I don’t know why Arul Kanda’s presence at the opening ceremony of the UMNO General Assembly is made a fuss. So did Khazanah Nasional Bhd managing director Azman Mokhtar, Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) group chairperson Abdul Wahid Omar, CEO Abdul Rahman Ahmad and Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT) CEO Lodin Wok Kamaruddin.
It has always been a tradition for CEOs of Government-linked companies to be invited to the opening ceremony to listen to the UMNO President’s speech where it always touches socio-economic concerns. Even President of BN component parties are invited. In fact, among those who attended the final UMNO General Assembly with Mahathir as President were MCA’s then-President Ong Ka Ting and also PPP’s M Kayveas. So, what is the big deal?
Not too long ago, an archnemesis of the Opposition attended DAP’s Convention. There, those who swore to spit on his grave lined up to smile, bow and shake hands with the man they all had wanted to send to prison for being a corrupt dictator.
Behind Mahathir in the screen capture above is the very man who used to go around the country calling the former a PEROMPAK (robber).
Of course, now Mahathir is forgiven. All the RM100 billion according to both Lim Kit Siang and Barry Wain that Mahathir squandered have been forgotten, all in the name of politics. And in the name of politics, all those with past sins are forgiven the moment they work hand-in-hand with Pakatan.
Arul Kanda, President of BN component parties, all sat with the rest of the guests an delegations. Mahathir, however, was given a seat on the stage with DAP’s central executive committee members.
So, is Mahathir a DAP member? Maybe, Malaysiakini can answer this question.
His Royal Highness Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Alhaj, the Sultan of Selangor from my observation is a calm and very private person. He rarely makes any statement or gives interviews to the media except during his birthday celebration. Only once in a blue moon would Sultan Sharafuddin voice out his concern, especially during the Kajang Move, because it was affecting the efficiency of His Royal Highness’s state government. The Sultan had also expressed his concern over the rudeness of the Opposition and its supporters towards the late Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak during the Perak constitutional crisis of 2009.
The latest episode involves the adverse reaction by DAP’s Zaid Ibrahim to the Sultan’s statement on Mahathir’s remark on the Bugis people. The statement was made as part of an interview with The Star for this year’s celebration of the Sultan’s birthday. In his Twitter postings, Zaid said that when some Rulers play politics, they must know the consequences. Do not think there is no price for partisanship.
What earned Zaid the wrath of many was when he also Tweeted a warning to Sultan Sharafuddin saying the Sultan should be careful with his words (as) no one is immune when (the) country burns.
That is typical of Zaid, when he displays the usual non compos mentis character. Often displaying his republican attitude, Zaid suits well in the DAP – a party known historically for its rash behaviour when it comes to respecting the Rulers Institution. It is also well that he is a Malay, from Kelantan, as it would appeal to the fence-sitting Malays in Kelantan who are politically torn after the departure of PAS from Pakatan Rakyat effectively ending the coalition.
The late Karpal Singh once petitioned to sue Sultan Sharafuddin’s late father, Almarhum Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Alhaj, in 1987 over a speech by Sultan Salahuddin to the Selangor branch of the Ex-Servicemen’s Association saying that he would not pardon drug traffickers in Selangor. The petition was rejected on the grounds that there was no lis. In 2009, Karpal Singh had intended to sue Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak for appointing Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir as the new Menteri Besar, replacing DAP’s choice Nizar Jamaluddin. Karpal was found guilty of sedition in 2014.
Since gaining some grounds after the 2008 general elections, the DAP has time and again displayed its disrespect to the Rulers Institution by not abiding by the dress code at state assembly openings. One good example is of DAP’s Gwee Tong Hiang who was the Johor state assemblyman for Bentayan who did not wear a songkok at the state assembly opening. The late Sultan of Johor, Almarhum Sultan Iskandar Ismail was not amused.
“Two days ago someone here tried to be a hero by refusing to dress accordingly. If he wants (to differ), then get out of here now!” the late Sultan chastised. Tong Hiang, unfortunately, was not present then.
The DAP had wised up since then. Seen as a Chinese chauvinist party, such rude behaviour turned them into punching bags of the Malays, especially those from UMNO who had a feast turning the DAP into cheap meals. The DAP quickly recruited liberal Malays into its fold, including Zaid, to do their dirty jobs for them. This keeps the heat off the Chinese in DAP, but pit Malays against Malays.
What the authorities should realise is that such behaviour displayed most recently by Zaid Ibrahim sends the wrong signal that it is alright to reject Malay traditions including respect for the elders and the Rulers to the younger Malaysian who, at their age, would be mostly anti-establishment by nature. If this goes unchecked, it would certainly give birth to more Zaid Ibrahims.
The authorities should take cue from Sultan Sharafuddin.
“I am aware that Zaid had long been making false and incorrect accusations against me. He is a politician and a former minister whom I understand is against the royal institution. My advice to Zaid is simple, do not forget where you come from,” the Sultan said.
For two decades DAP’s Supremo, Emperor Lim Kit Siang, fought to bring to justice those responsible for the loss of RM30 billion (RM45.25 billion in today’s terms) through foreign gambling exchange by the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) back in the early 1990s. The greed of those responsible saw the BNM increase its trading volume to USD50 million lots (RM74.46 million or RM205.65 million today) compared to the market norm then of USD5 million (RM7.45 million or RM20.56 million today) to USD10 million (RM14.90 million or RM41.12 million today), amounting to billions of Dollars per day!
BNM’s maximum exposure in the foreign exchange markets then reached as high as RM270 billion – three times the country’s GDP and more than five times the country’s foreign reserves at the time!
Imagine what would have happened had we lost all that! But imagine what RM30 billion then could have done to arrest the massive fall of the Ringgit from RM2.4765 to the USD on 1 April 1997 to RM4.88 to the USD in early January 1998.
Now Lim Kit Siang plays innocent saying he has nothing to do with wanting a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the BNM Forex scandal. Is it because he and Mahathir are good friends now? Or is it because Mahathir’s involvement means that the DAP has lost one of its Malay political mules?
If I recall correctly, it was Lim Kit Siang who mentioned that Mahathir has to answer for the Forex loss, and that if Pakatan captures Putrajaya, he would re-open the BNM Forex scandal. He even asked if (former Egyptian President Hosni) Mubarak got life imprisonment, then why should Mahathir go scot-free?
Has Lim Kit Siang forgotten all the above? If he has, has he gone senile due to his age? If he has problems retaining his memory, then I don’t think he ought to contest in the next general elections.
Whatever it is, the biggest winner would be Anwar. Not only does he get to see his jailor jailed, but he won’t be lonely anymore.
It is no surprise that the recent DAP CEC election has retained some 90 percent of its line up. Despite being a dinosaur and having manouvered the DAP through its mother-of-all-U-turns by working with arch-nemesis Mahathir Mohamad, Lim Kit Siang emerged victorious with the most number of votes. His son, Guan Eng, despite being charged on two counts of corruption, came out third and was returned as the Secretary-General of the party.
Returned after being missing for a term is Selangor’s Ronnie Liu who is famous for trying to stop the authorities from raiding brothels and gambling dens in Selangor before DAP came into power. The ousted included the man who is the symbol of cleanliness, moderation and a corrupt-free DAP – Tan Seng Giaw.
And as for its multiracial image, only two Indians and one Punjabi were elected but not one Malay made it to the Top 20 – again, but former DAP Pahang Chairman Tengku Zulpuri Shah bin Tengku Puji was appointed Vice-Chairman. He is the sole Malay in the CEC line-up. Christopher Ross Lim, the Chinese man masquerading as Malay going by the name Zairil Khir Johari, made it at No. 19. He was born a Chinese and remains a Chinese.
Only 54 percent or 1,356 delegates attended the CEC elections out of 2,514 delegates in 2013. This shows that the support for the Lim Dynasty is waning. They can bask in party glory now but whether that will translate into actual votes especially in Pulau Pinang remains to be seen. With only 450,000 registered members, DAP relies more on its propaganda to win over the masses, who of late are drowning in flood waters and overwhelmed by landslides due to the over-development of the hills and reclamation works in Pulau Pinang.
And to appease the spirit of a dead man, the three-year dead Karpal Singh managed to get 43 votes, more than any of the Malay candidates. How Karpal could still get votes baffles me.
This sums up the image of the DAP – rotten to the core.
Former army Brigadier turned politician, Arshad Raji, seems to like the attention the electronic media has been according him lately, and he speaks about a wide spectrum of issues – from falling for Mahathir’s fake news of the so-called withdrawal of his close police protection, to the management of the floods in Pulau Pinang.
In the latter issue it was as if he was trying to downplay the Deputy Prime Minister and the BN-led Federal Government’s involvement in the management of the floods. He was right about some of it, though. Under the National Security Council Directive No.20, when a state emergency is declared following a disaster affecting two districts or more, the State Disaster Management Committee can call for assistance in the form of assets, finance, and other resources on the state level, and limited form of assistance from federal agencies within the state – the police, armed forces, civil defence etc. This does not require a call to the Deputy Prime Minister at all.
The State Disaster Management Committee is chaired by the Chief Minister or Menteri Besar while the Chief Executive is the State Secretary. But what Arshad Raji did not know, or chose to not reveal during his “press conference” was the fact that until now Lim Guan Eng has not declared a state of emergency in Pulau Pinang despite floods inundating four out of five districts in Pulau Pinang namely Seberang Prai Utara, Seberang Prai Selatan, Barat Daya and Timur Laut.
I lived in Pulau Pinang, on the pulau itself for three years and four months in the late 1980s and never once saw floods affecting the state on this level. The most I would see is pockets of areas in Datuk Keramat and the Green Lane (Jalan Masjid Negeri) – Jalan Air Itam junction near the State Mosque. Even then you could still pass the areas on your motorcycle. Having eight deaths because of floods in a year was unheard of (one died earlier in September while seven this time around).
“No rain, no floods” seems to be the best of Lim Guan Eng’s quotes pertaining to floods in Pulau Pinang. This time, the deluge is blamed on a tyhoon that is battering Vietnam, and rightfully so. Every time a typhoon hits Vietnam, the northern Peninsular states would receive an extra amount of rainfall. And since 1881, Vietnam has been battered by 68 typhoons excluding the one that has just hit them. However, the shocking bit is where 119 flash floods have hit Pulau Pinang since 2013! That is 2.5 flash floods per month for the last four years!
It does not take an engineer to tell you that when you do excessive hillside developments, the soil cannot absorb the rainwater as the oxidised topsoil would be transformed into a clay-like material. The run-offs would be washed into monsoon drains, clogging up the roadside gutters and making the storm sewers shallower as silt accumulates at the bottom. These drains flow out to sea along natural coastlines, which is why monsoon drains act as gravity sewers. In Pulau Pinang, you can hardly find a natural coastline as most beaches with gradient have been reclaimed, and the gradient tapers off, diminishing the gravity effect. Storm water therefore does not flow into the sea but accumulates and saturates the flatter grounds causing floods.
But who cares about eight deaths this year due to floods and one last year when you can make money selling condominium units to the rich? But it is this excessive development by the state government that was voted in by the Pulau Pinang people that is now killing the Pulau Pinang people and have caused untold miseries.
Everyone also knows that when it is the new moon or full moon, tides will be higher than usual, and that makes it harder for storm drains and rivers to flow water out to sea, what more when there is excessive water caused by the backlash of a typhoon.
You can see that from 1 November 2017 the moon was in an advanced waxing gibbous phase and full moon over Georgetown, Pulau Pinang occured at 12.40am on Saturday, 4 November 2017. The Malaysian Meteorological Department had issued a series of bad weather warnings for the northern Peninsular states from 31 October 2017, and every day from then on.
You can see that there was ample warning by the Malaysian Meteorological Department that the weather was going to be bad for four days. What did Lim Guan Eng or his State Disaster Management Committee do? Nothing, until it got really bad. And at 3.00am, Lim Guan Eng became a cry baby and called the Deputy Prime Minister for help, without even declaring a state emergency.
Where was his State Disaster Management Committee? Why had they not sat down to make preparations to mitigate the situation?
Lim Guan Eng was quick to point fingers at Kelantan in the aftermath of the disastrous floods at the end of 2014. He pointing out that corruption and the incompetency of the Kelantan state government, as well as the rampant hillside clearing as the causes of the floods.
Well, we know that there is rampant hillside clearing in Pulau Pinang. We also know that the Chief Minister was charged on two accounts of corruption, and we also know now that it was the incompetency of the Pulau Pinang State Disaster Management Committee led by Lim Guan Eng himself as the Chairman that had caused the situation to be worse than it should be.
Lim Guan Eng’s government’s incompetence has killed one person in floods last year, 21 people in a landslide this year, and eight people in the recent floods. This is the government that the Pulau Pinang people have voted in, and the Chief Minister chosen by them.
119 flash floods have occured since the promises above was made. And Lim Guan Eng’s government is not worried. Going by the rate the floods are killing people, there won’t be that many people left to complain about the floods – problem solved.
I blame our history books. In our eagerness to instill the spirit of nationalism, we took an easy way out by saying that we were colonised by the British, when in actual fact the whole of Malaya came under British rule only during the Malayan Union period. Only Melaka, Pulau Pinang, Singapore, and for a while Pangkor and the Dindings were under the direct rule of Britain when they were part of the Strait Settlements. Other than that, the British advisers administered the Malay states through treaties, and the administrators were under the payroll of the respective Sultans or Rajas, not the British.
One of the leading evidence of the sovereignty and independence of the Malay states was a landmark case in England where in 1885 the Sultan Abu Bakar of Johor went to England, and according to the plaintiff of the case, Miss Mighell, took the name Albert Baker and promised to marry her.
It was held by court that the Sultan was entitled to immunity even though up to the time of suit ‘he has perfectly concealed the fact that he is a sovereign, and has acted as a private individual.’ ‘When once there is the authoritative certificate of the Queen (Victoria) through her minister of state as to the status of another sovereign, that in the courts of this country is decisive’.
To an argument that Sultan Abu Bakar had waived this immunity, the court held that the only way that a sovereign could waive immunity was by submitting to jurisdiction in the face of the court as, for example, by appearance to a writ. If the sovereign ignored the issue of the writ, the court was under a duty of its own motion to recognise his immunity from suit.
The roles of the Malay Rulers are somewhat misunderstood. While many often think that the Institution of the Rulers mirror that of the British’s Westminster-style monarchy, it is not. The Rulers ruled this land even when the British were here to administer the land on behalf of The Majesties.
When 31 August 1957 arrived, the powers that the Rulers had invested in the British was duly transferred to a government that was chosen by the people through a process of democracy called Elections. It is untrue that during the British administration of this land, and now, that the Rulers have no other power other than having a say in the matters of the Religion of Islam and the Malay custom.
The Rulers, as keepers of this land, continue to enjoy their position with their income regulated by the respective laws, and receive advice from the Menteris Besar (or in the case of the Yang DiPertuan Agong, the Prime Minister). This is evident in Article 181(1) of the Federal Constitution which states:
“Subject to the provisions of this Constitution,” the “sovereignty, prerogatives, powers and jurisdiction of the Rulers…as hitherto had and enjoyed shall remain unaffected.”
The same was noted by Mark R Gillen of the Faculty of Law, University of Victoria (Gillen 1994:7). In the words of the late Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, former Lord President, it is:
“a mistake to think that the role of a King, like that of a President, is confined to what is laid down by the Constitution, His role far exceeds those constitutional provisions” (Azlan Shah 1986:89)
In other words, the Rulers may be Constitutional Monarchs, but they are not limited to what have been spelt out in the Federal Constitution.
When Syed Saddiq, the runner for Mahathir wrote to the Sultan of Selangor after His Royal Highness expressed great displeasure over Mahathir’s labelling of the Bugis as “pirates who should return to their own land” and pleaded for the Sultan’s support to “fight against corruption and injustice with the people” it shows this great-person-wannabe’s lack of understanding of the position of the Rulers in the Federal Constitution.
The Rulers are apolitical. The Rulers do not take sides, or do not express openly whom they prefer over those they do not. For instance, when the Menteri Besar of Selangor does something that is deemed un-Menteri Besar-like, the most the Sultan would do is to express a reminder for the Menteri Besar to improve his performance so that the lives of the subjects of His Royal Highness are not in any way adversely affected. To encourage certain courses of action is part of the duty of a Sultan, but the Sultan is above politics.
In the words of Sultan Nazrin Muizuddin Shah of Perak in July 2011:
“Rulers must use wisdom to calm situations, but they do not have a ‘magic lamp’ to keep unity, especially when the situation has become chaotic.“
When racial strife hit Malaysia on 13th May 1969, the Sultan of Terengganu as well as other Rulers took steps to protect their non-Malay rakyats (Kobkua Suwannathat-Pian, Faculty of Humanities, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Kobkua 2011:364). This goes to affirm the special press statement made by the Conference of Rulers in October 2008 explaining that the Institution of Rulers is a “protective umbrella ensuring impartiality among the citizens.”
After 2008, we have witnessed how lawmakers from a certain party have been rude towards the Malay Rulers, forgetting their place in the Federa Constitution. The Rukunegara – means nothing to them: there is no Loyalty to the lawmakers themselves are rarely guided by the belief in God as they lie as if God does not exist, they show no loyalty to King and Country except when they need favours or awards which also means they do not subscribe to the supremacy of the Constitution, they don’t believe in the Rule of Law when it does not work according to their overall game plan, and by being rude to the authorities beginning with the Malay Rulers show that they do not practice courtesy and morality.
And are we surprised that we now have common people threatening the police, council enforcement officers, biting court officers, or show gross disrespect for the authority of the Malay Rulers? They learn such absence of manners from their political idols.
If I were to write a letter to His Royal Highness The Sultan of Selangor, it would be to plead to His Royal Highness to pressure the authorities to hasten their investigation into the seditious nature of Mahathir’s remark.
THIS would be my mellow version of the Ops Lalang.
The Internal Security Act, 1960 or the ISA, was probably the most draconian law to ever exist in Malaysia. Prior to having the ISA, preventive detention was done through the Emergency Regulations Ordinance of 1948 aimed at combatting the communist threats.
With the end of the first Malayan Emergency in 1960, the Ordinance of 148 was done away with but was replaced with the ISA. The mood of the period must be understood to see the reason for having such law.
Although the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) had lost the fight, the struggle was continued from across the Thai border by cadres, as well as their supporters (Min Yuen) in Malaya. They penetrated unions, the press, as well as associations, causing occasional racial tensions in the country.
Pre-1970 Malaysia was not all dandy when it came to race relations. The economic power was held by the Chinese since the days of the British administration while the Malays had been relegated to being farmers or lower ranking civil servants.
The Chinese immigrants first came to the Malay states in 1777, and first settled in the state of Perak in 1830 (Patrick Sullivan, 1982: 13). Within 44 years, they numbered 26,000 in Perak alone. In 1921, the number of Chinese immigrants in the Malay states numbered 1,171,740. Ten years later, it was 1,704,452. In 1941, it became 2,377,990 while the Malays were at 2,277,352 (Paul H Kratoska, 1997:318). The Malays remained as a minority until the census of 1970.
During the war, the Malays did not face much hardship as the Chinese did at the hands of the Japanese.
After the war, the CPM/MPAJA and their Chinese supporters took revenge on the Malays. In Batu Pahat, Muslims were forbidden from congregating at mosques or suraus to perform the Terawih prayers (Hairi Abdullah, 1974/5: 8-9).
The same occurred in Perak and some parts of Batu Pahat where Muslims were gunned down and burnt together with the mosque they were in during Friday prayers.
Mosques and suraus were often used as places of meeting for the Chinese community (WO 172/9773, No.30: 478) and were tainted by incidents such as slaughtering of pigs, and mosques’ compound was used to cook pork, where Malays were forced to join the larger Chinese groups. Pages were torn from the Quran to be used by the Chinese using these mosques as toilet paper.
Racial clashes had begun in September 1945 where Malays and Chinese clashed in Kota Bharu, Selama, Taiping, Sitiawan, Raub.
This culminated in the slaughter of Malays early one morning in a hamlet near Kuala Kangsar called Bekor where 57 men and women, and 24 children were killed by about 500 members of the CPM aided by 500 Chinese villagers from Kelian in March 1946 (CO 537/1580: 21 and Majlis, 24 Februari 1947:5).
All in all, 2,000 lives were lost.
Such was the mood and the ISA was introduced to also prevent further racial clashes by preventing instigators from achieving their objective whatever that may be.
Therefore, it was an Act of Parliament that was used to preserve public order and morals. If one is to read the ISA thoroughly, then it would be easier to see that the Act was not just about detention without trial, but also as a weapon for the Royal Malaysian Police to nip any cancerous threat to public order and morals in the bud.
Datuk Seri (now Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad was Prime Minister as well as Home Minister when Ops Lalang was executed on Oct 26 1987 (arrests were made in the early morning of Oct 27).
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was Umno Youth chief and also Education Minister in Dr Mahathir’s Third Cabinet.
Anwar had made several unpopular moves that earned the wrath of the MCA such as the removal of crucifixes from missionary schools, introduction of Bahasa Malaysia as the medium of instruction for Tamil and Chinese studies at the University of Malaya, as well as the introduction of non-Chinese educated senior assistants and supervisors to Chinese vernacular schools.
Deputy MCA president Datuk Seri (now Tan Sri) Lee Kim Sai who was also Selangor MCA chief, on the other hand, had also uttered words implying that the Malays were also immigrants.
A 2,000-strong gathering by the Dong Jiao Zong that was also attended by the DAP, MCA and Gerakan was held and a resolution was made to call a three-day boycott by Chinese schools.
Umno Youth responded with a 10,000-strong gathering at the TPCA Stadium in Kampung Baru. It is said that Dr Mahathir then instructed Datuk Seri (Tan Sri) Sanusi Junid, who was Umno secretary-general then, to organise a rally of 500,000 members in Kuala Lumpur.
I remember feeling the tension in the air, especially when an army personnel, Private Adam Jaafar, ran amok with his M-16 in Kampung Baru, adding more fuel to a potentially explosive situation.
The senior police management met in Fraser’s Hill to plan and then launched Ops Lalang to prevent bloodshed.
Whether or not Dr Mahathir disagreed with the police for Ops Lalang to be launched, it must be remembered that even if the police had wanted to launch the operations unilaterally, Section 8(1) of the ISA specifically mentions that it is the Home Minister who, upon being satisfied that the detention of any person is necessary, may make an order for the person to be detained for a period of not more than two years.
According to Section 73 of the Act, the police were not given the power to detain a person for more than 30 days unless the Inspector-General of Police had reported of the detention and its reason to the Home Minister.
Nowhere does the Act mention that the Home Minister SHALL or MUST act as advised by the police. The police provided the names in a list, with reasons why they should be or were detained, but only the Minister could sign the detention order.
Dr Mahathir may now claim that Ops Lalang was the police’s idea, which may be true. But as mentioned at the beginning of this article that the ISA is an Act of Parliament giving powers to the police to diffuse potentially explosive situations and also to protect and preserve public safety and morals.
The police used the ISA during Ops Lalang as it was intended to be used (there were also detainees from Umno during the sweep), but the Home Minister was the one who played God, and decided whom to be released before the 60 days was up, and whom to hold up to two years.
And that Home Minister is the same unrepentant person now touted to become the next PM by the DAP.
Barely a few hours after Najib Razak’s announcing of the budget for 2018, the DAP came up with the above graphic to inform the people that (as usual) Najib Razak’s budget is a copycat budget.
But is it?
It must be remembered that the budget announced by Najib Razak will be implemented nationwide whereas the “Pakatan budget” mentioned in the graphic above is a pick-and-choose budget that only one has been implemented in just one state administered by Pakatan, and not a nationwide solution.
Abolish All Tolls
The Barisan Nasional (BN) -led government announced that from 1 January 2018, tolls at four locations, actually, will be abolished. They are the Batu Tiga toll on the Federal Highway, the Sungai Rasau toll near Klang that is also on the Federal Highway, the EDL highway toll in Johor Bahru as well as the Bukit Kayu Hitam toll in Kedah.
Pakatan Harapan proposed to abolish all toll collections. But it has not explained how they plan to compensate in the region of billions to the toll concessionaires for all the money that they have put into the highways they operate and loss of future earnings.
Furthermore, Pakatan promised since before GE12 to abolish toll collection at the Sungai Nyior toll plaza in Pulau Pinang but has not done so to-date.
Pakatan’s de facto a third of a leader, Anwar Ibrahim, had in fact made a promise not too long ago to not allow toll charges to be increased on highways they have shares in, namely, the LDP, KESAS and SPRINT. So far they have done nothing. If they cannot even control the highways that they have substantial shares in how can we hope for them to abolish all tolls?
Pakatan’s alternative budget is also unreliable when it comes to the abolishment of toll on highways. Azmin Ali as the Menteri Besar of Selangor admitted that it was not going to be easy for them to reduce tolls let alone abolish them on highways where the state government has shares in.
But instead of reducing or abolishing tolls, Azmin Ali introduced three new tolled highways namely the Sungai Besi-Ulu Klang Elevated Expressway (SUKE), the East Klang Valley Expressway (EKVE), and the Damansara-Shah Alam Elevated Expressway (DASH). This is a total of 89 kilometres of new tolled highways offered by the Pakatan government versus the 2,083 kilometres toll-free Pan Borneo Highway offered by the Barisan Nasional government.
So, who is Pakatan trying to kid when it says it wants to abolish tolls on highways? What funds do they plan to use to acquire the concessions from concessionaires? The government is able to abolish tolls at four locations because three of them are under PLUS which is 100 percent government-owned through UEM and EPF, and one under MRCB which has Bank Rakyat and Tabung Haji, both are government entities, as shareholders.
Another puzzling behaviour of the Pakatan is that while it claims that it will abolish tolls in total, or in Selangor or Sungai Nyior only, or just reduce the rates, it has been proven that they are just a bag filled with hot air. It has been almost a decade since their coming into power in Pulau Pinang and Selangor yet they have nothing to show. So when the BN government abolishes tolls at four locations, the reaction from them should be one of sheer happiness. Yet they seem to be otherwise. Why?
One example is Azmin’s communications director Yin Shao Loong who is unaware that the concession period for the Batu Tiga toll was extended to 2038 and not 2018.
Had the Batu Tiga toll concession period been extended, the rate users would be paying according to the original agreement signed during Mahathir’s period is RM2.40 instead of the RM1.10 users are enjoying now.
Prior to the introduction of the 6-percent Goods & Services Tax (GST), business owners were charged the 16-percent Sales & Services Tax (SST). The Sales Tax was a federal consumption tax imposed on a wide variety of goods, and governed by the Sales Tax Act 1972. The Service Tax, also a federal consumption tax, was levied on customers who consumed certain taxable services, and was governed by the Service Tax Act 1975.
The SST was a single stage of consumption tax where businesses cannot recover the tax paid on their purchases. This tax will be treated as a cost to business. However, it was not a transparent form of taxation as many business owners fail to declare their taxes through transfer pricing. The GST introduces transparency, curbs the inefficiencies, tax-payment and misappropriation issues of the SST.
This incurred the wrath of big business owners as they can no longer hide actual sales figures to avoid being taxed.
As opposed to the SST where every single item is taxed 16 percent, household items such as but not limited to sugar, flour, cooking oil, vegetables, fish, meat, poultry and services such as healthcare, education, public transport, housing and agriculture land are exempted from the GST. If there is a spike in the prices of these items, it is the business owners that are to be blamed for marking up prices, and consumers can report them to the KPDNKK.
It is the efficient way to collect tax from businesses that has helped the government to find an alternative form of income when price of oil have gone down tremendously.
Pakatan wants to either revert back to the SST system but has not mentioned how it plans to make up for the loss of income since oil prices cannot be depended upon, or zero-rate everything as per its alternative budget if it decides to keep the GST system, with the option to increase the rates later.
Again, Pakatan is not being transparent to the masses.
120-Day Maternity Leave versus 90-Day Maternity Leave
There are two aspects to look at when talking about maternity leaves. First, on the employers’ side – a worker that is unable to perform her duty taxes the company as she receives full pay during her absence, and other workers have to double up to do her work. Second, going by the concept of ‘iddah of a divorced woman – the waiting period is three menstrual cycles or three months. I did not use the example of a widow’s waiting period because that includes a period to sufficiently overcome a huge part of grief.
Let us compare with other Muslims countries:
Bangladesh – 112 days: 8 weeks (56 days) before delivery and 8 weeks (56 days) after delivery.
Indonesia – 3 months (90 days)
Pakistan – 90 days (45 before delivery and 45 after)
Oman – 100 days (50 days before and 50 days after)
Qatar – 50 days
Saudi Arabia – 70 days
Syria – 50 days
UAE – 45 days
Yemen – 60 days
Pakatan wants to implement 120 days maternity leave, but evidence shows that after introducing a 90-day maternity leave for Selangor’s civil servants, only 30 employees have actually utilised the 90-day leave in full.
I guess 90 days about stretches the limit, especially for employers providing 100 percent pay during maternity leave.
TAWAS versus ADAM50
Tabung Warisan Selangor (TAWAS) is a RM100 one-off gift for every child born in Selangor with the hope of accumulating RM1,500 when they are eligible to withdraw the money when they turn 18. Amanah Dana Anak Malaysia 2050 (ADAM50) is a 200-unit gift in the form of a trust fund for 2.8 million Malaysian babies born from 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2022. The 200 units will be credited automatically in the unit trust funds managed by Amanah Saham Nasional Bhd after the registration process is completed by their parents or guardian.
TAWAS was launched in 2008 as part of fulfilling Pakatan Rakyat Selangor’s manifesto promise. Between 2008 and 2011, RM588,391 was spent on advertising and promotion for TAWAS but less than 20 percent of newborns (60,972 out of 313,706) in Selangor were registered by the end of 2011.
The Selangor state government had no choice but to extend the registration deadline to allow for more participants but as at 22 July 2014, only 159,953 registration was collected. The total number of live childbirths in Selangor was 421,652 by the end of 2012. By end of August 2017, TAWAS only managed to get 280,568 registrations.
TAWAS started off with funds amounting to RM13.5 million but the state government has had to spend RM22.87 million annually on TAWAS despite getting only 19.4 percent registration. Why is there a need to spend so much on so few participants?
The Auditor-General reported that TAWAS, which was formed under the Menteri Besar Selangor (Pemerbadanan) through Yayasan Warisan Anak Selangor (YAWAS) failed to submit documents of issuance of Fixed Deposit Certificates (SST) between YAWAS and AmBank to the auditors.
There is no standard operating procedures (SOP) to fix a deadline for the issuance of SST to the participants from the date the registration was made or was approved. Audit checks found that there is no record of actual of issuance and receipt of actual SST to and from participants.
“The TAWAS system only provides information on SST that had been prepared by AmBank, furthermore even YAWAS does not have detailed records on the interests received for each of the SST issued,” the report added.
ADAM50 is managed by Perbadanan Nasional Berhad (PNB) which has been managing funds such as Amanah Saham Nasional, Amanah Saham Bumiputra and Amanah Saham Malaysia. The 200 incentive units and all dividends received on this initial amount of ADAM50 can only be redeemed when the child reaches 18 years of age.
Pakatan cannot even handle a far smaller fund efficiently and it wants to compare itself to a single corporation that handles funds in excess of RM265 billion. Where has all the millions of Ringgits pumped into TAWAS gone to despite not getting the number of participants it had envisaged in 2008?
The Return of Petrol Subsidies
I won’t even go there. Everyone knows the removal of subsidies is so that it could be chanelled to the target groups instead of providing everyone, even foreigners, with subsidised petrol.
The Pakatan budget plans to subsidise only cars and motorcycles below 1,000cc. Only the Perodua Kancil and Perodua Viva would fit into the given category. How would the petrol pump know what cars are below 1,000cc and which ones are 1,000cc and above?
Other Pakatan Budget Jokes
While the BN government strives to lower taxes Pakatan’s alternative budget plans to introduce, on top of the 16 percent SST, an Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax and increase Personal Income Tax to make up for the loss of income through the abolishment of the GST. Yet the pantywaist Pakatan have the cheek to cry foul and claim that the BN’s budget is oppressive.
So I will leave it up to you to decide whom to choose come GE14.
Compared to MCOBA, ANSARA is not politically-inclined at all save for some chapters. But even those Pakatan-leaning chapters did not nominate Mukhriz for any position.
When I advised the committee members of an Air Force veterans association to seek help from Mukhriz the Menteri Besar over an issue they were facing in Kedah, they shook their head saying they would rather seek help from the EXCOs or individual ADUNs as Mukhriz was not a performer.
Of course, Mukhriz has been making his rounds in his parliamentary constituency but even people there tell me that he hardly visited them when he was the MB. They dismissed it as a superficial attempt to show that he is still relevant.
He even visited Langkawi, where his own father is the self-appointed Ketua Pribumi, to tell people of his vision to develop Langkawi even further, including turning the padi patch behind the Ayer Hangat Cultural Village into a commercial area.
The problem is, the islanders are aware that for 22 years, Mukhriz’s father only brought development to the southern part of the island, enriching cronies and outsiders, giving them land, leaving people in the northern half to fend for themselves.
Just like Pulau Pinang, there is hardly a beach that locals could go to to enjoy.
Other than bitching about what BN does, they are also good at doing bad things like creating fear among the kampung folks by dishing out lies.
An example is the putting up of a land office map of several kampungs in Seri Medan with a crudely-drawn rectangle showing “the new alignment of the High Speed Rail” that will affect the respective kampungs. Not even people in the Johor Land and Housing committee have heard of such re-alignment of the HSR.
Although Pribumi has a foot in Kampung Parit Seri Menanti where a former UMNO man angered by not being given contracts had set up a Pribumi branch, the party has made a base out of Kampung Sri Bengkal’s favourite Soto Kambing joint in nearby Parit Yob which is operated by a housewife and her amputee husband.
But seeing the number of likes and comments on the Instagram page belonging to a high-ranking Pribumi official shows that the 1.5 million signatures of a petition presented by Pribumi AMANDA’s Syed Sajat is nothing but a fabrication.
Of late, even Pakatan-organised talks cannot muster the same crowds as they used to. A sign that people are weary of the amount of bitching the Pakatan has been doing instead of spending time and taxpayers’ money in the form of their allowances to do good for the rakyat.
There may have been some crowd when Mahathir was in Kuching recently but you can hardly take that as a show for support. Even my BN-supporting relatives were there “to see what the fuss is all about” and to see what stallowners have to offer.
See how the latest Pakatan talk fared.
Even the President of Pribumi who claimed he was expelled from UMNO for fighting against the alleged excessiveness of Najib Razak, could muster a handful at his talks.
This is the sorry state of support that the Pakatan could muster. It tells a lot. Maybe they should save the trouble first before saving Malaysia.
If you can recall I wrote that Georgetown in Pulau Pinang, and the City of Melaka in Melaka, were bestowed UNESCO Heritage Site status on 7 July 2008.
The application for the status was first made sometime in 1998 but failed to achieve the status as the documentation was not proper.
If I recall correctly, the Federal government had to step in through its Jabatan Warisan Negara (National Heritage Department) to properly structure the application to UNESCO.
In January 2007 the Nomination Dossier was submitted. In July, the official acknowledgment from UNESCO was received.
This followed a visit by officials from the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) to Georgetown and Melaka between 24 to 31 August 2007. They include Professor Yukio Nishimura who is from the Department of Urban Engineering, University of Tokyo.
Since being bestowed the status, Melaka took the necessary steps to ensure that the descendants of the historical Melaka people, its customs and sites remain preserved with very little restoration modifications done.
Both Melaka and Georgetown are similar in many ways. Some parts of both cities are time capsules of eras that have passed, eras that played a huge role in shaping the two cities. But that is where the similarities end.
In Georgetown you can hardly find the original people. Although the clans still have their presence there, only the richer ones remain on the island while poorer ones have moved to the mainland.
Gone are the sundry shops, the second-hand bookstores I used to frequent along Armenian Street, the old Chinese man weaving rattan baskets and the Malabari newsagents.
While the facade of their shops remain, inside are rows upon rows of boutique hotels and hipster cafes that are owned by foreigners and by that I mean non-citizens.
Pulau Pinang’s adamant stand to fulfill its Transportation Master Plan as wel as the selling of heritage buildings to foreigners also contribute to Georgetown losing its heritage status. Changing the landscape by the reclamation works to build three man-made islands would also destroy Pulau Pinang’s heritage.
Other than having to maintain and preserve historical buildings and sites, multi-cultural tangible and intangible heritage expressed in the great variety of religious buildings of different faiths, ethnic quarters, the many languages, worship and religious festivals, dances, costumes, art and music, food, and daily life must also continue to be preserved.
Under the guise of development the DAP-led state government of Pulau Pinang is only interested in making as much money as it possibly could. After all, land is money? Why worry about 40 buildings that nobody could live in when you have preserved five?
But what I am about to tell you will make many become apoplectic with rage – if Georgetown loses its UNESCO Heritage Site status, SO WILL MELAKA.
Yes, the UNESCO Heritage Site status was jointly awarded to both Georgetown and Melaka on 7 July 2008, and the Jabatan Warisan Negara is the body to preserve the sites as per the status. There was one joint-application to UNESCO for both cities.
But with land being a state prerogative, what chances does the department or all Pulau Pinang’s heritage NGOs have? The innocent victim here would be the people of Melaka. If robbed of its status because of the callous behaviour of the Pulau Pinang state government, the romance of showcasing historical sites to tourists in Melaka would be forever gone. So would be the businesses, the trishaw riders, and possibly some of the archaeological excavation sites.
Yes, Tokong’s greed and selfishness will not only destroy Pulau Pinang, they will destroy Melaka too. Does he care? I doubt. The people of Melaka are not going to vote for him next year.