Jumaat, 21 Jun 2013

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Perception and reality

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 03:28 PM PDT

Malaysia's economic growth reached 5.6% last year but it had slowed sharply in the first quarter of this year to 4.1%, while household debt had risen to 82.9%. According to a survey, nearly 90% of respondents believed that they could not afford the real estate, feeling that their salary increment rates were too low to catch up with the rising speed in housing prices. 

Lim Sue Goan, Sin Chew Daily

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had mentioned about the war of perception for more than once. 

If the BN's conclusion for losing votes of urban and young voters in the 13th general election is because it was defeated in the war of perception, I am afraid that it would find it very difficult to regain the support of these voters in the next general election.

The so-called perception may refer to cognitive errors or biases, is that really the case?

Transformation plans have indeed brought some gratifying data. 

For instance, the ETP had announced a total of 149 projects with a cumulative total of RM211.34 billion in committed investments as of December 31, 2012. 

Also, the national per capital income has increased from US$6,700 in 2009 to US$9,970 in 2012. 

These data are credentials for the BN's growing prosperity claim, insisting that the country is not as bad as described by the alternative coalition.

However, they should collect data more comprehensively and make multifaceted comparisons to get a more realistic picture.

Malaysia's economic growth reached 5.6% last year but it had slowed sharply in the first quarter of this year to 4.1%, while household debt had risen to 82.9%. 

Despite the salary increment, car and housing loans have led to the rising household debt.

According to a survey, nearly 90% of respondents believed that they could not afford the real estate, feeling that their salary increment rates were too low to catch up with the rising speed in housing prices. 

Also, car prices, except for national cars, have not yet been lowed and these were the reasons why urban residents were not happy.

While it is committed to reducing the fiscal deficit, the government must not neglect the soaring household debt.

In terms of crime, the crime rate had dropped by 27% over the past three years. 

As of April this year, the crime rate had also dropped by 3.1% compared to the same period last year. 

According to a survey, however, 52.8% of people were still feeling insecure and were worried about security problems.

The OXY robbery gang continued to break into ATM machines even after the police announced to have round-the-clock hourly patrols nationwide to prevent ATM thefts. 

And now, restaurants and eateries have become the new targets of robbers. 

The reduced number of people staying outside at night showed that instead of a stereotype, members of the public are really feeling insecure.

Meanwhile, the problem of human rights violation was not just plucked out of the air. 

From 2000 to February 2011, as many as 156 deaths in custody were reported and there were four custody deaths in two weeks recently, attracting even international media to cover the deaths.

Amidst the call for an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), which was proposed but rejected and replaced by the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAC), it was discovered that the only investigator of the EAIC has been one of the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) officers involved in Teoh Beng Hock's case. 

How could the people be convinced as instead of being demoted, he was actually promoted to hold such an important post?

In addition, other National Key Results Areas (NKRA), including improving student outcomes and improving urban public transport, have failed to leave a good impression on the people. 

According to the 2011 Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMSS), Malaysia was the worst performing nation of the 59 participating countries in terms of marks scored. 

Only 19% of Kuala Lumpur residents are taking public transport is not a satisfactory datum either.

Therefore, the people judge based on facts, rather than perception. 

They should immediately recognise the reality and intensify reforms to hope for a change in the public's view.


Oh baffling times are here

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 11:56 AM PDT


Mohsin Abdullah, fz.com

Ahmad Lutfi Othman, Editor-in-Chief of PAS owned Harakah, is baffled. Pakatan Rakyat seems to take lightly the "harassment" by the home ministry over its party organs. That's what baffling him.
To Lutfi, the seizure of copies of Harakah, Suara Keadilan and The Rocket a few weeks ago by the home ministry is "part of a concerted BN effort in preventing news from PAS, PKR and DAP from reaching the masses." In particular, in Malay majority rural areas.
BN, said Lutfi, is already taking steps to keep their hold on rural areas with GE14 in mind. He admitted the ministry's action is within laws and regulations but nevertheless termed such law and regulations "karut marut". Put simply – "ridiculous".
"Because whatever so-called transformation the government said they did was just superficial. 
"For example, permits. In the first place, to me there should not be permits. But, anyway, I do not want to dwell on that and accept it as it is. The PM announced newspaper permits need not be renewed. Meaning the annual renewal is gone but all other conditions remain.
"In the case of Harakah, conditions like we can't sell it to non-PAS members and only sell at party premises are all obstacles and hindrance. And the home ministry are using these conditions to put a leash on us," he said.
Lutfi said Harakah had met such conditions "to our best ability", but admitted the newspaper is being sold to non-PAS members who buy it at "ordinary newsstands".
"Our vendors can't be asking people if they are PAS members before selling Harakah to them but not long ago we had special racks for Harakah to say it's for PAS members only."
But the recent operations by the authorities, said Lutfi, "are making our regular vendors scared as they can be fined for selling Harakah to non-party members. It's burning a hole in our pockets, business-wise, and politically, Pakatan's messages are not reaching the people".
And sadly, said Lutfi, the Pakatan leadership seems indifferent towards this "continuous and systematic disturbance on the circulation of its official party publications".
"Pakatan must see this as a serious problem. Pakatan must take this issue up even to the international arena and come up with an action plan," said the editor.
Lutfi has some ideas of his own but all that needs endorsement from the Pakatan leadership.
"Harakah is a twice weekly publication while Suara Keadilan is published weekly. Perhaps we can work out a schedule and together with The Rocket to have a production flow. Or we can have non-serial daily publications which do not require a permit. We must work around the problem and also be innovative in distributing our products."
That apart, Lutfi and several "Pakatan-friendly" newsmen opined that the quality of reporting must be improved.  So too Pakatan Web TV outfits. 
"Now is the time to do it. Don't wait for GE 14. By then the field would be crowded and voters would have already been fed with all sorts of information," said one of the newsmen.
Money is definitely one of the problem but to Lutfi, there are ways to raise the much-needed funds.
But before all that, Pakatan leaders will have to admit the problem being faced by their publications now is serious. For a leadership which many feel is "media savvy", their so called "indifferent attitude" (as seen by Lutfi) is, to borrow Lutfi's word – baffling

Read more at: http://www.fz.com/content/oh-baffling-times-are-here#ixzz2Woe4mxmA 

Don’t pry into my personal space

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 11:51 AM PDT


How many of us are surprised at receiving emails or text messages of holiday wishes by the Prime Minister? Who gave the government our contact information?

Elza Irdalynna, FMT 

We live in a world where intimacy and privacy exists in a different and wider scope in this day and age. We share copious amounts of information about ourselves for the world to see: our family, friends, professional lives, personal lives, even our daily meals are uploaded to the internet.

Many of us subscribe to the social media community for various, innocent reasons. Be it to keep in touch with loved ones, to bridge geographical gaps, to promote our business, or simply to keep a digital anthology of our lives.

However, not many people are aware of the fact that social networking services such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on possess the rights to our information – pictures, videos, statuses.

And under programs such as PRISM by the NSA in the United States, they can be forced to give out our information under the all too wide umbrella of national security.

Even if you do not own a Facebook account, your email, bank details, browsing history, even purchasing records, are under unwarranted surveillance.

Take the soon to be launched Xbox One for example, and their 'always online' feature. While it may seem cool to players that they can activate their consoles by voice recognition, they fail to understand that this means 'someone' is always listening.

Their webcam feature is also always online, and so customers are under 24 hour surveillance.

If Malaysians believe that this only affects America, think again.

Technologies used for monitoring programs such as PRISM can be used worldwide. Anyone who is assumed to be an enemy of the state can be traced and put on record. This is not limited to suspected terrorists.

The NSA is watching everyone, every phone call, every message, everything.

It is a lie to claim this is merely to ensure national security. If this was the case, the US government would have been able to stop the Boston Marathon bombing before it occurred. After all, the duo responsible used the most unsophisticated methods of attack.

The Big Brother phenomenon is not alien in our country. How many of us are surprised at receiving emails or text messages of holiday wishes by the Prime Minister? Who gave the government our contact information?

Police state

Recently, Melissa Gooi was arrested for sedition because she "insulted the Agong" on her Facebook account. Specifically, she expressed her opinion of the King's speech, not of the King himself, and suggested the speech was written by someone else, perhaps of the right-wing group.

She also expressed this under the protection of her freedom of expression, enshrined in our constitution. She also made these comments on her personal Facebook page, which, despite it being a public network, was intended for those she knew and trusted.

Perhaps she had a higher privacy setting, but her friends and friends of her friends did not.

And so, due to either parties that are easily offended, or persons using her as a political tool, her opinion was viewed as a threat to the sanctity of the King. Despite the fact that she had not directly broken any laws, this will forever taint her record.

Her friends who commented on that status are also jeopardized. Not only is this a violation of her freedom of expression, we have now allowed online surveillance to be enough evidence to arrest and imprison someone.

Slowly, but surely, we will become a police state like North Korea, and the government will lead the people to believe that it is for their own good.

Read more at: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2013/06/21/dont-pry-into-my-personal-space/ 

Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

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