Archive for August, 2011

Bersih says vindicated by new poll

By Debra Chong
The Malaysian Insider
Aug 30, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 30 — Bersih 2.0 has said it had expected the overwhelming two-thirds support for free and fair elections published by a local research house yesterday, adding it was inspired to ramp up its campaign to educate Malaysians nationwide on polls ahead of the 13th general election.

The electoral watchdog’s chief Datuk Seri Ambiga Sreenevasan said she had expected the overwhelming support from Malaysians polled by the Merdeka Center and published yesterday.

“That accords with our stand and the reason for that is because our demands are so wholly reasonable,” she told The Malaysian Insider. Read the rest of this entry »

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Salam Aidilfitri & Selamat Hari Merdeka-54

Maaf Zahir Batin & Happy Merdeka Day!

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Maaf Zahir dan Batin to all Muslims in Malaysia.

The coinciding of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, the 54th National Day and the 48th Malaysia Day should be a special triple occasion of joy and celebrations for all Malaysians.

It must be a matter of concern to all Malaysians, however, that this is not the case with the recent irresponsible and incessant ramping-up and incitement of race and religious hatred and tensions through baseless and incendiary allegations by certain media.

A call must urgently go out to all Muslim and non-Muslim Malaysians to dedicate themselves to promote the values of justice, freedom, love and compassion on the triple occasion of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, 54th National Day and 48th Malaysia Day – values which are common to all the great religions which have found a home in the country.

Whether we are Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Ibans or Orang Asli, whether Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Taoists or Sikhs, let us unite as one Malaysian people first and last to give real meaning to the triple occasion of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, the 54th National Day and 48th Malaysia Day.

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Air Asia MAS tie-up – ordinary Malaysian consumers will be the losers?

By Teh Chi-Chang | REFSA

Ordinary Malaysians must view the MAS-Air Asia Collaboration announced on 9 August with dismay. When previously fierce competitors such as MAS and Air Asia choose to collaborate instead, consumers tend to be the losers. This arrangement, called the MAS-Air Asia Comprehensive Collaboration Framework might be more appropriately named the MAS-Air Asia Comprehensive Collaboration Framework Against the Rakyat:

REFSA believes at least some of the synergies and savings to be reaped by MAS-Air Asia will be paid for by Malaysians in the form of higher ticket prices, less frequent flights, poorer service levels and reduced job prospects. Read the rest of this entry »

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Islamic Financial Intermediaries

by Bakri Musa
Malaysia in the Era of Globalizat​ion #80
Reform in Islam
Chapter 9: Islam in Malay Life

Trade had been flourishing for centuries in Arabia, immediately before and after the prophet’s time. All that buying and selling, together with the caravan expeditions, could not have taken place without there being a satisfactory financing mechanism. There must had been a system for connecting the owners of money (savers) and the users of cash (investors and traders). Yet despite that flourishing head start and seemingly workable system, Islamic finance later went into decline. It is instructive that the decline in Islamic economics parallels the decline in Islamic civilization.

Today Western financial institutions are preeminent. Western banks and other financial intermediaries did not develop overnight. They have been refined, modified, and strengthened over the centuries. The process continues to this day. Today’s banks are a far cry from what they were a century earlier. The essential ingredient to the success of banks is the faith people have in them. Absent that, not even the strongest institution could survive. All the regulations and innovations in banking serve only one purpose: to strengthen that faith and confidence.

Bank failures and runs on banks were common in America during the depression. Those events are thankfully rare today, in part due to the diligence of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Depositors Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the regulatory agencies of the federal government, together with strengthened prudential rules on reserves, heightened fiduciary responsibilities, and improved auditing. These refinements have been incremental, each in response to specific problems and crises. Banks still fail today, but thanks to the FDIC, depositors (at least the retail consumers) simply transfer their accounts to another bank without any hitch. The system is by no means perfect, as was painfully demonstrated by the massive Savings and Loans scandal of the 1980s. Read the rest of this entry »

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Revised law rewards judiciary’s top three, works other judges longer

By Debra Chong
The Malaysian Insider
Aug 29, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 29 — Unlike his predecessors, Tun Zaki Azmi will retire on a full pension when he clocks out for the last time from the Palace of Justice on September 12 despite serving less than three years as Chief Justice, thanks to a recent revision of a remuneration law for the country’s judges.

It used to be a minimum of 15 years for judges from the High Court upwards to get their full pensions but few in the courts appear aware of the revisions to the Judges’ Remuneration Act (JRA) 1971, passed in Parliament two months ago, that gave senior judges a shorter time to get pensions while junior judges now have to spend 18 years to get their full pension.

“The whole thing is purposely catered to Zaki,” DAP federal lawmaker Lim Kit Siang told The Malaysian Insider when contacted. Read the rest of this entry »

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False news on TV1

Media Statement by Tony Pua, DAP National PublicitySecretary and Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, 28 August 2011

Rais Yatim must take responsibility for the most despicable piece ofincendiary false news reporting on national TV and ensure that thoseresponsible for it are sacked immediately.

TV1 last nite reported in its 8pm prime-time newson the existence of “Murtads in Malaysia & Singapore” Facebookgroup. What is most despicable andsickening is TV1 highlighting the alleged association of DAP leaders such asTan Kok Wai, Charles Santiago, Dr Boo Cheng Hau, Ean Yong Hian Wah with theGroup. TV1 even placed the spotlight onthe chairman of Parti Socialis Malaysia (PSM) and ADUN for Kota Damansara DrNasir Hashim insinuating the betrayal of his own faith. Read the rest of this entry »

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Master the English language to be world class

By Hussaini Abdul Karim
August 27, 2011 | The Malaysian Insider

AUG 27 — It is very pleasing and most delightful to the ears to hear many non-Malay Malaysians, both young and old (except maybe some of the older ones) speaking and writing in perfect Bahasa Malaysia, some without even a hint of an accent whatsoever, in the case of the former.

The country’s New Education Policy to switch from English to Bahasa Malaysia introduced and implemented in the early 70s must have done wonders. With the introduction of new laws, rules and regulations, the policy makers have found a very effective way to teach the national language which is now widely used and accepted throughout the country at every level including in the home. Read the rest of this entry »

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Letter to Tan Sri William Cheng by Idris Jala

August 27, 2011 | The Malaysian Insider

AUG 27 — Pemandu is arguing that a report by The Malaysian Insider, “Pemandu admits land acquisition only way to recoup MRT cost”, is misleading.

In public interest, The Malaysian Insider is publishing the letter by Datuk Seri Idris Jala on which the report was based, and asking Malaysians to read it and let us know what you think.

****************************************************************

YBhg Tan Sri,

I refer to your letter entitled “Unfair Rail plus Property Model for MRT Development” dated August 8m 2011. YBhg Tan Sri has raised some concerns regarding the rail and property model including the acquisition of the Jalan Sultan shoplots. Read the rest of this entry »

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DAP mahu rakyat buat perubahan

- Muda Mohd. Noor
Free Malaysia Today
August 27, 2011

PETALING JAYA: Naib Presiden DAP Tunku Aziz Ibrahim menyeru rakyat di negara ini melakukan perubahan kerana kerajaan Barisan Nasional sudah lama sangat memerintah negara ini.

“Sudah tiba masanya rakyat melakukan perubahan kerana selama 54 tahun itu kerajaan yang ada tidak pernah berubah atau melakukan reformasi,” katanya ketika ditemui FMT pada majlis iftar Ramadhan anjuran parti itu di ibu negara kelmarin.

Ujar beliau, “saya percaya perubahan yang akan berlaku nanti (dalam pilihan raya umum ke 13) merupakan satu perubahan yang sangat bermakna kepada rakyat.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Penyakit Umno: Penyakit dalaman

— Aspan Alias
The Malaysian Insider
Aug 26, 2011

26 OGOS — Jika kita timbang-timbang saudara harus percaya bahawa Najib Razak merupakan Perdana Menteri dan Pengerusi Barisan Nasional yang paling banyak masalah yang kian hari kian bertambah tanpa sedikit pun tanda-tanda ia akan berkurangan.

Oleh kerana terlalu banyak masalah yang di hadapinya tanpa sebarang penyelesaiannya maka Najib tiada pilihan selain dari mengakui bahawa beliau sedang menghadapi krisis kepimpinan yang amat serius dalam sejarah kepimpinan negara kita sejak merdeka.

Sesungguhnya Najib tidak sepatutnya menghadapi masalah ini kerana beliau mempunyai Ahli Majlis Teringgi Umno yang sepatutnya membantu beliau. Dalam keadaan sekaranglah sepatutnya mereka-mereka yang ada di dalam Majlis Tertinggi Umno serta Ahli-Ahli Jemaah Kabinet mereka bersama-sama memikul tanggungjawab dalam erti kata “tanggungjawab bersama”.

Begitulah masalahnya di dalam Umno kerana hanya Perdana Menteri akan menerima kredit atau bertanggungjawab bersendirian jika masalah melanda. Dalam keadaan sekarang nampaknya tidak ada yang bersama-sama memberikan dukongan kepada Perdana Menteri yang telah melantik beliau ke dalam Kabinet serta menjadi “team” beliau di dalam Majlis Tertinggi parti. Read the rest of this entry »

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Singapore University of Technology and Design

Global Economic Intersection

Christopher Magee Interview: Impressions of Singapore
by John Lounsbury
21 August 2011 

Introduction: Christopher L. Magee, Engineering Systems Division, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, recently concluded an assignment in residence in Singapore.  Prof. Magee has agreed to share interesting aspects of that assignment with Global Economic Intersection readers, by way of an interview by Managing Editor John Lounsbury, which follows.

Question 1: What was the nature of your assignment in Singapore?

Prof. Magee:  The government of Singapore is launching a new university, the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), that is scheduled to take in its first freshman class in April, 2012.   MIT and Zhejiang University (China) are collaborating with Singapore to organize the new university.

Question 2: That sounds exciting.  How many people get the opportunity to do this sort of thing – I mean organize a major university from the ground up?
Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s Slowing Performance

by Greg Lopez
Asia Sentinel
25 August 2011

There are strong institutional reasons for the lagging performance against its regional neighbors

In the 70 years since World War II ended, East Asian economies, including Malaysia, appear to have largely got performance right. Malaysia was also one of 13 countries identified by the Commission on Growth and Development in its 2008 Growth Report to have recorded average growth of more than 7 percent per year for 25 years or more. Malaysia achieved this spectacular performance from 1967 to 1997.

However, since the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997 and1998, Malaysia’s economic performance when compared to previous decades has been lackluster and most macroeconomic indicators are trending downwards. This was confirmed by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak himself in the publication on March 30, 2010 of the New Economic Model – Part 1. This was a very brave move but a necessary one by the premier as he acknowledged publicly the failures of Malaysia’s current economic model in order to demonstrate urgency for reforms. Read the rest of this entry »

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MRT Jalan Sultan land acquisition – who is telling the truth: Chua Soi Lek, Hamid Albar or Idris Jala?

“Flip flop in a matter of days” has become the byword for the present Najib government, whether on its mishandling of the Bersih 2.0 peacefull rally for free and fair elections on July 9 or the parliamentary select committee on electoral reforms.

There is now the latest addition to the Najib government’s “Flip Flop List” – the controversy over the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (KVMRT) land acquisition of Jalan Sultan properties.

Only three days ago, the MCA President Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek had announced that the government had backtracked from its decision to acquire the land and 31 buildings around Jalan Sultan in Kuala Lumpur to make way for the MRT mega project.

Chua said that after discussion with Land Public Transport Commission (SPAN) chairperson Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, “an understanding and agreement” had been reached whereby as a “compromise”, the government will only acquire the strata title for the property 100 feet below ground required for the MRT tunnel, while the buildings, many of which are nearly a hundred years old, and land above ground will remain in the current owners’ hands.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Pemandu admits land acquisition only way to recoup MRT cost

By Yow Hong Chieh
The Malaysian Insider
Aug 26, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 26 — Putrajaya’s powerful efficiency unit has admitted that the Najib administration needs to acquire and develop land along the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) route as it cannot afford the multi-billion ringgit project otherwise.

In a letter sighted by The Malaysian Insider, Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) chief executive Datuk Seri Idris Jala told Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Malaysia (ACCCIM) president Tan Sri William Cheng that the government was pursuing a “rail-and-property” model as it would not be able to recover the cost of the first line between Sungai Buloh and Kajang through fares alone.

“For the government to manage the project efficiently and sustainably, fare box revenue will not be sufficient to finance the high capex and opex for the MRT network,” Idris said in the letter dated August 23, written in response to Cheng’s queries about the acquisition of Jalan Sultan land.

“Increasing the fares is not an option as the government wants to act responsibly by providing the rakyat with an affordable means of transport. Instead, the government is adopting a prudent approach towards a sustainable financial model for the MRT through a modified rail-plus-property model.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Not rising to the bait

by Zeffri Yusof
The Malaysian Insider
Aug 25, 2011

AUG 25 — Every time religious issues come up in public discourse for a sustained period of time, I can’t help but feel it’s all just misdirection.

No, not in any conspiracy theory-sense; more of an escapist break from the hard truths that have to be dealt with in the here and now. Not in an afterlife.

Truths like our quite severe brain-drain situation. Truths like how our lower- and middle-income families are dealing with unprecedented inflation. Truths like the US and EU economies’ impact on ours.

Too bad for us Malaysians, race and religion still hold sway and continue to polarise the majority of us. More sinisterly, it makes us take our eyes off the ball. Read the rest of this entry »

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Asri: Janda Muslim ditahan Jais tak murtad, rujuk gereja kerana ‘desakan hidup’

Oleh G. Manimaran
The Malaysian Insider
Aug 25, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, 25 Ogos — Salah seorang daripada 12 hadirin beragama Islam pada majlis makan malam di sebuah gereja yang diserbu Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (Jais) awal bulan ini menegaskan, dia tidak pernah murtad.

Sebaliknya, dia seorang janda mendapatkan bantuan dihulurkan dengan ikhlas oleh gereja ekoran “desakan hidup.”

Gereja Methodist Damansara Utara diserbu Jais pada malam 3 Ogos lalu ketika mengadakan majlis makan malam muhibah anjuran pertubuhan bukan kerajaan Harapan Komuniti.

Dalam pengakuan kepada bekas mufti Perlis Prof Madya Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, wanita tersebut dipetik berkata semasa pihak berkuasa agama membuat penyiasatan ke atas gereja berkenaan pada 3 Ogos lalu, dia berada bersama dengan sejumlah orang Islam yang lain yang senasib dengannya. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sentimen perkauman membuat BN tidak relevan

— Aspan Alias
The Malaysian Insider
Aug 25, 2011

25 OGOS — Mengenengahkan isu perkauman memang sudah menjadi isu basi bagi generasi yang muda. Generasi muda sudah menganggapnya sebagai isu lapuk yang hanya di gunakan oleh pihak yang desperado untuk terus menunggangi rakyat untuk kepentingan kuasa yang berlandaskan kepada pemikiran sempit setengah pihak.

Sebenarnya jika seseorang itu mempunyai pemikiran yang tenang tanpa di saluti oleh pemikiran sempit politik, isu perkauman amat menjemukan kerana itu bukanlah isu pratikal lagi dalam kehidupan rakyat Malaysia yang cintakan keamanan.

Oleh itu telah mula kita nampak jelas tanda-tanda yang menunjukan yang rakyat sudah tidak mahu lagi menerima pihak-pihak yang menggendangkan isu perkauman kerana isu itu hanya akan membuatkan mereka tidak tenang untuk hidup dalam masyarakat majmuk yang merupakan realiti kehidupan di Malaysia ini.

Rakyat sudah mula menggorak langkah untuk menghindarkan dari isu perkauman ini menjadi lebih menebal di kalangan berbagai kaum di negara ini. Dalam masa yang terdekat ini sudah ada kecenderungan yang orang Melayu untuk menyertai DAP yang sekarang ini di dominasi oleh kaum Cina dan PAS yang bukan sebuah parti perkauman. Read the rest of this entry »

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Election Commission must spell out what are the electoral reforms based on Bersih 2.0′s Eight Demands which could be implemented immediately without waiting for PSC

The announcement by the Election Commission Chairman Tan Sri Aziz Yusof that all Malaysian registered voters residing overseas will soon be able to vote via post has reinforced the case that there are electoral reforms proposed in Bersih 2.0′s Eight Demands which could be implemented immediately, whether by way of new election by-laws or necessary legislative amendments for the Oct. 3 meeting of Parliament, without waiting for any parliamentary select committee.

The Election Commission must therefore spell out, clearly and unequivocally with no “ifs” and “buts”, what are the electoral reforms based on the Bersih 2.0 Eight Demands which could be implemented immediately without waiting for any parliamentary select committee and in time for the forthcoming general elections.

The demand that all Malaysian citizens living abroad should be able to exercise their right to vote is one of several reforms proposed by Bersih 2.0 on “postal ballot” reform. The question is why the Election Commission is still sitting on the other proposals for postal ballot reform. Read the rest of this entry »

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MCA founder’s granddaughter lauds Guan Eng’s policies in Penang

The Malaysian Insider
Aug 25, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 25 — Lim Guan Eng received praise from an unexpected source today when the granddaughter of the MCA’s first president and daughter of the country’s longest-serving finance minister said the Penang chief minister should be given his due for the state’s prudent management of public funds.

Tan Siok Choo, the daughter of Tun Tan Siew Sin and granddaughter of Tun Sir Tan Cheng Lock — both of whom were former MCA presidents — told BFM radio this morning that it was good that Lim had shown what could be done by eliminating waste and implementing open tenders.

“For my father… he was always very particular that government funds should be looked after like your own funds. I think it is in a way, currently, very good that Lim Guan Eng (picture), Chief Minister of Penang, has shown what can be done if you eliminate waste and if you have an open tender.

“The fact that he has been able to run Penang without much contribution from the federal government and yet turn in, yet attract one of the highest rates of investment, I think speaks for itself. Read the rest of this entry »

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Religious Obstacles To Malay Economic Development

By M. Bakri Musa

Ramadan is a month for reflection. As we reflect we cannot avoid the depressing reality that the Muslim world is overrepresented in all categories of underdevelopment. The pat and often cited reason is the inherent incompatibility of Islam to modern development. When such an explanation is offered by non-Muslims, they can barely conceal their smugness. When asserted by a Muslim, he or she would immediately be dismissed as not fully comprehending the faith, or worse, condemned as an apostate.

Such an “explanation,” its certitude not withstanding, is about as useful as someone telling you, when asked why he is in the hospital, “I am sick.” And if you are still not convinced or betray any doubts, would quickly add, “Very sick!” Not very helpful! If however, the answer were to be, “My bowels are not working,” or, “I have difficulty breathing,” we would then be that much closer to identifying the problem, and thus its remedy.

This Islam-is-the-problem explanation does not even describe the symptom, much less the disease. If indeed there is something inherently deficient with Islam, it still would not explain why the faith thrived during its first four centuries, or why its adherents are increasing and becoming more devout today. And if Islamic practices are deficient, then what and where exactly are those deficiencies so we could address them.
Read the rest of this entry »

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