I.AM.MALAYSIAN - Semua OK!
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Hello, can you hear Citizen Nades cry?
Is Citizen Nades of the SUN in trouble?
Read an excerpt from his column published on Wednesday, 30 Aug 2006 here (bold & italicised emphasis mine) :-
LAW OF THE JUNGLE MUST END
... the inevitable conclusion that one can come to is: the actions of local authorities cannot be questioned by anyone.
That's because PJ is in the country's first and only fully-developed state where anything goes.
Those in authority can take money from anyone; spend it as they like; give contracts to their friends and cronies; transfer revenue meant for the government to private accounts and above all, declare themselves immune from any form of investigation or action.
There is no respect for rules and regulations; there is total disregard for established norms; transparency and accountability are bad words; and it is an offence to question their actions and deeds.
Has Selangor descended to a state where jungle law rules?
Who will save the citizens from being made to pay for the excesses of the administrators? Who will prevent the savaging of state funds?
Who will stop the plundering and the pillage of the environment? Who will put an end to the one-man rule?
I don't have the answer, but surely, the powers-that-be cannot watch in silence as the excesses get bigger and run beyond control.
Someone, yes someone with the power and authority, must stop it before lawlessness descends and must stop that one man from throwing those who speak up into the lions' den as punishment.
That is a desperate cry to be heard!
And that last sentence I highlighted, is someone trying to shut him up?
Now, contrast this with what our Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said at the opening of the 1st OIC Anti-Corruption and Enhancing Integrity Forum 2006 on 28th Aug 2006 as reported in The Star:-
COMBAT GRAFT, OIC urged
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia wants member countries in the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to play a more active role in the global fight against corruption.
“We must do this not only to fulfil our obligations to the international community, but more importantly for the ummah, to secure a better economic, social and political future,” said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
He said the OIC, with a combined population of 1.8 billion in its 57 member countries, comprised about one-fifth of the global community, and whose belief in Allah formed the foundation of integrity.
“As chair of the OIC and the leader of a developing Muslim country I want to see the OIC play an active role in fighting corruption,” he said at the opening of the 1st OIC Anti-Corruption and Enhancing Integrity Forum 2006 yesterday. He said he was saddened to note that Muslim countries did not rate highly when it came to perceptions of corruption.
Do you see the irony of the above two articles? Obviously, here we have someone with the power and authority to check corruption, choosing to ignore what is happening in his own backyard, while preaching to others how to clean up theirs.
CAKAP TAK SERUPA BIKIN?
(Update: Latest news from the SUN here. "Sue the paper!" said (MBPJ councillor, V.) Subramaniam and "ayes" of all 23 councillors present at the meeting (new Petaling Jaya mayor Mohamad Roslan Sakiman chaired his first full-board meeting today).
Labels: Local governance
Happy Merdeka 49 - Happy 1st Anniversary to me!
One year later, here I am talking about the upcoming "Hari Kemerdekaan ke-49" celebrations on 31 August 2006.
Oh, before I go on, happy 1st anniversary to myself on anakmerdeka.blogspot.com!
I finally made it - crossed the first year hurdle despite some apprehension and doubt about whether I want to continue putting in time and effort to maintain this self-serving rant-filled platform. Looks like I still got some steam to let off before I call it a day. :-)
Coming back to this topic, I am rather ambivalent about my feelings towards this 49th Merdeka. I guess I'm feeling this way because I don't see the country moving forward in any meaningful way in terms of how we are progressing as a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural society.
The past year has seen an attempt to disengage noble efforts to create the space for meaningful dialogue and understanding between muslims and non-muslims in a non-confrontational manner in this blessed country.
Looks like we are still unable to break down barriers formed by a stubborn section of our society bent on maintaining certain status quo. I can only presume that the fear to engage stems from the misguided notion that it would invariably erode their current status of having the "upper hand" in playing the religious card whenever the need arises during times of political upheaval.
Sisters in Islam wrote a succinct letter published in The SUN on 16 August 2006 (@ p18):-
Don't suppress dialogue
"SISTERS in Islam regrets that the organisers of the 5th International Malaysian Studies Conference held at UPM recently felt pressured to cancel the panel on Religion, Interfaith and National Unity.
We share Prof. Datuk Abdul Rahman Embong, President of the Malaysian Social Science Association (PSSM)'s valid concern that certain developments of late are taking a toll on academic freedom, and have grave implications on the free flow of ideas and academic discourses.
This emerging trend in suppressing the right to openly discuss matters concerning the public is disheartening, especially as it is being imposed on those who are merely peacefully practising their constitutional rights - freedom of speech, assembly and association (Article 10) and freedom of religion (Article 11). This is in contrast to the continued, unfettered dissemination of wrongful information and malicious rumours, as well as the formation of groups by those who intend to silence such open discussions."
There's not much anyone can do about this without serious political will from those who wield the power to look beyond the selfish motives of a few who are too short-sighted to see further into the future for the common good of all.
These people fail to realise the need to discard certain mentalities in order to survive in an increasingly modern and technologically-advanced world that simply would not respect narrow-minded agendas.
I have a thought: is it conceivable that in the year 2020, Malaysia can still practise open discrimination in the form of race-based quotas and privileges without being seen as political and social pariahs in the eyes of the world community? That's another mere 14 years to go, during which time, we will probably see advances in science & technology making giant leaps forward, while we are still stuck in some black & white cinematic mode.
I'm going to forget about how I feel on this day because someone might just accuse me of harping on eternally unpatriotic feelings whenever the subject of unity in the context of Bangsa Malaysia crops up.
Regardless of what the Information Minister says, I'd like to believe that it is precisely my love for this country and my patriotism that inspired me to start this blog and drives me to continue writing even though I sometimes get a bit sick and tired of local goings-on. The time spent doing this is more meaningful to me as a Malaysian than mere waving of the Jalur Gemilang once a year.
And before I forget, thanks to KJ for the timely Merdeka reminder - racism is thriving under the Youth banner. I can expect to continue with my forced patriotic duty as the bogeyman for the survival of UMNO. *sigh*
There I go again.
Selamat Hari Kemerdekaan ke-49 to all my fellow Malaysian brothers and sisters, and especially to all my blog friends. I wish you peace and happiness until we celebrate our 50th milestone next year.
And err ... I'll wave the flag here and hope Zam appreciates it!
In line with a brand new season and in celebrating the spirit of this year's Merdeka, I think I want to cut down on my frussing and fussing. So, Howsy my senseintroverted friend, it's semua OK! now. Even if people continue to cakap tak serupa bikin. Even with the DDC. Especially with the DDC, it's OK to just close-one-eye to THAT one! (*runs to da korner... with Helen*)
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Chinese home-made rice wine & egg
I probably should go on a diet. I keep thinking of food for the last few days, especially chocolates and durians.
I normally don't take too much sweet stuff (really!). But MIL brought over 2 boxes of Belgium chocolates which she got at the duty free shops after her recent trip to Cambodia.
It sat in the fridge for one whole week without any of the kids touching it (they aren't particularly fond of chocs either) until I could not bear it anymore (see, it's taking up too much space in the fridge ...) and then, I could not stop myself once I started!
And the last week was the school holidays so I did a bit of baking and cooking to amuse the clan. And I got a surprise request to whip up a familiar dish - commonly served during the one-month confinement period after a member of the family has given birth.
Yup, it is the "chinese rice wine soup with chicken" or "wong jau kai" in Cantonese.
Most local Chinese families are familiar with the home-made glutinuous rice wine which we call "huang jiu" in Mandarin or "wong jau" in Cantonese.
My sister-in-law recently made a batch and gave me a bottle. Normally, Chinese families would make them when a female family member is expecting a baby because after delivery, the new mom would be encouraged to consume copious amount of it. It is traditionally believed that this wine will be able to restore the strength and vitality depleted during pregnancy and childbirth.
No - I ain't pregnant! And actually, no one's pregnant in the family. There are so many female members enjoying this traditional dish that every once in a while, my sister-in-law would work up a batch for all of us. It is pretty easy to make, but that's another story.
Usually, this wine is cooked with small pieces of chicken fried with lots of julienned ginger and strips of chinese fungus sauteed in sesame oil. But I like it better using eggs instead of chicken.
I love the smell of ginger slowly browning in sesame oil. And when the wine is poured into the mixture and left bubbling for a few minutes, I get slightly intoxicated with the fumes of alcohol wafting up! Ahh ... sheer culinary bliss. :)
On cold and rainy days, I particularly enjoy eating and sweating over a hot bowl of rice-wine soup, the part when the alcohol starts getting into my head and I get a little bit tipsy and warm and ... hehehe ... hic! ... a nice fuzzy feeling with a full stomach!
Slice ginger into thin strips and brown them in generous amount of pure sesame oil. When the ginger is crispy, remove and set aside. In the same wok, add a bit of sesame oil & fry chinese mushroom wood fungus (aka mook-yi, which has been pre-soaked and cut into thin strips) for about 3 minutes. Dish out and set aside.
Break three eggs into a bowl, beat lightly and pour into the lightly oiled hot wok. Add a bit of browned ginger and "mook-yi" into the egg. Cook as you would an omelette.
Wrap the omelette into a nice little parcel. I always like this part because it makes me proud of my skills in making a pretty good omelette!
Add the rest of the ginger and "mook-yi" into the wok. Pour in the chinese rice wine, season with a pinch of salt & sugar to taste. Let it bubble and cook for about 5 minutes or longer if you wish to evaporate the alcohol content from the wine. (But that would really take the "kick" out of this dish. For even bigger kick, you can add half a cup of brandy into this!)
It's almost ready. Dish it out into a bowl and enjoy!! Remember - don't partake in this dish if you are going to drive, or feast on durians and chocolates!! (It's way too heaty according to Chinese folklore.)
Labels: Domestic goddess
Monday, August 28, 2006
Up close with a violent bully
I'm having trouble with my internet connection. I keep getting cut off since Friday evening. And then the server is down all weekend. I could not post anything new because my blogger account is supposedly "full". Huh??? Again??
If that's not enough to tear my hair out, I'm still disturbed by what happened last Saturday.
The whole family was cruising happily along Jalan Tun Abdul Razak at about 3pm Saturday afternoon (26th). The kids as usual were looking out the windows and playing their own little games.
Suddenly, one of them pointed to a car behind us and shouted excitedly, "Look, they are fighting. They are hitting each other."
That got everyone's attention and soon all the kids were looking behind them at the grey-coloured Kenari where a rather big guy in a red T-shirt was seen arguing heatedly with the lady driver who was seated beside him.
I turned from my front seat to see what the ruckus was all about.
To my horror, that guy started punching the lady repeatedly! She lost a bit of control of her car for a moment and we could see that she was trying very hard to control her car while warding off his blows with her left hand. All the while the man was screaming at her!
I couldn't believe what was happening. And my kids were transfixed by that horrible scene. I wish I could stop them from witnessing this terrible act of violence. It scared them and it scared me!
And then horror of horrors - that monstrous guy showed the middle finger at my kids for gawking!
My husband was alarmed and immediately instructed our kids to turn their backs and sit down quietly. No telling what an insane man would do in his moment of madness. Especially so that we were caught in rather slow traffic.
From my side mirror, I could see that the man was still engaged in a furious row with his partner. And he continued to tug roughly at the poor woman's tudung and punching her arms. I can't see the woman's expression hidden behind her sunglasses but obviously, she was trying desperately not to lose control of the car and the sorry situation she was in.
At one point, she stopped the car and hit back at him. She tried to open her door to get out but the guy held on tight to her arm. For some reason, she gave up her struggle and continued to drive the car, taking his blows and screams passively.
We witnessed the whole scene for about 5 minutes, during which time the Kenari had moved from behind us to our right side and then finally our left side before speeding off into a different direction. The kids meanwhile, obediently kept their eyes away from the offensive scene and muttered animatedly amongst themselves about what they saw.
I was truly angry that my kids had been subjected to such a public display of violence, more so by a man against a woman. They were alarmed by the whole thing and wondered how that man could be such a beast and whether the poor woman would be safe. I explained to them that I was just as shocked as them for having witnessed such a violent act for the first time in my life. And it is something which is terribly terribly wrong.
I am still disturbed by it but the kids seem to have dropped the subject after we did our best to explain why such things might happen in our society and why they must never allow it to happen to themselves. I hated it too that I had to explain what the "middle finger" sign meant although all I told them was that it was a bad sign much like a bad word and that they should never ever do the same thing. Urrgghhhh!!!
Damn that bastard!!
Friday, August 25, 2006
Mamat-mamat Cemerlang, Gemilang & Terbilang
Mat Cemerlang !
Mat Gemilang !
Mat Terbilang !
Petikan dari filem terbaru: Senario-senario Bolehsia.
Labels: Social ills
'Tis the season for mucho machoness
Less than six days to our 49th National Day celebrations.
And UMNO Youth chief has sounded the spirited cry for "Ketuanan Melayu" or maybe it should be rightly re-phrased as "Ketuanan UMNO".
The STAR at page N4 today:-
Hisham: No need for formal meeting
PUTRAJAYA: There is no need for Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin to explain his remarks at a Barisan Nasional Youth supreme council meeting, said Barisan Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.
He said a formal meeting was not necessary as the issue had been resolved following Khairy’s explanation that his comments on the Chinese community had been misinterpreted.
“Umno Youth leaders have already met with youth leaders from Barisan component parties on several occasions to explain (Khairy’s remarks) after the issue was first raised,” said Hishammuddin, who is also Umno Youth chief and Education Minister.
“We do not need to publicise it any more. There is also no need to call for an emergency meeting of the Barisan supreme council to discuss it further.”
Hishammuddin also said Penang Umno Youth need not wait for a study to be done before meeting with Penang Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon.
“This is a good opportunity for the youth leaders to put forward their views and to stand up for those who believe in them,” he said in reference to newspaper reports that Penang Malays were lagging behind.
Get the message??
UMNO Youth is flexing its muscles ahead of a serious battle within their own closed doors.
Time to show who's the Boss. Time to make your demands loud and clear. What better way than to sound the bogeyman alarm and make the meek squeek?
Have we really achieved "Merdeka" against racism in this country?
Thursday, August 24, 2006
A nod for bullies
So finally, we have been officially informed that there is a certain type of bullying by certain type of people in our country which should be tolerated and accepted.
However, the unspoken condition for membership into this highly exclusive club must surely come in the form of meeting certain criteria best known to them.
They are preaching it in Universiti Pertanian Malaysia and I believe, it will soon extend to all public universities in this country in good time.
UPM Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Nik Mustapha R. Abdullah was quoted in the SUN as saying:-
"Bullying is the wrong word to use. It happened in the heat of the moment and it was only natural for them to react strongly and raise their voices."
Thank you, UPM officials, the Minister of Higher Education and our honourable Prime Minister.
KERANAMU, we now truly understand that we have to accept aggression and abuse by groups of people who disagree with us because it is NATURAL for them to behave that way. And it must be NATURAL for us to accept being bullied.
Does this special privilege extend beyond university compounds?
Because we have read in newspapers that a certain UMNO Youth leader has openly warned its members that the Chinese community will resort to opportunistic moves if their party were to be embroiled in an internal crisis.
Will we see bullying of a more horrifying nature in the event some members of the party need to look for scapegoats to save their necks?
I shudder to think what sort of message the UPM fiasco's shameful ending is sending to these people.
Don't bully - but it is okay to shout, intimidate, push and shove and issue threats. And oh, make sure you do it in a singing and clapping mode. It makes a world of difference.
Labels: BN politics
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Not a hiatus
I certainly hope so, yes ... this blogger live for admirers like you!!! So, say you miss me lar or I'll die of heartbreak! :)
That short trip must have done wonders to my weary soul. I just got back and have lots to talk about but I have not the time to do so yet. Let me get a few things out of the way so that I can concentrate on giving you my FULLEST attention, okay??
And oh, I just GOT to clarify that my photo-op on Rembau in the previous post was not a tribute to that greasy-haired guy.
Sheessh ... he's just joined his boss, the keris-wielding Pak Misai in the UMNO gallery of the shameless & gutless. I have absolutely no respect for people who ride roughshod over the feelings of the non-Malays in their bid to show some political clout. And believe me, I'm not the only non-Malay feeling p***ed off by this budak hingus. Go check out Mave for stronger viewpoints. (p.s. this short rant is dedicated to you, Mave. Every once in a while, I gotta please some people who enjoy seeing Amoi in red. LOL!)
I said I don't have the time but I just lost a bit of self-discipline here. Thanks to all my kawan who dropped a line while I was away. It's nice not having to come home to an empty house.
Carry on with your background conversation here in the comment section. Hey - make my day lar!!
Friday, August 18, 2006
KJ's Rembau - weekend photo series
Some of you are familiar with the name of this small town called Rembau because you hear it often associated with a young and famous local politician.
Yes, it is the hometown of Khairy Jamaluddin, the beleaguered son-in-law of the beleaguered Prime Minister.
Rembau is situated in the state of Negeri Sembilan. It is about 20 minutes' drive from Seremban. Like other parts of Negeri Sembilan, including Seremban, Rembau is sleepy most of the time. The following series of photos were taken on one Sunday afternoon in July 2006.
I'm afraid the photos could have been better had I bothered to walk around the town and get a good angle. But I was kinda self-conscious of the fact that people would stare at this outsider and wondered what she's doing snapping pictures all over the place. So the quality was somewhat compromised because it was mostly point and shoot in a moving car.
Anyway, for those of you who have never been to Rembau, you'll get an idea of what it looks like here.
Selamat datang ke Rembau! (Welcome to Rembau!)
Ada sekolah agama (there's a religious school) ...
Ada sekolah kebangsaan (there's a national school) ...
Ada perpustakaan awam (there's a public library)
Ada masjid (there's a mosque)
Ada balai polis (there's a police station)
Ada bangunan kerajaan (there's government offices)
Ada Dataran Rembau (there's a public square)
Ada kedai di tepi jalan (there are shops along the street)
Eh? Pemasang bendera UMNO juga ada? (there's even an UMNO loyalist putting up flags!)
Have a lovely weekend.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Pak Lah's agenda for the police back in 2003
I'm going to take you on a trip down memory lane here.
On 31 October 2004, The STAR paper published a special edition outlining Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's achievements after one year in office as the Prime Minister of Malaysia.
On page 12 of the report heading "A Momentous Year", Lourdes Charles wrote:-
"Restoring and improving the image, professionalism and credibility of the Royal Malaysia Police Force was one of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's top priorities when he became Prime Minister.
"TWO months after taking over as Prime Minister Abdullah met the top 150 police officers in the country. He outlined three very pertinent points to the officers that he felt the force needed to adopt immediately. They were:-
"Change in values and mindset of every single police officer;
"To improve the efficiency and delivery system of their work; and
"Accountability and responsibility of the top brass in the force.
"Abdullah also set up an independent Royal Commission to investigate and come up with ways to enhance the professionalism of the police force. ...
"Concerned with the rising crime rate especially violent crimes and snatch theft, the Premier approved the purchase of 500 patrol cars to be used on crime prevention rounds. ...
"Abdullah also wanted all forms of organised crime to be wiped out including human trafficking for prostitution and loan sharking to be tackled with top priority. ..."
I emphasized some words in bold for obvious reasons.
Back in January 2004, which was two months after he took over as Prime Minister on 1 November 2003, it was already observed that VIOLENT CRIMES and SNATCH THEFT were already an issue that meritted the attention and concern of the newly minted PM.
Fast forward to the present, 32 months LATER, we are still talking about how our police are unable to reduce the incidences of violent crimes and snatch theft.
IN FACT, it has gotten WORSE!
The independent Royal Commission has already done their work and submitted their report which is now probably gathering dust in some forgotten shelf.
This is beginning to sound like an old lame joke.
Pak Lah has been asking and asking everybody to WALK THE TALK for months and finally he is now ready to WALK it himself. But the question is, in which direction is he walking to? And are his colleagues walking in the same direction as he is?
Worse still, are they heading in the RIGHT direction?
p.s. Maybe Pak Lah ought to consult with the MB from the developed state on how to maintain a tight grip in the stormiest of situations.
Perhaps then he can discard the walk the talk slogan and talk his way out of every controversy without having to walk a single step.
Labels: Pak Lah
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Selangor has developed new standards for cover-ups
Datuk Ahmad Termizi Puteh's tenure as mayor has finally ended, a few days short of his second month's anniversary after PJ was declared a city on 20 June 2006. And it's for real this time. Looks like he has saved himself the embarrassment of having to answer to Citizen Nades' allegations of misconduct here. For once, he's probably thankful to lose a job that is becoming more untenable as the days go on.
Meanwhile, the SUN's expose on the Selangor government's shady dealings in awarding monopolistic contracts for billboard licensing has upped the ante now on the Mentri Besar of the first fully developed state to come clean on this issue. (I believe, as in the Bukit Cerakah issue, he's not going to lose any sleep over this as well.)
Let's take a look at today's news report. (Bolded and italicised words are all mine for emphasis.)
Transparency International president Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam urged Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo to "come out strongly in response to the allegations of abuse of authority in order to safeguard and protect the name and credibility of the local authorities within the state.
Navaratnam added that as Selangor is the only state which declared itself 'developed', it should show the highest standards of transparency, accountability and integrity in order to justify such a status. 'Selangor should lead and show the way,' he said."
I think Selangor has lead and shown the way for all the other states, but not in ways which we decent folks condone.
The Business Ethics of Malaysia director Dr Zainal Abidin Abdul Majid said intervention from the prime minister must be imminent for change to take place.
"There is no such thing as a complete individual. Change can only come from the Big Man," and "He should not only promote good messages but also act. This issue is merely the tip of the iceberg. Common directive has to come from the top," he said.
Zainal Abdidin also stressed that government policies must not be linked to business deals, saying that the values of honesty and integrity are absent from the parties involved in the billboard debacle. "Despite a substantial amount of effort to promote integrity at municipal councils, misappropriation is still at work, possibly even more than before," he added.
The Sultan of Selangor has spoken up on this issue.
Will Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi walk his talk now, given the mounting evidence of misconduct that has been levelled against the government of Selangor?
He dreamt of being the MB of Selangor as a school boy, inspired after shaking hands for the first time with then PM Dr Mahathir. Now that he is in the hot seat, did he find his reality as sweet or even more so than what he ever dreamed of in his wildest of dreams? Did he fulfilled all that he dreamed he would do as an MB when he was still aspiring for the post?
In his CitizenNades column published today, the scribe repeated a oft-asked question:-
"Now that the truth is out, what is going to happen next? By Malaysian standards, don't expect anything, let alone a response to the assertion that their claims have been proven wrong. ...
Perhaps, another denial by the lead actors and lots of echoes from the kuncu-kuncu and political wannabees? Not likely, not even a whimper. Three weeks ago, I e-mailed the MB and he has not responded. ..."
"Elegant silence" is the new tool in public management, and they can claim that they are just learning from the Big Man.
Incidentally, in the run-up to the Merdeka celebrations this coming 31st, our Information Minister has scaled new heights to insult Malaysians by claiming that "those who did not fly the Jalur Gemilang were unpatriotic and had no love for the country. These people, he added, also did not appreciate what the country’s leaders had done and were ignorant of the fact that the comfort and prosperity they enjoyed today were the results of a long struggle."Excuse me Pak Lah, what sort of criteria did you look for in the candidates shortlisted for the post of Information Minister? That crass remark was certainly not a very informed nor intelligent observation of what constitutes patriotism in our hearts and minds. Not that anyone cared very much for substance in this country obsessed with form and sick with "syiok sendiri" syndrome.
I don't know if Citizen Nades is going to put up a huge Jalur Gemilang in front of his house or even stick a small one on his car this year and I don't care BUT to me, he has amply shown the true meaning of patriotism in his passion to preach accountability, transparency and high moral values to those very people the common folks look up to for leadership and guidance.
Mr Nades has taken great personal risks to walk his talk and for that, I salute him and if there is a national award for "patriot Merdeka ke 49" given to a citizen of Malaysia for going the extra mile to bring about positive changes to our society, he would get my vote.
As to the rest of those who have yet to convince me that they are true patriots, I have only this to say:
Stop the cock talk!
Labels: Selangor Maju
All's well ends well for the Coliseum
The Star frontpage, 16 August 2006
KUALA LUMPUR: The show goes on for the Coliseum cinema! The heritage building will not be acquired or leased by the Government and it will continue to screen movies. Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim assured cinema owner Dr Chua Seong Siew that there was “no question” of the Government taking over the cinema. “The Government does not intend to take away the Coliseum cinema from the owner. We will work together in making it a great arts and culture hub to promote street-level activities. ..."
... Dr Chua said Rais was magnanimous in guaranteeing that the cinema could not be taken from his family. "My bad dreams and days of anxiety over the takeover of the cinema have come to an end," he said. ... Dr Chua said he was more than willing to cooperate with the Government to make the cinema a brighter and better place for movie goers. ...
Well - we are all glad that Dr Chua's tears have finally turned to smiles.
Thank God the old man didn't suffer adverse health complications due to the unnecessary stress he had to endure, courtesy of the Ministry and Kuala Lumpur land administrator's unsolicited shock treatment.
I think it would be better that politicians or public officers give more thought to half-baked ideas in future, if only to avoid stirring up public anger and causing unnecessary heartache to innocent and law-abiding citizens.
By the way, Bok House is crying out to be saved from ending up as dust and rubble in our memory of a long forgotten era of grand old buildings in KL.
Would Dr Rais be interested to do something positive for a change?
Labels: Local governance
Monday, August 14, 2006
Save the Coliseum, Save Bok House!
On the one hand, S. Vikneswaran, 25, is starting an e-mail and signature campaign to "Save Our Coliseum" from being forcibly acquired by the Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry.
On the other, The Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM) is urging the government to save Bok House from being demolished by declaring it a national heritage.
Contrast the following two reports appearing in our local papers today:-
The Star, page N23, 14 August 2006
Moviegoer starts campaign to ‘Save Our Coliseum’
KUALA LUMPUR: Frequent moviegoer S. Vikneswaran, 25, has started an e-mail and signature campaign to “Save Our Coliseum” because of his fond memories of the theatre since he watched his first movie there at the age of five.
He is calling on all fans of the cinema to show their support and come and sign the petition at the Coliseum on Aug 19 at 2pm.
“I do not belong to any NGO, and I am starting this campaign from the bottom of my heart because I have had a liking for the cinema since I was five,” said Vikneswaran, 25, a clerk. He has already sent more than 1,000 e-mails and distributed the notices for the signature campaign to various places in the city.
“If the Government takes over Coliseum it would mean there’ll be no more great places for Indian movies in Kuala Lumpur. Whenever a relative came from outstation we would take him or her to the Coliseum for a movie. It is ideally located for Indian moviegoers because they can watch a movie, dine and shop along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman,” Vikneswaran said.
He added that there were other heritage places in the city that could be taken over as a heritage centre.
“There are several unoccupied buildings along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman that could be taken over for a heritage centre. Why do they want to acquire Coliseum when it has created so many fond memories for Malaysians all these years.”
Many of his married friends informed him that their first movie date was at the Coliseum.
Meanwhile, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim will be meeting the cinema’s owner this week to discuss the future of the cinema.
The late Chua Cheng Bok built the Coliseum Cinema during his lifetime. After his death in 1940, the Coliseum Cinema property formed part of the estate of Chua Cheng Bok.
Save Bok House, says IEM
The Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM) is deeply concerned that Bok House, which was completed in 1929, is in danger of being demolished.
"We urge the government to save Bok House by declaring it a national heritage. The government is empowered to do so under the National Heritage Act 2005. IEM is willing to play its part to maintain the national heritage when Bok House is so saved by the government," it added.
IEM said the well-known civil engineering firm of Swan & Maclaren designed and built Bok House, which represents Kuala Lumpur's grandest neo-classical mansion.
"Bok House is an outstanding example of how a classical European Palladian villa was adopted to Malaysia's tropical climate with its deep verandahs," IEM said in a statement.
Swan & Maclaren was one of the three leading firms designing commercial and residential buildings including among others, Raffles Hotel (1899) and Victoria Memorial Hall (1905) in Singapore and Victoria Institute (1929) in Kuala Lumpur. It played a significant role in the development of modern architecture in the region.
IEM said it would be proud and honoured to serve as the Government-appointed caretaker and custodian of Bok House.
Like blogger HJ Angus said here: "The indecent haste to acquire the COLISEUM CINEMA in KL shows that the authorities can be very callous when they want to show their power.
Just imagine offering RM500k for a well-maintained building on prime building land just because the Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry were affected by the present heatwave and came up with this half-baked idea."
And blogger Maverick has opined that: "Adverse acquisition, the compulsory acquisition by the government of properties belonging to the citizen is provided for, under the statute.
However, the manner it can be done and had been done is the fear that wide discretionary and uncontrolled power had been given to the executives and ministers, who could, in the name of the government, under the disguise or pretext of some state needs for development or under the name of HERITAGE, forced the property owner out of their possession.
Title by 'adverse acquisition' seems to resemble ‘Title by theft or robbery’, a primitive method of acquiring property without paying adequately for it. Wrongful taking eventually generates rightful title.” (adapted from HW Ballantine; ‘Title by Adverse Possession’)."
Does the above two contrasting fate affecting old buildings in our country tell us something about the way our government viz-a-viz it's political leaders view the true value of our heritage and culture as against the desire to satisfy certain selfish motivation for commercial & economic purposes?
Labels: Local governance
The case of migrants & internal security
Spotted this on page 6 of The SUN today:-
Press Digest by Kong See Hoh
POLICE will beef up their crime beat with 2,000 more patrol cars and additional manpower.
Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Fu Ah Kiow says the cabinet recently approved the additional patrol cars and manpower to maintain law and order, according to a report in Sin Chew Daily yesterday.
Fu admitted the country still face a shortage of police personnel. The police-to-population ratio in Malaysia is lower than that in many other countries.
"There is a need to recruit more personnel to improve the ratio in the long term," he said.
Fu told the daily in an interview that drug addicts and foreign workers are two main factors contributing to the high number of snatch-theft crimes. ...
It is interesting to note the acknowledgment by Datuk Fu that foreign workers have contributed to the issue of escalating crime in our country.
But are we doing enough to address the problem of increasing presence of foreigners in our land, including the fact that we have even made it easy for a huge number of them to obtain citizenship (and bumiputra status with all the attendant perks & privileges) for reasons best known to our government?
Look at the following report also from The SUN:-
More than five million alien workers by 2010, says Fong
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is likely to have more than five million alien workers by 2010, if the employers' current thirst for foreign labour is not quenched, Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn said today (Aug 11, 2006).
"We now have about 1.8 million foreign workers. Local employers are submitting a large number of applications monthly to the Home Ministry to employ more foreign workers.
"If this problem is not addressed now, it is highly probable that the total number of foreign workers in this country may well exceed five million by the year 2010," he said in a luncheon address at the Law Association for Asia and Pacific (Lawasia) Labour Law Conference here.
He said the country had to deal with various aspects of foreign labour, especially in areas pertaining to legal and social framework like terms and conditions of employment, orientation and skills training, protection under the employment laws, security of tenure, social security and insurance, trade unionism, industrial relations and industrial adjudication.
1.8 million foreign workers now ... possibly more than 5 million in 2010!! (How many millions more originally foreign workers now legally absorbed into our community as citizens of Malaysia?)
You do the maths as against the population of those Malaysians who have been here prior to Merdeka and whose parents and grandparents have settled here for more than 2 generations before we are allowed to call ourselves Malaysians.
And I'm not just referring to the mostly Indonesian-born new citizens in the Peninsular but just look at what is happening in Sabah & Sarawak. We have thrown our gates wide open to migrants in such an indiscriminate fashion that it has now come back to haunt us in ways that we are just beginning to comprehend.
Can these people fend for themselves during less than prosperous times? If our country is affected by a global economic downturn and decent-paying jobs become scarce for them, what will happen to them and the families they had brought along to live here? Will they return to their countries of birth or will they be a burden to their adopted country?
Anyway, coming back to the issue of public safety in Malaysia, I am glad that the cabinet has recognised the urgency to restore some semblance of law and order in our country.
It will take some years to beef up our police force but better late than never. I hope more allocations will be set aside in the upcoming budget to increase our police workforce and do all that is necessary to restore the image of our law enforcers in the eyes of the jaded public.
Whatever happened to the IPCMC proposal, by the way? That is one good suggestion which has yet to see the light of day.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
The humble cobbler man
Pak is a cobbler man. He operates from the kaki lima along one of the shops lining the main street in Seremban town.
All his prized possessions which he needed to ply his trade are housed in the bright blue wooden box, which he kept locked at the end of the day.
He came from Sumatra, Indonesia many years ago with his brother. Not exactly a man of many words, he went about his trade studiously, pausing every now and then to smoke his cigarette which he positioned on an empty rusty tin can when his hands are full.
It's a dying scene in most urban towns. But I'm grateful for his service. For RM7 to re-sole a pair of my favourite sandals, it sure beats having to pay RM40 to have the same thing done at IKANO.
Friday, August 11, 2006
Amazing AIRASIA advertisement
The full page AirAsia advertisement carried on page N22 of The Star is attention-grabbing.
A half-page red banner screamed:-
when you can fly
On the lower half, a bubbly girl in a red uniform carried a cheeky placard: "Easy to Book, More Frequencies".
If you have travelled on AirAsia before, you will know that they really mean it when they say, "At AirAsia, no one gets treated like a second-class citizen."
Why? Because we all get treated like third-class citizen lar!
Regardless if you are a Tan Sri, Datuk, Dr, Mr, young or old, citizens or foreigners like the Europeans, Thais, Indonesians, Banglas, Nepalese, Chinese etc ... you all have to fight to get in line when the boarding gates are opened.
And you all have to carry your bags & WALK that distance, under rain or shine, to get to the aircraft.
That's very fair and square, isn't it?
For a few Ringgit, you'll get comfy leather seat ...
Yeah, but they forgot to mention that the leather seat was kinda hard on the bottom and the legroom was virtually non-existent, so you don't exactly feel comfortable if your flight lasts more than an hour and a half. And they don't have pipe-in music to take away the boredom of a long flight. (Alright, I know this is a budget airline but how much does it cost to provide some pipe-in lounge music?)
... and a fun and friendly crew who treats you the way you like to be treated.
Uh oh kay ... their crew are certainly fun & friendly on one of my flights to Bangkok when they started doing a "pasar malam routine" selling their airline merchandise. It was funny the way the steward shouted "Mari, mari, mari, ... cukup murah ... pen cuma harga RM..." I don't know what the foreigners think though.
And one time there was a lucky draw on a flight to Chiangmai, and ten "lucky" passengers were rewarded with various AirAsia merchandise like caps, T-shirts, etc. That was also interesting and liven up the otherwise dull 3-hour flight.
But, I don't think they, in general, treat us passengers the way we like to be treated.
No, no. I don't like to start queuing up more than half an hour before boarding starts, all because it is almost the norm for seasoned travellers to do that in order to get the best seats.
I'd like to be treated with more respect even though AirAsia thinks I'm paying peanuts for my flight and that I shouldn't complain like a monkey.
And more often than not, you will find that it doesn't matter if you were one of the earliest ones to check in.
Invariably, the latecomers will be those who aggressively push their way to the front of the queue, elbowing even the old folks and kids who are supposed to be given priority in boarding.
Someone once suggested an idea in a letter published in a local newspaper. Why can't they implement a colour-coded sticker so that they can allow passengers to board in maybe blocks of 30 people at one time to prevent the ridiculous scramble each time?
And this will also be fair to those who took the trouble to check in early, as well as families with kids & old folks. And also for the sake of the poor harassed gate crew who have to control the sometimes unruly mob.
"It's so easy to book and you can even choose to sit anywhere you like!"
Yes, I agree that one of the best things about AirAsia, apart from it's really low fares, is that it is really so easy to book via the Internet. That is, if you manage to log in to their website.
But again, about having the choice to sit anywhere you like, this again depends on whether you are one of those people who manage to get in the line first.
Like I said earlier, in order to get to choose your preferred seats, you have to be aggressive to the point of offensive sometimes. You need to make sure you are in front of the queue. And boy, do you see some people who's mission in life seem to be to stand right up there in front! (Don't be surprised if you see the same people being photographed scrambling for free food during festive open houses.)
I have witnessed so many embarrassing moments when the scramble to board turned ordinarily decent people into rude and "kiasu" terrors. I have also seen a few arguments broke out when someone refused to give way quietly to those who sneakily jumped queue when the crew lost control of the crowd.
I wonder why AirAsia cannot come up with a better way to deal with this awful situation which reflect so badly on the inability of our people to behave in a civilised manner.
Tak apa lah, low cost memang low class ...
"It's no wonder more than 20 million guests have embraced the AirAsia experience."
It's the low fare lar, stupid!
That's why we put up with the low class treatment at LCCT. That's why despite our grumbles, we still line up in droves to board your flights. That's why you can continue to ignore good suggestions to improve your service.
Amazing AirAsia - amazingly successful despite the flaws.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Govt acknowledge rising crime, but is it enough?
Our deputy prime minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has acknowledged the fact that rising crime is a worrying problem for the Government as reported in today's news.
The NST, 10 August 2006
Govt will provide safe environment
KUALA LUMPUR: Everyone has the right to live without the fear of being attacked or mugged.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the Government would not tolerate such crimes and would continue to work towards a safe environment for the people.
He said this was one of the reasons why Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi wanted closed-circuit television cameras across the country to curb crime.
He said there was a need to raise the people’s awareness to help prevent crime.
"It doesn’t mean we are going to reduce the number of policemen but we want people to co-operate with the police to implement a more comprehensive crime prevention strategy," he said at the Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation’s charity dinner last night.
He said snatch thefts had become rampant.
"The increasing number of cases should make everyone uncomfortable because who knows, we could be a victim if we are not careful," he said.
He said many people were now living in fear.
"We are shocked by the deaths of a teenager who was mugged in Wangsa Maju and also of a woman in Kuantan."
Yes sir, we thank you for your kind attention to this matter and the promises made to us (again!) that the Government will work towards a safer environment for the people.
While I agree with you that we all should play a part in assisting the police to combat the rising crime rate, would it not help the situation a whole lot more by providing additional police personnel on walking beats as practised in the past?
From what we see these days, most of our police move around comfortably in their air-conditioned cars and motorcycles. No wonder we see a number of our policemen obviously looking less than fit and trim enough to give chase to criminals should the need arises.
Maybe they lack the exercise they used to get patrolling our streets ON FOOT?
I don't want to sound too negative. I welcome all efforts from all parties in giving utmost attention to this issue and I certainly thank leaders like Pak Lah, Najib and Opposition Leader Mr Lim for being willing to talk about this so that our newspapers can also play their part in promoting the urgency in resolving this menacing problem.
The police should, on top of urging the public to give them full co-operation and a helping hand, also look into all possible avenues to deter petty and dangerous criminals from running loose and fancy free on our streets and neighbourhood.
One precious life lost is one too many to bear for the family and loved ones concerned.
Let us all be proactive and not treat this as merely an exercise in talking. Everyone has said enough to be understood and many promises have been made and forgotten.
Please, for goodness sake, do try harder not to turn this latest episode into yet another "cerita hangat-hangat tahi ayam".
THANK YOU and have a safe day!
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Thanks, Mr Opposition
I appreciate the fact that our Opposition Leader, Mr Lim Kit Siang has highlighted the distressing escalation of crime in Malaysia on his blog here. I hope he will spearhead a nationwide campaign to persuade our government to view this matter seriously.
His call to restore a peaceful & low-crime nation to all Malaysians is timely:-
"Sunday saw another fatal victim of a snatch-thief – the avoidable death of 25-year-old sales girl Ng Chew Lim who sustained internal head injuries when she fell down the staircase in a scuffle with a drug addict at the Berjaya Megamall shopping centre in Kuantan.
... the Inspector-General of Police-designate, Tan Sri Musa Hassan, said ... a large number of murders, rapes, robberies and snatch thefts have been blamed on those under the influence of designer drugs, who “tend to be aggressive and fail to understand the consequences of their actions”.
What is the message? That the Police are helpless in the face of the crime wave? That the times of only the recent past when Malaysians are free from crime and the fear of crime are gone forever, never to return? That Malaysians must be prepared for crime to strike anytime, any place, regardless of public places, streets and even the privacy of their homes? ..."
She dies after tussle with snatch thief (NST, 8 Aug 2006)
M. Hamzah Jamaludin
KUANTAN: When Ng Chiew Lim opted to use the staircase at the Berjaya Megamall shopping centre on Sunday, little did she know that a snatch thief would be waiting for prey there.
Seconds after the 25-year-old salesgirl began descending to the ground floor at 7pm, a youth, sniffing glue, began trailing her.
He tried to snatch her handbag only to have the victim fight back. In the melee, both fell.
The thief escaped injury and fled to the ground floor but Ng was not so fortunate.
She sustained internal injuries and sat on the steps, nursing her head. Shoppers who rushed into the area on hearing the commotion found her mute and in a state of shock.
Ng was rushed to the nearby Kuantan Medical Centre where she lapsed into a coma. Doctors tried to save her but failed and she died at 11am yesterday.
... Meanwhile, Ng’s family were devastated when met at the hospital.
How many more heart-breaking incidents like this are we to endure before our police force realise we need their help to protect us from falling victim, again & again?
Marina says what?
I read Marina's Musing column on page T18 of The Star today, titled "Limitations on speech".
I can symphatise with her when she said that she is at a loss as to what to write these days. Of course, she probably has more stress to come up with something each week considering that she's being paid for it.
Bloggers like us, who write for non-monetary reasons, feel even more depressed when we realise that what we do can get us into trouble by a mere slip of the fingers on our keyboard. That is why every now and then, we talk about going into "hiatus" simply because we are rather "sien" about the whole thing.
But we always come back in double quick time, eh? Talk about tortured minds!
Anyway, I like the following observations she made (the bold highlights are mine):-
"... But now I don't know what to write about. I had wanted to write about how the environment in our local schools is turning out little racists (including my daughter) but I guess I can't because that's sensitive.
I thought also of writing about how I've become addicted to reading blogs recently but then lately, the Internet and the blogosphere particularly have been deemed seething hellholes of lies and misinformation so I can't talk about that either, at least not in the bastion of truthfulness, the mainstream media.
I'd like to talk about my religion and how self-appointed defenders have painted it as one that so lacks compassion, ignores justice and fairness and promotes inequalities between men and women and between those professing it and those not.
But then some people have cited me as one of those who really should not be allowed to talk because apparently I give the country a bad name.
I guess people who storm forums, write untruths, scream and shout at people with different opinions give a better image of our beloved country. So I can't talk about this either.
So what can I talk about? ... Should I migrate to the cyberworld?
But then, writing my column online would be like waving a red flag to all the keyboard-happy-can't-think-of-anything-nice-to-say-about-anyone lot out there and I really would rather not have a life more stressed than it is already. ..."
I have a lot of respect for you, but, I think it was not so nice of you to accuse bloggers like us as a bunch of "keyboard-happy-can't-think-of-anything-nice-to-say" lot.
Are we really that bad?
But I suppose, if we want to write feel-good stuff all the time, bloggers like me would change our subject focus and start telling raunchy jokes. Everyone likes a good laugh, don't they?
Now, that's certainly food for thought.
The boulevard of broken dreams
History tells us that all 4 of our ex-prime ministers did not achieve a fulfilment of their dreams and wishes while in office.
The present tells us that our current prime minister is about to have his dreams and wishes shunted halfway, if one man's determined and vociferous mission is ultimately fruitful.
Maybe Putrajaya should rename the road leading to the Perdana Leadership Foundation building and call it "The Boulevard of Broken Dreams".
That would have been apt, wouldn't it?
Labels: BN politics
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
The gloves are off!
This double 7 month is serving up some tense moments.
Between Pak Lah's TV3 "interview" that got wide frontpage press coverage here, here and here and the press statement by Dr M at Universiti Teknologi Petronas which was reported online here, things are heating up to near boiling point.
Did I tell you I'm not looking forward to this?
Labels: BN politics
Monday, August 07, 2006
Siti Loves PAK BESAR!
Spotted this very small paragraph inserted right at the end of a title heading "Bangla gigolo blackmails female exec" on page N27 of The Star paper today:-
" ... Mingguan Malaysia reported that Siti Nurhaliza revealed to an audience of around 100 at the TV3's Tiada Rahsia programme that her pet name for Datuk K was Pak Besar."
I did a double-take.
Firstly, I noticed this news because of my curiosity over the Bangla gigolo. But I find the last bit of news slotted right at the end even more interesting than the gigolo, or should I say, revealing?
So ... Siti,
PAK BESAR eh??
ehem ... hehe ... ehem *snigger snigger* ...
heh heh heh ... *slightly out of breathe*
Alright, alright!! I admit I got a crooked mind, but THAT was a GOOD ONE, isn't it??
SITI the virginal beauty loves PAK BESAR, the guy with the big one.
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Malaysia's Visionary (according to icapital)
I attended the second AGM of icapital.biz Berhad at the Eastin Hotel, Petaling Jaya yesterday morning. Actually, I don't normally go to AGMs of public listed companies but on this occasion, I went there to hear what Mr Tan Teng Boo has to say, the designated person of icapital.biz Berhad who was scheduled to give a short presentation at the end of the AGM.
It was an interesting morning, more so because the attendance was pretty impressive considering no meals (not even coffee & tea) were served and no door gifts were promised. All the seats in the hall were almost fully taken up and the Q&A sessions were quite lively. Mr Tan made a remark which sums up what he thought of our local stock market ie the Bursa Malaysia: the current joke among investors is that the Bursa is neither dead nor alive. He also likened it to a glass half full, or even half empty - you may call it whatever you wish. But the fact remains that the neither here nor there situation is not helping our country in realizing its economic potential, which is a shame.
I won't go into details of what I heard and saw at the AGM, and please, do not pose questions to me on this as well. I normally don't retain such information very well simply because I'm not interested in talking about such stuff. Boring after all is said and done.
But, I want to share with you an interesting write-up which was included in the stack of documents I received at the door. It was a 3-page copy extracted from their newsletter ICapital@Vol.16 No. 11. 28/10/2004 titled "MALAYSIA'S VISIONARY". (Oh, I hope they won't threaten me with violating their copyright by posting it here.) Here are the interesting parts:-
Malaysia's modern history is short, not surprising given her young age. However, even with such a short history, a lot of key facts are already forgotten or conveniently swept under the badly maintained Malaysian carpet.
One can ask, does this matter? How is it related to investing and the stock market? iCapital has always advised that besides knowing accounting and economics, an investor needs to know history and philosophy well. This week, we take a walk down memory lane.
This week, iCapital will share with its subscribers some interesting but forgotten or unknown facts about the Malaysian Prime Minister who is or was the most visionary of all.
Most subscribers, especially the younger ones, would give the wrong answer and still not know that it is the wrong answer. As a socially responsible investment adviser, iCapital is duty bound to give its independent views on the matter and help set the record straight.
The most visionary Prime Minister of Malaysia is none other than Tunku Abdul Rahman, our first Prime Minister who led the country from 1957 to 1970, when he was politically forced to step down.
Articles and history books will tell you that he is known as the father of independence. There is no dispute about this. Based on this factor alone, Tunku Abdul Rahman (TAR) should already be named as the most visionary Prime Minister. But there are more than this to justify him winning the title of the most visionary Malaysian Prime Minister.
(Tunku Abdul Rahman) was apparently forced out for giving too much to the non-Malays and neglecting the socio-economic interests of the Malays.
Yet at the same time, the non-Malays were dissatisfied with the government policies and attitude towards them under TAR. This is usually what happens when a leader is a visionary and the voters cannot see that far or beyond their own narrow self-interests. TAR was blamed for having economic policies that were too free market-oriented or too laissez-faire.
Again the facts pointed the other way. Let us look at some of them.
The Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA), probably one of the most successful agricultural development schemes the world has seen, was created in 1956 (how many Malaysians know this?). In 1960, 10,500 acres of land were opened up by FELDA. By 1970, 308,400 acres were opened up and 20,700 families were settled on 90 schemes. One community has benefitted greatly from this scheme.
The Federal Agricultural Marketing Agency (FAMA) was set in 1965. This body were set up to improve the marketing system and ensure that farmers obtain fair prices for their products.
Bank Pertanian Malaysia was setup in 1969. It was set up to provide credit facilities to farmers on reasonable terms.
MARDI or the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute was set up in 1968. It was to facilitate research into the potential of various agricultural crops.
Bank Bumiputra was set up as a commercial bank in 1965. Its focus was to provide credit and banking facilities to Malays and the other indigenous people in commerce, industry and other economic activities.
Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) was set up in 1966.
Universiti Teknologi Mara started off in 1956 as a rural training centre. It was renamed Mara College in 1965 with the mission of providing professional training for bumiputras. In 1967, it was renamed Mara Institute of Technology.
All the above institutions are still around and were set up during Tunku Abdul Rahman's time.
Although the list is not exhaustive, it is obvious that TAR was dead serious about vastly improving the socio-economic conditions of the Malays and he had the vision to launch the relevant institutions to achieve them.
Four decades later, others are taking the credit for promoting the interests of the Malays.
But the greatness of TAR's vision was not confined to only this. For the Malaysian economy, it was already on the path of diversification and broadening the economic base.
The dependence on rubber and tin was reduced quickly. Within 6 years, their share of total exports dropped from 62.2% in 1965 to 53.8% in 1970.
Unknown to many Malaysians, the palm oil industry was already expanding rapidly in the Sixties. The area under palm oil surged from 132,000 acres in 1960 to 665,000 acres in 1980. Growth in timber production and exports during the Sixties exceeded all expectations. Production of plywood and crude petroleum also surged.
Industrialisation was also already beginning. Manufacturing output from 1961-65 grew 9.9% p.a. and from 1966-70, it expanded 10.4% p.a. The share of manufacturing in the GDP jumped from 8.5% in 1960 to 13% by 1970. ...
But the vision of Tunku Abdul Rahman was not confined to just economics.
He had great foresight, for example, to continue whatever good the British colonial master had built up for Malaysia. TAR did not destroy or change something just for the sake of change or blind nationalism like meaningless acts of changing the names of roads.
Petaling Jaya, the modern thriving suburb of Kuala Lumpur, was already being built in the Fifties but its development accelerated in the Sixties.
The Rubber Research Institute (RRI) continued to be managed professionally and remained the world's leading rubber research institute then.
The judiciary was very highly respected, both at home and abroad and TAR wisely did not interfere. The rule of law was never in question. Malaysians could even make their legal appeals to the courts in England.
Bahasa Malaysia was made the official language but English continued to be widely practised at standards that Malaysians may never ever be able to regain. Government schools were the natural choice of young Malaysians and were not deserted by the various races because these schools were respected and trusted by all Malaysians.
Tunku Abdul Rahman had the great wisdom and vision of being able to identify what is good for the future of Malaysia. He was smart enough to build upon the excellent institutions that the British had left behind and implement policies that were really forward looking. Looking back with hindsight, his policies were ahead of his times.
In the Sixties, Malaysians were not complacent.
They were living in a performance-based system where meritocracy was recognised and encouraged. The University of Malaya very quickly became a highly respected university in the entire Commonwealth.
Our badminton team conquered the world. Our athletes were Asian champions. Religion was not politicised. The Malaysian society was much, much more liberal than what it is today.
Despite the May 1969 racial tension, the different races were ACTUALLY able to mix very freely and easily. Politics were politics; business was business. Unlike nowadays, the Anti-Corruption Agency of Malaysia began its formal operations on 1st Oct 1967.
Led by Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Tan Siew Sin and Tun Sambanthan, the Malaysian government in the Sixties was not perceived as being plagued by rampant corruption, again unlike nowadays.
By any standards, the above achievements were world-class and made Malaysians proud. TAR was recognised and treated as a global statesman. He was made the first secretary-general of the 57-nation OIC or the Organisation of Islamic Conference.
When these achievements are remembered in the context of the milieu existing then, they become even more significant and one would truly realise that TAR was the real visionary. As a young nation, Malaysia had to face huge challenges.
The communist insurgency had just ended in 1960. There was the debilitating military confrontation launched by Indonesia. Singapore had to split. The British was withdrawing their military presence east of Suez. There were global currency and financial crises. The Sixties was the height of the Cold War between the US and the USSR. The Vietnam War was escalating and there were fears that the rest of Southeast Asia was going communist too. Locally, despite the sustained economic growth, unemployment remained a serious problem. The unemployment rate worsened from 6% in 1962 to 6.6% in 1967. This was partly due to rapid population growth and the very difficult environment that young Malaysia was experiencing then.
After he was forced to retire, Malaysia was never the same again and has been sinking ever since.
The standard of English declined and is still declining. The education system became politicised and the quality suffered severely, probably beyond repair.
Malaysian sports became politicised too and consequently Malaysians disappeared from the badminton rostrums. Under the 22 years of the 4th Prime Minister, the rule of law was forgotten and corruption at all levels became rampant. Business, politics and corruption became inseparable under the guise of Malaysia Inc.
The judiciary became a source of embarassment instead of pride. Religious fundamentalism became very intertwined with politics and this destroyed the entire landscape of an open Malaysian society. Different races go to different schools and Malaysians of all races face more barriers at interacting thn during TAR's times. Meritocracy and a performance-based system were replaced by complacency and a get rich quick mentality that cuts across all communities. Now, we cannot find the equivalent of a RRI. A generally market-based economy was mistakenly replaced by state capitalism and as a result, the Malaysian economy is now stuck with its worst features.
In summary, what was visionary about Tunku Abdul Rahman?
First, let us sum up his policies and philosophy. In terms of economics, he was very wisely adopting a balanced economic development approach, unlike the 4th Prime Minister.
Developing agriculture went hand in hand with industrialisation. The core sectors of rubber and tin were strengthened with new sources of growth being aggressively developed at the same time. TAR's economic policies were more market based or laissez-faire than his successors. Meritocracy and performance were kept as important criteria across the nation - be it in sports, economics, education, etc.
Tunku Abdul Rahman knew the importance of English. His political philosophy encouraged an open and tolerant Malaysian society. The tragedy for Malaysia was the failure of the ruling party to see the vision and the wisdom of TAR's multi-facet policies. Had they continued with his policies, Malaysia would have succeeded far beyond what she has achieved so far.
To our Malaysian subscribers of all races, make sure you all know the facts and whom you are calling as the most visionary Malaysian Prime Minister.
But more important than this was the cruel and tragic fact that Tunku Abdul Rahman was forced out by short sighted, impatient senior politicians in the ruling party.
Imagine if we had continued with his farsighted policies. The success of the Malaysian economy would be similar to Singapore and we would have even surpassed South Korea or Taiwan by now. The KLSE would be trading at 3-4,000 points now instead of a miserable 850.
As Abdullah Badawi gets ready for his second year, it is time for UMNO, MCA, MIC, the Malay, The Chinese, the Indian and the other communities to redefine what is visionary.
We all "killed" Malaysia's most visionary Prime Minister. Let us now be truly visionary and ensure that the future of Malaysia does not belong to the greedy and the short sighted ...
Capital Dynamics Sdn Bhd Tel: 03-20702104/05 website: www.icapital.biz
p.s.: I hope you enjoyed reading the above, because I spent a LONGGGGG time typing it out!!!
Labels: BN politics
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Something's being done about Johor's crime rate
The plight of Johoreans have reached the ears of Johor's state police chief and today's news is like a breathe of fresh air amid the barrage of bad news dominating the local press recently.
It seems like the police has finally woken up to the sorry state of affairs (pun intended) and the latest brutal murder of a housewife in front of her kids must have hit them hard too.
The STAR, 3 August 2006 (page N33)
Johor cops launch crime prevention operation
JOHOR BARU: Police here have launched a state-wide operation to stem the rising crime rate, including carrying out surveillance at “crime hot spots” and setting up roadblocks.
State deputy police chief Senior Asst Comm (I) Datuk Koh Hong Sun said the operation would involve all police stations. “They will be carrying out crime prevention operations using patrol cars and setting up roadblocks,” he said, adding that the operation would be on until Aug 9.
SAC Koh said it would target three rampant crimes in the state – wayside robbery and snatch and motorcycle theft.
“This is a continuation of the previous crime prevention operation held between June 27 and July 11,” he said, adding that crime in Johor Baru had dropped by almost 30% with the deployment of additional manpower from the Federal Reserve Unit.
Among the 16 areas under surveillance in the city are Jalan Tun Razak, Jalan Meldrum, Kotaraya, Jalan Wong Ah Fook, Lingkaran Seget, Jalan Dobi, Jalan Ungku Puan, Jalan Trus, Jalan Swee Nam and Jalan Nge Heng.
SAC Koh also said police would meet with representatives from major banks in the state soon to forge better co-operation. “We hope the public can continue channelling information to us through our hotline or RakanCop,” he said. He added that more than 4,924 Johoreans had registered as RakanCop members since it was introduced early this year.
The public can contact the police hotline at 07-2254 499 or 07-2212 999 or SMS RakanCop at 32728.
My only grouse: Why should the operation be targetted to last only for a week, until August 9?
Crime prevention should be an on-going exercise on a longer term basis for it to be effective, especially so in a crime-infested city like JB.
And curiously, there is this update in The Star's on-line portal today, further fine-tuning the proposed operation to make it more effective, but yet no mention that this exercise should be something which is made a permanent agenda of the state police force:-
Johor adds Chinese SMS into Rakan Corp programme
JOHOR BARU: If the language barrier has deterred some from the Chinese community to join Rakan Cop, it will no longer be a problem soon as the Johor police are incorporating Chinese a short messaging service (SMS) into the programme.
Johor police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Hussin Ismail said once launched, Johor would be the first state to have such a service. The service, he added, should be in place in two to three weeks.
“Some people may not be signing up with Rakan Cop because Bahasa Malaysia could be an obstacle for them. We don’t want that to be an obstacle, because everyone has a responsibility to take care of themselves, their housing area and their family,” said he said on Wednesday at a dinner with 30 Chinese associations under the Johor Baru Tiong-Hua Federation.
Recently, the Johor Baru (Zon Barat) MCA and the Johor Baru (North) police headquarters also came together to set up a crime victim assistance team to help those in the Chinese community in Skudai who have difficulty in lodging police reports because they cannot speak Bahasa Malaysia.
DCP Hussin urged those who did not know how to contact the police to call the hotline at 07-2212 999 or send an SMS to Rakan Cop at 32728.
The government can no longer deny that our country has a serious problem dealing with snatch thieves who have turned menacingly dangerous with no qualms to kill their victims whether provoked or not.
It does not matter where it happened, be it KL, JB or elsewhere, ultimately it is always heart-wrenching to hear of victims dying in the hands of these scums, all for want of a paltry sum they carry in their pockets.
That the Prime Minister has taken notice of this despicable crime bringing much grief to the families of the victims is heartfelt.
PM wants theft curbed and the public kept safe
PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi wants “things to be done” and the public kept safe, as he is concerned over the increasing number of violent snatch thefts.
Police had been asked to beef up patrols and surveillance to prevent snatch thefts and violent acts, said Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad.
He said Abdullah and Cabinet ministers were briefed by Housing and Local Government Minister and MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting on two incidents where Tunku Abdul Rahman College students had fallen victim to violence.
The Cabinet was told that accountancy student Lee Khian Yip, 18, died from slash wounds inflicted by two men on a motorcycle in Wangsa Maju on Saturday. Another student, Phang Kar Wei, 23, was repeatedly assaulted and slashed three times on his neck and hands, also by two men on a motorcycle just 15 minutes after Khian Yip was attacked. Kar Wei was assaulted in Taman Melati, about 2km from Wangsa Maju.
Radzi said the Cabinet was shocked to hear from Ong that a “large number” of the 2,000 people at an open forum on Tuesday were snatch theft victims.
“While the police have done a lot to overcome this problem, more needs to be done,” he told reporters after his ministry’s weekly post-Cabinet meeting. “That is why the Prime Minister wants something done.
“On the Government’s part, we have amended the Penal Code to reflect the severity of the crime. Those who commit snatch thefts will be dealt with severely by the law.”.
He said Section 390(e), on snatch theft, would send a clear message to offenders that it would be treated as robbery, and no longer as theft, where they could be jailed up to 14 years and be whipped.
Radzi said snatch thefts in Kuala Lumpur had declined due to closed-circuit television cameras having been placed in “critical areas” to monitor the situation. “The public must also play their part by being vigilant and careful about their safety. They should not take their safety for granted. If they take more steps to look after their safety, then half the battle is won,” he said.
Related Story: Police step up manhunt in Setapak to nab suspects
I have just one appeal to the cops:
Make this crime prevention operation a permanent agenda in your on-going efforts to protect our citizens from dying needlessly in the hands of these criminals!
And a reminder to all Johoreans and visitors to this city-state:
Remember this number: POLICE HOTLINE 07-2254 499 or 07-2212 999 or SMS RakanCop at 32728.
If you encounter problems getting the co-operation of the police in handling your relevant problems, please contact your nearest elected representative office for assistance.
You will be heeding the call from our Prime Minister to "Work with Him" in tackling the rising crime problem by being proactive.
May Johoreans see a return to times of peace and prosperity soon!
Labels: Social ills