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.)

Friday, May 30, 2014

Teluk Intan: A chance to help DAP's effort in being multi-racial

'As Teluk Intan is a majority Chinese seat, it was logical to put up a Chinese DAP candidate. It is also an incumbent seat held previously by the late Seah Leong Peng- a DAP MP. Putting up a Chinese candidate would have definitely secured Chinese support in any circumstances; but the political impact would just be that- DAP once again would have confirmed its legitimacy as the preferred choice by Chinese. It would only reaffirmed DAP’s Chineseness at the expense of improving its image as a party working on a bigger national presence. A bigger national presence that can be gained by promoting a Malay candidate.'

'DAP makes no pretentions that it wants to attract more Malay support. There is nothing wrong with this. Choosing a Malay candidate is a move that takes out the thunder from UMNO. It is now UMNO that is caught out with its Malay-first in everything cause. It is now having difficulties in explaining why it, as a champion for Malay first in everything is asking Malays in Teluk Intan to vote for a non-Malay? UMNO unlike DAP is a monolithic bloc comprising of Malays only, real or adopted or made honorary. Their founding principle does not include it being a multi-racial party. While I concede that UMNO may say it wants a multi-racial nation and its 1 Malaysia this and that, DAP has more positivity because it is itself a multi-racial party and is committed to a Multi-racial nation.

The practical thing is, it breaks down the mental block among Malay voters and steals the thunder from UMNO.' - DAP MP for Raub, Dato Mohd Ariff Sabri.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Perak Sultan passes away

Sultan Azlan Shah (1928 - 2014)

The state of Perak mourns the passing of our beloved Sultan on Wednesday at 1.30 p.m.

He ascended the Perak throne in 1985 and became our nation's Ninth Yang di-Pertuan Agong in 1989, until 1994.

Born in Batu Gajah and studied at a local school named after his father, SMK Sultan Yussuf, it is easy to find someone who happened to be his ex-school mate (used to be, not many around at his age), or had been involved in the many events which he had attended, like the annual prize-giving day at SYS, golf tournaments at Kelab Golf Kinta or Clearwater Sanctuary Golf Resort, or at the mosque in Batu Gajah. Even my daughter, who happened to be Head Prefect of St. Bernadette Convent, had the privilege to receive a prize from him when he was invited to open a new block of classrooms at the school.

Both my wife and her brother were ex-students of SYS. When her brother was installed as President of a Rotary Club in Ipoh, he was fortunate to have the esteemed presence of both the Sultan and Raja Nazrin at the function. I can still remember the royal protocol of the arrival of Raja Nazrin's Rolls Royce, followed by the Sultan's.

Some related news reports:

Many Perakians are confused or at least do not have full details of how our Sultan is chosen. According to The Malaysian Insider:

Dewan Negara Perak to choose new Sultan

'A special sitting of the Dewan Negara Perak will be convened to appoint the successor of Sultan Azlan Shah and the state’s 35th Sultan.'

'The Dewan Negara membership consists of the sultan, Raja Muda, Raja Di Hilir, Raja Kechil Besar, Orang Besar Empat (4), Orang Besar Lapan (8), the menteri besar and the mufti.

Another 11 elders and a non-Muslim also make up the membership of the Dewan Negara.

Adib said the Bendahara, the most senior of the Orang Besar Empat, will chair the meeting.

He said under Article 6 of the State Constitution, the first choice of being appointed sultan was between the Raja Muda and Raja di Hilir.

He said failing which, the Dewan Negara could choose any of the four titled princes (Raja-Raja Bergelar).

They are Raja Kechil Besar, Raja Kechil Sulong, Raja Kechil Tengah and Raja Kechil Bongsu. The last two positions are vacant.

The current Raja Muda is Raja Nazrin Shah while the Raja Di Hilir is Raja Jaafar Raja Muza.'

Rest of the article:


'The Regent of Perak, Raja Nazrin Shah, 58, has been proclaimed the new Sultan of Perak.

The announcement was made by Orang Kaya Bendahara Seri Maharaja Gen (Rtd) Mohd Zahidi Zainuddin at the Balairong Seri (Throne Room) of the Istana Iskandariah in Kuala Kangsar today, before the remains of the late Sultan Azlan Shah were laid to rest.'

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sakmongkol AK47: DAP and The Malay Voters of Teluk Intan

'The choice of Dyana Daud as its candidate for Teluk Intan is both practical and strategic. It was not a choice that went down easily among the DAP grassroots initially. Eventually as I have noticed over and over again, the wisdom by the DAP’s CEC prevailed.

As Teluk Intan is a majority Chinese seat, it was logical to put up a Chinese DAP candidate. It is also an incumbent seat held previously by the late Seah Leong Peng- a DAP MP. Putting up a Chinese candidate would have definitely secured Chinese support in any circumstances; but the political impact would just be that- DAP once again would have confirmed its legitimacy as the preferred choice by Chinese. It would only reaffirmed DAP’s Chineseness at the expense of improving its image as a party working on a bigger national presence. A bigger national presence that can be gained by promoting a Malay candidate.'

'Support from the Chinese in Teluk Intan is just an academic point. If the Chinese had voted for Mah Siew Keong, he would have won on the last two previous occasions. The fact that he did not, showed that he has no powerbase among the Chinese. He cannot get Chinese support and he is contesting against a Malay who will get Malay support- how can Mah wins?'

'Malay factor a bigger national presence and national interests.

The decision to field Dyana Daud confirms that DAP acknowledges the Malay factor as a reality in Malaysia politics. Putting up a Malay candidate has the immediate effect of breaking up the UMNO stranglehold on the Malay mind-set. It is indisputable proof that DAP is committed to strengthening its Malaysian ideal of inclusiveness - something that UMNO is afraid to do. Teluk INtan Malays will see this move as a much sacrificed concession on the part of the DAP and this goodwill can only invite reciprocal goodwill. It will attract more Malay support in Teluk Intan.

DAP makes no pretentions that it wants to attract more Malay support. There is nothing wrong with this. Choosing a Malay candidate is a move that takes out the thunder from UMNO. It is now UMNO that is caught out with its Malay-first in everything cause. It is now having difficulties in explaining why it, as a champion for Malay first in everything is asking Malays in Teluk Intan to vote for a non-Malay? UMNO unlike DAP is a monolithic bloc comprising of Malays only, real or adopted or made honorary. Their founding principle does not include it being a multi-racial party. While I concede that UMNO may say it wants a multi-racial nation and its 1 Malaysia this and that, DAP has more positivity because it is itself a multi-racial party and is committed to a Multi-racial nation.

The practical thing is, it breaks down the mental block among Malay voters and steals the thunder from UMNO.

Rest of his post:

Monday, May 26, 2014

Music to my ears

No, I'm not referring to Japan winning the Thomas Cup for the first time ever! But one thing it has shown is that no one country is invincible in badminton, be it Malaysia, China, Indonesia or Denmark, during their glorious years.

No, I'm not referring to Ramkarpal Singh's victory at Bukit Gelugor by-election, which everyone would have thought to be a certainty (especially against a new party and some Independents).

I was actually going through old emails sent to me and saved for future reference, and found this, sent by a friend, BH Yap:

Music To My Ears

Answers To Test Questions Compiled By Music Teachers From The Missouri School Music Newsletter (highlight and those in italics by me):

Refrain means don’t do it.
A virtuoso is a musician with real high morals.
Handel was half German, half Italian, and half English. He was rather large.
Beethoven wrote music even though he was deaf. He was so deaf he wrote loud music. He took long walks in the forest even when everyone was calling him. I guess he could not hear so good.
Henry Purcell is a well known composer few people have ever heard of.
Aaron Copland is one of your most famous contemporary composers. It is unusual to be contemporary. Most composers do not live until they are dead.
An opera is a song of bigly size. (influenced by Pavarotti?)
When a singer sings, he stirs up the air and makes it hit any passing eardrums. But if he is good, he knows how to keep it from hurting.
Music sung by two people at the same time is called a duel.
I know what a sextet is but I’d rather not say. (thought it has something to do with sex?)
Probably the most marvelous fugue was the one between the Hatfields and McCoys.
My very best liked piece of music is the Bronze Lullaby.
My favorite composer is Opus.
A harp is a nude piano.
A tuba is much larger than its name.
A trumpet is an instrument when it is not an elephant sound.
When electric currents go through them, guitars start making sounds. So would anybody.
A bassoon looks like nothing I have ever heard.
Last month I found out how a clarinet works by taking it apart. I both found out and got in trouble.
Question: Is the saxophone a brass or a woodwind instrument? Answer: Yes.
The concertmaster of an orchestra is always the person who sits in the first chair of the first violins. This means that when a person is elected concertmaster, he has to hurry up and learn how to play a violin real good.
For some reason, they always put a treble clef in front of every line of flute music. You just watch.
Anyone who can read all the instrument notes at the same time gets to be the conductor.
The most dangerous part about playing cymbals is near the nose.
Musical instrument has a plural known as orchestra.
It is easy to teach anyone to play the maracas. Just grip the neck and shake him in rhythm.
Just about any animal skin can be stretched over a frame to make a pleasant sound once the animal is removed.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

FT UMNO Youth Chief epitomizes Ketuanan attitude

Transcript from Facebook:

Part 2: 
Mohd Razlan: (points at OKM) Pemimpin you cakap apa?

OKM: Apa khabar? (smiles)

Mohd Razlan: Pemimpin you cakap "celaka". Tau tak tau? You faham? (points at OKM's face)

OKM: "Saya tanya apa khabar" (smiles, nods).

Police: Relax, relax.

Mohd Razlan: I cakap dengan you. You tau apa ADUN you cakap dengan kita?

Police: Control, control.

Mohd Radzi: Saya nak tanya dengan you...

OKM: Saya kat sini

Mohd Razlan: Jangan untuk! Bila kita bercakap, you dengar! Bila I bercakap, you dengar. Okey! Pertamanya, pemimpin you cakap kita celaka. Faham tak faham?

OKM: "Saya ada baca"

Mohd Razlan: "You ada baca? Bukan you baca. You kena tahu. Sebagai you duduk dekat bangunan yang melahirkan pemimpin yang rasis. You kena tahu. Setiap kali you bergerak, you membina, mencipta pemimpin yang rasis. You pernah dengar Ahli Parlimen saya mencaci you punya pemimpin? Pernah dengar?

OKM: Saya dengar ahli parlimen...

Mohd Razlan: Siapa cakap?"

(turns to DAP HQ Staff) Dia cakap apa? Saya cakap dengan dia you diam. You faham tak I cakap you diam.

Mohd Radzi: Hari ini I cakap dengan you.

Man in white shirt: Dia cakap you dengar!

Mohd Radzi: ...saya datang sini bukan saja mau datang mau hantar memorandum, saya mau bagi peringat...

(turns to DAP HQ staff) Mohd Radzi shouts: You diam! Oi, you diam! (shouting continues)

Background voice: Yang lain..

Mohd Radzi (points to DAP HQ staff): Boleh diam!

(shouting continues)

*Mohd Razlan Muhamad Rafi is Federal Territory UMNO Youth Chief.


By-election in Teluk Intan: Will it be new or old politics?

Kee Thuan Chye in his article, Will Teluk Intan vote for the way forward?:

'Without considering the ethnicity of the candidate, whom would you rather have represent you in Parliament – an intelligent, energetic, winsome 27-year-old woman with a pristine political record and a dream of bringing about racial unity in Malaysia, or a politically experienced 53-year-old man who has won twice and lost twice over four general elections in the same constituency he is now contesting yet again, been a deputy minister for one term, and is president of Gerakan, a Barisan Nasional (BN) party that has fallen by the wayside?

Next question: Of the two candidates, the victory of which would send out a more positive, significant and healing message to the entire nation? Which would bode better for Malaysia’s future?

Next question: If you were voting in the upcoming Teluk Intan by-election, would you vote for change and the potential for politics that transcends race, or would you vote for the same old brand of politics which somehow ends up being race-based?

Would you vote for the DAP’s Dyana Sofea Mohd Daud or BN’s Mah Siew Keong?'

Rest of the article:

Friday, May 23, 2014

Much ado over the word 'celaka'?

My formal education in Bahasa Malaysia ended way back in 1967, so I shall leave the semantics of the language to a Malay gentleman, better known in Parliament as 'Raub', one of the few Malay DAP members of Parliament, ex-Umno ADUN of Pahang, better known as blogger, Sakmongkol AK47.

According to YB Dato Mohd Ariff Sabri,

'Celaka is a common term. The Melaka people use the word as a plaything. The Indonesian Malay uses the term to describe something unfortunate, bad, or in that sense.

The person who said it is a lawyer. He would be more than willing to defend himself in court if the matter is brought so. Shahidan Kassim, the hypocrite UMNO Malay pretending to be a good Muslim urged the AG to charge the adun for sedition. Then do so. Call in the Linguists to testify what the word means.'

Rest of his article in his blog:

The Insouciant PM is letting this country plunge into anarchy.


What does the word 'celaka' mean to a Penang Peranakan?

According to Bob Teoh:

'To me, a Penang Peranakan or Straits-born, the word is often uttered in our community seemingly without offence to anybody and none is usually intended. “Celaka!” is word that comes effortlessly out of the mouth in the midst of a conversation much like an exclamation. It's bazaar Malay to Penang Hokkiens, and even other Penangnites, a word like many others which have entered into our vocabulary.'

'So what does celaka mean to me? I have often heard this word uttered within family circles even in the presence of polite company when something unpleasant happened, something akin to bad luck, something accursed or plainly dammed like in “damn it”. Or simply as sial, another Malay word transliterated into colloquial Hokkein as swoey to mean more or less the same thing. It also depends on the manner it is said. For instance, when this word is shouted at someone, then the anger and hatred is unmistakable and it becomes immediately offensive and unforgiveable.'

'While my wife and I were living in Kalimantan where the trunk road through our little village is so bad we keep hearing our colleagues using the word “kecelakaan” only to realise later they meant “kemalangan” to mean accidents as we know it in Malaysia. Same word but different context.

While still on this word, the phrase “celaka besar” means calamity. The Oxford Dictionary defines this to mean “grievous disaster.”

Rest of his article:
Celaka, damn it!


Yammy to Dr M: My daughter is just like yours

TELUK INTAN, May 20 — Yammy Samat told Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today that her daughter Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud is very much like his own daughter Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, whose social activist work has put her on a collision course with her father on a number of issues.

Yammy, an Umno loyalist since she was 18, told Dr Mahathir that she had raised Dyana Sofya to be like his son Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, also an Umno man, but the strong-willed 26-year-old chose a different path for herself.

“I tried my very best to bring up Dyana to be like Mukhriz, but when she grew up, she turned out to be like Marina,” Yammy told The Malay Mail Online in an interview today.'

'Yammy, who was Umno Ipoh secretary back from 1976 to 1980, said the Malay party used to give young women opportunities, but when Umno Baru came along, such opportunities disappeared.

“They didn’t want young women to disturb Wanita, so they created Puteri,” said Yammy.

“Now, don’t even dream of a woman becoming Umno president,” the Umno member added.

Under the BN government, the Umno president is usually appointed as prime minister.

Yammy also said she lost her job as a clerk with Umno in 1987 after she sided with Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah during the Kelantan prince’s contest against Dr Mahathir for the Umno presidency, which Tengku Razaleigh had narrowly lost.

“They told me to work for Ku Li,” she said, using Tengku Razaleigh’s nickname.

Yammy then joined Semangat 46, the splinter party that Tengku Razaleigh had subsequently founded. Semangat 46 was dissolved in 1996 and its members then rejoined Umno.

“I was humiliated when they sacked me just because of Ku Li. That’s Umno for you. All the staff were sacked. You want my daughter to be like that?” said Yammy.'

Rest of article in The Malay Mail:
My daughter is just like yours, Dyana’s mum huffs in reply to Dr M

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Joshua Wu: The constitutionality of meritocracy

'Meritocracy can be defined as “an elite group of people whose progress is based on ability and talent rather than on class privilege or wealth” as well as “leadership by able and talented persons”. It basically means giving something to those who deserve it.

Some people have suggested that Malaysia should be operating on the system of meritocracy as it ensures that only those who are capable and deserving receive the benefit, job, etc. I agree it is a good system, but I want to analyse it from a legal viewpoint.

Is meritocracy unconstitutional? The answer is, it depends. Depends on what? It depends on what you want meritocracy to apply to.

Let’s say you suggest that meritocracy apply in terms of the awarding of scholarships and placements in universities. Article 153 talks about the reservation of quotas in respect of services, permits, etc for Malays and natives of any of the states of Sabah and Sarawak. Article 153(2) expressly mentions “scholarships, exhibitions and other similar educational or training privileges or special facilities given or accorded by the federal government”.

So yeah, if regarding ‘quotas and scholarships’, meritocracy would be unconstitutional.'

Rest of his letter to Malaysiakini:

While we are on the subject of meritocracy, we should also be aware that each of us is different from others and the method of evaluation may not necessarily produce the right candidates.

Meanwhile, who is having the last laugh?


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Haris Ibrahim's take on Dyana

'If this young lady means every word she says, if her words reflect her soul, then she might just be the best thing to come our way since Nurul.

“Equal opportunity to all deserving Malaysians does not mean that the Malays will be robbed. It means that more deserving Malaysians of all races, including many Malays, who do not support Umno, will have access to quality higher education. Umno has lost sight of our future and is more concerned with stoking ethnic sentiments in order to shore up its support base. A public institution, more so a public institution of higher learning should never be placed at the mercy of a political party. UiTM belongs to the people, not just Umno,” – Dyana, as reported by the Malaysianinsider.'

But as usual, such a 'revolutionary' idea will be resisted by those who support Umno's narrow objectives. It takes time for brave individuals to go against the flow.

She was called DAP's puppet or tool; a traitor to Malay race; her mother was threatened with expulsion from Umno; her face was digitally fixed on to a bikini-clad body; she was even shown 'standing next to Ibrahim Ali' in a group photo! Even if the photo had not been doctored, the malicious intent was clear in timing, as admitted by Ibrahim Ali himself.


'The mother of Teluk Intan DAP candidate Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud today responded to former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who had suggested that she had not done enough to impress on her daughter of Umno’s struggle for the country and the Malay race.

"I tried to raise her like Mukhriz, but she ended up like Marina. I give all my children the freedom to choose what is right and wrong. Dyana is old enough to think about this,” she told The Malaysian Insider today.'


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Bersih 2.0's statement to clear some people's misconception of their official role

From Chin-Huat Wong's page in Facebook:

Dear all who are concerned about the PKR elections and think ‪#‎BERSIH‬ 2.0 should look into them,

Thank you for your alerts. This is a good opportunity for BERSIH 2.0 to clarify and remind everyone what we are about, why, and how far still we have to go to attain our goals.

BERSIH 2.0 was set up to enhance democracy in the country by advocating for integrity in the process and system of electing the government and holding the ruling government to account for that.

Hence, our mandate is to the federal & state elections (local elections would count too, if they came back) wherein people's representatives are elected to public office via public funds.

With regard to the PKR elections, or any party and even NGO elections, it is an internal matter that must be addressed by the body's direct stakeholders - i.e. the members themselves.

BERSIH 2.0 is not an overseer for all manner of elections - only those that affect the general public in terms of representation in government. Our mission is to ensure that this dictum is met: *The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of the government.*

So, just as citizens - as 'members' of their country - have to hold their governments accountable, party members too must hold their leadership accountable.

As dismal as the conduct of the PKR elections was, the many wrongdoings were exposed by members and leaders - and the party leadership did not censor the complaints. Now the party will have to take remedial steps to regain the trust of not just members but even supporters, and spell out convincing measures to ensure the integrity of the party elections and results.

This is what the BN government should have done following the 13th general election last year, but did not. Till this day, the prime minister has ignored BERSIH 2.0's request for a dialogue on electoral reform. BERSIH 2.0 has had to organise a massive citizens' initiative to monitor the polls with KOMAS and MAFREL and even seek an international, independent panel's verdict via a historic People's Tribunal - all of which documented evidence that showed the people's will had been subverted. And what remedial actions has the BN government taken to address the dirty elections?

BERSIH 2.0 will stay focused on our mission and continue pressuring for electoral reform to ensure that the government in power is there solely at the behest of the people through clean and fair elections.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Debunked: 'Dog is man's best friend' (family's cat can take his place) and 'Dog worries the cat'? Not according to this video clip...


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Trengganu crisis? No problem at all if BN had its usual ways of solving problems

What started like a bombshell when the replaced MB announced that he and another ADUN had quit Umno and become Independents, fizzled out within hours.

The original tally of BN17 vs PR15 suddenly became BN15; PR15 and IND2. Soon, another Umno ADUN announced he too had quit Umno, and it became BN14; PR15 and IND3.

Well, like always, where there is a slim majority, a few ADUNs can be king-makers. Sure enough, for this emergency, PM could not continue his elegant silence like in other matters. Mr. Kautim, used his magic, and everything is back to normal, exactly like before! Just like a game, when it is over, start again. Simple as that!

Ex-MB said he apologised to PM and PM apologised to him for a certain misunderstanding which caused the rash action, and even the other two fellas also retracted their statements. We must take our hats off to our PM, Father of Kautim.

From a legal point, Mr Surewin, the Umno lawyer explained how the situation was different from Perak. But fortunately, there are different opinions too, and the following is just one of them...

From The Ant Daily:

Desperate Umno pulling a fast one to hold on to T'ganu? 


'Indeed it seems that the Umno-led Barisan Nasional is willing to bend the truth in its desperation to hold on to power in Terengganu.

Constitutional law expert Abdul Aziz Bari has pointed out two fallacies in BN’s argument that it was business as usual for the BN Terengganu government after three Umno assemblymen announced their resignations from the party.'

'First, he debunked claims that Terengganu’s appointed State Assembly Speaker, who is not an assemblyperson, counts as one seat for BN...'

'Secondly, he deflected the reasoning by Umno’s lawyers that any resignation is only complete once the physical letters of resignation reach the secretary-general or the secretariat office.

“It is really funny to see the MB claim that the guys were still Umno members. If that is the case then the Perak 2009 coup d’etat would not have taken place!” said Abdul Aziz...'


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Parents pay heavily for their 'kiasuism' in children's education

Looking back, as parents who had three children who were educated in national schools, we were lucky primary and secondary school education was cheap then.

Now, even my son, who has a 2-year old son, has to think of private or even international school, and we are unable to say, 'just let him go to any local national school like what you did before'. Why?

Being eldest, he started school in 1985, while our youngest daughter left school in 2003. In other words, that was a period of 18 years, stretching from 29 to 11 years ago. In terms of declining standards in school education, much water has flowed under the bridge.

The passing marks and qualifying marks for distinctions of SRP and SPM had been lowered to such an extent that they do not mean the same anymore. This is evident in those who scored distinction in say, English, but cannot string a sentence properly.

Then because of lower entry requirements for entry into tertiary institutions of learning and easier graduation, many graduates could not find suitable employment because of language deficiency, especially in English, which is very important in business and international trade, especially with online communication in real time.

Some people believe that the easing of quota for local students in international schools is actually an admission of failure in our national educational system. It is easier to let the parents decide (pay for it themselves) if they want quality education, because it would be almost impossible to lift the standard of education in schools for the whole of Malaysia!

From The Ant Daily: Skyrocketing price of education


'International schools in Malaysia have always been the domain of expatriates who want a certain standard of education for their children, and locals who want the same for their children have accepted that they have to pay through their noses for that opportunity. '

'Since 2006, such schools were allowed to take in locals not exceeding 40% of total enrolment. But in May 2012, the quota was removed and these schools can now take in as many locals as they can admit. '

'Tuition fees for a high school student at an international school this year ranges from RM6,000 (Kelantan International School) to RM98,839 (Mon’t Kiara International School) per annum.

There are also other payments, such as application, admission fees, in addition to refundable and non-refundable deposits and field trips, camps, equipment and extracurricular activities, which can add up from a few thousand to tens of thousands of ringgit.'

- See more at:

Monday, May 12, 2014

M2U, GIRO Interbank Transfer is no longer available?

Is it me or Maybank that I could not find its Giro Interbank Transfer in its M2U menu?

Last month, I tried successfully in using their Giro IBT for payments to UOB Card Centre and CIMB (auto finance) and my latest bank statements showed bank charges of only 10 sen for each transaction. Even then, I complained about the difficulty in looking for Giro (can't remember under what heading, where I had to find and click it from among 2 or 3 preset descriptions), which I believed to be bank's intention of leading customers to use the more expensive IBT instead of Giro.

Two days ago, I honestly could not find Giro IBT in M2U menu. The only one available was not the Giro one, but just Interbank Transfer, which costs Rm2 per transaction! You might think it is no big deal, but for a retiree, it is, especially when we compare with PM's big deal in having found a bargain chicken for only Rm1!

Incidentally, I registered for using IBT to pay CIMB for HP instalments in my trial use (to avoid having to request for TAC again) and realised that it was not under Giro IBT. Anyhow, I managed to pay using Giro IBT on a one-off basis. Then I managed to use it to pay UOB Card Centre and when asked, I registered it for future use.

Since I was new to using Giro IBT, I was wary of using it based on the two registered payees, in case I was charged Rm2 instead of only 10 sen, especially when I could not find Giro IBT again.

Unless I am proven wrong, I cannot help but conclude that the advertised 10 sen per transaction using Giro IBT is no longer available. Anything that is too good to be true to consumers means much reduced revenue to the banks, assuming Giro IBT in other banks face the same ending as Maybank.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Australian reconstruction of flight MH370 using a Boeing 777 simulator

Art Harun: Hudud and Its Wider Ramifications

Almost all of those who wish to implement hudud do not understand why non-Muslims do not want hudud to be implemented. Their usual question is:
"Why are you bothered? You are a non-Muslim. Hudud will not affect you."
In case of any Malay who is against the implementation of hudud, like me for example, the usual rhetoric is:
"Why are you against hudud? Are you Muslim? May Allah guide you." (this is a watered down and polite version. The impolite gibberish is a tired one and not worth repeating).
Okay. Let's just assume that hudud does not in any way affect non-Muslims.
What these people fail to understand is that the implementation of hudud is not about introducing a new set of criminal law and the administration of criminal justice per se.
It is, more importantly, about the changing of societal values, culture and the way we live our life.
We are all Malaysians. And for the past 57 years or so, we have lived under a Constitution and a set of laws that, though imperfect and leave rooms for arguments and subject to much disputations, we have all grown to be accustomed to.
When people commit theft, we know and we are used to the thought that they would be arrested and charged in Court and sentenced to imprisonment. And off they go. And now we have to get used to seeing thieves without hands walking on the street looking for a job.
When a woman is pregnant without being married, we are used to saying "well, that's her own private business." And now suddenly we have to get used to seeing her being stoned to death or howsoever "painlessly put to death" with or without the help of doctors.
Now we are used NOT to judge - well at least, I don't - my friend and wonder whether he is an apostate. And with the hudud law, we all have to get used to the idea of some authorities inquiring somebody on whether he had left Islam or not - some sort of a Spanish Inquisition in 2014, the only difference being now it is done by Muslims and on Muslims who are perceived to be not Muslim enough.
Laws are not just a machination for order. Laws at the end of the day shape a society, its culture, its outlook and its way of life.
The implementation of hudud will inevitably change this society of ours. It will change this country of ours.
Just look around us nowadays.
When the great Tun DrM decided to pull his Islamic card - in what he believed was a poker game with PAS - in the early 80s, little did he realise that he was creating a societal anomaly which would soon go out of control.
He should not have fought PAS at its own game using its own rules. How foolish was that? If we Malaysians had an opportunity to play a game with the Americans, surely we do not choose to play a game of American Football with them. We would be wise to play sepak takraw against them.
And so he chose to fight PAS by out-Islamising PAS. He created a Syariah Court with parallel jurisdiction as the Civil High Courts. Islamic institutions of this and that, as well as Islamic banking system (which, frankly, to my mind, isn't really Islamic at all) followed. Then we have the ubiquitous "halal" certificates, which initially was a very good initiative, but later went awry.
What followed was an education system, schools, colleges, universities, banking system, commercial and industrial activities which masked themselves as Islam in order to attract nothing more than a superficial (and commercial) connection with Muslims. The civil service became a hot-bed for Islamisation and reduced itself from a State consumer-customer service centres into an institution that is exclusive to Malay, Malayness, Muslim and Islamness.
What all these finally came to is one, namely, DIVISIVENESS.
And so now, in the year 2014, 57 years after our independence, this country's biggest debate (if we could call it a debate in the first place) is the Allah issue and now the hudud issue.
It is disheartening.
China's strengthening influence in the world, particularly in East Asia is getting felt every single day. Japan is waning away. The USofA is pushing the panic button. Cambodia, Vietnam and even Myanmar are fast rising as our competitors. Thailand and Indonesia have overtaken us. Elsewhere, a new wave of Arab "neo-nationalism" is taking shape. The world's eco-system is changing, perhaps permanently. The next economic melt-down is being predicted.
At home, our education system is producing what arguably are among the WORST students in the region (as international test results show). Our health care needs improvement. Housing prices are up and up creating superficial and wholly unsupportable price bubble. Our nation is full of old people while the youth are not properly educated and marketable in the job market. Public transportation is non-existent. Our eco-system is being raped by greedy capitalists on daily basis. The rise of monopolistic enterprises over basic necessities is unchecked. Budget deficits and accrued national debts have shot off the ceiling.
And yet all we do is we bicker about who is allowed to use the word Allah. We issue directives for hotels not to place Bibles in their rooms. We finance so-called NGOs who question what non-Muslims have contributed to our country. We also have some misguided souls who trained themselves in the art of warfare just so they can die as martyrs fighting a jihad against the Syiites in Syria. In Trengganu, we have the MB declaring that the Kenyir dam is only for women.
And of course, we waste our precious time, efforts, energy and resources over hudud.
I dare say that the implementation of hudud by Kelantan will finally change this country forever.
Why must our politicians play with our children's future and with our country's future?
What right do they have to force an entirely new culture and values - one to which we are all unaccustomed and do not wish to be part of - on me and on many non-consenting others?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Dr Azly Rahman: Why Muslims, too, are rejecting the hudud

' I wrote these sentences on my Facebook status page this week:


seriously speaking... i have a few questions:
you kidnap innocent girls and sell them, in the name of religion
you shoot girls in the face - those who only wish to go to schools
you rape women and put them on trial for immodest behaviour
you spew hatred towards people of other faiths and race
you ask those who disagree with you to leave the country
you do all these - in the name of protecting religion?
and now you wish to implement the hudud and force us to agree or you wage war against us?
what cult do you actually belong to? – ar

Malaysia is undergoing a rupture out of this growing complex debate on the Sharia law and the hudud. The Muslims are deeply divided on this issue, depending on how each understands the religion, judgments of who is more Muslim than others aside.

All Muslims are not created equal these days; each one is a complex construction of the history, culture, and politics of Islam. Even of the metaphysics of Islam. Most importantly education and socialisation are the twin pillars of this idea of ‘to have or not to have hudud’ or ‘to what extent must the Sharia law govern the lives of Muslims’...


Eric Paulsen: 20 questions you’re too afraid to ask about hudud


'As you may have heard, PAS in all its wisdom has decided that now is the right time to push for hudud law in Kelantan, never mind the fact that Kelantan remains one of the most socially and economically disadvantaged states in Malaysia.

Hudud is part of the Islamic criminal law that provides for the harshest punishment imaginable and Kelantan’s version includes stoning to death (with stones of medium size, no less), death followed by crucifixion, amputation of limbs and whipping.

Needless to say, such punishments are out of place in this day and age or in any modern and democratic society as they constitute torture, cruel and inhumane punishment.'

'Leaving aside whether the conditions are right under Islamic jurisprudence for hudud to be implemented, whether it would be constitutional or desirable in a country like ours, other Malaysians have questioned how fair, just and practical it would be for hudud to be plunked down in Kelantan while the rest of the country or non-Muslims are supposed to remain unaffected.

We have therefore compiled 20 most sought after questions for PAS - in no particular order of importance of course - and we do hope PAS will oblige us with proper answers rather than invoking God's name which usually ends all further discussion.'

Rest of article in The Malaysian Insider:

As a non-Muslim, I am not well informed on Hudud for several reasons. I am sure there are many like me who had been told in no uncertain terms, that as non-Muslims, we cannot comment on Islamic matters, not even allowed to greet like Muslims nor use certain words, especially Allah. Life is already complicated, so most of us would have been minding our own business.

For many years since independence, Malaysians had no problem co-existing with fellow Malaysians who are Muslims. But it is getting increasingly difficult, with more vocal hate groups telling non-Malays and non-Muslims to get out of the country if we don't like it, calling us names like 'pendatang' and even 'trespassers' or 'intruders'. In other words, making us feel unwelcome in our own country. To add salt to injury, we have a PM who is known for his 'elegant silence' in the face of trouble-making, lending credence to our belief that those vocal hate groups are either sponsored by his party or at least with their acquiescence.

One moment, we are told that Hudud will not involve non-Muslims, then another moment, we are told that it would include us. But whether or not it will include us, there is no escaping the likely scenario of us being caught in the implementation of Hudud.

Just look at the increasing Islamisation in national schools and we can expect to be affected, perhaps ten times more, if hudud becomes law in the country.

Yeo Bee Yin: Four suggestions to Khairy on Selangor water crisis

No, I don't have a fifth one. Just her four suggestions are good enough rebuttal to Khairy's cheap shots at claiming credit for BN.

'It was interesting to see Youth and Sports Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin is so eager to claim political credit for the Barisan Nasional over the water crisis in Selangor especially in justifying massive hikes in water tariffs for privatised non-performing concessionaires.

Moving forward, if Khairy is really sincere about solving Selangor water problems, instead of getting into endless rebuttals to lay blame on Selangor government, I have four practical suggestions for him as a cabinet member.'

Rest of her article in The Malaysian Insider:

Friday, May 09, 2014

Speak up, oh silent majority!

Did you know that the term, 'silent majority'  had been used in the 19th century, as an euphemism for the dead? I didn't, until I looked up Wikipedia, and according to their definition,

'The silent majority is an unspecified large majority of people in a country or group who do not express their opinions publicly. The term was popularized (though not first used) by U.S. President Richard Nixon in a November 3, 1969, speech in which he said, "And so tonight—to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans—I ask for your support."  In this usage it referred to those Americans who did not join in the large demonstrations against the Vietnam War at the time, who did not join in the counterculture, and who did not participate in public discourse. Nixon along with many others saw this group of Middle Americans as being overshadowed in the media by the more vocal minority.'

Elsewhere these are common quotes:

'The only way to be heard is to actually speak up.' Nobody would know what you think unless you speak up.

'Speak up, because the day you don't speak up for the things that matter to you is the day your freedom truly ends.'

According to Sakmongkol AK47. in his latest post, Dig in and fight:

'There is an opinion that in the face of growing racial polarisation, the Chinese- the rich ones and the highly educated, the tax payers should leave this country. This is a defeatist attitude. The ones promoting racial bigotry are those in UMNO and pro UMNO groups who want to justify the oppressive policies they adopt because they are necessary to counter the legitimate competition from other races. If the proponents of leave Malaysia subscribe to the trafficking of that intoxicating quick fix pedaled by UMNO and the racial bigots, what about the rest of the Chinese?

You do that, that is exactly what the UMNO right-wingers and brown-shirts want you to do.'

Rest of his post:

More recent events in Malaysia have seen the more vocal minorities - leaders of Isma and Perkasa, making hateful statements, while our PM maintain his usual elegant silence, unbecoming of a leader who made 1Malaysia his signature theme before GE13. Please let us know where you stand so that we know what to do next.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Dr Kua, I hope you will agree there is a big difference between nepotism in the opposition and that in the ruling party

With due respect to Dr Kua, I think there is a big difference between nepotism in opposition and that in the ruling party, especially in Malaysia. Former opposition leaders had struggled against all kinds of obstacles and it is only now that we can see some fruits of their labour. Being detained and even jailed for fighting against injustice was common even till today, so carrying on the struggle of their fathers is not a bed of roses. Contrast this with nepotism in the ruling party where the families could enrich themselves with impunity.

 The people should be grateful if an opposition leader has children who are willing and passionate about continuing the family tradition of defending justice. He should not be denied the chance to compete with others. What if he happens to be the best known among them? Do we reject him for democracy's sake? We should also think of the chances of winning at the by-election too.

I am referring to Dr Kua's letter to Malaysiakini, For Karpal's sake, no nepotism please...

I wish to add that the late Karpal Singh might have wished for another son or daughter to take up the fight in the defence of justice, and not as presumed by Dr. Kua. Only if the related person has got what it takes will he or she be elected as people's representative or last till the next election and then get to be re-elected. There are many chances for the public to show their approval or otherwise. Furthermore, it is not too late to discourage nepotism if and when the opposition becomes the ruling coalition, when the appointments to positions of power will be scrutinised by the general public.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Tony Pua: Khairy’s attempt to paint the federal gov't a saint a joke


'Only BN politicians, who were responsible for signing a completely lopsided privatisation agreement benefiting its cronies will care less about the plight of the people suffering from unjust price hikes.  We are not talking about a 5% hike every three years.  We are talking about an agreement which allows SYABAS to raise rates by a whopping 37% in 2009, 25% in 2012 and 15% in 2015.

With the monopolistic state-backed opportunity to raise rates like there, there was clearly little incentive for the company to be interested in coping with non-revenue water which was the highest in the country.'

'Worse, a national audit report on SYABAS which the Federal Government refused to declassify - found damning evidence of abuse of expenditure on luxury cars, excessive non-water related expenses, as well as breach of the private concession agreement through millions of ringgit worth of directly negotiated tenders and undocumented expenses.'

'The Selangor Government did the most logical thing by offering in 2009 to acquire all the water concessionaires on terms in accordance with the privatisation agreements.  However these concessionaires were not satisfied with the compensation which gave them a minimum 12% return on capital as specified in the contract, and demanded instead for compensation for the loss of future profits.  If we agree to pay for the loss of future profits, which was not required in the concession agreements, then we might as well not bother with the takeover exercise at all!

Khairy is mischievous to forget the fact that the BN Federal Government went out of its way to back these water concessionaires against the Selangor, which led to an impasse of the takeover exercise. In 2011, when these water concessionaires were unable to repay their loans amounting to RM6.5 billion, the Selangor Government had offered to take over these companies and their debts.  Instead, the Federal Government decided to bail out these concessionaires by paying for the RM6.5 billion debt. With the concessionaire relieved of their immediate debt obligations, these water concessionaires did the only logical thing to maximise profits – that is to stall on the takeover exercise and demand a king’s ransom.'

Rest of his article:

Marlborough Malaysia is not the same as Marlborough UK

Besides quality education, some parents hope their children will get to know children of super rich parents or even princes or princesses, when they study in exclusive private schools or colleges overseas. What we know as private schools are referred to as public schools in Britain and students acquire an upper class accent in the process too.

'Marlborough is an international boarding school owned by an elite private school with the same name in the UK, which boasts alumni such as the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton and poet Siegfried Sassoon.'

But will you find someone like Prince William in Marlborough College Malaysia?

We cannot even attract some local well-heeled children...

'A fortnight ago, five relatively well-off families drove from KL to explore the possibility of registering their children for Foundation courses at EduCity in Nusajaya.

All backed out after only a day in Johor Baru. Reason – serious concerns about the quality of the student experience at the still relatively isolated, no-frills facility in this city.

There is a glaring negative perception about Johor, and changing that perception will take time and hard work. But at the rate EduCity is moving, this sad state of affairs may never change.

There are also serious bureaucratic interferences, like the universities being disallowed to put up billboards or even hoardings around their campus to advertise academic programmes.'

More from The Sun:

EduCity losing its stellar touch

Our local parents are so kiasu that for those who can afford, their children would enrol in international schools in Malaysia. Just the other day, someone told us that even at Primary 1, students are learning how to spell words like 'ridiculous' and 'archaeology'! 'Ridiculous!' said another senior citizen friend of the grandfather. But in Britain, they are more likely to use 'ludicrous' instead.

Nury Vittachi: Being politically incorrect

'DON’T you think that everyone who is forced to listen to sermons should be supplied with a button that says: “Skip to end and agree”, like on websites?

I know that’s a politically-incorrect thing to say, but it is becoming increasingly hard to be politically correct these days.

Consider this true story.

A teacher took out a lawsuit recently complaining that her school bosses sacked her because of her disability.

How mean! Or at least that’s what I thought until I read that her official disability was “fear of children”.

It seems this is an actual disease now, and not just any intelligent person’s reaction to being swarmed by sticky irrational creatures which emit astonishing amounts of biochemical acids from both ends.'

'One TV host in New Zealand was recently criticised for being non-politically correct after he said on air that reasoning with toddlers was “like trying to explain bad behaviour to drunken rugby hoons [louts] with the language skills of chimpanzees”.

I was shocked. How could he get away with insulting chimpanzees like that?

Personally, I never use pepper spray when my children get out of control. I keep totally calm and we come to a compromise.

I compromise by giving them what they want and they compromise by shutting up. This is known as “good parenting”.

Meanwhile, I am seriously considering getting myself diagnosed with fear of children as an official disability so that the government will be forced to relieve me of the stress of parenting.

I’ll have a miraculous recovery from this disability as soon as the children have graduated from university.

Sound like a plan?'

More where that came from:

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

A real prince, second in line to British throne, flying economy!

'The economy class prince: William takes cheap seats for journey home from American wedding and is praised as 'humble/awesome' by fellow passenger
Prince William took American Airlines flight from Memphis to Dallas
He was returning from family friend Guy Pelly's wedding
Sat by the window and ordered water during the short domestic flight
The cost of the trip itself is being met privately by the prince'

Read more: 

I think for a prince, that's real classy behaviour! Unlike some who need trappings to boost ego.

Niklas: Why I won't work for Google

Most people qualified in IT would grab an opportunity to work for Google. But here is an exception...

The Offer:

Hi Niklas,
Patrick here from Google.
I looked over your Github and LinkedIn profiles, and personal site (having found the panic_bcast project), and was keen to get in touch regarding a number of Engineering positions here at Google.
Your Open Source contributions and projects, Systems/Networking experience and development background looked relevant to what some of the engineers here are doing, but I wanted to touch base with you first to understand a bit more about your work.
If your schedule permits it, would you be open to a conversation next week?
The positions I had wanted to share with you are part of a mission-critical team that combines software development, networking and systems engineering expertise to build and run large scale, massively distributed, fault-tolerant software systems and infrastructure.
Thanks for your time and have a good weekend.
Best regards,

The Rejection:

Hi Patrick,
Thank you for reaching out to me and complimenting me on the panic_bcast project, it is always flattering being recognized by entities greater than oneself.
Before properly answering your question I would like to give you some background about myself and my relation to Google.
As a kid growing up Google would always be the most interesting employee one working in the technical industry could possibly imagine. Google would flex very playfully in line with its “Don’t do evil” agenda. I grew up as a very ideologically and principle driven individual, but foremost I was curios by nature. As a kid interested in information security and computers in general I quickly began exploring code by breaking it and systems by breaking into them driven by the force that information wanted to be free.
My father found out quickly and we had a long chat about life’s importance. He told me not to be wreckless because the future would consist of tyranny and powerless people. He told me that in the future the world’s power structures would depend much on what I would today categorize as cypherpunks and hackers.
I feel that the future that my father explained to me as a kid is today’s present. Google says “Don’t do evil” on one hand, but on another hand Google also reads the contents of its users’ emails and tracks their behavior on the Internet – two things which I would characterise as directly evil. Google reads the emails that my mother is writing and tracking what my friends are buying. For advertisement purposes, Google says, and we only discovered the true consequences later when Edward Snowden blew the whistle.
It turned out that Google had been helping American and European intelligence agencies illegally wiretap their own citizens. “We tried to fight back, we tried not to be evil!”, Google responds, but we never saw Google shut down its service in protest like Lavabit. We never saw Google fight back for the best of its users, which consists of a great majority of the world’s population. We saw Google justify its data inspection by saying that it was great for advertisement models.
We learned that Google is in fact doing very evil things to the majority of the world’s population. We learned that Google tends to sport the two edged sword. We learned that Google’s “open source as much as possible” policy only applies as long as they don’t disrupt existing flows of cash.
We witnessed Google sending cease and desist letters to the developers and maintainers of the popular Android CyanogenMod for violating some patents by modifying open source elements of an open source licensed project.
We learned that Google’s friendliness is a marketing scheme. We learned that Google is not what we thought it would be, that it is not fighting for what’s best for humanity but for what’s best for its own dollar.
I am different from Google in this sense. My principles are not compatible with those that Google is displaying and has displayed throughout history.
Due to my principles I would much rather delete all data Google has collected about its users which consists of myself, my family, my friends, my co-workers and everybody that they know that connects to and uses popular services on the public Internet. I would not be able to sleep at night knowing that I worked for a company which was directly threatening and targeting the people that I love.
I would never be able to develop the tyrannical tools required to keep the Google wheels spinning. I am on the opposite side of the spectra. The project which you acknowledged, panic_bcast, I wrote to make it harder for law enforcement officers to gather evidence on political activists through cold boot attacks. Other projects I am mainly involved in because I believe in a free unregulated stream of information on the public Internet.
I am one of those lucky individuals who can afford to work only on projects which I choose, and I choose to only involve myself in projects that I believe contribute something positive to the planet’s population. Google is not very high on that list, therefor I must respectfully decline your job offer.
“Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail.” – Henry L. Stimson
I wish you good luck on your quest to find the right candidate.


Sunday, May 04, 2014

PM travelling by train and not finding a seat? Only in UK...

Unless for the cameras and for public relations reason, we can never see our PM doing this...

This man got on at Westminster and came past me and said: "Is it your baby?" "I said 'yes', and he said: "Your baby is really beautiful."

I thanked him for saying that and he moved away but stood near me. I asked my husband: "Who is this man complimenting my baby?" "When he told me it was the Prime Minister I told him to stop joking with me.

"But my husband insisted so I went up to Mr Cameron and I said: "Excuse me, are you the Prime Minister?"

He said "yes" and I started laughing. Then I apologised for having to ask him the question."

"He told me he had a very busy schedule and it was quicker for him to travel by train than go by road," she added.

Cameron, who was accompanied by a bodyguard as he travelled on the Jubilee line, responded by striking up a conversation about her home country.

He told her that he had used the train in Delhi, visited Mumbai and once received a signed cricket ball from Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar.

In the Daily Mail...

Gandhi's wit

When Gandhiji was studying law at the University College of London, there was a professor, whose last name was Peters, who felt animosity for Gandhiji, and because Gandhi never lowered his head towards him, their "arguments" were very common.

One day, Mr. Peters was having lunch at the dining room of the University and Gandhiji came along with his tray and sat next to the professor. The professor, in his arrogance, said, "Mr Gandhi: you do not understand... a pig and a bird do not sit together to eat ", to which Gandhiji replies, "You do not worry professor, I'll fly away ", and he went and sat at another table.

Mr. Peters, green of rage, decides to take revenge on the next test, but Gandhiji responds brilliantly to all questions. Then, Mr. Peters asked him the following question, "Mr Gandhi, if you are walking down the street and find a package, and within it there is a bag of wisdom and another bag with a lot of money; which one will you take?"

Without hesitating, Gandhiji responded, "the one with the money, of course".
Mr. Peters, smiling, said, "I, in your place, would have taken the wisdom.
"Each one takes what one doesn't have", responded Gandhiji indifferently.

Mr. Peters, already hysteric, writes on the exam sheet the word "idiot" and gives it to Gandhiji. Gandhiji takes the exam sheet and sits down. A few minutes later, Gandhiji goes to the professor and says, "Mr. Peters, you signed the sheet, but you did not give me the grade."

How we wish we have that kind of wisdom and wit to deal with some critics. As a blogger and fairly active in commenting in other websites, I had been ridiculed with a simple 'Fuck you' (even a kid can say that); or on my acronym, 'Kosong' that I have nothing in my brain (obviously they never heard of nor appreciate self-deprecating humour); and those bigots who would not open their minds to different opinions. 

In Malaysia, it is particularly difficult to comment without fear of being charged under Sedition Act, OSA or even ISA. The laws are in place and it is only up to those in charge to select a provision to charge anyone with it. If the laws are discriminatory and unfair, based on race or religion, how are we to criticise without mentioning it? The late Karpal Singh was charged with sedition merely for mentioning something provided in the law, and despite being disabled, prosecution even asked for custodial sentence! Anwar was charged and jailed under Sodomy 1, yet he was charged again under Sodomy 2, unprecedented under a law which had never been used on someone else before. His acquittal in the High Court was appealed by prosecution and he was found guilty by Court of Appeal, on dubious grounds, much to the surprise of lawyers all over the world.


Saturday, May 03, 2014

Most damning report against MB Khalid Ibrahim

It all started from his Rm66 million bank loan problem? If this anonymous (unless Mailbag is the name of someone!) report is true, then it spells the end of his political career in PKR. But with the impending party elections in which he is vying for Deputy President post, this could just be one of the usual poison letters by supporters of his rivals.

On a lighter note, I cannot help being reminded of his first time as PKR candidate in a by-election in Ijok. At the end of his campaign speech (he is not known to be a good orator), he actually said, 'Undi Barisan Nasional'! Well, he lost in that election, not necessarily because of that unforgivable mistake.

Excerpt from Does PR Know? Khalid's fishy deals with Umno lawyer, Najib adviser & tycoon Danny Tan Malaysia Chronicle

'Selangor MB Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim must have been feeling as if the walls were closing in on him. His luck had run out. The MB’s abrasive style, aloofness and unwillingness to listen to anyone but himself had alienated all his allies but for a few sycophants. Talk was rife that his number was up, and the tripartite Pakatan Rakyat was ganging up to oust him.

He had managed to buy time with his cynical decision to hand out huge pay rises to state assemblymen, but even this goodwill quickly dissipated and he has of late drawn a lot of heat regarding his mishandling of recent issues:

> Doing a secretive deal with the BN Government on Langat 2 water after years of fighting to delay the project
> Favouring the UMNO-linked Puncak group in the water companies buyout after years of accusing them of greed, mismanagement and default
> Giving state approval for the controversial KIDEX tollway project
> Weak handling of the confiscated Bibles issue
> Giving a sweetheart deal to Danny Tan’s Tropicana (formerly Dijaya) Corp.'

Full article: 
Follow us: @MsiaChronicle on Twitter

Ex-Court of Appeal judge: I would rank Karpal the best lawyer in the country

'Speaking at a memorial service for Karpal in Petaling Jaya, Datuk Mahadev Shankar remembered how the fiery lawyer was popular with the judges, all of whom held him in high esteem.

“After I became a judge, I had the opportunity to watch Karpal in action, and I found that he was the best lawyer who ever appeared before me.

“I would rank him the best lawyer in the country,” Mahadev told some 100 people at the memorial organised by Karpal’s former schoolmates from SMK La Salle and St. Xavier’s Institution.'

'“He never wasted the court’s time. When he came into court, he went straight for the jugular, without mincing his words.

“More often than not, I agreed with him. Other times, I did not, and I judged against him.

“But this was the opinion of all the judges that time: we put him as number one. When we heard he was coming to court that day, we immediately got a lift,” said the former judge.

Mahadev described every moment of Karpal in court as memorable, stressing that it was impossible to choose one example to illustrate the late veteran lawyer’s prowess.'

'Mahadev said the last time he presided over a case in which Karpal appeared was at the VK Lingam inquiry, where Karpal made a “very forceful submission” to have one of the judges recused.

“Again, it was one of his best moments, although at the time he was in a wheelchair.

“However, when he starts talking, you don’t see the chair; you see a force coming out from that personality with all its logic and common sense and eloquence,” he said.

Mahadev added that he counted himself lucky for not ever having to face Karpal in court as a lawyer.

Recalling the impression Karpal made in the courts after graduating from university, Mahadev said: “In 1969 or 1970, when Karpal had just got out of university, I was regarded as a hotshot lawyer among my peers.

“One day a friend called me and said: ‘You’d better come to court and listen to Karpal, because I think he is much better than you’,” chuckled Mahadev.'

Friday, May 02, 2014

A bit on car parking charges and people's reluctance to pay

Parking charges can be an important factor for most people, rich or poor, judging by the marque of cars seen double-parked, or parked in places very obviously to avoid paying them.

Supermarkets wise to such consumers' preference, like Tesco or Aeon, would try their best to provide free parking spaces (usually in smaller towns) or charge nominal fees to attract shoppers. Some shoppers get free parking for limited hour(s) if they bought a certain minimum sum.

In smaller towns like Batu Gajah, where there are parking spaces provided which incur charges by way of coupons, motorists would avoid them wherever possible, even though it costs only 30 sen per half hour! For those who parked without displaying coupon, they are fined at least Rm10. But still, regular motorists (especially shopkeepers or stall operators) are likely to play cat and mouse with the enforcement officers.  Some officers who know them allow them chance to display after their arrival.
But the point is that though the amount is small (compared with those charges in KL or PJ), it is amazing how people can afford expensive cars but are unwilling to pay parking charges. In Klang valley, most motorists would consider themselves lucky to find a proper parking space (almost like striking a lottery) and more than willing to pay the charges. It is a case of when we are forced to, we would be willing to pay, especially when we are in the company of friends. Surely, we do not want to appear calculative over small amount when we are prepared to treat them proper meals.

While the alternative of paying expensive parking rates in KL or PJ is to call a taxi or use the LRT/Monorail/Kommuter, how we wish it is as simple as comparing the amounts to be spent on train or taxi fares and using own car and paying parking charges. A friend who spent a couple of days in his daughter's house in Putra Heights, found to his dismay, the difficulty in calling for a taxi when he was in Paradigm Mall, off LDP. When found one, it costed him almost Rm30 to get home! There was no alternative public transport for the route. I suppose when the LRT station in Putra Heights is ready, it would be most welcome.

Anyway, Joshua Ong had done a wonderful survey and comparison on expensive parking charges in central KL...

Tony Pua's open letter to President Obama


'It is only through the continued political efforts of the African-American civil rights movements in the 1950s and 1960s, culminating in the Civil Rights Act (1964), which outlawed discrimination, based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

It ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, in workplaces and by facilities that served the general public.

Four decades later, the world witnessed the inauguration of the first African-American president of the United States.

We were inspired, and we celebrated because in Malaysia, we face very similar challenges, challenges which we are still struggling to overcome.'

'We hope, Mr President, you will carry on the legacy of one of the world’s best loved civil rights activist, Dr Martin Luther King, who believed in non-violent civil disobedience.

You have rightly honoured his achievements in your speech celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dr King’s famous speech in November last year.  You told us:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

"…We rightly and best remember Dr King's soaring oratory that day, how he gave mighty voice to the quiet hopes of millions, how he offered a salvation path for oppressed and oppressors alike. His words belong to the ages, possessing a power and prophecy unmatched in our time.

"…and because they kept marching, America changed. Because they marched, the civil rights law was passed. Because they marched, the voting rights law was signed. Because they marched, doors of opportunity and education swung open so their daughters and sons could finally imagine a life for themselves beyond washing somebody else's laundry or shining somebody else's shoes. Because they marched, city councils changed and state legislatures changed and Congress changed and, yes, eventually the White House changed.  Because they marched, America became more free and more fair…"

We Malaysians hope that you, Mr President will share your dreams with Malaysians and the rest of the world, just as Dr King did so with Americans, in that “soaring oratory”, where he said:

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.' I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today."

Mr President, Malaysians have a dream too, and we hope, from the bottom of our hearts, you will share our dreams.'

Rest of his letter:


Thursday, May 01, 2014

Chang Ta Kwok: Keep public land for public use

I would certainly support this particular suggestion of his:

'...any excess land cannot be converted to other use should be returned to the party that had surrendered the land in the first place. This would discourage utility companies from demanding excessive land. If the excess land had to be reverted to the original landowner, there is no avenue for any politically-linked party to apply for such land either. To me this is fair play and would automatically stop abuse.'

Excerpt of his letter to The Sun:

'I REFER to "The challenge of integrity" (Citizen Nades, April 23) and the response from Lum Weng Keong.

I am a small developer who has been in the industry for a long time. In the 1970s, developers had to surrender about 40% of their land for public and utility usage. By the 1990s, developers would have been lucky if they had to surrender less than 60% .

This hike in percentage is one major reason, among many others, that cause property prices to rise.

The underlying problem about surrendering land is that it leads to increasing demand for bigger plots and more land by the approving authorities and utility companies. Why? Because it is free.

The game is for utility companies to demand free land in excess of their needs so that they may then either sell or go into JV (joint ventures) to develop such land. The politically connected then jump onto this gravy-train and apply for land surrendered for public use, from open space, school land, suraus, kindergartens, land for food courts, river reserves, fire stations and police stations.'

Rest of his letter: