Ahad, 29 September 2013

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Please prove us wrong then

Posted: 28 Sep 2013 07:49 PM PDT


The rakyat want answers to many of these questions from the government so that they can try to understand why some of these measures need to be continued. If we don't want to rectify them, how can we make that quantum leap and not risk making the same mistakes?

Azam Aris, Fz.com 
SUCCESS in the future, almost always, depends on the ability to acknowledge the mistakes of the past, learning from them and not repeating them. 
But this seems a difficult thing to do in the case of the various socio-economic bumiputera empowerment programmes that have been introduced since the launch of the New Economic Policy (NEP) in 1970.
Have we not learned from the mistakes of the past then?
A fair assessment will show that the NEP and its various reincarnations – the National Development Plan (1991-2000), the National Vision Policy (2001-2010) and the current New Economic Model (NEM) – have yielded many successes.
The NEP's main objectives – and that of the preceding policies – were to eradicate poverty irrespective of race and correct imbalances in society though affirmative action and the restructuring of employment patterns.
As bumiputeras comprise the majority of the poor, the affirmative actions have a heavy bumiputera agenda. These include providing  more opportunities in vocational and tertiary education, and special vehicles to create a viable bumiputera commercial and industrial community (BCIC), and restructuring of ownership in the corporate sector.
Overall, these national policies have managed to nearly wipe out hardcore poverty and reduced the poverty level to 2%-3%. (However, this is based on an official poverty income level of about RM800 per household per month. Many argue that if the level were to be raised to between RM1,000 and RM1,500, the percentage of the poor will increase dramatically).
The policies have created a larger pool of bumiputera professionals – doctors, engineers, accountants, managers, economists, academicians, IT experts, scientists – and increased the middle-class population. 
Bumiputera equity in the corporate sector has increased from a dismal 2% to over 23% but the efforts have so far failed to increase the size of the BCIC, including small and medium-scale enterprises, and grow the pool of talented, able and resilient members.
So what does the community want now? Certainly, it is not just about poverty eradication and income alleviation. Depending on which groups they represent and their priorities, these could include wanting the 30% corporate equity to be achieved by 2020. 
Others argue a lot more needs to be done on a fast-track basis as the bumiputeras' corporate stake is only between 12% and 14%, and not 23% as stated by the government.
Some want a bank for bumiputeras to be reintroduced, more university places, job opportunities, notably at managerial level, and tighter control of the supply chain so that the SMEs can have more businesses to sustain their commercial viability. 
They also want a bigger share of government businesses and contracts and for government-linked companies (GLCs) to have a specific key performance index on the bumiputera agenda.
Another demand is higher ownership of property assets, notably residential and commercial.
Can many of these measures be implemented within the existing bumiputera agenda's ecosystem, notably in the context of the NEM and the government and economic transformation programmes?
No, according to many bumiputera pressure groups and the ultras in Umno, who have become increasingly more vocal after the last general election (GE), when Umno performed better even though its Barisan Nasional coalition registered its worst ever showing. They want the bumiputera agenda to be pushed further as part of the reward for keeping Umno in power.
And reward it is. 
On Sept 14, when launching the new initiatives, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had this to say: "Based on the support of the Malays in GE13, the government has decided to take a quantum leap to implement concrete and thorough strategies and approaches. We call this bumiputera economic empowerment and it is to safeguard the community now and forever."
The agenda focuses on five main thrusts:
• Empowering bumiputera human capital; 
• Strengthening bumiputera equity in the corporate sector;
• Strengthening bumiputera non-financial asset ownership;
• Improving bumiputera entrepreneurship and businesses; and 
• Strengthening the services delivery ecosystem.
To increase bumiputera equity in the corporate sector, Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) will launch Amanah Saham Bumiputera 2, which if fully subscribed, would pool RM10 billion from the community. 
Equity Nasional Bhd will play a greater role in helping bumiputera companies list on Bursa Malaysia. These measures will be implemented and monitored by the Bumiputera Economic Council chaired by the prime minister. The BEC replaces the Bumiputera Agenda Action Council.
If one looks at the overall thrusts, they have been present within the present eco-system for many years. Why are they not effective then? How will they be more effective now?
That is what we need to find out so that the rakyat – Malays, Chinese and Indians – know what the weaknesses are and why they have not been rectified over the years?
Instead of just asking for more, the bumiputera pressure groups should be holding a special Bumiputera Economic Congress to analyse the failures and weaknesses of the past. Is it at the implementation stage? Why did we fail to create a more resilient BCIC? Have agencies like Mara and Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Bhd failed in this respect? What is their success rate?
Was it wrong to sell NEP vehicles like Pernas and UDA – which originally had an important socio-economic bumiputera agenda role to play – to individuals? Why did Bank Bumiputera Bhd fail? How have all the previous bumiputera entrepeneur funds performed?
What is the contribution of the successful bumiputera billionaires and multi-millionaires who are beneficiaries of the NEP to the BCIC's cause? How many entrepreneurs have been groomed by the likes of Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary, Tan Sri Rozali Ismail, Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir and Tan Sri Shahril Shamsuddin? 
Equally, have the GLCs, especially those controlled by PNB, been effective in helping to create a more resilient BCIC?
How about the abuse part of it? Are there still many contracts given to those who are less capable but have close political links? How many of these contracts were later sub-contracted to Chinese businessmen and not to able bumiputera companies? Are there still many sleeping partners in the Ali-Baba (Malay-Chinese) joint ventures? Have the Malay car dealers stopped selling their approved permits to the Chinese car dealers? 
Shouldn't those who abuse the system be penalised and never again be given business opportunities?
The rakyat want answers to many of these questions from the government so that they can try to understand why some of these measures need to be continued. If we don't want to rectify them, how can we make that quantum leap and not risk making the same mistakes?
The government should also not play the equity chasing game if there are not enough resilient BCIC members. It is most unproductive if contracts are dished out and equity transferred to those who are less capable, in seeking to meet the 30% target. 

Read more at: http://www.fz.com/content/please-prove-us-wrong-then#ixzz2gHHTyx70

How the police won the RM6 billion turf war against RTD

Posted: 28 Sep 2013 06:18 PM PDT

AES locations
One thing is for sure – with the police at the helm, more motorists will tend to pay the fines because they may not be able to renew their road tax if they don't. But all it takes is one person to challenge the AES images in court for its implementation to be on tenterhooks again. 

M Shanmugam, managing editor of The Edge, fz.com 

THE Road Transport Department (RTD) lost its battle to implement the controversial Automated Enforcement System (AES) on Dec 18 last year when the Attorney-General's Chambers decided to suspend prosecution of traffic offenders caught under the system.
It didn't happen last week, when acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein announced that the police, instead of the RTD, would be the primary agency responsible for issuing summonses to traffic offenders caught under the AES.
The writing had been on the wall some six months earlier that the job would go to the police.
The incentive to implement the project is huge. 
To give an idea, the amount of unpaid traffic summonses between 2000 and 2009 amounted to almost RM6 billion. The agency that can recover this amount has bragging rights and seek a bigger budget.
With the police at the helm, the fine has been slashed by 50% to RM150, instead of RM300. But that amount will be increased if offenders take a longer time to pay up. So, at the end of the day, the fines could still be as high as RM300. 
The other significant shift is that private companies will no longer get a share of the fines paid by traffic offenders. This was the grouse under the previous system as the general public felt that the entire proceeds should go to the government.
However, this critical flaw, which came about due to the AES' revenue-sharing model, could have been easily rectified.
Under the revenue-sharing model, the two companies get a share of the proceeds from the traffic summonses that are settled, based on a formula whereby the amount decreases as the fines build up. The internal rate of return is capped at 17%. 
In return, the two companies – Beta Tegap Sdn Bhd and ATES Sdn Bhd – have to supply and maintain the entire IT backbone, cameras, systems and other facilities for the RTD to nab speeding motorists.
It was essentially a supply contract that could have been modified because the two companies were looking for an amicable settlement after all the public hue and cry.
Instead, the government decided to buy out the two companies.
This raises the question of whether enforcement carried out by the police, instead of the RTD, will resolve all issues in relation to the AES.
Does this mean that traffic offenders caught by the cameras will be prosecuted if they refuse to pay the fines? What has changed that will allow prosecution now compared with some nine months ago?

Read more at: http://www.fz.com/content/how-police-won-rm6-billion-turf-war-against-rtd 

Kebalkan kuasa politik Pribumi

Posted: 28 Sep 2013 11:54 AM PDT


Suasana politik dalaman Umno kini, suka-duka, tidak menggalakkan muda-mudi mendekatinya. Umno harus bina suasana baru; yang dapat memujuk atau menarik generasi baru Melayu Islam dan Peribumi yang mahu menyertainya. Belajarlah daripada Tun Razak yang mengundang muda-mudi Melayu Islam berbakat menyertai Umno dan memberi mereka pula kepercayaan. 

Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad, Sinar Harian 

Dalam politik, satu minggu pun lama maka meramalkan perkembangan politik, landskap siasah Melayu Islam jangka panjang, berpintal-pintal (tortuous), berbahaya; tidak bijak. Meski pun begitu saya cuba jadi seorang penilik Pakatan Baru dalam politik negara.

Lima puluh enam tahun semenjak merdeka, berbagai transformasi telah berlangsung. Ada yang baik seperti pendidikan tinggi bagi Melayu Islam dan Peribumi dan pembentukan Kelas Menengah dan Profesional Melayu Islam dan Peribumi. 

Keburukannya pula pembasmian tulisan jawi, politik pakatan yang merugikan Melayu Islam; keruntuhan akhlak dan moral serta rasuah.

Apa pun tiada boleh dinafikan tegas Speaking: "the Malays and Peribumi have changed beyond recognition. Their earnings shot up after the New Economic Policy (NEP) was implemented, both in absolute terms, and relative to the non-Malays."

Satu hakikat Melayu Islam dan Peribumi telah mencapai kemajuan walaupun masih banyak lagi isu menanti penyelesaian bagi menjamin kuasa mereka berterusan tanpa diungkit dan dicabar lagi. Mampukah kepimpinan Melayu Islam pasca Najib Tun Razak mempertahan dan melambungkan terlebih tinggi lagi serta 'mengentrenchkan' kuasa ini yakni memperkukuhkannya lagi?

Zaman gelap rakyat kulit hitam Amerika Syarikat beransur hilang mulai perjuangan Martin Luther King dan dengan kehadiran Barack Obama sebagai Presiden AS tetapi perjalanan mereka mengejar dan mencapai 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' sebenar masih jauh, bukan senang dan tidak akan tamat. Begitulah juga dengan perjuangan Melayu Islam dan Peribumi dalam negara mereka yang tunggal ini.

Saya yakin kemajuan Melayu Islam dan Peribumi lebih deras kalau mereka pintar memilih pemimpin yang berwibawa, bermoral, amanah, berpengetahuan, bervisi, mempunyai potensi serta credentials mereka sebagai Melayu Islam dan Peribumi diperakui. Paling ramai mereka yang mempunyai tauliah ini berada dalam Umno, ada juga dalam Pas dan PKR.

Pas mahu hanya ulama memegang jawatan tinggi kerana selayang pandang Pas rugi dalam Pakatan. Ini boleh dipertikaikan, adakah ini fact atau fiction? Apa pun PKR dan DAP terutamanya, meraih lebih keuntungan dalam PRU13. Saya setuju dengan keputusan multaqa Pas. Mana bisa parti Islam 'diko-pimpin' oleh ulama dan 'sekularis'. 'Sekularis Pas' harus berhijrah ke PKR dan DAP!

Umno sibuk berkempen memilih bakal pengganti Najib Tun Razak dan Muhyiddin Yassin. Sungguh seronok mereka, tiada bosan berpesta; kenyanglah mereka yang bernasib baik jadi perwakilan. Yang tidak dipilih perwakilan dapat kuah, majoriti menghidu bau masakan saja.

Enam pemimpin Umno berhasrat menjadi bakal perdana menteri, timbalan perdana menteri, menteri kanan (kalau Umno menang PRU14) atau jika Najib merombak Kabinetnya awal tahun depan. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Hishammuddin Hussein, Mohd Shafie Apdal, Mohd Isa Samad, Mohd Ali Rustam dan Mukhriz Mahathir.

Perwakilan yang bestari akan memilih kombinasi orang muda (Hishammuddin, Mukhriz) dengan orang tua, (Zahid, Shafie, Isa dan Ali); yang adil dan bervisi mengambil kira geografi dan negeri kubu Umno. Saya kenal semua calon naib presiden ini. Kalau saya wakil saya akan ambil kira umur, peluang dan potensi mereka pasca Najib dan Muhyiddin.

Keenam-enam pemimpin Umno sudah teruji tetapi terpenting siapa antara mereka yang biasa menjadi bakal pengganti Najib dan Muhyiddin, berwibawa menghadapi kepimpinan muda Pas dan PKR pasca Abdul Hadi Awang dan Anwar Ibrahim?

Siapa selain daripada enam orang ini yang Melayu Islam dan Peribumi boleh harap memperjuangkan tanpa takut, segan dan malu agenda Melayu Islam dan Peribumi? Yakni memperkasakan kuasa politik mereka tanpa luntur dan Melayu Islam dan Peribumi tidak akan lenyap di muka bumi tertunggal ini?

Bolehkah mereka (Melayu, Peribumi) bergantung kepada pemimpin pelapis Umno – Khairy Jamaluddin, Abdul Rahman Dahlan, Sharifuddin Abdullah, Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad, Razali Ibrahim, Jazlan Mohamed antaranya? Adakah mereka ini mempunyai sifat 'keperibadian jati Melayu Islam' yang ahli Umno dan Melayu Islam boleh bergantung dalam Politik Baru yang akan mendominasi landskap politik negara antara sekarang dan PRU14 dan melewati PRU14?

Suasana politik dalaman Umno kini, suka-duka, tidak menggalakkan muda-mudi mendekatinya. Umno harus bina suasana baru; yang dapat memujuk atau menarik generasi baru Melayu Islam dan Peribumi yang mahu menyertainya. Belajarlah daripada Tun Razak yang mengundang muda-mudi Melayu Islam berbakat menyertai Umno dan memberi mereka pula kepercayaan.

Ramai antara mereka menjadi pemimpin yang berkaliber dan tahan diuji. Umno tetap berubah siapa pun memimpinnya. Persoalan terbesar adakah kepimpinan itu akan membawa Umno ke tahap yang lebih tinggi lagi atau salah hitung kecundang dalam PRU14.

Itu tidak harus berlaku (tewas PRU14) kerana jumlah bilangan pengundi Melayu Islam dan Peribumi makin meningkat. Dijangka populasi Melayu, Peribumi mencecah 75% dalam masa dua dekad lagi. Masa depan Umno bergantung pada Melayu Islam seperti semenjak parti itu ditubuh pada tahun 1946.

Kalau Umno terus menghargai dan berbudi pada mereka – Melayu Islam dan Peribumi sekurang-kurangnya tidak akan lari dari Umno up to PRU14. Dalam PRU13, Umno memenangi 88 kerusi Parlimen (bertambah) dari jumlah kerusi BN sebanyak 133 itu. Pas 21, DAP 38 dan PKR 30. Hanya 16% pengundi Cina menyokong BN. "Hear, hear, hear – dengar, dengar, dengar".

Tak payahlah suluh lagi apa yang amat terang. Saya teka sokongan Cina akan terus merosot kecuali orang Melayu Islam dan Peribumi menyerah kuasa mereka kepada mereka (Cina).

Melayu Islam dan Peribumi hanya akan hilang kuasa kalau muda-mudi Melayu Islam dan Peribumi terus menjauhi dari Umno. Terpulanglah bagi Umno meyakini mereka bahawa integriti dan kredibiliti Umno dan pemimpinnya di semua peringkat sedang berubah. 

Tabie menyalah guna kuasa, sifat bongkak, sombong dan sukar dijumpai dan mempunyai gaya hidup yang gemar dan gembira menunjuk-nunjuk serta kemerosotan moral (decadence) juga makin berkurangan. Hanya Melayu Islam dan Peribumi boleh meruntuhkan kerajaan yang ada.


Transformation: A sharp U-turn?

Posted: 28 Sep 2013 11:44 AM PDT


Jailing or even executing innocent people has become the greatest blemish in the judicial world. We hate the heinous criminals, but that does not mean we should therefore sacrifice our judicial proceedings.

Lim Sue Goan, Sin Chew Daily 

The detention without trial stipulated in the Prevention of Crime (Amendment and Extension) Act 2013 has drawn strong objection from political parties and NGOs alike, many claiming it is a "reincarnation" of the Internal Security Act (ISA).

This issue should be looked into from three different perspectives: whether the police need such power, judicial justice and the principles of the country's transformation programme.

Since the Ops Cantas Khas was kicked off on August 17, it is undeniable that serious crimes have fallen drastically. Based on the statistics released by the police on Sept 23, the incidence of armed robberies has fallen by 90%, murders by 33.78%, gang robberies by 23.58% and robberies by 26%.

Moreover, home minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi also said the police had arrested 8,898 individuals suspected of secret society activities as of Sept 18.

It cannot be denied that the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 has been very effective in tackling secret societies. The Act allows the police to detain a suspect for up to 72 days, giving the police ample time to conduct the investigations.

No developed country in this world has resorted to detention without trial to bring crime at bay. They are achieving this through professional competency and state-of-the-art technology.

Unless we admit we are nowhere near them, for a country aspiring to be a developed nation soon, this is by no means an honour we can take pride in.

Increase in crime has been attributed to a host of factors, and triad gangs are only one of them. Other factors include enforcement and case solving efficiency, mobilisation of police force, infiltration of foreign criminal elements, collapse of traditional values, and failure in our school and family education, among others. Giving the police excessive powers is never a good solution, for if things really work this way, drug traffickers will have gone extinct in this country as mandatory death awaits them.

Prior to the repeal of the ISA and Emergency Ordinance, our country had been plagued by deteriorating public safety, and so the key to this problem is not the power given to the police.

The authorities must never extend their powers owing to the excessive fears of the public for crime.

In addition, detention without trial also contravenes the proceedings of justice in the judiciary system. Under the UN convention, no individuals should be deliberately arrested or detained and anyone arrested is entitled to the right of an open and fair trial.

Moreover, under the principles of law, a person remains innocent until he is convicted. Giving the police the power of detaining a suspect without trial for two years is like giving them a dual role of both enforcers and judges.

Jailing or even executing innocent people has become the greatest blemish in the judicial world. We hate the heinous criminals, but that does not mean we should therefore sacrifice our judicial proceedings.

Although the prime minister has earlier assured the public that the government would offer all the necessary support to assist the police to battle crime. Nevertheless, he also said on August 19 that the government was not yet ready at the current stage to adopt any preventive act to prevent the occurrence of crime, and that the government would seek a balance point between combating crime and preserving the interest and human rights of the public.

Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail has said based on the efficiency of the police today, our existing laws have been sufficient to tackle the issue crime, and he finds it no reason for the government to put in place a new preventive act.

Mahathir is against the repeal of ISA while Umno ministers have been arguing about whether the crime prevention act should be restored. This probably explains why detention without trial has been able to be revived.

In addition, there is no assurance from the authorities that the act will not be abused, just like the ISA was previously abused to deal with political dissidents.

Although the power of detention has been transferred from the home minister to a three-member crime prevention committee, and a detainee can also seek to apply for judicial review of his detention at the High Court, none of the committee members has been from the legal profession or human rights organisation. If all the members of the committee have been public servants, will they ever overrule the detention?

Moreover, the detention period under ISA and EO could be as long as two years while under the crime prevention act, a person could be detained for up to four years, meaning a person would have lost his precious freedom for four long years if he is eventually found to be innocent.

The police have previously rejected the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC). Now that the police are to be given extended powers, who will be there to watch over them?

The prime minister's initiative to announce the repeal of ISA on Sept 15, 2011 was meant to put the Malaysian laws on the right track, but permitting detention without trial does not augur well with the principles of our transformation programme.

The principles of national transformation programme such as transparency, incorruption and justice must never be denied deliberately. Unfortunately recent developments have shown that we are actually going backwards, including the introduction of bumiputra economic empowerment policy, and the MACC's notion that money politics during Umno's elections is purely the party's internal problem.

The resurrection of detention without trial shows that the nation indeed is in urgent need of a systemic reform, or there will be a sharp turn of our transformation programme. 

Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

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