Lunatic Acts Before the General Elections – Part 1

By now, they say when the election is around the corner, expect some form of lunatic acts and strange things will happen. The sky will turn sweet pink and you will see politicians coming down from their place in the sky down to earth and share the way of life and hardships of the people.

P.s. It has been more than 2 months down the line, the pain in the neck (or rather my arm) have reduced drastically. It has been improving on daily basis after I had started the cervical traction treatment, sleeping without pillows and DIY neck exercise. It has not gone completely but at least now, I don’t have that pain whenever I drive which is great and is a big relief.

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Prepping in Malaysia: Water Rations 2

Read these first:-

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(Some of the quick steps taken the State Government when the state faced with serious water contamination and people’s anger over the matter got worse on daily basis. Image source: YB Hannah Yeoh)

Couple months ago (and the month before as well), a good number of households (including yours truly) in the good state of Selangor was hit by prolonged water supply disruption. The culprit was water contamination – earlier from a source in Selangor (which the state government took swift actions) and later from sources from other states.

The disruption of water supply created havoc to our daily routine and we had to be on our toes when the SYABAS water tanker comes to the residential area. Thankfully to the quick work by the hard working people at SYABAS and other agencies related to water supply, the taps was running high again by afternoon of Deepavali and remained uninterrupted since then.

Inconvenience to the end users no doubt but then again, it is a wake call for the authorities & the state government to take notice and make plans for the future.

NST reported this at the start of the water supply crisis:-

Centre for Environment, Technology and Development chairman Gurmit Singh describes the water management system in the country as “fragmented”. “We are in this situation because we have badly managed our surface water resources. On top of that, we have the dichotomy between the federal and state governments.

“Most state governments have failed to protect and maintain their water catchment areas. This compromises and adversely affects our reservoirs and water supply. We rely on surface water, but much of it is being wasted through badly maintained and burst pipes.”

But, he says Malaysia has not reached the stage where it needs to resort to underground water sources. Gurmit calls for more efficient irrigation practices, as this will mean more water for consumers. He also suggests that industries be supplied with raw, not treated water. “They do not need high-quality water because they mainly use it for cooling purposes.”

(Source)

water-catchment-nst-2007

(This was back in 2007 – do we have enough water catchment area protected and enforced in 2016 and beyond? The fact the water treatment closed down more often than usual due to water pollution seems to suggest that we are lacking the means to protect our natural resources. Image source: Google)

The Semenyih water treatment plant was shut down for numerous times this year despite the abundance supply of raw water (unlike 2 years, we were struggling to get raw water due to prolong hot season). Thus far, contamination of raw water have blamed and it had come to a point where the state government even began to get suspicious – is someone sabotaging the state government with the water issue?

Well, whether the suspicion turns out to be true or not, at the end of the day, it boils down to enforcement, enforcement and enforcement. Water contamination will not go away in the near future but addressing them before it gets worse and forces the shutdown of the water treatment systems is the key step here and it had to be done so consistently.

Back home, we had been prepping for water shortage and water rations way before 2014 when the level of water in the dams was dangerously low. What have changed in the years thereafter is information channels and the community coming together to assist each other in time of crisis.

The residents at my residential area belongs to the resident association who in turn created a group chat room. So one get the news of water disruption, this valuable information is quickly shared among the rest of the residents. Often it takes couple of hours from the time the water treatment plant shuts down and to the time the taps at home goes dry.

So if one gets the information as early as possible, there is more than enough time to quickly save up water. That means the house water tank to be full to top as well as the 3 huge water buckets (one is kept at the porch for ease of filling up water from SYABAS water tankers). Then there is several smaller buckets and in addition to that several containers of clean water for drinking & cooking.

And as an additional measure, couple of cartons of 1.5 liter drinking bottles also kept in the “doomsday store room” – 12 bottles cost less than RM10 per carton (which is a good deal). The trick is to buy them upfront & store before the news gets leaked on the water disruption and there is a mad rush to buy drinking water.

At one point, I even had to drive out to places where there is not water disruption to buy drinking water as the ones near my house had fully sold out (including those expense ones).

And we have been keeping sharp eyes on water leaks to ensure that in time of crisis and when water becomes precious, we don’t have hidden leaks that reduces our water storage. And in the past, major leaks had come from broken water tank and in the end, we had to make a whole water tank replacement (after several attempts to patch the holes in the old water tank). That replacement cost us almost RM1000 but it was worth it in the long run.

Keeping the water at the water tank aside, we set priority on which of the water containers we will use first so that when the water authorities sends their water tankers, we can get ready the empty containers and pots to be replenished fast.

And there is a good reason for that. The water tankers do not come at scheduled time and sometimes by the time they passes by the road in front of the house, the water level in the tanker is very low (they will send another tanker full of water later but we won’t know when). There were once the water tanker came in the early mornings when it was raining heavily and everyone was fast asleep – at times, timing just sucks.

And big containers are not feasible to use when the water tankers come because it does not fit the hose of the tanker and when it is full, it will be difficult to carry them. So we empty the smaller containers into the bigger containers as and when the level of water comes down. We then arrange these smaller containers, buckets and pots nearer to the main door so that we don’t have to search for them later when the water tanker comes.

And everyone in the family chips on the effort of collecting the water from water tankers and this includes the kids who can carry the smaller containers. And like a well oiled machine, we keep doing it until the big containers are full and thereafter the smaller containers as well (thanks to the SYABAS guys who wait patiently for the residents to get their supply of water)

In addition to the off-beat water tanker timing, we also did not forget about the natural source of water – the rainwater which we can use for dish washing and for the toilets. Thankfully it rains often in the evenings so there is no lack of opportunities.

There is no high tech rainwater harvesting system in place yet but a rough, low tech system consisting of simple buckets and roof gutters does the job just effectively. But a proper rainwater harvesting system is still in the pipeline in the future.

In end, a good mix of quick information, plenty of upfront storage of water to last the whole family for couple of days, prioritizing the usage of water and ensuring ways to replenish the supply of water kept us in the “cool” until the water contamination issue resolved and the supply is back to normal.

There are many people in this country still don’t have access to clean water for their daily use so it is important we manage the water resources effectively and conserve water as much as possible. Our water resources already under tremendous constraint to meet the ever growing population and industrial needs, so faster we act, the better we can manage in the future.

N25 Kajang: Pakatan's Hunger Games?

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(Kajang is very famous for its satay – we used to drive into the town just for this but in recent weeks, the town of Kajang has been in the focus for a different type of food on the dish – Pakatan’s rather childish games with the voters in Kajang. Image source: http://sumptuousblog.wordpress.com)

If you have read enough posts in this blog, you will know that this blogger leans more towards Pakatan rather favorably. It is not because they are best one around but rather because we had enough of the nonsense, corruption, wastage of taxpayers money, lack of transparency & accountability, selective prosecution and seeds of disunity that Barisan politicians spews or cordons on a regular basis and we only have very limited choice for alternatives. Between the two, Pakatan somehow edges more positively (yes, screw the independents – they have screwed things for the wrong reasons in the last general election).

Anyway a total overhaul from top to bottom is long overdue. But that does not mean we can blindly accept whatever Pakatan fellows say and do – they are after all just politicians with a different clothes & purpose and they can also resort to the same cheap politics to score their own politician mileage. They must not forget that the high expectations and ideals that we expect of any elected politician applies the same to Pakatan politicians.

Recently we had this:-

Kajang assemblyman Lee Chin Cheh has resigned as an assemblyman, Selangor state speaker Hannah Yeoh announced today. With the resignation, she officially declared the N25 seat vacant.

When asked on Lee’s reason for resigning, Yeoh declined to answer on his behalf and requested reporters to ask Lee directly instead. Yeoh admitted that she was surprised by the move.

(Source)

Of course, the question on everyone’s mind why should Lee resign when there is no real reason for anyone to resign. Even Lee himself could not come up with a good excuse than this:-

PKR’s former Kajang assemblyman Lee Chin Cheh finally broke the silence over his surprise resignation today, but left those awaiting clarification without the satisfaction of a clear answer.

With speculation going into overdrive that his departure was to pave way for Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to get into the Selangor mentri besar’s seat, Lee chose only to add to the mystery with a cryptic reason for his resignation.

“My decision to vacate the N25 Kajang seat is for the greater good and to reinforce the ability of (Pakatan Rakyat) to serve the people of Selangor,” Lee said in a three-paragraph statement tonight. He also thanked the voters of the constituency for their trust and co-operation.

(Source)

And now Anwar is more or less confirmed to run for the seat and the funny part is that Pakatan actually think they will win the seat without a sweat. They even had asked BN not to contest to “save” taxpayers money for the by-election – it seemed that BN is destined to lose in Kajang so why bother, right? It is simply morally wrong too and it does not make any sense and here’s why Pakatan should not have an easy ride in Kajang:-

1

There is no real need for a vacant state seat in the first place. It is not like Lee Chin Cheh had (sorry to say this) died (like in most cases for by-elections in the past)some incurable sickness and is going to die anytime soon. Or he had been caught red handed on something that is legally or morally wrong (of course no politician in this country had never took responsibility for their actions and had resigned as a gesture of accountability. Most instead get promoted with a fat salary and assigned with special duties. So why Lee Chin Cheh should anyway be different?)

2

The very excuse to vacant the seat – “for the greater good and to reinforce the ability of (Pakatan Rakyat) to serve the people of Selangor” is demeaning and downright insulting. We all know that this is not the real reason for it – why reinforce something that you already have? The very same mistake a BN politicians often do – take the voters for ride. Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan had said that PKR must show an “overwhelmingly good reason” for this unexpected by-election in Kajang and we are still waiting for this reason.

Lately there have been another excuse in circulation and this time it is from Rafizi Ramli – that Anwar Ibrahim is needed in Selangor to prevent the federal government suspending the state legislature by invoking emergency laws (source). He went to say that Anwar needed political legitimacy in the state.

That unfortunately does not hold water as well – firstly Anwar as the key person in PKR & Pakatan does not need a state seat for political legitimacy in the state (he already has political legitimacy by default by being the leader of opposition and the de facto leader of PKR), secondly why can’t Khalid & Azmin who already have a state seat and is deep in the administration of the state handle whatever Anwar hope to do with a sole seat in the state and finally, if BN had decided to invoke the emergency laws and proceed with suspension of state legislature, do you think that Anwar owing one state seat would make any difference (after all they hardly blinked in Perak).

3

Let’s assume Lee Chin Cheh had to resign for a very good reason but unable to tell the real reason in public, don’t tell me that out of the many people in Pakatan (or rather PKR), they unable to find a good candidate to replace Lee and had to resort to Anwar as the last resort? He is not local as far as Kajang is concerned. This simply reinforces the notion that Lee resigned just for Anwar to step in and for no other reason.

Pakatan have been making the same mistake from day 1 and it is getting tiresome for some of us. If you take a closer look at Pakatan, there are way too many people holding more than 1 seat – one at Federal level and another at State level, as if there is only so many people in Pakatan capable to run for these seats. This has to stop and Kajang would be a good place to reinforce this message to politicians in Pakatan.

Pakatan should gets its seasoned politicians to focus on national issues at Federal level whilst the young, aspiring (and very loyal) politicians should be given a chance to play their role and contribute at State level. This way, Pakatan can be assured that there will be a sense of continuity and quality when the old and seasoned politicians retires.

4

Even if we take Anwar as the next best candidate for Kajang (let’s just assume lah), can he take the dual responsibility of managing Permatang Pauh and Kajang at the same time even though it may not be the same thing (ya, one deals with Parliament, another deals with State Assembly)?

Anwar had said that he has no problem managing the 2 constituencies and he may be right in a way. After all, the real work on ground is not done by the busy elected politicians but rather by their paid minions. It is nothing new and is normal since elected politicians simply don’t have time for all the trivial issues and that is the point here with Anwar.

Anwar should be focusing more on the national issues and on keeping Pakatan in one piece. It is very likely that he will not have time for constituencies (minions are helpful but it is not the same thing as they are not elected by the people)

5

Organizing a by-election is not cheap. It is a sheer waste of taxpayers money and time. There is no reason why we need to waste another few millions just because someone had an itch at a place where the sun don’t shine. Not when we are seeing price of basic goods skyrocketing in recent months.

So why add more to the expenses by the taxpayers? There is also an issue of the people need to spend time from work & more crucial activities to assist on the campaign and to vote. Will they be compensated for the time wasted?

6

Calling for BN to stay away from the by-election to save taxpayers money is undemocratic and borders political bullying. Just because the State is ran by Pakatan and they think that they can win the seat with one eye closed, that does not mean they can ask others to buzz off. Just imagine if BN had made the same call, Pakatan head honchos would have rolled on the floor in protest. Besides, it was PKR who caused the by-election in the first place, so why they should profit from it without a sweat?

7

It sets a dangerous precedent of political parties to take the electoral to resolve their internal dirty politics. We once thought that the back door ambush of powers in Perak a few years ago was the lowest point anyone can hit with electoral but with this sudden vacant of the N25 seat for no good reason means the threshold need to be revised again. This is indeed dangerous and the people should not be dragged into the political party internal issues. Why can’t they just resolve this within themselves?

8

With Anwar coming on-board after the public spat between Azmin Ali & Khalid Ibrahim, it may spell the end of Khalid’s remarkable administration of the State. Yes, they may say now that Anwar will not be the next MB and stress to the voters that at the highest he will go is until EXCO level.

But that does not mean the situation will not change in the near future when the relationship between Khalid and Azmin gets worse? Or when Anwar turns around and say that Khalid had “agreed” to step down and he or Azmin now takes over the MB seat? That would be disastrous indeed, not when Khalid is much favored by the people of Selangor and PKR’s partners in Pakatan to helm the Mentri Besar office.

Pakatan has going to the town apologizing to people of Kajang for the by-election and had called for the voters to support Pakatan again. But then again, it is an election that should not have happened in the first place. I think Anwar & Pakatan under-estimated the public backlash when Lee announced his resignation without a good reason & Anwar jumping on aboard to run for the seat.

Coupled with the reasons mentioned above and as much as I prefer Pakatan to Barisan anytime anywhere, perhaps democracy is best served by showing Anwar & Pakatan the exit in Kajang. A point must be made that no one – whether from Barisan or Pakatan can take the voters for a ride and in the end turns around and show the middle finger.

Preparing for BERSIH 4.0

UPDATE 1: From theSun –  KUALA LUMPUR (July 24, 2012): The High Court today quashed the declaration of Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein on July 1 last year declaring Bersih 2.0 an unlawful society. In her 30-page judgement, Rohana ruled that the decision to declare Bersih 2.0 unlawful was made without taking into account some relevant facts or by taking into account some irrelevant facts.

Back to the original post

Just a quick one…

(Out of the many images of BERSIH 3.0 that I have seen (including the overturn police patrol car), this has to be one of the most moving one – a Malaysian lying down in front of the police water cannon truck to stop them. It reminded me of the lone protestor who stood in front of the tanks during the Tiananmen Square. Image source: Lim SK @ Flickr)

We had BERSIH 1.0 in 2007 which was unprecedented (together with Hindraf rally), 2.0 in 2011 was better and forced the Government to appoint PSC to look into the electoral reforms and last week, we had 3.0 which saw the police getting some beating from the protestors (and a larger number of protestors and reporters getting the same from the police) and you can be rest assured that if the electoral reforms are not implemented in time or with the right and sincere thrust, we will have BERSIH 4.0 and more.

Whilst we all agree that there seems to be some kind of steps taken by the Government to address the electoral shortcomings and come up with a list of reforms, it means nothing if these reforms is not implemented in time before the next general elections especially when BN is just too eager to wrestle back the state of Selangor and Penang. Look at this way – election reforms passed by the Parliament is not something that the current Government is too eager to implement and if it is not for BERSIH 1.0 and 2.0, we would not even come close to any kind of electoral reforms. So, when the Government announces PSC to look into the electoral reforms last year, we were not sure whether it was to silent the calls for electoral reforms (the usual wayang kulit) or if they were indeed sincere to make the positive change (but it is a long shot indeed).

Thus BERSIH 3.0 was mooted because it was evident that many of the recommendations cannot be implemented soon. If the general election is indeed called in June, there is no way for the EC to implement all of the PSC’s recommendations in time. And if EC indeed proceed to implement the reforms sometime in the future, it may be too late. So, it is possible that we have not see the end of BERSIH rallies but hopefully if they have the next one, the organizers should look for a better solution on crowd control (whatever happens, the last thing we need is for the ordinary people to be fighting the police on the streets) and ensuring that political parties do not hijack the rally.

Yes, we need to keep up the pressure on the Government and on the EC not much on coming up with the list for electoral reforms (BERSIH have done the same way before PSC was appointed) but it should be more on the implementation of whatever reforms that has been proposed. And whilst we do that it should not at the expense of breaching the convention of a peaceful rally and violence against the police and making the rally ending up the oppositions’ rally. If we do that, you can expect that the next BERSIH rally will be more effective than the one we had last week and with a greater participation as well.

I will catch up with you next week…

It’s A Suicide But….

This is serious and very damaging…

(So, this was “suicide due to guilt feeling” back then but with a twist now – it is driven to suicide by aggressive interrogation. No matter how we look at it, Teoh Beng Hock should not be dead in the first place – it is a tragic loss and failure by MACC to conduct its business in the right way)

Free Malaysia Today reported:-

“It was found that he was not killed. But he was burdened and pressured by the interrogation, coupled with Teoh being a weak-willed person which triggered him to commit suicide,” he said.

Nazri said the RCI also found that MACC officers had no intention or reason to kill Teoh but only wanted to force a confession from him as a witness in their investigations into the alleged abuse of state allocations by DAP state assemblymen in Selangor.

“And his suicide is supported by forensic psychiatrist Dr Paul Mullen, who was engaged by the Bar Council,” he added.

Nazri said that Mullen noted that Teoh’s risk of committing suicide soared drastically due to the long hours of aggressive interrogation.

(Source)

Interestingly RPK in his series to uncover the killers of the late Customs Officer Ahmad Sarbaini (who died in a very similar way) wrote this:-

Sheikh Niza brought Ahmad Sarbaini to KUS Mohd Fauzi’s office, which was next door to the pantry (remember what happened to Teoh Beng Hock). Here, he was verbally abused. KUS Mohd Fauzi called Ahmad Sarbaini a disgrace to the Royal Malaysian Customs, that he was not fit to wear their uniform. Rather shaken up, Ahmad Sarbaini pleaded for pity and a drink of water.

Shockingly, they brought Ahmad Sarbaini to the pantry. Incredibly, as punishment for attempting to retract his ‘confession’, Mohd Fauzi ordered him to climb out of the window and forced him to stand on the ledge.

KUS Mohd Fauzi wanted Ahmad Sarbaini to ponder and reflect on his actions while standing on the edge as “orang macam kau ni lebih baik mati dari hidup menyusahkan orang lain”.
Nervously, Ahmad Sarbaini climbed onto the windowsill as ordered by Mohd Fauzi who continued taunting and abusing him with insults. Sheikh Niza merely looked on. In that split second, Ahmad Sarbaini’s belt got stuck on the outer part of the window and he lost his balance and his life.

(Source)

Does this equivalent to “aggressive, relentless, oppressive and unscrupulous” interrogation as well if what RPK is claiming is true (he wrote a similar story when Teoh was found dead)?

I am not sure whether the Royal Commission’s findings that Teoh was not killed but committed suicide due to aggressive interrogation is the kind of justice we expected to get at the end – almost 2 years after Teoh Beng Hock was found dead at MACC’s premise but it is still better than the previous ruling “he was not killed, he did not commit suicide”. It is not a closure though – there are plenty of repercussions ahead for the Government, MACC, the police and the AG.

RCI returned a verdict of suicide due to aggressive interrogation and noted Selangor MACC office namely brutality in interviews, poor interview skills, poor reporting, arrogance, poor relationship with the public and other agencies, insufficient use and understanding of the capacity of modern technology, possible problems with interaction between intelligence-gathering and evidence gathering and lack of discipline (remember the one where the officer was watching porn in office).

The next course of action would be on whether:-

1. Criminal action taken on the 3 MACC officers who deemed to have conducted the “aggressive, relentless, oppressive and unscrupulous” interrogation which let Teoh to break down and end up committing suicide.

Just because they did not pull the trigger, it does not mean they are innocent. Just because they did not “intend” for someone to die but through their action, someone did, it does not mean they are not punishable. When one is not found guilty of cold murder, there are still provisions under the law to find the person guilty under manslaughter.

Will we see the AG now “aggressively and relentlessly” proceed with manslaughter proceedings against the 3 MACC officers? Or it is going to be business as usual for these officers who only pursuing the interrogation based on what many perceived to be part of an evil, dirty political scheme to disrupt the administration of the Pakatan led state (remember this nonsense?)? And it is now found that the investigations that cause Teoh Beng Hock to die was done solely on an informant’s “mere belief” and without supporting facts!

Yes, it is a suicide but please consider this – Teoh is young with a promising career ahead and soon going to get married and have a kid. He was not suicidal.

And until the MACC’s interrogations, he was just a normal man, minding his own business. Damn, he was not even a suspect in the matter. In that respect, those MACC officers who pursued the interrogations should not be let off the hook so freely. Any punishments should be severe enough as a reminder for others that such recklessness and abuse of power is not tolerated in any degree and in no matter what is the purpose may be.

2. A complete overhaul of the whole MACC from the ground, all the way to the top.

MACC took over from the old ACA which many already deemed corrupt but after Teoh’s death and lack of similar devotion to investigate corruption reports on politicians from the ruling political parties, it seemed only the MACC is no different than ACA other in namesake (in some sense, worst with 2 unexplained deaths on its hands).

Seriously, generally not many think that MACC will ever change and the outcome of the RCI was something that has been predicted from the very start and it will be the same case for Ahmad Sarbaini. I mean if MACC have been really serious in combating corruption and blatant use of public funds from day 1, they would have dragged certain politician from the east by his neck and hung him up high and dry as a lesson for others.

Nothing happen back then, nothing will likely to happen now. Some shadow-play here and there is expected to be displayed to the general public to show “something serious” is being done to improve the organization, perhaps but nothing concrete is expected to materialized though.

Only with a total change of Government will we see any complete overhaul of the system that seemed corrupt to the core and beyond any redemption. We have no other choice whatsoever now. Otherwise, it will be another suicide and once again, the verdict would “not killed but driven to suicide – case closed”. Forced suicide is the last thing we want to see.

The Government had already lost the goodwill and international image with its hard stand on Bersih 2.0. Will they do the same by standing idle on the Royal Commission findings on Teoh Beng Hock’s death now? Will they ever put Teoh Beng Hock’s case to a proper closure?

2010 Reflection: Year of the BN

(Never underestimate the power of impressions, more so if it was handled by professionals. Image source: http://www.americanprogress.org)

2010 was unfortunately “their” year but they deserved it – they played their cards rights

One of the few best things that BN under Najib did in 2010 (although it was long, long overdue) was getting a new President for MIC but then again, MIC is old news and the old President did not go away with empty hands. He is still around on tax-payers’ payroll. But that is not the main reason why I say 2010 was the year of the BN. Let’s look back on what went wrong for PR and what went right for BN (in no particular order).

Went Wrong for PR

  • Keshwinder Singh of PR jumped ship to BN with a very flimsy excuse. People were getting tired of the “frogs” jumping out from the opposition camp
  • Resignation of Zaid Ibrahim from PKR who went out to form his own political party. Zaid was seen as the independent entity within Pakatan Rakyat to merge all the opposition parties
  • Resignation of Wee Choo Keong from PKR.
  • The “boo-boo” in conducting PKR’s party elections. PKR should have known that it would hit them in the face if they did it the wrong way
  • Banning the 1Malaysia logo despite it been used for years – it was simply stupid and downright childish
  • Sat on the submission of a PR friendly name for the Selangor State Secretary and when it was too late, get so hyped up
  • The hoo-haa on the illegal sand mining in Selangor and how badly the State Government reacted to the accusations
  • PR going all out to defend the criminals with outstanding traffic summons. Sometimes doing something popular does not mean doing something right
  • Start of the Third Force in the political arena which caused the concern that it will create a hung Parliament
  • Lost of the Hulu Selangor seat which was previously held by Pakatan Rakyat to a MIC junior politician (with Samy Vellu still on President’s seat)

Went Right for BN

  • Samy Vellu stepping down as MIC President
  • Khir Toyo (finally) charged for corruption but it was nothing to shout about it
  • Ling Liong Sik charged in the PKFZ fiasco – by then, one of the biggest fish to be hauled up by MACC
  • Najib unveiling NEM to propel the country to be high achievers, promising an interesting future for Malaysia
  • Putting a BN friendly entity to helm the State Secretary seat before PR Government decides to do anything about it
  • Dedicated “instigation” team to discredit the Selangor State Government

But frankly speaking, more damage done to Pakatan Rakyat by Pakatan Rakyat themselves than by BN and so-call NGOs.  If you think about it, some of the hard facts that Pakatan Rakyat failed to capitalised in ensuring continued voters’ support in the next general elections are:-

  • Selangor and Penang under Pakatan Rakyat is doing better than the time it was under BN. There is clear sense of accountability and reduction of corruption under PR than under BN
  • Samy Vellu is not out of the picture – he is still leeching tax-payers’ money in his new assignment (out of the many thousands eligible Malaysians, the Government cannot find no other better person?) and he is yet to be made accountable for the MAIKA fiasco
  • No head up on the PKFZ investigations and prosecution of those had raped millions of tax-payer’s money despite big fishes charged by MACC but who to is going to repay back the millions burned in this project
  • MACC is yet to be very effective – corruption is still riding high in East Malaysia according to reports in the Sarawak Report
  • BN is still weak in management of tax payers money – more so after Idris Jala warned of the high subsidies been paid out to keep prices artificially low. Still remember Tourism Minister RM1.28 million overseas trips?
  • Charge of corruption against Khir Toyo seems too late, too little – what about others?
  • The “Allah” issue – how well unity and integration among Malaysians been in 2010? BN is still consist of race based political parties but PR is more spread out and represents Malaysia as whole better.
  • Politician’s wife interference with the administration tasks and abuse of tax payers’ money (the lady is going on 3 nation trip but on who’s money?)
  • The case of Teoh Beng Hock who died when under interrogation by MACC is yet to be resolved.  He did not commit suicide but there is no homicide as well.

BN played the public relations card very well – they managed to play up PR’s shortcomings and in-fighting, play up the good things that the BN Government have done and at the same time down play the mess that the BN Government has and down play the good things that the PR State Government have done. It is not a big surprise indeed. After all, they had the means (APCO, mainstream media, etc) and the cash to pay for the public relations which would have been expensive. In 2010, PR was certainly at a disadvantage when it comes to the battle of the public relations.

And you can be rest assured that BN will continue to play their upper hands on the war of public relations in 2011 and all the way until they are able to wrestle back the State of Selangor and Penang. What PR can do to counter that and get at least some of the confidence lost in 2010 in 2011? What PR can do to reverse the tables on BN?

Some of the steps that PR can take to improve their image and more importantly, the stand with the cautious voters is nothing new – in fact, we can take the cue from BN for some ideas, for example:-

1. Appoint a professional PR agency / military strategist / professional chess-player to advise PR on how to project a more stable, viable and feasible coalition and how to keep one step ahead of the more experienced, better “armed” BN. Just make sure that the agency’s fees are paid from political party funds instead from the State funds so that integrity of appointment can be persevered and creates no room for scandals.

2. Have proper channel for party members to voice their grievousness without them need to make noise in the mainstream media (where the fact can be presented in advantage of BN), twitters, blogs or personal press conferences. Once the channel has been established, ensure that all comments, critics and suggestions by the members are given its due consideration. For those who have a valid complaint / suggestions, give them the room to make their case – it will be helpful in the long run. For those who been making noise because they just want more position and without any substance, there is no need to tolerate them further – just kick them out from the party to minimize the damage.

3. Have periodic update of the oppositions’ progress of work – similar to BN’s KPI but back it with hard facts and statistics. Periodic updates need to be disseminated in multiple media and channels. Such dissemination of information is not only important to counter BN’s accusations and arguments but also to keep the voters who voted them into power updated on the progress of their representatives. Don’t take voters for a ride – voters know how to read in between the lines too

4. Have a selection committee to vet through candidates and representatives to ensure that they work for the people and is not easily swayed by emotion and personal views. Work closely with the Third Force and NGOs who can provide candidates with the right set of values. Give way to pulse of the local community – one good example, getting the right candidates to be appointed leaders to head Sabah and Sarawak branches.

5. Focus on actual work that benefits the people instead of working to highlight the past wrongdoing of the previous Government. Since 2008, too much time, effort and energy been wasted on digging out the past administration mess instead of moving on and doing a good job for the people. At the same time, the effort of digging up the wrongdoing of the previous administration should be left to the enforcement agencies in the country (if they sleep on this, fire the whole lot after you have become the Government)

6. Be more proactive and ensure that what need to be done to ensure smooth operation of the Government is done as early as possible and with the right procedures. Don’t wait until the BN appoints their own people before deciding to the change the constitution and finalizing your set of lists. After all, making the first move is a good strategy and makes it difficult for attacks to be made.

Frankly speaking, it does not take a genius to make the “dos and don’ts list” for Pakatan Rakyat to get their act together in 2011. There is no assurance that they will win back most of the confidence lost on them over the years since 2008 but who knows, Malaysians are forgiving type and there is a pain in the neck called BN who have not make major changes for the betterment of the country.

We still need the opposition to be strong and viable to provide the alternative option for the country. We have been doing nothing but waste money and precious time, bickering among ourselves instead of focusing on what is more important. For Pakatan Rakyat, 2010 was not their year but who knows what can happen in 2011.

Listen up and start getting things done.

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2010: Politics in Malaysia was won by Public Relations?

Political Double Speak

1Malaysia Banned

(Before 2008, BN was beyond acceptable level of arrogance and egoism. After 2008, PR provided some hope but it simply gets too political instead of getting the job done for the benefit of the people. Hopefully the “Third Force” changes the whole political landscape for the better. Image source: The People’s Parliament)

Here is one good reason why we need better candidates for the next general election…

Selangor has banned advertisements on billboards that feature the 1Malaysia logo.

The 1Malaysia logo is a political logo, said state Housing and Local Government Committee chairman Ronnie Liu, adding that this contravenes local by-laws.

“You don’t see any billboard in Selangor carrying the PKR, PAS or DAP logo,” he told The Star, adding that the prohibition was not a new development.

(Source)

Whilst some may argue double standards on part of PR in Selangor, I think it is rather childish of PR State Government for banning the logo 1Malaysia from billboards and here is why I say so:-

1. Why now? 1Malaysia was “coined” by Najib (or APCO according to Anwar) way back in 2008 and since then to now (more than 2 years and counting), I am pretty sure thousands of billboards and notices in Selangor have the logo “1Malaysia” prominently displayed and all this time, there has been silence from the State Government. So, what triggered the ban now?

2. Where is the damage? Those who been following up on the political news would know that from day 1, the concept of 1Malaysia has been shrouded in secrecy and uncertainty. BN says 1Malaysia but at the same, been linked with acts that go against our understanding of 1Malaysia. If Najib led Najib does not uphold the principles of 1Malaysia, it is damaging for BN and if he upholds it (by action), it is good for the people (isn’t that PR is fighting for all this while?).

3. It is, after all, just a slogan (yes, it is an expensive one but still…). Still remember the famed “don’t work for me but work with me” bullshit? Do I need to say more?

Well, I have supported PR in most of the embarrassing issues and “attacks” from pro-BN blogs and media but this time, PR in Selangor have gone and done something rather…childish. As RPK have mentioned in Malaysia Today (many times), PR does not need BN (or anyone else for that matter) to shove the long end of a pole into their back – they can do that just fine (and better) themselves.

Anyway, it is Christmas this weekend, so have a nice weekend and Merry Christmas. Hopefully things will get sane next week and if that does not happen, the next weekend is New Year.

Snippets – 6 December 2010

A quickie before the holidays…

Khir Toyo Charged with Corruption

Ha, some interesting development with fishing in the “big fish” by the MACC

(Khir claims that this whole piece of property only valued RM3.5 million when others claims that it is about RM24 million. What do you think? Image source: TheStar)

The hands of the law could have done it better (like that costly RM1.8 million trip to Disneyland and the missing RM9.9 million Balkis fiasco) but I guess something is better than nothing…

The Star reports:-

Former Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo has been charged with accepting two land lots for RM3.5mil when the said lots were bought by Ditamas Sdn Bhd director Shamsuddin Haryoni for RM6.5mil.

The charge under Section 165 of the Penal Code carries a two-year jail term, fine or both.

Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail commended the MACC for a thorough investigation into the case and the prosecution would be calling about 16 witnesses.

Whilst we will looking forward with this case rather interestingly (because charging is one thing, conviction is another – still remember PKFZ?), one have to wonder why the AG took that long to pull the man into the “cage”?

The AG have explained it – we hope that the case is water-tight – the last we want is for this case ending up as nothing but shadow play for the Government’s concerted fight against corruption. We do not want those who wasted tax-payers’ money by the millions to slither away by means of technicality and lack of evidence (we sure hope having rival groups to the “Conquer Selangor Mission” has nothing to do with it).

Samy Vellu (yes, finally!) Steps Down

(End of an era or end of a headache? Image source: www.daylife.com)

So, this is it? After years being a pain in a neck for the community, MAIKA shareholders and many of the highway users, we finally heard this – “The moment I leave this room, I am no longer the president” – Hallelujah!

But it sounds like it is not the end of the story. Not the end of the taxpayers’ money wasted down the drain. Free Malaysia Today reports:-

So the deal was made. Samy Vellu leaves, and in return he gets the post of Malaysia’s special envoy for infrastructure to South Asian countries. A position with ministerial status. It is also apparently to give him face, provide him a dignified exit.

But why should the MIC get another ministerial position after its poor performance at the last general election? Where is the regard for values if rewards are given when they are not deserved?

More importantly, why create a new position which would incur cost to the taxpayer? Samy Vellu’s salary, perks, claims and whatever else in the new position he’s taking will amount to a substantial amount. Why does the rakyat have to pay for it?

Does that sounds so wonderful – some kind of “rewards” for the earlier date for stepping down as the President!

Child Marriage

(A case of a wealthy Muslim cleric who took a 12-year-old girl as his unofficial wife. In Indonesia, the court was not amused with this and handed six years prison sentence. In Malaysia, it is a whole different story. Image source: http://sheikyermami.com)

For a moment there, I thought it happened some where in deep, lawless village in Pakistan but as one can say, nothing is impossible in Bolehland.

The New Sunday Times had front-paged the picture of 14-year-old Siti Marham Mahmod, and husband Abdul Manan Othman, who participated in a 1Malaysia wedding celebration at the Federal Territory Mosque on Saturday. The couple had tied the knot in July after getting the consent of the Syariah Court (Source)

It is good that the Government via the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry is making a lot of noise on this but will the “noise” translate it into forceful action?

And the funny part of the whole deal is that the marriage was approved by the Syariah Court – what happened to the protection of the minor? Why the parents could not wait for a few more years until the minor is able to decisions for herself? It certainly unsettling that this is happening in a modern Malaysia. Still think we are on route to achieving Vision 2020?

And lastly…I leave you with a joke…yes, it is

(The mean big brother is no more? According to MCA supremo, everyone is equal. Image source: Blogger)

At least, that is what I thought when I read this:-

MCA made full use of today’s Barisan Nasional (BN) convention to push for equal treatment within the coalition, sternly telling its Umno allies that there should not be a “big brother, small brother” system in the ruling pact (Source)

Ya, right!

Read Also

Don’t change the country, change your government

New Found Care?

I guess to portray a bad image on someone; you can try to make as much noise as possible and hope that the real facts gets drown in the noise…

(What is the real mission of “Misi Tawan Selangor”? Want to wrestle back the state for the good of the people in Selangor or to continue the nonsense that happened before the last general election? Image source: here)

Selangor BN been quite sore ever since they lost one of the “wealthiest” State in Malaysia, so this piece of news was not a big surprise:-

Selangor Barisan Nasional Youth will send a memorandum to the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, on Thursday on the sand and water issues in the state.

State Barisan deputy chairman Datuk Seri Noh Omar said the memorandum to be sent to Istana Kayangan here, would appeal to the Sultan to advise the Selangor government not to risk the state’s future merely for its own political interest.

Another 17 ceramah will be held until Aug 8 as part of the ‘Save Selangor” roadshow which will also raise issues such as the alleged lies by PKR advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, sand mining controversy involving Kumpulan Semesta Sdn Bhd and the alleged crisis in the Pakatan Rakyat state government.

(Source)

I never trusted Noh Omar and his justifications to bring Selangor back to BN’s control. At the end of the day, it is nothing but politics. I am part of Selangor and I just want to ask this Noh Omar one simple question – “What Selangor Pakatan Rakyat have done that is worse than the time Selangor was led by Khir Toyo?”

Let us trace our steps back for a moment.

Illegal sand mining?

Well, that problem had been a pain in the neck even before PR took over the state. So, what’s the big deal? At least the PR State Government is pressured by the own people to work on this (I did not hear the same when Khir was at the pilot’s seat). BN only came in later – perhaps exhausted of new ideas to go against PR in Selangor.

And talking about BN making a lot of noise on sand mining, here is a disturbing news from the net:-

There apparently is more than meets the eye in Barisan Nasional’s attacks on the Selangor government over the sand-mining issue.

There may be large reserves of tin underneath the sand and BN does not want them discovered while Selangor is under Pakatan Rakyat’s rule, according to a memorandum submitted to the state government by the Sand Mining Operators and Contractors Action Committee, which represents sand-related businesses registered with the state-owned Kumpulan Semesta Sdn Bhd.

The memorandum, signed by the committee’s chairman, Raja Kamaruddin Raja Abdul Wahid, urged the state not to give in to BN’s demands.

(Source)

It may just be the case of sand contractors trying to protect their source of income but then again, what if what they are saying is true? Whatever the reason may be, eliminating illegal sand mining activities in the State is not an easy matter.

What remains to be seen is how effective the PR led State Government is in managing the sand mining in the state and coming down hard on illegal miners.

Water issue in Selangor?

No water issue during Khir Toyo’s time? Are you sure, Noh? Still recall Bukit Cerakah? Is it due to blatant development of water catchment areas during the BN’s time that the State may face a water crisis now?

And it is not like the PR State Government is not aware of the potential water crisis:-

Khalid insisted that there would be sufficient water supply to meet the demands of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur consumers up to the year 2019, based on expert consultations and their calculations of population growth rate, past and present water consumption rates, current production capacity, and water levels in the dams.

He also cautioned against pushing through a large, lucrative contract like the Pahang-Selangor water transfer, saying that it that would incur further national debt, and recommended instead that the project be implemented in 2016.

Khalid had also suggested four alternatives to meet growing water demands instead of the costly Pahang-Selangor water transfer project.

He called for an increased promotion of water recycling, including rainwater harvesting; the exploration of alternative sources of water, such as water from rivers and lakes; and underground water technologies.

Khalid also cited the need to reduce the current high non-revenue water (NRW) rate from 35 per cent to below 20 per cent, and to improve the inter-connectivity of water supply by ensuring a more efficient water transfer from the northern to the southern region of Selangor.

(Source)

Is the transfer of water from Pahang the only option available for Selangor? Any Plan B in the pocket? What happens if Pahang also faces a water crisis in the future (PR claims that Pahang plan is not a viable solution & there is a conflict of interest) – so where that leaves Selangor?

PR Government is right to push on alternatives for now – they should implement the alternatives and see the impact. They should strive for long term plan on the water resources in the State.

There seems to be a concerted effort by BN to portray PR as being very reckless with management of water. But are they? If you still recall, in 2009 there was a proposal from the State Government to take over the various water operators in the State but guess who went and sabotaged it?

Read Nut Graph’s “Who caused Selangor’s Water Woes?” for the twist.

Final Say

PR State Government is not perfect; I have to admit that – they have their faults especially when it comes to getting all the 3 component political parties to work together and agree on the policies and directions. Finger pointing and dissatisfaction by the PR politicians among each other in the open can be a serious “pain in the neck” for those voted them in.

But at least, they are more accountable than the previous Government. The State’s Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency have done a fine job unearthing abuses of power and funds by both BN & PR and that should keep everyone on their toes.

And finally, at least under PR, I don’t see the current MB going off to Disneyland with his family and his maids using the state’s funds or seeing any PR assemblymen building palaces and show their middle finger to the authorities at the same time. At least some of the nonsense has stopped.

Read Also

Letter by Tony Pua on the issue

Snippets – 14 May 2010

Damn!

Some called the shooting of a boy who stole a car, involved in a hit and run and failed to stop when ordered by the police as tragedy. In real sense, this is more tragic:-

A 10-year-old schoolgirl died after she is believed to have accidentally hanged herself at home while re-enacting a movie suicide scene.

(Source: TheStar)

At end of the day, it is up to the parents of the young ones to educate the children on what is wrong and what is right and what is real and what is fantasy. They need to keep very close eyes on the young ones so that such tragedy can be avoided. Sometimes it is too late to realise this.

No doubt, working parents may not have the time to watch over their kids all the time. I know since I face the same problem but whenever possible I make sure my son is aware of his environment and to be more careful when we are not around. Negative thoughts are quickly analysed and talked to so that we aware of the source of the negative thoughts – whether it is due to wrong information, wrong perception of things or miscommunication.

But still, young children dying needlessly is tragic.

Wee Resigns

What a 180’ degree turn – just last month MP Wee Choo Keong said this in his blog:-

The truth is I have been ignoring a series of reports in these news portals (and others) where it had made at least 4 false allegations that I was supposed to have resigned from PKR on various occasions.

I have reasons to believe that the false allegations were fed by a few “little napoleons” with the predominant aim to damage my reputation and/or force me out of the party.

When the assurance come that he is not resigning, we were happy that the rumours turn out to be nothing but rumours. We were happy that PR politicians were still keeping things close. But now, Wee Choo Keong had confirmed resigned from PKR and turns to an independent (what a timing he has, just before Sibu by-elections). We now wonder whether the rumours were the true after all.

(MP Wee and PKR during the good times – Image source: http://www.mysinchew.com)

Apparently Wee is not happy with how things been going in Selangor (even though he is not even representing a constituency in Selangor) and therefore decided to resign. We do expect PR politicians to be different from the BN politicians when it comes to issues but washing dirty linen at the eve of major elections is NOT one of them. What happened to asking questions on how the Government works in the State Assembly or Parliament or working through the systems?

Certainly Anwar have a bigger problem now. With the Sodomy II in play, Anwar needs to consider just how many of the remaining PKR elected politicians are frogs in the waiting. It is an irony that PKR (in form of Anwar) has been the strongest link in Pakatan Rakyat (who else can bring DAP and PAS to agree on the common issues) and yet it (in form of its politicians) had remained the weakest link in destabilising the Pakatan Rakyat’s foothold in Parliament.

Hopefully lessons are learned and weaknesses are resolved before the next election.

Neighbours & Police

This is assuring news after the police put under spotlight recently:-

Seven burglars were caught red-handed by police as they were ransacking a house at Taman Kinrara in Puchong early this morning.

(Source: Malay Mail)

Good for the neighbours who been on the lookout of the suspicious characters in the neighbourhood. It is time for bring back the concept of Rukun Tetangga and foster “good working relationship” among the neighbours – more importantly to improve security in the neighbourhood.

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