Then I thought about 1 potential impact.
Race-base rhetoric or gestures have always been a tried, tested and successful rallying call for aspiring UMNO politicians climbing up the ladder. People progressing through UMNO Youth ranks would try to out perform each other in showmanship then toned down (or "mature") when they reach national level leadership. Cue: Najib circa 1987 and now.
With doing away the quota system, more candidates will have the opportunity to present themselves as an alternative for UMNO members to cast their votes. Will there be more such antics? Will we see more keris-waving, "them and us" remarks etc?
I hope the top echelons in UMNO can lay down a set of rules for do and don't in party election. Their stance in taking action against certain candidates shows some will in reform. By having some house rules, it can help to promote intelligent & substance over form type of contest amongst its candidates.
By the same token, MCA will face more pressure if there is much such gestures and antics.
I am not against positive racism. It is fine to promote the virtues of your own race by emphasizing or advertising the strength of your race (or country for that matter). However, promoting your own race (or your country for that matter) by talking down on other people would not be constructive at all.
Every school going children can recite the FDI and job creation slogan, a boast rightly used by BN in election and other rallying calls. Manufacturers are bigger employers than say, traders and farmers so job creation is definitely an upside impact of industrialization.
However, one must question 2 issues here: 1) high percentage of jobs created are mostly low paying operator positions and 2) a very high percentages of these jobs are taken up by foreign workers.
I wrote earlier that Malaysia is not creating enough jobs were people are willing to pay top dollars for. Trying to remain competitive in the FDI market as a low cost manufacturing destination actually means holding back the advancement of benefit and welfare of the population. Employing a high number of foreign labourers also mean that general wage levels are down. Labour union movements, for historical reasons and also because of high foreign content, remained under developed.
As a result, Malaysia may have and still creating plenty of job opportunities but while quantity may be there, quality of jobs created may have much room for improvement. A telling sight is the housing area near Senawang Industrial Park where a lot of terrace houses suitable for middle level income demography are either unsold, left vacant or cramped with foreign workers. This would put a strain on banks’ profitability and ultimately interest rates available to diligent savers and retired Malaysian citizens.
Another development is the mushrooming of illegal factories. Around Selangor alone, I read somewhere in one of the Chinese newspapers that there were as many as 3,000 illegal factories. These factories could have an adverse impact on environment as well as human/workers’ right issues. One must question why so many people resort to operating illegal factories. Is the licensing process too much of a hindrance? Or are Malaysians too much of a profiteer and disregard their social responsibilities?
There are many successful industrial parks in Shah Alam and Penang populated by renowned international brands. There are also less formidable areas such as Silibin, Sungai Gadut, Alor Gajah Industrial Parks populated by lesser presence. This is no disrespect to the hard working SMI owners but one wonders that after about 30 years of industrialization, where is the renowned Malaysian brand? South Korea, devastated in the 1950’s by civil war while Malaysia prospered by tin demand as a result of that war, have come up with their Hyundai and Samsung.
It would be great if Malaysia can boast of renowned international brands and we can actually see these brands scatter among the various Malaysian states. People do not need to leave their home town to find employment opportunities and this represent less strain on national resources on traffic and logistic matters especially during festive seasons.
After the failure of Malaysia Electric Corporation, Proton and Badawi’s nasi kandar stall in Perth, I raised my fingers and count the renowned brand by Malaysians: 3 in 1 Old Town White Coffee (seen this in Hong Kong supermarkets), Jimmy Choo (exclaimed by Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City) and Air Asia (by sponsoring BPL’s referee who until AA shows up, never had or seem to need a sponsor before).
Yes, we have moved forward in terms of changing Malaysia’s economic structure for the better but there are few key areas that we can improve on to raise the general level of living standards.
By Lee Wei Lian and Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani
In fact, they were disappointed that he did not speak about the issue more extensively.
In his keynote address at the opening of the Umno General Assembly, Abdullah hit out at anti-reformists in the party saying that those who believed in the “old order” – read Mahathirism – risked hastening the party’s demise.
The above reminds me of Ong Ka Ting's outburst at UMNO as a "bully" after the final results of GE12 were known.
Why can't politicians speak their mind while they are in power? Better late than never but Badawi has missed the chance to become the best Prime Minister the country could ever had.
4)Who are PDRM trying to emulate?
Above: Pics from around the blogs- a closer look at the PDRM Evo.
When a company outsources his operations, normally the VSS will be 100% not 5%- so are there is more retrenchment to come? I just hope that the 5% is not the tip of an ice-berg.
PETALING JAYA (March 22, 2009) : Projects valued at RM3.202 billion under the Mini Budget will be awarded this week, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.
Lim made the announcement at a press conference in Penang today. However, the CM declined to disclose the reasons for Fairus’s resignation. But it is understood that the resignation was made on the instructions of Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who is keen to contain any damage Fairus’s conduct would have on the Pakatan Rakyat alliance.
Fairus’s position as deputy chief minister had become untenable because he faces a mountain of allegations over suspected abuse of power. Speculation about Fairus’s resignation had surfaced this week after an anonymous text message was circulated saying that he was instructed to quit by Anwar over allegations of abuse of power. Fairus’s appointment as deputy chief minister has been a source of controversy and he has been told off by Anwar for not even visiting his constituency. He was also forced to quit as Penang Football Association president due to his lack of enthusiasm.
Speculation is also rife that he is one of two PKR leaders in Penang accused of corrupt dealings involving a quarry. Lim said today Fairus’s effective resignation date will be April 8. The DCM will be on leave until then.
Fairus will continue as Penanti assemblyman.
Lim Guan Eng declined to disclosed the reason for resignation? Come on, LGE, where is your CAT!? Is there something to hide?
Fairus is quitting because of something wrong he did or something he should be doing but did not. Whatever the reason is, if LGE provide some explanation, at least it shows that his adminsitration has set certain standard of performance that was not met. It would send a strong signal to all and sundry that his administration do not tolerate slackers, unlike the BN adminstration that he has always been critical of.
LGE's silence in this matter will render his other strong statements as mere hot air or "cakap tak serupa bikin". People have high expectation of him. As with Badawi, the higher the expectation, the bigger the disappointment and the bigger the back lash.
Unless LGE is under a gag order.
Pakatan Rakyat adminstration is barely a year old and it has to face entrenched pro-BN mentality, untangle previous messes, learn on the job and overcome sceptism. I can understand and tolerate hornest mistakes but not practising what it has been preaching would not be very welcome.
According to PJ folk, this bomoh has customers consisting of PDRM too. Now, now..
By afternoon it was reported that the police had not yet made their way to the crime scene.
Bernama - Wednesday, March 18
NAJIB: ALI RUSTAM REMAINS MELAKA CHIEF MINISTERKUALA LUMPUR, March 17 (Bernama) -- Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said today Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam will remain as the Melaka Chief Minister.
He said Mohd Ali was only prohibited from contesting in the upcoming Umno elections but remained as the chief minister.
Running a political party is so much more demanding......but BRAVO to UMNO when it is due for fighting corruption.
Overall, the meeting was more of an UMNO meeting which could do better with fairer presentation from all races in Wangsa Maju.
Update: I heard that the Datuk Bandar later clarified these events were organized by his office people and he had no knowledge that the Pakatan Rakyat KL MPs were excluded from the town hall meetings held in their respective constituencies.
Below: The mayor's official vehicle
Above:Interview by the Press
Below: Having a word with Datuk Bandar
Above: "Why no fair representation from Wangsa Maju..."
Video courtesy of LWT
1) a little walking and shouting outside Komtar
2) a little gathering and shouting about pigs in Selangor
3) a "squatter conscious" individual and his merry making friends
4) a much bandied about relocation exercise scheduled in the middle of September
5) a much touted 50 person study tour that hitherto, we know nothing about what they learned
6) a respected, tough and hardworking single lady was given a mandatory rest of a fortnight and given plenty of eggs as supplements
7) some re-matches of a certain popularity contest, although the participants are less inclusive than the last big 1 in March
8) some complicated exercise of changing class monitor that involves changing minds of a few, a tree and a few very important people
9) over-pitching of some pictures which compared to what I can get from the internet and that hamsap bookstore, is nothing and I once heard a little boy describing that's what his grandparents, parents and uncles & aunties do anyway.
10) some stubborn member today is given the liberty to play truant for a year while his dad is being hustled to see whether he belongs to the Big House or not
11) what else?????
all I have to say is .....
I hope there is political maturity and respect for common sense when it comes to political gamesmanship in this country.
In vying for power, please respect the basic foundation on which it is built, i.e. confidence and trust of the people on the capability of the political parties who offer to serve and lead.
There should be no place in the voters’ heart for political leadership who thrives and depends on any other means.
The colonists left a bad taste in our mouth but 1 good thing they did left behind was a system and a culture of law and that has set us apart from Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia and Brunei. Is there any patriot would want to give up our advantage?
”Puan Teo Nie Ching [Serdang]: Terima kasih Tuan Yang di-Pertua. Okay, mengenai soalan kedua ataupun bahagian kedua saya. Saya telah menerima banyak aduan yang mengatakan bahawa kebanyakan doktor latihan siswazah ini, mereka bekerja berterusan hari pertama hari ini, malam on call dan juga esok kerana kekurangan doktor-doktor ataupun doctor latihan. Saya rasa sampai hujung tahun lepas, bilangan hospital swasta telah meningkat ke 209 buah.
Tambahan pula kementerian telah menerima 55 permohonan untuk membuka hospital swasta dan kita semua tahu gaji di hospital swasta adalah lebih lumayan dan gaji di hospital kerajaan adalah di antara RM4,000 sampai RM10,000 sebulan, tetapi di hospital swasta gaji adalah di antara RM10,000 sampai RM100,000 sebulan. Sebagai akibatnya, 7% doktor pakar pilih untuk bekerja, berkhidmat di hospital swasta di mana mereka hanya berkhidmat untuk 30% pesakit yang mampu untuk membayar untuk harga perubatan yang lebih tinggi.
Jadi saya risau bahawa sekiranya kementerian terus meluluskan permohonan untuk membuka.. [Dewan riuh] sabar sikit, untuk membuka hospital swasta, jadi bagaimana kita boleh memastikan bahawa kita mempunyai kakitangan ataupun doktor-doktor...
Dato' Haji Tajuddin Abdul Rahman [Pasir Salak]: Bagi chancelah, budak-budak.
Puan Teo Nie Ching [Serdang]: ...yang mencukupi untuk bekerja di hospital kerajaan dan supaya doktor latihan ini ataupun doktor-doktor pakar kita tidak perlu bekerja berterusan lebih daripada 24 jam.
Datuk Dr. Haji Abdul Latiff bin Ahmad: Peraturan 24(3), saya tak perlu jawab dan saya akan jawab dalam penggulungan nanti. Pasal doktor bekerja berterusan ini, itu memang sebahagian daripada training dan cara bekerja. 24 jam kalau on call kemudian esok dia akan bekerja seperti biasa. Itu memang dah amalan daripada azali. [Dewan riuh]
Jadi kalau mereka sama ada di hospital swasta mahupun di hospital kerajaan, kalau mereka rasa teruk bekerja dengan izinlah, saya rasa they are in wrong profession. Terima kasih”
Having my dad suffered a long and painful death from what I perceived as medical negligence and system failure, I feel compel to suggest that the problems with healthcare in Malaysia is not going to improve with the level of sensitivity showed by the Deputy Minister.
The issue at hand is government hospital doctors are under paid and had to work long hours. The Deputy Minister talks about “they are in
I like the tax relief on interest on housing loans and provision of incentives to students to take up post-graduate courses instead of joining the job market at the moment. Good for our students. However, we must ensure there is a proper delivery system is in place. People must know where and how to apply, is there any red-tape, fairness or restriction?
However, I am not sure about the creation of 163,000 jobs. Are they jobs with government departments? Is this going to result in more red tapes and bureaucracy? We moan about the time taken to get things down in government departments and imagine having more people to get through before you get your license, permit approved and what not. When you need to stimulate economic activities, red tapes and the likes must be reduced, not increased.
By adding another 163,000 workers together with the necessary to equip them, government expenditure involved can reach up to astronomical proportion.
When I look at previous budgets, the biggest component is “government operating expenditure”. I always wonder why the federal government never mentioned about the word “cost cutting” in their budget. Cost saved can be channeled into welfare, infrastructure development, healthcare and education instead. How to initiate cost saving measures? The annual Auditors’ General Reports, which are always a heartache to read can point to so many opportunities to review and cut costs.
There are several tax benefits like accelerated capital allowances, increase in tax exemption threshold on retrenchment compensation and utilizing current year tax losses to off-set previous year tax losses. However, the fundamental disadvantage of these approaches is 1) the taxman is only taking less from you but you are not receiving any assistance, unless you can accept taking less from you equals to giving something to you and 2) there is a time delay effect.
Stimulus by definition should be quick, direct and tangible. Of course, we can console ourselves that as Malaysians, we should be grateful for every bit of crumbs coming our way.
The Star on 11th March reported the allocations of millions of ringgit to subsidize food and keep toll rates down went well with “most” Malaysians and the brief report on page 3 mentioned less than 10 names. Although I fail to understand how the Star can conclude that the feedback from 10 or less Malaysians can reliably reflect most of the other 26 million, the main point is the people’s money is still being used to bail ourselves out alone. I would like to know if there is any Petronas funds been used to subsidized foods and toll.
I wrote previously about the supply chain in Malaysia and I believe structural reform is much more effective in managing prices. Why do we need the agreement with IPPs? Why do we need toll concessionaire agreements which guarantee profits that could erode the need to control cost amongst the operators?
Stimulus means to stimulate or promote economic activities (duh!) and sometimes, this can be achieved with minimum costs. The Pakatan Rakyat’s initiative to grant freehold titles to long time dwellers actually possesses enormous multiplier effect. By having secured land titles, owners can develop their land and banks can have collateral to disburse funds. Also, by cutting down administrative bureaucracy, free up capital restriction, speeding up the various paper work processes in federal, state and local authority level, business can move faster.
If you have a national car that is more than 10 years old, you can get RM5,000 discount to get a new national car. This sounds great but what about people who can’t afford a car? Really, is this a stimulus action or is really a government assisted “Great Proton Stock Clearance Sale”?
Classic Mahathirism at work when government spending is allocated to several companies carrying out development work such as the new LCCT at KLIA and Penang Airport but does this benefits the small business owners, wage earners in general? The above project should be classified as necessary development work and not stimulus package under exceptional economic circumstances. Recession or no recession, improving our capacity is a must. Again, there is a time lag effect in terms of benefit following through. Besides, there is always the issue of leakage involves.
Stimulus means helping people to be able to spend more and earn more. Lim Guan Eng mention about putting money into people’s pocket directly and I agree it would work. Giving employers cash rebate in direct proportion to their contribution into workers’ EPF could aid business cashflow, preserve job and encourage compliance. The government should consider suspending for a year payment of tax deducted at source for workers and advance payment of corporate tax for small businesses to aid cash flow of the man in the street.
The doubling of foreign levy can mean higher cost of business although it meant for forcing local businesses to replace foreign workers with locals. I am not sure if this will work as most local employers deemed foreigners are better blue collar workers. It is a window of opportunity for the locals to reclaim their employment opportunity but how well we grasp it is another story……
First of all, Malaysians should not take racism too seriously. It is not a unique Malaysian problem. Last year, when I was immersing myself in chest-deep level seawater, I had a 30 minutes talk with an Australian woman in bikini about racism in Australia. (Don’t laugh at my apparent ineptness at striking up the right kind of conversations with women in bikinis).
Australians have a more diversified population than us hence Malaysia is not that unique. Although North and South Korea are technically still at war, some of the things I have read in mainstream media seems to suggest that the De-Militarized Zone is located on the wrong peninsular.
Other countries suffered worse form of racial discrimination and came out stronger and better. Africans were kidnapped and sold as slaves in the United States since the 1600’s. They were whipped, burnt, raped, castrated and god knows what else. Yet white men fought along side the blacks to liberate them. The process was long and painful; from the Civil War in the 1860’s all the way through to the 1960’s civil movement.
2 TV shows in the 1970’s speaks a lot of the Americans’ desertion of racism. Roots highlighted the suffering of blacks and the immense injustice perpetuated by the white slave owners. The book by Alex Haley makes more painful reading than the TV series. The Jeffersons showed a rich Negro businessman taking funny liberties at his gentle and not so bright white neighbour. One series highlight the injustice and cruelty of their forefathers so that such act should not be repeated while the other uses humour as a tool of reconciliation, if I interpret correctly.
Another TV series that Malaysians enjoy immensely is Mind Your Language, where we laugh at non-English students struggling to pick up English and the suffering of Mr. Brown the teacher.
But can you imagine any TV series, books and movies of similar message can be made by Malaysians amongst Malaysians? The fate of “apa khabar orang kampung” can be used as a reliable gauge. There was a poor imitation of MYL but it was hardly worth a second look.
We can make serious viewing or laugh at other people’s racism but not our own. Gordon Banks, one of the greatest goalkeeper in history said something to the effect that he did not work too much on the strong part of his game but concentrate working on the weakest parts of his game.
One of the best phases I have heard while working in multi-national corporations is “Diversification and Inclusion”. People from different countries, religious background, sexual orientation, and cultural upbringing are not to be discriminated on these basis. Mutual respect and acceptance is the call of the day. I would add that for our society, inter-racial “tolerance” is a bit on the negative side. I prefer the words “accommodation” and “acceptance”. We should celebrate the diversity and richness of our culture. Malaysia can attract English and Chinese speaking investors and tourists, or Middle East investors with citizens who can interact better with them.
We should emphasize on the similarity of different races rather than, at present, emphasizing on the differences of different races. There is nothing wrong with other people who have a different lifestyle than yours so long as we understand each other and let things be the way it is. Life would be too boring, isn’t it? Mukhriz spoke about closing down Chinese and Indian language schools but then he did not talk about closing down Chinese and Indian restaurants did he? The richness of language skills in Malaysia should be celebrated as much as the variety and taste of our food.
Of course, I can hear people pointing out those problems that resulted in NEP. Don’t get me wrong. I am all for special programmes tailored to the needs of different races. Chinese don’t have the same problems as Indians who also don’t have the same problems with Malays. We can have special programmes for particular segment of the society and also have nation-wide, homogenous programmes for all.
The concept we must abandon is the zero sum game. Help the Chinese and the Malays will be at disadvantage blah blah blah. CRAP. I once read in Readers’ Digest where a little girl who had 3 siblings asked her mother, “Mommy, how do you divide your love between the four of us?” The mother replied,” dear, my love is multiply, not divide.” Malaysia has enough resources, I strongly believe, to look after all races properly. We are that resource-rich, hard working and intelligent enough to do so. Thinking otherwise is downplaying the potential and capability of your own country and that’s not very patriotic isn’t it?
I am not really in favour of having race-base party talking and fighting for their own race only. I prefer a Malaysian base party who is able to view all of us as one and also have the intelligence to analyze and compartmentalized issues affecting citizens base on different race, geographical areas, physical disability, income level and whatever. Life is no longer simple these days.
A good government and administration should be good at identifying and solving problems whether it is specific to a racial group or physical disability attributes, or confined to a age group or addresses. If base on the zero sum rule, if the government allocate funds to the blind, the deaf should protest because their interest is compromise and if the government allocated funds to the deaf then the blind would protest also.
So you see, race is just another way of compartmentalizing our beautifully diversified country. That’s all.
Take the massive street protest against using English in teaching Maths and Science for instance. There is grave concern of loosing Bahasa Melayu as a language. Also, the teachers and students who are failing to grasp Maths and Science because of the language change are banging their heads on chalkboards. Some Malays are even afraid of loosing the Malay identity.
Have you ever heard of an international deal written in Bahasa Melayu? Or subject text reference books written in this language? They probably have to be translated from English first. I have interviewed many graduate-candidates to fill the vacancies in my office before and I find that majority Malaysian local uni graduates of all races just can't speak proper English. Non-graduates can speak better English because they move out of the Malaysian education earlier than the graduates. The Malaysian education system does not equip Malaysians to operate in an international environment. The Malaysian education system is just good for Malaysia. There's too much Malay, too little English. If I employ a 100% of local-uni grads in my office I'll be dead- I'll have to review all my contracts, liaise with all my important customers and have no hours left on the clock.
It's a question of economics not a question of loosing ethnic/ cultural identity. Lately, I find that many of my China and Indonesian colleagues speak better English than me. Are the Chinese and Indonesian loosing their identity? I don't think so. I am very worried when I compare how Malaysia is progressing against other nations. I don't think Malaysia is progressing at all- to progress one has to invent and reinvent. How to do this when we can't even read English.