Hornbill Unleashed

September 2, 2014

Moments of introspection

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CAPT DR THIRU JR

I JUST attended an international leadership conference at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre last week. I wrote this in the midst of mourning the victims of flight MH17 and the yet-to-be-found passengers and crew of MH370.

Like most Malaysians, I was dressed in a black suit and observed a minute’s silence, offering a silent and surrendered prayer.

At times like these, it is hard not to find yourself thinking of the fragility of human life. I have personally experienced the painful separation of loved ones through death i.e. the loss of both parents while I was still in school. My wife had also suffered similar tragedy, losing two of her only brothers early in life through vector-borne diseases. (more…)

January 10, 2014

Who is “The Choosen One”?

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Leslley Kalom

The term of present Sarawak Governor, Tun Haji Abang Sallahudin Bin Abang Barieng, formerly known with his Christian name, Louis Barieng expired on 28th February 2014

Rumours spreading around in Kuching saying that Yang Dikasehi, Chief Monster of Sarawak, Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud will step down on or before that date and took over as the new Governor of Sarawak.

Everybody knows that this is his dream following his uncle footsteps, Tun Rahman Yaakub

There is a “believe” that once you get the title Tun, therefore you’re imune, invisible and untouchable by Law but that is a false believe. (more…)

November 19, 2013

Is there light at the end of the tunnel

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Mutti Anggitta

The development of civilian nuclear programs in Southeast Asia has been very difficult. The region is not only subject to large-scale and frequent natural disasters, but has also faced various technical, financial and political difficulties. This may explain why five projects to construct nuclear research or power reactors in Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand and the Philippines have remained canceled since 1971. Despite this gloomy past, the states in the region have not ended their interests in nuclear power. This may be due to rapid regional economic growth that led to a steady increase in electricity demand, which then further increased the need to reduce a reliance on oil and gas as main energy sources. (more…)

November 18, 2013

Disaster at our doorstep

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Bob Teoh

The Philippines is our close neighbour yet we are seemingly unaware that an unprecedented disaster has just swept through there leaving countless dead and millions devastated.

The Philippines is so close to us that its southern most islands are just a boat ride away from the east side Sabah. It takes just less than two hours to fly from Kota Kinabalu to Manila or below four hours from Kuala Lumpur. (more…)

January 27, 2013

Social media a double-edged sword for Umno

Boo Su-Lyn

Najib stressed that voters at the coming 13th general election were more concerned with what the government could do for them in future. – File pic

Social media is both a boon and a bane for Umno as it caused Barisan Nasional (BN) to lose its customary two-thirds parliamentary majority in Election 2008, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said yesterday.

The prime minister told CNN anchor Fareed Zakaria at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Switzerland yesterday that voters were getting more educated and critical.

“I see the advent of ICT, social media as both something good, but also our bane. Could be our Achilles heel as well,” said Najib in the interview with Fareed. (more…)

January 25, 2013

When ‘good enough’ is better than ‘best’

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Bernard Fook Weng Loo

Technology as a force multiplier is a familiar argument for states with limited strategic resources — such as manpower — to overcome. However, the lasting qualitative advantages any armed forces should seek may not come from technology.

Technology is necessarily short-lived. Five years ago, portable storage devices — so-called thumb drives — with megabytes of storage space were considered fairly cutting-edge technologies. Then came along portable hard drives with hundreds of megabytes of storage space. Today, mobile storage devices contain gigabytes of space.

Technological change is accelerating and, once measured by the century, is today likely to occur every year. (more…)

January 5, 2013

Will 2013 bite us?

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Yanto Soegiarto

 According to Chinese traditional beliefs, 2013 is the year of the water snake. That means it will be a tricky year. With the snake, it’s not always easy to tell which direction it is going to go in. That will probably be the same with the year 2013. It will seem to go in one direction and then, very unexpectedly, veer in a completely different direction.

It’s a year that will be full of uncertainty and surprises, whether political, social or economic.

The Mayan calendar got it wrong because the world didn’t end in 2012. Nostradamus’ predictions of wars and disasters in the 21st century have yet to be proved. (more…)

December 27, 2012

The smartphone rebate just got stupider

A. Asohan

  • Only eligible for pre-approved devices costing under RM500; other qualifying criteria just as bad
  • Smartphone rebate still stinks of an election ploy, with possible ‘crony play’ now added in as well

ONE of the most flabbergasting initiatives unveiled by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (pic), Malaysia’s Prime Minister and Finance Minister, in his proposed national budget, was a rebate of RM200 (US$65) for youths to purchase a 3G smartphone.

As my colleague Karamjit Singh noted in his commentary, Budget 2013 smartphone rebate: A stupid thing to do, the RM300 million (US$98 million) could have been put to better use on other initiatives to develop the ICT ecosystem in the country. (more…)

December 26, 2012

Rise in domestic debt places Malaysia at risk of crisis, economists warn

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Ida Lim

Kuala Lumpur skyline at dusk. WSJ reported that Malaysia had one of the higher figures of debt levels in the region, with the country’s credit-to-GDP ratio this June rising to 117 per cent from 96 per cent in late 2007. – Reuters pic

Economists warn that a rise in domestic debt that has been keeping Asia’s economy strong could place the region, which includes Malaysia, at risk of a major crisis, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.

The WSJ noted the great increase in the number of loans being taken by Asian businesses and individuals due to the low interest rates offered by banks.

But Frederic Neumann, co-head of Asian economic research at HSBC, warned that the Asia could be at the brink of a major debt crisis, saying: “I believe we are at the beginning of a major debt cycle in Asia.” (more…)

December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

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hu xmas (more…)

December 21, 2012

Will we live to see Christmas?

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Stanley Koh

Malaysians have no doubt that the earth will spin on.

The world is supposed to end today (Friday), but Malaysians are generally keeping their cool, unlike many other people across the globe.

There has been no panic buying of food or attempted suicide, as has happened in other places, including China and the United States. Neither was there any indication that anyone will be celebrating, unlike in Mexico, where believers in the Doomsday theory are planning to get together to take their last collective breath. (more…)

December 3, 2012

Your Digital Legacy: States Grapple with Protecting Our Data After We Die

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Computer Server Room

Katy Steinmetz

Who is allowed to read through your e-mails — or update your Facebook page — when you die? In many states across the U.S., there are no clear answers to such basic legal questions.That’s why Cynthia Creem, along with numerous other policymakers nationwide, is fighting to bring clarity to the high-tech confusion. A Massachusetts state senator, Creem proposed a bill this year that would give executors access to e-mail accounts of the deceased. “You would certainly have access to somebody’s desk,” Creem says. “Why should this be any different?” Her bill would make Massachusetts the sixth state to put a “digital asset” law on the books. But tech companies are wary of new privacy-related legislation — and in this case, Google hired a lobbyist to oppose it. (more…)

December 2, 2012

No free BN radios for Sarawak rural folk, says deputy minister

Bernama

The Barisan Nasional (BN) in Sarawak will not give out free transistor radios to the people, especially those in rural areas, for campaigning purposes before the coming general election.

Deputy Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Joseph Salang said this was because since its formation in 1973, the BN had been synonymous with the country’s rapid development, progress and prosperity.

The opposition in Sarawak is giving radios to rural folk.  (more…)

November 21, 2012

Will social media sway Malaysia’s elections?

Kalinga Seneviratne

Politicians are becoming media savvy in Malaysia, using social media to appeal to “netizens”.

“We lost the internet war,” Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has said [Reuters]

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Malaysia is gearing up for a general election in six months and as the campaigns enter the crucial voter-courting phase many observers are wondering if the political “tsunami”, which severely weakened the ruling National Front coalition (BN) at the 2008 polls, might be repeated. (more…)

November 17, 2012

Young Adults’ Twitter Code of Conduct

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Louis Liaw

A tongue-in-cheek piece on some observations made via Twitter. Descriptions below may or may not apply to persons on Twitter with whom the author associates, or disassociates, himself.

DON’Ts

1. Don’t brag, intentionally or unintentionally

Do not tweet that you are hitting the gym, or attending an extra course, or going for class and most importantly never ever tweet about your accomplishments – such as scoring an A or winning a case. Because we all know that you are just showing off, that you have to announce your achievements to the whole world to feed your poor ego. And yes, we all know that many others on Twitter (especially the Enforcers of this Code)  could do better if they were to do what you did, only that they don’t want to. (more…)

November 16, 2012

Chinese traditional medicine

Sim Kwang Yang

Growing up in Kuching as a boy, my first contact with medical treatment was of the herbal Chinese type. The services of Western medical science were expensive, and unaffordable in my youth, so Chinese medicine was the only medical care that we could have access to.

We never had enough money to see the handful of doctors in practice in Kuching, in those days. Of course, modern private medicine can also be hugely expensive today because of the burgeoning cost of healthcare, even though we now have many more doctors around us.

Now that I am grown up, and older, I suppose I have more faith in Western medicine. But I still retain a lingering love for Chinese medicine. (more…)

November 15, 2012

Revisiting the ‘Heart of Darkness’

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Sim Kwang Yang

One of my favourite books is the novel written by Joseph Conrad, entitled ‘Heart of Darkness’. It is a short novella, documenting the death of an adventurer in the dark continent of Africa.

Joseph Conrad was actually a Polish national, but carved for himself a giant territory in the world of English literature. He wrote many books which were largely characterised by sea adventures. These were stories gleaned from his experiences and materials collected when he was a seaman.

‘Heart of Darkness’ tells the story of a merchant company agent by the name of Mr Kurtz, who died in the jungles of Africa. Working in the field for a company in the shipping business, Kurtz fell ill in the course of his duties, and died on the job. (more…)

October 7, 2012

Sarawak Workers Party in troubled waters ?

Dukau Papau

Trouble is said to be brewing in the five-month old Sarawak Workers Party apparently stirred up by financial problems as three members of its supreme council are quitting, an inside source revealed today.

Even some of its potential candidates, including Ellison Ludan, a lecturer tipped to vie against Aaron Dagang in Kanowit are said to be taking the feet off the gas pedal of their political activities for the same reason, he said.

The source said: “Many of its workers and singers accompanying them to longhouses have complained that they have not been paid their promised allowances. (more…)

August 8, 2012

PANIC IN SABAH: Najib won’t be able to do better than Badawi in GE-13

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Joe FernandezPANIC IN SABAH: Najib won't be able to do better than Badawi in GE-13

Suddenly, nothing is certain nor sacred anymore and the future is entirely up for grabs by anyone willing to risk a gamble on the odds. The alternative is being consigned to the dustbin of history. The trick lies in connecting the dots in time. After all, we pass this way only once.

The essence, in short, is in the timing as even acknowledged by the chaos theory of management and crisis managers.

It cannot be denied that the ruling Barisan Nasional, despite the absence of a definite ideology but only a Confucianism of sorts, has made a most lucrative career for long – indeed too long – out of being political opportunists of the highest order. Perhaps it’s only too true that a people get a Government that they deserve. There’s also something to be said for the fact that you can bluff some of the people some of the time but not all the people all the time. Every dog has its day. (more…)

August 5, 2012

A different kind of gold rush

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Jeswan Kaur

Are our athletes today competing with the objective of hitting the bull’s eye to earn a handsome reward?

Malaysia’s top single’s shuttler Lee Chong Wei is under tremendous pressure to bring home the country’s first Olympic gold medal. In the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, he secured a silver medal and hope against hope is that he will eventually strike gold.

Lee previously held the world No 1 title for four years until archrival Lin Dan over took him this year. Once again there is trepidation come the Lee-Lin Dan face off – and it is understandable, for all eyes are on Lee, who is expected to make the country proud by emerging victorious. (more…)

July 21, 2012

Chopper crashes into river mouth *latest! Updated!

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Borneo Post online

EUROCOPTER EC 120: This is the model of the helicopter that crashed into Sungai Teriso estuary yesterday. — Bernama photo

A private helicopter carrying three passengers to Nanga Merit Kapit Division crashed into Sungai Teriso estuary near Sebuyau 150 km from here at about 9.30am yesterday.

The German pilot Rico Steger, 35, managed to get out from the wreckage and swam for a few hours before reaching Kampung Tebelu, Sebuyau, clad only in boxer shorts shortly past noon.

State police chief Datuk Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani, confirming the incident, said a group of fishermen rescued the pilot at the river estuary and brought him to Kampung Tebelu. (more…)

June 4, 2012

Stop dithering over electoral reforms, Proham tells Putrajaya

Proham

Proham in a statement today said there has been a public loss of confidence in the Election Commission and the electoral process as a whole.

Putrajaya must focus on promised reforms in the next month ahead of national polls to resolve the “electoral crisis” instead of getting defensive over the chaos of the April 28 rally, human rights watchdog Proham said today.

The ex-human rights commissioners group wants the federal government to set up a permanent monitoring committee to oversee the 22 points proposed by a temporary parliamentary panel set up last year to boost flagging public confidence in the Election Commission (EC). (more…)

February 19, 2012

Debate winner irrelevant to sway support for GE13

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Leslie Lau,

Both Lim and Dr Chua spent their televised debate offering viewers a glimpse of what they have already seen and heard before. – Picture by Jack Ooi

ANALYSIS, Feb 19 — In the matter of Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek against Lim Guan Eng, the key question may not be who won yesterday’s debate but whether it will make a difference to how Malaysians will vote in the next general elections.

And the answer is probably no. (more…)

January 30, 2012

Beware of the New Year

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Sim Kwang Yang

According to ancient Chinese mythology, the New Year beast is an ancient beast that used to terrorise the human world every so often. The New Year celebration has always meant to be noisy and boisterous in our attempt to frighten away this horrid beast to ensure that we can live in peace and prosperity in the New Year.

The New Year also signifies a new beginning in an eternal turn of seasons. It is a time for farmers to harvest old crops and enjoy the hard earned rest at the end of the year before replanting the fields.

For the Chinese people, the New Year is an all important turn in the eternal cycle of life in their agrarian mode of existence. Time for the Chinese is forever cyclical.

Much of the meaning of the New Year has its roots in the Chinese agricultural way of life. The New Year is a day of rest from their annual toil of working the fields. It is time to celebrate the harvest and enjoy it in happiness with family. (more…)

January 2, 2012

Will we see a change of government in Malaysia in the coming general election?

Will we see a change of government in Malaysia in the coming general election? — Liew Chin Tong

Liew Chin Tong

The 12th general election in 2008 produced a devastating result for Barisan Nasional. BN received 49 per cent of popular votes in the Peninsula while the opposition gained a combined vote of 51 per cent.

Nationally, after taking into account of votes from Sabah and Sarawak, the tally was reversed with BN 51 per cent versus the opposition at 49 per cent.

In terms of seats, on 8th March 2008, BN gained 85 seats in the Peninsula while the opposition 80 seats.

The opposition managed to get only one (Bandar Kuching) of the 31 parliamentary seats in Sarawak and one (Kota Kinabalu) of 25 in Sabah. In the Peninsula, the opposition won one (Bakri) of 26 seats in Johor and two (Kuantan and Indera Mahkota) of Pahang’s 13 parliamentary seats.

The four “fixed deposit” states of BN has a total of 95 seats. A change of federal government will happen if the opposition wins a third of the parliamentary seats in the states of Sabah, Sarawak, Johore and Pahang. (more…)

December 11, 2011

‘Wong forfeits right to contest if he boycotts TDC’

Joseph Tawie

Deputy secretary general and team cannot take their seats with them if they resign from SUPP, says outgoing president George Chan

Sarawak United People’s Party will remain with the State Barisan Nasional even if the six state assemblymen resign from the party, said presidential candidate Peter Chin.

Chin is posied to win the presidential race tomorrow if rival Wong Soon Koh, who is also the party’s deputy secretary general, sees through his threat to boycott the triennial delegates’ conference (TDC) today.

Wong and his team issued the threat over what they alleged were irregularities in branch level party polls. They have lodged several reports with the Registrar of Society (ROS) and want the TDC postponed until ROS completes its investigation. (more…)

December 10, 2011

Will SUPP recover in time?

Alan Ting

The weekend delegates conference will decide whether the state’s oldest political party will stay afloat or sink.

The Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) triennial delegates conference (TDC) this weekend will be watched keenly as it represents what observers believe the last chance for the party “to correct things” or continue to face a downfall in the next general election.

Going by the record in the last two state elections, the party appears to be getting weaker due to, what many believe, the problem of perceptions – that it has failed to represent the people’s voices – and because of the internal conflicts it has been facing since 2004.

The party lost 13 of the 19 seats it contested in the April polls, including Piasau, the seat contested by party president Dr George Chan. In 2006, SUPP lost six seats. (more…)

December 5, 2011

Why does Umno fear DAP so?

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Terence Netto

Looked at forensically, in politics the strength of some leader or party cannot be measured merely by the size of support he or she commands or that the party is capable of delivering.

The torrent of abuse that the DAP drew from speakers, both prominent and obscure, at the ongoing Umno general assembly testifies to this reality of leaders or parties weighing in the political balance in ways disproportionate to their strength in terms of membership or representation in legislatures.

Higher Education Minister Khaled Nordin (left), expected to be menteri besar of Johor after the general election, acknowledged this reality when he speculated on the reasons why speakers at the Umno assembly targeted the DAP with special venom.

Deputy Prime Minister and deputy president of Umno Muhyiddin Yassin led the way in his address to the youth and women wings of the party where he branded the DAPas anti-Malay, anti-Islam and anti-royals. (more…)

The mother of all electoral abuses

Lim Hong Hai

I refer to the Malaysiakini report, ‘A retiree exposes gerrymandering in Sabah’, and applaud Ng Chak Ngoon for his contribution, especially his graph on the unequal numbers of voters among electoral constituencies.

The delineation of constituencies has long been considered unfair because of two practices that are generally regarded as electoral abuses, namely mal-apportionment and gerrymandering.

Both these practices can have important effects under the first-past-the-post electoral system, which we use in Malaysia.

What Ng has so graphically exposed (chart below) is mal-apportionment or inequality among constituency electorates, rather than gerrymandering. Gerrymandering is the drawing of constituency boundaries for partisan advantage and it can be done even in the absence of mal-apportionment. (more…)

November 27, 2011

Azizah: Vote for us and we’ll deliver RM4,000 p/m minimum household income

Azizah: Vote for us and we'll deliver RM4,000 p/m minimum household income

Maria Begum

PKR president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail unveiled a slew of strategies to improve the livelihood of Malaysians, the majority of whom are struggling with sky-rocketing prices, promising voters a much brighter furture should they vote for her party in general elections widely expected to be held early next year.

Not only did the Wan Azizah announce that PKR had finalised a plan to raise the minimum household income to RM4,000 within 5 years, and introduce a minimum wage of RM1,100 per month, she also had good news for the Felda settlers, who number around 2 million and form the traditional voter base of arch rival Umno.

“Our main strategy to raise the minimum household income to RM4,000 in five years. Keadilan is the first party to target this. This shift in mindset is the weapon most feared by the ruling elite, as they know this will break their race-based economic strategy,” a cheerful Wan Azizah said in her policy speech at Pulai Springs, Johor on Saturday. (more…)

Najib gives M’sians more freedom

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Mariam Mokhtar

The reforms help distract and reduce the rakyat’s worries about electoral fraud and the National Feedlot Corporation’s alleged misuse of RM250 million of taxpayers’ money.

With dizzying speed, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak tabled several new laws to fulfill an earlier pledge to give Malaysians the “best democracy in the world”.

Meanwhile, political pundits criticise Najib’s “rash of reforms” saying that they were an over-reaction to public sentiment in the run-up to GE-13.

Their skepticism stems from the action of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who promised envoys from the UN Security Council, that he was “committed to the reform process.” The Syrian uprising has left 3,500 dead, scores injured and thousands detained. (more…)

November 26, 2011

‘What happened to Malaysia?’

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Mimi Chih

How is it that the cost of so many basic food items and day to day consumable items end up being so much more expensive in Malaysia compared to Singapore?

How does one measure the success of a country? To the people, it is reflected in their overall standard of living.

Not every country is lucky enough to have a team of intelligent people whose passionate objectives drive them to make their country a better place to live – for everyone.

Singapore is one such country. Today this island republic has one of the highest standard of living in Southeast Asia. (more…)

November 24, 2011

‘There won’t be a hung parliament’

Mohd Ariff Sabri Aziz

The 13th general election will deliver a clear winner simply because that’s what Malaysians ‘would prefer’.

Former Umno vice-president Rahim Tamby Chik has opined that the 13th general election will deliver a hung parliament. I beg to differ. I don’t think we are going to have a hung parliament.

I think it will be a clear cut win either way. Malaysians would prefer a clear cut victory one way or the other.

So here’s my prognosis.

Will the opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat, lose its current 82 seats? Very unlikely.

Infact the seats which they lost when some people jumped ship, post-2008, will become theirs again. (more…)

November 21, 2011

Insulting Muslims 101

The film Babe, about a little pig who wanted to be a sheepdog

Jacqueline Ann Surin 

HOW does one insult Islam in Malaysia? And how does one insult Muslims in Malaysia?

Over the past few years and increasingly over the past months, the state, politicians and pressure groups like Perkasa have demonstrated just how to do either one or both. For the most part, these incidents are an insult to Muslims in Malaysia, rather than to the world’s fastest growing religion per se.

Here’s my take on how these groups have been giving lessons to the nation, and to the world, on Insulting Muslims 101.

Step 1: Weak and wavering (more…)

November 17, 2011

NFC illuminates Najib’s transformations!

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NFC illuminates Najib’s transformations! - Kim Quek

Kim Quek

By Barisan Nasional standard, the National Feedlot Center Project scandal is no big deal, as it involves no more than RM300 million of public fund, but the intensive debate over it has allowed us to gauge the country’s current state of governance, and more importantly, whether there has been a paradigm shift among BN leadership under the various transformation programs brought in by Prime Minister Najib Razak.

The current scandal is typical of the BN misadventure with public funds. A large sum of public fund is given to an incompetent crony who squanders the money without bringing the project to fruition.

And the response by BN leaders, from the prime minister down, has been nothing but a series of cover-ups and excuses. There has been no attempt to face the problem squarely and come up with effective remedial measures. The culture of transparency and accountability seems to be alien to these people, despite hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ money being dumped to trumpet Najib’s many ‘transformaions’ for the country. (more…)

November 6, 2011

Dr M wants referendum on PPSMI, but not a squeak from Perkasa

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Dr M wants referendum on PPSMI, but not a squeak from Perkasa

Melissa Lee

Former premier Mahathir Mohamad has called for a referendum on whether English should continue to be used to teach Mathematic and Science, a move that is unsurprising since he introduced the policy but it will surely put ultra -Malay rights group Perkasa, of which he is the patron, in a spot.

In fact for a movement that has declared itself the champion of the Malays, Perkasa has been strangely quiet on PPSMI which is the Malay acronym for teaching and learning Math and Science in English.

“Perhaps we should do a referendum. If we do a survey for example whether it is true that rich people are sending their kids to schools that use English but the poor have to go to schools provided by the government that teach in Malay,” he told reporters on Friday.

“I am as much a nationalist as anybody else. I advocated the use of Malay long before many of those people who are against English were born. But I realise the practicality of it. We have to master scientific knowledge if we want to develop this country. That is why despite the fact that many of my old friends are (more…)

November 3, 2011

Choose a better power-sharing formula

Awang Abdillah

Perhaps it time that Sarawak and its Barisan Nasional allies revisited the terms of their alliance.

Political parties have to adhere to the democratic universal law of majority rule, whereby a party or an association of parties that secures a majority of the seats (or at least a simple majority ) in the legislative assembly, namely the Parliament or State Legislative Assembly, will have the right to form the government.

The formation of the government where one single party can obtain a majority of the seats is a straight-forward case .

However, the problem arises when no one single party can garner a majority of the seats in the legislature.

A crucial issue takes centre stage when a government that has been formed cannot perform according to the expectations of the people and the standards of good governance, as expressed by the members of the legislative assembly . (more…)

October 31, 2011

PAGE hands over memo on English to PM

PAGE hands over memo on English to PM

The Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (PAGE) delivered its memorandum on the language issue to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak here on Monday with the hope “he is listening to the people.”

“We want the memorandum to reach the hands of the PM before he leaves for Mecca for the Hajj.

“The PM says he is listening to the Rakyat, so I hope he listens to us,” Page chairperson Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim told reporters after handing over the memorandum at the PM’s Office.

Around a dozen Page members accompanied Noor Azimah to hand over the memorandum to request that the government allow the option for the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI).

Noor Azimah added that she handed over graphs and figures showing the percentage of parents and students supporting PPSMI and exam results that warranted the continued use of English. (more…)

October 28, 2011

PM and DPM stay stuck in fantasy, shunning reality as GE-13 deadline looms

PM and DPM stay stuck in fantasy, shunning reality as GE-13 deadline looms

Maclean Patrick

The timing of the 13th general election is still anybody’s guess. But however fickle and indecisive Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government is, the sands of time are fast slipping away. GE-13 must be held by April 2013, but due to Umno’s internal polls next year, snap national elections are likely to be held within 6 months. And like it or not both, Najib and his deputy have begun to court voters in their own styles.

Showy and lavish as ever, Najib chose to give football fans a treat at his official residence recently. It was a clever move to garner much needed support from the Malaysian middle ground. The aim was to give an image of a prime minister that is a huge Manchester United fan, who tweets and attends rock concerts. Words like “cool” and “awesome” seem to be the by-word with the PM when addressing his many ‘adoring fans’.

However, it was a different scene with his deputy, Muhyiddin Yassin. The stodgy DPM has been busy fixing a leaky boat, and he seems to be more concerned about the political survival of UMNO and BN. Also the BN depuy chairman, Muhyiddin said he has begun meeting parties in the coalition regarding their preparation to face the next general election. So far, he has met with six component parties. “I fear that if they take their own sweet time to resolve the problems, it may pose a problem for us,” he told a news conference. (more…)

October 27, 2011

Peter Chin ups the ante in the SUPP supremo-race

Peter Chin ups the ante in the SUPP supremo-raceLee Ryujin

The presidential race for SUPP has suddenly picked-up steam with Miri MP Peter Chin Fah Kui’s decision to contest the party’s top post.

Chin, 66, was previously thought to be less interested in state politics. A federal minister in Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Cabinet, Chin holds the Energy, Green Technology and Water portfolio and has managed to win some national profile – albeit on the negative side over Malaysia’s nuclear power plants and the Selangor water deal.

Impressive show of support

Some see in his shift back to the nerve centre of Sarawak state politics the hidden hand of Chief Minister Taib Mahmud, who may fear that the existing SUPP old guard will not be able to convince the Chinese there that they are a better choice than the thriving and dynamic DAP. (more…)

In Australia, Ambiga serves notice of people power

Filed under: Alternatives,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
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KC Boey

Ambiga (left) speaks during a public lecture at University of Melbourne, October 25, 2011. — Pictures by KC Boey

Bersih 2.0 will hold Pakatan Rakyat (PR) to the civic movement’s eight demands on elections and governance should the opposition pact come into government, chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said at a public forum here yesterday.

“Not only Pakatan,” Ambiga said of her movement that transcends party politics. “We will hold all parties accountable. That’s the way it should be. The power is with us (the people), not with them (political parties). It’s only when power is in the hands of the citizenry that we have a working democracy.”Ambiga was responding to a question at a public lecture at the Asian Law Centre, University of Melbourne, to kick off a speaking tour of four of the most renowned law schools in Australia. (more…)

A council of the people for the people

Filed under: Alternatives,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
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FMT

It is illogical that the fate of the country should lie in the hands of a coterie of mostly self-seeking politicians.

For which inconveniences, the doctrine of Italy, and practice of France, in some kings’ times, hath introduced cabinet counsels; a remedy worse than the disease. – Francis Bacon

Malaysia aspires to be the best democracy in the world and the best way to achieve it is to do away with the Cabinet where only a few heads decide the fate of the country. Times have changed and new eras called for fresh thinking and creative ideas. The Cabinet is a political creature modelled after the Westminster system. It took roots in the 16th century at a time when kings called the shots in Europe. The monarchs would listen to advice given in a private room or Cabinet. It was even said the practice was not a product of British thought but was imported from Italy and France and thus this “dubious foreign habit” was viewed with suspicion in London. But the Mother of Parliament gave birth to so many colonies which readily accepted this alien habit. Malaysia, once dominated by the white masters, also swallowed the Westminster pill. (more…)

Altantuya vs Anya: Would DPM have the guts to tell PM mere denial not enough

Filed under: Alternatives,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
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Altantuya vs Anya: Would DPM have the guts to tell PM mere denial not enoughP Ramakrishnan

The DPM had amazingly stated that if the Chief Minister “thinks it is important to correct the information, then he has to come up with a strong statement…Mere denial is not enough”.

The Penang Chief Minister had rubbished this fraudulent allegation in the strongest possible terms. He had not minced his words in condemning this false allegation. In castigating the pro-Umno blogs that spread this false allegation, he had strongly condemned their nefarious conduct as “morally despicable and barbaric lies”.

The Chief Minister also challenged Umno to act against those guilty of this to prove that the party does not employ “desperate, dangerous and dirty tactics.” He also condemned several Umno leaders for highlighting “this shameful episode” in their blogs. He had referred to these characters as “pro-Umno ferocious beasts”. (more…)

October 26, 2011

Anwar vs Najib: From debt management to the Auditor’s report

William Leong and KPRU

Anwar vs Najib: From debt management to the Auditor's report

Persistent fiscal deficits! That’s the best description of the Federal Government’s fiscal position which had been governed by Barisan Nasional (BN) over past few decades except a brief period of federal budget surplus from 1993 to 1997 when Anwar Ibrahim was the Finance Minister. This year’s much-delayed Auditor-General’s Report again revealed wasteful spending by government departments as well as weaknesses of governance which have contributed to the Federal Government’s embedded deficit and debt problems. The report’s specific remark on rising trend of public debt which is approaching alarming level is a serious issue. Due attention shall be given to the questionable debt management capability by the BN Government.

Fiscal deficit is not always bad. However, persistent fiscal deficits even when economy is growing – meaning there’s a serious lack of fiscal discipline – would weaken a government’s position to meet its debt obligation later on, especially in time of recession. And when this happens, that means the future generation will be burdened with ballooning public debt. (more…)

October 24, 2011

Two-thirds Majority

Hakim Joe

When Malaysians gave total control to the Alliance Party by voting in 51 parliamentarians out of a total of 52 contested seats (98%) in 1955, and 74 parliamentarians out of a total of 104 contested seats (71%) in 1959, they are in reality placing their immediate future and the future of their kids and grandchildren in the hands of the politicians.

The Malay-dominated ruling elite then proceeded to use this unprecedented majority in Parliament to elaborately construct an electoral system that practically guaranteed that it could never be removed from power, ever. Additionally, they instituted a wide range of political controls and passed an assortment of laws that restricted interference, criticism and opposition from any single individual or group within Malaysia.

So when BN leaders and former leaders tell you that Malaysia is overtaken by minorities’ interests, they are telling a blatant lie. No Non-Bumiputera can ever aspire to become the Prime Minister of Malaysia no matter how suitable or appropriate he or she is for the job or even if 100 percent of Malaysian voters voted him in. The Malaysian Constitution forbids it and that is what I meant by political controls. (more…)

October 19, 2011

‘How did our baby die?’

Joseph Tawie

PKR has called for an inquest into the death of a Penan infant allegedly due to negligence on the part of the Miri hospital.

A Penan couple from Long Napir in Ulu Limbang are demanding that the state medical authorities conduct an inquest into the death of their newborn infant on Oct 15, 2011 in the Miri Hospital.

Taking the hospital to task for its negligence and insensitivity, angry Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How, who is also a lawyer said, the couple also want to know how their baby died when they had adhered to the advise of the doctor.

“It is tragic that a precious life was lost. I have been instructed by the parents of the girl, Roy Dumai and Seri Yung, who are Penans from Long Napir in Ulu Limbang to write to the Miri Hospital and the Health Department, asking for representation for the inquest and to be furnished reports of the infant mortality review. (more…)

Think-tank: RM1 trillion debt by 2020 a possibility

Malaysiakini

Should the federal government’s debt grow at a rate of RM50 billion annually, it could reach RM1 trillion in 2020, said independent think-tank Research for Social Advancement (Refsa).

This mind-boggling scenario was explored in Refsa’s focus paper on Budget 2012, which warned that Vision 2020 could “crumble into broken dreams” unless the government exercises financial prudence.

The current deficit stands at RM437 billion, which Refsa points out is more than double the RM217 billion budget deficit reported in 2004.

“Put another way, the government has added on more debt in the six-and-a-half years since 2004 than in the 47 years following Merdeka,” reads the paper.

Between 2007 and 2011, the deficit has been growing at about RM34 billion annually on average.

But assuming this increases to RM50 billion in additional debts annually, Malaysia can expect its total debt to double again by 2020 to RM1 trillion. (more…)

October 18, 2011

Penan block logging road in Baram, Sarawak

Bruno-Manser-Fonds

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear friends,

We have just received the news that the Penan communities of Ba Abang and Long Kawi in Sarawak’s Middle Baram region have started blockading a logging road to prevent the further felling of their rainforests.

According to community information received by the Bruno Manser Fund, the blockade has been erected last Thursday, 13th October 2011, and has been attended by more than 70 Penan tribespeople. The blockade is located near the Ba Bunau river within the claimed Native Customary Rights land of the Ba Abang community. It is mainly directed against Interhill, a Malaysian logging company based in Miri, Sarawak. Interhill is also known to be the owner of the Pullman 5-star hotel in Sarawak’s capital, Kuching. The Pullman Kuching hotel is being operated by the French Accor group. (more…)

Anwar calls for budget showdown

Hazlan Zakaria

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim today challenged Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to go toe-to-toe in a public debate of the government’s 2012 Budget against Pakatan Rakyat’s shadow budget.

This, the Permatang Pauh MP said, will help the rakyat to hear both sides, as opposed to the one-sided battles in the media.

After all, Anwar added, it is only fair that the PM should do so after loudly sounding the gong over the government’s 2012 Budget and crying wolf over Pakatan’s shadow budget.

Concurrently finance minister, Najib has been defending the BN budget and taking pot shots at the shadow budget and Pakatan’s Buku Jingga. (more…)

Malaysia set to hit national debt ceiling, warns Anwar

Filed under: Alternatives,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
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Shazwan Mustafa Kamal

Anwar said the remaining allowable debt was insufficient to finance the government’s planned expenditure.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim accused the government today of failing to resuscitate the country’s “under-performing economy”, warning that Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Budget 2012 was setting Malaysia “on course” to breach the national debt limit.

Citing Bank Negara Malaysia’s latest report issued on October 14, Anwar said the country’s national debt currently stood at RM437 billion (as of June 30, 2011), with domestic debt amounting to RM421 billion and foreign debt at RM16 billion.

“This translates to a 51 per cent local debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio as governed by Acts 637 and 275, which allows for approximately RM33 billion additional debt to be raised by the government (before the limit is reached). (more…)

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