2018 – Things So Far


Read also:-

(Miracle do happen! Karma do exist! For the first time in history, the opposition will form the Federal Government and take extra states compared to the last elections. It’s is time to clean up the nation and enforce the rule of law. Photo source: NSTP)

==========

Preamble

I can’t believe that I last blogged back in September 2017 – time does flies fast when one is not looking

Well, it is not that I had lost interest in blogging (I still do drafts now and then but don’t have the time to complete them) but I found that given the very little time that I have apart from work & family, typing on issues and events over the social media & instant messages (Facebook, Twitter and the countless Whatsapp Groups) is more convenient (just hit the “Share” button and your message gets through) compared to blogging which takes time as I tend to do more research and review the drafts over and over again.

Another reason was that the politics in this country was becoming more absurd and lack of any logic that it was pointless to discuss on it at length. The real battle was waged in the social medias and it made a lot of sense for anyone who is supporting the opposition to join them there and share and create the awareness of their points, arguments and speeches to others (especially for those who are still undecided or don’t care about the state of the nation).

But considering one of the main reason for me to blog was to improve my language (and my “penmanship”) and I have been slacking (very much) on this lately, it is time me to seriously look into blogging on a more regular basis. The real challenge would be to find time to do it on a regular basis but I am kind of inspired by Pakatan Harapan’s win in the General Elections and the volume of work that Tun Dr M is doing after taking up his place as the Prime Minister.

==========

Going into the year 2018 started with tragedies

First was this:-

A 15-year-old boy died when a chair, thrown from an upper floor of a block of People’s Housing Programme (PPR) apartments in Pantai Dalam, struck his head on Monday night.

The victim, identified as S. Satiswaran, a Form Three student of SMK La Salle in Petaling Jaya, was accompanying his mother, 45, who had just finished grocery shopping.

When they were about to enter their apartment block at about 8.30pm, an office chair, believed to have been thrown from one of the upper floors, crashed down and struck Sathiwaran.

(Source)

The other was this:-

‘This is not a suicide, this is a murder!’ the Malaysian Tamilar Kural (MTL) president thundered on Thursday, following the death of a 14-year-old schoolgirl who died after being in a coma since Jan 24.

David Marshel slammed what he called inaction by the Education Department and the police for not investigating a teacher who had accused the girl of stealing her iPhone last week – a charge the girl vehemently denied.

The Form Two girl passed away at the Seberang Jaya Hospital at 3.30am on Thursday, prompting David to demand that police take action against the teacher and her husband for allegedly threatening and striking the student, to the point that she attempted suicide at her home last week.

(Source)

And the year 2018 was also the year when we learned that 2 of our close relatives was diagnosed with cancer – one is my aunt, very tough lady with breast cancer (undergoing treatment and seems to be holding off) and another, my father-in-law’s elder brother (who we call Uncle) with throat cancer.

When we got the news that the uncle will not last long and the doctor had informed the family that there is nothing much they can do (he probably had days to live), my grandmother got in touch with me and asked me whether I could drive her to see him in Taiping before it was too late.

Despite of my busy schedule, there was no way I could say no to the old tough lady and so we packed up and drive up North to the uncle’s house with my wife & mum tagging along. We reached late and I thought my grandmother would be tired from the long journey and would like to rest first at my father-in-law’s house. But she said no, she was not tired – let’s visit the uncle first no matter how late it is and then think of rest (namely dinner) later. The mood in the uncle’s house was sombre and depressing and despite the late hours, there were plenty of people still awake in the house. No one had the mood to sleep. My grandmother met the uncle in his room, he was half awake from strong medication and blessed him before we left the house. The very next morning, we got news that he had passed away in his sleep.

Yes, beginning of the year was indeed depressing and full of tragedies

2018 was also the year when the country would be having it’s General Elections and the news on the ground was not good. It seems to favor the current Prime Minister Najib – he seems to be untouchable and despite Tun Dr M joining up with the oppositions under the same umbrella known as “Pakatan Harapan”, the chances of Najib winning another General Elections was indeed high. PAS who opted out from Pakatan Harapan remained the thorn in the bush with its leaders working closely with UMNO to frustrate the Pakatan Harapan’s chances in the upcoming General Elections.

And there was the issue of redelineation by the Election Commission that seems to be favoring the ruling political party and moving voters based on ethnic background.

Malaysia’s ongoing redelineation exercise is unconstitutional and will create a Parliament that is extremely unrepresentative of Malaysia’s people, no matter who wins, because it is severely flawed in two main ways: it either creates malapportionment, which is the manipulation of electorate size where one person’s votes become worth up to 3-4 times the votes of another person in a different constituency; or causes gerrymandering, which is the manipulation of electorate composition to the advantage of one party; or both.

Schedule 13 of Malaysia’s Constitution specifically prohibits malapportionment and gerrymandering of electoral boundaries, making the redelineation exercise unconstitutional.

(Source)

Of course, the same was echoed in the Economist’s article title “Malaysia’s PM is about to steal an election” and this did not help to calm things down. Pakatan was looking for another defeat and Malaysians a lost of opportunity to make things right.

Cost of living was on the increase too, no thanks to GST and other factors (such as Ringgit exchange rate, wide mismanagement, weak oil price, etc). We seem to be spending more and more for a smaller size of sundry goods on the monthly basis. At times vegetables were more expensive than chicken or fish. Eating out had become a luxury adventure and we hardly travel these days. And in the recent months, more businesses were closing down and this has direct impact on the national unemployment stats and income from taxation.

SOME companies have shut down because of the goods and services tax (GST), says Second Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani. Johari did not disclose details as the matter is still under investigation.

The Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia told The Malaysian Insight on October 20 that GST has caused many Malay businesses to close shop.

Its vice-president, Norsyahrin Hamidon, said the chamber has yet to obtain the exact number of members who had to close shop due to GST.

(Source)

And of course, this was before outcome of the General Elections when the country seemed to be going into the dark ages. It was running on the basis of “cash is king” and those who walk along the corridors of powers were untouchable and cannot be criticized whilst the wastages & the other nonsense continued.

Then on 9th May 2018, a miracle happened….

Advertisements

Being a Mean, Angry Hulk in 2016!


the-avengers-angry-hulk-smash-loki

(One of the best scene from the Avengers – Hulk vs a God and guess who won. I watched this scene probably hundred times and I never got bored with it. Image source: http://reactiongifs.me)

It was “bang” leaving 2015 – we all watched the new Star Wars movie and we all loved it from the start to the end.

But ever since the start of a “new” year, hardly been a time when I was not in an “angry” mode. Don’t get me wrong – I am not angry with anyone in particular but now schools have started and parents rushing to send their kids to school and then rush to work, way too many idiots have sprout out and had made things worse.

Take this morning example, there was 2 incidents of close calls between my car and another. One is after I had dropped off my kid to her kiddies, I was driving on straight road until a junction. An idiot turned to join the main lane but despite the idiot driving a small car, his turning radius unfortunately cut into my lane and that was without any warning. I high-beamed him and press my horn as well and quickly checked on my right and managed to avoid an accident with this idiot. Now here’s why I call this idiot an idiot – he was not happy I high-beamed him and started to tail-gate me. I was in disbelief but I kept my cool – I know he is not the first moron I am going to encounter this morning. After all, they do come in all shapes and sizes.

The next one happened after I wriggled out from the massive traffic jam just after the toll plaza and this was another junction. The idiot did not put up any indicators to join the main lane but somehow I was casual about it. But then it was a mistake. Just as he cut in front of me, I then noticed that the idiot was actually busy with his phone (or tab – I could not see but he was playing something on his lap). He drove slower, occasionally looking up, leaving a big gap in front and when came to another junction, he suddenly slammed his brakes and decided to change lane (the idiot has missed his turn as he was too busy with phone). It was clear that he was not focusing on his driving and the heavy traffic around him and busy with his phone. I managed to pass him and I was so pissed off that I wound down the window and showed him the finger – something I have not done for years now.

The first week of 2016 have passed and I already have turned into a mean, angry Hulk and I am not going to turn back into Bruce Banner anytime soon.

We all have walked into 2016 and despite the promise of a fresh start for the year, don’t you think there is still a very bitter feeling that nothing have changed and if we don’t do something about it, it is going to get worse?

Just look at the bullshits that had been thrown to us last year and we need to be angry when goods and services that is provided to us is way below our minimum expectations. Don’t you feel like telling the Hulk in you – “Hulk, Smash!!”?

The year 2016 has to be an Angry Year for all Malaysians and this anger at the end of the day must translate into real action (another Bersih-like street protests perhaps, registering and more importantly voting in the next election definitely, writing to spread the facts and educating others maybe, etc).

Close your eyes and think about it – there are plenty of reasons for being Angry in 2016. Let’s take a few, shall we? I know it is the tip of the iceberg!

We need to be angry on 1MDB for accumulating billions of debts through their nose and at the end of the day, sells off national assets to foreign companies. The Prime Minister and his minions are celebrating that 1MDB is in it’s way to recovery but that is not the point. Who or what caused the huge debts in the first place and why they have not been booked for high treason? Why we have not seen the fat guy in the news?

Arul Kanda has done it again. This time all the so called ‘success’ in selling off the national assets just to pay off the billions of loans they could not repay was quickly negated by their Chinese buyer merely 4 days after the ‘big announcement’. Again and again, 1MDB is exposed as a dishonest company whose words cannot be trusted.

But in the case of 1MDB, they asked people to be with them and to support them as they sell off all the crown jewels just to keep afloat. We would have expected 1MDB to pay off their debts via their profits. But at the end of the day, they had mismanaged their debts, caught themselves in financial distress, unable to fulfil all their original objectives when they set up the company, forced to admit that the company is a failure with the business model being too idealistic but, eventually had shamelessly telling the public that the process of selling off national assets just to pay off their debts is a success!

(Source)

Aren’t you angry on the rising cost of living in Malaysia? Whilst I am understand that the Government at the end of day need to remove some of the subsidies to have a more resilient economy and I support the removal of subsidies, the rush to do something and then once the arse get kicked, come out with the hands up and say that there is nothing one can do to fix the situation is simply tragic.

Still remember a Minister who said after GST, the price of goods will go down and it is best for the economy? Last year, I bought fruit juice in those small containers for RM1.20 (after the introduction of GST. It was RM0.90 before that) and moving into 2016, the lady behind the counter charged me RM1.50 for same brand fruit juice. Which Einstein said price of goods will go down after GST again?

The simplistic notion that GST is better than Sales and Service Tax (SST), all because the tax rate is lower is simply wrong. At 6%, GST may seem lower than the 10% SST, but GST is a multi-level tax, that taxes the whole supply chain whereas SST taxes the end-consumer alone.

With GST, everything is taxed unless specifically mentioned as being exempted, while SST only allows tax for items that are stated as taxable. See the difference?

GST has a wider reach, allowing the government to draw in more income at all levels of society.
The notion that all products would be cheaper by 4% is false, because this line of thinking does not take into account the multilevel nature of the GST taxation structure.

(Source)

And as if nothing worse had not happened, I was reading this in 2016:-

Malaysians should stop whining about their living costs, Umno’s Datuk Ahmad Maslan said today, adding that there was no country in the world where it would decrease.

The deputy minister of international trade and industry said Malaysians should instead change their attitude and learn to supplement their income to deal with a costlier lifestyle.

(Source)

Seriously, Sherlock?

Then again, I was not surprised – this was the same guy who asked the country to take 2nd job to supplement their income and cook their own food to avoid GST. Great and we have him in a Ministerial post.

And still remember the “donation” that some sick Arab donated to our Prime Minister for…err…for what again? Have they solved the mystery by now? There was one reason given one after another but all that did not hold water. Yup, one time they even tied up the Jews with DAP. Remember that joke?

And then in December last year, WSJ (yes the same WSJ that the Prime Minister said is going to sue their pants off  – many moons have passed and he have yet to sue them) reported this:-

The funds, Mr. Najib said, weren’t used for his personal enrichment. Instead, they were channelled to politicians or into spending on projects aimed at helping the ruling party win elections in 2013, he said, according to a cabinet minister who was present.

“I took the money to spend for us,” the minister quoted Mr. Najib as saying.

It still isn’t clear where the $700 million came from or where it went. But a six-month Wall Street Journal examination revealed that public entities spent hundreds of millions of dollars on a massive patronage machine to help ensure Mr. Najib’s United Malays National Organization stayed in power. The payments, while legal, represented a new milestone in Malaysia’s freewheeling electoral system, according to ruling-party officials.

Mr. Najib declined multiple interview requests. He has denied wrongdoing or taking money for personal gain, while defending 1MDB spending as good for Malaysia. He hasn’t explained where the $700 million in his accounts came from or how it was used.

Senior UMNO politicians have said the money was a political donation from an unnamed Middle East donor. Malaysia’s anticorruption agency has defended Mr. Najib’s right to use personal accounts for political transfers, which isn’t illegal under Malaysian law.

(Source)

To be frank, the fact that the source of the money remains a mystery itself poses a great risk to the national security. If it is from a Middle East donor as what the politicians have been saying, what is the ulterior motive for this? The Middle East is not exactly a peaceful place to be in right now. So what we suppose to in return for the very generous favor? But then again, look at the other possible source – one from WSJ – that the money came from taxpayers via various organisations linked to 1MDB and it went into a politician’s personal accounts. Doesn’t that smacks the notion of corruption, misuse of money, mismanagement, blah, blah right in the face? And yet, there are people in this country who had accepted this and sleeping well at nights. Strange indeed.

So doesn’t make a lot of sense that Malaysians in general should be and remained angry at the nonsense that had been thrown at us last year? One idiotic statement from a politician – “Hulk! Smash!!”. One more lavish expenditure by the politicians and their wives – “Hulk! Smash!!”. Any attempt to sweep the fact of corruption under the carpet – “Hulk! Smash!!”. And this anger must persist until the next general elections.

After all, Malaysians are known to forget things after some time. Throw a silly bone like a cross on a roof of house and the whole country forgets the USD700 million that went into a politician’s pockets. Race and religion remains our Achilles’ heel, our curse, our fate and all you need for some moron to raise something racial or religions, the rest of the country drops their pants and runs in the wrong direction. Wake up people – there are issues bigger than a design that looks like a cross. So remain mean and angry and accept nothing less than high quality goods and services and strive to vote out the people who are running the show for their self benefit and not the country.

And remember – “Hulk! Smash!!”

It’s the Jews, Damn It!!!


11834808_500311580147364_4479942025667390252_o

(Bullshit!!!! The Old Man’s reaction when he heard that some mysterious donors from the Middle East had donated some USD700 million (RM2.6 billion ringgit) into Najib’s  personal account and the reason for the donation had been spiraling down into realms of stupidity and absurd. Poster source: Suara Rakyat)

One way or another, I was expecting someone to pull in the Jews into the picture. Doesn’t it been the case whenever things gets screwed big time. I was right and this time they included DAP for the ride as well.

Seriously I am not sure what is more pathetic in this country – a minister making dumb statements or a dumb politician appointed as a minister. The second pathetic thing is there is equally dumb crowd listening to the dumb statements and agreeing with it. Seriously, just how low and dumb you can be was the question that I had in my mind when I read this:-

Online catcalls and jeers erupted today after Umno members in Johor were given the latest reason for a RM2.6 billion “donation” to Najib Razak’s personal bank accounts. It was to fight the DAP, “which is funded by Jews”, at the 2013 elections, they were told.

The new explanation came soon after Umno vice-president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had told members of Sri Gading Umno that the Middle Eastern donor had wanted to ensure Malaysia remained a Sunni country through an election victory for the Barisan Nasional and Umno in 2013.

After Zahid’s speech, division leader Abdul Aziz Kaprawi said the donor had feared that Jewish influences would permeate the country through the DAP and destroy the “Islamic government” led by Barisan Nasional and because Najib was seen to be a great Muslim leader in the region.

“If we had lost, DAP would be in power. DAP with its Jewish funding would control this country. Based on that, our Muslim friends in the Middle East could see the Jewish threat through DAP,” said Aziz, who is deputy transport minister in Najib’s cabinet.

“The Islamic government would be overthrown, and that would harm the struggle to promote Islam throughout the world,” Aziz said, according to Malaysian Insider.

Aziz said he was confused why Malays had questioned the donation. “Haven’t you ever given donations? It is encouraged in Islam. The more you donate, the more rewards (pahala) you get,” he said.

He said Umno was the only party that could stop the Jews from taking over the country through the DAP. “Believe me, if the foreigners succeed in splitting us apart, there will be no more Malay party strong enough to fight DAP, which is based on and funded by the Jews,” Aziz was quoted as saying.

(Source)

The whole country is now seeing stupidity on the grandest scale – just to cover up the corruption, abuse of power and total ignorant of rule of law. And of course, to ensure uneducated and die-hard party workers from questioning the party leaders on their acts, their loyalty is now questioned. And if that fails, the usual mantra of threats to the Malay dominance and the official religion of Islam is brought into the picture to divert the attention of the nation. What does RM2.6 billion into a politician’s personal account and hiding the reason & the source got to do with upholding Islam?

First there was allegation that some of the 1MDB’s money went into Najib’s personal account (let’s not even venture to the mismanagement and high debts of 1MDB)

At first they denied it, they said it is a fake and Najib is not an idiot to put the money in his personal account.

Then it was found to be true and Najib remained silent despite the speculations on the money were flying left, right and centre

It is a donation, said the MACC but no explanation was given why the money was donated in the first place and why it has to go went into someone personal account

Then an idiot came up with the reason that it was donated by the Saudis for Malaysia’s fight against ISIS. Then this was proven to be wrong when it was shown that the money went into the personal account before ISIS became a threat.

Then someone mentioned that the money came from UMNO‘s supporters (in the Middle East?) for the party’s funding for the general election. Once again, there were doubts because the Deputy Prime Minister had no knowledge of this donation and why it had to go into the personal account and not to the party’s account. And even so, this is a serious breach of the election laws

And now comes another idiotic reason for the donation – it is to fight DAP who is funded by the Jews

Noticed how the reason for the RM2.6 billion “donation” keeps changing on a daily basis and yet the real reason for the donation remain illusive? As at now, no one had even sued WSJ or Sarawak Report or even The Edge for the allegations – if true the allegations are false and fake? They banned The Edge for no good reason and tried to block the access to Sarawak Report. They hardly caused a ripple with WSJ on the proposed legal suits. And at one point, these jokers even wanted to form a task force to investigate the funding for political parties but it seemed to be focused on the funding for the opposition parties and not themselves. They acted as if they did not do anything wrong and innocent to the core.

Now they are saying that the RM2.6 billion is to fight the DAP who are funded by the Jews. Why does the Jews are targeting the Sunnis and not the Shiahs – you all know how tense things are between the Jews and the Iranians? And why it has to be limited to general elections and why DAP is not under police investigations IF DAP is indeed being funded by the Jews? And what does Middle Eastern donor intend to gain from ensuring Malaysia remained a Sunni country? And how DAP is now linked to the Jews when in the past, they were heavily promoted by the establishment as being closely linked to the communist?

Ok never mind, for argument sake, let’s assume that DAP indeed being funded by the Jews, does it really need RM2.6 billion to counter and fight them?

“I don’t care if Umno leaders want to show their stupidity but do not fool the rakyat and think that Malaysians have no brains to think,” he added.

He said if what Aziz had said was true, the matter would have been exposed during the GE13 campaign period by Umno propagandists to “destroy” DAP and not revealed some 27 months later.

“For the record, DAP only faced Umno in two parliamentary seats –Gelang Patah in Johor and Sepanggar in Sabah in GE13.

“Did Umno need RM2.6 billion to fight DAP in those two parliamentary seats?

Altogether, DAP had contested in 51 out of 222 seats. Even if DAP had won all 51, there was no way we could have formed the government on our own,” Loke said.

(Source)

The ringgit have been taking heavy beating in the past few months and impact on this on the national economy is not going to be easy. Imports are going to be too expensive and don’t be surprised if soon Malaysian are going to pay through their noses for basic goods.

Some civil servants investigating the dubious transactions have been terminated, transferred and have been investigated themselves. Where is the independence of the enforcement agencies and their rightful powers under the law? The rule of law have indeed been turned upside down.

The proposed vote of no confidence and the up-coming Bersih 4 is now seemed to be a threat to the whole process of democracy when it is absolute legal and permitted under the law. Malaysians who simply want the truthful answer and accountability are simply looked upon as the enemy of the state. Didn’t the same thing happened in Perak?

And the fact that money have been received from some donors from the Middle East (a fact that has not been denied, yet) and that was used in the last general elections (to fight the DAP or to ensure BN stays in power) sound so incorrect. It clearly means that a foreign country is meddling and influencing the outcome of the election. This is a real threat to the democracy process in this country.

And the last thing that is making things worse are statements justifying the RM2.6 billion that is getting dumber and dumber by the days.

Please stop taking Malaysians for a ride and tell us the truth.

Vision 2020: Within our Sight?


1mdb_after

(The Old Man’s war path with the current Prime Minister, Najib may wins the support from a good number of Malaysians who simply tired with the “wayang kulit” in the issue of 1MDB but then again, didn’t the Old Man had his hands in allowing the seeds of mismanagement, wastage and misdirection of priorities to take hold when he was the PM for 22 years? Food for thought. Image source: Jebat Must Die)

I have mentioned this in several of my blog posts that it is going impossible for us to achieve the developed nation status by year 2020 but when it comes from the horse’s mouth, it does sound pretty obvious, doesn’t it?

Malaysia will not be able to achieve Vision 2020 and become a developed country within the next five years because it lacked leadership and had misplaced priorities, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said

He added that even if the country earned high-income status, it would not be developed if cost of living remained high as Malaysians would have low purchasing power.

He said the government should instead focus on improving education, increasing productivity and salaries, while keeping costs low.

“The leader plays a very big role too. If the leader doesn’t understand and cannot resolve the problems the country faces, then it is doubtful progress can be made. A leader is a leader because he has more ideas than his followers,” said Dr Mahathir.

He said a good leader would strive to maintain peace and stability, and would not hesitate to restrict the freedom of the people to achieve this.

(Source)

Before we go further, let’s run through some definitions – what really constitutes a developed nation?

Off the internet, it means this:-

While there is no one, set definition of a developed economy it typically refers to a country with a relatively high level of economic growth and security. Some of the most common criteria for evaluating a country’s degree of development are per capita income or gross domestic product (GDP), level of industrialization, general standard of living and the amount of widespread infrastructure. Increasingly other non-economic factors are included in evaluating an economy or country’s degree of development, such as the Human Development Index (HDI) which reflects relative degrees of education, literacy and health.

(Source)

So, if one goes by the definition by the book, what Najib is doing is not far off from the “known criteria” of a developed country. But is this what was defined when the Old Man came up with his Vision 2020 back in 1991? Does achieving a developed nation is just a matter of terminology and status?

When it was initialized, where credit where it is due – it was a brilliant vision. The Old Man’s Vision 2020 encompasses 9 strategic challenges that Malaysia must overcome to achieve a developed nation status. The question is after almost 25 years in the making, how far we have come in overcoming those challenges with just another 5 more years to go?

1. The challenges of establishing a united Malaysian nation with a sense of common and shared destiny. This must be a nation at peace with itself, territorially and ethnically integrated, living in harmony and full and fair partnership, made up of one ‘Bangsa Malaysia‘ with political loyalty and dedication to the nation.

Have we matured enough to call ourselves Bangsa Malaysia? 1Malaysia slogan by Najib when he became the PM was highly tempting. But the fact is we are still segregated by race, culture, religion and even political affiliation. We still have Malaysians calling fellow Malaysians as “pendatang” (including the Old Man himself at one point) and whether you agree to it or not, I guess it all depends on your audience. Forget what the politicians may say or do, let’s go to the lower strung of society and see if this transformation into a Bangsa Malaysia.

How many of us can speak in the same language, namely the national language and speak it right and without any mistakes or slang? How many of us think ourselves as Bangsa Malaysia and not as a Malay, Chinese, Indian or others? And if race is not an issue, then what about difference in religion? Mentally we have not come to a point that we are thinking like a Bangsa Malaysia. We can’t speak well in the national language, what more going a level up at the nation level.

This will be a challenge that can be overcome by a concerted change in race based policies, fair treatment and abolishment of race based political parties.

2. The challenge of creating a psychologically liberated, secure, and developed Malaysian Society with faith and confidence in itself, justifiably proud of what it is, of what it has accomplished, robust enough to face all manner of adversity. This Malaysian Society must be distinguished by the pursuit of excellence, fully aware of all its potentials, psychologically subservient to none, and respected by the peoples of other nations.

Frankly speaking, we have made great strides in this area. We decided to bold enough to reduce the ruling Government’s majority in the Parliament and were brave enough to let 3 states to be run by the oppositions (each for PAS, PKR and DAP) and they have proved that it is not the end of the world once they have taken over the state administration. Whilst initially there was plenty of silly mistakes and bad decisions, the end result has been a state government that has been performing on par (if not better) with the rest of the states run by the ruling coalition.

And we have credit this change mainly to the power of the internet – especially blogs, facebook and tweets. And once where there was only the mainstream media for the people to get the information, now the information is at their finger tips and it is uncensored and allows for one to see views from both side of the spectrum.

Of course the opposition uniting within the common framework (despite the on-going feud between PAS & DAP) and the Government shooting themselves in the leg helped to accelerate the change.

3. The challenge we have always faced is that of fostering and developing a mature democratic society, practising a form of mature consensual, community-oriented Malaysian democracy that can be a model for many developing countries.

A model for many developing countries? We are still far away from the notion of a matured democratic society which became more apparent after the opposition won in a larger number and held on 4 states after the general election. Then the Perak fiasco happened and all hell broke loose. What happened thereafter was an utter shame to the whole democratic process.

Democratic society also means upholding the notion of human rights and freedom of speech. Whilst one would agree that there is no such thing as an absolute freedom of speech, a differentiating opinion on the way the Government runs the country should not treated in the same manner as sedition for say, wanting to remove a cross from a church which if it is not controlled could have gotten much worse.

4. The fourth is the challenge of establishing a fully moral and ethical society, whose citizens are strong in religious and spiritual values and imbued with the highest of ethical standards.

We may become more religious in recent years but has it been imbued with the highest ethical standards? We see a cross on a building and we become a rude mob who insist that the cross on the building will influence others and cause them to change religion. We have become extremists and now insist that the legal system now need to be split into 2 with 2 different set of rules imposed on the people who don’t share the same beliefs. Now we even having terrorists cells in the country wanting to impose Islamic rules by force.

5. The challenge that we have always faced is the challenge of establishing a matured, liberal and tolerant society in which Malaysians of all colours and creeds are free to practise and profess their customs, cultures and religious beliefs and yet feeling that they belong to one nation.

As I have mentioned before, religion should be something personal and not something to be imposed onto others by force. After all, religion and way of life under it can be highly subjective and this can be opened for abuse by those who have ulterior motive, less intelligent on the actual teaching of the religion and think that their views overrides anyone’s else views. One such statement is this where one can say that “non-Muslims that the Federal Constitution allows Muslims to convert anybody, whereas non-Muslims may only spread their teachings among themselves and not to Muslims”. This is the kind of thinking that leads to sleepless nights to people like Indira Gandhi. Such instances remains unresolved.

6. The challenge of establishing a scientific and progressive society, a society that is innovative and forward-looking, one that is not only a consumer of technology but also a contributor to the scientific and technological civilisation of the future.

The key word here has been “scientific” but we have been flip-flopping on what medium we suppose to teach Science and Mathematics for past few years and it is not helping the country one bit to be pushing the students to be struggling to learn the subjects in Bahasa when the lingual-franca of Science and Mathematics has always been English. And it is sad that after all the effort, time and money spent of grooming local scientists, we are getting surprises like this.

Where is the next generation of scientists, researchers, astronomers and space travelers? Despite this, there is still some of sense of hope and people who care on this. We have the right ingredients but we lack the required spark and interest.

One have to remember that no country in the world that had focused more on religion and gave overwhelming precedent to it compared to science and technology have ever reached the status of a developed nation. Correct me if I am wrong here.

7. The challenge is the challenge of establishing a fully caring society and a caring culture, a social system in which society will come before self, in which the welfare of the people will revolve not around the state or the individual but around a strong and resilient family system.

Malaysians generally as far as I can remember have been a very caring, compassionate and very kind people. We are very forgiving as well. Otherwise the dead woods, the dumb of the dumb and the corrupt & wasteful characters in the Government would have long taken out from the system. They instead get recycled into the same or similar positions where the nonsense remains untouched.

So what is needed here is NOT a welfare state or a state that bends too much in making subsidies and welfare based on race but instead it should be on level of poverty & income. After all, there is poverty in all level of a Malaysian society irregardless of race, culture and religion.

8. The challenge of ensuring an economically just society. This is a society in which there is a fair and equitable distribution of the wealth of the nation, in which there is full partnership in economic progress. Such a society cannot be in place so long as there is the identification of race with economic function, and the identification of economic backwardness with race.

Such a society cannot be in place so long as there is the identification of race with economic function, and the identification of economic backwardness with race. That means dismantling the race based economic policies as such the New Economic Policy which officially ended in 1990 but had lived on under different names.

9. The challenge is the challenge of establishing a prosperous society, with an economy that is fully competitive, dynamic, robust and resilient.

(Source)

Old Man may be saying a lot of things here but to cut to the chase, we will not achieve a developed country mainly because we have not created an environment that promotes open thinking, right to question what is not right and have taken several giant steps backwards of Science and Mathematics. And emphasizing on religion as the back bone of the nation direction does not help is steering the nation towards Vision 2020 either. We even had that silly cross protest as recent as this year. And there are other serious implications from the over-subscribing of Islamisation in this country.

If we indeed want to measure ourselves and the nation from a religion point of view (in that how religious we are), then we need to define out loud what it means to be “developed”.

But I agree that economy alone does not constitutes a country as being a developed country. There must also be substantial personal development on all grounds. There should be a greater enforcement of the law of the land without any biasness or favor. It should also be about promoting fairness and togetherness where Malaysians are treated in equal terms and strive towards a single goal.

We are only fooling ourselves if we think that we will be a developed nation in the next 5 years. But that does not mean we can never be a developed nation. After all, we have all the right ingredients – a good mix of people from various backgrounds (race, religion and culture), natural resources, sufficient land mass and situated in the right place where commerce moves from west to east and almost little natural disasters other than probably flooding (and now earthquakes) and yet, we are missing the key drive to manage it in the right way.

Part of the blame should fall on the Government as they makes and enforce the policies and manage the public spending that have a big impact on the nation. But part of the blame should fall on us too – too long we have been under the umbrella of “first class infrastructure, 3rd class mentality”. No longer should be the case. We need to be the driving force for change and making sure that we think, do and act like citizens of a developed nation. We have to think beyond the limited boundaries of race, religion and culture.

Yup, It’s Getting Weirder


Parking

(Some things are not weird like the way people like to park their cars, it is just a result of people not taking the time and care to do the right things)

It must be the insane weather, I am very sure – it has been raining cats & dogs for past weeks and yet it feels like one is sitting in a sauna at night. My daughter fared worse, despite having 2 fans and occasionally the air-conditioner switched on, she was sweating like she had just done a 10 km marathon.

Or perhaps it is something we have been drinking (or sniffing), I don’t know. Perhaps it was due to our overzealous with being the righteous one that some of us can see the end is near. Whatever the reason maybe, things are just getting weirder in this country.

Just the other day, I was at Tesco and I decided to go the customer service counter as I wanted to load up. I saw a foreigner at the counter topping up his prepaid and he was paying the RM10 top up with shillings, mostly with 10 & 20 cents. As if the rest of us have plenty of time to spare, I waited for the guy behind the counter to take his time to count the money. Then I noticed an African lady standing next to me and then jumping queue, she asked the staff at the counter on how to apply for a Tesco loyalty card.

It was weird when the staff asked this lady (who was obviously a foreigner) in Bahasa Malaysia on what she wanted. The lady was confused and did not understand the question (for obvious reason, duh). She explained in English and yet the staff at the counter keep talking back to her in Bahasa Malaysia. Of course, watching this from the side, I was wondering myself what the fuck is happening. That was very weird indeed. One should be color blind to race but one cannot be that blind.

Things were getting weird indeed. So, it was not a big surprise when earlier, the whole nation was reading this nonsense in the headlines:-

A group of about 50 residents staged a peaceful protest against a new church in Taman Medan fearing proselytization after the church’s congregation had put up a cross on the building.

The Star Online reported that the group had gathered at the church at about 10am earlier today while Sunday mass was going on, claiming that putting up a cross in a Malay-majority area challenged Islam and could influence young Muslims

(Source)

And soon after this incident, there was plenty of hoo-haa and blah-blah and by now, this has become an old trivial story. Of course something like this bound to happen when you mix religion, politics and a good dose of stupidity into the grinder and end up with a messy outcome.

Think of the 2 main arguments put forward by the mob?

One that the church has a cross on its wall and the other is that it will “easily” influence young Muslims. I dare not venture into further latter argument that one can easily be influenced by either the other religions / beliefs / arguments making more sense OR their understanding, embrace and thoughts of their own present religion is so bloody shaky that seeing an image on a wall will change your belief in seconds. Pick a reason and go back to your corner. I mean no one stopping you from being outraged if others challenged you in your beliefs but come on, you need to be fair and reasonable too.

unity-pendant-3

(Symbols are nothing new in religion – each of them have its own meaning, history and place. Image source: http://www.stevemcswain.com)

Let’s relook into the former – that a church has a cross on its wall and that is so wrong. Well, that must have been one of the many dumbest statements that politicians that had made so far this year. What is a church without its cross? What is a Hindu temple without the notable OM symbol? Or a Buddhist temple without the famed Swastika? And of course, what is a mosque without the moon & the star? Interestingly we had walked on this very same path almost 10 years ago when some group contented that a cross on cookies a threat to Islam. It looks like we did not matured enough after all these years.

And whilst it has generated quite amount of comments on this issue, one that stood out with the right strike on the nail has to be this from Fake Malaysia News:-

“I think Christians are well aware it is forbidden to go around proselytizing to Muslims,” said an onlooker, “but they need to take more responsibility for their activities and ensure their churches are clearly marked.”

“If only there was some kind of Christian symbol they could display on the Church to warn Muslims so that they stay away!”

(Source)

Then we had more weird things happening at the famed tourist spot in the city. We had a rather unexpected public strip tease over a meal:-

The Sabah woman who stripped to avoid paying for her meal in Petaling Street on Thursday was high on syabu and had no recollection of what she did. The 32-year-old woman has since been identified as a model and beauty pageant contestant who had appeared on TV reality programmes.

The woman claimed she did not remember her strip tease at the restaurant and strutting down belligerently along Petaling Street, said Dang Wangi OCPD Assistant Commissioner Zainol Samah said yesterday.

(Source)

At first, I was thinking it was a foreigner who may not feel shame going topless in public (maybe she was feeling hot under the weather) but interestingly with the power of the internet at one’s finger tips, it was not long before someone sent me the woman’s school days and past modelling photos. A good looking lady who could have held the world in her hands but some how ended on the wrong side of the law and high on drugs. It’s a pity indeed and perhaps one of the many tragic stories in this country .

Of course nothing beats the scale of weirdness that surrounds the political world in this country. Never mind the on-going spate between Dr M and Najib which has been rather one sided – Dr M shooting off all the valid questions but only to get the minions responding back with bizarre responses. There has been only been too many implication of misadventures under Najib’s administrations from the over paid consultants, too frequent overseas trips, rather over lavish lifestyle and expenditures and the list seems to be continuing. And the silence by the PM remains an indication that not all things are going all too well.

And now it is getting worse with the latest expose from Sarawak Report (the localised wikileaks and one that have been digging up a lot of information):-

Investigators into the Malaysian development fund 1MDB’s 2009 joint venture with the company PetroSaudi International have concluded that the partnership lied to its banks and Bank Negara Malaysia.

The papers in Sarawak Report’s possession show that the investigators have identified at least three separate occasions on which these and other transgressions were made, which appear worthy of prosecution.

(Source)

If these news are false, it is strange why 1MDB have not sued Sarawak Report for the matter and put a lid on all these uneasiness for once and for all? If we have been living in another country, well, never mind let’s not go there. For now, let’s just blame the weather for all things going weird in this country.

Sarawak Report Expose on 1MDB


1mdb-01

(A 42 billion time bomb that had already exploded on everyone’s face but a lot of people in this country are not aware of the blast – no thanks to a sneaky fat guy and a clueless PM. Until today, I am lost why they put billions of taxpayers money in Cayman Island unless it is meant for some shady deal. Infographic source: http://poskod.my/cheat-sheets/10-things-know-1mdb/)

In a country where the police chief can take action based on tweets and Facebook postings, there is only eerie silence by the police, MACC, Bank Negara and the pro-Government politicians on the largest scandal expose by Sarawak Report on the 1MDB

And if you have missed the story, the crux of the expose has been this:-

Together with London’s Sunday Times newspaper, Sarawak Report has completed an in-depth investigation into the trail of the missing billions at the heart of Malaysia’s 1MDB (One Malaysia Development Berhad) financial scandal.

We have obtained access to thousands of documents and emails relating to transactions by 1MDB, including its initial joint venture with the little known oil company PetroSaudi International from 2009.

What the documents establish is that, in spite of copious official denials, the entire joint venture project was conceived, managed and driven through by the Prime Minister’s associate and family friend the party-loving billionaire tycoon, Jho Low.

The documents also prove that the USD$700 million so-called “loan” that was supposedly repaid to PetroSaudi as part of the joint venture agreement, was in fact directed into the Swiss bank account of a company called Good Star, which is controlled by Jho Low.

That money was then partly used to buy out Taib Mahmud’s UBG bank in Sarawak at a very advantageous price for the chief minister and his family, who had been failing to get a deal on the open market.

PetroSaudi had agreed to act as “a front” for Jho Low on such deals, according to the documents, and it was a subsidiary of PetroSaudi International registered in the Seychelles, which bought UBG, using money siphoned from 1MDB.

(Source)

USD700 million of taxpayers went to someone’s personal pockets and 1MDB continues to bleed. And it did not stop there. Then almost on the same day, The Edge had this story on 1MDB:-

From 2009 to 2014, 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) initial US$1 billion was shuffled and swapped around, in an apparent bid to avoid scrutiny by its string of external auditors, The Edge Malaysia reported.

In its March 2-8 issue, the business weekly provides a timeline of how the government-owned strategic investment fund disguised the money trail of its initial US$1 billion for five years, raising the question of whether 1MDB is as profitable as it claims to be, or is merely rich on paper

By August 1, the money in the Caymans had grown to US$2.33 billion, and in November and December, 1MDB announced it had redeemed the entire amount.

However, instead of repatriating the money home, 1MDB president Arul Kanda Kandasamy said the December redemption of US$1.11 billion would be kept offshore as a currency hedge, while the first redemption would be “substantially utilised” for a separate settlement agreement on a different project.

“What can be surmised from the events of the last five years is that 1MDB kept entering into deftly structured transactions timed to avoid vigorous scrutiny by its external auditors about the money,” The Edge said.

(Source)

Whether it was a case of sheer recklessness or blatant corruption and fraud or simply a case of bad business decision, one thing that is clear – the allegations and evidence that has been presented by Sarawak Report cannot be taken lightly. There is overwhelming notion of fraud, corruption and mismanagement of public funds written all over it.

And already search for scapegoats have started:-

It appears that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has begun the process of trying to wash PM Najib’s hands clean of what may turn out to be the biggest political and financial scandal in recent Malaysian history, according to analyst Shahbudin Husin.

Tied to that process may be a search for a scapegoat, he writes in a blog entry that indicates his belief that the 1MDB controversy is close to reaching a climax.

(Source)

Given the kind of damage that has made by Sarawak Report’s expose, it is apparent that Najib and his Government cannot remain silent. The more they remained silent, the more crystallize the allegations will be. And finally, probably given the pressure within his Government and outside, the PM has now directed the Auditor-General to vet the 1MDB’s accounts. He even goes on to say something interesting (and probably a concept that is rather alien in this country) – “If any wrongdoing is proven, the law will be enforced without exception”.

Let’s talk on Auditor-General’s reporting in the past. How effective it has been to 1. curtail and avoid similar incidents of wastage & abuse in future and 2. in booking the culprits of wastage and abuses? Since the PM is asking the AG to check 1MDB’s account, we also want to know if the Government would be serious in taking actions if there are some findings by the AG?

Back in 2014, Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam wrote this:-

Unfortunately these management weaknesses and the consequent wastage of public funds continue to stubbornly persist. This is happening despite the Auditor General’s previous exhortations, to improve our standards of good governance.

In this first installment of the Report for 2013, it appears that 283 spending related issues were raised as for the first 4 months, which is well over the 256 spending issues raised by the AG, for the whole of 2012!

This trend is alarming and must be dealt with very seriously!

The Auditor General has to his credit now made 109 new recommendations for improvement in financial management. But the rakyat will ask what will be done with them? Will these recommendations be ignored and will mismanagement and financial wastage continue regardless?

Hence should not the PAC recommend tougher action and even name and shame these recalcitrant Ministries which are responsible for the loss of hard earned public funds?

(Source)

Transparency International Malaysia in 2013 said “It will also make a mockery of the Government, when the Auditor-General’s reports are not being taken seriously after it has identified the shortcomings within the administration” (Source)

And Tony Pua from Pakatan echoes the same:-

“While welcoming the investigation on 1MDB’s financials, Pua said the report should also include, but not be limited to the following:

• Auditing and identifying the redemption trail of the investments in Cayman Islands and the whereabout of its proceeds;

• Auditing and identifying the exact investment holding, true value and whereabouts of RM13.39 billion of “Level 3 Assets” identified in the March 2014 Financial Report;

• Confirming if 1MDB had attempted to borrow RM2 billion from local tycoon Ananda Krishnan to repay its debt and determine 1MDB’s cashflow shortage to meet its RM42 billion debt obligations as well as contract commitments which is likely to require a government bailout;

• Confirming if all historical emails in the 1MDB mail server were “wiped out” in December last year, as claimed by the Sarawak Report.

Pua said the Auditor-General should also conduct a forensic audit of 1MDB with the assistance of professional forensic auditors “to uncover any financial shenanigans in the company particularly in the light of (the) expose by the Sarawak Report and the mind-boggling PetroSaudi transactions from 2009 to 2012” and explained the same had been done in the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal in 2009.

(Source)

And thanks to the good people in Sarawak report, things have started to pick up pace despite it is not a new issue and the troubled 1MDB & the dubious way of handling the matter by people linked with 1MDB has been in the mainstream news for some time now.

And with the expose, the calls for accountability and transparency have not been louder, clearer and more direct to Najib:-

He notes that there have been reports that 1MDB will be wound up. “Oh, my God! For six years we’ve been told that everything was safe and fine. And now, suddenly, there’ll be a winding up?”

But Ariff says he figures it’ll take months before the Auditor-General can complete his task because of the mountains of documents involved. “What’s worse, much computer data have been destroyed.”

He notes that another Umno leader has alleged that there’s a political conspiracy behind the attacks on 1MDB and he discloses that the allegation came even as he was writing his article.

“If it were true that there’s a political agenda, it would be justifiable because the objective would be to expose a government that has made it possible for abuse and corruption to happen, in fact given a licence for them to happen.”

“In all these six years, it’s not public funds that the government has been protecting, but thieves and robbers.”

(Source)

Now there are talks of dismantling 1MDB and dissolve it thereafter. It may depends on the outcome of the AG report. The question is whether we will be calling the fat guy in for questioning and squeeze the truth from him on the shady USD700 million transfer? And since the PM is also the Finance Minister and this owns 1MDB, accountability and thereafter his resignation if wrongdoings are proven? Sarawak Report claims that all historical emails have been wiped out – so what is left to investigate if more evidence have been tampered with?

We do not want another PKFZ fiasco where the biggest losers at the end of the day is the taxpayers.

NAP 2014: Talk of Cheap Cars Again


Read these first:-

the-impact-of-the-electric-car_5033a828f37ca

(The hard cold facts of EEVs – have we considered the pros and cons of using EEVs? After all, the buzz word of NAP 2014 is EEV which is not a bad thing if you ask me and holds many benefits, both for the industry, consumer and the environment. But the thing is, will we put the right effort on implementing what we have planned and deliver cheaper car in the end? Image source: http://visual.ly)

If you can recall before the elections, reducing price of the car was something that both side of the fence promised to entice the voters. Err, sorry that was not case really – what actually happened was this, it was something that Pakatan had initiated (it was a good proposal too) and when people had warmed to the idea, BN found themselves pushed to a corner and promised the same thing (some how, strangely earlier they were against cheaper cars). They said they were wiser and promised price reduction for many other things – toll being one of it. But in the end, all those items that should have cost cheaper, ended up costing more (although the toll increase seems to be on hold at the moment but it may not be for long). They were indeed wiser and the voters who voted for them were made to look like fools.

Then recently in 2014, we got this:-

The National Automotive Policy (NAP) announced today that it is committed to a gradual reduction of prices ranging between 20% and 30% over the next five years. However, Inter¬national Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, who announced it, stopped short of giving details on how the reduction would come about.

“We are constantly reviewing our fiscal position. Our deficit level is now 4%. In the event our revenue improves, we may review the excise duty. “We will reduce excise duty gradually over a period of time,” he told reporters after announcing NAP 2014 here today.

NAP 2014’s key objective is to make Malaysia a regional automotive hub for energy-efficient vehicles (EEVs), to be achieved by issuing manufacturing licences (ML) to all car companies without any engine capacity restrictions. This will be followed with customised incentives for each investor coming into the country, which will eventually contribute towards a lowering of EEV car prices in the country.

On Approved Permits (APs), Mustapa said the government will conduct an in-depth study on the issue to assess the impact of the termination on bumiputera participation in the automotive industry. “We are not backtracking. We will be doing a thorough study which will start after Chinese New Year,” he said, adding that NAP 2009 had specified the termination of open APs by Dec 31, 2015 and Franchise APs by Dec 31, 2020.

(Source)

Now where did we saw that very similar looking promise to reduce the price of cars? So what does this really means to all of us?

One, it looks like price of cars will NOT be coming down anytime soon (soon means in the coming months instead of the coming years) BUT they have promise to bring it down in the next 5 years, interestingly just before the next general elections. Don’t you feel a sense of déjà vu? So, you guys want to trust them again with the so-called promise of gradual reduction in the next 5 years? What stopping them from postponing this plan to reduce the price after the elections?

One thing that NAP 2014 seemed to have missed in making vehicles more affordable is the structure of car financing in this country (if it is there and I have missed it, please let me know). The current method of installment computation using flat rest (upfront interest) should be abolished. They should instead apply the same monthly rest method used for housing loans (month end interest computation). If a car cost RM100,000 (let’s assume 100% financing) with an interest rate of 5% and the financing period of 5 years, the monthly installment from the 2 methods would be as follows:-

Upfront interest method – ((RM100,000 x 5% x 5) + RM100,000)/60 = RM2,084
Month end interest computation – using the PMT formula = RM1,887

There is a difference of almost RM200 per month. Yes, the banks earns less every month but this also means the consumer is paying less. In total (for that 5 years), the financing cost is lower by almost RM12,000 and that is a lot of money, if you ask me. Money can be offset against higher petrol, toll and maintenance cost. There is no need for a very long financing period too if the monthly installment is lower. Some of us are forced to take 7 – 9 years of hire purchase just to own a decent safe car. And for those may opt to pay higher installment, the settlement of the loan would be faster. Further by using upfront interest method, the consumer loses more if he settles earlier towards the end of the loan cycle. Those who is familiar with the Rule 78 will understand this and in 2001, a Bill was even introduced in US that would eliminate the use of the Rule of 78s formula in credit transactions, for obvious reason:-

But your payout amount won’t be what you deserve. The reason? Using the “Rule of 78s” method, your lender applies more of your previous payments toward interest and less of your previous payments toward principal.

Since less is applied toward principal, the amount you owe will be higher than expected. The earlier you try to pay off one of these loans the more you’ll have to pay. The higher the interest rate, the more that payoff amount is going to hurt.

“If it had overcharged the lender and undercharged the consumer, it would have disappeared decades ago,” says Jean Ann Fox, director of consumer protection for Consumer Federation of America. “It’s a dirty little secret.”

(Source)

In Malaysia, we are still stuck to the upfront interest computation and the use of Rule 78 and so far, the Government have not introduced any restrictions on this. At the end, the consumer do pay more to own a car. Add this with the overpriced car (no thanks to AP and excise duties), the cost of owning a car is very expensive indeed in Malaysia. This somehow is missing from NAP 2014 although this has a direct implications on the industry.

Two, there is no clear decision on abolishing the APs although the Minister did mention “something” will happen on Open APs in December 2015 (that’s about 2 years from now). So let’s see if something do happens next year or as usual, it gets swept under the carpet. After all, if the Minister comes back and say “We need to do this study. We have to take the views of automotive industry stakeholders including bumiputera participants and the impact of the AP termination”, you probably want to hold back your celebrations. We all know who the stakeholders are and there is only a handful of them (we even had AP Queen once) but somehow this takes precedent over the many Malaysians who owns a car (with a ratio of 200 cars for every one thousand people, Malaysia ranks among countries with high car ownership ratio in the region. We have more than 22 million vehicles)

Back in 2005, Paul Tan wrote about this and nothing much have changed since then:-

Let’s use Honda cars for example. In Malaysia, Hondas are marketed and distributed by Honda Malaysia Sdn Bhd, a joint venture company between Honda Motor Co., Ltd. of Japan, DRB HICOM Berhad and Oriental Holdings Berhad. I do not see Honda Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. in the AP recipients list.

But I do see an AP king trio of Syed Azman, Mohd Haniff and Azzuddin holding the most APs. And one of their companies is Weststar Motorsport, which is said to be the franchise AP holder for Honda cars in Malaysia. Weststar Motorsport received 7603 APs in 2005 so far. It’s only half a year now. With a market rate of RM30,000 per AP, that’s a nice amount of roughly RM228 million ringgit worth of APs. However, I do not see Weststar Motorsport having any distributor chain of Honda cars anywhere.

Perhaps a distribution chain is not needed. Maybe all they need is a small office to process AP purchase orders. Could it be Honda Malaysia has to buy APs from Weststar Motorsport in order to import their own vehicles into Malaysia? In Honda’s case, Weststar Motorsport brings the cars in and hands over the car and responsibilities of how the car is going to reach the consumer’s hands to Honda Malaysia. And I reckon they only import as much as what’s requested.

(Source)

Speaking of APs, NAP 2014 also states that the government is open to possibilities to reduce excise duties gradually BUT ha ha, when the fiscal situation permits. And you know by the way the Government spends like they are high on drugs, the fiscal situation is not going to improve anytime soon. So forget about all these talk of reducing the excise duties gradually.

Three, EEV (energy-efficient vehicles) seems to be the “in” thing for the latest NAP. Considering that the price of petrol have been going up in the last few years, this is indeed good news. It is also good news for the environment too. But are we prepared for it in terms of infrastructure and cheaper EEV? Forget about getting a cheaper Prius – even after you have take into consideration the high cost of the battery, it still cost almost RM140,000 right now (in US, it cost only RM80,000 so we must paying an extra RM60,000 for taxes and AP). It may be cheaper in the future but that is not certain. And if we also include electric cars, do we have plans to set up the infrastructures needed to compliment a greater use of EEVs?

Electric cars often have less maximum range on one charge than cars powered by fossil fuels, and they can take considerable time to recharge. This is a reason that many automakers marketed EVs as “daily drivers” suitable for city trips and other short hauls.

Nevertheless, people can be concerned that they would run out of energy from their battery before reaching their destination, a worry known as range anxiety. As of December 2013, Estonia is the first and only country that had deployed an EV charging network with nationwide coverage, with fast chargers available along highways at a minimum distance of between 40 to 60 km (25 to 37 mi), and a higher density in urban areas

(Source)

Four, there is something called “voluntary annual vehicle check” which seems to be more of a mystery. How effective is this voluntary annual vehicle check when there is also scheduled car service in place for all cars? For example if I am taking my car to the authorized car service center every 5,000 km for a change of oil and car inspection, will I volunteer for another vehicle check in another center who may or may not be familiar with the workings of the car?

And what happens if during the voluntary annual vehicle check, the car is found to be unsafe for one reason or another? Will be the owner be advised to go back to their authorized service centers to get it rectified or their car is impounded right there? Don’t the authorized service centers suppose to do this in the first place? One just hopes that this will not be part of the earlier proposed end-of-life vehicle policy wrapped in new clothes. It may be voluntary checking now but once the inspection issues ironed out, what’s stopping them from making it mandatory (where consumer ends up paying more for the same thing) and thereafter impose the 12 years end-of-life vehicle policy?

To be fair, NAP 2014 has just been announced – it may be tweaked in the coming months but one would hope that the execution of the key features of the NAP 2014 is effectively done. No point talking about reducing the price of the car or give higher incentives for EEVs if at the end of the day, we don’t actually see overall reduction of the price for better equipped in terms of performance and safety cars and other related factors like car financing is not taken into consideration.

As I have said, don’t you feel a sense of déjà vu?