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.

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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

Voting in GE14 2018 – Part 1


(The queue to each voting stations – this particular queue where I was standing started from the staircase, all the way to the end, turns right forming another line, makes a U-Turn at the end and heads back to the left. At the end of this left is the classroom where the voting station is located. Look at the queues at the each of the floor – the line was long and it moved so slow)

Weeks before the actual elections day came (the time Najib was still undecided on when to call for the General Elections), I was worried – will we see another 5 years of nonsense and things to be continued to be swept under the carpet?

Personally, I didn’t think Pakatan will ever win the simple majority over the Federal seats but I knew that we had to at least defend Penang & Selangor from falling back to BN. BN had been trying all sorts of tricks in the book to wrestle back the voters support in these crucial states but failed todate. I also made sure to share any positive news on Pakatan with family and friends – the awareness is the key for fence voters to decide when the time comes. And as the days went by, I started to realise that the support for Pakatan was overwhelming compared to support I noticed back in GE13. Tun Dr M being the chairman and designated Prime Minister for Pakatan was a big factor for the support (of course, there was others like high cost of living, selective prosecution, mismanagement of taxpayers’ money, etc). Thousands attended Pakatan public rallies and it was more evident on the social media. Even my 90++ years old grandmother was restless and kept asking when is the elections as she wanted to vote for Tun M.

GE14 would be my 4th time I will be voting on who will be running the nation – so it was not a first time for me but I was still anxious.

Days before 9th May 2018, I double checked, no no, I tripled checked the EC website on my voter’s details and also my siblings and parents. All checked well although it presented a logistic issue. Me and my wife was voting in one place, my sister in another, my Dad in another and my Mom in another and all of us wanted to settle voting as early as possible in the morning before it gets too hot. Considering how some of the candidates were disqualified because they were found bankrupted on the day of nomination but was not the day before, I had nightmares of us going to our polling stations and find our names missing. In fact, on the social media, this worst case scenario was even considered as very real and voters were advised to keep a hardcopy of the voters search just in case it happens. And we did the same; both me and my sister downloaded the details on our phones and shared with all.

And we quickly worked the logistics – I will pick up my Mom first thing in the morning for her voting station because she is the furthest away compared to others. Once finished (which I expected to be done by lunch time), I will come back and pick up my wife in the afternoon as our polling place is the same. In the meantime, she will take care of the kids at home whilst I was out sending my Mom and once back, my Mom will keep an eye on the kids so that we can go and vote. At the same time, my sister will pick up my Dad as it is nearer to home – we want my Dad to go early and finish early as he can’t stand long in the queue due to his medical condition. And somewhere in between we had to arrange for breakfast and lunch for us and the kids. Phew!!!

The polling station opens at 8 am so we planned to ensure our parents at the respective schools by 7.30 am (minimum). And a funny thing happened as I drove out – the roads were clear and despite some morons changing lanes without any indicators, I did not curse them as usual. Somehow I considered them as “Pakatan” supporters on the way to vote and as such I want them to reach their polling stations safely and cast their votes in time. In fact, I was doing a silent prayer so that all voters – irrespective of which party they are supporting – will be able to reach their polling station safely and cast their votes in time. Crazy of me!

By the time, I dropped my Mom at the school at our old neighborhood, a long queue already formed – I guessed they must have lined up before 7 am. Looking at the long line and considering that there is no place to park my car to wait for her to finish voting, I told my Mom to queue up first and once finished, stand in front of the main gate of the school and call me. Gathering that I still had about 1 – 1.5 hours before I get the call, I drove around the old neighborhood (where we use to walk for miles to buy our sundry items) before deciding to stop at the food court for breakfast. The place was full packed – it seemed like most of elderly voters had decided to take their breakfast before going to their voting stations.

When the old lady at the food court served my hot delicious Char Keow Teow, she asked me if I had voted (she must have noticed the missing ink on my fingers), I smiled at her and said I am going in the afternoon. She smiled back and said that no matter what, everyone must vote – vote for change – vote for the opposition. I noticed she repeat this mantra on the next customer who had ordered Char Keow Teow. Just as I was finishing the delicious breakfast, my Mom called and said she had finished voting – the time was 8.30 am. I was impressed – despite the long queue, it moved fast and was done fast. My sister called almost the same time and said that Dad also had completed his voting and they are already back and waiting at my house.

Since my parents finished early, instead of waiting for afternoon, we decided to leave immediately to our polling station – 1. To take advantage of the good weather in the morning (it usually rained in the evening) and 2. To ensure we have more than enough time to cast our votes. Parking was not easy near the polling stations despite the present of traffic policemen. There even people triple parked and waiting in the car. We had to park far so as not to block the road – it was a good exercise walking towards the polling station and there were many other excited voters walking with us. Since we had pre-printed our voter’s details and know which station to go, there was no need to queue again and check at the front counters – we were directed by the kind lady at the ground floor on where to go next.

The time at my watch showed 9.30 am.

My wife’s polling station was at the 2nd floor whilst mine was at the 3rd floor but as we reached the staircase, we noticed queue already formed along the staircase. I think there were at least 100 people in front of me as I reached the 3rd floor and the line was moving very slowly. But considering that we had at least 7 hours before the polling stations would be closed at 5pm, we know we had plenty of time and we will be able to cast our votes. But as time went by and it was getting hotter and hotter and the line started to move slower and slower, I realised that we made a mistake of not bring a bottle of water. Smart ones had a fully charged phone to kill time. Smarter ones had a big bag and 2 bottles of water in it. One old lady at the polling station at the ground floor fainted and the EC staff & her relatives were quick to come to her aid and get her to rest. Others like the very elderly and pregnant ladies was given the chance to cut queue and go straight to vote – other voters did not mind and understood of the situation.

Thirsty and tired of standing in the queue, I finally reached at the front door of the polling station. The time was 11.45 am – I have been at the queue for almost 2 hours. The officer at front motioned me to come and pass him my identification card. Since I knew my serial number, I told him and that made it easier to check the list and confirmed my name. Next was the ink – I noticed it did not dry fast and I was extra careful when I got the ballot papers – I did not want any stains on it and cause it to be an invalid vote. I had a small tissue paper so I managed to wrap my finger on it and very carefully I cast my vote clearly. My wife managed to cast her votes 30 minutes earlier and was waiting for me at the main entrance (I did not realise it as I had put my phone on silent mode).

Voting done and we were parched – it was time to have our drinks before doing anything else. We rushed back and had at least 2 large glasses of fruit juice at a nearby food court and yet we were still thirsty. Lesson learned – next GE – we are bringing our bottles of water.

Part 1 of the tasks for the day was done – organising and casting our votes. Next was Part 2 which was following up on the election results and I know it is going to be one long day (or night) before we got the results up.

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)

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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.

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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….

Snippets – 21 September 2017


(We all are friends when your enemy is also my enemy. Pakatan Harapan in place of Pakatan Rakyat – they are better organised and led by experienced people in the political area but will they stick together when their individual objective clashes? Image source: The Malaysian Insight)

Hi folks, it has been sometime since I last blogged – frankly speaking, I have been spending more time at other places (some DIYs at home, updating my Facebook, watching Youtube, playing games, etc) instead of blogging. But it does not mean I have not been keeping up with the news – unfortunately there is more depressing news on where this country is heading. In fact, this particular post and the title had been on a draft mode for months and had undergone several edits so don’t be surprised if you are reading very old news here.

As the date of the next general election draws nearer, I have to say that political situation in this country have continued to get stupid, weird and illogical. The oppositions have finally decided to ditch PAS (although a lifeline still extended to PAS by PKR) and formed Pakatan Harapan in place of the crumbling Pakatan Rakyat but it still shaky alliance with PAS leaning towards more to BN than PH & threaten a 3 corner fight at the elections and the inclusion of Dr M as one of the leaders for Pakatan Harapan had not gone well with some die-hard PH supporters.

But at least, the Pakatan fellows are a bit more organised than before and with Anwar still locked up, they truly need a strong leader to kick start things and no one could it better than Dr M.

The King’s Speech

Recently, I was attracted to a speech that I heard recently – the speech by His Majesty Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V in conjunction with his installation As 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong and in particular on his point on unity & good morals:-

As has been proven, people of all races professing different faiths, as well as varied cultures and lifestyles, are able to live together in peace and harmony and have mutual respect for each other.

I hope Malaysians will remain as one in maintaining unity, be tolerant, and collectively assume their responsibilities to the state, because this has been our uniqueness and source of our strength all these years.

I hope Malaysians will continue to adhere to good moral values and ethics. Be honourable, knowledgeable and respectable individuals who are aware their responsibilities to the country.

(Transcript Source)

Re-read what His Majesty have emphasised and let your mind immerse in it for a moment –

  1. Proven that people of all races professing different faiths, as well as varied cultures and lifestyles, are able to live together in peace and harmony and have mutual respect for each other.
  2. An united people of all races professing different faiths, as well as varied cultures and lifestyles has been our uniqueness and source of our strength all these years.

In this country, more often people are divided either based on race or religion and on rare occasion, both race and religion (read Dr M’s – Kafirkah Saya?). This needs to change or we will lose Malaysia as we know it.

That is why I trust that it is a timely advice from His Majesty to the screwed politicians out there who in my mind, lack the will power or the political desire to strengthen the unity among the people and who have often acted opposite of the ideals of “honourable, knowledgeable and respectable”.

And it is a not a big secret that the closer the election gets, the more sensitive decisions will be by those in the power which is based on race or religion just to ensure they get the votes.

Division by Race

The fact that the 3 main political parties in the Government are divided by race says alot about unity of people in this country. Bangsa Malaysia and in recent years, 1Malaysia had remained as a pretty slogans and nothing more.

It is for the same reason why I rather not have Hindraf running for politics and instead work with a more multi racial political parties like DAP and PKR. We don’t need another Indian political party that will only look after the Indians & not the rest of Malaysians – not in the year of 2017.

And talking about classification by race, back in July, the notion of Bumiputera (aka Sons of the Land) was stirred up but from a very unlikely source:-

The government will study in depth the request from the Indian Muslim community to be recognised as Bumiputera, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said last night.

(Source)

The question is why now and why only Indian Muslim?

What about Chinese Muslims? What about other races who are not Muslims who have been in this country for generations and have sacrificed their time, money and blood for the nation? I know for fact that the war against the Communist would not be successful without the brave Chinese special branch officers and the ultimate sacrifices that they made.

What about Orang Asli – the original Bumiputeras – who have been in this country longer than anyone else?

The Beer Festival Fiasco

(To tell you the truth, I was not aware of this beer festival until PAS made it as a big issue. Image source: TheStar)

PAS today called an annual craft beer festival here next month a “vice festival,” warning that Kuala Lumpur could become known as Asia’s vice centre if such programmes carry on unobstructed.

“The hatred of the majority community towards vice activities should also be given attention and celebrated, not only celebrate the desires of some humans that worship their desires,” he said, further warning that there could be “extremist” actions when society is unable to accept the “treachery” and feel under pressure

(Source)

Such rants from PAS fellows are nothing new – they have been making noise on beers all these years but the problem is they often protest based on flimsy reasons and ignore the giants in the room. This is why they lose their credibility. I mean have you seen any protest from them on pressing issues like the flood mitigation in Kelantan (which happens on yearly basis), increase of HIV cases in the state, abuses in 1MDB, Tabung Haji and Mara and the growth of ISIS influences in the region? And yet, they protest against a festival that is held once a year and only opened to non-Muslims (actually it is held more for foreign tourists) and held indoors where Muslims can easier barred from entering.

And if beer festival is deemed a vice festival, then how PAS justify the many pubs, coffee shops and supermarkets that are selling alcohol on the daily basis and since the British days? Pubs that I know are usually jam packed on Saturdays. And how many drunken driving you heard of in the papers on daily basis against other more serious crimes like robbery and snatch thefts? I see more idiots on the road on daily basis who drive as if they are drunk to the core and yet sober – they poses danger to other road users even without any beer festivals.

Although tasting “250 beers from 43 breweries worldwide” was rather tempting, frankly speaking I rather have cold beer at the comfort of my home whilst watching a good movie. Seriously PAS use of religion against the beer festival is certainly misplaced.

I guess this why we have people like this 21 years old in this country who is bend on killing non-Muslims and destroying worship places of the non Muslims. Just like Zakir Naik who often talks bad about other religions so to promote Islam, you cannot call your religion as compassionate & peaceful if you are going to kill others who have different beliefs from you.

So it was not surprised when the beer festival at the end of the day got cancelled.

Festival organiser, MyBeer, confirmed the cancellation with “disappointment” on Monday.

“At our meeting with DBKL [Kuala Lumpur City Hall] officials, we were instructed to cancel our event as there are issues with the licensing,” it said. “We were further informed that the decision was made due to the political sensitivity surrounding the event.”

(Source)

If it had been cancelled due to organisers had not fulfilled the approval requirements, it would have highly understandable but to say that it is cancelled due to the political sensitivity surrounding the event leads back to the notion that an event for the non-Muslims was cancelled due to the protests by PAS. The government had not banned beers or even decided to ban beer festivals so why DBKL is citing political sensitivity now?

Now MCA says that it was cancelled due to security concerns – if so, who made the threats first? Didn’t PAS promised that there could be “extremist” actions if the festival went ahead? Isn’t this sound ridiculous when you have beer sales and parties on a weekly basis elsewhere and it is safe for the patrons but when PAS protest on it, the event becomes unsafe for the patrons? Will we be cancelling other non-Muslim functions / events in the future whenever there is a protest and threat of security?

It is not a big secret that PAS uses religion as their political agenda and often use it to further their political mileage.

And this is more obvious when PAS proposed the changes under RUU355 (Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355)) although it is about amending an existing law had in existence last 33 years. End of the day, we know that it has nothing to do with religion but rather it is politics. This is why the opposition to RUU355 should not be construed as anti-Islam.

Even the Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali sees it as a political move:-

“The purpose and intention of this is to reap political mileage. Have you heard anybody from the public clamouring for increase of powers of the shariah court? No, nobody asking is asking for it, isn’t it?

“To my reading, it is mainly political. He (Hadi) has to satisfy the states that have already established hudud laws.

(Source)

Always remember that united people of all races professing different faiths, as well as varied cultures and lifestyles has been our uniqueness and source of our strength for many years. Don’t change that. Never lose our uniqueness.

Have a great weekend ahead and happy holidays to all

Before the Elections – Part 1


It has been more than 2 months down the line, the pain in the neck (or rather my arm) have reduced drastically. It has been improving on daily basis after I had started the cervical traction treatment, sleeping without pillows and DIY neck exercise. It has not gone completely but at least now, I don’t have that pain whenever I drive which is great and is a big relief.

Anyway folks, by now, they say when the election is around the corner, strange things will happen. The sky will turn sweet pink and you will see politicians coming down from their place in the sky down to earth and share the way of life and hardships of the people.

(One publicity that back-fired. Image source: World of Buzz)

The often seen publicity stunt when election is around the corner would be politicians living and doing things that the normal citizens would do. One fine example was this cycling stunt with complete police escort and an ambulance. Just wonder who in the right mind would be riding around on a bicycle wearing office attire and causing massive traffic jam in the wake.

Please do expect more publicity stunts in the future as such leaders taking & sweating out in public transports, kissing the babies, visiting the old folks in kampong, helping the villagers to repair damaged houses, bridges, eating by the road side with the village folks, working in plantations & paddy fields, etc.

All the sudden you will also notice other changes – the same politicians did nothing for national unity, fight against corruption & abuse of taxpayers money will don a new skin and talk about fairness, unity, fight against corruption and other ideals that all other Malaysians have talking about and desidered for ages.

INPUT from some 20 series of dialogues revealed young Malaysians prefer to be known as “Bangsa Malaysia” in the next 30 years, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said yesterday.

Of course, and not just young Malaysians.

Most, if not all, Malaysians want to be known as Malaysians or Bangsa Malaysia rather than by their racial or ethnic origins.

(Source)

So if the new generation of Malaysians want to be known as Malaysians or Bangsa Malaysia rather than by their racial or ethnic origins, then why the Government still insist on policies and decisions based on racial origins? Why until today, we still need to indicate our racial or ethnic origins on application forms despite being a blue true Malaysians? Even after 60 years of independance, the coming of the information age and a larger role played by Generation Z, the nation is still tightly governed by segregations based on race and religion and causes sensitive issues that threaten to tore this nation apart.

Then we have the must have buzz word – transformation (the “other” buzz word is “you help me, I help you”).

After four decades, a fresh federal initiative is set to be launched to champion the cause of the Indian community.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will chart the path ahead for the estimated 1.7 million Indians in the country with a national blueprint for them.

The last comprehensive economic masterplan for the community, prepared by the MIC in 1974, failed as it was considered to be “too vague”.

The new 10-year blueprint has specific targets and policies set in place to address the plight of Indians.

(Source)

But look at the statement again – “After four decades, a fresh federal initiative is set to be launched to champion the cause of the Indian community” – only a politician can pull that off with a straight face.

Four decades??

That is 40 years if you don’t know what is a decade means. So for 40 years, nothing fancy happens (no revisions of whatsoever of whatever masterplan that MIC came out in 1974) but now all the sudden they seemed have woken up and now wanted to do something serious about it.

Interestingly no where it was mentioned of another transformation blueprint that was endorsed back in 2013:-

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak today pledged that a special unit will be set up under the Prime Minister’s Office to ensure all promises made to the Indian poor are delivered.

Najib, as Barisan Nasional chairman, had today endorsed demands contained under the Hindu Rights Action Force’s (Hindraf) five-year blueprint to uplift poor and marginalised Indians in the country.

Describing the event as a “historical” moment in Malaysian politics, Najib today signed the endorsement agreement with Hindraf chairman P. Waythamoothy.

(Source)

Fast forward to 2017 and even Hindraf is singing a different tune now:-

Indian rights NGO Hindraf has dismissed Prime Minister Najib Razak’s announcement in Chennai of a new blueprint to benefit the Indian community as an “April fool’s trick.”

Its chairman P Waythamoorthy said Najib had failed to fulfil a memorandum of understanding for the betterment of the community that Barisan Nasional (BN) had made with Hindraf, despite the document being publicly signed before “millions of Malaysians” through the media in April 2013.

“This is another attempt by Najib to dupe and give false hope and promises to the marginalised Malaysian Indian community,” he said in a statement today.

(Source)

We also have this nonsense some months ago and this is not the first time, we are getting this kind of cheap stab on the back from the ruling politician – read here for another incident that happened back in 2009.

The Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry (KPKT) has scrapped approvals for local council projects in non-Barisan Nasional (BN) parliamentary constituencies.

This is according to a leaked letter that was issued and signed by the Local Government Department director-general Abu Bakar Johar dated March 17.

According to the letter, the directive applied to all BP.1 projects, categorised as small scale people-centric projects in the respective local councils, including the building and repairing of roads, drains, public toilets, multi-purpose halls, and business premises.

Abu Bakar, in the letter, said the directive was given by the minister Tan Sri Noh Omar during a BP.1 project allocation coordination meeting on March 6 and later in a meeting session with local council mayors on March 9.

(Source)

Is this another attempt to “slow things down” in the opposition led constituencies?

Can a Federal Minister be so selective in the providing the service and allocations?

What they think this will achieve? That people get angry of the lack of development and vote back BN in those constituencies? It is no big secret that Noh Omar had always wanted to wrestle back the state of Selangor ever since it fell into Pakatan’s hands but to be selective in providing services and allocations based on BN / non BN led parliamentary constituencies is akin to hitting one below the belt. It is understandable if he is doing it within his capacity of a BN politician but it should not be in his capacity of a Federal Minister.

And recently there were further disturbances in the Force and we are seeing more of the Dark Side.

It was kind of expected considering the election will be here soon and those states under the Oppositions are doing pretty good and without any major dispute to their administrations.

PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar wants the Election Commission (EC) to explain how 28,416 servicemen and their family members could have their names on the EC’s list of demands.

She expressed fears that these additional “postal voters” could help sway the results in GE14 in favour of the Barisan Nasional in some seats.

Nurul said what was an even bigger “mystery” was how all 28,416 voters had gone through the demand process at the EC’s office in Putrajaya.

She said what made it even more apparent that foul play could be involved was the fact that the EC had rejected 8,286 new voter applicants in 2016.

“What reason does the EC have to reject these names? For your information, 88.1% of these rejected applicants were from Selangor.”

(Source)

Perhaps Opposition run states are just too attractive and well managed for others from other states that 28,000 of them decided to move to the Klang Valley? Maybe but questions have been raised, let’s see if the Election Commission is able to explain the “mystery”.

Didn’t I mention that election is around the corner, strange things will happen?

Would You Believe It?


spoon-boy

(Still remember the “no spoon” scene in The Matrix? You understand the meaning of the scene? I had always thought of it as something not real and yet you see it with your own eyes. Image source: Matrix Fans)

I was reading this one morning last week:-

A consultant for a township in Kuala Nerus, Terengganu under fire for planting a RM180,000 tree has explained that the cost had also included its transportation from Brazil. Zaini Ibrahim, director of Perunding Irzi Sdn Bhd that is the lead consultant for the project, also said that the second Ceiba chodatii tree also known as silk floss tree, will be planted at another entry point to Bandar Baru Kuala Nerus.

“There is no mention of the tree in the contract. What was made known were two iconic landmarks,” Zaini was quoted saying by The Star daily in a report today.

The contractor thought the tree would be a great landmark and he went out of his way to choose the type of the tree.” Zaini said the rest of the 100-hectare land would be planted with local trees and plants.

(Source)

I think they spent almost half a million ringgit for the “iconic landmark”

The State Government said that they did not use the taxpayers money and so also the Public Works Department. Both had denied use of taxpayers money since the news went viral.

But if you think about it and ask yourself this question – does it make sense that a contractor who is doing a commercial business would spend half a million ringgit (mind you, not a small quantum) and bring trees all the way from Brazil and does not get paid anything for the expenses?

Perhaps they have factored that in the overall cost – which means the contract had been inflated to include the expensive trees. Perhaps they had managed to save enough in the contract and instead of returning the saving back to the taxpayers, they decided to spend it on expensive trees. Or maybe they had misinterpreted the requirements but had screwed the execution – then it is too bad, they should not be paid anything.

Anyway, if you ask me, the whole story does not add up – just the story of an elusive Arab prince giving away billions of ringgit to some politician as a donation. That’s bending the spoon a bit too far.

Then we have this “hey look, it is cheaper compared to XYZ country!” statement from one honorable Minister:-

The recent increase in petrol price should not be made an excuse for traders to increase prices of their goods, Minister of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism (MDTCC) Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said today.

He said that despite the increase, the fuel price in Malaysia is still the lowest in Southeast Asia, with the exception of Brunei.

Malaysia is among 15 countries with the cheapest fuel price among 180 countries in the world, he said in his speech at a Chinese New Year dinner organised by Giant Supermarket for the less affordable Chinese community here tonight

(Source)

Reduction of subsidies is good in the long run and there are other things that we need to focus on – read here for details

However to say that despite the increase in the petrol price, there should not be any increase of price of goods is ridiculous. Wasn’t the honorable Minister aware of the past incidents of goods price hike because the price of raw materials like petrol, sugar, flour, etc had gone up? Of course, it is now made worst with the introduction of GST and even the smallest of the small traders started to sell things at an insane price.

The comparing of “price” with other countries should stop – there are some who will simply compare the price as if it is an apple to apple comparison but easily ignores all other factors such as availability of raw material, location, currency foreign exchange, population demand, level of income & living standards, etc. And oh yes, how educated and informed politicians in managing the affairs of the country..

Rest assured that with the increase of petrol price, some of the traders either having no other choice (due to increase of transportation cost) or on purpose (using high petrol price as an excuse) will increase prices of their goods. There is no escape about this. And if the Government keep reducing the petrol subsidies, the petrol price will keep increasing and so does the price of goods (and even services).

So what the Government intends to do about it? Instead of just saying that the traders should not raise prices, can the Government be more proactive with increased actions and change of policies such as these?

1. Stricter enforcement against unscrupulous price increase?
2. Setting aside the key goods as controlled item?
3. Reduction of direct and indirect taxes (GST is one) to offset the increase in price?

But please never say because the price of petrol goes up, it will not have a cascading effect on other items that dependent on the price of petrol. The cost transportation is not going to remain the same with high petrol price. It is akin to sweeping the problem under the carpet – you don’t see it any more but the problem remains unresolved.

Expensive trees but no taxpayers involved?

Increase in petrol price but no increase in price of goods?

Sometimes don’t you feel like you are living a Matrix, right?