Archive for June, 2007

British English vs Malaysian English

(For a laugh. Thanks Huang for forwarding the following email:)

Who says our English is teruk.? Just see below -

Ours is simple, short, concise, straight-to-point, effective etc:

WHEN GIVING A CUSTOMER BAD NEWS

Britons: I’m sorry, Sir, but we don’t seem to have the sweater you want in your size, but if you give me a moment, I can call the other outlets for you.
Malaysians: No Stock.

RETURNING A CALL

Britons: Hello, this is John Smith. Did anyone page for me a few moments ago?
Malaysians: Hello, who page?

ASKING SOMEONE TO MAKE WAY

Britons: Excuse me, I’d like to get by. Would you please make way?
Malaysians: S-kew me

WHEN SOMEONE OFFERS TO PAY

Britons: Hey, put your wallet away, this drink is on me.
Malaysians:No-need, lah.

WHEN ASKING FOR PERMISSION

Britons: Excuse me, but do you think it would be possible for me to enter through this door?
Malaysians: (pointing the door) can ar? Read the rest of this entry »

25 Comments

NEP – about time the government wakes up

AY forwards an incisive critique of the NEP in the wake of the ruckus over EC Ambassador to Malaysia, Thierry Rommel’s public spat on NEP (reproduced below) ending with this very perceptive observation:

“I tell my clients that in Singapore, everything from education to jobs to business and government contracts, we have to compete with the rest of the world. In Malaysia, the Malay only needs to be better than other Malays.”

I refer to the malaysiakini report EU envoy summoned to explain NEP criticism. After reading the comments made by the European Commission’s top envoy to Malaysia, I cannot help but put my two cents worth into the fray.

I have worked and lived in Malaysia and am well accustomed to its social fabric and political system. As a foreigner, I have a better understanding than Westerners on this issue because I speak Bahasa Malaysia and have been exposed to Malay culture and traditions from young. Still, I am perplexed by the NEP and its predictable ills especially coming from an environment where meritocracy is, to a small extent, worshiped.

Essentially, all societies are unequal in some form or other but few in the developing world would attempt to make more equal by legislating a heavy-handed unequal-ness. This is what Malaysia has done. The extreme of this ideology has to be Mugabe’s confiscation of white-owned farm lands in Zimbabwe.

To me and others who swear by free competition, the NEP is flawed from its conception in 1970. What baffles me is that the Malay political elite remains adamant that a redistribution of wealth via such means is the one and only solution.

In my dealings with the Malaysian government, I have learnt that there is a feeling of ‘entitlement’ among Malays that makes for a curious insight. Read the rest of this entry »

54 Comments

Pak Lah “I am no sleeping PM” – walk the talk!

“I am no sleeping PM” - this is the newspaper headline of Nanyang Siang Pau reporting on the speech by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, when opening the Perak Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s trade exposition in conjunction with its centennial anniversary in Ipoh yesterday. This is also the headline used by China Press.

I am glad that Abdullah has brought this issue out into the open from the closet as neither the Prime Minister’s public image nor the national interest is being served or furthered by pretending that such increasing talk does not exist.

In fact, Abdullah should seriously find out why more and more people, including in government, the ruling coalition and the public, are talking in this vein about “a sleeping PM” when it was never said against the four previous Prime Ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, Tun Hussein Onn and Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in the first 46 years of Malaysian nationhood.

One could disagree with the first four Prime Ministers, whether on government policies, measures or specific issues, but no one would attribute it to lack of focus, attention or interest by the Prime Minister.

Unfortunately, under Abdullah’s premiership, more and more people are putting the blame for many of the ills in government and country on “a sleeping PM”, which has not been helped by several factors, including: Read the rest of this entry »

30 Comments

Take leaf from new British PM – Pak Lah should relinquish Internal Security and Finance Ministries

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should take a leaf from the new British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and not hog the ministries of Internal Security and Finance but appoint Ministers who can provide full-time hands-on leadership to these two important portfolios.

Abdullah should give serious consideration to this proposal as in his 83 overseas trips in his 44 months as Prime Minister, five of them were to the United Kingdom.

On replacing Tony Blair as Prime Minister, Brown relinquished his post as Chancellor of the Exchequer to Alistair Darling who was moved from the Trade and Industry Ministry while appointing the first female Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith.

In contrast, Abdullah is hanging on as Minister for both portfolios although the past 44 months have proved beyond a shadow of doubt that he has neither the time nor temperament to be a full-time hands-on Minster for either Ministry.

What are the reasons for the Prime Minister to head another Ministry?

It must be to stamp his personal authority on the Ministry whether policies, programmes or personnel. As Abdullah is clearly incapable of doing this, whether in Internal Security or Finance, for the simple reason that he is unable to spare the time and attention, is it then the alternative explanation that he could not trust anyone else to head the two Ministries which he regards as either too influential or sensitive? Read the rest of this entry »

27 Comments

Cabinet Committee on Integrity – what is it doing to turn back tide of corruption in Malaysia?

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is both right and wrong when he said that it is unfair to say the government is not serious in fighting corruption simply because Tan Sri Eric Chia has been acquitted.

He said yesterday that one should not judge the government’s earnestness in fighting graft based on a single case such as that of the former managing director of Perwaja Steel Sdn. Bhd who was acquitted of criminal breach of trust charges involving RM76.4 million on Tuesday.

Najib is right that normally the government record whether in its battle against corruption or any other policy matter should not be judged on the basis of one case, except that the Eric Chia corruption trial bulked large as it was hailed as the most high-profile evidence of the Abdullah administration’s resolve to launch a crackdown on corruption.

As the most high-profile anti-corruption case that had been thrown out of court, especially after the failure to nab the 18 “big fishes” which the Abdullah administration had earlier promised to arrest and prosecute for corruption, Najib should realise that the Eric Chia case has assumed the epic proportion of the test case of the Abdullah premiership to “walk the talk” to fight corruption.

The circumstances of Eric Chia’s acquittal — where the defence was not called because the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case — was a most ignominous reflection on the government’s will to fight corruption as well as the professionalism of the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Gani Patial and his prosecutors.

As the Attorney-General is appealing against Eria Chia’s acquittal, Malaysians will have to suspend judgment until outcome of the appeal.

However, Najib and the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should realize why the government’s anti-corruption campaign is so intimately tied to the outcome of the Eric Chia case — as there has been no other higher profile case in the past 44 months.

In the last general election, the overwhelming majority of Malaysians believed that Abdullah is a new broom to sweep out corruption in Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »

14 Comments

NEP not a global-friendly policy

by Dr. Chen Man Hin

    THE NEP IS NOT GLOBAL FRIENDLY AND HAS CAUSED FOREIGN INVESTORS TO AVOID MALAYSIA AS A PLACE FOR INVESTMENT

The NEP has been under attack by many foreign investors the latest critic was Thierry Rommel, a top envoy from the European Union, who commented that trade relations with Malaysia has been hampered by its policy of bumiputraism which is racial and not acceptable by global standards.

What Rommel said was embodied in a 34 page European Commission report titled Malaysia-European Community Strategy Paper for the Period 2007-2013 which stated “Crucial policies are an open stance towards FDI, not least in the services sector which needs to be opened up; human capital development , innovation and research capabilities; more competition and less interference of government-enforced Bumiputra–related concerns in the functioning of markets.”

It is not only the European Union that is critical. The US Department of State also stated “one source of impediments to Malaysia’s economic growth is its complex network of racial preferences to promote the acquisition of economic assets by ethnic Malays (bumiputra). The public aim of these programs is to encourage a more even distribution of wealth among races. despite th stated goal of poverty alleviation, these raced based policies.. in practice wealthy and well-connected bumiputera receive the lion’s share of the benefits. The resulting economic distortions in the property, labor and stock markets inhibit growth and deter both foreign and domestic investment.”

The world opinion of NEP is negative and is shown by statistics of FDI inflows into Malaysia and other countries. Read the rest of this entry »

29 Comments

JAWI raid on Indian restaurant for public display of Hindu deities – PM should stop the “Little Napoleons”

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi must stop the “Little Napoleons” in JAWI from imposing a “reign of terror” with their lack of understanding of the Merdeka social contract and contempt for the constitutional rights of all Malaysians, creating inter-religious tension and setting back inter-racial harmony and nation-building.

I refer to the multi-agency raid led by JAWI (Jabatan Agama Islam Wilayah Persekutuan) to the eating shops in Lorong Maarof, Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, 26th June 2007, at about 11.30 a.m., particularly an Indian restaurant and a mamak restaurant.

This blog yesterday had carried an email giving an eye-witness account.

Last night, I received an email from another public-spirited Malaysian who visited Lorong Maarof to check on the complaint. This is the account her email after the visit:

“I dropped by the two Indian restaurants at Lorong Maarof this afternoon to chat with the workers and to verify what exactly happened. The Star and another paper were already there yesterday, they said.

“I looked at the summons issued to Aiswari restaurant: The raid was done by the Bahagian Hub Halal of JAKIM, together with officials from other agencies, including JAWI, KPDN and HEP (? must be Kementerian P or D (not clear) Dalam Negeri; don’t know what HEP is) and DBKL. 10 of them came into the shop, but the cashier said there were about 15 others milling outside the streets.

“According to the summons, the officers came because of a complaint (choice of berkala/aduan/susulan). 4 jenis kesalahan were written down:

1. bukan pemegang sijil halal JAKIM (this means their halal logo is from some other source?)

2. arahan tidak boleh menggunakan logo halal dan perbahasan [should be "perhiasan" - kit] dalam premis (??)

3. Sita?? – ayat ayat Qur’an di buat oleh JAWI?? (four framed ayats, 2 big, 2 small were taken away)

4. tiada pekerja Muslim (? cashier and all workers are Muslim)

“The cashier who seems to be in charge was quite agitated, esp about the Muslim workers and halal meat served. He is an Indian (national) Muslim, showed the JAKIM ppl his passport with his Muslim name and all the 7 workers there were Muslim and so is the owner. The raiders questioned the ‘halal’ ness of the food served and took the halal certs issued by the meat suppliers. Said he and the workers and owner are all Muslim so why shd they serve non-halal meat and chicken.

“they also took away all the ayat Qur’an, but I can’t figure out what the offence is – ayat Qur’an dibuat oleh JAWI??? Maybe they allege this is not a genuine Halal Muslim place, so they have no right to display ayat Qur’an?

“At the corner restaurant where my friend’s niece ( the writer of the original email) was eating, they inspected the place, checked the meat to see if its halal, took pictures, took the halal certificate, and questioned why they have pictures of Hindu gods and candle on the mantlepiece behind the cashier when they serve Muslim customers. The guy said he told the JAKIM people the meat served is halal and showed him their halal cert from the supplier. Two other restaurants were closed. Read the rest of this entry »

103 Comments

PM – slash frequent overseas trips unless he can do justice as Internal Security and Finance Minister

In a written answer to the DAP MP for Batu Gajah Fong Po Kuan yesterday, the Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar revealed that in his 3 years 8 months as Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had made 83 official visits overseas (including his most recent visits to Russia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Italy) —

2004 – 22
2005 – 25
2006 – 20
2007 – 16

One message from the answer is that Abdullah has not only three portfolios of Prime Minister, Internal Security Minister and Finance Minister, he has a fourth portfolio as the traveling de facto Foreign Minister.

Malaysians do not begrudge Abdullah making overseas visits but it must not at the expense of neglecting his duties as Prime Minister, Internal Security Minister and Finance Minister and in particular his 2004 general election pledge to head a clean, incorruptible, efficient, just, democratic, people-oriented administration prepared to hear the truth from the rakyat.

Abdullah should revamp his time-management to ensure that his frequent trips abroad does not result in his neglecting his duties as Prime Minister, Internal Security Minister and Finance Minister as there are more and more disturbing evidence of this happening, viz:

  • The most important agenda of the Abdullah administration to wipe out corruption fizzling out, highlighted by the ignominous dismissal of the Eric Chia corruption case without defence being called because of the failure of the prosecution to establish a prima facie case but also by the relentless drop of Malaysia’s ranking in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index from 37th to 44th placing from 2003 to 2006 and which is likely to plunge further this year; Read the rest of this entry »

29 Comments

Tolerance my ass!

I have received the following very angry email from MS, with a very ferocious heading which I am using – breaking a rule of this blog:

Couldnt help feeling this angry today. I know at my age, I am supposed to be mellowing out, looking forward to a nice chilled day and now what? I find myself with the same amount of righteous anger as I had when I was 16 – going through puberty and finding the world most unfair that my mum wouldnt allow me to have my first pair of cargo pants!

I was sitting in the banana leaf shop this morning having a roti and a coffee when a group of JAWI officers entered the premises. 10 officers to be exact, into this little shop. They spent a good 20 minutes going through the place (and it is a small place!) and finally one officer writes out a writ and gives it to the cashier. They then left. Curious, I asked the cashier what that was all about and he replied that they were not allowed to have their little altars and pictures of their deities in their shop “because otherwise, Muslims cannot come into their shops” . What utter nonsense! Are we still living in the Malaysia that is so “famed” for its “religious tolerance”?? The shop is not a mamak shop. It is an Indian Banana leaf shop. Why would it be surprising that they should have signs of their religious beliefs in their own space? I didnt think that sort of thing was illegal (please correct me if I am wrong). What is wrong with this picture? Will it come down to the point when my Muslim friends should not visit my home just because I have a cross or a chinese altar there? PLEASE!

Better yet, I discovered as I was leaving , that the JAWI personnel had targetted the other 3 banana leaf shops along that row of old shops (near the vets office – off Jalan Maarof). There were at least 4 nos of vans for the officers , ALL double parked on the main road and causing an inconvenience to the other road users. Is there a separate set of laws that govern these people? Notwithstanding the fact that they are trampling all over the definition of religious tolerance in this country , they also flaunt the general laws of the land. This makes me really angry and sad about the state of our country. Read the rest of this entry »

181 Comments

“A person who had not been robbed is not a true JB-ite”

The people of Johor Baru and Johore state should make full use of the public hearing of the Parliamentary Caucus on Human Rights in Johor Baru on Sunday, 8th July 2007 to voice out their hopes and fears about the crime situation in the southern capital and state.

The 250% exceeding of the target of the 100,000-signature campaign launched by the Johor Baru Chung Hua Association for the restoration of safety, law and order in the Johore capital, with 350,000 signatures collected from all over the country, including online, from all races, religions, classes, gender and age group, illustrates the gravity of the problem of the crime situation in JB, Johore and Malaysia.

It is commendable that the top police leadership is showing serious response, with the visit of the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan to Johor Baru yesterday and the Johore Chief Police Officer, Datuk Hussin Ismail himself going down to the “black areas” of crime in JB on night patrol.

There must be all-round determination that this time, the public revulsion against the high crime rate and rampant lawlessness in JB, must be a sustained and long-term commitment and not a short-term response to the public outcry. This is for the safety of all Malaysian citizens and their loved ones, tourists and investors.

The notoriety of JB as the capital of crime must be wiped out, and the self-deprecating and shameful definition that a person who had not been robbed is not a genuine resident of JB must be a thing of the past.

The Police should announce the “black areas” of crime in JB, Johore and the country which will enable the public to monitor the success of the police drive to turn them into “safe” crime-free and low-crime areas.

I hope the public hearing of the Parliamentary Caucus on Human Rights in JB on July 8 can help to wipe out such a definition of a JB resident — a person who had been robbed at least once. Read the rest of this entry »

26 Comments

1st priority for PM on return from honeymoon – first meeting with MTUC leaders in 44 months

I have today given notice to the Speaker, Tan Sri Ramli Ngah for an urgent parliamentary debate on the demand for minimum wage and cost of living (Cola) for private-sector workers in a motion of urgent definite importance on Monday.

This is the motion I will move on Monday:

“That under Standing Order 18(1), the House gives leave to Ketua Pembangkang YB Lim Kit Siang to move a motion of urgent, definite public importance, viz: the MTUC demand for minimum wage and cost of living allowance (Cola) for private sector with potential to result in large-scale industrial action.

“On Monday, 25th June 2007, Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) staged a 14-location nation-wide picketing by thousands of workers after discussions with the government on its campaign for a minimum wage of RM900 a month and cost of living (Cola) of RM300 for private sector employees came to a deadlock.

“A week earlier, MTUC presented a seven-page memorandum to the Prime Minister asking for minimum wage and Cola for the private sector but did not elicit any appropriate response.

“According to an MTUC study, some four million out of the 10 million workers it represents are earning below the poverty line. Even in Johor Baru where cost of living is extremely high, industrial workers are paid as low as RM390. Even five-star hotels in Kuala Lumpur pay a basic wage of RM290 per month to cleaners and waiters.

“The Prime Minister should initiate tripartite talks involving the government, MTUC and employer representatives on MTUC demand for minimum wage and Cola to avoid escalation of industrial action and ensure industrial peace with justice for three reasons:

  • A follow-up to the recent 35% salary increase and 100% increase in Cola for public sector employees to ensure that private-sector workers, especially in low-wage categories, are assured of a decent living and a basic fair wage;

  • The flooding of the country with millions of migrant workers on low wages and poor working conditions;
  • The loss of confidence of the MTUC in the Human Resources Minister YB Fong Chan Onn’s ability to resolve the issue.”

I am shocked to learn from the MTUC President, Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud that in his 44 months as Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had not had any single meeting with the MTUC leaders despite repeated MTUC requests for such a dialogue. Read the rest of this entry »

11 Comments

Rommel reminder – urgent need for overhaul of public service delivery system

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should not continue to defer a major shake-up of the public service delivery system as it has become a drag on the nation’s productivity and competitiveness because of its lack of efficiency and transparency.

More than three weeks ago on 1st June 2007, Abdullah had announced that he would be launching a new government delivery system on 14th June, 2007, and although he had instructed Ministers, Mentris Besar and Chief Ministers “to ensure that the government machinery is prepared to implement the new government delivery system”, two weeks have passed without any news about the launching of the much-awaited new public delivery system.

Has the launching fo the new government delivery system been postponed, and if so, why is there such a long postponement, or has the new public delivery system been aborted altogether?

In his controversial and critical speech to the EUMCCI (European Union — Malaysian Chamber of Commerce and Industry) last Thursday, “the capability of the administration to really be a public service delivery system, efficient, responsive, transparent and accountable” was cited by the European Commission Ambassador to Malaysia Thierry Rommel as one of the six factors undermining Malaysia’s productivity and competitiveness.

Was Rommel wrong and malicious in defaming Malaysia?

Not at all. Rommel was saying nothing new as patriotic Malaysians have been identifying these causes of Malaysia’s poor productivity and declining competitiveness. Malaysians do not need Rommel or any foreigner to tell them things that they do not know, but when Rommel or other foreigners make bona fide comments and criticisms of the country, there is no need for government leaders to fly off the handle, over-react or resort to crude and irrational responses.

Let us thank Rommel for reminding Malaysians what we all know every well as our own national weaknesses in international competitiveness, rather than pretending that Rommel is disclosing something which is totally unknown or unheard of previously. Read the rest of this entry »

48 Comments

Is Abdullah’s government on auto-pilot – strongest possible protest to PM

I have today faxed a letter to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi lodging the “strongest protest possible” at the most unsatisfactory reply to a parliamentary question in Malaysian parliamentary history which totally evaded the specific query posed.

My protest letter referred to Abdullah’s written reply to my parliamentary question yesterday asking “why public confidence in government ability to ensure low-crime Malaysia has reached a new low despite earlier favourable public responses to Royal Police Commission Report and to report on implementation of the commission’s 125 recommendations, in particular on IPCMC”.

In the three-paragraph written answer, Abdullah, who is also the Minister for Internal Security, said the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) had implemented the Five Year Police Strategic Plan (2007-2011) to address the problem of rising crime and public concerns about crime.

Among the programmes of the RMP Strategic Plan were the setting up of a Crime Prevention Department that involved all police stations apart from having an Internet website to be more customer-centric.

To ensure the people’s continued confidence in the police to fight crime, other programmes have also been implemented including improving the beat and patrol functions with the cooperation of other agencies like local authorities, installation of closed-circuit television camera (CCTV) systems in high risk areas and having the Rakan Cop at all state police contingents.

Abdullah also said that although the crime rate had risen in terms of statistics, the solving rate for serious crimes had also improved from 58.88 per cent in 2005 to 60.11 per cent last year.

I told the Prime Minister that “it is most shocking and totally unprecedented” that the written answer completely ignored the second part of the question asking for a status report on the implementation of the 125 recommendations of the Royal Police Commission and in particular the key proposal for the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

This is the first time in my 33 years as Member of Parliament where there has been a clear evasion of the parliamentary question asked — in this case on the 125 recommendations of the Royal Police Commission and in particular the IPCMC proposal. Read the rest of this entry »

22 Comments

If not for people like Rommel, South Africa would still have Apartheid

by Richard Teo

South Africa would still continue to practise Apartheid if the international community had taken heed of DPM advice that outside parties should “not meddle in the affairs and domestic policies of the country”.Yet it was pressure from the international community which viewed apartheid with such revulsion that it eventually led to the downfall and dismantling of South Africa’s racist policies.

Yet in the same breath it was business as usual for our DPM and the P.M himself to offer unsolicited advice as to how southern Thailand should be governed in order to quell the daily violence. Not only were advice given unsparingly but it was open govt policy to provide sanctuary for Muslim militants who seem to have unhindered access to Malaysian borders.

Our leaders are always in a denial mode whenever there are legitimate criticisms levied at our govt or our policies while at the same time feeling they have a divine right to pinpoint the inadequacies of other less unfortunate countries.

Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein should learn to control his temperament and avoid making foolish statements that foreigners should not interfere in govt business without first knowing its history.

In this globalised, flat world we are living now no country can live in isolation and this borderless world will continue to invite criticisms if policies and governance are not in accordance with norms. Read the rest of this entry »

57 Comments

IGP – come out with “safe JB”, “safe KL”, “safe PJ’, “safe Penang”, “safe Ipoh” policing action plans

While the increased police visibility in Johor Baru is greatly welcomed and has brought relief to the long-suffering people of JB who had suffered for years from the runaway crime and lawlessness problem, the police and government should realize that this is only a short-term measure and can be no substitute for a sustained and long-term strategy to make the southern capital a “safe JB”.

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I call on the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan to announce a concrete national policing action plan with a time-line to transform the crime “black areas” in the country into “Safe JB”, “safe KL”, “safe PJ”, “safe Penang”, “safe Ipoh” to restore the confidence of Malaysians, visitors and investors that the police has regained control of the crime problem.

The crime situation is no more just about the fundamental right of Malaysians to feel safe in their own country, whether in the streets, public places or the privacy of their homes, but will affect the country’s economic development and prosperity.

This is because police control of the crime situation has become a negative factor for Malaysia’s competitiveness, turning away FDIs and tourists.

Crime and the lack of physical safety is one of the six factors cited by the European Commission Ambassador, Thierry Rommel, in his controversial speech on Thursday for dampening Malaysia’s investment climate and a reason for the decline in FDIs to Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »

26 Comments

Urgent parliamentary debate on EU Ambassador’s critical speech on NEP, productivity and competitiveness

I have given notice to the Speaker, Tan Sri Ramli Ngah to move a motion of urgent definite public importance on Wednesday on the controversial speech by the European Commission Ambassador to Malaysia Thierry Rommel critical of the New Economic Policy and the country’s declining FDIs and competitiveness.

The motion I have submitted is as follows:

“That under Standing Order 18(1), the House gives leave to Ketua Pembangkang YB Lim Kit Siang to move a motion of urgent definite public importance, viz: the speech by European Commission Ambassador to Malaysia Thierry Rommel critical of the New Economic Policy (NEP) and the country’s productivity and competitiveness losing out in foreign direct investment.

“Last Thursday, speaking at the EUMCCI luncheon talk of local and foreign businessmen, Rommel said the NEP was discriminatory and amounted to protectionism against foreign companies.

“He added that the Government was using the NEP as an excuse to practise ‘significant protectionism of its own market,’ including the automotive sector, steel, consumer goods, agricultural products, services and government contracts.

“In his speech, Rommel also gave a ‘factual, non-emotional’ six-point critique of Malaysia’s productivity and competitiveness, viz:

  • human capital development and the public education system;

  • the public service delivery system;
  • transparency and predictability in the ‘rules of the game’ concerning government regulations, decisions affecting business, public procurement;
  • corruption;
  • the rule of law to everyone; and
  • security – physical, administrative and legal.

“The Deputy Prime Minister, the Education Minister and the Foreign Minister have accused Rommel of meddling in the internal affairs of the country and of being ‘arrogant’ and having ‘overstepped his authority’.

“Although the Deputy Prime Minister said Rommel’s speech was ‘factually disputable’, this has not been done. What does the government propose to do if Rommel can factually back up his criticisms when summoned to explain his speech?

“It is more important for Malaysia’s international image as a democratic and progressive country prepared to face the challenges of globalization that Rommel’s speech should be openly disputed than to shut him up.

“Parliament should have an urgent debate to show the world that the nation and government is prepared to face criticism.”

Read the rest of this entry »

46 Comments

Night-and-day police visibility – extend from JB to all crime ‘black areas” like Klang Valley, Penang, Ipoh

The Chinese media gave front-page news and photo coverage to the “show of force” of the police in Johore Baru in projecting high police visibility in crime-prone areas, including night police patrols.

This is welcome by all, not only by the long-suffering people of Johore Baru from the reign of terror from rampaging crime wave, but also by all Malaysians throughout the country — showing that the police is capable of responding to public opinion and pressures.

The visible police presence day-and-night in Johore Baru must not be a transient “PR exercise” which will be forgotten after the end of the current nation-wide outcry at police failure to control and reduce crime, but must be a permanent feature of policing not only in JB but nation-wide, especially in hot spots of crime like Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, Klang, Penang and Ipoh.

As an immediate follow-up to the stepped-up police presence and visibility in the streets and public places in JB to fight crime, the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan should also announce measures to duplicate such high night-and-day police visibility in the crime “black areas” of Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, Klang, Penang and Ipoh.

When over 250,000 signatures nation-wide responded to the 100,000-signature campaign launched in JB to restore safety and security, it is a clear message to the police, government, Cabinet and Parliament that the Malaysian public are not prepared to keep silent anymore to be sitting targets and victims of rampant crime and lawlessness, whether in JB or any part of the country.

The Police should commend the Malaysian public for their awareness and public-spirited response to the signature campaign, as well as praise the media, in particular the Chinese media, for their high standards of journalism in reporting the people’s legitimate cries for effective policing to control and reduce crime. Read the rest of this entry »

34 Comments

PTPTN – incompetence compounded

OMJ has sent me a copy of letter he had written to PTPTN on the unreasonable interest demanded for the balance of loan, illustrating that the PTPTN is suffering from “incompetence compounded”.

This is OMJ’s letter to PTPTN:

Dear sir,

i am OMJ, (I/C given) a ptptn loan borrower. i previously got a loan from ptptn to further my studies and after i graduate i immediately sent an email to ptptn, asking your ministry to deduct my loan repayment from my salary, but there was no answer from your ministry until end of last year which said that you all will process my request but then i found out during the “no answer period”, i was being charged with interest which purely no fault of mine.

A few days ago i got another letter telling me that i still a balance of RM 355.90 unpaid. This is very unfair to me. I, an honest citizen, trying to repay my loan, but because due to your ministry’s ineffeciency, i have keep interest which i myself do not even know.

Is it how an honest person is being treated? And i have tried to check my balance on your website but i was always unable to load the page. SO i am kept in the dark of my balance while your ministry keep sending my letter, telling me of balances which i do not even know existed, to pay up.

This is very unfair to me. A letter was sent from your ministry to me asking me to send RM 1779.50 in 5th February 2007 and i have sent a check on 12th February 2007. So what is this RM 355.90. Why am i being bullied for being a good citizen? Read the rest of this entry »

27 Comments

Let us end 50 years of BN rule

by Richard Teo

For the first time in more than fifty years, when the next General Election comes, I am going to abandon the edict that it is better to vote for the devil that I know rather than the devil that I don’t Know.

This time round there will be no hesitation. I will be like the proverbial saying throw caution to the wind. There will be no turning back. There will be no second thoughts.

For the last fifty years I have faithfully chosen the safe path. I voted for the race-based party that belonged to the Barisan National.

I even encouraged and persuaded my relatives to vote along the same racial line to ensure a strong stable govt that will protect the interests of all races. But events of late has proven me wrong.

This govt that I and many others who placed their faith in is a corrupt, short-sighted, manipulative, racist and incompetent one. After fifty years they have not shown their abiltiy to govern with wisdom.

Instead they squandered our nation’s coffers, encouraged and perpetuated a corrupt civil service and continue to formulate economic and fiscal policies that will take our country down the road to destruction. Read the rest of this entry »

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Port Klang Free Zone — Forlorn and pathetic air of another failed multi-billion ringgit mega-project

This morning, together with Ronnie Liu, Peter Tan, Tee Boon Hock and other DAP Klang leaders, I visited the multi-billion ringgit Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ), which has been shrouded in such secrecy despite being open to operation more than six months ago on November 1, 2006.

The PKFZ has the forlorn and pathetic air of another failed multi-billion ringgit mega project and Malaysiakini reporters Fauwaz Abdul Aziz and Sabrina Chan are right in coining the term “mega ghost-town” for it.

The PKFZ offers 512 standardised warehouse units, 260 ha of open land and four blocks of eight-storey office complexes. After seven months of opening, there are only signs of two of the 512 warehouse units being taken up but not yet utilized. The only company that has visible presence of operations is the Norwegian oil and gas company Aker Kvaerner. Otherwise, the 1,000-acre PKFZ is an expanse of empty office blocks, warehouse units and land blocks.

There is no vibration of activity or even sense of commercial life!

No wonder the authorities concerned were so upset when they received word that I was going to visit the Westports and a security detail was very rude in demanding to know what I was doing at PKFZ, inviting an earful as to why a visit by the Parliamentary Opposition Leader should be regarded as akin to trespass especially when Parliamentary sanction will have to be sought if there is to be a billion-ringgit bailout of the failed PKFZ.

Many questions swirl around the PKFZ for the past few years without answers, and it is time that the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s pledge to lead an open, accountable and transparent administration be respected by his subordinates, particularly the following personalities: Read the rest of this entry »

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