Monday, December 31, 2007

Donations for Ganabathi (Update)

The cheque handed over to Gana's brother from Weng San and me

Just to let everyone know that DAP Damansara has collected a total of RM4,860 and handed over the cheque to Gana's family on Saturday morning.

Four of us had a pleasant discussion with Gana's wife and elder brother who have managed a few trips to Kamunting to visit him. He's in decent spirits, lost about 5 pounds of weight and complains about the food ;-). Those detained under ISA are actually allowed visits any time during the day, 45 minutes each time. He's now spending the bulk of his time reading (3 books allowed per week) and writing.

The family will like to thank everyone who has contributed and sent their well wishes. They still strongly believe in Gana's sacrifice for a good cause and we can hope and pray for his early release from ISA detention.

For those who are still keen to donate, the DAP National Headquarters have set up a Trust Fund for the 5 Hindraf leaders detained under ISA. You may do so by depositing cash or cheque into the following account:
Bank: Malayan Banking Berhad (Maybank)
Account Number: 5141 7814 5866
Account Name: Democratic Action Party
All funds in the account will be to cover the necessary legal expenses as well as to support the detainees' respective families. Your generosity is much appreciated!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Heartbreak

We sought for a Christmas gift from Pak Lah, that the printing and publications permit for the Catholic Church's internal newsletter, The Herald be renewed without conditions.

Well, Pak Lah is certainly no Father Christmas, for clearly, there will be no joy delivered. Malaysiakini has reported today that the Internal Security Ministry, despite the furore over the past week or so, has "sent a directive to the Herald to remove its Bahasa Malaysia section and this will be effective when the new permit is issued."

While earlier, some may blame the Deputy Internal Security Minister for being a mini-warlord in putting forth unreasonable conditions for the renewal of the permit, it is crystal clear now that the real man behind it is none other that the Minister himself, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. The deputy minister was only his spokesperson:
“Only Muslims can use ‘Allah’. It’s a Muslim word. It’s from (the Arabic language). We cannot let other religions use it because it will confuse people,” he said when contacted.

“We cannot allow this use of ‘Allah’ in non-Muslim publications, nobody except Muslims. The word ‘Allah’ is published by the Catholics. It’s not right,” he told Malaysiakini.
Of course, in front of others, the Prime Minister will preach the "spirit of tolerance". I've already written about tolerating Pak Lah, so I won't go on another bout of rant here. But I'm certain readers will be able to make their own judgements.

The Herald aren't the only victims of abuse of the country's laws by the Prime Minister. The Evangelical Church of Borneo in Sabah has also sued the Government for a similar issue on the 10th December. The Herald has now done the same.

I am certain that the Government's actions will not stop here. After all, the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak has already stated Malaysia is an Islamic State, and was "never, never a secular state" and Pak Lah defended it.

Check out Jeff Ooi's story on how MCA leaders, who couldn't even stand up to the UMNO Youth Chief, have been tasked to ask the Churches to withdraw their suit. Do you want to vote for a party that does UMNO's bidding and not fight for your rights as defined under the law?


This is the first time I'm blogging on election speculation. I've never thought the speculations in the earlier part of this year from August to December were any credible.

But I've just had fairly credible news that elections will be held possibly before the Chinese New Year, despite overall anticipation of it being during the March school holidays.

Will it be so? Regardless, I think the time is extremely near. We need to mobilise all the necessary help and volunteers we can get.

If you are keen on volunteering, please do not hesitate to contact me at tonypua(at)yahoo(dot)com. There's no time to lose, it's time to wrest back our country. It'll be an election to remember. ;-)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Spreading Christmas Cheer

Photo courtesy of The Star Gallery

MP for Seputeh, YB Teresa Kok, Political-Secretary to DAP Secretary-General cum DAP Selangor State Secretary, Lau Weng San and myself paying a visit to YB Chew Mei Fun of Petaling Jaya Utara at Hospital Kuala Lumpur on Christmas eve.

YB Chew Mei Fun met with an accident a few weeks ago, and we wished her a speedy recovery. ;-)

You may also check out the Chinese press reports here.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Present

It's Christmas tomorrow. Unfortunately, I don't feel very “Christmasy”.

Malaysia used to celebrate all religious festivals with zest. We were proud of the fact that we are indeed a multi-racial and multi-religious society both tolerant and respectful of each other.

Of late, you'll only hear such rhetoric in mainstream newspaper headlines as well as tourism promotion advertisements, which now not only rings hollow, it is hypocrisy at its worst.

You may have read the news in Malaysiakini a few days ago, as well as in The Sun today, “The Herald” which is an in-house Catholic newsletter application for the annual renewal of its printing and publications license has been unreasonably witheld.

And the basis provided by the Ministry of Internal Security for witholding its permit? Simply that the newsletter must stop publishing the The Herald in the national language. For those who are unaware, The Herald has 4 language sections within its paper, English, Chinese, Tamil and Bahasa Malaysia.

The pretext provided by the Deputy Internal Security Minister, Johari Baharom was that the word “Allah” can only be used by Muslims! How absolutely arrogant and preposterous!

For those who are not familiar, the word “Allah” originates from the Arabic word “al-Lah” and it was used even in pre-Islamic times in the Middle East. Even Arab Christians today (yes, they do exist) use the term “Allah” om their Arabic bible (and yes, unlike the Bahasa Malaysia bible which has been banned, there is no ban in the Middle East on bibles in Arabic language).

Even the Sikhs use the term “Allah” since the founding of their faith and the world is repeatedly used in their Holy Book. So will the Government ban the Sikh holy book next?

Of course, the fact that many Christian bumiputeras (Ibans, Kadazans etc.) in East Malaysia is educated only in Bahasa Malaysia due to the national language policy is irrelevant to the Government.

By taking the Ministry's logic in its argument further, soon other religions will not be able to make reference to the Supreme being or an omnipotent God because, the only one which exists is expounded in the Quran. Hence any reference elsewhere will not be respectful of the faith of the Muslim majority in this country.

Who, may I ask, is the Minister for this preposterous Ministry? Oh, it can't be! It is the wise and genial Prime Minister himself, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who preaches the virtues of a multi-racial, muti-cultural and multi-religious society – which I'm certain will be the headlines of all mainstream newspapers tomorrow.

We'd like to call upon the Prime Minister, who is also the Internal Security Minister to practise what he preaches and grant the Christian community a simple Christmas present, that is to approve immediately the renewal of the printing and publication license for “The Herald”.

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Hindraf ISA 5 Forum

ISA Arrests of HINDRAF 5 – Operation Lalang II in the Making?

The invocation of the Internal Security Act (ISA) to arrest five Hindraf leaders is most deplorable and marks another violation of the pledge by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to promote democracy, uphold human rights and defend the rule of law.

The five detained under the ISA are P. Uthayakumar, M Manoharan, R Kenghadharan, V Ganabatirau and T Vasanthakumar.

The return of the ISA is another regression of Malaysia to the dark era of human rights violations which can only tarnish the country’s international reputation and image.

Is Operation Lalang 2 in the works with the warning by the Deputy Internal Security Minister, Datuk Mohd Johari Baharum that “a list of names had been submitted by the police and it was only a matter of time before several others were detained under the ISA”.

The DAP is organising a forum on the above issue with the following details:
Date: 21st December 2007 (Friday)
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: KL Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall
The distinguished panel of speakers will include:
  • YB Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader
  • YB M Kulasegaran, MP for Ipoh Barat
  • YB Fong Kui Lun, MP for Bukit Bintang
  • Sdr Lim Guan Eng, DAP Secretary-General
  • Sdr A Sivanesan, DAP Central Executive Committee Member
  • Other speakers to be confirmed

See you there! If you'd like to contribute to Gana's fund, you can also pass me the cash or the cheque to "DAP Damansara Branch" this evening.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Donations for Ganabathi

Many would have read my post on V Ganabathirau last week. Many, including my own DAP Damansara branch members were also asking how they could donate to Gana's wife and daughter. As promised, here are the details on how you make the donation. Apologies for the delay, partly caused by me trying to first obtain consent from his family, and partly, by me having to rewrite this post as I somehow lost/deleted the one I wrote late Monday.

I'm setting a deadline for donation on Sunday, 23rd December and will hand over the funds to Gana's family some time next week. There are 3 methods of collection, by cheque, by direct bank-in or by credit card (via PayPal) with the relevant instructions below. On behalf of the Gana and family, I'd like to thank you for your generous contributions.

1. Donation by Cheque:

Please write your cheque to "DAP Damansara Branch". You can either deliver or post it to the DAP Damansara Service Centre. Please also write "For Gana" at the back of the cheque so as to prevent a mix up with a normal donation to our branch.
Damansara Community & Service Centre
55M Jalan SS21/1A,
Damansara Utama
47400 Petaling Jaya
2. Direct Bank-In

You can also perform a direct bank-in into our branch account, whether by cheque, cash, ATM transfer or telegraphic transfer at any Malayan Banking Berhad (Maybank). The details are as follows:
Bank: Malayan Banking Berhad, Damansara Utama Branch
Account Name: DAP Damansara Branch
Account No: 5141 9634 2008
Swift Code: MBBEMYKL
Please do not forget to email me at tonypua(at)yahoo(dot)com once the direct bank-in has been transacted to ensure that I'm aware of the time, amount and reference of the transaction.

Thank you once again for your kind donations, I'm certain that Gana and his family will definitely appreciate the gesture. Please also let me know via email whether you'd like to remain anonymous to the family or if you'd like to list your name down as one of the donors when we hand over cheque to him. Do also let me know if you face any problems with the above.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Poison Letter (Update)

I wrote a couple of days back when my name was used in an email circulating very widely to defame a well known restaurant in Sri Petaling.

I have lodged a police report at the Damansara Police station on Thursday. The investigation officer have updated me to let me know that the case is now in the hands of the Multimedia Commission. I have of course provided all the necessary detailed email headers for their investigation purposes.

I called a press conference at the police station and the news have been reported in all the Chinese press as well as the Malay Mail. Other press that turned up were Harian Metro, Utusan Malaysia and Kosmo! Of course, I can't expect The Star or the NST to be present. ;-)

Came out on Page 3 of the Malay Mail on Friday:
TONY Pua, of Medan Damansara, never had lunch at this particular Chinese restaurant in Sri Petaling.

He said he only had dinner at the restaurant a long time ago. So it came as a shock to him when friends asked if he was boycotting the restaurant over an unpleasant experience he had during lunch.

“I received SMSes and e-mails from some 20 relatives and friends on the matter,” he said yesterday.

Pua, who is economics adviser to the DAP secretary-general, said he did not know why he was asked about the matter until he came across an e-mail defaming the restaurant. The e-mail, purportedly written by him, asked its readers to boycott the restaurant, which is popular for its mooncakes.

“I was shocked to discover the e-mail, which I had not written, on Dec 6 after a friend who asked about it forwarded it to me,” said Pua.

“Initially, I ignored it, but after I was questioned by many of my friends, I decided to lodge a police report.”

Pua lodged a report at the Damansara police station over the e-mail yesterday. He said the writer had defamed him for writing the e-mail and defamed the restaurant by alleging poor service. He said he lodged the police report with a view to protecting himself from being sued by the restaurant.

“People thought it was me who wrote the e-mail.” Pua hoped that police will fi nd the writer of the e-mail to clear his name and that of the restaurant.
Til today, I still get a few phone calls, emails and sms'es checking if I were the real author of the email. Sigh.

It's a pain lodging police reports and I certainly don't enjoy the exercise. Spent some 4 hours at the police stations, first at Damansara, then subsequently with the investigation officer at Petaling Jaya HQ. The officers were pleasant enough, plenty of small talk as well, but it just takes a really long time.

I do hope that the idiot gets tracked down. ;-)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

V Ganabathirau

(Update II: Donation mechanism is ready. See post here.)

(Update: Due to numerous requests for information on how to donate to Gana's family from DAP Damansara branch members to fellow supporters, I'll be announcing details soon here on this blog this weekend when the mechanism gets ironed out)

Today is another sad and black day for Malaysia. You would have read that 5 Hindraf leaders have been arrested without trial under the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA), exactly two decades after the last Operasi Lalang.

There appears to be plenty of such sad and black days in recent weeks. Who would have thought that the seemingly genial Prime Minister, Pak Lah, when he took over the reigns of the Government could have been such an incompetent, uninspiring, sleeping and heartless leader?

But enough about Pak Lah, I've ranted enough 2 days ago here. Now, I'd just like to provide a little more insight to one of those arrested, a little known unsung hero, 34 year old lawyer, V Ganabathirau, who hit the limelight recently as one of the core leaders of Hindraf.

As you may have read from the New Straits Times (NST) yesterday, Gana is a DAP member. What makes the whole ugly episode we saw today close to me, is that Gana is a member of DAP Damansara branch, of which I'm the chairperson. Gana joined me in March this year, and subsequently helped form the Taman Muda branch in Shah Alam, of which he is the advisor.

Having known him for the past 8 months or so, I can't claim to know him inside out. But there are somethings which I will vouch for him with my life.

Gana is not a racist. He is not a religious fanatic and neither is he in anyway at all, a terrorist as he is insinuated to be. Having known him well in recent months, he is the complete opposite of what the Pak Lah administration, through the mainstream mouthpieces will like to paint him to be.

Gana is a full-blooded Malaysian, who strongly believes that all Malaysians regardless of ethnicity must have equal opportunities to succeed. While some may quibble over the fact that Hindraf could have taken a greater multi-racial outlook in its position, no right thinking Malaysian will deny them the fact that the overwhelming majority of Indians in this country are severely marginalised and lives below or near the poverty line.

The way politics in Malaysia are framed at this point of time, it is unsurprising that the ethnic Indians found themselves having to stand up and be counted. They really have nothing else to lose.

Some will argue that I can afford to spend some time on politics today because I've made some money after having sold my company. However, Gana, despite having just started his own fledging law firm, found himself travelling frequently (i.e., at least weekly) between Teluk Intan, his hometown and Shah Alam where he now stays, in order to provide his community services to the needy and unfortunate. He even rented and refurbished a service centre in Teluk Intan with his own money, to carry out his services.

When I received cases at my own service centre in Damansara Utama, and was in need of legal services to assist the complainants, Gana offered his with absolutely no hesitation. For example, there was a group of 7 contractors who failed to receive payment from a housing developer, Gana took up their case and offered legal advise pro bono. When legal actions were required, I actually had to convince him to accept some payment from these contractors! Guess what, these contractors were all Chinese but race, as should be the case for all right-thinking Malaysians, never ever came into the picture.

Gana, the youngest of 3 brothers, is a son that would have made any family proud. He belongs to the Indian Telugu community and grew up in a poor family which just about made enough to survive. Gana never manage to have the privilege of completing his education at one go. After finishing Form 5, he had to take up various odd jobs to help support himself and his family.

That however, did not prevent him from investing his earnings and taking up part-time courses to pursue his ambition of becoming an officer of the court. His dream came true in his late twenties when he graduated with a law degree from the University of London external programme. He plied his trade as a legal assistant with a law firm in Teluk Intan before saving sufficiently to set up his own firm, having moved to Shah Alam late last year.

But all these while, he held political ambitions, ambitions not to further enrich himself by illegal and unethical means, but ambitions to help play a part in the betterment of his marginalised community as well as Malaysians in general. Having set up his own firm, it provided him, for better or worse, the flexibility to spend time on social and political causes. And he did it with all his heart and soul.

Gana was married not too long ago to a school teacher. And only just on Merdeka day this year, his first, now barely 4-month old baby daughter, was born. If Pak Lah has his way, by the time Gana is released from ISA detention, his daughter would be more than 2 years old. When Gana first pointed out his wife to me sitting in the court stands when he was being charged with sedition in Klang sessions court, you could visibly see tears in her eyes. Her fears have unfortunately come true.

Gana told me that his wife was a former Tamil school debater and is very politically aware. In fact, in the earlier years, she used to tease him that he only knew how to "talk" politics but never got his hands dirty. More recently however, she will half-jokingly tell him that she regretted having ever encouraged him to join the fight for a just cause.

Gana is a good man. He has sacrificed selflessly to help create a better Malaysia for all Malaysians, particularly for the underprivileged and marginalised community. He has rose quickly to prominence through sheer tenacity, hardwork, eloquence and dedication to the cause. 30,000 Indians from all parts of Malaysia walked the streets of Kuala Lumpur not because they had nothing better to do, but because they shared his cause, and they believed that "enough is enough!"

For that, Pak Lah who is clearly unable to hear, accept and deal with the truth, invoked the draconian ISA in the hope of sweeping all under the carpet.

Thankfully, Gana has a kind and loving family members who will help take care of the needs of the mother and child. The DAP, as announced by the party secretary-general, will be setting up a fund to assist the families of those who have been detained without trial.

My eyes were moist as I wrote this post. I firmly believe that Gana will be a stronger man post-detention. You would not have heard the last of him for a long time yet. I expect him to be a future leader of this country, a rare breed of the much needed righteous, caring, intelligent and dedicated kind who will only contribute immensely to creating a better Malaysia for our future generations. His personal sacrifices must not, and will not be in vain.

Share this story with others who need to see the other side of the coin.

(Footnote: I've been corrected that he is actually the middle and not the youngest son of 3 brothers. ;-))

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Reduction in Gas Subsidies

I made this press statement way back in September with regards to the Government hinting at removing gas subsidies, but for one reason or another, I never managed to get round to posting it on my own blog. ;-) Well, here you go, for those who haven't had a chance to read it. ;-)

Gas Subsidies Distort Market, So Does Extortionary Contracts Between Tenaga Nasional Berhad and Independent Power Producers

The Minister of Energy, Water and Communications, Datuk Seri Lim Keng Yaik is absolutely right to say that if artificially low gas prices sustained by Petronas subsidies are not removed, “the Malaysian economy will remain distorted”, as reported in the headline story of the Star today.

However, it is of greatest irony that while the Minister lamented on the impact of the subsidy on straining the finances of Petronas, he conveniently ignored a more urgent and distortionary Government policy of guaranteeing extraordinary profits to Malaysian independent power producers (IPPs) which sells electricity to Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB).

The IPPs, which owns more than 35% of the electricity generating capacity, are totally shielded from financial risks. They earn an average of 18-25% rate of return on capital, and some as high as 40% per annum. In addition, TNB is also forced to pay for as much as 40% excess, often wasted, capacity for electricity generation.

The Minister also failed to mention that of the RM14 billion subsidy on gas purchases last year, 47.9% went to IPPs, while another 35.7% went to TNB.

Hence, the high electricity prices paid by the consumers ultimately goes into the pockets of the uncompetitive IPPs, who are in turn guaranteed extraordinary profits and supplied with heavily subsidised gas.

In the interest of the Malaysian public, it is critical that these contracts with the IPPs which lasts for up to 20 years each, be renegotiated by TNB and the Government. Just as gas subsidies to the profit-making IPPs must also be terminated, guaranteed profits to IPPs which results in significantly higher electricity prices must also be abolished to prevent “distortions” to the economy.

In the event that a amicable new contract fails to be renegotiated, the DAP will like to call on the Government to forcibly acquire the assets of the IPPs to protect Malaysian consumers from monopolistic pricing. The management of these IPPs will then be outsourced via an open, transparent and competitive tenders.

While the Datuk Seri Lim Keng Yaik mentioned that “there will not be another increase [in electricity tariffs] any time soon”, he appears to be clearly setting the stage for an increase sometime into the future. However, without first resolving the unequal contracts between IPPs, TNB and the Malaysian Government, there will be absolutely no justification for electricity tarriffs to be raised, burdening the Malaysian consumers and industries for any reason.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


(Poster courtesy of Kickdefella)

Pak Lah, you have betrayed the trust of the people. I had plenty of faith in you when you first took over the prime ministership of this country. As I've blogged before, I had hope. Even when I lost faith in your leadership, I had thought that you were a pious and sincere person who lacked the necessary skills as a leader.

I'm sad to say that I was dead wrong. Clearly, many will tell me now that I'm such a terrible judge of character. Not only is our current prime minister a sleeping, absent, incompetent prime minister, his personal integrity and his sincerity in creating a better Malaysia is clearly in doubt.

When the Parliament, the symbol of people's democracy, where its members are themselves elected by the people, becomes a 'forbidden palace' to the people who want their grouses heard, it is the ultimate mockery of "democracy".

You would have read it here in Malaysiakini, where all roads to Parliament are blocked, preventing the people from handing their petition to the people who claim to represent them. Worse, Pak Lah ordered the leaders of BERSIH, the very people asking for clean and fair elections, arrested for attempting to hand the petition to the Parliament.

Pak Lah, you have declared in your BN mouthpiece, The Star, that you have ordered the arrests because "public safety above all". Pak Lah, do you bloody think that we are 3 year old kids? Are you trying to tell us that the rakyat, armed only with a few sheets of paper, approaching the Parliament on the edge of the city, is threatening the safety of Malaysians?

Pak Lah, please stop telling lies to our fellow Malaysians. You lied to the world when you declared that your cabinet comprised of 50% non-Malays.

Pak Lah, you promised us a less corrupt nation when you took over. Instead, we are more corrupt than ever, dropping a spot in international rankings for each year of your reign to 43rd this year.

Pak Lah, you also promised no more mega-bailouts, yet this year, you approved the biggest bailout ever in the history of Malaysia, attempting to rescue the unrescuable Port Klang Free Zone project with RM6.7 billion. And yet, the culprits for the fiasco has not been brought to book.

Pak Lah, you promised and boasted of greater press freedom, but interference in the mainstream media has never been more apparent! Malaysia crashed to its lowest ever press freedom ranking at 124th!

Pak Lah, most of all, you told us you wanted to hear the truth, no matter how much it hurts, but instead, you had your Minister of Misinformation, Datuk Zainuddin Maidin, tell the press editors that he'll only listen to Barisan Nasional component parties and not the media or the public. What's worse, there was never a denial that the instruction came from you!

Pak Lah, you said you were a Prime Minister for all Malaysians, but you declared Malaysia an Islamic state and concurred with your deputy, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak that Malaysia was "never, never a secular state", a clear-cut defiance of the Federal Constitution, and discriminating against Malaysians' fundamental right to freedom of religion.

Pak Lah, you have clearly lost control of your administration. You have only demonstrated your utter incompetence, your lies and hypocrisy. Now, not only have I lost faith in your leadership, I have also lost faith in your integrity and piety.

Pak Lah, you are rubbish and you are a absolute disgrace to the nation.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Get Well Soon!

As reported in the Star, the Parliamentary Secretary for Women, Family and Community Affairs Ministry as well as the Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara (PJU) met with an accident along the highway enroute to Kuantan yesterday afternoon.

In the latest report, she has advised drivers against speeding on the highways, for you never know what may happen.

We sincerely hope that she returns to full fitness, and be back up and running soon.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Poison Letter

I had wanted to delay writing this post til have made the necessary police report and press conference. However, due to the number of people who called and emailed me to check if the said "poison letter" which was allegedly written by me was real, I thought its best that I make my position clear here.

For those who are not aware of what I'm referring to - there has been an email circulating relatively widely, severely criticising and possibly defaming the Kum Lun Tai restaurant in Sri Petaling. The letter was signed "Tony Pua, A Concerned Consumer".

Let me state clearly that I am not the author of the letter, and the perpetrator is clearly up to mischief, with clear intent to defame me. At this point of time, I will not reproduce the letter here. However, if you were to receive it, please inform the relevant recipients that it is not written by me.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Malaysian Apartheid

Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz was a furious lady in India, especially when she had to defend herself from accusations of apartheid practices in Malaysia.
Holding up the DNA newspaper of Nov 28, the International Trade and Industry Minister said that the article quoted a 22-year-old Sri Lankan-born poet who had spent 17 years in Malaysia, as saying that she fled Malaysia last month to escape “systematic racial harassment.”

“Fleeing Malaysia? Oh my goodness gracious. Can you imagine? This is really telling lies,” Rafidah told reporters yesterday after chairing a Wanita Umno meeting.


Rafidah added that Sharanya had said in the article that “countless (Hindu) temples have been demolished and idols smashed – oftentimes in the middle of prayer sessions and devotees attacked”.

“What a lie. Words like this are terrible. The article really hurts,” she said.
Now, what did the poet write that made the Iron Lady so worked up?

In the article, “The Malaysian Apartheid” which appeared in the 4 December 2007 edition of ‘The New Indian Express’, Sharanya was eloquently wrote that:
…The entire bureaucratic system of Malaysia privileges the Malay above all of these groups.

Historically, Indians of Malaysian origin have been at the lowest rungs of the race/class ladder because of how they migrated there in the first place, usually in the servitude of the British empire. Post-colonial Malaysia did not only keep the divide-and-conquer system intact, it augmented it, making race essentially the be-all and end-all of everything.

And yes, the Indian minority does have it worst — socially, economically and politically. But under a political system that thrives on division and uses the threat of discord as a means of ensuring silent acquiescence, everybody suffers. To different degrees, admittedly, and a few, maybe not at all.

But by and large, living in a society that judges, rewards and punishes on purely race-based motives takes its toll. To live conscious of inequality makes one a participant, willing or not, victim or not.
Readers can make their own judgement as to who is closer to telling the truth, and who, on the other hand is covering it up.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Baby Yok Shan

Some of you might remember about 3 months back, there was a major tradegy involving Tengku Ampuan Rahiman hospital in Klang with a newborn, Lai Yok Shan. Through medical negligence on the part of the hospital staff and administration, her left arm was infected, became gangrenous and subsequently, had to be amputated.

What was most outrageous was the fact that despite the initial hullaboo, after which a panel of top specialists were appointed to look after baby Yok Shan, it became apparent that these "specialists" were clearly not doing their work. Parliamentary Opposition leader, Sdr Lim Kit Siang has written on his blog post back in September:
Lai’s parents, her father Lai Kian Khee, 24 and mother Nur Tuemthong, were told on National Day eve that Yok Shan will undergo an operation expected to last from two to four hours on Sept 1 - a day after 50th Merdeka National Day - to amputate her left arm, but in actual fact, no amputation was needed as the blackened arm came off when the orthopaedic surgeon lifted and turned it.

This showed how little the panel of medical specialists knew about Yok Shan’s condition despite all the hullabaloo about its establishment to treat the baby girl!

Well, approximately 10 days ago, baby Yok Shan finally received a letter offering compensation to baby Yok Shan, who was represented by DAP Selangor Legal Bureau Chief, Sdr Lim Lip Eng. When the offer was made known to the parents, they were clearly not satisfied with the offer. And despite running the risk of a protracted legal case by seeking higher compensation via the courts, the parents decided that it was the best option for baby Yok Shan.

DAP national legal bureau member, senior lawyer Sdr Gobind Singh Deo (son of DAP strongman, if you are not aware) took up the case and filed a suit against the Government asking for in excess of RM2 million in damages.

What do you think? Check out the blog, for additional footage and details.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Transforming the Human Spirit

The exhibition entitled “From A Culture of Violence to A Culture of Peace: Transforming the Human Spirit” is organised by Soka Gakkai International and co-sponsored by Soka Gakkai Malaysia and Physicians for Peace and Social Responsibility (PPSR), an affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW).

The exhibition pinpoints the broader meaning of violence and provides factual information on nuclear weapons. Through imagery and the words of leading world figures, the exhibit explores topics ranging from the public policies of international leaders to the grassroots campaigns of ordinary citizens.

In conjunction with the exhibition, there will be a Peace Forum to be held on 30th Nov 2007, details are as follows:

From A Culture of Violence to A Culture of Peace: Transforming the Human Spirit
Date : November 30, 2007 (Friday)
Time : 7.30 pm
Venue : Multimedia University (Melaka Campus), A2 Lecture Hall.
Medium : English
  • Y.B. Mr. Wong Nai Chee, Member of Parliament for Kota Melaka
  • Dr. Oh Ei Sun, East Malaysian Socio-Political Analyst
  • Mr. Tony Pua, Economics Advisor to DAP Secretary General
For more information, please contact:

Soka Gakkai Malaysia (Cawangan Melaka) at No. 23, Jalan Paya Ikan, Taman Datuk Palembang, 75150 Bukit Baru, Melaka. Tel: 06-231 3519 Fax: 06-231 3657 or via email at sgmmel (at) streamyx (dot) com

About Soka Gakkai International (SGI)

SGM is affiliated to Soka Gakkai International (SGI), an international association of constituent organisations in 190 countries and territories. SGI has sponsored a number of activities promoting peace and understanding among people from different cultures.

In addition, SGI have founded a number of international institutions to foster dialogue among scholars and activists on issues related to peace, culture and education. Institutions that are founded by SGI are Soka University, Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research, The Boston Research Centre for the 21st Century, Institute of Oriental Philosophy, The Victor Hugo House of Literature, Tokyo Fuji Art Museum and The Min-On Concert Association.

About Soka Gakkai Malaysia (SGM)

Soka Gakkai Malaysia (SGM) is a non-governmental organisation established with the objective of contributing towards the happiness, peace and prosperity of society through culture and education. SGM is involved in a wide range of activities which include participating in national and state events such as Citrawarna and National Day celebrations, holding of public lectures, seminars, music performances, exhibitions and charity culture festivals. SGM has the distinction of being the first recipient of the Anugerah Pendukung Seni (Arts Supporter Award) for non-governmental organisation category at the National Art Awards 2004, for its contribution to the promotion of culture. This year, around 2000 youth members of SGM participated in the 50th Merdeka Celebrations at Merdeka Stadium.

About Physicians for Peace and Social Responsibility (PPSR)

Inauguration of a new society by H.E. Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad

The Society shall be a non-partisan, independent association of physicians who shall work towards peace, human dignity and security, equity in health and ecological sustainability, through socio-economic justice, rule of law, prevention of violence and war, peaceful resolution of conflict, and the eventual abolition of war. It shall achieve its aims peacefully through research, education, advocacy and public discourse.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Crime Alert!

Updated: Earlier, I've posted here a case whereby a young lady was abducted in Shah Alam. Apparently, the case has been "resolved" with nobody harmed. I'm unfortunately not privy to the details - but I've decided to remove the posting accordingly, to avoid further unnecessary publicity for the victim.

Thank you everyone for your concern and vigilance.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

B.A. (Hons) Thuggery Graduates

I wrote plenty about our universities offering Bachelors and Masters degrees in Thuggery.

Well, the above clip shows a successful product of our university education. Dato' Nozula Mat Diah, Barisan Nasional state assemblyman for Paloh, Kelantan demonstrated his skills in the Kelantan State Assembly. These UMNO chaps can't behave when they are in power, they behave worse when they are in the opposition.

Check out Harakah online for the full story.

Managing Inflation

I've been invited to speak at the above forum with regards to the teething issue of inflation, its impact and management on Malaysia's economy tomorrow (Wednesday) evening. This forum is organised by the Women's Wing of the KL Selangor Chinese Assembly together with Oriental Daily. The key language medium is Mandarin.

Details are as follows:
Topic:Rising Inflation, Shrinking Value of Money: What Should We Do?
Date:28th November 2008 (Wednesday)
Venue:KL Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall
For more information, click here.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Hindraf Trio Discharged

I spent my morning with my boss in the Klang sessions court today giving my moral support to the defendants, the leaders of Hindraf who were charged by the government for sedition.

I witnessed first hand the incompetence of the government prosecutors, and the sheer contempt for our courts. Thankfully, in this instance, the learned judge, Zunaidah Mohd Idris, chose to accept simple logic, and discharged the trio - P Uthayakumar, P Waythamoorthy and V Ganapathy Rao.
  1. The Government had intended to charge the trio of making seditious statements at a forum recently at Batang Berjuntai. The speeches made were in Tamil. However, in the charge submitted, only a Malay translation was provided. In situations where language and interpretation is crucial to the fact as to the accused committed any criminality, omission of the source transcript makes the charges totally untenable.

  2. Yet, despite a specific instruction from the judge for the prosecution last week to amend the charge over last weekend to include the Tamil transcript in the charge documents. The Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) still had the cheek to turn up in court today without the necessary amendment and continued to argue against the judge's instruction. Some might argue that that's clearly a contempt of court orders.

  3. What's most laughable of course in the fact that the charge statement by the DPP specifically mentioned that the seditious words which were uttered by the accused are underlined and highlighted in the attached Tamil transcripts in Lampiran A (!) The DPP team didn't attach any Tamil transcripts and yet, made references to such transcripts in the charge documents filed with the court - if that's not incompetence, what is???!

Sigh, makes you wonder if the Government was even serious about charging them in the first place!

Anyway, once the trio were discharged, the crowd in the public gallery joined the crowd waiting nearby outside the courts and proceeded to march spontaneously to an open field next to a Hindu temple. It was Little India in Klang at noon. The crowd swelled quickly to thousands as they cheer short speeches made by various speakers.

Unsurprisingly, FRU water cannon trucks numbering at least 7 units had to move from the court house to the field. What was however, most disgraceful of the police force was the blatant attempt by the circling helicopter first, to recklessly lower itself within 20 feet of the field to intimidate and endangere the crowd. On at least 2 separate occasions, it swooped down at high speed, like an eagle catching its prey, without any concern for the crowd gathering below.

Is it then surprising that the Indian community who have been marginalised by the Barisan Nasional government for the past 50 years, to finally say, we've had enough? Will the Indian community, particularly the rural Indians, who have been rock solid in their support for Barisan Nasional in the past elections, switch their support for the opposition, particularly for DAP?

Friday, November 23, 2007

New Chinese Blog

Yes, I'm really asking for it. ;-)

I started blogging at Education in Malaysia in March 2005, and my personal blog here in November 2006. I'm now officially launching my 3rd blog, "家国思索" [jia guo si suo] which will be my personal blog with Chinese as the key language medium. The blog name "家国思索" translates roughly as "Thoughts on Motherland". Its also the title of my weekly Monday column in Oriental Daily, so thanks to the editors for the inspiration. ;-)

Why do I need a separate blog in Chinese, you might ask, particularly for those who may be unable to read the language.

Firstly, besides the language, the blog is actually a little different as it is mainly, at this point of time anyway, composed of press articles from the vernacular press and magazines where I've been covered. You will note that although the blog is "newly" launched, it has already got some 100 posts. That's because I've been covered fairly extensively in the Chinese media on various issues.

While the English mainstream media rarely covers opposition politicians, especially when we raise social and local issues, we do receive a fair bit more coverage (understatement) in the Chinese press. The difference, you can see is the extent to which the Government clamps down media freedom in the English print media, and worse, the Malay papers.

Hence, starting a Chinese blog, gives me an opportunity to keep track of all the press coverage in the Chinese newspapers, which will at the same time not overwhelm this blog with disproportionate amount of Chinese newspaper reports. Where possible I will translate some of these coverage in the Chinese media into English for the loyal readers of this blog. Similarly, I will be posting dated articles of my column in Oriental Daily onto this new blog.

Finally, I'd like to thank my two assistants, Erica and Joey, who helped put together the entire past year's collection of press coverage on the blog. It's still a work in progress as not all reports have been posted, but nevertheless, we are ready to go. While I will be posting my own blog writings myself in the future, they will assist me to put up press reports as and when they are available or published.

For readers who read Chinese, I hope you will enjoy the new site and probably get a better understanding of the work I do on a daily basis. At the same time, hopefully you can introduce the new blog to those who are more comfortable with the language.

Thank you once again for all your support! ;-)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Fight Club

Has our Parliament, our very august House become a "Fight Club"?

The issue which was being debated in Parliament was the huge increase in Quit Rent in the northern state of Kedah. In particular, for land demarcated as "Tanah Bandar" or urban areas, the Quit Rent increased by as much as 900%!

120,000 people have signed a petition protesting against this development in the state.

What further complicated the issue was the fact that the state government re-defined, illegally, the definition of "Tanah Bandar" to mean anything other than "tanah luar simpanan Melayu". Hence, even in villages which are not sited in Malay reserved land, it'll be classified at "Tanah Bandar" and be subjected to astronomical Quit Rent! (There's something biblical about all this...)

If the Kedah state government is successful in its attempt to extort quit rent from its population based on such unjust and discriminatory principles, you can be assured that the other Barisan Nasional-led state governments will certain follow suit to do the same, if not worse. This is a clear example of the "absolute" power given to BN that is detrimental to the rakyat's interest.

However, the Deputy Minister of Natural Resources, Datuk S Sothinathan, who was unable to respond to the question raised by the Parliamentary Opposition Leader gave the typical reply that the opposition "should not politicise" the issue (!)

When pressed that it is clear that MIC obviously has no say in Government and hence his helplessness in helping the rakyat against the UMNO-led Kedah state government, a pandemonium ensued (as usual, sigh). In the midst of it, typical of MIC political culture, the honourable deputy minister challenge YB Fong Po Kuan to a fight "mari lawan!" outside parliament. What an absolute disgrace.

Today of course, the press published reports that the honourable deputy minister was only issuing a political election "lawan" challenge, but not a physical fist fight. You can make your own judgement.

You can view the full report on Sdr Lim Kit Siang's blog, or alternatively, watch the video yourself (it's 7 minutes long) on YouTube.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

PJ Fund Raising Dinner Pics

We had another successful fund-raising dinner for DAP in Petaling Jaya yesterday evening, the 2nd dinner in less than 3 weeks! Phew! ;-)

YB Lim Kit Siang, our Parliamentary Opposition Leader, who spoke at the dinner called on the voters in Petaling Jaya Utara (PJU) to deliver Barisan Nasional (BN) and Malaysia Chinese Association (MCA) not only a defeat, but an "overwhelming, thumping defeat" in the coming general elections. Only then will they be taught a lesson for their sheer lack of integrity, arrogance and incompetence. Let the voters of Petaling Jaya lead Malaysia forward - which was our theme for the two dinners. ;-)

Enjoy some of the photos here taken from our first dinner held on the 1st November. ;-)

The programme starts as the crowd gets seated

That's Syazana who did a splendid job as the host for the evening

Dr Cheah kicked off the evening with the opening speech

DAP's very own cilipadi in Parliament, YB Fong Po Kuan

That's me again making my spill on Malaysia's deteriorating economy

Dr Cheah & Weng San making the rounds

DAP Sec-Gen rallying for support at the dinner

Must have been one hell of a joke by Uncle Yap ;-)

Little Totto looks for papa ;-)

Dr Cheah meets Dr Oh (Thompson Twins comes to mind...)

Dr Cheah tells the guests that I'm suffering from a smiling disorder,
and is in desperate need for psychiatric treatment

Jeff talks to his lawyer...

Weng San's speech was followed by an engaging performance
by the Malaysian Latin Ballroom Dance champions

And the boss ends the evening by giving
his animated speech on Malaysian politics

Monday, November 19, 2007

Not Running Fast Enough

I've been wanting to blog about this for a while, but never got round to doing it ;-). For a couple of dinners and ceramahs, I've been presenting my Powerpoint slides to give an overview of the state of the Malaysian economy. After all, as the economic advisor to the party's secretary-general, so I had better know my stuff. ;-)

So I'm extremely thankful to Dr K J John who picked up from my speech and presentation at the DAP Petaling Jaya fund raising dinner on the 1st November and wrote about the general state of the Malaysian economy in his regular column in Malaysiakini two weeks back. Saved me a little trouble from doing the write up myself, heh heh.

One of the key points of the dinner to press home the point that our economy is clearly underperforming its potential. All the Barisan Nasional government mouthpieces will tell you is that the economy is "growing", but they don't tell you that we are going much slower than our competitors in the region.

Have a look at the GDP per capita (US$) comparison chart below:

Back in 1966, 10 years after achieving independence, we were regarded as a wealthy country. In fact, our GDP per capita was nearly 3 times that of South Korea's at US$350 versus US$130. Our football team was also probably much stronger as well ;).

However, shortly within 24 years, South Korea's economy caught up and match ours at US$1900 per capita in 1990. And just like an inevitable script, both South Korea's economy as well as its football team trashed us by 2004. South Korea's GDP per capita at US$16,000 is now more than triple that of an average Malaysian at US$5,000. Of course, while our football team is now ranked 140+ in the world, South Korea qualified for the World Cup semi-finals in 2004.

The same story can be repeated with other countries like Taiwan or Singapore (needless to say). Will the story be repeated in the next decade with our other competitors like Thailand, Vietnam or Indonesia?

Looking purely at Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) data, this certainly looks like a real possibility. You will remember just about 2 months ago, the local mainstream media trumpeted the fact that Malaysia achieved a 10 year record of US$6 billion in FDI. It is a relief that the decline in FDI has stalled at least for 2006, however, FDI data cannot be read without putting it in the global context. Globally, FDI has increased tremendously over the past 4-5 years, while Malaysia has benefited little from it.

Let's take a look at the table below which compares the FDI received by Malaysia and Thailand over the past decade.

It is clear that in the mid-1990s, Malaysia consistently out-attracted our northern neighbours in terms of FDI. However, over the past 6 years, Thailand has beaten us for 5 years, with increasing margins! And it doesn't look as if we will be able to overhaul Thailand's achievement any time soon as well... Indonesia beat us last year for FDI for the first time in history. We managed to scrape past them marginally this year. But it is sad that we have now been relegated to a lower division to compete with countries which in the past, were substantially behind Malaysia in terms of development.

To quote Dr John:
I dare not look at the FDI figures for Vietnam but seriously suspect that if they have not overtaken us they will do so in the not so distant future; simply because their labour and land costs are much lower. We should not even think about Indonesia; for, as their political stability improves, their investments in oil palm and manufacturing might help them overtake us.
The only reason why we have managed to stay respectably afloat in the past decade, and particularly in the past few years, has been the fact that Malaysia has been blessed with oil and gas. The revenues from oil and gas has allowed us to mask the failures and weaknesses in the other sectors of our economy. I've written extensively about it here.

The question then is, will things fall apart once our oil lottery money runs out - which it will, not too far in the near future?

Sunday, November 18, 2007


The following article on "Oil & Gas Lottery" was published in my weekly column in Oriental Daily on October, 22nd. I wrote on the same issue on this blog in my earlier post here. ;-)

马来西亚是一个得天独厚,拥有丰富天然资源的国家。我们特别要感激国家拥有大量的石油与天然气,以致国油(Petronas)能够成为国内唯一挤身《财富杂志》500 强的公司。截至2007 年3 月的财政年度,鉴于国际原油价格在过去4 年内,从每桶低过25 美元飙升至超过70 美元,让国油取得763 亿令吉的税前盈利。

最重要的是,国油去年透过税务、石油税、分红及出口税,为国库带来了537 亿令吉的收入。国油及其它设在马来西亚的石油与天然气公司,预计在2007 年为政府带来46.8%的收入。相较于2004 年约25%,以及2006 年约30%,国油不断增加为国家所带来的收入。这些统计显示当前的马来西亚非常依赖石油与天然气工业。

马来西亚拥有丰富的石油与天然气资源,就好比中彩券般幸运。这个资源总有一天会耗尽而不再复返。根据《石油与天然气期刊》,马来西亚截至2007 年1 月的石油诸藏量,从1999 年巅峰时期的46 亿桶下跌至30 亿桶。这个储备量大概只能让我们再支撑大约20 年。

除此之外,若以石油产品消费每年增长4%保守估计,马来西亚预计将在2010 年成为石油净入口国。我国当前的贸易顺差,乃因为跟石油及天然气相关的产品,占我国出口量超过11%所导致。这种过度依赖石油与天然气有限资源的可怕趋势,必然导致国家经济承受巨大的风险。

马来西亚不能跌入经济学家称之为“资源灾祸”的陷阱,即资源匮乏的国家发展比一些资源得天独厚的国家来得好。这令人想起香港、新加坡和瑞士对比拥有丰富油田但发展不健全的中东国家。这样的现象称之为“荷兰症状”。60 年代,荷兰在其北部海域发现油田和天然气,然而上述资源耗尽后,却被失业率和生产力

真正让马来西亚最担忧的是,生产领域过度依赖天然资源,造成“寻租经济”的现象 ,导致政府内外的掌权政党集中精力于取得较大份额经济蛋糕,而不是创造一个更大的蛋糕。

因此,为了确保一旦石油与天然气税收减少后,我们还可提高本身的生产能力,政府一定要以最有效率的方式,大量利用我们的彩票奖金投资在人文资本。诺贝尔经济学奖得主约瑟夫斯蒂格利茨曾说过:“丰富的天然资源,应该算是一种福气,而不是一种诅咒。我们都知道该什么做,可是缺乏的是政治意志来达成 。”

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I Was There! (II)

The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah...
(Thank goodness I didn't bring my computer notebook with me!)

Ah, finally found someone who took pictures of me there ;-)

Happy faces after successfully handing over
the BERSIH memorandum to the Yang Di-Pertuan Agung.

The bosses having an animated chat before submitting the petition to the King.

Now come to think of it, why is it that the two times when we had a major "march", it started pouring? I certainly remembered getting totally drenched the last time we joined the Bar Council's March for Justice. ;-)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Beruk Calling Beruk

So much to blog about... how-lah. Where got enough time??

Khairy Jamaluddin had during the UMNO General Assembly called for the organisers of the BERSIH rally to be arrested. He likened the demonstrators to 'beruks'.
“Don’t be like monkeys (beruk) on streets. If you want to fight, fight in the real ring like a man."
You can check out his speech here on YouTube.

Well, I'm guilty of demonstrating at the BERSIH rally, and hence by Khairy's definition, I'm now officially a 'beruk'. ;-)

But interestingly enough, Khairy who has led plenty of street protests as well in Malaysia, a fellow 'beruk' as well? Check out this clip from none other than the Oracle of Truth with Khairy himself leading the show with a group of protesters who tried to force their way into the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. ;-)

And not forgetting, even when not "demonstrating", he certainly carried traits of being one at Ijok ;-).

PJ Fund Raising Dinner II

Yup, the time has come for another gentle reminder for our second DAP PJ Fund Raising Dinner to be held next week. After a successful first dinner held earlier this month in English, this time, the dinner will be held primarily in Chinese.

The speakers at the dinner include:
  • YB Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader
  • YB Teresa Kok, MP for Seputeh
  • Ronnie Liu, DAP Central Executive Committee Member
  • Tony Pua, Economic Advisor to DAP Secretary-General
  • Lau Weng San, Political Secretary to DAP Secretary-General
  • Dr Cheah Wing Yin, Former President, Private Medical Practitioners Association of KL-Selangor
You can purchase the tickets online below using credit cards via PayPal, or contact me @ tonypua(at)yahoo(dot)com for more details. Cheque payments should be made to "DAP Damansara Branch". We certainly look forward to your support and attendance! ;)

20th Nov 2007 PJ Dinner (per pax)
@ RM50 (US$15)

20th Nov 2007 PJ Dinner (per table of 10)
@ RM500 (US$150)

20th Nov 2007 PJ Dinner (per VIP table of 10)
@ RM1,000 (US$300)

I Am "De-Sensitised"

(OK, don't make rude jokes about the above title!)

In the past, my blood boils when I hear the nonsense spewed by the honourable Minister in the Prime Minister's department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz. Now, I'm de-sensitised, and just regard him as a senior court jester, and a pretty sad one at that. His task is impossible for he has to create humour out of dire circumstances. The latest of his histronics is downright hilarious, in a sorry kind of way.

As reported in Malaysiakini, he had to hide behind parliamentary immunity to call Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim a "pondan". Note of course, the irony. ;-)

Now, just in case you doubt Malaysiakini credibility for you are being told by our honourable Ministers that Malaysiakini is nonsense, have a look at the 6 minute parliamentary clip above yourself. So, who is nonsense?

Monday, November 12, 2007


The following article on "B.A.(Hons) Thuggery" published in Oriental Daily on 14th October was based on a few posts I wrote on my Education blog - B.A.(Hons) Thuggery, MA Thuggery (UPM) and the latest, B.A.(Hons) Thuggery (II).

No thanks to the annual occasions where the UPM establishment protects the bullies and blames the victims, the latest being first-year UPM student Yee Yang Yang who had to consider legal action to get back his laptop and other items which was unreasonably seized by the campus security. Clearly, UPM offers academic programmes which allows its degree holders to join the thugs at UMNO Youth. ;-)














Sunday, November 11, 2007

I Was There!

Photo courtesy of Minaq Jinggo

The sight of tens of thousands of people conggregated in front of the Istana Negara is awesome. And it's probably not going to be repeated for a long long time. I'm certainly glad that I made it there and the party leaders were able to submit the free and fair elections appeal to the Yang Di-Pertuan Agung.

It is unfortunate that some of our fellow Malaysians never made it to the rally for they were unreasonably and violent assaulted by the police. The silver lining was the fact that the Brickfields OCPD in-charge at the Palace took the necessary restraint, despite being under tremendous pressure to "clear" the area, which resulted in a peaceful gathering.

If only I remember to bring my camera, for there were some great moments to be captured. But there's plenty of pictures to share all round on the web, so that's not too bad ;)

The BERSIH march and rally was really a success but I would hesitate to repeat the feat too soon. Firstly, the King must be given sufficient time to act and respond. Secondly, I can assure you that the UMNO kingpins must be seething at this point of time and will certainly take all necessary actions to prevent another such meet. We can do more good work for the country out of jail, than in it. Furthermore, we should demonstrate that unlike UMNO and Barisan Nasional, we do not call for blood to be shed to prove our manhood. And thirdly, disrupting traffic and businesses in the city centre once may be tolerable and supported by all, but do that too frequently, these same supporters will turn against you - defeating the ultimate objectives of the rally. We want to win friends, not lose them.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Make That Change

Guys, many of you will by now be aware of the massive rally cum gathering at Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur later this afternoon. This BERSIH's People Gathering as well as the submission of a petition to the Yang Di-Pertuan Agung is to demand the use of indelible ink, a cleanup of the electoral roll, the abolition of domestic postal voting as well as fair access to the media. BERSIH’s campaign for electoral reform is endorsed by 66 NGOs and 5 political parties.

The details are as follows:
Venue: Dataran Merdeka
Date: 10 November 2007
Time: 3pm
More information is available here.
As you may know, the police have started roadblocks all around the city yesterday evening to prevent and deter members of the public from entering the city. To ensure that you'll have a smooth trip into the city, do not wear yellow till you are well within the city parameters or you'll most certainly be stopped. And arrive early to ensure that you will get to your destination on time for disruption to both public and private transports can be expected as the authorities will take all necessary actions to "stop" or diminish the turnout for the event.

Participants are certainly encouraged to take public transport. Additional transport guidelines are available on the Bersih website. Be safe and enjoy the outing. See you there! ;)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Subsidies: RM35b or RM10b?

UMNO leaders typically attempts to talk a little more sense prior to an election, and this years' UMNO General Assembly, which is likely to be the last one prior to the next general election is no different.

UMNO Youth Deputy Chief, Khairy Jamaluddin, rightly criticised the current subsidy structure where the rich benefits more from the Government's subsidy scheme than the poor.

What was however interesting was when Khairy claimed that:
In all, the government had to foot RM35 billion, or 25 percent of government income, lamented Khairy during the debate on economy and education at the Umno assembly today.
Now, this RM35 billion figure is absolutely new to me. For the last I checked, specifically at the Goverment's 2007 and 2008 budget, the subsidy levels are no where near the purported figure given by the Member of Parliament and possible Minister in the making.

Based on the Budget figures provided by the prime minister's office, the subsidies allocated by the Government amounts to only RM12.2 billion and RM10.2 billion for 2007 and 2008 respectively, as shown in the table below.

Federal Government Operating Expenditure by Object 2006-2008

The question, I have then is, who is telling the truth? If the Government's budget is providing the accurate figure, then why is Khairy sensationalising the Government's budget by more than thrice the original amount? Was it to make it look like the Government's burden is higher than it actually is at "25% of total revenue", as opposed to only 7%? It is to illicit the rakyat's sympathy for the government which has wasted billions of the rakyat's tax payers monies in all manners possible?

Or on the other hand, more worryingly, did the Government published budget figure totally inaccurate and hides the fact that the Government (mis)allocates an incredible amount of funds to subsidise parties of unknown origins?

I've always had my suspicions and skepticisms over the manner by which the Government produces their budget numbers (e.g., the discrepancy of RM8 billion (!) expenditure between the Prime Minister's budget speech versus the published Economic Report), but if the above discrepancy is indeed "true", then it's absolutely shocking!