Friday, January 04, 2019

All's well that ends well. Well, maybe ...

Read the Malaysian Insight story here

Jan 4: Good news? Well, the minister did well enough to respond immediately with his re-assurance to the 283 (now former) employees of SPAD that they will be offered jobs. How that will go, we'll have to wait and see next week. But to me this episode is yet another proof that ordinary Malaysians still need to go to the media for recourse, even in Malaysia Baharu. And we the Media still have that role to play in 2019.
Same old, same old but we're always at your service.

Yesterday, The Mole reported:

KUALA LUMPUR – January 2, 2019: They were repeatedly assured that they will not be jobless after new year’s eve but today, the first working day of the year, some 283 staff of the now-defunct Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) woke up to everything but a job.
This is because the Transport Ministry had failed to relocate all 967 of them following the agency’s decommissioning last Monday, which means that minister Anthony Loke had failed to keep his promise.
Uncertainty over the employment of the staff began when the decommissioning was announced in May 2018, soon after Pakatan Harapan won the general elections to form the federal government.
“There were married couples with SPAD and now both husbands and wives are jobless. How are they going to cope with life? Why do we have to be the sacrificial lamb in a political move,” lamented a former staff.
“January is when our children start schooling and any parent will know how much money this requires. It is sad that our welfare is not considered…. it’s almost as though we are being punished.”
While the ministry recently stated that it will assist staff to find new jobs at government-linked companies, the majority said they are disillusioned with such an assurance.
Their distrust with the ministry MOT is understandable, given that it was only two weeks ago that it told them some will not be transferred to other departments.
Those lucky enough to be re-employed are also bemoaning the fact that they have to take quite a big pay-cut.
“You have a Masters (degree) but suddenly find yourself being given a post junior to the one you held previously and with a lower salary. Is this fair?” asked one.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Latest US court decision on Jho Low's Equanimity - What it really means, according to 3 Malaysian ex-Judges

US Court's approval shows that Jho Low is innocent: Lawyers
It doesn't prove that Jho Low is innocent: Lawyers

Jan 3: As usual, the warring parties - or their lawyers, rather - claim that victory is theirs. I know of some angels dressed as lawyers but that doesn't mean I trust any of them absolutely. Certainly not with this particular case. So I asked three of Malaysia's former judges what the court ruling involving DoJ and the yacht called Equanimity really means.

The following are their comments (I'm not naming these contacts of mine, although I'm sure they won't really mind if I did. What I've done is to arrange their whatsapp comments by order of their seniority when they were in service as our Yang Ariffs):

Judge 1: Looks like the US court released because DoJ is no longer interested (in recovering Equanimity) because perhaps Malaysia has taken over the yacht. 
Judge 2: It means Jho Low is feeling high as he wins (this round). And that the DoJ agrees Malaysia should not have brazenly seized that sampan. This is a complicated case. They should get me to advise them but (the problem is)  they are too clever by half.
Judge 3: It means that DOJ will drop the claim that the offence included the procurement of Equanimity, which is now being disposed off by the Government of Malaysia. In other words, the DOJ will not pursue to recover Equanimity. (As for the claim of innocence) itu cerita sensasi fantasi Jho Low & peguam penipu dia.

Read also:
Jho Low: US court granted DoJ motion to dismiss forfeiture of Equanimity 

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

A non-smoking start to 2019

Updated Jan 3:
Told you our government wants to outdo the Singaporeans. Emboldened by its own courage, the Ministry of Health has vowed to widen the ban to include public laundrettes and hotels. The laundry owners are saying no need lah but like the eatery owners before them, the Ministry is expected to turn down their invitation to discuss the matter like grown-ups and implement the ban unilaterally. 

Original posting Jan 2

Can't help it, but the smoking ban at all restaurants including open-air eateries reminds me of Singapore's chewing gum ban. For you kiddies out there, the infamous gum ban was imposed by the government on its citizens in 1992 and lasted more than 10 years. I'm not sure if anyone was actually fined $100,000 or jailed two years, the maximum possible penalties for the offence, but an American and two Germans were sentenced to a number of strokes of the rotan by the Singapore court for vandalism in 1994 and 2015, respectively. For these and other kiasuness (try 16 Odd Things That Are Illegal in Singapore), we were able to poke fun at the Singaporeans, But the way our government's pushing for this latest and supposedly very crucial no-smoking rule, I feel that we are about to outdo our neighbours.

My quarrel with this new ruling is simple: smokers and non-smokers at Malaysian restaurants have co-existed peacefully for a long time. Everyone understood that air-con meant strictly no smoking. If you wanted to smoke, go sit outside under the kipas (if there is an "outside" because many restaurants are fully air-conditioned). I wrote in FB h e r e "if the minister really sincerely wants to make this country cigarette-free, BAN cigarettes (and vape, e-fags, Iqos, etc) and forsake the over RM1 billion the government collects yearly in smoking taxes"

Otherwise, this is just another exercise of hypocrisy at the expense of not just the smokers but also the eatery owners, who are mostly small business people.

I just don't think the latest ban is going to deter people from smoking by much, it at all.