PAS linking up with UMNO?

PAS’s president is calling for a unity government with UMNO. (read the report in Malaysian insider)

This is worrying because if this becomes true, it would mean that reform forces in Malaysia would suffer a great setback. This is one of the most worrying thing to hapen in Malaysia, for it would mean that change might not be inevitable if these 2 join hands. It would also mean the imperfect 2 party system that we now have would be gone, since PKR is not as strong as PAS in rural Malay areas.

PAS is split between those who want to join forces with UMNO and whose who do not want to. I think a lot will depend on NIk Aziz, and I would want to watch this development very closely…

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What! Another round of toll hike?

toll-rate-increase

As regular as the Sun rises from the east, the toll rate is going up again.

It is really ridiculous and clearly another case of robbing Peter to pay Paul  (read my last post) , only thing in this case Peter is robbed again and again and there seems to be no escape out of this.  Paul as usual is laughing to the bank.

What lopsided agreement is this?

The  outgoing PM is suggesting that the toll increase should not be allowed at this moment. But the way he sounds it, it seems he is just making a suggestion, and not as a policy statement, and as Prime Minister he should be more assertive and ordered that the price hike hike be disallowed. . It would be interesting to see how the cabinet decides in view of the PM’s statement.

I think since the mistake of signing the agreement has been done and cannot be undone, there is a clear case of buying over PLUS, but not at an inflated rate . (remember the case of MAS when a someone was rescued by selling his shares at RM8 to the government when the actual share price was way way below that?).

I am sure financial institutions will be clamoring to give loan to buy over PLUS, since this is a gold cow. The goverment can then reduce the toll and still would be able to make money to service the loan.

It was reported that government is the majority owners and the minority owns about 35% of Plus. If that is the case, PLUS can be easily taken over at cost , since the minority owners have already made so much of money.

Robbing Peter to pay Paul

There is a English idiom “robbing Peter to pay Paul”.

Perhaps the best illustration of this idiom is the ERL to KLIA.  When KLIA was official launched in 1998., an express rail link was built to link KL sentral and KLIA.

erl1

 

There is of course nothing wrong to have this link. I have travelled on this train once, and it costs about RM 35, which is cheaper than hailing an airport taxi. It is also fast and takes about 28 minutes to reach Sentral from KLIA.

The only thing wrong is that even for those not using the service , they are paying RM5 towards this , everytime they take an international flight.

This is reported in Malaysianinsider today, which quoted the Trasport minister as saying that Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad had to compensate for the poor sale of the ERL.

Worse, even those travellers who do not use the KLIA but travel on Air asia using the LCCT are paying the same amount.

There are several things wrong in this:

1. Why wasn’t a proper feasibility study conducted before this ERL was built ? Granted that this project involved a huge amount of capital, and few companies might want to be involved, but surely if a feasibilty studies showed that it is not profitable, this project can be shelved till a time when the traffic volume in KLIA is sufficient to sustain this. We must not wear a hat that is too big for our head.

If it is a case of other-people-have-rail- link and so we must have it, then why stop at a rail link? Why not start a helicopter ferry service between KL and KLIA?

2. Why must those budget travellers  be milked to pay for this? Since this budget travellers go to LCCT which is not serviced by ERL, why must they pay RM5  for this? FOr those early bird budget travellers, RM 5 can get them to Bali etc.

This is a clear case of robbing Peter to pay Francis Paul. 

3. Why are air travellers who do not use this ERL service not told about having to pay RM5 even if they do not use it? Where is the trasparency?

4. Why are the concession agreement so lopsided that compensation needs to be paid for poor sale?

Malaysians are like the proverbial Peter  in so many occasions…. Tolls, electricity, water, …  etc   while the Francises   Pauls  are laughing all the way to the bank.

Still another party fight looming

(Over one year ago,  in January 2008, I worte ” Is another party fight looming?” after the sex DVD of a MCA minister emerged- thus the title of this post)

CSL has been called in to help in an investigation regarding the sex DVDs that forced his resignation more than a year ago.

This signals the beginning of another party fight in the recorded history of MCA’s famed Book of infighting.

How many times they had fought, I have lost count.

When I was barely a kid, Dr Lim Chong Eu fought with Tan Siew SIn and lost. Lim left the party. But that fight was about principles , about demanding Tunku to give a third of the seats to MCA in the 1959 GE so that it could act as a check and balance for any Constitutional Amendments. Dr Lim subsequently formed the UDP, the Penang party which was to form the backbone of {arti Gerakan in 1968.

Then after Tun Tan Siew Sin retired and Lee San Choon took over, there was a vicious fight between Lee and Michael Chen, with the latter gaining much of the support from the Chinese community with his eloquent phrase that he would  ” rather die standing than live kneeling “. Unfortunately, the MCA grassroots voted him out and Michael Chen subsequently brought his army of supporters to Gerakan and almost became the Gerakan president when he challenged Lim KY and lost. He then hopped back to MCA and rose to become Senate president.

Then in the early eighties, we had the mother of all fights between Tan Koon Suan and Dr Neo Yee Pan. This fight is well known and resulting in an UMNO deputy leader acting as mediator. In the end , both Tan and Nee faded away, with Tan the winner being sent to jail over a case of CBT.  Like in the Chinese folklore, when a clamp is fighting with a crane, the ultimate winner is the fisherman, and this fisherman is none other than the famed Fish Head Ling LS who became the party president almost without having to lift a finger.

 
LLS ruled with an iron grip even though he was almost challenged by Lee the Golden Lion in the early 90s.  I said almost , because the golden lion chickened out last minute and all those who supported him were all sent to political guillotines……..Political blood from his comrades was shed for nothing

LLS  the Fish Head ruled till he was almost challenged by his deputy from Pahang, LimAL. The party fractured into Team A and Team B, with Team A leaders not talking to Team B leaders and so on…. Until Both LLS and LimAL came to an agreement to retire together and let OKTing and CKC took over.

OKTing was almost challenged by CSL, who was then very popular with gressroots and was chairman of the biggest state.  Unfortunately for Chua, a DVD of his great “act’ surfaced and he was put out of the equation.

Then came the tsunami of 308, and this party suffered the biggest loss in its history. OKTing knew that he had no more chance so he did not contest hoping that he could pass the baton to his brother  whom the party members decided to reject.

OTKeat became the president after another fight, this time a tame affairs, taming another Chua (CCM) from Johore.

SO we all think that this will be the time for the party to unite and reform after the painful lesson of 308.. Not to be.. The old habit dies hard. Nevermind the party won’t endear itself to the rakyat with all thes infightings; as long as they can fight to determine who should sit on the throne, they must fight.

That is why we have this news that CSL is being called to the police station just when Chua is trying to call for a EGM to do OTKeat in.

There is really nothing new about this, since we are so used to see this sort of fighting.

The show has just started…….Even when the whole country is facing big problems and the people are feeling the pinch from the economic slowdown.

 

But who cares!!! And this is not going to be the last time this party faces an internal fight.

Perhaps, if they believe in Chinese Feng Shui, they should get some good Feng shui masters to check on the feng shui of their headquarters as well as that of the  graves of its founders.

 

Editor: This is written purely from memory, so please correct me if there is any factual error.

What a waste!

Once, a few years ago, I had an opportunity to visit a Setia Usaha Sulit (principal private secretary)  of a deputy minister in Putrajaya.  The young man was a friend of  mine and I happened to make my mykad in Putrajaya that day ( since there was hardly any queue there compared to PJ National Registration office). So  after making my mykad, I decided to just drop in and say hello to him.

The office of the Deputy MInister is  cut off from outside by 2 very huge doors made of expensive wood and occupies  almost a whole wing of a floor. It is only occupied by a few staff ( less than 5 i think). My first impression is ‘wow, so much of space” and so elegantly furnished. I have seen many nice ad beautiful places, but this is certainly even more posh that the lobby of a 5 star hotel and it is eerily quiet due to so little of human activities .

The carpet was thicker than that you would find in any of the 5 star hotels in town. Sofa sets were so new that it indicates that there was hardly any usage.

The Deputy minister was not in, so the SUS took the liberty to show his office to me. Wow again. The attached toilet is so posh and bigger than a normal bedroom of a 2 storey house.  So you can imagine how big is the deputy minister’s office.

I can’t imagine why the government needs so much of space for just afew fellows.

I was told a minister ‘s office is even bigger.

Apparently, according to an opposition lawmaker, the government is paying close to 1 billion RM each year as rental to the company(Putrajaya Holdings)  that was tasked to build and develop Putrajaya.

Seri Perdana, the PM’s official residence, costs the tax payers 6 million RM a year in rental.

 Why must a PM live in such luxury? Yes, a PM should stay in a decent house , and that house must be convenient, clean,  comfortable and safe.  But a PM is just an ordinary person entrusted by the people to run the countryb on behalf of the people. He is not a heredity ruler and he does not need to live in a palace.

Whoever lives in such heavenly environment would definitely be out of touch with the people after some time. They will no longer know what is poverty and what are the people’s sufferings on the ground. They would be so used to luxurious life that to them if there is no bread to eat, the people can always eat cake, like in the famous case of the queen of Louis XVI.

 

putrajayaPutrajaya at night- beautiful but is it not a sheer waste of public funds that can be channelled to better use?

Just imagine how many schools, and how many scholarship can be given out if this 1 billion a year can be saved.   It can be converted to 10,000 scholarships worth 100,000 RM each, meaning that we can afford to send 10,000 of the brightest student overseas to study with this amount of money.  Alternatively,  it can be used to build universities and hospitals . This amount can also be given as micro credit of RM10,000 to 100,000 small borrowers to start small businesses. And this is on a yearly basis.

Instead , we are now paying 1 billion rent year just for our elected representatives and their staff to work in 6-star environment.

What a waste! 

“Man does not live by bread alone”

I would like to post excerpts from an  article by Tunku Abdul Aziz on his maiden article for my sinchew published on 22-2-2208. Tunku Abdul Aziz used to write for NST and was formerly the president of Transparency International Malaysia.

For the full article , please go to mysinchew.

He wrote:

Two days ago, I had lunch with a parliamentarian and two senior bureaucrats from Germany on their first official visit to Kuala Lumpur. They came, they saw and were impressed with our capital city and the development they had seen so far as they travelled around KL and its environs

“Why is there all this flurry of activity to bring about a regime change when the government has brought so much prosperity to the country?” I must admit that for a while I was stumped for words. Why indeed!

Underneath all the glint, gleam and glitter of aluminium, stainless steel and plate glass lies a sad tale of greed and corruption, involving the political and bureaucratic elites who govern and administer this land. There will be official denials galore. Some years ago, Transparency International estimated, somewhat conservatively many thought, that Malaysian public infrastructure projects cost 30% more than they should. As far as political corruption is concerned, a major component of the ruling coalition has admitted that problem exists among its membership and the party is wrestling with it as best it can.

The real issue here is not just how well we have done, but, more to the point, how much better we would have succeeded in all aspects of national development and social integration if we had adopted policies that were fair for all. For example, much of the sense of marginalisation felt by certain ethnic groups as well as the rural poor could have been avoided had more thought been given to the needs of our citizens irrespective of race or creed. Instead, for much post-Merdeka period, we spent our time and energy on implementing policies that have tended to divide rather than unite us.

As we sipped coffee towards the end of the meal, I made my final observation that material progress measured in economic terms alone was no substitute for an incorruptible regime that put great store by sound ethical governance principles and practices. My German friends left, I hope, with a better understanding why the well-fed people of this strange country wanted more than bread to sustain them in their relentless quest for a new Malaysia that is grounded on democratic principles, justice and equality for all. Therein lies the soul of a country.

The time is different now. People want more than just bread and food.

People want good governance, transparency, better usage of our resources; people aspire for better quality of life, a life that gives them more freedom and the rights to live this freedom; people want to feel safe , from thugs, from corrupt officials, from bullying little napoleon, and ironically from some of the enforcement people; people want their tax money to be used properly and not into the pockets of certain individuals; people want quality education for their children; people want the ability to seek justice and that justice dispensed by court is just and fair.

IT is true that the standard of living has gone up since the 50s… But what about South Korea, Taiwan,Singapore and Hong Kong, which were either same as us or behind us. These have gone much further ahead.

Most important of all, after 51 years, we have not been better united. If anything, we are more divided and more polarised, along racial and  along religious lines.

I will end this article by quoting the title of Tunku Abdul Aziz’s article, “man does not live by bread alone”!!

An encounter of the insolent kind

A few days ago, I was driving in Sea PArk and came to a junction. There was just a SUV in front of me waiting at the junction, so I stopped behind this SUV, like any fellow resident would do.

After some time, the SUV was not moving and I reaised that the driver was talking on a phone. So i politely gave the SUV a honk, hoping that it can either move on or at least go more to the side. When the SUV refused to budge, I reversed my car and move to the oncoming lane and out of the junction.

 It would have been an ordinary event we experience  almost daily if not for the driver of the SUV, a young man probably in his early 20s, pointing his middle finger of his free hand at me, while still holding his handphone to his ear with the other hand and chatting. I just drove away.

This incident made me feel sad that some of our youngsters have become ‘kurang ajar’. Not only they do not respect older people, they do not even respect rules and laws, and when someone points out thier mistakes, instead of feeling shameful, they get angry and agitated.

Look at what society has become. Anyone here would have experienced motorcyclists or even car drivers or bus drivers who never wait for their set of traffic light to turn green. They will drive across a junction even when the traffic light is red… sometimes , right in front of traffic police, who of course will do nothing to stop them..

In my younger days, cars that stopped beyond the white line in a junction would be hauled up and summoned…

In the West, pedestrians will wait patiently for their pedestrian light to turn green before crossing the road, even when there is no oncoming traffic.

Malaysians have become more insolent as a whole. While in the past, we would hold a door when exiting for those behind us , even when we do not know them, nowadays, it is not common to see that..

How often do we see a young person standing up to give his or her place to an old person in LRT trains? Rarely. How often we see people standing in a line while waiting for their bus? rarely.

I am perplexed as to why we behave like this. Is this because of our culture? our genes? our upbringing? or peer influence? or our education system?

I really do not have the answer.

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