Saturday, September 30, 2006

At Last Malaysia's Lebanon Wish Comes True!

Malaysian peacekeepers will leave for war-torn southern Lebanon in a month after Kuala Lumpur confirms acceptance of the United Nations' offer to join the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Malaysia had replied to the UN that it had accepted the world body's offer and it would make arrangements to send the peacekeepers to the Middle East nation in a month's time. Najib, who is also Defence Minister, was responding to queries on the latest developments in sending Malaysian soldiers to Lebanon.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had said UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan had agreed for Malaysia to send 360 peacekeepers to Lebanon.

Earlier, Najib, who is also Pekan MP, launched the SPSetia Foundation child adoption programme.

Asked whether the peacekeepers would be sent after Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Najib said: "We've to look at the situation there and the places where our soldiers will be stationed."

On deferment of the Umno elections scheduled for next year which might not deter certain groups from continuing to campaign, Najib said they have to stop eventually if party elections are not held.

"Some campaigning have started. So, we took a pre-emptive measure to stop the campaigning from continuing," he added.

Earlier related post: Lebanon Peacekeeping Mission: Desperate Malaysia Wants To Join Indonesia.

Is This A Miracle Or Plain Bullshit?

The sugar shortage is over!

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs deputy director-general Iskandar Halim Sulaiman said sugar suppliers have kept their promises and are supplying more than enough sugar for the domestic market. Consumers are also no longer restricted to buy one kg of sugar per person.

He said complaints over shortage of sugar has also stopped and his officials are monitoring areas where the commodity needed to be sent.

Iskandar said sugar is being transported to Pahang daily and all other States are getting their regular supply.

**** While at the very moment this big lie was being told by the Deputy DG, the Deputy Prime Minister was lamenting that the smuggling of sugar, which has caused a shortage of the commodity in the country, is difficult to control because it is done by many parties! He added that despite the sugar shortage, the government would not allow a price hike.

Whom do you believe? The civil servant claiming that a miracle has taken place overnight or the DPM who discusses the reasons for the sugar shortage? The choice is yours.

Najib's statement here: Smuggling The Cause Of Sugar Shortage, Says Najib.

When Will Politicians Butt Out From Sports?

One of the biggest ills plaguing Malaysian sports is the unhealthy and unwanted involvement of politics and politicians. These pemimpin who don't have even a remote connection with a particular sport or game want to helm the association. Never the deputy presidency mind you, but always the number one post!! Why I really don't know.

A Menteri Besar for example has already enough to do in his state, even a tiny one like Perlis. Can these ambitious but ineffectual sport czar wannabes really do justice to the association, the game and the sportspersons involved? Haven't they done enough damage to Malaysian sports that new pemimpin have to come into the fray? One such newbie is the Perlis Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim who was elected the new president of the Malaysian Amateur Athletics Union (MAAU). Apart from having a slight physical resemblance to former American sprint king Maurice Greene, I wonder what qualifications this man has to lead the premier athletic association of the country.

Read the report here: Shahidan New President Of MAAU, Danyal Resigns As Deputy President.

Update: The Malay Mail has a hard hitting article on the subject: Athletics: Reject Danyal's resignation.

Kuan Yew Replies To Abdullah's Letter Over "Marginalised Chinese." That Was Fast!

Singapore's founding father and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has written to Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi over his recent remarks about the Chinese being marginalised in Malaysia, reports Bernama.

His press secretary, YY Yeong said the letter was now with the Singapore High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, according to a report by The Straits Times.

"(It) is ready to be personally conveyed to Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi," she said.

Abdullah wrote to Lee this week seeking clarification over the controversial remarks.

Lee, 83, told a forum on good governance here on Sept 15 that the attitude of Malaysia and Indonesia towards the republic was shaped by the way they treated their Chinese communities.

"My neighbours both have problems with their Chinese. They are successful, they're hardworking and therefore they are systematically marginalised, even in education.

"And they want Singapore, to put it simply, to be like their Chinese -- compliant," Lee had said.

The remarks drew protests from in Malaysia and Indonesia, Singapore's closest neighbours. The foreign ministries of both countries had also summoned the Singapore envoys to explain Lee's remarks.

**** What does such a quick reply from Lee imply? Did he expect such a move from the Malaysian leadership and had already prepared a rebuttal in advance? He may be going on in age but his mind apparently is still razor-sharp. In this game of check and mate he is second to none. The contents of his letter is the crucial thing. Whether he will further stir emotions by attempting to justify his claims is one fear. He could of course calm things down very easily by offering an unconditional apology and let the Malay leadership go to town with it, crowing victory and claiming to have successfully berjuang for the good name and maruah of bangsa dan negara. But knowing the man that is not going to happen. Perhaps he would express regret for the reactions his remarks have evoked and stop short of an apology.

Whatever may be the content of that letter will be known in a few days, unless of course he has given supporting evidence to his claim and a detailed list of acts of omission and commission on the part of our government over the past five decades. I wouldn't put it past him, he's a cunning old fox.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Federal Narcotics Director Datuk Mohd Najib Abdul Aziz Appointed Deputy IGP.

Datuk Mohd Najib Abdul Aziz has been named the new Deputy Inspector-General of Police.

Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin consented to the appointment of Mohd Najib, who was the Federal Narcotics Department director. The appointment was made on the advice of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who was briefed by the Police Commission.

Mohd Najib’s appointment, announced in a statement by Internal Security Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, is backdated to Thursday.

As he will be turning 56 on Nov 13, his contract has been extended by one year from November 14.

Mohd Najib, who was born in Sabak Bernam, Selangor, began his career with the police force on Nov 11, 1969. He started out as an officer in the anti-vice and gaming division in Penang and worked his way up the ranks, including becoming Kelantan police chief.

The Deputy IGP’s post became vacant when Tan Sri Musa Hassan was appointed the nation’s top cop on Sept 12, following the retirement of Tan Sri Mohd Bakri Omar.

IJN Recognised As World's Best Heart Centre.

The National Heart Institute (IJN) is recognised as the best heart treatment centre in the world and its expertise has gained international recognition, said Tan Sri Mohamed Khatib Abdul Hamid, who completes his term as IJN chairman after four years.

IJN's achievements in heart treatment were recognised by many people even during his visit to Britain, Germany and Austria recently, he said. "We went over there to seek their co-operation but, as it turned out, they were more eager to join hands and wanted to use the IJN brand to provide heart treatment services to other countries," he told Bernama Friday.

He also revealed the case of an Indonesian millionaire whose heart condition was detected only at the IJN and was later corrected.

"I leave IJN full of pride of its many achievements," said Mohamed Khatib, a former diplomat with 36 years in the foreign service.

Mohamed Khatib, 68, who hails from Perak, was chairman of the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre from 2003 to 2006. He was also the special representative to the prime minister from 1992 to 2002 before being appointed IJN chairman.

He was also happy that he was able to fulfill the wish of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that IJN serve the poor as well as ensure that the specialist workforce did not leave the institute. "Now, more than 82 per cent of IJN patients are sponsored as they are either retired or poor. In fact, even the rich get the best service from IJN and at a low price too.

"I am proud to say that in four years, only three doctors left IJN and that too for specific reasons," said Mohamed Khatib.

He added that the desire of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to see IJN achieve excellence globally has also been achieved. In the four years at IJN, Mohamed Khatib was proud to have been of service to the public, including many friends, who came for heart treatment. "I am proud to have been a part of IJN. Everybody here works as a team. Even the sweeper has a role at IJN," said Mohamed Khatib.

**** There is no doubt that the IJN is something that each and every Malaysian can and should be proud of. It is proof that if we put our minds to it we can be the best in the world. It should serve as a shining example and reminder to all to give our very best and try to excel in whatever we do. IJN Boleh.

LKY Has Hidden Motives In Accusing M'sia Of Marginalising Chinese Says Zainuddin Maidin.

Information Minister Datuk Zainuddin Maidin said today Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew had ulterior motives in accusing Malaysia of marginalising the Chinese community when he himself had killed the Chinese culture in his own country.

"I think he wanted to scare the Chinese, to make them feel that the wealth that they have amassed can never be safe in the region," he said to newsmen here after visiting Xinhua news agency. He arrived here for a three-day working visit yesterday.

Zainuddin said Malaysia had never marginalised its Chinese community even when there was an opportunity to do so such as during the aftermath of the May 13 incident in 1969. "The Prime Minister then, Tunku Abdul Rahman, rejected such a notion. We have also never confiscated any assets of the Chinese community," he said.

"Instead, we broadened participation in the government by expanding the Alliance to set up the Barisan Nasional."

Today Malaysia has more Chinese schools than Singapore and the biggest circulation newspaper in the country is a Chinese language newspaper.

"Lee Kuan Yew on the other hand had systematically killed the Chinese culture by disallowing many Chinese practices. He also closed down Nanyang University and Ngee Ann college," he said.

Zainuddin said Lee must be congratulated for changing the Chinese identity in the island state such that it had become unrecognisable.

He called on Chinese newspapers in Malaysia not to be taken in by Lee's statement to the extent of playing up Chinese chauvinism and endangering Malaysia's racial harmony.


Umno Poll Postponed Until After General Election. Why?

The Umno election, scheduled to be held next year, will be postponed until after the next general election has been held, said Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

However, Abdullah, who is also the Prime Minister, did not say when the general election would be held. The last general election was held on March 1, 2004 and the next election must be held not later than five years after that date.

Abdullah said postponing the Umno election until after the general election had been practised since the last two terms. "Such a practice had clearly been beneficial for the party where it could give full concentration on national development and implementing projects in the interest of the rakyat," he said at a press conference after chairing a meeting of the Umno Supreme Council (MT), here Thursday.

**** The PM is right when he says that it is beneficial to the party to postpone the Umno elections. In fact it is beneficial to the nation too. There is always so much of dirty politicking, bribery and the use of every underhanded trick in the run up to the party polls. Treachery, deceit and duplicitousness are the best descriptions for the elections of our nation's premier party. What a disgrace.

What Pak Lah doesn't say however is how much it benefits him personally by delaying the party polls. With a below par performance as Prime Minister and there being no indication of visible improvement in the near future, he has essentially bought some extra time to somehow buttress himself from powerful and ambitious forces in the party while hoping to also bolster his own reputation, standing and grip over the party machinery and cadres.

The fallout from promoting his son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin is another factor which he probably took into consideration. Frankly even as Prime Minister he cannot allow the existence of another centre of influence beyond the reach of party and governmental control and expect not to pay the price for such folly. He is well aware of the deep unpopularity of Khairy and the misgivings of the party faithful to his meteoric rise.

The Mahathir factor is also another reason for this postponement. While the leadership has by hook or crook, successfully prevented him from attending as a delegate at the party general assembly, Pak Lah is probably unsure of how the old warlord would react in the future or how much real power the Tun still wields in Umno. The one thing he doesn't need is a last minute revolt within the party and his unceremonious unseating.

Ultimately whoever controls Umno controls the government and everyone knows it. Therefore to have the party polls before the general elections will unleash the collective greed and ambitions of centres of power within the party who will go for broke knowing that Pak Lah is the weakest president in their history. The only way he can ensure his return to the chair as Umno President would be to get himself reelected as Prime Minister first, establish and secure his position and then use the considerable executive powers of his office to bargain and influence his way to the presidency.

Umno Expels "Sang Kelembai" Blogger. So They Do Read Blogs.

Umno Thursday expelled Zaharin Yassin, who is former Bandar Tun Razak Umno secretary, for criticising the party leadership in his blog entitled "Sang Kelembai".

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who is Umno president, said the decision was made by the party's Supreme Council (MT) unanimously after going through reports of the Management Committee and Disciplinary Board. "The Management Committee tabled the case and the MT unanimously decided that he be expelled," he told reporters after chairing the Umno MT meeting here Thursday.

Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad told reporters later that the MT viewed Zaharin's offence seriously and decided to impose a heavier penalty than recommended by the Disciplinary Board and Management Committee.

The Umno Disciplinary Board which had tried the case recently, had recommended for Zaharin to be suspended until the next party election with a warning that if he continued to write articles critical of the party leadership, he would be expelled.

**** Well, well, well! Looks like blogs ARE taken seriously by the big boys and they are at least now aware of the increasing influence bloggers may have over the average Joe. Of course Sang Kelembai is no ordinary blog and Zaharin Yassin himself is well known in Umno circles.

His expulsion clearly shows that apart from the fear of someone inside criticising the party and perhaps slowly spilling the beans, Umno is again fast becoming an intolerant entity much like in the dictatorial Mahathir era. In the past senior Umno members have not been expelled for committing much much more serious offences.

So other bloggers who are in the party or write anti-Umno stuff please take care. Abang Besar is watching.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Are We Planning To Rewrite History?

The Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry is prepared to help determine who founded Penang after a claim has emerged that the island was founded by an administrator from Minangkabau, Datuk Jannaton, and not Captain Francis Light. Deputy Minister Datuk Wong Kam Hoong said a special conference must be held to discuss and investigate the claim made by an academician who is a descendant of Jannaton.

"My ministry is willing to organise the conference if there are parties who are keen to discuss and investigate the matter so that the truth may be found," Wong told reporters here. He said historians, including those from outside Malaysia, may take part in the conference to reveal the truth as to who actually founded Penang Island.

The Penang state government said it welcomed a study to be conducted to determine the actual founder of the island. "If there is a claim that Penang was founded by Datuk Jannaton, then a study must be done to determine whether there is any truth to the claim," said Penang Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Rashid Abdullah.

Recently, a Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) lecturer Associate Professor Ahmad Murad Merican claimed that Francis Light was not the founder of Penang in 1786. Ahmad Murad, who is a descendant of Jannaton, said Penang was founded by his ancestor.

**** Please pardon my ignorance, after all I am neither a historian nor an anthropologist. I had all this while thought that those with the surname Merican traced their origin to India but here it states that the gentleman claiming to be a descendant of the 'actual' founder of Penang is from Minangkabau. Of course I'm sure there must be a perfectly good explanation for that.

It must also be emphasised that claims of this nature should not be encouraged on a daily basis and even if research has to be done, it should be sanctioned only on receipt of concrete evidence and not some grandmother's tales. Allowing even one such claim without a proper basis will open the floodgates to numerous spurious claims from all kinds of whackos out to get their 7 seconds of fame.

Frankly I would personally be very pleased if the claim proved true. How the mat salleh could have founded an island already inhabited by locals beats me. It's like Columbus or Vespucci having discovered America when the native Indian tribes were very much already there.

Malaysia Summons Singapore Envoy Over 'Chinese Marginalised' Claim.

The Malaysian government, patently unhappy and hostile to the recent comments made by Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew that Malaysian Chinese were being systemically marginalised, today upped the stakes by summoning the Singapore envoy.

Singapore High Commissioner T. Jasudasen was summoned to Wisma Putra today and was bluntly told of the government's extreme displeasure and disappointment at the statement made by Mr Lee. The Minister Mentor was reported to have said "my neighbours (Malaysia and Indonesia) both have problems with their Chinese. They are successful, they're hard-working and therefore they are systematically marginalised, even in education."

That statement which caused ruffled feathers here and in Indonesia and prompted questions about any ulterior motives on the part of Lee, has been making the rounds throughout the country for the past week. When asked whether Malaysia would send a diplomatic protest note following MM Lee's remarks, Datuk Seri Najib had said it was up to the Cabinet to decide. Yesterday was the Cabinet's weekly meeting and obviously his comments must have been discussed and the summoning of the Singapore envoy is probably a result of those deliberations.

Malaysia at times is ultra-sensitive to statements which touch on ethnic relations, especially strong comments coming from the other side of the scenic bridge. It is ironic that while Lee Kuan Yew spoke up for the Chinese here, the Malaysian Chinese leadership to a man and woman stood with the government and flatly rejected accusations or innuendoes of any attempt or even intent by the Malay majority government to marginalise them!

This is not the first time that statements made by Singapore leaders have met with hostile reaction. Some years ago Mr Lee had described the southern state of Johor in not very complimentary terms and the matter fizzled out only after he had clarified his comments and apologised. Nor is this the first time that a Singapore High Commissioner been summoned regarding statements made by their leaders. In January 2001 the then envoy was called to Wisma Putra to receive a protest note after then PM Goh Chok Tong made some 'unfortunate' remarks and comparisons between Malaysian and Singapore Malays.

How the current spat will end is anyone's guess. If the Malaysian side is expecting an apology from Mr Lee I think that they will be disappointed. To have made unsubstantiated claims about lawlessness in Johor and subsequently apologising for it is one thing, but to demand the retraction of what is basically a brutally honest and factual assessment is asking too much.

An interesting and thought provoking read: Singapore Malays Oppressed By Kuan Yew's PAP, Says Former Singapore Politician.

Sorry Encik But You're Blacklisted, In Debt And Dead!

In the NST today. There is a "dead" man walking the streets. And he is very frustrated. The Sultanah Aminah Hospital and the National Registration Department have declared him dead. And the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) had given his savings to his "widow".

On top of that, creditors are knocking at his door, never mind that he has been certified dead. It is no wonder that bachelor Mohamed Syarizal Wahab is frustrated and angry. Someone had stolen his identity.

The first hint of trouble our 'late' Syarizal got was when he found himself blacklisted by the Road Transport Department for two traffic offences in 2004. On enquiring he was shocked to find that someone had used his name to buy another car with which the crook had committed these traffic offences. He then lodged a police report. After a brief lull, things started going awry and he was summoned to court by a finance company for not servicing his car loan.

On checking at the National Registration Department, he was informed that he had already died! Tracing his "death", he went to the Sultanah Aminah Hospital where he was told that he had not only "died" there on Jan 30 this year, he owed the hospital RM28.

Then, came another shock. When he checked with the EPF, he was told that a woman with an address in Felda Adela, Kota Tinggi, had been paid his savings of RM12,000. She had claimed to be his beneficiary. The woman, he was told, had provided the EPF with a complete set of documents — from the death certificates issued by the hospital and the NRD, a marriage certificate, and birth certificates of two children bearing his name as the father. "I nearly fainted when the officer informed me about this for I could not believe this was happening to me. I am not even married," he said.

But, there was more, as Syarizal found out. A finance company is getting a bankruptcy order against him for not servicing his car loan. "The finance company said it had repossessed the car and put it up for auction. I did not buy a car from the finance company and now I have to pay about RM30,000 or face bankruptcy!"

Syarizal has filed seven police reports but, he laments, investigations into his case were going at a snail’s pace. "Last month, an officer from the EPF came to meet me. He said they would clear things up and return the money, but until today, I have not received any feedback."

Meanwhile, Johor Baru (South) district police chief Assistant Commissioner Roslan Ahmad said police were investigating. Johor NRD director Ramli Awang Kassim said they were investigating the authenticity of the confirmation of death letter issued by a doctor at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Johor Baru. "According to regulations, the death certificate is only issued if this letter and the NRIC are given to our department," he said.

**** A young, healthy and very much alive man who is in the prime of his life has been summoned for traffic offences he did not commit, blacklisted by the Road Transport Department, brought to court by a finance company for defaulting on a loan he never took for a car he never bought or owned, declared dead at a hospital where he still 'owed' RM28 and had his EPF savings stolen by a woman claiming to be his wife who produced two birth certificates naming him as the father when he was never even married!! It sounds like a script for some popular sitcom on TV.

And what have the concerned authorities been doing? The cops are still investigating, the EPF guys are still looking into the matter while the NRD is still checking on the authenticity of the documents. Meanwhile 'Allahyarham' Mohamed Syarizal Wahab is still declared dead and finding out the hard way what it feels like being in limbo.

I wonder what you, the readers would do in a similar situation. How would you react and feel?

A related 'dead while alive' post: Sorry Ma'am You're Dead!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Circus Academy May Be Set Up At Danga Bay, Johor. Can Our Politicians Join?

A circus academy where Malaysians can learn the necessary skills to succeed as performing artistes, may be set up at Danga Bay.

"With the expertise of the Royal London Circus' management team and in line with Danga Bay's vision of turning the area into an entertainment hub, we believe a circus academy is the right way forward. "We are in serious discussion with the owner of the Royal London Circus on how best to go ahead with the idea," said Kamarul Ariffin Suleiman, a director of Danga Bay, Wednesday.

"I am sure there are many young Malaysians who are interested in becoming circus performers."And a circus academy is the perfect answer. They can learn to become trapeze artistes, animal trainers, clowns, acrobats and dancers.

The Royal London Circus which has been in business for 22 years, is a Malaysian outfit, owned and managed by Paul Lee.

**** I know that there are many older people, mainly men who would make excellent clowns. They have an innate ability to make people laugh at their antics and even when they are serious we cannot be deceived, for a clown by any other name, however 'Honourable,' is still a clown. Whether they close one eye or both, speak nonsense or not, threaten or browbeat others, their buffoonery stands out prominently.

There are also those who'll make first class trapeze artistes and have demonstrated great agility swinging with ease from one party to another, twisting and turning facts with practised frequency and effortlessly hanging on to the feet of one leader while preparing to cling to the hands of another in a split second.

Then there are the animal trainers whom some refer to as boss or ketua who keep these political animals in their place. They are consummate trainers who know their animals very well and keep them on a tight leash all the time, lest they decide to turn tail and run off to another circus. They are also masters at detecting the ungrateful ones who may bite the hand that feeds them and are responsible for putting the dangerous and over-ambitious ones to pasture.

And how can we forget the acrobats who change their viewpoint on short notice in response to the circumstances? This highly talented circus mainstay is a survivor and is used to falling down and determinedly get up and perform. Failure is not a setback for this backbone of every circus in the world.

Now the question may arise, why when we are very fortunate to have so much high-value, homegrown circus material do we need a circus academy? We have the stars here as well the finest trainers in the region. Lucky indeed are we Malaysians! Don't you agree?

**** The original Bernama report here.

Malaysia Ranked 26th In WEF Global Competitiveness Index.

Malaysia is placed 26th in the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) rankings for 2006-2007.

In a statement here Tuesday, the Geneva-based WEF said Malaysia exhibited one of the most efficient economies in the region.

"It has flexible labour markets, relatively undistorted goods markets and public institutions that in many areas (e.g. rule of law, the legal system) are already operating at the level of the top performing European Union members that joined in 2004.

"A well-developed infrastructure and relatively sound regulatory environment, coupled with sophisticated production methods and fairly extensive adoption of new technologies, should contribute to higher levels of growth and continued rapid development," it said.

WEF said the country's overall competitiveness score would be improved if the government was more successful in reducing the public sector deficit. "Large deficits for several years -- more than 3.5 percent of gross domestic product this year have become a semi-permanent feature of the macroeconomic landscape," it said.

WEF said improving the health of the workforce and access to education would also do much to enhance the country's competitiveness. "However, there is no question the country has come a long way and has excellent prospects," said Augusto Lopez-Claros, chief economist and head of the WEF's Global Competitiveness Network.

Meanwhile, Switzerland, Finland and Sweden are the world's most competitive economies according to the report. Denmark, Singapore, US, Japan, Germany, The Netherlands and the UK completed the top 10 list. The US recorded a pronounced drop, falling from first to sixth.

The rankings are drawn, among others, from the Executive Opinion Survey, of which over 11,000 business leaders were polled in 125 countries.


**** At a time when no news is good news, Pak Lah must be extremely glad that the nation and the economy have been given the thumbs up and we only just slid one position lower unlike the US. Moreover we did far better than the two giants of Asia, China and India. Hopefully this piece of welcome praise will give him the impetus to push ahead with reforms that are much needed to keep up with the other fast-paced growers. This is the opportune time to review outdated practices and firmly put in place forward looking, pragmatic and just policies that will benefit the entire nation and not merely half the population. Please remember that Singapore has maintained its very high 5th place ranking.

Links - GCI ranking chart.

Kedah Welfare Aid Recipients. Abandoned By The Government?

Several welfare aid recipients in Baling district said that they have not been paid the aid for the last three months. The recipients, including several disabled persons, told Bernama that they had met the district Welfare Department officer but were not given a satisfactory explanation.

Kedah Social Welfare Department Assistant Director Mohamed Hazam Ismail, when contacted, explained that the aid stopped because the department had run out of funds since last May. However, he expected more allocations next week and the payments would be made together with the arrears. He said only recipients of federal aid were affected.

***** Have we turned into another impoverished third world basket case, that we can't even make proper payments to the needy and disabled? Why should there be a shortage of funds for welfare recipients? Is the state government paying out in the millions monthly? After all most of this is funded federally isn't it? What have the welfare department pengarah and his staff been doing about this? How could they let these poor people suffer for more than four months?

One strong possibility is that the funds meant for the destitute have been diverted elsewhere. You see, although the designation, Pengarah, Jab. Kebajikan may be humble sounding, he is in fact the benevolent 'hand' of the menteri besar, providing the largesse from funds available in the name of the poor and given out at the whim and fancy of his political bosses provided the pengarah plays ball. The reward? A datukship, rapid promotion to a more senior post, shares in state-owned companies and trusts, directorship of several companies after retirement; the possibilities are endless.

In Kedah recently there were allegations of money being given out to Umno delegates to ensure Dr Mahathir's defeat at Kubang Pasu. I wonder how much of this welfare money went into financing that bribery effort? Also I'm sure that large sums of cold cash is required to 'facilitate' all kinds of wheeling and dealing by the state 'leaders.' What better source which no one can question than welfare funds and other such allocations meant for the desperately impoverished?

If you feel that all of the above is mere fanciful thinking, please think again. Our pemimpin are capable of this and more, and will stoop to even lower levels to achieve the aims of their perjuangan.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Proposal To Outsource Ambulance Services. Gross Abdication Of Responsibility.

The Health Ministry has proposed outsourcing ambulance services to the private sector to overcome issues like the lack of trained personnel and maintenance of vehicles. Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said the Economic Planning Unit was studying the ministry’s proposal, which was submitted in June.

“Our problems are basically lack of trained personnel accompanying the ambulance, the attitude of drivers and poor maintenance of the ambulances. So it is better to rent the ambulances or outsource the service to the private sector based on the number of ambulances they can offer. We will only accept their offer if the rates are appropriate and do not burden the Government."

"In many countries, ambulance services are outsourced and operated separately from the hospital setting,” he said.

**** I say, my dear friend Chua Soi Lek, have you taken leave of your senses? Are you trying to use the excuse of outsourcing services of ambulances in other countries and trying to justify palming it off to the private sector here? Haven't you seen the havoc even so-called reputed private security service companies have caused, by hiring thugs, ex-cons, mental patients and other misfits? Do you think that privatised ambulance services would be any better? And you even want to bargain and demand lower rates from them! You'll get what you deserve Soi Lek.

Where in heaven's name are these private companies going to get their disciplined drivers from, since you don't place much faith in your own ministry's lot? They will source them from lorry, bus, ex-minibus and van drivers and anybody else who can show some proof that they have driven something remotely looking like an ambulance. Profit will be the overriding criteria and the public will as usual suffer, the way they have been from every privatisation project from Dr Mahathir's days. This time they may pay with their lives as well, if the drivers also have a drinking or dadah problem apart from a great difficulty understanding traffic rules and regulations.

If the Health Ministry now has a lack of trained personnel accompanying the ambulance, where the devil are the private companies going to get the required staff from? Just fobbing off the problem and hoping the contracted companies can somehow manage, will be the heights of irresponsible behaviour. Just the same way that you have brought some order to private hospitals, patiently and systematically tackle the problems of ambulance personnel and drivers in-house and stop this silly idea of outsourcing. You're not a bank but a place for healing.

Automated Enforcement System To Discipline Road Users. End Of The Road For Reckless Drivers?

According to Bernama it seems that the government is finally going to do something positive about psychopaths with or without a driver's licence, Mat Rempits with a death wish, selfish bastard drivers with an inferiority complex and all other specimens who have turned our highways into killing fields. To this bunch of roadscum, I hope you get shafted for good when the new system is introduced by the authorities.

The government will install more than 700 surveillance cameras at strategic locations and black spots throughout the country from middle of next year to 2010 in its effort to reduce road accidents and fatalities.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said the Cabinet had approved the ministry's proposal to install the cameras under the automated enforcement system (AES) to nab motorists committing traffic offences such as beating the traffic light, overtaking on the double line and driving on the emergency lane. AES is among the four projects proposed by the Transport Ministry under its five-year masterplan on road safety (2006-2010). The other projects involve programmes in education, enforcement, engineering and environment protection. "The cameras will be installed at traffic lights, highways, federal and state roads while a mobile camera surveillance unit will be set up and deployed to certain places," he told Malaysian journalists.

Chan is leading a 16-member delegation, including Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam, Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu and Negri Sembilan state exco member Datuk Peter Lai Yit Fee on a six-day visit to study the road safety programme in Sweden, which has the lowest road accident and fatality rates in the world.

Chan said through the AES, the surveillance camera would monitor every car movement and record its speed with the information relayed to the control centre which would identify speeding vehicles, those beating traffic lights, driving on the emergency lane and overtaking on the double line. The enforcement agency such as the police will then ascertain whether the drivers have committed any traffic offence.

"Once the police have established a case, a ticket will be issued and sent to the car owner," Chan said, adding that the surveillance cameras would function 24 hours a day, seven days a week and throughout the year. However, he did not reveal the cost of the project except saying that road users would not be burdened with the installation of the cameras as no cost would be passed on to them.

He said such a system had proven to be effective in disciplining drivers and other road users in countries such as Australia, the United States, in Europe, China and South Korea where the figures showed reduction of traffic offences by about 40 per cent. "This is because the drivers would know that once they are sitting behind the wheel, there are surveillance cameras monitoring their movements. With this, their awareness of enforcement will automatically reach a high level," he added.

"The Cabinet had last month approved the installation of such cameras and so far, we have received 10 proposals from local and international companies that want to provide us with their system (on the AES project)." He said a working committee was hence set up chaired by the Transport Ministry's secretary-general and comprising officers from the Public Works Department, Ministry of Internal Security, Ministry of Finance, police and the Economic Planning Unit to evaluate the proposals.

"We will begin with one city and one highway which will be announced later under the first phase," he said, adding that the system would be extended to cover all cities, highways, state and federal roads. "Under the second phase, a mobile surveillance camera unit will also be established.

"We will start with the surveillance cameras monitoring the drivers and other road users for speeding and beating traffic lights under the first and second phase. "Under the third phase, the surveillance cameras will cover other traffic offences such as overtaking on the double line and driving on the emergency lane."

Chan said the installation of the surveillance cameras was not meant to increase the collection of fines but more for disciplining road users under the road safety masterplan through better enforcement. "We will also amend the Road Transport Act in order to allow all the evidence captured on camera to be accepted by the court as evidence. The Cabinet has also given us the approval on this, " he added.

In light of this, Chan advised Malaysians to be prepared to accept the changes following the government's decision to implement the AES. According to statistics provided by the Transport Ministry, there were 6,188 road accident fatalities in Malaysia last year with a ratio of 4.2 deaths for every 10,000 registered vehicles. "It is so disheartening to see so many deaths. If we don't act on this, I don't think we are a responsible government," Chan said.

**** It is hoped that after the expensive 'fact-finding' holiday to Sweden (By the way, why was the Malacca CM included on this trip? Is he 'coming' as an expert on 'matters' Swedish?) the government will at last on this one occasion at least, walk the talk and implement the system properly and impartially. If VIPs break the law don't let them get away by pulling strings. Suspend or cancel their licences. They can afford drivers.

I don't know how the government is going to manage it, but with a fourth-rate maintenance culture amply demonstrated in almost everything we've started with fanfare so far, it is hoped that we can get some dedicated people in, to ensure that the implementation and enforcement is unrelenting and continous and the punishment swift and harsh. That's the only method to get the road swine out of the way for good.

If it works Chan Kong Choy, I'll even vote for you in the next elections.

Will Najib's Directive To Local Councils Be Heeded? Fat Hopes.

All local authorities need to seek public opinion before making decisions which will affect them. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said local councillors had the responsibility to get public opinion before a local authority made decisions that concerned the public.

He said the current local government structure nationwide had many weaknesses and this had caused the public to react strongly to some of the decisions made. Najib was speaking to reporters after chairing the 55th National Council for Local Governments meeting here yesterday.

**** The first question that comes to mind is, who is responsible for the cavalier attitude of the corrupt local councils? That dubious honour goes to the government and its leaders including Najib. Even at the point where he acknowledges that there are many weaknesses in local councils, the sly politician in him shows, when he said that while a review of local government structure is on the cards, it did not necessarily mean that councillors would be directly elected by the public. “Do not presume that there will be elections.” How do you trust the advice or orders of such a man who gives from one hand and rudely snatches it back with the other?

It is really sad that no senior politician whether it be Najib, Pak Lah or anybody else is really concerned about the criminal activities and misdoings of local councils. They seem to be a law unto themselves and the top leadership is merely paying lip-service about reforming them, while local authorities loot the people with impunity. Almost everyday you can read in The Sun about the corrupted local councils and their activities. But what is being done? The Local Government Ministry is a paper tiger in the purest sense of the term. It has no powers over the criminals running these authorities. Direct elections cannot be held because Umno leaders fear that the DAP will sweep all urban council seats and prove that they can do a far better job than the crooks currently at the helm.

So where does this depressing state of affairs leave the poor rate-payer? Exactly where he was 20 years ago and where he shall be in another two decades - down in the dumps. In the meanwhile Najib will continue to make the same speech half-a-dozen times and give the same advice and directive to which the local councils will give a silent "up yours" and continue as if nothing has happened and sure in their conviction that nothing can stop them.

God Bless Us All!!

**** Details on Najib's bullshit here: DPM: Get public opinion

Are Some Non-Muslims Misusing/Manipulating The Syariah Court System?

Of late there have been cases reported in the newspapers which to me seems like a very clever strategy to escape responsibility and the jurisdiction of the civil courts, in matters regarding divorce and child custody.

A hypothetical case will be one where the marriage of a non-Muslim couple goes to the dogs and divorce is either being threatened, considered or being proceeded with, when suddenly one partner, most often the husband 'sees the light' and converts to Islam along with his children secretly and in an awful hurry. The whole equation then changes and our saudara baru rushes to the Syariah Court for relief including custody of the children as he is now a 'Muslim!'

While the Ummah may rejoice at the saving of yet another kafir, are the Islamic authorities here unaware of such abuse and manipulation of the Syariah system? Are these really true believers or shrewd and cunning men exploiting a system which happily allows it? Is this 'the end justifies the means' conversion acceptable to the powers that be? The civil courts at the highest level have so far washed their hands of the issue by saying "we have no jurisdiction," which is a lot of rubbish. The fact is that the judges concerned have not been able to reconcile their position in the judiciary with their faith as Muslims and should be disallowed from hearing cases of this nature in the future. In the process they have betrayed not only their vows of upholding justice but the hopes and trust of very wronged plaintiffs.

You are most welcome to give your honest opinion on the above issue as long as you do not cite any specific case which is still pending in court. In fact there is one such case in today's papers which you can access from here but I shall refrain from commenting on it as it is sub judice and the last thing we want is a contempt of court charge: Nod for convert to seek divorce.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Should Younger Women Not Marry Older Men?

Young women who want to marry older men, especially those who have children from previous marriages, should think the matter through thoroughly before going ahead with their wedding.

Malaysian Islamic Women’s Consultancy Council chairman Datuk Kamilia Ibrahim was quoted by Kosmo! as saying that picking an older husband brings a lot of pressure such as problems with the family from the man’s earlier marriage, acceptance by the bride’s own family, and the perception of the community. “Younger wives should realise that there will be emotional pressures and they will have to face up to the older spouse's deteriorating health especially when sex is concerned,” she said.

**** I wonder if Siti Nurhaliza's marriage to Datuk K prompted this 'think before you leap' advice? Ever since her wedding I too have off and on thought about it. I remember having blogged on the subject but can't seem to find the post just now. How practical is a marriage which has such a wide age-gap?

On the face of it the question seems complete in itself. However without other 'inputs' it doesn't really make any sense to talk about marriage and how workable it is, with just age difference as the only consideration, to the exclusion of all other factors that form essential 'ingredients' of a successful marriage. Firstly it would be difficult to say what the 'ideal' age difference should be. Conventionally it seems that three to five years is more or less the norm, but with so many divorces taking place in this group, one has to revise the wisdom of using such an 'ideal' figure as a yardstick.

One important requirement is compatibility. There is no point in having an ideal age difference (if there actually is one) if the couple cannot see eye-to-eye on most issues and every simple conversation turns into a heated debate. While it is logical to expect someone older to have views that are 'older' or 'outdated' when compared to those of his younger spouse, this more often than not is simply untrue. No age-group has a monopoly on an opinion or view that can be said to be peculiarly theirs. The mind very often does not go in tandem with the physical years of the body.

For sure, sexual performance will slow down with age and the vim and vigour of a forty or fiftysomething will not be quite the same from what he 'had' two decades earlier. Even that to some extent is partly psychological and no different from the anxiety of much younger men who deeply fear not being able to 'rise' to the occasion and the universal problem of men of all ages, which is talked only rarely and in hushed tones, premature ejaculation. With the advent of Viagra and the promise of better, safer and less expensive drugs in the near future, the sexual appetite and performance of the older male will fade into irrelevance.

Of course when the husband has children from a previous marriage, it can potentially complicate a new relationship, especially if the former spouse is hell-bent on preventing him from a 'and they lived happily ever after' scenario. This can also happen to those who have married and divorced after say 2-3 years of wedded hell and who are from the same age group. Therefore this cannot be held out as a reason for not marrying someone much younger or older.

If someone could keep a record of those married couples who have at least an age difference of 15 years or more and then see the results of their marriage after say 30 years, the Grim Reaper allowing, now that should make interesting reading. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the older man-younger woman marriage proved more durable and harmonious than the conventional norm.

Of course this is only my view and it would be interesting to know your opinion, all of you, young old and not so old.

Don't Harp On Sugar Shortage Says Shafie Apdal. Why Shouldn't We?

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shafie Apdal Sunday asked opposition leaders in Sarawak not to harp on sugar shortage, saying adequate supply of the commodity was on the way there. "We started to send the supply to Sabah and Sarawak yesterday and it should arrive by Sept 29. "This should be able to meet the demand to some extent," he told reporters.

Shafie brushed aside a demand by Bandar Kuching DAP MP Chong Chieng Jen for the minister to quit his post for allegedly having failed to resolve the sugar issue in the state. "I don't want to respond to that. That is a silly comment. I am sending the sugar now. Will he resign if the sugar arrives next week?" he said.

Four navy ships carrying 2,784 tonnes of coarse sugar are scheduled to arrive in Sabah and Sarawak by the end of next week to ease the sugar shortage in East Malaysia.

**** First of all the minister has no business to tell anyone to stop bringing up the issue of severe sugar shortage. That is our inalienable right, as is our expectation to purchase essential commodities without hassle. His ministry has failed, and failed miserably at that. The sugar shortage has been a problem since April-May this year. What has be doing since then? If not for the fasting month followed by Hari Raya, he would have continued sitting in his office demanding that no one bring up the subject of sugar shortage.

But oh yes, our minister did do one thing in connection with the shortage. He strongly defended the sugar producers, giving all sorts of excuses on their behalf. This blog pooh-poohed his explanations from the start and our suspicions and doubts were confirmed when the Deputy Prime Minister and not Shafie warned the sugar barons to Up The Production Of Coarse Sugar Or Face Government Wrath.

By right, the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shafie Apdal should resign and take full responsibility for the hardship he has caused to an entire nation. Of course in true Malaysian style of accountability that won't happen, because it will set a bad precedent you see. Give in to this resignation demand and other ministers may actually have to work hard to avoid similar calls. Besides who are these opposition leaders or for that matter the public, to ask for the resignation of ministers? These pemimpin owe a higher loyalty to their party bosses who keep their political life running smoothly as long as they toe the line, make the right noises and don't overtly support Dr Mahathir. Who cares about small details like a sugar shortage? Moreover think of the bright side; for all you know it might bring down the incidence of kencing manis in the near future. In that sense Shafie Apdal may have, through his incompetency, actually done a lot of us a big favour!

I personally feel it will be good if he did take some responsibilty for this fiasco and therefore should at least ask that he be given another portfolio even if he does not want to resign. That would be at least a 'part' honourable thing to do. What say you?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Singapore Fighter Jets In Malaysian Airspace. Why is Syed Hamid So Cool?

When queried on Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew's insulting remark about Malaysia and Indonesia's treatment of their Chinese minorities, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar became very serious and described it as a "very dangerous" comment. However on the much more crucial issue of Singapore fighter jets flying with impunity in Malaysian airspace, he did not show any surprise or concern and remained as cool as the proverbial cucumber!

He said that the Foreign Ministry will only take up the matter of the alleged presence of fighter jets from a neighbouring country in Malaysian airspace once it receives appropriate advice from the Defence Ministry! He said matters concerning security and encroachment of Malaysia's territory were monitored and handled by Mindef. "If there is a complaint of this nature, Mindef is the agency responsible and they will advise us accordingly. Only then we'll take the next step," he said.

Sounds a lot like diplomatic bullshit to me. How come a matter so important as infringement of our airspace by military aircraft of a foreign country be dismissed with a "we'll wait for the melalui saluran tertentu explanation?" This wasn't the type of response in the past. In fact in April 2005, the then Foreign Ministry Parliamentary Secretary Datuk Zainal Abidin Osman said since Malaysia's airspace was closed to Singapore on Sept 18, 1998, the government had not decided till today to re-open the airspace for military exercises. "We are actually strict on many issues that cropped up between the two countries. We have decided on many matters on the government's firmness in protecting the country's sovereignty and security."

Has the government done some behind-the-scene deal allowing free access to our airspace for the Singapore Air Force? That's the only logical conclusion one can come to in the absence of a firm statement from our leaders. This 'let's wait for the Defence Ministry to check it out and get back to us' kind of brushing aside the question will not help.

The full report here: Presence Of Foreign Jets, Mindef To Investigate, Says Syed Hamid

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Any Truth To Kuan Yew's "Malaysian Chinese Marginalised" Statement?

Lee Kuan Yew should have made one slight change in his statement which has caused raised eyebrows and strong disapproval from a not too happy Malay leadership. He should have stated that the Malaysian Indians along with the Chinese have been marginalised and our government would have murmured and muttered but would not have felt justified or compelled to respond as strongly.

If truth be told, the process of 'unintended' marginalisation began in the aftermath of the May 13, 1969 riots. If the Malaysian Chinese are not marginalised as the Malay leaders contend, then it is not because there were no unjust policies in place which were vigorously implemented. The enthusiasm and eagerness with which these unfair policies were enforced and executed would definitely have led to serious marginalisation of a less resilient community. The Malaysian Indians are a good example of such a group who have suffered badly and are recognised even by the government as being increasingly marginalised and in need of official help.

But our leaders feel hurt about such 'naughty' accusations as DPM Najib put it. In fact Najib said "the government had never adopted a policy which aimed at hindering the progress of the non-Bumiputeras as all it wanted was nothing but fairness and equal distribution of wealth for all races." (Of course he doesn't believe what he is preaching and neither do we.)

If the Chinese have not been marginalised, unlike the Indians, it is not because of the benevolence of the government towards them. It is in spite of every policy and hurdle placed in their path. What has to be configured now is where the Chinese would be today if unfair government policies were never implemented. They would probably be several score notches higher in any socio-economic indicator or index.

The reality is that the Chinese have resisted and fought back against marginalisation with a high degree of success because of the resilience, inner strengths, talents and genius of their community in Malaysia. It is not my intention to angkat them for I have nothing to gain by it. I am merely stating what I believe are facts.

So if the government does not agree with Lee Kuan Yew or feels slighted by his statements, go ahead and object and deny that the Chinese are truly or systematically marginalised. But please oh please don't take any credit for it; that you don't deserve. Only the Chinese should take pride and all the credit for stoutly defending their place in the Malaysian sun.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Malaysia's Astronaut Candidates Agree Not To Marry Until 2008

Malaysia's final two astronaut candidates have agreed not to get married until 2008 as stipulated in their contracts to enable them to focus on their space mission.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Hospital medical officer Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, 34, and army dentist Kapt Dr Faiz Khaleed gave their commitment to this at a luncheon with Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor at Sri Satria, the official residence of the Deputy Prime Minister, here Thursday. Also present were Najib and Science, Technology and Innovations Minister Datuk Seri Jamaludin Jarjis.

"I do agree with Datuk Jamaluddin Jarjis on the matter of marriage... at least we can focus on our mission because what we are doing now is for the country," Dr Sheikh Muszaphar told reporters after the luncheon when commenting on Jamaludin's statement two days ago that they were not allowed to tie the knot until 2008 as stipulated in their contracts.

Disclosing that he already had a sweetheart, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar said that she understood the demands on him for the mission. He also said that he would take along a picture of her for inspiration while undergoing training in Russia.

For Dr Faiz, 26, the condition in the contract does bother him at all. "This is to ensure that we focus on the programme," he said but declined to reveal whether he had plans to get married in the near future.

Earlier, Najib said the two astronaut candidates were entering a more challenging phase. "But I'm confident that after having undergone the gruelling selection process, they have developed the ability and tenacity to undertake the task.

"We are very proud of their spirit and determination to bring glory to the country," he said in bidding them farewell before they left for Russia for a one-year astronaut training stint.

The duo will leave on Tuesday.


**** I don't know why, but this report reminded me of that oldie song 'Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree.'

Will Malaysia Have A Nobel Laureate By 2050?

Today former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir reiterated his hope that the country's first ever Nobel Laureate could be produced by 2020. That statement got me thinking. Firstly I feel that Mahathir was overly optimistic when he set the 2020 target year, to win one of The Nobel Prizes which are generally regarded as the most prestigious prizes in the world.

Therefore I have set a more reasonable 'limit-year' for our discussion - 2050. Also we shall only consider here the prizes in the categories of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine and economic sciences. The criteria for awarding prizes in the peace and literature categories are somewhat different from the above and thus are not included.

What are the distinguishing and extraordinary qualities that a potential Nobel Laureate should have? Marie Curie (1867-1934), who shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903 and was sole winner of the 1911 Nobel Prize for Chemistry had this to say: What, in reality, are some of the qualities required of the person who aspires to success in the field of independent scientific research? The intellectual qualities are an intelligence capable of learning and understanding; a sure judgment capable of appraising the significance of theoretical and experimental demonstrations, an imagination capable of creative effort. Equally important are the moral faculties: perseverance, zeal and above all the unselfish dedication that guides the novice along a path which, in most cases, will never lead him to material rewards comparable to those offered by careers in industry or business.

By that definition alone it would be safe to eliminate 99% of the population! Jokes aside, don't you think that a conducive environment should be considered as all-important? Do we have that ideal environment here? Could that be the main reason why the developed countries seem to be hogging the prizes year in and year out? Perhaps they have learnt and know that unless the conditions are optimal, the best cannot be produced even by the most brilliant and dedicated of people.

Let us not put ourselves down by saying that our best minds are not up to it. Given the right conditions we too can shine as the finest in the world. However, again we have to go back to the policies that rule our lives in the field of education and how it stultifies rather than strengthen the intelligent mind. When at an early age if you come to realise that merit for example, has no value and that ethnicity rather than dedication, determination and intelligence is the way to go, I'm afraid that all the wrong lessons have been taught and learnt and this group won't win a Nobel prize in the next 2,020 years. Unless of course in the future there should be 'avenues' to buy our way in, as we did in participating in the F1 or even the current astronaut hoo-haa.

A Malaysian can of course theoretically win a Nobel prize from working in hundreds of centres of excellence spread all over the world. But what politics determines the working atmosphere in those places, we won't know. One question that often pops up in discussions on topics related to the above is, why is it that Singapore with all its emphasis on merit and the strive for excellence and 'perfection' and the great importance it places on providing the very best conditions, has not been able to produce even one world beater? I'm not too sure about that and if any of you would like to answer or rebut that statement you're most welcome.

With a little more than 43 years to go before 2050, we still have time to train our infants and toddlers as an entirely new and 'different' generation, brought up strictly to value merit, hard work, honesty and dedication and taught to eschew shortcuts, handouts and other devices designed to numb the brains of otherwise normal people. Then perhaps we may yet realise Dr Mahathir's dream of a Malaysian Nobel Laureate, albeit a few decades late.

Does Bernama Need A 24-hour News Channel?

The government has yet to decide on the introduction of a 24-hour news channel to be run by the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) because of the prohibitive cost involved, Deputy Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Thursday. He said a study by Bernama showed that the government had to come up with RM100 million to set up the proposed Malaysian News Network, which would function along the lines of Cable News Network (CNN). "Therefore, the government has not made a decision yet whether the project is feasible and should go ahead or otherwise," he said.

Sometimes our 'thinkers' in the government come out with great ideas which are either not practical, duplicate existing facilities or promoted merely to keep up with the Joneses or is it the Lees? It is laughable that the government even contemplated establishing a CNN style news channel. Or did they get their ilham from Al Jazeera?

It must be kept in mind that successfully running a 24-hours news channel is no joke. Even if the money is available it simply cannot compensate for the utter lack of talent and genius required to manage one. In any case the country already has a slowly stirring giant in RTM which serves the dual purpose of 'infotainmen' and as a massive government propaganda machine. If that outlet itself has been badly managed and is now crying out for audiences and advertising revenue, how can we reasonably expect a 24-hours news channel to succeed?

For sure the government will want to have the only say in the day to day running of this channel. They will introduce all the bad habits and practices acquired from other government departments, bow to the wishes of the religious zealots, xenophobes, language bigots, nationalists, chauvinists of every bent, impose race and religion quotas on the staff as well as the programmes to be aired and will finally end up as exciting as RTM is today.

Sounds a tad pessimistic? Sorry, but when it comes to certain subjects like this, I simply can't help it. But what about you? Do you think a 24-hours news channel, given the current mindset of our government, is a workable proposition?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

"Mind Your Language." Even Kids Know That.

Do you remember your kindergarten and primary school days? The class teacher will off and on remind us little kids to be polite and not be insulting or hurtful towards each other. At that tender age, we needed such timely reminders from our teachers and as a result of that gentle and friendly prodding, those of us who followed their advice have remembered it to this day and have strived to be as polite as we can. More importantly, we understood the effect of the use of harsh language and how hurting it was.

However even at that young age, amongst us were the rotters who did not then and still have not now, heeded that practical and common sense advice from our teachers. Many of these rotters have fallen by the wayside while some have made it despite their propensity to use bad and vulgar language, cursing, insulting, humiliating and belittling anyone who dares to question them. The successful among these rotters have somehow managed to go against the grain of civilised norms of behaviour, both verbal and physical and still made it in their lives. Whether they have the attributes to be called gentlemen is a different matter.

These are the people who despite their advancing age need to be reminded like school kids, again and again, to mind their language.

Politicians Are Urged To Follow IGP's Colour Blind Policy.

Inspector General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan says, the police must remain strictly colour blind when it comes to handling crime and criminals in the country. He said they cannot be moved by ethnic or any other bias and have to remain neutral in enforcing law and order.

How nice to hear of such refreshing advice, especially at a time when opportunists masquerading as leaders of the race and religion are causing unnecessary tensions in the ruling coalition and ethnic baiting is on the rise. Would it be too much to ask if politicians of all parties, both ruling and opposition seriously consider the type of advice the IGP is giving the police force? It is applicable to each and every one of them, pemuda and the seniors. Whether it be Pak Lah, Lim Kit Siang or even that super bangsa warrior, Khairy Jamaluddin, if they could incorporate the 'colour blind' advice of the IGP into their political philosophy, things would be so much better for every citizen of our country. But can our politicians afford to abandon time tested methods of provocation and rabble rousing or are they indeed capable of such drastic change?

For the full report on the IGP's speech, use this link.

More Specific Guidelines On Usage Of Malay And Employment Of Muslims Needed.

On the one hand our authorities encourage the use of the Malay language as a medium of instruction in schools, in daily conversation, sign boards and official letters as well as promoting it as a language of knowledge. On the other, the same language proponents become paranoid when Malay is used as a language in the writing of anything which they find unacceptable, suspicious or distasteful especially if it pertains to religion.

Recently the Utusan Malaysia highlighted a story of a buku komik agama bukan Islam berbahasa Melayu diedar percuma in Cheras where the said comic was being distributed by Malay youths. The Utusan writer himself obtained a copy at the car park of Taman Shamelin Perkasa, Cheras.

The writer then poses this question, persoalannya kenapa komik itu dibukukan dalam bahasa Melayu dan diupah belia Melayu untuk mengedarnya? Mengapa pula diolah dalam bentuk komik? A valid argument on the face of it. My questions are very simple. Is it an offence for a Muslim to be employed or tasked in any venture, free or profit-making, which deals with an item or any literature connected with another religion? Does he automatically lose his right of employment even if he personally has no objections, if another religion vaguely comes into the picture? Are Malay translations of non-Islamic scriptures and literature forbidden by law?

It is better to issue very specific guidelines and if these guidelines are already in place, then publicise them, to prevent the type of insinuations made in the Utusan report which gives the 'Islam in danger' kind of uneasy feeling to the average Muslim.

The full Utusan report here.

What Are The Chances Of A Coup In Malaysia?

The very idea of a coup being organised, orchestrated and succeeding in Malaysia seems as far-fetched as one taking place in the United States. When a country has all the organs and processes of democracy in place and the government in power proves to be a workable and functional entity, theoretically there should be no room for any extra-constitutional move like a coup.

However even the most resilient democracy will necessarily have to take precautions to see that the untoward doesn't happen. The main ingredients that make a country ripe for a coup are several. Among the foremost is the general unhappiness and sometimes downright public hostility towards the ruling elite. This could be due to the incompetency of the leadership, perceived widespread corruption by those in power, financial hardship experienced by a majority of the people, compromised public safety and breakdown of law and order, perception of great injustice being done to a majority of the citizenry by an uncaring government and generally a feeling of hopelessness and despondency. How much of the above conditions are prevalent in Malaysia is an interesting and thought provoking question.

Another very crucial requirement for a coup to succeed is the role that the Armed Forces play in the daily running of the country. In nations where the military is confined to barracks and the generals are put in their place by a confident and strong civilian leadership, the chances of a coup emerging is slim. However if the army is often called out for mainly civilian security duties with the intention of safeguarding or propping up the civilian government, then things can get real dicey. The emergence of a powerful, recognisable and vocal military leader is a dangerous thing and many governments appreciating this, rotate, shuffle, promote and retire senior officers regularly to avoid the rise of even one prominent military figure.

Yet another 'prerequisite' for a coup is the involvement of military offficers in politics either as active politicians in uniform, through military-backed political parties or as coalition partners of civilian parties. The moment some form of political power is either given or acknowledged as rightfully belonging to the armed forces, the country is on the road to a coup at some future date. In this sense Malaysia is in a happy position. The political and military leadership both know their constitutional place in the national scheme of things and the importance of maintaining civilian control and supremacy.

As you have seen, elements of the unhappiness with political elites, increasing hardship of the people and questions about corrupt and incompetent leaders does exist in Malaysia. Is that enough to start worrying about a coup at some later time? What are the chances of a military intervention taking place in Malaysia? Any opinion, people?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

How Much Of Peninsular Malaysia Should The Orang Asli Own?

The Orang Asli, as the very name suggests, are the original inhabitants of the land we now refer to as Peninsular Malaysia. (Unless history has drastically changed from the time I learnt the subject in school.) What if a resurgent and educated group of Orang Asli were to lay claim to large tracts of our country and then were to take the issue to court? What can possibly happen?

Why I decided to post on this topic was a news report I just read, where the Federal Court in Australia has ruled that Perth belongs to the indigenous people who lived there before white settlers arrived. (Aborigines win native title over major Australian city)

It is indeed a landmark judgement and opens up avenues for indigenous peoples all over the world, including Malaysia. The purpose of this post is to get the views of the blogging community on the rights of the Orang Asli, whether those rights are being upheld by the government, including the notoriously communal-minded and Malaycentric Jabatan Hal Ehwal Orang Asli (JHEOA), what can be done to help them and if the courts are the only way to empower them.

Feel free to give your views here.

**** An interesting read: 'Unlawful' quorum, so land rights case put off

Is This Wisma Putra's Idea Of A Joke?

Malaysia Unsure If Two Detainees In Guantanamo Bay Are Its Citizens, is the Bernama headline!!

What the! Only days ago the whole leadership went to town with lofty speeches about protecting the rights of Malaysians, and more or less demanded that Washington take good care of two of its 'citizens.' (PM: Give Malaysians in Guantanamo fair trial); (Terror suspects held by US ‘should not be denied rights’)

The above prompted this blogger to comment, Don't Worry About Guantanamo Bay, Look At Our Lockups First, Pak Lah.

Now, soon after the PM meets up with George Bush, suddenly we are told "mungkin bukan orang kita bradder!" How could any smart thinking group of people like those in the foreign ministry make such a boo boo? And how could they have adviced the Prime Minister without having first done the basics of confirming the identity of the suspected terrorists?

The following is the Bernama report on the admission of ignorance: The government Tuesday said it was not certain whether the two Asians being detained at the United States' detention centre in Guantanamo Bay are Malaysians.

Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Joseph Salang said the nationality of the two Asian detainees could only be confirmed if the US government would let a Malaysian government representative meet the detainees.

"Wisma Putra has asked the Malaysian high commissioner *(sic) in Washington to make arrangements with the US authorities to allow our representative to meet the two detainees who are claimed to be Malaysians.

"If they are Malaysians, then we will take all the necessary steps to safeguard their welfare while they are in detention. We will also make sure that they will be given a fair trial in the United States," he said when winding up his speech on the 2007 Budget in the Dewan Rakyat.

The world media reported that two Malaysians were among the 14 detainees who were allegedly involved with the Al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah operatives, whom the US government recently transferred to Guantanamo Bay in the south-eastern part of Cuba.

**** Malaysia does not have a High Commissioner but an Ambassador in Washington. I just hope that the deputy foreign minister was misquoted!

**** Moral of the story? Look, listen and confirm before opening your mouth.

Bank Of Thailand Governor Likely To Be Prime Minister?

Bank of Thailand Governor Pridayadhorn Devakula is said to be the leading candidate to assume caretaker Prime Minister's post following the military ouster of embattled premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

The Nation daily said in its website that Pridayadhorn, who is in Singapore to attend the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings, has cut short his trip. It quoted Pridayadhorn as saying that he had agreed to accept to become Prime Minister and an announcement was likely later today.

Earlier this morning, Thailand's military leaders appeared publicly for the first time on national televisions this morning to confirm a coup against Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The country's first Muslim army chief, General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, who led the coup d'etat, read out a statement citing the reason for the coup.

Flanked by chiefs of other wings of the military, Sonthi said the midnight coup by the military group calling itself the Democratic Reform Council was made in view of Thaksin's poor and dangerous handling of the country. In his statement, which was similar to an earlier announcement made over televisions, Sonthi said Thaksin had divided the country, bordering on lese-majesty and his government was corrupt.

"He liked to interfere in the working of independent government bodies which made them difficult to carry out their task. There was alot of personal interest involved," he said. Sonthi asked the 64 million Thai people to support the new authorities and promised to restore democracy and return the power to the people. The military has also disbanded Parliament, the 1997 Constitutions and the Constitution Court.

Immediately after his statement, all television channels, which came under soldiers' control overnight, started to broadcast their normal programmes and commentaries on the coup after showing only documentaries or march music in praise of King Bumiphol Adulyadej.

**** More news here: S'pore Expresses Concern Over Situation In Thailand
Thai Coup: Indonesia Closely Observing Development

UPDATE: Thaksin headed for Singapore?

Letter From A Frightened Malaysian Abroad.

The following was received by email and is probably an imaginary letter relating to some of the things going on in Malaysia.

Dear Mr Ooi,

I have been meaning to pen some thoughts for some time now, to let people actually read the views of the typical ‘overseas Malaysian’ who is kept away. I realise that my email is rather long, but I do hope that you would consider publishing it (and also keep my name private!).

I shall start by telling a little about my background. Mine is a rather sad tale – of a young Malaysian full of hope and patriotic enthusiasm, which is slowly but surely trickling away.

I am very different from many other non-bumiputeras, as I was given tremendous opportunities throughout my childhood. Born into a middle-class Chinese but English-speaking family, I grew up with all the privileges of imported books, computers, piano/violin lessons and tuition teachers.

My parents insisted that I should be exposed to a multi-racial education in a national school. In my time, my urban national school (a missionary school) was a truly happy place – where the Malays, Chinese and Indian students were roughly equal in proportion. We played and laughed with each other, and studied the history of the world together during Form 4, with one interesting chapter dedicated to Islamic history.

Though 75% of my teachers were Malays, I never really noticed. My Malay teachers were the kindest to me – teaching me well and offering me every possible opportunity to develop. I led the district teams for English and Bahasa Malaysia debating competitions. I was the only non-Malay finalist in the Bahasa Malaysian state-level elocution competition. My Malay teachers encouraged me to transfer to a government residential school (sekolah berasrama penuh) so as to enable me to maximise my academic potential. I refused because I was happy where I was, so they made me head prefect and nominated me as a ‘Tokoh Pelajar Kebangsaan’. Till this day, I am absolutely certain that it was the kindness of all my Malay teachers which made me a true Malaysian.

I excelled at school and was offered a Singaporean government scholarship to study overseas. I turned them down because I wanted to ensure that I would remain a ‘true Malaysian’ in the eyes of Malaysia. So I accepted a Malaysian government scholarship to study at Oxford University. Throughout my three years as an undergraduate, the officers at the MSD looked after me very well, and was always there to offer support.

I graduated with first class honours, and was offered a job with a leading investment bank. The JPA released me from my bond, so as to enable me to develop my potential. I shall always be grateful for that. I worked hard and rose in rank. My employer sent to me to Harvard University for postgraduate study and I climbed further up their meritocratic ladder.

Now I am 31 years old and draw a comfortable monthly salary of US$22,000. Yet, I yearn to return home. I miss my home, my family, my friends, my Malaysian hawker food and the life in Malaysia. I have been asked many times by Singaporean government agencies to join them on very lucrative terms, but I have always refused due to my inherent patriotism.

I really want to return home. I have been told by government-linked corporations and private companies in Malaysia that at best, I would still have to take a 70% pay cut if I return to Malaysia to work. I am prepared and willing to accept that. My country has done a lot for me, so I should not complain about money.

But of late, my idealistic vision of my country has really come crashing down, harder and faster than ever before.

I read about the annual fiasco involving non-bumiputera top scorers who are denied entry to critical courses at local universities and are offered forestry and fisheries instead. (My cousin scored 10A1’s for SPM and yet was denied a scholarship).

I read about UMNO Youth attacking the so-called meritocracy system because there are less than 60% of Malay students in law and pharmacy, whilst conveniently keeping silent about the fact that 90% of overseas scholarship recipients are Malays and that Malays form the vast majority in courses like medicine, accountancy and engineering at local universities.

I read about the Higher Education Minister promising that non-bumiputera Malaysians will never ever step foot into UiTM.

I read about a poor Chinese teacher’s daughter with 11A1’s being denied a scholarship, while I know some Malay friends who scored 7A’s and whose parents are millionaires being given scholarships.

I read about the brilliant Prof. K.S. Jomo, who was denied a promotion to Senior Professor (not even to Head of Department), although he was backed by references from three Nobel Prize winners. Of course, his talent is recognised by a prestigious appointment at the United Nations.

I read about UMNO Youth accusing Chinese schools of being detrimental to racial integration, while demanding that Mara Junior Science Colleges and other residential schools be kept only for Malays.

I read about the Malay newspaper editors attacking the private sector for not appointing enough Malays to senior management level, whilst insisting that the government always ensure that Malays dominate anything government-related.

I read that at our local universities, not a single Vice-Chancellor or Deputy Vice-Chancellor is non-Malay.

I read that in the government, not a single Secretary-General of any ministry is non-Malay. The same goes for all government agencies like the police, armed forces, etc.

I read about UMNO screaming for the Malay Agenda, but accusing everyone else of racism for whispering about equality.

I read about a poor Indian lady having to pay full price for a low-cost house after being dispossessed from a plantation, whilst Malay millionaires demand their 10% bumiputera discount when buying RM2 million bungalows in a gated community.

I read about my beloved national schools becoming more and more Islamic by the day, enforced by overzealous principals.

I read about my Form 4 World History (Sejarah Dunia) syllabus, which now contains only one chapter of world history, with Islamic history covering the rest of the book.

As I read all this, I tremble with fear. I love my country and long to return. I am willing to take a 70% pay cut. I am willing to face a demotion. I honestly want to contribute my expertise in complex financial services and capital markets. But really, is there a future for me, for my children and for their children? I am truly frightened.

I can deal with the lack of democracy, the lack of press freedom, the ISA, our inefficient and bureaucratic civil service, our awful manners and even a little corruption. But I cannot deal with racism in my homeland. I think this is the single biggest factor which is keeping people like myself away. And bear in mind – there are so many of us (researchers, scientists, bankers, economists, lawyers, academics, etc.). What people read about in Malaysia (like Dr Terence Gomez) is but the tiniest tip of the iceberg. You will be amazed to know about Malaysians denied JPA scholarships (which would have made them civil servants), took loans to attend Ivy League universities, but who are later asked to advise our government (on IT, economics, etc.) at fees running to millions of US dollars. Such information will never be published because it is politically incorrect.

As a Christian, I pray for God’s blessing on this great country of ours. I pray that He blesses our leaders with the foresight and humanity to see that this will not work and cannot continue. I pray that they will have the strength to make our country a home for all Malaysians and that they will have mercy for the poor, including the non-Malays. I pray for true racial harmony and acceptance (not just tolerance) in Malaysia.

Yours sincerely,
A very frightened Malaysian abroad.

***** Does this letter strike a chord? You bet!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Don't Worry Too Much About Indoor Air Quality. Ensure A Breathable Outdoor Environment.

Our authorities believe in running before learning to crawl. With the damned Indons blitzing our atmosphere with their perennial forest fires we should be seriously worried about health problems as a result. Now one of our 'run before you crawl' political types wants to regulate and monitor indoor air quality after doing a survey of 2000 people.

What have these chaps been doing about the forest fires in Indonesia as well as the thousands of cases of open burning which has been going on with impunity in our own country? Nothing. But now according to Negeri Sembilan Environment, Human Resource and Public Complaints Action Committee Chairman Datuk Peter Lai Yit Fee, the government wanted to ensure that those working indoors or inside commercial buildings were breathing quality air!

Bloody hell! Here we are getting choked off and on by all the rubbish that is being burnt, while the authorities are merely paying lip service instead of actually doing something substantial to overcome this problem, and our hero Peter Lai wants to champion indoor air quality proponents. If some 'enterprising' politician gets to know about this, I'm sure that he'll see to it that the government comes out with not only stifling regulations but also newfangled gadgets and devices to 'monitor' the air quality. And guess whose company or interests will manufacture these devices? Don't underestimate our chaps. They are immensely qualified to be the biggest and the most crooked capitalists in the world today.

So thank you but no thanks Peter, we'll manage indoor air quality ourselves temporarily while you and your caring colleagues in government concentrate on helping us by making sure we have at least some quality air to breath when we are outdoors. We appreciate your concern.

Abdullah's Leadership Very Democratic, Says Loyal Servant.

Gerakan holds Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's leadership in high regard as he uses a very democratic approach and considers the views of all, said its deputy president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon. He said the Prime Minister also adopted a consensus-based approach in determining the direction of the nation. "He is also open to criticisms from Cabinet members and others who have differing views," he told a press conference.

Dr Koh said Abdullah's democratic style should not be misjudged as having lost control of his administration."In fact, this is what the people want, a more democratic government than an autocratic one. Abdullah's leadership in this respect is very clear to all," he said in commenting on the remarks made by Kota Baharu MP Datuk Zaid Ibrahim in Parliament last week that the Prime Minister had not brought about the changes he had promised after being in power for three years.

Dr Koh, who is also Penang Chief Minister, said each Prime Minister had his own style of leadership and that Abdullah was no exception."With the total support of the component parties of the Barisan Nasional and the Cabinet, it is his right to administer the nation as he sees fit," he said, adding that it was unrealistic of people to expect changes to be made overnight.

With such loyal servants like Koh, who will at a drop of a coin, give convincing and meaningful expression to his Master's voice, the PM is indeed a very fortunate person.

Knowledge On Asean Should Be Taught From Primary School. First Teach About the Different Races In Malaysia.

The younger generation should be taught on Asean as early as in primary school, Information Ministry Parliamentary Secretary Noriah Kasnon said Tuesday. She said learning about Asean at an early age would ensure that the future leaders would understand the grouping better, as well as foster love and a deep sense of belonging towards Asean.

"I think much more needs to be done to address the shortcomings in terms of introducing Asean to people at an early stage in our education system. I suggest that the education system in Asean countries give due emphasis on imparting knowledge about Asean even as early as at the primary school level," she said.

**** I appreciate the concern of Puan Noriah about the importance of knowing more about our fellow Asean brethren from an early age. As she says, it will foster love and a deep sense of belonging. No harm at all in her suggestions. However don't you think before embarking on an Asean 'journey' we should first set things right at home?

It would be extremely beneficial to the fostering and inculcating of genuine and true love and sense of belonging if we were to start from primary schools, the learning of our own citizens' different cultures, traditions, languages and religions. That would be a thousand times more useful to us than learning about other countries, far or near. Instead of taking this logical approach, just to satisfy some vague, base instincts of a few, we are downplaying our own heritage and over-exaggerating the arab influence on all our peoples.

Half the country could not be bothered about learning Arabic history or culture and dismiss it as totally irrelevant, while some in the other half, pretend that they are actually Arabs! This dichotomy in our lives has been extended to our school syllabus which sometimes I feel should be renamed sillybus. We should be emphasising on the history of the Malays from the time of the proto-Malay and beyond, while with equal enthusiasm we should be teaching our kids about the rich, knowledgeable and historically respected Chinese and Indian civilisations spanning at least five thousand years and which have had a much greater impact and influence on the Malays than what is being grudgingly acknowledged now. We should be told in great detail the history of our fellow citizens in Sabah and Sarawak and our children should from primary one be taught to embrace all of our rich cultures as their very own. That is the way to go, and not down some narrow path of blind self-delusion.

So by all means teach our children about Asean, but don't forget to tell them about their immediate neighbours who are their fellow citizens of Malaysia.

Does The Government Have The Guts To Prosecute National Service Dodgers?

This is a question that has been begging for an answer. When thousands of white collar criminals, many of them politicians and supporters of political parties are roaming the country, free of any punishment, will the government seriously consider imprisoning thousands of teenagers for not attending a so-called 'national service' programme which selects candidates by a lottery system? Is this lottery based selection halal in the first place?

Hypothetically, if a religious authority were to give an opinion or even a fatwa that the selection method itself is haram, will all Muslim dodgers be exempt from prosecution? Who is to say that parents won't resort to any sort of excuse, or exercise any option available to them, to prevent their children from counting bars?

One tried and tested method is to use the influence of politicians to somehow save their kids from prosecution. NS training programme chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye is very acutely aware of this possibility when he urged politicians not to interfere. He said that if there is any interference, it will only defeat the whole purpose and make a mockery of the law. How true.

Having said that, what can an MP or State Assemblyman do if a constituent approaches him and gives him a convincing sob story? He simply cannot dismiss the concerned parent by saying that the kid deserves it or that he is forbidden from interfering. He has to somehow try or pretend to try to get the child off the hook. Somewhere along the way he is going to be accused of not lifting a finger to help and that's when the pressure will be applied to the relevant authorities to go easy. A wise guy or lawyer is going to advice that they try the 'selection is haram' route and then some heavyweight is going to lean on the religious authorities to pronounce on the matter favourably. In short things can get messy.

Of course, if it also means that the BN may lose a lot of votes in the next elections because of this treatment of young adults, please fully expect the government to turn tail and forget about the whole issue of prosecution. Unless some determined person like Lee Lam Thye persists in his actions. But then again Lam Thye doesn't have to stand for elections, does he?
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