Archive for April 14th, 2012

Guan Eng: Minimum wage not enough to improve living standards

By Clara Chooi
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 14, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, April 14 — Lim Guan Eng told Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today that his much-awaited minimum wage policy was insufficient to improve living standards without total reforms to the country’s economy, education and workforce policies.

The Penang Chief Minister said the new wage floor of RM1,100, to be announced this April 30, must come hand in hand with higher productivity jobs, increased female participation in the workforce and “accelerated structural reforms” to the economy aimed at reducing corruption and plucking leakages.

However, Lim added that although the new wage floor to be announced by Najib was purportedly due to opposition pressure, DAP would welcome the announcement.

Malaysians, he added, have “high expectations” of Najib.

“Malaysia is in sore need of structural economic reforms to make us more competitive, transparent, efficient as well as reduce leakages caused by wastage and corruption.

“Structural economic reforms such as open competitive tenders, full disclosure of contracts and personal assets of Ministers as well as a performance-based delivery system must carried out,” he said in his Tamil and Vaisakhi new year message today. Read the rest of this entry »


Hoping for winds of change

Aneesa Alphonsus | April 14, 2012
Free Malaysia Today

Malaysians want to see the country taking a turn for the better after the 13th general election, although some feel it will be the same old story.


If you’re going to ask any Malaysian this question, “What are your hopes for the government post- general election”, you’d better get ready for an onslaught of opinions, emotions and cynicism – not necessarily in that order.

In the case of Manaf Abdul Samad, it was just cynicism when he opined, “It doesn’t matter who wins, because all of them are the same. You ask me what my hopes are? I can’t even bring myself to say it because right now, it would sound funny because it’s all wishful thinking. Yes sure I’ll vote, but to be honest, I don’t think I’ll get to see what I hope for in my lifetime.”

Coaxed out of his reluctance with the promise of another hot Nescafe into sharing his thoughts, the 62-year-old Manaf gives in.

“The biggest mistake Barisan National made is to have underestimated Malaysians, using all kinds of scare tactics to make us feel that there will be chaos should a new government come into power. We are not stupid. Many of my peers agree that we allowed the government to do what it has because we trusted them and we gave them due respect.

“Many people are terkejut [shocked] when they hear that we are speaking up. My friends abroad are surprised and say that they never thought we had it in us. My reply to this is always the same – we have always had it in us, but we have been patient for too long. The fight was always there and the government shouldn’t have thought lowly of its people. So if you ask me what are my hopes for the new government, I would say that it should recognise that we are smart and that we should be treated fairly and not be taken for fools who will not fight back,” he said.

There are, however, Malaysians like Hameed Hamzah, a 50-something business owner, who feels that one party will do better than the other. He speaks passionately about a Pakatan Rakyat government which will bring a new dawn in Putrajaya, convinced that there will be an abundance of honesty, transparency and accountability – the holy trinity of what good governance should be all about. Read the rest of this entry »


Who ‘owns’ Dataran Merdeka?

Jeswan Kaur | April 14, 2012
Free Malaysia Today

It is annoying how the ruling government is going in a roundabout manner to kill off the April 28 rally.


Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Aziz has curtly asked electoral watchdog Bersih 3.0 to obtain consent from the owners of Dataran Merdeka if it insists on using the site for its April 28 sit-in protest.

Now that is new. Who really “owns” Dataran Merdeka? And each time the federal government or big-wig corporate companies uses the square to organise events, do they too seek perrmission from the “owners”?

It is annoying how the ruling government is going in a roundabout manner to kill off the April 28 rally, sparing no effort in trying to wear down Bersih 3.0 which is not about to scout for another location.

Bersih 3.0 steering committee chairperson S Ambiga is determined to proceed with the sit-in protest at Dataran Merdeka due to its historical relevance to the people’s struggle for independence and a democratic Malaysia.

“We do not agree that there is a necessity to change the venue to other places,” she said in a statement.

Ambiga added: “We certainly do not see any reason why Dataran Merdeka is unsuitable in the light of the many events that have recently been held there, including 205th anniversary of the Royal Malaysian Police [PDRM].”

But Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein is unwilling to cooperate and instead wants Bersih 3.0 to be “sincere” and “realistic” and compromise on the location. Read the rest of this entry »