Friday, May 28, 2010

Mahathir's snides and homour

27 May : Dr Mahathir  said that PM Najib Abdul Razak still has a lot of work to do before considering the recent negotiations with Singapore a success.

He pointed out 3 issues - the price of water to be supplied to Singapore after 2011, the Central Provident Fund contributions for Malaysians working in Singapore and the third bridge,

Dr Mahathir : It is only fair that you give Najib some space after all he is only in his 13th month as PM . You were our PM for 22 years and was not successful in settling these 3 issues and now you expect him to be the "miracle super PM " ??

He commented on Najib's Singapore mission after delivering his keynote address at the fifth Malaysian Healthy Ageing Conference in Kuala Lumpur at PWTC .
He was also cracking jokes about his aging and his currrent behavior.  

About his criticism of others :
"I never really retired from politics, my interest in it is still there... and because we are better than others, we criticize them. That is what keeps me young......It is also very enjoyable,"

 About his writings :

"Sometimes the newspapers won't cooperate and refuse to publish what you write, well you can tell them that they must publish your article because you are doing this to try and stay young,.....I have a blog. And whatever I write will appear on the screen... even it is a bunch of nonsense,"

I found this gem on youtube when he joke about his impotence.
Mahathir : Why must "that thing" die before me ??

Humorous - His speech at BUM 09 where he talk briefly about "sex" and its widespread easy access on the internet. He quipped that as he is already 85 years old and it doesn't really matter to him as " he is now quite incapable " and he continued saying  " that thing was born with me, we grow together, play together and enjoy together but why must that thing die before me ?"

Food Matters - Review of one of the best health documentary

"Let thy Food be thy Medicine and thy Medicine be thy Food" - Hippocrates.  - That is the message from the founding father of modern medicine echoed in the controversial new documentary film Food Matters from Producer-Directors James Colquhoun and Laurentine ten Bosch.

My son passed me this movie more than a year ago but it was  " lost and forgotten somewhere ".   I just finished watching it and these are my comments - one of the best if not the best documentary about food and related health issues. I'd highly recommend it as a must see movie.  It is informative, thought-provoking and expose many untold issues in the health care system especially on the use of drugs. It should start making you question whether medicine alone is the right treatment. It is a documentary designed to make us think. And then think again about  what it actually means by the saying ‘you are what you eat’.

The film makers  James Colquhoun and Laurentine ten Bosch are both nutritionists  who funded the film from start to finish in order to remain as unbiased as possible to deliver a clear, concise and hard-hitting message to the world - Food Matters.  This 80 minute documentary brings together the thoughts and opinions of doctors and  some of the world’s leaders in nutrition  and natural healing.
We are shown how the health care system is failing and  where the focus is on symptoms of disease rather that the causes of disease. The solution of  "there is a pill for every ill’ has created a situation where  the use of nutrition as a cure or preventative solution is rarely considered.

The role of drug companies and their continual pursuit for profits has led to development of a large variety of drugs to treat illness. Doctors are trained to prescribe drugs as a cure and their education of using nutrition is poor and nutrition as a cure is a not recommended solution.

Food Matters is a movie about nutritionally depleted foods with genetically modified ingredients and added chemicals that we cannot avoid in our diet.

I was impressed by one of  the film's experts Charlotte Gerson, founder of the nonprofit Gerson Institute who provides  an alternative, non-toxic treatment for cancer and other diseases. She claims that a normal, healthy body has such powerful defenses that it cannot and will not develop cancer or any other chronic disease. The actual cases she shown is fascinating and skeptics will find it difficult to believe and accept.

 The overall message of Food Matters is quite simple. Eat Well. Eat Right. And remember – you really are what you eat.

Watch the trailer of the movie :
More information about this movie at the producer website .  You can purchase and stream the movie online too :

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


24 May : Kudos to our Prime Minister Najib on his successful negotiation and agreement with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong over the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station . He now appears to be our number 1 negotiator as he concluded the deal in only ONE day. Shame to our previous Prime Ministers Mahathir and Badawi who had failed to get it done in the past 20 years !

Najib said  the agreement reached  was historical and “we see light at the end of the tunnel” adding "We are both smiling” while Lee HL said “Both of us got a good deal. I think both of us are quite happy and it benefits both sides."  With the  20-year impasse on the status of KTM Berhad  land now settled,  both leaders declared this will further move their bilateral relationship forward. 

Malaysia still occupies railway land all the way up to Malaysian territory, including the railway station opposite Keppel PSA Port . Under the agreement, Malaysia will move its railway station at Tanjung Pagar to Woodlands by July 2011. In exchange, three parcels of KTMB land  at Tanjung Pagar, Kranji and Woodlands and 3 parcels in Bukit Timah would be jointly developed by a company  M-S Pte Ltd who take ownership of the vacated area and other parcels of land, with 60% equity held by Malaysia's Khazanah Nasional Bhd and 40% by Singapore’s Temasek Holdings. The 217ha of land is currently valued at RM9.5 billion.

The developed KTMB land will be swapped, on the basis of equivalent value for real estate in Marina South and Ophir Rochor in Singapore.

Both leaders also said a rapid transit system (RTS) between Tanjung Puteri in Johor Baru and Singapore would be jointly developed and integrated with public transport services in Johor Baru and Singapore. The RTS would be operational by 2018.

Transport Minister Ong Tee Keat was supportive of the deal and  said the 'formula' agreed upon to develop several pieces of land belonging to KTMB in the republic will benefit both countries. He said "What is important is that a dispute that could not be resolved for so long had finally been ironed out, one that had been a stumbling block to cordial relations between the two neighbours.

As expected, we hear cries of doubt and suspicion about the agreement which was concluded in only a day. We are not privy to this negotiation , but I do believe the negotiations would have started when Najib became PM and the curtain finally came down on 24 May.

Opening the salvo was PKR's Anwar Ibrahim urging Najib to explain in detail the terms and conditions of the deal. "We urge Najib to immediately explain in detail the meaning behind the Points of Agreement (POA) between Singapore and Malaysia...We also want to know the new terms and conditions to maximise the land potential in Singapore." He suspects KTMB may have been shortchanged and that the land given in return would be less in value to what KTMB has to give up. He further questioned how the development  the six land parcels in Singapore  will stimulate the domestic economy , saying "How many of our entrepreneurs, contractors or suppliers will actually be involved in the joint venture?" He accused that  using Khazanah was just another way to mask an attempt to enrich government cronies.

PAS Kuala Selangor MP Dzulkefly Ahmad compared the deal struck could be  similar to Limbang. He urged Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to explain the benefits behind the exchange of six land parcels in Tanjung Pagar for two areas in Singapore -  “We would like to know how this compromise was reached between Najib and Lee Hsien Loong (Singapore Prime Minister). We don’t want another Limbang,” . He said the government must take into consideration the opinions of others in ensuring the sovereignty and interest of the country are given priority.
“The era when only the leadership knew everything, especially in the areas of sovereignty, national and public interest is long gone...“So don’t just decide without analysing and doing a detailed study of the situation,” he said.

DAP  MP Tony Pua is wondering whether Najib’s swap of six land parcels in Tanjung Pagar for the  commercial lots in Singapore is related to the RM363 billion national deficit. Pua said he would not be surprised if the agreement was aimed at settling the national debts. “For the moment, what we know is that Najib will receive funds from the development of land in Singapore. The land in Singapore is very valuable..... I believe one of the reasons Najib went ahead with the agreement despite changes in land policies is that the Malaysian government anticipates lucrative returns from the development on KTM land..Let's see the terms he said.

Today PKR’s Zabidie Abbas had gone a step further lodging a police report against Najib about the shift of the railway station from Tanjung Pagar to Woodlands. He alleged that Najib had a vested interest in the move saying “We suspect Najib has a vested interest in the matter because his decision was sudden, with less than a day of discussion with Singapore... He has to explain. Such matters must be presented in Parliament first before a decision is made”. He claim abuse of power or elements of coercion in the decision and agreement involving a national asset.

Selangor PKR Youth info chief Mohd Ezli Mashut had similarly raised concerns of the agreement and released a statement today questioning the terms of agreement and deplore Najib being easily kneeling down to the requests of other country. He raised the possibility of Temasek who will eventually be the major shareholder in M-S Pte Ltd.

Surprisingly today, our very vocal and outspoken straight shooter ex PM Mahathir was tight-lipped about this issue. He sidestepped nearly all questions shot at him by reporters, simply smiling and shrugging when asked. He simply said: "I don't know what the agreement is about."  Perhaps he was stunned by what Najib had achieved in a day and he is still reeling in shock over this issue (  which he couldn't settled during his premiership ).

Most important now, Najib must show transparency and revealed the details and terms of agreement between him and the Singapore PM to dispel any doubts. He should not give the opposition any chance to make it into another political weapon against his administration. He has a bigger problem ahead especially with  the budget deficit and the proposed subsidies reduction over the next few weeks. 

Foxconn Suicides - APPLE is sad about it

The Star May 26 : APPLE says 'saddened" by string of suicides at Foxconn

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Apple Inc said on Wednesday that it was saddened by a recent spate of apparent suicides at Foxconn, one of its key production partners, and would continue ongoing inspections of all facilities where its products are made.
"We are saddened and upset by the recent suicides at Foxconn," the maker of iPhones and iPads said in its first public comment on the string of deaths at Foxconn's southern China production complex
 We are in direct contact with Foxconn senior management and we believe they are taking this matter very seriously," Apple said. "A team from Apple is independently evaluating the steps they are taking to address these tragic events and we will continue our ongoing inspections of the facilities where our products are made."
Apple made its remarks as Foxconn and the company's parent, Hon Hai embarked on a rare public relations blitz to counter a growing backlash against the company over the string of nine apparent suicides there this year.

Today, the 11th Foxconn employee die when he  jumped from the factory building. This came just hours after Foxconn's CEO Guo Tai Ming gave his first official response about the earlier deaths. 
This follows a spate of other deaths in the last five months and claims of workers persecution and poor working conditions.

Guo Tai-ming told reporters yesterday that despite all these suicides, the company isn't a "sweatshop," and he'd invited 100 members of the press to view the facilities today. He said "We want every employee to be happy while working here, and with a happy life. This is our goal which has been advertised, today we will not change, and this will not change in the future. What we have to change, the future (on employee to be happy while working) has to be strengthen. We did a lot of work, we have 70 psychiatrist to prevent suicide, we have trained 100 voluntary workers for the care and counseling department, they need to pass the exam to qualify for this. Our suicide prevent mechanism, we have a reporting system for it, a 50-member working group has been established".

Apple released a statement saying that they are "saddened and upset by the recent suicides at Foxconn," confirming that they are "in direct contact with Foxconn senior management and we believe they are taking this matter very seriously."

Dell meanwhile has also spoken about the suicides, saying "We expect our suppliers to employ the same high standards we do in our own facilities. We enforce these standards through a variety of tools, including the Electronics Industry code of conduct, business reviews with suppliers, self-assessments and audits" . 

Soon one will hear of USA human rights action groups and NGO's rising up in protest against such cases of factory violation and ill-treatment of workers. It was reported the workers had to work up to 12 hours a day long for a monthly pay of less than US$200.   Factory and labor compliance activist will clamor for more stringent inspection and verification of factory's practices. Labor unions in the US will grasp this opportunity to protest against the shifting of jobs out from the country.  Already there are calls to ban the import of Apple iPhones, iPods, MacBooks etc into USA from China, an initiative I feel will not succeed. Foxconn provides employment to  about 400,000 people - a frightening figure. The factory premises itself is a self contained city.  One can imagine the problems of management to take care of its people. If this is not a manufacturing facility the suicides will never make the headlines. Looking at the numbers it is even more than my home district Batu Pahat which has only 350,000 people.

Other news release :

A local press had mocked the company with this cartoon strip:

This comic shows the high building of Foxconn with a signboard put on top saying "Suicide is Forbidden, Suicide is harmful to health".
And the man (representing Foxconn) pointing at the signboard says "We have tried our best", and the man with white costume says "I think is a problem of " feng shui. "

 Another had released a "advertisement" mocking its recruitment drive :

Foxconn -- We're Hiring
Are you feeling down today? Do you feel like not living anymore? Do you want to know what it feels like to jump down from China's model suicide jumping facility? Foxconn provides you the perfect environment to jump. All the many reasons to jump here have ensured at least one jump per week. Comprehensive press coverage guaranteed to ensure your name travels ten thousand miles. What are you waiting for? Pick up your phone now and join Foxconn.
Be the kickass twelfth jumper. You can do it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

BE a VOTER - Exercise your right to do it

Promoting the efforts of this group of concerned citizens  to have all potential voters registered. All info posted obtained from brochures and additional information can be found at :



This is how your voice, thoughts and opinions are translated into something the government and political parties can hear.
Your vote is the ticket to expressing your voice. Your vote expresses your choices in freedom and equality, in government, leaders, policies, freedom of press, transparency, gender equality and so much more.


 Most people avoid the issue of politics and don't want to be associated with it at all. But have you ever talked about taxes, corruption, freedom or equality and wanted to do something about it ? How did you feel about the toll and petrol increases ?
Do you blog ? Do you agree with the regulations placed for bloggers?
Everything is affected by politics. Politics plays a much bigger role in our lives than we realize.
This is a democratic country, and that means it's your right to get a say in who runs your country, and how this country is run. When we choose not to vote, we are also choosing not to voice our opinions. It's almost as if we're saying we don't care what happens. So in that sense, we lose our right to complain if things don't pan out the way we want it to.
People believe that one vote doesn't make a difference. The truth is, every single vote counts.

- We want to believe that the power of "one" is not simply overrated, just rarely challenged
- We want Positive Action not Negative Reactions
- We want to integrate not tolerate
- We want to stop complaining, and start acting
- We want our friends to stop migrating overseas and our parents to stop telling us  to do so
- We want to be colour blind to our neighbours
- We want to stand up to be responsible for our collective feature and believe that others want to as well

The decisions we make today shape our tomorrow, individually as a community, and ultimately as a nation. We want to voice our choice the best and most civil way we know how in practicing our democratic right ----- BY VOTING

It takes 13 months to register as a voter. If general elections were to be suddenly held in 3 months time. you wouldn't be eligible to vote.

Where can I register as a voter ?

1. Visit to find out where is the nearest mobile registration booths

2. At permanent registration centers located at the Election Commission HQ, State Election Offices or Post Offices with computer facilities
Fill Form A based on your  Identity Card ( MyKad ) , JPN, KPPK9 or JPN KPPK II receipts issued by the National Registration Department

3. At Mobile Registration Units setup by the Election Commission, or registration by Asst Registrars ( from political parties ) or by Asst Registrars at government departments

How do I register overseas ?

- Go personally to the Malaysian High Commission. Embassy or Consulate in the country you reside in
- Produce your MyKad to the officer in charge
- State your current address in the country you in which you reside in, your occupation, and the serial number of Form A
- You will be given a printed copy of the registration form as a record and proof of registration

DELL STREAK on Android - a smaller alternative to iPAD

More features than Apple iPAD but on a smaller screen 5" - reminds me of my previous htc Athena X7510 and Dopod U1000. Wonder whether  it can be available online for Malaysians  in Dell website ?
Watch the video - unit looks very slick and smooth

News release from DELL:

5/25/2010:  Bracknell, United Kingdom - Today, Dell released plans for Streak, a 5-inch Android-based Tablet designed to provide people the best “on-the-go” entertainment, social connection, and navigation experience. Early this June the Dell Streak will be available across the UK at O2 stores,, The Carphone Warehouse, and later in the month at Pricing and data plans for the UK will be announced by O2 ahead of availability. Later this summer, Dell plans to make Streak available in the U.S.

The Dell Streak is a compact and powerful companion for people who want to expand their ability to access their digital lives on the go, and realize tomorrow’s technology today. The spacious 5-inch screen is ideal for experiencing thousands of Android Market™ widgets, games and applications, all without squinting or compromising portability. B uilt-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and available 3G connectivity brings easy access for downloading and listening to music, updating social networking status in real-time, and staying connected to friends and family through e-mail, text, IM, and voice calls.

On-the-go students, mobile professionals, and active families will find Streak’s web-browsing capabilities as natural as a laptop. The 5-inch screen is large enough to present Web pages in their natural form, create a comfortable viewing experience, and make turn-by-turn navigation simple and safe. The Dell Streak leverages Qualcomm’s Snapdragon™ solution with integrated 1GHz processor to combine basic functionality, performance, and benefits of a laptop in a pocket friendly size.

The Dell Streak was designed with the future in mind and will support over-the-air updates including platform upgrades, Adobe Flash 10.1 on Android 2.2 later this year, video chat applications and other software innovations.

Key Features:
• Integrated Google Maps with turn-by-turn navigation, street and satellite views
• A full screen browsing experience with a 5-inch capacitive multi-touch WVGA display
• Easily integrated social media apps: Twitter™, Facebook, YouTube
• High resolution 5 MP camera, VGA front facing camera, removable battery, built-in Wi-Fi, 3G and Bluetooth connectivity options
• 2GB* of internal dedicated storage provides plenty of space to access and download Google Android Market’s many options
• Packaged with cushions made from 100 percent sustainable, compostable bamboo

• Android platform complete with Android Market and Dell user interface enhancements
• ARM-based Processor: Qualcomm’s powerful and efficient Snapdragon chipset and software platform with integrated 1GHz processor
• 3G + WiFi + Bluetooth
• UMTS / GPRS / EDGE class 12 GSM radio with link speeds of up to HSDPA 7.2 Mbps1 / HSDPA
• 5 MP autofocus camera with dual LED flash. Easy point, shoot, and uploads to YouTube, Flickr, Facebook and more
• User accessible Micro SD expandable memory available up to 32 GB2. Store up to 42 movies2 or 32,000 photos2, or 16,000 songs2 with 32GB* Micro SD

DEMO video at All Things Digital Conference :

Raja Petra Kamaruddin Speech at London on 22 May

Raja Petra Kamarudin,  now in exile gave a talk on 22 May at London about his detention experiences under the ISA and the need for greater Transparency and Accountability in Malaysian politics. The talk was hosted by the Solicitors International Human Rights Group ( SIHRG ) which addresses human rights issues in the UK and around the world.

No other blogger has been so systematically targeted for speaking out and fighting for greater democratic space, justice and a more inclusive society in Malaysia. 
For his activism, Raja Petra has been twice detained without trial under the Internal Security Act (ISA). 
He has been charged with sedition and criminal defamation for allegedly implying that the current Malaysian Prime Minister and his wife were involved in the sensational murder of a young Mongolian female translator. 
Today, RPK remains in exile, unconvinced that he will be afforded due process and justice in defending himself against these charges and in responding to the appeal regarding his ISA detention. 
In his speech ,  he then challenged the Malaysian government to bring him to trial in the United Kingdom where he felt that there was a level playing field
in his fight against charges of defamation and sedition as well as his
appeal against his detention under the ISA.

He said, "I will take on the government and I will fight them but I
will do what Sun Tzu said, 'Fight him in your territory. So my
territory is here in the UK."

His closing comment  : " I make it sound like there is no freedom of speech in Malaysia .... yes , there is freedom of speech in Malaysia ... only no freedom after speech."
 Below are the 7 part videos , each video about 5 mins :

 Part 1 : History of ISA

Part 2 : Continuing History of ISA and story of his 2 detentions

Part 3 : Detention declared illegal, Government appeal and judges selection issue

Part 4 : Judges issue in appeal  and introducing Suhakam

Part 5 : Confession and mental/physical torture under detention

Part 6 : Confession techniques , other ISA cases

Part 7: ISA in Sabah, Mahathir views on ISA

Report about his speech :

Local lawyers opinion about RPK's challenge :

Monday, May 24, 2010

Zaid Ibrahim wants Hulu Selangor polls nullified

Excerpt from The Star 25 May : 
PKR’s Datuk Zaid Ibrahim is seeking a court order to declare the Hulu Selangor by-election void on grounds of alleged bribery and corrupt practices.
He wants the court to declare if such conduct is permitted in an election, adding that if the court found elements of bribery, fresh polls should be called.
In a petition filed yesterday, Zaid sought a declaration that Barisan Nasional’s P. Kamalanathan was not duly elected as Hulu Selangor MP. In the by-election held on April 25, Kamalanathan defeated Zaid by a 1,725-vote majority.
“I’m not doing this for personal reasons. I am doing this in the interest of all the political parties. Certain legal issues need to be clarified before the next general election,” Zaid said yesterday.
Dear Zaid ,

I understand your disappointment in losing the by-election. You knew it was going to be a tough and close fight but  you were still  optimistic that you will win. You felt that victory was snatched from you through the "dirty" tactics and "vote buying"  of  the BN.

You are a lawyer and I am very sure you'd study thoroughly the pros and cons before initiating this suit. You must have a certain level of confidence in winning or are you just trying to pull a stunt to get the public to be aware of the injustice done to you or are you doing this just as a matter of principle ?

This could be also a good way to build up public opinion to support your cause and expose all the money politics practiced by BN. We know that it is   a corrupt practice to entice voters with monetary promises but proving these will be difficult.  Maybe you have a hidden card in your sleeve we are not aware of .

Most layman would feel this is a futile task and the chance of you winning is as good as one trying to sell sand to Egypt. The courts are usually pro BN and  are beholden to the government - do not be surprise the case will be dismissed without going to trial  .  It'd take a brave and an independent politically non-aligned judge to give judgement in your favour.  Even so the win is only temporary as BN will appeal and history had proven BN usually wins all their appeals. Will we really get to see true justice in your case then ?

It is going to be a uphill task ahead. Still you have nothing to lose but much to gain.

I do respect your decision and I can only wish you good luck

God bless

May 26 : Proposals to reduce subsidies

fr May 26 : this will be the day all Malaysians will be affected economically.

From the Government Transformation Program website :

"Our subsidy bill is not sustainable, especially with a rising budget deficit and government debt."
We may not realize it, but our lives are surrounded by subsidies. Most Malaysians know that we have a fuel subsidy, but many of us don’t know that essential items such as cooking oil, flour, sugar, education, toll, healthcare and electricity are all subsidized. Although subsidies are a form of financial assistance given by the Government to help lower our cost of living, they have their negative consequences.
Malaysia’s total subsidy for 2009 amounted to RM74 billion which is equivalent to RM12,900 per household, and these include aid not only for the poor but the wealthier segments of society. Besides benefiting the wrong target groups, subsidies also result in leakage and abuse, and leads to over-consumption and over-production.
Malaysia is also one of the most subsidized nations in the world. We have more subsidies than countries such as Philippines, India, China and even Somalia! As a result of this continuing trend, it has resulted with Government bearing an enormous subsidy bill, which contributes to a rising national debt and creating long-term sustainability issue for our economy.
Subsidies have to be reviewed and rationalized in order to develop a more targeted plan so that they benefit the right demographics such as the poor and the vulnerable and not burden the future generation of Malaysians. This is integral to help move Malaysia forward and improve our quality of life, as we move towards Vision 2020.

The cabinet will meet on May 26 to discuss  proposals to reduce the country's hefty subsidy bill. The cost of subsidies has more than doubled since 2006 and had push the country to its biggest budget deficit in over 20 years. Official government figures showed subsidy spending rose to RM24.5 billion in 2009 ( 15.3 percent of total federal government spending ) which is more than double the RM10.1 billion it spent in 2006.  

Previous efforts to reduce the subsidy bill (  covering a wide range of goods from petrol to electricity and cooking oil ) that accounted for 15.3 percent of federal government operating expenditure in 2009 was rejected by the cabinet fearing a backlash from voters.  Plans to cut subsidy spending to RM20.9 billion this year were dealt a blow by the government's failure to implement planned petrol price hikes in May.

Najib has assigned Idris Jala to head the government taskforce to come up with a series of reforms and proposals to reduce Malaysia's bill from food, petrol, electricity and gas subsidies. Those proposals will be presented on 26 May with  envisaged cuts starting in June, with price rises every six months over a five-year timeframe. The fact that Najib has outsourced all of his economic reforms to independent bodies shows that there is little support within the government for painful decisions. Failure to implement two electricity price hikes have hit credibility. The thinktank has put the total cost of subsidies at RM74 billion (US$22.4 billion) annually, although that includes social welfare, health and education.

 Following are the options the government may consider:

- Complete withdrawal of subsidies in one go :
Unlikely and will be hotly condemn by all voters including those pro BN. Such an approach would also cause inflation to spike and could prompt Bank Negara  to hike rates. If this happened there would likely be a big rally in Malaysian bonds. Still smarting from a by-election loss in Sibu,   Najib  is unlikely to opt for this choice, especially with Sarawak state polls looming this year.

- A gradual approach
This is far more likely. It would reassure markets - Prices could be hiked over a credible period of years on a regular basis.
Savings from raising petrol prices alone in mid-year could be as much as RM1.4 billion in 2010, based on a RM0.15 hike. If electricity was hiked by RM0.024 per kilowatt-hour, that could save RM800 million in 2010.
The risk is that regular price hikes on a semi-annual or annual basis could cause a continual feeling of discontent with the government.
Inflation could spike up to 4.5 percent at the start of 2011 if petrol, gas, electricity and toll road prices were hiked.

Najib said - "The next day, there will be a forum open to the public to discuss these subsidy proposals. All the cabinet ministers have been invited for this as well" . I was disappointed with this Open Day event as it will be held on 27 May for only few hours from 9 am to 2 pm at KLCC. I wonder how much feedback and opinion the government can get in such a short period. Most probably most users visiting the booths will be tourist as in that period of time most people are working. If the government is serious in obtaining any feedback - this "open day" should be held over at least 3 days over the weekend from Friday to Sunday and not only limit to KL but in at least one major town in every state of the country. Such half heart-ed initiatives only gives an impression the decisions on the subsidies cut is already made and this is just a "wayang" to show government openness to public concerns and opinions.

With Malaysia's economy rebounding strongly, tax receipts will grow and the need for government stimulus measures will fall so the budget gap will narrow more quickly than the government's forecast of 5.6 percent of gross domestic product this year. 

Any proposed cuts and subsequent hikes in prices will affect more the lower to middle income earners . With the general elections coming up in 2013,  this is a challenge Najib will have to face both politically and economically.

Update comments  from the STAR 25 May :

- Savings from government subsidies can be used to spur Malaysia’s goal of becoming a high-income nation.
AmResearch senior economist Manokaran Mottain said that by reducing subsidies, the country would also appear more attractive to investors.
“It is the Government’s intention to reduce subsidies so the funds can be allocated to development. We have to move towards being a market-oriented economy. Investors think our economy is distorted,” he told The Star.
Manokaran said the money saved could be diverted to fund development projects, which would have a multiplier effect around the country.
“This will result in stronger growth as the country moves at a faster rate,” he said.
The current subsidy mechanism is no longer sustainable, as Government debt stood at RM362bil last year, or 54% of the GDP.
That is much higher than Indonesia’s 28%, and is approaching the Philippines 62%, he said in reference to Monday’s frontpage report in The Star of the Government’s plan to cut subsidies.

BUM : Bloggers Universe Malaysia - Report of Event held on 22 May

This was my first experience attending a bloggers conference. This occasion was the 4th in the series and  is also to mark World Press Freedom Day which fell on May 3. It is organised by the Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI) in association with All-Blogs (the national alliance of bloggers) and a group of socio-political bloggers. More than a hundred people attended - present were bloggers, bloggers-to-be, non-bloggers, the press and the alternate media guys.

Details of this event is at my earliest post  :

THEME: Bloggers: Moving Malaysia Forward
Date: Saturday, May 22, 2010
Venue: Lake View Club, Subang Jaya
Time : 1000 to 2030


Professor Dr Lim Teck Ghee ( CPI Director ) open the event touching on key divisive issues faced by Malaysians . He highlighted religion being used by unscrupulous politicians for their own benefit, restriction on press and media freedom quoting examples from recent producers of NTV7 ( Joshua Wong ) and RTM ( Chou Z Lam ) who were being "force" to remove their programs from airing. Both of them eventually quit their positions. He said the present culture of fear and intimidation had forced the local media to present a sanitized and castrated view of the news to the public. The event today will be a day full of hotly contested opinions and points of view on key divisive issues confronting Malaysia. He believe that the presentations and dialogue can serve as the basis for clearer thinking rather than the muddled-headed pronouncements and political spinning that has been so prevalent.

Bloggers' Universe Malaysia (BUM) 2010 organising committee chairman YL Chong followup on the opening address stressing that the event was unbiased because the organizers serve in their individual capacity and do not represent any specific political interests or alignments. The organizers had tried their best to get participation from all sides - those pro Government, the opposition and NGO's/bloggers. He hope this year event will be more balanced compared with previous years and he look forward to a lively interaction between the so-called traditional media and new media. He ended his address by announcing Datuk Ahirudin Attan aka Rocky Bro as the next year BUM OC Chairman.

Speaker : Menteri Besar of Selangor, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim
Moderator: Helen Ang
Topic: “Selangor Government’s use of the Internet to improve good governance and service delivery, and the State’s efforts to bridge the Internet divide”

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid started his address saying he join politics as he "wanted to reform" . He touched briefly on his entry into politics, his loss in the Ijok by-election and eventual victories in the 2008 General elections. He stressed the importance of a politician being transparent, aware of his people's problems/issues, be sensitive and be accountable. As such communication with the people was important. The mainstream media was limited as it was controlled by the ruling government BN. The online news media and bloggers represent another alternative media of communication. He touched briefly on several related initiatives - Internet Selangor TV, Facebook interaction with the people, gradual declassification of official documents as part of the transparency initiatives. Finally he announced he will be tabling the Freedom of Information enactment bill (  except security related issues ) at its next state assembly meeting either in August or September despite objections from certain quarters, including the Federal Government. His call for a free press was well supported  by bloggers at the forum.

3. THE ALLAH ISSUE : Various Perspectives
Moderator: Blogger Salahuddin
Speakers : Zaid Ibrahim ( lawyer ) , Haris Ibrahim ( blogger People’s Parliament) YB Khalid Samad ( MP for Shah Alam ), Akramsyah Sanusi (politico-economic blogger )

Background of this issue : The controversy started when the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Dec 31, 2009 granted local Catholic weekly newspaper The Herald permission to use the word Allah in their publication after a two-year court battle against an initial ban by the Home Ministry. The Home Ministry appeal and managed to get a stay to stop the weekly from using the word. Subsequently several churches were torched, fire-bombed and splashed with paint as a protest.

This session was perhaps the most "hot" event discussed.
Zaid Ibrahim started and went straight to the point saying this Allah was a make-up "hot" issue by politicians for their own interest. An issue which he said started with a mistake make by a government servant who had executed his power and authority without understanding the history and beliefs of the religion. The high court decision should be respected and the appeal should not be raised. He said the government should let good common sense prevail and not to push this issue further.

Haris Ibrahim ( creator of the blog 'People's Parliament' ) elaborated his view and interpretation of Islam and the word Allah. He advised that the Muslim should look inwards and strengthen their own faith instead of  accusing Christians who use the word 'Allah' . By harping on the issue that Christian use of Allah will confuse the Muslim community only give one the impression that their own faith is weak and lacking. He was unhappy with the flaming of this issue further by Utusan Malaysia . He said “Islam is about justice" and Prophet Muhammad and other prophets during the early Islamic civilisation had accepted it to be used by non-Muslims. He ended saying BN pressure of forcing Muslims not to accept openness and opinions of others is shameful.

Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad from PAS commented that Muslims were taught to recite the Quran but not to understand it. He said it was not a question of the name and that fundamentally there is nothing wrong with the use of the term by non-Muslims. He feel it was the fanning of the issue by the "Umno Goons" that get Muslims emotional . Furthermore Utusan Malaysia was also actively flaming the hatred resulting it being a problem. 

Akhramsyah Sanusi , a pro-Umno blogger disagreed arguing that the minorities should respect the needs and wants of the majority. He said since Muslim majority is unhappy with the usage of the word 'Allah', then the minority should respect it for sake of racial harmony. He emphasized that the word 'Allah' to be reserved exclusively for Muslims and no one else.

Feedback comments from the audience was in favor of the first 3 speakers.

4. COVERAGE BY MAINSTREAM MEDIA - Insights and Perspectives
Moderator: Datuk Ahirudin Attan aka Rockybru
Speakers : P.Gunasegaram ( Managing Editor, StarBiz ), Wong Choon Mei ( Consultant Editor, ), Blogger Zaki Ahmad aka BigDog.   Zaini Hassan of Utusan Malaysia did not turn up.

Gunasegaram started off lamenting the restrictions by the government on mainstream news media. He said the Printing Press and Publications Act was very rigid and together with the threat of the Official Secrets Act it was unfortunate reporters do not have a complete free say in reporting. He said the Home Ministry is very powerful and has a high degree of discretion to just cancel one's publication permit. So mainstream media can only offer limited coverage and professionalism is retarded.

Both Choon Mei and Zaki followup with agreement that liberalization in the mainstream media cannot be achieved as most mainstream news media were owned by the governing political parties. Unless there is a limit of control on ownership by political parties one will still get reported news biased towards the political owners. This was one of the reasons why smaller newspapers and alternative online news media are getting more attractive to the public.

5. Special Address: : Engaging the Urban Rakyat via Internet . Experiences from Facebook and Blog4FT
Speaker : Datuk Raja Nong Chik bin Raja Zainal Abidin ( Minister of Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing )

The FT minister started off welcoming the use of the new media as a communication tool with the people. He recounted his experience in his early days as a Minister trying to convince and encourage his staffs to use the new media ( Internet, blogs, Facebook etc ) . He said BN can change and using the Internet to reach out to the people was a good alternative as he can can get to know more and better understand his people's issues and problems. He was especially happy with the contributions he had received from his Facebook "friends" - which provide a more personal approach, closer interaction to the public , receiving input and feedbacks and keep his officers on alert. He elaborated on the success of the Blog4FT initiative as a promotion tool to keep public inform and updated. He ended saying he might want to start tweeting.

6. Bloggers’ Role in Bridging the Religious Divide
Moderator: Helen Ong
YB Teresa Kok ( MP for Seputeh), YB Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad ( MP for Kuala Selangor ), P.Uthayakumar ( Human Rights Party pro-tem secretary )

Teresa Kok started off describing her bad experience being arrested under ISA due to the wrong accusations by a blogger and subsequent Utusan Malaysia Zaini Hassan reporting that she had led a delegation to denounce the morning Muslim prayers. She expressed her gratitude to her Muslim friends and colleagues who had help her recover from this trauma by arranging her visits to mosque and Muslim communities to explain the said issue. She recall the recent Sibu by Election which was another testament that DAP and PAS could work together and participate together as seen in their church visits, campaigning and ceramahs. Being a politician now in the State government, she said she need to be extra careful when blogging or commenting especially on issues related to  religion so as  to avoid any misinterpretation and usage of it as a political tool against her, Selangor State government  and Pakatan Rakyat.

Dr Dzulkefly described and elaborated himself as a Islamist Democrat. He said the issue of religious divide arose  when one's rights are perceived to be trampled and they feel challenged. He emphasized the concept of religious plurality based on the need of not just tolerance but understanding of one and another's religion and beliefs. He believe in shared values and that PAS ia committed and always ready to work with non - Islamic parties eg DAP and the perceived notion that PAS wanted a Islamic State was incorrect. He emphasized the need of respect of the other view/beliefs and similarly he expect back a similar respect from them of his own beliefs. He concluded saying Allah is for all mankind and the recent issue of Allah being use by Christians is just a political ploy .

Uthayakumar was in "killing mode" when he attacked  and blamed the government, the media, MIC and everyone else for the plight of the Indian community in Malaysia. He quoted several examples of temple demolition, Indians being shot by police and eviction of Indians that was not widely reported. He compared these cases with the recent Amin's shooting case, Teoh Beng Hock murder case and firebombing of churches which got much greater nationwide wide coverage and support from bloggers and the alternative media. He chided bloggers for not writing more on Indian rights, dismissing them as no different from BN-owned mainstream media. He concluded and emphasized many times that Indians were always treated as a minority and being side-lined. His tone was indeed racialist and it was not a surprise he was subsequently bombarded by several notable bloggers as being racist and communalistic. Calm eventually prevailed after all the "mud-slinging" and the conference ended.

Android 2.2 Froyo vs Apple iPhone 4.0

Android ver 2.2 codename Froyo was officially announced by Google on 19 May. I have summarized the launch event at . iPhone 4.0 will be launched on June 7. The iPhone details are based on the various web reviews, Apple announcements and leaks. This comparison could be useful to those undecided between the two OS.

Source :

iPhone 4.0 vs. Android 2.2
iPhone OS 4.0
Android 2.2 Froyo
Phenomenal MultiTouch interface, great UI , unbeatable
Good Multitouch interface, good UI, decent gestures.
Yes. Looking closely, apps pause in the background, cripple multi-tasking. Apps except VoIP, Streaming, don’t execute in background, no matter what.
Full Multitasking, OS allows full background processing on demand,
kernel controls and kills apps when low on resources.
Push/Cloud Notifications
PUSH notifications, cloud notifications to trigger apps.
Apart from what iPhone does, Cloud notifications can initiate Intents (Actions) within defined applications. E.g. open a map with a specific route from PC, without touching phone.
Contacts, email, calendar, apps, music, videos Only via iTunes
Wirelessly sync Contacts, email, calendar apps, Apps settings (app
data) over 3g, Wifi. Sync
multiple devices by Automatically getting apps on new phone with same Google
Corporate/Business users
Exchange support, VPN client, email sync, Remote Wipe
Exchange support, VPN client, email sync, Remote Wipe plus Open API
(Device Admin API) for further extending the scope.
App Installation
From app Store or via USB
iTunes sync
From Marketplace or remotely from PC/Mac via Online marketplace.
Choose any Android phone (if you have multiple) and app gets installed
Music download/Sync
iTunes via USB or iTunes store on iphone.
Over the Air (OTA) transfer to phone without touching the phone from
PC or via any 3rd party stores.
Stream Music from PC to phone
Use 3rd party apps
New Official plugin (Simplified media) works with iTunes, Windows
media player and lets you stream any media onDemand right to your Android
Much bigger,
better gaming base
Small gaming base, but newer, powerful OpenGL APIs, and Dalvik VM JIT are making Android more
powerful for all the existing and future apps.
Game Social Networks
XBox Live alike social
network for iPhone gamers
Internet Browser
Safari Browser is decent on speeds
Nexus One was already faster than iPhone 3GS. OS 4.0, Android 2.2 makes Javascript run 2-4x times faster using Chrome’s V8 engine making it World’s Fastest Mobile Browser. And Froyo support Flash Player 10.1 with Multitouch
No. Of Apps
Nearly 180,000
App Updates
Individual, Update all at a time
Individual, Update all, Automatic App updates as soon as update
becomes available
App Performance
No App performance improvements in 4.0 from 3.1.3 or 3.1.x
Dalvik VM’s JIT (Just in time compiler) is now enabled, all existing apps (which already run fast vs iPhone ) would run 2x – 4x times faster than Android 2.1
App Feedback/Crash Reports
Users can rate the Apps and judge based on that
Users can see Ratings, Failures, Crashes and Complete Java StackTrace of failures
Bluetooth + USB. Wifi only on Jailbroken devices
USB + Wifi out of the box. No word on bluetooth
Turn by turn Navigation
Good apps available, but not for free
Google Maps Navigation is the most superior navigation app, yet, free
eBook reading
Superior iBooks + Kindle reader
Inferior 3rd party apps, Kindle coming soon.
UI customizations: Widgets, Skins, themes
Only wallpapers
Everything: Themes, Widgets, Skins, Multi-Screen Wallpapers
Hardware access from Browser
GPS location via GeoLocation API
Upcoming access to magnetometer, accelerometer, GPS, Camera,
microphone and more
Integrated Search
Search email, sms, app names instantly
Google search, apps, search within apps (when supported by app)
Decent Notification manager, can get annoying.
Notifications hide smartly and are easily accessible when needed.