Archive for April 21st, 2010

Fastest withdrawal of Bill thanks to HS by-election – proposal to increase traffic compound fines from RM300 to RM1,000 pulled back after 48 hrs

It is an adverse reflection on the mediocrity of the Barisan Nasional Cabinet that the Road Transport (Amendment) Bill tabled in Parliament for first reading on Monday will now be withdrawn after 48 hours because of pressures from the Hulu Selangor by-election on Sunday.

When speaking in Batang Kali last night for the Hulu Selangor by-election campaign of the Pakatan Rakyat candidate, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, I had spoken specifically to censure the Transport Minister and former MCA President, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, other MCA Ministers and the MCA national leadership, as well as the entire Barisan Nasional Cabinet for tabling an amendment Bill to the Road Transport Act to increase compound fines for traffic offences by more than three-fold from RM300 to RM1,000.

I described this as “the act of a Transport Minister and government which are completely unconcerned and unsympathetic about the plight of the ordinary people in these difficult times”.

During the ceramah, the crowd in Batang Kali unanimously asked me to speak on their behalf in Parliament to demand that the proposal to increase compound fines for traffic offences from RM300 to RM1,000 should be withdrawn altogether or this would be one reason why the Barisan Nasional should be taught a lesson on the by-election polling day on Sunday, April 25, 2010.
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Kit Siang claims beer-bashing is Umno ploy to implicate Najib, Hisham

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal | The Malaysian Insider

DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang wants Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to put an end to “dirty politics” in the Hulu Selangor by-election, claiming that the attacks on PKR candidate Datuk Zaid Ibrahim were part of a ploy to implicate the PM as being a drinker.

The veteran politician told reporters in Parliament that there was an “ulterior motive” behind the unwarranted attack on Zaid, who was a former Umno member, in order to “target” top Umno leaders like Najib as well as Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
“There are layers of conspiracy and power struggles in Umno.”

“I wonder whether those responsible for these dirty politics, making this unwarranted attack on Zaid Ibrahim have ulterior objectives.”
“Their objective is to attack Najib and Hishammuddin because Hishammuddin is now dragged in, Najib also dragged in. The people behind this attack, are they going for a larger target?” quipped Lim.
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Malaysia has degenerated into a “lebih kurang” nation thanks to four decades of Barisan Nasional “lebih kurang” government

In Tokyo yesterday the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said Malaysia is no more a focused and high-achieving nation.

He said: “In Bahasa Malaysia, we have lebih kurang or more or less; we should be less lebih kurang but more precise.”

Hu Shih, noted Chinese scholar, philosopher and a leading light of the 1919 May Fourth Movement once wrote an article to pinpoint the ills of China which made China “the sick man of Asia”, entitled “The Story of Mr. Lebih Kurang” to explain why China had become a nation of sloths.

Najib has correctly diagnosed the “Lebih Kurang” disease which has afflicted Malaysia turning the country into a “lebih kurang” nation and why Malaysia had slipped from one of the most advanced nations on achievement of Independence in 1957 – second in Asia after Japan – to be caught in a “middle income trap”, left behind by other nations like Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan and now at risk in losing out to even more countries like Thailand, Vietnam and even Indonesia.
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Withdraw or Transport Minister Ong Tee Keat should be censured for tabling a more than three-fold hike in compound fines for traffic offences from RM300 to RM1,000 under Road Transport (Amendment) Bill

Former MCA President and Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat should be censured for tabling a more than three-fold hike in compound fines for traffic offences from RM300 to RM1,000 under the Road Transport (Amendment) Bill.

This bill was presented for first reading yesterday (Monday) and meant for passage by Parliament this week.

This is the act of a Transport Minister and government which are completely unconcerned and unsympathetic about the plight of the ordinary people in these difficult times.

This is also the voice of the people of Hulu Selangor and we want to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Transport Minister and the entire Cabinet that this Bill should be withdrawn and dropped altogether or this will be one reason why the Barisan Nasional should be taught a lesson on the by-election polling day on Sunday, April 25, 2010.

What is the position of the other MCA Ministers and the MCA national leadership as they cannot keep quiet at such an oppressive amendment to the Road Transport Act especially as the Transport Minister is from the MCA.
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RPK and Bala not whistleblowers: Deputy minister

The Sun | 21 April 2010, page 6

DEPUTY Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong said blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin and private investigator P. Balasubramaniam are not considered whistleblowers because they have revealed their identities.

Winding up the debate on the Whistleblowers Protection Bill, he told Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timur), who raised the issue, the two individuals can seek protection under the Witness Protection Act instead.

“They have told the whole world who they are. Whistleblower protection is for those who we do not know who have given information to the authorities. We will never know the identity. That is the intention of this act,” Liew said.

“You don’t understand the difference between Whistleblowers Protection Act and Witness Protection Act. There is a lot of difference.”

Lim protested and said the meaning of whistleblower, as universally accepted, is “a person who informs on another or makes public disclosure of corruption or wrongdoing”.
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How Pakatan can beat BN at its own game

By Greg Lopez

In academic circles, Malaysia is categorised as a dysfunctional democracy. In this context, the electoral process is used to legitimate the BN’s authoritarian rule and not as a means to elect a representative government.

Government strictures limit the ability of Malaysians to make an informed decision and opposition parties to compete on equal footing. Despite these limitations, electoral competitions throw surprises as reflected in the third, eighth, tenth and twelfth general elections.

In preparing for the thirteenth general election, it is important to identify the key factors that create these surprising electoral results. The analysis of Malaysia’s history of electoral competition raises several key focal points that Malaysians should be aware.

BN’s 53 year rule has destroyed the concept of “separation of powers”, the hallmark of a health democracy. Hence, Malaysians cannot appeal to an impartial judiciary to interpret the constitution; a police force to impartially enforce the rule of law; a professional civil service that acts in the interest of the nation; or the media to provide a balanced view of the issues.
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Datuk Hee? So ‘Hee-larious’!

By Martin Jalleh

It was an historic occasion for Hee Yit Foong. She was bestowed the honorary title “Datuk” by his Highness the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, on the occasion of his 82nd birthday.

Hee must have been “hee-elated”. It was the high point of her life after having gone through the depths of great public humiliation and to contend with the hate heaped on her especially by Perakians.

Indeed, she has been hounded and abuses have been hurled on her when she did the hop-step-and-jump political dance. She hopped out of her party, stepped on the people’s will and jumped into the waiting arms of the BN as an “independent”.

During a State Assembly meeting, several DAP lawmakers gave her hell, threw RM1 notes at her and told her to resign as they said she had no honour left for selling her soul and State away!
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Pakatan Rakyat’s policy statement on New Economic Model (Part 5)


In the end, NEM is nothing more than a cocktail of reincarnation of Barisan Nasional’s previously failed economic planning mixed with plagiarised concepts and ideas from Pakatan Rakyat.

If anything, NEM strengthens the belief that Prime Minister YAB Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak’s administration is obsessed with public relations so much so that even the most important economic document for the country is littered with public relations stunts – high targets albeit unrealistic, big words, lacking in details and political will.

But no doubt this will be spun by the public relations coordinators in Putrajaya to create some excitement and provide the feeling that the economy is heading in the right direction.

Pakatan Rakyat believes that the proofs provided in this document are sufficient to expose this public relations stunt. If Barisan Nasional is serious about re-making our economy and bringing it to a new era, it must respond to the four acid tests outlined by Pakatan Rakyat in this document.
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Pakatan Rakyat’s policy statement on New Economic Model (Part 4b)

Introduction of minimum wage
NEM sets a rather ambitious target to achieve income per capita of USD17,700 by 2020.

2020 is less than 10 years away and if going by the non-correlation of economic planning and results achievement of the past decade, it is necessary for any economists to take a more prudent view of the country’s economy for the next 10 years.

While NEM has been touted as the a game-changing economic document that will propel the country to the status of developed nation, surprisingly the measures suggested to improve personal income is not at all game-changing.

The same vague and conceptual measures of upgrading the skills, bringing in technology through R&D and going for high value services have been suggested and included as targets since 2000 in 8MP.

Clearly, the measures did not bring results as expected (more so because they were not implemented seriously as there was hardly any reform in important institutions in the country).
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Pakatan Rakyat’s policy statement on New Economic Model (Part 4a)


Pakatan Rakyat takes a very strong view on the need to have a strong political will to carry out economic reforms promptly and extensively.

The biggest challenge for Barisan Nasional is to prove that NEM (despite all the contradictions and gaffs already committed by Barisan Nasional leaders) is genuine and not a part of the continuous public relations gimmick, presumably developed by APCO Worldwide.

Therefore, the government needs to immediately response to the lukewarm reception of the market and public by demonstrating early political will to implement certain key economic reforms; failure of which will only confirm the prevailing sentiment that NEM is nothing more than repackaged past failures presented as a public relations campaign.

Pakatan Rakyat hereby outlines four key acid tests for Barisan Nasional that could and should be implemented immediately if it is serious in pushing economic reforms.
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Pakatan Rakyat’s policy statement on New Economic Model (Part 3d)

The inherent lack of transparency

The market greeted government’s move to dispose its assets and develops some parcels of lands to spur economic activities with some excitement. One of the first projects announced was the development of government lands in Sungai Buloh for a gross development value of RM5 billion to be jointly developed by government and EPF.

Unfortunately, the positive response was short-lived as news soon circulated that MRCB was expected to be appointed as the contractor for the project; prompting allegations of insider trading.

Whatever optimism there was with regards to the planned disposal of government assets died instantaneously and marred the unveiling of NEM.

The basic issue of transparency did not receive adequate attention and priority in NEM when it is one of the biggest ills of our economy.
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Pakatan Rakyat’s policy statement on New Economic Model (Part 3c)

Removing Subsidy

The double standard on the issue of subsidy removal is glaring.

Pakatan Rakyat has maintained that the issue of subsidy removal must be approached holistically. It is morally wrong to take back assistance to the people (in the form of lower petrol prices) in the name of subsidy removal – yet the huge financial incentives and soft loans to big corporations such as Independent Power Producers (IPPs), water concessionaires and toll operators are maintained in the name of “sanctity of legal agreements”.

While the Federal Government continues to dilly dally with water restructuring in Selangor to return the utility back to the public and to ensure minimal tariff in the future; it also provided Syabas with a RM320.8 million 20-year back-loaded and interest free loan.

The issue of exorbitant profits made by IPPs is well known and has become a national topic. PETRONAS has suffered a bill of RM97 billion cumulatively up to 31 March 2009 in gas subsidies; mostly to IPPs. Despite continuous public pressure, Barisan Nasional has not had the courage nor willingness to restructure IPPs given the burden to the national coffers in terms of gas subsidy that could have been used elsewhere.
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Pakatan Rakyat’s policy statement on New Economic Model (Part 3b)

Having reviewed the NEM in details, what is most damaging to NEM does not even form any part of NEM or the documents published by NEAC.

In the end, the public shall judge Barisan Nasional by its actions – past and present; to determine the level of seriousness and political will. In this department, Barisan Nasional’s contradictory decisions and actions prior to and in the immediate instance of unveiling of NEM shall prove to be the most fatal blow to NEM.

Rent Seeking
YAB Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak has openly admitted that out of RM54 billion of equity allocated to Bumiputra, only RM2 billion remains due to immediate and large sell down of Bumiputra shares in the capital market.

Embarrassingly, he went on to admit that “those who received bumiputra shares were not ordinary folk but mainly influential people ‘who sat in the front rows at functions such as Tan Sris and Datuk Sris”.
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Pakatan Rakyat’s policy statement on New Economic Model (Part 3a)

Originality Is Suspect

The three main thrusts of sustainability, inclusiveness and high income bear striking resemblance to basic tenets enumerated in Pakatan Rakyat’s Malaysian Economic Agenda (MEA).

In fact, the concept of needs-based “affirmative action” (rather than the race-based approach as espoused in the New Ecomomic Policy) that is being touted as a major breakthrough for Barisan Nasional is clearly borrowed from MEA which first proposed the idea in 2006.

The extent of copycat does not stop there. NEM talks extensively about the need to abolish rent seeking culture in order to reinvigorate the economy.

In a speech to a dinner function hosted by Harvard Club of Malaysia on 5 May 2005, former Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi lamented the widespread culture of rent seeking in practice.
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