Archive for category Public policy

Time to set up a Ministry of Minority Affairs

By Dr. Lim Teck Ghee | 04 January 2013 09:19

As we begin a new year, a rash of old issues and challenges confront the country. Chief amongst them are racial and religious tensions and a rising sense of marginalization and alienation among our minority communities while at the same time the majority community feels threatened and insecure.

Many of these problems are deeply entrenched. Their effects are no longer confined to a small part of our body politic or emerge as isolated and unconnected events. They have infiltrated into all sectors of society and cast a shadow in the life of every Malaysian – in our everyday thought processes, in our consciousness and in our actions.

The problems that are associated with the ethnic and religious divide between Malays and non-Malays and between Muslims and non-Muslims will not be resolved quickly. There is no magical remedy.

Many of these problems stem from our seriously weakened social cohesion and the growing disunity that our nation has experienced during the past four decades. The intangible but potent glue of harmony, sense of community and commitment to realizing the common good that binds countries and their people together has long broken down in Malaysia.
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Rethinking wage policy to reposition our economy

― Liew Chin Tong
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 28, 2012

NOV 28 ― Although the minimum wage law is scheduled to take effect in January 2013, the Barisan Nasional government does not seem to be particularly committed to re-imagine the Malaysian economy through wage policy reform. Efforts to smoothen the transition for small and middle industries are seriously lacking too.

Minimum wage is meant to tackle several long-standing structural issues of the economy at once. As the United States and Europe struggle to stay afloat economically, Asia can no longer remain as an exporter, we need to grow our domestic/Asian markets; a higher income among locals will help generate a more vibrant domestic market which in turn will generate more jobs.

Also, with minimum wage, companies and industries will likely to rely less on cheap labour but invest in longer term potentials, capabilities and hence productivity of the workforce.

This is a virtuous cycle that will check dependence on unskilled foreign workers and brain drain at once. Skilled citizens who work in foreign countries are likely to consider resettling back to their homeland if the wage difference between their home and host countries is narrowed. Read the rest of this entry »


Before meddling with subsidies, ask why we need subsidies

by Pak Sako
26th Oct 2012

Two groups, CPI and REFSA-IDEAS, are debating government subsidies.

This debate is critical because politicians are taking their cues from it.

It is important that good judgement prevails. Much is at stake.

But first, what is a subsidy? Why do we need it?

Some believe subsidies are government money spent on primary healthcare, infrastructure, culture or the environment.

But these are not subsidies. These are fundamental public provisions that a decent society would collectively provide for all its members in most ordinary circumstances.

A subsidy is different. It is a special kind of public expenditure.

A subsidy is designed to support a disadvantaged group that cannot secure the needs and necessities for survival because an underlying condition is persistently preventing their fulfillment. Read the rest of this entry »


Isn’t a one-race civil service a form of apartheid?

By Dr Boo Cheng Hau
June 18, 2011 | The Malaysian Insider

JUNE 18 — I remember once, as a young medical officer, I was boycotted by operating theatre staff when I wanted stern action taken against a staff nurse who went for a kenduri when she was supposed to scrub for a surgery.

An assistant nurse had to cover up for her delinquent senior. Both the nurses — the one who had absented herself and the one suddenly forced to relieve her duty — were Malay. The young patient lying on my operating table waiting to deliver her baby was Malay too. And also Malay, the anaesthetist and other operating theatre staff who gave me the cold shoulder after I remonstrated with the matron. Read the rest of this entry »


The human face of enterprise

By KJ John
Jun 14, 11 | The Malaysian Insider

I disagree with Pas president Abdul Hadi Awang about his welfare state idea or ideal. Socialism had the same ideal and idea; but, it is now almost dead. Cuba is its last frontier and is closing down soon. Some others have called the same type of ideal, ‘capitalism with a human face’.

That is much better but not good enough. Capitalism presumes that ‘money is the root of all motivation and life’. But the scriptures say that the love of money is the root of all such evil. I prefer to call such an idea or ideal ‘the human face of enterprise.’

Why cannot man apply enterprise or initiative towards creating good values for all of life? Such enterprise must first subscribe to good universal values, and then create a process which offers a value offering which will transform the quality of human life. When such a creative process is productised into a full value innovation, people are willing to pay money, or even barter for it, and to exchange their personal offering for the new value proposition. Read the rest of this entry »

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Transparency of IPP contracts ‘long overdue’

Kuek Ser Kuang Keng | May 24, 11

Calls to reveal ‘secret contracts’ with independent power producers (IPPs) have regained momentum with the announcement by Idris Jala that the government is reviewing gas subsidies provided to this sector.

Idris, a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, told Malaysiakini last week that some of the contracts are expiring and that the subsidies offered will come up for review.

“It’s being renegotiated. The negotiations are going on and we’ve concluded some of them. In due course, we’ll be making an announcement,” Idris had said.

However, one reason for lopsided contracts signed in the early 1990s with first-generation IPPs was the lack of transparency and scrutiny.

It now appears that the mistake may be repeated, as information has not been disclosed on the review of existing contracts or the negotiation of new contracts.

“All contracts relating to subsidies and the public interest, especially in the areas of public utilities, must be made public,” said Klang MP Charles Santiago of the DAP.

He suggested that Parliament should be given a say in the negotiation process with IPPs. Read the rest of this entry »


Instant rejection of proposal for Parliamentary Select Committee on 1Malaysia GTP – cannot withstand public and parliamentary scrutiny?

I am very disappointed that my proposal yesterday for the establishment of an opposition-headed Parliamentary Select Committee on 1Malaysia Government Transformation Programme was given the immediate short shrift by the second KPI Minister, Datuk Idris Jala who rejected the proposal out of hand.(Sin Chew)

I find this very revealing but ominous as the instant rejection of the proposal for a Parliamentary Select Committee on 1Malaysia GTP shows that the two KPI Ministers Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon and Idris have no confidence that the GTP Roadmap can go very far out of the laboratory stage to withstand public and parliamentary scrutiny.

They are probably right and it will be most tragic if all the interests of GTP is focused at the laboratory stage more as “academic exercises” than in translating them into actual policies and programmes subject to public and parliamentary scrutiny.

The virtually total absence of public interest in the 1Malaysia GTP Roadmap Launch exhibition at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre yesterday, to the extent that I felt very embarrassed both for myself and for the KPI Ministers when I paid it a visit with DAP MPs Fong Kui Lun (Bukit Bintang) and Tony Pua (PJ Utara), is proof that despite 10 months and tens of millions of ringgit of publicity about the “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now” concept, Najib’s Government Transformation Programme has failed to catch fire and is in danger of failing like a damp squib. Read the rest of this entry »


Moratorium on Syabas water disconnections which violate the fundamental human right of the poor to clean water

The Ministry of Water, Energy and Communications should issue an directive to Syabas to impose an immediate moratorium on water disconnections in the concession area of Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya which affect the poor.

Last month, the Coalition Against Water Privatisation (CAWP) and MTUC had spoken up because they were appalled at the high levels of water supply disconnection in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya since water privatization in the last two years.

They had consistently argued that organising water for profits would lead to high levels of disconnections, a notion that violates peoples’ rights and access to clean water. Poor and vulnerable communities might be at risk.

CAWP and MTUC have been proven right and the Ministry should instruct Syabas to develop a humane way of collecting water bills, one where peoples’ right to clean water is not violated. Read the rest of this entry »


Aligning Private Aspirations with Public Good

by M. Bakri Musa

Bravo to Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar Mohamad Hasan! In awarding RM25,000 to each first-class honors graduate of local public universities, he clearly demonstrated where the priorities should be. He went further and forgave the students’ loans if they were given by his state agency.

To put that cost in perspective, at a total of about RM300,000 it is less than the inflated cost of one corrupt school laboratory construction project. Yet the benefit far exceeds that of any school computer lab, even if it were well built. As a bonus, unlike a poorly built building, this award program poses no danger to anyone.

Malay leaders, especially those in UMNO, continually lament on the generally backward status of our people despite decades of ever increasingly generous preferential treatment. Unfortunately that is all they are capable of doing — lamenting. Occasionally a bright leader might emerge who in a show of bravado would chastise and upbraid us by degrading our cultural heritage and questioning our biological endowment.

Only very rarely would a leader like Mohamad Hasan do something right, like having an appropriate mechanism in place and aligning the incentive system that would encourage the development of those qualities that we desire in our people. My complimenting Hasan would I hope encourage other leaders to follow his fine example. Read the rest of this entry »