A concerned Malaysian writes about current affairs in Malaysia. If you like this site, please tell your relatives and friends. WE have the POWER TO CHANGE MALAYSIA. If you want to read earlier posts, please remove the "2" from this URL

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Belated Lunar New Year Greetings!

Wishing all those who celebrate the Lunar New Year a year of Health, Wealth and Happiness for the year of the Pig!

I'm a pig myself and am going to Beijing tomorrow until 4th March so may not be posting for a few days.

71% Think Our Leaders are Hypocrites!

That was the main result from MALAYSIAWATCH POLL 23 which asked the question:

"Come Fly with Me! What do You Think of the Government’s Purchase or Lease of a US$50M Airbus?"

The total response of 28 votes gave the following:

20 votes or 71% chose "Pure Hypocrisy from our Leaders – Spending Lavishly While the Rakyat Suffer from Higher Costs"

6 votes or 21% chose "I Hope He Enjoys the Plane. His Time to Lead Must End Soon"

1 vote or 4% chose "Our Leaders Deserve Such Perks to Perform Well"

1 vote or 4% chose "Such a Purchase Should Have Been Approved by Parliament"

No one picked "The PM is Practising What He Preaches. He Loves Himself"

Friday, February 16, 2007

Getting Rid of the Ali-Baba Syndrome

According to figures of the government about 85% of all contracts awarded to Bumi contractors have been sold off to third parties as the companies awarded the projects could not execute the projects.

Most of the contracts are awarded by the Finance Ministry and now the contractors are required to sign an official declaration that they will not sell their projects.

It is good for Malaysia to develop Bumi entrepreneurs as that will improve the capacity and human capital of the nation and enable more businessmen to venture overseas if they have the capacity.

I suspect the Ali-Baba syndrome has been common knowledge for many years now and perhaps the official admittance is one step to addressing the problem.

What bothers me is that many companies are being awarded contracts even though they do not have the experience, the expertise nor the capital to take on projects and simply signing an official declaration is not going to matter much.

It would also improve the public delivery system if all ministries are authorised to make the final decision on whom to award projects instead of the Finance Ministry who could maintain a current database on standard costing and prices so that comparisons can be made.

To further drive home the message that the government is really serious about getting projects completed with high quality works, I would suggest that the following program be used for the next 5 years.

• 30% of all projects open tender to all provided a non-Bumi company has 30% Bumi executives at management level

• 50% of all projects open tender to Bumi companies with at least 40% Bumi staff

• 20% of projects allocated to Bumi companies.

Capital requirements would also be a necessary criterion to establish eligibility for projects and the minimum paid up capital should be something like 5% to 10% of the project cost within 3 months of the project award.

So if a project is Rm100m the paid up capital of the company should be at least RM5m and this capital would be imposed on the first 2 categories.

The government is spending an extra RM2b on rural schools in East Malaysia and there is an urgent need to prevent the fiasco of collapsing schools from recurring.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

“Take Me to Your Leader!”

Do you remember the old comics strip where the Martians landed and pointed their space guns at earthlings and demanded the above?

If we read the newspapers recently it seems that our over-bloated Cabinet of 30 plus ministers appear to be drifting aimlesslyas our Prime Minister travels to so many countries he may be suffering from permanent jet-lag.

If those Martians had read our newspapers online before landing they probably would be thinking, “Mars, we have a problem. Not sure who is in charge here.”

Perhaps that may be good for us as they would probably not destroy Malaysia with their laser weapons immediately and may take some time to explore the country. After all those Visit Malaysia 2007 banners are all over even inside the McDonalds in some shopping malls.

After they have become used to the weather here they may get to Putrajaya and want to negotiate the surrender of the Malaysian capital.

This is where we get to play our strategic weapons. We will invite them to discuss such national interests with the whole array of delaying mechanisms such as the following:

• UMNO – a dozen keris with crooked blades will surely puzzle them
• MIC or just Samy Vellu may convince them that Malaysia is a high risk construction area.

If all this is not enough we will then ask the PM to confront them. I have a feeling after they meet for a few hours those Martians will quietly pack up their space ships and leave without a ransom.

Graphics: Thanks to http://hoopermuseum.earthsci.carleton.ca/mars/MARTIANS.GIF

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

More Creative Juices Needed

This story makes one wonder if our justice system and laws need more creative inputs.

The guy stole some eggs worth less than RM10 and now has to serve 3 months in jail. This looks rather harsh compared to the stay of execution on the jail terms imposed on senior managers convicted of CBT involving tens of millions of ringgit.

The reasons given for the stay was "to take care of family" and "undue stress" etc. I wonder if that labourer stole the eggs to feed his starving children?

Ten months jail would cost the government at least RM900 based on a daily cost of RM10 per day and make overcrowded jails even more unhealthy.
As the worker would probably be deported after sentence, a more reasonable sentence would have been a jail sentence equal to the remand period and an order for immediate deportation.

A dispute appears to be brewing over the cancellation of the MyKad lucky draws with the previous minister being upset over the remarks of "silly and rubbish" by the present Home Minister. I agree with the minister's sentiments that the lucky draws were totally unnecessary and even trivialised the need to apply for the MyKad.

As another Ops Sikap is launched with fairly predictable results of being totally ineffective to reduce road accidents, there is now a commercial produced by the government that condones corruption.

Have you seen this advert on TV? It is in Chinese with BM subtitles.

Two small boys capture on their mobile phone an older brother riding a motor-bike without a crash helmet.

They threaten to show the photo to their parent and the older boy bribes them by buying them ice-cream.

Don't you think the advert condones bribery and corruption?
Guess the Information Minister is too busy tracking down the genes of those Pan-Asian to worry about such trivial ads that no doubt will entertain some youths.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Inviting Suggestions from the Public is an Admittance of Gross Incompetence and Failure of Government

Let’s face some hard facts.

The government wants to be seen to be doing the right thing and has now come up with this “brilliant” suggestion of asking the public to make suggestions so that it can improve the delivery system.

To me not implementing the IPCMC after the recommendations of the Royal Commission is the most glaring example of a government that has failed to deliver a basic requirement.

We now have a situation where the police force, a basic delivery system for law and order has the audacity to simply say “NO” to the government.
No doubt the police appears to be doing much to win back the confidence of the public but there must never be this breakdown of the government and civil servant relationship.

Asking for everyone to now contribute to improve systems only confirms that we have many incompetent leaders in government that do not inspire confidence.

We do have some bright spots though.
The latest one is the possibility that the toll agreements may be made public. One really wonders why the government needed to get the concession company to agree that the terms were under the OSA in the first place.

Since they have asked for some suggestions, here is one that will benefit all Malaysians.

For all privatisation projects the following principles will apply:

The government will retain one golden share that will enable it to buy back the company at a price to be determined by the following formula or something similar in the agreement:

The buy-back price will be the lower of the following:
Initial project estimated cost plus 15% for each year of operations or the agreed toll collections for the remaining life of the concession period.

For example if the toll project was budgeted at RM800m and the project is bought back after 4 years, the first price is RM800m plus 60% or RM848m.

Supposing the toll period has 16 years to the end and the projected toll earnings is RM950m, then the buy back price would be RM848m.

Any project cost overruns would be the company’s responsibility since it was a BOT project. This way only companies with competent managers will be able to participate.

All privatisation projects will be subject to public scrutiny and all such agreements excluded from OSA rules.

In a way the road tolls petition* shows how all Malaysians can object towards a system that has serious flaws as that toll collector does not discriminate on any race basis.

Perhaps all Malaysians will be able to make a more positive contribution towards nation-building if we remove most of the “crutch” policies.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

My Ears Are Failing Me?

They say as one grows older the hearing becomes impaired.

I was watching news at Midnight on TV3 and the story on the pilot and the plane crash caught my attention.

I think I heard the phrase he "ejaculated to safety" and thought perhaps the writer wanted to play a joke on the lady newsreader.

I don't record it or I would have double-checked - any readers heard the same word?

Why Not Just Own Up for a Failure?

This is a story that could enter the collection of Malaysian jokes or bloopers.

The Marine Department built a jetty that gets submerged during high tide and the MB suggests that the government should not be blamed.

He should have gone after the contractor who is probably one of the listed cronies in the government’s list and who do you think will pay for the remedial works?

Such gross incompetence – with the Internet one can easily get details of tide levels anywhere and even anyone who does not live near the coast can find easy answers.

As for the Marine Department, the person who approved the plans should be sacked or transferred to somewhere in the interior. What a disgrace!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Sacking Should Always Be an Option...

Can you imagine if no one is sacked but the majority of the Education Ministry's employees are placed into a so-called slackers are put into "cold storage" as mentioned in this article.

Government departments have well-documented procedures for dealing with errant staff and simply placing people into a slackers pool is not going to produce any results in the ministry's performance.

If we have thousands of employees opting for this easy life until retirement, the whole education system will be in jeopardy.

No Minister, please start proceedings against the worst 10% offenders and offer perhaps 5% early retirement if the case does not warrant dismissal and sack perhaps 2% with a proper hearing.

That is the only way you will be able to control the tens of thousands in the Education Ministry.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

65% of Respondents Think NS is to Help Cronies

MALAYSIAWATCH POLL 22 asked the question
"What Do You Think About National Service After the Latest Death?"

It was ironic as during the period of the poll, another youngster had died after leaving the camp as she was unwell.

A total of 40 votes were received with the following selections:

26 readers or 65% chose "NS is another means for some contractors to make easy money"

8 or 20% chose "It has been a disaster from the first day with a lot of negligence and even crimes committed"

6 or 15% chose "Getting youths together at 18 years after many years of separate development is too late to address the race problems."

No one chose the following choices:

"It should carry on as usual"

"Those camps near the flood disasters should have sent their trainees home after a week’s clean-up and the camps used as relief centres so that schools would not be interrupted."

What Do You Think of that US$50M AIRBUS?

That is your question to ponder for MALAYSIAWATCH POLL 23.
Perhaps someone prepared a working paper with the concept that an AIRBUS showed that leaders would be helping the rak'yat accept the view that any bus used would promote public transport?

The colour chosen is clear rich blue as the sky at 30,000 feet.

A Sad Case......

Parking your car on a slope has a potential danger that must be prevented.

If your hand-brake fails or your parking gear is not engaged, your car will roll down the slope and this case had tragic consequences.

No one knows when a hand-brake will fail or when you will forget to engage the brake properly.

You need to take this extra precaution when parking on a slope. When you park, always turn your wheels towards the curb so that your car will be stopped by the curb if it rolls. If there is no curb prop a brick or stone against the tire so that the car will not roll much.

It is simply too dangerous to try and stop a car once it has gained momentum.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Why Not Reform School for Recalcitrant Teachers Instead?

It is interesting to read that pupils “will be required” to go for camping trips in efforts to improve national unity and this program will be for both primary and secondary year pupils.

The program is being touted as a fun learning activity but recent incidents with the NS program shows it can become a nightmare for both parents and the organisers.

Such “out of the blue” plans should be examined more thoroughly and subject to close scrutiny.
For a start, were any parent-teachers association consulted over such a program?

The proposed program seems to be treating the race problems at the wrong end of the solution. If we have problem teachers they should be selected for remedial programs by the respective headmasters and if they still cannot change their habits, they should be placed elsewhere in the ministry and not allowed to teach.

I submit that would be a much cheaper option. Retraining a few hundred recalcitrant teachers will be much cheaper than running camps for tens of thousands of school children and having a few more unnecessary deaths.

I do not have any more school-going children or I will definitely not allow my child to attend such a program if it involves overnight camping. I suggest the budget provided should be used to organise fun activities at the school such as inter-school games and outdoor activities like hikes to picnic spots.

So if you have children and worry about such activities you need to play a more active role in your PTA to oppose this proposal.

photo: thanks to http://www.awwa.org.sg/fsc/children1.jpg

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Malaysian Comedy or Farce?

This may brighten up your day if you appreciate dark humour.

Two ministers not being able to understand when the system to collect RM20 toll from Singapore registered cars is going to be implemented.

I guess the person who purchased all the equipment post haste may be feeling a little uneasy now as the Cabinet may have second thoughts on this questionable toll as it may cause the end of the frequent Singapore visitor to JB and cause the collapse of many companies.

That will be a bad start to Visit Malaysia 2007.

Johor Floods - the Aftermath

Yesterday's post on possible flooding in KT was not complete as it was based solely on what was reported in the NST.

You can get a more balanced view from this source.

It would be interesting though to find out how much land has been cleared for development in the affected areas and the upstream areas in the past 20 odd years and what steps were taken to compensate the increased run-off directly into rivers.

There will be a drastic change in discharge into rivers between an area that is undeveloped and one that is built-up with the accelerated collection from concrete standing, roads and storm drains directly into rivers.

Just drive into the housing estates near Taman Daya, along Jalan Tampoi and you will see drastic changes in the landscape.

Blaming the heavy rain is one solution but I venture that most drainage problems are man-made. BTW Jalan Tampoi should have an alternative name below the road sign. It should be Sungei Tampoi.