Wiper Scare & Kapchai Ban


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wipers-signs-of-wear

(Things to keep an eye for – failing wipers. Image source: http://www.kempenfeltauto.com)

It has been raining cats and dogs lately…

It was raining heavily when I went to work one fine morning – I predicted an increased traffic jam due to the rain and a couple of morons speeding and changing lane without any indicators during the heavy rain. I switched on the wipers and immediately I noticed something not right. It was squeaking and as the wipers goes up and down, it started to bend considerably. Damn, something indeed was not right. And half way as I was nearing my kid’s school, one of the wiper bent and dislocated. I now left with only one working wiper and it also started to bend. I know that wipers was due for a replacement but I did not expect it to be too soon and too obvious. It was still raining but I could not use the wipers – so I slowed down and drive with extra caution. It was too late to drive back home as I was nearer office by then and I managed to reach it without any incidents.

Lunch time, I had only 1 mission – to get the wipers replaced. I headed to a workshop near to office and picked silicon blade wipers. It was not cheap though but at least the wipers were new. The mechanic was fast to replace them but he took the wrong size as when I tried the wipers on, both wipers got entangled and got stuck. He quickly replaced the wiper to a lower size and it looked well (it did not get entangled this time around).

That evening, it started to rain again but this time, I was very confident – I had brand new wipers. I happily switched it on but then noticed, it was not wiping effectively – as if the blades was not touching the windscreen in some places. There was a loud squeaking noise as well. I was pissed off and was cursing the workshop for selling a defective wipers. I intended to reach home first and then head to the nearest hypermarket to buy new wipers (I was ready to go to workshop next day to make noise and get my money back). And as I was driving back in the heavy rain, only using the wipers when I had no other choice, I noticed that some kind of strip hanging from the tip of the wiper. Was the silicon coming apart? I could not see for sure.

I reached home and in the rain, I checked the wipers and soon felt relived – the mechanic who replaced the wipers had forgotten to strip away the protective plastic from the silicon blades and that was what making the squeaking noise and unlevel wiping. Once the plastic strip was removed, I had a very effective and silent wipers. Phew!

Anyway, that ended rather nicely – it has not been a cheap month for me when it came to fixing my car to the best level of driving. I have a phobia whenever I hear some funny noise from the car these days, especially after the accident last year.

(One reason to ban kapchais in this country. Image source: http://meuzangelo.blogspot.com)

Recently there was a very interesting piece of development when it comes to pesky motorcyclists in this country:-

The government is considering banning underbone motorcycles, known locally as the “kap chai”, from entering Kuala Lumpur as part of its effort to reduce carbon emission.

Federal Territories Minister Tengku Adnan Mansor was quoted by The Star as saying that the government may prohibit these motorcycles and other commuters from driving into the capital city once public transportation reaches a more reasonable price.

“During the day, the population (in the city) increases to between five and seven million because workers commute to work,” he said at the launch of the Kibar Bendera Wilayah Persekutuan campaign on Sunday (Jan 15).

“Many cities do not allow ‘kap chai’ to come in. But studies have shown that a lot of people still need them because they are poor and can’t afford [other modes of transport] as their salaries are low.

“Once cheaper public transport is available, we will be looking at the possibility of not allowing ‘kap chai’ motorcycles into the city,” he added

(Source)

And of course, there was immediate opposition to that idea:-

The government’s proposal to ban underbone motorcycles in Kuala Lumpur could burden low-income earners who are already under pressure from rising living costs, employers’ and workers’ groups warned.

Criticising the idea as “ridiculous”, associations like The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) and the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) said the proposal would push traveling costs up for the bottom 40 per cent of income earners, most of whom rely on small capacity bikes to commute to work.

They said fuel costs for the bike, popularly called “kap chais”, are much cheaper than current public transportation fees, which can go up to RM10 a day. In contrast, someone who uses a “kap chai” will only need to pay RM7 for a full tank of fuel, which can give the bike at least five days worth of travelling.

(Source)

And it seems that there was a major impact on the businesses as well:-

Putrajaya’s proposal to bar the kapcai (small motorcycles) from entering Kuala Lumpur will cause a significant decline in the sale of motorcycles in the country.

“The ban will have negative effects on the motorcycle industry, which sees more than 500,000 motorcycles registered each year,” said PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil in a statement today.

Fahmi called the proposal “nonsensical and irresponsible”, coming as it did in a time of economic decline.

(Source)

Before I put down my take on the proposed ban (the idea have been shelved anyway), let me emphasize that I was a biker once and I rode a “kapchai” bike too. I rode second handed Honda Cub (one of the best bike around) and the iconic Yamaha RXZ before I decided to buy a new bike. Main reason for that is because I used to ride pillion on my brother’s bike but he gets so tense up when I ask him to slow down and follow the rules. It was time for me to get my own bike and ride like a big biker. I rode a small bike but I had tear-proof jacket, leather gloves and a good, branded helmet. I opted for a Malaysian made Modenas because firstly it was cheap and secondly the bike shop was just next to the house which makes service easy but due to some problem with the Modenas dealer (he was half bankrupt and my deposit got stuck), I changed my option to a Yamaha Y110SS which was stylish, very dependable (even though it was on 2 stroke) and fast (I preferred Yamaha 125ZR but it was too expensive and was “hot” with bike thieves). And the reason for me using kapchai was because that was one of the cheapest mode of transportation that I could afford without taking the bus (petrol last me almost a week) and riding a kapchai in KL was the best way to avoid the crazy traffic jam in the city. So I do understand the situation from a biker’s point of view.

But over the years, seeing the number of deaths on the road and being menace to other road users, I do think that kapchai’s should be banned.

It should be banned not because of the nonsense excuse of controlling the emission (car, truck and bus emissions are even worse) but because of the number of traffic rule offences incurred by these kapchai riders. Too many bikes on the road are of poor condition too. Never passes a day without me seeing a bike without lights at the front and back – endangering themselves and their pillion riders. The worse of the worse are those sending their kids to school in the morning without any helmet or having more than one pillion rider including babies. And breaking the law is the signature of most (I say most) kapchai riders – you name it, they do it – riding without helmet, riding against the traffic, changing lanes without any signals, running traffic lights, illegal racing and doing stunts on public roads (aka as Mat Rempits). Kapchai is also the preferred mode of transportation of snatch thieves as it is easy for them to make a getaway.

And it should not be banned on in the city but rather banned nationwide – in the cities, towns, small towns, residential areas, etc. You may ask what happens to the motorbike manufacturers and distributors? Push for sale for bigger capacity bikes – yes, it will be more expensive but in the end, there will be enough demands to meet up the loss. 250cc bikes which was out of reach during my time is actually cheaper nowadays. You can get a KTM Duke 250 for less than RM20,000 or a Benelli TNT 250 for less than RM15,000. And with bigger bikes, push for proper safety gears to be worn by riders & pillion riders (jacket, gloves, boots, etc). Not cheap I agree but we need to move from a small bike nation to a bigger bike nation mentality eventually.

Interestingly the same notion was made in a letter to The Sun:-

REPORTS of opposition to the proposal to ban small motorcycles from Kuala Lumpur are off-target. On the contrary, such a ban will be welcomed by those who live and work in the city. Let me explain.

First, nobody feels safe when motorcyclists are around except the motorcyclists themselves. Even drivers of four-wheel vehicles are harassed and forced to brake suddenly to avoid hitting them.

Second, traffic rules seemingly do not apply to motorcyclists. They ignore traffic lights, no-entry signs and other rules, perhaps because they can evade the law so easily.

Third, many pedestrians are menaced by motorcyclists who ride on the walkways. I have not seen a motorcyclist booked for this offence.

Fourth, snatch thieves love the motorcycle as it best suits their modus operandi.

Fifth, pollution. Random comments are made that all vehicles pollute and motorcycles are not the worst culprits. That needs to be proven. One needs to look not only at the vehicle size but also their numbers, and the noise.

Surprisingly, I have seen no reports on urban pollution in Malaysia. As a rapidly urbanising society, Malaysians need to know how healthy the air is.

To understand the situation at street level those involved should take public transport for a day. Personal experience would be a far more impactful experience than third-party stories.

There are other reasons that argue against small motorcycles on city streets, including comparative costs. While petrol consumption may be low, there are repair and parking costs, which would make the bus cheaper.

(Source)

Do I need to say more – who knows once we start to ban the small kapchais, the incidents of Mat Rempit and snatch thieves may just go down. Just a wishful thought – who knows, right?

The Lovable Mat Rempits?


I think internally there is a competition among the politicians in this country to come up with the wildest, dumbest ideas. And the latest one that have hit the headlines is the one that deals with allowing pesky Mat Rempits aka public nuisance to race on public streets.

Road safety experts expressed regret and disbelief over a proposal to legalise ‘Mat Rempit‘ racing. The experts who spoke to theSun, raised grave concerns on whether the government would take responsibility should bodily injury or loss of lives occur during such races.

Their concerns come in the wake of a proposal earlier this week by Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor to allow bikers to race in certain parts of the capital city to curb the tendency of “Mat Rempits” who speed in residential and commercial areas.

Universiti Sains Malaysia deputy vice-chancellor Professor Dr Ahmad Farhan Mohd Sadullah described the proposal as risky and a disservice to road safety.

(Source)

And even it leaves the police in disbelief with the Minister’s ambitions (remember the police declared war on Mat Rempits calling them the cancer of the society?):-

Inspector-General Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar wants to meet Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor over the plan to close certain city roads and allow motorcyclists to race.

“I believe he has his reasons to propose it. I want to meet him to discuss it,” Khalid told reporters at the Bukit Aman police headquarters here.

“I will meet him first to see what his views are,” he said when asked to comment further on the matter.

(Source)

And not leaving the nuisance in the West Malaysia, there were even plans to bring over the nuisance to the East Malaysia:-

The plan to provide motorcycle racing tracks in the city is still on the table, with the possibility of extending the proposal to East Malaysia as well.

Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said that the matter was among the issues discussed at a meeting with other Federal Territories Members of Parliament (MPs) at the ministry today.

“I have discussed the ‘Mat Motor’ issues, and I want to solve the matter at hand,” he said, adding that he is looking for a way to provide space to allow motorcycle racers to do what they are interested in.

He said the move would also help tackle syndicates involved in illegal betting who use “Mat Rempits” for their own financial gains.

(Source)

And the insurance companies were quick to wash their hands off of the proposed plan by the Minister:-

Meanwhile, Persatuan Insurans Am Malaysia (PIAM) said motorcycle insurance policy does not cover activities as racing and it is an exclusion under the policy.

PIAM said any such activity is done at the rider’s own risk and if they injure a third party or damage another person’s property, they will be personally responsible for any damage costs.

“In the event an Insurer (Insurance Company) is held liable to pay by virtue of the provisions under Section 96 of the Road Transport Act, the insurer can seek indemnity from the motorcycle owner and/or rider,” it said.

(Source)

At the end of the day, everyone is against the idea of allowing Mat Rempits running loose on public roads – all except the Honorable Minister. What the police need to do is this – agree to the Minister’s idea and when the Mat Rempits shows up with their bikes, round them up like rounding up some cattles and charge them on endangering other road users.

The War on Perception


Perception is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the environment. All perception involves signals in the nervous system, which in turn result from physical or chemical stimulation of the sense organs. For example, vision involves light striking the retina of the eye, smell is mediated by odour molecules, and hearing involves pressure waves. Perception is not the passive receipt of these signals, but is shaped by learning, memory, expectation, and attention (Source: Wikipedia)

(Interesting and well made advertisements on how not to judge someone / something too quickly. However not all can be subjected to these kind of presumptions – some politicians are dumb to the core)

Last week have been an interesting week…

After several times my wife complained requested me to take a look at the bathroom sink that was leaking water (something that I had tried to fix twice but nothing changed), I decided to do it professionally. Actually my wife wanted me to engage our usual handy-man to come and fix it. I know that those guys will easily charge me RM200 – RM300 for the job, so I told her to hold on to her horses for one final time and let me fix the leak for good this time. And this time I did not rush like the previous 2 times and there was no shortcuts as well. I took my time – took off the sink from the hook, unscrewed the pipes and checked the damage on the hooks & the screws that was holding it. This time I measured everything twice too.

The problem was the wall hook that held the sink – portion of the wall was broken and one of the screw was even broken and that caused the wall hook to be loose. Somehow this was expected after years of use & abuse. This needed to be fix. I had some leftover cement from other DIY projects, so I saved up on “plastering” the damaged wall. I got new screws and added wall plugs to ensure a stronger hold of the wall hooks. And to be extra sure, I barred anyone from using the bathroom until the cement really dried. I even washed the sink and replaced the pipe head. And I tested the hook for the final time before I placed back the sink on the hook. It held well and the leak had finally stopped. The only mystery after all the hard, sweaty work doing up the sink was a leftover pipe screw. Somewhere I missed screwing this back when I fixed the pipes back but since nothing was leaking, I had nothing to worry. Issued solved and it only cost me RM40 (RM38 was for the pipe head).

Moving on a broader spectrum issue – the other interesting news last week had been on DAP. Surprisingly they seems to be in the limelight almost on daily basis (for the wrong reasons) and that got me a bit curious.

In the past, when one needs a distraction from the real issues, one of the easy way out would be to blame it on the “other guys”. Sometimes it is the non-Malays, the non-Muslims, some dumb architecture (still remember the cross like shape on a roof of a house?) and of course, the “Chinese based” opposition political party. Still remember how at one point, they claimed that the RM2.6 billion donation was given by the Jews for DAP?

In my opinion, of the many political parties out there and the quality of politicians, DAP probably stands the best chance when it comes to fair representation of what’s right and wrong in this country, quality of politicians and the seriousness of issues raised. Next in the long run would be PKR although they have been shooting in the leg too many times with dumb decisions. Composition wise, yes, there are more Chinese and Indians in DAP than the Malays but does it really matter if we all want to be treated equal as Malaysians? Despite some shortcomings in the past and mind you, not all in DAP are angels, DAP as whole had been idealistic, rationale, consistent, focused and strive to put the national interests ahead of race and religion which makes it an attractive package for the younger generation.

But given the continuous bad press on DAP and coupled with the allegations that they are out to trap and cheat the Malays, I think DAP need to do more on the battlefront of perception in this country. This could be one of the factor why DAP have been lacking, to some extent, the right aura to attract a wider participation from the Malays. After all, Malays have more options, both at the ruling side and the opposition to pick their battles front and the last thing they may want to pick is a Chinese dominant political party. There is always the fear that the Malay rights and their community grievousness may be drown by other issues.

Let’s analyse some of the allegations made on DAP over the past weeks – some of these allegations are nothing new but it keeps resurfacing over & over again like a broken record:-

DAP – Anti Islam & Anti Malay

DAP can no longer afford to ignore efforts by rivals to portray it as anti-Islam and Malay after a recent survey found the campaign to be gaining traction, said Lim Kit Siang.

Results of the IDE survey showed that DAP was viewed as anti-Malay and Islam, particularly by members of the Malay community in rural areas where they party is traditionally weakest and rivals Umno and PAS, strongest.

Over two thirds of respondents also considered DAP to be a racist party that was concerned only about the interests of the Chinese community.

According to the IDE, efforts to vilify DAP accelerated following the breakup of the Pakatan Rakyat pact, with former ally PAS adding its efforts to Umno’s in attacking the secular party using religious issues.

(Source)

Threat to Malay Unity

Cheras Umno chief Syed Ali Alhabshee today warned aspiring Malay politicians against being “trapped into becoming DAP’s tool for splitting the Malays”.

He said these Malays were so eager to become members of parliament after the next general election that they had disregarded the importance of ensuring Malay unity.

He said the “racist DAP” would make “all kinds of promises” to the Malays in an attempt to ensure the success of its programme to topple Umno.

(Source)

Lost of Malay Political Power

Lim Kit Siang demanded today that Datuk Seri Najib Razak and propagandists from Umno explain how the Malays would lose political power entirely to the DAP if the ruling party were to lose the next general election.

“Surely Najib and Umno propagandists are not insinuating that the Malays in the country are simpletons, who have no intelligence or capability, that despite comprising some 60 per cent of the population in Malaysia and being the majority voters in 70 per cent of the parliamentary seats in Peninsular Malaysia… the Malays can lose political power to the Chinese — especially with a decreasing Chinese population as compared to the Malays?” Lim asked.

(Source)

Internal Resistance to Change

Explaining at a forum here, Serdang MP Ong Kian Ming claimed that even within the party, many members have been against the idea of increasing DAP’s Malay membership and this has created a conundrum for the Chinese-dominated party.

“The dilemma is, there are many leaders who want DAP to add Malay and Bumiputera members from Sabah and Sarawak. It’s a good strategy to reduce the chauvinist views of the party. But when this was raised, members themselves were uneasy with the proposal that DAP wants 50 per cent to be Malays and Bumiputeras.

“We want to reduce that perception. We want to increase the membership but there is internal resistance,” he said during the Pakatan Harapan forum titled “Can the opposition party win the Malay votes during GE14?” last night.

(Source)

In this country where race and religion had been used as a ready excuse to distract the nation from greater & pressing issues, it is very easy to label a largely non Malay and non Muslim political party as anti Malay and anti Islam.

Yes, DAP had voiced out against the call to implement an Islamic State in this country and they are dead centre against the implementation of PAS’ hudud. But does that makes them as anti Malay / anti Islam? Think about it again. The notion of an Islamic State had been controversial, more often when there are people who claims that our fore-fathers had always intended this country to be one of a secular with Islam as the official religion instead of a straight-forward Islamic State.

The late Karpal Singh argued the same and so did the first Prime Minister.

On the occasion of Malaysia’s first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman’s 80th birthday, he stated in the 9 February 1983 edition of the newspaper The Star that the “country has a multi-racial population with various beliefs. Malaysia must continue as a secular State with Islam as the official religion”.

In the same issue of The Star, Abdul Rahman was supported by the third Malaysian Prime Minister, Hussein Onn, who stated that the “nation can still be functional as a secular state with Islam as the official religion.”

(Source)

And this,

Citing historical documents such as the Alliance Memorandum submitted to the Reid Commission in 1956, and the white paper issued by the British government in June 1957, the council pointed out there was no historical document to contradict the fact that Malaysia was intended to be a secular state.

The Alliance Memorandum was jointly submitted by Umno, MCA and MIC to the Reid Commission and specifically stated that they wanted a secular state, although the religion of the state was to be Islam.

(Source)

And talking about hudud, it is a fact that the opposition to hudud did not come from DAP alone. MCA was against hudud as well and so did a good number of Muslims in this country. Most times, the opposition to hudud has not on the issue of concept but rather on the issue of implementation. Further there is the unsettled question of why the need to introduce 2 types of laws in a secular country? Why we cannot simply improve the existing laws and move on? And if indeed DAP is anti Islam, then why more have been done for the Muslims under the DAP lead Penang State Government? They could have maintained the status quo or even reduced allocations / support for the Muslims but they did not.

Probably the best statement came from a PAS politician who said this:-

He said DAP’s opposition to hudud was based on constitutional arguments and declared that the party had never been antagonistic towards Muslims or Islam, citing its support for flood victims in Kelantan, nearly all of whom are Muslims. He pointed out that the help included the repair of mosques and prayer halls.

He also said DAP had, “in many cases,” given its full support to the cause of Islamic education in Selangor and Penang. “DAP is committed to the Federal Constitution, which means that they accept that Islam is the religion of the federation and they have never challenged that,” he added.

(Source)

Another mantra that is often use to demonise DAP is that the Malays will lose power if they vote for DAP, a “Chinese” political party. A fictional scenario comes to mind at this point.

Well, as Uncle Lim had rightfully mentioned – it is impossible for that to happen. And mathematically DAP have a disadvantage too – it does not have the numbers or seats to win enough to be in power alone. And that is why they need the coalition partners of PKR and now PAN (Parti Amanah Negara) who is made off ex-PAS members to even make a dent against the stronger & well-oiled Barisan Nasional. DAP had hardly contested against UMNO in a predominately Malay areas (they only had 2 such encounters in the last general elections and 2 seats is nothing to shout about) and history have shown that DAP cannot force others in the loose coalition of DAP-PKR-PAS/PAN to follow whatever that DAP have decided – still remember PKR’s Kajang Move and their choice for Selangor MB? In the end, PAS showed their middle finger to both DAP & PKR.

And remember, PKR and PAN has overwhelming membership from the Malay community (although PKR is another multi-racial party to watch out, very closely) and they can make the necessary check and balance if in the wildest assumption that DAP decided to make things harder for the Malays. DAP knows this too – even with their strong belief of “Malaysian Malaysia“, with almost 60% of the electoral consist of Malay votes – anything to upset the community would be a political suicide for DAP.

And don’t you think that it is a irony that these allegations of DAP will curtail the political powers of the Malays comes from the very people who have used the notion of race and fight for Malay powers to leech the power and richness from the community?

Moving on Malay unity and the reason why Malays are joining DAP – it seems to be nothing but a cast of fear for potential Malays from joining DAP. Think about it for second. Seriously, how much of Malay unity is needed as oppose to the fight against corruption, unfair & double standards of law that is currently impacting all class of Malaysians? Why there has not been any “Red Shirt” rallies for abuse of power and mismanagement of public funds which impacts the Malays themselves? Comically, we have seen a bigger riot in support of a phone thief.

And don’t you think that it is an insult to say that aspiring young Malay politicians joined DAP for the sole reason of wanting to be members of parliament? Have you talked to them and asked why they joined DAP? There are very brilliant, energetic and young Malay politicians in DAP and frankly speaking, it is a brilliant move both for the young politicians and DAP itself. There will come a time when they will do their best for the country if given the right opportunity. Even the national laureate Datuk A. Samad Said is a DAP member and he was 80 years old when he joined last year. Is he another power hungry politicians seeking for high power and status?

The allegations of resistance to new membership is something factual and one that needs to be contained and quickly resolved if DAP do truly want to be a multi racial party that it wants others to see. Change is something that will happen and so does resistance to change. It depends on its leaders and members on how fast they want the change to be. And trust me, they don’t have the luxury of time. Malaysia’s economy and political rule has been on the slide for some time now – something that is made worse by global oil price and scandals & mismanagement back home.

Thus the window for change is shrinking fast and the members must be open to receive more members from other community. After all, at the end of the day, they are Malaysians too and they are on the same boat & path as the rest of us. And if the resistance persisted, then there is no difference of some politicians demonising the non-Malays to garner free support from the Malays. And even worse, all the incorrect statements of DAP namely it is a Chinese party and is anti Malay may end up to be true.

DAP need to strive on 2 main perceptions that is even more damaging that the so-called of claims of it’s being anti Malay or anti Islam – one that there is no hope for the Malays in DAP and that it is merely using the Malays for it’s own survival and two that the DAP members themselves are not ready for a greater participation and membership of the Malays in the party and the call for more Malay members is a sham. Address these 2 incorrect perceptions on a greater scale and over time, this itself will address the distorted picture that DAP is anti Malay and anti Islam.

DAP need to change and truly represent themselves as multi-race and multi-religion before they can call themselves to do better at the national level. After all, no matter what our race, religion, culture or political beliefs are but in the end, we are all in the same boat.

Malaysia: Leading vs Managing


It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership. —Nelson Mandela

I almost forgot I had a blog…seriously

Politics (not to mention our currency) have take a good beating in the last few weeks and all sign on the wall does not seems to say it is all well in the Bolehland. The country is facing a serious lack of leadership if you have not noticed this by now.

Leadership has always been my favorite subject mainly because it is fascinating to see how some ordinary people found that special will, power and determination to bring a group of people, company and even a nation from the brink of disaster or crisis and remained a beacon of hope and inspiration to others. Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and even our own Tunku Abdul Rahman are just some of the leaders that we can read from the history pages but there are many leaders in the corporate world, politics and community that have done things that simply amazing.

It is also my favorite subject because in my daily working life, I have to take up the role of a leader and thus expected to make good decisions that a good leader is expected to be. Then again, I am also expected to both lead and manage – we will come to the differences in a short while. Some are simply natural born leaders – such as one of my ex-bosses. Some are trained to be leaders but still struggling to find the right foot hold on the idea of leadership.

As I said, the country is facing a serious lack of leadership if you have not noticed this by now.

I am not talking about the Prime Minister remaining to be defiant on the question of RM2.6 billion “donation” and acts like nothing wrong had happened. It was rather comical AND embarrassing when Malaysia hosted the International Anti-Corruption Conference last September and it did not take long for the participants (Transparency International Chief Jose Ugaz in particular) to whack the Prime Minister on the RM2.6 billion donation.

Tunku Abdul Rahman was known as the Father of the Nation and marked his leadership with getting independence for this great nation. Tun Abdul Razak was the Father of Development (the famed FELDA was established under his premiership). Hussein Onn was the Father of National Unity and finally Dr M was the real architect in modernising the country. And despite all the shortcomings, the Old Man did come up with a proper vision for the future – Vision 2020.

After Dr M, the country’s leadership took a back seat and the deterioration started with Pak Lah. Other than nice to hear slogans such as “work with me, don’t work for me” and “1Malaysia” nothing much change yet to be seen over the horizon. The bigger question will then be – are we running out of good leaders to lead this country? And secondly, can we get one in before it is too late? And who do we need the most at this juncture when the economy is not doing that well – good leaders or good managers?

And mind you that leadership and management are 2 different things but as usual as I often find out, the line between the 2 is often blurred.

Leadership and management must go hand in hand. They are not the same thing. But they are necessarily linked, and complementary. Any effort to separate the two is likely to cause more problems than it solves.

Still, much ink has been spent delineating the differences. The manager’s job is to plan, organize and coordinate. The leader’s job is to inspire and motivate.

In his 1989 book “On Becoming a Leader,” Warren Bennis composed a list of the differences:

– The manager administers; the leader innovates.
– The manager is a copy; the leader is an original.
– The manager maintains; the leader develops.
– The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people.
– The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust.
– The manager has a short-range view; the leader has a long-range perspective.
– The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why.
– The manager has his or her eye always on the bottom line; the leader’s eye is on the horizon.
– The manager imitates; the leader originates.
– The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.
– The manager is the classic good soldier; the leader is his or her own person.
– The manager does things right; the leader does the right thing.

Perhaps there was a time when the calling of the manager and that of the leader could be separated. A foreman in an industrial-era factory probably didn’t have to give much thought to what he was producing or to the people who were producing it. His or her job was to follow orders, organize the work, assign the right people to the necessary tasks, coordinate the results, and ensure the job got done as ordered. The focus was on efficiency.

(Source)

To be frank, there is no short of managers in this country especially when it comes to politics. We have some of the most brilliant minds in public service and the private sectors. That is almost guaranteed. We can manage things well, sometimes too well. Ever heard the notion of “first class infrastructure, third class mentality”? Yup, that’s Malaysia right there.

However, recently there is a feeling of stagnancy (and no thanks to the dreadful haze) and the feeling is all over the place – the economy, people, education, environment, etc. Increasingly we are looking at 2 faced leaders who says one thing and do another. We had rallies but it ended up making things worse and hardly helping the country as whole. Leadership, it is missing now.

Until next time…

MAS: Logic Defying Economics


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(Will it work or it is going to be RM6 billion down the drain again? This is going to be the last chance for MAS and the people who are managing it. We do not want to see another bailout in 2018! Image source: TheStar)

It is going to leave the economists around the world speechless. It may even cause the rules of economics to be re-written all over again and the geniuses that came up with this brilliant plan will be worshipped as the God of Economy for many years to come.

If you do not know what I am talking about, well, read this first:-

Khazanah Nasional Bhd has unveiled a 12-point plan to enable Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to achieve sustained profitability within three years of de-listing, by the end of 2017.

Its managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar said the plan involved a comprehensive overhaul of the airline.

“At its core, the plan involves the creation of a new company, (NewCo) which will house the ‘new MAS’ and the migration of the right-sized workforce and work practices and contracts into NewCo,” he told reporters at a special briefing at Khazanah headquarters on Friday.

(Source)

When I talked about re-writing the books on economy, blah, blah, I was not talking about Khazanah’s plans to restructure MAS. They seems to be doing things by the books and whether it will work or not, we will know in the next 3 years. One just hopes that they had identified all the correct shortcomings and have addressed them comprehensively in their plan. In an interview with the first CEO of MAS, it is obvious that there have been some serious bad decisions made in the past and all these must be addressed too:-

Generally, MAS poor performance is due to its wrong business plan and the loss of flight MH370 demoralized the staff and MAS has to handle this. How to do it? MAS must change its business plan. What’s wrong with the plan? The thing that is wrong with the plan is the choice of its routes which it has been plying for the past 15 years.

Those routes are now overcrowded with all the low cost carriers. The market now wants to fly domestic and regional and 80 per cent of air travellers want to fly budget. Only the rich and the businessmen fly full service. So MAS has to do something to capture that 80 per cent market. It has to reshuffle and realign its aircraft fleet. Utilizing Firefly as the main carrier for domestic and regional. The rest, let MAS handle.

And take a second look on the use of the A380. Does MAS really need six of the super-huge aircraft. No need to file for bankruptcy. Don’t be ridiculous.

Maybe in some departments there are a surplus of workers but we have to look at it in totality. We can’t lay off 5,000 workers out of the 20,000 employees which MAS has. It does not have to lay a single worker if it is restructured properly. But we have to take a look at the salaries of some of the management team of which I was told touch more than RM100,000 a month.

Why must they be paid such a huge amount at a time when MAS is in the red and why do you axe workers with low salaries? I question how the board of directors can approve such a huge salary. How did it come to this?

I question why MAS use the A380 which is hardly utilised but cost millions to operate.

Why do we need the six air-crafts? That is one out of a thousand and one issues plaguing MAS. MAS also wants to sell the MRO and the person who proposed it does not know anything about the aviation industry. Engineering plays a huge part in the MAS makeup and plays a vital role in safety, efficiency, integrity and operations.

MAS has to fully control that business and if properly managed can become an income earner. During my time, MAS maintains and services aircrafts from the US, Australia and Canada. MAS made money out of this division. So why do you want to hive off this division to another company and then buy back the service from the very same firm? MAS will bleed even more just like the catering business. Although MAS has a 30 percent stake, it has to pay a high price for the food. MAS can sell a small stake but make sure it still controls MRO. Don’t sell the entire stake.

(Source)

Anyway, we’ll see this one closely. Very closely indeed. However, the one that is going to rewrite the books of economics is going to be this:-

Khazanah Nasional Bhd not only intends to recover every sen of the RM6bil investment into Malaysia Airlines (MAS), but wants to make money on the venture, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The Prime Minister, dismissing perception that the money pumped into the airline was a bailout, said Khazanah would be injecting the money to make MAS a viable organisation.

“This is not a bailout but an investment. Khazanah intends to recover every single sen of the RM6bil and more,” he said after chairing the monthly Umno supreme council meeting Friday.

(Source)

And this:-

Umno mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia has given the thumbs up to the comprehensive revamp plan to revive loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS), saying that the move to turn the national carrier around will not affect its services.

Awang Selamat, the collective voice of the paper’s editors, said he was confident the national icon would be back in the black in three years, based on stringent regulatory controls over the 12-point plan unveiled by state sovereign fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad yesterday.

“The emphasis on these aspects will have a significant impact on the recovery effort. It also differs from previous efforts which have ended in failure.

“We are also confident such changes will bear fruit and more importantly, the services of the national carrier will not be affected,” he said in the column today.

(Source)

Yes, firstly use the word “investment” instead of “bailout” to hide the fact that IT IS a bailout. Then tell the whole world that the money spent on the bailout, opps err, investment will be recovered. And continue with the statement that the entity that was put in charge of the bailout, sorry, investment is doing it because they want to make money on the said venture. I wonder how many millions was paid to external consultants to come up with such brilliant idea to substitute a bailout with an idea of investment. Can they for once call a spade a spade? Malaysians are not that dumb, you know?

Then secondly get the editor of a newspaper (that is deep in shit themselves with RM11 million loss), to put on the hat of a learned economist and turnaround specialist to say that the proposed turnaround plan will definitely work and all that will happen in 3 years as promised. And this is despite of many failed attempts to turnaround the national carrier in the past by the same group of people. After all, if the editors are so smart and confident, why the paper is not making money themselves? After all, Khazanah themselves was reported to say this:-

Khazanah, which has injected more than 5 billion ringgit into MAS over the last 10 years, said its new fund injections would be strictly tied to the new company meeting performance targets.

“Success is by no means guaranteed,” Khazanah said.

(Source)

And even the Old Man has his doubts:-

I may be wrong but I think Khazanah’s 100% ownership of MAS will not be much different from its 70% ownership. We are going to see a lot of new people who will receive huge salaries, allowances and bonuses and not much else. That I believe is how Khazanah operates.

(Source)

Whatever bullshit that will be spinned in the next 3 years, one thing will be sure – the taxpayers need to be prepared for the worse to kiss their RM6 billion (or more in the coming years) goodbye. Unless of course, certain things happens.

The Government through Khazanah must have the will-power and political clout to make real changes that will see the RM6 billion to be spent on the turnaround plan of MAS be recovered with every cents accounted for in 3 years time. They must look beyond the color of the skin when it comes to picking the right people to run the airline (and never this piece of idiotic thinking again) and it should not be limited to Malaysians alone. Priorities must be set right and must be followed strictly.

They must not be swayed with likes of extremists like Perkasa, Pekida, Isma (do I need to say more?), dumb “keris wielding” politicians (who will make noise for the sake of making noise) or inexperienced consultants with unbelievable fat payroll (who may prolong the misery for more fat salary). Otherwise they will end up digging deeper into the taxpayers money for another turnaround plan after 2018.

And more importantly, they must always remember that national pride and the nation’s good name is at stake here and thus no matter what, this turnaround plan must work. No ifs or buts. They must remember that the RM6 billion that will spend on the turnaround plan belongs to the taxpayers (and not from their own personal pockets) and every cent must be accounted for. I hope so they will or otherwise we will talking about another turnaround plan in 2018.

Selamat Hari Merdeka!!

Snippets – 28 March 2014


Korupsi 1Msia-fb-fnal

(Only in Malaysia this happens on a regular basis and it is not a laughing matter. After all this country is best of the best when it comes to corruption free Government and corruption fighting agencies, eh?. Cartoon source: http://johnnyongcartoons.blogspot.com/)

Whilst we are largely pre-occupied with MH370 tragedy and have been keeping up our hopes for some kind of closure, some Malaysian politicians have been having some strange itchiness and have been trying to outdo each other in making themselves looking like an ass in public. Hmmm, is this the real reason why that old man, if given a chance, wanted to censor the internet?

World’s Most Corruption Free Country: Malaysia

It’s very obvious that some people in the country still living in a cocoon (perhaps high on coconut water). It must be one hard cocoon that they are living in as evident from this:-

Malaysia antara negara terbersih daripada perbuatan rasuah, kata Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim.

Shahidan menafikan dakwaan Malaysia sebuah negara yang kerap mengamalkan rasuah dan menegaskan dakwaan tersebut tidak wajar dikeluarkan kerana akan memberi kesan kepada pihak lain. Beliau berkata, Malaysia juga mempunyai sebuah agensi memerangi rasuah yang terbaik di dunia iaitu Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM).

(Source)

Translated in simple English – Malaysia is one of the most corrupt FREE country in the world and has one of the best corruption fighting agency in the world (referring to MACC). Ok, I will wait for you to re-read the statement (mind you, it is coming from a seasoned Minister) and wait for the hard cold reality to hit you. I know, something is not right, right? Done that? Ok great. Now I will wait for you to laugh your heart out.

That is what happened to me when I first read this statement. I was speechless. I was in shock. I do not know which version of Malaysia that Shahidan is talking about (obviously exists in a galaxy far, far away) but it surely cannot be the same Malaysia that most of us are living in. The Malaysia that we live in has been ranked as one of the most corrupt nations by Ernst & Young. That is not a big revelation! We all know that for a long time now and we also know that MACC (the so-called best of the best) is toothless (can’t blame them) when it comes to nabbing those in political power when it comes to corruption (otherwise we would have seen certain Chief Minister behind bars a long time ago).

Deputy Minister Assumed RMAF Assumed Crap

One of the sourest point in the search for MH370 is the failure for RMAF to correctly identify and intercept MH370 when it deviated from it’s original flight path. If this been done, we could have identify MH370 immediately and would not have wasted valuable time, resources and assets over the South China Sea for days.

Then the Deputy Minister of Defence revealed that RMAF assumed that the plane had turned back because the air traffic control had ordered them back. The part of RMAF “assumed” did not go well with many people – after all, we expect the military to be more precise and professional especially of those monitoring the air space above Malaysia. We expect them to be on high alert and track things out of the ordinary. We expect them to pick up the phone and give DCA a call. With all that technology and expensive military hardware, we had never expect them to work on assumption basis. That is why we were pissed off when the Minister said RMAF had assumed this and that.

Then we had a 180 degree turn:-

Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri today admitted he assumed that the Subang air traffic control had asked lost Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 to turn back, adding his assumption was not accurate.

“In relation to my statement in the debate for the Royal Address yesterday, in which I said MH370 did a turn back probably because it received instructions from air traffic control, I want to clarify that it was just my assumption and one of the possibilities that could have happened.

“After making checks, I would like to stress that my assumption is not accurate,” Abdul Rahim said in a terse two-paragraph statement in Kuala Lumpur today.

(Source)

Now the joker turns around and say that it was he who made the assumption and not RMAF. Didn’t he check the facts before he opened his mouth in the Parliament? Did he misled the MPs then with unverified facts and wild assumptions? Doesn’t this borders to lying?

If this is not the case, then what would be the real reason for RMAF not scrambling their jets to intercept the rouge plane? Even if they claimed that DCA did not inform them of the missing plane, wouldn’t that make an even more compelling case for RMAF to scramble and intercept the plane? Someone obviously had slept on the job and it is very unsettling to know that we may have huge holes in our defence system. We still want to know what really happened otherwise we may find ourselves with another plane deviated from its flight path.

44 Firearms Lost – A Small Matter Only

It may sound like they had only lost 44 soiled underwear so we have “nothing” to worry but it is not the case:-

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is satisfied with the explanations given by police over its loss of assets, including 44 firearms highlighted in the 2012 Auditor General’s Report, said its chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed.

“The amount is quite small and does not justify further investigation,” he said, adding the loss of assets in any organisation is normal and this included the police force. “We have to accept there will be some losses when the police are on duty, but in terms of the overall firearms, the number of losses is quite small.

“It’s not significant. In audit terms, it’s not significant for us to warrant further investigation,” he told reporters after chairing the PAC meeting today.

(Source)

Well, I don’t know about you but for me, what is important is not the number of items lost but rather what was lost. If the police had lost say 44 key-chains, it is nothing to shout about. But if you consider that the item lost is a firearm, then even a lost of 1 is a big issue. The police had lost 44 firearms. It could armed a small army to its teeth. It could be used for armed robberies and assassinations. It is significant and it does warrant further investigation. At end of the day, heads must roll and that is what we expect PAC to do. We don’t expect PAC to trivialize the 44 firearms lost and then sweep it under the carpet. Sigh, I sure hope PAC did not buy into the “fallen into the sea” crappy explanation and decided to close the issue. The outcome is very disappointing.

Too many newspapers will confuse Malaysians

Well, too much of something is not good for anyone – I agree but making the same case on newspapers and news is simply dumb (especially at this age of the internet):-

The Home Ministry had rejected FZ Daily and Malaysiakini’s application for publishing permits to protect the public from the confusion of having access to “too much news”.

“The (number of) newspaper publications with approved publishing permits is sufficient considering the number of readers in the country,” Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said in a parliamentary written reply Tuesday.

(Source)

When the case was taken to the court, the High Court judge ruled that the Home Ministry’s rejection was “improper and irrational”. And the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s decision and thus reconfirming that the rejection was indeed “improper and irrational”. So telling off that having too many newspapers is a bad thing does test one’s logic. At the end of the day, it is all depends on the selling the right news (not the crappy & racial ones from you-know-which-newspaper) and having sizable readership to continue to run the newspaper. No one dies from having too much news. No one goes crazy from reading too many news. And at times (in Malaysia, make it “most of the time”), it makes more sense for one to actually read both side of the story and come out with the right conclusion.

At the end of the day, knowing what Malaysiakini published on the internet, it is nothing but a political laced decision to simply silence the critics and keep the truth on the wrongdoings from surfacing.

And to rub salt on the wound, here we go again – all knowing, charitable and most gracious, whiter than angel politicians wanting to protect the feeble, weak, dumb public from the great danger. If we need any kind of protection, there will be only one – protect us from dumb politicians and their propaganda. We all know why Zahid is shitting in his pants over the application for permit to publish by Malaysiakini. We are not as dumb as he wants us to be.

Well, anyway have a great weekend ahead. Let’s just hope by chance, some of the politicians would start using their brains and we’ll finally hear more intelligent statements from next week onwards.