Sunday, October 31, 2010

Selvachandran's Detention: Protest at Bukit Aman

Selvachandran's wife, still dark over his whereabouts.
A few days ago, K. Selvachandran, who testified against a corporal believed to have caused harm Gunasegaran while in custody, was arrested in Wangsa Maju by a few policemen led by a "Inspector Suresh". As of until yesterday, the family, including the wife still remains dark over his wheareabouts, after Selva was beaten and handcuffed in front of his family. 

Angered, fearful of another beat down as a result of testimony against cops and demanding to know his whereabouts, civil societies, a few MPs (present there were Sivarasa, Dr. Dzul Ahmad, Khalid Samad and Charles Santiago), NGOs and the Bar Council marched up to Bukit Aman police headquaters to hand a memo directly to the IGP Ismail Omar.

Handling the talks between the group and the police where Selva's lawyer, Surendran and Latheefa Koya. It took 90 minutes to meet up and awaiting for their answer. Eventually, it turned out that Selva's case was similar to Benji, where the Narcotics department put him in detention with no trial for 60 days at the KL police headquarters in Pudu.


According to eyewitness accounts on the night of the arrest, the man who led the arrest carries the name of "Inspector Suresh". The name Suresh seems very familiar and the name is mentioned in prominent cases like the man being involved with dealing with PI Balasubramaniam, and was also mentioned in the Sosilawati murder. A question arises whether this man is the one and the same. 

Free Malaysia Today carries the full account here.
Additional pictures covered in this event at this Picasa album.


There are tears in Selva's wife's face. Next to Dr Dzul is Rawang's ADUN, Gan Pei Nee.

Surendran handling talks with Ismail Omar's rep.

Done: Selva is held in Pudu by the Narcotics department, allowed to be visited on Monday.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

"Halt PKR 2010 Election Immediately"

Zaid Ibrahim's political aide, Christopher, sent me this e-mail (circulated to other press as well) to be revealed.


We are gravely concerned about the manner in which the Parti Keadilan Rakyat election is being conducted by the Central Election Committee (JPP) and the party secretariat.

Today is the first day of polling where thousands of party members are eligible to vote at the polling centres in several Kedah and Kelantan divisions, which should have begun at 10:00 am. However, we have received numerous reports that members were unable to vote at several divisions this morning and many have left in frustration.

From the information we have received, the following problems were faced by local members at the respective divisions:

1. Kota Bharu, Kelantan: Although the ballot papers for the other positions were available, the polling did not proceed because the ballot papers for the position of Vice Chief of the Women’s Wing were not available.
2. Tumpat, Kelantan: The ballot papers have not arrived as at 12:00 noon and the ballot boxes were also not ready. Thus, many members left for Friday prayers.
3. Langkawi, Kedah: The ballot papers arrived very late and registration of new members is taking place whilst the polls are ongoing, and it seems that some of these new members are being allowed to vote.
4. Alor Setar, Kedah: The ballot papers have not arrived as at 12:00 noon and many members left for Friday prayers without voting.

Three out of the four divisions mentioned above nominated Datuk Zaid Ibrahim for the position of Deputy President, and a sizeable number of members were mobilised to vote for him at the fourth division in Langkawi.

In light of these alarming logistical problems on the very first day of polling, we expect more serious problems ahead; especially considering that there are only 10 divisions polling today and there will be 79 more divisions polling during this weekend.

Although the JPP and party secretariat assured us that the election will be conducted professionally to ensure a free and fair election, the above problems have cast serious doubts on the entire election process.

After discussing these problems with Dr Molly Cheah (the Chairperson of the JPP) this morning, we are now even more disturbed as she claims that she is no longer involved in the management of the election process. Indeed, she said that she has no knowledge of the briefing of the candidates and/or their election agents that was conducted at the eleventh hour last night by the party secretariat. She also said that she regrets the problems faced by voters at the divisions mentioned above but she is unable to do anything about it.

In light of these serious concerns, the party election should be halted immediately and resumed only after all these logistical problems have been remedied. If the JPP and/or the secretariat proceeds without resolving these basic but fundamental issues, the party will lose the trust of its members and also damage its reputation as a party that fights for democracy and justice for all Malaysians.

Moreover, if the Chairperson of the JPP claims that she is no longer in control of the election process, then she should no longer hold on to the position and resign immediately. Similarly, if the party secretariat, which is under the responsibility of the Secretary General, is unable to perform their duties properly, then the responsibility for the conduct of the party election should be entrusted to others who can do the job.

Rashid Azad Khan
Election Agent, Zaid Ibrahim
Candidate for Deputy President

Muhammad Firdaus Christopher
Political Aide, Zaid Ibrahim
Candidate for Deputy President


Update: As of this time, neither MSMs like The Star / NST carried this news. All other online media, FMT, MI, Malaysiakini carried them.

Update 2: According to Jonson via his Tweeter post, the unofficial tally for the contest between Zaid vs Azmin vs Mustaffa stands at 575 vs 386 vs 64.

Friday, October 29, 2010

"Kita Tidak Perlu Undi Cina dan India"

* This short post is part 3 of my two cents on the UMNO Assembly.

Do you notice that what this man, Johari Abdul Ghani said is pretty similar to what Ali Rustam said sometime back then? "We can handle without the Chinese and Indians" is the indirect message that is conveyed out.

At this time, there are 116000 people viewing this video. And Soi Lek is shaking his head in disgust. But it's likely going to be a "shut up I don't care" response.

And this was taken from the UMNO assembly!


Why Not On Public Baths in KL?

A few days ago, Malaysiakini reported on one of the agendas of the ETP ( Najib's Economic Transformation Program) is to turn KL into a entertainment hub as to boost tourism. This means more nightclubs in the key parts of town, in addition to Bukit Bintang already. And of course this has met with objection by PAS because they claim that having more of these things can "corrupt the mind of the young".

Excerpts from Harakah:

1. "Apakah Perdana Menteri dan kerajaan tidak sedar bahawa pengaruh kelab malam dalam merancakkan industri maksiat yang mendorong perlakuan zina, sumbang mahram, rogol, minum arak, dadah, pelacuran, rogol dan lain-lain lagi?” 

2. The government was bankrupt and had no qualms of gambling with the people's moral values, adding that it wanted to 'drug' them into forgetting the mess that the country was in.

"This plan is to drug the people with the opium of entertainment so that they forget about the calamity of corruption which befell us and pushed us to the 56th position in the corruption index," said Idris, referring to the latest Corruption Perception Index prepared by Transparency International. - Idris Ahmad, PAS

Hmm... if having more entertainment centres can sometimes give excuses for PAS to say it's no good for the young and so forth, I might as well suggest DBKL or the Federal Territories Ministry to open many public baths around KL. Sounds crazy? No, this is not crazy. In fact in Japan, there are many public baths in each of the major megalopolises around Japan. You name it, Kobe, Osaka, Tokyo, Hiroshima, you can find hundreds in each of the megalopolis there.

Well, you have a bulk of the population in KL working from 8.30 to 6.30 p.m at most where after work, many would go and have dinner or perhaps go home to spend time with their families. I think, isn't it better to use that money to build public baths around the city? Surely, people after work would need of a very good soothing bath (a.l.a Japanese concept) . For a reasonable fee per person, a person can go in, go for a bath, do a bath scrub and then come out fresh for dinner and then back home. But if the government or a local council should be running just to make sure to mean that ETP program is running!
How to get the resources? That's the next question. Well, the government already has money a.k.a startup money to do so, that they only need to identify certain places, get ready with lockers, bathing facilities, hey even abandoned shops that can be renovated and turned it into public baths with the facilities. Since water comes from SYABAS, the money they pay for the water goes back to Selangor state government resources. Electricity, of course back to TNB and then running a public bath requires less than 10 people to run it. Four operators on shifts, Four on maintenance work and another two on housekeeping maximum. Of course, they need to look for a bigger space to run because when this is open to business, expect hundreds of working men and women coming in for the bath.

But the 10 people running a public bath cannot afford to be slack or else they would be thrashed left and right for their slackness.

Isn't this much better to use the money as in the ETP? Just maybe one or two more entertainment centres while the rest on public baths that DBKL or FT Ministry runs it? In fact it can be a worthwhile investment as more people swamp in that could even offset the upkeeping! Weird idea, right? Well, check out a Sento model here!! That's what the human brain is for! To think!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Paul: Gone So Soon?

Aww....that cute little octopus. Paul's already called for the day, permanently. And gone so soon.

Story here.

Living In The World of Red Margin a.k.a Deficit

The Auditor-General's report for 2009 was critical lashing. The country deficit as of last year was at RM363 billion, which is 53% GDP. I recalled that the Central Bank's estimate amount of national financial reserves (gold, USD, international currency reserves) as of June 2010 was at close to RM 400 billion. This means that if we decide to settle all debts for 2009, we can scarcely have about RM 30 billion of reserves, which we could go bust earlier than expected, as what Idris Jala said sometime back (he said bust by 2019).

The projected debts for 2010 is estimated to be at around RM 410 billion. As of 30 September, the amount of reserves recorded by BNM was at RM 310 billion, largely due to the strengthening of the Ringgit against the dollar (when converted to the present rate). If the amount is used to pay up, this means we are already in the red zone of -RM100 billion, twice the amount owed if the present amount of reserves are used vs 2009's deficit. Based on the current deficit, each of the 28 million citizens (even a child and old citizens) will have to pay RM 14000 to balance the country's account books.

The two things that the Auditor-General was critical about:

1. How a chunk of the stimulus money was spent on things that are not justified as of the original purpose.
2. Delays and red tapes in projects resulted in cost overruns

I don't really know department heads or civil heads are entrusted the stimulus money but instead used it to buy lavishly. I am still scratching my head wondering why a department would pay RM 224 for a tool kit whereas you can get one outside for a quarter of a price. Is it possible that  the additional money (outside actual cost and set amount of profit) is a kickback and patronage money to those who demand a share but has no active involvement in it?

Secondly, there's some unrealistic planning there, as highlighted in the 8 abandoned projects in Perak (as an example). Now this is the downside of direct negotiations because, you may never know that the contractor (if you take the direct negotiation approach) could be slack in approach. One thing good about the open tender as what the opposition has been screaming about is that on the psychological side, it encourages vendors to compete with one another (demands strong physical, methodology, work ethics, and etc..) as to see who comes the best of the lot. The spirit of competition, as like in sports is already there in the working world.

Haven't we learned things from what ex-economic hitman John Perkin's said of those having mega projects is actually a way to con a country of monies and making it bankrupt? Didn't I mention that the slew of projects under the ETP is a dangerous double-edge sword, like a house of cards? If the projects get abandoned halfway, given the fact that the total amount required of ETP is RM 1.4 trillion, then do we realize that Malaysia could go bust here?

The American credit crisis is all for us to see and it is fortunate that we get caught in the later stages (consider it as sneeze that spreads to other people later). The old idea of spending more might not work anymore (the Keynes approach). At this time of uncertainty, why would banks keep promoting their products when people are having trouble with money? It clearly shows that they already have a lot of money in hand and they want to wave to people about taking up loans that they are willing? This is right now living in the world of red margin. I thought for a moment..since big banks have a lot of money to give away (a.k.a loans), why not give an amount to the government to finance the ETP? After all, top banks (non-GLC related) are being among the 62 percent (private sector) to finance the program, right?

At this time, we noticed that the government is not handling the finances well. Too much corruption has slipped from its fingers. And as according to Malaysiakini, corruption has screwed the targets related t o this under the GTP program. But BN says, only they can run the country given of the past record. But look at what is happening around us, and you still expect them to carry on? Come on, get real. Use your common sense when the situation, not when the party demands it! 

We should be forewarned that Malaysia's bankruptcy is happening sooner than the projected 2019 because nothing can go according to the estimations.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Their Version of History or The Real Version?

* This post is part 2 of my two cents on the UMNO assembly

HISTORY will be made a must-pass subject in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) beginning 2013, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Muhyiddin said that beginning 2014, History would be made a core subject in primary schools, too.

He said putting more emphasis on history would create a deeper appreciation of the concept of “negara bangsa”.

“In view of this, the content of the subject would be improved with more emphasis on understanding the Federal Constitution.

“Beginning 2013, History, like Bahasa Malaysia will be a must-pass subject to obtain the SPM certificate,” the Umno deputy president said in his winding-up speech.

The call to place more importance on the subject was raised by several delegates including delegates from Perak and Kedah. - (Excerpt from The Star 24 October)


Talking about History subject is something to be interested with here. Of course, History was one of the subjects in the PMR exams as well as being one of the five core subjects in SPM exam The only difference until now is that to pass SPM you need just to pass Bahasa Melayu of course. Having gone through secondary school, I can remember portions of what was taught in history. And of course my favorite part of history is not about the Malacca sultanate period but instead period depicted during the English residency period. You talk about Swettenham, Maxwell, Hugh Low, etc... well that's the part. And then of course the pre-Merdeka period, if you take merely the face value, you only hear one side of the thing, which we will come back to that shortly.

Before KBSR (primary school curriculum) was introduced, history was taught in the old syllabus. And then it became a subject in the secondary level. For those of you who have kids in school, do have some time to ask them for their textbooks, just to skim through what are the historical subjects covered. There are a few points that can be found from going through the syllabus. The first one is obviously you would notice that the spread of historical subjects, particularly int he upper secondary school levels seems to be a little unfair and partisan.

As a multi-cultural society, the spread of history should be even. Besides covering the usual Malacca sultanate, the after Malacca sultanate, the English colonial times, there seems to be too much leanings towards Islamic history. Waking up to reality, I noticed that many of my schoolmates previously when we studied history had a distaste of this sub-level not because of religion bashing, but from first glance, it is too difficult to know who's doing this and that. In school exams or even SPM exams, most would avoid answering any question that is related to Islamic history due to its complexity. One whole sub-section solely for that is a little biased and is more for the Malay students, sad to speak. There wasn't much of coverage of the European history, particularly during the Renaissance and the French Revolution because events that happened in the Revolution, revealed new thinking methods, philosophy and advocation of Enlightenism.

It's true that some political parties have complained that the Malaysian history is distorted. True. They students to learn from the UMNO version of history, not both sides. As like the saying, "History is written by the winner.",  which means, when the English gave a 1948 Constitution, it was considered a moral victory for UMNO because they were the ones who pressured against the Malayan Union concept. I can list down several pieces of history that actually existed but you can't see in text books:

1. The original date of independence was 17 August 1945, which the Japanese have promised to Malaya prior to their departure. Unfortunately the plan never took off because of the A-Bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

2.The term "Merdeka" was first uttered by KMM, a left-wing Malay group by. The Left-wing groups like KMM, API, SEDAR and etc.. were actually the first ones who would campaign for that. They even have submitted a "People's Declaration" to the English to be adopted (because it was people, on the ground oriented). But the English ignored it and when for the right-wing idea.

3. Hartal was first witnessed prior to the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu foundation. And then there was a witchhunt against all left-wing leaders including Ibrahim Yaacob.
4. We were told that the Singapore riots in 1964 occurred because of Indonesian and Communist provocateurs. But in truth, it was started from agitation by Syed Jaafar Albar and several ultra-nationalist factions of UMNO (as noted by Lee Kuan Yew and Australian High Commissioner W.B Pritchett)

5. The 1969 riots happened because UMNO is not happy over losing their customary 2/3rds in Parliament. In an interview with Tunku in his later years, he said that "if Razak really wanted my job, he could come straight away to me and ask me for it.", which means that Tun Razak and several people instigated the riots as a coup de tat against Tunku.

Note: These above are based on several witness testimonies and some papers covering the two periods of history.

MCA and DAP have been asking for a review and fix on the syllabus. A significant excerpt (full article here):

MCA deputy publicity chief Loh Seng Kok also noted that newspapers had reported the subject would soon be taught from the primary level onwards — at present it is a core subject only in secondary schools — and would incorporate Article 153 of the Federal Constitution, which touches on the “special position” of the Bumiputeras.

“There are also anxieties of the possibility of misinterpretation where ‘special position’ i.e. a ‘privilege’ maybe taken to read as an ‘automatic right’,” Loh said.

Again, to stress the statement above:

According to the original constitution Malay rights never existed. "Rights" as opposed to "privileges". 

If we say "Rights" it means you have the power and the ability to do whatever it is permitted.

If we say "Privileges" (keistimewaan is actually privileges), it means say if you are Malay, you stand to gain something additional as guaranteed by law.

Unfortunately, this has already deliberately been made an issue by UMNO themselves. Other parties didn't make a fuss out of it. Parent groups are starting to get angry over it, even the MCA and DAP have been asking for review. But the inferior motive is almost similar to BTN, instead of brainwashing people, it would be school children instead if neither opponents raised the issue of concern. But Muhyiddin is doing this because the UMNO grassroots have been asking for it, which PAGE has alleged of the reason behind the decision.

I think that English is more important than History because I have noticed that there are still people out working who don't even know English, in which in fact I noticed that some of my managers expressed frustration over their inability to understand a universal language. Bahasa Melayu is still not yet a universal language, unlike English. I mean, let's face it, we are seeing half-baked people outside who claimed to be very good in studies but could not convey in English properly since it's used prominently in business.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Echoes of 13 May and Operasi Lalang

* This post is part 1 of my two cents on the UMNO assembly.

Before we go on, let's briefly go back to the past to establish the connection. 

In 1969, for the first time ever, the then Alliance party lost for the first time the customary 2/3rds majority of Parliament. And then, the riots instigated as a retaliation against the Chinese by the late Harun Idris in Kampung Baru, and subsequently many things happen like the NEP and so forth (for a run through of this refer to this Wikipedia entry here.) If you have read the book May 13 declassified, you would find that the riots was not instigated by the Chinese as what many claim but instead was planned by a select cell, with Tun Razak and Harun as head of it as a coup de'tat to topple Tunku.

In 1987, prior to Operasi Lalang, Najib (then UMNO Youth Chief) declared in Kampung Baru of "soaking the dagger with Chinese Blood". (Read supplement here and the government white paper here.)

Fast forward to this time, Najib said in the assembly that..."Are we willing to give our beloved Malaysia to this traitor of race and nation?" Does this mean that one party of 3.5 million members (being 1/8th of the country's population) is afraid of one man ex-UMNO turned opposition man? Does this mean that because of Anwar Ibrahim, things are not so rosy for the country? Does that mean that UMNO must look for many excuses to whack Anwar? One instance of Anwar called traitor was prominently seen in an article that former NSTP deputy editor Rose Ismail wrote (subsequently sued successfully for defamation)

It's a common cliche now to say to people that "if UMNO loses, Malay representation will be lost, country will not be stable...bla bla bla.". The cliche line is used to spook people out of nothing whereas in actual truth there is nothing to be seen from that line of utter bullshit.

Najib also said: "Even if our bodies are crushed and our lives lost, brothers and sisters, whatever happens, we must defend Putrajaya," bears similarity to his 1987 line "bath dagger with Chinese blood". It is just a ghost story to scare people out. There is nothing disastrous if they lose out, except what it shows that UMNO is behaving like a spoilt child.

Something not right, is it? A week before the UMNO general assembly, Najib was quoted saying: "We cannot assume the Chinese as pendatang. The Chinese are also people of this country and needs to be respected." At the UMNO assembly, he said: "If UMNO cannot rule the country, you can forget about everybody else." Strange. Was that speech in the MCA gathering was written by him personally or is it prepared in advanced by a copywriter? But wait, aren't the Chinese always being accused bythem as the hantu / the one that "jajah ekonomi" as to scare the Malay people out of nothing?

In fact the statements that Najib mentioned in the speech brings echoes from the past. In 1969, riots happen simply because UMNO cannot accept defeat by the opposition in the fair fight (elections) and deliberately planned out to start a fight against the other races as an excuse to retain power. All because the fear of loss of power. Same as in his claim that problem will happen to Malaysia if they lose. It also show shades of Operasi Lalang in 1987.

No doubt the conclusion is that the thinly veiled speech by those people in UMNO shows that anytime now another Operasi Lalang is looming over people's heads. Alternative media is considered a problem to them. They called it badmouthing the country (Rais Yatim would say that) Another May 13 can happen if they lose badly in the next General Elections, but RPK said that people are now aware of such threats and declared that UMNO will be fighting only other Malays protecting other races instead (read here) Excerpt:

The Indians and Chinese need not fear anything. Dr Hatta Ramli has already issued a challenge. PAS will form a human shield. The Malays from PAS will emerge in great numbers to face those Umno Malays who want Indian and Chinese blood. As Dr Hatta said, “Over our dead bodies.” The Umno Malays would first have to slaughter all the PAS Malays before they can reach the Indians and Chinese.

The message sent out by that thinly-veiled speech simply tells (we can intepret by ourselves since we're educated people):

1. The party doesn't care whether you elect us or not, UMNO will run Putrajaya forever and there's nothing you can do about it. Which of course is violating the democracy concept since it's the people that decide which party to rule as the government of the day. 

2. Anwar Ibrahim and Pakatan Rakyat cannot touch Putrajaya at all in which they are willing to use violence ("crushed bodies") and intimidation to stay in power. They want to have war vs people.

3. Like what George Bush said for the introduction of the Patriot Act 2002: "Either you're with us or against us."

The problem of getting people to wake up to this problem is that people, those in heartland in particular may not believe of the reality and still in the dream that nothing is happening. This is wrong and they need some shake up to wake up.

UMNO people claims themselves to be representing all Malays, pious to God and so forth. But their antics speak for themselves and otherwise. Most of them do the daylight robbing (take lands from the poor, corruption) but still claim themselves to be pious. But it commits one of the greatest sacrilege in God's law of nature: Nothing lasts forever. (The party motto seems to say the other way round) It is the party themselves that started to speak such delusions above, not others. In fact it's situation is like an elderly person that is having dementia (a common problem)

Can't understand? Have you seen Hishamuddin Rais' video on "Bonsification of Malay Mind?"

See also Zaid's video on this:


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tak Mahu Ganti Ah, Hisham?

 Government says no to abolishing Sedition Act

So soon after saying no to a Race Relations Act to combat racial crimes, the government announced today that it had no plans to abolish the Sedition Act 1948.

In a written reply to Chong Eng (DAP-Bukit Mertajam) in Parliament today, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein asserted that this was because the Sedition Act was needed to help curb racial issues.
In her question, Chong had pointed out that Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim himself had suggested that the piece of legislation should be abolished and replaced with a Race Relations Act.
In his interview with English daily The Sun in September, Rais had called the Sedition Act “outdated”, pointing out that a new Race Relations Act should be put in place to properly spell out what is acceptable and what is not when it came to racial matters.
He had said this was to avoid a repeat of incidents such as the recent cases of the racist school principals.
Despite his suggestion, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of unity affairs Senator Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon announced in his written reply in Parliament last week that the government would not enact the Race Relations Act.
He said that this was because the country had enough laws to govern race relation issues.
Today, Hishammuddin echoed Koh’s view and said that the Sedition Act was still “relevant” based on the country’s atmosphere and landscape as a diverse nation with different races, cultures and religion.
“It is needed to uphold national security and the peace and harmony of the country,” he said.
He pointed out that at present, the government was taking action under the law in 10 cases involving racial issues.
“Although there are only 10 cases, the law is still needed to curb racial issues and stop it from becoming more serious,” he said.
Hishammuddin explained that the Sedition Act was enacted in 2008 to allow the government to charge any individual, group or association that have a tendency towards instigating racial hatred through their actions, speech, words, publications or others.

Calls for review of the country’s preventive laws on racial issues cropped up recently following a spate of racially-charged issues.
The government has been accused of dragging its feet in the cases involving two school principals in Kedah and Johor who were accused of uttering racial slurs.

It was announced yesterday that the Kedah principal had already been punished with a heavy warning and a transfer.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz had claimed that the government has done its part by issuing a stern warning to the Kedah principal, and it was the “heaviest” form of punishment the government could dish out to a civil servant.
Last week Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin refused to allow a debate in Parliament over the alleged racial slurs made by two school principals, claiming that action had already been taken against them.
Pandikar did not, however, provide any details on the supposed action taken against the two.
 The Malaysian Insider - 19 October 2010


I didn't say any other word other than replace. I'd say replacing, not abolishing the so called 62 year old Sedition Act with a new better act, e.g Race Relations Act that Karpal Singh spoke about recently.

In Australia, there is this 1975 Racial Discrimination Act which makes it an offense for whomsoever commits acts that shows a clear discrimination to the other person in all forms - employment, rendering services, access to facilities, and so forth. An offense under that act can land a guilty person a maximum of 6 years in jail. A supplement act, the 1995 Racial Hatred (inserted after part II of RDA Act) makes it a criminal offense for a person to be in an offensive behavior because of race, religion and so forth.
If this act is used in Malaysia, then the two principals involved in the racism remarks problem could have been jailed for up to six years! And even those bigots like Ahmad Ismail previously would end up in Kajang or Sungai Buloh prison for that offense. Sadly, in this case, Malaysia, with UMNO in the lead are still practicing the divide and conquer tactics in addition the race-based politics. If we are to take that law into the context, don't you think that UMNO leaders could be sent to jail over this offense thing, particularly those who were caught by the press of saying racial related matters?

Speaking of application of law, the Race Relations Act is better in these times rather than using a pre-Independence law against the 21st century. Those who are well-educated or think far ahead would wonder why such old law is used in a new age where not many people use old methods anymore whereas if new ones can do things much better how? Of course, the problem would pose is whether the new solution is is still the same as what the present law would do or so, as what the government would argue.

Hishamuddin Hussein is not the first person to say no to abolishing Sedition Act. Koh Tsu Koon previously said no to Race Relations Act, even though it is already high time for one act like that. But Koh's statement is the same as Hisham's but just two differences between two men: Koh is old fossil, since he's already 60 but Hishamuddin is not even 60. And secondly, Hisham is a legit MP but Koh is merely a senator appointed despite losing in a general election! From that statement above, do you think that what he said is equivalent to what old men would say, or in other words thinking like an old fossil?
Sigh...Tak mahu ganti ah, Hisham? I didn't say abolish but replacing it, lest I'd get misquoted!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The PLUS Bidding Battle

1. In the last two weeks, we have noticed of a much publicized and intensed bidding battle for Projek Lebuhraya Utara Selatan (being the operator of the North South Expressway) and a few other highways as well. One party consists of Asas Serba (run by ex-Renong man Halim Saad and partner of for Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin), another is MMC (Syed Mokhtar Bulkhary) in partnership of the EPF. To get PLUS, either one must do a complete buyout of UEM (United Engineers Malaysia).

2. Recalling the proposals: MMC's proposal is a $15.6 billion ringgit deal with 10% cut on all toll rates with no increments until the end of the extended concessionaire period in 2038. Asas Serba's deal is similar to MMC but $50 billion on all 25 highways in the Peninsular and a 20% toll rate cut across the board. Khazanah / EPF's $23 billion offer never mention what sweetener that they can put except that EPF members stand to get additional dividends from the revenues generated by PLUS.

3. Khazanah is very much against the proposals from Mahathir's business partners. They believe that it leaves the toll concessionaire at the mercy of government demands to cut toll rates. The problem for the other two tycoons, (S.M and H.S) the business connections with the government is not as great as when Mahathir was in charge. Another reason, as quoted by a government official is that "Keeping it public will ensure that the government will not simply ask to cut toll rates as that can affect share price and the bottomline. Taking it private will open it up to pressure as there is no share price to affect.”

4. Once Khazanah / EPF completes the buyover of UEM, as per what Najib announced in last Friday's budget that there will be no toll increase for the next 5 years, the government could be seeing a freeze bill of $7.5 billion ringgit by 2015. In other words, there is no compensation paid to PLUS over the 10 year period. The last increase of toll was in 2005.

The current rate per kilometer in the NSE is 13.60 sen.
The 2002-2005 rate per kilometer in the NSE was at 12.36 sen (10% hike announced on 16 Dec 2004)
The 1999-2002 rate per kilometer in the NSE was at 11.24 sen (10% hike announced end of 2001)
The 1996-1999 rate per kilometer in the NSE was at 10.

Based on the present agreement, the next increase would be another 30% as to compensate 10 years of unpaid compensations to PLUS by the government. In other words,it would be 17.68 sen by 2016. And what's more, at that time, there will be another 22 years more to go before the concessionaire period ends.

5. The concessionaire period was extended twice due to the "Decade Bubble" - the economic bubble that bursts every 10 years. In 1997, it's the Asian Financial Crisis. In 2007, it's the global sub-prime crisis. As the result, because of the A.F.C, the first concessionaire period was extended by another 12 years (to 2030). Another extension resulted in the period extended by another 8 more years to its present agreement. Now that we notice that the Decade Bubble happens every 10 years, the next can happen within 2017. If it happens, is the concessionaire period going to be extended again?

Again, this is based on the present concessionaire agreement.

6. If we take this events in face value, surely we would go for the MMC / Asas Serba deal if the option is given to the public because of the big carrot is being a 10-20% reduction of toll across the board and no toll increase until the end of the concessionaire period. Also, with the immediate reduction, we can see a investment recuperation in a shorter than expected period of ROI. That's because the reduction of the toll would see higher volume of people travelling on the expressways, NSE in particular. The one that stands to smile more would be the businessmen and transportation carrier operators (including those transporting essential goods).

I find that scenario is the classic case of picking the lesser of two evils. Between evil one that allows space in and out despite a bad scenario against a bad scenario with no way out in the long run, which one would you take?

7.  Khazanah, is the one who decides who goes or not. Why it rejects the other two offers outright in that kind of wheel-dealing is something I find it not right and "sinister". We all know that the one who calls the shot is the head himself Azman Mokhtar (A.P King). But of course another key-figure whose hand is part of the wheel-dealing is obviously Nazir, Najib's younger brother. I remembered someone quoting Azman saying something like, "Ini semua kepentingan rakyat dan negara. Tak boleh jual sewenang-wenangnya." (It's all important for the people and country. Can't be sold that simply!).

But what is at stake here is that if S.M or H.S gets it, Nazir would have the trouble of getting more projects and money in the pocket. The MRT project due to start next year is already in the pocket. One reason of rejecting would be to give the picture that CIMB is bankrolling majority of projects. EPF, (since he's a member of the investment panel) is pushed into projects with Nazir's clients.

Many are unhappy, from people in Finance Ministry, EPF and a few, of Nazir's wheel-dealing tactics. The one who is the worst of it would be the outgoing EPF chairman himself.

I saw something interesting from this blog (setup not that long ago). The below excerpt caught interest:

10. Worse still Nazir feels slighted by Dr Mahathir and has started a campaign to discredit the former pm and block any investments from Mahathir's cronies like Syed Mokhtar and Daim Zainuddin.

11. To go to war with Dr Mahathir, he has the help of his good friend Khazanah boss Azman Mokhtar. 

12. Azman will block Syed Mokhtar's bid for UEM and has also blocked Daim's move to privatise PLUS.

13. Nazir is upset Dr Mahathir blasted him for questioning the NEP. 

14. He is also upset that mahathir has started digging up info on the billions in fees cimb has made in pushing deals at the expense of the country. 

Perhaps this would backup the idea why S.M and H.S's bids got turned down outright.

8.If the proposal goes public, which one would you agree most? Is it a worthwhile investment as what many business analysts claim to be or otherwise? You be the judge, and have your say below.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Budget 2011

1. The first and foremost thing about the 2011 budget is that though there are some interesting points mentioned that touches on an individual, it didn't really addresses more on people-centric despite it being billed "people's budget" by Najib. For instance, the minimum wage matter that trade unions have be clamoring for countless of times, only for the government to say "at a later date", which means that the government has no solutions at this time to address the problem by middle and lower class workers. Secondly, it is not compatible with the NEM, giving that the NEM that Najib himself taked about is mere lip service and talk only.

2. It seems that there are signs of the Big Mama's demand inside the budget, which includes RM 111 million for PERMATA, and the abolishment of the import duty for selected goods. The latter, a lot of people know of Rosmah's tendencies to go shopping for expensive items when on overseas tour. At one time, we remembered her buying a lot of expensive watches for a huge astronomical sum of people's money. We too loved the sarcasm that the MPs belted out when Najib mentioned that. "Aha, Rosmah!" that's what the PR MPs would exclaim about.

I recalled that in the past no wife of a Finance Minister would come in and interfere with the shape of the Budget. Not even Mahathir, Anwar, Ku Li (the previous Finance Ministers) and others. The Treasury people too, (as reported last year) admitted that they are uncomfortable of Rosmah running things around, acting as if she is a government official, whereas her capacity is only being the wife of the PM.
3. I have viewed through some highlights of the budget. Not much on dealing individually. Among some notable points of interest:

a) Highway tolls - Rates on hold for the next 5 years. Expect an increment more than 10 percent by 2015 as to compensate the compensation paid to PLUS and other toll concessionaires . It seems that Khazanah is not willing to let its competitors (Mahathir's business partners, e.g Syed Mokthar or Halim Saad) MMC or Asas Serba win the buyout of UEM although their offer is great and the sweetener to the deal - no increase of toll rates until the end of the concession period in 2038. 

Skepticism would be on how they are willing to finance their money for the buy out. Now that Khazanah and EPF wants to buy out UEM at $23 billion, is it possible for the other two to stop that and increase their bid higher than 23 billion? Or another way to win that bid that Najib cannot refuse? One good reason that people can figure it out is that Nazir Razak (CIMB CEO) is not likely to get the pot of gold - projects if Mahathir's partners gets most.

b) First time house buying - Buying house in Klang Valley is a bit difficult. Due to the fluctuation of property prices from speculation, most house prices would be at the median of RM 400K which means that still young and middle-income people will have the difficulty of buying houses there. The maximum estimate price of RM350 K mentioned would fit properties within suburban areas - outside Klang Valley / Penang island for example. Yet it still lacks the solutions to handle this dilemma. In the economic turbulence of 2008, the rental rates in Klang Valley dropped by at least 20% only to rebound back recently. Unless, (by some stupid idea) - they sell to young people at half price.
c) Exemption of sales tax for handphones - Does that mean that all prices now will be 10 percent less? Maybe we need to tell the merchants that you will be paying 10 percent less because of the exclusion of sales tax. 

d) Removal of import duty for goods - The budget did not mention the complete list of what goods that fall under that action. It is hoped that there would be a complete list of items that fall under that case. And what about consumer technological items? It would be a good idea to have those fall under that removal of duty because this would increase the rate of affordability for people to get an item at a good price as well as catching up with the technology. Singapore and Australia, among our Aisan neighbours are technologically far advanced ahead of us. 

e) Service tax increment to 6% - This is obvious to compensate the GST that is put on hold. It is also another way to increase revenue to the government coffers. But to have 6% in this current times of low income and hardly any increment means that it could create more trouble for people to pay in places where service tax is applicable, unless Customs Department (which Sales Tax 1975 is under their purview) increases the income cap to RM 750K or RM 1 mil per month. 

4. The budget is built on assumptions that the GDP for 2011 will be at 7%. However, Malaysia still has a huge amount of deficit since the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. When calculating total cumulative debts with reserves available, Malaysia has no more reserves already. Yet, to go ahead with the such budget with tons of mega projects is like staking a country in the house of cards. And a house of cards is not stable. It can collapse with a sneeze from elsewhere. Where can Malaysia get money if income tax revenue, FDI investment drying up and corruption still rampant? The one possible solution is like the US to print money. In turn, printing money means of borrowing money from other countries, increasing the national debt. The U.S's national debt stands at $1.6 trillion US as of now. The more money being printed, the higher the debt the nation would be plunged into. 

5. Let's look at the slew of mega projects proposed under the budget:

  • Mass Rapid Transit System: RM 43 billion transportation system for Kuala Lumpur and surrounding. Question: How is this project being funded and will the federal govt guarantee the funding?

  • Kuala Lumpur International Financial District: This is a RM26 billion 34 hectares development in the Jalan Davis bordering the Imbi area which was earlier mistaken for the old Sungei Besi airbase project. A 1Malaysia Development Berhad joint venture with the Abu Dhabi Mubadala group.

  • Warisan Merdeka: Another iconic landmark mega-development of RM 5 billion to be completed by 2015. Another project to be undertaken by Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB). This project covering an area of 15 hectares in the old Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara surrounding will include the 100 storey tallest building in Malaysia.

  • Sungei Buloh development: Land privatization development owned by the Rubber Research Institute (RRI) of an area of 1350 hectares to be develop by EPF Employees Provident Fund with a value of RM10 billion.

  • Nexus Karambunai, Sabah: An integrated eco-nature resort development at a cost of RM 3 billion. Question: RM3 billion to build a resort is a huge sum, is the federal govt providing the funds?
Now we also look at the slew of budget allocations:
Education: For Restructuring and Strengthening RM 29.3 billion to the Education Ministry. RM 10.2 billion for the Higher Education Ministry and RM 627 million for the Human Resource Ministry.

·        Education: Another RM 6.4 billion to build and upgrade schools and etc.

·        Health: RM 15.2 billion for new hospitals and etc.

·        Defence: Allocated a total budget of RM 9.1 billion which is a reduction from RM 10.5 billion.

·        Corridor: RM 850 million for infrastructure support to the corridor and regional development.

·        1Malaysia Training Program: Allocation of RM 500 million. What’s this?

·        RM 1 billion allocated for the launching of the Bumiputra Property Trust Foundation. (No details provided).
Don't forget the slew of projects started but in incubation or in hangover:
  • 160 hectares old Sungei Besi air base with an estimated value of RM 20 billion which has generated much stories of Jho Low, the bright young man seen as companion to Paris Hilton having had a hand in this much coveted mega multi billion project.

  • Another mega-project of the 150 hectares of Kampung Baru land within the city centre of Kuala Lumpur, and PNB is again undertaking the redevelopment of over RM 20 billion in value.

  • Riverside Garden City a 25 hectares redevelopment of the former Pekeliling Flats with the proposed futuristic revolving 60 storey skyscraper with a value of RM 12 billion.

  • 9 hectares of government land in the Cochrane and
    Peel Road
    area with an estimated value of RM 10 billion to be develop again by 1MDB and EPF.

More multi billion projects that have been approved and about to be started or in progress like:
  • MATRADE centre with 25 hectares of land in the Jalan Duta area to be undertaken by the Naza Group estimated at RM 15 billion value.

  • Platinum Park in KLCC also by Naza Group that will incorporate the new iconic Felda Towers and a new Naza Towers. This is a development of RM 5 billion now under construction.

  • Old Pudu Prison of 8.5 hectares with a value of RM 5 billion scheduled to start work by early 2011 to be developed by UDA Holdings Berhad.

  • Eco City with 10 hectares of DBKL land next to Mid Valley City with a value of RM 6 billion to be jointly developed by another GLC of SP Setia Bhd and DBKL.

  • On going KL Sentral of 30 hectares land with a value of RM 12 billion being developed by Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad.
With the number of hangover projects in hand, the Najib administration is going a bridge too far. Past projects was never taken into account, probably because of kickbacks, red tapes and etc. When you count together the amount of allocations and project costs coupled the amount from the hangover project, the cost is more. And yet the Najib administration is still going for it, making whatever they are doing a very huge gamble. Like in a high stakes poker game, the risk of losing is very high, meaning if there is another global economic bubble bang happening soon, the house of cards would collapse and Najib's mega projects would go under the drain.

5. Brazil Finance Minister Guido Mantega declared on 27 September that a world currency war has broken out already. America is facing the trouble of a weakening US dollar and on the worst case scenario, expect dollar devaluation. In fact the problem could start as early as December. The US dollar could drop as low to $45. In addition to that, expect higher inflation and collapse worse than the 1929 Great Depression in the scope will hit worldwide. Malaysia has no reserves to cushion the impact of such scenario but is still pushing for those projects. It is high time for Malaysia to start reducing its dependence on Western investment as to cushion the possible hit. All those measures like preferential programs and the protectionist fees in buying cars will likely have to go if government does not want people to get economically injured more when the time comes. 

6. The 100-story Warisan Merdeka project is a very foolish idea to do it. It also takes billions of ringgit, which in turn can be used to help the people. These remarks below:

“We take pride in our national icon, the Petronas Twin Towers. It signifies the spirit of Malaysia Boleh. Another landmark to be developed by PNB is Warisan Merdeka, expected to be ready by 2020″ -  Najib

“…everybody wants a tallest tower. Shanghai and Taiwan want more, so why should we hold back?…The most important thing is that we can do it. Why should we hold back?…The building serves to balance Malaysia’s traditional cultures and pursuit for modernity. This will put Malaysia on the tourist map” – Tourism Minister Dr Ng Yen Yen

“The nation must have a dream. We had the Twin Towers and KLCC. Now, the 100-story building will be the new ‘Malaysia boleh’. This is good because we all need to dream. All these projects that are coming under the Great Kuala Lumpur plan and other mega-projects will bring in foreign investors that will spur the economy,” – Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department SK Devamany

Don't these people have better idea to handle that 5 billion rather than building another landmark that we already have in place like KLCC and KL Tower? I find that whoever says yes to that thing is like ala zombies, follow the leader only, yes what these two are indirectly showing. 

7. Summary and conclusion - Malaysia's ambition of going for more mega projects at the time of turbulence is a very unwise move. As what John Perkins said in his book, only an economic hitmen would advise them to go for more mega projects. Subsidy reduction is another measure that they would suggest. But people do not know that this measure means cheating people of their hard-earned money. And in the end, if the country falls economically, the people will lose big and the economic hitmen wins with the swindled money. Najib is gambling high stakes poker here.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Aye, For Nurul!

I could have written this a few days back, but I deliberately waited until today to see whether Nurul Izzah can get to contest as Deputy President of the PKR party. I know that there is a bloggers support for Nurul campaign that Bernard and a few others have been actively campaigning now. But the wait also allowed me to think through on whether to say yes or no to that idea.

Having thought for that long, I tend to notice the internal squabbling between Zaid and Azmin. What they may or they might not know is that the squabble can give ammunition to the enemy, or in this case, the Barisan Nasional to put in the "see I told you so" message to the people that voting for PR is a wrong move - which is a false fact, whether you accept it or not. 

If there is a criticism that I wish to hurl at Zaid, in which a few friends agreed with me, is that Zaid, though he joined for about two years or so, fell short of learning the entire history of PKR, and there is a lack of understanding of the friendship between Anwar and Azmin that started way long back before the Reformasi days. Azmin is a family friend of Anwar's and with a Americana-educated background, it is not that easy to get rid of a person of such manner. 

It would be useless if neither Azmin or Zaid wins, but even if a faction, wins, the party will get spoiled from outside. The wreck will have to be stopped, in and out if they really want to live up with the talk of taking over Putrajaya. I once attended an indoor meeting with a few people including Nurul with it and she was warned of such possible problem of internal bickering in and there.

Now that she has already at least two nominations for deputy presidency, I would throw my hat behind with others to support Nurul. The reasons are among:

1. First and foremost, people from both camp Azmin and Zaid have the respect for this young lady. She neither takes sides and she insisted that she's own her ownself.
2. Khalid Ibrahim has too many jobs in hand, juggling many balls. Perhaps it is better for him to concentrate on his duties as Selangor MB.
3. She insisted that it is not a family legacy behind her participation. That should set the ball rolling of young people leading the party.
4. Chances are in order to solve the bickering between Azmin and Zaid, Nurul can get votes from both sides, if she can play her cards well.

And yes, I'd put that picture on this blog from now on!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Frog That Has No Bloody Manners!

One of my dad's friends at times will sarcastically said to other friends "no manners" if you refuse his offer to pour wine / liquor. Today, the Parliament reconvenes for the third session of the year. Due to the death of Batu Sapi MP, Edmund Chong, the Parliament observed a minute of silence to mark his passing.

What impressed me is that all the 23 MPs from PAS, in particular stood up to show its respect, despite being a clear-cut Islamic party. Maybe it lives up to its billing of being the actual moderate party, not as big mouthed as UMNO do. But what caught the interest is the antics of Ibrahim Katak Ali who is seen to be answering on the phone all the time and while in Parliament is in session.

Sure, my friend would say "no manners" to the Katak and it is something not right given that they complained of being whacked all the time yesterday, do they?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Another By-Election Coming in Sabah!

As if it is not enough, another by-election is coming in Sabah, and it's a Parliamentary seat.

BN will no doubt try to spend more money that what Najib was saying used to be from cutting subsidiaries from consumer products just merely to win that seat at all costs.

You ain't see it coming yet. But, it can be fun to go there on a political election fever!

You What!? Dr Ayam Coming To The Fold?

Pre-2008 election campaign period, I always have a disdain towards Dr. Ayam that got a Parliament seat by luck and without fighting it (only within the 1995-2000 period where Wee Choo Keong was disqualified). Everyone said that this guy is a pure example of a running dog of MCA. In the last three editions of the GE, he lost to DAP. I used to say that it's better to have a used-car dealer to be MP rather than a machai in Bukit Bintang.

PKR though speaking have been bringing ex-BN men into the fold, and the trend recently has raised eyebrows whether opportunists are brought in to serve as Trojan horses or otherwise. This also speaks that there are not enough qualified and real candidates pool that can contest well in the next General Elections (could be in concurrent with the Sarawak state election) or later in 2012.

The detoxification process in PKR already started should be intensified. As Syed Husin Ali said, Chong Meng's entry into the fold will have be scrutinized carefully. In the opinion column of Malaysiakini, many have clearly said no to Dr. Ayam coming in. Lately, we know that BN will do many things, even violent ways to make havoc in PR.

Some of people in PKR surely do not want him in because of the history - almost 15 to 20 years in MCA but many rejected him, and surely the business community in Bukit Bintang have clearly shown their dislike for this fat man there.

Yes, thread this guy at your risk, lest the same thing happens to those two assholes in Perak.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Flawed Policies and Laws: Human Psychology Factor Missing In Account Like The Proposed Copyright Act Amendment

KUALA LUMPUR: Buyers of pirated DVDs and VCDs will be fined five times the price of the genuine products once the Copyright Act is amended.

Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (Ayah Dafi) said the ministry was hoping to table the proposal for first reading in Parliament, in the coming sitting beginning next week.

"Currently, the Act only allows us to take action against pirated DVD sellers but not those who buy these products.

"We hope that with the amendment to the Act, we will be able to curb the piracy issue in the country," he told reporters after attending the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia Hari Raya open house here Thursday.

On how the ministry would carry the enforcement once the Act was amended and whether house-to-house raids would be conducted, Ismail Sabri said the details were being planned.

He said the ministry would also work with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to stop illegal downloading from the Internet.

"We will work with MCMC to see if we can bar those involved in illegal downloading from accessing the Internet," he said.

Ismail Sabri said another amendment of the Copyright Act would also involve the collection of royalty.
"The Act will be amended to make it compulsory for all companies which collect royalty payments to register with our ministry.

"There must also be an agreement between these companies and the artistes involved to allow the former to collect the royalty," he said.

He said other intellectual property related laws like the Industrial Design Act, Patent Act and Trademark Act were also scheduled to be tabled for first reading in the coming Parliament sitting.

In April, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had said the amendments would not only tighten the enforcement of intellectual property rights but also protect small and medium enterpreneurs as well as the creative and entertainment industry. - The Star (7 October 2010)

Note: In this article, I will refer Sabri Yaakob as Ayah Dafi since Dafi is his son who won AF5 reality show

I have seen a few articles on how the Malaysian authorities would use hard-man, hard fist style tactics like that above to combat problems in the country.The article above is an example of how a hard-fist approach is used to deal with the problem that is besetting Malaysia. After a while if you seat down and think hard on this situation, you would realize that it is virtually impossible to combat such crime. Some people would come to realize that such approach and policy to be implemented is deeply flawed because there is one key factor that is missing in the writing of law: human psychology.

Failure to Understand Human Psyche

It is very essential to understand the human psyche and the reason of them acting when dealing those problems. In this case of the piracy problem, there was a lack of viewing from the perspective of the person who would be buying a product labeled "pirated" by authorities and the entertainment industry. In this case, Malaysia is not a high-income country yet. Poverty rate is still above the actual norm lines. Some people don't like censorship. Some people could afford even RM50 to buy a movie title or music CD (genuine) from shops. Video shops might not have that title they are looking for and so forth.

We can go through one or two examples to illustrate why human psychology factor was missing in the approaches of solving problems in this country. For example:

1. Why are there phone booth vandalism?
Answer: Some people who are poor who wants to dig up coins to buy food to feed their hunger. Money collectors don't come routinely and on time to collect the money in the box, instead it is left to go overflow.

2. What is the genesis of a mat rempit?
Answer: Youngsters who have motorbikes who have the desire and the yearning to be free from the shackles of controls of old paranoid men and parents who do not understand them at all. These young men, are not rich people, and mostly they are not able to afford money to buy even a single car due high protectionism amount included into the final cost of car sold in Malaysia. If they can't get a car, motorcycle would be the next best thing of mode of transport. The national economy state also forms part of the genesis. If they do not buy motorcycles, sales from manufacturers of motorcycles would be abysmal. A weak public transport system also forms part of the reason and in fact forms the biggest reason such existence. Lack of public transport planning in both city and rural areas tends to frustrate many people in as a resort.

Many come from poor environments. Not the kind of comfort houses, but hut style houses (e.g Pantai Dalam) , getting out from stuffy environments, lacking the chance to compete in real proper motorcycling races. Or perhaps from jobs that don't give them much income - that's the problem of not having minimum salary clauses.

Therefore, it is wrong for the police and the IGP to say that all mat rempits are violent and behave like gangsters. This means, you cannot simply do a hard-fist action on them at all times hoping that will solve the problem. No, it is a 50-50 likelihood that starting a hard-fist action can make them do it again and again that will disregard the law at all. Notice that from their point of view and feelings, that they do not take kindly into police as like parents putting a brakes into something that they are in the middle of doing something.

If there is a better way to solve the problem, Hishamuddin Rais proposed this: (and Subramaniam the Human Resources Minister has to do it immediately, no excuses!)

Apakah betul kerajaan ada keinginan untuk memperbaiki hidup mereka?

Jika jujur dan berniat baik maka : Susun dan tubuhkan kesatuan pekerja di semua pasar raya. Tubuhkan kesatuan sekerja untuk semua pekerja di Seven Eleven, di Giant, di Tesco , di MacDogal, di Burger King, di warong-warong Rehat Lebuh Raya Utara Selatan. Pastikan mereka yang memburuh ini bukan hanya menjadi kuli batak untuk pemodal antarabangsa. Pastikan anak anak muda yang merempit ini dibayar selumayan mungkin. Pastikan mereka tidak ditindas dengan gaji yang kecil. Wujudkan gaji minama untuk seluruh buruh pekerja.

Ini baru langkah tepat yang mendahulukan warga. Bukan mendahulukan keuntungan untuk pemodal.

Jangan hanya pandai menghina anak anak muda yang merempit sebagai wabak. Mereka bukan penyakit. Mereka adalah sebahagian dari kita. Mereka adalah anak semua bangsa. Jangan hanya pandai mengutuk dan menangkap.

Coming back to the Copyright Act amendment, it is virtually impossible to eradicate technology piracy completely. No matter what are the measures to be taken, even if they want to sent buyers to jail, in Malaysia, it will only serve to anger more people, particularly the poor. True, it will anger other parties as well. A few months ago, vice-president of Universal Music International, Francis Keeling, clearly admitted of such impossibility.

"We've got markets like Spain and Italy, where [people say] 'You buy music? What are you doing buying music when you can get it for free?' 

"Clearly those markets are in the situation where, unless we can turn those markets around, we're going to have a major problem having a music business there."
Proponents of anti-piracy laws even including Ayah Dafi blame much of the piracy from P2P clients used such as bit torrent. However, what Ayah Dafi does not know about it is that by saying that is tantamount to declaring chairs as illegal. He also doesn't know that it is also a new way of companies doing content distribution, selling software via digital download without having the need to produce hard-copies and CDs to be sold and distributed to their customers.  

At this point of time, it is unrealistic to go busting illegal downloaders unless other problems that cause this phenomenon are solved first before going for the last. 

Dinesh Nair wrote a view in The Malaysian Insider date 15 June 2010, in which I concur with the rest which augments one of my arguements. Excerpt:
Both the ministry and the minister fail to see that bittorrent and P2P can instead be put to better use. Flood it with legal content not otherwise available through normal channels. Independent film and music producers and directors have long faced barriers in getting their films to viewers, no thanks to the middlemen and channels which control the distribution chain now. Read: aforementioned recording and movie companies. Releasing a film to be seeded on bittorrent is one such way of bypassing this control, and it is no wonder the MDs of these companies are worried. They do not want to lose their mojo in deciding what you and I get to see or hear.

Blocking P2P on the network or even banning P2P users from accessing the network is not going to work either. It would be trivially simple for people to utilise servers outside the country to download P2P content, and then hop it back into Malaysia using regular web or FTP connections. This would make the bandwidth asymmetry much worse in addition to making any such ban ineffective. Given the cost of internet access now, this scenario would possibly make it worse.

Reversing content download from outside the country is paramount, and P2P helps in that if used correctly. Banning the technology for what some people do on it is myopic, but instead we need to look at the real reasons why piracy happens and address those. The short and curly of it is that the content is just priced too high and people do not see the value in it. However, by giving viewers a better experience (saw Avatar in 3D didnt you?), content producers can recover any revenue they may have lost. But innovation is important in achieving this.

One cannot keep shovelling the same drivel and expect the consumer to keep paying more for it. Nor blame a useful technology in order to retain control over a distribution system which has gone stale.

I truly appreciate efforts of some parties to have open source technology since it is free of charge, and it can be improved by everyone. Everyone is welcomed to contribute and add to the existing content. Which is why, many technological solutions are now leaning towards open source and it is favored by companies who do not have the big amount of budget and resources to develop and manufacture their solution / product. The problem is that big brand products licensing fee (annually) is very expensive, especially in a big organization and when you convert US dollars to ringgit, which at this point of time, still unfavorable even though it is just above the 3.00 level.

For example, Adobe Flex, single license costs $700 USD, or RM 2200 approx. The amount would be exponential if 100 (no bulk special price) units are ordered and to be used by a medium-level organization. If such budget is unacceptable, but requirement of working mandates that use of product, having to use a pirated copy is the very last resort that companies will have to do.

Putting a block or regulating Internet is equivalent to against Mahathir's assurance of no Internet control when the MSC started at the end of the 1990s. A sinister agenda that some believe about such moot for regulation (mentioned a few days ago by Rais Yatim) is that of identifying content that do not speak the same language as the government even though there is a valid reason of not saying the same thing.

Outdated and inflexible Malaysian censorship

Even if the government wants to block connections to ISP over an offense of illegal downloading, people would still find other ways to get what they want. Even pirates would find another way to around without facing the music.

The censorship laws in Malaysia remains unrealistic and people who do not like the censorship (since it disrupts viewing with mute sounds, sudden cuts etc) would definitely look somewhere else outside official sources to get the uncut content. 

The one that suffers mostly from unrealistic Malaysian censorship would be independent mediamakers themselves. Their artistic vision will be chopped down due to inflexible rules, outdated ones or otherwise and things that do not make sense at all. I am told recently that tax breaks were not given even though if a movie is shot entirely in Malaysia largely because of the Bahasa Malaysia requirement. Language condition should be secondary, it should instead be given as an additional tax break, not a clause that people might not agree upon. Also, independent films were not given opportunity for proper marketing. The bulk of media marketing would be hogged giant international studios. When this happens, coupled with unrealistic censorship laws and ratings, Malaysia can never showcase its unique media to real giants even though they get attention from other international circuits. India, whose income is lower than us also gets spotlight in Hollywood due to its Bollywood culture craze.

Did Malaysia give tax breaks to the studio that produced Anna and The King since it's shot in Batu Gajah and Penang?

An article titled The Price of Censorship sums up what I too wish to convey.

Hard-Fist Approaches Won't Work, Ayah Dafi

Recently, having returned from holiday in Australia, the cigarette packs there adopt a different and more positive approach in tackling smoking problems. Instead of displaying all the negative signs of smoking (showing damaged organs in autopsy sessions), smokers are coerced and get to call the quit smoke hotline and counseling that can encourage them to gradually go away from smoking (a more positive and humane approach). It is also a win-win situation, where counseling also creates jobs for people who like to do sweet talk but can't get a job in sales outside.

One way to combat that piracy is to have more video and music rental shops all around town. You can rent a title for a small amount of money, also beneficial that those who don't want to buy but want to listen / watch. There should be a chain of such shops that should be operated by those who have the unique business skill, not those who only know basics only, which in turn can help reduce the problem in a more better approach.

When I was in Singapore, I asked a family friend of mine, of such low prices in purchasing televisions (brand new) and media players. My first answer was maybe because manufacturers have their factories there as well, reducing the cost, but what was missing is that

Now what Ayah Dafi may or may not know is that in that process, if Ayah Dafi wants to send little fishes to prison, government may have to build a bigger prison and indirectly, the volume of little fishes, instead of hardcore criminals who commit more violent crimes are put into prison over crimes deem petty in moral grounds. The bottom line is that any social-related policy or law that is to be implemented cannot simply go on without taking human psyche factor and understanding it into account.

In short, many policies and laws like Police Act, UUCA Act and even this proposal are flawed and outdated because ministers and politicians didn't take human psyche and psychology into consideration. There was a saying, to manipulate a man is a careful project. Move a man lightly, and he moves at his whim. Move a man harder and he would turn against you. 


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