Archive for May, 2011

Negara Ku no more

By CeeKay
May 30, 2011 | The Malaysian Insider

MAY 30 — I was born in 1958, a year after Merdeka. My dad came from China and my mom was born in Kota Bahru, Perak. I have known Malaysia to be my one and only home and I am proud to say that I am a Malaysian anywhere I go despite all the shortcomings of this nation.

I grew up in a kampung near Alor Star where there were fewer than 10 Chinese families but we were treated well by our Malay neighbours. We celebrated Chinese New Year and Hari Raya together, visiting each others’ homes, with no fear of whether the food was halal or against our religion?

Konfrontasi bought the villagers together and I can remember my Dad and my brothers helping out doing guard duties together with our Malay neighbours. May 13 came and went without any incident and, in fact, the Chinese families were escorted out to town by our Malay neighbours. Some of my best friends were from this kampung; we swam in the stream and played in the padi fields. These are fond memories. Read the rest of this entry »


Why I returned

By Walter
May 30, 2011 | The Malaysian Insider

MAY 30 — I left Malaysia in 1988 not long after the upheavals in the Malaysian political scene, which included Operation Lalang and the sacking of the Lord President.

I spent a total of 16 years away — in Singapore, the Middle East, France and the US — as an expatriate, and experienced living abroad. During the period, I had many opportunities to become a permanent resident elsewhere but home is where the heart is… and my heart was not in any of those places. Once our youngest child left for university in 2004, I chose to return to Malaysia. Why? Read the rest of this entry »


Khazanah MD ‘frustrated’ in regulated industries, reports FT

By Yow Hong ChiehMay 30, 2011 | The Malaysia Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 — Khazanah Nasional Bhd managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar has admitted to being disappointed by his inability to trim fat from the portfolio he inherited in 2004 due to political interference, the Financial Times reported yesterday.

“We have had our frustrations, and there have been areas, mostly in the regulated sectors such as electricity, automobiles and aviation, where value has stagnated or even declined,” Azman (picture) told the international financial daily.

The Financial Times said that despite scoring a “crushing victory” in a US$3.6 billion (RM10.8 billion) takeover battle with India’s Fortis for Singapore healthcare group Parkway Holdings, Khazanah was still struggling to turn around companies in its legacy portfolio, which includes national carmaker Proton and Malaysia Airlines.

“Big questions remain about Khazanah’s ability to deal equally decisively with the rest of its portfolio, not least because of government opposition to radical surgery on any of its significant companies,” the report said. Read the rest of this entry »


Makers of men, creators of leaders

Kalimullah Hassan
The Malaysian Insider
May 29, 2011

MAY 29 — In the movie “Scent of a Woman”, actor Al Pacino plays the character of the blind retired US Army Lt Col Frank Slade who befriends young Charlie Simms. Charlie, despite his disadvantaged background, is a student at an elite school — Baird — which has produced some of America’s great business and political leaders, thinkers and scholars.

Charlie witnesses an act of vandalism, a schoolboy prank, by three of his schoolmates, all of whom are from old money and privileged backgrounds. The school, supposedly standing by its tradition of integrity and propriety, demands that Charlie Simms tells on his friends and even entices him with a scholarship to Harvard if he does. This was the moral dilemma he faced — sell his soul and be rewarded, or, keep his integrity and be punished.

Charlie kept his silence and refused to blow the whistle on his friends. His friends, on the other hand, kept their silence to save their skins even though it meant that Charlie would be punished.

At the disciplinary hearing, before the whole school, the three pranksters had their well-known fathers and family present to support them but Charlie was alone as his parents could not afford the trip to Baird from Oregon.

I have always cherished the scene in the movie when the blind Lt Col Slade turns up at the hearing just as the disciplinary board was about to pass judgment on Charlie. The headmaster had just finished chastising Charlie, saying he had no choice but to expel him because Charlie was “not worthy of being a Baird man.”

That’s when Frank Slade stands up and says, “Mr. Simms doesn’t want it. He doesn’t need to be labelled…” still worthy of being a Baird man.” What the hell is that? What is your motto here? Boys, inform on your classmates, save your hide; anything short of that, we’re gonna burn you at the stake?

“Well, gentlemen, when the s*** hits the fan, some guys run and some guys stay. Here’s Charlie facing the fire, and there’s George (one of the perpetrators) hiding in big daddy’s pocket. And what are you (the school) doing? You’re going to reward George … and destroy Charlie? Read the rest of this entry »


Umno — self-induced rigor mortis

Sakmongkol AK47
The Malaysian Insider
May 30, 2011

MAY 30 — I have written so many essays critical of Umno in the past.

Friends asked me why am I still in Umno? How can I write many nasty things about Umno and seemed to get away with it — why haven’t I been hauled up by the Umno disciplinary committee or something and not ticked off? Isn’t there anything good that Umno has done.

Let’s clear one thing first. This is the source of many of Umno’s problems. Some people assigned to themselves the right to determine who should or shouldn’t be in Umno. They then judge others in terms of their thinking and criteria. Pak Lah or any others can’t measure up to Mahathir in many aspects. But they are not necessarily inferior to Mahathir. They are different. They must be judged on objective terms, not the subjective standards of one Mahathir.

Najib doesn’t seem to do things anything right according to Mahathir. The old man is so stressed up and suffers physical debilitations. Read the rest of this entry »


A ‘snap poll’ in Malaysia? Political surprise, journalistic cliché

Clive Kessler
The Malaysian Insider
May 30, 2011

MAY 30 — Once again there is talk of an early or imminent election in Malaysia.

No surprise, nothing unusual in that.

And once again the commentators are considering the likelihood of a “snap poll.”

Again, no surprise, nothing unusual in that. Just silly.

The expression “snap poll” a cliché.

And, as ever, hasty recourse to the irresistibly available cliché is a sure sign that clear, fresh and direct thinking about the matter at hand has been avoided, short-circuited. That an “end-run” (to use a cliché!) had been made around the moment of analysis, the need for thought.

What is, or was, a snap poll? The term was coined to denote an election that is called suddenly, at an unexpected moment, to take advantage of the element of surprise.

The snap poll is to political life, to electoral politics, what Pearl Harbor was to naval warfare. Suddenly, early one morning, unannounced, out of a clear blue sky… Read the rest of this entry »


Economists see higher inflation from energy hikes

By Lee Wei Lian
The Malaysian Insider
May 30, 2011

Power tariffs will be increased by 7.12 per cent on average come June 1. — Reuters picKUALA LUMPUR, May 30 — Economists expect today’s price hikes in electricity and natural gas to be passed through to inflation-weary consumers, possibly pushing up the monthly consumer price index (CPI) by as much four per cent in the next few months from 3.2 per cent in April.

This follows the announcement from Putrajaya today that the electric tariff will be raised by 2.3 sen per kilowatt hour (kWh) or an average of 7.12 per cent while the price of natural gas charged by Petronas for power generation will go up by RM3.00 per mmBtu each six months until it reached market levels.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the monthly inflation rate from June through to the third quarter approaches four per cent,” said Maybank Investment Bank chief economist Suhaimi Illias. “People also forget that effective next month, the diesel super subsidy will also be removed which will impact the cost of logistics.”

He added that there could be a risk to consumer spending from higher inflation but said that the country’s economic growth should remain intact. Read the rest of this entry »

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Because this is home

by Malaysian at home
The Malaysian Insider
May 30, 2011

MAY 30 — As a fresh graduate from a local university two years ago, I could have taken the easiest route and become an “instant expat” in a First World country. Singapore was just a Causeway away, after all, and the Malaysians who migrated there, my many relatives included, often came back with wonderful stories of success and the wealth that came with it.

It is a land of opportunity, they say, and if you want your talents appreciated (and be really rich), come here!

So I decided I would give it a shot, applying for a few jobs in Singapore before finally being called up for my first interview. And what I encountered shocked me. The interviewers were rude and chauvinistic, chiding me for my lack of Mandarin skills and openly dismissing my qualifications. The last straw for me came when I filled in my salary expectations. Read the rest of this entry »


Power rates up 7%, gas price to be floated

Kuek Ser Kuang Keng | May 30, 11

The federal government has raised electricity tariff by an average of 7.12 percent beginning June 1 as part of its subsidy reduction exercise.

The average rise is 2.23cent/kW unit, from the current average rate of 31.31 to 33.54cent/kW unit.

Natural gas prices are also set to rise by RM3 per mmBtu every six months until it reaches market levels by 2016, when its price would be fully floated.

Domestic users who use less than 300kW unit per month will not be subjected to this new electricity pricing scheme, which is multi-tiered according to usage. Read the rest of this entry »


Tambatuon Saga: A Village fights for its life

By Dr Edwin Bosi

Rombituon in the local Dusun dialect means stars. When the early settlers came down into this valley they saw thousands of twinkling stars as darkness set. Then they realize there were so many people settling down the plain as many as the stars that appeared before them. The people were enchanted with its beauty, decided to call it home and called it Tambatuon. The origin of Tambatuon went way back few hundred years ago, the people originating from Nunuk Ragang and Bundu Tuhan in the Ranau highlands. They believe Tambatuon has seen 17 generations of which only eight can be traced for now. The Dusuns predominates although other races such as the Chinese, Murut Lundayeh, Iban and Dusun-Timorese have made this village more plural.

The water in the river was pleasantly cooling, clean, crystal clear and refreshing. Fish was abundance. The river is lined with beautiful pebbles and boulders, the sound of rapids so pleasant never failing to draw the freshness and cooling breeze accompanied by nature’s forest aroma. As the eyes follow the meandering river one can see a commanding hill called Saduk Saduk (Nungkok) and well beyond it is the majestic Mount Kinabalu, the second highest mountain in South East Asia. For a moment one then realizes that the water before them has started up on the peak of Mt Kinabalu. Read the rest of this entry »


GE 13 Keyword – “PUTRAJAYA” – To Capture Or To Defend?

By Richard Loh

Is Najib employed to govern this nation as a whole or as an impartial Prime Minister that are more concern with his political coalition parties and to remain in power? What we hear and read from his speeches daily which are supposed to be official government functions are filled with political innuendos.

It looks like a war has been wedged between the ruling government and the rakyat. Najib has been calling its party members to defend PutraJaya at all cost even if need to ‘crushed bodies and lost lives’ and now calling out to the youths as well.

How naive Najib can be to make these calls:

“If in Egypt one million youths gathered in Tahrir Square to change that country’s leadership… in Malaysia, one million youths gathered to defend Putrajaya,” he said.

“Are you willing to defend Putrajaya?” he asked repeatedly.

The youth in Egypt are fed up with the corrupt, arrogant and incompetent government hence their march to change their country’s leadership. In Malaysia, those leaders running PutraJaya are no different, corruptions are as rampant or even worst then Egypt, so is Najib calling Malaysian youths to defend PutraJaya and allow these corruptions to go on and be happy with those incompetent leaders with no integrity? Read the rest of this entry »


The Institution of the Family

By Bakri Musa

Chapter 8: Culture, Institutions, and Leadership

The family is the most important social institution. To sociologists, it is the basic unit of social structure. Article 16 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights states that “the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society, and is entitled to protection by society and state.” It is in the family that the young are acculturated and imbued with the values and norms of society. One learns what is right and wrong and differentiates the good from the bad through the family. Thus no matter now noble and moral the values of a society are, all that would be naught if those very same values are not transmitted to the young because of the breakdown of the family.

President Reagan in his State of the Union Address in 1985 following his landslide reelection declared, “For an America of wisdom that honors the family, knowing that as the family goes, so goes our civilization….” The anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski observed that the biological role of the human male would be similar to that of other male species, that is, to impregnate and disappear after having fulfilled his duty to propagate his specie. “And yet,” Malinowski wrote, “in all human societies the father is regarded by tradition as indispensable. The woman is to be married before she is allowed legitimately to conceive… An unmarried mother is under a ban, a fatherless child is a bastard. This is not by no means a European or Christian prejudice; it is the attitude found amongst most barbarous and savage people as well.” Malinowski’s observation is one of the few universalities of human social behavior. Read the rest of this entry »


No ultimatum only harsh realities – “Time and tide waits for no man”


RM450m Tambatuon dam controversy – Why MP Kota Belud never visited kampong?

Tweets @limkitsiang:-
29th May 2011

Told YB has never stepped into KgTambatuon single time whether b4 or after election despite dam controversy. True? @Iskandarbak @mpkotabelud

Had media conference @KK MPHiew’s office on my visits 2Menggatal Kiulu KotaBelud KgTambatuon w leaders yesterdy. Touched on medley of issues

Most imp issue: Virtual unanimous opposition of KgTambatuon 2agricultural dam which was introduced in secretive insidious clandestine manner

4two yrs @mpkotabelud nvr stepped in2 KgTbtn 2dialogue w affected ppl n secure their support. Y if RM450mil dam meant 4good of Tbtn ppl?

Will @mpkotabelud agree unless KgTambatuon ppl sppt, d RM450 mil Tambatuon dam project shld be scrapped? Is YB rep of Umno cronies Read the rest of this entry »


SUPP makes a 360 degree turn

Joseph Tawie | May 28, 2011
Free Malaysia Today

After thumbing its nose at the Taib government, party makes an about turn and decides it needs its two candidates in the state cabinet

KUCHING: The Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) has made a 360 degree turn. Last month, after its poor election showing, it said it wanted nothing to do with Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud’s government.

The Central Working Committee (CWC), at a meeting last month, decided not to recommend any of SUPP’s elected representative to serve in the cabinet of Taib Mahmud after the party’s dismal showing in the election.

That decision nearly tore the party apart. But at today’s CWC meeting, it unanimously agreed that Wong Soon Koh and Lee Kim Shin should represent the party and the Chinese community in the new cabinet of Abdul Taib Mahmud. Read the rest of this entry »


MCA, don’t stop believing, says Adnan

By Shazwan Mustafa KamalThe Malaysian Insider
May 29, 2011

The Pahang BN chairman says that MCA leaders must start “believing” in their strengths if they want to win more seats at the next general elections. — file picGENTING HIGHLANDS, May 29 — MCA leaders need to buck up and improve if the Barisan Nasional (BN) component party wants to win more seats at the next general elections, Datuk Seri Adnan Mansor said last night.

Adnan, who is Pahang BN chairman and Pahang Umno Liaison Committee chairman, said that the only way for MCA to accomplish this was for its leaders to start “believing” in their strengths.

“We must know our strengths before going into the GE … we need to know our position.

“MCA needs conviction … if you waver in your stand, confirm kita kalah (we will lose),” Adnan said during an MCA retreat last evening. Read the rest of this entry »


Pua dares gov’t to declassify IPP contracts

Regina Lee | May 28, 11

The DAP has challenged the BN-led federal government to declassify the Independent Power Producer (IPP) agreements amidst the massive subsidy cutting exercise in the country.

The party’s publicity secretary and Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua said that this should be done to “justify the government’s refusal to restructure these wildly unfair contracts which allow them to make astronomical returns at the expense of the people”. Read the rest of this entry »


Make public PSD scholarship recipients

Tashny Sukumaran | May 28, 2011

DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang says the prime minister must restore transparency and integrity to the selection process

KUALA LUMPUR: DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang wants Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to make public the names of PSD scholarship recipients.

“Najib must restore transparency and integrity to the selection process by making public the list of scholarship recipients,” said Lim.

“It’s a crying shame that even after so long, the Public Service Department is incapable of functioning in a competent and professional manner.”

The former DAP chairman added that as the government had spent billions of ringgit on computerisation, this should be achievable.

“If it was not possible, those responsible for computerisation project should be sacked,” he said.

Lim also underlined the importance of restoring public confidence in the system by ending the double standard of having two different pre-university examinations. Read the rest of this entry »


Here is why I stayed

John Rahman
The Malaysian Insider
May 28, 2011

MAY 28 — I shall start with a story of hope.

Two, actually.

I had an ex-colleague who runs a car wash business in one of the most ulu places in Peninsular Malaysia. It’s a simple business, so simple that his wife just sits under a tree all day long collecting money and supervising some school kids they employ to do the dirty work. He keeps his day job while earning a cool RM7,000 side income every month.

In my skyscraper of an office now, an old makcik pushes around a shopping cart (probably nicked while the guards at the nearby hypermarket weren’t looking!) filled to the brim with knick-knacks, kacang, muruku and stuff. She comes by once a week and without fail, my colleagues and I will stock up on junk food to munch on while working. Based on sales on our floor alone — okay, maybe we are gluttons! — but we estimate she profits around RM50 per floor, and with well over 50 floors in the building, she must earn at least RM2,000 a week (tax free!). Read the rest of this entry »


At a crossroads

The Malaysian Insider
May 28, 2011

MAY 28 — My wife and I met while we were studying overseas. After graduating, I returned to Malaysia while she completed her studies and eventually returned two years later. We started our careers and eventually got married and started our family. It never crossed our minds to settle anywhere else other than Malaysia. In university, I was active in the students’ movement and was determined that when I returned I would make a difference in my country.

That was 20 years ago.

Five years later, my brother decided to migrate. Deep inside I was angry and thought that he was foolish. He was an engineer with two degrees and an MBA, and he was seeking greener pastures? Well, he can leave… but no sir, I will stay and make this place I grew up a better place. Read the rest of this entry »