Archive for the 'governance' Category


The 2009 candy bar

Budget 2009 was tabled this evening as usual, after the stock market closes.

And as expected, it was chock full of sweets that before you know it, Malaysians will be flocking to doctors for diabetes management.

Anyway, the man himself couldn’t resist taking a swipe at the Opposition, slamming them as being populist.

I don’t know, this budget is pretty populist to me. The Government is throwing money at nearly everyone!

Here are things that will affect me:

Households which incur monthly electricity bills of RM20 or less, will not have to pay for electricity, for the period from 1 October 2008 to end of 2009.

* The current tax rebate of RM350 per person be increased to RM400 for those with taxable income of RM35,000 and below.

* All interest income from savings for individuals be tax exempt.

* Reduce import duties on various consumer durables from between 10% and 60% to between 5% and 30%. These include blender, rice cooker, microwave oven and electric kettle.

Full import duty exemption on several food items, which currently attract import duties of between 2% and 20%. These include vermicelli, biscuits, fruit juices and canned sweet corn.

* Reduce the road tax on private passenger vehicles with diesel engines to be the same as those with petrol engines, effective 1 September 2008.

I WON’T HAVE TO PAY (maybe a minimum sum of RM3 lah) FOR MY ELECTRICITY USAGE as I consume < RM 20 every month. Coupled with a meagre RM4 of water, I effectively don’t need to pay for utilities. Ah…the perverse joy of living in Malaysia.

I have been planning to get a blender and microwave oven. This means that over time, probably next year, these things should get cheaper.

It’s nice to know that comfort food should be cheaper tomorrow. I can buy Chipsmore without feeling too guilty.

Now by some perverse reasoning, I don’t want Anwar to take over!! Then I need to pay for electricity 😦 But wait, Anwar promises cheap petrol, and since I’m planning to get a car sometime next year….hmmmm


The press and power

Something I read in the Times resonated a lot.

The stories of overmighty monarchs, overmighty executives, and overmighty prime ministers and chief whips are often told. But there is such a thing as an overmighty mass media too, and it would be a sad day when Commons Speakers felt under constant pressure to satisfy the press.

Though this issue in the UK is far removed from what’s happening here in Malaysia, it worth pondering on the subtle power the press holds-the power to shape public opinion for better or worse.



Oh my God!

I first read about it in RockyBru’s blog. A video-clip showed lawyer, VK Lingam having a phone coversation somebody, allegedly our current Chief Justice way back in 2002. You bet that it has nothing to do with the fish head curry they had in Restoran Mamak.

Heading over to Anwar Ibrahim’s blog, I watched the clip. Although the audio was good, it was still hard to make out what they are talking about. A written transcript is available and a cursory scan shows that something fishier than fish head curry is afoot, or rather has happened.

This sort of confirms what everybody has been suspecting all along, lawyers, judges and well connected Datuks are all in cahoots.

A can of worms has been opened and the next few days will see many, many fierce verbal attacks.  The way I see it-and I hope that I’m wrong-this will be a battle between the alternative media and the print and broadcasting media over whose version of the events will become ‘truth’.

…And I can’t help but notice how well timed this release was-so close to the ‘imminent’ GE. Anwar is shrewd.


The minority report and DNA profiling

Most of us should have seen Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report starring Tom Cruise. I liked it, and the premise of preventive arrest is as frighteningly enchanting as a Matrix-like dystopia.

Sometimes, the fear of what we could do in the future paralyzes us to immobility.

Hence my interest in this matter perked up upon reading this piece in the .

There is a conflict, it often seems, between science and freedom. The more scientists discover about us, down to microscopic genetic tendencies we might have to aggressive impulses or early dementia, the less secure we feel in our liberties.

In a sense, science is like gazing into a crystal ball. After all, in the public mind, science matters because of its predictive power, which is what everyone cares about anyway.

This raises the age old debate between free will and determinism. How much of me is free-how much of it is controlled by factors outside my control, like my genetic makeup.

Public policy makers, heck even the layman often make the mistake of thinking that just because I don’t have direct control over my DNA, therefore I don’t have control over my future actions. Or perhaps it’s immediate corollary appeals to us even more: If I want to control my actions, I must change my DNA.

Fallacies like this play up the apparent conflict that science has with personal liberty. A conflict fueled partly, by the innate belief that science tells all there is to know about me, while personal freedom is all there is to being me. It’s a tough call, one that plays out in policy debates as a conflict between security of the masses and individual freedoms.

But there needn’t be a conflict. If DNA tells us that we are predisposed to violent or suicidal behavior, perhaps the right response is to take personal responsibility for our choices. Granted that some thoughts and immediate impulses are above control, there are habits we can undertake that will reduce the likelihood of such behavior from blowing out of proportion. We are certainly not mentally incapacitated and clearly lucid enough to realize where our emotional state is heading to. In essence, isn’t this freedom?

No one, not even in government wants a totalitarian dystopia. But then there’s the age old paradox of the heap. Adding one  grain of sand to a scattering of sand grains doesn’t make it a heap. Although, if the process continues, eventually you’ll have one. The question to ask is how much restrictive policy can governments enforce, before we cross the line?


Ouch! Kena tangkap juga

Getting a Malaysian driving license has always been a “hush hush” affair.

For the record, I got mine after 3 tries and without bribing. Not particularly proud of the fact that I’m the only one in my family who needed so many tries. My brother and sister got theirs on the first try without bribing too.

But talk about missing the fish for the ikan bilis.

Licence cheats: Driving instructors, e-centre workers nabbed in ACA ops

JOHOR BARU: Thousands of learner drivers nationwide have cheated to obtain their provisional “L” licences by taking the easy way out.

Instead of learning the basic safety driving skills, they paid their driving school instructors between RM100 and RM400 to get the licences without sitting for the Highway Code test….

But aside from the fact that the corrupt driving testers still out there and driving schools still encouraging students to bribe, the news above got me stunned…

Undang also don’t want to take a? Considering that so little effort is needed memorize the sample questions to pass the meaningless exam-these people
deserve to be caught! Goodness, it’s not even the real driving test lor…



Over at Screenshots, Jeff Ooi publicizes a number of forums organized by DAP no doubt in various locales around the country. Personally, spare me the pseudo- social commentaries and abstract political posturing on “Defending Meng Chee” (Yes this is a jibe against the DAP.)

MCA has come out in another way, choosing instead to “continue to assist” (whatever that means!) Meng Chee. I just hope they mean and do what they say so confidently in the newspapers.

But the Cabinet takes the hardline with an ambigious “the law will have to take its course“. That’s just being kecil hati. 

I have watched the video, and I wonder at the storm in teacup that suddenly brewed over. I myself chuckled a little, identifying straightaway at the rap. But he wasn’t the first one, how about that fellow from Muar? Also the same thing what…

Must be because never use Negaraku….

But whatever the case, I think there’s too much attention given to him given much more pressing issues at hand, a sentiment echoed by Lim Kit Siang. YouTube is first and foremost a video sharing site. Think of it as a public wall, where anyone and everyone is invited to draw graffiti on it. It is public and a medium for self expression. A phenomenon of Web 2.0-which I’m sure not one cabinet minister even understands what it is-YouTube videos are VERY PERSONAL.  If you don’t like something, all you needed to do was to close the tab. A threat to prosecute Meng Chee really amounts to thought policing. Shudder the thought.

For whatever is worth, we give too much credit to Meng Chee by politicizing this YouTube clip. It’s like making a big fuss that your teenage daughter starts keeping posters of Shah Rukh Khan in her room. Just the hormones for goodness sake!

With the stock market spiralling down to less that 1200 points, our pukul enam setengah of a Cabinet certainly won’t have the energy to tell the AG (they are not supposed too btw) to persecute. And I don’t think the AG has much of a case anyway. Sedition Act? Can’t even tell the difference between an expression of discontent with an incitement to rebellion?

Doesn’t anyone recognize satire when they see it?


So what if Gandalf is Gay?

Sir Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf the Gay Gray in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings visited Singapore recently to play King Lear in Shakespeare’s King Lear. CNA interviewed him and over Singapore national television announced that,

It’s not exactly okay to sodomize your male partner in Singapore too, much less have oral sex. It’s a criminal offense. So what do you do when an actor as magnetic as Ian comes to do theater in Singapore? You shut up and let him do what he does best: wow Singaporean audiences.

Singapore’s tourism strategy is to promote itself as an epicenter for arts and culture in this region.

Seems that Malaysia is not spared from embarrassing encounters with the rainbow league too. But this is much much more than a friendly trip down to the playhouse. Rev. Ouyang plans to open a church here in Malaysia and has held his first service in a hotel here.

The pastor is homosexual and open about it.

Of course, the mainstream tabloids newspapers did a story and he seems to be public enemy no. 1 after

Muslim-majority Malaysia will block a plan by the country’s first and only openly gay pastor to establish a church embracing homosexuals, bisexuals and transsexuals, a minister said on Monday.

Reverend Ouyang Wen Feng, an ethnic Chinese Malaysian ordained in the US, caused controversy after saying he wanted to set up the church by 2010.

The government would block the plan, Tourism Minister Adnan Tengku Mansor told AFP, adding the country had always sought to portray itself as a “family-oriented” holiday destination.

“We have no intention of being portrayed the same way like other cities such as Bangkok or those other cities in that league,” Mansor said, apparently referring to the Thai capital’s sex industry.

Whatever our views towards being gay, being a pastor and running churches, you must admit that what Mansor said is quite undiplomatic (towards Thailand).

That aside, what concerns me more however is highlighted in bold. Is it right for the government to intervene into an internal religious affair concerning Christians? Back off Mansor, opening a church has nothing to do with tourism.

Dangerous precedents in the making.

About me

moogleBorn and bred in KL, Malaysia. Now studying for his Phd in Singapore. Learning to walk one fall at a time.
December 2018
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