- Hazy School Days
- A response to Idris Jala (Part 1)
- A hazy solution to a hazy situation
- Jonker St Market Closure
Posted: 24 Jun 2013 02:02 PM PDT
Could someone kindly explain why would there be a decision to close down schools on Monday when the API is in the unhealthy zone of 100-150 (Sunday evening) but when the following day the API sharply increases to 190++ (Monday evening) and 229 (Monday night) entering the very unhealthy zone, they decide to reopen schools on Tuesday.
One wonders if the higher authorities understand the process of decision-making. If they truly do, could someone kindly explain why would there be a decision to close down schools on Monday when the API is in the unhealthy zone of 100-150 (Sunday evening) but when the following day the API sharply increases to 190++ (Monday evening) and 229 (Monday night) entering the very unhealthy zone, they decide to reopen schools on Tuesday. This is what is happening in my area, Petaling Jaya.
Posted: 24 Jun 2013 01:40 PM PDT
I find it very hypocritical then that Idris Jala attempts to dismiss these issues as having nothing to do with the government. Does he really think the average Malaysian is that stupid?
FMT LETTER: From Oliver Gomez
I read with faint amusement Idris Jala's article which appearead in the June 24, 2013 edition of The Star newspaper. Idris Jala in his article discusses seven issues affecting Malaysia today.
Now in a few articles over the coming days, I will attempt to dissect and expose Idris Jala's article for the rubbish that it is. I will start off now by tackling the first two issues that appear in his article.
Incidentally if you have not already read Idris Jala's article, I strongly suggest that you do. It is a shining example of how misleading statistics can be and how politicians can literally get away with murder so long as they deny it strongly enough.
In his article, Idris Jala finds himself apparently cornered and forced to engage in a heated debate with an anonymous citizen appropriately named the 'Angry Malaysian'.
The first issue: Transparency International CPI
The first statement that our poor Minister in the PM's Department is forced to reply to is in regards to the problem of corruption in Malaysia. Idris Jala puts the Angry Malaysian in his place by informing him that Malaysia's ranking on the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index improved from 60th in 2011 to 54th in 2012.
All of this sounds very impressive on the surface – that is of course until you realise that Rwanda ranked 50th on the same Index. In case anyone has forgotten, Rwanda was stuck in one of the worst civil wars ever in the 1990s. No disrespect towards Rwanda, but how is it that Malaysia ranks below Rwanda when we have had far more time to get our act together?
Another country that is ranked above us is the one Malaysians loves to hate i.e. Israel, which comes in at 38.
Here now, is the real doozie – in the very same study cited by Idris Jala, Transparency International further surveyed more than 3000 businessmen across 30 different countries.
Well guess what Mr Idris Jala? Malaysia ranked dead last, whereby an astonishing 50% of those surveyed said they had lost out on business opportunities in Malaysia due to a competitor paying a bribe. We comfortably beat the likes of India, Pakistan, Egypt, and Brazil. We even edged out nations like Mexico and Indonesia – two countries historically notorious for widespread bribery and corruption.
I wonder if Idris Jala was in fact fearful for his safety, which might best explain why he kept this particular result hidden from our Angry Malaysian.
The second issue: Global Financial Integrity on Illicit Capital Outflows
Clearly not satisfied with the 'well rounded' and 'non-evasive' answers provided by Idris Jala, the mysterious Angry Malaysian goes on to to cite the infamous 2012 illicit capital outflow study, as conducted by US-based Global Financial Integrity.
This study was highlighted to the Rakyat by Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim as well as various Opposition MPs in the run up to the now concluded GE13. The report basically found that as of 2010, Malaysia had one of largest outflows of illicit monies in the world. We were only beat out by the likes of China and Mexico – truly 'honourable' company where corruption is concerned.
Yet again our embattled Idris Jala was forced to defend the honour of the BN led government, and had this to say on the matter:
"Bank Negara has refuted this claim. It has clarified that 80% of illicit capital outflow is trade mispricing or transfer pricing. This means private companies produce receipts or invoices which differ from the actual amount of money transacted, usually to pay lower taxes to the Government. This is not government corruption."
Idris Jala had just described widespread tax fraud on the part of the private sector. Again it seems that Idris Jala delivered a lesson to the Angry Malaysian and that the government cannot be faulted for these issues. Two problems arise however:
Indeed, the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange is dominated by government linked firms and companies with close ties to the BN-led government. Suddenly, point (i) does not seem quite so mysterious does it?
Note Umno proxy Syed Mukthar al-Bukhary's DRB-Hicom, MMC Corp Berhad, and Gamuda Berhad. There is also Felda Global Ventures Holdings Berhad as well as Tenaga Nasional Berhad, and Khazanah Nasional Berhad. These are all highly profitable companies with close ties to the BN government.
Dear readers, Petronas is entirely owned by the (BN) government.
Let us also not forget the recent exposé by Global Witness of Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud.
Global Witness gained prominence after it exposed the arrogance and corruption that permeated Taib Mahmud's government and family. Taib's own sisters were wrangled in to help steal Sarawak's vast wealth from right under the noses of its native inhabitants. To this end, he employed the use of shell companies as proxies in addition to storing his vast amounts of illegal wealth in foreign bank accounts.
Now as well informed and resourceful Malaysians, you the readers are undoubtedly aware of various scandals that have followed the aforementioned companies and characters in recent years.
All this is of course to say nothing of the latest financial scandal within Bank Negara itself: reports surfaced some time last year that Bank Negara had engaged in large scale financial speculation in various foreign exchange markets during the 1980s and 1990s.
Remember the financial crisis of the mid to late 1990s? This was the crisis in which billionaire speculator George Soros was made public enemy number one by the then Mahathir administration. Well, Bank Negara had speculated huge amounts of the Great British Pound against George Soros, and had come up short – roughly RM 20 billion short according to the Penang Institute.
Simply put, the credibility of Bank Negara is very much up for debate.
I find it very hypocritical then that Idris Jala attempts to dismiss these issues as having nothing to do with the government. Does he really think the average Malaysian is that stupid?One can never tell – Idris Jala was after all published in The Star newspaper.
Posted: 24 Jun 2013 11:58 AM PDT
Kuo Yong Kooi
Let us just connect the dots here by asking some questions. Assuming there is a law enacted to prosecute the companies involved in causing the current fires in Indonesia, will the haze problem stop in the future? Another big picture question is why is there a haze problem in big cities like Beijing even though they do not have the problem of forest fires?
Posted: 24 Jun 2013 11:53 AM PDT
"Now, we see most of the Malacca residents fully supporting DAP over MCA candidates, who have been serving them. Hence, we decided to cancel the night market and we hope they will be happy"
In a shocking move involving political vengeance and retaliation against the non-Malay community, the new Chief Minister of Melaka, Datuk Idris Haron last week announced the closure of the Jonker Street weekend market, which is an extremely popular 13-year old tourist destination in an area often regarded as the Melaka Chinatown.
According to Kwong Wah Daily, Idris yesterday argued that the decision passed by the Malacca executive council on June 12 to close the night market "follows the intention of the people".
"Now, we see most of the Malacca residents fully supporting DAP over MCA candidates, who have been serving them. Hence, we decided to cancel the night market and we hope they will be happy," the daily quotes Idris as saying.
We had assumed that with the political demise of former Melaka Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Ali Rustam, you can't possibly appoint a Chief Minister more reckless, arrogant and callous than him. Datuk Idris Haron has however, immediately proven us completely wrong.
The move is clearly akin to cutting off one's nose to spite one's face. Just because Datuk Idris Haron wanted to demonstrate his politcal pettiness to inflict damage to the Chinese community, he is willing to sacrifice the interest of the people of Melaka and her economy.
More importantly, it has proven beyond doubt that Barisan Nasional is not a "1Malaysia" government as touted by the Prime Minister and UMNO President, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, but in reality a 1UMNO party which only cares about the interest of their own leaders and cronies.
Over the past 8 weeks since the General Election, UMNO leaders and its mouthpiece, Utusan Malaysia has gone on a verbal rampage to demonise the Chinese for BN's poor performance. But this is the first physical act by which UMNO to victimise the Chinese community for the latter's perceived support for Pakatan Rakyat.
In fact, we have to assume that this major move to punish the Chinese voters is a directive coming directly from the top of the UMNO leadership itself. And if true, then this will only be the beginning of a series of actions which UMNO-led governments will take to discriminate against, sideline, punish as well as humiliate any of the minority races in the country which they deem not to have given support to UMNO-Barisan Nasional.
Perhaps, the new Tourism Minister, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz will announce a similar move to close down the historic Petaling Street. Or why stop at just closing these "Chinatowns", why not just cancel Christmas or even more impactful, ban Deepavali or Chinese New Year celebrations?
The acts by these UMNO governments runs in direct contrasts with the Pakatan Rakyat-led adminsitrations which goes out of its way to ensure that all their voters, regardless of political affiliation will enjoy the fruits of our administration. When the Selangor state government provided free water to individual households or insurance for the elderly, it was granted to all regardless or race, religion or political affiliation. This is similar in Penang, when it became the first state government to eliminate hardcore poverty in the country, despite the fact that the majority of the beneficiaries are Malays who had then supported BN.
While Pakatan Rakyat continues to serve all Malaysians regardless of whether they had voted for us, we are witnessing an increasingly vindictive Barisan Nasional where MCA threw its tantrums by shutting down all their service centres, while UMNO demonstrated their racist mindset by not only poisoning the minds of the people and destroying the people's livelihoods.
In the past, we would have ended this statement by making a call to the Prime Minister to be the voice of moderation and uphold his commitment to his "1Malaysia". Today, we know that Dato' Seri Najib Razak will just remain completely silent to the above act of closing down Jonker Street as well as other threats to the non-Malay community. He silence not only proves his tacit approval and involvement in these actions, it also confirms that "1Malaysia" is purely a propaganda rhetoric to win votes in a General Election.
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