Thursday, May 31, 2007

Yes the General Election is around the corner!

When a person gets bored, he either fantacize a joke or he sleeps. I like to try the former, with no malice towards anyone:
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The PM is chairing a top BN meeting to discuss preparation for the 12th General Election. The scene is at the PM’s department.

PM: So how’s the preparation for the GE? I’ll go around the table and please report your position. I start with MCA Chief Ong Ka Tim.

Ong: Semua ‘A-OK’, YAB. Taukeh-taukeh sudah janji 2 juta ringgit untuk Ang Pow kepada ‘voters’. Genting, 1/2 juta, Ananda 1/2 juta, Kuok 1/2 juta, GLC’s 1/2 juta.

PM: Thank you Kah Tim. Now let’s ask Semi Value. OK Semi, what have you got?

S.Value: Suma pun ada OK juga, YAB. Saya sudah minta suma Toll kompeni jangan naik itu toll selama anam bulan. Tiga bulan sebelum GE dan 3 bulan selepas. Kita beku suma kadar toll. Sikit pun tarak naik juga. Jika naik, kalu, semua agreement kita kensel itu jam juga. JKR kata suma steam roll sudah bersiap sedia tunggu nak turap suma jalan yang berlubang. Tunggu arahan saya saja.

PM: Bagus, bagus. Ya, thank you Sami. Now, back to UMNO. Kita mula dengan Khairy mewakili Pemuda UMNO.

KJ: Semua siap sedia Daddy. Setiap pemuda penggempur kita akan beri sebilah keris. Hishamuddin akan ajar silat gayung kepada setiap penggempur. Mereka akan mengamuk sebaik sahaja Daddy bagi arahan.

PM: Terima kasih Menantu beta, .... oops, maaf, menantu ku. OK sekarang bagaimana pula rancangan nak rampas Kelantan? Ini saya kena tanya Tok Pa.

Tok Pa: Semua dah beres, YAB. Kain pelikat sudah ditempah dari Madras, dan Jakarta. Mesin jahit ‘Singer’ sudah tiba di pelabuhan Kelang. Gula juga akan dihantar oleh Robert Kuok. Wang saku sudah dimasuk ke dalam envelop Maybank. Saya serah kepada Tan Sri Muhamad pula untuk menyambung...

Md Taib: Semua jentera siap sedia...minyak pelincir semua cukup...ai, tertidur pula orang tua ni...

PM: Zzzzzz........

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Hendak jadi popular, hinakan Perkhidmatan Awam?

Berdasarkan satu tulisan dalam Utusan Malaysia:

http://putraon9.wordpress.com/2007/05/25/penghinaan-kepada-melayu/
ADALAH sesuatu yang tidak memeranjatkan apabila DAP sekali lagi membawa isu yang menyentuh tentang kepentingan dan sensitiviti Melayu di Malaysia.

Melalui laman web Malaysiakini bertarikh 23 Mei, Penasihat Ekonomi kepada Setiausaha Agung DAP, Tony Pua membuat kenyataan bahawa penjawat awam hanya terdiri daripada orang Melayu yang mengalami masalah pengangguran.


Saya amat bersetuju dengan permintaan Naib Ketua Pergerakan Pemuda UMNO, Khairy Jamaluddin bahawa kenyataan Tony Pua yang disiarkan di Malaysiakini semalam bersifat menghina dan sangat angkuh terhadap lebih sejuta kakitangan awam di negara kita yang tercinta ini.

Kenyataan Tony Pua yang disiarkan di Malaysiakini berhubung dakwaan bahawa perkhidmatan awam hanyalah ‘tapak pembuangan bagi penganggur berijazah golongan Melayu’ – sememangnya satu pernyataan yang bersifat sangat sensitif dari segi politik.

Bukan sekadar pernyataannya yang bersifat sensitif, bahkan satu penghinaan kepada semua kakitangan awam di Malaysia, terutamanya kepada golongan bumiputera.

Tidakkah beliau tahu bahawa sekarang ini, peluang kemasukan ke dalam dunia pekerjaan sektor awam sudah semakin sengit dan banyak persaingannya? Sesi temu duga, ujian dan sebagainya semakin payah dan susah.

Malahan yang telah lulus ujian bertulis kerajaan di kalangan bumiputera sangat ramai tetapi masih belum mendapat panggilan temu duga dengan sektor awam tersebut.

Sememangnya, kenyataan Tony Pua itu langsung tidak berasas dan perlu ditolak sama sekali. Ini kerana buat pengetahuan beliau, ramai kakitangan awam sanggup melepaskan tawaran kerja dengan gaji dan manfaat yang lumayan di sektor swasta disebabkan mahu berkhidmat dan berbakti kepada negara.

Apatah lagi sekiranya ditawarkan gaji yang cukup lumayan di sektor swasta tetapi seringkali dianaktirikan oleh diskriminasi kaum di sektor swasta itu sendiri.

Cuba kita lihat sahaja di dalam persekitaran pekerjaan sektor swasta. Seringkali dipaparkan, iklan-iklan pekerjaan hanya meminta calon-calon yang mempunyai keupayaan untuk bertutur dalam bahasa Mandarin.

Apakah niat dan maksudnya ini? Bagaimana dengan peluang calon-calon yang tidak pernah berpeluang untuk mempelajari bahasa tersebut, terutamanya daripada kaum-kaum bumiputera lain di Malaysia?

Pembaca fikirkanlah, walaupun surat ini telah disiarkan pun, mereka masih terus dengan syarat mereka itu. Ini kerana, kerajaan kita sangat berlemah lembut dalam menangani isu tersebut.

Acap kali ditegur berkenaan perkara ini termasuk oleh Timbalan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. Tetapi perkara tersebut terus berleluasa dek kerana kebiadapan syarikat-syarikat yang meletakkan syarat tersebut sebagai salah satu syarat wajib mereka, yang jelas tidak menjaga hati dan sentimen kaum-kaum lain di Malaysia.

Tetapi, mengapakah perkara yang sedemikian tidak diambil peduli pula oleh Tony Pua?

Seperti mana yang telah diperkatakan oleh Khairy, sememangnya amat nyata sekali, Tony Pua hanya memperkecilkan kebolehan, jasa serta sumbangan kakitangan kerajaan kepada negara.

Tony Pua secara tidak langsung telah melemahkan semangat kakitangan kerajaan yang sebenarnya telah memilih jalan yang mulia untuk berkhidmat kepada kerajaan dan negara.

Bahkan sangat jelas di sini bahawa, kata-kata Tony Pua itu juga telah menjejaskan imej perkhidmatan awam pada masa kerajaan bertungkus-lumus untuk memperkenalkan pelbagai langkah bagi meningkatkan lagi mutu sistem penyampaian perkhidmatan tersebut.

Lantaran itu, saya sangat menyokong supaya Tony Pua meminta maaf secara terbuka kepada semua kakitangan kerajaan disebabkan kenyataan beliau dalam laman web tersebut.

Sedangkan dua orang ahli Parlimen kerajaan boleh meminta maaf secara terbuka, apatah lagi orang yang bukan berstatus ahli Parlimen dari parti pembangkang ini, yang jelas sangat menyinggung hati semua kakitangan awam di Malaysia.

– AMIR SHAHRIZAT MOHD. AZIZAN, Seremban.

maka inilah komen saya
=======================

Saya juga merasa terhina dengan tuduhan Tony Pua ahli DAP ini--sebagai seorang Melayu yang pernah berkhidmat dengan sebuah badan berkanun (Kerajaan). Walaupun saya ada menulis dalam blog saya perkara-perkara yang boleh dianggap kritis (terhadap pemerintah) sebagai pembayar cukai dan rakyat, namun apabila bangsa (dan rakan sekerja) saya dihina begini oleh seorang ahli politik DAP, saya tidak boleh hanya berdiam.

Isu yang dibawa oleh Tony Pua ini adalah satu isu perkauman yang amat tebal. Dia memperlihatkan kebenciannya kepada orang Melayu yang bekerja di sektor awam. Seolah-olah semua Melayu di sektor itu "sudah tidak laku" di mana-mana sektor lain.

Tanpa sebarang kajian yang saintifik Tony Pua membuat kesimpulannya berdasarkan semata-mata kepada persepsi dan stereotaipnya terhadap bangsa Melayu. Dia sememangnya patut meminta maaf kepada Perkhidmatan Awam negara ini kerana menghina perkhidmatan itu yang tanpanya, jentera kerajaan akan tergendala.

Walaupun terdapat kelemahan di sana sini (seperti perkhidmatan awam di mana sahaja - termasuk USA, UK, dan PRC dll.) namun jasa perkhidmatan awam kepada semua rakyat - baik Melayu, Cina atau India - tidak dapat dinapikan oleh sesiapa. Ini Tony Pua kena tahu dan faham sebagai penasihat DAP. Jika pun hendak popular, janganlah menyentuh perkara-perkara yang boleh mencetuskan satu lagi 13 Mei. Belajarlah dari sejarah negara ini yang kamu menjadi warga negaranya.

MBA@64

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Angpows are not cheap, maa!

I refer to your news report (May 23, 2007) entitled ‘PM denies pay rise linked to election.’ My question is: Why would the PM want to admit that it is linked to the general election? No rational political leader would admit to such a na├»ve intention. The fact that the election must be held before March 21, 2009, and that signs are showing that it could be held much earlier, makes the denial seem so fragile that it can be likened to the act of the robber who buried his loot and put up a sign that says ‘There is no money buried here.’

Whether the pay rise is linked or not to the upcoming general election is not important. The PM can go on denying it until the cows come home. However, its timing tends to suggest that the BN government is enticing the government servants with goodies sufficient to induce them to give their votes to the BN in the general elections. Who have not heard of ‘election year goodies’ which are almost always given out by elected incumbent governments in an election year? It happens not only here, but all over the world. Besides pay increase for government servants, other goodies may include tax cuts or higher personal and dependant relief for tax payers. So, why are voters’ memories so short-lived? Or are they so gullible? Can’t they see that it is a way to obtain support in the election?

Of course, we should all hail this announcement by the government as it will definitely help many people, especially those in the lower strata of society, to face the rising inflationary pressures brought about by the hiked fuel and toll prices. The Cabinet has had their pay rise much earlier to the tune of 10%. Many trade unions cried foul over the move, which they saw as unjustifiable and indefensible. At that time it was not opportune enough for government servants to be given salary increases because the 12th General Election was still too far away. It is better to let them “suffer” the price hike a little bit, so that they will appreciate the delayed pay rise better! Now, even the pensioners will not be left out. It is reported that a rise of 7 1/2 percent is being planned for this group.

While Malaysians welcome the latest move by the government, they should also be aware that things are not that good in the country. We have been having too many ‘scandals’ which involve government assets such as leaking roofs in parliament building (notoriously known as the ‘bocor’ episode), bursting pipes in newly completed court complex in Jalan Duta (NST, May 24, 2007), etc. The poor workmanship in these works tends to suggest that there is some hanky-panky in the award of contracts in the public sector. It also suggests that corruption may be at the core of these dealings. Of course it is difficult to prove conclusively the occurrence of bribery or ‘close one eye’ accords. The cons are very pros at their jobs that they are able to cover their tracts, like wearing gloves to hide their finger prints, not leaving footprints, and the like.

Corruption is a difficult foe to fight, let alone eradicate. It is especially so when the winning political party in the land is perceived to have a high tolerance for this scourge. Otherwise, how did the term ‘money politics’ crop up? It is practiced in party elections as attested by the sacking of a few UMNO people by the party. Many corruption cases just fizzled away without further action. Then in by-elections (perceived as ‘buy elections’ among cynics) and in general elections people report that they are being paid to vote for the ruling party. I am told that General Elections are not held until UMNO has RM500 million to spare as ‘angpows’. Yes, elections are expensive affairs every where. They are linked to the rising cost of living! Angpows are not cheap anymore.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Government or Parliament Should Pay?

In today’s (May 20, 2007) The Star and Berita Minggu, the headlines on the front pages are: ‘Big job ahead’ and ‘Najib persoal JKR’ (Najib questions PWD), respectively. The issue is the ‘roof leak’ in Parliament—which keeps simmering unabated, contrary to the wishes of Minister Shahrizat, who wanted the ‘bocor’ issue be totally plugged.

I find it strange that Najib should tick off JKR (Public Works Department, PWD) since it is a government department directly under a cabinet colleague, S. Samy Vellu, Minister of Works. This guy has been central figure of many controversies involving highway toll hikes, highway cracks, and leaking roofs in the Parliament building. By ticking off JKR, Najib is indirectly telling off Samy Vellu to get cracking with his job. By extension, since Samy is in the Cabinet of Abdullah Badawi (Pak Lah) at the pleasure of Pak Lah, Najib is indirectly insinuating something at his boss.

I pity the Director General of JKR, Dr Keizrul Abdullah (no relation to Pak Lah) who has to suffer in silence, being a civil servant. In the past, JKR has been the butt of jokes, being dubbed as ‘Jabatan Keling Ramai’ (department with many Indians) during pre-Merdeka days, and a few years after Merdeka. Then, when the racial mix of the Department changed, it became known as ‘Jangan Kerja Rajin’ (“Don’t work too hard”, an attitude said to be solely in the Malay domain, I am sad to say).

Now, however, JKR has turned the tables around, and tag itself as “Jasa Kepada Rakyat”. You see this tagline at many government projects, side by side with the BN tagline “Satu Lagi Projek Kerajaan Barisan Nasional.” Obviously, you do not see this sign at the Matrade Building, or the MMR2 highway which had the most colossal number of cracks. For example, 31 of 33 pillars supporting the Kepong Flyover were reported to be faulty as they had obvious cracks. At some pillars and tiers, there were more than 7000 cracks detected. Of course, no one wants to claim something as faulty as the MRR2; fortunately there was no fatality involved.

There must collective responsibility of the Cabinet in matters that involve the public interest. It is not right for a minister to point fingers and blame a subordinate department for the forlorn conditions of government assets, like buildings and highways. They should not be passing the buck. Each minister must say the “buck stops here!” There is no need to drum up publicity for oneself at the expense of another cabinet colleague. All ministers are responsible in the end for the sad state of affairs of a country, for they are the ones running the country.

The fact that RM90 million was used to renovate the parliament building and that did not include the roof speaks volumes about the lack of checks by the authority on the proposal made by parliament. Why was it overlooked? Aren’t there people who are qualified enough to go through the proposal for repairs to know that the time was also ripe to maintain the roof? Why create another fiasco, another ammunition for the ‘opposition’ to lambast at the government? All these are giving a negative image of the government being led by Pak Lah.

Najib says that it has not been decided whether the ‘government’ or ‘parliament’ should pay for the extensive roof repairs, the cost of which was not revealed. My, my! What kind of distinction is this? To me, whether the money comes from the ‘government’ (meaning the Executive branch?) or ‘parliament’, the taxpayers are the ones to bear the brunt of the cost.

So, what is the point of wondering who will pay? Just say the tax-payers will have to pay. Period. Parliament is part of the governance of Malaysia, comprising the Agung, Executive Branch, Backbencers and Opposition members.

Yes, the opposition members are part of the government too, since they are part of parliament. Once this concept is understood, there might be more respect for non-BN members of parliament—including the female members of opposition MP’s. We should prevent another ‘bocor’ fiasco in parliament and save the nation the embarassment brought about by the borderless world.

- MBA@64

Orangutan in the august house

The forum on environmental protection was just about to start. Panel participants are from Uganda, USA, India and Malaysia. The panelists are Nkrokodal Kusewa, Samuel Hutch, R. Ramachandran, and Lim Kit Siang. The chairman, Mr Karam Singh Walia of Malaysia, called each one in turn to talk about his country’s record on conservation of wild life.

“Why, in Uganda we have a great track record of wild life conservation. Every crocodile is tagged and every lion is also tagged. We track their movements and ensure that they are not threatened by poachers,” said Mr Kusewa from Uganda. “We know exactly the number of live lions and crocs in Uganda,” continued Kusewa.

“Thank you, Mr Kusewa. Now let’s hear from the USA,” said the chairman.

“In the USA, we care too much about the bison on our prairies. We also monitor their movements and breeding habits. Recently three new calves were born, and we are proud that the bison is gonna roam our plains again,” says Mr Hutch of the USA.

Not to be outdone, Mr Ramachandran listed three things about his conservation of the Indian tiger, when he said: “We in India love our tiger. So, we are now watching three major aspects:
• Elimination of all kinds of human activity in the core zones and minimization of activity in the buffer zone.
• Assessing the damage done to the eco-system by human activity and efforts to recover it to its original form.
• Monitoring the changes taking place and studying the reasons for the same.”

When Mr Lim Kit Siang’s turn came, the Malaysian rep said: “We in Malaysia are concerned about the fate of the orangutan. So concerned that we even have a few of them allocated seats in our legislature, the august house!”

At that point in time, someone from the floor blurted out: “RRRRRRRRay-cist!!”

“Oh, Mr Chairman, let me introduce to you, Mr Nazri Aziz!” said Lim Kit Siang.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Cows & Politics Explained

Cows & Politics Explained

A CHRISTIAN DEMOCRAT: You have two cows. You keep one and give one to your neighbor.

A SOCIALIST: You have two cows. The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor.

AN AMERICAN REPUBLICAN: You have two cows. Your neighbor has none. So what?

AN AMERICAN DEMOCRAT: You have two cows. Your neighbor has none. You feel guilty for being successful. You vote people into office who tax your cows, forcing you to sell one to raise money to pay the tax. The people you voted for then take the tax money and buy a cow and give it to your neighbor. You feel righteous.

A COMMUNIST: You have two cows. The government seizes both and provides you with milk.

A FASCIST: You have two cows. The government seizes both and sells you the milk. You join the underground and start a campaign of sabotage.

DEMOCRACY, AMERICAN STYLE: You have two cows. The government taxes you to the point you have to sell both to support a man in a foreign country who has only one cow, which was a gift from your government.

DEMOCRACY, MALAYSIAN STYLE: You have no cows, but the government has two. The Cabinet has a meeting as what to do with the cows. After a lengthy debate, it was agreed that the two cows be given to your poor neighbors on a pawah system. Before the meeting ended, Pak Lah reminded Muhyiddin the Agro-Industry Minister to make sure that the cows have their rumps (buttocks) branded with ‘UNDILAH BN’ and ‘SATU LAGI PROJEK BN’.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Favoritism in Promotion, says ZAM

Today (18 May 2007) I read in The Star Newspaper of a complaint by the Malaysian Minister of Information (Zainuddin Maidin, a.k.a. ZAM to Malaysians) that his Ministry practiced favoritism in staff promotion. I thought this was a bit weird because the complainant is Minister of his ministry, hence the top boss of the organization.

If there was favoritism in his ministry, he should be the one to be blamed for this ‘not-uncommon’ practice in government offices. Why should the civil servants be blamed for the fault? We all know that even the top civil servant in the ministry i.e. the Secretary General, is answerable to the minister. The minister should have dealt with the problem by calling up his Secretary-General during those weekly meetings and made known of his abhorrence of favoritism.

By announcing to the press that his ministry practices favoritism, he was giving the impression that the Secretary General of the Information Ministry is not answerable to the Minister of Information (ZAM himself). This I find most peculiar, because my knowledge of Malaysian administration tells me that the top boss any ministry is a minister. He, and no other, directs the top civil servant of his organization.

Favoritism is not unique to ZAM’s ministry. It is quite prevalent throughout the government’s administration—even in the private sector. A person who has been overlooked in a promotion exercise will invariably use ‘favoritism’ as one cause of his/her misfortune. It is easy to point fingers at this factor but it is very difficult to prove it conclusively.

Promotions are almost always based on subjective evaluations of performance by several levels of superiors. For example, an employee is first rated by his immediate superior on several dimensions, then by the next level of supervisor, who acts as a moderator. Sometimes peer evaluation is also used. Then based on these evaluations, the employee is awarded points on various aspects of his performance—such as his tangible work output and its quality, his relations with other colleagues, his attitude towards his organization, his potential for bigger tasks, etc.

In the news item that I picked up today, ZAM's Sec-Gen Datuk Siti Balkish Shariff is reported to have ‘vetoed’ (my own word) some of the ‘excellence’ awards recommended by the supervisors to selected staff members. This she did because she thought the staff was being awarded not based on proper merit, but based on ‘dirty’ favoritism. While this practice is to be abhorred, the Minister should clean up his organization first, before going public about it. The Malays call this as “membuka pekung di dada” – or washing dirty linen in public.

Monday, May 14, 2007

May Day for August House

In this country, politics divides people into two broad camps: the governing national front (BN) and those in the opposition parties. BN members in the Malaysian Parliament view opposition party members of parliament (DAP, PAS, PKR etc) with disdain and utter contempt. The former have very little respect for the latter. However good the latter’s ideas are, since they come from the ‘opposition’, they have no merit whatsoever. This shows the immaturity of our politicians in political affairs, despite receiving their education from developed countries.

Even the PM and DPM belong to this category when it comes to dealing with ideas emanating from the opposition. There has never been a case where good ideas of opposition are taken up and adopted as government policy. The BN guys are just too proud and arrogant to admit and give credit to good suggestions, propositions, and recommendations originating from the opposition.

Thus it did not come as a shock to me at all that MP Ms Fong Po Kuan’s (MP for Batu Gajah) move to refer the two recalcitrant MP’s (Mohd Said Yusof of Jasin, and Bung Mokhtar Radin of Kinabatangan) to the privileges committee was rejected by the Speaker of the House, Ramli Ngah Talib. The speaker’s excuse was completely unacceptable and merely goes to show the low mindset of the BN politicians in this country. Minister Nazri Aziz’s defence of the speaker’s action was expected—equally ‘haprak’. Talk of majority rule.

The BN women politicians, except for Ng Yen Yen from the MCA, were equally pathetic to say the least since the insults thrown by the two notorious rabble rousers (Jasin MP and Kinabatangan MP) affected all women on the face of this earth, not just the Batu Gajah MP.

How could they have tolerated this demeaning insult without batting an eyelid? Were they afraid that their rice bowl would be pulled away from under their chins had they voiced their disgust at the two goons for their filthy remarks? Just because the person being insulted directly was an opposition woman MP, does it mean it was ‘business as usual since it does not concern me after all’? How wretched!

Should we continue to call our Parliament the ‘august house’? Should we continue to address our representatives ‘Yang Berhormat’ when we know too well they have lost their ‘kehormatan’ by the droves. Some of these YB’s are not fit to sit in the so-called ‘august’ house because they behave more like ‘samseng jalanan’ than respectable representatives of the people. These samseng jalanan would sit around (lepak) by the roadside with their friends and would tease at girls passing by. They would bluster off wolf whistles to make their act even more aggravating and intimidating.

I would like to register my utter disgust at what happened in our Parliament on May 10 although I was on a plane from Jeddah to Kuala Lumpur that day. The news was picked up by Associated Press and published in the International Herald Tribune (http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/05/11/asia/AS-GEN-Malaysia-Sexist-Remark.php).

Now the whole world knows about Malaysia’s standard of debate in Parliament. One more reason why tourists should come to Malaysia this year!

It was a black day for Malaysian Parliament; it was most un-Islamic, for Islam is against such use of filthy joke in the course of promulgating a law for the people. I do not know whether “Islam Hadhari” being propagated by the Prime Minister can condone this act of the two BN MPs. By the look of things, from the deafening silence of the PM and his Deputy, it appears that Pak Lah’s “Islam Hadhari” can put up with grimy remarks from his two colleagues in the ‘noble’ house. The people being insulted by the two are actually themselves, the BN and Parliament.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

No hope for Opposition?

The hope for opposition parties to make a significant dent in the Malaysian Parliament is becoming a dream too difficult to achieve as long as the BN government and the BN party are the same. No matter how much we whine and lament about abuse of power, bribery in the electoral process, etc. the BN will be returned to rule Malaysia, election after election.

As long as the BN owns the mass media – print as well as electronic – the people will not take a second look at opposition parties to represent them. Granted, a few seats will go to DAP and PAS, but these will not alter the political landscape significantly. The BN will continue to romp home with larger than 2/3 majority.

So, why don’t the opposition parties start owning newspapers and TV stations? Are you out of your mind? TV and newspapers require licenses issued by the government. And who owns the government? Do you think they are going to give out those licenses? They are not so stupid. It will be suicidal to issue a lethal weapon to your enemies.

Even if the government were to issue licenses to print newspapers and broadcast TV programs to non-BN political parties (when pigs start to fly), the question is: will they have the capital and investors willing to take the risk? It is a jungle out there!