The Nasi Lemak Seller


(McD have the both the rice and the burger but both are priced at a level I would say ridiculous for a nasi lemak. For the same price, I can get 3-4 items more on a nasi lemak and still got spare cash for nasi tambah. Image source: McDonalds Malaysia)

One of the biggest problems that we face during the fasting month is the difficulty to get a good nasi lemak for breakfast. The usual morning nasi lemak stalls are closed for the month.

We can still get the usual nasi lemak from the nearest kedai Mamak (the sorry looking sambal that they splash on the plain rice is the same dumb sambal that they put on the roti canai, so the sambal is nothing special and probably is not fresh too. Same goes for the nuts and the anchovies) but it is not the same with the one that I usually buy from the old Makcik at the road side stall and has a really spicy sambal (you know I hate sweet sambal – read the post here).

Last two weekends ago, we decided to have our dinner outside but instead our usual hang-out place, we decided to look for a new place. We were getting bored with our usual place. I google out and found a small food court on the way to my sister’s house. The reviews on the net look “reasonable” too. When we arrived, we noticed that most of the tables were taken up but 2 tables nearer to the road were empty. There were plenty of stalls but considering it to be a new place; we decided to go with something safe – fried keow teow, noodles and satay. Just when we decided to leave, I noticed one stall that we missed earlier – a nasi lemak kukus stall with several containers for the extra ingredients and yes, my favorite – sotong sambal and kerang rendang was available. Since we were full, we decided to try nasi lemak the next time around.

Last weekend, we were back against at the food court and instead of looking at other food this time around, we headed straight to the nasi lemak stall. An old lady was manning the stall so it reminded me of the old Makcik from my favorite place. I had high hopes. Instead of eating at the food court, we decided to pack up and eat at home whilst watching a good movie. Usually a nasi lemak kosong with sambal packed separately will cost us RM1 to RM1.50 (correct me if I am wrong) and if add the other sambal here and there, it probably cost us RM10 – RM15 for 5 packets.

We informed the lady at the stall that we just wanted “nasi lemak biasa” and immediately we sensed trouble – she looked a bit blurred when we said nasi lemak kosong and sambal packed separately. I had a feeling that there must be a floor rate for each plate she sells – there is a minimum that she needs to charge per plate and probably she had never sell nasi lemak biasa. My wife took the trouble to explain in plain English and then Bahasa.

I think after some time, she finally understood what we wanted as we saw her packing up just the rice, roasted nuts, slices of cucumber and half of a boiled egg but when we are not “looking”, she quickly packed one whole boiled egg in some of the packs (so sneaky of her). When we point out that we only need a small slice of the boiled egg and not the whole egg, she acted like she did not understand and continue to pack up (later I found she charge RM1 for one whole egg, so half means RM0.50). I was not happy of the fact that she was charging us separately for the eggs in nasi lemak when it should be part & parcel of the whole package. At that point, I was even wondering if she is going to charge us separately for the roasted nuts and the sambal (she did charge us for the sambal in the end also).

Obviously she rarely does packed meals for her customers. Then she looked even more blurred when she want to pack up the sambal. Looking “blur” may have been part of the act, I guess. So my wife had to step-in to explain again. And whilst this was going on, I did mental calculation on the cost – I had a feeling that it is not going to be cheap. Then two other customers came over and as they are filling up their plates, I was keen to know the cost of their plates because they did not take much – one cost about RM8.90 and another was just under RM7.00.

In the end, there were 5 packs of nasi lemak kosong, one small pack sambal (enough for 3 people) and one pack of kerang rendang ready on the table. It was time to calculate the total price – how difficult it is going to be right? The old lady took out her calculator and I looked at my wife – somewhat my earlier suspicion that it is not going to be cheap may be to be proved to be true.

With a calculator at hand, she charged us RM3.50 for the nasi lemak kosong with half egg whilst the nasi lemak kosong with a full boiled egg, she charged us even extra – RM4.00. The kerang rendang which was not much (if you ask me – most of it was gravy and not the actual kerang), she whacked RM10 for that alone. In the end, we ended up paying almost RM30 for the whole package. Ok lah, minus the kerang rendang (RM10), the price is about RM4 per pack of nasi lemak – which is the same as how some Mamak restaurant will charge for a nasi lemak biasa.

But what about the taste – terrible if you ask me! I had better tasting nasi lemak for far less price. This is the problem some people are having – not only the food tastes terrible, they charge their customers ridiculous price for it too – I don’t think the lady is interested to get & retain new customers (especially one is crazy about nasi lemak). It would have been a different story if the taste had been out of this world – I have no problem paying good money for good food. It is for sure that we are not going back to this stall again.

Good thing, the fasting month is ending soon and the good old Makcik will be back to open her stall.

Selamat Hari Raya and Happy Holidays to all

 

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Air Bags & Road Taxes


Read these first:-

(Go buy a Proton instead – compared to a “more value for money” brands like Honda, Toyota, Nissan, BMW, Proton is using airbags from Autoliv from Sweden which does not have the same problem as Takata from Japan and is more reliable. Image source: LA Times)

One particular night a few weeks ago, I was driving back from work – the weather was good and the traffic was not so bad.

In front of me, a fairly new Toyota Vios – it has the rear lights working and I did not suspect anything. Then I noticed something amiss. Whenever the traffic slows down, I don’t see any brake lights lighting up from the Toyota Vios. Both the main brake lights and the third brake light were not working. So, when this driver slams his brakes and if you are at the back and you been driving too close, you will not know that the car in front had slowed down – you will likely to rear-end the idiot in front.

Considering the worst case scenario, I kept my distance before deciding that I cannot continue to play Russian roulette with the driver in front. I would never know when he will hit his brakes and I will be rear-ending him. I decided to overtake the driver and once I had gone ahead of him, I saw a middle aged man behind the wheels driving around without any care about other road users. It is obvious that he did not give a damn about the condition of his car too.

Don’t these people check their equipment before they head out? I periodically will check my lights – brake, indicators and fog lights even though the same is done by the mechanics whenever I sent the car for its periodic service.

It is a fact that there are way too many morons driving around with “defective” indicators – even for brand new cars (read my post on this). Defective brake lights are a bit rarer but then again, this is not the first time I see cars with faulty brake lights – they don’t seems to care if the traffic behind them would be alerted and to stop in time. It is another case of “Tidak Apa” which is very famous among Malaysians. Another case that compounds the sickness of this attitude is where the same lazy Malaysians wait till the last seconds before they act on it. You have seen this before – income tax submission, paying fines, changing to the new identification card, etc.

Case of “Tidak Apa” – that was the first thing that came in my mind when I read that the new Minister of Transport (bless the good man) decided to tackle this nuisance:-

Vehicle owners affected by the recall of faulty Takata airbags will not be able to renew their road tax until a replacement has been made, said Anthony Loke Siew Fook.

The Transport Minister said the new directive will take effect next Monday (June 4), adding that all affected vehicle owners must obtain a certificate from their respective car dealership to prove that they have changed their airbags.

Loke said that car companies involved in the global mandatory recall of Takata airbags must submit a list of vehicles which haven’t replace their airbags to the Road Transport Department (JPJ).

“We will input the list of all vehicles that have not changed their airbags into our system. I have also directed JPJ not to renew the road tax of these vehicles unless they replaced their airbags.

(Source)

In case you have kept your head in the ground, people have died from these faulty airbags and yet some people have been sitting on this time bomb as if it will not affect them. I know for certain Toyota and Honda had been making announcements after announcements and sending thousands of letters & notices and yet there are still plenty of the jokers still driving around with faulty airbags, waiting to blow and take half of their face off. Of course, they had their excuses – the service center had run out of replacement airbags, they had sold off the car to another (so it is no more their problem) or they have moved to another address (so they are not aware of the letters and notices).

For this, I have to say “Come on lah! The issue of recalls due to faulty airbag supplied by Takata is not something new”.

In fact, the issue with defective airbag was first raised back in 2013 and Takata eventually went bankrupt:-

In 2013, a series of deaths and injuries associated with defective Takata airbag inflators had led Takata to initially recall 3.6 million cars equipped with such airbags. Further fatalities caused by the airbags have led the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to order an ongoing, nationwide recall of more than 42 million cars, the largest automotive recall in U.S. history.

(Source)

The idea of stopping people from renewing their road tax until they get their faulty airbag fixed is the best idea that the authorities had implemented. Thank God we voted in the Pakatan Harapan government and we got new Ministers who at least think before acting. Of course, this idea of stopping people from renewing their road tax until they get their faulty airbag fixed did not go well for some people (I have to assume that it must be the same people who do things at the very last minute).

Interestingly the Minister is aware that some people are not happy with the decision – they say that this move is unfair and it slaps them that Pakatan Harapan government is the same in form as the previous BN government.

He plainly said this:-

“If they want to complain about me making their lives troublesome by having to go through a tedious process, let them do so. I would rather be complained at than visit another victim of an accident that could have been avoided in the first place,” he said

(Source)

I strongly agree with the Minister –further the previous BN minister did not do much to force this safety initiative on the defective air-bag replacement through.

Another argument is that the car manufacturers did not have enough Takata replacement air-bags despite the urgency. It is possible in the past but it is up to the car owners to keep pressing the car companies to keep enough stock and ensure their defective airbag replaced.

Just like any other defective parts in the car that impacts your personal safety – if your local car service center says that they don’t have the parts now, do you wait and consider the matter as solved? Or it will continue to bug you every second and you will look for another service center that may has the part? And even if they don’t have stock in place, it does not mean one should take a seat back and wait for someone to lay the red carpet, do they?

That’s why I would say that the Hons Minister’s idea of using the road tax renewal as a mean of enforcement tools to force the defective air bag as soon as possible is a brilliant one. Moving forward, I think it should be extended to those vehicles with defective brake lights too.

The Case for Tommy Thomas as the next AG


Note 1: Got this from OutSyedtheBox and it makes alot of sense
Note 2: It is reproduced verbatim (I only edited the layout for clarity) – the authentication is not confirmed

(After the major screw-up and yet to accept the reality of things, the guy on the left does not have enough trust and credibility to continue to be the Attorney General. The country needs a change – a drastic change that it. Image source: Free Malaysia Today)

DOES THE AG NEED TO BE A MALAY OR A MUSLIM? DOES HE HAVE TO ADVISE ON SYARIAH LAW?
By GK Ganesan Kasinathan, Advocate and Solicitor, Kuala Lumpur
03 June 2018

The nation is trundling towards a calamitous constitutional misunderstanding. Someone has to do something about it and set matters straight. Let us identify what is happening. A debate has begun to rage. It concerns the identity of the person who should be the next Attorney General.

It is about constitutional provisions regarding what characteristics the Attorney General should have—and whether the current nominee, Mr. Tommy Thomas has them.

Two conflicting ideas

At the heart of the debate are two conflicting statements:-

  • The first is the altruistic proposition that certain quarters ‘have no objection at all to a non-Malay being nominated as AG.’
  • The second is an opposite argument. It is that the AG should be ‘in a position to advise the palace on Syariah matters.’
  • And the third proposition, being a conclusionary one, is the argument ‘… that therefore a judge, or a retired judge of the Court of Appeal or the Federal Court ought to be appointed as AG.’ These arguments are deeply flawed.

Here are the reasons..

These arguments have no constitutional basis at all. In fact, the Federal Constitution says the opposite. Why is that? The rakyat should be allowed to interpret the Constitution. The rakyat should take part in this debate. They should look at the Constitution and inform themselves of the important aspects of this confusion. They should be taught to interpret the Constitution. It is their right. Lawyers should not be the only ones telling people what the law is.

So let us look at the Constitution.

The starting point is Article 145.

Answer to the claim AG ‘must advise on Syariah law.’ The first and most important opposition to the Administration — and Mahathir — comes from the argument that the ‘AG must be able to advise the King on Syariah matters’. This demand contradicts Constitutional provisions. This is because the Constitution exempts the AG from such a requirement. You will understand this readily, because the relevant part of Article 145(2), states:

– ‘145(2): It shall be the duty of the [AG] to advise the [King] or the Cabinet or any Minister upon… legal matters, and to perform… duties of a legal character,… and to discharge the functions conferred on him by or under this Constitution or any other written law.

So what it says here is that the AG must discharge the duties that the Constitution asks him to. What power does the Constitution give him? That is explained by Art 145(3). It states:

– ‘145(3): The [AG] shall have power, exercisable at his discretion, to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings for an offence, other than proceedings before a Syariah court, a native court or a court-martial.’ Clause 3 prohibits the AG from dealing with proceedings before Syariah Courts and Military Courts.

As far as Syariah matters are concerned the AG has no role. No one would disagree that the King must have the very best Syariah advisor—an expert. Were previous AGs experts on Syariah Law? Was Gani Patail an expert on Syariah law? Was Apandi? How come no one objected then?

So how can the AG be now compelled to perform a duty — or exercise a power — that the Constitution has taken away from him? Why is the AG now being asked to advise on something that the Constitution tells him is none of his business? The person to advise the King on Syariah law cannot be a retired judge.

The fifth argument is that the nominee for the AG ‘must be either an existing or a retired Federal Court judge or a Court of Appeal judge; for, that way he can render legal advise on Syariah matters’. This argument is a non-starter. Again there is a clear instruction from the Constitution on this.

Apart from informing the AG what matters over which the AG has powers to act on, the Constitution goes one step further.

Secular courts are non-Syariah courts: i.e. the Magistrate Courts, Sessions Courts, High Court, Court of Appeal and the Federal Courts: [Article 121 defines the secular courts].

The Constitution expressly removes from all secular courts any power that is only a Syariah Court can exercise.

Clause (1A) says:- ‘The courts referred to in Clause (1) [read, ‘secular courts’] shall have no jurisdiction in respect of any matter within the jurisdiction of the Syariah courts.’

The Syariah judicial system works under a different set of laws. They have their own courts, their own judges, and their own lawyers. They are independent of the Judiciary.

Therefore if Syariah law advice is needed, their Highnesses have ample Syariah resources available at their disposal. If so, how can candidates be chosen from the retired or existing list of the secular Federal Court or the Court of Appeal judges? From them have been removed the power to deal with Syariah matters. It stands to reason that they, no matter what race or religion they profess, would have had no formal legal training on Syariah law at all.

So why ask to choose from a group who possess no Syariah knowledge at all? So the argument that the AG ‘must be able to advise on Syariah matters’ argument is a red fish! It is simply not true.

What qualities must a candidate for an AG have?

The next question to ask oneself is, who can be appointed as the AG? Article 145(1) answers the question in this way:

– ‘145(1): The Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall, on the advice of the Prime Minister, appoint a person who is qualified to be a judge of the Federal Court to be the Attorney General for the Federation.’

Note the phrase, ‘a person qualified to be a judge of the Federal Court’. Who is that?

That is explained in Article 123. It prescribes that a nominee for an AG must be (a) a citizen and (b) for the last 10 years before his appointment he shall have been ‘an advocate’; or ‘a member of the Judicial and Legal service’ (this differs from judges in the Courts – do not confuse them as one), or a mixture of both. It does not mean he must be a Federal Court or Court of Appeal Judge. He must only be one who is ‘qualified to be’ one.

From which pool would you choose your AG, given the choice?

As a matter of choice where would you choose the AG to come from? Let us examine the pool of resources available to the Prime Minister. Suppose there are about 1,800 lawyers in the AG’s Chambers [AGC]: that is about right. Suppose we assume that at least 500 AGC lawyers in AGC have crossed the ‘10 year practice’ mark (the numbers could be far lower]. Then at least 500 persons qualify to be the AG.

Now, the Malaysian Bar has ten times more lawyers than the AGC. It had, at the latest count, over 18,000 members. Of that number [I extrapolate] there are over 9,000 lawyers who qualify under this Art 123 — they have crossed the ‘10 years of continued practice’ requirement. They are all citizens.

Go now to the judiciary as a source. If you add the total number of judges in the Federal Court and the Court of Appeal that does not cross 45. A great proportion of those judges are from the AG’s Chambers: some say as high as 90%. As a matter of choice, where would you choose the AG from? From the largest pool of 9,00 members, or a lesser pool of 500 lawyers from AG’s chambers, or from a smaller pool of 45 judges from the Judiciary— the latter of which is already under attack?

Equality of all candidates not matter of race

The sixth point is, the Constitution, which upholds equality as its central core (read Article 8 of the Constitution), does not prevent a non-Malay from being appointed an AG. If our forefathers thought it necessary, they would have inserted that proscription into the Constitution. Had they done it, that would have been against all known conventions of human rights. They have not.

Our forebears were reasonable people. They saw this issue and catered for it. The framers of the Constitution were men of great foresight. So why manipulate that intent by specious arguments of non-existent ‘conventions,’ conventions which are against human rights?

So there is no racial restriction in the Constitution. So that argument too goes out of the window.

The King ‘shall appoint’ Clause (1) of Article 145 states that His Majesty the King ‘shall’ on the advice of the Prime Minister, appoint as AG a person proposed by the Prime Minister. This is what it says:

– ‘145(1): The yang di-Pertuan Agong shall, on the advice of the Prime Minister, appoint a person who is qualified to be a judge of the Federal Court to be the Attorney General for the Federation.’

Note the word, ‘shall’. It is mandatory.

The binding nature of the Prime Minister’s proposal is buttressed by an explanatory clause in Art. 40(1A): It says:

– ‘In in the exercise of his functions under this Constitution or federal law, where the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is to act in accordance with advice, on advice, or after considering advice, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall accept and act in accordance with such advice.’

The phrase ‘shall accept and act in accordance with such advice’ points to a mandatory requirement. There is a reason for this. The functioning of a valid government cannot be stultified by delay.

The Manifesto Point

The seventh argument is: ‘In appointing a non-Parliamentarian, Mahathir has departed from the Harapan manifesto that the AG shall be an MP.’

Many points answer this vacuous argument. The manifesto point is readily overcome. Second, I have said elsewhere, the AG ought to be an MP answerable to the people, through parliament. I have suggested that the Constitution ought to be changed to effect that. The Committee for Institutional Reform is engaged in just that.

Like the Council of Eminent Persons, they have had no rest. They are burning the candle at both ends. They are inundated with all manner of papers. They will suggest amendments—in good time. But until that change is done, the law, as it stands, must be complied with. There is no countervailing argument against that. There is, fortunately, a Half-Way House solution.

It is embedded into the Constitution. Art. 61 of the Constitution, which states, ‘(2) Either house of parliament may appoint as a member of any of its committees the [AG]… notwithstanding that he is not a member of that house.’

So, through this side-door, Parliament may, after it convenes, ask the AG to be appointed into its committees. The Committees may ask him to answer questions. In this way the current AG can be brought into Parliament’s deliberations.

So these concerns are easily alleviated. So any allegation that ‘Harapan has breached its Manifesto’ is really no issue at all.

Parliament has a right to override the King on executive matters

The King has executive authority over the Federation. That authority is, however, not absolute. It is subject to the dictates of Parliament: this is because Art 39 states:

‘The executive authority of the Federation shall be vested in the yang di Pertuan Agong and exercisable… by him or by the Cabinet or any Minister authorised by the Cabinet, … but parliament may by law confer executive functions on other persons.’

The AG’s appointment, under the current law, is an exercise of executive authority. If the King does not act on the advice of the Prime Minister, the Constitution grants another route to Parliament. In matters of governance, the primacy of Parliament is constitutionally entrenched. But Parliament has not been convened. That time is not yet come. It will. But can we wait till then?

The power of the Conference of Rulers

The final argument in the opposition’s quiver is that the Conference of Rulers have an absolute power to object to any suggestion of the Prime Minister. This is incorrect. True it is that the Conference of Rulers have certain ‘discretionary’ powers. Article 38 lays it out in great detail. They have a right to be consulted on certain matters.

These are listed with some care: these deal with matters relating the appointment of the King, e.g., include any matter relating to the special position of the Malay rulers, the Islamic religion or the rights of Malays under Article 153 (Reservation of quotas in the services, permits etc. for Malays). True also it is that that Art. 38(2)(c) states that the Conference of Rulers shall exercise its functions of consultation by —

‘… consenting or withholding consent to any law and making or giving advice on any appointment which under this Constitution requires the consent of the Conference or is to be made by or after consultation with the Conference’.

Some argue that Clause (6) gives the Conference of Rulers the right of carte blanche— blank cheque; that that it is ‘an absolute right’. This is what the relevant part of Clause (6) says — … the members of the Conference of Rulers may act in their discretion in any proceedings relating to the following functions, that is to say… (c) consenting or withholding consent to any law and making or giving advice on any appointment which under this Constitution requires the consent of the Conference or is to be made by or after consultation with the Conference; In constitutional theory, the personal prerogative of the monarch is said to contradict democracy.

On a proper reading of Clause 6, this personal power is not absolute.

  • First, much of the strength of these prerogative power are diluted by constitutional principles.
  • Second, other clauses in the Constitution severely limit that power.
  • Third, the ‘right to consultation’ cannot mean an ‘absolute right to refuse.’

That is why the Constitution, with great care, has said, their Highnesses ‘may act in their discretion.’ This discretion is called ‘royal prerogative.’ Blackstone described it as the powers that ‘the king enjoys alone, in contradistinction to others, and not to those he enjoys in common with any of his subjects.’ So they are are ‘personal prerogatives.’ But the principles underlying the exercise of prerogatives have been uniformly accepted without contradiction across the world.

It is for that reason such prerogatives are carefully circumscribed. The way the words in clause 6 are crafted is a call to exercise, in their Highnesses discretion, one of the most fundamental provisions of the Rule of Law: when a constitutional discretion is granted, it cannot be exercised arbitrarily.

So the exercise of the ‘personal prerogative’ must seek to achieve the equality principle rooted as the basic fabric of the Constitution. It must be subject to transparency and good governance. It cannot be exercised arbitrarily. It cannot be exploited capriciously. Such a discretion must be exercised in a way that will aid democracy and uphold the Rule of Law. The words must be construed to comply with the spirit of the Constitution and the Will of the People.

Conclusion

Parliament is not in session. Not yet. Yet someone has to carry the burden of the AG. Charges have to be filed. People have to be hauled up before the courts.

The Cabinet is busy answering a hundred, perhaps a thousand urgent calls upon its time. This amidst the urgent concern that economic matters should be dealt with alacrity. Manifesto or no, Mahathir has to stop the haemorrhage.

The Cabinet cannot hang about. Time is of the essence. Mahathir has to act now. Those who delay the appointment of the AG are doing a great disservice to the toils of an elderly patriot trying to right a wayward ship. These detractors are playing into the hands of the pilferers who have purloined billions from our coffers. They sit pretty, smiling from their strongholds. They think nothing will come upon them so long as they keep raising one constitutional crises after another, and trigger as much unease and delay as possible.

That is why they are delaying the appointment of the AG. They wish to feel safe. They think the GE 14 is a pyrrhic victory. They feel they are untouchable. They must be stopped. As a nation we cannot sit idly by, while these detractors stultify the rakyat’s hard-won victory