Beberapa Gambar Sekitar Gerakerja Di Kawasan Jerai


Monday, December 29, 2008

IJN's proposed takeover

There have been a lot of comments about the proposed takeover of IJN (National Heart Institute) by Sime Darby Bhd. Most of these comments were against the proposed takeover. In fact I had friends calling me asking me the rationale behind the proposal and if it is good or bad for the Rakyat.

First and foremost guys, I am not involved in any manner on the whole exercise. But I can only speculate and theorise.

IJN has made a name for itself. I read in the papers recently of the many achievements IJN has had throughout the years along with the selfless dedication of its staff to the members of the public. Apart from that, IJN has also done numerous charity operations and so on that had helped many members of the public, especially those who cannot afford the treatments.

IJN is also held in high esteem on the international scene. The Institute had done many researches and medical developments in the field of its expertise. These researches have brought many breakthroughs and new developments in the field of heart surgery and treatment.

The doctors, surgeons, nurses and all other medical / non-medical staff have also attained a high level of professionalism and efficiency. The IJN team is the epitome of medical service in Malaysia at the present moment.

All in all, Institut Jantung Negara is a success story and is recognized throughout the medical world.

Thus, for all the reasons stated above, I can understand why many oppose the proposed takeover.

So, what is it that Sime Darby Berhad can bring to the table for the proposed takeover? Why should the Government and we the Rakyat agree to such a takeover? If Sime cannot detail out their plans on how to value add without affecting the above plus points, then the proposed takeover should be aborted immediately. But having said that, I want to maintain an open mind and look from all angles. Thus, even if the proposed takeover is to proceed, I would like to see the following be addressed:-

i. The purchase price must be of proper valuation of IJN plus a high premium attached to it.
ii. Sime must give written monetary guarantee the amount (in RM value)of charitable treatments that they will allocate for patients who cannot afford treatment along with the conditions to apply for it. In so doing, IJN must also be transparent and always inform the public on its activities to help the rakyat.
iii. Sime must also ensure that enough funds are allocated for research and development in the medical field, specifically in heart surgeries and treatment. (This is one of the value adding that I see IJN and the nation can benefit from the takeover).
iv. Sime must ensure that all equipment be maintained at its highest standard.
v. Sime must also ensure that the level of expertise be maintained if not enhanced. (Another possible value adding).
vi. Sime must ensure that the team that is currently operating in IJN be maintained. Their salary, bonuses and so on must be maintained if not made better. This will ensure that the team remains intact even after any change in ownership.
vii. The Government must still hold what we call the Golden Share that would ensure all principle decisions must get Government approval. In this sense, the government can veto any moves to sell IJN to any third party of local / foreign interests. The first rights of refusal to purchase any of Sime’s shares must also be for the Government.
viii. The Government must also have a call option to buy back all of Sime’s interest in IJN at 70% below the takeover price should Sime fail on any of its written and agreed conditions. This is what I call a penalty clause to Sime.
ix. Sime must always maintain as a close Government Linked Company (GLC) through its shareholders and board of Directors.

Sime must also look at the proposed takeover not just from the profit making perspective, but as part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to the nation.

The proposed takeover, if it materialises, would directly do two things for the Government and Rakyat:-

i. Provide the Government extra funds from the proceeds of the takeover that it could allocate to other Rakyat projects. I believe the proposed price tag of the takeover must be substantial (hundreds of millions).
ii. Relief the Government of further allocation to operate IJN and allow it to reallocate the funds to other deserving rakyat centric initiatives.

Sime can be an integrated healthcare provider, with equity stakes in several other hospitals including IJN but all these conditions and more must be accepted and met. Or else, Sime and the Government, forget it.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


I would like to wish all my friends a very Merry and Joyful Christmas. May this Christmas be meaningful to us, especially in spending quality time with our beloved families and dearest friends.

For those taking advantage and holidaying outstation or overseas, may our travels bring us joy, broaden our horizons and fill us with new experience. Do take care travelling and if you are driving, rest when tired or sleepy.

Take care, have fun. And for those who know me – don’t forget my Christmas gift! Hahaha…..

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Food problem!

My colleague who is the Chairman for Education Bureau, Pemuda MCA had raised an issue during our recent Pemuda BN discussion. He informed the meeting that the management of College 12, Universiti Malaya had recently terminated a stall that sold Hainanese Chicken Rice and Economy Rice that mainly catered to the Chinese students. The students it seems, were unhappy of this termination as they had enjoyed good affordable Chinese food all this while and did not want that to be taken away. The stall operator meanwhile felt that he was terminated unfairly.

So today, as the Chairman of the Education Bureau Pemuda UMNO Malaysia and in the spirit of comradeship with MCA, I arranged a meeting with the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Student Affairs), Assoc. Prof Datuk Dr Azarae Hj Idris and his senior staff to get to the bottom of this issue. Of course, my colleagues Chong, Harrison and other MCA friends went with me.

I am happy to learn that the stall operator was not terminated as alleged. UM informed us that the contract for all stalls in College 12 had expired in May and there was a due process of re-tender for all the stalls. In the process, some bidders were eliminated due to low pricing and other technical issues. However, I am most happy to note that the UM management had stipulated in the tender conditions that one stall ( am told Gerai 1 as it is known) is specifically allocated for Chinese food. I am also told that the management of UM, 12th College management, the Chinese students’ representatives had a meeting yesterday with the successful bidder for the stall to discuss on the menu and pricing of the food. The successful bidder had during the meeting agreed to the terms, conditions and requests set out by the students and management.

All is well again at the University front! And I hope the food is good.....

Our team also requested that all universities in Malaysia should provide space for all varieties of food to be sold, be they Malay, Chinese, Indian and what nots – Halal of course! At the same time, in line with the Ministry’s vision to internationalise our universities and attract overseas students to Malaysia, Pemuda BN would also like to urge all universities to provide space for stalls to sell international food in the campuses.

I am sure apart from quality and affordable education, one of the main factors that foreign students consider would be how well they can adapt to the new surroundings. Having food to cater to their tastebuds would definitely go a long way to helping them make the decision. At the same time, our local students can also experience something new and different.

Let’s hope this happens. As for me, I always enjoy trying something new. Whenever I go to a new country, the two things that I must do are to taste the local food and check out the local customs / way of living.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bukit Antarabangsa landslide

I would like to offer my condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones in the hillside landslide which (again) happened in Bukit Antarabangsa area.

Let us all say a prayer for all the victims and also pray for their loved ones. May the Almighty also give strength and patience to all those victims who have been evacuated and are unsure of their homes and lives due to the landslide.

I am very happy that the residents are thinking of suing the local authorithy for negligence. It seems they had reported to MPAJ of their concerns, especially when some trees were rooted out and so on, yet the MPAJ failed to take relevant and sufficient necessary actions. In their defense, MPAJ said that they had built a gabion wall to arrest the problem.

I think the responsibility should not just be limited to this. We must look at the following also :-

i. MPAJ for approving further development projects on the hillside after the federal government gave instructions with regard to hillside development. this should include the council president, councilors in charge, planners, engineers and so on that so-called went through the applications and approved them.
ii. The developers involved in developments around the area.
iii. The consultants who did the studies and actually found ways to declare the developments safe. These will include the engineers, architects, soil engineers and so on. These people are ‘experts’ in their field and should give fair and proper advice.

I am no expert, but I wonder if you need state approval for such developments? If the answer is yes, then the previous state exco is partly to blame for approving the projects.

I also believe it should not be only MPAJ as an entity that should take responsibility, but the individuals involved. The state government being the authority in charge should take disciplinary actions against these people should they be found to have acted improperly or unprofessionally, including demoting these officers or even sacking them. Then only will others who are in these positions take their jobs seriously and ensure proper guidelines are followed.

I would also like MPAJ to do the following:-

i. Immediately issue stop work orders to all hillside developments, not temporarily or until the so-called studies are completed. It must be a permanent stop. In fact, there should be a total ban on any future developments in Bukit Antarabangsa. This area is a water catchment area, meaning water retention is high making the soil unstable for development.
ii. Conduct a study on the whole area on how to strengthen the soil structure in the area to ensure no other landslides will happen in the future. Even if there are no further developments, we still have to ensure no other landslides happen in the area.
iii. Publish these studies for public consumption.

The Federal Government must instruct all State Governments to restudy all hillside developments and also existing housing areas on all hillsides.

The Federal Government should also sponsor and push a bill through the Parliament to ensure greater precaution and conservatism are practiced in planning and approving developments of such nature in the future. The details of the bill I leave it up to the experts to fill in.

I am sure there are many other items and issues of importance that I have missed here but MPAJ and others including individuals must take responsibility. The Federal and State Governments whether BN or PR must step up and ensure safety of the rakyat.

I also hope the Federal Government, State Governments and Local Authorities are serious. Do not just be reactionary to the events ie start issuing stop work orders, restudy all plans and so on but after three months, when things have quietened down, everything goes back to the way it is.

After all, what if the victims are your loved ones? Let’s pray that won’t be the case.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Just A Quick Note

I am increasingly embarrassed and frustrated by the behaviour of our so-called Yang Berhormats. I am saying this not only for MPS such as YB Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman or YB Datuk Bung Mokhtar, but also for those like YB Karpal Singh, YB Lim Kit Siang and all or any other MPs who resort to name calling in Parliament.

Don't these MPs know that they are elected and respected by the people, albeit their own constituencies. Each of them must have easily got more than 10,000 votes during the election. I wonder how each and every one of these voters feel knowing their MPs resort to name calling, shouting at each other and generally behaving like total idiots in Parliament.

Imagine the shock and disgust on the faces of those who visit the Parliament and sit in during these debates. And I can tell you many of these visitors are school children and University students.

I know that the media would definately highlight more on the name calling incidents rather than the other good things these individual MPs have done, but that is no excuse to behave poorly.

I hope the Chief Whip of both sides, Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat will do something and rein in these errant MPs. Discipline them, even if it means just internal party discipline. I know these people are the so-called big wigs in the party or the pointman in debates for their parties, but it does not mean you have to make such derogatory remarks.

I don't blame the party for this. Both sides of the fence have their errant MPs. Should we not vote for Pakatan Rakyat because of the behaviour of certain individuals, the same applies to Barisan Nasional. Punish and discipline the individuals. And let's try to have more well behaved sessions and MPS like YB Dato Razali Ibrahim, YB Dato Fuad Zakarshi, YB Dato Liow Tiong Lai, YB Azmin Ali and so on. I was told even YB Dato Mohd Aziz has improved a lot and not resorted to name calling.

I want quality debates and debates that will positively affect the rakyat. Do not trivialise Parliament sessions. And do not make our Parliament sessions like those in Taiwan that resulted in fist-fighting even.

Please respect our parliament.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


It has been an interesting couple of days on this yoga issue. The edict by the National Fatwa Council has got many talking about it. Many who did not know anything or saw nothing wrong with yoga were caught by surprise. Many more who actually practised yoga thought nothing of it before this until the edict was issued.

Now, I have to admit. I am one of the ignorant ones who knows next to nothing about yoga. Yes, I know it is a lot of posturing, positions, stretching and meditation, but I have to admit I have practically zero knowledge about it. So, I was one of them totally surprised when the National Fatwa Council came up with an edict banning yoga for Muslims. I was more surprised when I heard yoga was also banned by the Fatwa Councils of Egypt and Singapore along with some churches in the UK.

I respect the views and opinions of the learned scholars who debated on this issue resulting on the issuance of the edict. It was after all decided only after much deliberation and I assume research. And these are by people whom are elected to sit in the council because of their in depth knowledge in the religion. From what I have read also, the banning of yoga for Muslims is because it has certain connotations to Hinduism – the chanting, meditation and so on.

But yoga is divided into two, the physical element and the spiritual element. Many would argue that the physical stretching, posturing and so on without the chants or meditation in yoga are alright. Many yoga enthusiasts argue that they practise yoga for health and do not in any way undertake the spiritual side. My friends and I were also discussing last evening and one correctly pointed out that our Malay and Malaysian culture have been infused by bits and pieces of Hinduism practice minus the religious elements. Take bersanding in a wedding for example, I am told that this practice originated from India and practised by the Indians. A lot of Malay weddings do it also, but it does not mean we practice or are any closer to Hinduism.

What I would like to see is for the National Fatwa Council to explain its decision. I want the council to elaborate and clarify in detail the various reasons to ban yoga. The Council must make the public, especially the Muslim public understand its decision, how and why the members arrived to it. The Council cannot expect the public to just accept whatever they decide without any justification and clarification. This lack of explanation by the Council is exactly the reason why certain states will adopt the edict whilst others won’t. This lack of justification is why some people can accept the edict without any questions whilst others are not able to accept it. At the end of the whole debate, what we will get is nothing more but total and utter confusion.

Furthermore, as far as I am concerned, practising yoga is good for health ( don’t forget I know nuts about yoga!!). An explanation would definitely help me undertand the edict. More so, I am sure not all of yoga is no good. I would like to suggest for the Council to re-analyse yoga from all angles. Allow and adopt the positive elements but ban the negative parts. And explain it to the public.

I am willing to give the National Fatwa Council the benefit of the doubt. But they should and must explain their thought process in arriving to the edict of banning yoga and explore the idea to adopt the positive parts and ban the negative elements of yoga.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I have always thought that one of the best approaches for racial integration is to educate and expose the children from young. This means through the parent unit, school unit or the social network unit that would allow children to interact with one another. Just observe our children when they are playing with each other, and I am talking about the young ones aged 3 – 10 years old. They have no problems at all to play with any other child, be the child a boy or a girl, a Malay, a Chinese, an Indian or anything else. They are oblivious to the differences that we seem to be so sensitized to. To them a friend is a friend, more so a friend whom they can play with and there is no feeling of discomfort.

The same goes for sports. When the Malaysian National team is playing another national team, I observe that all Malaysians, without taking into consideration colour or creed, will support the national team wholeheartedly. And I bet we were all beaming with pride and felt a warm glow inside us when Datuk Lee Chong Wei kissed the National flag on his T-shirt when winning the Semi-Finals match in the Mens Singles Badminton competition during Beijing Olympics.

When the government announced the idea of building Sekolah Wawasan or Vision School back then, I was naturally very excited. I felt it would provide the best platform for young school children of all races and both sexes to interact without any prejudices or baggage. This particular tool (ie Vision School) would provide the perfect environment and opportunity for these students.

Let me talk a bit about the concept of Vision School. The Government will build on a large piece of land 3 schools – a National School, an SRJK (C) and an SRJK (T). Each school would have its own classrooms, set of teachers and of course its own administration. Each school will also be run independently in terms of syllabus and teaching. In other words, each school is administered independently of one another.

They would however share the following – a big field for co-curriculum activities, a big canteen to cater for all needs and I believe school assemblies. Apart from that, probably other co-curriculum activities like sports day and celebrations like teachers’ day, awards day and so on. Each administration would also be required to interact and meet to discuss and co-ordinate activities.

In fact, the teachers and administration of each school can share ideas, give each other advice and share their problems and solutions together.

Now, I do not see anything wrong with this set up. You still retain your identity as a SJK (C) or SJK (T). That is not lost at all. In fact, that is enshrined in our constitution. Article 12 in in the Constitution states:-

“ Perkara 12. Hak berkenaan dengan pendidikan.

(1) Tanpa menjejaskan keluasan Perkara 8, tidak boleh ada diskriminasi terhadap mana-mana warganegara semata-mata atas alasan agama, ras, keturunan atau tempat lahir—
(a) dalam pentadbiran mana-mana institusi pendidikan yang disenggarakan oleh suatu pihak berkuasa awam, dan, khususnya, kemasukan murid-murid atau pelajar-pelajar atau pembayaran fi; atau (b) dalam memberikan bantuan kewangan daripada wang sesuatu pihak berkuasa awam bagi penyenggaraan atau pendidikan murid-murid atau pelajar-pelajar di mana-mana institusi pendidikan (sama ada disenggarakan oleh suatu pihak berkuasa awam atau tidak dan sama ada di dalam atau di luar Persekutuan).

(2) Tiap-tiap kumpulan agama berhak menubuhkan dan menyenggarakan institusi-institusi bagi pendidikan kanak-kanak dalam agama kumpulan itu sendiri, dan tidak boleh ada diskriminasi semata-mata atas alasan agama dalam mana-mana undang-undang yang berhubungan dengan institusi-institusi itu atau dalam pentadbiran mana-mana undang-undang itu; tetapi adalah sah bagi Persekutuan atau sesuatu Negeri menubuhkan atau menyenggarakan atau membantu dalam menubuhkan atau menyenggarakan institusi-institusi Islam atau mengadakan atau membantu dalam mengadakan ajaran dalam agama Islam dan melakukan apa-apa perbelanjaan sebagaimana yang perlu bagi maksud itu.”

The right to such vernacular education is also part of the Social Contract by our forefathers. Just look around us, I do not know of any country in this world that has such an education system like we have. Not even Singapore. I am told Lee Kuan Yew closed down all other streams of schools in the 60s / 70s and only allowed national schools.

Thailand, Indonesia or even Phillipines do not have such a system also. In fact they are worse. Everyone, whether you are a Buddhist, Hindu or Muslim do not have a name that identifies you with your religion or race. Everyone has been assimilated and have only Thai name or Indonesian name.

Until now, our Barisan Nasional Government has always respected the Social Contract and even included it into the Constitution. The Government had never attempted in any way to close down vernacular schools as was done in Singapore. And I sincerely doubt the Barisan Nasional Government would ever do that. In fact, I know for a fact, the Government through Ministry of Education allocates per capita and some repair funding for Vernacular Schools.

On this note, I do not understand why certain groups such as Dong Jiao Zong are so against Sekolah Wawasan. I am told SJK (T) groups are supportive though. I have discussed with some friends before on it. One of the reasons given is that they fear this action is the initial stage of the assimilation process. Now, I have to rebut that.

As I said, the right to vernacular education is part of the Social Contract. It is also enshrined in the Constitution and more specifically addressed in the Education Act 1996. The BN Government has never attempted to close vernacular schools down and I doubt it ever will. In fact I believe variety or diversity is a strength that is unique to Malaysia if addressed properly. I for one would like to see vernacular schools be a part of the tools for integration and not be an unwilling agent for polarization.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Persidangan Agung UMNO Bahagian Jerai

Sudah 2 minggu saya tidak menulis apa-apa yang baru di dalam blog saya. Ada beberapa sebab kenapa saya berdiam diri agak lama. Secara jujur, saya sibuk dua minggu lepas ini kerana saya telah menawarkan diri bertanding jawatan Naib Ketua UMNO Bahagian Jerai.

Alhamdulillah, berkat usaha, kerjasama dan doa dari keluarga dan rakan-rakan, saya diberi mandat dan kepercayaan dari para perwakilan untuk memegang jawatan Naib Ketua UMNO Bahagian Jerai. Saya bersyukur ke hadrat Allah swt yang telah memberikan saya taufik hidayahNYA dalam mengharungi waktu pemilihan ini yang saya anggap amat mencabar dan menguji ketabahan saya dan rakan-rakan.

Saya berasa amat terharu atas kepercayaan yang diberikan. Saya memohon kepada rakan-rakan dan semua untuk mendoakan supaya saya dapat terus melaksanakan amanah saya dengan ikhlas dan berlandaskan ajaran Allah swt.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Reform

I wish to offer my congratulations to YAB Dato' Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak as the incoming President of UMNO and by convention, soon to be Malaysia's Prime Minister. It is indeed a great honour and a great responsibility to lead Malaysia, especially in times such as these. I believe YAB DSNR is the best person to succeed YAB Pak Lah. YAB DSNR will hit the ground running, and will quickly adjust to his new role as Commander in Chief of Malaysia.

As I see it, the election of YAB DSNR to UMNO President's post is the first concrete step towards the reformation process that UMNO and the public have been expecting. This will mean we have a new steward, to lead UMNO and the country forward in these difficult and trying times.

What UMNO members throught the country need to do now, is to ensure that UMNO delegates vote in a strong and credible team to help the President. YAB DSNR alone cannot reform UMNO and the country. He needs to have a good and able Deputy President / DPM, good Vice-Presidents and credible Supreme Council members. Apart from UMNO itself, YAB DSNR will critically need the assistance and good working relationship from all BN component parties. All these will translate to a strong Cabinet, able to focus on the well-being of the country and chart the country's fortunes forward.

But I have to add, what he would really need right now and especially in the first 6 months of his Premiership, are the support and understanding from all of us, the Rakyat.

I have to say, great things are expected from the man. He comes across as intellectual, very articulate in his thoughts and demeanour. He is a gentleman, princely as someone told me but yet a man with a good sense of humour and rooted to the ground. In my few meetings with him, he has proven to be a good manager, a strategist and inclusive in getting views from everyone in the meeting before making his decision. Yes, I have great respect for the man.

And with this respect comes high expectations. I know I am not the only one placing such high hopes on him. All of us also have our own wish list of what and how we want Malaysia to progress.

I want to start some sort of a poll online. More towards creating a "Rakyat Wishlist for the Incoming Prime Minister". About the same when I started the PPSMI polls online. I had good response, both on the blog and e mails to me. And, as in the PPSMI exercise, should I collect sufficient response from all readers, I will forward them to YAB DSNR as the incoming Prime Minister.

So everyone, spread the word around. Give me your wishlist for YAB DSNR, the incoming Prime Minister. This is going to be the Rakyat's wishlist. I will endeavour to pass your responses and ideas to the man himself!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pengajaran Dan Pembelajaran Sains Dan Matematik Dalam Bahasa Inggeris

I had attended a roundtable discussion on the future direction of PPSMI yesterday at the Putrajaya International Conference Centre. It was organised by the Ministry of Education to get feedback from political leaders, NGOs, special interest groups including teachers groups, parents, students and so on about the future of PPSMI. I was informed that yesterday’s roundtable discussion was the fourth and final roundtable talk, mainly attended by Barisan Nasional political leaders and State Education EXCO, Pakatan Rakyat representatives, NGOs, NUTP and Parents’ Groups.

Before I go further, a bit of background on PPSMI. PPSMI or the usage of English to teach Maths and Science was introduced in 2003. Since the announcement, there have been a whole load of debate on this issue – whether it is the right move or not, will our children suffer because of this policy, that it is a step back for all other languages, because everything is in English, then Malay, Mandarin, Tamil and the cultures will suffer and so on. The list of negatives were endless. So were the positives – the lingua franca today is English, the scientific language of today is English, we will lose competitiveness in the world if our children are not proficient in English and the scientific language and so on.

In fact, whenever the topic PPSMI creeps into a discussion, seldom you will get everyone agreeing to a point. Same scenario yesterday. So many ideas and opinions surfaced yesterday. Let me list some of them for you:-

i. Totally scrap PPSMI and revert to pre-PPSMI years. It does not matter the amount of money already spent the last 6 years (RM5.2b for the equipment, teaching aids and teachers’ training and allowances) and that one generation of students have gone through it;

ii. Follow through as it is – don’t quit. Obviously it hurts and there will be a lot of resistance initially but things are improving.

iii. Continue with the dual language option.

iv. Discontinue PPSMI at primary level but proceed at secondary level.

v. Continue PPSMI with adjustments and strengthen implementation.

There was this one Interest Group – Parents Action Group for Education or ‘PAGE’ which stood resolutely that PPSMI should continue. In fact they came up with a list of factual arguments to support their ‘appeal’. They also told the audience yesterday, since they started work a month ago and reached out to other PIBGs and schools in the last two weeks, about 68 schools with a total of 56,000 students have signed up to support their cause.

I was impressed with their work and the response they got in a short span of time. Does this mean the parents, public and rakyat in general actually want PPSMI? And that those who are against it are certain groups who are scared that PPSMI will overwhelm them, or their culture, or whatever else they are afraid of? Are these groups resisting PPSMI because they do not want to learn to change?

I for one would like to give them more time and see what kind of response they get throughout the country. I hope they do not focus on urban schools only. They should also get the response from rural based and vernacular schools. As a politician, who else can we get feedback from if not the Rakyat!

Anyway, I want to give my two cents worth on this matter. PPSMI is actually a good policy. It would help our children to learn and understand the scientific language, and even to an extent conversational English. More than 90% of Mathematics or Science Journals / Research are in English. And obviously we need English to compete with the rest.

I want PPSMI to continue, albeit with some adjustments and strengthening the implementation. Yes, I was the culprit who introduced Option 5 to the Roundtable discussion.

This is my proposal.

Year 1 to Year 3 - PPSMI should be more fun based. Lessons should be
very light. Just to learn the terminologies of things and names of animals, hand, feet, eyes and so on. Teachers should also have lessons out of classroom to teach the environment. The approach should be creative – games, songs and what nots. And it should be interactive.

No exams at this level.

Year 4 – Year 6 - Students should be more exposed to the usage of
simple equations, simple formulas and simple problem solving. The approach should still be creative and interactive but no songs and games. More classroom style.

This is a transition period. Exams should be customised accordingly.

At Primary level, the Ministry of Education (MOE) should allow the usage of dual language for all schools.

Form 1 – Form 6 Full implementation of PPSMI, use English.

Apart from this, I would like to suggest the following:-

i. The MOE should also strengthen the English curriculum as a subject.

ii. The minimum qualification for the intake of new trainee teachers to teach under PPSMI scheme must be high. For example, at least a Credit 3 in SPM English. The same criteria must be observed for Science and Maths too. It is of utmost importance that the teachers have the subject matter fully in their grasp before they can teach.

iii. Five / Six of the Teachers’ Traning Institute (IPG or Academic Faculty in IPTAs) be focussed fully on the training of Trainee Teachers to teach PPSMI.

iv. Training and Retraining for teachers already in service should be more effective.

v. The MOE should also focus on schools identified to be weak such as in rural areas, urban poor areas and so on. More allocation and good teachers should be given to these schools.

I want to do something like an opinion poll here. Please leave comments, opinions, your thoughts and ideas on the post. I will gather all these comments (whether positive or negative) and forward them to YB Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin and MOE officers. Let’s get our voices heard by the decision makers.

So everyone, what do you have to say about PPSMI?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Help Kids Get Back In School Programme

Hi guys, Just for everyone's info, I've received a lot of enquiries on the "Help Kids Get Back In School" Programme and am busy replying/tending to each one. Some of you were selfless and offered your time and services to help make this programme a success. Hat's off to you guys.

I am happy to note we have managed to solve some of the problems and are currently working on a few more. I recently had a question posted with regard to Malaysian children who do not have birth certificates. These 'stateless' children have problems getting into the schooling system because of a lack of identification due to various reasons. However as we all agree no child should be denied their right to a proper education no matter what the circumstance.

As such I would like to share with the readers of my blog that I have discussed this matter with YB Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin’s (YB Minister’s) officers and the Ministry has come out with a solution that will allow the child to proceed with his/her education while their status/documentation are being sorted out.

I/you can help these children (Malaysian citizens) who do not have any legal birth documents/ certificates get into school by doing the following:-

i. To get an acknowledgement letter (surat perakuan / pengesahan) from the appointed Ketua Kampung /Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Kemajuan dan Keselamatan Kampung Persekutuan to acknowledge the child is indeed a Malaysian citizen. Born and bred in the area.
ii. With the letter certifying the above, to approach either the District Education Officer and the State Education Officer to enroll the child into school.

This solution is relevant only to the Education Ministry. The same might not be applicable for applying to the National Registration Department. They might have their own procedures that need to be followed.

I am also volunteering to be the liaison person between these children, any NGOs with the Education offices. My Pemuda UMNO Education Bureau Committee members are more on standby to assist wherever possible. So come on everyone, lets keep the momentum going!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Press Statement Released 15 October 2008


Saya ingin mengucapkan terimakasih kepada Kementerian Perdagangan Dalam Negeri dan Hal Ehwal Pengguna serta Jawatankuasa Kabinet Menangani Inflasi kerana telah menurunkan harga petrol sebanyak 15 sen lagi ke harga baru RM2.30 (Ron 97) dan harga diesel sebanyak 20 sen ke tahap RM2.20.

Ini menunjukkan keprihatinan pihak Kerajaan untuk mengurangkan bebanan rakyat dari segi kos sara hidup. Langkah penurunan harga minyak ini akan memberi ruang kepada ramai pengguna kenderaan untuk mengurangkan kos perbelanjaan minyak dan seterusnya memperuntukkan perbelanjaan kepada pelbagai barangan keperluan lain untuk saraan keluarga. Langkah ini juga secara langsung dapat membantu para nelayan, petani dan golongan-golongan lain yang berpendapatan rendah.

Saya juga yakin pihak Kerajaan akan terus memantau perjalanan harga minyak di peringkat dunia , dan seterusnya menilai semula harga petrol dan diesel tempatan pada masa-masa yang sesuai.

Walaubagaimanapun, melihat kepada keadaan pasaran minyak mentah peringkat dunia pada masa kini yang sedang mengalami perubahan harga yang agak ketara dan amat cepat, Jawatankuasa Kabinet Menangani Inflasi serta KPDN & HEP harus memikirkan satu mekanisme untuk dapat memberi reaksi yang lebih pantas kepada pasaran minyak mentah global. Mekanisme yang akan hanya menilai semula harga setiap hujung bulan jelas tidak boleh digunapakai lagi. Keputusan Kerajaan untuk mengumumkan harga baru kali ini selepas hanya 20 hari dari perubahan harga lalu adalah amat berpatutan. Malah, saya ingin mencadangkan bahawa Kerajaan menetapkan satu mekanisme baru yang akan mengira dan menilai semula harga pasaran minyak domestik setiap 14 hari. Ini akan memastikan bahawa sebarang penurunan harga minyak mentah di pasaran global akan dapat dinikmati dengan kadar lebih cepat lagi. Pada masa yang sama, sebarang kenaikan juga akan dimaklumkan dengan cepat supaya tidak berlaku masalah penyimpanan stok berlebihan dan sebagainya. Masalah kerugian yang dihadapi oleh stesyen - stesyen minyak dari segi pergerakan harga juga dapat di tangani.

Saya juga ingin melihat pengurangan harga minyak yang diumumkan semalam disusuli oleh pengurangan harga barangan dan perkhidmatan di seluruh negara. Pada masa kenaikan harga dahulu, ramai peniaga dan pengusaha memberi alasan kenaikan harga minyak sebagai faktor utama mereka perlu menaikkan harga barangan dan perkhidmatan mereka. Dengan penurunan dari harga tertinggi sebanyak 40 sen untuk petrol dan 38 sen untuk diesel, saya yakin kos pengeluaran serta penghantaran di kilang-kilang juga menurun. Para peniaga dan pengusaha patut menterjemahkan penurunan harga minyak dan kos pengeluaran ini kepada penurunan harga barangan dan perkhidmatan yang ditawarkan di dalam pasaran.

KPDN & HEP patut memainkan peranan untuk mengurangkan harga barangan dan perkhidmatan selaras dengan penurunan kos pengeluaran barangan tersebut. Adalah tidak adil jikalau para pengguna masih dibebankan dengan harga yang tinggi walaupun kos pengeluaran telah menurun. Pihak kementerian harus menghalang mereka yang sengaja tidak menurunkan harga barangan dan perkhidmatan mereka kerana ingin membuat keuntungan yang lebih. Pihak Kementerian juga patut tegas sehingga sanggup mengenakan denda tinggi atau menarik balik lesen perniagaan jikalau para peniaga engkar. Para pengguna harus dilindungi dan diberi keutamaan supaya mereka tidak dieksploitasi oleh peniaga.

Saya yakin langkah-langkah ini secara langsung dapat mengurangkan tekanan inflasi yang negara hadapi sekarang. Langkah-langkah ini juga akan membuktikan Kerajaan prihatin serta senantiasa berusaha mengurangkan bebanan dan masalah rakyat.

Weblog –
Ahli EXCO merangkap Pengerusi Biro Pendidikan
Pergerakan Pemuda UMNO Malaysia

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Race Relations

I was shocked and disturbed by the statement made by YB Dato’ Tan Lian Hoe, Deputy Minister of Information and Head of Women’s movement, Parti Gerakan. She said in effect the Malays, Chinese and Indians were all outsiders who came to Tanah Melayu to reside here. Quote from a newspaper – “Orang Melayu datang dari Kepulauan Melayu di Nusantara. Orang Cina dari negara China. Orang India dari negara India.” Unquote..

We can argue until the cows come home on this one. However, quoting Assoc. Prof. Datuk Zainal Abidin Borhan, back then, Malaysia (Tanah Melayu) was part of the Malay Archipelago in the first place. So the question of coming from a totally unknown place did not arise.

Flipping through history books, the widely accepted view is that the Malays and the Indigenous people are the Bumiputeras in Tanah Melayu and now Malaysia. All of us acknowledge that the Chinese and the Indians came from China and India in the early 1920s onwards, brought in by the British to toil the mines and estates then. However, let us not forget that in 1956, our forefathers, leaders then of various communities sat together and signed on a historic agreement. In effect, 1,000,000 new citizenships were given to the Chinese and Indians, whilst the Malays and Indigenous people, known as bumiputeras were given certain privileges to help them be at par with others.

Let us not forget also, amongst those prominent few who “fought” for the independence for Tanah Melayu included Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, Tun Abdul Razak, Tun Dr Ismail, Tun Tan Cheng Lok, Tun H S Lee, Tun V T Sambanthan and a lot more who played a role in their own way. By the way, it might be of interest to us that the first person to hold the identity card we have now was Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra with the number 0000001 . Just learned about this fact recently.

And now, after 51 years of independence, what we have in Malaysia is no more Ahmad from Kepulauan Nusantara, Ah Chong from China or Maniam from India. What we have now is Ahmad, Ah Chong and Maniam – all of them born and bred in Malaysia. In fact, if you ask Ahmad where til where Kepulauan Nusantara Melayu is, ask Ah Chong or Maniam about China and India being their homeland, I am very sure you will see only blank expressions on their faces!

Malaysia is extremely unique. We have Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Paganism, Bahaism, animal worshipping and so on in Malaysia. Some are even Agnostic. Race wise, we have Malay, Chinese, Indian, Benggali, Kadazan, Kadazan Dusun, Murut, Bidayuh, Iban, the Orang Asli, the Penans and I am told loads more especially in Sabah and Sarawak. We are even more unique than the US (the so-called melting pot of the world) and the UK. I would actually liken us to a bowl of Rojak. In Rojak, there are many fruits involved – pineapple, apple, cucumber, young papaya and what nots. Each has its own unique and distinctive taste. However, when put together, added with ‘kuah rojak’ these fruits whilst still maintaining the distinctive flavour, blend into a smorgasbord of taste which become very nice and tasteful. That is Malaysia, very diverse in terms of religious and cultural beliefs, but together we make Malaysia the very wonderful country we live in.

Guys, we are all Malaysians. Each and every religion, race and culture have a place in Malaysia. No one race can claim total supremacy over others in this great country of ours. No one race can live in isolation of another. In fact, I want to state that we need each other. Face facts!

Can you imagine what will happen to us as a nation and to Malaysia as a country if we cannot accept and live with each other? I shudder to think of the calamity and wreckage that would ensue if we were so intolerant of one another.

I hope all politicians (and this includes me!) will be very careful when they talk about race relations and other sensitive issues. We can discuss them but not until it hurts the feelings of our friends, colleagues, relatives or even families. After all they are whom are dearest to us and whom we care most for.

I hope Dato’ Tan Lian Hoe will apologise. What she has done can spark another round of ill-feelings on race relations as what had happened because of Datuk Ahmad Ismail’s ( Bukit Bendera UMNO chief ) remarks. If she does not apologise and explain herself, I hope Parti Gerakan will take a leaf from what happened to Datuk Ahmad Ismail. We cannot tolerate such insensitive and provocative remarks.

Me…… I want to learn about all the religious and cultural beliefs that Malaysia is so rich of. It does not hurt to know and will actually help me understand my friends more and the Malay, Chinese, Indian and Siamese folks back in my division. That is one way to help my division, my state and my country to develop and for me contribute towards nation building – by understanding and respecting all religious, racial and cultural practices that we have in Malaysia.

Malaysia is our one and only home for all of us.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

"Back to School" programme

It has been several days since I wrote / posted anything. However, I would like to say, I am encouraged and happy by the response I am getting from the “ Back to School” programme I started recently. Many people and NGOs have responded, not only for this particular programme, but to explore other initiatives that we can take on to help our children in education.

I will respond to all and discuss what we can do to help build our nation together. Again thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you. Keep it coming!

Friday, October 3, 2008

ISA at Open House

Hari Raya is a celebration for the Muslims who have gone through fasting for the whole month of Ramadhan. For families, especially Muslims, it is a time when families gather, when the younger ones who had migrated to the cities to work would go back to kampungs, bringing their children to meet the granddad, grandma and the rest of the family. In Malaysia, Hari Raya celebration becomes more joyous and unique, as would all other celebrations in Malaysia, as it is celebrated by all walks of life and by all races.

Malaysia is also unique because whether it is Hari Raya, Chinese New Year or Deepavali, we will host open houses where our families and friends from various races will come to visit and share these celebrations. I was happy that I could continue this tradition of hosting a small open house this year. And as in previous years, I was happy that friends from various races came to share my Raya celebrations. It was good as we laughed, talked, discussed (some relatively heavy issues) and parted feeling good and happy. On a personal note, some of my friends could not come to my house this year because of various engagements. To them, as promised, I thought of you guys each time I put a chicken kurma or beef rending into my mouth. Not to mention the nasi tomato or prawn sambal and so on – hahahaha ( Ed’s note -personal joke there).

I was also happy to learn that our Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and cabinet members also hosted an open house at PWTC. I was amazed when I heard approximately 200,000 people from all walks of life and of all races took the effort to celebrate Raya with our leaders. I was informed ambassadors, foreign dignitaries, foreign tourists also came for the open house as was the case in the previous years. In the news reports, many reacted extremely positive for the closeness we have between races in Malaysia and hoped that this unique tradition of all races celebrating all celebrations continue for years ahead.

This open house concept where you get to meet with the Prime Minister and the whole cabinet face to face, shake hands, take photos and so on is extremely unique. In fact I believe the only one in the whole world. Even in the US or UK you do not get to go so close to their President or Prime Minister or even their ministers and so on.

I have to say that I am actually proud of our people and the country for this.

But I was extremely sad when I heard about what the ISA group did. Whilst I can accept they were fighting for something they believe in, I thought what they did at the Raya open house was distasteful and left a poor image of the country to the public, foreign dignitaries, foreign tourists and international community.

I quote here from an entry in titled Hartal ISA at PWTC Hari Raya open house “Got to the meeting point at the Mall just before 11am and almost immediately realised that the plan to stand in a row at the entrance as the diplomats and dignitaries arrived would not work as we were informed that they would drive up straight to the 4th floor”.

Whilst I have no problems with people going for the raya open house and even whisper a thing or two to the PM, these people were out to create a ruckus and embarrass the nation in the eyes of the foreign diplomatic corp. Their initial plan was to stand in a row at the entrance where foreign dignitaries and diplomats were supposed to arrive and show a protest on the ISA and the arrest of RPK.

Reading further into the entry of the same blog, these people momentarily even blocked the entrance, denying other visitors from going in and also caused a loud commotion in the middle of the crowd.

Please guys, why do all these? Just to embarrass the PM ? Cabinet? …..Or the country? Whatever you did was counter productive.

In fact, from what I have read, the Hindraf supporters were much better behaved than the ISA group. They came in numbers but were orderly and just wanted to give PM a card without causing a problems. The message on the card is not the question here but they did it with decorum without creating public discomfort.

And the blog also said that all the members of the ISA group refused to shake hands with any other ministers that were jointly hosting the open house!!!! Do you guys know that it is courteous to shake hands with people you meet and more so with your hosts? This is not only the Malaysian way, but the norm and accepted decorum throughout the world.
I am extremely sad. I love my country. I am sure you do too, and you feel passionately about repealing the ISA. Whatever your reasons are, you have achieved only one thing with your antics – you have managed to shame the country in the eyes of the world.

The End Objective Cannot Justify the Means.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Selamat Hari Raya

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my friends and readers of my blog Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

May we take this opportunity to spend precious times with our family and loved ones. May we also take this opportunity to visit our family and friends.

To those who are travelling back to kampung or away for a holiday, I pray that your journey to and fro will be safe and joyful.

In our joy and happiness celebrating this wonderful occassion, let us also say a silent prayer to all our loved ones who have gone ahead of us, and that they shall always be in our hearts and thoughts.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri....from Ikmal, Soraya and family.

Temple Demolition in Ampang

I want to say something about the demolition of the Sri Maha Kaliamman temple in Kampung Tasek Ampang and the controversy that surrounds it.

I was so shocked and sad when I first learned about it. A friend of mine sent me a text message informing me of it. I actually did not believe it, and thought how stupid can the government be by actually allowing such incidents to happen again. This was actually one of the main issues or factors that actually worked totally against the BN, especially in Selangor when the temple in Shah Alam was demolished then.

I called some of my friends up who confirmed the incident. They were obviously mad about the whole issue and were disappointed that MPAJ and the Selangor State Government were responsible for the demolition. What happened to the promises by the PKR about protecting and upholding the rights of the Hindus (Makkal Sakhti) and of other faiths?

But what I would like to do here is take this opportunity to actually tell all my friends, especially Hindu friends how sad and sorry I am that this had happened again. I feel embarrassed, angry and sad that the people in this beautiful country of ours have to go through this problem once again. Even sadder when we, as a nation, are preparing to celebrate Hari Raya AidilFitri together.

We must respect all faiths that are being practiced throughout the world and in this country. Article 11 of our Constitution says and I quote “ Artikel 11 Perlembagaan Malaysia menyatakan bahawa Islam merupakan Agama rasmi Persekutuan. Sungguh pun begitu setiap orang berhak mempraktikkan agamanya sendiri.” – (googled it under Perlembagaan Malaysia).

Everyone has the right to practise whatever his belief and religion. That is enshrined in the Constitution. No person or persons, organisations or authority should have the right to demolish any places of worship for any religion without exhausting all avenues first. These avenues must also be spelled out clearly, so that everyone knows what needs to be done first before such demolition can actually take place.

I am sad when Dr Xavier, the Selangor State EXCO in charge alleged that the demolition was done because the temple (or shrine as he put it) was on State Forest Reserve land. He might be right, but he should have discussed it first and seek proper recourse and arrive to an amicable solution. We must understand the sensitivities and it is only right if there really is a need to demolish, it must be done amicably, after much discussion and consultation, with dignity and honour. After all, I trust that we Malaysians are a reasonable lot and open to rational discussions and views.

And as the EXCO in charge, it is unbecoming of him to answer that MPAJ did not inform him first. If that be the case, then he is no better than the infamous Dato Seri Syed Hamid Albar, who could not exert control over his portfolio. Dr Xavier must not answer like a bureaucrat. He must not hide behind rules. Politicians are entrusted by the Rakyat to make policies, and those policies which are not good for the country and rakyat – well that is why MPs, State Assemblymen and so on are called policy makers. To make or change policies for the good of the country and her Rakyat.

If there is a need for the proposed Race Relations Act - this is it. I am actually not totally in favour of the Race Relations Act as yet, because I do not need an Act to tell me how to treat my friends of various races and beliefs. But this might just swing it for me, if this proposed act will address problems, controversies and issues such as these for all faiths and religion.

I pray to god that such insensitive acts will not happen again in this great country of ours.

Monday, September 29, 2008

September 16 2008 - What It Really Means To Us

September 16 2008 – What it really means?

16 September 2008 came and left us. The date itself has a great significance for many. The most important throughout the years is the celebration for the formation of Malaysia on 16 September 1963, when PersekutuanTanah Melayu merged with Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore to be collectively known as Malaysia.

I agree with the calls from many groups and individuals for Malaysia to celebrate every 16 September as Hari Malaysia. It is a momentous moment for us apart from 31 August as our independence day. One date is when we become an identity of our own as a nation without having to answer to anyone and the other is when we became united to become our country as we know it now (minus Singapore).

This year, 16 September 2008 took an added significance. It was supposed to be the date when Pakatan Rakyat led by Anwar Ibrahim was to take over the Government. I can tell you that days, weeks and even months leading to this date, politicians from both sides of the divide could talk about nothing else but the supposed takeover on this date. Does Anwar have the numbers? Who are these MPs willing to jump over? How much was promised or what was promised in terms of positions for these ‘ frog’ MPs? – these were among the questions asked during those days.

Even on the eve of 16 September 2008, Anwar Ibrahim confidently said that he would take over the next day. Then 16 September 2008 came and 16 September 2008 left. I don’t have to tell you what happened or did not happen as we all know about it by now.

I spoke to many people on this matter– politicians (both sides), business folks, friends, the public in general. I was curious and did an unscientific survey, did they really buy Anwar’s claims of the change of Government? Did they really believe in Anwar Ibrahim to be the next prime minister? Did they believe that Anwar is the best person to lead the country? Are they still buying Anwar telling them to be patient and that the change is imminent?

Well, here are the answers:-
i. They do not love Anwar Ibrahim, in fact they don’t like him. However, they think he is a good politician - a good strategist.
ii. They don’t think Anwar Ibrahim should be the next prime minister. They believe he has over politicized everything and has lost the respect of many in and outside Malaysia.
iii. They don’t think Anwar Ibrahim is the best person to lead Malaysia.
iv. And it is not that they are buying into Anwar’s claim that change is imminent and for them to be patient, but they are hoping for a change because they are fearful what they see in front of them now and what the future holds for them if it continues as it is. And because of that, they are willing for a change in leadership.
v. And they are not confident BN can change in order to change the country’s fortunes.

So, what does it really mean? They don’t like Anwar Ibrahim and don’t think he is the best person to lead Malaysia. Yet, they are ready, prepared and want a change in leadership.

The date right now is known to be an Anwar Ibrahim hoax. A 916 sandiwara by the man. PAS and DAP and the whole nation got duped by Anwar Ibrahim. Now, as much as I agree with that, we should step back, analyse deeper into the issue and ask ourselves “ Why were so many people, including the normal rakyat who are not politically inclined were more than willing to believe Anwar Ibrahim that a change in leadership is imminent?” and “Why is it so many people are ready, prepared and yearning for a change in leadership” even when they do not believe in Anwar.

The answer lies in us – UMNO, MCA, MIC, Gerakan and all other component parties in BN, especially the first four. We are actually to be blamed for the rakyat’s loss of confidence in the Government as the Government is us. We are the ones responsible for them not being confident that we can lead and change the country’s fortunes.

We have not given any reason for them to start believing in us again! It is not that PAS and DAP are doing a great job in managing Pulau Pinang and Perak. The situation is worse in Kedah where nothing seems to be moving. And Pakatan Rakyat led by PKR is doing a poor job in Selangor, especially bungling on issues like the demolition of the Sri Maha Kaliamman temple in Kampung Tasik, Ampang for example.

But how can the Rakyat turn to us for protection and hope, if we, the BN, do not give them any reason to believe we have changed and we can do it!

I believe it is not that they want Anwar Ibrahim. He just happens to be there and has managed to convince a lot of people that he is a good alternative. But the Rakyat wants someone whom they can trust and have confidence in to lead them and to bring the country forward. And the Rakyat wants to believe in the group we call ministers and deputy ministers to chart the fortunes of the country and the Rakyat's fortunes.

I hope this proposed leadership transition from Pak Lah to Najib will happen and bring about real and clear changes. And these changes must not be initiated by Najib alone, but must also be embraced by everyone from the top leadership right down to the ordinary member on the ground. It must be done, seen and felt in all component parties in BN.

Then we will win back the Rakyat’s confidence and trust in us.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Liar ! Liar ! Pants on Fire !!!!!

I read with great interest today in Utusan Malaysia today (Front page, right column) that reported Parti KeAdilan Rakyat man , Fairul Azrim Ismail (30), admitting to have had sex with a working girl from China, but yet claiming he was set-up…… into having sex??!!!! He claimed that Badan Pencegah Rasuah (our ACA) set him up to have sex with the girl.

Now I don’t claim to be all good and this article is not meant to be the ‘holier than thou’ type. But to claim he was set up into having sex? Plain stupid!!!!

Fairul, you were probably not thinking straight or were thinking not using your big head when you wanted to have sex, or when you were having sex. And now you are again showing you are not thinking using your big head by saying you were set-up into having sex. You either wanted it and went for it or you could have refused it even when offered to you. It all depends on you and what you want. I doubt you were forced into having sex with that lady!

Stop lying and making up stories, then taking the easiest route by blaming the Government for everything, including your ‘libido issues’. Step up. And don’t forget, in Kedah, Penang, Perak, Selangor and Kelantan, Pakatan Rakyat is the Government.

Same thing happened (though of a different nature) when I read in the papers yesterday and today about Tian Chua’s statement that” Pakatan Rakyat representatives had a couple of meetings with the prime minister’s aides.” He further claimed that initial feedback was positive.

Next thing I know, in other papers and even Malaysiakini, Anwar Ibrahim himself in Kelantan denied that such meetings ever took place. Now - Which is which ????? Do we believe the Advisor to the party or the Information Head who is also one of the party’s spokesperson and a main player in Pakatan Rakyat?

Stop making up stories. Stop making wild and incredulous claims. Stop confusing the Rakyat!!!!

I am glad to see that other opposition parties like PAS and DAP are not going down the same path of making wild and crazy claims.

I have to admit I have greater respect for PAS and DAP as political parties. They seem not to be too involved and not too desperate in the whole leadership transition saga. And for Haji Hadi to stick to his principles about the party’s struggles and aims rather than sacrificing that for power if such a takeover were to happen, shows that he is a principled man for his struggles and not give in to his lust for power.

I would have to say the same for DAP. They are more concerned about their fight against ISA rather than being involved in totally incredulous story making and such nonsense by PKR. As Lim Guan Eng said “Let Anwar Do The Talking”, further saying that they had agreed that it is best left to Anwar to do what he wants. In other words, actually distancing themselves for a potential major fall and embarrassment should Anwar’s claim prove to be unfounded.

At the end of it all, I am so sick and tired of all these charades and political games they play. I just wish everyone would get on and just do the work we the Rakyat have entrusted them with. Be it the BN or PR, please start being the best and most credible Government and opposition we have ever had.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

ISA Arrests

I am happy that Teresa Kok has been released. Initially, when she was detained under the ISA for her involvement in the Azan issue, I felt it was justified as the Azan issue was and still is an extremely sensitive issue. It could get many Muslims angry and riled up. It is seditious in nature and would have caused many problems, especially when race relations are so fragile now.

But now that things are much clearer, I am surprised and in fact appalled by the whole exercise. At least based on initial reports today, I am made to understand that Teresa Kok was detained under the ISA only to be questioned and investigated along with to ascertain her involvement in several issues like the Azan issue and others.

It is my belief that the ISA should only be used in extremely serious circumstances, amongst which are those affecting national security and harmony. The ISA Act is also a preventive act in nature ie to prevent the individual or individuals from causing harm or affecting national security and harmony. But it is not to be used when only to investigate or just on suspicion! It should only be used when you have totally clear and absolute proof of the matter.

Dato Seri Syed Hamid looks pretty stupid now for authorising the use of ISA. As the minister in charge, he did not utilise his wisdom and ultimate authority to sanction or overrule the suggestions made to him. Again I say, he has made a mockery of the ISA Act by authorising its use on this particular manner. Cases such as this and that of Ms Tan (Sin Chew Daily reporter)are why some quarters are calling for a repeal or review of the ISA.

The ISA Act is still relevant and needed for its proper use ie national security and harmony and as a preventive action when there is absolute proof. However, we need to ensure that abuses such as that committed by Dato Seri Syed Hamid do not happen again.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cuti-cuti Malaysia....Nak Cuti Lagi???

I was reading the STAR (18 September 2008) and came across this report on page N18 - Govt Staff Seek Salary Advance, Extra Holiday.

It was reported that Cuepacs president sent a letter to the Chief Secretary (KSN) asking for salaries to be paid a few days earlier so that they would have money for Raya celebrations and the holiday. It was also reported he further requested for October 3 2008 to be a holiday so that civil servants can enjoy a longer break.

Now, I can understand the request for advance payment. In fact I would like to suggest that these advance payments are made not only for Hari Raya Aidilfiti but also for Chinese New Year, Deepavali and whatever else major religious celebrations.

But to ask for a day off??!! Just so that they can enjoy a longer break? To be honest and direct about it, I am appalled and totally disappointed with Omar Osman (Cuepacs President) and I assume the committee for requesting it. Have we not way too many holidays already as it is. In all fairness, if we were to calculate properly and taking out the weekends, national and state holidays including Hari Raya, Chinese new Year, Deepavali, Agong's birthday, Merdeka and what nots, we are probably officially working about 220 days to 240 days out of 365 days a year. Don't forget the annual leave (some 14 days others more or less), medical leave (if any), we are probably looking at about 200 days +- a few days in a year that we are actually working.

I sincerely hope Omar Osman's and his committee's views are not shared by the majority of the civil service. We need more effective working hours, more effective working days for Malaysia, not less. How do you want to develop Malaysia if we have civil servants more concerned about holidays and leaving the office right on the dot rather than being concerned with finishing their work.

I want to put in my personal experience though, which I find very gratifying. I have interacted closely due to my nature of work and political involvement with several ministries, amongst which are Education (MOE), Higher Education (MOHE) and Agriculture (MOA). I find the officers there very committed to work and do not care about leaving on the dot. I know of officers who work til late, way after the normal office hours and those who even go in during weekends and holidays just to finish their work properly. To these officers and I know for a fact there are many of them, I salute you and pray that God will reward you.

This is what the country needs. Commitment and dedication, perseverance and a will to succeed individually and collectively as a nation, for the nation.

To Omar Osman and his committee ie those who want this extra day off - just go apply using your annual leave allocation. As the malay saying goes ' (Jangan)kerana nila setitik, habis rosak susu sebelanga'.

I leave you for today with an article from YABhg Tun Dr Mahathir from his blog on this matter titled Cuti-Cuti Malaysia....

Cuti-Cuti Malaysia

1. There are only 365 days in a year. Take away 104 days of Saturdays and Sundays weekends and we have left 261 working days. But Malaysia is multi-religious and we must not work during Raya, Chinese New Year and Deepavali. But we must also not work on Wesak Day, Taipusam, Christmas, New Year, Federal Territory Day, various Muslim holy days and I do not know what else.

2. But we must not work on by-election polling day also. Then there is the Agong's Birthday and the birthdays of all the Sultans and Governors.

3. We seem to find more reason for not working. If the holiday falls on a weekend, then have a long vacation beginning the day before Saturday and the day after Sunday - four days in all.

4. I love all these. Kuala Lumpur is cleaner when people leave the city for balik kampong on Raya and Chinese New Year. It is exhilarating to drive on streets which are almost deserted.

5. But I ask myself are people like me, a pensioner being paid and not working? Or is the country on automatic - administering itself? Or is it that there really is not much work to do that we can close up for one-third of the year?

6. We are still a developing country. Developing requires work. Rich developed countries can afford not to work. August holidays see the cities like Paris and London bereft of traffic.

7. I believe, but I may be wrong, that when you are trying to catch up with someone running ahead of you, you must run faster than him. We have this great ambition to become a developed country. If we move slower than our objective can we catch up? I think we cannot.

8. A developed country today and a developed country in 2020 is not the same. In 2020 it will be far more advanced and richer than in 2008. The developed status is not static. It is moving.

9. Even if it seem to be growing slowly percentage-wise, but its one percent is bigger than our 5 or 6 percent. Our base is lower. To catch up we must really grow faster.

10. Can we grow faster by not working? I think not.

11. Lets look at the implication of having holidays. If workers have to work on holidays they have to be paid twice their daily wage. If they work beyond working hours they have to be paid four times their wages. And many industries just cannot stop operating.

12. All these add up to higher cost of production and therefore we will be less competitive. For a trading nation which depends on exporting goods, raw material and services, the cost of our exports is important. We will not be competitive especially against low-wage countries. But not to worry. The Government will make us competitive by withdrawing subsidies and giving them back again under different headings in the budget or off-budget.

13. Its a bit early but I would like to wish everyone Happy Hari Raya. Please drive slowly. We want you to come back after a very relaxing 4 - 5 days holiday. Do not worry about unfinished work. It can take care of itself.

P.S. I think the Government and the private sector should consider retreats. It's not a holiday of course but comes very close to a holiday. Besides you can become a savvy agriculturist.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Let's Get On With It

It has been an interesting last 24 hours in Malaysia. The whole nation was gripped and actually still is, with the whole Anwar Ibrahim changing of government saga. Politicians from both sides are sweating over it – Pakatan Rakyat MPs smacking their lips and smiling cheek to cheek waiting for the supposed change, and of course imagining whatever spoils and positions they might be able to get their hands on once in power. BN MPs and Cabinet members, sweating and wondering if they would have to soon leave their offices, ministries and suddenly learn to live on the other side of the world. Lest us not forget the main players in this whole game, and in all fairness I would call it a game because that is how Anwar Ibrahim is playing it.

Pak Lah, Najib, Anwar – currently all playing it cool and steadfast in their own beliefs over the whole saga.

Oh yeah, I wonder who will be Anwar Ibrahim’s Deputy if he comes in power – Lim Kit Siang? Karpal Singh? Husam Musa? Or who?

It is easy for Anwar Ibrahim and gang to claim so many things, including supposedly having more than 31 BN MPs ready and committed to hop over to Pakatan Rakyat. Then the next claim says that he has not only MPs but also Ministers and Deputy Ministers in this team. On this note, I want to digress a little. If there are Ministers and Deputy Ministers willing to hop over, that means they are unhappy with what they have right now and will only be willing to do so if they are given betters deals, maybe in terms of money or much better and senior positions in the cabinet. So, to all you wannabe Ministers / Deputy Ministers from Pakatan Rakyat who have stuck it with him through thick and thin and supposedly am willing to do practically anything for him, forget it! Positions, especially the juicy ones are already filled by these so called frog MPs.

But what I really want to see is the end of all these games. I am seriously sick and tired of all these claims, lies, half truths and what nots that have been going on, especially since 8 March 2008. All these crap that have been happening since then have really screwed our country up, economically, politically and torn into the very fabric of our society.

What Anwar and gang have been doing the last couple of months along with the fact that BN folks actually dancing to his tune have done no favours for the country and society. No concrete and positive developments have taken place the last few months. The country seems to have stagnated in terms of economic / business development. We have actually gone backwards in terms of racial harmony and integration. Everyone is so jittery and I bet no one feels settled right now.

It is time for all these drama to end. Anwar Ibrahim – stop grandstanding. If you have the 31 MPs you have been shouting whole day yesterday, then name them and get on with it. Prove to the world that you really have them. You seem so scared that something might happen to them if you name them. Well, you have been so clever all these while in your political strategies, I am sure you can ensure that all these people will remain committed to you until the end process and not change their minds halfway. Stop giving excuses or shifting goalposts and just get on with it.

Should you not do it in the very immediate future, then you would lose all credibility and people would not believe you anymore. Also, stop dreaming about it and be a good opposition.

BN members of cabinet, stop dancing to his tune and start being the Government – govern the country, develop the country and let’s make this country better than where we are.

The people have voted BN in, albeit with a lesson to be learned. Understand and learn that lesson and be the Government the rakyat wants. The people have also given the opposition a bigger mandate than 2004 to be hopefully a good and credible opposition. So Pakatan Rakyat have to be just that ie what the rakyat wants, which is a good and credible opposition.

So let’s get on with it, roll up our sleeves and get to work on this country for all of us, our children, grandchildren and all.

Monday, September 15, 2008

ISA Arrests on September 13 2008

I would like to comment on the recent arrest of three individuals under the ISA Act. In principle, I agree that Raja Petra Kamarudin and Teresa Kok should be arrested under this Act as what they had allegedly said or written were seditious in nature. They also have the means and are capable to continue saying or doing such acts that are seditious and potentially harm the country and the people.

However, I fail to understand the whole process of the arrest under the ISA Act and subsequent release of Tan Hoon Cheng, the reporter from Sin Chew Daily. The reason given by Dato Seri Syed Hamid Albar, the Minister in charge, that the arrest was done to protect her is unjustifiable. In the first place, you do not arrest someone especially under the ISA just to protect that person from a potential danger. Then, even if she were in danger and the arrest was done to protect her, what circumstances or factors have changed in the last 24 hours that had made that threat go away and warranted her release ? I would also like to state that this individual reported based on her perception of the matter, rightly or wrongly perceived. The argument if it were right or wrong or whether that was responsible reporting should be dealt through another channel and not in any way by using the ISA Act. As a reporter, she reports how she sees it, and does not have the potential other than through her reporting to cause further harm and damage on this matter to the country and the people, unlike Raja Petra or Teresa kok.

In addition, I would like to comment on Dato Seri Syed Hamid's statement as reported in the newspapers on Sunday, 14 September 2008. Dato Seri said he was informed on Friday of the impending arrests and did not want to interfere with it. He also said as the minister (in charge), he did not want to interfere with the administration of enforcement (STAR, 14 September 2008). I would like to think that as the minister in charge and head of that ministry, he is duty bound, especially in major and sensitive cases such as invoking the ISA Act, to use his judgment and make the correct decision.

Invoking the ISA is a very serious matter and should only be used as a last resort. One must already exhaust all other means and avenues before using the ISA. The ISA should also be used sparingly in only very serious and severe circumstances. The arrest of Tan Hoon Cheng under ISA and her subsequent release a day later and especially the reason given by Dato Seri Syed Hamid makes a mockery of the ISA Act. Such actions and justifications by the Minister in charge are what make people question the ISA and its usage although in nature this Act is essential to the country.