Archive for December, 2008

Goodbye 2008, Hello 2009

The legendary Beatles singing ‘Hello Goodbye’.

It’s that time of the year when we bid farewell to the current year and welcome the impending one, in a manner that is akin to closing an old chapter and opening a new one.

May the New Year bring happiness, peace and sanity to all of us. 

‘Tis the season to be wary

Certain politicians of the Pakatan Rakyat may want to take heed of the advice given by PKR deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali, i.e. ‘to stop airing their differences in the media’.

For washing dirty linen in public can predictably serve as a useful ideological ‘ammunition’ for certain quarters particularly in light of the impending Kuala Terengganu by-election.

In this regard, Dr Syed Husin might also have been mindful of the BN-controlled MSM and their reportorial inclination especially in times like this.

Additionally, Pakatan leaders may want to get their act together lest they’d be perceived, rightly or wrongly, as facing ‘serious rift’, if not irreconcilable difference, in the political alliance.

Ma’al Hijrah

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Wishing fellow Muslims Salam Ma’al Hijrah 1430 H.

Persona non grata

That is, if you’re PKR parliamentarian N. Gobalakrishnan who’d been denied an entry into Sarawak, a state that is very much part of the Malaysian Federation.

To be sure, MP Gobalakrishnan is a legitimate Malaysian opposition politician elected by the voters concerned, and has the democratic right to freely travel to any part of the country.

The late Frank Zappa, who played ‘Persona Non Grata’, would’ve been confounded by this political incident.

Why are there Malaysians still asking why people stage demonstrations?

Yes, there are still people who wonder why demonstrations are staged by Malaysians.

To be sure, street demonstrations are very much part and parcel of democracy because these activities provide the platform for people to exercise their right to express their sentiments peacefully for public consumption.

This democratic space is especially vital in a social context where access to the mainstream media is difficult for certain groups of people to put forward their arguments to the powers-that-be and to share these sentiments with the general public. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that demonstrations are not kosher if and when the mainstream media are easily accessible.

In a democracy, you get demonstrations not only staged by groups who are opposed to the government because of certain policies or actions of the latter, but also groups who are supportive of the government.

That’s why, for instance, you had the Bersih or Hindraf demonstration as well as the recent MCA Youth street protest.

As to whether such demonstrations would give a negative image of the country, one should critically ask the question whether it is the image of the country that is affected, or indeed that of the government of the day? Here it is crucial that the distinction between country and government should not be wittingly or unwittingly blurred.


Continue reading ‘Why are there Malaysians still asking why people stage demonstrations?’

Merry Christmas

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Wishing visitors to this blog and friends of the Christian faith: Merry Christmas.

Power-driven Perak Exco in a sluggish economy?

The Perak state government is back in the limelight again, but perhaps for yet another wrong reason.

It’s about its widely publicised desire to buy a fleet of new imported cars to replace the old Proton Perdanas. Perak senior executive councillor Ngeh Koo Ham declared that the state leadership preferred Toyota Camry 2.4V to the relatively cheaper Camry 2.0E because the state leaders would need to do a lot of travels, and travel fast!

For one thing, it would be quite insensitive of the state Exco to buy the more expensive version of the Camry especially at a time when the economy is slowing down, money is tight and some workers are getting retrenched. Not that it makes good sense to buy the expensive Camry at a time when the economy does well.

Secondly, how often do the state leaders have to rush and drive fast? Besides, surely the Camry 2.0E, if at all there is a need to buy this expensive make, would be good and strong enough to transport them from point A to point B without much difficulty?

The state Exco may want to go slow on this car purchase plan given its ramifications.

Here’s an extract of that Bernama story:

IPOH, Dec 23 (Bernama) — After much questioning by many parties, Perak senior executive councillor Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham finally explained why the state government chose the Toyota Camry 2.4V and not the cheaper entry-level Toyota Camry 2.0E as the new official car to replace their fleet of Perdana V6 Executive.

He said the Toyota Camry 2.4V was chosen because state executive councillors (excos) and senior officers needed a powerful car to use for their official business.

“Some feel that the 2.0 litre model is underpowered and some think that it is good enough, but for us who have do all the travelling and sometimes need to rush, the 2.4 litre model is more reasonable,” he told reporters here today.

The Toyota Camry 2.0E is priced at RM141,109 while the Toyota Camry 2.4V which is RM167,000.

Stuff Malaysians love to read

Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) deputy director general Kamarul Zaman Shaharuddin laments the tendency of many Malaysians to read romantic and entertaining reading materials as opposed to academic and other ‘serious’ writings.

Perhaps this is not too sad a situation for those who prefer to see the reading public being ‘protected’ from many of the ‘critical’ materials, especially those that had been banned by the authorities for reasons of ‘security’, ‘interethnic harmony’ etc. Or at the very least, these banned stuff are said to have the potential to ‘confuse’ the somewhat impressionable public.

Here’s an extract of the Bernama report:


KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 22 (Bernama) — Love stories and entertainment magazines remain a favourite read among the public compared with academic books, says Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) deputy director general Kamarul Zaman Shaharuddin.

He added that entertainment magazines and books featuring love stories are always prominently displayed on the shelves of book shops and enjoy very good sales.

“It is really sad to see our community showing a great deal of interest in such books compared with books that can provide vital information and knowledge in building a learned society,” said Kamarul after attending the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) and DBP here today.

Kamarul added that books published in Malay had a very high commercial value as 300 million people speak Bahasa Melayu throughout the world.

Reformis head’s plan to expose becomes unbare-able

It appears that Reformis leader Ramlan Abu Bakar, who has the penchant for naked truth, was caught off guard when his Exco sacked him from the group.

The Star reports that Ramlan was sacked for alleged misdeeds.

This means that his plan to show it all to Selangor MB Khalid Ibrahim had to be dropped. 

Continue reading ‘Reformis head’s plan to expose becomes unbare-able’

Has Santa Claus come to K. Terengganu?

Some 25,000 Year Five pupils in Terengganu are expected to be given ‘broadband-enabled laptop computers under the state’s electronic textbook or e-book programme’.

In general, this sounds like a good idea to prepare these kids with ICT skills and knowledge. But the timing of these computer gifts, which is pretty close to the Jan. 17, 2009 Kuala Terengganu by-election, may make some people wonder whether this is part of electoral goodies that one often witnesses in the national political landscape.

Here’s a portion of that story from The Star:


KUALA TERENGGANU: All Year Five pupils in Terengganu will be given broadband-enabled laptop computers under the state’s electronic textbook or e-book programme.

State Education, Higher Education, Human Resource, Science and Technology Committee chairman Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman said some 25,000 pupils are expected to get the computers in phases.

With the computers and broadband connection, he said the pupils would gain access to archives or other vital resources.

Ahmad Razif said the first batch of 150 students here would receive their e-books in the first week of January.

For the first batch, the laptop computers would be procured from Taiwan and distributed by Intel Electronic, he said.

Ahmad Razif said all students would get their e-books by April next year.

He added that Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka would help install the required programs for the computers.

The state government is expected to spend RM30mil for the procurement of the computers.

Ahmad Razid said the state government decided to embark on the e-book project to reduce the burden of school children who had to carry many books to school.

December 2008

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