Oil Prices: $75 Crude, Here We Come

By Russell Gold,
Wall Street Journal
Oil prices are on the march, again, surprising many observers by reaching $66 a barrel in the midst of a global downturn.

Next stop? Respected oil-market analyst Paul Horsnell of Barclays says $75. “When the market as a whole starts to believe that $75 is pretty much inevitable, then it might as well go straight to it,” he says.

Oil prices aren’t rising because demand is recovering or because record-setting oil inventories are being burned off. Rather, Mr. Horsnell says, the market believes OPEC is coordinated enough to defend a price floor, presumably through acting together and keeping production in check. Add in a growing belief that the economy could be regaining its footing and oil prices will climb to the price that OPEC is willing and able to defend.

With the growing belief in OPEC and a coming financial recovery, “there would be no reason why the current price rally could not extend to $75 within a fairly rapid timeframe,” Mr. Horsnell wrote in his weekly overview of oil-market conditions.

Believers in oil-market fundamentals are left scratching their heads. Exxon Mobil Corp. chairman and chief executive Rex Tillerson told reporters earlier this week that he couldn’t see any reasons involving supply and demand to push up oil prices. He attributed the recent oil rally to fluctuations in the U.S. dollar and people trying to get in front of a perceived economic recovery. “But it’s just a bet on their part as to whether the green shoots have roots or not. And none of us really know yet,” he said.

Of course, the price of oil has made significant moves independent of the supply-demand equation. This is what many people think was responsible for the price rally on 2008, when crude topped $145 a barrel in July.

So what happens if Mr. Horsnell is right and oil hits $75 a barrel? There will be a period of adjustment, with downward pressure until storage and demand fundamental figures catch up. And there’s no guarantee the fundamentals will catch up, setting up the potential for a dramatic drop.

And if oil does jump much higher, it might actually postpone the price spike everybody seems to be worrying about. Oil at $75 could stunt some of the green shoots now sprouting in the global economy, reinforce newfound oil frugality, and push back any serious recovery in oil demand.

Citizen soldier # 7 a lonely friend from Sabah fighting for the good cause

I wondered for days whether I should share this. I really admire what this friend has been doing alone. This is a Facebook conversation which I have edited to avoid having a post too long. This remarkable individual is really a brilliant spark from an abyss of ignorant darkness and it also open my eyes to the feeling on the ground "Over There".

Lee Wee Tak
April 6 at 10:28pm
thanks for inviting me as a friend...may I ask how come I am being given such an honour?
April 6 at 10:41pm
Hi, Lee,
Thank you for accepted me as your friend. Actually I try to get more friends because I only have few friends in face book.
Lee Wee Tak
April 6 at 10:46pm
include yours truly as 1 of the statistic, very happy to be 1 of your friends.
by the way, where do you reside? I am in Wangsa Maju area in KL.
April 6 at 10:49pm
I'm in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
I'm a driving instructor. Nice to be your friend.
April 6 at 10:56pm
Actually a lot of Sabahan is anti BN... but there are so many project M people(those illegal have IC) how? I'm trying to get more people to register as new voter. I wish we can celebrate post-BN day too. We must make it be, right??
Lee Wee Tak
April 7 at 8:38am
good on you Friend. I wish there are more like you. another thing is that PR people in Sabah must stop all the in-fighting.
the thing to go for now is to educate the people of Sabah what they are missing out if they continue under BN. Many Sabahans are working in West Malaysia and I hope they get more exposure and go back and tell the people back home.
do you get to read what the PR state governments of Perak, Selangor and Penang do for the rakyat in Sabah?
April 7 at 8:12pm
Yeap. I wish the next election will be one to one.
There are news about the case in Perak, Selangor and Penang but the thing is most of the Sabahan they don't care about politic. A lot of young people does't read news. The media/news also controlled by BN. All BN good news will publish out and all good work done by opposition never have chance to publish in the news. That's why people thinking opposition does't do any thing.....We do not have opposition press here...
Lee Wee Tak
April 7 at 8:55pm
I was in KK few years back. The newspaper there is hopeless. 4 pages of news and in 3 languages to make them look a bit more bulky.
April 7 at 9:00pm
Yalorr... I don't understand why the opposition here very weak. They do not have their own press, seldom organise talks, seldom see the voter register centre.... Never mind, I will do my best to influence all the people surround me.
Lee Wee Tak
April 11 at 11:13pm
hope opposition can build up the base from now on. Batang Ai by election shows that PR still have a lot of work to do.
At least start by getting all the seats in the cities like Kuching and KK
April 11 at 11:19pm
Yes... they should do home work from now. not wait until election. Sabah have a culture, during election, a lot of calon come out, after election, don't know where are those people. Even they lose in the election, they stil have to serve the people to prepare for the next election!!
Lee Wee Tak
April 11 at 11:23pm
i think the education level and awareness in Sabah is not at the same level in Semenanjung? We have some very hard working YBs here.
I suppose $ is always an issue. PR cannot win against BN which has state money at its disposal
April 11 at 11:29pm
Yes!! Some time i told my friend vote for opposition and they ask me how much $$ i get to support them... i almost pengsan o. i have to explain to them election is not for $$, we have to think our future....etc...
Lee Wee Tak
April 12 at 10:26am
OMG, tell ur friend to choose
1) party A who take your money and waste & abuse and only give a little "sagu hati" back whenever there is a GE or by-election. If your friends like "dead man ang pow" then they deserve all the under-development, sub-standard medical care, over payment for everything
2) party B who promise not to abuse our money and channel the money back into the public. Look at Selangor - Tawas (give RM100 when your baby is borned & get RM15,000 when he or she turns 18 years old)
your friends must have been tourist to Singapore or Hong Kong? Well look at the infrastructure, system, convenience and safety there. This is what kind of party we should be voting for
April 12 at 8:22pm
ok. Next time I know how to answer them. How about those people don't even want to vote? How to push them to vote? They always give reason lazy la, too far la, politic is non of my business la...
Lee Wee Tak
April 16 at 1:49pm
this one-ah..susahlah. if not too many of them, then forget it as not worth the trouble
otherwise bug them and also contact local opposition to provide transport for them. BN does this for their supporters
however, can explain the state of affairs now to them
April 16 at 8:35pm
Yeah!! today I manage to get 5 people to register as voter!! and I keep on telling them not to vote the timbang.haha...
Today at 5:20pm
Hai... people here is poisoned by $ politic. Even I ask around people to register as voter they ask me whether I got commission to do all this. And they think Im member of politic party. I tell them No. I have no receive any single cents to do all this. Then they say Im brave, berani mau lawan gov. Then i have to educate them, telling them we rakyat is the boss of the gov, not the gov is boss....i also want pengsan o

Lee Wee Tak
Today at 6:30pm
the more you tell me, the more I am pissed. how can voting for the political party of your choice is "lawan gomen".
hey, if register to vote is lawan gomen, then SPR registering voters also lawan gomen lah? if this is lawan gomen, how come all DAP ordinary members or all PAS ordinary members are not in jail
you are doing a great job...you are the best! keep it up! 3 cheers for you from Peninsular!
Today at 6:56pm
Thank you. But there are good sign also... some of my friends say they regret to vote BN....
For me, lawan gov, lawan gov la, if the gov is good what for we want to lawan kan?

Antara Boros Nasional dan Pilihan Rakyat

According to Malaysian Insider, http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/malaysia/27964-dap-wants-pkfz-to-close-shop , RM7.5 billion has already been lost while if PKFTZ continues, it stands to make future losses of RM8.6 billion. That makes a total loss of RM16.1 billion.

Maybe 16.1 is not impressive enough...RM16.1 billion typed out in full is
RM 16,100,000,000 (short form, written in America) or
RM16,100,000,000,000 (Long form, written in UK)

Since we have been following the Brits all this while, I suppose it is the latter? Either way, that is a lot of our money! I wonder how many JPA scholarships RM16.1 billion can provide, how many families in poverty or how many sick people in need of funds for treatment can be assisted. Well, at least some people are very happy and laughing all the way to offshore banks I imagine.

In business, when there is a “loss” (expense), there is always a corresponding party who makes a gain” (revenue/consultancy fees/sales/commission etc). Any accounting students, qualifying for scholarships or not, can probably figure this one out).

During the run up to elections, big or small, BN fall back on its claim of “having the track record and experience of governance”. If this is the way it manages our money then to HELL with it; I rather give it to some green horns that, according to Hannah Yeoh, “does not have the experience of corruption.”
In the effort to “merakyatkan ekonomi” the Selangor State Government has this "Program Tuisyen Rakyat Selangor".

Big deal, corporate big wits or people with macro-level views might not be too impressed with it but these simple and ground level amenities are the things that impress me the most. Come think of it:

1) State governments control much, very much, smaller revenue source than the federal government (think income, sales, service taxes as well as customs and approved permits etc)

2) Tuition has a very big market in the current pressure cooker school environment, how many school children you can name that does not get extra tutoring?

3) NEP is suppose to assist poor families in social re-engineering and uplifting but at the expense of arresting the potential and opportunities of the brighter and more capable groups, giving free tuition to less economically advantages Malaysians achieve the first objective above without giving rise to the opportunity cost thereof.; and

4) This “one small step for Selangor State Government; but one big step for the Selangor below RM2K per month families” shows an administration that is caring, creative and relevant.
Bravo! It is the simplest things that count for the moment!

Citizen Soldier # 6 Yaacob Abd. Hamid: ulasan daripada seorang pejuang yang telah melalui lembaran bersejarah dan arus perubahan

Encik Yaacob telah menjelajahi lembaran sejarah negara kita yang akan dikenangi sebagai salah satu detik peralihan iaitu dari Zaman Reformasi hingga Pilihanraya Umum ke-12 pada tanggal 8 March 2008 yang penuh bererti itu.
“Penglibatan aktif ana bermula sebagai seorang ahli biasa Pas Cawangan Batu 4, Gombak sehingga diberi kepercayaan menjawat timbalan ketua cawangan.” ulasan beliau bermula.

“Saya banyak melibatkan diri dalam kempen pilihanraya sejak Zaman Reformasi lagi. Ketika itu, demonstrasi diadakan setiap hari Sabtu dan Ahad. Semasa pilihanraya, kami memang komited dalam mengendalikan bilik gerak. Kami buka lebih awal dan lama daripada pesaing kami. Kami juga menjalankan kerja-kerja lain seperti menaikkan bendera dan sebagainya. Semua ahli Pas bergiat atas dasar ‘suka dan rela’.

“Dalam Pilihanraya Umum ke-12 2008, saya terlibat dengan kempen YB Wee Choo Keong di kawasan Wangsa Maju dan pengalaman paling seronok adalah menjadi ‘emcee’ semasa ceramah. Pada hari mengundi, meskipun dilandai perasaan perit menjaga pusat pengundian di Sekolah Chung Hwa, saya telah dapat merasai perubahan besar akan berlaku pada malam sebelum hari mengundi dan hari mengundi itu sendiri.

“Selepas kemenangan YB Wee Choo Keong di Wangsa Maju, saya telah diberi kepercayaan menjadi Pembantu Khas kepadanya. Ini adalah kejutan besar kerana jarang nampak seorang ahli Pas dapat jadi pembantu kepada seorang Wakil Rakyat bukan Pas dan kami harap ini akan merobohkan prasangka orang Pas tidak boleh bekerja dengan orang bukan Pas.

“Pada mulanya, pusat perkhidmatan Wangsa Maju kelam kabut sedikit kerana para pengundi di sini mengharapkan perubahan drastik ke atas masalah yang melandai mereka selama 10 tahun tetapi setelah kami menerangkan masalah yang kami hadapi sebagai ‘pembangkang majoriti’ di Kuala Lumpur, mereka mulai memahami kedudukan kami yang sebenarnya dan para pengundi selama ini telah memberi kerjasama serta sokongan yang baik. Tidak boleh lupa juga sokongan dan kerja sama daripada pejabat perkhidmatan Pakatan Rakyat lain yang sama-sama berjuang untuk rakyat Malaysia.

“YB Wee adalah seorang Wakil Rakyat yang amat profesional dan setelah bekerja dengan beliau, saya dapat memahami betapa sukarnya bagi beliau melaksanakan tugasnya. <Saya dapat melihat transformasi yang berjaya dilalui oleh Encik Yaacob sebagai seorang pejuang kepada seorang pentadbir; hancurlah tohmahan pihak BN bahawa PR hanya tahu mengkritik sahaja>

“Masalah utama kita adalah sikap birokrasi pihak DBKL tetapi setelah setahun ‘bergelut’ dengan mereka, maka mereka juga memahami tindakan kami yang ‘keras’ dan masalah di Wangsa Maju telah diberi layanan yang sepatutnya. Kini masalah yang tinggal hanyalah bersifat ‘teknikal’ sahaja.

“Selepas penglibatan saya yang hampir 10 tahun, saya dapat rasai rakyat kian matang dan telah menunjukkan kebijaksanaan mereka dalam menilai arus politik yang mereka kehendaki. <Semasa rencana ini ditulis, seorang nenek Cina tua berusia 70 tahun yang dibantu oleh Yaacob memberitahu kami bahawa undinya adalah kepada Dato' Lo Lo> Saya yakin perubahan besar akan berlaku dalam pilihanraya yang akan datang dan saya percaya, KUASA RAKYAT ITU AKAN DIANGKAT.”

Richard Scudamore: Manchester United are not allowed to play promoted sides in 2009-2010 season onwards

Breaking news!
Richard Scudamore: Manchester United are not allowed to play promoted sides in 2009-2010 season onwards

Richard Scudamore, Barclays Premier League Chief Executive, said, “ in view of the dominance of Manchester United over the past 3 seasons, we feel that they must give a handicap to the other teams so that the others will have a chance to vie for the league title. We cannot risk the re-occurrence of the football hooligan culture of the yesterdays if the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea cannot win the title for extended period of time. Also, we are considering banning United from the League and FA Cups competition to avoid a clean sweep by them.”

Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United’s manager, understandably was not impressed. “Bollocks! Bollocks! When Chelsea seemed unbeatable 3 or 4 seasons ago with the terrific financial backings, we worked hard and manage to overcome them. Fair competition promotes better performance.”

It is understood that the proposal is still under consideration.

The above was entirely fictional and the more I read it, the more stupid it seems. This can’t be happening in the real world, can it?

Friday May 22, 2009

Govt likely to put cap on number of papers taken for fairer PSD selection
PUTRAJAYA: Students sitting for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examination may not be allowed to take as many subjects as they like in future.

This is to put an end to claims on unfairness in the award of Public Service Department scholarships.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that, as things stood now, students in government schools had no limit on the number of subjects they could take, meaning that those from other schools, like fully residential ones, were “disadvantaged”.

I rest my case. NEP has the inevitable opportunity cost of arresting progress of the best and brightest hence resulted in significant brain drain in the past. While NEP has its merit, there must be a sell by date for everything.

Penanti: BN's Chicken Factor

BN's decision on not to contest in the Penanti by-election is mainly due to the chicken factor and nothing else. Being thrashed in the Kuala Terengganu (Parliamentary), Bukit Selambau (State) and Bukit Gantang (Parliamentary) by-elections this year, the only saving grace was winning Batang Ai in Sarawak. That's one out of four. Oh my. Poor record. If we extrapolate the results, BN will be shoved out of the government job by GE13.
Last Monday (17th May) Najib had said ""BN's focus is on public service and the national economy. Thus, we decided not to contest..." after announcing that BN will not field candidates for the Penanti by-election. Knowing Najib's recklessness in obtaining what he wants, we all know that Najib knows that BN will never ever win Penanti, so why add on another piece of shit to the record. BN is afraid of elections- that's why Perak will never ever have fresh state elections if BN can help it. This is self-service, not public service; hence don't be confused, Najib; or rather don't confuse the public.

NB. resident.wangsamaju thank the people of Perak, the candlelight- vigilers under arrest, fellow bloggers and friends who prevailed against injustice and social hardship caused by the present government of Malaysia.

Telco dishes in TBR take 2; and a tribute to Mr. Mah Teck Cheong

This is a follow up on the telco dish in Taman Bunga Raya which I blogged about here:


I got a call last night from Mr. L that DBKL has commenced dismantling all the dishes. When I checked, 1 was down and a sole worker was working on another. It was a joint effort this one. The late Mr. Mah Teck Cheong put up a fantastic piece of research cum protest paper work; Mr. L continued the fight by bringing it onto YB Wee Choo Keong; Mrs. L who proactively wrote to several governing authorities to keep the heat on and also our Member of Parliament who wrote at least twice to DBKL on this matter.

This is a snapshot of work in progress as of noon, 21 May 2009.

Now, the residents and pets in TBR can sleep easy. :-)

My hearts goes to the late Mr. Mah Teck Cheong, a lawyer who had his practice in TBR. I read with my own eyes the fantastic paper work he had compiled; from research done on dangers on electromagnet exposure in United Kindgom, to relevant local and foreign press cuttings, to the relevant sections of by-laws on township planning and construction, to great many appeal letters written to the very top of political and administrative hierarchy that went unheeded. Mr. Mah fought for years and died fighting.

I wanted to know more about Mr. Mah and Mrs. L, who is running one of the businesses in that role of shophouses, told me a few things about him, “he was a hardworking man that worked until late hours. He was helpful, kind and jovial. Whenever we had problems writing letters he would just write it out for us and jokingly asked for RM50 or RM100 but of course, he never took it.”

“As he was dying of cancer and chemotherapy reduced him to a wreck, I remembered him hiding from his visiting mother because he did not want her to see him like that. He would give fake excuses and not let his mother see him. The day he died, he died feeling disappointed with DBKL.”

Must we always wait until someone dies before we take action? I wondered. Can we Malaysians finally learn how to really sediakan payung sebelum hujan? R.I.P. Mr. Mah, I am sorry we were late. A fighter for his communities’ cause, a family man, and a citizen soldier who did his bidding till the last gasp of his breathes. I am so sorry, sir.

Citizen Soldier # 5 JH Soo, a socialist and environmentalist

I have known Soo for a few years. Although he has a degree from the states and have worked overseas before, he escaped the trap of a stereotyped rat race.
Soo is a socialist at heart and a concerned environmentalist. He cares about global warming and devours books that put me to sleep after half a page but he can articulate his philosophies and belief to me in a few simple words. He has a few articles published in Malaysiakini and the respectable internet news portal called him “an engineer who came back to Malaysia to fight for the good cause” or words to that effect. He has joined Parti Sosialis Malaysia to further realize his beliefs.
“Before the 12th GE, I got increasingly uncomfortable with where Malaysia was heading. I was motivated by the Bersih campaign where people started to act.” He told me.
He took a day off from work to vote. So what? I heard you say. It is a bit different if one needs to take a ferry from Hong Kong to Macau, then an Air Asia flight to KL, then another mad rush to Kuantan to cast a vote then repeating the same itinerary immediately. I got tired just listening to him describing it. Not to consider the amount of money he has to spend on that.
Malaysians do not appreciate our democratic institution. Living in a democracy today is a privilege we have taken for granted. People just don’t realize in the old days, in a feudal society, we had no voting power, no system to work for people’s cause. A lot of people just seem to be always complaining but nobody is doing anything. We must participate and fulfill our obligations.”
What is remarkable to me is that as a professional engineer he could easily belong to the typical white collar, nice living rat race demography yet he chooses to join PSM who essentially identifies with the blue collar mass so why did he choose Parti Sosialis Malaysia?
“PSM has a strong ideology, clear vision of the socialist state that they want to achieve. DAP has departed from a wholly socialist standing and have a ‘corruption’ of capitalism in them.” < for the benefit of the literal school of interpretation, ‘corruption’ here means a departure from original philosophy; not that thing that some parties in Malaysia do it very well, too well in fact >
Soo explained that the excessive credit creation, among other things, that have led to the current world economic woes.
Soo’s lovely wife is supportive of her husband’s stand. She takes more than a fleeting interest in what he advocates and joined in as we discussed about political development over Seremban’s pork satey and beer. Soo’s younger sister and her boyfriend recently signed up as DAP members as well.
“I hope somehow, the messages can get to the rural Malay heart land. Let us not be like Thailand where there is huge discrepancy in terms of information flow between the urban and rural population.”

Citizen Soldier # 4 Carmen: accidental heroine and loving it

Carmen sat at her desk and worked on diligently as I chatted with the aforementioned characters. I walked across the tiny office space and sat in front of her small but functioning office desk to get her story.

“I wasn’t into politics at all when I graduated last year.” Carmen said. Carmen is a petite, your average girl next door type but I detected a hint of determination and sense of purpose in her calm voice. “I was unemployed and the only vacancy available for me was being an executive secretary at this office. My mother, being a civil servant was uneasy with this and initially objected me from working with DAP.”

“I suppose I am a bit rebellious <aren’t we all when we were young and supple?> so I carried on and I am now a permanent member of the party. I am happy that I did. Now, if you are working for DAP, you don’t talk about earning big money. I am happy here because I get to learn things and get to meet so many people and help solve their problems. I also learn to be thankful as I know there are so many people much worse off than me.”

One thing I sense is the family-like environment between the Yang Berhormats and the rank and file in the office. There is no air of master-servant distinction. As I was talking, ADUN for Temiang, YB Ng Chin Tsai (another one who got arrested because he ran foul of Ipoh's latest law: you cannot order a cup of tea and drink it around the State Assembly Hall ;-P) walked past in plain T shirts and jeans, carrying a stack of paper work. Missing is all the red carpet and kompang brigade treatment. He looked business-like and got down to work with minimum of fuss. At the other end, YB Wong May May was chatting to everyone and anyone freely and in a friendly, relaxed manner. Information flows smoothly.

“After the mass arrest in Ipoh, my mother asked me if I was afraid. I replied that if I ever got arrested for wearing black, I would be thankful as I can finally take a few days’ off work as things are piling up.”
I won’t argue with that, would you?

Citizen Soldier #3: Mr. Lim, you don't have to be in the party to fight a good fight

Mr. Lim was not a scheduled interviewee but I managed to bump into a real character with his own story.

Mr. Lim, I suppose, is slightly older than KH Lee. He is not a member of any political party and owns his own computer business. His son and son in law came into DAP HQ to help check on the printer problem.

“I supplied these machines to DAP at cost, not a single sen of profit.” < in my book, that's a form of donation / financial assistance > He beamed, and spoke in a gentle and unassuming tone of voice. “During the run up of last year’s general election, I approach all my customers and helped them to check their voters’ registration status F.O.C.”

Mr. Lim also PERSUASIVELY and VOCALLY advocate his choice to his customers. :-)

“There were some pensioners who were afraid of losing their pensions if they voted for the opposition. I explained to them the process of safe custody and destruction of the ballot papers. Only then they felt relieved. I also told those in civil service that they earn their salary through honest work that they put in and they do not owe their soul and democratic rights to those people who occupies seats for a few years.”

“I remember there was this 79 years old man who found himself being transferred involuntarily from Rahang to Chuah <note: the distance between the 2 places, if I am not wrong, is about 30km at least>. The old man was hopping mad and kept saying, ‘macam mana ini olang tua pun mau buli’. I told him that I will drive him there but the old man growled and told me not to bother, he will drive there himself.” For the record, Chai Tong Chai of PKR won in Chuah.

Mr. Lim told me in Chinese proverb that; “we need not heap more accolades on the successful ones but must learn to assist those who are in time of needs”. When Lim Guan Eng was released from his second ISA detention and trying to rebuild his life, Mr. Lim requested his business counterpart to let Betty Chew’s (Guan Eng's wife) law firm to handle their legal documentation eventhough the lawyer's office is in Melaka and not any Seremban firm.

“Can you guess who was their dispatch clerk?” he chuckled. “Lim Guan Eng! When he was made Chief Minister, I went to Penang and visited him in a function and YAB immediately recognized me and addressed me as ‘chin lang’ (dear relative). YAB is a nice man, very nice man.”

Citizen Soldier #2: Mr. WL Liew, a young man who speaks his mind

I am guilty of pre-judging him. As I was talking to Mr. KH Lee (CS # 1), I caught the sight of Liew in the corner of my eyes. Young lad, I thought, spiky hair, he must be delivering stationery supplies to DAP service center or coming in to complain that he lost his IC or something.

I was surprised when the State Assembly lady told me she brought him to be interviewed. I was also impressed by the logic and sense that he delivered over the brief session.
Liew only had secondary level education and I guess he is barely into his twenties. Yet he has joined DAP and judging from his rapid-fire delivery, he certainly have decided on his conviction and made more sense that some people who had more school hours than him. His dad was the co-founder of Mambau DAP hence it’s a family influence thingy. I suppose Liew is the fruit of KH Lee & comrades’ labour.

Young people should come out and vote.” He started the ball or tongue rolling. “We must develop our interest and understanding in the going-ons in all political parties.” I wondered how many young and more educated people would bother.

“We must be analytical and critically aware when dissecting newspaper reports.” He added. I know that Chinese newspapers do carry relatively more objective and balanced reporting and to pick up messages between the lines is much more difficult to say, Bahasa Malaysia papers. From my discussion with certain DAP NS Assembly person, I realize that sometimes, even Chinese newspapers can be off from the mark even if their reports appear to be objectively written.

“DAP’s approach in fighting for their causes has always been civilized. We have peaceful gatherings to submit memorandums, unlike some who are taught to smash car windows.” If you do not know what he was taking a dig about, Lim Lip Suan, DAP member and Klang Municipal Councilor, had his car windows smashed a few times. Sore losers?

The longer he went on, the more I realized that this was a young man who has a keen interest in political development, able to analyze them critically and able to articulate his views in a passionate yet coherent manner.

“When those television news channels reported the events on 7th May, the broadcasters deliberately followed up with chaotic, but unrelated scenes of protest from overseas. What sort of impression and line of reporting is that? Was that designed to mislead?” he fumed.

“Some people are also unfair to DAP because I heard them talking that once DAP come into power, they will become corrupt. Come on, give us a chance! And do not apply double standards!”

He also pointed out that Pakatan Rakyat administration is superior as it resolved the land title issue in Perak within a year whereas MCA could only made matters worse after more than 50 years in power. As for Penang, he mentioned that while YAB Lim Guan Eng had not done anything spectacular, he did not come up with disasters comparable to his predecessors.

He also took to task a certain politician mentioning Chinese as ungrateful. “The Bumi and non-Bumi distinction is only going to muddle things up more as we searched for solutions to our national problems. At the end of the day, we are all Malaysians.”

Citizen Soldier #1: Mr. KH Lee, a stalwart since the beginning

After introducing of the concept of Citizen Soldiers in my previous post here http://wangsamajuformalaysia.blogspot.com/2009/05/citizen-solders-call-to-arms.html , I have decided to locate some of them and perhaps bring out their stories for sharing. I am convinced that I will find ordinary folks with ordinary and not so ordinary tales. I hope that you can relate to them just as I do, follow ordinary Malaysians who have came forward and do just a bit /or a lot more than most of us. I did not lead on to any one of them on what to say, I just told them to tell me their stories.
I started my quest by engaging the kind assistance of the friendliest State Assembly Woman I know and she introduced a few DAP members to me. I had an interesting couple of hours in DAP NS’s new HQ. The following posts are their voices.

Mr. Lee (no relation to the writer) will not strike you as someone out of the ordinary. You would not notice him in crowd but yet this gentleman who does not look his age – slightly over 60s, is no ordinary person.
Mr. Lee has been with DAP for more than 30 years and he is the current Secretary for Mambau branch. Back in 1974, spurred on by the land title and other issues faced by New Villagers in Mambau, Mr. Lee fought for and obtained the registration of a DAP branch in Mambau in order to fight for the villagers’ rights.

The villagers were initially scared to death fearing reprisals from the powers to be but owing to Mr. Lee and a few other stalwarts’ effort, DAP Mambau was registered after a few years. His target then was “to have 1 party member in every household in Mambau New Village” and today, 90% of the households in the New Village boast of a party member.

Mr. Lee was one of those arrested on 7 May 2009 in Ipoh for ordering a cup of tea and trying to drink it. When told the reason for his arrest was because he was within 500 metres from the State Assembly Hall as prohibited by the court order, he asked the arresting police officer how he managed to measure the distance correctly. The officer was dumbfounded but took him into custody anyway. After a 9 hours enforced hospitality and some photo taking for kenang-kenangan, he was released without charges.

Mr. Lee explained that there is nothing to be afraid of getting involved in politics as a participative citizen. “In fact, since in DAP, we always fight using and in accordance with the applicable laws of the day, we ended up learning more about our rights and provisions of the relevant legislation.” In fact, such awareness also ensure he enforces his right properly.

“For instance, many people here share the opinion that if they insure their car for, say, RM46K and in the event of total loss, they count their lucky stars if the insurance company would only pay them RM40K.” he said. “However, in my case, I refused to take the RM40K only, threatened to take whatever legal rights I was entitled to and the insurance company promptly paid up the entire RM46K I was entitled too.”

Many people would say that joining and struggling with DAP would damaged their prospect for financial rewards or livelihood but Mr. Lee provided a solid evidence to the contrary. He is a contractor for plumbing works and has extensive contracts with various reputable. “The developer for Taman Mambau Jaya is a MCA member and yet I got the contract for plumbing work for the whole housing estate.” He added, “although we have opposing political stand, when it comes to economics, we deal as businessmen and professionals.” Perhaps he was too modest to mention that he got the contract base on merit.

On a sunny morning in Mambau New Village, I watched Mr. Lee carried some hefty P.A. equipment for a DAP press conference to the luggage compartment of his Mercedes and drove off, I found myself no longer subscribing to the notion that one’s livelihood can be compromised by being a participative citizen in a democratic country be it in the establishment or opposition.

Citizen soldiers: a call to arms

To paraphrased President Franklin Roosevelt, May 7 2009 is a day which will live in infamy.
Above: From Anil Netto's excellent blog.
I blogged earlier that some people are worried about BN retaking the 2/3 majority in the Parliament and wiping out PR’s gains in 2008 come next general election as the economic cycle could be in the “up” cycle again. http://wangsamajuformalaysia.blogspot.com/2009/04/you-deserve-what-you-get.html

Are we Malaysians really that shallow? A few sweets at election time and we sell our souls and the future of the nation? Some of us might be like that, some of us might still be like that come next GE and shall always be like that.

Ask ourselves this …

Would you WANT to be stuck in a system of selective application and gross disregard of laws and governance, feeding on scraps left by the greedy and privileged?

Go live in a country that has low level of corruption and fairness in drafting and enforcement of legislation and decide if the present administration is being fair to you or not. Some of us might have the answer already as millions of Malaysia had migrated overseas for a better life. Heck, even our ministers and their families utilizes foreign hospitals and universities. Why not bring the environment we carve for from overseas into our country?

Are you only good enough to bitch in mamak stalls or even afraid to speak out? I even heard a graduate from local university not wanting to vote at all fearing that if she had voted for the opposition, she would not get her housing loan approved by a bank.

What do you want and how much are you willing to do for your livelihood as well as for your children’s and their children’s? This post is about what we, ordinary citizens and taxpayers, can do if you say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH and decide to take a stand.

Stephen Ambrose, a renowned American historian who wrote some historical masterpiece such as Band of Brothers, which was adapted as a TV mini series by HBO, Pegasus Bridge, We Die Alone, Victors etc., coined the term “Citizen Soldiers” and wrote a book about it. It is about ordinary Americans leaving their normal lives and came forward; suffering, dying, excelling and ultimately prevailing in World War II fighting the Germans and Japanese to protect their family, country and their way of life.
Caption on news paper: Huns (Germans) kill women and children

Not all of us can come forward and offer ourselves as a candidate for Parliament or State Assembly, Not all of us can be a Raja Petra Kamarudin. Not all of us can be a political party member and be as committed as those dedicated souls.

We can do as much, or as little as we can do. When we accumulate all the little effort of everyone, the combined impact is greater, much greater than the sum of its parts.

Let’s make a list of what we can do to assist and support those who are carrying the fight for us. Know your rights as a citizen and taxpayer of this country. Be prepared to question and parry any attempt to infringe or violate what you are entitled to. Discard any irrational fear or herd mentality that would arrest your growth as a responsible and participative citizen in a democratic country.

They have made their stand, loud and clear. Make a stand and let it be known.

Register yourself as a voter and make sure you vote. Get someone who has not voted before to vote. Make donations to the political party you support; either by voluntary contribution or attending their fund raising function. Value your hard earn money and refrain spending your money that would fund parties that infringe your rights as a citizen and tax payer of this country, if possible. A single word would suffice, boycott!

Get onto politicians’ blogs and participate in discussions to raise your awareness and share your awareness with friends and family. Provide constructive feedback to your Yang Berhormats to support and motivate them as well as to help them do their jobs better.

So far so good...not too difficult right? If you want to raise the stake then ….

Visit your Yang Berhormat’s service center and talk to him or her. Provide feedback, donations, constructive advise and whatever support you deem within your means and meeting the YB’s or his or her PAs’ needs. Talk to your friends and families about the service available at the service center.

Join political party of your choice as an ordinary member and participate in their activities. I have attended some parties’ function such as fund raising dinner, talks etc. I am always impressed by the quiet dignity, contribution and sacrifice of those ordinary members. I remember a DAP member I observed during the party’s Chinese New Year open house ceremony earlier this year. There was a Malay lady in tudung and DAP T shirt helping out in the event. Her quiet, non-nonsense and efficient demeanour had left an impression on my mind.

The list above is not exhaustive. I am not a very intelligent person yet I can come up with a few suggestions. Yours ideas are very appreciated. If you think some of the above actions points are valid, well, what are you waiting for?

Is this another telco dish?

After hearing certain Taman Bunga Raya residents complaining about the telco towers which I have blogged earlier here. I have heard a bit more from coffee shop talk.

I have been told that apart from the lawyer who died, there are 4 more cancer cases in Taman Bunga Raya after the telco tower was raised. I cannot verify the truth of this statement.

I have also been told that another telco tower is being errected in Desa Setapak. I took a little trip there and found this thing being errected.

Take a look below and form your own conclusion.

Speaking up for the silent group : May Day celebration; time to be fair

Malaysians are renowned for selective human right fighting; whether it is for Malay’s rights, Hindu-Indian’s right, rights for particular stand with regards to religion, rights for clean and fair elections, women's right and what not. These movements are mainly led by those who have the intellectual capacity and physical means to transmit what’s bugging them.

However, who really speaks for the largely unheard and downtrodden group of Malaysians that form a crucial component of our much-touted Malaysia industrialization programme? After 30 years or more of industrialization, of the sales pitch that “Malaysia is a wonderful place to invest” etc, how much of fair share of the fruits labour been given to our factory workers?

Do they ever get anything from listing of their employers as well as the share price fluctuation, merger and acquisition exercises? Does the employers, notably SMIs, invest in a safe working environment as well as workers' amenities? How come they only get 10 days of gazetted holidays while the white collar workers get a few more days such as state holidays and other non-gazetted federal holidays? Do they get sufficient representation in figthing for what is fair to them like the bank employees?

Anybody wonder what we should do for them?
The 2009 1 May Declaration consist of 18 points including:
  1. immediately setting up a fund to assist retrenched workers with government allocation of RM5 billion
  2. ensure economic stimulus packages really create jobs
  3. government should discuss with local banks to extend or reduce housing installments of the lower income group
  4. allocate land for the unemployed to be involved in agricultural activities
  5. provide food coupons to the families who lost their source of income
  6. maintain corporate tax at 27% rather than having GST
  7. carry out all pre-election promises such as extended maternity leaves, minimum wages etc
  8. set out minimum wages
  9. allowing the set up of labour union and abolish those laws that discriminate labourers
  10. provide a fair and equitable working environment for female workers and enact anti-sexual discrimination legislation
  11. stopping privatisation of water supply and healthcare
  12. abolishing legislation that oppress labourers such as ISA, OSA etc
  13. implement need-base and not race base economic policies
  14.  ...others like stopping FTA negotiations, clean and efficient government, respect the right of pioneers to remain where they have settled in the cities etc.
After 30 years or more of industrialization Malaysia is still very much lagging behind in labours’ right. For historical reasons which are now invalid, there were communists or communist supporters filling in the ranks hence unions were banned in Malaysia, with the exception of a few. The absence of labour unions has weakened the negotiation powers of factory workers.

In my opinion, a responsible administration elected by the people must believe that they have the duty of enabling its people to live with dignity and security. According to speeches I heard in the May Day Celebration in Seremban (http://www.parti-sosialis.org/?p=903), some workers get paid as low as RM15 a day while some aborigines who worked in restaurants did not get their EPF contribution despite working there for 15 years!

Najib’s economic initiatives do have some merits like liberalizing the 30% bumi equity requirement in certain sectors (which means other sectors need to exceed 30% to maintain the overall “equilibrium?). Malaysian labour offices have been justifiably categorized as generally supportive of workers. However, more must be done to enable our work force to have food on their table, savings for their old age, the means to pay for their health care and their children’s education; as well as some means to enjoy the riches and beauty of our country.

Malaysia cannot continue with this low cost investment destination basis, as we cannot hope to compete with China on this aspect. Also, this economic model denies the citizens to lead a reasonable standard of living and enrich only the minority who have the means to invest and employ. As I written elsewhere, we need to create jobs that can pay better.

Pictures of Labour Day Gathering in Dataran Seremban

"Save the workers, not the cronies"
- heard it before?

The first pix above I totally agree, why must hospitals be privatised?

Second pix mention about creation of a fund with contributions from employers and employees specifically for retrenched workers, a form of self contributing insurance for the unlucky.

A small contribution of RM1 and RM0.50 respectively. Not a bad idea.

Somehow, I believe SOCSO could have a significant amount of reserves available too.

A tip for those living in fear of crime waves these days....make sure you get your house near places where human rights activities gather as there are plenty of free security available.

A few of the Pakatan Rakyat and Parti Sosialis leaders are in this photo; the ones I know of are Anthony Loke, Ng Chin Tsai, Cha Kee Chin, John Fernandez from DAP; Badrul Hisham Shaharin from PKR and my apologies to the rest.

More pictures can be found on this site. Also there were 89 groups that came forward to support the May 1 2009 Declaration. Bravo to all of them.