Rear seat belts

Come January 1st 2009, the first 3 rear paseengers would have to wear safety belts for cars registered after 1995.

This is indeed good news.

Studies have shown that many deaths of the front passengers who buckled up properly  were caused by rear passengers being thrown forward like a projectile in a crash. The force of a person  travelling at 60km/hour would be 40 times the body weight. If there is any impact, the force exerted would kill the Back passenger as well the the Front passenger directly in front, mostly by fracturing the cervical spines (neck spines). ( it is also for this reason that it is best to keep loose things like umbrellas and books in the boot instead of the shelf in front of the back windsrceen.)

So, it is for the good of the rear passengers as well as the front passengers for the rear passengers to buckle up.

What I cannot agree is the ruling that the fourth rear passenger would be exempted. This would have defeated the purpose of asking the first 3 persons to wear safety belts. This ruling might be because the government is trying to appease the rural folks and those with big family. But if there is a law or rule for the safety of the people, it should be applied to all people.

I think enforcement alone, especially  in the Malaysian context, may not be enough to ensure this rule be followed. What is needed is to educate the public, telling them that this is something for their own good . So how are you going to educate the importance of safety when the fourth person at the back is exempted and while the first 3 have to buckle up?

If people are not convinced, then how are you going to achieve a behavioural change? Enforcement can only do the trick when it is very strictly enforced with very frequent checks, like what Singapore enforcement agencies are doing.

At the moment , Malaysian enforcement is so lax that motorcyclists are often seen to go through red lights even in the presence of police officers who will not do anything to stop them. This is a great departure from the sixties when cars that stopped over the white ‘halt’ line at junctions were being summoned.

So unless there is strict enforcement and a vigilant police force, this ruling would not really help to make people buckled up.


Change is imperative

End year is always a time for reflection and what is in store next year.

For Malaysia, March 8 was a water shed. The ruling BN lost 6 states in Peninsular Malaysia, and indeed the popular votes too. If not for Sabah and Sarawak, Malaysia would have seen a change of Federal government.

March 8 gives us a hope that a 2 party system and a better check and balance may be possible. If the seemingly invincible BN could lose up to 6 states in West Malaysia, anything thing can really happen.

It is said that if BN does not change, people will change it by throwing it out the next time.

But looking at the past 9 months, there were only little cosmetic changes and no real policy or direction change in the country.

There will be a change of PM in March next year. But with the culture of the dominant party, UMNO, remains the same, any drastic change would be unlikely. The style to rule may be different, but given the prevailing political culture, there is unlikely to have any real change in policies.

But those in power must realise if they do not change in a changing world, they are likely to be voted out the next GElection.

As I see it, Malaysia needs a total overhaul of its system, not just cosmetic changes. The recent reform bills were a big let down. JAC packs the power of appointment of judges in the hand of the PM, and the MCAC is unlikely to be like the iCAC in HOng KOng, although I am willing to give it some time to prove itself.

On the economic front, everything is grim. With all the developed countries in recession and the big growth engine of China slowing down, Malaysians will have a tough time to fend for ourselves. 

What is urgently required is a policy change to stimulat the economy. I have written an article ” Time for a moratorium on the NEP”, in which I have called for a moratorium of the NEP, so that the private sector can be encouraged to invest and take the lead to stimulate the econmy.  

A lot of people are expressing pessmistic views about the future of the country. The country is indded at a cross road; whether it can achieve its aim of a developed country, not by 2020 but at least by 2030, depends on the will of the leaders. I hope those who are moving up to positions of power must ealise this and must try their best to change the mindsets as well as the whole political culture …. They must be bold enough to do away with race based politics and economics.

A diagramatic representation of our education system

I wish to thank klm, one of our very articulate and insightful commentator for this graphc representation of our education system.

He hasspent a lot of time doing this and the first time he sent to me, it was in vision format which I cannot open since i did not have the software. He took the trouble to change it to .emf format.


This is the picture.

Merry Christmas

I wish everyone in this world a very Merry Christmas.

This is a season with family, a season of love and kindness. Let us all celebrate this festive season with love and knidness to each other .

I will post a design by my blogger friend  A True Malaysian who has so kindly post this in the comment section of the last post:


~★★   ★★~
★  ∴ ★   ∴°★
★        °★
★° ° Merry X’mas  °★
 ★’ ‧ °∴°°☆☆★ °☆☆
  ★ °∴°°☆°∴★ °☆∴聖°∴ ☆
   ★ °∴°°☆★∴°∴ °誕°∴ °☆
    ★°∴★☆∴°∴ 快∴ °☆
     ★  ☆∴ 樂°∴°☆
      ﹨  ☆   ☆
       ﹨   ☆
        ﹨ /
           ■\ and a HAPPY NEW YEAR

Hollywood, politics, religions and HIV carriers

Last 2 days I was  very busy. SO many people are down with the flu bugs that I have not been so busy for a while… Added to this , 2 of my desktops in my clinic went crazy, one restarting and restarting all the time, and the other one restarting and asking for password which is not installed in the first place… So I have to send them to my friend at the “Computer War” shop in PJ SS2 (free advertisement for this great shop)..

The restarting one was condemned; something wrong with the mother board. The other would have to be reformatted, possibly due to a virus which attacked while opening emails, despite the free AVG anti viral software that i use and update regularly — my eldsest daughter would be pestering me to change to Apple , “NO virus attacks apple lah”–  So i have to put on the moderation mode in the blog yesterday.

Now I am writing from my old but reliable workhorse –  touch wood I hope it won’t fail me now-  a notebook I bought many years ago.

A few things I wish to comment today.

Firstly, I would like to comment on the suggestion By Husam Musa, PAS vice president , that if Pakatan wins the Federal government , Hudud law would be introduced.

I am glad that DAP came out strongly, especially the old lion Karpal Singh who had once famously said “over my dead body”.

I am always fearful of the intention of PAS in the Pakatan coalition. I am of the view that no matter how good is the religion, and Islam is certainly a great religion, politics and religion should not be mixed.

60% of Malaysians are Muslim, which means that 40% are non. This is a sizeable number. To subject this 40% of non under the law of a religion in which they do not practise is not fair and is against their will and their respective religions .

Malaysia is a secular country and should remain as one. This is because religion is something personal. No one can force a person to believe in a religion other then his own.. Even if you can forcibly convert someone, you cannot convert his inner thoughts… And religions depend on a person’s inner thoughts and inner acceptance of its teachings.

I have advocated Gerakan to pull out of BN and be on its own, and not join Pakatan. It can support the good policies of Pakatan, but for hudud law, it is a big no no…By not joining in a coalition like Pakatan, it would not be caught in the position like DAP now, having to rebuke its partner’s view and at the same time has to ask for the stand of Anwar and Keadilan. The whole hudud issue in Pakatan is like the Sword of Damocles, ever ready to drop and cut loose the coalition.

PAS and DAP join hands because of a common enemy, UMNO. If this common enemy loses power and is no longer relevant, can these 2 parties work together? That is the big question.

PAS should abandon its hudud agenda; it must realise that in a multireligious country, to impose religious law of one religion would not be well accepted.


Local film makers are asking the authority to raise the movie tickets for Hollywood shows to RM 20 per tickets, because local films cannot compete .

I was shocked at this request… Protectionist mentality again.. I am an avid film goer, and take my family to see shows regularly, and many in the cities are like me, as this is one entertainment that whole family can go together.

If local movie makers want to sell more tickets or attract more people to see its production, it  should improve its quality, and not by asking authority to raise movie ticket prices for Hollywood movies. This is like punishing the local movie goers for the incompetency of the local movie producers.

This is exactly the same case like our Proton cars.

Malaysians must get rid of this protectionist mentality. If you want customers , you must go the extra mile to get the customers, not by imposing restrictions on your competitors… That way, the local film industries can never improve.

When will Malaysians learn this important lesson? The world is rapidly becoming globalised and we are still inside our cocoon, depending on the outer husk to protect us..

What the local film producers can do is to reduce their ticket prices by RM2 – at the momemt , they are charging the same price for their tickets as those Blockbusters movies from the West- , since their production cost is much much lower ..

I remember in the 60s, there was one good Hindi movie showing in Penang, and almost every Penangite then, irrespective of race, went to see this show… This shows that if you are good, you can attract people to come and see…


The third thing is the HIV suffers. Someone -MB of Perak whom i have much respect for – has suggested that HIV sufferers be quarantined. He may have good intention, but this will not work and would only drive all the HIV cases underground.

HIV carriers look normal before the illness strikes. There is no way to tell except for a blood test. If you lock them all up, who would come go for the HIV tests?

Those who are carriers would deny their illness and go undergound . They would not get proper counselling and there is no way to track them.

The best way top control STD is actually contact tracing, like what is done in Singapore and overseas. You treat the person, and ask him how many contacts he had (sexually), track these contacts and check their blood status. If positive, give them counseling , ask them to use condoms and so on. If negative, they must be kept under surveillance until the window period is over..

Drug addicts from a major proportion of HIV carriers in Malaysia. This group too must be given help to kick the habits.   This is  the ‘ i couldn’t care less’ group because they feel that they are hopeless, and society has abandoned them-which is not really true- and the stigma of being a drug addict is the main reason that they go back to this habits again and again, even after repeated rehabilitation. Society must help this group… It would do the MB a lot of good if he can initiate a fund to help the HIv sufferers, especially those with drug addiction, instead of suggesting to shut them up.

Healthcare should never be privatised

Update: An edited version of this post was posted in my column in  Malaysian Insider .(IJN should not be taken over).

Malaysiakini  reported that IJN is to be bought over by listed company Sime Darby and the government has given its greenlight for the deal.

As a healthcare provider, I am worried by the proposed privatisation of IJN .

After IJN was setup, the cardiac unit in KL General Hospital (now called Hospital Kuala Lumpur) was shifted to IJN and there was no more cardiac unit in KL. (Of course, Universiti Hospital and Hospital UKM still have their own units, but these are teaching hospital and the scope is slightly different)

In the past, patients with heart problems could go to KLGH and get totally free treatment, including cardiac procedures and operations. Since the establishment of the IJN, patients have to pay, even though it is still cheaper than outside, it is many folds more expensive than the good old days when the cardiac unit was in KLGH.

Poor patients can apply for waiver of fees theoretically, but many old people  are illiterate or too ill(these form the majority of the poorer class) and it is really a hassle to them to apply for waiver.

Those cardiac patients who belong to the middle class have to pay a fortune to have treatment there, even though it is still cheaper than outside Medical centres.

Back to the issue of privatisation of healthcare. I did a research report a few years ago on the privatisation of health care and the proposed national Health Financial System , and this report is free to anyone to download and is available at the links below  the mast-head of my blog.

In the report , I wrote:

If the proposed privatization of government hospitals takes place after the setting up of the NHFS, the expenses of these hospitals are foreseen to increase tremendously and hence NHFS payout to these hospitals will be much more than what the government is spending on healthcare presently.

For the past decade, government expenses on healthcare has increased (though by world standard it is still low) partly because of the increased expenditure on the privatized services of certain sectors of the public healthcare.

For example, in 1993, the procurement of medicine for government hospitals and clinic (medical store) was privatized and the cost of medicine doubled the following year. In 1996, following the privatization of five more areas including laundry, cleaning, equipment maintenance, waste disposal and facilities

maintenance, the costs for these services skyrocketed from Rm140million to RM450 million the following year.4

Hence, the privatization of government hospitals, after the proposed NHFS is set up, will definitely lead to skyrocketing of national healthcare expenditure.

I do not know the reason why IJN is to be taken over by a  listed company, but I do realise that the primary aim of the management of a listed company is to not only make profits, but with annual growth on that profit. Simply put, they need to make more and more profits as the years go by.

This will translate to higher health costs to those seeking cardiac treatment. The burden will be on the poor and the middle class. The poor can still apply for waiver, though as i have mentioned, a big proportion would not know how to go about it, either being illiterate or too weak and ill to do so. The middle class is the one that will be worse hit.

They will be hit by rising health costs as well as a general rise in standard of living, and they belong to a class that cannot seek exemption or waiver .

I do not buy the logic that there would be no increase in the charges after the taking over of IJN by this company. Just look at other examples. Many private hospitals once becoming listed, increase charges many times than before their listing. Just compare the health cost in the early 90s and now, you will get a rough idea of how much private hospital costs have gone up.

I strongly believe that healthcare,  water supply as well as education should not be privatised and should never be allowed to list. Once listed., it will become too profit orientated to provide affordable care and services.

The government is an authority which derives its mandate from the people, and has certain responsibilities to the people who elected them. One such responsibility is to provide clean drinking water, an essential thing in life, and another basic responsibility is to provide affordable healthcare to the people. They cannot just pass these responsibilty to someone else whom the people has no direct control and to whom  profit and profit only matters.

There is plenty of scope for improving our healthcare delivery system by our government. WHO recommends that a nation should spend 7% of its GDP on healthcare annually, and in Malaysia, we are spending about 5% only . 2 extra % of GDP would be more than 10 billions, and these should be spent on healthcare system, providing affordable healthcare to people, instead of helicopters, submarines and PKFZ etc.

I appeal to the government to reconsider this privatisation of IJN and I really hope that this is not going to be the beginning of privatisation of our government hospitals , which will increase our healthcare cost tremendously, translating to a much higher healthcare costs for each of us to bear.

Statement on the teaching of Science and Mathematics in Primary schools

Update: This is the statement I issued today on our party Stand on the teaching of Maths and Science in English at the primary school level.

Malaysiakini (english)carried this statement in this link.

MalaysianInsider carried this statement here.

Malaysiakini(Chinese) has carried the statement in this link.

Merdekareview carried the statement in this link.

The statements are self explanatory:

1.     I refer to the media reports on the 5th round table meeting to  discuss the teaching of Science and  mathematics in English which was organized by the Ministry of Education.


2.     Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia Central Education and Knowledge Society Bureau would like to reiterate the stand of Parti Gerakan on this issue; We believe strongly that the teaching of Science and Mathematics at primary level should be conducted in mother tongue.  At the same time, the teaching of English as a subject at primary level should be improved.


3.     English, however, can be used in the teaching of Science and Mathematics at the secondary school and tertiary levels, provided there are sufficient qualified teaching staff to do so.


4.     Our position has been consistent since 2002. We have submitted a memorandum on our position in 2002, and again in 2005 to the present Education Minister. Since this issue is of utmost importance, we  shall submit once again another memorandum on this position of  ours.


5.     Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia, as a people orientated party, has always viewed education as one of the most important elements in nation building, and would be happy to take part in any discussion on educational issues as well as any issue affecting the interest of Malaysian people.



6.     We therefore wish to express our regret that Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia did not receive any invitation to this 5th  round table meeting, although according to media reports, about 200 representatives from various political parties and NGOs were invited.


7.     While there was no official invitation extended to Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia, we find it strange that according to feedback from other participants, there were seats reserved  for our party.


8.     We discovered that some BN component parties such as SUPP were also not invited despite having designated seats for the parties.


9.     We feel that this will create a negative perception for the parties affected. We would like to  strongly urge the Minister of Education  to carry out a thorough investigation and give us an answer on this matter, and we hope that the same thing would not happen again in future.


10. Notwithstanding this, we shall continue to voice our position directly to the Minister of Education as well as to the public.



1.    有關媒體報道, 由教育部所組辦的第5次英文教數理科政策圓桌會議,已于昨日舉行.  民政黨中央教育及知識社會局, 要在此重申民政黨對這項課題的立場.


2.    民政黨向來主張, 在小學階段, 應以母語教導數理科. 在此同時, 英語的教導和水平, 也需加強和提升.



3.    民政黨也認為, 在中學和大學階段, 如有足夠師資, 則可應用英語教導數理.


4.    民政黨立場, 一貫如此. 我黨曾在2002, 呈上一份備忘錄, 表明我黨的這一項立場. 也在2005, 再次的提呈同一備忘錄,給于現任教育部長. 基于這課題的重要性, 我黨將會再一次 , 提呈這備忘錄給有關當局.



5.    作為一個以民為本的政黨, 民政黨非常關注教育問題, 也非常樂意出席討論有關教育方面的會議.


6.    故此, 民政黨感到非常遺憾, 5次英文教數理科政策圓桌會議, 我黨并沒有接到邀請.



7.    更奇怪的是, 雖然民政黨并沒有被邀請, 在圓桌會議上, 卻有準備給民政黨代表的席位.

8.    一些國陣成員黨, SUPP, 也面對同樣的情形.



9.    我黨認為, 這種情形, 會給人民一種錯覺. 有基于此, 我黨希望我們尊敬的教育部長, 能徹底調查這宗事件, 給我們一項合理的交代. 我們也希望, 同樣事件, 不會再發生.


10.雖然如此, 我黨將繼續直接向我國教育部長和全國人民, 表明我黨對這課題的立場.












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