Saturday, December 08, 2018

Walking against ICERD

In spirit I walk with my fellow Malaysians today. They are, even as I write this, gathering in growing numbers to show appreciation of the Government for deciding NOT to ratify the UN's International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination (ICERD). 

Thank you, especially, to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for making the timely U-turn on the matter. It could not have been easy for him. But perhaps the good doctor realised how flawed this UN convention is in the context of our nation. Or perhaps he did not wish to risk the wrath of the "lazy" and "corruptible" Malays. Either way, it's one U-turn of his that gets my thumbs-up.  
Lim Kit Siang says the ICERD episode shows that Malaysia has "a long way to go to accomplish our new goal of a new Malaysia, which is to make Malaysia a top world-class nation and not a divided and fractured one, warring against itself".  
As if ratifying ICERD will make us a top world class nation tomorrow.  
But, to be fair to him, the DAP leader also concedes that considering the multi-cultural nature of Malaysia, the country should not ratify the treaty as long as the majority of Malaysians do not want it. 
As I see it, the reason why Dr Mahathir decided there was no need to ratify ICERD is simple: ICERD is flawed and will not do Malaysia any good. This country has been progressing well - certainly better than its neighbours including, in some departments, even Singapore - and the people have enjoyed peace and unity all this while (except for a brief period in 1969 which was sparked by politicians at the time, many of who are still alive and active today).
What we have ain't broke. Far from it. 
But threatening to "fix" the system - and the Malays/Bumiputeras - compelled the "lazy" race to come out in numbers today to show their displeasure. And if you didn't know, Melayus generally keep their word: when they've decided to do something, they don't backtrack. Pantang undur. So when Dr Mahathir decided on the U-turn, they gently turned a potentially angry demonstration into one big, gentle thanksgiving where they show their appreciation and say their doas.

Read also:
The illusion of power in post-Reformasi Malaysia by Tajuddin Rasdi
... Discrimination against Malay-Muslims by Mak Khuin Weng
Lynas, ICERD, and DAP by A Voice
Malaysian Opposition garners support with protest march by Straits Times Singapore

Friday, December 07, 2018

Political hysteria behind Lynas ... among other things

Ho-ho-ho! [apologies to Santa Claus and the wonderful spirit of Christmas], Fuziah Salleh ain't gonna be too happy with Akramshah Sanusi for this unexpected stinger on Lynas (Judge Lynas on merit, not political hysteria, says PPBM leader). 

In a nutshell, Akramshah has accused the PKR Kuantan MP of acting irresponsibly and that she and her "larger cabal" including DAP MP Wong Tack "were seeking forgiveness for their irresponsibility by claiming that their environment, or the environmental health of their community, was their priority". 

He also said Fuziah was taking political hysteria to new heights.

The chemical engineer questioned the push by Fuziah and Wong Tack for the removal of waste on grounds of environmental health when the main threat to the health and safety of Kuantan's community was the bauxite industry which "regularly paints the town red with dust".

Akramshah said many other things. 

So I think it's better that I re-post the entire FMT article here:

Judge Lynas on merit, not political hysteria, urges PPBM leader

PETALING JAYA: A PPBM Supreme Council member has urged the government to judge Lynas Malaysia based on merit, not “political hysteria”.
Akhramsyah Muammar Ubaidah Sanusi, who is also a chemical engineer, accused PKR’s Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh of leading such sentiments since 2011, which he said had led to many missed opportunities for the Malaysian economy.
In a statement, he referred to a proposed 2012 joint venture between Siemens and Lynas to manufacture high-end rare earth magnets in Kuantan. He said the plan never materialised due to the perceived high political risk.
Siemens instead built the plant in Vietnam, exemplifying, he said, why no similar rare earth-dependent manufacturer had chosen to build a supply chain in the area.
This is despite Lynas producing 22% of the world’s rare earth elements necessary for producing high-tech products, from mobile phones and flat-screen televisions to turbines for wind generators and electric vehicle motors.
Accusing Fuziah of acting irresponsibly in the matter, he said she and her “larger cabal”, which included Bentong MP Wong Tack, were “seeking forgiveness for their irresponsibility by claiming that their environment, or more specifically, the environmental health of the community, is their priority”.
He noted that Lynas had a six-year track record of safe operations supported by audit reports from both government regulators such as the Department of Environment (DoE) and Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB), as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency and the review committee commissioned by the new government.
He said the review committee, led by Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin, and comprising experts previously critical of the Lynas Advanced Material Plant (LAMP), had published a report that supported its continued operations.
However, he claimed Fuziah was taking the “hysteria” to “new heights” by “spinning the reported findings and through emotive misinformation”.
“Bahagian 8 from page 91 of the LAMP Review Committee Report endorses the building of a permanent disposal facility (PDF) for all the waste, including the mildly radioactive waste, and urging completion of the research for the conversion of the said waste to safe materials such as fertilisers with the ongoing support of local universities,” he said.
“Exporting the waste is only seen as an option should the first two recommended efforts be deemed unsuccessful.”
He also questioned the push by Fuziah, Wong Tack and others for the removal of waste on grounds of environmental health when in fact the main threat to the health and safety of Kuantan’s community was the bauxite industry which “regularly paints the town red with dust”.
He voiced concern that the Cabinet might decide on Lynas’ fate based on a case presented by a minister who had been influenced by such claims.
“Yeo was publicly opposed to Lynas before her appointment as the minister, and now presides over the plant’s regulators, the DoE and AELB. As a Pakatan Harapan leader, our higher standards should have led her to recusing herself from decisions pertaining to Lynas, instead of being the one that instructs the regulators.
“As she has chosen not to recuse herself, one would expect her to at least demonstrate her impartiality by visiting the plant formally before forming any recommendations on Lynas’s fate. She has not.”
He said the Cabinet must stand above political hysteria and residual bias as Malaysia’s reputation as a high-end industrial and technological investment destination was at stake, in addition to the livelihoods of Lynas’ employees, suppliers and their families.
“At the very least, as a chemical engineer who has operated a hazardous plant before, I recommend that key Cabinet members, even the prime minister, visit the Lynas plant before deciding on its fate.”

p.s. I got to know Akramshah during the blogging heydays (circa 2006) when he regularly shared his thoughts on Tangents: Restless Musings of a Malay Mind. I was pleasantly surprised just now to discover that his blog is still alive although the last entry was in August this year about the proposed third national car. Before leaving Umno for Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's Pribumi Bersatu in 2016, Akram actively campaigned against the MRT's decision to build lines too close to some homes, including in his neighbourhood.

Monday, December 03, 2018

Vincent Tan's strange crusade to save the USJ temple

I call it strange not because Vincent Tan is the Prime Minister's good friend but because I didn't know the Seafield Seri Maha Mariamman temple at USJ 25 needed saving. From what I read in the media, all parties involved in the relocation of the temple had mutually agreed to it. There's a consent court agreement in 2014, a RM1.5 mil compensation and even a new site for the temple on one of the two plots of land given to the temple committee by the developer.

Vincent Tan's idea of a RM15 mil fund to save the temple seems to have come out of nowhere. He spoke as if  One City, the developer, will have no choice but to agree to sell the 1.1 ha of land where the temple has sat for four decades. 

The developer hasn't said a word but I'm sure they could feel the "weight" of the tycoon's words:

I'm sure (the developer) will come up with a solutionSolet's wait for themThey could be very charitable and maybe they want to give a very big discount and maybe they want to donatethe entire land ..." - Vincent Tan in RM2 mil raised so far by temple fund.

Strange too is the fact that Vincent Tan's fund was announced after the riots had come under control and the court had rejected a last-minute bid to block the relocation. 

Even Muhammad Adib, the 24-year old on-duty fireman who was beaten to a coma by the rioters, has regained consciousness. I would have found it less strange (and equally if not more noble) if Vincent Tan had set up a fund to help Adib, seeing that he may not be able to return to active duty anytime soon.

Don't get me wrong. I have no doubt that Vincent Tan means well. 

But is this the way we respond to criminals and puppet masters now? [Read also Riot at temple criminal, not racial, says Dr M]

If this is how we resolve problems of this nature, I am sure many will be happy. The bewildered residents of Taman Tun Dr Ismail, for example, can't wait to welcome Vincent Tan and his friends to try and save their Rimba Kiara from a legal and binding agreement signed between the previous government and another group of developers.

Those fighting for the Kinrara Oval will be thrilled, too, seeing that Vincent Tan, the Cardiff football club owner, is a big supporter of sports. So will those who don't believe that developers should take away one of the few public golf courses in the country in Bandar Kinrara to build more condominiums. The long-suffering UKRC folks, who have been in and out of courts to save their miserable field, would see Vincent Tan as a god-sent, almost divine. The list goes on ...

Friday, November 30, 2018

MRT: Were we foolish to have wanted, built it?

Too big, too early, too lavish. I won't know what's lavish - read MRT too big, too early, says PM - where the MRT design, trains, etc are concerned. Some people have said the same about some of Dr M's projects in the past, for example the bridges of Putrajaya and the mosques when I could only see beauty and class then what others were calling lavish. Subjective, perhaps? Or selective?
But I - like Dr M, I assume - don't use the MRT to commute. I have heard, though, of how packed and congested "like tin sardin" the MRT trains can be during peak hours. So perhaps the system's not big enough, contrary to Dr M's assertion?
Certainly it can't be "too soon". If we build the MRT in 2050, imagine how much it would cost. Singapore, for example, had theirs running in 1987. When the idea of building the MRT system cropped up, some of the politicians were dead against it. One even called the the idea "foolish". Try telling a Singaporean to imagine life without the MRT today.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

So what's the practical thing to do, Khalid?

Latest: Adib's injuries due to accident, claims Hindu kuil committee - Berita Harian

Original article:
Not practical to scrap Rimba Kiara project, says FT Minister

'We can discuss to scale down the project ...' - Khalid Samad, FT Minister 

Should Taman Tun Dr Ismail residents stage riots, too, to get back their Rimba? After rioting and beating up an on-duty Malay-Muslim fireman half dead (Muhammad Adib transferred from ICU to IJN), the Hindus in USJ now get to keep their temple. 
Or at least that's the promise made to them by P. Waytha Moorthy
Until a permanent solution over the kuil crisis can be found, the Minister of Unity told a press conference after repeatedly saying he had met earlier with Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday. 
Did Dr M agree to that? 
I don't know but as I see it, Waytha has got to keep his word. He is the former leader of the militant Malaysian Hindu group Hindraf. And a promise made over a holy temple is not the same as promises made in a Pakatan Harapan manifesto that, we all now know after voting them in, need not be fulfilled ... 
Waytha made the promise despite a court order, the involvement of a public listed company and foreign investors, and even as Adib was fighting for his life .. 
Of course, I won't recommend that the TTDI residents stage riots to save Rimba Kiara from being turned into a concrete jungle. The more practical thing to do is to continue engaging Khalid Samad the FT Minister and pray that he would man up. And get your MP, Hannah Yeoh, to play a more active role in defending the park against the developers. She's been awfully quiet.

Read also
Riot at temple criminal, not racial says PM
USJ temple land belongs to ... 
Developers hired thugs, says Home Minister 
Prayers for Muhammad Adib (updated) by Annie