Monday, September 30, 2013

Who'll get Muhyiddin's RM5 billion project?

Updated: Slow penetration still an issue, how?


1 Computer 1 Student Project 2014. 

The jostling and elbowing among the usual suspects begin in earnest but ... 


Post-Najib's visit to Silicon Valley, the race for this massive deal is intensifying. The talk is that Francis Yeoh's YTL, which won the RM9 billion Bestari project, is still leading the pack, followed closely by Syed Mokhtar AlBukhary's Puncak Semangat. Trustwell Sdn Bhd, a well-connected outfit, is also in the running. But the dark horse that's making everyone look over their shoulders is Bitara Induk Sdn Bhd. Modest track record compared with the rest, but these guys did pip past YTL in a considerably smaller (about RM300 million) but no less significant government project recently.  
Both the PMO and the DPM's office must expect talk that some close aides are trying to get their fingers in this pie. Biasalah? Well, perhaps it is still the hunting season for aides. But just remember, it's been proven that not all the talk in blogosphere about some of the aides has been crap. 
I'm all for equipping our students and teachers with laptops or tablets but let's learn from recent past lessons. If we don't, a good thing like this could become a Bang Din's biggest bane.
Read also
Thailand hopes to give 13 million students a tablet each
1computer for 1student: Wise or Cronyism?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Sabah Blackout: Why national security should not be left to the IPPs

Updated: Blackout came barely a week after Ministry set up a special task force to monitor power supply projects in Sabah. The Minister, Maximus Ongkili, said his ministry was concerned with the situation in the state ...h e r e.


Original posting:

Electricity supply crippled in Sabah
   
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KOTA KINABALU: A series of incidents at three major power stations in Sabah crippled electricity supply in the state, reducing generation capacity by nearly 200MW.
Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd managing director Abdul Razak Sallim said the energy company had to impose load-shedding affecting some 500,000 consumers for up to a month because of the power shortfall.
He said the first incident occurred when the Teluk Salut station at Sepanggar, operated by Ranhill, crippled a turbine at about 8am, causing a power loss of 47.5MW.
Abdul Razak said a breakdown at the Rugading power station, operated by Ranhill Powertron, at about noon, and a fire 38 minutes later at the Malawa station, operated by ARL Power, caused the supply shortfall to increase to 200MW.
“Power supply from these stations is being restored in stages,” he said.
Abdul Razak added that the load-shedding was necessary as the available electricity now amounted to just over 700MW.
“Demand in the state has topped at 874MW,” he added.
Abdul Razak said the load-shedding would affect the whole state with different areas experiencing power supply interruptions for about three hours each between 6am and 9pm.
He said industrial and business users that had their own back-up power generation sets would be asked to operate their equipment to help ease the electricity supply shortfall. - The Star

ONE CRUCIAL POINT was left out by the Star in this article, which was caught by the NST: the three IPPs implicated in the current blackout are not under SESB jurisdiction (500,000 in Sabah face power cut). 

Both NST and the Star missed a basic fact: 70 per cent of Sabah's power are supplied by IPPs.

And these, to me, should be of concern to every one of us. Especially in view of some disconcerting developments, like wild talk about the unbundling of TNB and attempts to exclude TNB from future tenders in order to protect the profits of the IPPs. 

The message must be sent to the people at Penjanabebas, which represent the IPPs, and Mypower ( I don't know whose interests this government agency really champions) that national security is too important to be left to the IPPs in their political, regulatory or economic games ...
  

Why Isa Samad must not .. Part ll: Shopping spree in London's Bayswater

Felda settlers' RM499.8 million hotel in Bayswater, London

If you haven't read Part 1, h e r e
"Why (is Felda) not putting money into assets that are synergistic to its strengths in agribusiness? And, finally, why not simply distribute the cash to the settlers, the majority of whom may never set foot in the British capital?" - Felda's buys boggle the mind, The Edge, Sept 23-39, 2013
News about Felda's decision to splash almost half a billion ringgit on a serviced apartment in Bayswater, London was picked up gleefully by pro-Pakatan websites. Thanks to Isa Samad, a fresh round of Najib-bashing has begun. Read Felda and FGV spend big on QUESTIONABLE assets (pdf file h e r e) and Felda slammed for splurging on NON-CORE assets but not a single sen on replanting.

Now the Edge is littered with Anwaristas who, by definition, have closed minds but the weekly's editorials sometimes make sense. 
"While investing in London properties has become increasing popular, that is not to say there are no pitfalls. Does Felda have the experience to manage a far-flung hotel in London?" 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Close down NS camps, conduct complete review

23 of our teenagers have died in so-called national service camps in the last ten years. The last dead kid, Muhamad Suhaimi Norhamidi, 18, was believed to have been bludgeoned to death last Monday at a camp in Pahang, Prime Minister Najib Razak's state. Three fellow 18-year old trainees have been arrested. We are told that there were fistfights between the boys after breakfast on Sunday and again later that night. "It is not known if camp commanders were aware of the fight," the Malay Mail reports today. "The camp management declined to comment".

I don't see the Ministry or Minister responsible making any comments about the latest death, which is investigated as the first murder in national service camp. Where is the condolences, the accountability, reassurance?. Just two weeks ago the trainees in a camp in Penang made hell of a noise over food and cleanliness. At first many thought the trainees were being soft or "manja" but it turned out the operators of the camp were actually first-class motherduckers. Still, those operators got a gentle rap on the knuckles and it is now business as usual for them. Read NS camp has a week to clean up.

My daughter is on the list of thousands of young girls and boys who have been selectively drafted for NS next year. For months I played my part to encourage her, told her ignore the horror stories of the past, assured her that she would enjoy the three month stint. But now I have serious doubts. Really, I don't think the people who run these camps have learned anything from the deaths of R. Vinoth (who succumbed to rat fever in one of the dirty camps like Balik Pulau, I bet), Abdul Malik Ishak (found dead in his bed), Mohd Rafi Ameer (fever and swollen leg), Illi Ameera Azlan (breathing difficulty), S. Theresa Pauline (viral infection), Nurul Ashikin Karino (injured during training), Awang Mohd Fazil (drowned), and the other 17 and 18-year olds who died while in camp. Those who have died were not their kids or relatives. 

I remain a believer of the NS concept to get our teenagers to work together as a team of Malaysians regardless of race and religion. But I no longer have faith in the current sorry excuse of an NS that we have. The way NS camps are run has to change. We are supposed to instill discipline and civic mindedness in our trainees but operators who are concerned only about making money from running the camps will not help us do that. If trainees can be involved in brawls in their camps without the commanders knowing or being able to do anything, there's something really wrong with the system. You need to shut it down, force yourself to make the necessary changes, and then let the professionals - the military/armed forces - run the show. 

Why Isa Samad must not taste political power again

Room for only three
Of the six men vying for Umno's powerful vice president posts, one person does not deserve to be considered at all. Isa Samad, formerly Negri Sembilan Menteri Besar and now chairman of both Felda and the public listed Felda Global Ventures, should in fact be barred from contesting for VP. No, not because of money politics (again). But because he hasn't got a heart, and this is not me but an Umno blogger saying it ... 
Options
Sabri and Isa
Read Discarding the older workhorse
I know of a company a million times smaller than FGV which is still taking care of one of its  employees who suffered a stroke nearly two years ago. Sabri Ahmad, who was not just an ordinary employee of FGV, has suddenly taken gravely ill. His medical bills would not cost Felda a thousand trees in Papua New Guinea. Even if it does, so what? It's goodwill, compassion, human/e. 
The kind of politics Isa inspired in the run-up to FGVs IPO

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

How to still win a tender when you know and everybody knows that you have already lost

Committee of Little Napoleons. The blogger Another Brick in the Wall is treading on powerful toes in his latest, potentially explosive expose Another typical leak at Treasury. All the gory details are there in the posting, even the names of the people who sit on the so-called Committee of Little Napoleons that may have manipulated the process of this particular tender and, who knows, perhaps bids for other government projects, too. 
The blogger's concern is that such "leakage, sabotage and inefficiency" will be pinned on Najib Razak's administration and, in the context of the recently-announced Bumiputera economic agenda, will frustrate a lot of good, honest entrepreneurs and undermine the empowerment program itself.  
Project: Ubiquitous System for the Royal Malaysian Customs and Excise Department Winner: Company known as 1/21 Winning bidder's price tag: RM371.8 million Closing date for tender: 31 March 2013   
"... there are at least 2 companies with better technical AND pricing position than number 4. But it is not about promoting other companies, but questioning why Company 1/21 got it.
It means a system of policies and procedures is in place but there are leakages or abuse of power or collusion going on from the breakdown of individual morality. These are the pengkhianat bangsa dan negara! 
Our source also found that there is Company Coded 10/21 at number 2 technical position (two step higher than number 4) but pricing is number 5. 
At number 5, it is RM28 million higher at RM345 million than the winner Company 1/21. If Customs and MoF is willing to spend more for a superior system and chose company 2, it is still acceptable. Heard it was the Artiquator system. 
Company 1/21 is a tight financial condition and have too many big projects in hand with tight deadlines. It is not too sure they can deliver as promised in 2 years time. But why was the company given and recommended by these Little Napolean of questionable morality?"
Full story - and leave all comments - h e r e. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

War against Crime: Round 1 to Zahid Hamidi and PDRM

The Star has got some good news to start our week:
 

Click here for the full story
Cantas is Bahasa Melayu to describe a swift, clinical and brutal act of hacking, cutting, chopping, severing, or dismembering (especially the legs of a person). It means you cannot deal with crooks by putting on kid gloves. You must be quick and merciless. The criminal lawyer-politicians can still have their space in the newspapers and portals screaming about their clients' human rights but the rest of us Malaysian have our human rights, too, and we want the Home Minister and the Inspector-General of Police to continue defending our right to a safe Malaysia.  
Thank you, PDRM. Don't let your guards down yet. Many rounds to go.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

An online love letter to Chin Peng



Excerpts from the reviled Farewell, Comrade Chin Peng - Abdullah CD
... He had loved very much his country — his place of birth. He had the wisdom and courage to bring peace to our country. He had done his part and yet he had been denied return to his beloved Motherland. History will point the finger of indictment at those who break the promises. Let it be, the people are not blind.
Farewell, Comrade Chin Peng — our beloved leader, our comrade, the courageous freedom fighter! 
* Abdullah CD was the chairman of the Communist Party of Malaya. 
** This is the personal opinion of the writers or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malay Mail Online.

Chin Peng worshippers in the newsroom. There is only reason why Abdullah CD's love letter to Chin Peng got published in the Malay Mail Online: there are people at the Malay Mail Online who sympathize with Chin Peng, who do not know or care about the history of his atrocities against the people of this country, who idolize the Butcher of Malaya. 


I would not publish Abdullah CD's letter in my portal. The Star did not publish it. The NST didn't, either. Nor would Sinar Harian, Utusan Malaysia, the Mole. Maybe the Rocket would but I believe it didn't. Heck, even the Malay Mail print editor didn't publish it.

Why? The armed campaign led by Chin Peng against Malaya killed more than 10,000 Malayans. Those Commies didn't kill just the soldiers and the policemen, they tortured and butchered ordinary citizens, orang-orang kampung, women, children and old men, anyone who did not support their struggle for power, anyone they suspected to be a talibarut, anyone who stood in their way. No, I will not disrespect the children and grandchildren of Chin Peng's victims by giving someone space to glorify the monster. I will not insult those who gave their lives defending this country against a terrorist, a murderer.

Chin Peng was no freedom fighter. He waged war against us long after we, as a nation, had achieved our freedom. He was no patriot. If he was, he wouldn't have waged war against us when Malaya became Malaysia.

p.s. The Malay Mail Online's disclaimer is a joke and should read: 

** This is the personal opinion of the writers or publication and does not necessarily NOT represent the views of The Malay Mail Online

Read also:
Propagating Communism by Zakhir Mohamad.
The blogger Big Dog calls on the authorities to arrest the editor of the Malay Mail Online, who used to head the anti-Najib political news portal The Malaysian Insider, "for allowing room to propagate the Communism ideology". 


In 1974, CPM incorporated target assassination as part of their rebellion. As such, IGP Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Hashim was assassinated in the heart of Kuala Lumpur on the way to work on 7 June 1974. Perak CPO Tan Sri Khoo Chong was shot on 13 November 1975 on his way for lunch.

Raising the Chin Peng spectre for a selfish political end by Shamsul Akmar
The editor of The Mole, writing in the NST, attacks Anwar Ibrahim and Tian Chua for trying to score political points with the Chin Peng issue.


... to promote "yang sudah, sudahlah" to those who had become Chin Peng's and CPM's victims, and suffered the atrocities with their families, is excessively presumptuous on Anwar's part.
 
The fact that most of these victims and families had chosen to not demand vendetta for the atrocities is a magnanimity becoming of believers of any faith.  
As for declaring Chin Peng a patriot; the retired teacher now realises that there is no cure for imbecility.





Saturday, September 21, 2013

Wan Saiful: I did not call for Article 153 to be scrapped in 10-15 years


The Chief of IDEAS called me up yesterday afternoon to clarify his position on Article 153 of the Federal Constitution.  (refer my notes at the end of Wan Saiful's statement) 

from Wan Saiful Wan Jan via email to rockybru@gmail.com 20 Sept 2013 at 8.53pm

IT IS REALLY AMAZING how quickly things can go wrong if you take your eyes off the blogosphere and twitterland.  Even those who know you personally could change their minds simply by reading a few tweets.

I have recently been accused of calling for the abolishment of the special position of Islam and the Malays, based on what I said at an event in the afternoon of Malaysia Day (Monday 16 Sept).  But I missed the first few days of this development because I had to tend to my mother, who fell ill on that Monday evening and is now in hospital.  As a result of not following these developments, I am now accused by some as a traitor.

I am still not 100percent “back in the game” and I won’t be until my mother is fully discharged.  But I thought I should quickly come up with a brief explanation.  I called Dato Rocky earlier and he very kindly suggested I send this explanation to him so that other critics can also read it.  Please forgive me for the brevity and lack of details as I am typing this from a crowded emergency room of a hospital (with a non-functioning aircond and very stuffy).  I am happy to chat about all these later if necessary, but for now, I just want to clarify some of the wrong allegations against me.

My actual message is as follows:

-       I know quite a few people are talking about how the special position of Islam and the Malays is discriminatory.  I too have been debating this for quite some time.

-       But I am worried about how some quarters approach this issue.  Some are very aggressive and make demands for immediate change.  Others take it too emotionally such that the issue is treated as a taboo that cannot be discussed.  These dynamics have driven discussions underground, and this is not healthy.

-       The best way forward is for us to not treat this issue as a taboo, but instead engage in healthy conversation *if* we really want to discuss it.

-       And certainly no one should expect or demand for any change to happen immediately.  You will just end up frustrated and angry (and usually more aggressive too).  If any, you’ll be lucky to see a change 10-15 years down the line.  This is a huge issue and it will take time to be digested rationally, if at all.

Let me also clarify my own position on these issues:

-       I am a beneficiary of various government support programmes. I have also seen so many successful individuals who have benefitted from the same assistance.

-       As a result of what I have seen over the years, I have come to the conclusion that the position of both Islam and the Malays does not need legal protection.  Islam is a strong religion on its own.  And the Malays have proven that we can stand on our own two feet.

-       It is therefore better for the various protectionist measures to be stopped.  I see legal protection as a weakness. I believe in individual responsibility and we as individuals should defend our own identities.  I am fully aware that this position is new and is still unacceptable to many, and if so, I hope we can courteously agree to disagree.

So let me make this clear.  My belief comes out of conviction of our ability to compete and succeed. We are strong enough to stand on our own feet, and, most importantly, to help each other without being dependent on the government.

By extension I feel that protectionism is a sign of weakness and I refuse to accept that a whole ethno-religious group is weak simply because of who they are.  I appreciate that this worldview may differ from those who see protectionism as a right that must be defended, and I appreciate that even though we have different views, that view has its merit too. I just hope that we can focus on the end aim, which I think is, actually, quite similar, and make space for differences in the methods to achieve that ultimate aim.

Again, apologies for not responding earlier.  But I hope to be back “online” properly in the near future.


Ends


Notes:
1. Scroll down for the Bahasa Melayu version
2. The blog that gave Wan Saiful a drubbing over the Article 153 is Pure Shiite. Read the posting h e r e.
3. SatD aka Monkey (pic) based his posting on the news report by the Malay Mail Online, excerpts below; full article h e r e.
(The MM Online is run by defects - my apologies, the word I wanted was defectors - from the Malaysian Insider, the not-so-pro-Najib news portal).






------ Bahasa Melayu version:

Banyak sekali perkara yang boleh berlaku apabila kita tidak memerhatikan dunia blog dan twitter.  Mereka yang kita kenali secara peribadi pun boleh menukar pandangan semata-mata kerana membaca beberapa tweet.

Baru-baru ini ada yang menuduh bahawa saya mahu kedudukan istimewa Islam dan Melayu dihapuskan, berdasarkan laporan mengenai apa yang saya katakan dalam satu majlis pada petang Hari Malaysia (Isnin 16 September) baru-baru ini.  Tetapi saya terlepas pandang perkembangan ini semasa ia mula berlaku kerana pada malam Isnin yang sama, saya terpaksa membawa ibu saya yang sakit ke hospital.  Hasilnya, ada yang menuduh saya dengan pelbagai tuduhan.

Saya masih belum dapat kembali aktif sepenuhnya sehinggalah ibu saya sembuh.  Tetapi saya rasa elok juga saya memberi penjelasan ringkas dahulu buat masa ini.  Saya menelefon Dato Rocky tadi dan beliau berbaik hati mencadangkan saya menghantar email kepada beliau, agar orang lain juga boleh membaca apa yang saya tulis.  Tetapi saya mohon maaf kerana tidak dapat memberikan penjelasan yang panjang kerana saya menaip ini pun dari bilik kecemasan yang agak sibuk (dan panas) di hospital.  Jika perlu, boleh sahaja kita berbual lanjut.  Tetapi buat masa ini, saya mahu memberi penjelasan ringkas dahulu.

Mesej saya sebenarnya ialah:

-       Saya sedar ada yang sedang membahaskan betapa kedudukan istimewa Islam dan Melayu adalah satu diskriminasi.  Saya juga terlibat dalam perbualan-perbualan ini.

-       Tetapi saya bimbang mengenai cara sesetengah pihak membicarakan isu ini.  Ada yang begitu agresif menuntut perubahan serta-merta.  Ada pula yang amat emosional sehingga isu ini menjadi satu taboo yang tidak boleh dibincangkan langsung.  Dinamika ini menyebabkan wujudnya perbincangan di belakang tabir yang saya rasa amat tidak sihat.

-       Cara terbaik ialah untuk kita tidak menjadikan isu ini sebagai satu taboo.  Jika ia mahu dibicarakan, bicarakanlah dengan sihat.

-       Dan saya juga merasakan adalah tidak realistik membuat tuntutan merobah segalanya serta merta.  Jika inilah cara anada, anda akan menjadi kecewa dan marah (dan biasanya lebih agresif juga).  Jika anda bernasib baik dan boleh mengemudi isu ini dengan baik sekali pun, mungkin perubahan akan mengambil masa 10-15 tahun.  Ini isu besar yang memerlukan masa untuk dihadamkan secara rasional.

Izinkan juga saya menyatakan pendirian saya dalam isu ini:

-       Saya adalah produk daripada pelbagai program bantuan kerajaan.  Saya juga mengenali beberapa individu yang berjaya hasil daripada bantuan ini.

-       Hasil daripada apa yang saya perhatikan selama ini, saya kini yakin bahawa kedudukan Islam dan Melayu tidak memerlukan perlindungan undang-undang atau perlembagaan.  Islam adalah satu cara hidup yang kuat.  Dan bangsa Melayu juga telah membuktikan bahawa bangsa ini boleh berjaya dan berdikari.

-       Maka adalah lebih baik jika perlindungan-perlindungan yang wujud tidak dikekalkan.  Saya melihat prlindungan dan bantuan kerajaan sebagai satu kelemahan.  Saya yakin dengan konsep tanggungjawab individu dan kita sebagai individulah yang mesti mempertahankan dan memuliakan identiti kita sendiri.  Saya tahu pandangan ini agak baru dan masih tidak diterima oleh banyak pihak.  Maka saya harap jika kita berbeza pandangan, kita boleh berbeza pandangan dengan sihat.

 Jadi ringkasnya, pandangan saya adalah hasil daripada keyakinan bahawa kita boleh bersaing dan berjaya.  Kita cukup kuat untuk berdikari, dan, lebih penting lagi, kita juga boleh membantu satu sama lain jika perlu, tanpa bergantung kepada kerajaan.
Lanjutan itu, saya juga merasakan bahawa perlindungan adalah tanda kelemahan dan saya tidak menerima pandangan bahawa sesuatu bangsa atau agama itu lemah semata-mata kerana latar belakang keturunan mereka.  Saya faham bahawa pandangan ini berbeza daripada mereka yang merasakan bahawa perlindungan adalah hak yang perlu dipertahankan.  Dan walaupun kita berbeza pandangan, saya menerima bahawa pandangan itu juga mempunyai merit.  Saya hanya berharap agar kita boleh memfokuskan perhatian kepada matlamat akhir kita, dan, saya rasa sebenarnya matlamat akhir kita tidak jauh bezanya.  Dalam tu, buka lah ruang untuk wujud perbezaan cara dalam mencapai matlamat yang sama itu.

Sekali lagi, maaf kerana tidak dapat memberi respon lebih awal. Tetapi saya harap insha-Allah saya akan dapat kembali aktif secepat mungkin.

 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Ah, Dr Awang Hitam! (Do your homework, IDEAS)

Updated:
The Mole: Ideas without any idea of what a welfare state is?
Original posting: 

Simply taking an ideological stance against welfare spending without considering real-world evidence seems disingenuous, especially since Wan Saiful heads a "research" institute. - Is Malaysia a welfare state, Viewpoint, NST, 20/9/13

I've read Dr Awang Hitam (a relative of Utusan Malaysia's Awang Selamat, perhaps?) a couple of times in the NST. Reminds me a bit of the blogger SatD, minus the colourful language and mind-boggling graphics. The two are not the same person, let me assure you. Great minds think alike. Dr Awang Hitam's latest piece in the Business Times today, Is Malaysia a welfare state, counters the points made by Wan Saiful Wan Jan.; ncidentally, SatD took the Chief of IDEAS to task a couple of days ago over his call to scrap Article 153 h e r e.

Since most of you no longer read the NST, I reproduce Dr Awang Hitam's piece in full.


6.2PC OF GDP: Our social spending pales in comparison with the 18pc to 22pc in OECD countries, according to finance ministry data
RECENTLY, the chief executive officer of the Institute of Democracy Economic and Social Affairs (Ideas) Wan Saiful Wan Jan argued that Malaysia is fast becoming a welfare state. 
He raised an alarm that if we don't cut our welfare spending, we will have a big crisis down the road. Unfortunately, his claim - which is not backed by any analysis or data - is not correct on several counts. 
First of all, let's see how much we have spent on welfare.  
Quick calculations using data from the Ministry of Finance show that in 2012, our welfare spending - which in-cludes energy subsidies, social services (housing, education, health) and direct wel-fare is equivalent to 6.2 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP). If we exclude the energy subsidies and social services, the spending on direct wel-fare is less than 0.04 per cent of GDP. This is peanuts compared with other countries.  

The social spending of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries ranges between 18 per cent and 22 per cent of GDP, much higher than Malaysia's. 
Yes, welfare spending has increased slightly since 2000, but to claim that Malaysia is fast becoming a welfare state is a bit far-fetched. 
Is it wrong to spend on programmes to help farmers and fisherman increase their production? Is it wrong to spend on educational assistance programmes, which include nutrition programmes, transport and allowances for poor pre-school and school children? Is it also wrong to give financial assistance to the poor, senior citizens, the disabled, Orang Asli and other vulnerable groups?  
Second, using Greece and the United Kingdom as examples for "on the verge of bankruptcy" due to welfare policies is again blatantly ignoring economic evidence.
Yes, Greece was one of worst affected countries during the sovereign-debt crisis but this is due to decades-long twin deficits, while in the UK it was due to a bailout of their weak banking sector. In both countries, welfare spending is NOT the source of the crisis. 
Even if we assume that huge welfare spending is the reason for the crisis, then we would expect those countries that spent the most on welfare to be the hardest hit or in crisis. 
The top five social spenders - France, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium and Finland - are not on the verge of bankrupt 
Iceland, a country which did default in 2008, is not even in the Top 25 list. Neither Greece nor the UK are among the top 10 spenders in Europe. 
It is therefore important for the author to clarify what he meant by welfare state because the countries he had chosen as examples to undermine welfare poli-cies are not the biggest social spenders in Europe.  
He also argued that welfare is bad because it rarely breeds competitiveness. That is again wrong and not supported by empirical evidenc 
If welfare rarely breeds competitiveness, then why have European welfare states such as Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark always been highly ranked in the Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum? These are countries that have maintained their positions as top competitive countries, despite high public social spending.  
Simply taking an ideological stance against welfare spending without considering real-world evidence seems disingenuous, especially since Wan Saiful heads a "research" institute.  
While ideology may appear to be principled, overzealousness can lead to misuse or misrepresentation of data to suit the convictions of their advocates. 
It is also puzzling that he is against the assistance for the poor and disadvan-taged considering that the political party of which he is a life-time member is a strong proponent of "Negara Kebajikan" 
One wonders then whether the output of such an insti-tute can have the intellectual rigour and honesty to be trusted. 
But what is certain is that it is totally irresponsible to argue for the reduction of already low welfare spending, as this will expose the vulnerable to economic shocks over which they have no control to change or mitigate. 
Even the Asian Development Bank in a report in July suggests that middle-income status countries in Asia Pacific should strengthen their systems of social protection. 
Our middling income per capita, rising costs of living and astronomical increase in housing prices have created an urgent need for social assistance for the poor, nee-dy and middle-income class citizens - who are slowly but surely falling through the cracks. 
To simply ignore them and the human cost of such disregard because of rigid adherence to dogma is indeed a great injustice. 
Read more: Is Malaysia a welfare state? http://www.btimes.com.my/Current_News/BTIMES/articles/itam/Article/index_html#ixzz2fOlLhYN6


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pictures don't tell the whole truth, either

Almost didn't recognize the face. Story at OutSyed The Box.


Did you vote in the UK election in 2007?


Article 24. The point about Wan Saiful Wan Jan's political involvement while residing in the UK for 16 years (read my posting h e r e) has drawn some interest on my Twitter timeline @xrockybrux since this morning.

What is Article 24(3A) or Article (2) of the Malaysian Constitution? Read LoyarBurok's Malaysians who voted in UK: Beware!

Excerpts:
... Malaysian law says vote overseas and you can lose your citizenship 
Now, I have the greatest respect for Tunku Abidin, but unfortunately like many Malaysians he seems not to have realised that whilst the UK lawfully allows us to vote there, Malaysia is rather more restrained in how it allows its citizens to exercise their individual freedoms. 
For those Malaysian citizens who did vote in the recent elections, beware: the Home Minister now has the power to deprive you of your Malaysian citizenship. 
Article 24(2) of the Federal Constitution says this: 
(2) If the Federal Government is satisfied that any citizen has voluntarily claimed and exercised in any country outside the Federation any rights available to him under the law of that country, being rights accorded exclusively to its citizens, the Federal Government may by order deprive that person of his citizenship. 
Read the whole article h e r e.
So, did Tunku Abidin's partner in IDEAS vote in the UK election? 

"Does Wan Saiful know what the duck he's suggesting for Article 153?"


Melayu in the UK 1993-2009
Wan Saiful Wan Jan is one hell of a lucky Melayu. 
Born in 1975 in Alor Setar, Kedah, he grew up in a police barrack but by the age 18 was already in the UK pursuing his studies, one of thousands of young Melayus who have gotten such opportunities as a result of the push for affirmative actions by the Malaysian government. By the time he came back to Malaysia in 2009, Wan Saiful had spend all his adult years - 16 in total - in the UK! He could have financed his studies and his stay there by himself but he was the son of a policeman, not a king, so it's very likely that he had won some scholarships from the government or a Malaysian GLC at some point. 
In the UK, he became a PAS member but was sacked from the party for the un-Islamic act of joining the UK Conservative Party. He even contested in the English local elections in 2007. Now four years later and still only 38, and having co-founded IDEAS with a young prince from Negri Sembilan, Wan Saiful thinks it is time to remove Article 153 of the Constitution, relieve the Yang DiPertuan Agong the responsibilities of safeguarding the special position of the Malays, and deny all Melayus in 10-15 years the privileges that thousands like Wan Saiful himself have enjoyed during the last 40 years or so. 
Excerpts of what Wan Saiful said:


I was not at all surprised by Wan Saiful's attitude. From experience, some of the loudest opponents of pro-Bumiputera policies are people who have benefited immensely from those policies. The anonymous blogger SatD is NOT one of the privileged budak-budak Melayu but I've learned that it's dudes like SatD who usually tend to defend the policies. 
As it is, SatD thinks Wan Saiful probably does not understand the enormity of his suggestion to remove Article 153 and hints that the IDEAS CEO was probably just doing the bidding for Anwar Ibrahim's Pakatan Rakyat. What do you think - Is IDEAS running out of ideas?  
Leave comments at SatD's h e r e.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ended Possibilities


One for the record: Yesterday, Sept 17, was supposed to have been the launch of  the nation brand exercise, Malaysia: Endless Possibilities. It didn't happen because, thanks to the efforts of "sincere bloggers" at Jebat Must Die, the Mole, and Foul!, we discovered that Israel and Mongolia are using the same exact tagline. The Prime Minister himself sent the branding guys back to the drawing board and come up with something more wow and less embarrassing.  
In the meantime, a brand consultant says there are 5 lessons to be learned from the "Endless Possibilities" Branding blunder. The dude seems to know what he's talking about and is eager to help, I was told. Maybe the branding lady at the PM's Office should off her high horse and start returning his messages ... 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Anwar Ibrahim says the Pope asked to meet him, not the other way round

Why is Anwar so cagey about his meeting next week with Pope Francis? He said it was the Pope who wanted to see him and not the other way round. Why did he have to stress that point?
Excerpts from the fz.com report Anwar: BEC is a biased group


Dr Mahathir was the first Malaysian head of government to have met the Pope and that took place in 2002. Under Najib Razak, Malaysia went on to establish diplomatic ties with the Vatican after the Prime Minister met the Pope in 2011. Islam is the official religion of Malaysia but Muslims here have no problems with having diplomatic ties with the Vatican and did not go to the streets to oppose their PM meeting with the Pope. Neither Dr M nor Najib converted to Christianity after they met the Pope. 
So why on earth should we be angry if the "people close to the Pope" wanted Anwar t meet the Pope? If Anwar did not wish to meet the Pope, the polite thing to do would be to say NO. Not by saying, "I didn't ask to meet the Pope". What's wrong if Anwar had asked to meet the Pope, anyway? 
So, you see, someone's trying to make something out of nothing here. This is his problem.

Don't worry (Be happy) ... Chin Peng's dead!

Why Chin Peng can't return. Source: Anwardi Jamil's FB
"Good. No need to worry anymore." - Widow of Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Hashim, our IGP who was gunned down on June 7, 1974, when told of the death of Chin Peng, the man who ordered the kill, in  It's a divine gift that he died on Malaysia Day
It is quite clear that no one's death has been welcomed and celebrated by so many Malaysians with quiet joy and thankfulness as much as Chin Peng's. There were some folks (like Tian Chua, Hisham Rais and Bawani h e r e) who mourned Chin Peng's passing. These folks should read the piece written in the NST today by Najib Rahman.


17 September 2013| last updated at 12:02AM
It's a divine gift that he died on Malaysia Day

By Najib Rahman 



LEARNED Muslims believe that the Angel of Death visits and stares at the face of every living mortal on earth 70 times a day, or every 21 minutes, to be exact, to check out and execute a person's death warrant.
There is no stay of execution. Not even for a second when your "number is up". Meaning, a Muslim has to adhere to the full demands of the faith round the clock, for death will come anywhere and anytime.
That is why, when my son Naj-muddin, a news editor at the New Straits Times, called me up just after noon to tell me that Chin Peng had died, it left me quite numb, very numb in fact.
Not that I cared for the state of faith that Chin Peng was in when his life was snatched. Just that I was plainly astonished and dumbstruck at the timing of it all -- Sept 16.
Chin Peng, who (according to the official version), had ordered for my father, Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Hashim, the third inspector-general of police, to be gunned down like a vermin in the streets of Kuala Lumpur in the morning hours of June 7, 1974 -- died on Malaysia Day!
Having asked the basic questions and gotten the answers from my son, I sat back in my chair to let it all sink in.
You know, given that Chin Peng had met his Maker a couple of decades ago, when my blood would still be boiling, I would have whooped, thumped the table and spewed forth a stream of expletives deserving of the critter.
But, today, at a somewhat more mellowed but not necessarily hallowed 65 years of age, I simply soliloquised: "Today is Monday, Sept 16, Malaysia Day. The significance of it all. This is surely a divine 'gift' for me, my mother, my siblings, my children who never got to know their 'wan' (northern term for grandfather), relatives and friends for 39 years of heart tugging, wrenching hurt."
Then, I think about the families of the 10,000 Malayan and Commonwealth troops, policemen and civilians killed during Chin Peng's 12-year murderous, bloody campaign (1948-1960) to establish a communist state in the country.
I think of them all. Fellow Malaysians who had lost fathers, husbands, brothers and sons to Chin Peng's murderous streak.
Theirs is an anguish that I could easily relate to and share with. And because we are of a kind, Chin Peng's death is also divine justice for all those tortured souls.
Jumping from my reverie, my mind raced towards my mother. Mother! I felt quite guilty. How can I not call her first?

She, who never fretted whenever father, during his Special Branch days, would pack his pillow and blanket to sleep in the office; she who seemed bemused when father came home one evening driving an old Austin 7, wearing a false beard and mustache capped with an over sized sunglass -- as disguise for a raid on a communist cadre-churning Chinese school; she who was always watchful whenever father dined in public places, and she who had mourned very quietly on the day a 9mm bullet took his life.

Over the phone, I broke the news to mother. Her reply, in a voice that clearly belied her 88 years, was simply, "Baguslah. Tak payah risau lagi." (Good. No need to worry anymore).
The "no need to worry anymore" part sort of stumped me a bit. Worry? Worry about what?
But she just left it at that. End of conversation.
I could come up with a hatful of theories to decipher mother's Dan Brown-like labyrinthine puzzle, but that would cloud the clear message that Chin Peng's death delivers: that there are lessons to be learnt from the past, a bloody and painful chapter of history has been closed, that there is absolutely nothing to be gained by extremism of any kind in this country, that we need to learn to trust one another again, and that it is time for us to move on.
Achieve that and there will be nothing for us Malaysians to worry about. (Click here for the original article ew Straits Times

Read also:
Death of a national terrorist by SatD