay Jan 15

"But where was this valiant streak when Malacca Menteri Besar Rustam Ali came a-calling at your own annual conference and in public, figuratively spat on PPP? You sat there and simply lapped up all that Rustam had to spew out. You did not even have the self-respect to at least walk out of the hall, let alone take Rustam on. Were you scared that such a demonstration of temerity against even an uncouth Umno Mat Rempit leader would be the death knell of your political career? When it comes to Umno, none of you in PPP, MIC, or MCA have the pluck to stand up. Instead, you grovel and continue to invite them. Oh, I forgot. To respond in like vein would not be in keeping with the Barisan Nasional ‘spirit’.Kayveas’ only consolation is perhaps that he is not alone in his shameless sycophancy. When Selangor Menteri Besar Mohd Khir Toyo attended a recent meeting with Hindu temple representatives to discuss the issue of temple demolitions, the committee - unbelievably - presented a shawl to him, a symbol of respect in the Indian culture."

Raja Petra is fond of saying that 191 division leaders of Umno decide who shall be PM and we know why PM has to treat them with velvet gloves.

There is talk that Khairy might stand in Putra Jaya (where the number of constituents is just over 5,000 and most of them are government servants who are known to follow orders), not only because it is physically nearer the PM’s office.

I summarise them as follows:-

A vote for BN is a vote for ISA
A vote for MCA, MIC, Gerakan, etc. is a vote for Umno
A vote for BN is a vote for Umno is a vote for status quo
A vote for Umno is a vote for Khairy as future PM…
scary isn’t it?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I think I am going crazy...

having been reading statements by our national leaders, who said one thing and doing the other, for more than 40 years (since I started reading our newspapers): “We are democratically elected…”; “We are fair and treat everyone equally…”; “We have religious freedom…”; “We have freedom of speech…” and so on.

Recent examples were by Najib, “Communal politics harmful” and we all know what he was famous for when he was Umno Youth Chief; and Sharizat, “And I would not tolerate sexist MPs in the same way I would not tolerate racist MPs.” The former is Deputy President of United Malay National Organisation while the latter Wanita Chief of the same political party, which leaders would remind us about their ‘ketuanan’ or supremacy and they have special rights and privileges which aspiring leaders have to champion if they want to move up.

Is it too much to ask of them to state the truth instead of being hypocrites and try to brainwash the people into thinking that everything is fair and square. Just tell us, “we have a different system of politics unlike those practised in the west”; “we are racists who do not treat everyone equally for the past 50 years and we intend to continue doing so”; “we do not practise religious freedom”; “we do not have freedom of speech”; and so on.

We are beginning to wonder if we are still sane because the leaders kept repeating things which are significantly different from what we are experiencing. Even the inflation rate is different – officially 2% while the people think it is at least 20%!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Maximus's meaningless maxim

The coming general elections might as well have a no-campaign period as there is nothing the opposition can criticise or act without falling foul of the laws, like the Sedition Act, and being put in the slammer under the Internal Security Act. Opposing the system is treated as opposing the government and can be considered traitorous, at the whim and fancy of the Minister of Home Affairs or Minister of Internal Security.

Now, we have Maximus’s statement prohibiting racial statements and comments during the coming general election campaigning. Taking his statement at face value, it means Umno's policies cannot be criticised at all! All its unfair discriminatory racial policies and the opposition’s analyses of election results based on racial parties like Umno, MCA and MIC, which showed Umno’s disproportionate power in relation to its total votes, cannot be mentioned as well.

Though we try not to be racist, it is the Umno leadership that is forcing the ‘nons’ to react against racial discrimination and bullying. Unless and until the present leadership end its racial parties, they have no moral right to stop people from criticising their racially unfair policies. Are we to accept their patronising 'do what I tell you to do but not what I do'?

The people complained but without effect, when the system slowly encroaches on the rights of the minorities, and the leaders enriched themselves with impunity, because they can decide who not to prosecute. With a 90% majority, they were prepared to amend the Constitution to retain the indispensable Election Commission Chairman, whom they have relied on for the past six general elections. But in addition to Maximus’s statement, to have the PM’s son-in-law telling us that we do not even have the right to comment on the date of the General Election must be the last straw!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

I had a dream...


no, actually, in my dreamy state, I was thinking of how different Malaysia would be if only the leaders have a different mindset. This is like my wish list for the new year of 2008.

In view of the past 50 years’ political control, UMNO decides to become United Malaysian National Organisation and run with the mindset of an NGO, more like United Magnanimous National Organisation.

They were grateful that the other coalition partners have suffered enough humiliation and told MCA that they can behave, instead of like cowards, cocky for a change, while MIC can conquer instead of be conquered, in view of their relatively small number.

The ISA was amended to target murderers, robbers, snatch thieves and rapists, instead of opposition members, to improve the security of the country.

The FRU is now in charge of street security and their water canons given to the Bomba instead.

Merdeka Square is now like Hyde Park Corner in London where anyone can give speeches. People actually got fed up after the initial freedom!

Special Branch was told to help those who criticise the government by forwarding recordings of their speeches direct to the leaders concerned, without fear of retaliation.

Online news portals like Malaysiakini and Malaysia Today; opposition newsletters like Harakah and Rocket; were given permits to publish like newspapers, or better still, no permit is required.

Bloggers were considered as friends instead of foes of our Ministry of Information and paid according to their popularity, for helping disseminating information to the public. Zam, if he decides to stay on, becomes like Zorro helping those in need of vital information instead of suppressing it.

Khazanah took over Plus and overnight, Malaysia becomes toll-free. Jalapang toll accidents and casualties were never reported since. Samy Vellu retired as Robin Hood for successfully concluding the deal.

Government’s reserves actually increased since there were no corruption and leakages and almost everything is based on merit. The majority race was told to prove it before grants and subsidies were given instead of the reverse. The allocated but unused funds were rolled over until they are genuinely needed. They feel secure because they are in political control and the people actually support them.

Petronas’s subsidies remain and it was able to continue with new explorations to find new reserves because there is no need to finance mega white elephants or bail out mega flops. More people benefited as a result.

Plantation companies involved in oil palm and oil mills made their contributions to ensure there is no shortage of cooking oil. Can you imagine the irony and shame of being the largest palm oil producer in the world and yet the people had to be limited to 5 kg for each purchase and many shops were actually out of stock?

In recognition of his unwavering opposition for the past umpteen years, Lim Kit Siang was awarded the title ‘Tun’, one up on Tan Chee Koon’s Tan Sri, and he accepts by saying ‘phai seh, phai seh, ai peah tak eh eah!’ and I was woken by the dogs barking at the SYS students.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Why can’t Batu Gajah Town Council (MD Kinta Barat) get it right the first time?

The latest ‘addition to Batu Gajah town are the electronic clocks with traditional clock face, on four sides of the new clock tower, as you drive down its first railway flyover which was built since our Sultan became the Yang Di Pertuan Agong umpteen years ago.

It was only months ago that a new digital one, which showed the temperature as well, was installed, in time for the SMK Sultan Yussuf Centennial celebrations. Someone, (was it the Sultan? as many changes have been attributed to comments by our beloved Sultan who loves BG because he was born here), must have commented that the digital clock and thermometer cannot be read with the morning sun shining on it. I was one of those who commented privately but surely it was not because of me. The original structure took months because it was decided halfway that it was too short! (Again, was it because the Sultan commented?)

There is a clock tower-like structure with a royal headgear on top, built a few years ago, on the left, as you are about to enter BG town. Initially, it was painted brown and someone must have commented that it looked like a lump of s***, and it was repainted cream colour!

Then, there is the Batu Gajah Plaza, which had an original red polycarbonate roof, which was changed to a more suitable turquoise. Kellie’s Castle was once signposted as Istana Kellie until strong protests from the locals must have put paid to it. The question was, whose bright idea was it to call it Istana in the first place, translated from a mere castle?

The new Bus Station was built to accommodate more buses but reality set in and only a quarter of it is being used for its original purpose, with the rest rented to used car dealers!

The new Railway station was completed, at a guess, a couple of years ahead of the access road, which is still being built. Until it is ready, the train users (those desperate enough) have to go through rural roads without proper directional signs. I am not exaggerating to say that I got lost a few times before I found it and I am unsure if the station is actually open to the public. I cannot imagine anyone using it, knowing the arrival time is at an ungodly hour of say, 3 am, without first confirming that someone will be coming to pick him, or her (worse).

I think it is symptomatic of the problems facing our country’s administration where development funds were spent without justification based on proper evaluation of proposals. The problem is compounded by the fact that the opposition Member of Parliament, as a rule, is not allowed to decide on the use of development funds, which use is decided by the District Officer and BN nominated town councillors who are yes-men to make up the numbers. Yes, I am in favour of local elections rather than political nominees who are not accountable to the public but their masters.

It would be interesting to find out the original contract sums and the revised amounts resulting from the changes.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Malaysiakini's problem with 'then' and 'than'

I have pointed this out to the editor before that someone in his team is having problem differentiating the two words. Is it me or him? I wish someone else would agree with me on this small mistake which reflects on the standard of editing expected of a highly respected online news publisher. Perhaps Hantu Laut can confirm if his original word has been 'corrected' to make it 'incorrect'!

I wish to refer to the fourth paragraph of his letter, 'Hypocrisy can save you but honesty will kill' published on Jan 4:

"Does a person holding public office become public property? To a certain degree, yes. If you are married and you have an illicit affair or sexual escapade, than your integrity becomes questionable. Cheating, in whatever form, is not a good credential to have while holding public office."

While on this subject of sexual escapade, I wish to refer to excerpts from my own posting, It's my way or the highway... in my blog on November 27, 2007:

"With the recent legal reform which criminalizes marital rape, I just wish to highlight a minor aspect from a different perspective.A married man with a menopausal wife will have to contend with being celibate or try to be imaginative. While he contends with his sexual needs, the master-bedroom which turns into a masturbate room is no longer a joke.

Being a reasonable man, he has to decide among the options of monk-hood, straying or divorce. In the meantime, his health suffers as a result of being humiliated with the wife’s rejection and it is contributing to his likely erectile dysfunction problem. Imagine with a ‘don’t touch me partner’, all romantic and erotic thoughts, which he relied on before, disappeared and he is at a loss as to how to make it work again."

At the time of posting, I seemed to be the only one seeing this as a problem. But I think, it is a problem faced by senior citizens who are likely to have post-menopausal wives. We can easily classify them as 'with ED problem himself', 'with sexual drive but wife not responsive', 'already committing adultery with prostitutes or mistresses' and so on. We can go on and on with arguments based on morality and legality and with males and females taking sides with their own kind, without a satisfactory answer.

As Ong Ka Ting said, "All party leaders must know the Dos and Don'ts when they become public figures to avoid being caught in any embarrassing situation." I take it as 'make sure you are not caught if you are doing something you are not supposed to do'! Is that solving the problem I posed? Ong Ka Ting, like Azmi Khalid, has young wife... maybe that is one way of solving it! Even my son, told his friends that they will be facing similar problems in 30 years time. I told him to look for a younger wife to delay having to face this problem.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Goliath hitting below the belt...

I still cannot get over NST’s cheap shot at Tony Pua.

I would tend to agree with the blogger, whose posting I have read and from which I have the following excerpt, I think, from Malaysia Today’s website:

“I take it as a sign of weakness. When Tony spearheaded a full alternative budget, he probably accomplished something pretty unprecedented. You can imagine BN getting very nervous about this sort of thing.

I have never bought the argument that the Opposition is not ‘qualified’ to form an alternative government, and this is just further proof.

In fact, the government ignored the document completely, refusing to debate its obvious merits. All they can do is to resort to undignified attacks which have nothing to do with Tony’s abilities as an economic advisor.”

I do not know Tony Pua personally, but I think his credentials look good and I was happy for DAP that they managed to rope him in. For someone with the right qualifications and experience in business, it must have been the passion for politics, which made him decide to take the plunge. I also think Tony considered the timing was right, with the General Elections just round the corner.

What has DAP got to offer? I am sure he envisaged the struggle ahead, pitting against the juggernaut of an entrenched political party which had ruled since Independence in 1957 and never been ruled. BN’s lack of empathy with the people was so apparent with the many illogical, contradictory and ‘we know best’ statements made by the leaders. Yet, DAP in particular, and the opposition in general, will never be able to form the next government. So the 'alternative budget' in question is rather academic to start with.

Though Tony has similar academic qualifications as Khairy, with PPE from Oxford University, the former has the nation at heart while the latter's 'self interest comes first' was pretty fast and obvious.

We all know that besides qualification and experience, we still need exposure in whatever fields we are joining. To expect Tony to be able to second guess down to the last details, without the benefit of a ‘hands-on’ experience in government policy making, is really absurd.

To discredit him based on the performance of the company he had sold off is like expecting a matchmaker to guarantee that the bride will bear children!

Off hand, I can think of allegations that our de facto Finance Minister, Nor Yaakob, was responsible for billions of ringgit lost in forex speculations, yet he was recalled to manage the country’s economy.

I dare say, a capable opposition candidate can do a better job by just being transparent and accountable, without the political baggage of cronyism and political patronage to perpetuate the party in power. Just imagine the amount of reserves the government would have accumulated over the years if not wasted on major corrupt practices and leakages.