Selasa, 12 November 2013

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Sakti should be replaced too then

Posted: 12 Nov 2013 11:37 AM PST

The leaders are protecting the citizens from being misled and I like the judgment of their people - they don't know how to differentiate it so to ease confusion, we withdraw the loan words. To prevent confusion, the word can now be partially used by some and not by other states. 

Navin, Karan 

Languages originate from other languages or produce another language; it will never emerge on its own. The old languages struggle when it comes to the modern world with new technological words, where language scholars will give up and loan those words from another language. Modern languages loan words from the older languages too – e.g Parkir (Parking) which refer to tempat letak kereta. Lending and borrowing doesn't make the language stupid, it doesn't mean the language is not civilized but it helps in the continued usage of a language.

Languages never had problems with other languages like how religion has/had; it gets victimized by the practitioner, yes the religion practitioner. Things get better when the language can speak for themselves - unfortunately the alphabet is not made up of living creatures but helps to make mankind civilized. It reminds me of the quote in John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God". In layman's terms, which is the direct translation – each word belongs to Almighty God. This means every language belongs to God, we cannot blame God for choosing Sanskrit in the beginning, followed by Hebrew and then finally Arabic to give knowledge to the humans. Can we blame God for the language evolution over the eras?

Lately, there were words banned especially the word (nanana, I obey the leaders decision. I will try not say it till the end of this article). I strongly adore the way leaders stinks, no no THINK I mean. English language, don't get me into trouble! The leaders are protecting the citizens from being misled and I like the judgment of their people - they don't know how to differentiate it so to ease confusion, we withdraw the loan words. To prevent confusion, the word can now be partially used by some and not by other states.

Concerning the 'misleading' or "confusion' of language, we should consider other words too. There is a common word used in daily life, that is not only misleading but indirectly praying, oh gosh ... PRAYING to a different god – if you think there are too many gods!! SAKTI, it originates from Shakti/ Sakthi- which means 'power' referring to cosmic energy in Hinduism. Shakti/sakti is the concept of divine feminine creative power, referred to 'The Great Divine Mother' – Durga, Mahakali, Parvati and the list goes on.

The Shakti goddess can be viewed in the context of science where the feminine Shakti manifests through female embodiment and creativity/fertility, though it is also present in males in its potential, unnoticeable form. Shakti is cosmic existence as well as liberation, the most significant form being the Kundalini Shakti. If you still can't quite get what is Kundalini, this is one of the examples where English has to borrow like how it does for Yoga (Sanskrit originally).

Referring to the above paragraph, if we are talking in the context of science, then each time we insert 'Sakti' into our Malay language, it carries a different meaning. Example – Kita bukan penentu tapi tuhan yang maha sakti, lagi maha berkuasa, now you get the actual meaning. By the way, maha in Arabic means a woman with beautiful eyes and in Sanskrit means great. It usually follows with another word - Maha Avathar, Maha Brahma etc likewise in Malay, Maha Berkuasa, Maha Penyayang. Now, is the 'maha' referring to power or goddess?

With my above justification on sakti, it will never go wrong when you know what you are referring to and the context referred to. I am leaving to the readers to judge whether we should ban and take ownership - 'trademark' it - since every word - not vulgar words, let satan take the ownership of vulgar words - gives more exposure to the right path to our community and not block the language since its duty is to communicate and ease any explanation on certain words.

Hope we don't further ban the words Firman, Wahyu, Iman; these are commonly used in both holy books (Malay language version). Replacing other words to their articles or in holy books may mislead the interpretation. I am ending the article with a bhajan (devotional lyrics):

Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram, Patita Pavan Sitaram
Sitaram, Sitaram, Bhaj Pyare Mana Sitaram
Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram,Patita Pavan Sitaram

Ishwar Allah Tero Nam,Sabako Sanmati De Bhagawan
Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram, Patita Pavan Sitaram...


Are We Being Served by Half-Past-Six Ministers?

Posted: 12 Nov 2013 11:23 AM PST 

Kee Thuan Chye

Do we have half-past-six ministers running the country? Well, from the utterances of at least three ministers in the last few days, that seems to be so.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Shahidan Kassim put his foot in his mouth when he declared in Parliament last Monday that the electricity and water bills incurred by the prime minister's official residence in Putrajaya last year – amounting to a staggering RM2.55 million – was among the lowest in the world. And how did he come to this conclusion? Did he make comparisons with other countries?

No, he came to this conclusion based on his own "observation"!

Woooh! RM2.55 million of taxpayers' money spent and that's what we get? A personal observation by one of our top public servants that it's relatively peanuts?

Asked by Opposition MPs for comparisons with the utility bills of the residences of other countries' leaders, he said he did not have them. "If you want the specifics, you will need to give me time to collect the details," he said. Which clearly showed he was simply tembak-ing (shooting in the dark).

But how can a minister simply tembak? Has he no regard for the intelligence of his fellow MPs and, worse, that of the rakyat? How can he say the utility bills are among the lowest in the world – in the world, mind you, don't play-play! – without scientific evidence to back up his claim? Did he pass Form 3 or not?

What also drew derisive laughter that was so loud it could have been heard in Putrajaya was his justification for his observed conclusion. He said the utility bills were relatively low because the country's top leaders practised the "frugal system"! He even added, "I believe the frugal spending system implemented in Seri Perdana is the best."

Er … Shahidan, would you have any facts and figures to explain what this "frugal system" is? And why you say it is "the best"?

Does this frugality extend to Prime Minister Najib Razak's overseas travel expenses in 2011, which amounted to RM10.1 million, and his 10-day visit to London, New York and Washington, DC, in May 2012, which cost taxpayers RM2.9 million?

Is it frugal to spend RM2.9 million on a 10-day trip?

Does it extend to the utility bills of Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin last year being as high as RM964,722?

In the first place, do we need an official residence for the prime minister as big as 17 hectares and that of his deputy as big as 7.3 hectares? Whom are we trying to impress? Even the White House, residence of the president of the United States of America, is smaller than both, at 7.2 hectares.

In view of all of the above, if Shahidan cannot tell us what he means by the so-called "frugal system", what bullshit is he saying?

Read more at: 

The PAS dilemma – to embrace Umno or to stick with Pakatan

Posted: 12 Nov 2013 11:07 AM PST 

(The Ant Daily) - Former Kelantan menteri besar Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat was the only top PAS leader who was truly committed to the Pakatan cause but he is no longer around.

Ever since its poor performance in the 13th general election (GE13), PAS has been beset by uncertainty. It appears like a party being pulled apart by two opposing forces – the conservatives and the progressives.

Nominations for the party elections next month confirm this and raise fears among PAS' Pakatan Rakyat partners that the outcome of the party's polls would have an impact on the three-party coalition.

PKR supremo Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim himself was said to be concerned about the direction that PAS would take after its muktamar on Nov 22.

So, what has brought PAS to this state of affairs?

After all, in the run-up to GE13, the Islamist party was touted as the lynchpin of Pakatan, tasked with wresting seats from Umno under the slogan "PAS Ganti Umno" (PAS to replace Umno).

Observers said although PAS members did not seem concerned about the state the party is in now, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang could not escape responsibility.

"I think the problem with PAS is that despite being the oldest party in Pakatan it has been going downhill. And this happened during Hadi's tenure as president," said an observer.

"Part of the reason for this lies with the leadership. They are either still entertaining the thought of joining Umno or rethinking their future in Pakatan," the observer added.

Former Kelantan menteri besar Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat was the only top PAS leader who was truly committed to the Pakatan cause but he is no longer around.

Hadi's conduct before GE13 was questionable although he was in an upbeat mood about Pakatan's attempt to gain federal power.

Sources said he even had the audacity to usurp the PAS secretary-general's role in issuing letters of appointment to the party's candidates for GE13, resulting in overlapping of seats with PKR and Pakatan ally Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM).

But alas PAS performed way below expectations and dashed Pakatan's ambition to capture Putrajaya.

PAS was the "big brother" in Pakatan and yet it won the least number of seats among the coalition partners.

DAP achieved its best ever showing with 38 parliamentary seats, followed by PKR with 30 and PAS with 21. In contrast, Umno, PAS's main rival, increased its share of parliamentary seats from 79 in 2008 to 88 in 2013.

But instead of clamouring for Hadi's head, party members endorsed his leadership, as evident from his re-election as PAS president without contest recently.

Observers said this was ironic as Hadi pales in comparison with Datuk Fadzil Noor, whom he succeeded as president in 2002.

Read more at: 

As debate rages, Terengganu arms religious guards

Posted: 12 Nov 2013 11:06 AM PST

(MM) - Terengganu has stepped ahead of the country and armed its Islamic enforcement officers, urging other states to follow in its footsteps even as a federal minister sparked a furore yesterday when he proposed the security measure in the wake of the killing of a Pahang religious official.

The east coast state's executive councillor Ghazali Taib said it is important that officers who are exposed to life-threatening risks be protected.

"Terengganu enforcement officers are supplied with firearms for safety reasons.

"I hope all other states will follow suit so that they have to tools to defend themselves," he was quoted as saying today by Malay daily Sinar Harian.

Read more at:

Christian leaders harden stand on Allah, say Putrajaya misleading East Malaysians on court ruling

Posted: 12 Nov 2013 11:04 AM PST 

(TMI) - Christian leaders in Sabah and Sarawak have vowed to carry on using the word Allah even if it meant being prosecuted under a Home Ministry directive allowed by a court ruling.

They also accused Putrajaya of trying to mislead Christians from East Malaysia into believing that the Court of Appeal ruling was only applicable to the Catholic weekly, Herald.

They said they will speak up on this issue as this is what their respective congregations expected them to do.

In Sarawak today, the Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS) will hold a public forum to address the use of the word Allah as it "relates to religious freedom". The forum will address the legal implications of the Court of Appeal ruling, on whether the decision only affects the use of the word in the Herald in Peninsular Malaysia.

Catholic Bishop for the Keningau diocese in Sabah Datuk Cornelius Piong said Sabahans, especially the Kadazan, Dusun and Murut natives, have been using the word for generations and will continue doing so.

"Who is going to stop us? Even God allows us to use the word," he said, calling the move to restrict the use of the word illogical.

His conviction was supported by the Bishop for the Sandakan diocese, Datuk Julius Dusin Gitom, who said that whatever views the church leaders expressed reflected the congregation's feelings.

"We will continue to use the word until they prosecute us," he said.

Gitom also took to task government leaders for "hiding" the real extent of the ruling by saying that the Court of Appeal ruling was limited to the Herald.

"It is not the case and the people know that. It is a blanket ban which affects everyone."

He also accused political parties Umno and PAS of trying to outdo each other in being more Islamic, which he added was a contributor to the Allah problem.

Read more at: 

Billions of ringgit and 20 years needed to replace pipes

Posted: 12 Nov 2013 11:03 AM PST 

(The Star) - It might take Malaysia 20 years to replace all of its ageing pipes with better ones.

According to Malaysian Water Association president Syed Mohamed Adnan Alhabshi, billions of ringgit needed to be spent to fix over 40,000km of pipes.

"First you have to identify the pipes, then you have to award the contracts and then construct the specific pipes. All of these takes years," he said.

He said that the standard was to replace asbestos-cement (AC) pipes with steel ones.

However, he added that developed countries were moving from this to the better ductile-iron pipes.

Marzuki Mohammad, the executive director (Water Regulatory Department) of the National Water Services Commission's (SPAN) said changing pipes required a lot of money, adding that it was easier said than done.

He said state governments were hindered by low water tariffs and were already losing money.

"The current low rates do not encourage investments in upgrading of the water supply system," he said.

Last year, operators nationwide had a total deficit of RM380.5mil.

Marzuki said to plug this, the Federal Government formed the Water Asset Management Company (PAAB) to take over state water assets. In return, PAAB provide capital for replacement works and charge lease from water operators.

So far, six states have agreed to PAAB taking over their assets – Johor, Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Perlis, Perak and Penang.

In the first three years of handing their assets over, PAAB assigned Johor, Malacca and Negri Sembilan RM162mil, RM148.15mil and RM90mil, respectively, which resulted in pipes being replaced and water saved.

"PAAB funding is the only way to address the financial issues faced by the operators in investing in upgrading the systems," Marzuki said.

He said SPAN targeted a national NRW of 25% by 2020.

It is estimated that water operators nationwide lost at least RM618mil in revenue last year alone due to NRW. 

The Chinese Dilemma: Cina China malu dengan sikap Cina M'sia

Posted: 12 Nov 2013 10:59 AM PST 

The Unspinners 

1. Pandangan ini adalah dari Ye Lin-Sheng yang berasal dari china tetapi seorang ahli perniagaan di Malaysia, Hong Kong dan Australia, Thailand, Singapura, Britain dan Amerika Syarikat. 

Beliau mempunyai banyak pengalaman yang melibatkan orang Cina di negara yang disenaraikan itu. Tetapi orang Cina di Malaysialah yang paling tidak bersyukur, kejam, serta mengkhianati perjanjian ataupun dipanggil perlembagaan. Dalam buku Ye Lin-Sheng The Chinese Dilemma (East West Publishing, Australia, 2003), Ye Lin-Sheng menulis:

2. Pengiktirafan orang cina:

"Orang Cina Malaysia mendapati mereka lebih mudah untuk menerima dominasi oleh orang-orang putihkerana mereka dapat memberi pengiktirafan terhadap kehebatan orang Barat. Tetapi Orang Cina Malaysia amat susah untuk menerima kehebatan orang Melayu kerana perasaan iri hati dan hasad dengki mereka bahawa Malaysia ini milik orang Melayu.

Mana mana orang Cina Malaysia sama sekali tidak boleh menerima tentang konsep ketuanan Melayu, mereka percaya bahawa mereka adalah lebih baik" -(Buku The Chinese Dilemma - Ye Lin-Sheng)

3. Keangkuhan orang cina:

"Keangkuhan orang cina Malaysia telah membuatkan mereka sentiasa memandang rendah terhadap keupayaan orang Melayu, walhal ramai orang Melayu sebenarnya bekerja atau belajar lebih pandai dari kaum cina Malaysia ini.

Perkara ini sudah lama saya perhatikan, kerana saya memiliki perniagaan di Malaysia dan telah bercampur dengan orang Cina Malaysia ini. Sikap mereka suka cakap belakang dan tekan orang Melayu adalah menjadi tabiat dan budaya mereka. Mana mana orang Cina Malaysia yang tidak menghina orang Melayu dikatakan kolot dan membelot bangsa cina" -(Buku The Chinese Dilemma - Ye Lin-Sheng)

4. Perkauman orang cina:

"Kejayaan orang Cina Malaysia hanya tercapai jika mereka dapat menindas orang Melayu dalam masa yang sama menggunakan kudrat dan kelebihan orang Melayu. Mereka juga tidak akan mengakui bahawa kepimpinan Melayu adalah sangat mahir, cekap serta bagus dalam pengurusan politik, ekonomi dan sosial.

Cina jarang menyifatkan kejayaan Malaysia kepada orang Melayu. Apa yang ada diminda mereka adalah semua kejayaan di Malaysia ini kerana orang Cina. Sebab itu orang cina yang asal dari China tidak suka bergaul dengan cina Malaysia kerana sikap mereka yang ekstrim ini. Mereka masih lagi mengamalkan ideologi komunis" -(Buku The Chinese Dilemma - Ye Lin-Sheng)

5. Penghinaan orang cina:

"Sampai hari ini, sesetengah orang Cina Malaysia masih menggunakan istilah menghina terhadap orang Melayu. Dalam dialek tertentu, orang Melayu dipanggil dengan nama yang bermakna 'orang hutan' atau 'orang liar'. Maknanya, bangsa yang tidak bertamadun. Orang Cina yang memeluk Islam dikatakan 'masuk Melayu'. Jarang ibu bapa Cina membenarkan anak mereka menjadi askar atau polis kerana anggap itu kerja kotor dan eksklusif kepada kaum Melayu.

Mereka sentiasa percaya bahawa budaya dan tamadun Cina lebih tinggi berbanding budaya dan tamadun Melayu termasuklah penggunaan membersihkan diri menggunakan tisu dianggap lebih bertamadun. Umumnya, orang Cina boleh menerima 'ketuanan orang putih' kerana menganggap tamadun dan budaya Barat lebih bagus, tapi tidak terhadap orang Melayu-Bumiputera." -(Buku The Chinese Dilemma - Ye Lin-Sheng)

Read more at: 

Do You Believe Your Eyes And Ears Or SEB?

Posted: 12 Nov 2013 10:51 AM PST 

What they found was a barren building site in the middle of nowhere, with none of the promised schools, clinics or churches and precious little in the way of amenities or lands. 

Sarawak Report 

Sarawak Energy made a great presentation to the United Nations in Geneva last month, boasting about their plans to resettle the Penan, after forcing them from their homeland in Murum to make way for the latest controversial dam project.

It seemed they were going to be moved from a deprived existence (true, especially since Taib took their forest) and placed into a modern settlement with schools, clinics, training, lands, comfortable accommodation and a great compensation package!

As SEB's statement to the UN put it:

"These arrangements represent a massive and immediate improvement in the standard of living [for the Penan]"

Make no bones about it, according to SEB, the main beneficiaries of this dam are designed to be the down-trodden local Kenyah and Penan people.

Helping these very tribes is the key ambition of CEO Torstein Sjotveit, as he launches his extraordinary dam building spree in Sarawak. Benefitting these 'backward' people is what drives and motivates him, according to endless statements he has made.

His own multi-million dollar salary and Taib's huge business contracts have nothing to do with it.

Except, in the first film report to come out from the area the Penan are now saying that in fact their lives have become immediately far worse in this new place, which they describe as a hellhole and with good reason.

Read more at: 

Why Malaysian tax payers should support the Sarawak dam blockades

Posted: 11 Nov 2013 08:44 PM PST 

By Dr Kua Kia Soong, SUARAM Adviser, 
What have the blockades by the Sarawak indigenous people against the mega dams to do with West Malaysian tax payers?
Aside from solidarity with the indigenous peoples whose native customary lands have been taken over for the construction of the mega dams and the destruction of more of our rainforest heritage, there is plenty for Malaysian tax payers to worry about.

Mounting costs, higher electricity tariffs

For a start, the mounting costs of these dams will ultimately be borne by Malaysian tax payers. TNB will soon be passing their mounting costs on to Malaysian consumers through higher electricity tariffs. They have already announced the removal of energy subsidies now that the 13th general election is over and there is no longer a need to sweet talk the electorate. The government plans to cut fuel subsidies for power producers in the first quarter of 2014, to trim soaring subsidies for the energy sector which touched RM24.8 billion so far this year. Electricity could rise as much as 19%, from 33.5 sen/kWh to 40 sen sen/kWh, if all the subsidies are removed.
Then as contributors to the Employees Provident Fund, the "soft" EPF loans that have been given out to finance these mega dams will eventually cut into our savings which are intended for better housing, health and pension benefits of Malaysian workers. RM5.75 billion in loans from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) were used to fund the Bakun Dam project. EPF loans have also been made available to the IPPs.
The massive costs of these mega dams will further deepen the debt crisis the country faces at the moment.
Chronic excess of power equals chronic waste
Sarawak will most certainly face a chronic surplus of power. The current peak demand in Sarawak is just over 1000 MW, but Sarawak Energy wants to add another 6,200 MW until 2020 when the Bakun dam already has a 2400MW capacity. It is purely wishful thinking that Sarawak can find enough power purchasers to take up all this excess power. The global mining giants such as Rio Tinto and Alcoa have been flip flopping on their commitment to take up this energy with their energy guzzling and toxic industries ever since the 1990s. Knowing how desperate the government is in wanting to attract energy guzzlers to take up this excess power, they can afford to wait until we make them offers they can't refuse, namely cheap power and other tax incentives like the ones we offered Lynas.
Completed dams include Batang Ai (108 MW), completed in the 1980s; Bakun (2,400 MW), completed in 2011. The Murum dam (944 MW) is almost completed, while Sarawak Energy's high priority projects include Baram (1,200 MW), Baleh (1,300 MW), Pelagus (410 MW), Limbang (245MW), Lawas (87 MW), Baram 3 (300MW), Belepeh (114MW), Linau (297 MW).

Cut subsidies for the IPPs, not home consumers

The government has announced the removal of energy subsidies. But who benefits most from these electricity subsidies? Certainly not the average home consumers or the poorer sectors of our society.
 This is because subsidies are "blanket subsidies," available to all consumers, regardless of their wealth. As a result, these subsidies benefit IPPs, suppliers, and wealthy households in urban areas comparatively more than they do poor households.
The electricity sector in Malaysia is dominated by independent power producers (IPPs) and three government-linked companies (GLCs): Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), Sarawak Energy (SEB) and Sabah Electricity (SESB). The IPPs contribute around 40 per cent of national electricity supply while electricity consumption is split between consumers (13.8 per cent), transport sector (36.5 per cent) and the industry sector (42.6 per cent).
Electricity generation comes principally from natural gas and coal. Coal now accounts for 38.9 per cent of electricity generation and gas for 52.7 per cent.
Petronas, a producer and distributor of gas, is required to sell to electricity generators at a controlled price of MYR10.70 (US$3) per million metric British thermal units (mmbtu). Consequently, Petronas has lost an estimated MYR20 billion (US$6.4 billion) in foregone revenues by subsidizing the gas used by industries, including the power sector. Petronas also subsidizes gas imported from Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, which forms about 32 per cent of peninsular Malaysia's demand. Apart from a guaranteed purchase at secure prices, Petronas was asked to sell natural gas to these IPPs at subsidized rates, for which the government pays subsidies of up to RM19 billion a year.
Electricity users are subsidized by a monthly rebate. Since 2008, the government has provided a MYR20 (USD$6.4) subsidy on monthly electricity bills to all customers of TNB. Furthermore, TNB gives its "privileged customers" (including government schools and institutions of higher learning,
places of worship and welfare homes) a 10 per cent discount on their electricity bills (TNB, 2012). This concession cost TNB MYR7.8 million (US$2.5 million) in 2012, and is due to be extended to institutions that are partly funded by the government (TNB, 2012). There is thus no reason why such a concession cannot be extended to the poor and the energy saving households.
SESB also receives substantial diesel and fuel oil subsidies from the government to lower the cost of electricity generation, amounting to MYR543.4 million (US$173.3 million) in 2012.
A system of power purchase agreements (PPAs) signed with the IPPs means that the costs of gas shortages have also been borne by the government and Petronas. IPPs have been able to sign rigid PPAs with their respective GLCs since 1990, enabling them to monopolize local transmission and distribution systems.
In addition, IPPs can pass on the cost of burning more expensive distillates when there are gas shortages to TNB, which is then compensated by the government and Petronas. Thus, when there was a prolonged gas shortage caused by maintenance activities at Petronas, TNB had to burn oil and distillates, resulting in a MYR3.1 billion (US$1 billion) cost between January 2010 and October 2011. But TNB was compensated to the tune of MYR2.02 billion (US$648 million), half of which came from Petronas.
A recent study by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) revealed that the bottom 20 per cent of households received on average only 7 per cent of the total subsidy, whereas the top 20 per cent received 43 per cent. (The International Institute for Sustainable Development, 2013)
Energy producers which have made so much profits and received so much subsidies since the 1990s must not be allowed to pass on any cost increases to the consumers as a result of the removal of fuel subsidies.

Why should consumers pay for blunders in energy privatisation?

When the IPPs first came into the energy picture in the 1990s, Tenaga Nasional was compelled by the government to buy electricity from these IPPs at prices higher than if Tenaga were to produce it. This made Tenaga Nasional's operating cost soar disastrously and led to the resignation of then Executive Chairman of Tenaga Nasional, Tan Sri Ani Arope. As a result, consumers have had to pay higher electricity tariffs because of this crisis of profitability that Tenaga Nasional faced. Tenaga Nasional's (TNB) own facilities had to be shut down in order to utilize all the IPP power that it had been obliged to purchase under the "take-or-pay" clauses in the power purchase agreements.
Thus, even without the mega dams in Sarawak, the entry of these IPPs had already created a crisis of overcapacity – by end 1993, the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) commissioned 5 projects totalling 4,157 MW and by 1997, Peninsular Malaysia had almost 50% surplus capacity. Even today, this excessive surplus capacity of more than 50% has persisted.
There is no reason why household consumers should be forced to pay for the hefty prices of electricity caused by such blunders in energy privatisation, when TNB was able to produce it at 8.0 sen a unit (kWh), but it had to buy from the IPPs at 23 sen per unit, which was 300% higher.
Clearly, neo-liberal arguments for privatisation and competition do not hold water in the case of the Malaysian energy sector. With so many IPPs in the energy scene, the market should be more competitive and power producers forced to be more efficient. Instead, through crony capitalism and state support for these IPPs, we see the price of electricity going up and up through the years.

Malaysian taxpayers pay for cost overruns

Dam construction is famous for cost overruns. The Auditor-General's annual report has revealed that the government has had to pay RM430 million in compensation to two foreign contractors for losses incurred in the problem-plagued Bakun Dam. The two contractors, Alstom and Impsa had suffered delays of up to four years in civil engineering works, causing their costs to spike. We must not forget that close to RM1 billion was paid as 'compensation' to Ekran when it was forced to give up the contract in the late 1990s.
Transparency International once described the Bakun dam as a "Monument to Corruption". Companies linked to Chief Minister Taib Mahmud are the main beneficiaries of the cheap energy and contracts related to dam construction. Cahya Mata Sarawak, the family of Chief Minister Taib Mahmud is the largest shareholder of Kenanga Investment Bank (25%), one of the lenders behind the Murum Dam.
Malaysian tax payers also carry the risks for these mega dam projects. If the income generated by the dam is below what is predicted, we will have to step in and pay back the loans that were provided to Sarawak Energy. If the examples of MAS, MISC, Perwaja and other gargantuan bailouts are anything to go by, these EPF and KWAP loans to support the mega dam projects will be quietly written off and Malaysian tax payers will have to bear the consequences.
And while we will be paying higher and higher electricity tariffs in the near future, ethnocide is being committed in our name against the indigenous peoples of Sarawak who are being displaced from their centuries-old ancestral homes into glorified reservations. It is for all these reasons that West Malaysians should support the blockades by the indigenous peoples of Sarawak against the construction of the mega dams which are socially disruptive, environmentally destructive and economically disastrous.



Kalabakan Wanita Umno to hold re-election on Nov 16

Posted: 11 Nov 2013 08:36 PM PST 

(The Star) - Kalabakan Umno Wanita division that was hit by resignations almost immediately after last month's party polls has been ordered to hold re-elections on Nov 16.

However, all 14 of the 15 elected members, who resigned in protest over the election process, would not be allowed to contest, Kalabakan Umno division chief Datuk Abdul Ghapur Salleh said.

He said the Umno supreme council made the decision for the 14 vacancies to be filled through an extra-ordinary general meeting this Saturday.

They will be holding the meeting and we will abide by the decision of the supreme council, Ghapur said.

The 14 elected members, led by Suriyani Lamai announced their sudden resignations on Oct 16, four days after they won various positions in the committee during the elections that saw incumbent chief Datuk Hamisa Samad losing to Cahaya Sulaiman while the vice-chief's post was won by Noraini Abdul Ghapur.

Hamisa's faction claimed that while 825 Wanita delegates were entitled to vote, only 764 attended the Oct 12 meeting.

Hamisa's faction, however, lodged a complaint over the results, claiming there was an excess of 47 ballots.

Hamisa had obtained 384 votes compared to 417 by Cahaya while there were 10 spoilt votes.

Apart from Suriyani, other Kalabakan Wanita Umno executive members who quit were Hindun Abu Bakar Titingan, Masnah Lama, Astika Tahir, Nurida AbuBakar, Zainab @ Jainab Ali, Shaniah Sampar, Norizan Omar, Juo Amin, Fatimah Abdullah, Sofiah Daud, Asiah Indobeche and Muliati Engkeng. 

Am I a maverick?

Posted: 11 Nov 2013 05:22 PM PST

In that sense, the religionists and politicians are all the same. They expect you to agree with them and if you do not then you are the enemy. If you are a Catholic you must agree with Rome. If you are a Malay-Muslim you must agree with Sunni Islam. And if you are a reformist you must agree with Pakatan Rakyat. There are no two ways about it. Either you are with me or you are against me, and hence an enemy.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

A maverick is a rebel, radical, dissenter, individualist, protester, eccentric, heretic, nonconformist, iconoclast, etc.

A maverick is a person who refuses to abide by the dictates of or resists adherence to a group.

A maverick is a person independent in thought and action or exhibiting such independence.

A maverick is a person of unorthodox, irregular, or unconventional views.

A maverick is a person who refuses to conform to established standards of conduct or a person not conforming to accepted rules or standards.


"In 2009, maverick blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin, himself of royal lineage, ruffled feathers by claiming Datukships can be purchased for RM250,000, adding that recipients 'can always make back more than this'," said AFP today. (READ HERE).

This is not the first time that the media has referred to me as a maverick so I thought today we would talk about that word and the implications of being a maverick.

Maverick was an American Western television series that ran from 1957 to 1962 starring James Garner regarding a skilful card shark. Understandably, that was one of my favourite TV programs, alongside Gunsmoke, The High Chaparral, Bat Masterson, The Restless Gun, Rawhide, Tales of the Texas Rangers, The Wild Wild West, The Big Valley, Sheriff of Cochise, The Texan, Bonanza, Have Gun - Will Travel, Kung Fu, and so on.

In fact, there were about 200 Western TV series of that era -- which we could also buy in comic form, and which was where most of these TV series all came from in the first place. Those of you who were already around in the 1960s would probably remember all these Western TV series, which were aired at around the time that television first came to Malaysia in 1963 -- which was initially in black-and-white until 15 years later in 1978 when it came out in colour.

Anyway, what does one mean when he or she says maverick? I suppose the definition of maverick is very clear if you read the top section of this article. It is basically someone who does not follow the herd but breaks away from what many would consider 'the norm'. And this would also mean, in a nutshell, that a maverick is not a normal person, since you 'break from norm'.

Those who have been following my views on religion in general and the Abrahamic faiths in particular would probably already have come to a conclusion a long time ago that I am a maverick when it comes to theology. Those who have been following my political views would probably also have come to that same conclusion.

And not many can accept that there is someone who refuses to comply with norm and who breaks away from norm. They feel that anyone who breaks away from norm -- that is, a maverick -- is a person who gives problems to others.

An Anglican Christian is expected to agree with the Church of England. A Catholic is expected to agree with the Vatican in Rome. A Malay-Muslim is expected to agree with Sunni Islam and accept the Hadith without question. And, of course, a supporter for political reforms and change is expected to agree with Pakatan Rakyat. To do otherwise makes you a maverick, a rebel, a radical, a dissenter, an individualist, a nonconformist, an unorthodox, or a heretic.

And that is the key word here: heretic.

A heretic (a word of Christian invention derived from the Greek word meaning 'choice') is a person who holds controversial opinions, especially one who publicly dissents from the officially accepted dogma of the Roman Catholic Church or a person who maintains beliefs contrary to the established teachings of the Church.

The implication of being called a heretic is that you are a disbeliever, religious outcast, separatist, sectarian, renegade, revisionist, or pariah. Hence a religious maverick is a negative or dirty word. It is not nice to be called a religious maverick because that makes you a deviant.

Of course, not only Christianity but Judaism and Islam as well think the same way. If you are a maverick then you are a deviant. And the punishment for this is death -- although Judaism and Christianity no longer do what the Bible says they must do (that is, kill deviants) while it now happens only occasionally in Islam compared to the old days, say 100 years ago, when it was still quite rampant.

In politics they still 'kill' you -- metaphorically speaking, of course -- if you are a maverick (and hence a deviant). Just like in religion, people expect you to toe the party line in politics if you happen to share the same political ideals -- such as the ideals of reforms or change.

In that sense, the religionists and politicians are all the same. They expect you to agree with them and if you do not then you are the enemy. If you are a Catholic you must agree with Rome. If you are a Malay-Muslim you must agree with Sunni Islam. And if you are a reformist you must agree with Pakatan Rakyat. There are no two ways about it. Either you are with me or you are against me, and hence an enemy.

It is actually quite ironical plus hypocritical. Many people will scream that there should be freedom of religion, freedom of religious opinions, freedom of Muslims to leave Islam, freedom of Christians to use the Allah word, and so on. However, these same people who scream about all these freedoms will not tolerate your freedom to be a political maverick.

Aren't Malaysians a weird lot? They hold on to views that cannot be proven and are based purely on myths. But then when you hold a view that can be proven they call you a pariah.

I suppose we may one day be able to change the government but we will never be able to change the bigoted views of Malaysians. And these people have the cheek to talk about change when they themselves cannot change.

Ironical plus hypocritical, is it not?


Ex-Teratai rep Jenice Lee sues DAP deputy chief

Posted: 11 Nov 2013 03:29 PM PST

(The Star) - Former Teratai assemblyman Jenice Lee Ying Ha is suing DAP deputy chairman Tan Kok Wai for allegedly accusing her of having committed misconduct.

Lee said Tan had defamed her during the GE13 campaigning period when he held a press conference at Taman Muda market on April 23.

She said that Tan, who is DAP disciplinary committee chairman, made a statement alleging she committed abuse of power, embezzlement, corruption and conflict of interest.

She said the statement containing defamatory words against her was published in Chinese newspapers and on the Internet, adding that Tan had failed to take any reasonable actions to verify the accuracy of his statement.

Lee said Tan knew that the statement would tarnish her reputation and good name when she was contesting as an independent candidate for Teratai state seat.

She said the statement implied that she was immoral, arrogant and should not be elected by voters.

In her statement of claim, Lee said her solicitor had sent a letter of demand, dated Sept 19, to Tan asking him to retract his statement and later apologise to her but he failed to show any remorse.

She said Tan instead had use his position to issue a show cause letter and terminate her membership with the party on Oct 7 and Oct 30 respectively.

Lee is seeking general, aggravated and exemplary damages and an injunction to stop Tan from repeating the libel against her in any manner.

Besides that, Lee also applied to the court for Tan to publish an apology in five Chinese newspapers, and for interest and costs.

Her lawyer Michael Wong told reporters here that the defamation suit was filed at the High Court civil registry at 9.06am Monday.

Speaking to reporters here, Lee said she and her family have been suffering unfair misunderstanding from the public due to the statement.

"I have initiated the civil proceedings to ask the court to hear and adjudicate this case in order to restore my reputation and integrity," said Lee.


Catholic Church asks 26 questions in Allah appeal at apex court

Posted: 11 Nov 2013 03:23 PM PST

V Anbalagan, TMI

The Catholic Church has taken the fight to use the word Allah to the next level, seeking answers to 26 questions on the Federal Constitution, administrative law as well as the power of the court to allow the Home Minister to ban the use of a theological word.

These questions were part of the application filed by the lawyers for the church, seeking leave to appear before the Federal Court to challenge the Court of Appeal's ruling on the Allah issue.

On October 14, a three-member bench led by Datuk Seri Mohamed Apandi Ali, which allowed Putrajaya's appeal to ban the Catholic weekly, Herald, from using the word, said there was a 1986 directive by the Home Ministry that prohibited non-Muslim publications from using four words – Allah, Kaabah, Solat and Baitullah.

The Herald has been in publication since 1994 and ministry officials had admonished the publisher and issued showcause letters for the failure to comply with the directive.

Apandi in his judgment said the reason for the prohibition was to protect the sanctity of Islam and prevent any confusion among Muslims. He also ruled that if the word is allowed to be used by Christians, it could threaten national security and public order.

Further to that, the court said the prohibition was reasonable on grounds that the word Allah was not an integral part of the Christian faith and practice.

The decision sparked an outcry among Christians, and other non-Muslims, in the peninsula and East Malaysia.

The constitutional questions framed by the church's lawyers were to debate on Islam as the religion of the federation, freedom of speech, religion and the right to religious education.

The questions on administrative law centred on the home minister's power. The questions also pointed out that the minister's decision to ban the weekly publication from using the word Allah was illegal and irrational.

The church has also raised issues on the power of the court to allow the minister to ban the word based on theology.

Counsel for the church will now serve the court papers to Putrajaya and seven other Muslim organisations who are parties to the application.

The Federal Court registry would then proceed to fix a case management date so that all parties are agreeable to a suitable day to hear the leave application to appeal the ruling.

Lawyers said the church should have no problem in obtaining leave as novel legal questions, raised for the first time and which are of public importance, would have been drafted.



Glut of Malaysian royal titles dims their lustre

Posted: 11 Nov 2013 02:57 PM PST

In 2009, maverick blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin, himself of royal lineage, ruffled feathers by claiming Datukships can be purchased for RM250,000, adding that recipients "can always make back more than this."

(AFP) - For centuries, the Malay royal title "Datuk" — Malaysia's equivalent of "Sir" — was a high honour that unlocked doors to the elite. But Datuks like K. Basil don't feel so special these days.

"Just throw a stone in the street and you'll hit a Datuk," complains Basil, a policeman-turned-politician and one of many who feel the awarding of the coveted titles has got out of hand in a status-obsessed Malaysian society.

Malaysia has one of the world's highest rates of royal title-holders — estimates run into the tens of thousands — thanks to a centuries-old royal patronage system linked to its now-ceremonial Malay sultans.

They range from politicians to businessmen, from badminton World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei to actress Michelle Yeoh. Nearly every major business or society function will add VIP prestige with a title-bearer as an honoured guest.

But allegations of fake or purchased titles along with now-routine reports of corrupt Datuks threaten to tarnish the royalty institution, spurring calls for greater scrutiny.

"It is an open secret that Datukships are for sale by cheats and those who claim to have the ear of the royalty, and there are individuals who abuse their titles," said opposition parliamentarian Thomas Su.

Su supports proposed legislation to criminalise receiving illegitimate investitures "to protect the dignity of the monarchy."

Muslim Malays are multi-racial Malaysia's majority ethnic group.

Malay sultans ceremonially rule nine states — alternating as Malaysia's figurehead king every five years — and can bestow a range of titles on honoured citizens.

The most common, Datuk, is akin to a British knighthood but far more common.

Less than 100 will be knighted by Queen Elizabeth II this year, according to the British government.

But 700-1,200 new Datuks — or the feminine "Datin" — are anointed annually in Malaysia, whose population of 28 million is less than half the United Kingdom's.

There also are at least hundreds of "Tan Sri", an even higher-ranking honorific, and above them, "Tun", reserved for former prime ministers and other elite figures. There can be only 60 Tun at a time.

Titles 'widely abused'

Malay cultural expert Eddin Khoo said titles are widely abused for their clout and connections in a country where corruption is widespread.

"Datukships have become crucial status symbols in a culture of ingratiation," Khoo said.

The perks begin with an official crest for a Datuk's car, "to show money is rolling by," said Khoo.

But titles purportedly also help slice through red tape, protect bearers from prosecution, and gain access to policy-makers.

As far back as 2004, former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad — now retired, and a Tun — warned of a title glut.

"If you produce a million Ferrari cars, nobody will care about buying a Ferrari," he said.

Some Malaysian royalty have complained more recently of ill-behaved Datuks and of agents who allegedly claim to broker investitures.

In 2009, maverick blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin, himself of royal lineage, ruffled feathers by claiming Datukships can be purchased for RM250,000, adding that recipients "can always make back more than this."

But making direct accusations is highly sensitive due to stiff penalties for insulting royal figures.

That has allowed people like self-styled royal Raja Noor Jan Shah Raja Tuah Shah — who has a disputed claim to being the sultan of the southern state of Malacca — to continue anointing Datuks.

Media reports this summer suggested Noor Jan had sold hundreds of dubious investitures — Malacca no longer has a sultan.

Yet Noor Jan is regularly feted at events hosted by wealthy businessmen seeking to rub elbows with him.

Noor Jan entered a recent function in Malaysia's government headquarters of Putrajaya, resplendent in a royal-yellow military-style suit studded with medals and epaulets, trailed by an entourage of his "Datuks" to the beat of traditional Malay musicians.

He admits taking cash "donations" from recipients, but denies selling titles.

"We could easily take hundreds of thousands of ringgit. But you see, we are still driving an old car," he said, referring to his vintage Porsche sportscar.

Danny Ooi, president of the Council of Federal Datuks, said people like Noor Jan must be stopped.

"It has been going on for the last 10 years, this problem of Datuks being given out (by self-proclaimed royals)," he said.

But Ooi admits money often changes hands even for legitimate investitures, though he terms it, "more as a contribution."

Meanwhile, reports of Datuks in legal trouble, typically for corruption, are common.

In one case, businessman Datuk Koay Khay Chye pleaded guilty in 2010 to drug possession. He was originally charged with trafficking, a capital offence.

The case created an uproar when it was reported he had retained his title despite earlier convictions for theft, firearms offences and corruption.

Ooi advocates stripping titles from convicted criminals and setting up searchable databases of Datuks to thwart imposters. 


Maria is next Bersih chairperson

Posted: 11 Nov 2013 02:47 PM PST

As the only one nominated to contest for the top post, Maria Chin has won uncontested.

Alyaa Azhar, FMT

Come December Bersih steering committee member Maria Chin Abdullah will take over the helm from current co-chairpersons S Ambiga and A Samad Said with no one else nominated for the post.

Elections for the steering committee is on Nov 30.

Announcing the details of the elections today, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall secretary-general Stanley Yong said Maria was the only candidate nominated for the top post and that she had won uncontested.

Other than Maria, four other national level Bersih steering committee members will be elected on Nov 30 in the Petaling Jaya Community Library while six regional representatives will be elected after the national level election.

Sixteen representatives from Bersih's endorsing organisations will be electing the five individuals as office bearers.

Each endorsing organisation is eligible as one voter and is required to name one voting representative who will cast the ballots on its behalf.

"Each organisation may also send up to two observer delegates to accompany the voter," said Yong.

As for the nominees, Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) founder Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa will face Pemantau coordinator Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh for the vice chairperson post.

Sisters in Islam (SIS) board member Masjaliza Hamzah and Pertubuhan IKRAM Malaysia (Ikram) central executive committee member Nahar Md Nor will vie for the treasurer position.

Five people have been nominated for the steering committee members with portfolio positions. However, only two will be elected.

These people include Suaram chairperson K Arumugam, Tindak Malaysia's Ng Chak Ngoon, Suaram Ops Scorpene Team committee member Farhana Halim, Bersih steering committee member Hishamuddin Rais and lawyer New Sin Yew.

Transparent election

Meanwhile, three individuals sit on the committee that will oversee the polls.

Other than Yong, senior human rights lawyer Roger Chan and former member of the Human Rights Commission  Muhammad Sha'ani Abdullah will oversee the running of the national level steering committee election.




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