Archive for December 25th, 2011

1Care: Prioritise, not privatise patient care

Dr Ng Swee Choon | Dec 24, 2011

We refer to the letter from the Director-General, Ministry of Health: ‘Gov’t not abdicating responsibilities thru 1Care’ on Dec 17.

We fully agree with the need to improve the quality and delivery of health services for the rakyat, provide more choice to patients and preserve the strengths in our current health system. Read the rest of this entry »


Syria: bloodshed in Damascus

The Arab spring is at a crossroads; if Assad falls and the country avoids civil war, the revolution may move eastwards

23 December 2011

It is an unseasonably gloomy thought, but nevertheless a true one: all the aspirations, the sacrifice and the triumphs of a momentous year of revolution and upheaval in the Arab world hinge ultimately on events taking place in Syria. The Arab spring is at a crossroads. If Bashar al-Assad’s blood-stained regime falls, and the country stays in one piece and avoids a sectarian civil war, there is nothing to stop the revolution moving onwards and eastwards. The next stop could well be Iran, but none of the monarchies of the Gulf states are secure either. But if Syria disintegrates, it would quickly become a regional battlefield, fed by the rival interests of its neighbours – not unlike Iraq was in 2006 or Lebanon was during its civil war. And then the Arab spring would well and truly have come to a halt.

On Friday a blood-strewn week reached its apogee with a twin bombing of security and intelligence buildings in Damascus, killing at least 40 and wounding 100. The regime pointed the finger at al-Qaida and the state news agency quoted analysts who included US, Israel and Europe in the list of the bomber’s puppet-masters.

The Free Syria Army denied involvement and voiced scepticism. Read the rest of this entry »


Celebrating hope in Penang by establishing a people-centric government based on integrity, good governance and letting the people realise their full potential

— Lim Guan Eng
Chief Minister, Penang
Dec 25, 2011

DEC 25 — Christians celebrate not just the birth of Jesus Christ but also hope on Christmas Day. We pray for peace, joy and goodwill to all. Penang also celebrates hope by establishing a people-centric government based on integrity, good governance and letting the people realise their full potential.

Penang has benefited from a clean government. It is not just praise for good financial management from the Auditor-General or from Transparency International for implementing open tenders and fighting corruption. Penang has recorded budget surpluses for the state government, MPPP and MPSP since 2008.

This has enabled social programmes and cash handouts to the elderly, disabled, single mother, new-born babies and students. Penang became the first state in Malaysia to wipe out hard core poverty by 2009. For 2012 the minimum income has been increased to RM600 monthly per household, where the state government will top up any difference to ensure that each family receives at least RM600 monthly. Penang intends to also be the first state in Malaysia to wipe out poverty by 2015.

Penang has also benefited from good governance through building institutions based on freedom, justice, truth and democracy. Freedom of speech and peaceful assembly is observed in Penang with the first Speakers’ Square in Malaysia and weekly protests held in the streets. There is a Freedom of Information Act and implementation of open tenders to ensure the best price, quality and management. CAT governance of competency accountability and transparency has ensured a more responsive, accessible and effective government delivery system. There is also freedom of worship where respect not tolerance is encouraged. Read the rest of this entry »