KESEDARAN KEBAKARAN BOT DAN KAPAL MILIK PERSENDIRIAN PERLU DIPERTINGKATKAN

M.Y Pochea yang berusia 45 tahun sedang terbakar di perairan Pulau Langkawi, Kedah. Kapal layar mewah milik persendirian tersebut yang mempunyai panjang keseluruhan 75.15 meter telah alami kerosakan teruk dalam insiden tersebut.

Pada 5 Februari 2021, sebuah bot nelayan Kelas C telah musnah dalam satu kebakaran yang berlaku 16.6 batu nautika ke Barat Daya Sungai Besar, Selangor. Dalam kejadian jam 10.20 pagi tersebut, seorang awak-awak warganegara Myanmar telah melecur di 90 peratus bahagian badan manakala dua orang lagi awak-awak warga Myanmar dan tekongnya yang merupakan warganegara tempatan dapat diselamatkan Maritim Malaysia.

Pada 18 Februari 2021, sebuah kapal layar mewah, M.Y Pochea, telah terbakar di perairan Pulau Langkawi. Kesemua enam orang yang berada diatas kapal layar tersebut telah berjaya diselamatkan oleh Maritim Malaysia. Kapal layar tersebut telah dibina pada tahun 1976 dan berusia 45 tahun.

Kedua-dua insiden tersebut adalah di antara insiden-insiden kebakaran yang melibatkan bot-bot dan kapal-kapal di perairan Malaysia. Insiden yang paling masyhur ialah penenggelaman kapal mewah M.V Sun Vista 60 batu nautika ke arah Barat Daya Pulau Pinang pada 21 Mei 1999. setelah tidak dapat mengawal kebakaran yang berlaku. Kesemua lebih 1,100 orang anak kapal dan penumpang kapal sepanjang 214 meter tersebut terselamat.

Kapal tersebut berusia 36 tahun semasa kejadian berlaku.

Kebakaran di atas sebuah vesel (terminologi yang akan saya gunakan sepanjang penulisan saya untuk merujuk kepada semua jenis bot dan kapal) adalah sesuatu yang amat ditakuti. Api dapat merebak dengan begitu cepat sekali tanpa mengira sama ada vesel tersebut diperbuat daripada kayu mahupun besi.

Perolakan haba (heat convection) yang dihasilkan oleh kebakaran tersebut sama ada akan membakar terus kayu yang menjadi dinding di antara ruang dalam kapal dengan air laut, ataupun menyebabkan pengaliran haba (heat conduction) melalui besi badan kapal yang akan menyebabkan pembakaran (combustion) bahan mudah terbakar.

Kepanasan melampau akan menyebabkan peledingan badan serta bulkheads kapal. Ini menyebabkan penutupan pintu kedap air untuk membantu memendamkan kebakaran (fire suppression) menjadi mustahil.

Bagi kebakaran yang melibatkan vesel jenis kaca gentian (fibreglass), ianya lebih cenderung untuk mengeluarkan asap toksik yang berbahaya kepada anak-anak kapal.

APA YANG LAZIMNYA MENYEBABKAN KEBAKARAN DI ATAS VESEL?

Kebakaran di laut bukanlah sesuatu yang menghairankan. Namun, penyebabnya adalah hampir sama bagi kesemua kes, melainkan dalam kes-kes yang melibatkan jenayah khianat. Bagi kes bot nelayan di perairan pantai negeri Selangor di atas, kita tidak tahu usia sebenar bot tersebut. Namun, pembinaannya lebih bersifat tradisional. Kita tidak tahu juga sama ada kontraktor pendawaian yang digunakan adalah berdaftar. Kadangkala, bot nelayan dan lain-lain vesel juga ada jalankan pengubahsuaian pendawaian sama ada kerana menggantikan yang lama ataupun menambah peralatan yang tidak datang dengan keadaan asal vesel.

Litar arus terus (DC circuit), sambungan yang longgar ke bateri, suis serta pendawaian bateri yang lama dan berkarat, saluran bahanapi adalah di antara punca-punca berlakunya kebakaran vesel.

Selain itu, sebarang pendawaian yang sudah berusia melebihi 25 tahun seharusnya diganti dengan yang baharu semasa vesel menjalani major survey. Anggota kejuruteraan sesebuah kapal harus jadikan amalan memeriksa setiap pendawaian dan saluran bahanapi untuk rekahan salutan atau pelunturan warna salutan pendawaian dan saluran bahanapi sebagai satu kebiasaan.

Pemeriksaan teliti juga harus dilakukan ke atas kesemua pengapit saluran minyak supaya tidak ada yang terlalu longgar sehingga menyebabkan tumpahan bahanapi, dan tidak dipasang terlalu ketat sehingga ‘menggigit’ saluran bahanapi dan boleh menyebabkan kebocoran saluran bahanapi. Sebarang kebocoran boleh juga mengakibatkan pembentukan wasap petrol atau disel yang boleh mengakibatkan kebakaran atau letupan sekiranya bilge blower tidak dihidupkan atau tidak berfungsi dengan baik.

Satu lagi sebab utama kebakaran vesel yang lazim ialah tahap pengemasan dalam kapal adalah lemah (poor housekeeping). Kebakaran-kebakaran yang melibatkan kapal-kapal layar mewah jutaan Dollar seperti M.Y Barbie, M.Y The One, M.Y Lalibela, M.Y Pamela IV kesemua musnah dalam kebakaran yang disebabkan oleh tahap pengemasan yang lemah. Apa yang menyebabkan kebakaran M.Y Pochea pada 18 Februari 2021 belum kita ketahui. Tetapi adalah tidak menghairankan sekiranya puncanya adalah salah satu atau lebih sebab yang telah dibincangkan di atas.

KOMPETENSI ANAK KAPAL

Kalau kita amati video temuramah anak kapal M.Y Pochea yang disiarkan dalam laman Facebook Agensi Penguatkuasaan Maritim Malaysia, kita dapat lihat reaksi anak-anak kapal yang agak kelam-kabut semasa berlakunya insiden tersebut. Semasa menonton video tersebut, saya rasakan kemungkinan mereka tidak diberi latihan yang sempurna yang memenuhi kehendak undang-undang maritim.

Sebagai contoh, anak-anak kapal terpaksa menggunakan baju T untuk dilambai untuk menarik perhatian kapal ronda Maritim Malaysia yang lalu berhampiran. Tiada disebut mengenai sistem pemendaman dan pemadaman api dihidupkan. Tiada juga disebut penggunaan radio VHF yang mempunyai Digital Selective Calling (DSC) untuk berhubung pihak Maritim Malaysia atau Pasukan Gerakan Marin PDRM untuk memohon bantuan. Tiada langsung disebut mengenai penggunaan suar merah untuk menarik perhatian vesel-vesel yang berdekatan dengannya.

M.Y Pochea adalah merupakan sebuah kapal layar mewah yang boleh membawa seramai 12 orang penumpang dan 13 orang anak kapal yang panjangnya melebihi 75 meter dan beratnya 530 tan metrik. Sekiranya ianya digunakan untuk sewaan komersil, maka ianya perlu patuhi banyak peraturan-peraturan maritim seperti COLREGS, Passenger Yacht Code, ITC, Ballast Water Management, BUNKERS, Konvensyen Buruh Maritim 2006, SOLAS Bahagian I, II, III, V, XI, STCW dan lain-lain. Sekiranya ianya tidak digunakan untuk tujuan komersil, ia masih perlu mematuhi kesemua di atas kecuali STCW, Konvensyen Buruh Maritim 2006, SOLAS Bahagian II, III, dan XI.

Ini bermakna pemilik M.Y Pochea wajib menentukan anak-anak kapal adalah terlatih, biasa dan mahir mengendalikan sistem dan kecemasan kebakaran dan lain-lain termasuk penggunaan alat radio untuk berhubung dengan mana-mana agensi yang boleh membantu. Sama ada latihan tersebut dilakukan secara berkala seperti yang dikehendaki oleh peraturan-peraturan dan undang-undang maritim atau tidak, hanya mereka yang terbabit boleh menjawab persoalan tersebut.

Insiden kebakaran yang berlaku keatas M.Y Pochea adalah sesuatu yang sangat menyedihkan. Anak-anak kapal tersebut agak bernasib baik dapat diselamatkan tanpa mengalami sebarang kecederaan yang boleh mengancam nyawa. Yang menyedihkan juga ialah tindakan-tindakan yang diambil oleh mereka langsung tidak mencerminkan bahawa mereka telah dilatih dengan secukupnya untuk mengendalikan kapal layar tersebut dengan selamat sama ada dalam pengoperasian biasa mahupun dalam keadaan kecemasan. Sekiranya latihan-latihan termasuk pengendalian kecemasan terus dipandang enteng oleh pemilik-pemilik, maka suatu hari nanti ianya akan memberi bahaya kepada lain-lain vesel di laut.

Dan sudah tentu anak-anak kapal tersebut bernasib baik kerana hadirnya Maritim Malaysia yang cekap memberi bantuan memadamkan kebakaran sambil menyelamatkan ketujuh-tujuh mereka.

Tindakan Pantas APMM Selamatkan Anak Kapal Dayang Topaz

MV Dayang Topaz, accommodation work boat milik DESB Marine Services Sdn Bhd yang dibina pada tahun 2010, mempunyai 199 tempat tidur untuk para pekerja dan anak kapal.

Pagi semalam kita dikejutkan dengan berita bahawa sebuah accommodation work boat milik DESB Marine Services Sdn Bhd, ‘MV Dayang Topaz’, telah karam dan dua orang meninggal dunia. Disyaki mooring anchor wirenya telah putus dalam keadaan laut yang bergelora serta ombak tinggi 4.5 meter mengakibatkan kapal tersebut menghentam pelantar Baram ‘B’ sebelum terbalik dan karam.

Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) yang telah menerima laporan daripada kapal ‘MV Sapura Constructor’ yang telah menerima isyarat kecemasan daripada ‘MV Dayang Topaz’. MRCC kemudiannya menghubungi semua kapal serta agensi-agensi tempatan dan antarabangsa yang berada berhampiran kawasan tersebut untuk memberi bantuan. Di antara aset-aset Agensi Penguatkuasaan Maritim Malaysia (APMM) yang berada di lokasi tersebut adalah KM Siagut, KM Siakap dan Bot Penggalang 23. Pada masa yang sama, MRCC juga menghubungi komuniti nelayan tempatan, syarikat-syarikat seperti PETRONAS, Shell, agensi-agensi seperti Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia (TUDM), Jabatan Bomba dan Penyelamat Malaysia (JBPM), dan agensi antarabangsa berhampiran seperti National Search Coordination Center (NSCC) Brunei, yang telah menugaskan sebuah pesawat Brunei Shell Petroleum.

Ramai yang mungkin tidak tahu bahawa MRCC adalah pusat operasi yang ditubuhkan oleh APMM untu mengawal dan menyelaras operasi mencari dan menyelamat (MSAR) di perairan Malaysia. Berpusat di Putrajaya, MRCC ditubuhkan mengikut keperluan Mencari dan Menyelamat Udara dan Maritim Antarabangsa (IAMSAR). Berdasarkan Jilid IV IAMSAR, APMM menjadi organisasi yang bertanggung jawab terhadap semua insiden maritim. Ketua Pengarah APMM menjadi ketua perkhidmatan MSAR, manakala MRCC menjadi organisasi yang mengkoordinasi operasi dan menggerakkan segala aset untuk membantu.

Tanggung jawab yang digalas oleh APMM untuk melakukan operasi MSAR adalah amat berat memandangkan jangkauan Wilayah Mencari dan Menyelamat (MSSR) yang agak luas. Ianya merangkumi kawasan sehingga ke Kepulauan Andaman di sebelah barat Semenanjung, seluruh kawasan Zon Ekonomi Eksklusif (ZEE) Malaysia di sebelah timur Semenanjung, dan seluruh kawasan pantai negeri Sabah dan Sarawak serta ZEE.

Keberkesanan APMM melaksanakan tugas dan tanggung jawab MSAR bergantung kepada dua perkara utama, iaitu jenis dan jumlah aset atas permukaan laut dan udara milik APMM, dan keberkesanan sistem pengesanan kecemasan milik kapal-kapal dan bot-bot dalam wilayah tersebut. Saya difahamkan bahawa aset-aset atas permukaan laut yang dimiliki APMM ada pelbagai jenis yang dibina atau diperolehi mengikut penugasan masing-masing. Sebagai contoh, kapal peronda luar pesisir pantai (OPV) milik APMM yang diperolehi dari Jepun, ‘KM Arau’ dan ‘KM Pekan’ adalah dibina khusus untuk penugasan SAR kerana memiliki rekabentuk yang lebih stabil di kelajuan yang perlahan, manakala tiga buah OPV yang sedang dibina di Pulau Indah lebih merupakan kapal pelbagai peranan yang lebih sesuai. Kapal-kapal peronda generasi baharu (NGPC), kapal-kapal peronda laju yang diperolehi dari PDRM dan lain-lain agensi pula lebih sesuai ditugaskan di perairan pesisir pantai. Lebih banyak aset pelbagai peranan diperlukan dan bersesuaian dengan zon-zon penugasan.

Lebih banyak aset udara berkemampuan juga diperlukan, lebih-lebih lagi dalam keadaan pengoperasian pengawalan kedaulatan perairan negara dan juga tugas-tugas MSAR. Malah, aset-aset udara tersebut juga perlu boleh ditugaskan dalam pelbagai jenis cuaca dan lebih penting lagi, dilengkapi secukupnya untuk penugasan malam. Kita amat maklum dengan tragedi yang menimpa sebuah helikopter Sikorsky S-61A4 Nuri milik TUDM pada 16 Oktober 1996 ketika membuat penugasan menyelamat di laut pada waktu malam berhampiran Muka Head, Pulau Pinang yang mengorbankan seramai tiga orang anak kapal manakala dua lagi terselamat.

Berbalik kepada insiden ‘MV Dayang Topaz’, hubungan kerjasama antarabangsa di antara MRCC dan NSCC Brunei telah membolehkan penugasan operasi MSAR dijalankan dengan pantas. Penggunaan Sistem Global Kecemasan Maritim dan Keselamatan (GMDSS) untuk kapal-kapal bersaiz 300 tan ke atas atau lain-lain sistem seperti Suar Radio Kecemasan Yang Menunjukkan Kedudukan (EPIRB), Pemancar Kedudukan Kecemasan (ELT) untuk bot-bot lebih kecil dan juga Suar Kedudukan Persendirian (PLB) untuk peminat aktiviti laut juga dapat membantu pihak MRCC mencari kedudukan orang atau bot dan kapal yang perlu diselamatkan dengan lebih cekap dan pantas. Inilah kenapa sistem-sistem ini penting untuk semua yang menjalankan aktiviti-aktiviti di laut.

Dan sudah tentunya pencarian dan penyelamatan mereka yang memerlukan perkhidmatan ini akan menjadi lebih mantap sekiranya APMM dibekalkan dengan aset-aset yang amat diperlukan.

Lion Air Flight JT610: An Over-Reliance On Intrumentation?

PK-LQP
The Lion AIr Boeing 737-MAX 8 (PK-LQP) that crashed in the Java Sea on 29 Oct 2018

LION Air Flight JT610 went down in the Java Sea 13 minutes after departing from Jakarta. It is very highly unlikely that any of the 189 souls on board had survived.

This tragedy mark’s the 14th incident in Lion Air’s 18 years of operation, an unimpressive air safety record with an average of one incident in every 16 months.

The aircraft that went down was a spanking new Boeing 737-8MAX delivered to the airline last August.

The aircraft first flew on the July 30 2018 and was powered by two CFM International LEAP-1B engines.

However, it suffered from a faulty airspeed indicator during a flight on the night before the fateful flight.

The airline’s engineers claim that the fault had been corrected before the aircraft was allowed to fly. But 12 minutes into the flight the cockpit crew requested to return to base without describing the nature of the emergency it was facing. They never made it back.

While it is still too early to tell for JT610, blocked pitot-static port have contributed to many airliners going down; the previous crash being the Saratov Airlines Antonov An-148 Flight 6W703 on February 11 2018, killing 71 people. It also contributed to the crash of Air France Flight AF477 in the Atlantic Ocean on June 1 2009.

When a static port is blocked, the on-board instruments will give false readings. False readings caused pilots in flights AF447, 6W703, and Birgenair Flight 301 and Aeroperu Flight 603 to react erroneously.

In the case of Flight 603, problem started just two minutes after take-off. There was confusion between the pilots.

Within six minutes, the pilot said: “We don’t have controls. Not even the basics.” The altimeter showed that they were still on the ground, while the three was no airspeed indication.

The above all happened in new generation aircrafts where computers and automation were incorporated to lessen the burden of its flight crew thus increasing the crews’ reliance on automated flight systems.

The FAA has directed airlines to include a blocked pitot tube scenario in simulator trainings to familiarise pilots with the condition.

But how much training is given to pilots? The bare minimum as required by regulations?

Out of the 14 incidents involving Lion Air’s fleet, only four can be attributed to technical errors. The other 10 were due to pilot errors, with wrong flap settings for take-offs and landings, and runway excursions being the top most incidents.

Lion Air, as did most other Indonesian airlines, was once slapped with a ban from the US and European Union’s airspace due to safety concerns. The last Indonesian airlines on the list only had their removal from the list in June of this year.

Indonesia is in the Aviation Safety Network’s list of top 10 countries with the most fatal air accidents – at number nine with 98 fatal accidents that resulted in the deaths of 2,035 people.

How much emphasis is given to the flight crew coordination and conflict management training?

In an incident involving Adam Air Flight 574, the flight crew became too preoccupied with troubleshooting the Inertial Reference System (IRS) that no one was actually flying the aircraft.

When either one of them inadvertently disengaged the autopilot that caused the aircraft to go into a steep bank, both pilots had become spatially disoriented. To add salt to injury, Adam Air’s pilot training syllabus did not cover the failure of the IRS, and neither did any of the pilot receive any training in aircraft upset recovery, including overcoming of spatial disorientation.

The maintenance regime is something that needs a serious look into.  In the four incidents involving the technical aspects of Lion Air’s aircrafts, one was when a thrust reverser was not working and caused the deaths of 25 people, one aircraft’s braking system was not at optimum level, one landed without the nose gear down, while the other had fuel pouring out of its tanks due to non-functioning safety valve and overflow detector.

In the case of Flight JT610, the pitot-static port of the aircraft did not function properly during the Jakarta-Denpasar-Jakarta flight the previous night. A technical logbook of the doomed aircraft detailed an “unreliable” airspeed reading on the flight, giving different altitude readings to the pilot and co-pilot – a symptom of blocked pitot-static ports.

Lion Air’s engineering department said that the issue was resolved before the aircraft was allowed to fly the next day. But was it?

The flight reminds me of what happened to Indonesia Air Asia’s Flight QZ8501 in December 2014.  Both flights faced technical snags the previous night. Both aircraft were given a clean bill of health by their engineers to fly the next morning. Both aircraft were not brought down by weather.

QZ8501 was brought down, in part, by a cracked solder joint on an electronic card that caused the rudder travel limiter to malfunction.  The joint had been repaired several times before instead of being replaced. An action by both pilots, which was not recommended by the aircraft’s manual, was the final nail in the flight’s coffin.

We still don’t know for sure what actually caused Flight JT610 to suddenly drop from the sky into the sea.

Aeroperu Flight 603 flew with blocked pitot-static tubes, that caused faulty data to be transmitted not just to the pilots, but also to the Air Traffic Controller, causing maximum confusion between them.

Spatial disorientation also hit the pilots; they had no idea how high were they flying while the TC told them they were at 10,000 feet, when they were not. In the end, one of the wings struck water and the aircraft crashed into the sea.

The day after the JT610 crash, another flight taking the same route to the same destination showed its altitude upon leaving the shoreline of West Jakarta to be at 16,800 feet at a speed of 370 knots.

JT610’s system transmitted its altitude when passing the same area to be at only 5,100 feet at 318 knots. Its data showed that it was flying at 5,200 feet at 334 knots when the flight crew informed the ATC that it was returning to base.

That they were flying only at 11,600 feet lower than the next day flight in the same area could be an indication of something going wrong.  Previous flights all flew higher than 10,000 feet except for the ones that took a right hand turn after departure.

That no emergency was declared when a request to make a turn back was made seemed odd.

Had the pilots declared an emergency then, the ATC would have immediately given the aircraft landing priority and an assigned runway.  There was no such request.

Those are the issues that are floating around right now, which can only be answered by the retrieval and processing of both the Cockpit Voice Recorder and Flight Data Recorder.  Until then, your guess is as good as mine.

(This article was first published on The Mole)

E-Hailing versus Taxi Drivers: An Endless Contention

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Mahathir reacts to the outburst by taxi drivers in Langkawi – courtesy of Sinar Harian

So, 10 Langkawi taxi drivers hurled abuses at the Prime Minister before walking out of the hall recently where they were to have a dialogue with the latter.

They were utterly dismayed at the government’s decision to allow E-hailing services, namely Grab, to continue its existence and complement the taxi services.

Their anger is understandable.  In March of last year, taxi drivers and owners staged a protest against the previous administration outside the Parliament building, for allowing Grab to operate, and were joined by the likes of Mahfuz Omar, Rafizi Ramli, while in 2015 Datin Seri Wan Azizah Ismail joined them at Padang Merbok.

Although the Prime Minister has denied ever wanting to abolish Grab and other E-Hailing services, the taxi drivers and owners feel as if the government has reneged on its promises to protect their interests.

Prior to the walk out last Sunday, there have been two rallies opposing Grab services organised by taxi drivers; one at Padang Merbok in July, and the latest was five days ago outside the Ministry of Finance.

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, you would either have to go to a taxi stand, or call up a taxi stand to have a taxi sent to your location, or wait for one to pass by.  With the advent of radio taxi services in the 1980s, getting a taxi was similar but quicker as the taxi could be roaming near your neighbourhood.

Not much has changed since, but with mobile phones, if you know the taxi driver personally, you could call him or her to come pick you up.

E-Hailing is not much different.  You have a car owner, registered with Grab for example, who would choose on the software whether he or she would like to pick up a passenger who has hailed for a ride using his or her mobile device.

A destination is given and the car owner drives the passenger to the given destination. The fare is fixed; so unlike with taxi drivers, you do not get the last-minute discussion for extra payments.

You can either opt for a credit/debit card payment, or pay by cash.

But E-Hailing is more attractive to the passengers.  Besides having the fare fixed, you don’t need to conduct a cash transaction, they can pick you up from anywhere and drop you off at your choice of destination at any time of the day or night.

With E-Hailing, more and more partygoers would be willing to not drive at night, thus increasing the size of the cake in contention.

It is late at night when the dissatisfaction with taxi drivers is at its peak.

Try hailing a taxi in the middle of the night: if your destination does not conform to their desired location, they could refuse you or reject you.

More often than not, they would prefer not to use the meter and throw you a figure. That figure could be more if they suddenly tell you that they will ‘balik kosong’, meaning that it would be difficult for them to get a passenger in your area after dropping you off.

It is not easy to find an equilibrium where both services can co-exist without losing much to each other.

While it may be true that E-Hailing also takes a slice from the same cake, I doubt that any taxi driver has gone unemployed since the introduction of E-Hailing services.

Swedish-German economist at Oxford Martin School conducted a study in 2013 in cities in the US of the impact Uber has had on the income of taxi drivers.

He found that though it is true that the income of taxi drivers had been affected, the drop was in the region of 10 percent, while E-Hailing services had resulted in a 50-percent rise in the number of self-employed drivers.

Frey expressed that traditional jobs have not been displaced.

In the case of Langkawi, it is difficult to get a taxi, especially if you venture out to the less touristy places.

The Langkawi Craft Complex for example, is almost half an hour away from the taxi stand in Kuah, and 25 minutes away from the one at the Langkawi International Airport.

I doubt if anyone would get a taxi if they waited by the road side.

Perhaps the answer to the plight of the taxi drivers is to subscribe to an E-Hailing service of their own, much like the radio taxi service.

Pay a certain amount as annual fee to a management company, they can download the application, and charge by the meter, and the payment goes into an account, just like Grab or Uber.

Like their counterparts in Singapore, they should be able to accept credit and debit card payments, and passengers get to rate them as well.  I am sure that such an application could be produced.

That way, they have a level playing field with the other E-Hailing services drivers, and maintain the quality of their service.

With two-thirds of the world’s population due to live in cities by 2050, the cake will keep on growing for both taxis and E-Hailing services drivers.  A combination of private providers and public mass rapid systems will be the imminent scenario.

My only wish for now is for foldable bicycle owners to be allowed to bring their bicycle on board our trains during peak hours.

That would increase the ridership of the trains, while both E-Hailing and improved taxi systems complement the process by moving workers from office to meeting venues and back.

(This article was first published on The Mole)

Why Malaysia Should Not Derail China

The Addis Ababa – Djibouti railway now cuts down the journey time from the landlocked nation to a port access to just 12 hours

THOSE born before 1978 would probably remember the song “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” written by Bob Geldof (of the Boomtown Rats) and Midge Ure (of Ultravox) with the opening verses sung by Paul Young, Boy George and the late George Michael.

The song was released in late 1984 with the aim of raising unds for the famine-struck people of Ethiopia.  Famine had struck the country from 1983 and killed more than one million people, with eight million more becoming victims. It was the worst famine of the 20th Century.

That was 34 years ago.  In the capital Addis Ababa according to a CNN report, dirt roads are being replaced by six-lane highways, and the recently-opened Addis Ababa to Djibouti electrified rail services connects the landlocked nation to the Port of Djibouti.

The projects were carried out by China through EXIM bank loans.

Architect Alexandra Thorer, who lived in Addis Ababa as a child wrote her thesis on the city’s urbanisation – “The speed at which Addis grew mirrored the pace of 21st-century urban explosion in China.”

Back in the 1980s, Malaysia was one of the examples of an economic powerhouse, modernisation and moderation.  Globally, we were seen as the voice of the Non-Aligned Movement, where the fourth Prime Minister spoke up against the West.

But that was three decades ago, just as how Ethiopia was back then when Bob Geldof and friends raised £150 million to help its people through Live Aid.

Most of the Non-Aligned Movement nations have now sought for development aid from China, especially those in Africa.

Ian Taylor, a professor in African political economics at Scotland’s University of St Andrews noted that Africa as a continent lag behind other developing regions in virtually all infrastructure sectors.

He says that Western companies and organisation are not offering any money for the development of these infrastructures.

The 32-kilometer Kuala Lumpur to Klang railway line was opened for use in 1886.  It started at the old Kuala Lumpur Railway Station, initially ending at the temporary terminus at Bukit Kuda, and onto Klang when the Connaught Bridge was completed in 1890.

This alignment passes the tin mining areas of Petaling and Sungai Way. As a result, development in these two areas boomed, and so did the other towns serve by the Federated Malay States railway, just as rivers and roads have contributed tremendously to other areas in the Malay states.

The East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) and the High-Speed Rail (HSR) would have allowed not just developments, but also businesses to boom.

The ECRL would have allowed businesses from Kota Bharu to arrive in Kuala Lumpur, and vice-versa, in just four and a half hours.

The HSR would have allowed people living in Kuala Lumpur to commute to work in Muar, Batu Pahat and Johor Bahru, and even Singapore on a daily basis.

Just as the Kajang sate businesses have been brisk since the completion of the MRT Sungai Buloh to Kajang line, both the ECRL and the HSR would have had that effect for thousands more.

But claims of neo-colonialism in view of Chinese investments in this country are not going to make us great.

Three decades ago, people would have stood up and applauded such claims, but those times are long gone.

If we want to see economic recovery and growth, we need to learn how to keep an open mind towards foreign investment.

After all, China is only our third largest foreign investor. Western companies including Boeing and Airbus now treat China as a key production and processing base, but China does not treat their presence as a form of colonisation.

Nor does the US, which has received $175 billion from China up until June 2018, has been turned into a colony.

The China-built Addis Ababa Light Rail system now cut through the heart of the city, carrying at least 113,500 passengers daily.

Norway is now mulling the idea of having China build a new Stockholm to Oslo high-speed rail. Bangkok plans to build a 2,506-kilometer high-speed rail linking Chiangmai, Nong Khai, Rayong and Padang Besar – all with China’s assistance.

Other China-assisted railway projects now include the China-Laos railway, the Jakarta to Bandung high-speed rail, the Serbia and Hungary rail link, Moscow to Kazan high-speed rail, and the Lahore automated rapid transit metro system.

Meanwhile, Malaysia, it seems, is contented in playing hero like a mouse threatening an elephant while completely missing the train.

(This article was first published by The Mole)

Nasib Orang Asli Tidak Pernah Dipinggirkan

Orang_Asli
Sepasang bapa dan anak Orang Asli Semenanjung Malaysia

Sepanjang tahun 1970an hinggalah awal 2000, Tentera Udara DiRaja Malaysia sentiasa mempunyai beberapa buah helikopter Sikorsky S-61A Nuri dan Aérospatiale Alouette III yang sentiasa bersedia untuk memberi perkhidmatan kepada Orang Asli di Semenanjung Malaysia, sama ada untuk kecemasan perubatan mahupun untuk membawa mereka keluar untuk menyertai program-program JHEOA (kini JAKOA) di bandar-bandar besar.

Kini, tanggungjawab tersebut juga ditanggung oleh Unit Udara Jabatan Bomba dan Penyelamat Malaysia (JBPM) yang sering kelihatan menerbangkan helikopter-helikopternya di kawasan pedalaman.

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Unit Udara JBPM digerakkan ke Gua Musang untuk membantu membawa para pelajar Orang Asli ke sekolah

Baru-baru ini, cuaca buruk telah menyebabkan jalan-jalan yang menghubungkan Gua Musang dengan empat pos Orang Asli di pedalaman terputus, menyebabkan seramai 242 orang pelajar Orang Asli terkandas dan tidak dapat pergi ke sekolah.  Para pelajar tersebut adalah dari Pos Belatim, Pos Balar, Pos Gob dan Pos Bihai.  Dari Pos Bihai melibatkan mereka-mereka dari Kampung Laklok, Kampung Tendrik, Kampung Bihai dan Kampung Hak.

JBPM telah menggerakkan dua buah helikopter dari jenis Agusta Westland A109E dan Agusta Westland 139 untuk membantu menghantar para pelajar tersebut ke sekolah.  Pesawat-pesawat tersebut dipandu oleh Penguasa Kanan Bomba I Roslan bin Aziz, Mejar Leong Cheong Meng TUDM, dan dibantu oleh penolong juruterbang Timbalan Penguasa Bomba Faizal bin Latif dan Timbalan Penguasa Bomba Sharizal bin Sahari.  Turut serta ialah tiga orang Kuartermaster Udara iaitu Penolong Penguasa Bomba Ubadah bin Suib, Pegawai Bomba Kanan I Mohd Norhasrul bin Mohd Noordin dan Pegawai Bomba Kanan I Safuan bin Mohamad.

Pesawat jenis Agusta Westland A109E telah mula berkhidmat dengan Unit Udara JBPM pada tahun 2003 manakala Agusta Westland A139 pula mula diterima pada tahun 2010.  Unit tersebut mengoperasikan sebanyak lapan buah helikopter pelbagai jenis.  Unit ini telah bermula dengan empat buah helikopter Mil-Mi-17-1 buatan Russia yang mula diterima pada tahun 1998.  Ini diikuti oleh dua buah helikopter Agusta Westland A109E, dan dua buah Agusta Westland A139.  Salah sebuah helikopter Agusta Westland A109E tersebut telah terhempas dalam cuaca berkabus di FELCRA Kuala Kaung, Lanchang, Pahang semasa membuat pengawasan dari udara pada 16 September 2010.  JBPM juga telah memesan dua buah helikopter jenis Agusta Westland A189 pada tahun 2016.

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Para pelajar Orang Asli dibawa keluar menaiki pesawat Agusta Westland A109 Unit Udara JBPM

Walaupun cuaca tidak menentu, kedua-dua buah helikopter tersebut telah berjaya membawa keluar seramai 52 orang pelajar dari Pos Balar dan Pos Belatim ke Padang Sivik Gua Musang, manakala 44 orang pelajar dibawa keluar dari Pos Cemal ke Pos Balar pada hari pertama Ops Murni.  Operasi itu telah bermula pada jam 10.10 pagi dan berakhir pada jam 5.10 petang akibat cuaca yang bertambah buruk.

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Pesakit Orang Asli dikeluarkan untuk dibawa ke hospital sebaik pesawat mendarat di Gua Musang

Walaupun Ops Murni bertujuan untuk membolehkan para pelajar Orang Asli hadir sessi persekolahan, operasi tersebut diselangi beberapa penerbangan ihsan membawa Orang Asli yang mempunyai sakit kritikal ke Hospital Gua Musang.  Ini menunjukkan kesediaan Unit Udara JBPM untuk bertukar mod operasi demi nyawa dan kesejahteraan masyarakat walaupun nyawa sendiri dipertaruhkan demi menyelamatkan orang lain.

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Pesawat Agusta Westland A109E (9M-BOA) milik Unit Udara JBPM yang terhempas dalam kabus di FELCRA Kuala Kaung, Lanchang, Pahang. Tiga orang anak kapal cedera dalam insiden ini. PgKB I Roslan bin Aziz adalah salah seorang mangsa insiden tersebut

Ramai di kalangan rakyat Malaysia yang tidak tahu mengenai perkhidmatan-perkhidmatan yang disediakan oleh kerajaan untuk masyarakat Orang Asli.  Disebabkan ketidak-pekaan ini, kerajaan sering dicemuh dan dituduh tidak mengambil berat masalah yang dihadapi oleh masyarakat tersebut.  Hakikatnya, untuk pihak JBPM sahaja, sebanyak 47 penerbangan ihsan telah dibuat pada tahun 2015 untuk menerbangkan seramai 111 orang pesakit dan pengiring.  Sebahagian besar adalah dari kalangan masyarakat Orang Asli.

Oleh itu, jangan mudah menuduh bahawa kerajaan tidak mengambil berat terhadap masyarakat luar bandar terutamanya Orang Asli kerana juruterbang-juruterbang seperti PgKB I Roslan dan Mejar Leong sentiasa bersedia memberi keutamaan kepada kesejahteraan masyarakat tersebut.

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PgKB I Roslan bin Aziz berbincang mengenai operasi yang telah mereka jalankan setelah tamat penerbangan hari pertama Ops Murni

Pakatan Will Give Sabah It’s Autonomy With Mahathir As The Top Dog

Top Dog will give Sabah more autonomy like he did as PM of 22 years
Kurniawan bin Hendrikus (not his real name) who now lives in Kampung Gayaratau off the Ranau-Tamparuli road fears for the future if Pakatan wins Sabah.

I worked in Semporna and Tawau in the 1990s and used to fear walking alone at night as these towns virtually belonged to ‘Malaysians’ from the Southern Philippines,” he recalled. “Now, the same man who treated Sabah like rubbish is heading the Opposition to try oust the Barisan Nasional.

Sabah has been plagued by illegal immigrants for over three decades, causing socio-political and economic problems for the state.  Although the numbers vary from thousands to millions depending on who you ask, all agree that the influx of immigrants especially from the Southern Philippines happened during Mahathir’s premiership, a move said to dilute the influence of the majority-Christian Kadazan-Dusun-Murut (KDM) communities.

Mahathir must be brought to account for “Projek IC”, the massive operation that flooded Sabah with illegal immigrants in exchange for Malaysian citizenship in the move dubbed ‘Project IC’ said Madius Tangau, the MP for Tuaran.

Madius who is also the President of the United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) added that the Sabahans want the PM then (Mahathir) who has admitted to giving out the fake ICs to be held responsible.

Mahathir blamed Anwar Ibrahim, who was his deputy at the time of the ‘Project IC’ taking place, for being directly involved in ‘Project IC’ and for acting without his (Mahathir’s) knowledge, the same blame game he uses in the Scorpene drama where he blamed Najib Razak, who was then the Defence Minister, for paying RM3.7 billion without the knowledge of the Minister of Finance, who also happened to be him (Mahathir).

Mahathir blames Anwar for Project IC
A day after blaming Anwar, the latter returned the ball to Mahathir’s court saying it was Mahathir who was behind ‘Project IC.’  Anwar pointed out that there was even a taskforce set up by Mahathir to oversee the awarding of Malaysian citizenship to immigrants in Sabah.

Mahathir had a taskforce set up to oversee the awarding of citizenship to immigrants, said Anwar
Pakatan’s hint that Mahathir would be able to restore Sabah’s rights had Sabah’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) scoff at them for “daydreaming.”

Its President Teo Chee Kang reminded Pakatan that it was under Mahathir’s rule that the state suffered greatly, and lost some of its autonomy.

I read in the papers that several Pakatan leaders from Sabah recently flew all the way to Kuala Lumpur to see Mahathir on Sabah rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963.  I find it ironic.  I would like to remind them that it was during Mahathir’s administration in 1983 that our state powers to regulate the distribution of gas and electricity were taken back by the federal government.  In the 22 years of Mahathir’s rule we lost numerous state rights to the federal government,” he added.

Dr Jeffrey Kitingan who is Sabah’s STAR Chairman said it was Mahathir who introduced ‘Project IC’ and told him (Jeffrey) not to ‘teach’ the people what they didn’t know (Sabah rights).

‘Project IC’ was also called ‘Project M.’  ‘M’ is for ‘Mahathir.’

Sabah also lost a lot under Mahathir’s rule.  In 1983, Mahathir made plans for Labuan to be handed over to the Federal Government.  Labuan is an important hub for the oil and gas industry.  In order to make oil revenues from Labuan totally the Federal government’s, Mahathir conceived the plan for Labuan to become a Federal Territory during a Barisan Nasional meeting in 1983.

Harris Salleh, who was the BERJAYA Chief Minister of Sabah then agreed to hand over the island over to the Federal government without any deliberation.  No referendum was made for the proposal.

In August 1983, Tun Datu Mustapha who was USNO’s President made a call to Labuan’s USNO division to reject the proposal and demonstrate against it.  In February 1984, Mahathir proposed for the expulsion of USNO from the Barisan Nasional.  On 21 February 1984, the Labuan USNO division voted to dissolve itself in support of the handing over of Labuan to the Federal Government.  On 27 February 1984, UMNO Supreme Council voted for the expulsion of USNO from the Barisan Nasional.  The expulsion of USNO from the BN took effect on 15 April 1984, one day before Labuan became a Federal Territory.

We are not giving away our territory because the Federal Government is in the position to develop the island,” Harris said in his defence.

As a result of his subservience to Mahathir, Federal allocation to Sabah increased tremendously during the years when BERJAYA was in power.  Despite this, in 1986 the poverty level in the state remained at 33 percent, which was higher than the national average of 18.

The spike in Federal allocation to Sabah as a result of Harris Salleh’s subservience
The transfers to Sabah from the Federal government dropped in 1986 when PBS under Joseph Pairin Kitingan won the state.

It was during the Mahathir-Harris master-and-servant relationship that Sabah also almost lost its right to determine its own Immigration policy.

Pairin, in reminding Harris on why he was ousted in 1985 as Chief Minister, reiterated that it was under the latter’s Berjaya Government that the state’s rights were slowly eroded until very little was left.

“The Berjaya Government was on the verge of surrendering Sabah’s immigration powers before it was ousted from power,” said Pairin in a bombshell revelation.

Pairin’s revelation that Harris almost gave Sabah’s immigration rights away to Mahathir before BERJAYA’s rule ended
Even Lim Kit Siang who is Mahathir’s now best-friend-forever wrote that Mahathir must explain the attempt to undermine Sabah’s rights to its own immigration policies.

He wrote: “As the then Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir – who is still very active and alert in the public domain, even plotting to scalp another Prime Minister – should throw light on another long-kept secret in Malaysia on the circumstances and history of attempts in his first four years as Prime Minister in the eighties to abolish Sabah’s state immigration powers as revealed by Joseph Pairin.”

Mahathir the Destroyer (pic courtesy of Wakeup Malaya)

This goes to show that other than Mahathir neither Lim Kit Siang nor Anwar Ibrahim or their respective parties (PRIBUMI, PKR, DAP) can be trusted to look after Sabah’s rights.  But what about Shafie Apdal, once UMNO’s rising star from Sabah?

Shafie’s WARISAN, is seen by many in Sabah as being a proxy of Mahathir’s PRIBUMI.  Many also question Shafie’s honesty in wanting to help Sabahans.

People ask what he did to develop Sabah when he was in the federal Cabinet. Did he do anything to fight for Sabah autonomy? Even the other opposition leaders are asking these questions,” said Unimas don Dr Arnold Puyok to The Star.

Three village chiefs, Sosor Bin Aling from Kg Mempulut , Simon Sinsuran from Kg Dalit Stesen and Lidy Bin Lunggiri from Kg Pohon Batu said in the 1980s when Mahathir was in power, roads were never repaired and electricity did not reach them.

Along the way, we were still using kerosene. Road conditions were extremely severe and there was hardly clean water to useThe primary schools were still as in the days of the BritishHowever, the current Prime Minister had given them access to electricity and water supply is currently under installation, ” they said.

They said compared to the last 22 years with the last eight years, Najib Razak as the Prime Minister had helped them to get basic amenities like roads, schools and a clinic.

We therefore fully support the government led by Najib. He is one of the best leaders compared to Mahathir. Logs were felled at the time of Mahathir and our area was also handed over to the major companies and we did not get any results,” they lamented.

Simon thanked Najib as he approved the construction of SMK Dalit which served about 30 villages.

After building SMK Dalit, their children no longer need to go to Keningau to study at secondary schools.

He hoped Najib would upgrade the clinic at the Dalit station.

Similarly, in Kabulu, they asked for a clinic for the good of the people in the area.

With also the toll-free Pan Borneo Highway which is already under construction set to improve communications and livelihood of Sabahans (as well as Sarawakians), it is only right for Sabahans to know that progress will only happen by having an administration that truly cares for its people and delivers promises.

Not the ones who use arm-bending solutions or those who now turn a blind eye on the said solutions just because they want to try ride on the dictator’s self-imagined ‘popularity.’

Many Malaysians Are Still Monkeys

Back in the 1970s and at least until the 1980s people in Europe thought that Malaysians live on trees.  That statement still holds true for the many whom have yet to evolve from their Homo habilis stage.

Four months ago some made fun of the Indians in India for vandalising the Tejas Express, a new and modern high-speed train that plies between Mumbai and Goa.

Screenshot of a web portal condemning Indians for vandalising the Tejas Express

Malaysians may have a literacy rate of 94.6 percent according to UNESCO but all that means is that only 29.5 million out of 31.19 million Malaysians can read. It does not mean that the 29.5 million are better educated than the 1.69 million who cannot read well.  Being able to read does not equate to being educated. It just means that smarter Malaysians have an IQ of a genius gorilla – points below the average human IQ, while the average Malaysian have the IQ of the smartest chimpanzee which is 40.

Take for example motorists who flout the law by driving at speeds in excess of the legal limit, or those who continue to use the emergency lanes after being given numerous warnings, or those who think that Malaysia is just one big rubbish dump.

The rubbish that was driving this car treated Malaysian like one big garbage dump

I am sure you have seen the Facebook posting by Datuk Najmuddin Abdullah,  MRT Corp Strategic Comunications and Stakeholder Relations Director on the number of vandalised properties just five days into full MRT SBK line operations.  I cannot believe how monkeys who call themselves Malaysians are still able to live in this modern world without having ever to evolve into proper human beings.

I will share you some of the photos that have been shared with me a few days ago:

Damaged toilet for the disabled at one of the MRT stations

Scratched seats – do these people have iron butt or something?

Rubbish thrown onto the roof of the Bukit Bintang MRT station

A disused spotlight and a broom – just how did they get there?

And do you remember this wall from a previous posting of mine?

The Rukunegara (National Principles) wall on the concourse level of the Merdeka station

Chipping from the damaged Rukunegara wall

Even the Rukunegara wall at the Merdeka MRT Station was not spared damage. According to RapidKL staff, parents allowed their children to practice wall-climbing there.  If I were there I would smack the children and throw their useless parents onto the electrified tracks.  At least it would help minimise the carbon footprint!

And believe it or not, as hard as concrete may be, nothing is Malaysian-proof. Even the hardest of concrete can be chipped by ordinary Malaysians.

A concrete bench is chipped

Netizens and news portals screamed for blood while BigDog seemed to at a loss for words to describe the horrors inflicted by these monkeys.

And up until last weekend, MRT Corp has had to fork out a sum in the region of RM10,000 to repair SOME of the damages. Not all could be repaired.  This is money that could have been put to better use elsewhere to help provide better services to the riders.

And just when you think people have learnt and slide somewhat out of their simian form, this morning I received a WhatsApp message containing damages done to toilets at the MRT Maluri station.

A door handle of one of the toilet booths’ door that has come off at the MRT Maluri station

What did they shit? Rocks?

Damaged pipe at one of the sinks at the MRT Maluri station

Perhaps, it is time for Prasarana to increase its auxilliary police patrols at stations and pay attention to the CCTVs.  Nab these monkeys and charge them in court for committing mischief.  If the damage done costs more than RM25, then the offender is liable to be punished by a jail term that may extend to five years or with fine or with both.

If it is RM25 or less, then the offender is still liable to a jail term of not less than one year but may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both.

Never give face to monkeys because they will usually get worse if they do not get the harshest form of punishments.  If this is not done, we shall continue to have them live amongst us and claim themselves to be “educated” Malaysians while their behaviour reflect that they still live on trees.

A monkey Malaysian – picture courtesy of TV Smith

But trust me on this: there will be a group of lawyers who oppose the government who will defend the action of these monkeys.  That is why they think they are always right and it is their right to behave like scums.

MRT – Towards A Better Life

Walking 21 kilometers on the viaduct from Taman Pertama in Cheras to the Kajang station to ensure workers worked safely was part of my life in the MRT project
According to the logic of empty-headed Syed Saddiq, “Criticisms levied against you show that the other party is afraid of what you are doing right.”

The Mass Rapid Transit, a project that is to be a total game-changer, came under a lot of criticism from the Opposition.  Despite the negative campaign to discourage the masses from enjoying the benefits of the Najib Razak administration’s project, Phase One opened in December 2016 with trains plying from Sungai Buloh to Semantan. Within 27 days of opening,  student Miss Ng Zhi Wei became its one-millionth rider.

Ng Zhi Wei became the one-millionth passenger on the MRT on 11 January 2017, 27 days after opening (cource: MRT Malaysia)
Come Monday, 17 July 2017, Prime Minister Najib Razak will officiate the opening of Phase Two of the MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line (SBK Line) that will allow riders to continue the journey all the way to Kajang instead of just ending the journey at Semantan.  At 4pm, the gates will be opened for that.

The opening signals the end of the construction, testing and commissioning phase of the project that had lasted six years.  The project was announced in June 2010 and approved by the government in December of the same year, while construction began in July 2011.  Up until June 2017, the total accumulated manpower for the project was 435,774 persons while the number of manhours poured into the project up until June 2017 stood at more than 103.5 million.  I was one of them.

To learn the examples of how the MRT project can benefit the people including the removal of 160,000 vehicles off the roads in the Klang Valley, you can read that up in a previous article of mine.  Web portal The Mole carries a further clarification by MRT Malaysia on the issue.  In today’s artice, I just want to take you on a virtual ride on board the MRT from Semantan to Kajang to experience what’s in store for you after 4pm on Monday.

The first underground station on the Kajang-bound train is the Muzium Negara station that connects you to the Muzium Negara (of course), hotels St Regis, Hilton Sentral and Le Meridien, as well as the nearby office buildings.

The Muzium Negara will see an increase in the number of visitors
Muslim riders to and from the Muzium Negara station also have access to the prayer room at the Hilton Sentral. There is an exit connected to the link to the KL Sentral.

The exit leading to the prayer room at the Hilton Sentral
The Muzium Negara station also connects riders from the LRT Kelana Jaya line, the ERL (KLIA/KLIA2), the KL Monorail, as well as the KTM Komuter to the destinations offered by the MRT SBK line.

Back inside the station, the columns are adorned with pictures of things in the past.  Each MRT station showcases what its name stands for.

A photo of a locomotive which you can see in real life at the Muzium Negara
Next stop is the Pasar Seni station where riders are connected to the Klang Bus Station, Petaling Street (Chinatown), Pasar Seni (Central Market), Pudu Sentral, Dayabumi, Masjid Negara, the old KL Railway Station and the Majestic Hotel which are all within walking distance.

The MRT Pasar Seni station is connected to the LRT Pasar Seni station
When you walk towards Chinatown, or if you are on your way down to the MRT trains, you will not miss this view of the park outside the station.

View of the park outside the MRT station
On the concourse level of the Pasar Seni station, take a moment to view the maps of the developments through time in the vicinity of the Gombak river which cuts through the city near Pasar Seni.  Being a fan of the history of Kuala Lumpur, I spent some time looking at the maps.

Mid 19th century development
Early 20th century
Mid 20th century (mind the step-ladder and pail of tools. Final touches were being put here)
Early 21st century
Next station is where I think many will flock to just to see this wall:

The Rukunegara (National Principles) wall on the concourse level of the Merdeka station
Aptly named as it is located in the vicinity of Stadium Merdeka where the Independence celebration took place on 31 August 1957, this station also connects riders to the Stadium Negara, Victoria Institution, Malaysian Basketball Association (MABA) stadium, and the southern end of Chinatown.

Najib Razak was here on the 12 July 2017 where he spend a few moments at the Jalur Gemilang (National Flag) wall that depicts the Tunku during the moment he shouted “Merdeka!” on that historical morning.

The two visionaries
The Rukunegara was formulated and instituted by royal proclamation on 31 August 1970 in reaction to the racial clashes that killed many the year before.  It is being recited in schools during assembly, but I am not too sure if it is still being done, or if anything is done to explain to the pupils what each principle stands for.  As evident nowadays, we have begun to see that our society has lost its cohesiveness, blatant disregard for the rule of law, growing disbelief in God, and no loyalty to King and Country except if money can be made from the country.

We Her Peoples uphold the pledge of the five principles of the Rukunegara
Next stop will be the favourite of the ladies because of this:

See where you exit
The Bukit Bintang MRT station’s entrance/exit is right in front of Lot 10 and connects riders to the KL Monorail and the Bukit Bintang shopping heaven.  Urban photography enthusiasts too would love this station because of the view it offers.

Bukit Bintang/Sultan Ismail junction and the KL Monorail
The station itself is bathed in vibrant colours, giving you a taste of what can be found on the street level.

MRT Bukit Bintang station
Next station is the Tun Razak Exchange where the Islamic Financial hub will be once completed.  This station also connects riders to the Indonesian embassy, Wisma Technip, JCorp, RHB headquarters, Pasar Rakyat and Zouk.

TRX station and its Islamic motif
There are two other underground stations namely the Cochrane station which is nestled within the Jalans Cochrane, Shelly and Peel rectangle, and is just across from the Cheras IKEA, and also the Maluri station which is next to AEON Maluri and the LRT Ampang line.

One other favourite station would be the Stadium Kajang station, which is the penultimate stop for the Kajang-bound train.  This station is within walking distance to three of my favourite satay joints namely Gerai Sidek Hj Rono (Stall No.2 at the Medan Sate in front of the Kajang Metro Plaza, Satay Emas at the Medan Sate next to the station, and of course the most commercialised of them all Satay haji Samuri next to the Kajang stadium.

Satay Emas offers 19 types of satay! Truly a satay heaven!
My only complaint is that both Medan Sate are in bad condition.  The Majlis Perbandaran Kajang should do something about it now that riders from the northern Klang Valley and potentially all the way from Tanjung Malim and Gemas have raill access to these places.

And imagine now the number of businesses, old and new, that would benefit from the MRT SBK line. Not forgetting how much riders can save commuting to work starting on the 18 July 2017 than to drive, as posted by this person below:


It has been proven that the Najib Razak administration is doing all it can to not let the global economic slowdown or the rising costs of living affect the rakyat and improve businesses as well as job opportunities that have been out of reach of many. Already office buildings have sprout like mushrooms along the MRT SBK line.

And when you leave Kajang taking the Sungai Buloh bound train, don’t forget to enjoy the view. JOM NAIK MRT!

The view from the Taman Midah station on the Sungai Buloh-bound train

Festering With Hatred

The special Jalur Gemilang MRT train – photo courtesy of Dato Najmuddin Abdullah

In three days time the Sungai Buloh to Kajang (SBK) line of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) will come into operation.  Works Package Contractors that have won the contract to construct the respective packages on the Sungai Buloh – Serdang – Putrajaya (SSP) of the MRT will commence their works there in full swing.  The Project Delivery Partner as well as the Supervising Consultants (PDP/SC) will complete the handover of construction-related documents to MRT Corp. All that will be left of the PDP/SC are those overseeing the warranty period.

A project envisioned to help millions of the Klang Valley’s urban and suburban commuters get from one point to another easier will now bear fruit. Every day, tens of thousands of workers from as far as Senawang, Tanjung Malim and Pelabuhan Klang, can take the KTM Komuter and work or find work in places like Kota Damansara, Mutiara Damansara, TTDI, Pusat Bandar Damansara, and Cheras without having to switch to buses or taxi, or drive all the way to their destination.

The MRT anticipates a drop of 160,000 cars enterng Kuala Lumpur and its surrounding areas daily.  The only thing that would prove to fail the statement would be our own attitude towards public transport.

This article may come at a point when things related to a recent hoo-haa have begun to die down.  Nevertheless, I had to do some checking before writing this post.

The first hoo-haa is related to the claim of having 160,000 lesser cars entering Kuala Lumpur etc.  Many ridicule the statement and ask if MRT Corp has 160,000 parking bays or more.  I sometimes wonder if there is anything at all inside the cavity in between their ears.

While the MRT has several Multi-Storey Park and Ride (MSPR) complexes, the idea of having the MRT is for commuters to leave their vehicles at home, not to worry about the “escalating cost of fuel and living,” get on board the feeder buses to the nearest MRT station to get to work.

Previously, someone living in Tanjung Malim working in Kota Damansara’s Sunway Giza for example, would have to take the KTM Komuter and alight at Sungai Buloh, then take either a bus or a taxi to get to office while spending time in traffic.  Now, all he or she has to do is to alight the KTM Komuter at Sungai Buloh and get on one of the MRT trains and alight at the Surian station and take a MRT feeder bus if the last mile is a bit far for walking. Commuters now have access to jobs at places they previously would not consider because it may involve relocating the family.

The next hoo-haa involves the recent visit by Najib Razak and family, and a few selected social media influencers.  There was a claim that passengers were pushed back by Prasarana officials from the front of the coach to the rear.  I find this amusing to say the least.  To understand why I laughed at this claim, you must understand the current phase of the MRT service.

Justified? I don’t think so. This is the baseless hatred towards anything Najib Razak talking

Phase one of the MRT SBK line commences at the Sungai Buloh station, passes Kampung Selamat in Sungai Buloh, Kwasa Damansara, Kwasa Sentral, Kota Damansara, Surian (Sunway Giza), Mutiara Damansara (IKEA), Bandar Utama (One Utama), TTDI (near GLO and KPJ Damansara), Phileo (Section 16/Eastin Hotel), Pusar Bandar Damansara, and terminates at Semantan (until Sunday 16 July 2017).

The Prime Minister and his entourage boarded the train at the Pusat Bandar Damansara station AFTER office hours.  At one station before that (Phileo), Prasarana had cleared the front portion of the train.

You must understand several more things – each train has the capacity to transport 1,200 commuters, three times the number each LRT train can carry. Each train has four coaches.  Every day after office, more commuters take the Sungai Buloh-bound train than the one going to Semantan.  I asked staff from Prasarana and MRT Corp, as well as the Special Branch officers who were there that day, all of them put the number of commuters headed towards Semantan station that day at “ten or less.”  I would concur as I have taken this route at this very time.

An MRT train. Note how it has four coaches and each coach has four doors

The “push back” which obviously was for security reasons, involved getting those on board to clear the area in the vicinity of the first door only.  One official who entered through the third door said, “There were about ten people or less who were seated near the second door. They got off at the last station.”

So, it was not like hundreds of people were pushed back to the fourth coach, but just ten people or less in a train with the capacity to carry 1,200.  How far back do you think did they have to go?

Inside an MRT train – how far do you think ten people need to go when pushed back?

It is a case of making a mountain out of a molehill with the intention to make those alike incensed because here is some wimp who was “inconvenienced” at having to move to the rear of the train, those who hate anything that the government does unless it is a government that has Lim Kit Siang or Lim Guan Eng manning the puppet string.

An example of a “Hate anything Najib” zombie

“Passengers were asked to move to the back of the train.” Pathetic bitch.

And this was all caused by Malaysiakini’s (as usual) absence of journalistic ethics, reporting only half-truths, inciting people to hate anything not controlled by the DAP.  Of course, they have the KPI set by the NED to meet to guarantee operating funds.

MalaysiaKini is very into nation-disintergration

I mentioned above that I had to seek clarification on the physical situation of the event in order to understand, and make you understand the circumstances.  Unlike some portal that writes before the brain could start functioning, then corrects its article only after thousands express their rage on social media.