Lost in KLIA


(KLIA is no doubt huge but it is not difficult to find the way around. Image source: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/)

Picked this gem up from Rocky Bru:-

Kenapa tak ada ground staff KLIA yang jaga untuk memberi arahan! Bodoh babi betul. Buat malu negara. Ada airport cantik tetapi planning macam kat kampung zaman P.Ramlee.  Satu hari kamu semua datang ke Changi, saya tunjukkan di setiap cerok di mana penumpang mungkin confuse, ada budak perempuan atau jantan muda berdiri untuk memberi arahan.

(Roughly translated: Why there is no ground crew at KLIA to guide the newly arrived passengers? It is a shame. We have a beautiful airport but the planning sucks big time! Come to Changi (airport) one day and I will show you where at every place where passengers may get confuse, there is always someone to give the right direction)

If you read the whole story by brother Reme, you will understand also why he is pissed off with MAS. Sometimes I wonder whether we have installed the culture of customer care into our daily business dealings. Hopefully MAS will take note of the complaint and will make the necessary changes so that quality of customer service improves. After all, MAS is also our national identity who is also an award winning airline and we are proud of it.

But what catches me is his complaint on KLIA for which an anonymous commenter replies:-

Errr…bukan ke bila kita keluar dari plane ada sign board tunjuk mana immigration / baggage collection. Seingat saya ada gambar train kan on the signboard. So I think it’s pretty straightforward in klia. and why do we need ground staff standing at corners?

Its enough to have a few information counters spread across the airport for those people who can’t read signboards and who don’t bother to do some research on their place of destination. My take is that if you are too stupid to read signboards, you should not be allowed to fly and use airports, let alone go for international travel.

Yes Changi is efficient but based on my travelling experience (and I have travelled quite a bit), KLIA is much better than many airports in capital cities.

I have been travelling quite often over the last 6 – 7 years and let me tell you that KLIA at times can get very confusing for first time travellers (but KLIA is not the only airport that has the problem – even the famous Dubai airport faired even worse). It’s true that by 11 at night, KLIA becomes almost like a ghost town – very few airport staff are seen around and even if you see one, it is most of the time are the foreign cleaners. I usually take the 2 am flight to Dubai, so, you can imagine how KLIA would look like at that hour.

But the thing is it is not that difficult to make your way to the right path leading to the immigration and the luggage claim areas (not only in KLIA). All you need to do is:-

1. Do your homework before you travel.

For those who are planning to travel and may be to arrive in an airport that you are not familiar with, the least you could do is to do some research on it before you arrive.

KLIA is not situated in some 3rd world country and certainly it is not an obscure airport. It has a well defined webpage dedicating to the information and layout of the airport (it even have an interactive map – here). Get to know where the immigration counters, the luggage claim areas are and where to get the taxis and so on UPFRONT before you land. This is because once you have arrived, you are going to be tired, hungry and sleepy and the last thing you need is to be standing like a fool, not knowing where to go and what to do (like the Indian family in bro Reme’s story).

When Bangkok opened its new international airport (the beautiful Suvarnabhumi Airport) and we had to travel to Bangkok, one of the first we did was to do research on the net. Thankfully the airport had a good dedicated webpage and it was good to see where to move around. So, when we arrived, despite the chaos (of a newly opened airport), we simply breezed through and was in our hotel rooms without much delays.

2. Read the signs

KLIA to be fair – is well equipped with proper signs and notices. Unless you do not understand English (which is a big mistake when travelling to this part of the world and I have met people who speak NIL English, flying half way around the world), the signs is more than enough to guide you through. You may get lost momentarily but you will get in just all right.

In most of the airports I have been to, signboards in English are pretty standard and sometimes these signboards comes with pictures or logos to further assist. Even in war torn Kabul, the run down, chaotically managed, high security, suicide bomber’s favourite airport have signboards in English.

3. Ask around

When everything fails – ask someone. It can be your fellow passengers (who may have done their homework or who may have used the airport before), ground crew or the shop assistants at the duty free shops (I have seen even the foreign cleaners showing lost passengers the right way to go). In my recent flight, I noticed more airport staffs were stationed at “strategic” places but it means nothing if the lost passengers don’t open their mouth and ask.

3 simple rules and you will hardly have any problem navigating your way in any airport anywhere in the world. KLIA for an example is an award winning airport and had many good reviews from its customers and although it may not be the best airports around (as claimed by some), it can stand on its own when it comes to comfort and quality (the usually complaints is on the lack of shops). What is needed is some action from the passengers to make their trip less hassle and it is not a difficult thing to do.

Read Also

Things you hate to see in a flight


Will he change too?

The man with many words befitting his role on information & communications…

(“Trust meeeee…..who needs the Internet? It is a Western tool to erode our culture and way of our life.  I know this, I am in charge of information and communications….old school! Image source: http://orangminyak.wordpress.com)

Recently, the Minister in charge of “information, communications and culture” said:-

Readers will most likely shift to the Internet for news if the traditional media continues with its old style of presenting news based on what the editors feel that people should read, or using the media as a propaganda tool (perhaps Rais was referring to this).

This was because the Internet allowed the people to read what they wanted to read. The Internet has created a new phenomenon of change all over the world.

Hmmn, that looks too obvious that the speech was scripted by someone else especially when the key word here is “new phenomenon of change”

Because this is the very same guy who said:-

Muslims and other religious groups must be wary of the Internet as it was introduced by the West. Users must not be influenced by what they see and hear when using the Internet. The Malaysian government has warned against excessive use of micro-blogging sites like Facebook and Twitter, arguing that they could erode the country’s culture

And earlier contemplated this:-

Despite a guarantee of no censorship in Malaysia’s Multimedia Super Corridor, Datuk Seri Rais Yatim’s ministry is evaluating the feasibility of putting an Internet filter blocking “undesirable websites” — similar to China’s aborted “Green Dam” software. The study is to be completed by this December and the results will be handed to a shadowy unit monitoring blogs and websites.

And who, much earlier, said that:-

The idea is good (for bloggers in Malaysia to be registered) but we have to see it from the legal aspects and from the aspect of freedom of Internet use.

What is the real role of the Information, Communications & Culture Ministry when it comes to the Internet? Is to closely monitor of Malaysians using the Internet and curtail them whenever it comes to Malaysians using the Internet to critise or highlighting the wrongdoing of the Government? Or is it to facilitate the wider usage of the Internet in a more productive and effective ways so that the nation will make progress in areas of information and communications?

As the Ministry that holds the power of information and communications at its hands, the Ministry should be one of the most progressive ministries in the whole of the Government. It is the one ministry that can have much positive impact on other area of the Government namely Education, Science and Technology (that is obvious), Finance and Commerce (everything runs on information technology these days) and Human Resource (are our people being readied for the online information age?)

What is then the vision and mission of the ministry?

Interestingly a ministry which is in charge of ‘information and communications’ does not even have an entry in the famous Wikipedia unlike it’s counterpart from the South (wondering just how embraced are the people in the Ministry to the internet. Or are they seeing Wikipedia in the same threatening manner of Twitter and Facebook?)

Anyway from their own website, the vision of the ministry is:-

To spearhead the creation of a nation state grounded on the ideals of 1Malaysia and Rukun Negara, through information, communication and culture

That does not sound right, doesn’t it? I sorry to say this but the vision itself does not sound too progressive (“grounded” on the ideals of 1Malaysia which yet to be seen it’s effectiveness and Rukun Negara which principles whilst ideals at times has been rarely upheld by Malaysian Politicians)

Just look on how the Minister in charge of communications behaves himself in front of the world when it comes to the Internet. There seems to be much dislike and fear – the internet is not about one person or one country but it is about a global community and almost endless load of information to be discovered and made use of.

As in many things, there are bad and good things in the internet but ultimately it boils down to how we are going to engage the overwhelming information on the internet and what we going to use them to better ourselves and the country as whole.

As Facebook user said (to the Minister’s warning on Twitter and Facebook):-

The West did not give you your will power. “If an individual cannot control what they (sic) take in, something must be wrong with him or her.”

The INTERNET in the words of the politician is indeed a “new phenomenon of change”. But it remains a distant phenomenon if nothing is done to embrace and grow with it. It remains meaningless if despite knowing the benefits and the potentials, attitude towards it is not change from a fearful one to a more positive one.

Read Also

Oh Really, Rais?

Missed Information on H1N1

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(MP Zul in thick of action when Bar Council held interfaith discussion in 2008. Image source: http://just-mythots.blogspot.com)

A rather unbelievable Q&A, in UMNO controlled NST, from PKR’s Zulkifli Noordin – the MP for Kulim Bandar Bharu.

So they needed a candidate and (Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim called me up, asking me to contest. I was not even a party member then and we expected to lose. But Anwar gave me money and I went there campaigning, just days before the nomination day. But I won with a 8,000-strong majority.

So here we have an unwilling politicians who was thrust-ed to limelight without choice and thus a sack now from the political party would mean that things will be back to status quo

But sometimes there are events which are not within our control that supersede the programmes, like the issue of the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims. It is beyond our expectations and had forced us to take a stand. And that stand has caused political repercussions.

It is wrong for the YB to generalise that ALL non Muslims are happy to be using the word ‘Allah’ and thus justifies the MP to turn it into a ‘Muslim vs Non Muslim’ stand. Mind you that not all non Muslims out there want to use the word ‘Allah’ as we recognise that it is used in Islam and not in our religion.  The majority of them will not use it. The MP therefore should have taken ‘his’ fight against the people who been fighting to use the word ‘Allah’ – a publication that has barely 14,000 copies in circulation.

As to whether the Herald has the right to use the word ‘Allah’ or not, this has been well deliberated by both parties (the Herald and the Government) and decided in the court of law. If so, why can’t the MP wait for the Government’s appeal on the matter? Isn’t the very act of defying the court’s decision itself is contempt of court or at the very least, undermining the court’s decisions?

Their agenda is revolution. In the sense they are changing the very fundamental pillars of the society, like making Islam and other religions equal. The special privileges of the Malays (which are) enshrined in the Federal Constitution, I think they will take it off.

The MP is not only jumping the gun with his wild (and dangerous) assumptions but he is also telling something that will not happen – the disposition of Islam as the main religion in the country and removal of special privileges of the Malays (which will only happen if the Malays themselves decides it so to happen).

The MP is using the court’s decision to allow the use of the word ‘Allah’ by a small minority in this country as a definite attack on the Islam and Malay Rights. If that is not sedition, then I do not know what else it can be. The Herald, to be fair, had never contested the rightful place of Islam and Malay rights in this country, then why does the misguided MP claim it to be otherwise. Can the MP get his facts rights before opening his mouth in public?

I am against it because that (the Constitution) is the pillar of the country.

If the MP truly believes in the Constitution, he will recognise that there is a rule of law in this country and he has to go through the right channels. He can have his say on what he thinks on the issue of the ‘Allah’ but he has not right whatsoever to turn the simple, straightforward issue into something that is not, namely the removal of special privileges of the Malays and the position of Islam.

It is another way of turning Malaysia into a Chinese country. It is a chauvinistic approach and that is what they are doing in Penang anyway. Silently and quietly, they are turning it into another Hong Kong.

The MP may not agree with what DAP is doing but for the sake of keeping the Pakatan Rakyat together, he should either keep silent with his views (since the other members in PKR & PAS are keeping quiet too) or he should just quit (to show that he will not stand around and keep up with the DAP).

By the way, on the Middle Malaysia – since he is not from DAP and was in no way involved in the formulation of the “middle Malaysia” concept, perhaps he should read this first. Why he is too worried about it?

Exactly. I think there are certain elements in Pas who are too engrossed with political achievements that they overlook their fundamental struggle of Islam.

PAS over the years is coming to the limelight in a rather interesting way – they are fighting the case for way of life via an Islamic ways but at the same time, are not too extreme to understand that there many non Muslims living in this country and not all of them agree to live in a strict Islamic lifestyle. They do have their rights enshrined in the Constitutions and this is something PAS have long recognised.

The slogan “PAS untuk semua’ (PAS for all) is not hearsay or wasteful as the slogans such as ‘don’t work for me but work with me’ but it is something more fluid and meaningful in recent years. PAS have long matured.

Unless they come back to their fundamental struggle, I think Pas will be fading out very soon.

Coming from a guy who is too extremists in his views, it will be good if PAS does not take heed of this misguided suggestion. PAS politicians such as MP Khalid Samad is really showing how a moderate views work the best for all Malaysians

But from the macro point of view, for the good of the country, I think it is time for all political parties in Pakatan and Barisan Nasional to sit down and talk. We cannot afford all the bickering during these times of serious economic, security and political crises.

I agree with the MP on this but what about BN? It looks like BN have not really accepted their defects in the last general election. Why then, the on-going covert operations to wrestle back the state of Selangor? They already did the same in Perak and turn the whole state in chaos. If BN accepts their defect without any hard feelings and in respect of the people’s decision, I truly believe that the Government can get down to doing real work. If BN can do that, I am pretty sure the people in PR can do the same.

That is why at this stage, it is better for Pas, PKR and Umno to sit together because we are the main players, the rest are just fringe parties. We must sit down and chart a new dimension for Malaysia, we can make a change and we should, before it is too late.

In other words, are we talking about the Malay unity and screw the rest policy? When will any politicians come to an understanding that at first for things to move forward, Malaysia itself must be united? Charting a new dimension for Malaysia will not work if the minorities are maintained as minorities and understanding  among all Malaysians are not well fostered. Just talks with 2- 3 “main players” won’t do.

But the breaking point was when he said the Non-Muslims Enactment in Selangor was outdated and the Malays were not wise enough then. That is too much. It is insulting.

I guess there is always 2 sides to the story – read MP Khalid Samad’s take on this

So if it is fated that I have to leave Pakatan, I have no regrets at all. I have never dreamt of becoming Yang Berhormat, MP or even a minister. I believe the ‘rezeki’ is with Allah and I’ll survive anyway. But if they decide it is time for me to go, I’ll go. But it does not mean I will quit as politician or MP. Let the people decide at the next general election.

Another potential MP to the BN’s stable. It looks like it, it sound like it but will it be so in reality? If the MP believes that being in PKR is holding him back from being more vocal and determined, then it will be best if he resigns from PKR. I am sure that other than perhaps Anwar, no one is holding him back.

Quite a number of PKR MPs and assemblymen are not the type to say things openly, but when they make a decision, you will be surprised.

PKR since the last general election have been known to have trouble managing it’s politicians as compared to PAS & DAP. 2 PKR frogs was all that was needed to throw the state of Perak into chaos. Perhaps this is just what Anwar needed in order to do a massive house cleaning and get fresh blood into PKR and ultimately PR before the next general election.

Read Also

Bar Council Forum: The Aftermath

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Strange Case of Zulkifli Noordin

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Project: Car

(I wish Chip Foose was working on my car – the man does ‘magic’ with his hands. Image source: Autoblog)

Remember I mentioned about doing projects? I have started on some of them – managed to complete one (Project: Garden), started but put on hold (Project: Art and Project: Charity). Certainly it would not be the end of things provided there is time and money in future.

There is one project that I wish to start and very well complete – at least to the specifications that I have been toying in mind for the last 3 years. And that project is the upgrade project for my car.

My car has gotten really old over the years (anything nearing 10 years can be considered very old) and the next rightful step would be to look out for a new car. My 1.3 under-powered, manual geared, no EFi, no ABS, no airbags, rattling sound all over the place, worn out seats, car have become quite obsolete and it really, really shows when the car is very full with occupants and being driven uphill.

Immediately looking over Paul Tan’s site, several options immediately comes to my mind – perhaps the new Kia Forte or the sleek BMW 3 series or to wait for new Ford Focus or scale down and wait for the new “to be released” Proton Persona (just kidding! Proton may have great cars now but one time experience with them is more than enough to last me another lifetime).

But hard cold cash for a new car is hard to get these days, especially when the Government is talking about taking away the petrol subsidy for car with 2,000 cc and above. If there is no cash, one can always take a car loan but why bother getting unnecessary debt when the old car can still get you from A to B.

So, the next option would be to ‘restore’ my existing old car back to showroom condition, at least where power and riding is concerned. The car still has the power to outrun any new cars out there, at least to some extent from the starting line. Paint job still spotless in most part on the car and normal “every 8,000 km” maintenance is dirt cheap.

(The pain in the neck for the last few years – faulty bearing, hub and suspension)

With extra cash saved from another venture and one of cousins having a car workshop (which relates to “no-cheating” mechanics and less careless finishes), it’s time to execute on the upgrade / repair exercise.

The list of things that my cousin and I went through after his mechanics went through my car over the weekend was (in no particular order to fix / upgrade):-

  • To repair the dent and repaint on my 2 doors (it has been sometime since I got this but I have not gotten the time to repair it)
  • To change some parts on my front suspension (most of the rubbers have worn out, not surprisingly)
  • To change the leaking rear shock absorbers
  • To replace some of the interior plastics which has become brittle due to Malaysian heat (duh Proton!)
  • To check and change the cabin light circuits that has been short-circuiting my fuses (discovered by my son when he played with the cabin lights)
  • To change the whole rear axle and replace the drum rear brakes to disc rear brakes (A very big change here but I had enough of faulty hubs and bearings which has been a problem since I first changed the original faulty hub)
  • To change the lock gun for one of my doors (it jams up all the time)
  • To change the small cover on tire rims (one is missing and shops don’t sell just one. So, need to order a set of 4)
  • To change the headlight plastic to high durable glass (to get back the original “clear” look)
  • To change the worn out seat covers (thinking of getting the same type that I been using till now – the synthetic seat cover. It lasted me almost 7 years without much problem)
  • To change the CD player to a MP3 player with USB connection (I might be late on this but since I am changing a lot of things on the car, might as well upgrade the in car entertainment system)

The car is going to feel better after this – performance and safety wise. A short breather before the car gets really, really old for any upgrades – then it will the right time to change the car.

To continued…

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On Break

(Good thing I brought tripod for the camera – sunset by the seaside is simply too beautiful to be missed – higher resolution here)

It has been a relaxing weekend for me and the family – a quick trip to sea side resort, good food and revival of upgrade work for my car (major works on this have been planned and hope to complete in 1 month time) before finishing my short break in Malaysia and fly again.

Blogging will take a rest too – now that I have installed couple of new games in my laptop, I am itching to click on the game icon rather than on the blog icon.

Home Calling!

Another case of “no action, talk only”…

(Acknowledging that there is a brain drain is one thing BUT taking the right steps to stop them is a whole different ball game. Can the Government do it? Image source: http://www.teara.govt.nz/)

Politicians can come out with the best of best statements but in reality, they do not make the right effort to make such statements into a reality. On worse case scenario, they come up with policies which make their statements ending up as nothing but a fart in the wind.

Read this statement from theStar:-

Malaysia has urged its “best brains” working abroad to return home and help drive the country’s new economic model.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said more talented people were required for the country’s new approach that would be launched next month. Muhyiddin hoped that Malaysians abroad who were trained and experienced could come home and serve the country. He said people sometimes looked at the issue of brain drain the other way around, that “we’ve got brains to export”.

“In a sense, you can’t control people (from working overseas). But we do recognise that we need brains for development,” he added. “We need people capable of running the country as we don’t want foreigners to come in and tell us what to do.”

What does our DPM is thinking? Just because he asked for the ‘best brains’ to come back, the ‘best brains’ will drop everything and return home with an open arms?

First of all, has the Government determined why best of best Malaysians pack their things and work in overseas? To their credit, the brilliant people in the Government knows the details but whether the Government has the will power to make the necessary changes to its policies and manner of nation building has been another question.

Read this story posted almost 6 years ago:-

Renewed efforts to lure home Malaysian scientists currently working overseas were announced by the country’s prime minister last week in a fresh attempt to reverse the country’s brain drain.

The proposed perks include better pay, improved contracts and earlier retirement, as well as increased investments in research and development.

Speaking during a visit to the United Kingdom, Malaysia’s prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said that the country’s losses, in terms of knowledge and money, were considerable, and that attempts by universities in other countries to lure Malaysian students were “tantamount to poaching”.

Mighty words from Pak Lah back then.

What happened to the ‘incentives’ to reverse the brain drain since the statement was made in 2004? How many Malaysian scientists took up the offer and returned? And how many of them got frustrated and went back aboard?

Even if they have come up with the best policies, has the Government has been keeping a close eyes on executing the relevant policies? Has they kept a closed eyes on the on-going brain drain? Have we improved the quality of pay for our brilliant graduates? Or should we turn back and ask whether the quality of our local education is good enough to warrant high pay for entry level graduates?

Good pay is one factor but it is not the only factor that our brilliant Malaysians abroad looking at for. There are others that far outweighs money – namely good security, equal opportunity at business and career, policies that encourage openness, unity and transparencies, greater care for the environment, fast and efficient of service at all levels and reduction of red tape and corruption practices.

What if the best of the best (not foreigners but true blue Malaysians) returns and want to help out in the development of the country? Will they be given a fair place at the relevant places to best utilise their skills, expertise and experience? Can they be judged on their skills and expertise rather than by the colour of their skin? Remember this story?

Six staff bodies of state agency Selangor Development Corporation (PKNS) have objected to the appointment of a senior official as acting general manager on grounds that she is Chinese.
(Source: Malaysiakini)

Many Malaysians who are working abroad know far too well to trust politicians who make fancy statements but in reality, things are much different from it is perceived to be and thus causing more brain drain. In the long run, we are going to be at the losing end as brilliant Malaysians end up working for other country, enriching and further developing the said countries.

Wikipedia defines brain drain as:-

Brain drain or human capital flight is a large emigration of individuals with technical skills or knowledge, normally due to conflict, lack of opportunity, political instability, or health risks

Can Malaysia ever be attractive for the best of the best to return home and take part in its development? The country is stable and there is no major conflicts or health risks. There are some political instability but it is not something that we can managed, provided we have matured enough politicians running the country.

The ball now rests on the Government’s feet to make it attractive enough to pull the brilliant ones from abroad. Changes of policies will also assist Malaysia to retain the current brilliant ones from leaving for better pastures abroad.

Until then, talk is cheap and useless.

Read Also

Stone Age in Malaysia

Brain Drain From Malaysia

The Great Malaysian Brain Drain

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Let’s Not Forget

One of the oldest trick in the book especially in Malaysia – if everyone’s attention is on one particular issue, create a diversion to distract the attention and hope people will forget about the older issue.

(Image source: http://www.jeremyville.com)

Whilst we are dealing with the court decision on the use of the word “Allah’ and the recent attack on religious places and the Government trying to contain the damage done, let’s not forget on other important issues that have not come to a proper closure, namely:-

The missing F5E jet engines – the good thing is there have been arrests have been made and the location of the missing engines been vaguely identified (Iran can be ruled out for now) BUT todate only 2 small fish have been caught (one sergeant and one company director). Where is the bigger fish? This is because it is highly unbelievable that just one lowly ranked military personal can nip off 2 large fighter jet engines from a highly secured military base and transport it all the way from Malaysia to South America. It is not that they took a box of stationeries and put it in their pockets and walked away.

The PKFZ fiasco is another that is pending a proper conclusion – once again, some progress after long delay (and a change of PM) – arrests have been made. Once again, no big fish been caught and the loss of millions remains unanswerable. Who is going to end up paying for the spiralling cost – taxpayers as usual?

The oil royalty as demanded by the Kelantan State Government. This is one glaring failure of the Federal Government to act as a “Federal Government” and this is was not the only case. Duplicity of work and funding to Federal “agents” at State level to undermine the work of Pakatan Rakyat led State Government is a sheer act of sabotage and ridiculing the concept of Federal Government.

The illegal transfer of money by money changers – we have yet to bring the people who been transferring millions into limelight and ask them how they managed to cumulate so much money especially the politicians. Perhaps MACC been too busy with other things?

Of course, having said this, we still have the aged old problem – creation of united Malaysia with issues with social contract and segregation of wealth properly resolved, the issue of religion converts and religion places (such as the management and relocation of Hindu temples), economy (we are still “better than Ghana” but we are far off against other countries in the region and at an embarrassing gap) and effectiveness of the battle against corruption (read MACC) and wastages of public fund (read the yearly Auditor General report).

Let’s not be distracted…

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