Wednesday, May 30, 2007

No joy for Lina Joy: Federal court rules against her IC appeal

Despite all the hopeful comments from the NGOs and religious liberalists - from the very start - irregardless of what your interpretion of the Constitution is - you just knew that the civil court simply will not take it upon itself to pass judgement on the religious status of a born-Muslim Malay, thereby casting massive doubt on the authority and powers of the Syariah court.

Heck, they're gutless enough to even attempt to surrender the jurisdiction over non-Muslims to the Syariah court.

Secondly, Lina Joy's case is somewhat different from Subashini, Moorthy, Rayappan et al. Those were all cases of Islamic laws encroaching on the lives of non-Muslims... due to a religious conversion at some stage. The primary catalyst was not a person who was born a Muslim.

Lina Joy - on the other hand - was born a Muslim-Malay and was a practicing Muslim until the day she converted to Christianity. And that makes all the difference. With that, the religious liberalists and the Syariah court/religious fundamentalists swap roles as defenders and invaders. The morality of cases involving converts was clear cut, but the moral high ground in this Lina Joy case is a grey area to me. I am of 2 minds as to who occupies it at the moment.

Lastly... again, I find it disconcerting that there is yet another split decision by the civil court justices - ostensibly according to their religious affinity. Just like the dismissal of Subashini's appeal to the Court of Appeals, this dismissal judgement was carried by a 2 to 1 majority where the 2 Muslim justices disagreed with the sole non-Muslim justice (who predictably was the dissenting voice). Far from questioning the workings of such learned legal minds - the uncouth, recalcitrant layman in me can't shake the nagging feeling that perhaps they might have experienced some sensation of split loyalties... to god's law and to the man-made constitution.

If you ask me, there's no respite ahead for Malaysia's religious turmoil. The Federal court will need to decide on Subashini's appeal soon.

Federal Court Dismisses Lina Joy's Appeal To Drop Islam In IC

PUTRAJAYA, May 30 (Bernama) -- Azlina Jailani, the woman who converted to Christianity, today failed in her appeal to get the Federal Court to compel the National Registration Department (NRD) to drop the word "Islam" from her identity card.

In a 2-1 majority decision, the court ruled that Azlina, 42, who changed her name to Lina Joy, should obtain a Syariah Court order confirming her apostasy before the department could delete the word.

Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim said the NRD had the right to require Lina Joy to produce an order from the Syariah Court to confirm that she had renounced the Islamic religion if she wanted to delete the word "Islam" in her identity card.

Justice Ahmad Fairuz and Federal Court Judge Datuk Alauddin Mohd Sheriff rejected the appeal while the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Datuk Richard Malanjum gave a dissenting judgment.

Lina had appealed to the Federal Court after the Court ot Appeal in a 2-1 majority decision on Sept 19, 2005, prevented her from deleting the word "Islam" from her identity card on the grounds that her renounciation of Islam had not been validated by the Syariah Court or any other lawful Islamic authorities.

She made the appeal to the Appeals Court after the High Court in April 2001 ruled that as a Muslim she could not renounce Islam and that the matter of renounciation must be decided by the Syariah Court.

Lina named the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Council, the government of Malaysia and NRD director-general Datuk Wan Ibrahim Wan Ahmad as the respondents in her appeal.

On Feb 2, 1997, she applied to the NRD to change her name to Lina Joy on the grounds that she had converted to Christianity but it was rejected on Aug 11, 1997.

Her second application to the NRD to change her name in Nov 1999, however, was approved but the new identity card issued listed her as a Muslim.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Wanita MCA says "NO" to little dragon ladies

Wanita MCA chief Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen continues Wanita MCA's campaign against Mainland Chinese maids.

We do not want the problem of these 'little dragon ladies' to escalate.

“These women are enticing local married men into having affairs with them and are causing family disharmony,” she said.
Local Malaysian women bristled with indignation and outrage when a couple of MPs made a snide remark about "bocor" or leakage in reference to a certain Opposition MP's monthly menstrual habits. Tell me. how should mainland Chinese women react to these comments? Comments which were comparatively much more direct, demeaning, derogatory and negatively stereotypical?
Ng, however, stressed that Wanita MCA was in no way showing disrespect to women in China but was rather taking a realistic stand in looking after the well-being and happiness of local women and ensuring family values were safeguarded.
Hmmm, "No way showing disrespect to women, but taking a realistic stand"...

Isn't this like telling mainland Chinese women, "with all due respect and though this is politically incorrect, I have to say the reality is that you bitches are husband-stealing sluts." Isn't that the same causal gutter logic used by those who say dressing sexily and provocatively invites rape and molestation?
She added that Wanita MCA had been receiving complaints from local women about their husbands falling prey to the foreigners' charms but admitted there was little it could do to resolve their plight.
Perhaps Wanita MCA could remind those women that marriage is a 2 person job. A team effort. If the husbands of those women are going to stray, don't blame the 3rd party. Blame themselves for not being able to keep their hearts and stay their penises. If it weren't the maid, it would be the goreng pisang lady near the 7-11.

Fact is they've got to cure the disease, not just firefight the symptoms.

Police CID Chief Christopher Wan appeals to public not to offer bribes

With the recent 35% increase in police salaries, CID Chief Christopher Wan had this to say about the public's role in reducing corruption amongst his colleagues.

"It is important that we live up to expectations. That the salary has been increased would suffice for us to make ends meet (and) no more excuse for any member of the force to indulge in any corrupt practice."

However, he also said the public has the responsibility not to bribe police officers and personnel. Without the public bribing police, corruption cases involving members of the force could be reduced, he said.

"Please don't bribe the police either after committing a traffic offence or anything that you have done against the law."
Chris... can I call you Chris? Well, Chris, you know what? You could actually make life a lot easier for the public SO THAT they don't have to offer bribes to your policemen. The reason why we offer bribes is because:
  1. there are just too many opportunities for policemen to make life difficult for us. Most of these are trivial like trumped up traffic offences, illegal stop and search, forgetting ICs, suspicion of one thing or another etc. All those road blocks, late night mamak IC checking, standing behind trees, off-duty policemen "patrolling" the streets in uniform etc... are these really necessary?

  2. policemen have too much leeway and discretion to "detain for questioning" or "balik balai" (as it is commonly referred to). They can detain members of the public for 24hours for suspicion of non-criminal offences, with no necessity to explain or actually prove that their suspicions were indeed well-founded.

    Don't you think that this unfettered power to waste 24 hours of the public's time in the most uncomfortable way possible, is the main cause why the public pay bribes?

    Might I even go so far to suggest that this discretionary power might be used to threaten and punish those who refuse to offer bribes?

  3. the police std operating procedures are too vague and ineffective, and leaves much room for the simple non-criminal offences above to "escalate" into becoming criminal offences like the very wide and very vague charges of "resisting arrest" and "obstructing justice".
Sean the man made some recommendations in an earlier blogpost to counter these factors. You might want to read it to get some pointers on how to control your policemen.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Holy cow... errr, pig...

476kg and 2.4 metres long apparently.

That's a lot... and I mean a lot of char siew there.

Story here.

The Anwar, Khairy, Azalina, Samy, Mohd Said and Bung show

If you've been like me... ie. taking a break from political current events - here's a 'state of the union' address to bring you up to speed.

  • wanted to be president of PKR (Parti Keadilan Rakyat)
  • wanted it so much that he's been accused of UMNO-esque nomination/voting manipulation
  • Registrar of Societies declines Anwar's request to set aside the 5 year ban on convicted persons from holding party positions
  • Anwar backs out of presidential race, surprising thing is that the 3rd candidate Abdul Rahman Othman backs out as well (refer to bullet point #2 above)
  • His wife wins the presidential race unchallenged
  • DAP's Tony Pua says the civil service is a dumping ground for the politically sensitive constituency of unemployed Malay graduates
  • Khairy says that comment is totally unacceptable and without basis. He demands that Pua apologise
  • Pua asserts that Khairy is unable to read and challenges Khairy to talk (debate) instead
  • Khairy refuses and talks cock, sings song about the un-forthcoming apology
  • Sports minister charters (ie. $$$) a plane to Everest base camp to hand flag to climbers
  • Big hoohah about Malaysia Book of Records entry as first minister to set foot on the base camp
  • Manchester Utd (MU) football club to tour Malaysia. Asian Football Confederation says no because of clash with Asian cup
  • MU decides not to come, Pak Lah asks why, Khairy talks cock, sings song
  • When questioned by journalists about the debacle, Azalina responds by challenging the journalist to stand for general election (??? huh?) against her
Samy Vellu
  • Two collapsed ceilings, burst water pipes that flooded a building, blackouts, air-conditioning breakdowns and big cracks on the roads, as well as cement patch-ups for the walls of the spanking new Smart traffic-cum-flood tunnel
  • Then the roof of the parliament leaks.
  • Samy blames maintenance staff, other agencies, contractors, too much rain, not enough rain, aging problem (old buildings), teething problems (new buildings) and god himself (act of god).
  • Pak Lah tells him to shut the fuck up and just fix the goddamn problems.
(Close One Eye) Mohd Said and Bung(hole) Mokhtar
  • Parliament's roof leaks (refer Samy Vellu above)
  • Opposition MPs bring this up in parliament... cue DAP MP (Batu Gajah), cutie Fong Poh Kuan
  • COE and Bunghole say Mana ada bocor, Batu Gajah pun tiap-tiap bulan bocor juga (Where is the leak? [MP for] Batu Gajah leaks every month too)"
  • They deny saying it
  • Upon realising that there are these things called cameras (which recorded them saying it), they apologise
  • They retract the apology
  • They apologise again after meeting Sharizat, but qualify it with all sorts of nonsense to make it sound like they were provoked.

All in all, folks, this was a rather interesting month or so. But all the useless politicking and posturing has made one thing absolutely certain. It is that the quality and substance of the "leaders" in this country - (and again, I use that word more loosely than the anuses of MCA's leaders... from all the bending over to UMNO, you see) - leaves much to be desired.

VW in talks to establish regional facility in Indonesia. Proton... how?

Proton and its dependents might have have missed the boat.

VW-Proton Talks Sputter
Date posted: 05-25-2007

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — The Malaysian government, which controls automaker Proton, said it will not provide a financial bailout for the struggling company, now that it appears discussions have broken off once again with Volkswagen.

Both VW and General Motors had expressed an interest in acquiring a stake in Proton, but neither automaker made an offer by the government's late-March deadline.

Instead, VW now appears to be looking at establishing a regional assembly facility in nearby Indonesia, according to government officials in Jakarta. Among the company's alternatives is a tie-up with a local assembly partner in Indonesia.

What this means to you: Once an automotive power in Southeast Asia, Proton continues to experience a waning of its fortunes as regional competition intensifies.

Maria Hertogh aka Nadra bt Maarof: non-Muslim -> Muslim, and -> non-Muslim. A recipe for religious riots

A young non-Muslim baby girl is raised by a Muslim family and converted to Islam as a minor and renamed Nadra. When she is 13, her birth parents goes to court to get her back. The custody fight and the subsequent judgement in favour of her natural parents (read: non-Muslim parents) leads to racial and religious riots that kill 18 and injure 200.

Does that sound like yet another Malaysian religious conflict tugging at the coat-tails of Moorthy, Lina Joy, Subashini et al?

Well, it isn't. This happened almost 60 years ago in 1950s Malaya.

But the scenario does sound familiar these days, doesn't it? It really saddens me that we have not closed the racial and religious gap, despite going through thick and thin together all these years.

Anyway, a film is being made of Nadra's story. It'll certainly be interesting viewing... watching the past mimic the present.

Kind of like 'Back to the Future'.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Belt up, or Suffer the pain

Here's a video about seat belts called 'human pinball'. It clearly illustrates the un-'seatbelted' human pinball effect in an accident at only 50kmh.

I know lots of people who do not belt up their children in the car, nor use booster / child seats. Please... watch this video and think about it. If a full grown man can be thrown around like that, imagine what will happen to a child without seatbelts and booster seats.

Most parents use the excuse that the child doesn't like being restrained and will cry & fuss if forcibly belted up. For god's sake, do you make the decisions or does the kid do it for you? Who's the parent here?! Better a fussy, tear-stained kid than a blood-stained one.

And if you're one of those parents who sits your kids on your lap, and don't be too quick to point out couples on motorbikes who squeeze the kids between them. At least they are putting themselves between their children and the road. You are using your child as an airbag between you and the dashboard / front seat.

Learn more about car safety from Volvo. Below's another thought provoking ad called 'heaven can wait'.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Zam Zam Ala Ka Zam - wishing the bloggers away

According to ol' magical Perigi Zam-Zam, very few people read political blogs.

Zam: Few people read blogs
No more than 20,000 apparently.
Political web blogs have a very small following of about 20,000 people, Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin said.

“Only that number out of the 11 million Internet users in the country are actively involved in political blogs. The political bloggers just write for each other to read; they are not a threat,” he added.
Best thing is that we apparently write only for each other to read. So, I read your blog, you read mine... I tickle your balls, you lick my bum... and that's how we perpetuate the blogging phenomenon.

But the thing is... if we pose no threat... then why sue Rocky and Jeff for defamation? Technically, if blog readers are limited only to a few hardcore anarchists and don't have a significant & 'impressionable' public audience, the rules of defamation are not satisfied. You can't defame someone if the people you communicate those defamatory statements to, already agree with you.

If bloggers are have such little influence, why propose blogger registration? Or stir the shit with all the recent comments about blogging?

Why do you keep making statements about bloggers to the mainstream press, if nobody (except 20,000) reads blogs? Why bother?

On another note, he also said:
“Lately, I found that most of the bloggers have the tendency to question the basis of the social contract which had been agreed upon by our forefathers,” he said.

On the publication of a book on May 13 by former Petaling Jaya MP Dr Kua Kia Soong, Zainuddin said the book would only serve to arouse anxiety among multiracial Malaysians.

“Some issues raised in the book can harm the social contract that has been well-received by the Malays, Chinese and Indians,” he added.
Heck, would you honour a 'contract' supposedly agreed by your forefathers that indentures you, your children and their children after them - as subservient second class citizens for eternity?

And hasn't the validity of the 'social contract' been diminished beyond recognition by the many one-sided, open-ended amendments made to it since independence, by the UMNO controlled parliament?

Btw, the book is available at Popular bookstores and now.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Govt funded private sector projects - Singapore style

You know, Singapore might be tight arsed and anal, but you simply cannot deny that they are right on the ball when dealing with greedy businessmen.

This is the kind of deal Malaysia should cut with all our concessionaires and privatisation companies. Lay out the profit target in black and white. If more than the target, govt takes back to offset the subsidy/grant. If less, the privateer takes the loss.

But instead we give profit guarantees, one-sided, open-ended concessions, impose no penalties for poor performance and even top up with more freebies to bail out the crony company if it gets itself into financial difficulties. We use taxpayer money with too much impunity and too little conscience.

Profit limit for F1 organisers

SINGAPORE : There is a cap on how much profit Mr Ong Beng Seng can earn from staging the Singapore Grand Prix. This is part of the co-funding deal between race organiser Singapore GP and the Government.

Any amount earned above this profit cap, which is confidential under the terms of the deal, will go to reduce the Government’s future grants. Any losses incurred, however, will be borne by the organiser.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Selangor MB adopts Sean-the-Man's proposals on national schools as his own

Here's a half decent suggestion from Selangor MB, Khir Toyo.

[He] today suggested that Chinese and Indian schoolchildren attend the national school in the morning and learn their language, culture and religion in their vernacular school in the afternoon, as a step towards greater integration as well as to "move forward".

He said the Malay schoolchildren were already practising this, adding that they attended the national school in the morning and learned about religion and little of Arabic in the Sekolah Agama Rakyat in the afternoon.

By learning together under one roof in the morning, the Malay, Chinese and Indian schoolchildren could compete with one another in education as well as learn and understand one another's culture and, at the same time, they would be able to learn their mother tongue, culture as well as religion in the afternoon in the vernacular school.
Hmmmm... do you reckon he pinched the idea from my blogpost dated 25th Sept 2006 regarding the NEP? Here's an excerpt of what I wrote 8 months ago:
I also feel the schooling system needs to be revamped to draw Malaysians closer to each other.

(a) No more venacular Chinese or Tamil schools, Malay boarding schools or MARA junior colleges.
(b) All Malaysian children attend National Schools. The Vision schools were a good idea.
(c) All subjects to be taught in BM and English.
(d) All Mandarin, Tamil and religious classes can only be taught AFTER a full day's "regular" classes and to be fully funded by the schools.
(e) Teachers and the Education Dept will be the first govt department to be revamped to make sure the composition of teachers and officials is balanced.
(f) Instead of a Higher Education and an Education Minister, there will be 3 Education Ministers of the same rank (one of each race or something to that effect) each with veto power that cannot be overwritten even by the PM, unless by a 2/3rds majority in parliament. The Party Whip does not apply to MPs when voting on education bills.
Well, he's got part of my point (a) and practically regurgitated ad verbatim my points (b), (c) and (d).

However, he leaves out both of the 'extremism limitation' controls in points (e) and (f). Without these unassailable safeguards in place (against the rampant Islamisation and the persistent sidelining of non-Malay teachers & headmasters in national schools), there is no guarantee that this initiative will not turn out to be a Trojan horse, where non-Malay and non-Muslim schoolchildren find themselves up shit creek without a paddle - where they have no alternative to these unofficial but forcibly religious, mono-cultural schools masquerading as 'national' schools.

For at the end of the day, that is the real all-important reason why non-Malay parents refuse to send their children to national schools in the first place. This proposal will not succeed without these safeguards.

Full article on Khir Toyo's proposal below:

Khir's Proposal On Vernacular Education

SHAH ALAM, May 19 (Bernama) -- Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo today suggested that Chinese and Indian schoolchildren attend the national school in the morning and learn their language, culture and religion in their vernacular school in the afternoon, as a step towards greater integration as well as to "move forward".

He said the Malay schoolchildren were already practising this, adding that they attended the national school in the morning and learned about religion and little of Arabic in the Sekolah Agama Rakyat in the afternoon.

By learning together under one roof in the morning, the Malay, Chinese and Indian schoolchildren could compete with one another in education as well as learn and understand one another's culture and, at the same time, they would be able to learn their mother tongue, culture as well as religion in the afternoon in the vernacular school, he told reporters after launching the Selangor Teachers' Day 2007, here.

"In this way, we will see that we move as one society of various races having the same vision and mission. At present, we see that there is no convergence and mixing among students, and this gap will become a problem for us," he said.

Mohamad Khir said the leaders of every community must open their mind on this for the sake of the nation which had attained 50 years of independence, and added that he was afraid of what would happen over the next 50 years if this integration issue was not ironed out.

"We have to think about the future. Let us do something; let us open our mind to this suggestion. I think there is no harm," he said.

Asked whether his idea was to help integration, Khir said: "Not only that, I think to move forward we have to move into this angle. Besides, we can maintain our sekolah jenis kebangsaan (national type schools)."

He said he saw some deprivation at present because Chinese and Tamil schools were not fully aided government schools and proposed that they use the funds for them to develop their own curriculum in the vernacular school after the schoolchildren attend the national school.

He said the Chinese, Indians or Malays should not be worried about the idea because they still had the avenue or platform to preserve their religion, language and cultural heritage.


Friday, May 18, 2007

Royal Wedding: Blissful Moments ala NST

This was what I saw when I had a look at NST Online's front page this morning.

The headline reads: The Royal Wedding: Blissful moments... referring obviously to the wedding of the Raja Muda of Perak yesterday.

The picture directly above it however, depicts an orang utan hanging from a branch. The ape sure looked like it was having a blissful moment indeed.

I don't know about you, but if we were in Thailand... whoever webmastered this page would be slapped with a charge of Lese Majeste quick smart.

The fine print under the picture indicates that the monkey belongs to a different article. Fair enough but you'd have to admit that the layout truly leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

Proton and its parasites... oops, dealers.

What other industry pays you profits when times are good, and then pays you compensation when times are not so good?

This holy grail of the business world is none other than the Proton dealerships.

WHY should the dealers be compensated even one cent if their dealerships fail? Where in the whole business of entrepreneurship, are profit guarantees handed out? My god, these dealers (who happen to consist entirely of politically connected Malays) had already enjoyed cheap loans and govt aid when setting up their dealerships. After which they have raked in more than 20 years of obscene profits from a captive car market. Now when the gravy train is chugging to a halt, they want to be paid to close shop?!

And Proton has the gall to ask the govt to foot the bill! What's worse is the govt is gutless enough to actually fork the cash over. If not for the political and racial complications, would the govt have done so? Isn't this another glaring example of the NEP's failure... where any affirmative action that is not tied to punitive consequences for underperformance, will amount to a waste of resources?

If you ever wanted to know why nobody respects bumi businesspeople... well, here ya go. Proof in the pudding. It's bastards like these that give other legitimate bumi entrepreneurs a bad rep.

What next? Paying compensation to Proton's suppliers because Proton is not buying their stuff anymore?

I ask again, do we need a national car industry?... Fucking hell, NO WE DON'T!

PROTON has asked the government for another RM16 million to carry out its consolidation exercise. Under this voluntary separation scheme, for which Proton has already been given RM10 million to execute, car dealers were offered RM150,000 in “relief assistance” to close their Proton dealer ships.

...many car dealers had snubbed it because the offer was too low. Some dealers have written formally to Proton asking for more while others have requested for amounts of up to RM500,000.

Sources said Proton had proposed to increase the relief assistance from RM150,000 to RM300,000 per dealer.
As if that's not enough to convince you that the Proton dealers are no more than filthy parasites, here they are asking for quotas to reserve a proportion of car loans for them.
PEDA has proposed that banks should either be given an industry fixed quota for the amount of loans approved for the end-financing of Proton cars and/or different terms of reference be given to loans disbursed to Proton customers.
Proton wants another RM16m to pay off dealers
By Fauziah Ismail (
May 17 2007

PROTON has asked the government for another RM16 million to carry out its consolidation exercise.

Under this voluntary separation scheme, for which Proton has already been given RM10 million to execute, car dealers were offered RM150,000 in “relief assistance” to close their Proton dealer ships.

But sources said many car dealers had snubbed it because the offer was too low.

They said some dealers had invested a minimum of RM200,000 to set up their operations.

Some dealers have written formally to Proton asking for more while others have requested for amounts of up to RM500,000, through the dealers’ association..

Sources said Proton had proposed to increase the relief assistance from RM150,000 to RM300,000 per dealer.

To ensure fairness, sources said, dealers who had already accepted Proton’s earlier offer would also be entitled to the higher amount.

Last month, Proton managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir said the company was on track to downsize its network of dealers nationwide by 20 per cent by the middle of this year.

As of March, Proton had 186 dealers under its sales and marketing arm, Proton Edar Sdn Bhd (PESB), and 97 dealers under Edaran Otomobil Nasional (EON).

In the first phase of the VSS, targeted for completion next month, a total of 102 dealers were offered but only 36 confirmed acceptance.

Proton plans to reduce the number of dealers from 293, as of March, to 247 by the middle of the year and 227 by year-end.

The rationalisation exercise is part of Proton’s initiatives to enhance operational efficiency, cost competitiveness and value to customers.

Consolidation of nearly 400 Proton dealers nationwide is unavoidable as persistent poor sales have caused losses to many of them.

Proton sold and registered 115,546 cars in 2006 with a drop in market share to 31 per cent from 40 per cent in 2005.

Proton Edar Dealers Association president Wan Ahmad Sepwan had been quoted as saying that about 70 per cent of Proton Edar dealers had posted losses from early last year to the present.

“Our members have lost more than RM20 million or an average loss of more than RM240,000 each since then,” he said.

“Peda believes the number of Proton dealers, which is close to 400 nationwide, is too big for one brand.”

Proton Dealers Seek Removal Of Hire Purchase Commission Ceiling

KUALA LUMPUR, May 6 (Bernama) -- The Proton Edar Dealers Association Malaysia (PEDA) has requested Bank Negara Malaysia to remove the ceiling for hire purchase commission.

Its deputy president Armin Baniaz Pahamin said such a move would provide some relief for the dealers who were currently suffering losses due to declining sales.

"PEDA suggests that the rate for this commission be determined by market forces as it can be a vital component in increasing revenue for Proton Edar dealers, thus enabling them to supplement their thin sales margin and survive in the current sluggish environment," he said in a statement here today.

Armin said the hire purchase commission was originally introduced only for Proton dealers to compensate for their low Proton car margin in the 1980's.

He said the commission was then extended to all car dealers, including those of non-Proton cars, until 2001.

"The origins of the hire purchase commission, to support the low car margin of Proton dealers, were forgotten and neglected and the Proton car margin was never revised since," he added.

Armin said the association was looking forward to meeting Bank Negara or any government officials to further discuss any issues that could further enhance the sales of Proton cars.

According to him, the situation is so dire that 90 percent of the Proton Edar dealers are currently unable to break even.

A report last month said that each of Proton Edar dealers were losing between RM15,000 and RM20,000 per month.

To ensure the survival of Proton, PEDA has proposed that banks should either be given an industry fixed quota for the amount of loans approved for the end-financing of Proton cars and/or different terms of reference be given to loans disbursed to Proton customers.

"This will allay banks' fears of poor KPI (key performance indicators) due to Proton customers' profile," Armin said.

"This is a normal practice in other developed countries such as South Korea to ensure the survival of their national car," he said.

Armin added that with the automotive industry being finance-driven, the sales gained by dealers are in direct correlation with banks' approval rate.


Federal court dips its toe into the freezing pool of religious jurisdiction

In granting a fresh injunction to Subashini, the Federal Court coyly toys with the question of jurisdiction... ie. whether the Civil or Syariah courts have jurisdiction over cases where a Non-muslim is legally entangled with a Muslim.

Delivering the unanimous decision today, judge Datuk Abdul Hamid Mohamad, who chaired the three-member panel, said they have added one more question to the nine that will be deliberated by Subashini's lawyers during the appeal.

The question is, whether in an application for an interim injunction, the court can make a final determination on issues of law, particularly if it is a question of jurisdiction, as opposed to a consideration of only the existence of a serious issue of law to be determined.
My dear justices... it is beyond doubt that a serious issue of law exists. There is no need to deliberate whether it exists. It does and it's staring you and the country in the face. It is so 'in-your-face' that you can practically see the fillings in its teeth when it opens its mouth to spew religious encroachment.

If there was no issue of law, there would be no duality of jurisdiction. No struggle between the Muslim and non-Muslim couple as to which court should pass judgement on them. The fact that an application for an injunction to restrain another court (Syariah) is before you, makes this painfully obvious.

So do your damn job, and make a judgement. Come to a conclusion which court should have jurisdiction over cases involving a Muslim (convert) and a non-Muslim, especially when the contract or arrangement was entered into before the former converted.

Federal Court rules for Subashini's appeal

PUTRAJAYA (May 17, 2007): The Federal Court today granted secretary R. Subashini, 28, permission to appeal against the Court of Appeal decision which told her to seek remedy in a syariah court over her legal battle with her Muslim-convert husband T. Saravanan, 31.

The Court of Appeal had upheld a High Court's dismissal of an injunction she obtained to stop her husband, now known as Muhammad Shafi Saravanan Abdullah, from going to a syariah court to dissolve their marriage and get custody of their children.

The couple have two children aged three and one. Muhammad Shafi claimed the elder child converted to Islam with him last May.

Delivering the unanimous decision today, judge Datuk Abdul Hamid Mohamad, who chaired the three-member panel, said they have added one more question to the nine that will be deliberated by Subashini's lawyers during the appeal.

The question is, whether in an application for an interim injunction, the court can make a final determination on issues of law, particularly if it is a question of jurisdiction, as opposed to a consideration of only the existence of a serious issue of law to be determined.

Abdul Hamid said if the answer were to be affirmative, then the nine questions that Subashini sought to refer to would follow. However, if the court disagreed, Subashini's appeal would only focus on an injunction application.

No date was fixed for the appeal hearing.

Abdul Hamid also granted a fresh injunction, restraining Subashini's husband from dissolving their civil marriage and seeking custody of their elder child through a syariah court, pending the disposal of the appeal in the Federal Court.

Among the questions Subashini is asking the Federal Court to determine are:

* Does the syariah court have exclusive jurisdiction to grant divorce and deal with matrimonial assets and custody rights in a situation where one spouse in a civil marriage has converted to Islam?;
* Is the Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories) Act 1993 intended only to address marriages solemnised under Islamic legislation, and issues related to divorce, maintenance and custody rights?; and
* If the answer is yes for the second question, is it an abuse of process for the converted spouse to file custody proceedings in the syariah court, and an abuse of the Law Reform Marriage for a spouse to unilaterally convert the religion of a minor child without the consent of the other parent?

Updated: 08:27PM Thu, 17 May 2007

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Chinese women don't like Chinese women

On one hand, you have Malaysian female politicians railing against the 2 BN MPs with the loudest, filthiest mouths for making smartarse comments about DAP MP Fong Po Kuan's menstrual habits.

On the other hand, in opposing the use of mainland Chinese maids - their argument basically generalised that all mainland Chinese women are immoral, husband-stealing sluts.

If even women stereotype their own kind like that, how come they expect better from men?

You know, some women deserve the shit deal they get. It's not always men oppressing women. Sometimes, it's women oppressing other women.

International Engine of the Year Awards

BMW's got a stranglehold on the awards.

But my attention is drawn to the fact that turbo engines won 7 out of 10 awards (excluding the award for fuel economy, which precludes everything besides a hybrid or alternative fuel engine anyway). Albeit the 1.4 TSI in the VW Golf GT is a superturbo ie. supercharger plus turbocharger.

I reckon this should put an end to the age old NA vs turbo and supercharger vs turbo debates.

A review of the 1.4 TSI superturbo below.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Are bumi professionals really 'sidelined'? Maybank's 50% bumi requirement

So... Maybank has backed down, reversing an earlier decision requiring all law firms in it's panel of solicitors to have at least 3 partners where one is a bumi with at least 50% stake in the firm.

Looking at the original requirement again, there is a much more insidious side effect of the partnership structure which Maybank had intended to enforce:

Partner A (bumi): 50%
Partner B (non-bumi): 49%
Partner C (non-bumi): 1%

Where there are a 3 partners (the minimum required), you'll find that the bumi partner (A) automatically becomes the senior or managing partner with the single largest stake in the firm by default.

Since the definition of Maybank's requirement prohibits the other 2 partners (there must be at least 2 in addition to the bumi partner) from holding more than 50% in total - partner B can only hold a maximum of 49% with partner C holding a minimum 1%.

Imagine if you're a firm, comprised of 2 non-bumi lawyers (father & son, for eg), currently engaged by Maybank. What happens? If you want to keep Maybank as a client, the 2 non-bumi partners effectively have to cede majority ownership and control to a new bumi partner.

And because the non-bumi partners need the new bumi partner more than he needs them (REMEMBER!... there is no reciprocating requirement that 100% bumi firms become 50% bumi / 50% non-bumi), logic dictates that the non-bumi will be gifted that 50% stake at token or no cost; and will put in less than 50% of the hard work (simply because he can't be fired!).

This is exactly the reason why the 38 year old NEP is rubbish! There is no link to personal effort and motivation. Affirmative action will never be successful if it is not based on hard work and severe consequences for underperformance.

The Aftermath...

As expected, Maybank's U-turn has drawn out some supporters of racist policies:

Senators Support Maybank's Pro-bumi Policy

" narrow the gap between the Bumiputeras and non-Bumiputeras in terms of the number of legal firms that were made panels of solicitors in the banking sector."

"I want to ask Hong Leong Bank and Public Bank, how many bumiputera legal firms have they appointed as their panels?"

"...appropriate to enhance Bumiputera interests in legal firms involved in the banking sector."

"...all the while, it was difficult for Bumiputera legal firms to get contracts or deal with other banks and Maybank's move should not be regarded as racist.
And from bumi accountants:
Bumi accounting firms sidelined too.

"...bumiputra accounting firms had to abide by unreasonable conditions that made it difficult to compete with foreign and non-bumiputra firms."

"Many bumiputra accountants who work with international audit firms left to set up their own firms but were not given any chances."

"Large companies also do not believe in the capabilities of bumiputra firms and there are financial institutions that impose conditions like having at least eight partners before we can be selected”
For all their racist rhetoric, the senators and bumi accountants raise a couple of very pertinent questions...

Are bumi professionals less successful compared to their non-bumi counterparts? Is this true? Do we have the data to support such a broad, motherhood statement?

ASSUMING that it is indeed true... where I disagree violently with them is the fact that they propose all sorts of racially delineated numerical solutions but like pantiless ballerinas dancing on a polished mirror floor, they skip over the main question... ie. WHY?

Why are bumi professionals less successful? The bumi accountants have said as much... "large companies do not believe in the capabilities of bumiputra firms." Why is there a gap between the perceived capabilities of bumi and non-bumi accountants?

Are bumi professionals really being sidelined? The accountants mentioned that financial institutions impose "unreasonable" conditions like requiring firms with at least 8 partners. Is this a business requirement (since financial institutions are big, complex entities and only a large, well staffed firm can handle the work)? Are non-bumi firms with less than 8 partners excluded exactly like their bumi counterparts? If they are, where then is the discrimination? Why don't bumi accountants simply setup firms with 8 partners or more? Why don't bumi accountants join larger firms?

Are bumi professionals on par with non-bumis in terms of abilities and skills? Let me give you an example specifically in the accounting profession. Accountants with local university degrees become fully qualified accountants (registered with MIA), after simply 3 years of work experience. Everyone else (read overseas degrees and professional exams) has to first gain entry into an affiliated professional accounting body like ACCA, ASCPA or MICPA (and this entails passing some professional exams), plus the 3 years of work experience before they can register with MIA.

If you tell me that local accounting graduates (local degree only), professional qualification holders (professional exam only) and overseas graduates (overseas degree + professional exam) are all of the same quality... I'd say you're talking crazy. This is the same "apples = oranges" thinking that equates a 1 year matriculation program to the 2 year STPM. And I haven't even started on the horrendous English language and problem solving skills of local graduates.

Since bumis form the bulk of local university graduates (by virtue of the education quotas, although there's no shortage of equally badly trained non-bumi local graduates), is it really an entire race that's being sidelined or is it more a rejection of the type of training that they tend to acquire?

So, should you adopt a non-racial solution to improve the training program for locally trained accountants... so that they can take advantage of market opportunities, OR should you modify market opportunities along racial lines in order to accomodate badly trained bumi accountants?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Singapore F1 GP is GO, GO, GO! All lights are green.

Singapore finally clinches the F1 GP. First race is Sept/Oct 2008 and very possibly a night race (Bernie said so).

"I think we can drop the possibility of a day race" - Bernie Ecclestone responding to scepticism of a night race.
This is great news. Imagine, a F1 race that's a single train or bus ride away from your doorstep. It actually takes longer to walk from Sepang's carpark to it's main door - (there's supposedly a shuttle bus... but I've never actually seen one though I've been there twice) - compared to the MRT ride from most HDB estates to Marina Bay.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Corporate vehicle for Singapore F1 GP registered

After exactly a month with no news whether the Singapore F1 was going to go ahead, Today newspaper reports that a company called Singapore GP Pte Ltd, (helmed by the man who's been holding talks with Bernie Ecclestone since the beginning of the year) - has been incorporated with the registered business purpose of "event promotion".

Hopefully, a confirmation of the race will come sooner rather than later.

Previous blogpost about the Singapore F1:
Sickening: Singapore still dragging its feet on F1 GP.

Citizens of Middle Earth, Rejoice! For the Children of Hurin come forth to dwell amongst you

The title of this review is somewhat misleading. The reviewer no doubt means the author (Christopher Tolkien) when he refers to 'the next generation'.

That's because the Children of Hurin are of the first age of Middle Earth... ancestors of Aragorn and the Dunedain, many generations before.

This is the first 'new' book about Middle Earth. I have not read it, but I will be mighty interested to see if it is new material or a rehash of JRR Tolkien's drafts of this tale (already published in The History of Middle Earth series).

HAMAS, Farfour and the Talibannies

Inspired by the success of the TALIBANNIES...

The HAMAS terrorists have created Mickey Hamaouse, also known as Farfour (Palestinian for Fuckyou).

This just goes to prove that no matter what your religion and however omnipotent your god may be, even he has to concede to the power of Saturday morning cartoons.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Malaysia to blacklist sexy female singers

According to AFP, Malaysia is threatening to blacklist and stop the performances of sexy female singers, no matter "how famous" they are.

If you ask me, this is tantamount to telling all contemporary female entertainers to skip Malaysia. I can't imagine Beyonce, Fergie, Sammy Cheng or Utada Hikaru giving a shit what the Taliban... oops, Malaysian govt want, much less send their outfits here to be vetted and approved before the concert.

Another good move, Malaysia. Show the world what a glokal country we are. Glokal: adj. meaning modern amenities, kampung mentality.

nb. the babe pic accompanying this post is totally gratuitous. Just a sample of what we'll be missing.

Malaysia orders cover-up for sexy singers

(AFP) - Malaysia is cracking down on foreign singers in skimpy outfits and will blacklist performers who don't follow orders to cover up, a report said Wednesday.

Officials in the mainly Muslim nation, which last year fined a promoter over a concert by the hit-making Pussycat Dolls, said they would take special aim at female singers -- and give no leeway to famous names.

"If they wear eye-popping outfits and if they behave improperly or indecently, or say things that touch on religious, social and cultural sensitivities, the officers have a right to stop the show," immigration official Mohamad Ramlan Che Hassan told the New Straits Times.

"The singers can continue to perform if the officers' advice is followed. If they don't, the singers and their managers will be blacklisted," he told the paper. He could not be reached directly for comment.

Conservative Muslims in Malaysia regularly express outrage over rock concerts which are deemed overly sexual and immoral.

Ramlan said he had warned an unnamed top Indonesian female singer she would be blacklisted if her performance was too sexy.

"She is known for her gyrating performances. When she performed in Malaysia in 2005, we received a lot of complaints that her sexy antics were bad for our youth," said Ramlan.

Shift Happens - what the world will be like in 15 years

Thought provoking statistics and predictions. End of the day, keep learning new stuff. Always keep learning.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A photo of the apple of Raja Nazrin's eye, Zara Salim Davidson.

Here's a much better picture of Raja Nazrin's bride-to-be.

The photo of her that Utusan Malaysia printed really didn't do her any justice. Here's one newspaper that's itching for an irate phone call from the Perak palace, I reckon.

Below's her profile as published by Bernama. Convent Ipoh girl.

My sincere best wishes to the royal couple.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 8 (Bernama) -- Zara Salim Davidson, the bride-to-be of the Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, was one of the top students at the University of Nottingham and a former Perak state swimmer.

She graduated with first class honours in chemical engineering in July 1995.

Incidentally, her father-in-law-to-be, the Sultan of Perak, read law at the same university and was conferred the Bachelor of Laws degree in 1953 before being admitted to the English Bar in 1954.

Born in Ipoh on March 22, 1973, she is the youngest of four children of William Davidson and Sharifah Azaliah Syed Omar Shahabudin. She has three elder brothers.

Zara, who has a strong interest in foreign languages, had studied at SMJK Convent Ipoh and represented her school in squash and tennis from 1988 to 1990.

She also represented Perak in swimming between 1981 and 1987.

After completing her A-Levels at Prime College here in 1992, she left for the United Kingdom to study chemical engineering at the University of Nottingham and graduated with first class honours in July 1995. She also won the top student award for her final year project.

Zara joined the Business Evaluation Department in the Corporate Planning Unit of Petronas in December 1995 and was part of the team responsible for the successful establishment of the Kertih and Kuantan integrated petrochemical complexes, whose foreign partners included BP, BASF, Dow Chemicals and Mitsubishi.

She then became a Project Analyst in the Petronas Petrochemical Business Unit and was part of the core team developing the Petronas brand essence, which now forms part of the Petronas global branding strategy.

Between February 1999 and October 2000, she was Product Manager at Petlin (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, a Petronas joint venture with DSM of the Netherlands and Sasol of South Africa. She was also part of the Petronas project team to operationalise the largest single-train Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) plant in the world at Kertih.

Zara left Petronas in November 2001 to become Account Manager at Formis Network Services Sdn Bhd and then assumed the post of Vice-President of Partnerships & Alliances at Formis (Malaysia) Berhad, a technology-based company listed on Bursa Malaysia, between 2003 and 2005.

Between 2005 and 2007, Zara, who is a certified life-saver and adventure sports enthusiast, became Managing Director of Forthwave Consulting Sdn Bhd, a hydrocarbon technical engineering and software development company in Kuala Lumpur.


George Dubya Bush is actually pretty darn funny

No doubt you would have heard by now that US President Bush did yet another 'dubya' when making a speech during the Queen of England's current visit to the US. I've attached the video below. His impromptu comeback in response to the laughter was classic.

Mr Bush messed up at a ceremonial welcome for the Queen at the White House yesterday when he spoke of a visit paid by the Queen to mark the 200th anniversary of the US Declaration of Independence from Britain "in 17 - in 1976".

After the Queen looked up at him from beneath her wide-brimmed black hat, he winked at her, before turning to the laughing audience and telling them: "She gave me a look that only a mother could give a child."
Bush Blooper With Queen - Bicentennial

What I realised was that George Dubya Bush actually makes a pretty good stand up comic. War monger or not, I reckon Saturday Night Live or Comedy Central could give him a gig if/when he gets kicked out of the Whitehouse. Take a look at this video I found, of Bush speaking at the Radio & TV Correspondents dinner. It's damn funny (although general knowledge of US current events is required to get some of the punchlines).

President Bush Address to Radio-TV Correspondents 3-28-2007

Monday, May 07, 2007

Non-bumiputras should boycott Maybank

According to NST...

KUALA LUMPUR: Maybank Bhd, one of the two banks which had introduced a regulation requiring Bumiputera legal firms’ involvement before any business may be conducted with it, will review its decision.

Maybank, stating that it has always adopted a flexible approach, explained that it did not intend to call on existing solicitors to restructure their equity ownership.

It was reported that the new regulations would require law firms to have a minimum of three partners, of whom one must be Bumiputera with a minimum 50 per cent stake in the firm.

The letter was sent to all legal firms last month.
How blatant can this racist shit get?

When Maybank solicits your business and takes your money, everybody's abang-adik. But when you want their business, you get all this racist rubbish. I know it's nothing new and Maybank's a GLC, but shit like this still riles me up.

I reckon all non-bumi account customers of Maybank should simply STOP doing business with Maybank until Maybank can change it's shareholding, managers and board of directors to at least 50% non-bumiputra. Quit pro quo. Let's boycott the bastards.

Update 10 May 2007 - coverage in today's Today newspaper.

More blogger control magic from Perigi Zam Zam

Here's something interesting I read today. Oh well... it's interesting or idiotic, depending on whether your home address has the words "La-La Land" in it.

A top Malaysian minister has proposed a controversial plan to classify bloggers in a bid to contain the information they send on the Internet, a report said Sunday.

Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin said bloggers would be labelled professional or non-professional to prevent the misuse of blog sites, since professional bloggers would ensure their web content was based on truth.
How is this proposal any less impossible to implement compared to his previous brainstorm to register bloggers? Wouldn't you have to... ummm, register bloggers first, force them to reveal their 'intentions' and sources, and then only assign them a pro or non-pro label?

What Zam probably doesn't understand is the distinction between Malaysian bloggers and Blogs about Malaysia.

The former are using physical assets in Malaysia (ie. Malaysia ISPs & hosts) but may not be blogging about Malaysia[(n) politics]. For them, any blog regulation (via the local ISPs for eg) is just a big turn off, encouraging them to move their internet activities offshore.

The latter are bloggers who do blog about Malaysia but are using assets that may be based anywhere in the world. And indeed most blogs about Malaysia are hosted by Blogger or Wordpress etc. which are not based in Malaysia... meaning the Malaysian govt has no jurisdiction whatsoever over them (the host) nor the users of that host. Much less be in a position to impose any registration or labelling requirements.

But I guess the last sentence below illustrates all this nonsense perfectly.
Zainuddin did not elaborate how his plan would be implemented.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Man of the Year - The Presidential Debate

Here's a video of Tom Dobbs, aka Robin Williams... US President Elect making his opening statement at the Presidential Debate.

Maybe Malaysia should have something similar... a televised ministerial or general election debate where UMNO can unsheath their kerises and call for racial riots... and the Opposition can swing right back with evidence of corruption, cronyism and apartheid.

Can Malaysians handle it? Too '(in)sensitive', you reckon? Are we so intellectually feeble to be easily driven to irrational acts of violence simply because of the slurred exhortations of drunken racists?

It's about time the Malaysian public started to think for itself, because the politicians are thinking of nothing but themselves.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Brain drain and the dearth of human capital

Here's an interesting article from Tony Pua, Lim Kit Siang's spanking new DAP economic advisor. Regardless of his political leanings, he speaks of an issue that I'm intimately familiar with, a phenomenon which I am currently living out.

Although he does not colour his article with racial nuances (I, on the other hand, have no such qualms), he speaks of the unstemmed flow of non-Malay brains (and brawn as well, judging by the thousands of workers trundling across the causeway in blue factory buses and motorcycles each morning) from Malaysia to Singapore.

The sad part is that this happens for no better reason than the fact that the Malay-sian political and social establishment insists that all aspects of Malaysian life be dominated by discriminatory racial quotas and preferences. If these quotas and preferences were based on race-blind need, I'd fall over myself in support of it. But alas they are not. They are based on skin colour and a false social contract used like a FRU truncheon on non-Malay skulls.

From the day that he's born until the day he leaves this world, each Malaysian is constantly reminded that he is either born to enjoy 'special privileges' or born to foot the bill for it. And as if this wasn't enough, fundamentalist Islamisation is increasingly encroaching upon Malaysia's hereto secular multi-religious society. Is it any surprise that the drain is getting deeper and steeper?

Human capital the key to growth
Tony Pua

AS an economics enthusiast, I’ve often been asked, "What determines the size of an economy?"

Is it dependent on rubber and high oil palm prices? Or the size of our oil and gas resources? Or instead, is it dependent on land area and population?

Malaysia is extremely well endowed with fertile land, large tracts of tin mines as well as some of the highest quality petroleum reserves in the world. Singapore, our neighbour down south, however, is not as fortunate.

To put it bluntly, it is a tiny island, 480 times smaller than us, completely unsuitable for commercial plantation and lacking any natural resources. Even its population today of some four million, excluding migrant workers, is one-sixth of Malaysia’s population.

If the size of an economy is dependent on the factors highlighted above, such as arable land and natural resources, Malaysia’s economy should be many times the size of Singapore’s. However, reality paints a very different picture.

While Malaysia’s economy of US$130 billion (RM444 billion) is still larger than Singapore’s US$117 billion, the latter is only smaller by some 11 per cent. And if the rate of growth currently experienced in both countries persists for the next decade, then our tiny neighbour could soon boast a larger economy than Malaysia.

How is it even possible for a country with a sheer lack of resources and land mass to do so well? How did a country that was barely half our economic size in the early 1980s catch up within such a short period of time?

Through a simple exercise of elimination, it all boils down to a simple single factor — human capital.

Singapore’s near compulsive obsession with human capital, both in terms of enhancing its local citizenry as well as attracting the best foreign talent, has probably resulted in the highest concentration of top brains per square foot in the region, if not the world.

Every year, for example, Singapore provides financial incentives in the guise of the Asean Scholarship to hundreds of Malaysian students at all levels — post-UPSR, post-PMR, post-SPM and post-STPM — to study in some of the best schools on the island.

I was a fortunate beneficiary of such a scholarship after completing my primary school education in Batu Pahat. Unlike me, however, and unfortunately for Malaysia, most of my peers have chosen to work or even settle permanently in the island nation.

My best friend in primary school, who received the same scholarship after Form Three, went on to pursue his degree at Oxford University on a Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) scholarship. He now works for them, one of the largest shipping companies in the world, as an expatriate country manager in Vietnam.

Another fellow scholar graduated from London School of Economics (LSE) on a scholarship from Singapore Airlines (SIA). Most impressively, at the young age of 36, he has been appointed the chief executive officer of SIA’s subsidiary airline, SilkAir, as of March this year.

And when I had my annual Chinese New Year reunion with my home town classmates this year, I was heartbroken to hear that one of them, who is an academic with one of Singapore’s institutions of higher learning, had just renounced his Malaysian citizenship to become a Singaporean.

These are not my only examples, and you can be assured that I do not have a monopoly on talented friends. A local senior law lecturer recently commented that the Universiti Malaya (UM) law faculty was depleted of quality academics because Malaysians make up some 40 per cent of law lecturers at the National University of Singapore.

While Malaysia Airlines (MAS) struggled over the past decade with cumulative losses in excess of RM1 billion, SIA, which split from MAS in 1972, shone brightly as one of the most profitable airlines in the world. Ironically, it was an outstanding Malaysian and a former academic with UM, Dr Cheong Choong Kong, who led SIA to an unbroken 31-year record of profitability through turbulent economic times before his retirement in 2003.

Hence, when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi rolled out the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP) with an emphasis on human capital, I was pleased to a certain extent. The 9MP had an entire chapter dealing with human capital.

The human capital policy thrusts called for the creation of "universities of international standing and ensuring that tertiary institutions meet the needs of employers" and "nurturing an innovative society with strong science and technology capabilities and the ability to acquire and apply knowledge", among other things.

However, as part of the thrust, there was only a cursory mention of a "National Brain Gain Programme" to be spearheaded by a focal point at the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry.

There was no discussion on the issue of attracting and retaining local and foreign talents, a critical element in developing Malaysia’s human capital. It is extremely important for the government to recognise the fact that the development of human capital in Malaysia is intrinsically and inexplicably linked to the issue of brain gain and reversing brain drain.

An effective human capital development policy is not just limited to building more schools and universities, or hiring more teachers and lecturers.

Singapore, for example, has only half our ratio of universities to the population. Yet, two out of their three universities are recognised as among the Top 50 in the world.

The government must give thorough consideration to the all-important qualitative element of uncompromising search for the best-qualified educators and an education policy which rewards academic rigour, critical thinking and analytical intelligence.

Without such a policy structure and ingrained culture in place, it is unsurprising that many young and particularly talented Malaysians will seek out the "borderless" global academic environment in which their potential can be fully harnessed.

Concurrently, the country’s education policy must be complemented with an equally competitive economic environment which provides these talents with fair and equal opportunities to grow in their careers, contribute economically and be compensated accordingly — in order to retain these talents.

Our competitors’ ability to attract young Malaysians, provide undisputed world-class quality education and offer a conducive economic environment has clearly resulted in our loss.

It is hard to imagine that my friends, who have done extremely well for themselves overseas, would have had the same opportunities in equivalent entities in Malaysia.

The government must be commended for highlighting the importance of human capital in the economic growth and development of the country. However, if the government is serious about raising the quality of human capital, much more needs to be done to create a holistic and integrated plan that will honestly appraise and critically examine the quality of Malaysia’s educational institutions.

We must also identify the underlying factors, perceived or otherwise, of the lack of equal opportunities and glass ceilings as well as limited career advancement based on merit in many of our "commercial" organisations.

Should our ample pool of potential talent be fully harnessed, attracted and retained, coupled with our rich and God-given natural resources, then surely we can stay well ahead of our competitors, eliminate poverty sooner and become a truly developed nation by 2020.

>>>>> Tony Pua, who has a degree in Philosophy, Politics & Economics from Oxford University, is the economic adviser to DAP’s secretary-general. He blogs at

The greatest gift you can give your mum on Mother's day

Sometimes, it's good to be reminded what's truly important in life. Petronas is well known for touching festive tv advertisements, but this recent Chinese New Year ad must be one of the best.

Mother's Day is coming soon. The greatest gift you can give your mum... is to show up.

Honda F1 Roger Rabbit spec

Check out the huge pair of Roger Rabbit ears masquerading as aero wings on the nose cone of the current Honda F1 car.

Apparently they had it on during pre-Spanish GP testing. I hope they bring it to the race weekend because I'd like to see if something that hideous really does work.

Not sure if resorting to the wholesale destruction of the car's aesthetics indicates that Honda is out of ideas on how to be more competitive.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Putera UMNO skydiving team breaks several records... yeah right.

Yet another fine example of the fact that if you make the criteria for the "world record" as narrow and obscure as possible, it's pretty easy to "break" records.

North Pole Jumpers Break Several Records

The Putera Umno team which jumped at the North Pole last week has broken a series of records in skydiving.

The records involved the first world youth skydiving expedition team to jump at the North Pole and the biggest national flag carried to the region.

The Malaysian and Umno flags unfurled there to mark the occasion were 100 feet long and 50 feet wide. [reminiscent of the world's longest popiah record, no?]
I wonder if there's a record yet for world's first overweight blogger who eats 3 packets of Maggi Mee at once while posting a blog? Malaysia Boleh!

The plagiarist strikes again, and again.

Hmmm, seems like Brendan Pereira could be much more prolific than I initially thought?

Have a read of screenshots for more info.

It's stuff like this that makes me want to slap someone round the back of their head and go "What the FUCK were you thinking? Did you really think nobody would notice?"

Previous blogposts:

NST drops Brendan Pereira - Plagiarism or Politics?

Landmark ruling for non-Muslim minorities, my infidel ass.

Lim Kit Siang's right, you know. It's an open ended decision that does nothing to confirm the rights of non-Muslims vis a vis Islamic laws and establishment in this country.

Read carefully, and you'd realise that the Civil Court has again sidestepped its duties, and there's actually no court ruling at all. What took place is something American lawyers call an "out-of-court settlement".

The "Muslim" wife Raimah Bibi agrees to leave her husband, "remain" Muslim and make a public statement that she was kidnapped of her own free will... plus the non-Muslim husband Marimuthu agrees to drop his application against JAIS...

And in return,

... JAIS agrees to free Raimah Bibi, the 6 abducted children and not to pursue the matter of the kids being "Muslims".

The court adjourns the case with a sigh of relief, without having to make a judgment yet again.

What we've got here is a classic kidnapping ala Abu Sayyaf, culminating with the release of the hostages after the ransom is paid.

And I'm probably not the only one who could be harbouring those thoughts. Women's Aid Organisation executive director Ivy Josiah has stated that she 'hoped' that the settlement had not been brought about 'under duress'.

It remains to be seen if an annulment of the marriage was part of the deal that was struck.

Dr M, you do realise the inverse meaning of this threat to strip Malay converts (out of Islam) of their bumi privileges, don't you?

If this threat does actually "deter" or "encourage" Malays not to convert, it means that the reason why they chose to remain Muslim is simply economics and greed... not piety nor the love of the religion.

Hmmm... I believe you might have just unwittingly hit the nail on the head.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Chinese Champion or butthole licking UMNO bitch? Your move, MCA.

When it comes to why the Chinese in Ijok have clearly turned away from the ruling coalition...

"There is a sign of some swing in Chinese votes from the BN to the opposition. This is something we cannot deny."
...MCA's reaction can be categorised as an attempt to downplay serious Chinese concerns:
“We tried to explain to voters the statements and views that created unhappiness in the community did not reflect the top leadership’s stand.

“But some people still could not forget these issues,”
But I guess it beats UMNO's response of "Problem?! Where got problem?"
“We will find out the causes for the Chinese swing (to the Opposition). There must be a cause.”
In any case, MCA has resolved to get more 'feedback'.
"We will work hard and go down to the ground to get their feedback."
Ah Ong... if at this stage, you still need 'feedback' because you're not entirely sure why the Chinese are unhappy, I think you might have missed the friggin boat.

But no, I think you know damn well what's the problem. I think you're simply out of ideas about what MCA can realistically do to regain Chinese support without pissing UMNO off.

MCA is at a crossroads. The Chinese voters will force you fuckers to choose outright between actually standing up for them against UMNO, or staying put as a butthole-licking UMNO bitch against them.