MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Guan Eng slams Najib for talking RUBBISH: Of shadow Cabinets & not abolishing tolls

Guan Eng slams Najib for talking RUBBISH: Of shadow Cabinets & not abolishing tolls
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak should practice what he preaches instead of double-standards by directing BN in Kedah, Kelantan, Penang and Selangor to present a shadow EXCO if BN is committed to recapture power in those states.
In many respects BN is worse than PR, in that BN not only does not have a shadow cabinet in the PR states but have not even appointed the BN Menteri Besar candidate in Selangor, Kelantan and Kedah.
Despite BN’s lies that PR has no Prime Minister designate, PR has unanimously agreed on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the next Prime Minister of Malaysia.
PR had adopted a unique formula of a shadow cabinet by appointing 3 persons respectively from each PR party(PAS, DAP and PKR) for every Ministerial portfolio.
This demonstrates that PR leaders are not crazy for political posts but are hungry in policies that benefit the people. Such new political culture by PR of people-centric policies that work contrast with the BN’s personality driven cult that enriches cronies.
Abolishing toll will destroy Bursa - what outlandish lie is this?
DAP strongly disagrees that abolishing tolls will spell the end of Bursa Malaysia as most of the concessionaires are public-listed companies. Again Najib has revealed that he subconsciously is more concerned about the fate of the few wealthy public listed companies than the livelihood if 28 million ordinary Malaysians.
Such threats by the Prime Minister that abolishing tolls such as the North-South Highway toll will lead to the collapse of Bursa is just simply wrong. How can the Bursa collapse when PLUS was taken private last year and is not even listed on Bursa Malaysia?
Clearly such threats sound not only ridiculous but irresponsible when it comes from a Prime Minister.
Lim Guan Eng is the Penang Chief Minister & DAP sec-gen

Anwar: Budget failed to tackle structural flaws

The PKR de facto leader points out that corruption, poor governance and political patronage remain widespread.
KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim today accused the government of failing to address the fundamental flaws needed to push Malaysia’s economy forward with its Budget 2013.
The PKR de facto leader in his speech at the start of the budget debate said nothing in the Barisan Nasional spending plans indicated any political will to tackle structural problems blamed for the country’s devalued competitiveness.
Corruption, poor governance and political patronage remain widespread, said Anwar, the former deputy prime minister.
He called Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s policies as “more for the cronies” disguised as “people-friendly” through generous but one-off perks announced in the budget unveiled in Parliament last Friday.
Anwar said that a strong domestic market driven by small and medium businesses, a skilled labour force, limited government interventions and strong policies are key to sustainable development.
This in turn will help raise income. Spending power, distributed equally even to the poor, is crucial for growth, he added, citing the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Trade and Development Report for 2012.
“Budget 2013 touched nothing on holistic efforts to increase the household income,” said Anwar, who was also a former finance minister.
Pakatan Rakyat had promised to revitalise the country’s economy by raising the monthly household income to RM4,000 and widening the government’s revenue stream by tightening governance and weeding out corruption.

Woes of an ex-con wanting to go legit

S Balachandran is at his wits end after banks and government agencies turn down loan applications for his agricultural business.
KUALA LUMPUR: An ex-convict desiring to turn over a new leaf is finding it hard to get loans from government agencies for his agricultural business.
Initially, 43-year-old S Balachandran approached banks for loans to start the agricultural business but was rejected because he was blacklisted for failure to settle his credit card loans
Balachandran, from Taiping, Perak, said he was disappointed that even his loan applications to several government agencies were thrown out due to the blacklist.
“I was imprisoned in 1998 and released in 2009 and by that time I was already hitting 40…and I had difficulty landing jobs.
“I then decided to venture into the agriculture business after being impressed by the “Agriculture is Business” campaign run by the Perak state government, he said.
“I got a lease for a 10-acre plot of land and planted chilies. I mortgaged my house. My family members chipped in some money. In total I spent about RM150,000 for the business.
“I need another RM50,000 to switch to an automated sprinkler system to water the land as it will quicker and also yield more income. Right now I draw water from a pipe using buckets.
“At the present time, my income is less than my expenditure,” said Balachandran.
Balachandran said although he could understand why banks rejected his loan applications, he could not come to grips on why government agencies were doing the same.
“I took the matter up to the Menteri Besar (Zambry Abdul Kadir) and received a call from his special officer S Veerasingam who instructed me to attend a briefing by the Special Secretariat for the Empowerment of Indian Entrepreneurs (SEED).
“The meeting was held on Sept 9, where more than 500 people turned up. The meeting was conducted by Dr AT Kumarajah who talked only on the issue of those on blackslists.
“He offered no solutions and to my dismay, he said we still have to follow the normal procedures in applying for loans from banks.
“Here we are asking the government’s help after being rejected by the banks and he’s telling to follow procdures. What’s the point of have meetings and telling us to go back to the banks?
“In my case, Kumarajah promised to look into it personally. But, it has already been three weeks and he doesn’t even pick up my phone calls,” said.
Balachandran said he faced the same fate when he approached MyNadi, an non-governmental organisations set up to help and assist Indian businessmen.
“They visited my farm and promised to sort out my problem. But, it has been already two months and so far no signal from their side,” he added.
Balachandran said he was also disappointed with Tekun Nasional as he was only allowed to borrow RM9,000 when he had applied for a RM30,000 loan.
“I’m angry and frustrated. I work hard, want to lead a clean life. My friends who are out of prison are living a lavish life doing unlawful things.
“I made a mistake and landed in jail. But now I want to lead a new life. But I’m tired of trying…I don’t know how long I can hold on,” he added.

Budget 2013 – only good from the outside

At the end of the day, it’s not about expensive infrastructure that are likely to resonate with the majority of voters.
All the anticipation building up over Budget 2013 has finally ended when Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak unveiled it last Friday.
Young, first-time voters will be treated to cash handouts, book vouchers (for university students) and even a discount on smartphone purchases.
Homebuyers will supposedly see a reduction in speculative activity in the housing market with the hike in the Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT).
There was no news on the goods and services tax (GST) which is meant to broaden the tax base in Malaysia as only a minority of Malaysians pay income tax. However, taxpayers below the RM50,000 bracket were entitled to a one percent reduction in payable tax.
Elsewhere there was good news for others too. Bonus (1½ months) for civil servants, insurance schemes for fishermen, subsidies and incentives for farmers, increase in minimum pension for pensioners and so on.
Tax and non-tax incentives were given to the oil and gas industry. Besides, the RM1 billion SME Development Scheme is welcome news to small and medium enterprises.
On a bigger scale, Najib, who also holds the finance portfolio, aims to reduce the budget deficit from 4.5% in the previous year to 4.0% in 2013. This is taking into account the estimated RM208.6 billion government revenue for 2013.
A Bloomberg article reported the strengthening of the ringgit, rising from “0.5% to 3.0620 against the dollar, the biggest gain in a week”.
“The benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index climbed 0.5%,” added the report.
Temporary sweeteners
One can also point to the success of our government-backed initial public offerings (IPOs) which achieved worldwide status. One can hear a loud chant of “Malaysia Boleh” in the stock markets.
However, the situation goes beyond our positive economic forecast.
Many have wanted the Auditor-General’s report to be released before the budget announcement, but that was not the case.
Cash handouts to the young are mere temporary sweeteners. Besides, the previous gifts of book vouchers were not carefully regulated, resulting in a portion of the students using them to buy anything in book stores ranging from comic books, expensive stationery to water bottles, wallets, and even music CD albums.
National House Buyers Association secretary-general Chang Kim Loong was sceptical on the RPGT revision. He says that the revision will allow speculators to purchase properties from developers upon launch and hike up the property price, while paying only the proposed 10% RPGT on the third year.
Orang Asli Concerns director Colin Nicholas said that the allocation of RM88 million to implement economic development programmes and water supply projects for the Orang Asli community does not address the issue as most of the time there is already a water gravity system in place. (A water gravity system is a system whereby water from a source high up and deep in the jungle is channelled through PVC pipes.)
“What is needed is proper delivery system with no leakages. Two years ago, a similar project was mooted but the project failed,” he said
Which brings me to my point that although things might look good from the outside, sometimes policies are ill-planned and may backfire.
Long-term love affair with subsidies
How about Malaysia’s long-term love affair with subsidies? Research for Social Advancement (Refsa) and IDEAS, two local think-thanks, have revealed that expenditure on subsidies has quadrupled since 2007.
Are we as a nation still heavily dependent on subsidies which give a false value on goods and services?
Then there’s also the issue of our development expenditure and operating expenditure. Malaysia’s operating expenditure has increased from RM182 billion to RM201.9 billion.
Trimming down the civil service seems a likely austerity measure to save cost. However, that would be perceived as a highly unpopular move.
That being said, at the end of the day, it’s not about expensive infrastructure like the Tun Razak Exchange, the performance of Malaysia’s KLCI Index, or our forecast budget deficit percentages that are likely to resonate with the majority of voters.
Numbers are one thing, but the core problem is that many Malaysians still question the government’s performance and achievements.
Why are car owners digging deep into debt to purchase what Jeremy Clarkson (the well-known English writer who specialises in motoring) might label as a “reasonably priced car”? Why are leakages not plugged and cronyism still rampant? Why are ethnic-based policies still in place instead of being merit-based?
These are questions that people still ask after years and years of having our Janji Ditepati (promises fulfilled).
And, of course, our total debt is only about 53% of our total national income, nowhere near the 55% federal government limit. Nothing to worry about, move along.
One can only hope that one day we’ll hear less politicking about private jets, cow scandals, water crisis issues and what not. And hear less from politicians spending more time arguing on whose policies are more beneficial to the rakyat, and whose budget is more prudent and sustainable.
One can only hope.

Funds down for rural Sabah, Sarawak schools

Has education in rural schools improved so much that it warranted a cut in allocation from RM424 million in 2012 to RM98 million in 2013?
KUCHING: While state Barisan Nasional leaders have described the over RM251 million federal budget announced by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak as “very balanced”, Sarawak opposition leaders are saying it’s “terribly horrible”.
Pointing out a shocking drop in funding for education allocation in rural areas, DAP secretary Chong Chieng Jen said: “The government is setting its priorities all wrong.
“It is a total neglect for Sarawak and Sabah. The education allocation has shrunk to 20% as compared with the previous years.
“What is the rationale for education allocation for rural areas in Sarawak and Sabah where the amount was slashed from RM424 million in 2012 to only RM98 million in 2013?
“Have the rural education and rural school facilities in the two states improved so much? I don’t think so.”
Chong, who is Bandar Kuching MP, said the budget is “a big disappointment as it gives a lot of goodies to a lot of people, but it does not solve the fundamental economic problems”.
He said these economic problems have given rise to social ills, with a lot of poor people resorting to crimes in order to make ends meet.
“The budget speech is more like a political ‘ceramah’ (political talk). Nothing is mentioned about arresting corruption, clean governance, and ending cronyism.
“There is not a word about the leakages in government projects amounting to RM30 billion last year. So Najib speaks as if the government is setting up a culture of corruption and cronyism in this country.
16 years in deficit
On the budget deficit, Chong, who is also the Kota Sentosa assemblyman, noted that the budget is in its 16th year of deficit estimated to be RM43,016.99 million, assuming that there would be no more supplementary supply.
“Our deficit is still increasing bearing in mind this estimate on expenditure is always not accurate… I have seen application for supplementary supply and usually the increase is roughly 10%.
“You have a country running a deficit 16 years in a row. Any company will go bankrupt. It shows that the country is handling a very unhealthy financial management,” he said.
On projections for next year, Chong said that the revenue classification for next year is RM208,650 million and the sectors that would contribute to the increase are individuals and companies which increased by nine and seven percent respectively, while the non-tax revenue decreased.
“What does it tell you? It tells you that tax agents such as Inland Revenue Board (IRB) from next year are going to be more aggressive in looking out for more taxes from the people.
“They will target individuals and businessmen,” he warned.
Commenting on the so-called election goodies, he said: “For all these election goodies given out, we have a price to pay.
“The tax officers will go to your office and take everything and bring it back.”
Chong warned individuals and companies that the IRB would be “aggressive”.
“The price is that the tax department will go all out and become more aggressive either on justified or unjustified ground.
“They will tell you that you have to pay so much, say RM20 million. Of course, you tell them you don’t agree with the amount and then you start negotiating with them.
“This will be the likely scenario. I believe this is one of the ways the government would earn some revenue,” he added.
Debt ratio now 53%
On the government debt of RM502.4 billion, Chong said that the debt ratio to the GDP growth now has exceeded the 50% mark.
“It is now 53.7%. What happens if the ratio exceeds 55% and more? I believe two things are likely to happen. Firstly, the government will amend the law and increase the ratio to 60% in order to legalise it.
“Of course, this is a stupid way of doing it. It is just like an ostrich burying its head in the sand.
“Secondly, the government can ask statutory bodies such as EPF that have given loans to the government to waive or cancel their loans so that the debt level will go down.
“This is another possibility, and we are greatly concerned about it,” said Chong.
Meanwhile, state BN leaders, in welcoming the budget, described it as “fantastic’”as it would launch the country towards developed nation status, transforming the economy to a high level income and at the same time galvanising the people’s participation.
Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party president William Mawan Ikom said the budget was fantastic as it would set a new phase of development in the country by wooing more investments to further accelerate its economic growth.
“It is not only broad-based and people-friendly, but also it reaches out to every stratum of society and galvanise the people’s participation,” said Mawan, who is State Social Development Minister.
His colleague James Masing, the State Land Development Minister, said that it is an election budget, but with a responsible and correct focus.
“It will enhance foreign direct investment and at the same time it will focus on industrial development – big, medium and small industry.
“It will also focus on the welfare of all strata of the society including the handicapped people,” said Masing, who is also the president of Parti Rakyat Sarawak.
A leader of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) and Asajaya assemblyman Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said that the budget was people-orientated.
“This is because every sphere of the society is reached and given benefits. It was meticulously prepared and the prime minister made sure all sectors are covered,” he said.

Ho Chi Minh

By Syed Akbar Ali

This is a short story. It has significance to what is going on in our country.

Ho Chi Minh was the great Vietnamese freedom fighter, liberator, statesman and hero of the oppressed peoples. Ho Chi Minh died in 1969, when I was nine years old. Also known as 'Uncle Ho', his birth name was Nguyen Sinh Cung. Ho Chi Minh who was of Chinese ancestry translates to 'He Who Enlightens'.

At that time the US was bombing VietnamLaos and Cambodia back to the Stone Age. It was called the Vietnam War. I clearly remember watching the ‘Dunia Di Sana Sini’ program on Television Malaysia (no RTM yet at that time) which would show black and white footage of American GIs using flamethrowers to burn attap huts belonging to Vietnamese villagers.

Till today I cannot figure out how attap huts in Vietnam were a threat to the security and vital interests of the ‘Yewnited States of Americky’ That is one evil and adulterous generation (Matthew 14:6-8) which is still dancing around the fire in the Yewnited States.

At that time the Americans successfully brainwashed all of us into believing that the Vietnamese were bad people led by an ugly monster called Ho Chi Minh. So like the simple, Third World, Mat Salleh wannabe bumpkins that we were (and many many still are) we all chorused the American line that our own neighbors were monsters.

The French colonials started taking control of Vietnam in the 1860s. By 1883 the entire country was a full fledged French colony.

Under French colonial rule Vietnamese were prohibited from travelling outside their districts without identity papers. Freedom of expression and organisation were restricted. Land was alienated to French companies and the number of landless peasants grew. So people like Ho Chi Minh started fighting back.

Fastforward (because this is a short story), Ho Chi Minh kicked the butt of the French in Dien Bien Phu in 1952 and sent them home in crates.

Way before that on 2 September 1945, half a million Vietnamese people gathered in Hanoi to hear Ho Chi Minh read the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence. The Vietnamese had thrown off the foreign invader.

One of the first things that Ho Chi Minh did as the leader of a free and independent Vietnam was to REPUDIATE ALL TREATIES AND AGREEMENTS which had been entered into by Vietnam under French Colonial Rule.

Not only Ho Chi Minh but in many newly independent countries (usually non British Commonwealth) an independent people refused to recognize treaties and agreements which the colonials had forced them to sign at the point of a gun or without the consent of the people. So whatever the French colonial power had signed on behalf of Vietnam was not recognized by the Vietnamese people.

Why? Apa pasal? Because those treaties were NOT signed by a free and independent people.

I wanted to Blog about this because just a few days ago I was having breakfast with some friends who started quoting the terms of the Pangkor Treaty (! ! !) to support their side of the argument about the Perak issues.

At the time of our Independence, we should have taken a leaf out of Ho’s book (it is really not too late) and repudiated all the treaties and agreements which were signed under the British.

For example, Stamford Raffles found disgruntled seafarers from the Riau Islands, played politics with the Dutch and got “a” Sultan to rent space on Temasek Island to the British East India Company (NOT TO THE BRITISH SOVEREIGN GOVERNMENT OK).

Raffles did not work for the British Government but he worked for the British East India Company, a company listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Stamford Raffles was just like an earlier version of a Somali pirate. And at the time of our “Independence” in 1957, all this had happened just over 100 years before. (Much less time than Nga and Ngeh’s 999 year leasehold titles granted recently in Perak).

Then later this slick little piece of piracy by Raffles was ‘formalised’ by the British Sovereign through the Colonial Office.

And many people think that Stamford Raffles braved the seas, sailed out here from England and claimed an uncivilized, uninhabited island for the British Government. Wrong.

First of all Raffles was already chilling his heels in Penang. Long before he “founded” Singapore in 1819, Raffles was assistant secretary at the British East India company’s “administration” inPenang in 1805.

Then in 1818 Raffles became “lieutenant governor of Bencoolen” fighting the Dutch who were trying to grab the whole of South East Asia. Before that Raffles was appointed “governor general” for the British India Company in Java (1811-16).

In 1818 Raffles sailed hurriedly from Bencoolen to India, and convinced Lord Hastings of the need for the British to open a port onTemasek Island. He had already identified Temasek Island. (It was NOT some unknown, uninhabited, alien island that fell out of the Matrix movie).

But more importantly why did Raffles suddenly panic in 1818? He was the East India Company’s “secretary” in Penang in 1805, made it to Company “governor” in Java in 1811, became Company “lieutenant governor” for Bencoolen in 1816-1818. Why panic in 1818 to open another port?

In 1818 the Dutch occupied Riau. The Riau Islands were also the domain of the Sultan of Johore. The Dutch then claimed that ALL theterritories of the Sultan of Johore (Riau Islands, the KarimunIslands, mainland Johor, Temasek, parts of Negeri Sembilan, parts of Pahang) were all within their sphere of influence.
This was the cause of Raffles panic.

And coincidentally, Raffles was in Penang at this relevant time, chilling his heels possibly at his favorite plantation bungalow (not exactly braving the wild oceans for King and Country).

From Penang, Raffles dispatched Colonel William Farquhar to Temasek. Disregarding orders to await further instructions from the British East India Company in Calcutta, Raffles slipped out of Penang around 20th January, 1819 aboard a private trading ship and caught up with Farquhar.

On January 28, 1819, Raffles and Farquhar anchored near the mouth of the Singapore River. There was no dramatic arrival on a wild and exotic, uninhabited island that had just fallen out of the Matrix movie.

The following day, the two men went ashore on Temasek Island to meet Temenggong Abdu'r Rahman, who granted provisional permission for the British East India Company to establish a trading post on the island, subject to the approval of Hussein. Hussein ? Who was Hussein? Read on.

( I hope you can see me laughing here – what in heaven’s name is”granted provisional permission” – did the Speaker of the Temasek Assembly meet under a tree too, on the uninhabited, exotic, wild and mysterious Temasek island?)

Well the kiasu Raffles, began immediately to unload Bengalisepoys, set up tents and hoist the British flag. The first British meal prepared on “wild, exotic, undiscovered, uninhabited” Temasek was probably chappati and fried ikan kembong supplied by the ever friendly local Malays.

Raffles then told Temenggong Abdu'r Rahman to send for “Hussein” in Riau, who (not having much else to do ) arrived within a few days. Then the next event that happened was a classic example of British piracy which makes the pirates in present daySomalia look like incompetent sea urchins.

Acknowledging Hussein” as the rightful Sultan of Johore, on February 6, 1819 Raffles signed a treaty with him and thetemenggong confirming the right of the British East India Companyto establish a trading post in return for an annual rent (in Spanish dollars, the common currency of the region at the time) of Sp$5,000 to Hussein and Sp$3,000 to the temenggong.

Read carefully. The annual rent was for “a” trading post. Not for the whole island.
Fastforward to 1857. After the Indian Mutiny of that year, the British Government took over the assets of the British East India Company, including Malaya and went on to “acknowledge” more Sultans and sign more treaties.

The “as long as there are moon and stars in the sky” type Water Supply Agreements and such (signed in the early 20th century) are just carryovers of British piracy.

Fastforward to 1963. “Singapore” joins Malaysia. Two “Acts” of Parliament were passed. The British Parliament passed an Act ceding all British claims to ‘sovereignty’ over Singapore to Malaysia. Over in Malaysia an Act of Parliament was passed noting thatSingapore was now part of Malaysia (again).

Fastforward to 1965 : Singapore was “expelled” from Malaysia. It was a unilateral decision by Tunku Abdul Rahman the Prime Minister. It had not been debated and approved by the Malaysian Cabinet. More importantly no specific Act of Parliament was passed in Malaysia acknowledging that Singapore was no more part of the country. Legally then, under an Act of Parliament, passed by an Independent people, Singapore is still part of Malaysia.

Back to Ho Chi Minh. ALL treaties and agreements forced upon us under the force of Colonial guns and cannons have no moral standing. We should have just repudiated them.

As an independent nation we must create space and opportunity for all under the realm. But we must do it in our own fashion to suit our people. 

Pangkor Treaty ? ? Did they smoke pipes too ? Selagi ada bulan dan bintang . . .