Archive for June 22nd, 2013

Environment Minister Palanivel sleeping on his job when Malaysians particularly in Johore are suffering from haze hazards

I am both impressed and dejected – impressed by the professionalism of the Singapore National Environment Agency (NEA) in recording and posting on its website the hourly Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) to provide accurate and timely information about air pollution levels in the island republic; dejected by the contrasting failure and lack of professionalism of the Malaysian Department of Environment (DOE) to provide prompt readings on its website of the Air Pollutant Index (API) from its 52 Air Pollutant Index Management System (APIMS) locations in the country, although the API readings are only provided thrice a day at 7am, 11 am and 5 pm.

I was checking the 11 am API readings on the DOE website,, but the results only appeared after more than two hours, i.e. after 1 pm.

In contrast, when I checked the PSI readings of the Singapore NEA, its 1 pm reading promptly appeared at 1 pm sharp. Read the rest of this entry »


Redefining the Malay Agenda: Another View

Koon Yew Yin
22nd June 2013

Zaid Ibrahim’s latest effort at redefining the Malay agenda is an interesting exercise coming as it is just ahead of the UMNO general assembly meeting. Although directed at UMNO leaders and members, I am sure that he intends to provide food for thought for everyone.

Like him, I hope it also opens the door to an honest, open and transparent appraisal of not just the party’s role in leading the Malays but also of where the Malays would like to go from their present situation and what needs to be done to help the Malays succeed in their aspirations.

Let me summarize what Zaid has written. Read the rest of this entry »


Najib should make special visit to Jakarta to meet with Indonesian President Yudhoyono to highlight gravity of current haze emergency to millions in three ASEAN countries, and in particular the three states of Johore, Malacca and Negri Sembilan

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should make a special visit to Jakarta to meet with the Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to highlight the gravity of the current haze emergency to millions of people in three ASEAN countries, in particular to the three states of Johore, Malacca and Negri Sembilan in Malaysia, and the need for urgent common Asean action to bring the perennial transboundary emergency under control.

The Singapore Environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan flew to Jakarta yesterday and met with his Indonesian counterpart Environment Minister Balthasar Kambuaya on the haze emergency, with a letter from the Singapore Prime Minister to the Indonesian President.

In contrast, the Malaysian Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel is only going to Indonesia to meet with Indonesian government officials next Wednesday, more than a week after the outbreak of the latest haze emergency which have been posed serious health and environment threats to the people in Johore, Malacca and Negri Sembilan, resulting in the closure of some 700 schools.

Why is the Malaysian Environment Minister so slow and tardy in rising up to the challenges of the latest haze emergency afflicting Malaysians? Read the rest of this entry »


Redefining the Malay Agenda

– Zaid Ibrahim
The Malaysian Insider
Jun 19, 2013

Some of my friends have been somewhat critical of my tweets and blog posts lately, simply because I have been commenting on UMNO and even praising Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The less sophisticated have interpreted this as my way of trying to get back into the UMNO fold. But the truth is it’s UMNO season and whatever happens in the party will affect all of us, whether we like it or not. Given that, I write with the hope that some of what I say can, in some small way, influence the delegates and the party chiefs.

Uppermost in the UMNO vocabulary is the expression of the Malay Agenda, a potpourri of rights and entitlements that the party claims is fundamental for the Malays. This will be the main thrust of the party leaders’ speeches during the upcoming UMNO General Assembly. With the results of GE13 and the Chinese and Indian communities’ rejection of UMNO/the Barisan Nasional, it’s natural to expect that everyone will have a wild time bashing the Chinese. Some nutty ones will ask for the Treason Act to be enacted—they will want the Chinese to be sent back to China and Islam and the Malay Rulers to be strengthened. These are the kind of steps the unthinking Malays in UMNO will be clamouring for, but all that will lead to is yet another show of misplaced anger and another round of wasted time.

It would be far more constructive if they were to instead talk sensibly about why the Malay/Bumiputera community has been steadily leaving UMNO. It’s no use ridiculing them for being “ungrateful”; instead, focus on the plight of young voters and how to overcome their concerns. To get these young voters back, party leaders have to offer more than just slogans and speeches laden with racial overtones. They need to address corruption, abuse of power, the wastage of resources and mindless bureaucracy. If Malay leaders could be honest enough to admit it, they would recognise that giving more power to the Malay Rulers and “strengthening Islam” (whatever that means) will not solve these problems. Read the rest of this entry »


Conversion of minors: No justification

P Ramakrishnan
21 June 2013

The Federal Court was wrong in its judgment in 2008 about the conversion of minors, says P Ramakrishnan.

A lot has been said that Islam is a just religion, a religion of peace and compassion. All this is true. In keeping with the virtues and values of Islam, Islamic adherents are under a solemn obligation to give meaning to this by what they do and practise.

In other words, the Islamic faithful cannot be indifferent to the fate of someone who is of a different religion. They cannot deny the rights of these people nor can they be dismissive of the suffering when one Islamic faithful leaves his former family in the lurch after converting.

As a human being, he is expected to provide for his wife and children notwithstanding his embrace of Islam. If he fails to discharge this responsibility that is expected of him, should Islam embrace him? Should a man who betrays the trust of a family and abdicates his responsibility be welcome into Islam? Should such people be allowed to bring disrepute to the religion?

Unfortunately this is what is too often happening today. Secretly, the man converts, and all hell breaks loose for the family. He is not bothered. He compounds the misery of his wife by unilaterally converting his children to Islam. He shatters the life of a mother; and claims refuge in Islam. There is a moral question here.

One would expect religious authorities to guide him in the path of righteousness before he is allowed to convert. He should be advised to exemplify Islamic virtues by displaying compassion and discharging his responsibility to his family before he can find a place in Islam.

The religious authorities contribute to the family break-up when they convert his children without the knowledge or consent of their mother. By so doing, they add to the suffering of the helpless mother. Is this fair? Read the rest of this entry »