Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Sabah, the poorest and most backward state in Malaysia seems to have the magic wand when it comes to giving away their money to charity.
Seemingly poor Sabahans are not so poor after all when it's time to give away their money for a good cause.This act of charity and compassion can be seen in many charity concerts/functions held in the state, where almost every function, no matter how crappy the show is, have been well attended.
It's interesting to note that the people of this poor state can be so generous in spite of being called backward and poor. Where the hell their money come from?They probably have stacks of money hidden under their pillows.
The recent cyclone in Burma and earthquake in China have brought tragic and massive deaths and destruction to people and properties.As usual funds were raised by the government and the media by asking the public to donate.
In Sabah, a local newspaper the Daily Express launched a donation drive soon after the disasters.To date it has collected the amount as shown below:
1.China quake disaster RM453,275.80
2.The Myanmar cyclone disaster RM132,484.00
The total collection is almost touching RM600,000. and would be closed on Thursday, 29th May.
Similarly, the Star launched its donation drive about the same time and has collected as follows:
1. China quake disaster RM 33,031.00
2. Myanmar cyclone disaster RM134,500.00
The total amount collected by the newspaper now stands at RM167,531.00
I have no idea whether there are other newspaper in Peninsula besides the Star that are also collecting donations for the two disasters.
Call it stupidity or good nature, Sabahans have been very patience with the Federal government over the issue of illegal immigrants for many decades. Now they have to suffer the consequences of their stupidity. There are more illegal immigrants than locals in the state.Many illegal immigrants have obtained citizenship by dubious means.
Just go to any towns on the east coast, Tawau, Lahad Datu and Sandakan, you probably think you are in Mindanao or Sulawesi.
Sabahans, for their good nature have become strangers in their own land.
Monday, May 26, 2008
On the 7 of October 2000 Noor Suzaily Mukhtar (photo below), a computer engineer took the public bus to work thinking it was the safest mode of transport for her as there would be many people on the bus.
She had no inkling that fate would take an evil turn that day that would take her on a horrifying journey to her death.She was raped, sodomised and brutally murdered in the bus by the driver. The perpetrator, Hanafi Mat Hassan is a married man with family of his own.
Noor Suzaily Mukhtar was a good Muslim girl who dressed accordingly.She was not in any revealing dress or made any attempt to dress in such a way to attract the opposite sex or to arouse their sexual appetite.She was properly attired and wore a tudung (headscarf) yet she was raped and killed.
Schools girls Farra Derba Rustam and Nurul Hanis Kamil (photo left) who were adolescence also met the same fate on February 13th and July 3rd 2001 respectively. They were young innocent girls who were just reaching puberty and wouldn't have yet reached the level of sexuality to know how to be attractive to the opposite sex.
Than there was the famous case of Canny Ong who was kidnapped from the basement car park of Bangsar Shopping Centre brutally raped and murdered, also by a married man.The case of Nurin Jazlin, the pretty 7 year old girl brutally raped, murdered and her body stuffed in a bag.The latest case was Sharliene Mohd Nashar abducted on Jan 10 2008 and still missing.Are the dresses they used on the fateful day to be blamed for what happened to them.
There were many similar rapes and murders with many cases remain unsolved.
None of those victims were in revealing dresses yet they were raped and killed.
It is most disheartening that such shallow statement should come from the vice-president of the National Islamic Students Association of Malaysia. Munirah Bahari (photo left) who, like many religious bigots in this country, were just too lazy to do her homework before she opens her big mouth and embarrass herself.Even if she wishes to seek some publicity, at least do it with some finesse.
I find it intolerable that she uses religion to try score a point on a subject that concerned Malaysians of every race, colour and creed.If she has done her homework she wouldn't be making such presumptuous conclusion.
Police statistics on rape shows the breakdown of rape victims in the year 1995 as shown below:
Indians ( 97 )
The statistic above may shock Munirah.Most rape victims were Malay girls and most of them were dressed in compliance of Islamic dress code.Why are they raped? Are they more licentious?Should they be blamed for the rape?
There have been cases where even 70 year old grandmother had been raped by rapist less than half her age.Is she to be blamed for the way she dressed?
It is also an insult on the male psyche that she thinks of a girl or woman who dressed attractively as fair game for rape.Maybe, Munirah should take a trip to South Beach in Florida or Copacabana Beach in Rio, Brazil and see for herself how thousands of naked and half-naked women in all shapes and sizes frolicking the beach with hardly any of them getting raped.
Although she is not completely wrong in her observation, she could have better presented the case if she had looked at it from a moral standpoint rather than religious viewpoint.
I certainly agree students should have proper dress code and transparent blouses for girls may not be appropriate attire in schools.The Ministry of Education should look into it and rectify the problem if it is true.
Munirah also said "It becomes a distraction to men, who are drawn to it, whether or not they like looking at it," she said of the current uniform.
"All this leads to babies born out of wedlock and to an extent, even prostitution," she said.
Gosh! Where this gosling come from. Go back to school, baby!
Friday, May 23, 2008
If the saying 'pride goes before a fall' befitting anybody it would be former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad.A man befuddled with so much rage and hatred against his hand-picked successor Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, he is prepared to kill off his legacy just to get rid of Badawi by whatever means possible.
Why would an octogenarian like him, retired from the highest office and one who has transformed the country from a tropical backwater to a modern and successful nation be bothered by the dismal performance of his successor and the party and goes to such great length to tire himself and become a thorn in the flesh to the Prime Minister and the nation?
Mahathir has reached a point of despair and desperation and did the unthinkable, resigned his life membership from his party. The Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohammed Nazri Aziz called it a case of blackmail. The only sensible conclusion to his charade of caring for bangsa, ugama dan negara.
Mahathir might have 'cut his nose to spite his face' by resigning from his party and called on party members to leave the party.His tactical move to split the party to get rid of Abdullah by asking members to leave the party and only return after Abdullah's departure as party president and prime minister is damnable.He didn't get what he wanted.It didn't trigger off a mass exodus.It has the opposite effect, most senior party leaders closed ranks to show their support and loyalty to Abdullah.
Mahathir of all people should know from his twenty two years experience at the helm the kind of political patronage practised in UMNO and the invisible whip in the hand of the Prime Minister.He had used it more vigorously than any other prime ministers before him to keep his boys in line.So far there has been little indication of a mass exodus.
It certainly makes no sense to 'kill the goose that lays the golden egg' because of one old man lost legacy and vindictiveness. All of what Mahathir wanted to happen are perilous to the continued existence of UMNO. To do as suggested by him is suicidal for the party. There are predators waiting in the wings.
Mahathir is a man not short of conflicts,controversies and contradictions.He has picked a quarrel and parted ways with almost all of his deputies.
His tussle for the UMNO presidency against Tengku Razaleigh Hamza in 1987 where he won by a slim majority resulted in UMNO being declared an unlawful society by the court and emergence of a splinter party under Razaleigh called Semangat 46 and UMNO Baru under him.Semangat 46 was later dissolved and Razaleigh returned to the fold and to political wilderness.
The court ruling on the illegality of UMNO resulted in the sacking of the Lord President Tun Salleh Abas and a number of judges and the beginning of a dark chapter in the judiciary.Thereafter, the judiciary had been transformed from an independent body to one that is seen as subservient to the executives.
Last year a video tape of a lawyer trying to fix judicial appointments was released by Anwar Ibrahim to the public by posting it on YouTube which shocked the nation and eventually resulted in the setting up of a Royal Commission.The findings and recommendations of the Commission to investigate the six including Mahathir could have triggered off his latest reaction.
Mahathir thinks he has been unfairly treated, the Malays have abandoned him and that he had not broken any law in the course of his duty as Prime Minister although some of his actions in the past are considered as misdeeds by many Malaysians.
In 1987 a growing rift between him and Musa and misunderstanding and disagreement on policies led to the resignation of Musa as deputy prime minister.Many Malaysians called the government at that time the '2M government' which stands for Mahathir and Musa.Mahathir didn't like the version and were visibly annoyed and didn't want Musa in the limelight.Frustrated with Mahathir's autocratic style, Musa left the government and Malaysian politics on a sour note.
His next deputy was the rustic and less ambitious Ghafar Baba who posed no threat to him. Ghafar was eventually challenged by Anwar Ibrahim for the deputy president of the party and deputy prime minister.
In 1993 Anwar took over from Ghafar as Deputy Prime Minister and was also made the Minister of Finance. Anwar was seen as the blue-eyed boy of Mahathir and his meteoric rise to the top, overtaking other more senior party stalwarts, was not without the blessings of Mahathir.
The firebrand Anwar would soon become a cause for concern for Mahathir.Before he knew it, Anwar was already getting very popular with the rank and file and the Malay grassroots.Anwar's oratory skill and charisma attracted the young Turks in the party, a significant force to be reckon with and substantial political clout to make changes in the leadership.Talks had it, through the grapevine, that Anwar would challenge him at the next UMNO elections, which was vehemently denied by Anwar.From a protege Anwar had suddenly become an adversary and a threat to his position.
A mysterious book made its appearance at the UMNO General Assembly titled"50 Dalil Kenapa Anwar Tidak Boleh Jadi PM "(50 Reasons Why Anwar Should Not Be Prime Minister).The slanderous books were found inserted in the dockets of some delegates without their knowledge.Finally on 2 Sept 1998 Mahathir dropped the bombshell, asked Anwar to resign which Anwar refused.At about 7 p.m the same day Anwar received his letter of dismissal.Chain of events led to Anwar arrest on charges of corruption and sexual misconduct and was incarcerated for a few years but was later released from prison under Badawi's administration.
Anwar claimed they were trumped up charges brought about by Mahathir and tried under a judiciary subservient to him. Other than the abandonment of the crooked bridge, releasing Anwar from prison was another sore point he had with Badawi.
Now back to the present crisis with Abdullah Badawi.Why did Mahathir chose Abdullah as his successor and not Najib? Although he said he favours Najib over Abdullah but chose Abdullah because of age and seniority he has not been completely honest about what he said. When he said he actually wanted Najib, it was not all that true.At that time he sees Najib as a young man of his own mind and less likely to carry on his legacy and sees in Abdullah a soft, self-deprecating and amenable man whom he thinks he can manipulates and make use of to carry on his legacy.His underestimated Abdullah's capability of being not what he seems to be, as seen with the naked eye.Abdullah is not temperamental and can take criticism in his stride which Mahathir misconstrues as a weakness. It's the idiocy of 'judging the book by its cover'
It is, therefore, more difficult to read Abdullah's true character because he hardly display his temperament and has never been on the defensive or strike back when criticised. His liberalism was also taken as a sign of weakness.One has to admit that today, Malaysians have more freedom to criticise the government than during Mahathir's time, where any form of criticism or dissent, vocal or in writing, is seen as seditious and a threat to national security.During his time the press are more muffled than it is today.
Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed may have forgotten what he practised when he was prime minister.His contradictions are just appalling and makes one wonder whether he meant what he says.
He wanted the party to remove the prerequisite for any candidate to contest the president and deputy president posts which was introduced by him to protect his position during his time but have now suddenly found it not expedient anymore.During his time he preached about loyalty to leaders and party. Today he is asking the very same people to abandon the party, be disloyal and get rid of the Prime Minister.
He complains about lack of press freedom, party members not allowed to meet him, no freedom to speak out within the party and the practices of cronyism and nepotism in Abdullah's government.If we care to look back, open our eyes and look at the distant mirage we would see our former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad in it, doing exactly what he says Abdullah is doing.It's a throwback from the past that's haunting him now.
The sad thing is many Malaysians have taken Mahathir's propaganda hook,line and sinker without looking at the situation now and those during his time.
The government today is working under intense pressure as compared to his time when the global economy was bullish and price of crude oil was substantially lower compared to what it is today.Not only the world is facing an energy crisis, it is now facing a serious food crisis. The only reason we have not suffered any catastrophe yet is because the global economy is more resilient now than before. The worse is yet to come and Malaysians should ready themselves to buckle up for a rough ride and live without subsidy mentality.
During his tenure as prime minister the average price of crude oil was less than US$20 per barrel.Today the price has exceeded US$130 per barrel.Prices of most commodities have spiralled up without any end in sight. The price of Thai White Fragrance Grade B Rice last week stood at US$1020 per ton F.O.B.In 2002 the price was below US$300 per ton F.O.B.In the building industry the price of steel bar has increased almost double since three years ago.To continue subsidising these commodities is not an easy task for any government especially when the price increases to very high level where huge amount of subsidies become a drop in the ocean and unappreciated by the consuming public.
It is probably better to increase the salaries of the work force and let the commodities find its own price level.Most Malaysians are more concerned with the amount they take home rather than the amount they have to spend.
If not for Mahathir unrelenting attacks on Abdullah and his government there would be no crisis in UMNO.Mahathir was partly responsible for the BN poor showing at the recent polls.His campaign against Abdullah and the BN was worse than that of the oppositions.He had actually helped the oppositions to garner more votes by his endless bickering at Abdullah and his government.
It is appalling that an ex prime minister is using the race card to rally support of the Malays to his undemocratic attempt to topple a duly elected prime minister and his government. It goes without saying that Mahathir thinks he is indispensible and only he and UMNO should rule this nation and only UMNO is a Malay party that can protect Malay interests.
When it suits him he whacked the Malays, calling them ungrateful, Melayu mudah lupa lah! dan macam-macam lagi, with complete disregard for decorum expected of a man of his stature.When he needs them he has no qualms about using the race card.
What about PAS and PKR, aren't they Malays too?
In many democratic countries the kind of elections results Abdullah got would be considered more than enough to form a stable government but unfortunately Mahathir didn't want to see it that way, he always wanted it "His Way" and his way has nothing to do with the love for this nation, it is for the love of personal glory.
It is also sad that a so-called veteran UMNO politician proposed for the Agong to intervene in the feud between Mahathir and Badawi and joined by some really smart bloggers who think likewise that the Agong should be dragged into this crisis.How could you call somebody like Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Tapa a veteran politician when he has absolutely no idea of the working of the constitution of this nation.The Agong is not a Penghulu or Ketua Kampong to be bothered with a long running personal feud of two politicians.It is not a government in crisis,it is not Badawi in crisis, it is not the Malays in crisis, it is only Mahathir in crisis.The constitution is very clear on who can remove the prime minister.The Agong can only accede to it if there were sufficient votes of no confidence passed in Parliament.
Abdullah may not be the best man for the job, but has he actually done that badly, would there be major change and improvement if Najib were to take over now?
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
I am not a member of UMNO or any political party, nor am I a supporter of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
I used to admire our former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad for some of the good things he had done to this country.A man who is truly an embodiment of 'the end justifies the means'.He would do what he feels strongly about even at the expense of personal liberty of others, so long as he gets his way.A man you either love or hate.A man who wouldn't give up a fight and will take it to the end, right or wrong.
His falling out with the present Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi over the shelving of some of his grandiose projects have now reached the end of the road and one that can culminate to a destructive political conflicts that will put UMNO to the test again, to stay united under Abdullah or split down the middle for the two men.The last time it happened was the power struggle between Tengku Razaleigh and him that ended up UMNO being declared an unlawful society by the court and the breaking up of the party and emergence of a breakaway party, Semangat 46 under Razaleigh and the reincarnation of UMNO under him.
At the time there were no other strong oppositions prevailing to challenge the ruling coalition.Now,the opportunistic Anwar and his Pakatan Rakyat are waiting in the wings to seize any opportunity to take over the government.
After a long period of frustrating campaign to remove Abdullah from office of prime minister, Mahathir has not gotten any where nearer his goal.Provoking Najib to stage a coup has not worked either.Calling Najib a coward to spur him to take on Abdullah has not brought him the desired result.The man is now at his wits end on what to do or deal with his burning desire to get rid of the man whom he personally chose as his successor and prime minister of this nation.
If his intention is to arouse senior party members to act against Abdullah and bring him down as prime minister and president of the party, it may disappoint him again as all those at the top would have a lot to lose, personally, if UMNO loses its grip on power.At this point of time the grassroots in the party is irrelevant, only the BN members of parliament can remove him as prime minister, or a mixture of BN and PR members if there were insufficient numbers from the BN that are prepared to be disloyal to him.To think a spontaneous revolt in the party would materialise is like clutching at the straws, it wouldn't happen.
Mahathir is not a man who would be prepared to eat the humble pie and accepts the fact that he is equally responsible and to blame for his poor judgement of Abdullah's character, or was it his selection of Abdullah was based on his assumption that Abdullah is of a complaint nature and will obey him, which fits well into his agenda for the continuation of all his pet projects, or did he expects Abdullah to be grateful for the appointment and would do every thing he says?
Being a prime minister for 22 years Mahathir should know the democratic process more than anyone else in this country.He should know that Abdullah was duly elected by the people and should be allowed to serve his time.He should only be removed by a democratic process in an election or a vote of no confidence against his leadership in parliament.
It appears that Mahathir has failed his gift of the gab and is now prepared to throw down the gauntlet even at the expense of destroying UMNO to get rid of Abdullah and put Najib at the helm.His clarion call for senior party leaders, ministers and deputy ministers to leave UMNO is execrable and undignified.
Although I don't subscribe to Abdullah's style of leadership, I still believe we should allow the democratic process to take its course.
Mahathir resignation from UMNO is a strategy to weaken Abdullah's already vulnerable position and starts a revolt in the party. Is he likely to succeed in his attempt to get UMNO senior leaders to follow him? Can Abdullah take the risk of calling a fresh election?
Mahathir is not short of controversies, this is the second time he is out of UMNO, the first was in 1969 when he was sacked from the party for going against the first Prime Minister Tengku Abdul Rahman.His tussle for the UMNO presidency against Tengku Razaleigh in 1987 divided the party.His conflict with his deputy Musa Hitam ended with Musa resignation as deputy prime minister.The sacking of another deputy, Anwar Ibrahim in 1998 culminated in massive street demonstrations in the capital city and the sending of Anwar to prison on charges of corruption and sodomy.
Most of the top leaders may not pay attention to the call of the clarion but at the middle and grassroots level the story may differ from the top.A fresh election is an option too risky to take at this moment.
The good question now is would Mukhriz follows in his father's footstep?If he does, that would be one less MP for UMNO and the BN.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Many of you probably think there is something wrong with me or I am mad to oppose MAS low fare in my previous post 'MAS:Now A Cheapo Airline".
I don't.I opposed the way it was done.
Most Malaysians would be happy to have alternative cheap fares, so am I.
I am not looking at it from that point of view.I am looking at it from the point of business ethic, unfair competition and inconsistent government policies.
When MAS was in financial trouble the rogue businessman Tajuddin Ramli, who headed the company and owned substantial shares in it managed to convince former PM Mahathir Mohammed to take back the embattled airline.One of the main reasons given why MAS lost so much money was due to its domestic operations where government has control over the pricing of fare.
Major portion of domestic networks are in Sabah and Sarawak, which means the two states are the biggest contributor to MAS losses, which is now proven to be a lie and a whitewash.
Sabahan and Sarawakians spent more time and money travelling by air than by roads due to bad conditions of the roads in the states.
Most of the federal-funded roads are badly maintained and dangerous for those not familiar with its topography.
Most of MAS losses were due to mismanagement and without any doubts cronyism and nepotism in giving out contracts to friends and relatives. You would probably still remember when nasi lemak cost the airline RM60 or RM70 per plate.
In the re-organisation of MAS, the government decided to give the domestic sector to Air Asia and MAS to concentrate on its international routes.As usual our fickle-minded government, say something and do something else.
Typical of civil servant mentality, MAS insisted and was allowed to retain the lucrative domestic routes, which as irony as it sounds,are all in East Malaysia which was earlier blamed for the losses.If this is a losing sector why fight tooth and nail to keep it?
In fact MAS gave up very little of its domestic sector.
It flies parallel with Air Asia on all major domestic routes except those with very low load factor, which was given to Air Asia under its subsidiary company.This was later handed back to MAS due to high maintenance costs of the old air crafts taken over by Air Asia from MAS.
Even under unfair competition,volatile and overcrowded market and rising operational costs,Air Asia,through its pragmatism, innovation and aggressive marketing policy managed to turn a one-plane airline to what it is today, the most successful low cost carrier in this region.
Unlike SIA, our national carrier is an infant that refused to grow up and needs breast feeding every now and then.It's incapable of launching new products for the travelling public.It only prides itself over it cabin service in 1st and business class even if it comes at a very high cost.
Instead of competing with the likes of SIA,Cathay and other major premier airlines, it takes the easy way out, become a copycat, copy and compete with the very same airline it copied the concept from, a fledgling airline that doesn't have government crutches to prop it up in the event of financial difficulties.
Like many Malaysians I would be very happy to have more choices of cheaper fare but I think it is wrong for the government to allow MAS to sell zero fare tickets on the same plane used by its full-fare passengers.
If MAS needs to do it ,it should have used one of its subsidiaries,MASWings or Firefly to be a low-cost carrier and compete on the same level playing field.
Many would think Idris Jala is smart,I would say he is void of ideas and our politicians void of convictions.
Friday, May 16, 2008
I strongly believe in free enterprise and healthy competition.You can't call it a competition anymore when the playing field is not level and your opponent hit you below the belt and the referee allows it.
The airline business is now a cut-throat business due to high operational costs andtoo many players in the market.Those with good business sense, innovative and good foresight will succeed while those who do not care to innovate, fear competition and in some cases sit on a pile of government subsidies would eventually sees its own demise.
Singapore Airlines (SIA) is today operating its first all-business class service, between its Singapore base and New York-Newark in the USA.
Flight SQ22 departed Singapore at 11:00 today and the Airbus A340-500 is due to arrive in Newark at 17:50 local time.
The carrier announced in March that it planned to switch the A340-500s to an all-business class operation seating just 100 passengers in a 1-2-1 layout. It said the change was being made as a result of higher demand from business travellers for the non-stop US services.
That's Singapore Airline.Let see where our national carrier is taking us to.
Malaysia Airlines is offering 1 million free domestic fares this month to promote its new Everyday Low Fares program, which MD and CEO Idris Jala said "will redefine the rules in the travel industry" if successful. MAS's effort to compete against low-fare giant AirAsia will feature nonrefundable one-way fares of MYR76 ($24) and MYR120 between East and West Malaysia excluding airport taxes and surcharges and will be available online at least 30 days prior to departure. Jala said there will be no loss in revenue, as the fares represent 30% of surplus seats that otherwise would go unsold.
The zero fare quoted by MAS and in comparison with AirAsia are shown below:
AirAsia (RM) MAS 0-Fare Carrier (RM)
Airport Tax + Fuel Surcharge
+ Insurance + Admin Fee 44.50 76.00
Promo Fare* 15 0
Baggage Fee** 3 0
You Pay RM 62.50 RM 76.00
Total fare:Air Asia RM62.50 MAS RM76.00
Even with minimal fare added plus baggage fee Air Asia is still cheaper than MAS.
That's besides the point.What is MAS doing competing with low-cost carrier when it has been decided it should concentrate, improve and expand its international routes and compete with such airlines as SIA,Cathay Pacific and other premier airlines.
It is hard to reconcile putting a passenger who pays say RM1058.00 to fly KK-KL return and his next seat neighbour who pays RM76.00 and get the same service and the same lousy lunch box(usually sold on non-frills airlines)in the economy class.MAS quality of food has deteriorated so much on it domestic sector even those sold on non-frills airline taste better and cheaper.
The excuse that those 30 percent of seat would be unsold anyway goes to show the airline are run by lazy people who would rather be copycats and degrade the airline status rather than taking concerted effort to promote a competitive fare and services than most full-fledged airline should be doing to attract more costumers.
The video above shows some of the surprises you can get on some of MAS planes.
The airline always seems to be getting some sort of awards especially for its in flight services more in it first and business class on international flights and certain sectors rather than a reflection of it overall quality of service.It has also one of the highest air fare in this region.
The normal domestic fare has skyrocketed.The normal return fare KK-Labuan,flight time of less than 30 minutes is now RM350.00.The normal economy fare between KK-KL and return is as shown below.
Flight From/To Time Super Saver Flex Saver Full Flex
MH2601 Kota Kinabalu
Kuala Lumpur International Airport Wed, 21 May
10:50 Sold Out MYR 329.00 MYR 529.00
Flight From/To Time Super Saver Flex Saver Full Flex
MH2604 Kuala Lumpur International Airport
Kota Kinabalu Sun, 25 May
10:05 Sold Out MYR 329.00 MYR 529.00
The return economy fare KK-KL-KK worked out to be RM1058.00.
The fare below is what my wife paid to AirAsia for her flight from Phnom Penh to KL.
1 Guest60.00 US Administration Fee 9.00 US Fuel Surcharge 20.00 US Sub Total 89.00 US
Services & Fees 1 x Xpress Boarding 2.00 US 1 x Checked Baggage 2.00 US
Sub Total 4.00 US Total Amount 93.00 US
From KL to KK
Flight 1 Guest 55.00 MY Airport Tax 6.00 MY Administration Fee 22.50 MY Fuel Surcharge 43.00 MY Sub Total 126.50 MY Services & Fees GoInsure 6.00 MY 1 x Xpress Boarding 5.00 MY 1 x Checked Baggage 6.00 MY Sub Total 17.00 MY Total Amount 143.50 MY
The total one way journey costs her RM437.50.
With such high fare it is little wonder that MAS load factor is lower than it should have been if the fare have been more competitively priced.
In the past MAS complained that most of it losses were from the domestic sector and it was supposed to give up its domestic sector in entirety.
Now, we know that was a lie and a whitewash.If that was true, why are they still keeping the domestic routes and fly parallel with Air Asia on most domestic flights.
You don't need a wiz kid to run MAS, you just need someone with the brain in the right place.
Transport Minister Ong Tee Keat said the current price war between MAS and Air Asia is a healthy competition which will benefit the nation.
That's one big bullshit.It's not healthy competition, it's unfair competition.You either no-frills or full-frills and should learn to be honorable and stick to the original agreement.
Come on MAS, you want to be a cheapo or a full-fledged airline?
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
I have removed my link with "mia farrow.org". I don't agree with her recent action of asking the Western countries to boycott the Olympic Game in Beijing and to pressure the Chinese government to divest its economic activities in Sudan in relation to the Darfur crisis.
Her action is typical of American hegemonic policy, smack of double standard and without any basis other than trying to further American monopolistic control over the world crude oil trade.
I have been and still is a strong advocate of 'Save Darfur' campaign, as can be seen from my many previous posts, to bring awareness to the rest of the world of the genocide in Darfur.I appreciated her work in that respect.
As an individual she has done more than most countries and other individuals to bring to the world attention the human tragedy happening in Darfur and the Sudanese government participation in the genocide.
Even today as women,children and men are systematically slaughtered, raped and driven away from their land, the world stood still and did nothing to stop this execrable human tragedy.
The countries that have the resources to stop or lessen the atrocities would be America and her allies, Britain and the Western European countries.None have done anything significant to stop the Sudanese government from using the Janjaweed militia to commit such atrocities.
American and her allies, in defiance of UN Resolution, have conducted an illegal war on Afghanistan and Iraq that killed hundred of thousands of innocent people in the two countries that have no means of defending themselves against the military might of the Western alliance, but wouldn't lift a finger to exert military pressure on the Sudanese government that have already killed more than 500,000 of its own people.
I believe Mia Farrow had fallen victim to politicians with an agenda and being used by those in the corridors of power to try subvert China's rising economic power and growing importance as a global player in the world's market.
PetroChina, the biggest oil producer in Sudan is targeted by Western media and made as scapegoat for the atrocities.One of the major investor in PetroChina is Fidelity Investment, an American company.Despite months of engagement and thousands of complaints, Fidelity has thus far refused to accept any responsibility or divest its investment.Another American hypocrisy!
In February Steven Spielberg resigned from his role as artistic director of the Beijing Olympics declaring that in the face of genocide it "cannot be business as usual."Another American hypocrisy!
Below is an article written by Ronan Farrow and Mia Farrow and published in the Wall Street Journal on March 28,2007 calling the Beijing Olympic "Genocide Olympic".
The 'Genocide Olympics'
By RONAN FARROW and MIA FARROW
"One World, One Dream" is China's slogan for its 2008 Olympics. But there is one nightmare that China shouldn't be allowed to sweep under the rug. That nightmare is Darfur, where more than 400,000 people have been killed and more than two-and-a-half million driven from flaming villages by the Chinese-backed government of Sudan.
That so many corporate sponsors want the world to look away from that atrocity during the games is bad enough. But equally disappointing is the decision of artists like director Steven Spielberg -- who quietly visited China this month as he prepares to help stage the Olympic ceremonies -- to sanitize Beijing's image. Is Mr. Spielberg, who in 1994 founded the Shoah Foundation to record the testimony of survivors of the holocaust, aware that China is bankrolling Darfur's genocide?
China is pouring billions of dollars into Sudan. Beijing purchases an overwhelming majority of Sudan's annual oil exports and state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. -- an official partner of the upcoming Olympic Games -- owns the largest shares in each of Sudan's two major oil consortia. The Sudanese government uses as much as 80% of proceeds from those sales to fund its brutal Janjaweed proxy militia and purchase their instruments of destruction: bombers, assault helicopters, armored vehicles and small arms, most of them of Chinese manufacture. Airstrips constructed and operated by the Chinese have been used to launch bombing campaigns on villages. And China has used its veto power on the U.N. Security Council to repeatedly obstruct efforts by the U.S. and the U.K. to introduce peacekeepers to curtail the slaughter. Read more....
The article is lop-sided, grand-standing, sardonic and smell of a rat.China is not my friend and it is neither the best example of preserver of human rights and what I wrote here might not make any difference to people like Mia Farrow and her conscience, but it's a revelation of the truth and the way I feel about this whole charade of sanctimoniousness and high moral principles.
China's Crude Conscience
Olympic Sponsor Report card. Most flunk.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Sabahans have always had an ambivalent relationship with the central government. This love and hate relationship goes as far back as the time of the USNO (United Sabah National Organisation) government under Tun Dato Mustapha Harun, a flamboyant, unmanagable and most feared Chief Minister Sabah ever had. The only leader of a state who had 2 stated-owned private jets (Grumman 2) and purchased another 2 customised Boeing 707 for his private use.At that time even the Prime Minister have to take commercial flights.
Mustapha, a tin-pot dictator was given wide-ranging power by the then Federal government under first Prime Minister Tengku Abdul Rahman. His wide ranging power included the power to arrest political opponents and throw them in prison without trail.
Desirous of perpetuating Malay power in Sabah, the Federal government allowed Mustapha to do as he pleases and was assigned a special aide dispatched from Kuala Lumpur to be his special adviser. A lawyer by profession, Syed Kechik eventually became the most powerful man in Sabah, as powerful as the Chief Minister if not more.
He was also the most hated and was practically running the state on behalf of Mustapha, who spent most of his time in the play grounds of Europe and the Middle East.Mustapha spent most of his time in casinos in Beirut and London.
Mustapha not only collected private planes but also collected overseas properties, wives and mistresses at the expense of state resources. He was also responsible for opening the back door and allowed illegal immigrants to come in from southern Philippines to increase the Muslim population in the state and was notoriously responsible for mass conversion to Islam of some indigenous tribes in the state.
When Tun Razak took over as Prime Minister, Mustapha had become too powerful, completely out of control and was planning to take Sabah out of Malaysia and install himself as sultan. The authenticity and the truth of this story had not been established till today.
His refusal to sign the Petroleum Act agreement giving the Federal government and Petronas full power over oil resources and giving the state only 5 % in oil revenue angered the central government.Despite repeated attempts by the Federal government to get him to agree, Mustapha refused to negotiate any further. Razak was on the horns of a dilemma on how to deal with him.The Federal have to find an excuse to get Mustapha out of the way. The only way is to topple him democratically using his own men.
In 1975 the Federal urged Harris Salleh to leave USNO and form a new political party. Harris formed Berjaya with full blessing of the Federal government.Harris was later joined by Tun Fuad Stephen who resigned his head of state position and along with other Mustapha's trusted men ditched USNO for Berjaya. The machinery to topple Mustapha was launched and massive defections from USNO and other political parties to Berjaya followed.Election was held the following year and Mustapha was ousted.
The Federal backed Berjaya won the elections and formed the state government with Tun Fuad Stephen as Chief Minister. Unfortunately, Stephen, his son and some of his ministers died in a mysterious plane crash soon after his appointment. A tragic loss of Sabah's most colorful, amiable and down to earth leader. Harris took over the helm.
His first task as Chief Minister was to salvage the extensive damage to the state economy under Mustapha. He embarked on massive public expenditure to rebuild the shattered economy and made Sabah one of the most prosperous states at that time.His relationship with the Federal was excellent and helped in bringing more federal expenditure to the state. After a massive landslide victory for the second term of office and more than cordial relationship with the Federal, Harris got an illusion of invincibility and made some very unpopular decisions.
In spite of his success as a leader of a multi-racial party and outstanding performance as Chief Minister, there is a dark side to Harris Salleh, only known to those close to him.He can be very temperamental, aggressive and profoundly unreasonable.
The sacking of Joseph Pairin Kitingan, abrogation of Tambunan as a district, the giving away of Labuan to the Federal without any compensation to the state and erosion of state rights embodied under the 20 points was the straw that broke the camel back and one that brought him nemesis at the state elections in 1985.The election was won by PBS (Parti Bersatu Sabah) led by the estranged Joseph Pairin. USNO led by Mustapha took significant number of seats and was later accepted into the BN.He later brought UMNO into Sabah and almost all members of USNO automatically became members of UMNO.
Having obtained a simple majority PBS reneged on its promise of a coalition with USNO and formed the government on it own but not before overcoming the cloak and dagger antics of Berjaya and USNO and attempted coup.
The thumping defeat of Berjaya must have shocked Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad who had promised Harris to sink or swim with him.Sink or swim ? Harris soon realised there was no such thing in federal politics, there is no love and affection only desertion if you failed.
The defeat at the polls did not stop them from staging an Istana coup to swear in Mustapha as Chief Minister in spite of the fact USNO and Berjaya didn't have simple majority to form the government.They almost got away with it if not for the interference of Deputy Prime Minister Musa Hitam who still have respect for the democratic process and avoided an incident that could have given Malaysia a bad name internationally.Prime Minister Mahathir was away overseas and Musa was acting on his behalf.
Sabah had two chief ministers for a while until the case went to court and Mustapha lost. The incident also brought violent street demonstration in Kota Kinabalu organised by leaders of Berjaya and USNO and purportedly supported by a few federal leaders.
Sabahans have always felt marginalised and remained at the lowest rung in term of economic development.
When it was in the opposition under the PBS government it received very little developmental expenditure from the Federal government.All development funds from the Federal were channelled through JPPS (Jabatan Pembangunan Persekutuan Sabah), which was specifically formed to avoid channelling funds through the state government. Trengganu got the same treatment when PAS took over the state in 1999.The double standard and undemocratic actions of the federal government is unbelievable in a country that practises democracy and a Westminster-styled parliamentary system. It is a brand of politics called Mahatirism.
In Sabah the federal development expenditure which used to go through the state before the PBS era is still being channelled through JPPS.Many Sabah members of parliament had complained about the way these funds have been administered and that many big federal projects were given to companies from the Peninsula with Sabah contractors only getting the crumbs, if they are lucky to get any. Most federal departments also deployed their senior officers from the Peninsula to the ire of Sabahans who felt they are as much qualified if not better. To make matters worse some officers were abhorrent and treat Sabah more like a colony rather
than as an integral part of Malaysia.
Sarawak didn't have this problem as most things agreed upon when it joined Malaysia are still intact and under state control.
In the 1994 Elections, PBS won the election with a simple majority of 25 seats against BN (Barisan Nasional) 23 seats. Joseph Pairin had to wait 36 hours outside the istana (palace) gate before he was sworn in as the Chief Minister.The PBS government only lasted two weeks before it was ousted by undemocratic menouvering of the BN. Majority of its assemblymen defected to BN parties with some of its leaders forming new Kadazan-based parties.Pairin resigned as Chief Minister on 17 March 1994 and handed over the government to the BN who won the government through manipulations and undemocratic menouvering. The then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad introduced the rotational system of chief minister among the major races in the state, which many Sabahans deemed as unconstitutional and an attempt to divide and rule.
Now, without two-thirds majority the BN government can hang in the balance if there were defections to PR ( Pakatan Rakyat) of dissatisfied BN members of parliament.The irony is the BN or particularly UMNO is contemplating passing an anti-hop law when it had in the past abolished a legislation by a 1992 High Court ruling on anti-hop in the 'Sabah State Constitution' that was passed by the PBS government on the excuse that it was ultra vires the 'Federal Constitution' and are,therefore, illegal and that it contravened the freedom of association enshrined in the Constitution.
What about freedom of speech, isn't it part and parcel? If the Federal Constitution allows freedom of association than it must also allow freedom of speech in totality, without any restriction,hindrance and persecution.
In March 1999 State Elections PBS still managed to get 17 seats against the might of the BN and got 213,432 total votes against the combined BN total votes of 240,110.It showed that the PBS had maintained its popularity.
On 22 April 2000, six PBS Assemblymen led by Jeffery Kitingan(brother of Pairin) defected to PBRS, a BN component party.In January 2002 PBS was re-admitted into the BN.In April 2002 five PBS Assemblymen who defected to PBRS returned to PBS.
The KDM politics has for a long time strive more on self interest rather than interests of the community.There are three predominantly KDM-based parties for a community of less than 500,000 people. It definitely does not believe in "united we stand, divided we fall".
A Kadazan friend once opined to me and said "the biggest enemy of the Kadazan community is Jeffery Kitingan, all he does is bring infamy and disgrace to the community for his selfish act, and the sad thing is many of our people think he is fighting for them tooth and nail"
In 2004 General Elections the BN won the biggest landslide victory under the new leadership of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and delivered a crushing blow to the oppositions. It was Abdullah glorious moment and the beginning of his soured relationship with his predecessor, former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad.
The bitter falling out of these two men would eventually weaken UMNO and the BN, partly due to Abdullah own faults and boosted by Mahathir incessant "remove Abdullah" campaign which has effectively divided UMNO into two camps.
The consequence of Abdullah's failure to keep his promise of reforms and Mahathir's unrelenting attacks on him are shown in the results of the 8 March 2008 Elections.
In the March 2008 Elections, Sabah and Sarawak outstanding performance were nothing less than admirable especially Sabah, which held both its parliamentary and state elections simultaneously, while Sarawak only had its parliamentary.Unlike Sabah, Sarawak stills control its state election and does not need Puterajaya's consent.
The was huge outcry of unfair treatment from politicians and ordinary Sabahans soon after Prime Minister Abdullah announced his cabinet line up. It didn't reflect the contributions of Sabah and Sarawak and gratitude for saving the BN from biting the dust.Without Sabah and Sarawak delivering almost all of the parliament seats, UMNO would, today, be seating on the opposition bench. MCA, MIC and Gerakan with whatever seats they have won would have abandoned the BN if they can't form the government.
The first to express dissatisfaction over the unfair treatment was the MP for Kimanis Anifah Aman (brother of Musa Aman) who turned down the offer of deputy minister and subsequently followed by the MP for Merotai Ghaffur Salleh who had accepted a deputy minister post but resigned two weeks later.
Ghaffur Salleh was initially dropped by Chief Minister Musa Aman but was later included in the list of candidates upon his appeal to Abdullah.It must have made Abdullah see red for someone he had helped to embarrass him in such a way.
At a recent Parliament sitting Kimanis MP Anifah Aman spoke his mind after being taunted by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi whether Sabah backbenchers were tempted to crossover to the oppositions.
This is another example of stupid politician asking stupid question and forgot if not for Sabah and Sarawak he wouldn't be in the cabinet and so are the rest of his colleages.There seems to be plenty of them in the Federal cabinet who think they are smarter but came out sounding pathetically stupid.
Anifah response was most appropriate and the most serious note so far coming from a Sabah politician.He said if there were no more room in the big bungalow what's is wrong to move to a smaller house.If you are ignored, marginalised and treated like a stepchild what's the point of staying.You can read "Anifah speaks his mind" here.
What Anifah brought up in Parliament has reverberated throughout the state with many politicians and the people of Sabah starting to speak up. Former Chief Ministers Harris Salleh and Yong Tat Lee have thrown their supports behind Anifah and described his speech as worthy of praise and support.
Harris said he hopes the Federal will take heed and seriously implement some of the ideas presented by Anifah for the two East Malaysian states.
The voters in Peninsula Malaysia had shown their displeasure at the arrogance and antics of those in power and there is strong possibility that Sabah and Sarawak would be tempted to change even before the next general election if nothing palatable coming out from the Federal government.
Sabah has lost its decision-making autonomy since UMNO assumed power in the state.It has lost the power to administer the state independently. The basic functions of government embodied in the State constitution are no longer the authority of the Chief Minister and the cabinet. Unlike Sarawak, it has lost its independence to dissolve its Assembly and call for elections.
The BN is safe at the moment but the picture might change once Anwar Ibrahim is elected to Parliament.
The kataks (frogs) waiting at the front gate at the moment may decide to change ponds when Anwar enters Parliament.
Friday, May 9, 2008
I have always been sceptical about the so-called national service from the day it was launched.Was it done in sincerity for the benefits of our young generation and the nation or was it just another exercise to fill the pockets of those in power? There are millions to be made from this anomalous national service. Supply of uniforms, shoes, food, drinks,transport, campsites and many other things that can bring megabucks.
There are many camps given to bumiputras but ended up in the hands of Chinamen who supplied almost everything the camp needs.Might as well give it direct to the Chinamen, at least you can reduce the cost to the government by eliminating the bumiputra as a middleman or Ali Baba.
What kind of discipline and skill can you instill in those young minds in a short span of three months? Do you have sufficient skilled, responsible and disciplined trainers and camp commandants to guide this young and impressionable minds.
Going by the number of deaths so far it is obviously clear those entrusted with the responsibility are useless, irresponsible and should have been sent to the loony bin instead of national service camps. We should be ashamed to call it national service.It is more a holiday camp run by morons.
The government should come down hard on those responsible for the death of so many of those young people.Thorough investigation should be conducted in every death to ascertain whether there is case of negligence by the camp commandant or those entrusted with the job.Those guilty should be punished according to the law.
There were too many deaths and it can only happened through negligence and couldn't care less attitude of those entrusted to do the job.
Read it here.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
I received the article or more appropriate I would say a letter in my email box two days ago. I believe there are undeniable truths to the writer's claims.
Being a fan of classical music myself I would certainly prefer local musicians in our philharmonic orchestra.Calling it a Malaysian Philharmonic and with 0ver 90 % foreign fiddlers is certainly an oxymoron.
It is absolutely ridiculous that after a decade we still couldn't find local musicians to take over from those costly foreigners.We all know we are not spared from all those ill-conceived and costly ideas by none others than our equally ridiculous leaders who seemed not to care how taxpayers' money are spent. Petronas money belong to the people of Malaysia and should be prudently managed and not spent at the whims and fancies of politicians.
There is no exiguous supply of local musicians if they really care to look around.The only problem is you may find them heavily concentrated in one racial group.They may not be top-notch but with proper training they would have acquired the skill by now if serious effort had been taken from the very beginning.
The other appalling thing is local musician of the same standing as their foreign counterpart would be paid a miserly amount, even the better ones would be paid less than the mediocre foreign musicians.
Maybe, we should send Mozart, Chopin, Bach and the rest of the gang back to the graves and go back to the kompang, anklong, gambus and kampong where we are better suited and stop pretending that we actually appreciate western classical music, a bought culture and social elitism at the expense of the Malaysian people.
Below is the letter:
Much as we like to encourage appreciation of Western Music in Malaysia why is it that Petronas sees it fit to finance the 'Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra' which is a misnomer because 95% of its 105 musicians are foreign and mainly European.
Each musician is paid between Rm 16,000- RM28,000 per month. They are given 2 months paid holiday and working conditions which are second to none in the world. They have not one but 3 European conductors.
The Chief Conductor is paid RM130,000 per month and the Associate Conductor gets paid RM50,000 per month.
The total Monthly budget for this orchestra is RM 3.5 million.
The Malaysian Conductor Ooi Chean See resigned because it was widely known she was being undermined and not allowed to develop in her career. During her time with the orchestra, her concert scehdule decreased gradually to the point she was doing only a couple 'Children's Concerts' per year.
The orchestra has been in existence for 10 years now and the total amount spent on this orchestra has been staggering RM 500 million.
Yes, Petronas does not have money for bridges for Malaysians but it has money to splash on foreign musicians. Petronas does not appear to have real desire to train or give opportunity to locals Musicians.
They promised to set up an Academy of Music to train local musicians with the tutors drawn from the orchestra but this sadly has not materialised.
Since its inception, the Malaysian Philharmonic orchestra has not increased its Malaysian participation which still stands at a shameful 4%. They have cosmetic programs like 'outreach' to supposedly encourage the love of western classical music to local Malaysians but these are essentially self serving publicity stunts.
Even the newly formed 'Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra' is a publicity stunt with no serious commitment to develop Malaysian talent. It is poorly organised and its musicians meet about twice a year only!
The previous founding CEO of the orchestra Mr Hamid Abu Bakar was clueless about music and left the artistic decisions to IMG, an international music agency who have successfully milked Petronas for tens of millions of dollars.
The current CEO Juniwati Hussin is a chemist by training and is a slight improvement because she does actually attend the concerts and is not averse to learning to appreciate western classical music. But the overall artisitc planning and direction in controlled by the Europeans who have a vested interest telling Petronas that there is no talent in Malaysia and the ignorant management of Petronas are happy to maintain the status quo. It would appear that they prefer foreign participation in this 'Malaysian Orchestra' rather than to have Malaysians. What a pathetic mindset.
I hope issues like this will be brought up in parliament. Why can't Petronas train local musicians, provide scholarships for locals to study abroad if need be, and then employ them in the orchestra. In a matter of a few years we can have an orchestra consisting of Malaysians true to the name Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra and good enough to rival the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. There is an abundance of talent in Malaysia. The sad fact is, Malaysian talent is usually recognised overseas.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Webmaster Raja Petra Kamaruddin was today charged under the Sedition Act over an article he wrote on his website.
He was allowed bail of RM5000, which he refused to post, deciding instead to stay in custody until the hearing which has been fixed on 6 to 10 Oct this year.
The popular blogger is represented by a team of 6 lawyers led by Karpal Singh.
What's the point? It is not RM5 million, only RM5000 unless he wants to be a "prisoner of conscience".
Not worth it, mate! Better be out, than out on a limb.
In 1945 the founder members of the United Nations approved theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights
- Article 18.—
- Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion: this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom either alone or in company with others in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
- Article 19.—
- Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression:this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
He doesn't deserve that treatment.Let's wait and see whether he gets a fair trail.
THE TRAIL by PINK FLOYD
Good morning Worm your honour
The crown will plainly show
The prisoner who now stands before you
Was caught red handed showing feelings
Showing feelings of an almost human nature
This will not do
CALL THE SCHOOLMASTER
I always said he'd come to no good
In the end your honour
If they'd let me have my way I could
Have flayed him into shape
But my hands were tied
The bleeding hearts and artists
Let him get away with murder
Let me hammer him today
Crazy toys in the attic I am crazy
Truly gone fishing
They must have taken my marbles away
Crazy toys in the attic he is crazy
You little shit, you're in it now
I hope they throw away the key
You should talked to me more often
Than you did, but no you had to
Go your own way. Have you broken any homes up lately?
"Just five minutes Worm your honour him and me alone"
Come to mother baby let me hold you in my arms
M'Lord I never wanted him to get in any trouble
Why'd he ever have to leave me
Worm your honour let me take him home
Crazy over the rainbow I am crazy
Bars in the window
There must have been a door there in the wall
When I came in
Crazy over the rainbow he is crazy
The evidence before the court is
Incontrovertible, there's no need for
The jury to retire
In all my years of judging
I have never heard before of
Some one more deserving
The full penalty of law
The way you made them suffer
Your exquisite wife and mother
Fills me with an urge to defecate
Since my friend you have revealed your deepest fear
I sentence you to be expunged before your peers
Tear down the wall
IHT:Malaysian blogger charged with sedition
Asia Sentinel: Malaysian Political Blogger Charged with Sedition
Malaysian Insider:Free speech is costly!
Sunday, May 4, 2008
People who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat the same mistakes.
Let us go back to the year 1940, when Hitler's armies were driving the French and British forces back across France, and Britain faced imminent invasion.The British people heard the words of Winston Churchill:
"I have nothing to offer but blood,toil,tears and sweat"
Only a great leader would have dared to make such a promise - and the British people suddenly knew they had such a leader.
When Churchill turned to America for help he didn't spend hours to persuade Roosevelt, all he said was:
"Give us the tools, and we will finish the job"
He got the tools and finished Hitler off.
One would have thought after the bad outing at the recent polls the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi would bring some meaningful changes to its administration for the benefits of the people.Many promises were made but none have been implemented. There seems to be certain forces in his government who were against reforms.They still wish to continue their old feudalistic and unrealistic way.
A government that believes in strong-arm tactic to protect themselves from public scrutiny would eventually self-destruct. History is kind to those who learned from it and damned to those who don't.
The sheer arrogance of those in power are shown by the recent police harassment of the infamous( through the government eyes) blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin on an article he wrote which the government deemed to be seditious.
What is sedition ? The Oxford Dictionary says "the use of words or actions that are intended to encourage people to oppose a government". The Webster Dictionary says "incitement of resistance to or of insurrection against lawful authority".Both gave the same meaning and we will examine whether the article is seditious.
Although I don't quite agree with some of Raja Petra's composition, I couldn't find any word, sentence or phrase in his article " Let’s send the Altantuya murderers to hell" inciting the people to go against the government. It was more directed at a few individuals associated with the murderers of the Mongolian model and the way investigation was conducted and the snail pace of the court case. If the article had offended or defamed anyone the rightful thing to do is to take civil action against Raja Petra and bring him to a court of law.Using the police to harass and intimidate him is most improper and makes Malaysia looks like a totalitarian nation and a police state.
It would be interesting to know which part of the article the police found to be seditious and whether such writing can bring down the government.
The police not being able to produce a police report they purported to have is inexcusable.It is within a person rights to know the allegations made against him by someone in a police report before he gives his statement, if he voluntarily wanted to. Why would a policeman and not the aggrieved party makes a police report against Raja Petra ?
The recent police action against a well-known blogger goes to show the government talk of reforms and freedom of expression are nothing more than lip service.We are back to square one and the old-fashioned way to settle a score.
Another very disquieting and absolutely ridiculous news is the proposal by Foreign Minister RaisYatim for local women to get consent from parents or family members before they can travel alone overseas.It says out of 119 cases of Malaysian women hauled up before foreign courts, 90% were linked to drug. I would say out of the 119 women 90% knew what they are doing, only 10% are gullible, stupid and innocent. Are you going to inconvenient millions of women in this country because of 119 women whoring themselves to drug traffickers.
Honorable Minister, put on your thinking cap and think again whether your proposal makes any sense.
I know one thing for sure come next elections you would have lost most of the women's votes.
What happened on 8th of March 2008 was only the beginning. If you don't get your act together now and repair the damaged bilge pump on your ship, it may not make the journey to the next polls.
Friday, May 2, 2008
The much awaited succession plan in UMNO has not materialised. There was no definite date or specific plan for Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (Pak Lah) to hand over the helm to his deputy Dato Sri Najib Tun Razak.
Abdullah has asked UMNO members to refrain from calling for his resignation and to wait till December when he will either consider stepping down or contest the presidency of the party if challenged.
In spite of numerous calls for him to go, beleaguered Abdullah has stood his ground and refused to accede to the demand. Short of saying when he will resign and that Najib is definitely his successor he gave his deputy no glimmer of hope other than to wait for the day that may never come.
Are there things that Pak Lah is privy to that the Malaysian general public are not aware of ? Are there extenuating circumstances that he should not leave office now and hand over the helm to Najib or was it, he hadn't had enough yet and wanted to continue as prime minister as long as possible and to prove to all and sundry that he can bring back BN and UMNO to its former glory.
Despite the overwhelming calls for Pak Lah to step down Najib has been a good deputy and never took advantage to pressure Pak Lah to step aside.Najib's refusal to fish in troubled water has angered former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohammad who had openly supported him to displace Abdullah.The former prime minister called Najib a coward and said he is no more his preference to replace Abdullah.His reluctance to oust Abdullah could be due to lack of support from his comrades in the party.
Irrespective of his claim that he doesn't know her and not having met her before, his relationship with the accused murderers of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu has brought him public odium and ridicule.The photograph where he purportedly had dinner with the mastermind of the murder Razak Beginda and the murdered girl had not surfaced other than the one doctored by Tian Chua, a member of opposition party PKR (Parti Keadilan Rakyaat). If there was such a photograph why hasn't it surface or is it being kept as an ace up somebody's sleeve and to be used at a later date.Even more puzzling he had not taken any civil action against Tian Chua for the doctored photograph and against Anwar for implications made against him during electioneering.
Is there a concerted effort to tarnish his name to pre-empt his succession? The possibility is always there.There are others who are covertly interested in the position but would not make it known until they are sure they have eliminated the competition.
In his article "Let's Send The Altantuya Murderers To Hell" the writer Raja Petra Kamaruddin raised some pertinent questions especially the way the court case is being conducted.The abrupt changes to defence team, prosecutors and judges in the early stage of the case are viewed as interference from the powers that be and deemed to be the progenitors of an eventual miscarriage of justice.Even if it was not true these are the widespread public perceptions. Such perceptions would be difficult to change unless there is palatable change in the on going trail.
In the same article Raja Petra also raised the issue on the erasure of immigration records which the prosecution seems not at all interested to investigate and get to the roots of the mysterious disappearance of the immigration records of the murdered victim.Who gave the order? It can either be directly from a very powerful person or some staff in the Immigration Department with password access to the computer received substantial bribes from someone involved in the murder. These are material evidence that the prosecution should have procured but wouldn't do so for reasons only known to themselves.
Is Raja Petra pushing his luck? In his article he also mentioned an affidavit that implicates Najib's wife Rosmah.Would he be able to prove all the allegations if he were called upon in the court of law?
In the past some of Raja Petra's stories have proven to be not far from some of the truth, if not the whole truth. Would he be on the right track this time or would he be dragged to court or worse still to the interrogation chamber.
His article has brought some very surprising outcome.He has received a response here from the Press Secretary to Deputy Prime Minister Dato Sri Najib Tun Razak and in true combat form and buccaneering spirit he has replied to the letter here.
Come December would Abdullah hand over the baton to Najib or would he let Najib challenge him.Looking at the changing political scenario Abdullah may prevail over Najib if it was a straight fight.
A dark horse may make an appearance come this December and Abdullah and Najib better watch out for the unexpected.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
The United Nations will launch "Day Off" campaign in Singapore on Thursday to drive home the point that a day off every week for foreign maids working in the city state should be made mandatory.
The gleaming city state of Singapore has one of the highest per capita income in Asia and considered a highly developed nation. Unfortunately, this squeaky clean city has one of the worse working conditions for foreign maids and a government who doesn't care at all for the foreign domestic workers dreadful terms of employment.
Not only are they poorly paid, many are not given a day off for the whole duration of their contracts.Salaries are paid on discriminatory basis based on country of origin and colour of the skin.
Indonesia and Sri Lankan maids are paid up to S$280 a month and Filipinas up to $350.In comparison, Hong Kong and Taiwan employers pay US$500 and US$550 respectively.
There are close to 170,000 foreign maids in Singapore and half of this number are believed not to have a rest day at all according to a United Nation's report and some have to work almost round the clock. The Singapore government has done nothing at all to stop this abuse of human rights.Domestic workers are not included in the country's employment act and are, therefore, left at the mercy of their employers.
How could such a modern and highly developed society behaved in such inhuman, uncivilised and appalling manner.This is nothing less than modern day slavery, getting maximum output on a meagre payment and horrendous working conditions.
There were a few cases of maid abuse before which seemed to have ceased after government harsh punishment on the perpetrators. For fear of losing their only source of income there may be significant number of unreported cases of abuse.
It is obvious most Singaporeans can only be disciplined by force of law, just like littering and breaking of the highway codes.They don't do it out of their sense of civic pride.They don't do it in their country because of the very strict laws.
The moment they come to Malaysia, they treat it like one big trash can and the Malaysian highways as race tracks and for some no need to pay traffic summonses.