Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Last Full Board Meeting for 2008

Tapah District Council held it’s the last full board meeting for 2008 today, and perhaps the last session for me as Tapah town councilor.

Apart from regular contribution through-out the meeting today which include amending minutes of meeting, suggestion to bring down safety incident numbers along federal road in Tapah, correcting numbers from finance committee, proposal to black-list vendors and suppliers who did not perform, my observation on Tapah district council performances, I have ended my time with 3 simple suggestions to the council for 2009:

1. Prohibit smoking in all District Council parks and children playground

2. Provide dustbins along all main streets in all major towns within Tapah District starting with Tapah.
Most councilors have used up their RM3000 area improvement funds for “gotong-royong” or spring cleaning—which is mainly for cleaning up streets, clearing drains and cutting grass in respective areas. Most of the councilors will agree that it was a good exercise for the public. Behind these praises, behind these joyous notes that we have done a good project, we are not addressing the rubbish issues in Tapah. We would not have spent the RM3000 for spring cleaning if our street cleaning team, rubbish collectors and grass cutters had done a good job. Also, there are hardly or no public dustbin along the main streets of Tapah which such as Station Road and Jalan Raja.

3. Meet the people session
Town councilors should organize meet the people session every month or at least once a quarter. For example, it can be held every first Monday of the month at 7, 8 or 9 pm. Meet the people session can be organized at the respective community hall or “dewan orang ramai”. It will afford a great avenue to gather feedback from the locals and their plights, as well as to share with them on our on-going initiatives.

4. Annual report card for town councilors starting from 2010.

It is a setback that none of the elected representatives within Tapah district (apart from Sivanesan, the State Assemblyman for Sungkai) have attended Tapah District Full Board meeting through-out my time as a town councilor despite official invitations from the District Office. These elected representatives are MP for Tapah, State Assemblyman for Cenderiang and State Assemblyman for Air Kuning.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Community Hall or “Dewan Orang Ramai” in Tapah (Part 1)- Questions for MCA Assemblyman

It has been almost 2 months since I sworn in as Tapah town councilor and I have been generous in commenting on the past performance of MCA and BN town councilors--Tapah town council to be specific. There were obvious weaknesses, mismanagement, misuse of public funds and a string of inferior qualities that makes me ponder if the past BN councilors take their appointment seriously.

However, the Perak MCA Assemblyman for Cenderiang, Dr. Mah Hang Soon statement in today’s Star entitled “Perak government under fire” has provided me with a meat to chew on. In the article, Dr. Mah seemed to champion the rights of the people. He went on claiming that the hall committee had been taking good care of it. In addition, he lashed out that the action by the council to take back the administration had created problem.

I wonder if Dr Mah be bold enough to take on the Tapah district council or the state government if he knew the performances of the previous MCA councilors and the decisions they have made.

Perhaps, Dr. Mah has little understanding with the local government administration. Nevertheless, let me start my guiding Dr. Mah with the following questions:

1. Did he know who built the Kampung Baru Bukit Pagar Community Hall?
2. Did he know how much Tapah district council spent to build the Kampung Baru Bukit Pagar hall?
3. Did he know the additional expenses to renovate the hall? Did he know who paid for it?
4. Did he know if there is any rental agreement?
5. The hall committee is supposed to manage and pay rent to the Tapah district council. Did he know how much the hall committee pays to the Tapah district council on monthly basis? As a hint, it is less than RM20 per month!
6. Where are the proceedings from those rented the hall from the hall committee?
7. Did he know the rate per hour or per day?
8. Did he know if there is standard charge for the hall usage?
9. Did he know how much premium the Bukit Pagar Hall committee charges compare to Dewan Muhibbah in Bidor or Dewan Merdeka in Tapah which was managed directly by the Tapah district council?

I am more than willing to expose the past poor performances of the MCA or BN councilors if challenge. However, I would rather spend my energy to work on things that matters, ammend the wrongs and improve the weaknesses of the past.

Friday, August 22, 2008

KTMB (Part 2)- Questions for KTM and Government

(Train station at Sungkai, Perak)

(Train station at Tapah Road, Perak. Photo taken in August 2008)

It has been more than 15 years since I last took a ride with KTM from Tapah Road to Kuala Lumpur. There seems to be more activities back in the 80s and early 90s at Tapah Road’s station when the Kopitiam was still in operation. There were also locals selling homemade packed nasi lemak within the train station.

Thousands if not millions have been spent to modernize and to renovate the KTM Tapah Road station over the past few years. In fact, the entire station is being torn down with the main building being shifted by approx. 50 meters.

Behind this massive structural facelift, behind these modernization efforts, has KTM actually improve or rot to the core?

In addition to my earlier remark on accountability in KTM, here are additional questions for the KTM and the government:

1. How much was spent for the new station in Sungkai and Tapah Road?
2. How many people benefit or will benefit out of this massive facelift?
3. What is the utility rate of these stations? How many passenger trains stop-by these stations per day?
4. How much to upkeep these stations?
5. Was the project to build new stations done on competitive open tender basis?
6. Should it be smaller and cheaper?
7. Why spend billion without plans to buy carrier? Why having these stations for years before getting more carriers?

8. Why was the double track from Ipoh to Padang Besar, a RM 12.5 billion (USD 3.8 billion) project given to Gamuda without competitive tender?
9. How about spliting the project to two contractors i.e., Ipoh to Penang one contrator while Penang to Padang Besar to another company?
10. How many people will benefit from Ipoh-Padang Besar project? Do we need it?
11. How about Ipoh to Penang first?

12. Should we spend RM 12.5 billion or less to improve existing system and services, such as to buy more new carrier instead of the Ipoh-Padang Besar project?
13. When will KTM turn around and what are the programs in place?
14. What are KTM medium to long term plans to bring it out of losses?
15. What are the marketing programs or strategy?

Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM)-Part 1. Bad Rail or Bad Management?

“Rail Bad!” was today’s headline in the New Straits Times (NST) after the Prime Minister (PM)’s little experience with the commuter service.

He arrived at the Serdang Komuter KTM s at 8:15 a.m. but unable to get on board the first train because it was packed. The next train was 15 minutes later. He was right to express dissatisfaction over KTM performance which was obviously not up to expectation. The PM went on and pledged “I will strive for improvements. I will propose changes”. I am very certain he will be furious had he tried the Komuter service during rainy season where train service can be delayed up to an hour during peak hour.

There are indeed many changes and room for improvements in the KTM. The first change the PM should adopt is to replace Lim Ah Lek, as the chairman of KTM with someone who has no rail-road experience. He may be a successful politician, who was also a former cabinet minister, but he has proven ineffective based on KTM performances and results during his leadership. Lim Ah Lek must be answerable for the poor performances and losses of KTM.

The PM should not forget that KTM has at least 2 major safety incidents during the past four months with at least two fatalities. Why was the safety inspector not suspended? Why was no-one accountable for it? This portrays serious lack of accountability in KTM top-down, from the chairman of the board down to the operators.

As for KTM Komuter, they should provide train service at least every 10 minutes instead of 15 minutes during peak hours and should strive for every 5 minutes by 2010. If our country is fond of comparing fuel prices with countries such as Singapore, Japan, Korea and etc., we should be bold enough to measure up the train services of those countries. In Singapore, train runs at least 4 minutes during peak hours while in Moscow, Russia, train arrives every minute and sometimes every 50 seconds during peak period.

Will the PM going to walk the talk this time or just another lip service?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Propose Tapah Town Council Meeting To Be Open To Public

During the first full board town council meeting on the 28th of July, councilors were asked to decide or vote on whether the town council meetings should be open to public. However, I have requested to postpone this agenda until the next council meeting since there was no prior notice before the said meeting.

Our country's constitution under local government act of 1976 (Act 171) & subsidiary legislation part iv, 23 provide that "all meetings of local authority shall be open to the public and to the representatives of the Press unless the local authority by resolution at the meeting otherwise decides"

Unlike the previous government who lacks transparency and accountability, the present councilors encourage greater transparency and greater local participation on local matters. Moreover, public is allowed to Parliament and State Assembly proceedings on invitation.

Therefore, I will propose in the next town council meeting that Tapah town council meeting to be open to public. However, we will have to limit the number of observers due to the capacity of the meeting room. I will suggest 50% of the total observer seats to be allocated to political parties and the rest to public on first come first basis or by invitation.

24 Pakatan Rakyat Councilors Sworn in at Tapah Town Council 28th July 2008

24 Pakatan Rakyat (PR) Tapah town councilors took oath at Majlis Daerah Tapah today, 28th of July 2008. The 24 councilors who will serve up to 31st December 2008 are:

        1. Mohd. Yunus, Ayer Kuning. H/p: 016-454 4680

        2. Lau Foon, Bidor. H/p: 012-510 0592

        3. John Woodworth, Bidor. H/p: 019-564 9991

        4. Thana, Bidor. H/p: 016-518 2231

        5. Liew You Wuu,Bidor. H/p: 014-604 3401

        6. Ramani, Bidor. H/p: 012-278 2062

        7. Ng How Chong, Kuala Bikam. H/p: 019-513 6907

        8. Tan Seng Tin, Sungkai. H/p: 012-505 2048

        9. Rostam, Sungkai. H/p: 016-5454 268

        10. Mooken, Sungkai. H/p: 016-319 8684

        11. Mary Thomas, Tapah. H/p: 016-5326538

        12. Apalasamy, Tapah. H/p: 017-507 2195

        13. Ramu/ Krishnan, Tapah. H/p: 016-596 4248

        14. Loh Peng Lam, Tapah. H/p: 012-377 8838

        15. Ahmad Razi, Tapah (Jln. Bidor). H/p: 019-508 4755

        16. Ridzuan, Tapah (Jln. Pahang). H/p: 012-512 4881

        17. Manikam, Tapah (Jln. Pahang). H/p: 012-528 1887

        18. Lt. Nathan, Tapah (Tmn Bunga Raya). H/p: 012-362 3490

        19. Chow Chai Woh, Tapah (Tmn Kenari). H/p: 017-5516780

        20. Pajand Singh, Tapah (Tmn Saga). H/p: 012-661 7108

        21. Kalthum, Temoh. H/p: 016-530 5399

        22. Mohd Yusof, Temoh. H/p: 013-529 9164

        23. Ikram (Tmn Dato Kamaruddin). H/p: 012-573 1073

        24. Yang DiPertua (TDP) Dato' Md. Damiri.

        These are the first batch of PR's councilors for Tapah.

        During the first full board meeting, the council has approved the financial statement for fiscal year 2007 and endorsed allowance increment for town councilors in accordance to the matrix system set by the state government.

        Saturday, July 26, 2008

        Dinner with Lim Kit Siang at Tapah, Sunday 10th of August 2008

        DAP Tapah branch dinner at Dewan Orang Ramai Bukit Pagar, Tapah on the 10th of August, 7:30 pm.

        Special Guests:
        Lim Kit Siang, Kulasegaran, Sivanesan, Ngeh Koo Ham, Nga Kor Ming, Sivanesan, Chen Fook Chye

        Responsiblities of District Town Councilors in Malaysia

        My former schoolmate from ACS, Ipoh, who is now residing in Singapore dropped me a note last week. In her email, she asked about the role of town councilors in Malaysia.

        Malaysian administrations consist of the federal government, the state government and the local government. The district town councilors are part of the local government.

        Most local government comes under the jurisdiction of the state government and is the lowest level of government under the Malaysian government system. KL/W.P., Labuan and Putrajaya is managed by the federal government.

        The responsibilities of the local government include:

        1. General policies that involve planning, upgrading and usage of land and buildings.
        2. Town planning
        3. Effective and systematic governing of a specific area
        4. Infrastructure upgrades and development.
        5. Provide recreational and services to the locals.

        The local government also performs:

        1. By-laws or subsidiary law—"undang-undang kecil". The by-laws are only applicable for the specific district or city. Examples of such laws include advertisement, business, industry and profession, car park, etc.
        2. Collect land tax and property assessment tax.
        3. Various licensing such as business license, grave yard license, hawker license, entertainment license, animal license, pasar malam, various rentals, etc.
        4. Rubbish and drainage.
        5. Collective local government funds "Kumpulan Wang Pihak Berkuasa Tempatan".
        6. Government contract, prosecution and own properties.
        7. Name for streets.
        8. Traffic lights & bus stop

        Fire Victim at Jalan Pahang, Tapah

        (At Jalan Pahang, Tapah)

        (Photo from today's Sin Chew Jit Poh)

        Visited fire victims on Friday, 25th July 2008 at Jalan Pahang along with Perak State Exco and Keranji Assemblyman, Chen Fook Chye. The Perak state government and the DAP will assist the fire victim.

        Saturday, July 19, 2008

        Appointment as Tapah Town Councilor

        (Courtesy of Sin Chew Jit Poh)

        The appointment of Tapah town councilors took place today at the Perak State Assembly on the 18th of July 2008. 24 councilors were appointed for Tapah.

        Being a "Tapah-boy" who has received education at St. Mary's Kindergarten, Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan (1) or SRK 1 and subsequently Sekolah Menengah Buyong Adil (SMBA), I hope to contribute back to Tapah and the people of Tapah. Tapah has always been close to heart and mind.

        Previous town councilors, except for the late Zakaria’s family members who sat in the Klang municipal council were never make known the the public. As such, these councilors lack accountability or perhaps no accountability at all. As a change, Tapah councilors will be make known to the public, so that they will know who to go after if we do not perform.

        In the coming months as Tapah town councilors which expires 31st of December 2008, my plans are:

        1. To donated ALL my first pay-check or allowance to a welfare organisation or charity within Tapah area.
        2. Systematic visit to various towns or villages within Tapah district and to make know Pakatan Rakyat (PR)'s councilors to the locals.
        3. To publish my meetings attendance record to the public.
        4. Encourage greater local participation on local council matters.

        While I may not extend my appointment after 31st of December 2008, I will initiate efforts to bring in foreign or local investors to Tapah.

        Sunday, June 15, 2008

        Innovative Brand from Singapore

        (Photo taken on Saturday, 14th June)

        This is for those who are lazy to decide or cannot decide.. just simply order "Whatever" or "Anything". But what you will get when you order "Whatever" or "Anything"? Give it a try.

        Friday, May 9, 2008

        Billboards with “Satu Lagi Projek Barisan Nasional” or “One More Project of Barisan Nasional” should be removed.

        The above slogan is a common sight found in most construction and upgrading of public infrastructure such as roads, bridges and schools in Perak, and perhaps throughout the country. However, the funds for the construction of schools, roads and bridges were never from the Barisan Nasional (BN), UMNO, MCA or MIC. In essence, it was never from any political parties but of tax payers’ money!

        It is the government’s obligation to provide public amenities or development, and not to misuse it for self-glory. Such advertisement by the BN is misleading and deceitful. It is like a Malay Idiom, “lembu punya susu, sapi dapat nama” which means milk belongs to the cow, but the bull-cow gets the name.

        The BN has already monopolized all mainstream media in Malaysia such as radio, TV and newspapers and need not resort into such low means to claim credits.

        As a start, the opposition lead state government should consider removing “Satu Lagi Projek Kerajaan Barisan Nasional” billboards for all state projects. The removal of the billboard with the said BN slogan should be done not because it is now a project of Pakatan Rakyat (PR), DAP, PKR or PAS.

        If the opposition lead state government is unable to remove those billboards of federal projects, they can consider charging the BN as advertisement charges, especially those billboards on state land. Registered companies have to renew and pay their business license yearly to the local government. The business license will include billboard advertisement which is charged based on size or if the billboard is lighted. Can this be done legally?

        Friday, April 25, 2008

        DAP Bidor Service Centre Opening Ceremony

        (DAP Bidor service centre opening ceremony speech on 24th April 2008)

        The March 8th general election was not about Sivanesan’s victory and neither it was the DAP’s victory. But it was the people’s victory! Makkal Sakti!—which means people’s power, and it was people’s power that created 3 historical event in Bidor.

        Firstly, the people of Bidor has elected a DAP representative as their “wakil rakyat” which was not seen since 1969 when the late Loh Jee Mee was elected as the DAP MP for Batang Padang.

        Secondly, the people of Bidor is part of the history to vote in the DAP as the new state government which was never happen since our independence. (or the people of Bidor is part of the history in voting out the BN state government)

        Thirdly, the people of Bidor have voted in a state executive counselor (exco)—the first DAP state exco for Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) Sungkai.

        Unlike, the MIC whereby their candidate, Datuk Veerasingam, immediately pack his bag and close-shop by 7:30 pm on the 8th of March; Sivanesan of DAP remains committed to Bidor and the people of Bidor despinte loosing the 2004 general election. His service center remains open from 2004 until now.

        Today, we are here to officiate the opening of Sivanesan-DAP service centre. The service center will not be officiated by an assembly or an MP, but in recognition of a local personality. Madam Lee, the late Loh Jee Mee's wife will officiate this service centre.

        Tuesday, April 15, 2008

        DAP Temoh branch member down with Parkinson's disease

        (Photo taken by wife on 12th April 2008 at Temoh, Perak. From left: Madam Lee Chai King--my mother, Kam Weng's wife and Loh Kam Weng)

        Visited DAP Temoh, Perak members on Saturday 12th of April for afternoon tea and to sample the famous home made Temoh's “pa0” of various variety.

        The main purpose of the trip was to pay a courtesy call to Loh Kam Weng, who has been a DAP member since 1979. Kam Weng was diagnosed with the Parkinson’s disease since last year. He is not fit to work. He has to take medication every 4 hours and struggling with his medication fees of approximately RM400 per month. The DAP Perak team will find ways to help his predicament.

        DAP Temoh branch was founded by the Loh Jee Mee back in the 70s. Most of the members are in their 60s now. They have not lost hope or given up the struggle towards a better Malaysia since the 70s despite not having an MP or an elected assemblyman since 1969.

        Saturday, April 12, 2008

        MCA is a hypocrite

        The MCA has once again proven themselves to be hypocrites. The party often acts in contradiction to their statements and The Star on 12 April 2008 alone reported two instances that proved MCA of its hypocrisy.

        MCA supports Islamic State, DAP opposes it. MCA asks DAP to apologise.

        Firstly, the MCA president, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting demanded the DAP Secretary General Lim Guan Eng to make a stand and apologise to the people with regards to the Hudud goal.

        If there was apology to be made, should it not start with the MCA?

        When the former premier, Tun Dr Mahathir’s announced on 9 September 2001 that Malaysia is an Islamic state, MCA betrayed their members and its founding fathers by not making a stand against the statement. In fact, they fully supported the decision. The MCA was once again in silence in 2007 when deputy prime minister Najib declared Malaysia as an Islamic state. Where was MCA when prime minister Abdullah Badawi formally confirmed in parliament that Malaysia is an Islamic state? Why didn’t the MCA challenge UMNO’s statement on Islamic state then and now?

        The MCA has no honor and not worthy to talk about Islamic state until they first amend their wrongs by first sending a formal protest letter to the prime minister on his endorsement of Malaysia being an Islamic state.They proved themselves to be cowards for not making a stand in the above three mentioned occasions. In so doing, their silence was an act of support for Malaysia as an Islamic state. In any case, MCA was a true blue hypocrite for asking the DAP to make a stand when they couldn’t. Perhaps MCA was talking to their own conscience.

        The DAP did not and will never support the statement about Malaysia as an Islamic state; and that his party MCA has been supporting that all this while. The DAP stand has been clear, consistent and simple. It sets itself to defend the federal constitution set by our founding father of this nation: Malaysia is a secular state with Islam as the official religion. It is not an Islamic state.

        In and outside of the parliament, DAP has been expressing its opposing views towards claims stating Malaysia as an Islamic state. In fact, unlike MCA, DAP has launched numerous campaign in protest against Islamic State declaration be it PAS Islamic State or UMNO Islamic State such as the “No to 929” campaign.

        Didn’t the MCA read in the BN-controlled and nationwide-distribution newspaper that PAS will not implement Hudud in Perak? As stated in Sin Chew Daily on the 29 March 2008, the Perak Menteri Besar Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin announced again that “PAS will not bring in issues like Islamic state and the implementation of Hudud”.

        Former Perak BN (MCA) government takes land; MCA demand PR (DAP) to give land titles within 6 months.

        In another instance proving MCA’s hypocrisy, the MCA demanded the Perak state government to issue freehold titles to new villages within six months from date of announcement. Let’s remember that the MCA couldn’t get this job done in 50 years. Now they are demanding the DAP-PKR-PAS collision to get it completed within six months.

        Perhaps MCA needs reminding that the brainchild of the initiative of issuing land titles to new villages was the DAP-PRK-PAS collision. It was not MCA. Had the people of Perak elected the MCA in the recent general election, we will not hear of such proposal. In fact, we would have seen the BN evicting land of new villages instead of proving one such as in the case of Tanah Mas village in February 2008.

        Wednesday, April 9, 2008

        Passing of Family Dog

        Gho Bear or Gho Beh or Bo-Beh has been a great companion and a very good dog. He was a German Shepherd mix breed, highly trainable, intelligent, determine, protective, obedient, gentle and lovable dog. He left us yesterday afternoon, 9th of April 2008. It was just less than a week ago when he killed a 2ft monitor lizard.. He will be missed and remembered.

        Sunday, April 6, 2008

        First visit to Singapore National Library- Part 2.

        (Retreat Garden at Level 10. Most plants at the Retreat Garden are herbs and spices. Tongkat Ali tree is found here.)

        (Neem Tree or Divine Tree at Level 10. It is widely use as traditional medicine. It has anti bacterial and anti fungus properties that even plants close to this plant seldom fall ill)

        (Do you know what is the National Flower of Singapore?)

        (Bamboo. It is not a tree, not a fern, not a schrub, but a giant grass. There are more than 100 usage from Bamboo)

        (Money Plant.)

        (Peacock or prayer plant. The leaves of this plant is vertical at night and horizontal in the afternoon)

        (Heliconia. There are 150 types of Heliconia in Singapore with most Heliconia spicies found at the Jurong Bird Park)

        (Rain Tree. The leaves of this rain tree is yellow. It is an expensive and difficult tree to plant. Aprroximately 1 out of 1000 seed planted will get to grow. Leaves move daily depend on sunlight)

        (Sweet paddle. The fruit of sweet paddle is said to be 15 times sweeter than sugar)

        Singapore has positioned herself as garden city since the 60s. The garden concept is found in many places throughout the country including Singapore General Hospital and even at Libraries.

        The Singapore national library provides programs conducted by volunteers such as the garden walk and art trail and I have participated the 1.5 hours garden walk. It is free of charge and guests may leave anytime at their convenience during the walk. This guided walk is available on alternate Saturday basis. The garden walk is my first botanical lesson in more than a decade.

        There are too many plants in and around the national library area and I have only selected a few for sharing. Some other plants found at the national library include fig tree, aloe verra, wild pepper, banana tree (which is a tree by definition), and etc.

        Have our state libraries or the national library evolved in tandem with the development of Malaysia?

        I took the opportunity to visit the Singapore National Library (NLB) for the first time today as my wife’s company was running a community program there, and I am certainly impressed with the landmark library.

        This building has great environmental features and was told more than 1/3 of its total site area is of gardens and vegetation. I am impressed not because of the smart building concept but their system in reaching the Singapore citizens and their on-going programs or campaigns in place.

        A few thoughts came to my mind. Have our State libraries or the national library evolved in tandem with the development of Malaysia? Are we willing to admit if we are not? Are we humble enough to learn from Singapore or any other countries for that matter where there are things worthy of learning or improve on? Should we continue to compare with less developed countries such as Ghana, Indonesia and Vietnam or take a bolder stand to compete with develop countries such as Singapore and Japan?

        I spent more than 2 hours at the Singapore NLB and had the opportunity to join a program where I learn without reading. It was an interesting program that Malaysia can emulate as part of our library event and I will share the details in my next posting.

        The other thing I noted was the manner this library is operated—it is like a public listed company and transparent. The annual report with balance sheet is made available to public.

        Have a look of the Singapore NLB website http://www.nlb.gov.sg/

        Saturday, April 5, 2008

        Wife's first birthday--as wife.

        (For her birthday, 5th of April. Photo taken at Singapore)

        A surprise for wife when she returned from work on Friday, 4th of April.

        Thursday, April 3, 2008

        Land scam and frauds--"Head must roll"

        During the Second World War, the Japanese restored law and order with iron fist when they defeated the British in Singapore. Singapore was in chaos during transition but not for long. The Japanese soldier showed no mercy in order to restore the situation. They would behead those who found stealing or looting and heads were displayed to public-- immediately looting stopped. This was the short story that I picked-up from a Singapore Minister whom I met at Moscow, Russia back in October 2005.

        In today’s world of human rights and human treatment values, such act of literally chopping heads is definitely not applicable but “chopping of heads” can be in the form of removal from office or position.

        The comparable model is being practiced by most Multinational Corporation (MNC) to instill ethics in to their corporation. For example in Du Pont, employee can be dismissed over a ten cents toll ticket and the incident will be make-known to their employees world-wide. It serves as a reminder and a lesson to all employees that the company does not give way when it comes to ethics. It is never about the value of the offence, but of the company’s code of conduct and core values world-wide—be it managers or general workers, Americans or Asians, male or female. Similar values are incorporated in Shell, Exxon Mobil, Dow Chemical and etc.

        The question is whether our Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi is willing to “chop the heads” of those guilty of corruption and abuse of office position for personal gains, to show that he really mean business and not just lip service. Or will he spare those with strong political connections from prosecution in order to protect his position in UMNO? Does he have the courage and political will to display his commitments on combat against corruption?

        The various alleged land scam or frauds are being investigated by states controlled by People’s Alliance. We should to see Penang and Selangor filling official reports to the ACA in months if not the next few years. However, can the ACA act on it? Are they free to act on it?

        The Anti Corruption Agency (ACA) is now under the Minister in the Prime Minister department. Will the ACA investigate or act against the Minister if he is suspected of corruption? How about the Minister's boss-- the Prime Minister? There is obvious conflict of interest with the ACA set-up.

        While I look forward for those who are corrupted be brought to justice, I have little confident that the big timers close to the Prime Minister's circle will face justice.

        Tuesday, April 1, 2008

        Is detention without trial or the Internal Security Act (ISA) part of Islam Hadhari?

        Our Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has been promoting the principle of Islam Hadhari since 2004. It is said that Islam Hadhari is suitable UMNO and nation as a whole. Can someone answer me, is detention without trial part of Islam Hadhari principle that Abdullah or UMNO leaders trying to promote? It is high time for the Prime Minister to share with Malaysians on ISA role in Islam Hadhari.

        During the public debate on ISA in July 2004 at Kuala Lumpur, the then Minister in the Prime Minister Department, Mohammed Nazri claimed that the people supported the ISA and therefore voted in the Barisan Nasional (BN). He went on to justify that there are procedures to follow before the home minister can sign in someone to detention without trial.

        While the government claimed that there are processes involved before the home minister could endorse detention without trial, such claimed process has failed such as in the case of Abdul Malek and Guracharan Singh. How many more victims do the BN government intend to victimize before repealing the draconian law of detention without trial? What is the merit for signing in ISA detention orders for thousands of detainees over the years which include the late P.Patto, Lim Guan Eng, Yunus Ali and etc? What was Karpal Singh’s crime? What has Lim Kit Siang committed? The ISA has been abused in the past against opposition leaders such as Karpal Singh and Lim Kit Siang and will continue to do so!

        The Law Minister Datuk Zaid said on Saturday, 29th of March said that the new administration of Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi and his able deputy want some change and that we should give them a chance.
        If the BN government is sincere to change and restore values, they should repeal or abolish the ISA altogether. The 5 Hindaf leaders should be released unconditionally.

        The Minister of Law went on to propose that the government issue an apology to the former lord president, Tun Salleh Abas who was sacked in 1998.

        In addition to the proposed apology to Tun Salleh Abas, the government should tender a formal apology to:

        Abdul Malek Hussin and Guracharan Singh, ex-ISA detainees who were proven unlawfully arrested, detained and beaten up during police custody. Both of them were awarded RM 2.5 million and RM1 million in damages respectively for the failure of the BN government to prove what they had done or intended to do would pose a threat to national security.

        All the victims of 1988 operation Lallang which include the current Penang chief minister, Lim Guan Eng, current MPs such as Lim Kit Siang and Karpal Singh and etc. Lim Guan Eng, Kit Siang, Karpal Singh, the late P.Patto and other detainees were subsequently released; they were not proven guilty in the court of law of any wrong doings.

        Friday, March 28, 2008

        In remembrance of a local personality from Tapah, Perak-- The late Loh Jee Mee.

        (Taken from The Star, 28th of March 2008)

        Finally, I have managed to start a blog after thinking about it for months.

        I would like to start by honoring a man, who I appreciate but left us 11 years ago.

        At around 8 p.m. (eastern time zone in US) on the 28th of March exactly 11 years ago, I received a distress call from a lawyer, Surjan Singh. His message was simple—there is a family emergency with regards to your father and you are required to come home as soon as possible. I was expected to take the earliest available flight home. It was a short message with no details.

        I immediately called my eldest sister, Soo Mei who was in London to verify such request and if I may be excused since my final year exam was within a month. Moreover, the cost for a round trip ticket from the US to Malaysia was expensive then.

        I was troubled when I was greeted by my eldest sister with a tearing voice. She has no intention to keep the passing of my late father a secret despite requests from family members to do so.

        11 years have passed but the event is still close to mind. There is much regret that I did not get to spend much time with my late father and to get to know him better—a man who has dedicated his lifetime in pursuit of justice and service to the community.

        The late Loh Jee Mee started his political struggle during World War 2, when his late mother (my grand mother); Chan Oi Lin was executed by Japanese soldiers. He was actively involved in the MCA in the 50s and 60s, and was the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) youth leader then. He was elected by the people of Tapah as town counselor in early 60s before the government removed local counselor election.

        His first general election appearance was the 1965 general election, when he stood as an independent candidate for Batang Padang parliamentary seat against Hamid Khan, the then Minister of Education. He lost, but committed to soldier on. Politics aside, he was still in good rapport with MCA veteran such as Tan Sri Lee San Choon.

        The political break through was seen in the 1969 general election when the late Loh Jee Mee won the Batang Padang parliamentary seat but lost to Ho Seng of MCA for Cenderiang state seat with a slim majority—less than 20 votes. He was therefore the first 13 DAP Member of Parliament (MP) for the 1969-74 term along with Lim Kit Siang and Dr. Chen Man Hin.

        History has recorded that the late Loh Jee Mee defended and contested the same seat—Tapah parliament (Batang Padang seat was divided to Tapah and Tanjong Malim from 1974 general election) in 1974, 1978, 1982 and 1986 general election and lost. He has never lost sight of serving the community despite the set-backs in life.

        The 1990 general election was his last general appearance. Yet, I am certain that he would have contested another round if health permits. He was elected to the Perak State Assembly in the 1990 general election and retired in 1995.

        Besides being the juvenile court advisor for more than 25 years, a committee member for the district well fare department, he was much sort after from locals for various issues even after retirement.

        Some one once mentioned that suffering and success go together. If you are succeeding without suffering, it is because others before you have suffered; if you are suffering without succeeding, it is that others after you may succeed.

        I am touched and glad to meet those who have succeeded because of him during the recent general election campaign.