Monday, June 30, 2008

Drama Minggu Ini : Sodomy (Again ?)

Read this from Malaysiakini :

A police report has been lodged against de facto PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim for allegedly sodomosing one of his aides - the second time that such an accusation had been made in over 10 years.

The report was lodged by the 23-year-old alleged victim at the Jalan Travers police station at 6pm.

KL police chief Muhammad Sabtu Osman confirmed that the report had been made.

I am sure everybody remember 1998, the questionable sodomy case and the Reformasi movement. Now, another sodomy report appears. Rocky's Bru has some basic but important details of the police report. It is necessary to read it beforehand.

Before we get to see any "upacara angkat tilam" (bed carried off to police station as evidence) being televised on local channels, Anwar has made a move to the Turkish embassy to seek for asylum. He purportedly was worried that his life was under threat. There were claims by certain quarters on the possibility of all this as part of a conspiracy cum major political ploy to undermine the most successful de facto opposition leader to date in Malaysia. If there is any real mutiny behind this, it is not hard to guess who hides behind the shadows and masterminded all these.

Another important question to ask, is this case considered as "sodomy" or "rape"? Some quarters suggest to the citizens to have more confidence in the police, judiciary and media in managing with the investigation and such. Unfortunately, I would say my confidence is extremely low.

As for whether I believe Saiful or Anwar, I shall let the pictures speak a thousand words ... Malaysia Today published several pictures of Saiful with various non-Pakatan Rakyat leaders .

I was actually reading some important news before getting awed by the "sodomy" news that uncannily appeared when the nation is concerned with RPK's Statutory Declaration on some people linked with a high profile figure, C4 and Altantuya .

I believe it is time for me to place my main attention on this case. After all, the murder of a person using bombs is definitely more serious than sodomy charges.

As a Malaysian, I want "Justice for Altantuya" and nothing would distract me from this.

I urge all Malaysians to do the same.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Malaysian Taxi Standardisation

Malaysia Today reported Proton Likely To Gain From Govt's Malaysian Taxi Plan.

Important excerpts from the article
A) Datuk Noh Omar Wednesday said the Cabinet has asked the ministry to discuss with Proton, requesting the national car producer to design and manufacture a taxi that portrays the image of the country.

B) Azlan also confirmed that Proton will launch a taxi and car that are fitted with natural gas for vehicle (NGV) facility within this year. "We have already started the project, where cars like Proton Saga, Waja and Wira as well as Persona will be fitted with NGV facility. So, it can use bi-fuel, petrol as well as NGV and also it would be cheaper as it is done in the factory," he said.

1) On statement A, I wonder whether it is necessary to create a new car that truly reflects the national identity. Currently, from what I can see, Malaysia already have a few variants, with the majority resembling the model in the picture below. To top it all off, almost all taxis in Malaysia are Protons. The model below is the Proton Iswara version.

(Pic : Current Malaysian taxis on the road)

2) Going by the assumption there is an intention to standardise the taxis in Malaysia, presumably only a few versions will be allowed, one wonders what would happen to the older taxis taking the picture above as an example. Will the owners of the older taxis be forced to change theirs to new standard versions? Who will bear the costs of making that change if it is not the taxi owners themselves?

3) Assuming the owners will be the bearer of the costs of compulsory change, wouldn't the standardisation burden them in this day of economic uncertainty and fuel price hike?

4) The government (BN) advised the citizens to "Change their lifestyle" due to the recent unconscionable Fuel Price Hike in the beginning of June 2008. The public was very unhappy with the move despite the advice. Should point 3 be true, would taxi fares be raised to pass on some costs to the users (public)?

5) Supposing points 3 and 4 be realised, wouldn't Malaysian citizens (both the groups of taxi owners and users) suffer from the heavy costs of standardisation?

6) Since there is a discussion between the Ministry with Proton, is there any money given to Proton from public funds for the project? If "yes", why? Is Proton doing good in business these days?

7) There should not be much opposition towards standardisation when the economy is doing good. The money should have been placed into better use since "image standardisation" is a complimentary rather than an essential process in this time of price inflation.

8) On statement B, the move is anticipatory. NGV does save costs but this should not be used as a basis for using public funds on the standardisation process.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Journalists Restriction at the Parliament

Today is really a busy day but I find it necessary to write about this :
Jeff Ooi : Journalists cordoned off, in Parliament . Rocky's Bru reported this as well.

The Star wrote:
"On Friday, a press statement was issued from Parliament saying that only five journalists from each news organisation would be allowed in Parliament from yesterday. The Parliament administration stated that the limit was for security reasons."

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nazri said "“Five is more than enough. If five is not enough then something is wrong with you all. It shows you are not efficient. It’s as simple as that."

I was wondering why there was no further explanation on the reason of "security". All this while, the journalists have been doing the same thing without the limit. All of a sudden there is this issue about "security" after all these years? One cannot just simply mention a word (security) and assume that the people have to accept the decision no matter what it is. As a responsible person, it should be mentioned what constitutes of "security" that result in such a rule. For example, is there any threat from unknown people or something potentially dangerous that can be avoided by the implementation?

Nazri's statement confuses me on whether the rule are made due to "security reasons" or "improving the efficiency of journalists". Perhaps, it's both. Anyway, the former point has not been properly explained, therefore not acceptable while the latter point is lame.

I believe if there is any intention of any ministers to "improve the efficiency of journalists", ASSUMING it is a noble motive, the ministers should be reminded that this is not part of their portfolio . That is the job of the employers of the journalists. Ministers should be transparent and ready to answer questions from the press and public on policies and decisions. Freedom of press should not be restricted.

The justifications provided are not plausible to me. Malaysiakini has just reported
Media boycott over Parliament access by Beh Lih Yi Jun 24, 08 10:10am
"More than 100 journalists covering the ongoing Parliament sitting are staging a boycott after the Parliament administration restricted media access to the lobby and barricaded the area."

Unfortunately, I have to say I support the boycott. News is very important to me and I am not able to accept such restrictive rule. Considering the fact that the Parliament is controlled by the Federal Government, which is represented by Barisan Nasional, I would like to ask whether this would be the exemplary form of governance on media that will take place beyond the 100 days after PRU12.

If the answer is "yes", I would be very disappointed. I thought PRU12 inspires repentance and reforms in BN and I, as well as millions of hopeful Malaysians do not like to be disappointed.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Jerome Armstrong "The Blogfather" Met Pak Lah ?

My blog : Sagaladoola, Amir Muhammad, Jeff Ooi and Azly Rahman are noted in Jerome Armstrong's MyDD (Direct Democracy) homepage.

In his post Inside Malaysia with politics , he mentioned about some interviews, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf (Chairman of the Cordoba Initiative), and John Burton, whom is a journalist with the Financial Times, on three different topics:

1) the state of politics in Malaysia today;
2) the conference Jerome is observing on 'bridging the gap' between the Muslim world and the West;
3) and the role that the internet is playing in creating political change in the region.

He was (probably still is) in Malaysia. According to wikipedia, Jerome Armstrong (44) is an American political strategist aligned with the Democratic Party. In 2001, he founded MyDD, a blog which covers politics with an openly Democratic partisan perspective, making him one of the first political bloggers. Armstrong coined the term netroots, is sometimes called "The Blogfather" for having mentored many other famous bloggers such as Markos Moulitsas in their early years. He is credited as one of the architects of Howard Dean's '04 grassroots Presidential campaign and one of the leading web strategists in the world.

Main Link:
Other links:
1) - The Blogfather
2) Huffington Post - Meet the Blogger : Jerome Armstrong
3) MSNBC - Blog pioneer maps political strategy for 2008

If anyone were to ask me who my Blogfathers are ... I would say Raja Petra Kamarudin, M.G.G. Pillai, Jeff Ooi and Ahirudin Attan. My Blogmothers? Maybe... Marina Mahathir and Nuraina A. Samad ...

Most important of all, please read Jerome Armstrong's Inside Malaysia with politics

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Public Transportation : New Shelters and My Experience

New Shelters
Reading this article : New look bus shelters for KL in The Star Online - Metro amuses me. A question immediately crossed my mind : is this part of the so-called improvement to public transportation in tandem with ubiquituous dissatisfaction on the recent 40% fuel price hike? I have previously blogged about the increase in Horrible Jam and Fuel Price Hike : Questions and Opinions

I hope that this is not the only solution being put forward. Bus shelter is the least worrying problem of the terrible Malaysian public transportation system. The Explicit tells us the improved shelters will provide more comfortability for bus users. Let's all pray and wish hard that this is not an implicit sign denoting longer waiting time for buses, therefore to make the commuters slightly less stressful and angry, instead of adjusting the system, the waiting stand is upgraded. If this is the only effort, I would feel very concerned.

To date, I have yet to read any sound proposal from our Ministry of Transportation or its Minister on integrating the public transportation system. No one is particularly sure whether we will get to see another Ling Liong Sik-styled Ministry (in the making perhaps?). It is indeed unfortunate that good common sense only came to Dr. Chua Soi Lek, who is no longer a Minister. He wrote Public Transportation System: Urgent Need to Improve Efficiency highlighting an efficient integrated system as a priority.

An important excerpt from the entry :

Because of the inconveniences that the commuter has to go through and the poor integration of the rail, bus and taxi, the commuter has no choice but to opt for their own transports. An international study conducted a few years ago had rated the KL transport system as worst than Bangkok, while we continue to convince ourselves that we have a good road system and have the highest number of car ownership in ASEAN *

With the escalating fuel cost, lack of public transportation system has become an economic and social problem to average commuters. Unless the government can improve the transportation system in Klang Valley, it will continue to be the hot issues for the Pakatan Rakyat.


* Citation needed for the international study. Otherwise, this statement is deem inconclusive and should be taken only as an opinion and not as fact. However, it should not be dimissed that the KL system is deplorable.

My Experience as a Commuter
In the past, much had been said. Taking out smaller issues like comfortability, prices and quality of customer service, I would conclude the "root of evil" in this public transportation system is on "Inconsistency". The weakest transport mode would be KTM Komuter and buses.

While it is understood that KTM Komuter has an old system, it baffles me that there are new buses which regulate at an 1 hour ++ intervals at night. One fine Sunday night, I tried using the service only to realise the Jalan Othman (Petaling Jaya) and Taman Gembira buses arrive once after Taman Desa, Puchong, O.U.G. and several common buses went through three intervals.

It is like seeing people rushing to grab food from U.N. officers in a month's long drought season or after a calamity. The bus was horribly packed and people had to stand at the stairs with the "Jangan Berdiri di Tangga" precaution on the door. If one thought those days of those small, rapid and dangerous "Bas Mini" are over, think again. There were times, I had to stand right in front of the windscreen without much space to move. I would say the driver could not see the left side of the mirror at that time. I would not want to imagine whether I would be transformed into a "launching missile" in a bus-car collision.

There is one thing that is worth mentioning about "Bas Mini". At least, they were more frequent than the longer new ones. There should be no excuses that the long waiting period for those buses are because of traffic jam. There were no jams for my route home on the mentioned Sunday night.

Imagine if you are unfortunate enough to move from one place that requires KTM Komuter and a bus to either Jalan Othman or Taman Gembira. After a delay of probably 10 to 15 minutes (sometimes 30 minutes if some trains technically broke down) for a KTM train, spend another 10 to 15 to walk from the station in KL to Klang Bus Stand and another 1 hour to wait for the bus. Spend 1/2 an hour to reach home. Collectively, that would be 2 to 3 hours to get home. Luckily, the situation in morning is often more positive. Basically, one has "no life".

One may ask how I managed to survive all this. Sometimes I follow my friend's car or LRTs. When I reached KL or other stations, I will take a costlier transport home : the taxi. Comparatively, minus off the cost of buying a car (using the instalment scheme) and road tax, the accumulated cost of travelling by public transportation is slightly more expensive.

For some personal reasons, I am not getting a car anytime soon. I would have bought one if I have better financial means. I would like to convince my pals and readers to opt for public transportation but how could I do it when I read articles like this from Che Det on RAPID KL? Who is this company affiliated with? The public should be informed whether it has anything to do with people who promise public transportation system reforms during the recent fuel price hike.

P.S. is doing a good job in posting entries (with pictures) on the subject matter.

This article is also published in

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Horrible Jam and Fuel Price Hike : Questions and Opinions

Horrible Jam
Yesterday was a horrible day for me. The rain set in around 6.00 p.m. when I was in a public transport bringing me to Mid-Valley Megamall. As usual with rain during this period, the cars would naturally slow down resulting in traffic turning into a crawl. Immediately after reaching my intended destination, I had dinner and walked towards the taxi stand at South Court.

The long queue shocked me. Normally, taxis come at a slower pace during rainy days but to my surprise, it is slower than expected. Many taxi drivers drove away without taking passengers. I was even rejected a few times with exasperated and tired faces of taxi drivers looking at me. Spent 1 hour in queue, waiting for a cab to pick me up!

Finally, a Malay driver took me and we chatted. Answering my question on what is wrong with the traffic situation, he smirked and told me the price of the fuel would be increasing drastically by 12.00 a.m. and people were heading in droves towards petrol stations to fill in the tanks before the 'deadline'. Indeed, it was confirmed, albeit visually. Even the Exxon Mobil station near Mid Valley was packed. Cars were queueing up all the way onto the main road. I realised the announcement came in late in the afternoon. That is why I did not know about all that.

Necessary Questions to Ask
Returning to the original context of the article, there are a few necessary questions, that I and my friends thought of, pertaining to this hike. Without answering these, it would be very hard for us, the citizens of Malaysia to accept the justification to the Fuel hike: 78 sen more to RM2.70 per litre .

1) If it is said that the increase is due to world market price, would the local oil price drop when the world market price drops? What is the working basis? If Malaysia is only following the 'increase' method, how could the 'world market price justification' be plausible?

2) Will the Petronas accounts for the past 30 years (audited) made public so that the rakyat knows where the income derived from selling petrol have gone to?

3) Where will the removed government’s fuel subsidy go to? Funding of Space programmes? Funding of Monsoon Cup? Funding of Brickendonbury-like Sports Center?

4) If it is said that the people should reduce their spending and change their lifestyle, the most direct solution to this problem would be using the public transportation system. However, the government forgot one thing : Why did citizens buy cars? Minus off the reason that some actually purchase cars because they are rich, the other common answer is simple : because the public transportation system is deplorable. I believe most lower-middle income people will provide this as an answer.

The question is : What is Pak Lah and government's plan to improve the public transportation system so that Malaysians can rely less on expensive fuel via personal cars?

In the past various promises had been made on 'improving public transportation' but still the condition of the system is bad.

Read this Bernama report dated March 01, 2006 Fuel Price Hike Responsible Decision, Says Najib

He explained that the savings from the subsidy reduction would be used for development, especially to improve the public transportation system.

He said the Cabinet today agreed to set up a committee chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and himself as deputy chairman to plan the development of the public transportation sector.

"The revenue saved from the subsidy will be deposited into a trust fund to be set up. The fund will be used to improve the public transportation system in the country," he said.

"I know there are also ministers who take the LRT (Light Rail Transit) to go for functions because it is convenient. (Housing and Local Government Minister) Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting told me today he had taken the LRT five times as it is more convenient," he added.


That was year 2006. Today is in year 2008.

Frankly, I do not see much improvement in public transportation. I can say that because I am a frequent user and most of the time, I choose to use the more expensive taxi because of the inconsistent waiting time. The worst transportation systems are the buses and KTM. I could write elaborately about various plaguing problems but that would only be too long to publish in a single entry.

Sincerely, how in the world can this solution be considered as acceptable to the public ?

Removal of subsidy is actually a good thing because it releases government from economic burdens. The money could be utilised for other development means which will, in return benefit the citizens.

If that is the reason, why is there a big backlash from the public? Instead of viewing the situation explicitly, the implicit tells us there is a possibility that the public has no confidence in the way the money may be handled.

Malaysians in general do not have a high income. The alternative solutions proposed to the citizens are not appealing. For example, some people purchase personal transports because of poor public transportation. Now, it is expected of them to use public transport because of expensive fuel hike impacting personal transport usage. Unless the public transportation 'really' improves, it is akin to telling someone to jump from the frying pan into the fire.

In order to solve this matter, the government has to be transparent in revealing the plans and figures. Promises made should be materialised in order to inculcate mutual trust. Otherwise, the situation will more likely remain the same on this matter. Other future fuel price hike decisions may bear similar results.

This article is also published in