Wednesday, February 28, 2007
These are not military documents nor are there a threat to "National Security", these are water rates.
In the USA and any city for that matter, water rates and financial information are published to the public. Random example here, the city of Pittsburgh
Life begins in water, continuation of life requires water. Please do not hold your people ransom with water. Without water there would be no life, without life all that holds the system up will cease to exist.
Water rates are not a threat to National threat, it is of course a threat to those who choose to benefit from it at the expense of his countrymen.
Monday, February 26, 2007
The Malaysia Microchip was released after more than two years of research
and development. The smallest version measures 0.7 millimeters by 0.7
millimeters, according to officials.
Costing six cents each, three versions of the chip were developed after the Malaysian government in 2003 bought the technology and the rights to design, manufacture and market the chip from Japan's FEC Inc.
So it's not the World's smallest, not even smaller than the original mu-chip from Hitachi
I'd like to see less feel good spin.
KUALA LUMPUR: After two years, the world's smallest Radio Frequency
Identification (RFID) microchip with a built-in antenna has been successfully
developed under the Malaysia Microchip (MM) Project.
Well what was the measurement of this "Worlds Smallest RFID tag"
As Hitachi mu-chip released in Feb 16, 2007 is :
The world's smallest and thinnest RFID tags were introduced yesterday by
Hitachi. Tiny miracles of miniaturization, these RFID chips (Radio Frequency
IDentification chips) measure just 0.05 x 0.05 millimeters.
Hitachi's website reveals full details of the original mu-chip, here
So, how about some proper disclosure ? Not that we're not proud, but how about some accountability.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Instead of focusing on what is wrong, I will instead focus on what will make Malaysia right.
I picked this up from a local store. I would much prefer this to our journey towards our Vision 2020, than the Petronas Twin Towers and the world's smallest RFID
Saturday, February 24, 2007
This post on Malaysia-Today, entitled Idiots Rule takes the icing on the proverbial cake.
Ibnu Hakeem, the author paints a elegant picture of how idiotic this country has descended.
Entire article is reproduced for your reading pleasure.
While Vietnam is moving forward with its own fantastic version of a communist
production model, and while the rest of the world is contemplating post-modern
development, Malaysia is still stuck with idiots who prescribe chastity belts
for women, prizes for Mat Rempit snatch thieves, and drinking holy water to cure
diseases. And all these idiotic ideas are found under the larger umbrella of
Islam Hadhari - the brainchild, or maybe brainless-child of another idiotic
religious adviser who sold the idea quite easily to our mentally-challenged
The Mufti of Perak, who is officially appointed by the Royal
House of Perak, is a total contradiction and an irony to the Royal House whose
members are exemplified by their impressive academic achievements and cultured
traditions. His Royal Highness Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak was once our Lord
President while the Crown Prince, Raja Nazrin Shah, is a graduate of Oxford and
holds a doctorate from Harvard.In sharp contrast, the Mufti of Perak, Harussani
Zakaria, is a graduate of a 'sekolah pondok' or village religious school and
holds a 'sijil sekolah menengah agama' or secondary school certificate in
religious studies. It is no wonder then that from time to time Harussani makes
totally stupid pronouncements that are a complete embarrassment not only to the
State of Perak but to all Muslims.
Not too long ago, the police contemplated questioning Harussani for inciting racial hatred when he carelessly repeated a false accusation over the baptising of some Indian estate children at a church in Ipoh.
However, due to the fact that Harrussani is also the Mufti who is
appointed at the pleasure of the Sultan, the Inspector General of Police had to
satisfy himself with seeking an audience with the Sultan to seek his counsel
first.Prior to that, Harrussani had said that ‘kongsi raya’ or the dual
celebration of Deepavali and Hari Raya was against Islamic teachings. Even prior
to that he had said that it was good for Muslims to write Arabic writing in
bowls, dissolve the writing in water, and then drink the solution to improve
their memory, examination results, cure ills, and so on. This is the type of
stupidity which masquerades as Harrusani Zakaria who is also the Mufti of Perak.
How does such an obviously deranged intellect still hold the post of Mufti? The
answer is red tape. According to the law, Harrussani is only legally responsible
for his ‘fatwa’ or religious decrees in his official capacity as the Mufti of
Perak. His personal pronouncements, no matter how stupid they may be, are just
his personal opinions and beyond reproach.Under the law, Muftis can make fatwas,
which then must be accepted by a sitting of the State Legislature or Dewan
After that it must be officially gazetted. Only then does it become an official, legal fatwa of the Mufti. So Harrusani Zakaria is careful. He makes his silly statements which are not officially gazetted. If anyone takes issue with the Mufti, the simple retort is: ‘Those are not officially gazetted fatwas of the Mufti but only the personal opinions of Harrusani’. By this simple
trick, no one can hold Harrusani Zakaria legally responsible for any of his
ludicrous pronouncements. This is the main reason why the IGP could not take
action against him - it was not an official fatwa. On the other hand, even his
official fatwas bear the approval of the State Legislature - placing him beyond
reproach yet again. Harrussani is in an unassailable position of ‘heads I win,
tails you lose’. Idiots rule.Then we have the Government in the wings that is
now really ruling this country. The chief of the Umno Putera, the Tamil-speaking
Mat Rempit gang leader, Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, has suggested that the
Mat Rempits should be roped in to catch snatch thieves. Mat Rempits, who have
been known to be involved in snatch theft and gang rapes, are now reported to be
acting as pimps for their girlfriends. Their favourite hangout is Times Square
in Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur. I was in Times Square last Saturday and witnessed a
Mat Rempit almost getting a beating from an angry Indonesian man after his wife
had been harassed by him. These are good for nothing folks who have fallen out
of the human race.
They need intensive military-type training for at least two years on a deserted island where they must be given intensive English lessons, vocational skills training, tons of discipline and obedience training by experienced dog handlers. Perhaps they may then get a shot at assimilating into normal everyday society.Azeez also suggested that any Mat Rempit who catches 30 snatch thieves will be given a motorbike. Azeez is actually a nice and friendly
fellow but he is none too bright at all.
Even an exemplary policeman rarely arrests 30 snatch thieves in a lifetime of police work. Azeez had also suggested once that the police close certain stretches of public roads so that the Mat
Rempits could have their street races. This particular moron is closely identified with another Oxford graduate a.k.a. the SIL or Son-In-Law (capitals intended). Just like Harrusani Zakaria, his distinct lack of intellect has not reached its bottom yet. Idiots rule.Now we have the latest brain-dead pronouncement by Abu Hassan Din Al Hafiz. Abu Hassan was once the Religious
Officer to the Agong in the Istana Negara. His brother was none other than the
other brain-dead 'ulamak jin', Dato Harun Din, who was a professor at University
Kebangsaan Malaysia. Abu Hassan Din, who enjoys much respect among the kampong
folks, has jokingly suggested in public that his female family members start
wearing chastity belts to protect them from sex perverts and rapists. Abu Hassan
said that as a husband he would also ‘feel more secure’ if his wife wore a
chastity belt. These are the foolish pronouncements of idiots who still have a
large following among the simple-minded. How are our people ever going to crawl
out of their ignorance if we have leaders and public personalities espousing
such ridiculous ideas in public? Idiots rule.Confucius said that a leadership is
defined by its language (or something like that).
High values, high morals, high standards of manners and breeding should all be expressed by the leader. This will then set an example for the community as a whole. In the Quran this
Confucian concept is known as ‘uswatan hasanah’ or a good example. Abraham is
cited as an ‘uswatan hasanah’ or good example for the Prophet and for all the
Muslims. The Muslims are also encouraged to become an ‘uswatan hasanah’ or an
exemplary people for all of mankind. But in Malaysia the Muslims presently have
a zero chance of becoming even half baked ‘uswatan hasanah’. It is just not
going to happen.In Malaysia, the immoral, the ignorant, the cheats and the
lowlife have been put in high places. What is most saddening and sickening is
that in Malaysia there is no shortage of Muslims with high moral values. There
are plenty of them all around us. But very few are hoisted to their real
position in society.
As a result, the Mat Rempits and brain-dead ulamak rule the day. Idiots rule.
Friday, February 23, 2007
"Talking about visitors, recently four people came to meet Najib and Rosmah came out to interrogate them as to whether they were there to talk about politics or business. When one of them asked what the difference was, Rosmah replied that if they wanted to talk about politics then they can meet Najib, but if it was about business then they should talk to her instead. The appalled visitors then remembered one Ministry of Defence meeting that was chaired by Rosmah while Najib just sat there quietly as Rosmah took the chair as the de facto Defence Minister. Rafidah Aziz actually raised this matter at one Cabinet meeting and asked whether Najib or Rosmah is the Defence Minister."
Note : Rosmah is Najib's wife (Deputy Prime Minister), has no place in the Government nor the Cabinet. Full article here.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
KUALA LUMPUR: Briton Ronald Beadle, whose passport was impounded for 16 years for alleged tax evasion, won RM3mil in damages for all the suffering he
Judicial Commissioner Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat ordered the Inland Revenue Board, its former assistant director-general and the Government to pay the 69-year-old RM2mil in general damages and RM1mil in exemplary damages.
“I am satisfied that the defendants had carried out their powers arbitrarily without any regard for the plaintiff’s interest,” Tengku Maimun said in her 25-page judgment.
She added that she did not think that Beadle had been falsely imprisoned due to the confiscation of the passport but was convinced that the defendants had unlawfully and improperly issued a directive for its seizure in 1981 to prevent the plaintiff from leaving this country until the sum of RM22,778.70 was paid.
“Their acts and neglects had caused him worry, stress, anxiety, mental anguish, distress, hurt and helplessness,” she said.
“His mind and self-esteem had been injured for more than 16 years, the greatest distress being the denial to visit his ailing father and to attend his father’s funeral in England.”
She said the fact that Beadle had come to Malaya in 1961, helped in the fight against the communists and then spent half his life here with the intention of settling down in the country permanently had aggravated his agony.
Last month, Beadle’s counsel Jeffrey Wong had tried to convince the High Court to grant between RM11mil and RM208mil to the retired army engineer for being wrongfully kept in Peninsular Malaysia between 1982 and 1998 for allegedly owing income tax payments of more than RM22,000.
In 1998, a High Court here cleared Beadle’s name from the said debt, and in 2000 he sued the then Inland Revenue Department for false imprisonment of 5,968 days.
In his suit, Beadle, who is a widower, had also sought RM2.9mil for loss of potential earnings during that period apart from the general and exemplary damages.
The court rejected his claims for loss of potential earnings on the grounds it was merely theoretical.
The defendants, who have denied all of Beadle’s claims, did not offer any witnesses.
The former assistant director-general Hamzah H.M. Saman passed away in 1999.
Beadle, who is from Derbyshire, England, was married to a Malaysian but his wife passed away three years ago.
Approached after the judgment, Beadle said he would be returning to England to be with his adopted daughter there but would be back here in September.
Beadle, who is contemplating an appeal against the quantum of judgment, said he was still interested in adopting Malaysia as his second home “if the authorities allow me to do so.”
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
KUALA TERENGGANU: Tip-offs by Mat Skoding are confined to wrongdoings committed by Muslims, the state government explained yesterday.
State Islam Hadhari and Welfare Committee chairman Datuk Rosol Wahid said he wanted to emphasise this to avoid any misunderstanding.
He said the Mat Skoding, part of a voluntary squad under the guidance of state religious advisers, had no right to apprehend people.
This had been clarified to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who called from Jakarta yesterday to speak with Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh.
The strategy of using the voluntary corps to provide tip-offs had been used for almost a decade, Rosol said. The Mat Skoding comprise, among others, hotel workers and those employed at locations where immoral activities are likely to occur.
“This (vigilance by Mat Skoding) is not a new practice,'' he told a specially called press conference to explain a report in The Star on Tuesday on the Mat Skoding issue.
Rosol was reported to have said that to avert soaring cases of close proximity and vice, the Terengganu Government would use Mat Skoding to tip-off religious department officials.
His statement has drawn flak from many quarters, with some describing it as repulsive.
Note : Actual link is provided here
Do we celebrate ingenuity or cry and weep for absolute morons now runs the country ?
We are sorry and embarrassed. But most of all, we are deeply sorry. Last week was the worst operational week in JetBlue's seven year history. Following the severe winter ice storm in the Northeast, we subjected our customers to unacceptable delays, flight cancellations, lost baggage, and other major inconveniences. The storm disrupted the movement of aircraft, and, more importantly, disrupted the movement of JetBlue's pilot and inflight crewmembers who were depending on those planes to get them to the airports where they were scheduled to serve you. With the busy President's Day weekend upon us, rebooking opportunities were scarce and hold times at 1-800-JETBLUE were unacceptably long or not even available, further hindering our recovery efforts. Words cannot express how truly sorry we are for the anxiety, frustration and inconvenience that we caused.
This is especially saddening because JetBlue was founded on the promise of bringing humanity back to air travel and making the experience of flying happier and easier for everyone who chooses to fly with us. We know we failed to deliver on this promise last week. We are committed to you, our valued customers, and are taking immediate corrective steps to regain your confidence in us. We have begun putting a comprehensive plan in place to provide better and more timely information to you, more tools and resources for our crewmembers and improved procedures for handling operational difficulties in the future. We are confident, as a result of these actions, that JetBlue will emerge as a more reliable and even more customer responsive airline than ever before.
Most importantly, we have published the JetBlue Airways Customer Bill of Rights—our official commitment to you of how we will handle operational interruptions going forward—including details of compensation.
I have a video message to share with you about this industry leading action. You deserved better—a lot better—from us last week. Nothing is more important than regaining your trust and all of us here hope you will give us the opportunity to welcome you onboard again soon and provide you the positive JetBlue Experience you have come to expect from us.
David Neeleman Founder and CEO JetBlue Airways
Monday, February 19, 2007
Not only South Africa is grappling with affirmative action. Pauline Jasudason explains.
WHEN straight-A student Suchitra Nadarajah applied for university, she thought her grades and 18 months of constant study for the entrance exams would land her a spot in one of Malaysia's top medical schools.
Then the ethnic Indian ran into Malaysia's affirmative action programme, which sets aside the biggest number of college slots for Malays, the country's majority ethnic group.
Her grades and entrance scores notwithstanding, Suchitra was offered an unwanted place in an information technology course instead of medicine.
"I just sat there speechless, eyes all watery," the 19-year-old says. "It was totally unexpected."
Suchitra is one in a long line of minority high-achievers who bear the brunt of a three-decade-old affirmative action policy that reserves privileges for ethnic Malays in education, jobs, housing, banking and business.
Malays are entitled to substantial discounts when buying a house. They are awarded government study loans and scholarships more easily. They get preference over other ethnic groups, such as Indians and Chinese, in hiring for public sector jobs.
Some voices, including an occasional Malay, are increasingly saying that the policy -- whose goal is improving the lot of once-marginalised Malays -- has served its purpose and should be ended to help Malaysia's economy become more competitive.
But most Malays vow to fight for their privileges. They have a powerful backer in Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who has championed the betterment of Malays during his 19-year tenure and depends on their votes to stay in power.
The quota system for education results in some odd social engineering, with students being allocated places at schools in which they may have no interest.
In Suchitra's case, her parents opted out of the public university system and enrolled her in a private school to keep her dream of becoming a doctor alive. They are fortunate they can afford to pay 25 times more to put her there.
About 150000 students attend Malaysia's 10 state universities, while around 100000 are at nearly 600 private colleges, whose programmes cost from three to 25 times more than state schools -- far out of reach of many poor Malaysians.
Race has been the bedrock of Malaysian politics since independence from Britain in 1957.
In colonial times, large numbers of Chinese emigrated here, many establishing themselves in business, and like elsewhere in Southeast Asia, their acumen and work ethic led them to gradually dominate economic life. A significant number of ethnic Indians also arrived, mainly to work as labourers on plantations.
The native Malays -- locally known as Bumiputeras, or "sons of the soil" -- were largely rural people who had little in terms of education or monetary earnings.
But in 1969, after bloody racial riots stoked in part by perceived injustice at Chinese dominance of the economy, the governing United Malays National Organisation -- now led by Mahathir -- set out to change society.
In 1971, a new National Economic Policy reserved the bulk of university slots, government jobs and business contracts for Bumiputeras. Almost 30 years later, it has spawned a rich elite of Malays, some of whom outpace the Chinese at home and compete with global players overseas.
But the system started fraying in 1997, when Asia's economic crisis erupted and led to dissatisfaction among both Malays and non-Malays over what critics called a corrupt system riddled with cronyism.
In elections last year, the United Malays National Organisation lost significant support from ethnic Malays, including some professionals, to an Islamic fundamentalist party. For the first time, Mahathir's party needed support from Chinese and Indian allies in Parliament to keep a two-thirds government majority.
David Chua, an ethnic Chinese who is vice-chairman of the National Economic Consultative Council, stirred social waters this year by calling affirmative action outdated.
"We're in the new millennium. We cannot use methods that were being used 20 or 30 years ago," Chua was quoted as saying by the newspaper Utusan Malaysia. He said that while the policy was necessary for racial harmony 30 years ago, now is the time to build the country's competitiveness by focusing on ability.
Sensitive to repairing his support among Malays, Mahathir quickly responded that special privileges enjoyed by Malays are not open to debate.
"The government will not back down, not even by one step, in defending the Malays, as we are aware they are still weak," Mahathir said.
Mahathir has since further inflamed communal passions by likening a Chinese association pushing these ideas to "extremists" on the same level with an Islamic cult accused of stealing arms to overthrow the government.
Nowhere is the system's pain felt more keenly than in minority students who toil to get high marks but see their efforts come to little.
On paper, the quota system stipulates that 45 percent of college spots should go to non-Malay minorities like the Chinese, who account for 30 percent of the population, and Indians, who make up 10 percent. The rest are reserved for the dominant Malay ethnic group, who amount to 60 percent of the country's 22 million people.
But in reality, a medical school's student body would generally be less than nine percent ethnic Indian and a little over 16 percent Chinese. Seventy-five percent would be Malay, partly because of overzealous Malay administrators.
As a result, while minority students wage a fierce battle with each other, aiming for excellent results to guarantee a place of study in a university, ethnic Malays with lesser marks get in.
Ungku Aziz, a former vice-chancellor of the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur and the man who designed the quota system in the state-run universities after the 1969 riots, strongly defends it.
"If we have a free system, then one group will dominate," Ungku said in an interview.
Before quotas, only two percent of engineering graduates were Malays while 92 percent were Chinese, he said.
"If you don't have some kind of balance, then you will have social unrest," Ungku said.
Salmi Shukor, 24, an ethnic Malay medical student, is thankful for the privilege.
"I'm not saying someone else did not deserve the place I got -- just that because of it, I got in to study here," she said, adding it lightened her single mother's burden of educating both her and her sister.
T Marimuthu of the Malaysian Indian Congress, a government ally, argues that the system benefits the children of many poor Indians, most of whom work in tough conditions at rubber or oil palm plantations. He says those Indians would never be able to compete with the Chinese without quotas.
Henry Lim, 22, a Chinese student at the University of Malaya, rejects that argument
"What about the poor Chinese?" said Lim, who also wanted, like Suchitra, to be a doctor but landed in engineering instead.
Academic research on Malaysian higher education
Friday, February 16, 2007
As the Greek poet Hesiod put it more than 2,700 years ago: 'The price of
achievement is toil; and the gods have ruled that you must pay in
advance.''You'll get nowhere with them either being nice or being tough' - no,
that's not quite it, Tun Dr Mahathir. Singapore became tough in large part
because you and your ilk were never particularly 'nice'. You might have
enfeebled us if you had smothered us instead with treacly love. We should thank
you for desisting.
'Challenge and response' - that is the primary mechanism by which
civilisations have emerged throughout history, said the historian Arnold
Note : The nation has more to loose as we molly cuddle each other with feel good spin stories factors. Arrogant and little Napeopleons running the country to it's brink of collapse and financial mismanagement and blunders continue to drain the nation of it's resources and potential.
Hesiod has said 2700 years ago and it still rings true. What more if Terence McKenna and Ian Xel Lungold's prophecies were true, the rate of change will be so great within the next 20 years, that one could very well be relegated to the boondocks of globalism if you do not at least play keep-up. Forget catching-up.
Is it flying the flag on our Protons ?
Is it singing the National Anthem, standing straight upright ?
Picture source - http://blog.thestar.com.my/photos/2006/8/25/kanova335792_2.JPG
Patriotism - an entire embodiment of your personal aspiration to be greater than yourself, to be part of a successful, morally evolved culture and society. To be able to come home and to call a place home. A collective conscious effort of every man, woman and child to build a place that they can call home and to collectively feel proud of his and her achievements. An honourable tinge in every person's soul that what they do, is ultimately for the good of the coming generations.
If we are indeed patriotic, why would our leaders then provided blanket Citizenships to millions of illegal immigrants in exchange of votes ?
Who benefits ?
Blood, sweat, tears of generations of Malayans/Malaysians in building this nation all came to naught and almost an insult, as they assimilate illegal immigrants and then accord them special status.
This is Malaysiakini's post on the issue
This country was built on the blood, sweat and tears of generations of Malays, Chinese, Indians and non-Muslim bumiputeras and it is unforgivable for genuine citizens to be denied what is rightfully theirs whereas outsiders are given citizenship on a silver platter. The former chief minister of Sabah, Harris Salleh, even has the audacity to ask the federal government to validate the falsified statutory declarations signed by these foreigners to obtain their identity cards. Even Malaysians don't get it that easily.
This government has been too trusting of foreigners and has allowed them a free rein of the country on the pretext of they being Muslims solely for political ends. As it is, Indonesians are squatting on Malay reserve land. What assurance do we have that the Sabah Filipinos are loyal to Malaysia? Now that they outnumbering genuine Malaysians, who is to know whether they would one day seek to annexe Sabah to southern Philippines?
You want a context of the real situation.
Read Gathering of Moonbats in PutraJaya
Monday, February 12, 2007
This summarises the rising crime rate in the country.
Does the police force has anything to say ?
Has anyone spared a thought for the man-on-the-street ?
More on the influx of illegal immigrants.
We hope Datuk Albert Mah did not die in vain.
Retired CPO died fighting robbersAlbert Mah, 82, a former CPO of Penang and a former Member of Parliament, died without gaining consciousness three days after he was attacked by robbers who broke into his home in Bukit Gasing, Petaling Jaya.
According to media reports, the Police did not answer his family's stress call within the benchmarked time-frame.
According to Oriental Daily News, the robbers had parked their getaway car in front of the house of the Prime Minister's son, which is merely doors away from Mah's.
Will the Prime Minister, who is also the Internal Security Minister who oversees the Police, consider the setting up of another 23-member Special Task Force to Bust Crime ala Pemudah, and give them 6 months to accomplish the task?
Well, IPCMC is now another matter not so fashionable to talk about anymore. In fact, Mah's neighbourhood communities of Section 5, Petaling Jaya, has beaten Putrajaya by announcing the setting up of the Albert Mah Foundation to Fight Crime, in his honour.
JUXTAPOSITION. During his police career, says Bernama, Mah had fought the communists, rid Ipoh of triads' menace, and tackled labour riots in Kuala Lumpur besides communal riots in Penang.
It's incredible to think that someone who had served in the police force for over 35 years still need to die fighting crime, all by himself.
To date, the robbers are still at large.
Friday, February 9, 2007
Several years into the administration of the Badawi government, it would appear as if nothing has really changed in the country and that business is being run as it has always been: in secret, behind closed doors and with the Malaysian public kept in the dark
Over the past few months Malaysia has witnessed a number of popular demonstrations over the rise in prices of highway tolls. What has angered many ordinary Malaysians, however, was the recent revelation that the Malaysian government had signed an agreement with a Malaysian company, Linkaran Trans Kota, marking yet another toll concession between the government and a private company.
As highway toll prices skyrocket all over the country, the average Malaysian consumer now finds himself increasingly constrained by rising costs of everyday goods and services. Moreover, thousands of Malaysians today are forced to commute from the various satellite townships that dot the urban landscape of the country to get to work in their offices in the cities.
Yet on 1st January this year the toll rates on five of the country’s major highways were raised from between 30 to 70 percent, infuriating many. As such, a rise of toll prices would invariably affect thousands of ordinary Malaysians whose consumption power has been reduced as a result.
What worries and angers so many Malaysians, however, is the fact that the toll concession between the Malaysian government and the private company was done behind closed doors, and that the toll agreement itself was classified as a secret document under the Official Secrets Act (OSA). This, despite the fact that the Official Secrets Act as it was drafted in 1972 was originally meant to protect state secrets related to matters of national defence and security.
When several members of the opposition alliance in Malaysia revealed the document before a startled Malaysian public a few weeks ago, the Malaysian government reacted by declaring that the toll concession agreement was an official secret document and that the opposition leaders had broken the law. The net result of this has been the summoning of several prominent opposition leaders, including Dr Hatta Ramli of the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), Ronnie Liu of the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Tian Chua of the People’s Justice Party (Keadilan) to the central Police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. Tian Chua’s house and office have also been raided by the police, in search of the crucial document that the government does not wish to be made public.
That the government’s toll concession agreement has been declared an official state secret is not new in Malaysia, where any document can be classified as a state secret document. Earlier the Malaysian people’s Coalition Against the Privatisation of Water had demanded that the state’s agreement with private water companies be made public too, but met with a similar response from the state. The Minister for Energy, Water and Communications simply responded by saying that such matters were classified as state secrets and could not be divulged to the public.
The persecution of opposition leaders like Hatta Ramli, Ronnie Liu and Tian Chua raises serious questions about the so-called ‘reform agenda’ of Malaysia’s Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang of the Democratic Action Party (DAP) has raised the obvious question: “Is the Official Secrets Act (OSA) only used against whistleblowers and not against profiteers?” That Kit Siang can ask such a question today is evident when “we have a situation where the OSA is used to protect privatisation contracts from being exposed for its ‘lop-sidedness and short-changing the public’, but where OSA is not invoked so long as the details of the concession are used to flog for funds and investors in the marketplace?” After a series of angry public demonstrations — most of which were met by strong police reaction — Kit Siang’s question is being asked by thousands of Malaysians all over the country too.
When he first came to power, Badawi had promised a new era of transparent and accountable governance. Yet despite the froth and rhetoric of the current establishment based in Putrajaya the Malaysian public is none the wiser about government deals with the private sector that are being done behind closed doors. The skeletons that crowd the bursting closet of the Badawi establishment are now spilling out into the open, with allegations of numerous government cover-ups in high-profile cases of corruption, abuse of power and even one notorious case of a murder of a Mongolian model.
How far is the Malaysian government prepared to come clean in its dealings with the private sector in the country, and how much information is the Malaysian public allowed to have access to, in order to know what the government is doing in their name?
With additional pressure for reform coming from growing competition all across Asia and the steady flight of capital from Southeast Asia to rapidly developing countries like China and India, it would seem that the momentum of change is already in place. Foreign companies and foreign governments like the United States of America and Japan are clamouring for more accountability and transparency in the way that Malaysia manages its economy and development. And the Malaysian public — now increasingly wired-up by the internet and alternative sources of information and news — is also calling for more openness and change.
But several years into the administration of the Badawi government, it would appear as if nothing has really changed in the country and that business is being run as it has always been: in secret, behind closed doors and with the Malaysian public kept in the dark. Is this the new face of ‘moderate, modern, Islamic’ governance that Malaysia wishes to promote to the world? If so, judging by the standards on display thus far, the Malaysian model hardly seems to be one worth emulating by anyone.
Dr Farish A Noor is a Malaysian political scientist based at the Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin and one of the founders of the www.othermalaysia.org research site
Thursday, February 8, 2007
Nevermind you want models to look like a Malay. How do you even define what a Malay looks like ?
Hitler and Himmler once tried to provide scientific definition what the face on an Aryan is. Let's see if these bigots have any sophistication to begin defining what really a Malay face is.
So, who's more Malay looking ?
Government reasons that non-Malay models belittle local models
By Bardan Kippusamy
South China Morning Post
The Malaysian modelling and advertising industries are in shock after the government announced it was reviving a ban on the multiracial Asian faces that dominate billboards and magazines.
Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin said yesterday that models with so-called "pan-Asian" features were not representative of Malaysian demographics.
"Using pan-Asian faces means downgrading local faces," he said. "We have to give priority to models with local looks."
Pan-Asians are popular in ethnically diverse Malaysia, where advertisers tend to use their neutral features to avoid alienating any customers. A prime example is model and actress Maya Karim, 27, who is of Malay-Chinese-German parentage and is the latest poster girl for L'Oreal Malaysia.
A ban on pan-Asian faces is already in force at two government-owned television stations that cater mainly for majority Malays, who form 60 per cent of the population.
The announcement on Sunday extended the ban to advertising carried by private television stations, the print media and billboards.
The minister said the ban would eventually cover all media, but it was unclear when it would take effect.
The ministry would have the power to decide on whether a model's features were appropriate, and be backed up by the weight of law.
A similar ban was imposed in 1997, but the law was later shelved amid an outcry. Now, the government is again under pressure from cultural and religious purists who want to promote "local faces" in the media.
The issue is often debated in Muslim publications and websites, where Eurasian models are criticised for dressing scantily, smoking and visiting night clubs.
Model Betty Ibtisam Benafe, 28, who is of Malay-Arabian-Javanese parentage, said the ruling would affect her work and income.
"We might end up jobless," she said. "The government should have an open mind ... we are also selling Malaysia to the world."
Copywriter Alwin Tan said the ruling, if it took effect, would seriously damage the advertising industry, which was already held back by more than 30 different rules.
"We are a multicultural society and pan-Asian faces like Maya Karim are neither Malay, nor Chinese or Indian, but all of them put together," he said.
"We should celebrate diversity instead of banning it."
Karim told Kosmo! magazine that the ruling was "confusing and unfair".
"Our looks may differ but we are all Malaysians," she said.
Human rights lawyer Anuchuthan Sivanesan said the government should let the advertisement industry manage itself.
"Anyway, who is to decide whether a face is Malay or Chinese or pan-Asian," he said. "This is ridiculous."
The Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Malaysia said rigid guidelines were already "killing creativity" in the industry.
"We are far behind other countries and Thailand in this matter ... Malaysia is a black hole by comparison," a spokesman for the association said.
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
Feb 6, 07 6:28pm
Toll agreements affect national security?
We would like to express our disappointment with the government for invoking the Official Secrets Act (OSA) to investigate four opposition leaders for making available to the public a toll concession agreement that directly affects the public interest.
The Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS) would like to point out that the OSA - in its present form - is a carry over of a restrictive piece of colonial legislation that was based on the British Official Secrets Act of 1911 and was initially enacted to prevent the flow of information to foreign agents that might threaten national security.
It is time for a review of this regulation especially since the Act is now being used for purposes that have little or nothing to do with the safety or interests of our country. Not only do toll concession agreements between the government and private companies have little or no connection with national security but it can be said that such information is important for public knowledge as it relates directly to daily economic needs.
In fact making such information widely available to the public would better serve the interests of our citizenry and country, and leads to no security implications whatsoever.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has repeatedly reminded civil servants to carry out their tasks with accountability and transparency to ensure that the people will not have negative perceptions of the government. The best way to ensure public accountability is to make as much information available as possible.
Regularly invoking the OSA leads to the public perception of a government that is unwilling to stand by its call for accountability, transparency and integrity.
The writer is senior research analyst, Centre for Public Policy Studies.
Monday, February 5, 2007
Nobody has the right to reveal a classified document. If they do, they have to pay the price.
“When a document is classified under the Official Secrets Acts, it is a secret document,” said Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu. (NST, 2 Feb 2007)
What Samy and the Cabinet didn’t tell you is this.
Apart from the obvious fact - that business agreements signed by the government on behalf of the rakyat should be made public - these documents can be declassified.
Take for instance, the big hoo-hah formerly known as the “Crooked Bridge”. The Cabinet hurriedly declassified them and gave to the press, in an attempt to deflect criticisms and accusations by the former Prime Minister.
But with those few careless remarks and a stubborn streak displayed by the Works Minister, we are ever more curious about the rest of the existing agreements and business deals, and wonder….
What are the bare facts behind them?
Note : There is no such thing as Freedom of Information as it is defined by Western democracies. What we have are chains of individuals calling themselves the "Government" dishing out goodies based upon mutual benefits between the ruling elites and the corporations. Any questions raised by the people will be quickly quelled
Friday, February 2, 2007
Feb 2, 07 3:43pm
I refer to the letter Thrill of first visit to M’sia dampened by Brad Shepherd on his encounter with rude Malaysian immigration officers. But really, it seems to be the same anywhere you go in this world with people in uniform.
I certainly empathise with this fellow from Australia and as it is, there have been letters written by Asians being treated without respect in many ‘white’ countries. At least, after he passed the very unfriendly immigration officer, I am sure Brad would have had a nice time in Malaysia without anyone using racist words or names unlike when we visit his dear Australia. It is so difficult to go a day in Australia without being hurled racist abuse from Brad’s dear countrymen.
I travel to Europe a lot and have encountered just too many lazy immigration officers like in Britain. Add to this racist immigration and police in the rest of Europe. In Germany, I was slapped by a German police officer just because I looked Turkish or Algerian. And I was told that if I reported the matter, I would be in deeper trouble. All this just to go for a holiday.
Leaving Germany was not easy either. After my holiday, Malaysians flying their own airline back were told to practically strip while whites were given warm and friendly smiles without their cameras and film being removed and personal belongings thoroughly checked. All my holiday photos were re-formatted by the German immigration officers.
I agree that our Malaysian immigration officers need to be trained well, especially those at the Singapore’s causeway. But at least here tourists don’t get racially insulted.