How should we judge a government?

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

"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

Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience - Mark Twain

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.

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?
Corruption is so prevalent it affects English language?

When there's too much dirt...

When there's too much dirt...
We need better tools... to cover up mega corruptions.

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.)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Choice of learning languages

Before Cheng decided on a second language at university, she chose Spanish over French simply because there are more people speaking the former than the latter. However, she chose to tour Mexico during summer holiday to learn the language instead of Spain!

According to the following chart, Mandarin is the number one language in the world, based on the number of people speaking it. However, English is ranked number one if based on internet usage.

56 years after independence, Malaysia is still undecided as to which language is best for its students!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Better to MMOB?

There is no real freedom of expression, and especially in Malaysia, where sometimes, there is no freedom after expression.
We all know there are limits to freedom of expression. To non-Malays or non-Muslims, the best guide is to mind our own business where race and religion are concerned, until new rules or new interpretation by enforcers encroach on our lives even when we MOOB.
Actually, most Chinese are pretty good at minding their own business, even to the extent that they live their lives within their own communities, oblivious to what is happening outside. Often, they do not know who is the current PM, or unable to name him! You might have to word your question in such an objective way that there is no doubt, like having a picture of Ah Jib Kor pointing to himself (like what Blake Sheldon used to do in The Voice)!
Less people are into commenting in online news portals or blogsites. Maybe it was just a passing fad. Sometimes, I felt I was intruding when commenting on so-called FB friends' posts. Other times, I felt I was talking to myself.
Anyway, a few things happened during the past few days which made me keep to myself. I was down with flu and for the first time, experienced something similar to vertigo which I heard so much from my wife and her sisters. Earlier, I reminded Cheng not to renew her gift of Mkini subscription because I was getting tired of commenting. Then, there is Maxis Home Wifi which allows me less than two weeks of decent broadband use before it gets throttled down. This had the effect of upsetting my settings with Maybank online trading which I have yet to sort out. As a comparison, even my old TM basic cabled broadband service seemed like a good deal, especially the unlimited quota or what seems like unlimited until service affected. It was upgraded to Wifi at Rm90 pm until the technician told me he could not touch my notebook nor modem as it was beyond his call of duty! I should think using fibre optic wifi connection should solve all my problems but at Rm149 pm minimum, it will be underused. I have to live up to a typical cost-conscious mindset of seniors. A friend who is normally generous with paying for our cofee shop drinks would normally ask the price of 'liu' which go with the noodles. Sometimes, he would boycott a stall even if it costs 10 sen extra a piece! Getting old can make a person ultra sensitive to certain things.
I don't know about others, but recent events and some nonsensical public statements made in relation to them were overwhelming, to the extent that if I were to comment like before, I would be too busy trying to make sense of them and making my opinions known when probably nobody appreciates them anyway. Again, there will be a lot of self-censorship just to ensure no one is insulted, so there is no real expressions of true feelings. There are some people who appears to have an inherent right to insult others but not the other way round. There comes a time when one feels, 'why bother?'

Friday, July 26, 2013

Anyone lost a camera in a bar in Munich recently?

This is a picture of the owner, and there are a thousand more pics of his travel in Europe...

Some of his friends...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Why we should not racialise our problems with government doctors

I am referring to Penang ADUN Roslan Saidin's allegation of racist Chinese Malaysian doctors refusing to treat Malay patients.

Just imagine if we were to use the same mindset to complain about the many instances of Chinese being humiliated at government departments: mainly for not being able to converse properly in Bahasa Malaysia and unable to fill forms without civil servants' assistance (even educated people can have problem doing the latter simply because new to filling them), there will be endless complaints about racial discriminations.

Some civil servants take full advantage of their only chance of being superior and familiar in their own department and can either enjoy to see the clumsiness of how people ask their questions , or mistakes they made when filling the forms, or be exceptionally nice and helpful especially when given some money as inducement.

For example, there must be a reason why we have a local sinseh in BG who would need a retired government servant to accompany him when applying for IC replacement or when applying for an extra street lamp in front of his house. He has a phobia of facing civil servants!

I can still remember when my second brother first joined the civil service in the late 50s, my father's advice to him was to look out for those old folks who appear lost and ask them if they need any help. Why would he advised him specifically on that if not because he himself had a phobia of dealing with civil servants?

Stephen Ng's letter to Malaysiakini explains very well how and why Roslan's complaint was unnecessarily racist and politicised, and blown out of proportions in the Penang State Assembly:


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

MC's inappropriate headline, 'Double tragedy hits Vincent Tan's family'

Just because Tan Sri Vincent Tan's second brother is relatively unknown, Tan Sri's picture was even shown on the post...

Why was there a need to mention Vincent Tan in the headline, if not to sensationalise the news? I happened to know Tan Chee San in the 80s, when he was working for United Straits Fuso. A niece happened to work for Mrs. Tan in Sports Toto. He was unlucky then when his son (not sure if Kevin Tan) was kidnapped and he believed it was mistaken identity because CS looks remarkably like Tan Sri, apart from the moustache. Since the incidence, he gave up having nice car registration numbers like '888' and had police permission for dark tinted cars. I can still remember I innocently asked him about his new numbers and he reluctantly told me.

Why do I say the headline is inappropriate? All his brothers (including Tan Sri Danny Tan) took up a full page advertisement expressing their condolences to CS and family in The Star. So double tragedy befell on CS's family only, and to be more precise, if father-in-law of his son was to be taken as separate family, it cannot be described as CS's double tragedy.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Is there consensus among BN component parties on Umno's never ending persecution of Anwar?

There is a public perception that the higher up the judiciary, the more biased it becomes. Many High Court decisions were welcomed by the public for their fair judgments, but alas, the Attorney General (Acting God) can decide on whether to appeal, and on many occasions, AG is acting more like a tool of Umno leaders.

Instead of seeking justice in the case of Altantuya, he chose not to appeal, in what to many was a clear case of protecting Razak Baginda, and indirectly, PM Najib.

It is rather surprising that AG chose to appoint former Federal Counsel, Shafee to lead the prosecution in Anwar's sodomy case. In a way, it is an admission that there are no one in his chambers who could 'nail' Anwar. For all the talk of not being an Umno member, Shafee is more like a mercenary lawyer who goes for the money and title. While he has every right to accept any case, doesn't he realise the political reason for this particular case? Anwar has suffered enough, spending years in jail, while Umno leaders with more serious offences could get away, thanks to AG.

While it is expected of prosecutors to carry out their prosecutions successfully, when Shafee bragged about how he needs only 2 to 3 hours to nail Anwar, it puts his unusual appointment by AG as lead prosecutor in a different perspective. Instead of seeking truth and justice, it is seems like a test of who is craftier in the legal battle, with a tinge of vindictiveness.

I wish fair-minded leaders of BN coalition parties could make a stand as to whether they stand behind Umno's decision in persecuting Anwar. If enough of them threaten to leave the coalition, then Pakatan could even form the government. I am sure it will be more honourable for them to do so for this reason than for being bought to cross over.

There are talks about a MCA, MIC and Gerakan merger. To be relevant and credible, they should opt out of BN and be independent. There is no way they can be successful again if they continued to be pawns under Umno leadership, and be blamed for Umno's selfish and narrow objectives.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

For the first time in Malaysian history, a hung state government?

This possibility has led to suggestions to Election Commission to change those states with even number of seats, and I have just counted there are 9!

They are: Kedah 36, Terengganu 32, Penang 40, Pahang 42, Selangor 56, N. Sembilan 36, Melaka 28, Johor 56 and Sabah 60! This fact shows it did not occur to the ruling government nor the EC that such a possibility could happen and they never thought about this until now.

On a lighter note, if Pakatan wins the by-election in Kuala Besut, the scale which is used as BN's logo, would achieve a perfect balance! How ironic that when this happens, it creates problems in administration. It actually reminds me of the Cantonese saying, 'Pun kan part liong' or 'Half kati (equals) eight tahils', which is quite close to the English saying, 'Pot calling the kettle black'.

Anyway, according to Husam, PAS will let BN continue as state government if they won this by-election...

Friday, July 19, 2013

Dead man's switch... needs to identify your likely enemies first

Snowden's Dead Man's Switch

'Edward Snowden has set up a dead man's switch. He's distributed encrypted copies of his document trove to various people, and has set up some sort of automatic system to distribute the key, should something happen to him.

Dead man's switches have a long history, both for safety (the machinery automatically stops if the operator's hand goes slack) and security reasons. WikiLeaks did the same thing with the State Department cables.

"It's not just a matter of, if he dies, things get released, it's more nuanced than that," he said. "It's really just a way to protect himself against extremely rogue behavior on the part of the United States, by which I mean violent actions toward him, designed to end his life, and it's just a way to ensure that nobody feels incentivized to do that."

I'm not sure he's thought this through, though. I would be more worried that someone would kill me in order to get the documents released than I would be that someone would kill me to prevent the documents from being released. Any real-world situation involves multiple adversaries, and it's important to keep all of them in mind when designing a security system.'

Facebook is a giant spy machine? And we willingly disclose our information!

Mark Zuckerberg Runs A Giant Spy Machine In Palo Alto, California

'He wasn’t the first to build one, but his was the best, and every day hundreds of thousands of people upload the most intimate details of their lives to the Internet. The real coup wasn’t hoodwinking the public into revealing their thoughts, closest associates, and exact geographic coordinates at any given time. Rather, it was getting the public to volunteer that information. Then he turned off the privacy settings.'

“People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people,” said Zuckerberg...  “That social norm is just something that has evolved over time.”

'If the state had organized such an information drive, protestors would have burned down the White House. But the state is the natural beneficiary of this new “social norm.” Today, that information is regularly used in court proceedings and law enforcement. There is no need for warrants or subpoenas. Judges need not be consulted. The Fourth Amendment does not come into play. Intelligence agencies don't have to worry about violating laws protecting citizenry from wiretapping and information gathering. Sharing information “more openly” and with “more people” is a step backward in civil liberties. And spies, whether foreign or domestic, are “more people,” too.

Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, knows better than anyone how to exploit holes in the secrecy apparatus to the detriment of American security. His raison d'être is to blast down the walls protecting state secrets and annihilate the implicit bargain, yet even he is frightened by the brazenness of Facebook and other such social networking sites:

'Here we have the world’s most comprehensive database about people, their relationships, their names, their addresses, their locations and their communications with each other, their relatives, all sitting within the United States, all accessible to the U.S. intelligence. Facebook, Google, Yahoo — all these major U.S. organizations have built-in interfaces for U.S. intelligence. It’s not a matter of serving a subpoena. They have an interface that they have developed for U.S. intelligence to use.'

'It’s all there, and the Internet never forgets. ... in the case of microblogging service Twitter, the Library of Congress has acquired every message ever posted by its two hundred million members. ...'

Read more:


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Why a person's name is important...

especially, if you are a diplomat, it might affect where you are supposed to be posted.

"Owing to an unfortunate matter of translation, Pakistani diplomat Akbar Zeb will not become the next Pakistani ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

Mr Zeb's credentials are impressive: he is the former envoy to the United States, India, South Africa and Canada. But despite his impressive career, his name proved to be an immovable  hurdle.

When translated into Arabic, it means "Large penis".

In a region that stresses modesty in public, this could not stand.

Akbar is a customary Muslim name meaning "great", and while Zeb is not an uncommon Pakistani name, in Arabic it is a slang reference to the penis and never used in polite conversation.

Obviously the diplomat's Arab hosts felt that references to "His Excellency the Big Dick" would not go over well.

A Saudi cultural critic said, "The media wouldn't dare to publish a name like this So every time he would be in the media they would have to face the name issue, and it would make it difficult to work with him.

That would be an embarrassment for Pakistan."

Said an analyst, "You cannot just pronounce that name. It's too awkward.

How would he be announced at events? How would he be written about?"

According to the Arab Times, this is the third instance of an Arabic-speaking country refusing Mr. Zeb's ambassadorship David Kenner of Foreign Policy magazine wrote that the issue was a source of embarrassment for Pakistan. "One can only assume that submitting Zeb's name to Arabic-speaking countries is some unique form of punishment designed by the Pakistani Foreign Ministry," he wrote, "Or the result of a particularly egregious cock- up."

This reminds me of how ex-PM of Pakistan, Zulkifar Ali Bhutto's name was embarrassing to some Malaysians too.

Imagine yourself being accidentally credited with USD 92 quadrillion!

I am sure almost all of us do not know how much is a quadrillion. There are 15 figures after the first figure of 1. As a comparison to bring us back to reality, there are only 6 figures after the first figure 1, to make a million; 9 figures to make a billion; and 12 figures to make a trillion. I suppose 92 quadrillion means 92,000 trillions! Isn't that thrilling just to calculate and fantasize?

But with such an unusually huge amount credited to your bank account, there is no way you can hide it, let alone use any of it.

Thanks to PayPal, someone just had the momentary thrill of having 92 quadrillion in his bank account...

"Chris Reynolds' PayPal account was erroneously credited $92,233,720,368,547,800."

Pennsylvania man gets a PayPal statement saying his account contains $92,233,720,368,547,800
Man, Chris Reynolds, later logs online to find his balance is actually $0
PayPal admits the error and offers to make donation to charity
Reynolds says he would have paid down the national debt
New York (CNN) -- When Chris Reynolds opened his June PayPal e-mail statement, something was off.
The Pennsylvania PR executive's account balance had swelled to a whopping $92,233,720,368,547,800.
That's $92 QUADRILLION (and change).
Money that would make Reynolds -- who also sells auto parts on eBay in his spare time -- the richest man in the world by a long shot.
Rich, as in more than a million times richer than Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim. And he's worth $67 billion.
Oh, if only.
"It's a curious thing. I don't know, maybe someone was having fun," Reynolds said.
So he logged online, and reality bit back. His account balance read $0. The correct amount.
PayPal admitted the error and offered to donate an unspecified amount of money to a cause of Reynolds' choice.
"This is obviously an error and we appreciate that Mr. Reynolds understood this was the case," PayPal said in a statement.
Before this incident, the most Reynolds ever made on PayPal was "a little over $1,000" selling a set of vintage BMW tires on eBay.
So what would the would-be quadrillionaire have done with all that cash?
"I probably would have paid down the national debt," he said.
CNN's Erinn Cawthon and Jesse Solomon contributed to this report.

Couple 'Alvivi' got much more attention than they expected

With today's real time connectivity, anybody who is into commenting or blogging in the internet is only one button away from fame or infamy.

The fastest and surest way to get attention is using sex as a topic to attract attention. It can be just a title without any real substance in the form of video, but it will definitely increase the number of hits. If there is a sex video, then the number of hits will multiply exponentially.

Similarly, scandals of any sort will also attract people's attention because most of total's busy people have short attention span. They will read only headlines and tend to be attracted by unusual news titles to read further.

Alvin and Vivian got famous from their sex video when he was studying in Singapore. Unlike other unintentional exposure, theirs was deliberate to get cheap publicity. I think it costed him a scholarship and at least a reprimand.

Like other publicity seeking people, they tend to test the limits in cyberspace. But I honestly believe their 'Islam-insulting' pic could have been a spur of the moment prank without realising the consequences it would cause. It was obvious they regretted their action, not only with an open apology, but could be seen when they appeared visibly harassed by the news reporters and cameramen who were attracted by the publicity, on their way to the court premises.

Now the whole nation's leaders (including PM and other ministers), law enforcers (including IGP and AG), and even MPs since Parliament is now in session, commented on their silly prank.

The undue weight given to this particular case had inevitably attracted criticisms from the public who are wondering why our leaders do not care about injustices involving murder and rape cases for instance. There is the ongoing controversies on whether the police should have IPCMC, especially with the recurring cases of death in police custody, the latest in Batu Gajah! The daily cases of armed robberies in broad daylight, even in clinics, and outside one where a lady doctor lost a thumb when the robber slashed first before robbing her handbag. Shopkeepers and restaurant operators have to think of armed security guards instead of only CCTV, to protect themselves as well as their customers. Business dropped drastically and many have closed, mainly because the risk of being harmed or even killed is just not worth the money to be made.

If one is not concerned about principles and morality, it is easier joining the ruling party and fight for spoils instead of earning a decent living with a constant fear of having to fight off armed robbers.

Meanwhile, I expect the couple to be jailed (given the pressure from the publicity generated) to serve as an example to others. What I am worried is the harsher treatment they might get from those in charge of their custody. If the law is to be followed, let's hope there is fairness in implementation.

Related articles:
Letter to Malaysiakini: Will action be taken on inciters as with Alvivi?

Malaysia Chronicle: Alvin, Vivian likely to escape Sedition Act, all eyes on IGP to explain "linked" remarks


"No bail was granted and Tan was sent to the Sungai Buloh Prision while Lee was taken to the Kajang Prision.

The couple were charged under:
a) Section 5 of the Film Censorship Act 2002 for publishing indecent photographs online between July 6 and 7. If found guilty they can be fined not less than RM10,000 or not more than RM50,000 and or imprisoned for not exceeding five years;
b) 298A Penal Code for promoting enmity between different groups of religion or race and doing acts prejudicial to maintaining harmony by publishing an offensive Ramadan greeting which carries a minimum jail term of two years or a maximum of five years; and
c) Section 4(1) (c) of the 1948 Sedition Act for posting seditious material through the offensive greeting which carries fine maximum fine of RM5,000."


Update: A couple of letters from selected ones in Malaysiakini:

'Anonyxyz: For those who believe in God of any religion, say a few prayers for these two stupid, irresponsible and mentally disturbed individuals.

No sane person will do what they have done in a highly racialised and politicised society of ours. Prayers for them to come out of jail safely to be tried in a court where the verdict is definitely predictable.

All said and done, they are unarmed, do not cause violence and injure, kill or maim people and should not be treated like hunted terrorists.

The laws should be equally applied and if all those previous cases of hate speech have been acted upon like this case and punished severely, this incident may not have happen.'

'Argonist: This is Malaysian justice. Guilty before even being tried. Those who did worse crimes are given bail.

Is sending them to a prison full of criminals who wouldn't think twice of harming these kind of prisoners wise? Let's wait and see how they will be treated while waiting for the trial to be heard.'

Sent to prison - summary justice meted out

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

It gets stranger by the day

Gleaned from Sunday Star's quotable quotes:

'We were pressured to abolish the Internal Security Act and EO. Look at what happened after that, the crime rate increased and organised and petty criminals came out of the woodwork.'  - Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Such a simple explanation to our increasingly intolerable crime rates. Wonder if this was how he defended his doctoral thesis.

'I would take a ferry to St Xavier's Institution on the (Penang) island every morning. So, technically, I did.' Khazanah Nasional Bhd deputy chairman Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop 'bragging' that he 'studied overseas'.

I was so surprised that this quote was published and I wondered under what circumstances he was caught 'bragging' about his overseas education, especially why the need to do so when he did his MBA overseas,
 at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium.

But Bung Mokhtar's answer took the cake when asked about Qing Ming: 'The Chinese emperor who built the Great Wall!'

and some of Monday's news which caught my attention :

Some people asked for demolition of a bridge... because drug addicts used it as a hideout! Why was the bridge built in the first place?

Wife smashed the windscreen of their Rm630,000 Mercedes... she was upset her car battery-related problems could not be solved by Merc service centre!

Bung Mokhtar said he is proof that Umno is clean... because he tried many times for contracts but 'tak dapat'! What made him think he should try to get contracts? Because as a leader he must ask for contracts, otherwise he would be a coward!

'Six million dollar man' Tajuddin Abdul Rahman who is now Deputy Agriculture Minister, said his distribution of aid to fishermen and farmers in Kuala Besut during its by-election campaign period, was a 'coincidence'!

Amid soaring poultry prices, a minister said people should stop eating chicken if they could not afford it during the upcoming festive season. Are we anywhere near being a developed nation?


Monday, July 15, 2013

Public apology by Singapore police chief

Very rare indeed, because there was no such need because of their high professional standards of duty.

Such apology can never be expected here because it is easier to blame everybody or everything else. Moreover, the high incidents of police involvement would have made such apologies too frequently necessary!

Excerpts of the public apology:

'After the shocking events of Wednesday afternoon, police investigators worked tirelessly around the clock to, first, identify the perpetrator, and then, to hunt him down.
When I was first told that the murder suspect could be one of our own, my initial reaction was disbelief, swiftly followed by anger and anguish. This was the same gamut of emotions police investigators had to deal with in the last few days as they pursued the suspect.
The fact that the suspect is a police officer gave my investigators even greater resolve and determination to solve this case. I commend them for going about their duties in a thoroughly professional manner, and for being ultimately successful in capturing their target.'

'Officer Iskandar's fall from grace has also brought dishonour to the 10,000 other police officers who dedicate themselves every day to protecting others, and who routinely risk their own safety to preserve that of others.
Tragically, Tan Boon Sin and Tan Chee Heong are dead. And untold grief has been brought upon their families and loved ones. Their loss can never ever be made good.
I wish that there is something the police can do to lessen their anger and sorrow. I wish that I can turn back the clock and undo this great misfortune that has befallen upon the Tan family. But I know that no amount of commiseration or regret will lessen the hurt. All we can do is to bring the culpable to justice, and to mourn with the rest of Singapore the senseless loss of two innocent lives.
I expect that after this press conference, newspapers, TV and radio, the blogosphere, and coffee shops and sitting rooms up and down the country will reverberate with talk, comment and opinion about this tragic incident.'

'Even as we investigate the murders, the police also look to find out what has led an individual who has sworn to uphold the law to now stand accused of breaking it in the most grievous way.
Our police force and every policeman and policewoman is tarred by the actions of this single officer. This is unfortunate, but my officers and I will take every criticism in our stride.
The public's trust in the police is the only reason why we are able to keep Singapore as safe as it is. This trust is hard-earned and must never be broken. And we will not allow this tragedy to adversely affect the strong bonds that we share with the communities that we protect.
Tomorrow, every police officer will still go to work fully cognisant of his and her sacrosanct mission. And every police officer will still say the police pledge before he goes on duty, and then work as hard as he can to keep Singapore safe and secure.
We are a force for the nation. And we will not be distracted by the current unfortunate event, from continuing with our work of safeguarding Singapore. - July 14, 2013.'

* This was first published in the Singapore Straits Times on July 14, 2013.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Left or Right in Politics?

Using driving as an analogy, as the following story goes, just keeping right (no left turns) can see you through driving safely... but it depends on where you are: left-hand drive in US and Europe, or right-hand drive in Britain and Malaysia.

Excerpt from a story posted in the USA Today on June 15, 2005...

"After he retired, my father almost always accompanied my mother whenever she drove anywhere, even if he had no reason to go along. If she were going to the beauty parlor, he'd sit in the car and read, or go take a stroll or, if it was summer, have her keep the engine running so he could listen to the Cubs game on the radio. In the evening, then, when I'd stop by, he'd explain: "The Cubs lost again. The millionaire on second base made a bad throw to the millionaire on first base, so the multimillionaire on third base scored."

If she were going to the grocery store, he would go along to carry the bags out -- and to make sure she loaded up on ice cream. As I said, he was always the navigator, and once, when he was 95 and she was 88 and still driving, he said to me, "Do you want to know the secret of a long life?"

"I guess so," I said, knowing it probably would be something bizarre.

"No left turns," he said.

"What?" I asked.

"No left turns," he repeated. "Several years ago, your mother and I read an article that said most accidents that old people are in happen when they turn left in front of oncoming traffic.

As you get older, your eyesight worsens, and you can lose your depth perception, it said. So your mother and I decided never again to make a left turn."

"What?" I said again.

"No left turns," he said. "Think about it. Three rights are the same as a left, and that's a lot safer. So we always make three rights.."

"You're kidding!" I said, and I turned to my mother for support.

"No," she said, "your father is right. We make three rights. It works." But then she added: "Except when your father loses count."

I was driving at the time, and I almost drove off the road as I started laughing. "Loses count?" I asked.

"Yes," my father admitted, "that sometimes happens. But it's not a problem. You just make seven rights, and you're okay again."

I couldn't resist. "Do you ever go for 11?" I asked.

"No," he said " If we miss it at seven, we just come home and call it a bad day. Besides, nothing in life is so important it can't be put off another day or another week."
My mother was never in an accident, but one evening she handed me her car keys and said she had decided to quit driving. That was in 1999, when she was 90.

She lived four more years, until 2003. My father died the next year, at 102."

Background to the story:

This story was posted in the USA Today on June 15, 2005.  I think it has been around before but is still worth the time to read it.

Here is a story of an aging couple. Told by their son who was President of NBC NEWS.

This is a wonderful piece by Michael Gartner, editor of newspapers large & small and president of NBC News. In 1997 he won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. It is well worth reading. A few good chuckles are guaranteed.

My father never drove a car. Well, that's not quite right. I should say I never saw him drive a car. He quit driving in 1927, when he was 25 years old, and the last car he drove was a 1926 Whippet.

"In those days," he told me when he was in his 90s, "to drive a car you had to do things with your hands, and do things with your feet, and look every which way, and I decided you could walk through life and enjoy it or drive through life and miss it."

At which point my mother, a sometimes salty Irishwoman, chimed in: "Oh, baloney!" she said. "He hit a horse."

"Well," my father said, "there was that, too."

Ahmad Maslan thinks having a shop is something to be envious

The following video is being shared on Facebook, giving the robbery trio unwanted publicity. Seems this took place in JB. Though they took only a bottle of brandy or whisky and a computer CPU (of all things! I think they were aware of the CCTV and thought it contained the footage of them), try to empathise with the shop proprietor: constant fear of being robbed by 'customers'. This is getting rampant now in just about any type of businesses, even doctors' clinics. To those who have a choice, they would rather close their businesses. So Ahmad Maslan should not worry too much about Malays having only 15% of shops in the Klang Valley... soon they can pick and choose the type of business and good location too.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Sarawak the tail wagging Malaysia the dog

Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) of Sarawak is in an unassailable and enviable position of being untouchable or uncontrollable by PM of Malaysia. Having 14 MPs and 35 ADUNs (simple majority in Sarawak), its President Taib Mahmud, who is also Chief Minister of Sarawak, has strong bargaining power. Though Umno assumes it as a 'fixed deposit', in fact, it is anything but fixed, fixation maybe. Umno relies on PBB more than the other way round.

Umno can boast about their 88 MPs (which is almost equivalent to Pakatan's 89), but it is relying on other parties to have at least 112 seats in order to have simple majority. Similarly, Pakatan could have simple majority if they could make at least 23 MPs to crossover.

By the way, in case anyone accuses me of being a 'shit stirrer', as an analogy, what Najib did to Perak soon after GE12 could then be described as having made shit cake after stirring it. Anyway, we all know there are no permanent friends nor enemies in politics. So everything and anything you can think of can be made possible, if there is a good enough reason. Surely, power is a good enough reason for most if not all politicians. Often, the end justifies the means. Furthermore, political loyalty cannot be so fragile that it can be so easily influenced by this simple suggestion.

Theoretically, we can do a bit of 'mix and match' to party loyalties to see how our PM is under certain constraints as far as control is concerned. He has no real control over the bigger parties within BN, and his own position as PM is at the mercy of Umno division leaders or warlords.

PM can try to exert pressure on other party leaders, but his hands are tied rather than free. Take Sarawak for example, if too much pressure is exerted on PBB's President, he can choose to work out a deal with Pakatan, making the latter's goal nearer by 14 MPs (just short of 9), and bringing along a whole state to its fold! If we add PRS's 6 and SPDP's 4, then simple majority is achieved! Or, Sabah's PBS (4), Upko (3) and SPDP (4) could be added instead. Alternatively, MCA's 7 and MIC's 4 in West Malaysia could be used in this theoretical exercise. There are a few other possible combinations which make this exercise interesting.

Looking at the ministerial and other appointments, we can see how Najib tried his best to look after all those he needs to maintain BN's majority; as well as to maintain his position as President of Umno, and by virtue of that, his position as PM of Malaysia.

Umno leaders can be arrogant every now and again, but there is a limit as to how much insult they can throw at their other coalition party leaders.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Koon Yew Yin on Perak’s Stolen Election: The Second Time Round


'Close State Election Results Favoured BN

In the recent 2013 elections, history has repeated itself. This time the election appears to have been stolen with more conventional methods. According to the official tally, BN won 31 seats to the PR’s 28 in a closely contested race. But on close analysis of the results, we find that BN won 8 of the state seats (and 2 parliamentary ones) with wafer thin majorities. State seats that BN candidates won with very small margins can be seen from the table below

State Seat         Total Votes Cast    Winning Margin of BN Candidate   BN % of Votes Obtained
Selama                   13,089                      619                                          52.3
Kamunting              22,681                      887                                          51.9
Lubok Merbau         12,469                      53                                            50.2
Manjoi                    42,890                      132                                          50.1
Manong                  14,579                      231                                         50.8
Pasir Panjang           30,247                      304                                         50.1
Rungkup                 12,217                     613                                          52.5
Changkat Jong         23,271                    1,118                                        51.8

Winning by small margins is not unique to BN candidates. A small number of PR candidates also squeaked through by small margins. But the large number of narrow victories by BN candidates – not only in Perak but throughout the country – in our colonial-inspired electoral system of first past the post winner has raised alarm bells among election watchers.'

'PAS: Taking Up the Fight against the State Election Results

It is gratifying to note that PAS has decided to mount a legal challenge to the state election results in at least 6 state constituencies. These cases may take some time to be resolved and the judiciary perceived by many as influenced by BN, may result in PAS ending up on the losing side.
It could also be that PAS may end up with judgements that support its case. This possibility may seem quite remote but given the new found courage and independence of the judiciary, one should not discount that happening. In such a situation, and if new elections are called for (not necessarily in the six disputed seats, three alone would be sufficient) I am confident that the voters in these constituencies - with the eyes of the nation on them - will vote overwhelmingly for the PR and against the BN candidate. A swing of just two seats against the BN will then produce a PR state government. The impact will not just be in Perak. I predict that this will mark the beginning of the end of BN rule in the country.

Fraudulent and unethical election practices

Finally, whichever way the judgements go, it is still important and necessary to educate the public – both Perak and Malaysian - on the way in which the BN has engaged in various fraudulent and unethical election practices to maintain itself in power. At the very least, PAS will have the full support of the 613,490 voters (55% of the total electorate voted for PR state candidates in 2013) who know that the elections were stolen from them and who will want justice to be done.'



Why government should mind its own business when considering how to reduce car prices

It is generally agreed that 'laissez faire' or the doctrine that government should not interfere in commercial affairs should be followed wherever possible.

But in trying to compete with Pakatan's proposal on how they would reduce car prices, Mustapha Mohamed seems to side-step what are within his control (excise duty and sales tax), and expect more from manufacturers' productivity and profit margins.

'In trying to reduce car prices, its better for the government to manage the variables it has complete control such as excise and sales tax. It’s the government who imposes these and not the private sector. Its better for the government to mind its own business.'

'...The 4 elements that go into the pricing of a car are the cost ex-factory, profit margin, excise duty and sales tax. Mustapha went on lecturing on how improving the productivity the manufacturer reduces unit cost and hence can offer a reduction in car pricing.'

'It’s a common flaw that runs through the entire gamut of BN government economic thinking. The same principle or thinking as it were underlined much of the overrated government’s ETP. The thinking is this: this government thinks it can generate economic progress by way of centralised planning. To do it must exercise complete direction over the affairs of economic agents.

Herein lies the fundamental flaw. Having wedded itself to the idea of centralised planning, it seeks to control variables outside its own area of competence.

Consider the attempt to reduce the car price. The 4 elements that Mustapha mentioned were (1) ex-factory price (2) profit margin (3) excise tax and (4) sales tax. All these cost elements are variables if and only if one party gets to control all. The government can’t control ex-factory price and profit margins, short of giving decrees. '



Monday, July 08, 2013

Getting to know Barisan Nasional

Sometimes, I was asked by friends at breakfast, questions like:

How many seats did MCA/MIC/Gerakan get in GE13?
Did MCA/MIC/Gerakan win any in ____ (name of state) in GE13?

Hello? You think I'm a walking wikipedia on Malaysian politics?

30 years ago, when my memory was still sharp, I could have remembered most of the information gleaned from newspapers or other reports. But now, I cannot even remember song lyrics, let alone which party wins what.

I wish getting facts from newspapers could be more straightforward. I found mistakes in many of the reports, which required further searching for information.

I had been using an old copy of The Sun dated May 7, as a source of information. Believe me, though it was a good guide, the information was incomplete, even though it was published two days after May 5 (date of GE13).  For eg., results for P 170 and P175 were unknown at time of printing. So you can imagine my frustration, when faced with unknown facts.

As for Googling for information, on the one hand I am often impressed with the ease at getting information by keying in the right words, but on the other hand, if you tried getting information for Malaysian results, you are likely to be disappointed.

For my own reference as well as for others in search of similar information, I have included links to Malaysia Today which provide results for GE 13, according to parliamentary and state seats, state by state. But try looking for details of results by BN component parties, and you need to look elsewhere.

I had just visited BN's website, but this information is not readily available or could even be unavailable. I had to resort to Wikipedia and other sources instead.

I don't know about others, but I am blur as far as BN component parties in Sabah and Sarawak are concerned.

For my own future reference, I am pleased to gather the following information:

West Malaysia:
Umno 74, MCA 7, MIC 4 and Gerakan 1 (total 86);

East Malaysia:
Sarawak: PBB 14, PRS 6, SPDP 4, and SUPP 1 (total 25);
Sabah: Umno 14, PBS 4, Upko 3, and PBRS 1 (total 22);

Total for BN: 133 parliamentary seats out of a total of 222.

Sarawak state was excluded from GE 13 because it had its state elections in 2011.
Umno is not involved in Sarawak politics, but its anchor coalition partner PBB is in firm control.
Under BN, PBB has 35, PRS 8, SPDP 6 and SUPP 6 (total 55 seats, out of a total of 71).
The remaining 16 comprise DAP 12, PKR 3 and Independent 1.

Excluding Sarawak, BN won 275 out of 505 state seats. Including Sarawak, BN won 330 out of 576 state seats.

For 57% of total seats, BN is in control of 10 out of 13 state seats! This excludes the biggest anamoly of all: FT Kuala Lumpur!  - where despite winning only 2 out of 11 parliamentary seats, BN through FT Ministry, is also in control.

To familiar myself with BN component parties, particularly those in Sarawak and Sabah:

West Malaysia:
United Malays National Organization (UMNO)
Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA)
Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC)
Malaysian People's Movement Party (GERAKAN)
People's Progressive Party (PPP)
Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB)
Sarawak People's Party (PRS)
Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP)
Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP)
Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS)
Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS)
United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (UPKO)
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

Looking at the results of GE13, former significant partners of Alliance, then Barisan Nasional, like MCA, MIC and Gerakan, have lost their former glories and significance. They are becoming irrelevant.

MCA's VP, Donald Lim appears to be singing 'Only you?... and you only?' and pleaded to voters in Selangor not to give them a duck egg...

Umno has to rely increasingly on PBB in Sarawak and to a lesser extent, PBS, PBRS and UPKO in Sabah, to have majority in Parliament. Umno had done its dubious groundwork in Sabah over the years and its presence there overshadows PBS!

Recently, an Umno politician boasted about his party's 88 parliamentary seats by itself, as compared with Pakatan Rakyat's total of 89! Of course, if he wants to rest on his laurels and disregard his party-led coalition's 47% popular votes (yet won 133 seats), as compared with PR's 51%, then he can bask in his own glory while he still can.

A bit more details on MCA, MIC and Gerakan representatives:

MCA 7 MPs in 4 states  : Perak 1 : Tg Malim (Ong Ka Chuan); Pahang 1 : Bentong (Liow Tiong Lai); Malacca 1 : Alor Gajah (Koh Nai Kwong); and Johor 4 : Labis (Chua Tee Yong), Ayer Hitam (Dr Wee Ka Siong), Tebrau (Khoo Soo Seang) and Tanjong Piai (Wee Jeck Seng).

MIC 4 MPs in 4 states : Perak 1 : Tapah (M Saravanan); Pahang 1 : Cameron Highlands (G Palanivel); Selangor  1 : Hulu Selangor (P Kamalanathan); and Johor 1 : Segamat ( S Subramaniam).

Gerakan 1 MP : Johor : Simpang Rengam (Liang Teck Meng).

MCA 11 ADUNs in 6 states : Perlis 1 : Titi Tinggi (Khaw Hock Kong); Kedah 2 : Gurun (Dr Leong Yong Kong) and Kulim (Chua Thiong Gee); Perak 1 : Chenderiang (Dr Mah Hang Soon); Pahang 2 : Cheka (Fong Koong Fuee) and Teruntum (Chang Hong Seong); Melaka 3 : Machap (Lai Meng Chong), Kelebang (Lim Ban Hong) and Bemban (Ng Choon Koon); and Johor 2 : Pengkalan Rinting (Chang Mei Kee) and Pulai Sebatang (Tee Siew Kiong).  
MIC 5 ADUNs in 3 states : Negeri Sembilan 1 : Jeram Padang (L Manickam); Melaka 1 : Gadek (MS Mahadevan); and Johor 3 : Gambir (M Asojan Muniyandy), Kahang (R Vidyananthan) and Tenggaroh (Raven Kumar Krishnasamy).


PAC at federal level can't be opposition's; yet in Selangor, offered to Umno, refused to accept!

Datuk Paul Low said:

'Malaysia, unlike other Commonwealth countries, may not have the political maturity to have an opposition member chair its parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low told The Malay Mail he was in favour of it, but such positions could be abused for political mileage.

“I see it as a good thing, but it is not just about picking fault with the government and not just for political mileage.”

'Low said that in Malaysia the opposition would have to note that the seat was meant to be used for constructive criticism and not just to condemn the government.

“Whether we are ready or not, politicians have to judge,” said Low.'

- See more at:

What more can we say? It is so obvious that there are endless issues which Pakatan can find fault with BN and Umno, so Paul Low's explanation does not hold water. When is a country mature enough? Isn't it easier to be more transparent and accountable so that PAC has nothing to complain about?

On the other hand, Selangor Umno, by refusing to accept PAC chairmanship, seems more interested in criticising without work and responsibilities. Someone suggested that it is because there is no pay in such a position!

Selangor State Speaker, Hannah Yeoh had just confirmed in a Facebook post:

'It's official, BN has just rejected our offer to give them the chairmanship for Public Accounts Committee in Selangor.'


When will Umno stop blaming others for their failings?

Perhaps, after years of conditioning by their grand old master, who knows best in everything, and cannot go wrong in anything, Umno has a tendency to blame their failures in uplifting Malays' competitiveness on everyone else, mainly the Chinese, if not, why not Anwar?

Malaysia had been and is still under Umno's continuous control since independence in 1957 (other than the change to Umno Baru, for pragmatic reasons or to suit Dr Mahathir then, but continues to use the same name), yet the Chinese are being blamed for their so-called lack of equity holdings and business participation. There is no mention of the billions which had been siphoned away by Umnoputras over the years, which was a result of Umno abusing the NEP for their own benefit.

Dr. Bridget Welsh believes that there is a good reason why politicians want the people to be poor so that they can be bought during elections.

Anyway, it is unbelievable that Umno continues to use the Chinese as scapegoats, even for BN's poorer performance in GE13.

If even Dr Mahathir (despite 22 years of almost dictatorial control), had declared recently that he does not think meritocracy is good for the nation, then continue with your defeatist attitude and get rid of all kinds of competition with the powers in your hands.

A selection of comments in Malaysiakini, in response to Deputy Finance Minister's statement: 'Only 15 pct of shops in Klang Valley are bumi-owned':

Seriously, when will Umno stop blaming the Chinese?

For want of a good pic to go with this post...

Anwar, the most convenient scapegoat for all ills in Malaysia

Learn Cantonese by numbers... what does 465354709394 mean to you?

It means: Your dead beat husband is being a nonsense person coming out and messing around!


Sunday, July 07, 2013

Rm140 million new Ipoh bus terminal: has to cajole or even force bus operators to use it?

'The RM140mil Amanjaya Terminal commenced operations last September but faced problems when several bus companies refused to move there from Medan Gopeng.

The bus operators cited the Amanjaya Terminal’s inconvenient location as one of the reasons why they preferred to continue operating from Medan Gopeng.

An agreement was finally inked between parties operating at both bus terminals in March, which stipulated that operators in Medan Gopeng had to shift to the Amanjaya Terminal by the end of April.'

'Faizal attributed the lack of passengers to the fact that some bus companies are still maintaining operations outside the terminal.

“Despite the state government issuing a directive to all bus operators in the city to move to the terminal, some are still operating at Gunung Rapat, Jalan Bendahara and Bercham.

“Since the terminal is far from the city centre, passengers would of course prefer to patronise these operators who are more centrally located.'


Before the planners decided on the location of this modern bus terminal, they did not bother to ask the ordinary bus users. The politicians, as usual, were more concerned with having a brand new building so that it met with their criterion of a mega project. Of course, Amanjaya to Ipoh, is what Putrajaya is to Kuala Lumpur. It was meant to house all the government departments in a new area, far away from Ipoh city centre. So, the convenience of the public was last on their list of priorities. Now, with the new bus terminal under-used, bus operators are being arm-twisted to move into it, instead of operating from convenient locations in Ipoh city to suit the bus users! If not for the waste of public funds, I would use the Malay expression, 'Padan muka' or 'Serves them right' for not using their common sense.


“This is not fair to us because the bus companies have the advantage of being nearer to the city centre, making it convenient for passengers to purchase tickets from them rather than at the terminal.

“I’ve suffered losses amounting to more than RM10,000 a month due to the lack of passengers and I can’t even pay the wages of my 12 employees,” he lamented.

Faizal said the operators had also decided not to pay the monthly RM800 ticketing counter rent and RM6 bus toll at the terminal due to the losses.

“If the state government or SPAD does not solve this issue, I’m planning to set up a counter in the city and operate from there,” he said, adding that the other operators planned to do the same.

The distance from the Medan Kidd bus terminal located in the city centre to the Amanjaya Terminal is 10.5km.

Taxi fare between both terminals in the day is about RM20 while at night, it is about RM30.

Passengers would need to pay RM2.30 for a one-way shuttle bus trip from Medan Kidd to the new terminal.

Ticket seller Norhayati Hashim, 50, said since her bus company moved into the new terminal in April, it had lost more than 50% of its revenue.

“Previously, the bulk of our customers consisted of those who bought tickets from Ipoh to Kuala Lumpur, but now many do not buy tickets at the terminal.

Convenience store worker Siti Nurfatihah Razali, 22, said when the Medan Gopeng bus operators moved into the new terminal in April, there was only a slight increase in the number of customers.

“We anticipated more people when the operators moved in, but this did not happen and the store is making very little profit.

“Many passengers have complained that the terminal is inconvenient and was far from the city centre even though there are shuttle buses,” she said.

Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir said he hoped the bus operators at the terminal would hold discussions with the bus companies operating in the city centre over the matter.

“They (bus operators) should discuss and work together,” he said.

Dr Zambry stressed that the state could not force private bus companies operating in the city centre to move to the terminal.

“If we force them, there will be accusations that we are benefiting cronies,” he said.

“I will get a state official to liaise and coordinate with the operators and try to reach a solution,” he said.

The Star Perak Metro: Bus operators in a fix


Friday, July 05, 2013

Syabas! For record remunerations when company owes billions

The best part was when a small group of shareholders think he is worth every million payable to him!

A quick look at the history of Selangor's water privatisation during Khir Toyo's time would confirm people's suspicions that everything Umno touches would benefit certain cronies at the expense of the people. The good thing is that the excesses costed Umno the most valuable state in Malaysia.

Selangor administration under Pakatan tried to undo as much as possible the lop-sided contracts but without success in their first term. Now, the federal government had finally given its approval, after Selangor MB conceded the necessity of having Langat 2. It seems like a compromise to settle once and for, the water woes of the people (much of it created to discredit Pakatan MB's efforts, to the extent of filming water shortage acted for propaganda purposes).

For 2012, Chairman Rozali Ismail will be paid a record Rm33.4, presumably as a form of golden handshake. But it was shameless by any standard, for someone to benefit himself to such an extent, when the company owes billions, especially when it involves water, a natural commodity which we all need to survive and which we have in abundance naturally.

That the water privatisation was deliberately planned to benefit the then state ruling party and its cronies was obvious, especially when it was done after Penang had successfully privatised water efficiently to benefit the people, surprisingly under another component party of BN, Gerakan. It was for a different reason that Gerakan lost control of Penang in GE12, and coud not regain it in GE13.

More on the matter from some selected comments in Malaysiakini:

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Prince William has Indian ancestry?

Results of  DNA tests have sparked off interest among royal watchers all over the world, also particularly in India...

According to Daily Mail:
Revealed: William's Indian ancestry. DNA tests show future monarch has clear genetic line to the former 'Jewel in the Crown' from Diana's side
DNA testing proves that the Duke of Cambridge is of Indian ancestry
He will become first King of England with genetic link to India
Prince William's great-great-great-great-great grandmother was half-Indian
William will be first and last monarch with the DNA link as it can only be passed on by a  mother
Revelation will prompt calls for prince to make maiden visit to the country

Prince William's Indian DNA piques interest, not innuendo. That's progress
Some Anglo-Indian people used to go to extraordinary, even tragic lengths to hide their heritage. Reactions to the story about Prince William's Indian roots are much more relaxed

'Still, it would have been difficult then to foresee the day last week when the second in line to the British throne would be declared to have a tiny portion of Indian ancestry, and that this disclosure should spark a mild interest and celebration rather than an oo-ah prurience and notions of a family's ancestral disgrace.' 

'Anglo-Indian settlements in India used to grieve that some of their most celebrated offspring denied or played down their origins, and many Anglo-Indians could recite a list of the stars they felt had in some way disowned or neglected them. In Lucknow, it was Cliff Richard; in Kolkata, Peter Sarstedt; in Chennai, Engelbert Humperdink. In the railway town of Chakradharpur, dull under its locomotive smoke, I once heard an unexpected boast that Marlon Brando's first wife, Anna Kashfi, had lived there. And it turned out she may well have done – as Joanna O'Callaghan, a half-Indian girl who emigrated with her family from Bengal to Cardiff in 1947. "There is no Indian blood in my family or my husband's family," her mother said, omitting the fact that her husband wasn't Kashfi's father, who was Indian.'

'The hunt was on today in India for possible cousins and relatives of Britain’s Prince William after it emerged he has a sliver of Indian ancestry.

Attention was focused on the city of Surat in the state of Gujarat after it was was revealed that Eliza Kewark, Prince William’s great, great, great, great, great grandmother, was of Indian origin. In 1812, Ms Kewark gave birth to Prince Williams’s great, great, great, great grandmother, Katharine Scott Forbes.'
'The Scottish-based company carried out tests on DNA supplied by two of Eliza's living direct descendants, who are both third cousins of Princess Diana's mother, Frances Shand Kydd. The tests revealed that Prince William carries Eliza's mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Mitochondrial DNA is a small piece of DNA inherited mostly unchanged from a mother to her children.

Tests showed that Ms Kewark had an extremely rare form of mtDNA, that has only been found in 14 other people, 13 in India and one in Nepal. Those involved in the project believe all the evidence they have gathered shows that her genetic heritage through her motherline was Indian. And as writer Patrick French, author of an exhaustive book on India, pointed out, it means the second-in-line to the throne is 1/256th Indian.'




Wednesday, July 03, 2013

MACC supposed to emulate Hong Kong's ICAC, but it failed even to imitate

When ACA (Anti-Corruption Agency) morphed into MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission), it was declared as modelled after HK's ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) with an implied objective to emulate the latter's well known success.

When ACA was formed with Harun Hashim as Director, it was well known for its success in  efficient investigation and successful conviction of a number of high level politicians. Perhaps, it was too efficient for comfort to BN political leaders, and somehow, Dr. Mahathir changed the rules and politicians who lived beyond  their means were not investigated. Together with OSA, ministers and heads of ministries who were inclined, must have had a field day in enriching themselves, virtually with impunity. 

Perception? Well, most people would not be surprised when Rafizi revealed MACC's appalling record when compared with ICAC.

In an immediate response, a BN smart alec came out with an 'explanation':

'Later in Parliament when Rafizi was debating the royal address, Jerlun MP Datuk Othman Aziz said the ICAC figures only showed that Hong Kong had more corruption cases.'!!!

From The Malaysian Insider: 

MACC’s record is"shocking” says PKR’s Rafizi

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has a dismal record in combating corruption, says PKR’s Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli.
Rafizi said this after comparing the MACC’s record with its Hong Kong counterpart, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
He made the observation after receiving a written reply from Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator Datuk Paul Low on the agency’s record in fighting graft.
Low had provided a comparison of the agency’s record with its Hong Kong counterpart.
Rafizi said based on statistics obtained from MACC's annual report in 2011, the commission only has a 20% hit rate when it comes to investigating complaints, which paled in comparison with ICAC's wjhich was 77%.
What was worse, he said, was the percentage of the number of investigation papers that were opened against the number of reports received.
"ICAC's percentage is 77% while MACC's is a shocking 20%.
"That means only one in five reports is investigated. So if you file a report with MACC, chances are it won't be investigated anyway.
"The rate of successful convictions of MACC (68%) also pales in comparison to ICAC, which recorded 86%.
"So not only does the ICAC receive more tipoffs, opens more investigation papers, but (it) also has more convictions.
He challenged Low to increase the effectiveness of MACC by working to improve the percentage of investigation papers and its conviction rates.
"He must make sure that MACC can be comparable to the ICAC."
July 3, 2013.



Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Humour beneath the snob appeal

A lady walks into Tiffany's...
She looks around, spots a beautiful diamond bracelet and walks over to inspect it...
As she bends over to look more closely, she unexpectedly farts...
Very embarrassed, she looks around nervously to see if anyone noticed her little woops and prays that a salesperson was not anywhere near...
As she turns around, her worst nightmare materializes in the form of a salesman standing right behind her... good looking as well...
Cool as a cucumber, he displays all of the qualities one would expect of a professional in a store like Tiffany's.
He politely greets the lady with 'Good day, Madam... How may we help you today?'
Blushing and uncomfortable, but still hoping that the salesman somehow missed her little 'incident', she asks, 'Sir, what is the price of this lovely bracelet?'
He answers, 'Madam... if you farted just looking at it... you're going to shit when I tell you the price...'


Fantasia Malaysia: Cabinet to mull RCI on 'Red Bean Army'!

I could not believe my eyes when I first read the headline in FreeMalaysiaToday! This is like a national joke getting out of hand, and all because someone started a group 'Red Bean Army' on Facebook and it gathered more 'members' presumably, because I have yet to come across it nor look for it. The following seems to be the start of the hyped fantasy:

'Li Shuang who created a Facebook page for the Red Bean Army, reportedly said that it was merely a title and not an organization with an agenda. According to China Press, he said the Red Bean Army Facebook fanpage was merely a social network from which anyone could claim they were a part of the army. Former executive secretary of DAP Youth, Shen Yee Aun, had first “exposed” to the media that the Red Bean Army are professionals who manipulate facts not only to attack the government, but also ordinary people who support Barisan Nasional. According to Shen, although many started out as volunteers, they now work full-time on a RM3,000 monthly pay. '

Cabinet to mull RCI on 'Red Bean Army'

Just because BN lost in terms of popular votes in GE13 and Najib declared it was because of a 'Chinese tsunami', it has gained credence as a force to be reckoned with! Now that even the cabinet is considering whether to set up a RCI on this loose unregistered group, whatever little respect I have for our cabinet (more like kitchen cabinet with their pencant for red beans) will be gone.

Knowing DAP is known for its reliance on public donations for its campaigns, that anyone could believe the party is willing to fork out Rm100 million to support the RBA is already unbelievable. What is more credible is what Lim Kit Siang alleged: that some people with vested interests are using the RBA as an excuse for an allocation of Rm250 million to support Umno cybertroopers. That it is going to involve cabinet decision, it is more likely that public funds are going to be used.

The only reason I can think of, as to why the cabinet might get involved, is the scandals associated with senior ministers. What do they expect the people to do when they can 'rant and rave' about those ministers, yet the latter can just ignore them with their 'elegant silence'? Facebook seems a most convenient social networking site which encourages comments. You can just 'like' or 'dislike', comment or share on any topic which your FB friends or sponsored groups posted.

Other than the worry over the possible use of public funds for a frivolous reason, I am sure most people would treat this laughable proposal of a RCI as a big joke to be ignored. The reason BN is losing in the cyber war is because it is scandal-ridden with endless cases which interest readers. Who would want to read  so-called news from BN sites? We already have enough of propaganda coming from the mainstream national television channels and newspapers. There are so much lies being spunned by TV3, NTV7 and Utusan that many people would rather skipped them so as not to raise their blood pressures.

Fictitious tale of DAP-funded “Red Bean Army” of 3,000 cybertroopers being kept alive testimony of power and influence of vested interests who want RM350 million allocation whether from UMNO or public funds to pay UMNO/BN cybertroopers for next five years

Selected comments from Malaysiakini:

HTG explains what is juice-jacking and how worried should you be

'If you’re not familiar with how pairing works on your iPhone or iPad, this is the mechanism by which your desktop establishes a trusted relationship with your device so that iTunes, Xcode, or other tools can talk to it. Once a desktop machine has been paired, it can access a host of personal information on the device, including your address book, notes, photos, music collection, sms database, typing cache, and can even initiate a full backup of the phone. Once a device is paired, all of this and more can be accessed wirelessly at any time, regardless of whether you have WiFi sync turned on. A pairing lasts for the life of the file system: that is, once your iPhone or iPad is paired with another machine, that pairing relationship lasts until you restore the phone to a factory state.

This mechanism, intended to make using your iOS device painless and enjoyable, can actually create a rather painful state: the kiosk you just recharged your iPhone with can, theoretically, maintain a Wi-Fi umbilical cord to your iOS device for continued access even after you’ve unplugged your phone and slumped into a nearby airport lounge chair to play a round (or forty) of Angry Birds.'

'Although juice jacking isn’t as widespread a threat as outright phone theft or exposure to malicious viruses via compromised downloads, you should still take common sense precautions to avoid exposure to systems that may malicious access your personal devices.

The most obvious precautions center around simply making it unnecessary to charge your phone using a third-party system:

Keep Your Devices Topped Off: The most obvious precaution is to keep your mobile device charged. Make it a habit to charge your phone at your home and office when you’re not actively using it or sitting at your desk doing work. The fewer times you find yourself staring at a red 3% battery bar when you’re traveling or away from home, the better.

Carry a Personal Charger: Chargers have become so small and lightweight that they scarcely weigh more than the actual USB cable they attach to. Throw a charger in your bag so you can charge your own phone and maintain control over the data port.

Carry a Backup Battery: Whether you opt to carry a full spare battery (for devices that allow you to physically swap the battery) or an external reserve battery, you can go longer without needing to tether your phone to a kiosk or wall outlet...'


Like being born again: sewage baby literally went through hell and back

Nothing can have more extreme of reactions than having a baby.

There are many unwanted pregnancies conceived out of wedlock or a result of uncontrolled hormones or rape. As if to teach the couple a lesson, often just one time was enough to conceive! Poor baby.

Yet, on the other extreme, there are many couples who had tried ways and means to conceive without success. It could be due to one or more of several reasons due to the husband or wife, or both. Fortunately, medical science could do wonders like IVF, use of surrogate mother, or even choice of sperm for a single mother by choice!

The reaction of the man responsible when told of conception must be the most reliable test of his readiness for fatherhood, or his love for would be mother. There are countless variables used in movies and I am sure some scriptwriters are trying hard to come out with some new ones based on modern life styles and expectations.

For those who have missed the real life sad story of the Chinese baby who ended up in the sewerage pipe but fortunately saved...

Loo-flush baby boy's amazing rescue

'A NEWBORN baby found wedged in a sewage pipe after being flushed down the loo was making a miraculous recovery last night.

Firemen found the two-day-old boy after the landlady at some flats reported hearing whimpering from the 4in-wide pipe.
When they cut into it and peered inside they saw a tiny foot. The 5lb boy could not be tugged out so the entire L-shaped section of pipe was cut out and taken to hospital.'

'Doctors in Jinhua, China, then used saws and pliers to carefully chip away at the pipe to free the baby, who still had his umbilical cord and placenta attached.
He suffered cuts and a possible fractured skull.
But the hospital said the boy — named Baby 59 after the number of his incubator — was stable and expected to make a full recovery.

Police were said to be treating the case as attempted murder amid claims the parents deliberately flushed the unwanted baby down the loo.
But some reports said the mum told nurses it was an accident because she unexpectedly went into labour while using the toilet.'

'The dramatic rescue was captured by TV cameras and sparked a furious response on Chinese social networks.
One poster said: “I can never forgive dumping the baby into the toilet pipe. Can these people be called human beings?”
Babies are often dumped in China as couples in towns and cities are fined if they have more than one child.
The policy was introduced in the 1970s in an effort to keep a rapidly growing population under control.'

'HUMAN babies are totally dependent on others for warmth, nourishment and protection from infection.
Crying is their only weapon. But they don’t always cry very loud or very long.
Newborn babies are poor at controlling body temperature, so they become cold very quickly. When they do, they stop crying.
Their blood sugar levels can also plummet, which can result in coma. Within hours, this baby would have gone quiet and died.'


Monday, July 01, 2013

KL's proposed Mega Tower: shouldn't we have a referendum on it?

How ironic: FT Kuala Lumpur's major decisions are decided by minority voters.

By now, we are familiar with the 9 Pakatan MPs having no say at all, in matters relating to KL City Hall. Only 2 MPs are from BN. KL Mayor is a federal appointee and he is answerable to BN FT Minister, whose popularity is nothing to shout about, having won in FT Putrajaya, the smallest constituency (15,791 voters) out of 222 parliamentary seats.

The 9 Pakatan MPs consist of 5 from DAP (with total votes of 229,377); and 4 from PKR (with total votes (including one candidate who lost) of 173,807). Including the unsuccessful PAS candidate, Pakatan obtained a total of 425,352 votes.

The 2 Umno MPs (Setiawangsa and Titiwangsa) together with 2 other unsuccessful Umno candidates, received a total of 105,134 votes. Together with the other unsuccessful BN candidates: 4 from MCA (64,032 votes); 2 from Gerakan (50,572 votes) and 1 from PPP (7,530 votes), BN obtained a total of 227,268 votes. Others (a Berjasa candidate and some independents) received a total of 5,230 votes.

If we assume all those who voted for Pakatan Rakyat (425,352 voters) are against the project, then it would appear that 227,268 voters could ride roughshod over the majority. In other words, had there been a referendum in KL, I believe the project will be shot down.

But this is Malaysia. After GE 13, we are being ruled by a government supported by only 47% voters, yet secured 133 parliamentary seats (or 60%), because of the FPTP system which turned out to be blatantly unfair because of mal-apportionment in constituencies.


From Facebook:

1M Malaysians Reject 100-storey Mega Tower shared Kassim Muhamad's photo.

'Mayor of Kuala Lumpur Ahmad Phesal Talib put up 1 notice near Stadium Merdeka and 4 ads in print papers on 17-19 June announcing that there is request to Change of Layout Plan and Converting Land Reserved for People's Owned Park, Merdeka Stadium, Stadium Negara and surrounding sites into Land for High Class Hotel, Apartment, Shopping Mall, 118 storey Mega Tower. For who? For 'PNB'.

He gave 14 days notice for those who want to object, which the dateline is end of TODAY.

Datuk Ketua Pangarah, DBKL, Datuk Salleh Yusof yesterday said the KL Mayor will only meet and listen to those who submit the objection letter.

no prior community & public consultation, no exposure of layout plan, survey plan, no social impact studies etc, just a notice board and 4 ads without applicant's name, but all 'questionable' sentences in the notice which even the Ketua Pengarah cannot answer, DBKL may proceed to approve the project after today.

What say you, warga Kuala Lumpur,
and Rakyat Malaysia?'