an unscrupulous act

Malaysians should be very calm not to react to the ‘cow-head’ march yesterday in Shah Alam.

Religion is a very sensitive issue, and sentiments can be easily worked up. The person who brought the cow head perhaps intent to stir up emotions, and that is more reason that we should be calm and not to fall into the intended trap of creating emotions which can lead to dire consequences.

Most Malaysians are peace loving and most respect the freedom to practice one’s religion.I am heartened by this comment in Malaysiakini by a Muslim commentator Amir. I think the majority of Muslim Malaysians would not condone this provocative act.

AMir said : ” As a Muslim, I am ashamed at the behaviour of these hoodlums especially during the holy month of Ramadhan. I really wonder who the head honchos are behind this unscrupulous act.”

Our Federal Constitution article 3(1) states that:

Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.

So religious freedom is quaranteed in law. Those who are out to create religious disharmony should be hauled up , since the law is supposed to protected religious freedom.

Police should have acted yesterday to stop the march. While freedom of gathering should be allowed , and that is my view all along, any threat to insult the religious feeling of others should not have been allowed. And there is no greater insult to the Hindus than this ‘cow-head’ incident.

According to the latest news in Malaysiakini that the police has apologised for not taking prompt action . This follows the call of the PM asking the IGP to take action. The junior officer on the spot is now being blamed for not tkaing prompt action, but I suspect he is the fall guy to defray the police inaction yesterday.

I think politicians from both sides of the divide must join hands to settle this issue amicably , and no one should try to fan emotions like what happened yesterday.

We should also go back to the spirits of the Constitution, whereby nonMuslims should respect Islam as the state religion, but other religions must be allowed to be practised in peace and harmony. This spirit of religious tolerance is important if we want to coexist peacefully together in this country we all called home.

(PS. Pls be sensitive when commenting on religious issues. All religions are for tolerance and peace, and it is only the wayward behaviour of certain so-called followers who have hijacked the true spirits of the religions for personal interest and created all the unrest in this world.)


It is now ‘war’

A few months ago, in February, I wrote the following  in an article “still another party fight looming“. There was an earlier article called ” another party fight looiming” and that was why the February article has the word “still’ in it.

The party I refer to has been having fights  once in every few years, and the fights were vicious and no hold bar. If only they have this fighting spiritis towards things that are unjust and unfair, Malaysia would be a much better country. This was part of what I wrote in February:

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.

I have thought  that there would be a fight between OTkeat and CSlek, and I have been proved correct now. The latter have been working behind the scene to get support from UMNO leaders and the  perception is that he had the tacit support of the big brother to go for the jugular of OTK. The recent admission of OTK that he faced threat from outside and inside clearly refers to CSL as the one inside that is moving against him.

This comes at a time when OTK is adamant in trying to get to the bottom of the PKFZ, much to the chagrin of the big brother, and for that and that alone, Malaysians must give full support to him. Whether he was given 10 millions as alleged by a BN power broker is another issue altogether and that should be left to the court to decide since a court case has already been filed by OTKeat for a whopping 500 millions.

OTK, having been involved in politics for so many years, is not as weak  as seen. He has the power of the incumbency, and the whole arsenals including the disciplinary committee, and the secretariat at his disposal.

 So when the disciplinary committee called up CSL, it was obvious that the latter would be punished severely. But what shocked most of us, maybe even the PM, is that OTK decided to expel CSL, instead of suspending him as most of us have believed.

Whether the expulsion is justified or not, OTK  has nothing to lose by expelling his deputy, since even if he did not expel or suspend CSL, the latter would still move agisnt him. The split is already there, and even if OTK tries to extend an olive branch to Chua, the fight and the split cannot be avoided.

SO OTKeat did what most in his position would do, axe the enemy and dig in for a fight.

What will happen now? A few scenario may occur:

1. CSL  may decide that at his age it is better to give up and retire. Given Chua’s character and the people below him agitating for a fight, it is the least likely course. Also the external dark force would instigate and maybe even finance him to fight.

2. Big brother may come in and broker a cease fire. Remember once in the 80s, when a deputy president of UMNO was heading MCA to broker a peaceful settlement? Even though the big brother always play divide and rule with other parties, an open split at this time would be bad for the big brother, since this would result in leg pulling in GE and more NonMalay votes would be lost , and even hardcore MCA members may vote opposition just to show their displeasure. MCA would be left with even less seats than now (15 seats at the moment), and it is not impossible for MCA to lose another 6 to 8 seats if the leg pulling occurs. Other non MCA seats may also be lost because of the inability to consolidate MCA loyalists’ votes in those non MCA seats too.

3. An EGM may be called by CSL faction, and a vote of no confidence as well as a vote to restore CSL be tabled. In the event of an EGM, OTK may face trouble, since CSL has tremendous grassroots support. BUt hopefully, MCA members should consider supporting oTK to get to the bottom of PKFZ, and if they do, then they should not vote OTK out.  I am quite confident that many of the grassroots are conscientious people, and they should be able to influence others to support oTK at this moment. This is not because I support OTK, but rather , I think we should all support him on his efforts to get to the bottom of the biggest corruption scandal in the country. We should not let the culprits go free.

One thing is certain. MCA will be weakened and it will be an uphill task for BN to retain the Federal government in the next election.

Please do not forget that even though constituency delineation is due once in 10 years, and the last one being in 2003, no new delineation will be in play since to approve it would require 2/3 of Parliamentary majority. SO the present constituencies will still be in place, and the only demographic changes wil be an additional million plus new votes will be eligible to vote.

Most of the seats after the last delineation are mixed seats, since BN used to win in mixed seats. However, Feng shui has changed and mixed seats are now seen to be the most difficult for BN to win, along with CHinese majority urban seats..

So in order to reverse this, there is no other way but to institute true reforms, doing away with race based policies as well as corruption, and the practice of political patronage and cronyism. Government institutions must regain their independence , and police and other enforecement agencies must not be used as tools …

If these changes cannot be instituted, then the next GE will be a ‘bye’ election for BN . That is not a bad thing for BN actually. It is only when they lose the Federal Government that the big brother can change.




The trend continues

Another by election is now over. BN has again lost despite its massive by election machinery.

The trend of the last general election has not changed. If this trend continues, there would be a likely change of federal government for the first time in Malaysian history. But either way, the results would be close, and I do not foresee any side getting more than 2/3 of the seats . So a 2 party system would be taking shape, notwithstanding the uncertainties within PKR and PAS.

UMNO and MCA would still win some seats, and BN would still win the majority seats in East Malaysia. BUt for smaller parties like Gerakan , PPP and MIC, where most of their traditional seats are in mixed constituencies, their hope of getting seats will be very slim.

It is not wrong to say that the future of these parties are not in their hands but rather in the hands of the dominant partner. If the latter changes for good, then their chances of survival are higher. On the contrary , as I have often repeated, if changes are just cosmetics or slow in coming, then these parties will face annihilation comes the next round.

So far, there is nothing to cheer for , especially with the death of TBH and the so many unanswered questions. If this death is not properly investigated, then chances are this one person is going to bring the downfall of many parties.

To forgive is divine

In ancient times, there was this belief that inflicting pain on a person would instill  fear   into him so that he would not repeat whatever mistakes that he did. This belief led to the so-called ‘corporal punishment’, which included ‘spanking ‘, whipping, flogging,caning etc.

 Often these punishments were carried out in public to shame and disgrace the culprits as well as serve as a deterrent to others not to commit the same offence.

Since the 18th century, the concept of inflicting pain on wrongsoers were seen to be ineffective and inefficient since even though pain and physical scars might be inflicted, behavioral change had not be forthcoming from those who were punished.

As society became more open and better educated, reformation of wrongdoers took precedence over retribution, and in the western world, corporal punishments were gradually reduced and abolished.

The milder corporal punishment like spanking by parents on a child is still being practised now and is allowed in both USA and  Canada on children below 12 years old. However, corporal punishment of students in schools have been largely been banned in most parts of Europe, Canada, Japan.

Nowadays, corporal pubishments like whipping and flogging as part of judicial judgement  are considered babaric, and in most civilised societies that pride themselves on human rights and compassion , these types of corporal punishments are no longer pracitsed.

 In certain Asian and African countries, these sort of punishments are still being carried out.

I think it is time that whipping and flogging  be discontinued. In the modern and civilised world , there is really no place to mete out this sort of punishment to wrongdoers. What can inflicting pain hope to achieve  apart from extracting certain ‘pleasure’ to see a wrong doer suffer in pain? A sort of revenge you may say. But it would not help to reform the wrong doer.

Humanity is about forgiveness and compassion. To err is human , to forgive divine. While we worship divinity, we should learn to be more magnanimous and forgiving. ANd if we are more forgiving, why should be want to whip a fellow human being; why should we want to cause severe pain and a permanent scar on the body of that human being? Where is our empathy?

Whipping has really no place in a civilised society.

 P.S.  I hope in our discussion on corporal punishment, we can refrain from any personal attacks and attacks on any religion. All religions are great and good; it is the mistake of some wayward and zealous followers that lead to wrong perception ..  

Chinese press in Bahasa?

A former PM has made the suggestion that Malay translation be available for the vernacular Chinese newspaper. His logic is that although most Chinese can read Malay papers, not many Malays know what is being reported in CHinese press.

This is what was reported in malaysianInsider:

“While Chinese people understand Malay language newspapers, most Malays don’t understand the Chinese press. Sometimes when the Chinese press say something harmful, people will not get the idea because of the lack of understanding,” said Mahathir.

I find this illogical. I read 3 languages, and I do not find the Chinese papers as outright racialist as the Malay papers. To ask the Chinese papers to come out with Malay translation would not be economically feasible, unless prices are raised which will add burden to the people who read the Chinese press.

Having said that, I think it is good for department heads in civil services as well as all ministers MPs, and ADUNs to know what is being reported in vernacular press. But it is not neccessary for the Chinese/Indian papers to come out with the translation.

What is required is to have a multiracial civil service, whereby a department head who cannot understand Chinese can ask one of his staff to monitor the Chinese press and let him know the gist of what is written.

This would enable the departmental heads to know the happenings and aspirations  of a big segment of populations. This applies not only to Chinese press, but Indian and English press as well ( many department head cannot understand English now ).

SO it pays to have a multiracial work force, especially for those who are in positions which influence the lives of others..

we could have done better

The H1N1 virus has not changed so far. It is still a mild virus for most of the cases recorded, even though the infectivity is high and the spread is fast, which may not be a bad thing since a herd immunity can be built up fast, like in the case of Australia, even though it is winter, and Melbourne being dubbed the H1N1 capital, there is absolutely no panic and life goes on as usual . As I have mentioned, in Singapore, newsapapers hardly record any news on H1N1 and life is normal and Orchard Road is as busy as ever.

My initial advice still stands that for an average person, even if you get  H1N1 flu, it will just be an average flu for you, just like most of the flus you get year in and year out. But we need to be vigilant not to spread it to the high risk groups that I have listed in my previous articles on this topic.

There is one feature worth noting so far. As in the experience of our countries, most of those who came in with flu are young people, many of them school children. For these young people, we have in recent weeks seen so many cases with high fever, ranging from 38  to 39 degree C, and some even over 39 degree C 39.  Most of the fever subsided within 2 to 3 days, with a few taking one or 2 days extra to get well.  Most of those over 50 , however,  had just cough and cold even though their children may have temperatures of 39 degree, , and hardly anyone had any fever.

This confirms the findings overseas that most of those born in the 50s and 60s have certain immunity to this virus, since even though this is a new mutant H1N1, certain antigens of the virus were still similar to earlier H1N1 infections. I notice even those over 40s do not get high fever; most of them in their 40s just have a mild temperature. And so far, from my info, most if not all of the deaths are those from high risk groups.

We could have handled this outbreak much better. A few things came to mind when i reviewed happenings in the past few weeks.

A few weeks ago, a top official announced that anyone can insist on a throat swab for H1N1 . At that time, only certain designated government hospitals can do this test, and so with this annoucement,  almost everyone with flu like symptoms rushed to government hospitals demanding for H1N1 tests. This resulted in overloading and the health authority at these hopsitals were simply overwhelmed. I heard that those MLTs in IMR worked so hard that they harly had time to breathe..And when heath services are stretched, it is difficult to maintain quality…

In hindsight, the official should have allowed tha doctors to decide , since they are the professionals, whom to do the tests. Not all flu cases required testings; countries like US , UK and AUstralia, where the health care is many times more advanced and sophisticated than ours, did not do tests on everyone. Because that would be a waste of resources, and stretching the already overworked health services even further.

So because our labs and our outpatients cannot cope with the sudden icnrease in cases after the annoucement that anyone can insist on a H1N1 test, the government then issued another statement asking patients to go private clinic to undergo rapid H1N1 testings., without first check the availability of the tests .

However, most of the private clinics do not have this rapid test, since this test has just been brought into the country – (before, no doctors or laboratory is doing any flu detection, since flu is such a common thing and most cases recovered without the need for confirmatoion test)-  and the limited supply cannot cope with the number of actual flu cases. After the annoucement,  most doctors are calling each other to find out where to source for this test. Now , of course, a few companies have brought in some tests, one from Japan and one from Belgium, but the quantity is hardly enough in order to do tests on all flu like cases.

When the death rate started to climb, the minister then announced that all flu-like  cases should be started on Tamiflu early , even  if the flu cases are not confirmed H1N1. The problem is Tamiflu is not easily available, and most suppliers have run out of the original tablets from Roche. A generic version, from India, was available, but the selling cost was pushed up to as high as  the original version, which is ridiculous. All these happened  because of the annoucement made by our officials without first checking the ground availability. 

In other countries, tamiflu is not used to treat mild flu cases, and is used only for severe cases or those high risks cases. If tamiflu is used indiscriminately, resistance is bound to happen, and when that happens, we will have no more weapon to fight future flu which may beuch more virulent than this present one. When the governmnet made these announcement , they failed to realise that most flu cases recover on their own, even without treatment.

Now coming to  the seasonal flu injections. My clinic ran out of stock early last month, and the 3 suppliers (one from UK, one from France and one from Switzerland) all ran out of stocks. Stocks were supposed to come in August but so far none is in sight.  Remember we are not the only country in this world, manufactureres have to fulfilled orders from all over the world and not just Malaysia. Unless we can produce the vaccines ourselves, we depend on the ‘quota’s that these drug manufacturers give us.

When the vaccine for the new H1N1 is ready in October, I suspect we will ot be one of the first coutries to get it. The countries that would get it first would be those manufacturing the vaccines as well as those in temperate countries. We may get some initally, but definitely would ot be enough to jab the whole populations. We are so far behind in biotech that to manufacture vaccines would take years if not decades…

In hindsight, we could have handled the outbreak better. This is not to blame our public healthcare workers. They are working very hard- doctors, nurses, MLTs, health personnel- first trying to contain and now trying to mitigate the effects of this epidemic.  They should all be commended. It is the generals that should learn to say proper things and should try to be  informed of  the ground situation,   in order not to cause confusion among the public. 


Earlier articles on H1N1:

Another review of H1N1

Revisiting the H1N1 scene

Do not be unduly worried

A person for public office must be able to stand tall

A candidate in the coming by election was found be have been disbarred by the Bar Council for financial misconduct. The disbarred lawyer appealed to High Court and the High Court has upheld the decision of the Bar COuncil.

Why was a disbarred lawyer chosen to be the candidate? Well, a few possibilities. Maybe the party concerned did not know, and in that case, it means that the vetting system is at fault. Or the party may have already known about the disbarment, but still carry on nominating the candidate. In the latter case,  it gives a preception that the morality in the party may be so low that even a disbarred person is considered alright.

A person wishing to hold a pulic office must not only be clean but must be seen to be clean. By the word clean, it does not mean that he must be like a saint, but at least, there must be   no blemish on his record, criminal, financial or  moral (like caught in a dvd with pants down). Anyone with even a slight blemish should not have volunteered or been chosen..

It is really an embarrassment for the party that the candidate has such a record. So in order to save the party from further embearassment, this cnadidate should withdraw and let the other side have a walkover.. That is the least any decent man will do to save his party from further embarrassment. It will also save the government a lot of money which can be spent on development in that area.

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