Snippets – 07 June 2012


(The Telegraph reports this as one of the rarest astronomical events occurs on Tuesday and Wednesday when the planet Venus passes directly between the Sun and Earth, a transit that won’t occur again until 2117. But in Malaysia, we seems to have other things to be interested with. Image source: http://haryanaabtak.com)

Million Youths Drag Race Accident

You probably have heard about this incident that happen last month during Najib’s Million Youths Gathering. 17 people were seriously injured and accusations have been flying around on who suppose to take the blame for the incident. But if you have read in between the lines, there seems to be a larger “accident” at work:-

He said he would suggest to the cabinet that a proper drag racing track as long as 800m, complete with spectator seats, be built. “I will speak to the cabinet as soon as possible. The suggestion had been brought up previously, but it was not approved. “I feel that it is timely for us to build a track with proper facilities and safety features so that fans of motorsports can enjoy the race and also to avoid such accidents in the future,” he said.

(Source)

And it was rightfully pointed out by a reader over at Funtasicko Design:-

Ini lah Malaysia. Setakat nak buat track untuk perlumbaan drag pun nak kena kelulusan kabinet. Dulu elok-elok dah ada trek Batu Tiga, sapa suruh robohkan? Sepatutunya, setakat bendalah ‘simple’ macam trek perlumbaan hanya perlu kerjasama kerajaan tempatan (dalam hal tanah dan alam sekitar) dan ‘sanction’ dari AAM untuk memastikan trek memenuhi piawai antarabangsa. Kenapa perlu sampai ke kabinet? Apa yang jemaah menteri tahu pasal sukan permotoran? Tukar tayar kereta pun tak reti agaknya,sibuk nak cakap pasal motorsport.

(Loosely translated) This is Malaysia. They need Cabinet approval for even trivial things like doing up a track for drag racing. We used to have the excellent Batu Tiga racing track – who asked it to be demolished? Actually simple things like this can be resolved with the help of local authorities (on issues of land and environment) and AAM’s sanction to ensure that the track meets international standards. Why you need to bring it all the way to Cabinet? What do the ministers know about motor racing? It is doubtful that they even know how to change tires on their car and here we have the same people taking about motorsport.

What is more distressing – a car flying off from a rudimentary unsanctioned track and seriously injuring 17 people or a Federal level minister who do not seems to know what he is talking about? Do we really have the right people with the right knowledge and skills for the job – more so at critical decision making level?

And we are seeing it again in action with the freeze of education loan for the Unisel students.

Reporters grilled Muhyiddin, who is also education minister, on the matter only to have the minister say ad nauseum that the freeze is a test for PKR to prove it can implement its free education proposal. Backing Muhyiddin was Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister and Selangor Umno deputy chief Noh Omar, who at the same event said students will not suffer as a result of the move as PTPTN will resume giving out loans once PKR admits it was wrong.

(Source)

I do not want to indulge much on the politicians’  level of intelligence but on the other hand, to have the Deputy Prime Minister who is also the Education Minister to say that the freeze is due to PKR’s stand is simply dumb. Just because they want to make a point, they gamble with students’ future – what’s next? Setting aside all those who had voted the Opposition from all benefits until these people vote for BN again (it is not like that they have not done this on smaller scale)?

The opposition have been calling for free education and the abolishment of PTPTN for some time now – one may need to study further on the merits of abolishment. It may be a good thing (young graduate with low starting pay not burdened with high repayment of education loan) or a bad one (poor students not having enough money to study) but even if they come in power and decides to abolish, it is evident that these cannot be done overnight. They can say a lot of thing now but if they become the Government, there is plenty of things to do before they can even talk about implementing it – alternative funding must be ready and other infrastructure is in place before this is done and BN knows this too.

You can have your own little dirty politics within and outside your political party especially with the elections around the corner but it should not affect your duties and responsibilities especially when it comes to education and students. The timing is not right and it does not achieve anything positive and puts unnecessary distress and pressure on the students. You have to be fair – you want to freeze, you freeze all or you counter the Opposition with the hard cold facts.

Anyway they have now decided to reversed this decision after the Selangor State Government had decided to liquidate assets to assist students who are unable to access the study loans – however the reason for the reversal seemed to be dumber than the earlier reason to freeze

(Still remember Nurin or Sharline? They were not the only children who went missing in this country. Who is to be blamed? Image source: http://linkenlim.blogspot.com)

Ah, Some Parents!

When will they ever learn? It is apparent that there are still some parents out there who take things for granted when it comes to children safety. Come on, just imagine – if adults are being abducted in day broad-light, what more of young defenceless children?

A housewife nearly lost a child in a carjacking incident in Bandar Baru Kangkar Pulai here on Monday.

Recounting the 11.30am incident, Khazlim Saat, 35, said she had left her three children, Nor Sabrina Damiah Mohd Hisham, six, Nor Sofea Hadirah, four, and Mohd Ryan Hazim, still a toddler, in her Perodua Myvi car with the engine still running in front of a grocery shop as she intended to spend just a few minutes to buy some household goods.

“As I was going into the shop, Damiah came to me and even before she could open her mouth I heard Hadirah screaming. “I rushed out of the shop and saw Hadirah was outside the car and a man getting into it and driving away with a door still ajar,” she said, adding that panicked, she asked passers-by to call the police.

(Source)

Leaving kids in the car whilst running off on a quick errand is nothing new for most parents. It is the same case for us and our son but until he had learned to lock and unlock the car from the inside, we never leave him alone in the car with the engine still running. And even now after he had mastered the locking & unlocking of the car door, we still do not leave him alone in the car (my wife will always sits with him – we do not want him to unlock the door to some strangers) except on a rare occasions – when we really have no other choice, we simply brings him along on the errand. On other occasions, we simply leave him at home (again, not alone) or at our neighbor’s house – it is thousand times safer than having him alone in the car.

The same goes when he wants to go to the playground – even he is playing with his group of friends and do not want us to be standing nearby, we always ensure that we are within a safe distance from him. And even so, we would give him a list of strict instructions and repeat them a couple of times before we even consider leaving him alone at the playground.

So imagine my horrors when some parents had left not one or two kids in the car with engine still running but three including a toddler. No doubt there will be times when some of us may not have a choice but to leave the kids in the car with engine still running but do we think twice of the risks before we do that? And this not necessarily is limited to kids and car – it can also mean sending kids alone sundry shop or letting kids playing by the roadside unattended. Where do we place our priority – our children’s safety or a mere inconvenience of doing things the harder way?

Khazlim Saat should have counted her lucky stars that the car-jacker did not drive off with her 3 kids and they did not end up couple of days stuffed in a gym bag.

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Entertaining Criminals


Still want to give a dim hope to criminals on the road to continue their crime?

(Traffic offenders are not only a major nuisance on the road but they are also dangerous to others. I don’t see the point of giving leniency towards repeated offenders. Image source: http://www.cartoonstock.com)

From theStar:-

The Cabinet has decided to lift from now until Feb 28 next year, the blacklisting system which bans traffic offenders who fail to pay their summonses from renewing their licences and road tax, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha.

He said, however, traffic offenders would still have to clear their existing summonses either by installment or full payment.

When I was in overseas, traveling from the hotel to the customer’s office was a frightening experience – 2 lanes of cars would soon turn into 3 lanes with queue jumpers trying to force their way through, many of speeding cars cut lanes without any indication whatsoever, stopping at the red light is almost non-existence, cars continue to speed on despite heavy traffic ahead, motorcyclist not wearing helmet cutting in and out of traffic and pedestrians crossing major highways and expecting the cars to stop.

Each day, traveling was akin to a suicide mission – we did not know whether we will be involved in an accident or we will run over someone. We have the same in Malaysia but the occurrence of people breaking traffic rules is much smaller than the one I saw when I was in overseas. This in fact, I hate to say this, makes Malaysian drivers coming out looking like angels. But should we be happy that we fared better than some drivers in some backward 3rd world countries? Shouldn’t we be striving to be better?

Since this issue came into the limelight, the call for lenience against the (repeated) offenders has been, unfortunately, spearheaded by the oppositions. But recently the Government also seems to be getting soft too but thankfully they did not go down in the same dirt road as the oppositions. They still insist the road traffic offending buggers to pay up. This is good and it is in the right direction too. This is what the rest of the traffic law abiding citizen wants to see – making the road traffic offenders pay for their offences.

For those who been calling for leniency, they seem to have failed to ask this simple question – why the drivers are blacklisted in the first place?

What is the number of genuine mistakes in issuing the summons against the number of actual drivers breaking traffic rules? I can safely bet that the number of mistakes in issuing the summons would be very small compared to the idiots who make breaking traffic rules and being a pain in the neck for the rest on a regular basis. So, if you broke the traffic laws, you must be made to pay.

And when you find some buggers still roaming the roads with plenty of unpaid summons, don’t you feel that they are laughing aloud at the law and the enforcement agencies? How do you force them to pay? Blacklisting them from renewing their license and road tax is one way. Nabbing at the middle of the night and throwing them into prison is another. For now, the government have decided to give some breathing space for these criminals to pay up on their offences.

When it comes to February 28 and when the blacklisting system is enforced again, the government should relook into the list of the offenders and see how many of them are repeated offenders and still having unpaid summons. And if they find that there are still stubborn ones in the list, they should look at the next course of action – something more “persuasive” than just blacklisting them. The last thing we need is traffic offenders still on the road, causing problem for others.

Mission to ‘Mars’


Let’s state the obvious…

(Politicians and soiled diapers need to be changed often and for the same reason – cartoon source: http://davies.lohudblogs.com)

We elect politicians into office so that they can be our servants and not to be our masters.

We elect politicians so that they can make the best deal for the rakyat, not to make best deal for themselves.

What is needed at end of the day is accountability and transparency – it is simple as that. We admit that in the course of performing their duties to serve the people, politicians is entitled to certain perks and allowances, depending on the quality of work, of course. The Prime Minister for example can enjoy the escort of the police outriders when he needs to run through the traffic during peak hours (although we wish that he could take the public transport once in a while and see how fucked up the system is).

We are not complaining if things are done by the book.

And talking about doing things by the book, there has been interesting developments in the area of accountability and transparency – one is on the leaked Cabinet papers and the other on the very purpose of Selcat and its direction

On the cabinet papers, they are now going after the one leaked the information:-

Police investigations into the posting of classified Cabinet papers on the Internet will focus more on where the leak occurred rather than who was responsible for making them public, said Home Minister Datuk Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

The Cabinet paper is looking at the PKFZ scandal and we been waiting for the many investigations by many parties (MACC, police, cabinet, PAC, etc) to come to an end and get the ‘son-of-bitches’ (words inspired by General George S Patton) who have squandered the millions to be caught and punished severely.

The last thing we need is for the PKFZ scandal coming to a closure without anyone brought out into the open and be accountable. We do not need the loss of millions simply swept under the carpet in the usual Malaysia Boleh spirit.

On the Selcat, it is being attacked from, not a big surprise, Khir Toyo and seems to be in collusion with PAS’ Hasan Ali (increasingly becoming the oddball in the Pakatan Rakyat coalition)

The latest spat over Selangor’s Committee for Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) shows that there is a power tussle between the Mentri Besar and state assembly Speaker, says Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo.

Once again Khir Toyo is playing the racial card to overshadow the ‘good’ work that Selcat have done to date to uncover the blatant corruption and misuse of public funds during Khir Toyo’s helm at the administration of the state. One must admit that if not for change of state government, the blatant use of public funds would have gone unnoticed.

Hasan Ali said:-

“Investigations which involved degrading methods that affect the dignity of the people being questioned and elements of pressure did not reflect the philosophy of Selcat,” he said in a statement yesterday.

As a result of such tactics, he said many senior civil servants had lost their sense of self-worth and their morale was low.

Hasan Ali may have good points in his argument to improve Selcat but the problem is if many senior civil servants have done their job well and without the inclination to still work for or being pressured by the previous government, we will not be hearing blatant and gross recklessness like this:-

A district officer today revealed that Barisan National (BN) assemblymen under his jurisdiction had misused their state allocations ahead of the March 8 general elections last year.

Earlier Petaling District Officer Datuk Zulkepli Ahmad was at a loss to explain how approval for state allocations for BN lawmakers was given even after the state assembly was dissolved and even after the new PR state government was sworn-in.

There was a clear case of misuse of public funds in both cases – PKFZ scandal and in the findings of Selcat. What is yet to be finalised is the extent and the implications.

In recent developments in both cases, what is being feared is whether the truth will be lost and the guilty ones will get away unpunished, once again. In Malaysia, despite being more developed country and have a developed arms of government and having specialised enforcement agencies like the MACC (previously ACA), we are not much better than some 3rd world countries where corruption rules and no one ends up being accountable or answerable.

It is akin to the mission to Mars – there is a lot of work to be done and change of attitude before we can say we are corruption free country. Otherwise it will be the loss of millions year in, year out.

“Pak Turuts” reacts to Pak Lah’s act


It is sad that it needed the Prime Minister to tell the Ministers what to do in the current haze problem. He was giving the hint when he said “they don’t need to ask me. There should be a trigger mechanism so that once the index goes beyond 500; automatically they should declare an emergency for affected areas,”When the PM acts, I had expected the Ministers to be “suddenly active” in doing their job.

Here are some of the Pak Turuts…I expect to see many more will be coming in the next few days:-

Commodities Minister Datuk Peter Chin – the bosses of the Malaysian-owned plantation firms implicated would be hauled up and given a “piece of our mind”

Comment: mind you that this is not first time that Malaysian companies been implicated in the haze problem but only now, the Government want to act. Even then, they only want to give a “piece of their mind” – hmmm, I am “frightened” already. While you are at it, why don’t you give “your piece of mind” over a lunch or a game of golf (since Malaysia want to do via the softly – softly approach)

Deputy Information Minister Datuk Donald Lim Chiang Sai – RTM will broadcast over TV1 information on the Air Pollutant Index (API) readings in areas hit by haze with immediate effect

Comment: On the same day when PM asked for the release of the API reading, a number of newspapers carried the API reading on the internet. RTM was doing err…what again? Does giving the right information during tsunami rings any bell? Or you need the PM have a press conference to say “tak payah tunggu saya…“?

Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek – A committee has been set up to coordinate manpower and medical supplies in areas affected by the haze

Comment: I believe that the haze problem started some weeks ago and surely we had expected that the most important ministry to be ready from day 1 (or day 3 for Malaysia’s case) but alas, the Minister is telling that only now they want to setup a committee? Can’t the local hospitals coordinate themselves? I guess by the committee goes into action, the haze would have cleared on it’s own (then I am sure that someone “smart” will say that it was due to “efficiency” of the committee)

Look at the above. You don’t need Pak Lah to declare emergency to get the basic acts in place (at least he was sincere enough to ask Malaysians to pray for a better weather unlike some of the Ministers). As Ministers and Deputy Ministers, do you really need a day or two to make critical decisions? Watch the news for the next few days (assuming the haze is still bad), you going to see few more “Pak Turuts” in action.

P.s. Jeff Ooi has an another angle at our politicians and official is dealing with the closure of schools correctly titled Haze & the 3 Stooges (I think the real stooges could have done a better job)