Sunday, April 30, 2006

Save Bukit Gasing?

You might easily miss this piece of news published in The New Sunday Times today (Nation, p28).

The inconspicuous 4cm x 9cm item was culled from Bernama:-

>Federal Territory
"Some green lungs must go"

KUALA LUMPUR: Federal Territories Minister Datuk Zulhasnan Rafique said some green areas in the city would have to be sacrificed to meet housing and educational needs. Development had to be carried out in the Bukit Gasing area because it was located in an urban area.

"We also have to build low and medium-low cost houses, schools and community centres. We only gazetted 54 percent of the hill as a green area," he said yesterday.

The Government, he added, was striving to create more green areas in Bukit Kiara and Putrajaya.


Is this an ominous warning or what?

First it was Bukit Cerakah, coming up next is Bukit Gasing. Looks like our Bukits are prime commodities just waiting for the next person to lay his itchy hands on.

And as recent as on the 26th April, the NST had reported in this article that the Klang Valley hills will remain green.

Now, which is which, dear Minister?


Friday, April 28, 2006

Malaysians - one happy family (but only on 31 Aug)

It's only 125 days more to go before we celebrate our national day - Hari Merdeka ke 49.

And you know what?

Our Information Minister, Datuk Zainuddin Maidin confirmed that "Malaysians were still thinking a lot along racial lines, unlike the audience in the UK or Europe."

He also felt that the thinking of Malaysians has yet to reach the level of maturity of the people in the West and Europe, saying "It is a long way to go, it is not time yet. We have to democratise them first, then only will they not think in terms of race."

Are we now looking West?

Oh yes ... looking East was associated with Dr M, and well, we all know that he is no longer the taiko, so chuck out the look East policy along with the bridge, the car, the motorbike, ... and everything else associated with the X-man.

Yes, indeed. It is officially confirmed in the Dewan Rakyat now that all those pictures of happy multi-racial united faces splashed on the frontpages of newspapers every 31 August is a farce.

Zam may not think the average Malaysians very clever, but I beg to differ. At least I have talked about this stupid attempt by our local papers to outdo each other in the photo ops contest every 31st August in my first blog posting about our media trying to portray a lovey dovey image to the world.

It seems like Malaysians only celebrate unity in diversity once a year.

For the rest of the time, even our Members of Parliament don't bother to hide the fact they are unapologetic racists. Even our Cabinet Ministers are not ashamed to brandish their racist image for the whole world to see. Even our national policies smacked of racism.

Not time yet, Zam?

Do you think come 2020, we will be ready to join the Westerners/Europeans?

Maybe, maybe not. It depends on who is the PM in 2020, and where he wants to look for inspiration to formulate his policies. East or West? Or North, up in the trees?

Your guess is as good as mine.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

"Gatal & Garu" - the new Fatah senario

Gatal - A Malay word which, according to the dictionary, can mean (1) itchy, (2) lustful, or (3) promiscuous.

Gatal-gatal - A Malay word which may mean being keen, or eager, or itching, to do something (terlalu ingin hendak membuat sesuatu).

Gatal mulut - Refers to someone who likes to talk nonsense (cakap yang bukan-bukan), or to nag (berleter) or to gossip (suka mengumpat).

Gatal tangan - Refers to someone who cannot resist putting his finger into another one's pie, or who cannot keep his hands to himself (suka membuat sesuatu yang bukan-bukan).

Normally, when you feel "gatal", you will have an urge to "garu".

Garu - A Malay word which means to scratch, or to scrape the skin.


Abdul Fatah Harun, an opposition MP from PAS, made a sweeping statement in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday saying that divorcees were "gatal" and this was the main reason for the large number of failed marriages.

"We must analyse whether the problems resulting in divorces were caused by men or women," he said. "Divorcees are easily spotted at functions through their ‘gatal’ behaviour.

"It is as if they have no regrets over their divorce. Widows do not behave in such a flirtatious manner. They are sad and quiet."

"I've seen these single mothers when I attend gatherings or parties. They didn't look like they were sad about getting divorced. Instead, they seemed to be gatal."

For details of news reports on this controversy, you have a choice to read The NST, The Star, The Sun, Berita Harian or Utusan Malaysia here.


Someone is obviously itching to be scratched in the August house.

I wonder if all the combined claws of the female MPs managed to ease his discomfort. Or is he just "gatal" for some publicity? Any kind of publicity is always better than no publicity for a desperate politician, isn't it?

I don't want to sound bitchy here but I have a curious question on the issue of divorcees being perceived by some men (or even women) to be "gatal" or "promiscuous".

Take the example of Minister E, who divorced his wife F and married another divorcee T.

Now, both F and T are divorcees, although one is now a current and the other now a former.

Does it merit the argument to say that T was "gatal" because she was a divorcee before she met and married Minister E, effectively dumping F on the sidewalk because Minister E prefer to "garu" her, being young and nubile compared to F?

Is F justified in calling T "gatal" (if she so wished) because T knew that Minister E was married and yet must've been itching to lay her hands on him.

Does it also mean that F, who is now a divorcee not by choice but by circumstance, finds herself suddenly very "gatal" because, well, she must be, going by Fatah's logic.

And what does that make Minister E? He must have been inflicted by a bad case of "gatal tangan" because obviously he could not resist relieving T's perasaan "gatal" when they are together.

I'm itching for some answers to this Fatah senario.

And if you are offended by this posting, please excuse me. It's not my fault. I was inflicted with the "gatal mulut" syndrome after reading the papers this morning.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Do you like middle eastern cuisine?

This post will interest those who are from Selangor and enjoy good food.

There's a new Saudi Arabian restaurant in Seri Petaling called AL DIAFAH. It's located opposite the Seri Petaling Hotel and believe me, it IS TRUE that they offer 6-star services at 3-star prices.

I had lunch there last week and I was pretty impressed the moment I stepped out of the lift to the first floor restaurant.

The ambience, the decor, the dark-suited waiters - I felt as if I had stepped into some fine dining restaurant. The service was impeccable, the host/owner 20-year-old Miss Safa Saleh, was most gracious and welcoming.

We tried the Al Diafah Lamb Rice, the Al Diafah Grilled Chicken (which has a lovely tandoori-like taste), the kebabs, the mixed-grill and a vegetable and lamb caserole dish that came with the special Al Diafah bread. We had a complimentary plate of salad comprising sticks of pickled cucumber, carrot, tomatoes and fresh salad leaves. And yeah, complimentary dates (kurma) and a small glass of their house coffee as well.

After a most satisfying meal, the bill amounted to only RM128.00 (inclusive of 10% service charge and 5% service tax) for our group of 7! How's that for good value?

This latest restaurant is part of a chain of six Al Diafah restaurants in Saudi Arabia owned by Safa's family who has been in this business for the last 15 years.

So, if you are game to try some authentic middle eastern cuisine, you might like to check this out. I will most certainly come back again for more.

And in case you are wondering, I don't know the owner personally. I just happened upon an article in the New Sunday Times earlier this month talking about this restaurant. And since I am always on the look-out for good food, I decided to drop by and well, I'm happy to say I was not disappointed.

The Al Diafah's telephone number is 03-90596237 in case you are interested. And they also have a kurma boutique on the ground floor selling premium dates year-round.


Gum offence

For a moment there, I thought this happened in Singapore.

Officer arrested for chewing gum at ceremony.

Oops ... sorry for jumping into such an easy conclusion. But I'm sure many Singaporeans won't fault us for this genuine mistake. After all, chewing gum IS banned in Singapore, right?

Actually, this happened in Turkey! Here's an excerpt of the amusing tale:-

ANKARA (Reuters) - An official in Turkey's ruling party has been arrested for chewing gum while laying a wreath at a monument to the country's revered founder Kemal Ataturk.

Veysel Dalci, head of the local branch of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the Black Sea town of Fatsa, was charged with insulting Ataturk's memory during Sunday's ceremony marking Turkey's National Sovereignty Day.

Dalci, a 38-year-old pharmacist and father of two, (was quoted) as saying he chewed gum to hide the smell of garlic which he had eaten the previous evening.

"After laying a wreath at the monument, I noticed I had gum in my mouth. I am very sorry," CNN Turk quoted him as saying.

Anatolian said Dalci was arrested after a local army garrison commander complained to state prosecutors. It was not immediately clear what kind of penalty Dalci would face.

Showing disrespect to Ataturk, the soldier-statesman who founded the modern Turkish Republic on the ashes of the old Ottoman Empire in 1923, is a crime in the European Union candidate nation. Ataturk died in 1938.


Does this strange incident qualify for Ripley's Believe it or not?

Mr Veysel Dalci obviously would not find this as amusing as I did. Would he be thrown in jail for his mistake? I also wonder what's the punishment like for possession of chewing gum in Singapore. Gotta be very careful these days. You don't know what might hit you until it has hit you alright.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

One more dead in JB, did you notice, Pak Lah?

This is so sad.

The Star, Monday 24 April 2006

JOHOR BARU: A healthcare product sales representative, who was the victim of a snatch theft, died at the Hospital Sultanah Aminah here.

Chang Ser Ling, 24, died at around 1pm on Saturday. She had fallen after her handbag was snatched by a group of 10 motorcyclists at Taman Suria here on Thursday.

Johor CID chief Senior Asst Comm II Datuk Abdul Rahim Jaafar said the incident occurred at 6.30pm when Chang and a friend were walking to a nearby bus station to board a bus home to their rented house in Jalan Maju here.

Chang, who hit her stomach against a bump on the road when she fell, had first sought treatment from a nearby clinic.

However, on Friday, she was sent to the hospital for surgery.

“On Friday, at around 5pm, she underwent surgery, but died on Saturday at around 1pm.

“We will have to wait for post-mortem results to determine the cause of death,” said SAC (II) Abdul Rahim when contacted, adding that police have yet to classify the case because it is believed the victim had leukaemia.


Is this not another reason to urgently implement the SAFE CITY programme nationwide?

If the state can send a group of 55 people from the police, Immigration, JB City Council, Johor Religious Department, and RELA to flush out a self-styled Black Metal group in Tampoi last week, I don't see any reason why the same kind of zeal cannot be displayed to flush out petty and dangerous criminals like snatch thieves and armed robbers.

Pak Lah, in an interview with Johan Jaafar on national TV, said:-

"He implored the people to change with the times, to discard old baggage and to shift our paradigms. The issue about a first-class mentality and First World values is not “cakap kosong” (empty talk). We have to work to achieve that. We have the strength, the capabilities and the infrastructure, and we can do it. To him, failure is not an option."

PAK LAH - this is a personal appeal.

Can you spearhead this matter and make it your personal agenda to ensure every citizen in this country will be free from such a vile threat to their lives?

I know it is unrealistic to expect that this latest victim to die at the hands of a snatch thief in JB will be the last. It will happen again, if not in JB, then most certainly in some other township in Malaysia. But surely we can make such incidents an exception rather than the norm?

And if no one takes a BOLD step to stop these killers from doing further harm to innocent civilians, then our lives are not worth the few ringgit these thieves are after.

There must be a way to reduce these heinous incidences. We look to YOU, being our LEADER, to find a way. Because only YOU can direct the state governments and the police force to be serious about this matter.

We cannot treat such deaths as mere "mati katak." It is a downright shameful and disgraceful display of apathy by our law enforcers and our ruling government.

If I am so lucky as to get this message through to you, I want to thank you for your attention. And I pray that you will do something positive about it.


Recent links to this subject matter:-

JB gets Bukit Aman attention, Selangor next? (Sunday, 23 Apr)
Maverick's support for Safe City call (Sunday, 23 Apr)
Residents living in fear (The Star, 22 Apr)
Actress and film producer victim of snatch theft (The Star, 22 Apr)
Safe City Concept - anyone interested? (Friday, 21 Apr)
This one just freaks me out (Thursday, 20 Apr)
Can something be done about Johor's crime rate? (Wednesday, Apr 12)
We are not so safe anymore (Thursday, Jan 19)
Living in Denial (Blogger Yee Pei, Jan 7)


A poem by Ella W. Wilcox

For those who enjoy beautiful prose, I shall be sharing some lovely poems with you beginning with this one by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.


Do you wish the world were better?

Let me tell you what to do.

Set a watch upon your actions,
Keep them always straight and true.
Rid your mind of selfish motives,
Let your thoughts be clean and high.
You can make a little Eden
Of the sphere you occupy.

Do you wish the world were wise?

Well, suppose you make a start,
By accumulating wisdom
In the scrapbook of your heart;
Do not waste one page on folly;
Live to learn,
and learn to live.

If you want to give men knowledge
You must get it, ere you give.

Do you wish the world were happy?

Then remember day by day
Just to scatter seeds of kindness
As you pass along the way.

For the pleasures of the many
May be ofttimes traced to one,
As the hand that plants an acorn
Shelters armies from the sun.


I wish you a lovely day today.


A less than exciting read

I have not read a book which so engrossed me that I could stay up late into the night since The Da Vinci Code last year.

I'm not too bothered with the hype surrounding the controversial book, because I enjoyed it simply as a good piece of fiction. It was really very well written from the point of view of someone who just want to be entertained by an intelligent and suspenseful plotline.

Thus, I was attracted to the cover of the book, The Rule of Four, while at the Borders bookstore last weekend, over at The Curve.

Some of the reviews fascinated me:-

"If you loved THE DA VINCI CODE ... dive into this" by People Magazine on the front page cover.

"This year's biggest publishing sensation" by Guardian on the first page.

"One part The Da Vinci Code, one part The Name of The Rose ... A blazingly good yarn" by San Francisco Chronicle on the back cover.
"The Da Vinci Code for people with brains" by Independent on the back cover.

Maybe it was all those references to The Da Vinci Code that got to me.

I have spent the past three days going through the pages of this book by Ian Caldwell & Dustin Thomason.

My verdict?

It's most definitely not in the same league as THAT BOOK.

In fact, I find it a drag in some parts. Since the Independent suggested that this book is for "people with brains", I concede that maybe I fall under the category of people without brains.

Certainly it was a brainless decision for me to fork out RM35.90 on the basis of some fantastic reviews only to find it fall far below my expectations.

I think OUSTED entertained me more, even though that one wasn't even supposed to be a work of fiction.

Anyone out there who is curious to read The Rule of Four - don't go and waste your money. You can borrow it from me instead. And I'll probably won't miss it.


Monday, April 24, 2006

Woof ...

One night Mulla Nasruddin's wife was feeling hungry, so she went in search of a midnight snack. But she couldn't find anything to eat, just a dog biscuit. So tentatively she tasted it, found it good, so she ate it. And she liked it so much that in the morning, she told Nasruddin to get a big supply.

Nasruddin went and purchased a lot of dog biscuits. The local grocer said, "What are you doing? ... because I know your dog is very small, you don't need such a large supply."

Nasruddin replied, "It is not for the dog. It is for my wife."

The grocer said, "I must remind you that those biscuits are strictly for dogs, and if your wife eats them she will die - they are poisonous."

And after six months, the wife died.

One day, Nasruddin admitted to the grocer, "My wife is dead."

The grocer said, "I told you before that those biscuits would kill your wife."

Nasruddin said, "Those biscuits didn't kill her; it was chasing behind the cars that killed her, not the biscuits!"

Sunday, April 23, 2006

JB gets Bukit Aman attention, Selangor next?

I woke up this morning to a wet wet Sunday.

The clouds broke, pelting everything with huge drops of rain. It didn't last long though. The drenching stopped an hour later, saving me the task of watering the garden.

And I also woke up to a small piece of welcoming news in The Star here. After all the emotional ranting of the past week, you will understand why it makes my heart glad just to hear that something is being done to address the problem of escalating crime in Johor.

JOHOR BARU: Bukit Aman is placing a lot of emphasis on Johor and particularly this city, which accounts for about 70% of the crimes recorded in the state, said Deputy Internal Security Minister Fu Ah Kiow.

The Johor police, he said, faced a shortage of manpower and facilities.

“They are trying their best to bring the crime rate down, but are held back by these problems.

“The average ratio of a policeman to residents in the country is 1:411 but in Johor, it is 1:568.

(From right) Fu talking with Johor police chief SAC Datuk Amir Sulaiman and CID chief SAC Datuk Abdul Rahim Jaafar in Johor Baru on Saturday.
“The number does not include the floating population or people who move in and out of the state.

“If we take these into account, the ratio could be as high as 1:800,” he told reporters after visiting the state police headquarters here yesterday.

“As such, the police are deploying personnel from low crime rate areas to those with a high rate to counter staff shortage.”

Fu said the police had received approval for recruiting another 24,000 personnel into the force nationwide but so far, only 10,000 were recruited due to limited training capacity.

He said Johor had received an additional 170 patrol vehicles.

“We cannot keep adding vehicles if there is no one to man them,” he said, when asked how many more patrol cars would be made available to the police here.

He added that two new police district headquarters would also be built to replace the current ones.

On another matter, Fu said many people who claimed that the police did not act on their reports could have misunderstood matters.

“After lodging police reports, it is hard for the people to get feedback on the action taken by the police. They think the police are not doing anything about it,” he said.

Fu said some of the cases reported were civil cases, and did not fall under the purview of the police.

“In future, people who lodge such reports will be advised to file civil suits,” he said.


At last, someone important wants to talk about this problem. I commend The STAR for highlighting the deep concerns of almost every peace loving citizen of this country.

The level of success the police can ultimately achieve in lowering the crime rate in JB will speak volumes about the commitment given to tackling this issue. Sometimes, good intentions and lofty words do not translate very well into actions. And I don't mean to be cynical or too critical of our police force and politicians. I just hope they will prove me wrong.

The STAR also reported yesterday that rape cases in the country went up by almost 10% in 2005 compared to the year before and crime overall grew from 156,455 in 2004 to 157,499 last year. I wonder what the statistics looked like comparing the 2005 figures with those in 1985.

The state with the most reported crime was SELANGOR, which accounted for more than 28% of the cases nationwide.

“Internal security, especially crime, is the most hotly debated topic now and tackling it is so important because reducing crime is a prerequisite to ensuring the growth and development of a country,” said Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Fu Ah Kiow.

Is this too good to be true?

Please don't let these noble words end up as another case of "hangat hangat tahi ayam".

Surely we all deserve to live peacefully in a relatively crime-free environment amidst all the first class infrastructure that we have built over the years.

Will more people and more public media take up the challenge to push for the SAFE CITY concept nationwide?

I certainly hope so.

Let's all do it, for us, our loved ones, our fellow Malaysians, our guests, for the love of this country and the economic prosperity that comes with it.

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

My sexy sporting heroes

It's the World Cup season.

Being the only girl in my family, I grew up in a household where the living room was literally run-over with boys during World Cup season. My brothers and my dad enjoyed watching football for different reasons. And I too was drawn to it and other boys' stuff by close association.

I remember watching them debate about the finer points of the game and the players' prowess in a very noisy atmosphere within the tiny confines of a small living room in a small apartment.

Shirtless bodies will be sprawled all over every available inch of space, plates of kacang and glasses of ice-cold drinks in hand and more often than not, the smell of freshly fried noodles wafting in the air, served up by dad during intermission for the hungry boys. You can tell why those boys like to congregate at our house, cramped as it is, but always welcoming.

These days, my life could not have been more different. But that's another story.

Anyway, I guess growing up in such a household kind of shaped me into the kind of person I am now. I find it infinitely easier to talk to guys. On the other hand, I could never understand why some girls can go on and on about stuff like handbags, hairstyles, fashion, lipsticks and such. I mean, I like handbags and make-up, and shopping etc ... but to talk about these things for hours?? I just don't get it.

Coming back to the topic, I realize that guys have very different criteria for who they look up to as their heroes in the sporting world. They tend to be "technical".

I have my own criteria for who I enjoy watching and keeping up with in the backpages of the daily paper.

First of all, they gotta look GOOD. Sexy even. And the way they play their game, it just spells "First Class".

Like my favourite sports hero, the World No. 1 Tennis Player, Roger Federer aka FedEx. He is good and he is sexy. And I like the way he moves. Sends chills down my spine every time.

And also Kimi Raikonen, the McLaren F1 driver. He's so cool, so fast. He's my "Ice Man" alright.

Like Tiger Woods. He's a cut above the rest. Very disciplined. Too good in his game for the rest on the field. And he swings sexy too.

All these guys have got the looks to go with their talent. Awesome. So much "drool factor".

But I also have another sporting hero who does not seem to fit in to the above criteria. It puzzles me as much as other people. I wonder why I like to watch him play. Maybe it's the way he moves. Maybe it's the way he makes me laugh.

Yeah - he's the one. The "pneumatic drill". The toothy Ronaldinho. He's my unlikely sporting hero. He pumps up the game like no other.

I guess each of us have our idiosyncracies.

I can't wait for the games to begin.


Friday, April 21, 2006

Thank you for listening and sharing

"Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward, and we want to sit in their radius. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand."

- Karl Menninger

We all need a place to vent our emotions, a place to talk, or rather to dump our cluttered baggage.

When we don't have this, we live in our own heads too much and things become out of proportion. We start to lose our perspective.

It is so important to have a place where we can express our thoughts and feelings, and release what we have been holding inside, for reasons which cannot be easily explained or understood.

When we are given this space, it frees us to be more open and to be able to spread our wings and test new heights. It opens up a different world for us, a place where others get a glimpse of who we are in the way we sometimes think of ourselves and what makes us tick, not necessarily more real than how others perceive us in the flesh.

It's like a peep show into our secret inner world, kept hidden due to various insecurities and fallacies, hence the need to assume a moniker. Yeah, and all you guys out there are voyeurs ... (haha!)

Strange as it sounds, it has been a source of joy and comfort to be able to share this journey of discovery with strangers and new-found friends who connect with me on different levels.

And I deeply appreciate all those who have bothered to communicate with me here. As well as allow me to share my thoughts and opinions in their blogs. And agree to disagree on some stuff.

I have been able, in a way, to say and do certain things here that I couldn't possibly do in person (for various reasons, shyness & lack of confidence being two of them). And it feels good to get to shout out loud here. REAL good!

I hope it didn't grate you. My being too serious about certain things. Yeah, I know. Sometimes my passion gets the better of me. It can be welcoming in some aspects (like love... according to SP) but it can and does annoy when I constantly harp on stuff that not everyone shares the same passion for. Gotta keep a tight lid on THAT one, the annoying one lah!

I want to change the focus of this blog somewhat. Add more fluff. How does one write bimbo stuff, short of posting cheesy photos of myself here? I'm curious. Will think about this.

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Safe City Concept - Anyone Interested?

I want to raise the issue of reviving the SAFE CITY Concept that was mooted some 2 years back.

Anyone out there interested? Anyone out there CARES?

What about our newspapers?

The NST, The STAR, The SUN? Berita Harian, Utusan Melayu? Nanyang Siang Pau, Sin Chew Jit Poh, Oriental Daily? Tamil Nesan?

What about our politicians?

Pak Lah? Ong Ka Ting? Samy Vellu? Lim Kit Siang? Heck ... Badruddin Amiruldin? Nazri Aziz? Shahrir Abdul Samad (you're from Johor right)? Bung Mokhtar Radin? Zaid Ibrahim?

IGP?? Minister for Tourism?

Hey - celebrity bloggers! Want to highlight this threat to life & limbs of people going about their normal business everyday? You get thousands of visitors to your blog - maybe, just maybe, someone will wake up to the danger of ignoring this issue of public safety and sweeping it under the carpet, while worrying about other things like the escalating oil price, interest rates, contracts, etc.

Anyone? Please ....? No? Why the silence?

No one is interested in wiping out these street criminals and killers? This is too tough a task to clean up, is it?

Oh, okay ...

I'll just crawl back into bed and hide under my blanket. My head is spinning - I need a break to readjust my expectations and priorities of being a citizen of this country. Maybe more money will solve my problems.


Thursday, April 20, 2006

This one just freaks me out

I came across this blog posting by accident.

And even though this had happened in December last year, still the impact of seeing the photograph of the poor guy just freaks me out.

An excerpt from the blog posting:-

Rosdee got robbed at a petrol station in JB (Johor Bahru), not far from customs, while topping up petrol for his bike. An innocent-looking Malay guy approached him for help, needed Rosdee to help him onto the roof to retrieve his bike keys. So Rosdee followed him to a corner, pointed to a roof and asked if it was the correct one. The moment Rosdee looked down, the guy took out a parang (Rosdee said it was more of a sword than a parang, because the tip was long enough to touch the ground). Rosdee was told to hand over all his valuables, but Rosdee said he had none. He wasn't intending to put up a struggle or anything.

The guy slashed his head three times. According to Rosdee, there was no pain at all, it felt like "being hit by a baseball bat" and "getting punched repeatedly". The guy ran and Rosdee stumbled over to his bike and waiting girlfriend, before collapsing. He was rushed to the nearby hospital where they stitched him up while he was in an unconscious state. That was 4pm. He was brought over to Singapore around 10pm yesterday night. Meanwhile, his bike got stolen, WITH the keys STILL at the petrol station, how fuckin-incredible the Johor people are.


This poor guy ended up with 5 stitches on the forehead, and 14 top to back and a slight crack on his skull.

By now, more than 4 months later after the horrifying incident, I believe the scars have healed but I don't think the emotional scar from this unwarranted attack will ever leave him or his girlfriend.

I wasn't aware of this when I blogged about the worrying crime rate in Johor Bahru here. And because that posting got highlighted in Global Voices Online, and subsequently, another blogger in Singapore linked my entry in her blog together with this one about Rosdee, that I got wind of it now.

Now, don't you agree that the Johor state government should take a more concerted effort in pushing for the SAFE CITY concept in Johor Bahru?

And what about on the Federal level? Can SOMEONE be serious about this issue of making our streets, homes and people safe? Or at the very least, safer than the level that we are seeing now?

Our authorities are doing a great job flushing out pirated VCD vendors and producers. And the same also goes for pirated software users in a nationwide crackdown under the "Ops Tulen" operation.

But what about petty and serious crime in our neighbourhood? In major cities, where we are seriously trying to lure tourists to visit and spend their precious money to boost the local economy?

Can the same zeal be shown in wiping out these robbers and thieves from attacking innocent people and breaking into our homes and steal our valuables, dignity, peace of mind and wrecking havoc to our sense of security?

We need to ensure that visitors to our country are treated with the best we have to offer in terms of our local culture, food and great shopping MINUS the possibility of being mugged and harmed by these scums of society.

Please, DO SOMETHING, for goodness sake!

Don't be so blind to this deteriorating situation. How many lives must be lost to rapists, robbers and snatch thieves before it warrant the serious attention of our leaders?

How did it happen that these scumbags are getting more in numbers and more daring in their deeds nowadays?

Someone must come up with a solution to protect us, and guests to this country, from further falling victim to them. Look, when people get hacked and women get robbed and assaulted at public places like petrol pump stations, something has gone very very wrong in this country.

And I just don't understand the fact that not ONE single Member of Parliament is making a concerted effort to address this issue.

And they waste their time talking about dumb stuff like how women should mind the way they dress to avoid being raped.


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Frontpage face-off over bridge of discontent

The Yes-N0-Maybe bridge of dream or nightmare, depending of where you stand on this issue, has finally brought out into the open the underlying current of discontent between our ex-Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the present leader Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, fondly known as Pak Lah in Malaysia.

The stark contrast between these two leaders from the same political party UMNO is played out in the leading English dailies today.

The SUN carried Dr M's photograph in its frontpage today headlined "I will continue to speak out".

PUTRAJAYA: Former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said he will continue to give his views and opinions on issues that affected the country although he was only a private citizen now.

Asked if he was going back on his assurance not to interfere on retirement, Mahathir replied: "They think because I gave the assurance I will not interfere after I retire, therefore they can do anything they like?"

He said he may have given that assurance, but he would speak up if he thinks things are not done right as in the case of the decision not to proceed with the bridge project to Singapore.

On whether it would have been appropriate for him to give his views and opinions only if he had remained as a senior minister, Mahathir said he never wanted such a position.

"I just want to be an ordinary citizen and give my views as an ordinary citizen. It is up to the government to think whatever they want about what I have to say. You can't say I can't voice my opinion."

Mahathir added that people should not be suppressed of information, news and their right to voice their views, including his proposal about the referendum on the bridge to replace the causeway.

Over at The STAR, there's no frontpage photograph of Pak Lah but the headline in BOLD says: "9MP my answer" and "Abdullah: I am walking the talk".

KUCHING: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his Barisan Nasional Government are determined to ensure the success of the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP) as this will be the best way to answer the critics.

The Prime Minister described this as his way of “walking the talk.”

He said many had asked him to “walk the talk” after the strong mandate given to the Barisan in the last general election.

"People have been saying all kinds of things against the Government. Some said we had no sense of direction and were not clear of what to do for the future. All sorts of questions were raised over the effectiveness of the Government. "

“Let me say it very clearly – the 9MP is the answer to the many criticisms against me and the Government,” he said during a state Barisan dinner held at the chief minister’s residence here yesterday.

And what about The NST? Today's frontpage headlines read: "9 years and RM200m later... Abdullah peeved over delayed prisons project".

KUCHING, SARAWAK: He was there to inspect a prisons project that was well behind schedule. Moments later, he emerged from the site, peeved at what he had seen.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi now wants the Anti-Corruption Agency to get to the bottom of the matter.

After nine years, the project is barely half-complete. It was not built to specifications, and now requires more money.

NST's decision to focus on Pak Lah's visit to Kuching and talk about his unhappiness over the failed prison project is interesting and, very telling.

But I'm still glad Dr M was not "Zam-ed" at the NST because although he was not prominently featured in its frontpage, he was still given the space to air his views in the Local News section today:-

Scenic Bridge Saga: Troubled waters over bridge
By Farrah Naz Karim

PUTRAJAYA: Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad launched another blistering attack on the Government following its decision to scrap the building of a new bridge to replace the Causeway.

Dr Mahathir had mooted the bridge idea in 1996. However, the Cabinet unanimously decided last week to call it off, after Singapore, whose consent is required for the Causeway to be dismantled, had asked for one billion cubic metres of sand over 20 years and the use of Johor airspace for its military aircraft as a condition for building the bridge.

Dr Mahathir has several times expressed his unhappiness over the Cabinet decision although the public reaction, including that of Members of Parliament sitting in the current session, has been supportive of the Cabinet.

Yesterday, he asked the media not to suppress his comments and said he would continue to air his views.

Dr Mahathir also claimed that some newspapers had received phone calls asking them "not to print this and that. Where is the Press freedom? I know the reporters are also unhappy because what they report is not published.

"Broadcast what I have to say. What I say is not even accurately published in the Press," said Dr Mahathir, who was also Home Minister for nearly 15 years during his tenure as Prime Minister.

"During my time, (Anwar Ibrahim) demonstrations were reported. We never rang up the Press to tell them not to report. We do not ring up the Press."

Dr Mahathir, who retired in October 2003 saying he would not interfere with the running of the Government under the new administration, was asked whether he was going back on his word by repeatedly attacking the Government’s decisions.

He said: "They think just because I gave that assurance, therefore they can do what they like. I may give that assurance, but if somebody wants to sell Malaysia to other people ... because selling sand is tantamount to selling land to other people as the sand will be used fo reclamation.

"We made a mistake of giving Singapore to the British. You want to give some more?"

(The Cabinet scrapped the decision to build the bridge because it did not want to supply sand to Singapore or allow its use of Johor airspace.)

Dr Mahathir said he would continue to give his opinion as "I never thought in my lifetime that this country would surrender its sovereignty to anybody. We fought very hard for independence, not these people, of course ... we try to restore Malaysia’s honour. It took a long time to restore maruah bangsa. Today, people respect us. But if we do this and surrender to Singapore, then you lose your honour."

Dr Mahathir maintained there was "no legal reason for us not to (go ahead with the bridge)".

"The reason we cannot talk with Singapore is because they want to link everything to everything. One thing cannot be resolved, everything cannot be resolved, that is how they do things."

Dr Mahathir claimed that in a letter written to him by former Singapore prime minister Goh Chok Tong, "he said if we wanted to build bridge on our side, he would respect it even if it was not ideal to him. No conditions imposed".

Dr Mahathir, who himself did not brook much opposition when he was prime minister, cautioned the present administration that "if you don’t listen to other opinions, you will go wrong. If you only listen to your supporters, they will not say anything and you will get the wrong idea".

"Please remember what happened to Tunku for not listening to the people. The most recent example would be Thaksin. They did not listen to the people and they got into trouble. Suppress people’s opinion and you may get away with the idea that you are right but you will find out one day that you are wrong," he said.

Dr Mahathir was a strong critic of Tunku Abdul Rahman, the country’s first Prime Minister. However, shortly after he became Prime Minister, in a highly publicised event, Dr Mahathir kissed the Tunku’s hand and sought his forgiveness.

(Thaksin Shinawatra stepped down as Prime Minister earlier this month following street protests in Bangkok. He remains popular among Thailand’s majority rural population who have continued to support him. Thaksin’s party, Thai Rak Thai, won freshly held elections in Thailand this month — boycotted by the opposition — and remains in power.)

Asked whether he wanted to be a senior minister like Goh Chok Tong since he was continuously giving his opinions, Dr Mahathir said: "I am not going to be some senior minister or minister mentor. I am an ordinary citizen and as an ordinary citizen, I will voice my opinion.

"It is up to the Government to accept my views or not. It does not matter to me."


And I thought that with a decisive "NO" by Pak Lah on the issue of the contentious bridge, the subject matter would have been settled once and for all.

How wrong. Do you suppose that it is possible even Pak Lah did not figure he would receive such a ferocious response from his ex-Boss?

Much as I respect Dr M's right to his opinions and yes, he should not be censored by anyone who thinks his views are not palatable to the general public or the current party leader, in the end, it probably won't help this country at all to waste its energy on something which is going to eat up so much of our limited resources. Well, at least not at this time, anyway.

And Pak Lah has done well for himself throughout the public debate on this controversial matter. He has shown remarkable restraint and gentlemanly behaviour in the face of such a public attack by Dr M.

I don't know how long this saga is going to drag on, but it looks like Dr M is not about to let it go down quietly without a fight. Obviously, from what he has been saying in public, Dr M felt more than a little hurt by the scrapping of this bridge project. This coming hot on the heels of the MV Augusta sale AND the Proton debacle. Whether he is taking it too personally or whatever, the fact remains that he felt terribly wronged. And it is just not in his character to keep quiet about it.

So, what can Pak Lah and his spin-doctors do to cut short this damaging debate?

Maybe, by introducing a more interesting subject for the public and the newspapers to talk about?

Like what?

Hmm ... like giving the green light for the IPCMC?

That will, perhaps, kill two birds with one stone for Pak Lah and the BN government that has come under a whole lot of ridicule from the public for talking more than doing in the past 2 years.

Yeah - be a hero to the rakyat. After all, Pak Lah has already said that he always listens and takes note of the rakyat's demands. I believe the rakyat has demanded for the setting up of the IPCMC loud and clear.

Why not do it now?


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Food for Thought

We must never be blinded by the futile philosophy that we are just the hapless victims of our inheritance, of our life experience and of our surroundings - that these are the sole forces that make our decisions for us.

This is not the road to freedom. We have to believe that we can really choose.

- Bill Wilson

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Reassuring words, but the proof is still in the eating

Pak Lah vowed that "No Malaysian will be left out" in a report carried by The Star today at page N4.

As long as I breathe and am entrusted with the mandate by Malaysians to lead the country, I pledge to you that I will strive to ensure Malaysians will live happily and enjoy the peace, harmony and success of the nation,” he told a high tea gathering in conjunction with the 307th Vaisakhi celebration here yesterday.

Powerful words indeed. I'm sure it made a whole lot of people feeling happy and reassured for putting the all-too-precious "X" mark on the ballot paper in support of Pak Lah during the last General Election in 2004.

And it does not take a genius or rocket science to figure that if Pak Lah continues to spew such awe-inspiring rhetorics and occasionally dish out fair goodies to everyone (and even popular public demands like the IPCMC and ombudsman), he might even do better than 92% in the next election. That's how much we all love Pak Lah, the underdog.

On top of that, we also love the way he warned senior government officers with powers to approve and implement projects against acting like "little Napoleons" and causing delays in 9th Malaysia Plan programmes.

"No need to show how powerful you are by delaying (approval) and holding on to the file. We do not want little Napoleons to show their power and delay things," he said, adding that there was always a small group that caused problems for everyone. "We do not want a few to cause so many problems for so many people."

I imagine Citizen Nades, columnist for The SUN must be pleased to hear that Pak Lah has declared such officers as "unwanted people". Citizen Nades has shouted himself hoarse trying to bring these people to justice for abusing the system. Pak Lah could learn more about such stuff if he were to invite Nades for a chat at his office.

But I am not too convinced by the statement from the Chief Secretary Tan Sri Samsudin Osman that Abdullah's message was merely a warning and that the misuse of power by senior government officers was not rampant, although complaints from the public on rude officers had been received from time to time.

Who are you trying to kid, Samsudin? Protecting "little Napoleons" shows that you are just one BIG chief Napoleon. You are certainly giving a wrong message to these saboteurs.

Maybe Pak Lah should put this guy on the list of "unwanted people" as well.

Over at the NST, the report has a slightly different spin:-

"As long as I am given the responsibility to lead, no single race in the country will be left out of nation’s development plan." That was the pledge Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi repeated yesterday. He said everyone would enjoy the fruits of development.

... He said he wanted every citizen to feel good about the development plan and everyone should be proud when Vision 2020 was achieved. Therefore, he urged the people to be with him in preparing the nation to realise developed status earlier.

... Abdullah said although all the races had their respective festivities, the interaction among them was good and amicable. "We are moderate in everything, including religious practices and cultures. There are no extremes in any race. There is no situation where one race doesn’t like another. This is a uniqueness that we have and we should preserve it."

Now, I don't know how to agree with Pak Lah that "we are moderate in ... religious practices and cultures" especially so when he backed the "tudung" issue among policewomen. You definitely can't say you are a moderate when you forced non-Muslims to don the tudung on the pretext of uniformity. No way.

There you go.

It is how an issue gets reported that sets the mind thinking. The more you read, the more confused you get from different spins put on one single topic.

There's so much to learn on the art of writing for the masses.

Update: Thanks to a blog entry by MageP's Lab, I came by this article written by Philip Bowring published in the International Herald Tribune on 13 April 2006. An excerpt from the subject matter titled Malaysian Malaise might interest you to read the article in full:-

"The Asian headlines have been about the political turmoil in Thailand. But perhaps at least as important and disquieting for Southeast Asia has been the fine print of the news from Malaysia. A flow of small news items cumulatively casts doubt on Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi's ability to advance ethnic harmony, a competitive economy and a modern, inclusivist Islam."


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Thought for the Day (3)

The truth, which is indestructible, has a way of accumulating against pride and arrogance, and then sweeping them from its path.

- Mark Helprin, The Wall Street Journal

A gentler Dr M in his twilight years

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is a man full of contradictions. But as he said so himself, it is all politics. And politics are inherently dirty, no?

Regardless of what his admirers and detractors think or say about this man, I still find it pleasantly surprising that for all his well-known stubborn streak and huge ego, he has somehow summoned up the courage to admit some of his mistakes and acknowledge certain truths about this country which he had, while in power, strenously kept a tight lid on during his 22 years of draconian rule.

Is he mellowing in his twilight years?

Whatever his reasons for these recent displays of humility and compassion, I must admit that I respect his ability to speak his mind and his heart on matters which surely must have weighed in heavily upon his shoulders all through those years. I am referring in particular to his sentimental and remorseful re-cap of the bitter feud between him and our first prime minister and Bapa Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman.

It has taken him all these years to acknowledge the Tunku's contributions to this blessed nation.

But as they say, better late than never. And for this, I'll say Dr M has finally shown a side of him that most of us thought we'd never see in his larger than life personality.


PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia continues to enjoy political stability and sustainability as the majority of its people realise the importance of the need to share and be prepared to make sacrifices. They also reject extremism.

These were some of the key success factors in developing the country, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday.

He said being a multi-racial and multi-cultured nation, Malaysia has all the ingredients for instability.

"Our cultures and languages are different and we are poles apart. But somehow or rather, the Government has managed this very well, resulting in continued stability and development," he said in a speech at the fourth Perdana Discourse Series held at Perdana Leadership Foundation, of which he is the honorary president.

The principle of power-sharing enabled Malaysia to remain politically stable, with leaders sensitive enough to know its importance.

"If you think this (country) is the Malays’ land and we should not be sharing it with the others, the country cannot grow," Dr Mahathir said.

In order to remain stable, power-sharing must continue while extremism must be rejected.

"By and large, this is the feeling of the majority of Malaysians. Malaysians are moderate people and they are not keen to destabilise the nation, but extremists like Ayah Pin or Azahari Husin (the Malaysian shot dead for bombings in Indonesia) must be watched.

"They must not be allowed to influence the people as they can cause disunity and chaos.

"You need to have strong hands to stop people from becoming violent and you must put a stop to extremism."

Dr Mahathir said Malaysia’s first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman was instrumental in promoting party coalition and spelling out the ideas of wealth and power-sharing.

"Coalition is indeed a better formula than a single party. We owe all this to Tunku.

"Nowadays, when I look at the letters where I wrote all the nasty things about Tunku... how could I be so rude to the old man? But that is politics."

Asked on the formation of the Inter-faith Commission, Dr Mahathir said: "I think it is good to enable people to discuss religious matters in a rational way. There is no way religions can be made identical. Inter-faith is very important.

"If you have strong faith, it will not change your religion. There is nothing to fear, but we must have rational people and not emotional people talking about religions."


Today is Holy Thursday, and tomorrow, on April 14 the Tamil Hindu community will usher in their New Year, while the Sikh community will celebrate Vasakhi. And of course, April 14 is also Good Friday to Christians who will commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Thus, this Friday is a significant day to the Tamil Hindus, the Sikhs and the Christians. It commemorates the beginning of a New Year, the birth of a brotherhood and the death of an innocent to save the world, respectively.

In the context of multi-racial and multi-religious Malaysia, this week is indeed significant because our Muslim community also celebrated the Prophet Muhammad's birthday last Tuesday.

Indeed, this holy week which started with Palm Sunday on the 9th will end with Easter Sunday this weekend on the 16th.

I wish all those who are participating in the festivities a joyous occasion and may we all be showered with wonderful blessings for a peaceful and prosperous year ahead.

God Bless.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Can something be done about Johor's crime rate?

Ask any Johorean about public safety and you will inevitably get an answer that the level of petty and dangerous crime show no sign of abating in this southern state which is just a bridge away from orderly Singapore.

The STAR paper highlighted today the case of a good samaritan who went to help a family held captive at gunpoint in a robbery attempt in the 4.30am incident in Kg. Melayu Bukit Nyamuk in Kluang, Johor. Sadly, Sodikin Zin aged 71 died from a gunshot wound to his chest while the robbers escaped with his neighbour's valuables.

And also reported in the same paper today, Johor police arrested a group of 4 in a raid in Jalan Pahlawan in Taman Ungku Tun Aminah and recovered 2 guns, 2 home-made pipe bombs, 22 bullets, 5 units of modified fireworks, 4 parang, and key-making and alarm-disabling equipment. How scary is this to those living in the neighbourhood?

Yesterday's news was even more heart-rending. A six-month pregnant woman lost her baby after she was attacked by four robbers in the toilet of a petrol station in Jalan Tebrau here.

Shirley Koh, 35, said the incident occurred at about 8.30pm on Saturday when her family stopped at the petrol station while on their way home from shopping in City Square.

As her husband was filling petrol, she took her four-year-old son to the toilet along with her maid.

“While the three of us were in the toilet, the men, who were in their 20s, attacked me and then fled with my handbag,” she said. Koh has lodged a report at the Majidee police station.

State CID chief Senior Asst Comm II Datuk Abdul Rahim Jaafar confirmed the case and said that investigations were under way.

He urged those with information to contact the state police headquarters at 07-2254499.

And last Saturday, a moneychanger and his wife, both in their 50s, fought off armed robbers in their car in Taman Murni, Batu Pahat at 9am in a report highlighted on Monday.

The couple were in their car when they were blocked by another car which had three men in it.

“Two men got down while the driver remained in the car,” said the moneychanger. He said the men smashed the windows on his car. One of the men, armed with a gun, tried to grab his wife's handbag but she held it tightly, he said.

“My wife held on to the bag despite the man firing a warning shot. He even punched my wife when she refused to let go,” he said, adding that they both suffered cuts due to the shattered window glass.

He said that throughout the incident, he repeatedly pressed his car horn but no one came to their aid. The robbers abandoned their car some 2km away.

Police confirmed that a report has been lodged on the matter.

Here are some more recent news about an abducted man found murdered in Kg. Sg. Masai, gang rapes and violent assault in a robbery attempt.

So, in the context of the above reports, I find it somewhat amusing when I read about Malaysian High Commissioner to Singapore Datuk N. Parameswaran's letter to Singapore Press Holdings editor-in-chief telling them to "stop Johor-bashing" here:-

Any continued insulting reference to Johor Baru as a cowboy town, as mentioned in a letter in Forum (The Straits Times, April 4) only reflects ignorance of the situation in Johor Baru today and the direction in which the state is headed,” said Parameswaran, who also requested that his letter be published in the newspapers under Singapore Press Holdings. “Johor bashing should stop, the sooner, the better."

Perhaps, instead of telling others to stop ridiculing Johor Bahru like calling it a "cowboy town", maybe it is better to just concentrate on cleaning up Johor's image, one suggested way is by rooting out the criminals aggressively, and well, as they say, the rest will take care of itself.

Incidentally, a lot of Johoreans will probably agree with the suggestion that JB is indeed a "cowboy town" of the worst kind.

Seriously, shouldn't the Johor mentri besar and the Johor state police chief be ashamed of their failure to address this embarrassing and dangerous situation to public safety, especially in the capital city of Johor Bahru where even locals are getting jittery over rampant incidences of petty crimes like snatch-thefts and house break-ins and more serious ones like abduction of schoolgirls, rape and armed robbery?

Forget about lofty targets like developed state status.

Just concentrate on weeding out such undesirable occurences and restore peace of mind to the local folks and tourists alike.

Nobody likes to live in a constant state of heightened awareness and jittery caution the moment they step out of their front gate to go about their daily routine and business.

Our government should make it their priority to find a solution to this menacing problem, not just in Johor but all over Malaysia.

And surely our police can come up with a better solution than what we are getting now?

The way I see it, we hardly come across our friendly mata-mata patrolling our neighbourhood or our streets anymore. Are they too busy dishing out traffic summonses or other more "productive" work?

Come on, ... please give us back our sense of security and a real feeling of living in a safe city.

This will mean more to me as a citizen of Malaysia rather than any lofty claims of living in a developed, but ultimately unsafe, state.

Yeah, who cares if I do live in a developed state if I cannot feel safe inside or out of my home, if I had to hang on tight to my handbag everytime I walk out of the bank and I dare not wait alone at a deserted bus-stop or walk the short distance from the bus-stop to my home at night?

The list of phobias goes on.


Monday, April 10, 2006

Good news on a Monday

I don't want to sound overly optimistic but still, today's news that the government plans to set up an ombudsman to investigate complaints against the authorities, including ministers and the ACA is most certainly welcoming.

The STAR reported that a study is being conducted on the establishment of the independent body and once completed, a proposal will be tabled to the Parliament for ratification.

An ombudsman is a government appointee who investigates complaints by private persons against the government.

Some pertinent comments from prominent personalities in response to this proposal:-

Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang, in welcoming the move said that it should not be an excuse to "kill off plans for the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC)" and "A proper study of the mechanism of the ombudsman should be made and revealed to the public."

Bar Council chairman Yeo Yang Poh said the body should have enough regulatory powers as it would have to deal with many issues affecting government agencies. "If the legal structure of the ombudsman is diluted, then it will be inadequate. The ombudsman should be able to reach a real solution to the issues at hand." He further said that, "Making it workable would mean the ombudsman’s office would have to be huge, with highly competent staff."

Social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, who has been championing the cause, was upbeat with the decision. "It is high time for such a body to be set up," he said. "It should be headed by someone who is well-versed in the law and possesses the utmost integrity."

Transparency International chairman Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam said it was "the best news I’ve heard in years. What’s exciting about the ombudsman is that it will not be confined to just the police," he said. "This should strengthen confidence in the public delivery system."

Navaratnam, who is also chairman of the Asli Centre for Public Policy Studies, cautioned however, that if the body were ineffective in its duties, the reverse would occur. "If the ombudsman is not given any teeth, it will end up being just another advisory body and public confidence will be eroded," he said. "It is therefore important that the ombudsman be a person willing to act for the public and independent of political influence. His or her office should also be adequately staffed by good assistants."

Click here for the link to this announcement by the NST.

I hope at the end of the day, this proposal will really work out for the benefit of the Rakyat and not end up as just another half-baked idea full of empty promises and lofty pronouncements.

Incidentally, I also wonder how this ombudsman proposal will affect the earlier recommendation for the setting up of the IPCMC. Is this supposed to be something which is offered to the Rakyat as an appeasement to the ultimate caning of the IPCMC suggestion? I certainly hope not.

The SUN reported today in its front-page that the Bar Council has launched a public petition campaign to call for the implementation of major recommendations of the police royal commission, in particular the setting up of the IPCMC as it is seen as an essential part of the reform.

The online petition, entitled Movement Towards a Better Police Force can be viewed here. Apart from this, the Bar Council will start sending out the petition to individuals and organisations starting today, by mail or fax, to gain their support until the government commits itself to the formation of the IPCMC. Do give your support if you should receive the petition.

Well, things seem to have picked up speed all of a sudden.

I am hopeful that the momentum can be sustained and not fizzled out unexpectedly. In this country, it has been amply displayed that good intentions and suggestions are all too often shot down by a few spoilsports who are bent on keeping the status quo for reasons best known to themselves.

Nevertheless, it is still good news on a blue Monday.

I'm looking forward to more positive pronouncements from Pak Lah's government. It's high time for Pak Lah to deliver on his promises and reaffirm our faith in him. It's really way overdue, in case he hadn't noticed.

Update @ 5:00pm:

I like the sound of this:

No room for civil servants who frustrate implementation of 9MP, says PM.

Heads of department and civil servants who frustrate the implementation of the Ninth Malaysia Plan will be removed.

This stern reminder to all ranks in the civil service came from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in his meeting with Perlis civil servants at Dewan Warisan today.

There is no place for passengers in the civil service, he cautioned.

But I'm equally confused by this:

Najib: Gov't yet to decide on proposal to set up ombudsman system.

The Government has yet to decide on the proposal to set up an ombudsman system to look into complaints against the authorities, including ministers and elected representatives.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the proposal was being studied.

"We are currently getting feedback from various quarters. Actually, the Government has yet to make any decision on the matter ... we will only make a statement when we are ready," he told reporters after officiating at the Tun Razak camp in Bukit Gedong here yesterday.

He was asked if the ombudsman system would serve as an alternative to the proposed Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

Now, what's this all about, getting people unnecessarily excited and optimistic. Is he talking cock again?


Sunday, April 09, 2006

A relaxing weekend

I like going to the movies. I watched this latest Walt Disney offering at the TGV cinema and I thoroughly enjoyed it. And it's not just because I'm fond of dogs.

I believe these are the same group of huskies that took part in another earlier doggie movie I also enjoyed - Snow Dogs.

Yeah - that was a fun way to unwind and take my mind off less pleasant stuff. I'm planning to watch Ice Age 2 - The Meltdown. Hopefully it'll be as entertaining as the original Ice Age.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

A fine serving of rotten fish-heads

In Selangor negeri maju dan bermaruah, a person does not have to be seen as having high moral values or even an incorruptible character (hahaha!) to hold an elected post in the state government. As long as the MB says "OK", then you are indeed OK and home-free.

Selangor state Executive Councillor (EXCO) for Religious Affairs, Youth and Community, Datuk Abdul Rahman Palil has been sued by Zarinah Abu Bakar for non-payment of a balance amount of RM311, 295.35 outstanding from a grand deal concocted to cash in on a piece of 11.2ha land in Sungei Buloh worth RM9.147 million which the Petaling District approved to Agmal Development Sdn. Bhd., a company originally owned by Zarinah. See the pertinent details of the shady deal here.

A Bernama news yesterday reported that:-

Selangor State Executive Councillor Datuk Abdul Rahman Palil has received a notice of bankruptcy requiring him to settle a debt of RM311,295.35, and Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo said Wednesday his position as a state executive councillor remains unaffected.
Abdul Rahman's position as state executive councillor was not an issue because he had only received a bankruptcy notice and had not been declared a bankrupt, Dr Mohamad Khir told reporters after chairing the weekly meeting of the state executive council.

Abdul Rahman, who is chairman of the Islamic Affairs, Youth and People Friendly Committee and assemblyman for Sementa, had engaged in the business prior to his appointment as an executive councillor.

Replying to a question, Dr Mohamad Khir said he did not see any problem with Abdul Rahman continuing to be an executive councillor.


This is what I mean by getting less than healthy fish-heads under the leadership of Pak Lah.

When Pak Lah endorses such people as state leaders, what else is to be expected from his kuncu-kuncu who runs the state government machinery? Even a post which supposedly rides the high moral ground like the chairman of Islamic Affairs, Youth & Community is not spared the ridicule of having someone so tainted sitting tight and comfy despite having a less than morally acceptable scandal swirling around him.

The message we get is: Hey, there's no need at all to be seen to be a clean and incorruptible person in BN government. Even if you get caught with your hands in the bin, it is still okay. What??? Did I hear Patrick and Aisehman saying "Tokkok"?? MB says OK means OK lah! Now, shut up!


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Former IGP's advice to Selayang toilet inspectors

Hehehe ... apparently, the recent antics of Selayang councillors have attracted the attention of our former Inspector General of Police, Tun Hanif Omar, who could not resist taking a dig at those clueless guys in an article carried by MT's website.

Tun Hanif said:-

"DID you read Pak Lah’s request to public servants asking them to be prudent in spending and not to waste public funds, which most papers carried on March 7?

I am sure we all welcomed it but, more importantly, you and I should closely monitor this request for compliance and report any suspected transgressions to the Public Complaints Bureau of the Prime Minister’s Department, which is now online.

If we get no satisfactory response from them, we should write to the press. As I said many times before, we must keep shining the light on perceived malpractices if we want action to be taken.

The PCB can be contacted at Ibu Pejabat, Biro Pengaduan Awam, Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Aras 6, Blok B1, Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan, 62502 Putrajaya, tel: 03 8888 7777, fax: 03 8888 3748, e-mail: and website:

... Following the Prime Minister’s advice for prudent spending, I hope that from now on we will not be seeing any more metal and plastic trees adorning our tropical landscape, or a perfectly good line of trees along roads being uprooted and replaced with a different species with each change of local council president or, worse still, have an endless parade of local councillors visiting foreign toilets to see how they are kept clean.

Why can’t they tap the tens of thousands of Malaysian officials and tourists who have experienced all kinds of foreign and local toilets? Tap local expertise first!"

I've said it here, here, here and here about what a bunch of stooges those guys are.

Why don't they ask their very own big boss, the YB mentri besar how the toilets look like in foreign countries? I'm sure he, being the only MB of a developed state in Malaysia has seen plenty of toilets in countless countries, some developed, some still developing and some hopelessly undeveloped. I'm sure he can tell you what a developed state's public toilets should look like.

If they think their boss's experience is not good enough, then go ask the PM lah!

Pak Lah was previously the foreign minister, travelling all over the world. Even now, he is still travelling all over the world. Surely he must have seen a million foreign toilets already.

Go ask him lah and save the taxpayers' some hard-earned ringgit.


Monday, April 03, 2006

Corruption and bribery, an acquired habit and response (Pt 2)

(The following letter was written by one "Hopeless" from Petaling Jaya to the editor of The Edge and published in The Edge Malaysia, April 3 2006 issue at page 50. It has been reproduced below in full.)

Living with corruption

I wonder if there is any Malaysian who has gone through life without some experience of bribery or corruption, either as a corrupt official who demands or an offender who offers.

My first experience with bribery and corruption was 38 years ago when I rode a bicycle without lights. I was threatened with confiscation but the policeman told me he would let me off if I paid 50 sen, which I did with a sigh of relief. It felt like a great escape!

I am 52 now and nothing has changed since then, except that 50-sen bribe has risen steadily with inflation from RM10 in the 1960s, RM20 in the 1970s, RM50 in the 1980s and RM100 to RM150 in the 1990s until now.

With roadblocks prior to festive seasons (of which we Malaysians have many), the settlement sum is nearly always RM100 for one-off individual offences, when the police seem to pop out from nowhere. Whenever you make an illegal U-turn or when one of your vehicle lights is fused, the usual settlement sum is RM50.

The standard procedure when you are stopped for a traffic offence is a charade of bargaining between yourself and the policeman. If you do admit your fault and agree to receive a summons, he will inevitably ask several times: "Are you sure you want a summons?" - a clear hint at "alternatives".

Bribery and corruption are not confined to traffic offences. Being a developer and businessman, there is no way I could do my business without some form of corruption with the government departments or banks I have to deal with.

The demands come in many forms until some kind of settlement is made. Some of the threats include:

  1. Extremely slow processing of one's application for approval or permit.
  2. Outright rejection of one's application for non-compliance with one thing or another, which can seem endless at times. Somehow, all these so-called requirements are not really required when a settlement sum is placed on the table.
  3. What you applied for is reduced or altered to your disadvantage. For example, conversion of land status, layout plans, plot ratio or density for land development. All these can be negotiated with the right connections and money.
It is a nightmare doing business in Malaysia; there is always something to apply for - signboards, restaurant permits, entertainment permits, collection of rubbish, land approval, certificates of fitness for buildings (which involve several departments), foreign workers' permits, Customs clearance, approval to import certain products, licences, and so on.

All these require approval from a government agency or department, whether at state or federal leval.

On the commercial side, bribery and corruption are also rampant, especially in the banking industry - kickbacks for loan approval are a norm where a predetermined commission is usually agreed to before the loan is approved. So are entertainment at karaoke centres, expensive dinners and gifts, hampers, overseas golf trips, and so on.

Recently, I had a frustrating experience, which clearly illustrates how much of a disease corruption has become in Malaysia.

I applied for two foreign workers, and it took me nearly a year to get approval because I refused to grease anyone's palm. I knowof people who got their approval in a month. Having complied with all the requirements and with the approval letter in hand, I finally went to the KLIA to pick up the workers.

Lo and behold, the immigration officer insisted that I had to produce photographs of my factory and the workers' quarters, without which I was warned, the workers could not leave the airport with me.

I know there was no such requirement and to argue with the officer meant more delays or waiting until my staff from Ipoh delivered the photographs. This was definitely an act of intimidation by an officer and who could argue with him?

He was in charge and no amount of argument would have made a difference. While telling him politely that I was ignorant of the requirement, I dropped RM50 on his counter desk, whereupon the requirement of the photographs suddenly disappeared.

This kind of intimidation is so common that one has no hope but to "give in" to bribing. It's a bane but it is always easier to get things done and approved with "coffee money".

There will always be one officer or another in any government department who can and does really make one's life very difficult.

Fight for your rights? Hell, no! Your application will be rejected.

Report them? Hell, no! It's too trifling a matter and not worth the hassle. Would you bother making a police report, get evidence and attend court hearings for a small matter that can be resolved with just a few ringgit? Certainly not!

Settlement or connection is the only solution and relief from such daily inconveniences. It is that blatant!

After all these years, bribery and corruption are still so common in Malaysia. Fight corruption? I really think it's way beyond redemption. They are a pain in the neck but no one bothers nor do such small daily incidents (of which there must be thousands every day) ever get reported.

Life goes on ... What the heck, pay up and be done with it!


(Would you, the reader, like to share your views on this subject matter?)


Corruption and bribery, an acquired habit and response (Pt 1)

The government has launched a public opinion poll via SMS managed by the Public Complaints Bureau to gauge the response of the rakyat to the 9th Malaysia Plan. Ostensibly, your response will in some way contribute to the success of the 9MP.

The poll question is:-

The success of the 9th Malaysia Plan depends mainly on:
  • A. Change in attitude

  • B. Fair distribution

  • C. Effective monitoring

  • D. The government's delivery system, and

  • E. No corruption.

If you think your voice will make a difference to what the government will do to make the 9MP a success for all of us, go on and take a vote here. Personally I'd rather save myself the 7 sen SMS charge and speak up in this blog, FOC. I'm realistic enough to believe that either way, it makes no difference because no one would hear or care anyway. At least, over here it costs me nothing.

On the subject of corruption, I read a very good letter published in The Edge Malaysia (April 3, 2006 edition, at page 50). I can't find the link anywhere so I shall reproduce this rather lengthy letter for the benefit of my readers and anyone else interested in this subject in my next post. Trust me, it is a very interesting read because the writer has expressed himself so well that I feel as if he is speaking on my behalf.

But back to the present topic.

I have an interesting tale to tell you about an incident involving Nick, a college student who had a brush with a police officer yesterday.

Nick was heading back to his campus in KL along the North-South highway about noon yesterday when he slowed his car down towards one of the toll booths. As he was winding down his window to pay the toll, all of a sudden he felt a big jolt coming from behind - a car had crashed into his rear bumper.

The culprit was a police officer in a police car.

Nick got down to inspect the damage and found the rear lights broken, the boot door smashed in and jam-locked.

This must be a most unusual situation for the police officer to be in, for what he did next was unexpected (and amusing when the tale was related to us later). This officer unpleasantly found himself on the wrong side of the table and his reaction to it was very telling.

After both parties got their vehicles safely out of the way of traffic, the negotiations began. He beckoned Nick aside and sheepishly apologised for the accident. Apparently, he was feeling sleepy behind the wheel and could not slow down fast enough coming towards the toll plaza to avoid knocking into Nick's car.

Nick: Jadi, apa macam sekarang?
P.O.: Ini macamlah, you jangan buat polis repot. You bawa kereta you pergi ke workshop (he named one located in a small town about 15km away). Nanti saya bayar kos bikin balik kereta you, okay?
Nick: Mana boleh tak buat repot? Nanti kalau you tak mahu bayar, macam mana saya mau claim insurance?
P.O.: Saya mesti bayar punya. Tak payah buat repot. Nanti saya susah oh.
Nick: Saya tak mahu pergi ke workshop itu lah. Saya tak tahu tempat sana.
P.O.: Tak apalah. You cari workshop lain, tanya berapa harga dulu. Ini nombor telefon saya. Nanti you call saya. Jangan takut, saya janji bayar balik. Tak apalah, you tolong I sikit ini kali.

Knowing that there's nothing more that he could do in that situation, Nick took down the officer's handphone number and called up his uncle for advice. Nick was told to get his car to a trusted workshop and not to expect too much by way of full compensation from the police officer. Needless to say, Nick felt real "suey" that day and decided to accept that it was probably a case of "por choi dong joi" (a Cantonese superstition meaning "losing money to avert a bigger disaster").

As I blog now, I do not know yet what is the outcome of the story. I guess it doesn't really matter, does it?

I can't help feeling amused that police officers too behave just like the ordinary Malaysian man in the street when it come to such situations. They will not hesitate to "plea-bargain" their way out of trouble.

So you see, when the tables are turned on them, the law enforcers are really no different from you and me. Everyone just want to find the easiest way to "settle" a problem without wasting time and getting into more trouble on top of the original one.

The maxim is, kenapa nak susah-susah? Lecehlah!

Now, read the upcoming post to further understand why Malaysians are becoming so used to the culture of corruption and bribery that it has now become almost an accepted, albeit frequently denied, part of our society here.


Saturday, April 01, 2006

A healthy fish head for 9MP

"It is fascinating. In the West, you have bigger homes, yet smaller families; you have endless conveniences -- yet you never seem to have any time. You can travel anywhere in the world, yet you don't bother to cross the road to meet your neighbours."

"I don't think people have become more selfish, but their lives have become easier and that has spoilt them. They have less resilience, they expect more, they constantly compare themselves to others and they have too much choice -- which brings no real freedom."

Can the same also be said of the modern lifestyle of Malaysians?

Over here, our society can be broadly categorized into two distinct groups, irregardless of their ethnic origins or religious beliefs.

The haves and the privileged lot generally behave in a manner not very different from the Westerners described by the Dalai Lama above.

The have-nots are just the opposite. These group of Malaysians live a simpler life, are more neighbourly and couldn't care less with the politics that goes on in this country, because they somehow think that they are powerless. Or could it also be because they are naive folks?

But still, I like to think that historically, it is Malaysians who occupy the lower strata of society who provide the strongest support to the fabric of unity that keeps this country peaceful and prosperous.

It is also this group of people who have continually voted the BN government in since Merdeka because they have been cunningly indoctrinated with the belief that to make any other choice would surely plunge this country into total chaos.

The ones who truly care about national unity are certainly not those who, with bulging pockets and inflated egos, continue to spout racist slogans in Parliament and public gatherings like it's the most fashionable thing to do. Entertaining for a while, yes, but downright crass and uneducated to the cultured mind.

That is why I fail to understand why such BN politicians continue to occupy their seats in Parliament and some, even in the Cabinet. Is the party so short of first-class politicians who can garner votes for the party AND at the same time, behave like rational, educated, true gentlemen? Or is the party so full of monkeys that no one realises that they are making Malaysians a laughing stock by their wild behaviour?

Regardless of how some party members clamour to have such leaders around to voice what is in their hearts, those feelings that they wanted to express but dare not, in the end it does this country no good at all if we continue to have political leaders and community leaders saying and doing things which damage goodwill among Malaysians of different race and religion.

This is the 21st century. This is the age of the internet, the borderless world.

Yesterday, Pak Lah unveiled the 9th Malaysia Plan.

And the Backbenchers Club Chairman Datuk Shahrir Samad has made a succinct remark in The Star today: "Quite happy with the 5 thrusts of the national mission but disappointed that the delivery system was not addressed. What's missing is governance in the public sector."

Yeah - it all boils down to the human factor.

A plan is only as good as the people who are tasked to carry it out. That is why we have seen previous plans not achieving their targets. That is why we are also seeing the many problems grappling this country, all the leakages from all angles.

Remember the famous saying, that the fish rots from the head down?

Perhaps together, Pak Lah and Najib can re-engineer a better Malaysia for all Malaysians if both men start the paradigm shift from the top down.

Pak Lah can never do this alone. Najib has got to give his full support if he wants to inherit a stronger and better Malaysia from Pak Lah.

Nothing is ever going to change in this country if the BN govt continue to deliver rotting fish heads to the people.

Show me first that the fish head is healthy, Pak Lah, and you need have no doubt on where my support and loyalty lies.


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