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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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.
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
Students who had been studying in the English stream from Standard One to Form Three now have to do their Science and Maths in BM when they move to Form Four next year.
Students who began their Standard One in 2003 under the English stream – where Science and Mathematics were taught in English – are now expected to learn Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics in Bahasa Malaysia when they go to Form Four next year.The change in the “teaching process” has got parents in the urban Klang Valley are all frantic with anxiety. They are trying to get the Education Ministry to clear up the matter.
So far the bewildered parents have received no statements from their respective school heads but worried students have told their parents that “all Form Four subjects will be taught only in Bahasa Malaysia”. (more…)
Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has warned Malaysia will be bankrupt if the opposition wins the general election, but was immediately shot down by Pakatan Rakyat leaders, who pointed the 2019 bankruptcy came from with his own boss’s department.
“It is the silliest accusation. The cat is chasing its own tail,” PKR vice president Chua Jui Meng told Malaysia Chronicle.
Indeed, it was in May 2010 that Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Idris Jala first shocked the nation with a warning that Malaysia may fold up if it fails to slash subsidies and reduce debt. (more…)