Archive for October, 2009

AN INCHOATE 2010 MALAYSIAN BUDGET

October 31, 2009

The 2010 budget for Malaysia was introduced by Najib in Parliament in late October of 2009. It presumably makes provisions for the nation to aspire to become a “high income economy”. What does this term actually mean?

In giving it a purposive interpretation it would mean that the country as a whole would gain more income from its economic activity, resulting in the Government receiving a higher income from taxes set in place. This may be as a result of increased export revenue and decreased import expenditure.

But, then would it be from the taxes paid by the “individual tax payer” or from Corporate Income Taxes it is unclear. What is clear is the fact that Najib has used the term “high income economy” which can only translate to mean that the Government’s coffers would in actual fact receive an increase in income and not necessarily the average man on the street is all of a sudden going to be awarded a high income for his mediocrity.

If this interpretation is correct, then the 2010 Budget is not premised on increasing the income of the general working populace. As it is, other than the people in the Civil Service being paid reasonably well a large cross section of the lower rank of the people in the public service, commercial establishments and the various Industrial undertakings are paid a salary or a wage and taking into account overtime work, receive a monthly take home pay packet of between RM 900.00 to RM 1,400.00.

Therefore, the 2010 Budget does not contain any form of Najib’s or his Government’s interpersonal intelligence, which can categorically and emphatically demonstrate to the working class, as to how our economy is to be transformed where the peoples skills will be enhanced to enable them to jointly participate and reap the benefits of a higher income being awarded for their required services, which in return would increase their purchasing power and improve their standard of living.

Further, Najib and his Government have not come out with a clear blue print on the facts as to how they are going to bring about improvement in the pathetic state in which our Education System is in. Neither have they given any assurance that they will correct their current racial based policies in respect of employment and appointment of key personnel in the various Governmental Institutions and Institutions of Higher Learning.

With what is before us there only appears to be a fluctuating character in the presentation of the said budget. Hence what we can immediately perceive by our senses may be, that the 2010 Budget is inchoate or what is in decay from the old economic practices or such variables of the current imperfect business practices, would continue, unabated.

As we see it, complementing knowledge of other Nations economic activities and how those Nations prosper, if heeded to, is added knowledge to which we would have acquired, to assist us on our road to transform this nation work force into a “high income nation” and not just a “high income economy.” Further, we can only become a “high income economy” when we give recognition to meritocracy without regard to race, culture and religion and hold in gross contempt mediocrity, in all Institutions which includes the Government.

Maybe, when the Government wakes up to the reality of meritocracy, we would become a high income nation and the economic cake would expend, for the general benefit of the populace.

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EZAM REOPENS WINDOW OF HIS IMPERFECT MIND

October 31, 2009

In 1998 when Anwar was unceremoniously dismissed by Mahathir as the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Ezam without a second thought joint forces with all the United Malay National Organisation(UMNO) supporters who were dead against the dismissal of Anwar, and formed a movement called the “Reformasi Movement.” Even Al Gore the Vice President of the United States of America who happened to be in the country at that time gave his blessing to the movement.

This movement was subsequently registered as a political party which came to be a household term known as the Parti Kadalian Raktat(PKR), in which party Ezam played a very active part and held an executive position, until Anwar,s appeal to the Federal Court was allowed and Anwar was released from his incarceration, from the Sungai Buloh Prison.

It is an established fact of life that every one of us, as human beings, had to take our time to build up our confidence in the leadership and the aims and objectives of a political party. Once we believe in its cause, we on a point of principle stay loyal to the cause of the party and give our wholehearted support to the leadership of the party to further its aims and objects and bring to realization the party’s goals. We do not jump ship at the whim and fancy of our own aspirations.

It is inevitable that wherever there is human interactions,  there is bound to be conflicts or clash of ideologies amongst the leadership in any organization. Therefore, it is not normal for the aspiring loyal leaders of any political party, to react emotionally and leave amass from a political party and form another party with the ideology that they are “reformist” and do not believe in the aims and objectives of their former party, which in this case is what Ezam had done to UMNO in 1998.

From news reports in the past based on Ezam’s press statements after Ezam left PKR and rejoined UMNO and in particular the news report in the Star on 31.10.2009 the former Youth Chief of PKR, that is, Ezam Mohd Nor has challenged PKR’s President Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to kick out her husband Anwar Ibrahim from PKR as Anwar is facing “sodomy charges” and that Wan Azizah should resign as the President of the PKR if she does not have the heart to sack her husband.

Ezam may be a confused person but based on an objective analysis of his antics he is definitely an opportunist who is currently being made use of as his master’s mouth piece to state what his master is unable to state publicly.

Ezam detested Mahathir’s leadership and left UMNO. Now he has left PKR and re-enlisted into UMNO. Najib as the leader of UMNO is a tinted character. The tintinnabulation of the Altantuya’s murder and of her body being blown up with the use of C4 explosives has made news all over the world and the bells still continues to ring endlessly. Najib has been directly implicated in this murder. Najib has only made bare denials or bald statements of his role in the murder, which does not in anyway, exculpated himself based on the evidence which is in the public domain. The Judiciary have caused a judicial misconduct at the murder trial. Why was Najib not called as a Witness as nobody is above the Law, and as we know, the Law is above all mortals.

Yet, Ezam has the audacity to test our intelligence. Whilst Ezam may be confused and as an opportunist, he is not deeply immersed or conveniently does not want to know or perceive or conceive or for that matter understand the notions upon which he was a part of the birth of the “Reformasi Movement” which subsequently became a political party now known as the PKR.

But contrary to Ezam’s actions, the supporters of the PKR are now focused on the concepts, theories and the skills required by PKR’s politicians to create a new democratic, economic and civil society which has to incorporate all the important issues of the human sphere and the human spirit and the aspirations of the people, in our diverse society. And in the process of doing so, PKR has to purge from its ranks the unqualified persons who were nominated in haste before March 8 of 2008, who eventually got elected on the wave of the voting masses perception for a change, on account of the 52 years of the established UMNO, political ideology, of discrimination against the minority.

Ezam, apart from being confused seems to support Badrul Hisham Abdullah’s decision to quit PKR on moral grounds. This support given by Ezam to Badrul is a contradiction of sought. Why is it so?  In 1998 Ezam left UMNO when Anwar was charged for “sodomy” and was not yet frivolously convicted. At that time the issue of morality did not arise, but yet Ezam left UMNO and formed PKR. Now Ezam raises the issue of morality on behalf of Badrul where Badrul’s own constituents know he is incapable of serving their interest, which had become an embarrassment and a liability to the PKR. But the “politically motivated” charge has yet to be heard on its merits by the Court, but Ezam is now burdened with emotion on the new found issue of “morality” on behalf of Badrul, which cannot stand in the perception of all people who have a soul for good governance.

The antics of UMNO and Ezam are now of open knowledge of the general populace. The accumulations of the past 52 years of UMNO’s antics are so rich that even a blind man would know about it. Therefore Ezam’s knowledge of PKR is completely incomplete. Ezam has no “Locus Standi” to make the call to Wan Azizah to sack Anwar, and Najib and his spin doctors should be reminded that such a call is indeed a call that would be made only by desperate politicians to gain publicity in the main stream media who are the official mouth piece of an emotionally and intellectually dishonest and bankrupt Government.

It has now become common knowledge that UMNO apart from institutionalizing corruption in Bagan Pinang has clearly demonstrated by its acts and conduct in Perak and now in Selangor that in order for UMNO to survive, UMNO will accommodate in its fold all the politicians that are discarded by the other political parties, who have been elected on that parties platform.

We the voters know after 52 years of the deprivation of our rights under the Federal Constitution, that we have ahead of us a long and winding road to travel in our political scenario, and to bring about the required change that will be of benefit to the average man on the street.

Change we must, and there is no way of setting the clock of change, backwards. We have to ensure that we stay united for the cause of change for a better tomorrow by ascertaining that we will be complementing with the acquired knowledge of others so that we acquire more knowledge for ourselves and gain a better understanding of the mechanics of what makes our society function for the benefit of the society at large.

If only all of us allocate for ourselves some time to come to know ourselves better and we endeavour to exploit the prevailing distinctions presented to us by our politicians in our day to day life, we as a discerning people would eventually come to know these politicians and penetrate the psyches or oratory powers of these politicians, and make our discriminations at our own time in the course of our solitude and self reflection, of what we aspire to achieve for ourselves and the future of our children.

As all is not lost, and by our united actions we can ensure that PKR through Pekatan Rakyat, can succeed in bringing about the required change in our political landscape. Consequently, Ezam has no locus standi to issue any orders to PKR as when we immediately use our senses we can visualize that Ezam’s call is inchoate or in decay and to a large degree variable and is grossly imperfect.

ISLAMIC STATE A FIGMENT OF IMAGINATION

October 27, 2009

Let us not forget that all politicians react to a particular state of affairs based on their experience. But this issue of the “Islamic State” and the endless debate is a waste of everybody’s time. It is time that “Anwar” comes out with a clear message as to what is his stand on this “issue.”

As far as I know it is “only” some of the PAS politicians and other insignificant politicians who are harping on this issue to gain political mileage. Anwar should know what the Federal Constitution provides for, and he should stand up and be counted before it is too late.

There is an urgent need for the PKR to reationalise the requirements and the general “identical” wishes of the general voting populace as has been done to some degree by the DAP,  that we are a secular state. Anwar should state his stand. There is no logical transferability provided for in the Federal Constitution that we, from a secular state can become an “Islamic State” unless the Constitution is “Amended” with a two- third majority vote in Parliament

So, it is my view, if Anwar is astute, he should recognise the inner workings of the intellect of the general voting populace and cancel PAS sense of imagination or sensation of wanting to gain political mileage on it doctrine of wanting to create an unattainable state without even having first obtained the peoples doctrine of recognition and the mandate,  from the voting populace, as we are and shall always be every politicians, master.

Therefore, Anwar you should notify PAS and forewarn them that they depend on the Non Malay support to defeat BN and it is only natural that in any political philosophy it is to err and PAS should be “pragmatic” in wanting to work under the Pakatan Rakyat banner to defeat the moribund Barisan National.

FALSELY SIMPLIFIED IDEAS ABOUT POLITICS

October 25, 2009

The Star Publication of 25.10.2009 reports that the Barisan National (BN) man states that the Parti Keadilan Rakyat(PKR) has no substance. The BN’s Tenagga Batu Member of Parliament(MP) Idris Harun is of the view that the PKR exist solely for the purpose of serving its adviser Anwar Ibrahim. This statement is a gross insult to the intelligence of the voters of 83 constituencies which come under the Pakatan Rakyat(PR) who are elected Members of Parliament

It appears that Idris Harun has no knowledge of what politics is all about. His views are more akin to an old joke, that is, “So it is your contention that when you opened the cupboard to remove the bones, it was already missing.” Idris sounds like Rip Van Winkle who in the fable fell asleep in the woods for about 100 years and on awakening realized that the world has changed from what he had known it to be.

Idris apparently, had gone to his slumber sometime in 1998. Now upon opening his eyes, he is aghast to be of the realization that Anwar has with agility made considerable inroads into the United Malay National Organisation(UMNO) power base and constituencies. He is completely devastated  and agitated. Hence Idris was prompted to make a false statement which was a falsely simplified idea about the course of the current prevailing political scenario which is beyond his capacity to comprehend.

What Idris Harun has failed to realize is the fact, that the comments about PKR and Anwar are unnecessarily pedantic, whilst he seems to overrate the standing of the UMNO and the BN club. He miserably fails to realize that in the court of public opinion UMNO and the BN club are being despised as emotionally and intellectually corrupted and that the BN leaders have over the last 52 years betrayed the trust that have been entrusted and bestowed on them by the majority of the voting populace.

It has to be recognized that, politics is difficult to define as it encompasses a very wide cross section of roles, duties and responsibilities. Let us just mention a few areas such as, Parliament where laws are promulgated, the Executive which is known as the Government, the various political parties, voting and the endless political debates and arguments which provides the main stream print and broadcast and the alternate media and the general populace the every day excitement. Apart from these areas, we should not fail to realize that civil wars, guerrilla movements, revolutions, military coups and assassinations are also part and parcel of politics.

Having had stated and placed the arena of politics in the right perspective, we can conclude that the BN is still a formidable force. What the BN is endeavouring to do with its power as a Government is to successfully impose its will through its accumulated coercive resources at its disposal. We saw the naked usurpation of power in the Perak State Assembly, which has resulted in an impasse where ultimately it is the general populace who face the blunt, by not being provided with any service, for the tax they pay.

This is the motto of (Rip Van Wrinkle) Idris. By making a stupid statement which is published by the Star and other main stream media, he is attempting to generate and increase the dissemination and the acceptance of his ideology, that the PKR and the PR are weak. The BN parties and the Government are attempting to persuade the majority of their own subordinates and members and further the general voting populace that they are a “powerful” group in our society and have the right to command power and influence their standing in our society.

As a keen observer of the changing political landscape in our nation, the only advice that can be given to the general populace, is that, no one should have an abstract view or only a theory of what politics means but you should learn to understand and participate and  practice on what it is all about.

Therefore, politics is a socially constructed behaviour  based on the general participation of the people. It is sustained and improved upon by how alert every strata of the populations and it behaviour contributes to a change for the better of a civil society. This line of action in the long term will directly contribute and significantly bring about a change in power relations between the BN and the PR which will ultimately result in political stability.

We have our common sense. We can think of time as an infinite river which never cease to flow and so does the oratory of all politicians. It would be wistful thinking to implore that the river should slow down or for the matter to slow down the pace of the politicians oratory.

Neither can we rebuke the politicians ruthlessness which do at times snatch away our brief periods of happiness with out desired political leaders and hurries our treasured thoughts, maybe into oblivion. This is when we have to have the capacity to withstand the onslaught of the BN propaganda, and dismiss Idris Harun’s statement that PKR has no substance and persuade other people to disregard  Idris statement as being a falsely simplified idea of politics.

TIAN CHUA CASE AND THE RULE OF LAW

October 25, 2009

Tian Chua was charged in a Magistrates Court. Before the formal charged was made against him the Investigation Officer would in the course of his investigation, have recorded a statement from both the policeman who lodged a report against Tian Chua and a statement given by Tian Chua. Upon completion of the investigations a report with its findings would have been submitted to the Attorney General(AG) Chambers for the AG to decide whether to prefer a charge against Tian Chua or not.

In Tian Chua’s case the AG decided to charge him in court for allegedly  biting the arm of a policeman on duty, when he stopped Tian Chua’s motorcar on a road leading to Parliament. As much as the policeman was on duty, Tian Chua as a Member of Parliament was only carrying out his duty.

Since the policeman was on duty, he is required under Section 35 of the Evidence Act 1950 as a public servant to register or record the facts in issue which are relevant of what transpired at the entrance of Parliament House at about 10.45am on 11.12.2007.

Therefore, the police book or register or record, whatever it is called is in itself admissible as an exception to the hearsay rule as a relevant fact, at the trial. Whether it was done or not is not reported and is not known, and no presumptions would be drawn. But if the police book or whatever it is called was not produced it still does not make much difference as Rosyaidi Anuar the 21 year old policeman had given evidence that he had punched Thin Chua in the face.

The question is, based on the investigation report submitted to the AG, the AG frames a charge. The charge form is the basis upon which the prosecution has to establish a prima facie case against Tian Chua and nothing else. If the prosecution fail in their duty to do so, than the court is duty bound to acquit and discharge Tian Chua.

In Tian Chua’s case, the charge in all probability would have stated “that you on the 11th.day of December in the year 2007 at about 10.45am at the entrance of the Parliament House whilst Kons Rosyaidi Anuar, 21 years of age was on duty, had instructed you to stop your motorcar  whereby you got out of your motorcar and used criminal force against a public servant with intent to prevent or deter him from discharging his duty and started biting the arm of Kons Rosyaidi Anuar and thereby you have committed an offence under Section 353 of the Penal Code (ACT 574).”

Looking at the matter objectively, the form of the charge would have contained these crucial elements. The duty of the presiding Magistrate would have been to record the evidence of both the prosecution and the defence and deliver the decision.

The prosecution’s cardinal witness was Kons Rosyaidi Anuar and circumstantial evidence in the form of a police video recording, but the video recording did not show the alleged act of biting by Tian Chua. However Kons Rosyaidi Anuar admitted under cross-examination that he did punch Tian Chua in the “FACE”. This was an admission of a fact by the prosecution’s cardinal witness who also lodged a police report against Tian Chua of the alleged biting, that the policeman did use criminal force on Tian Chua. No medical report was produced at the trial.

Contrary to the policeman’s alleged claim, Tian Chua denied the allegation that he bit the policeman’s arm. But one issue sticks out like a sour thumb and that is, that the young policeman made a most daring public attack upon the liberty of Tian Chua to protect his body.

The Magistrate grossly failed to look at the facts and determine what was the mischief but went on an expedition of his own choosing and drew a conclusion which was in gross violation of the of the basic elementary tenets and demands of the Rules of Natural Justice.

How is it so?  According to news reports in the Star of 23.10.2009 the Magistrate Mohd Faizi concluded that Tian Chua’s defence constituted mere denials and that his evidence was not credible, even though the Magistrate concluded that the direct and circumstantial evidence of the video recording did not show the act of biting BUT he had reasonable grounds to believe it happened.

The Magistrate’s decision is grossly flawed in law and in fact. It is a well established rule of law under Section 146 of the Evidence Act 1950, for the prosecution under cross-examination to have tested the accuracy, veracity and the credibility of  Tian Chua, but the prosecution should have been stopped from making submission on the credit and character of Tian Chua and that his evidence had been found to be wanting.

Whilst the Defence Counsel did submit in mitigation that a heavy sentence would deprive Tian Chua as a Member of Parliament to be disqualified, on the other hand the Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) argued that Tian Chua must be held responsible for his actions.

The irony of the Magistrate’s judgement is that, it states “that there is no evidence in court that anyone saw the biting. It is based on circumstantial evidence.”

So, here we have a case where the DPP has not established his case beyond reasonable doubt and requires the court to hold Tian Chua responsible for his actions and the Magistrate concludes that there is no evidence of the biting. Then on what foundation of the law and on what basis does the issue of “circumstantial evidence” arise.

Based on the above facts and arguments it is clearly apparent that the Magistrate has quite simply made a decision on issues which were not proved in court but out of the figment of his own imagination which is hopeless, baseless and without any foundation in law or in equity.

In conclusion we all know that the role of the courts above all is to find out the truth based on the evidence that is before the court. The court is required to do justice according to the law.

And here we find the passage of Lord Eldon LC statement in Ex parte Lloyd (1822) Mont 70 at 72n that “truth is best discovered by powerful statements on both sides of the question.” as applicable to Tian Chua’s case which was decided by a Magistrate with a middling quality of mind.  And since the Magistrate has not held the balance between the case brought by the AG against Tian Chua and has drawn a conclusion based on the figment of his own imagination, justice has been denied to Tian Chua and the decision should not be allowed to stand, based on the principle of upholding the Rule of Law.

DO POLITICIANS CREATE CONCEPTS WHICH ARE LOGICAL FICTIONS

October 18, 2009

Malaysia attained its Independence from Great Britain on 31st. August 1957. The colonial masters gave the new born nation a tailor made written Constitution. Under this Constitution we have a concept of a Malay monarchy or sovereignty. But then there is no such provision in the Constitution for a system of absolute monarchy.

During Mahathir’s 22 years of leadership as the Prime Minister of Malaysia he had amended the Federal Constitution between the mid 1980 and the early part of 1990 which ultimately resulted in the decline of the privileges enjoyed by the monarchy, thus bringing into existence a redefinition of the concept of Malay sovereignty.

But in order to understand the concept of the Malay constitutional traditions we have to fall back to recorded history as a guide. The presumed concept of the Malay tradition came into being sometime in 1380 -1403 when Parameswara founded the kingdom of Malacca. He resided with some 30 families of fishermen who were the indigenous people of Laut Ethnic. He was a Hindu believer who was the son of the Sam Agi King who escaped to Malacca after being defeated by the Crivijaya Kingdom.

Parameswara thereafter embraced the Islamic faith. So it would not be wrong to conclude that the Malay Constitutional tradition and the manner of its existence is very much influenced by Hinduism, Buddhism and thereafter Islamism.

Against this backdrop we shall examine the growth and the development of the idea and the concept of the government of this nation over the last 52 years.

The Federal Constitution provides for the fundamental principles of liberty, equality without discrimination, freedom of movement, freedom of speech, assembly and association, freedom of religion, rights to Citizenship, education and property.

Then there is the provision of Article 153 which provides for the “Reservation of quotas in respect of services, permits, etc., for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak” with the caveat that under Article 136  “All persons of whatever race in the same grade in the service of the Federation shall, subject to the terms and conditions of their employment, be treated impartially.”

In reality, this has not been the practice. The system we have in operation can at best be termed as “Malay Apartheid” which translates to “Segregation and Domination by the Majority of the Minority.”

In 1970 Najib’s late father the then Prime Minister Abdul Razak who assumed office after the “May 13 riots” which was above all meant to be a Coup d etat  to depose Tunku Abdul Rahman,  ensured the rise and the entrenchment of the new Malay capitalist class, more often than not referred to as the “Ali Baba class” through the introduction of the New Economic Policy, which has now lasted for 40 years.

Then after March 08 2008 General Elections Najib with the connivance of Mahathir compelled Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to step down as the Prime Minister and took over the helm of the United Malay National Organisation(UMNO) and was appointed as the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

No sooner after his appointment, Najib announced the formulation of a New Concept termed as the 1Malaysia Concept. This illusive concept has further been commercialized. What these UMNO politicians and all their sycophants and psychopaths from the Malaysian Chinese Association, the Malaysian Indian Congress, the Gerakan and the other component parties which comprise of the Barisan National(BN) which forms the Government, have illustratively endorsed this illusive concept which appears to them according to their ideology to be logical.

What these BN politicians fail to realize is the fact that a mere concept which is created as a passage of convenience can never replace the “Fundamental Rights” of the people as enshrined under the Federal Constitution.

Then we saw the holding of the 62nd. Annual General Assembly of the UMNO in the early part of October 2009. This time around there was no Kris wielding. Maybe it has been sent for display in a museum. But then two actors namely Khairy the UMNO youth leader and Najib the president of UMNO did reduce in their speeches, the fundamental notions of their logic of their special privileges which are impossible to be stripped from the Federal Constitution. On the whole, their notions of logic were either flawed or contradictory and were more of a myth.

Khairy’s notion was premised on “The new Malay dilemma” where he saw the need to change both the vision and the mechanism to see the Malays forge ahead with the “abolishment” of the 30% bumiputra equity in the Initial Public Offering(IPO) in public listed companies.

On the other hand Najib in delivering his Presidential Address stressed that “Those who have enjoyed the benefits of the New Economic Policy(NEP) should not be calling for its removal and deprive others who still needed help”

Najib further stressed that the main consideration when the NEP was formed, was that Malay equity was merely 2.4% and the objective was to increase it to 30% in 20 years. However the Malays managed to own only 19.2% of the economic cake.

Contrast the Presidential address of Najib’s above remarks with what Khairy, the UMNO youth chief stated a day earlier, and we Quote:

“The President himself mentioned that from RM54 billion worth of shares given to bumiputras through this mechanism, only RM2 billion remains-(the rest) sold for a quick profit. Thus proving that there are symbols and mechanisms we defended in the past, which have not succeeded in their objectives.” Unquote.

It follows that based on the “Cardinal Number” of  RM54 billion as stated by Najib and categorically confirmed and announced to the whole world by Khairy,  UMNO will continue to be crippled be its own conceived and created illusions.

Therefore on the face of the above facts it is compelling clear that there is arithmetic proof that the NEP has been achieved. UMNO seems to have an inbuilt culture which can be safely termed as the “UMNO Paradox.”

Hence the objective provisional answer to the UMNO Paradox would in all likelihood be based on the speeches of both Najib and Khairy. The propositional conclusion has to be,  that whilst their respective speeches do sound logical but nevertheless all the UMNO leaders logical pronouncements which include the 1Malaysia Concept are only good for the dustbins of logical fictions as their own arithmetic proof that there are fewer things in heaven or on earth that would make any sense in philosophy.

THE CONVENTIONAL CHINESE BEHAVIOUR

October 17, 2009

The Chinese have been known to be a civilization for some 3,000 years or more. As a nation of people they have not been known to have invaded another nation. If we take a leaf from history we would not fail to be of the realization that for thousands of years the people of the “middle kingdom” as it is more often than not referred to, have grown and developed a rich civilization. They have maintained a heritage on a wide range of matters which amongst others would include philosophy, exploration of the world frontiers, art, culture, tradition, language, science and most of all warfare amongst themselves.

The dynastic cycle of China has expanded and contracted on the basis of external invasion and the occurrence of civil strife or wars within the nation. The nation as a whole has had relatively little or few lengthy periods of peace. The Chinese history is basically littered with wars between Kings, Emperors, Warlords and Generals, who have endeavoured to be the Lion of the mountain.

During the entire period of its civilization, China may have only been invaded by Genghis Khan. More recently China has played a proxy role in the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam. The Chinese are always and to a larger degree concerned about the accumulation of wealth and power and are not concerned about politics.

The Chinese people wherever they maybe on this universe are not politically conscious. Their main concern is about their own “rice bowl” and consequently all other civil and social matters are on the lowest point on their list of priorities.

Should the political scenario turn to their disadvantage their motto is, to immigrate to another, country of their choice where they can continue to accumulate their wealth and power. That is why in some quarters the Chinese are referred to as the Jews of the East.

As Gavin Menzies in his Book entitled “1421 The year China discovered the world” inter alia states:

“Their science and technology and their knowledge of the world around them were so far in advance of our own in that era that it was to be three, four and in some cases five centuries before European know-how matched that of the medieval Chinese.”

Against this backdrop we can rationalize the current scenario of events of the Malaysian Chinese Association(MCA) as it has been played out in the various news reports that appear in both the main stream and the alternate media.

Since Malaysia attained Independence in 1957 the MCA leadership has never failed to have a cyclical, major leadership disagreement or dispute which is blown out of proposition and which inevitably results in the dismissal of a prominent leader or in the changing of the “guards.”

In the early days sometime in 1966 or so, we witnessed the removal of Lin Chong Eu which resulted in the birth of the Gerakan Party. Then in the early 1980’s we saw the late Richard Ho being removed which eventually saw Lee San Choon resigning as the President. Then for a short spell we saw an insignificant character helm the MCA until  Lee Kim Sai helmed the party until in the late 1980’s.

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After the 1987 operation “larang-larang” where a host of prominent opposition politicians were detained under the Internal Security Act(ISA) because of the dispute between Najib and Lee Kim Sai, which resulted in Najib wanting to bring down more than 500,000 Malays to bath Kuala Lumpur with Chinese blood, Lee Kim Sai was removed from power.

With the exit of Lee Kim Sai,  Neo Ee Pan took over the helm. This resulted in a power struggle where Tan Koon Suan took over the helm, until he was jailed in Singapore

Then we saw Ling Leong Sek taking over the helm in the late 1980’s until there was a power struggle in the late 1990’s or early 2000, where Ong Ka Teng emerged as the President when he decided not to contest the post in the late 2000’s and Ong Tee Keat took over the helm.

From the above scenario of the events it seem to be clear, that whilst the Chinese community as a whole are great entrepreneurs from which the United Malay National Organisation(UMNO) has tremendously benefited through the “ali baba” scheme of business connections, on the other hand amongst themselves they are basically belligerent.

There is no doubt that the MCA Chinese will find a solution to the current impasse. This is because of the fact that by nature they are able to see further than their UMNO counterparts. If that is not the case than why is UMNO even after 40 years of having the New Economic Policy(NEP) in place, still has the need for the NEP, as reported by the Star, where Najib at the party’s 60th. Annual General Meeting claims that those who have enjoyed the benefits of the NEP should not be calling for its removal and deprive others who still needed help, (to become rich in the ali baba way.)

Najib has also stated that “no one could deny that a large group of Malay professionals grew as a result of the NEP.”

It is only a matter of time that the political scenario in the MCA would be liberated, based on the conventional behaviour of the Chinese. But the question is, would the MCA at that stage be relevant to the Chinese community?

Or would the Chinese people who as the term describes them, “who live in houses without windows” would have by then disassociated themselves completely from the unproductive political activities of the MCA, as a large number of them have already started to immigrate to other countries.

Nevertheless the wise Chinese people have already started to wonder around declaiming their interest in the activities of the MCA’s foolish ways of playing politics over the last 52 years. Hence, the MCA has become the laughing stock of all right think people and has generally made a spectacle of itself as a political party in its entirety.

As Reinhold Neibuhr said: “The sad duty of politics is to establish justice in a sinful world.” So could it be that the MCA may not succeed in whatever may be its good intentions, as a political party. It may be possible.

BUILD FIRST AND PLAN LATER

October 16, 2009

A great deal has been written about the scandal on the development of the Port Klang Free Zone(PKFZ) where the Government is the Employer. The saga started sometime in the year of 2002. From news reports it is known that a sale and purchase agreement was signed on the 12th. day of November 2002. It was between the Port Klang Authority(PKA) and a company known as Kuala Lumpur Sdn. Bhd.(KDSB) The translation of the words “ Kuala Lumpur” in English would mean “ Muddy River.” What an appropriate name for the company which in English would be “ Muddy River Private Limited.”

It has also been reported that this was a closed tender project embarked upon by the Government. If that was the case the Government under the terms of reference in Construction Law would be referred to as the “Employer” and KDSB would in all probabilities be referred to as the “Main Contractor(MC)”

The original cost for the setting up of the free zone was RM 1.845 billion. However, when this scandal first came into the open in 2007  Shahril Abdul Samad the head of the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee(PAC) held a meeting with the Port Klang Authority(PKA). The PAC found that there were huge cost overruns of up to RM4.6billion. Then the show began to play and till to date has not ended. But the current estimate of the cost overruns is at over RM 12 billion.

Conventionally, and it is only prudent that the Employer would have issued to the MC a letter of Offer and it is only prudent to expect the MC to have submitted a “document” which is referred to as the “Estimates.” And upon the estimates being agreed upon by the Employer, they would issue a Letter enclosing the Tender Documents. Thereafter the Employer and the MD would have entered into a Building Contract usually referred to as the “Conditions of Contract” which would also contain a considerable section referred to as the “Bill of Quantities.”

Taking the scope and the size of this project, we can see how large it is. The Employer would also have engaged several other persons which would include the Architect, Engineers, Quantity Surveyors and Consultants who are engaged for Special Purposes. No doubt the role played by the Consultants, are more often than not imprecisely defined in the contract.

Whilst, the Architect has an overall responsibility for the completion of the project, the Consultants role would be confined to design and supervision of those parts of the project works which would come within their special expertise.

With all these highly trained professionals being engaged, what actually went wrong?

What was the Port Klang Authority Doing?

Who “Certified” as correct the progress claims that were submitted for payment, and authorized the payment?

How is it that the Finance Minister was not aware of the cost overruns?

In all construction projects “Mathematics” is involved from the starting point of submitting the estimates to the completion of the project. Mathematics would include Arithmetic and Analysis, Geometry and other dynamics in the required field of science, for the project, to be successfully completed.  Therefore the use of Mathematics in its “TRUE” sense would have a least produced the answers so far as to determine the cost of the whole project to fall within certain fundamentals and notions of logic.

That is why the duties and responsibilities of the Architect amongst other mattes, would be, to prepare the plans, drawings and the specifications, the contract documents, the Bill of Quantities and generally to supervise the execution and completion  of all the works and to ensure that the works are completed in accordance with the specifications, for and on behalf of the Employer.

The Architect plays a crucial role in any project as he has to ensure that the works are completed in accordance with the provisions and the stipulated terms of the contract. To ensure that all works are carried out in accordance with the plans, drawings and specifications of the project, for which he would have the services of Consultant(s), Engineer(s) and Quantity Surveyor(s).

From the start of any project the role played by the Consultant Engineers such as the structural engineer or the mechanical engineer or the electrical engineer would be rather limited in nature. This is owing to the fact that their professional knowledge and assistance would only be sought when the progress of work requires their opinion, for drawing a conclusion as to whether the completed work is in accordance with the specifications of the contract, which comes within the preview of their special area of expertise.

Now, having had noted the roles and responsibilities of the various professional actors, it is time to deal with the progress claims that are submitted by the various contractors. In all construction projects, there would be a Committee that would be constituted to verify and approve progress claims that are submitted for payment to be processed.

The committee would normally constitute the Employer’s site representative, the Consultant’s representative, the Architect’s representative and the Quantity Surveyor.

The contractor will prepare and present his progress claim. It would only be normal and as required and expected that the committee would have to make a site visits with the contractors to determine that the progress claims made, are in order. Most often than not in large projects of this nature, which involves public funds, site visits are generally carried out to determine the stage of the works that have been completed to ascertain that such works have been carried out in accordance with the specifications and the Bill of Quantities.

If the progress verification is approved and it is in compliance with the contract, it would be approved for payment to be made. If it is not approved, the progress claim will be returned to the contractor for corrections or rectification works to be carried out and the contractor would have to re-submit his claim for a further review.

No doubt there may arise, situations for variation orders to be issued for certain adjustments to be made to the initial specifications. This may increase the determined project cost.

If the rectification is approved, it will be handed over to the contractor who is present at the meeting. He would then have to proceed to submit the approval, according to the set procedure to secure his payment.

Based on the above stated procedure, which is an established practice in all construction projects, and if the Architect and the other actors had strictly adhered to the plans, drawings and the specifications, no buildings will collapse by itself nor would there have been such astronomical and huge cost overruns, as in the case of the PKFZ project. These huge cost overruns have now become an “Intellectual Sorrow” to the tax payer.

What prompted the writing of this Article was the continuous remarks or answers given by a number of leading public personalities both of the present and the past and the passive way the main stream media reports on this scandal.

As a keen observer of political affairs and scandals that unfurl all over the whole I can safely state without fear or favour that not only has the Barisan National been having an “Intellectual Honeymoon” for 52 years but it has also along the way institutionalized mediocrity in all facets and strata of Malaysian business and commercial life, and now it is apparent after the Bagan Pinang by-elections that corruption has been Institutionalized.

No astute leader can condone this Government’s mischievous acts and conduct and neither can it change the peoples perception, by the leaders making  academic press releases or oratory.

In conclusion may we state that construction projects are based on the field of science. The use of Mathematics in the field of construction demonstrates the fact of the usage of Symbolic logic. The principles of mathematics consists in the analysis of Symbolic logic itself and it conclusions are exact or precise and the outcome of the cost calculations should have arrived at cardinal figures. Since Mathematics is a precise and exact science, how and on what basis did the cost overruns occur?

On the other hand, semantics and oratory are not exact or precise science. If it was so we would be that much poorer in what we hear and listen to. So now we come to the crux of the matter and that is, “What sought of Intelligence do our Government Leaders have?”

The answer may be found in what Pandolfo Petrucci the Prince of Siena Said:

“ There are three kinds of Intelligence, one understands the things for itself, the second appreciates what others can understand, the third understands neither for itself nor through others.”

Therefore the first kind is excellent, the second is good, and the third is useless.

In the eyes of all right thinking people a Government that can allow such huge cost overruns on a Government project, is “USELESS.” This is because they do not have the welfare of the people at heart. They build first and plan later and that is not responsible leadership.

POLITICS IS SHAPED BY REASON AND NOT BY PASSION

October 15, 2009

The dust from the outcome of Bagan Pinang elections results, have yet to settle. The Pekatan Rakyat leaders are still in search of the grounds for the way in which the voting populace had cast their votes giving Mohd Isa Samad a trumping victory. And against this backdrop, the United Malay National Organisation(UMNO) is holding its Annual General Meeting.

The UMNO Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin has based his clarion call to the youths in UMNO that he wants the majority of his community to forge closer ties with the other races. He wants the youth wing members to work hand in hand with the ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities to reap mutual benefits in nation building as opposed to the confrontational “Malay dominance” approach.

The reasons given in his speech makes reference to the Chinese and Indians as “ minorities” makes no distinction between the clarions calls of his predecessors of the past or his call of the present and for the future where he envisions that all local universities would be filled by Malays who are there based on merits and not  by the quota system and he has coined the term “ civilisational confidence” and only God knows what that term means. He has miserably failed to under what is provided for in Article 8 of the Federal Constitution, which is “equality.”

Khairy may have been educated in a world renown Institution called “ Oxford “ but he has failed the test of public scrutiny on the issue of morality, ethics and virtue as a politician. He was given only a warning for being caught in the act of “ money politics” that plagues UMNO. And only he knows what he means when he loosely uses the term “civilisational confidence.”

There is no doubt that every politician must be given his due for his aspirations. But then as observers, looking at the announcement objectively we are tempted to analyse political statements, as we are only human. And then, we tend to lose ourselves in the pursuit or the occurrence of the current prevailing political scenario, to become subjective to present temptations, as the political events unfold before us.

The sad thing is that the way the Barisan National and the Pakatan Rakyat  politicians act or play out their rational of governance, which gives us as the voters only inadequate ideas of the morality and ethics of how they would improve the system of government, from the state of where it is in, today. What we hear is empty salvos.

To put it simply, both the Barisan National and the Pakatan Rakyat politicians have miserably failed to address the issues that affect the future of the people of this nation.  They have failed, to argue upon all fronts. They have failed and continue to fail to argue on the prevailing and on the failing economic situation and how it has to be invigorated to be competitive as a world class player.

They do not seem to address the current mismatch of the skills required in the employment market. On the other hand, the degree mills which have produced highly qualified professionals, do not have character or are unable to perform. But in its place to a certain degree we have cheap labour.

The education system has taken a step or many steps backwards, in the name of nationalism. But then we dream of transforming the nation into a high income nation. How do we achieve such a goal when in the first place the education system is flawed and consequently the employment market is not provided the substance and the skill that is required for it to be dynamic.

Then there arises other various matters in respect of the infrastructure projects that have been planned and built and on how it is to be maintained and upgraded. The public transportation system is grossly inadequate. The health and sanitary conditions, the current administrative practices versus new theories that may have to be introduced to enhance and improve upon the delivery system for the general well being of the people who pay the taxes to keep the Government machinery functioning.

There are a host of matters relating to the duties and responsibilities of the Local Authorities and how are they being executed under the current prevailing economic situation and its significance in relation to the non economic enrichment that has resulted from previous Governments policies and a host of other factors, that have a direct impact on the daily lives of the people in general. There is also the serious issue of the loyalty of the civil servant to the Government of the day where the service is required.

Over and above all these issues, we face an alarming increase in the rate of crime, when our nation of 27 million people, have a police force of about a 100,000 men and women. It works out to the ratio of 1 policeman to every 270 persons. The United Nations required average is 1 policeman to 250 persons and we are not far from the required world average. But why then is our crime rate so high? Is it because  the police force is being mismanaged for political purpose?

Then there is the issue of the misuse of Judicial power and Judicial misconduct and the subservient manner in which the Malaysian Anti Corruption Agency carries out its selective prosecution, which is again an abuse of its powers.

Therefore based on the above stated scenario, and based on the oratory speeches of politicians from both sides of the political divide, we the general populace are only able to perceive inadequate ideas of what our politicians are actually doing in life at the present as we are unable to fathom their political ideology and what they intend to do in the future.

As much as we would want participate and engage in the democratic control of our social lives as united individuals to shape and bring about a change in our destiny, we find that the way politics is being played out by the various actors both from the Barisan National and the Pakatan Rakyat based on their political dogma, we think it has to be purged of its spurious or its unauthentic immutability, before these politicians can actually bring about a change that will be of any benefit to the wider society in which we live.

In this respect as much as we want a change in the current political landscape, we hope that the political leaders from the Pakatan Rakyat will take a cue from the results of the Bagan Pinang by-elections and carry through their transformation ideally under the unified banner of the Pakatan Rakyat in alliance with the support given be the people whose aspiration is to achieve a more democratic and functioning civil society.

We do not expect a utopian state to be delivered to us for the votes we cast  But we are fully aware that in all our struggle to bring about a change after 52 years, the struggle to create or improve the current state of democracy would merely become an illusory dream or form if our political leaders from the Pakatan Rakyat do not change their mindset.

If the Pakatak Rakyat intends to see the struggle as a struggle between differing political dogmas being fought out amongst the PAS, DAP and the PKR then you can say good-bye to the social groups that are currently giving you their support.

As Socrates said: “Law is reason and not passion.” And so we the people send a clear message to all Pakatan Rakyat Politicians that your political dogmas must be shaped by reason and not by passion.

In the event that this message is disregarded, than your future survival will be determined in the midst of the voters presumed ignorance. As we are the masters of any politicians faith and let there be no mistake on this issue.

BAGAN PINANG AND THE POWER BLOCS

October 13, 2009

The constituents of Bagan Pinang have made their choice. Mohd Isa Samad was always a popular personality with the local populace. Zulkefly Omar of PAS even with the whole hearted support of the Pakatan Rakyat was a novice. So in any case the victor has nothing to shout about.

One thing is clear, that in politics, if the contestant is extremely popular with the local populace, the chances of losing the battle and the war are slim. Maybe, that is why Najib’s spin doctors may have advised him to make the announcement that the offence of money politics for which Mohd Isa Samad was found guilty of and suspended for three years, was a technical matter.

Further, it was clear from the start that almost all the entire UMNO divisional machinery supported Mohd Isa Samad and so it was fully supported by the Federal Government.

With that state of affairs being the order of the campaign period, the eventual outcome had been written on the wall. Consequently, the outcome cannot by any yardstick be taken as a fatal blow to the Pakatan Rakyat. But then, what is commendable, is the over 5,000 votes majority that Mohd Isa Samad, obtained over his vanquished opponent. This was a formidable result, especially since Mohd Isa Saman had virtually been absent from the political scene for some three years or more.

Be that as it may, the majority of the constituents are from the working class. The people are generally poor. They are neither Chauvinistic nor aware of the endemic corruption issues that plague this nation, where the prime movers and shakers are from UMNO.

But nonetheless when we explore the commendable and formidable majority which Mohd Isa Samad secured and examine it with the perceptions of the poor people, it would not be too difficult to make or draw a conclusion.

This is owing to the fact that in our everyday life and interaction with the poor or the people who fall within the lower strata of life, we have found and are aware that these poor peoples perceptions can be shaped and changed by the material well being of a person in power or the organization that he belongs to and identifies himself with.

It is a fact of life that when a public personality is materially well off and shows actual humility and is friendly, he would be able to shape the poor mans perception both materially and ideoloigically. It must be noted that the constituents comprise of rural people who are either fishermen, estate workers,owners of small scale businesses or industries or family run businesses. To wake them up to be revolutionary and conscious is a hope based on blind faith.

Therefore, the approach taken by the Pakatan Rakyat in endeavouring to raise a host of the issues that are of public knowledge to the city folks such as, racism, corruption and other issues which have been of grieve concern to our civil society, could not raise the  eye-brows of these simpletons, especially since Mohd Isa Samad was their home grown boy and he had the touch of actual, humility.

Pakatan Rakyat has to learn that they cannot expect every class of people to listen to their oratory and react with a revolutionary consciousness to bring about a change to civil society as a whole.

To put it politely, Pakatan Rakyat must first and foremost put its house in order. Parti Keadalan Rakyat and PAS to name two individuals within their party, that is, Zulkefl Nordin and Dr. Hasan Ali seem to think they are too smart. But in the eyes of the city voting populace they only explicit how shallow is their knowledge of the political sphere, in which they operate, based on the aspirations of the people for change in the Barisan National system of Government.

Therefore as Lim Kit Siang has stated as reported in the Star Publication “ The Pakatan Leaders must stop being shy about the need to demonstrate discipline and common sense of purpose at all levels in the coalition.”

Now since the oratory from the power blocs have been heard loud and clear in Bagan Pinang and since the constituents have resoundingly decided to elect Mohd Isa Samad, does it mean that Najib by stating that Isa being found guilty of money politics is a technical matter, that Najib has “INSTITUTIONALISED CORRUPTION.”

It looks like the jury is not out on this matter.