ICC: A Strategic Withdrawal by the Government?

The International Criminal Court (photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

We have ratified, but have we withdrawn?

AS we all know, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had announced on April 5, 2019 Malaysia’s intention to withdraw from ratifying the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

However, just a week ago Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said that it is only a dead end for ICERD, but not for the Rome Statute (Jalan mati buat ICERD tapi bukan Statut Rome, kata Saifuddin – Free Malaysia Today, 23 April 2019).

Parliamentary Opposition Leader Ismail Sabri Yaakob hit out at the Foreign Minister the very next day. In a blog post, Ismail asked if the Foreign Minister still wants the Rome Statute ratified and what is the Pakatan Harapan government’s agenda? (Menteri Luar Masih Mahukan Statut Rom Diratifikasikan. Apa Agenda PH? – dsismailsabri.com, 24 April 2019).

What I find most interesting among all the points that were brought up by the Opposition Leader are the date when the statute comes into force for Malaysia, and the period of withdrawal from ratification.

Paragraph 1 of Article 126 of the Rome Statute states that the Statute shall come into force on the first day of the month after the 60th day following the ratification. For Malaysia, that date falls on June 1, 2019.

Paragraph 1 of Article 127 states that a State Party may, by written notification, withdraw from the Statute. The withdrawal shall take effect ONE YEAR after the date of receipt of the notification.

What the above means is that come June 1, 2019, Malaysia becomes a State Party. Any withdrawal following that date will only take effect ONE YEAR AFTER the receipt of the written notification. Until the withdrawal comes into effect, Malaysia is obliged to honour the Rome Statute.

Enter Article 7 Paragraph 1

At a glance, the ICC does not cause a nation’s sovereignty to diminish. Unlike the International Human Rights Law, the International Criminal Law does not directly impact national constitutional arrangements.

However, according to an expert in International Criminal Law, Rupert Elderkin, when International Criminal Law comes into play, it may perform quasi-constitutional functions, in particular offering the only means under public international law to remove state officials from office when they are believed responsible for the most harmful abuses of power (Elderkin, R. (2015). The impact of international criminal law and the ICC on national constitutional arrangements. Global Constitutionalism, 4(2), pp. 227-253).

The Attorney-General can argue that the Yang DiPertuan Agong will not be affected if Malaysia decides to declare war against another nation. Maybe not so. That is the least of my worries. It is Article 7 (Crimes Against Humanity) that I am more concerned about.

This Article deals with any act when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack that includes persecution against any identifiable group or collectively on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender, or crimes of apartheid.

Persecution means the intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental rights contrary to international law, while the crime of apartheid is explained as an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups.

I can name several Articles in the Federal Constitution, and the numerous policies aimed at protecting the special rights of the Malays and Bumiputera, as well as the special position of Islam, that are already against Article 7 of the Rome Statute.

The Malay Rulers act as a shield in their respective states for protecting the religion of Islam. If a Sultan refuses to appoint a state assemblyman whom he thinks has the majority support of the Dewan, as the Menteri Besar, on grounds that the latter is not a Muslim, then the Sultan is already acting in direct contravention of Article 7.

In the case of HRH The Sultan of Selangor and the issue of the use of “Allah” in Bibles five years ago, although the State’s religious affairs department acted in accordance with a state enactment that was made under the state’s constitution, that, too, would have contravened Article 7 of the Rome Statute.

It is immaterial whether or not the State’s constitution or enactments contravene the Federal Constitution. It can only be so when a Constitutional Court deems it to be.

Can the Agong and Malay Rulers be prosecuted?

But will the Yang DiPertuan Agong and the Malay Rulers still be protected from prosecution by the ICC? Or, can they be prosecuted by the ICC?

The Malay Rulers know of the policies and Articles that give Islam its status as the religion of the Federation; that give special status to the Malays and Bumiputeras over others; that makes Malay the national language – all of which come under their protection.

One can argue that since the Malay Rulers are constitutional in form, they cannot be held responsible, as argued by the Attorney-General saying that the Agong cannot declare war and is therefore not accountable. However, the Eighth Schedule of the Federal Constitution clearly states their executive powers.

Although the Latin phrase actus reus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea is the common law test for criminal liability meaning the act is not culpable unless the mind is guilty, it also means that a crime can be committed not only through one’s intention, but also through the knowledge that one’s action or inaction would contribute the same.

In Prosecutor vs Tihomir Blaškić (ICC Appeals Chamber, 29 July 2004), the ICC Appeals Chamber held that “the person who orders an act or omission with the awareness of the substantial likelihood that a crime will be committed in the execution of that order, has the requisite mens rea for establishing liability under Article 7(1) pursuant to ordering. Ordering with such awareness has to be regarded as accepting that crime.”

In other words, there is no legal requirement of an ideology, plan or policy to articulate the mens rea applicable to crimes against humanity. In this context, the Malay Rulers can be found culpable to promoting and enforcing policies and plans that oppress targeted race or religion, while holding the supremacy of one race or religion.

In the words of Catherine Gegout, and Associate Professor in International Relations, Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Nottingham,

“The ICC can prosecute any individual anywhere in the world, but for suspected criminals who are citizens of a state which has not ratified the ICC Statute, a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution is necessary.” (Gegout, C. (2013). The International Criminal Court: limits, potential and conditions for the promotion of justice and peace. Third World Quarterly, Volume 34, 2013, Issue 5, pp. 800-818).

How effective can ICC prosecute will depend on how cooperative a State Party is. If the government, as the executive branch of a State Party, decides to cooperate with the ICC and have a Malay Ruler tried by the ICC, then It could.

So, what is the government’s intention?

If there is something that may affect the status of Islam as the religion of the Federation, the special privileges of the Malays and Bumiputera, the National Language, and the status and functions of the Malay Rulers, it is imperative that the government bring it to the Malay Rulers to be deliberated.

By going quietly and ratifying the Rome Statute without first bringing the matter to the attention of the Malay Rulers is an act that contravenes the Federal Constitution. The Malay Rulers have every right to be consulted, to warn and to encourage. The cabinet members all took an oath to serve in His Majesty’s government, a Malaysian government; not a political party’s government.

So, what was the intention of ratifying the Statute? To take Myanmar to the ICC? China for the mistreatment of the Uighurs

Most importantly – June 1, 2019 is getting nearer each day. Why has the government not sent the formal letter to the Secretary-General of the UN to notify of Malaysia’s intention to withdraw from ratifying the Statute? How difficult can drafting a letter be? Does it need more than 25 days to draft one?

Or is the announcement by the Prime Minister 26 days ago a form of strategic withdrawal that will only see a letter sent days, weeks, months or years after June 1, 2019 that will see Malaysia bounded for another year after?

(This article first appeared on The Mole)

We Are Not Absolute Monarchy, But Neither Are We A Dictatorship

The Prime Minister has defended his view that the palace has no role in the appointment of the menteri besar, in remarks which are likely to increase tension between him and the Johor royal family.

“When we formed the Federation of Malaya, we introduced the constitution, where we stated that Malaya will follow the constitutional monarchy system.

“The ruler has no absolute power. If it still says so in the Johor constitution, then it is void. (We Are Not Absolute Monarchy, Neither Is Johor says Dr M – Free Malaysia Today, 10 April 2019).

Perhaps Mahathir is already incoherent. Article 71 of the Federal Constitution guarantees the Constitution of the States.

If there is any conflict between the state’s constitution with that of the Federal Constitution, then the matter has to be decided by a Constitutional Court.

Example: Selangor’s Shariah Offences Enactment gives power to the state religious affairs authority to confiscate Bibles printed in the Malay language or using one of the 25 prohibited terms such as Allah. This is in conflict with with Article 11 of the Federal Constitution, but is applicable in Selangor until such time a Constitutional Court declares it null and void.

While Malaysia is a Constitutional Monarchy, Article 181(1) of the Federal Constitution 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.

Now, back to who has the right to appoint the Menteri Besar of Johor since the Constitution of Johor is not void? Please refer to the photo below which is a screenshot of the Constitution of Johor regarding the appointment of the Menteri Besar:

You can fool the uneducated voters, but you can’t fool the likes of me.

The Price for Citizenship

The spat between the TMJ and Mahathir has not seen its end (photo courtesy of abuleman.org)

I do not think that we have seen the end of the volleys fired at each other between the Tunku Mahkota of Johor (TMJ) and the Government. Although I disagree with the TMJ whenever he writes about anti-federalism, I agree with his stand to protect the Federal Constitution. He may not have the protection from the law as he is not the Head of State, but his courage and determination to go at loggerheads with the Government on this matter deserves support.

According to Barisan Nasional Member of Parliament Annuar Musa, the recent Rulers Council meeting saw the Attorney-General Tommy Thomas and Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah summoned by His Majesties to explain on the clandestine ratification of the Rome Statute.

His Majesties also summoned Emeritus Professor Shad Saleem Faruqi, a Professor of Law in the University of Law, who is a proponent of the Rome Statute. Also summoned were four academicians opposed to the statute: Law and Constitution lecturers Professor Datuk Dr Rahmat Mohamad, Associate Professor Dr Shamrahayu Ab Aziz, Dr Fareed Mohd Hassan and Hisham Hanapi.

Only after listening to all above did the Rulers Council leave it to the Yang DiPertuan Agong, who represents the Rulers Council, to take the matter with the Prime Minister. The Rulers Council could have there and then issued a statement to show their displeasure at the manner their Government had acted in matters that could have an impact on the rights and position of Islam as the religion of the Federation, the Malay Rulers, the privileges of the the Malays and Bumiputeras, and the National Language.

This is not the first time that Saifuddin has gotten himself in hot soup. When he was a Minister in Najib Razak’s administration, he came up with a National Unity Bill when that was not the term given to him as Chairman of the National Unity Consultative Council. As a result, Najib Razak and the Attorney-General then were summoned to the same meeting four years ago and received a telling or two.

Mahathir was very obviously furious as seen in the video of a press conference made after announcing Malaysia’s pulling out of the Rome Statute, and unnecessarily alarmed the people with words like coup-d’etat to justify the Government’s about turn.

What he, and his supporters seem to have forgotten is that he is the Prime Minister of His Majesty’s government. It was the agreement signed between their Majesties with the ruling coalition in 1957 to transfer the administrative powers vested in the British advisors by their Majesties from the former, to the government that was elected by the people.

This was true then, true when the British were still here, and still true now that although the Rulers had divested much of their independence, they remain sovereign; and independence is not equal to sovereignty.

As a principle of international law, sovereignty denotes, in its purest form, the concept of a ‘supreme authority’ be it an individual or a collective unit and implied power to exercise independence both internationally and domestically.

And Professor Datuk Dr Ramlah Adam rightfully pointed out that the powers of the Malay royalty are now included in the Federal Constitution. They (the Rulers Council) should have been consulted first, as accorded by the Constitution, before the government took unilateral decisions to introduce and ratify ICERD and the Rome Statute.

Other than having the rights to be consulted, to encourage and to warn in daily administrative matters, the Malay Rulers also have the duty to protect the sanctity of Islam as the religion of the Federation and the states they reign over, the special privileges of the Malays and Bumiputeras, the special position of the Malay language as the National language.

These are the rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution, and any attempt to introduce anything that has any effect on the above, will need the agreement of the Rulers Council. Any deviation from that is against the Federal Constitution and the spirit in which it was made and agreed to by our forefathers with all the parties involved.

And I saw an online comment by a non-Malay netizen asking what have the Malay Rulers done that have benefitted the people? After the post-World War 2 racial clashes that saw the birth of the First Emergency, the British based on a priori saw the need to resettle the Chinese in camps while between 20,000 and 50,000 be sent back to China.

The plan moved at a snail’s pace due to the objections by many, and with the total withdrawal of the Kuomintang to Formosa, the repatriation of the Chinese came to a halt in September 1949 when the Communist Party of China closed off all ports and beaches. Only 6,000 Chinese from Malaya were sent back (Anthony Short, 1975 pp 178-201). The rest were settled in new villages to curb them from supplying the Communist Party of Malaya with food and other essentials.

Most of them had never had any form of allegiance to Malaya, its Rulers and government. Therefore, in granting citizenship to them they were required to give allegiance to the Rulers and the Federation.

That is the price you have to pay to become the citizens of this nation.

The same goes to all the Members of Parliament and members of the government cabinet: you have all taken an oath of allegiance to the Yang DiPertuan Agong, who represents the other eight Malay Rulers. State executive councillors and elected representatives have also taken the oath of allegiance to their respective Ruler. You are all administering the governments of the Federation and its states on behalf of the Malay Rulers, therefore it is totally unbecoming for you to act as though they are equals.

As in the words of Tengku Amer Nasser Ibrahim, the adopted son of the 16th Yang DiPertuan Agong, posted to his Instagram story:

“Tadbir” must be accompanied by “Adab”, only then will the outcome be just.

So, stop toying around with the Malay Rulers, the sanctity of Islam, the privileges of the Malays and Bumiputeras, and the special position of the Malay language as the National language.

We, the rakyat, are watching.

Defence – Isu Seragam Komunis

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Timbalan Menteri Pertahanan memakai corporate bush jacket Kementerian Pertahanan semasa membuat lawatan. Beliau memakai bush jacket yang sama dalam gambar yang dikatakan pakaian seragam komunis

Heboh disebarkan di dalam media sosial sebuah gambar yang menampakkan Timbalan Menteri Pertahanan memeriksa kawalan kuarter Tentera Darat di mana beliau dikatakan memakan pakaian seragam Parti Komunis Malaya.  Saya terpanggil untuk menulis kerana saya perlu bersikap adil kerana menjadi prinsip saya agar hal ehwal pertahanan tidak dipolitikkan.

Bush Jacket Korporat – Satu Langkah Yang Wajar

Saya tak tahu sejak bila budaya Menteri memakai pakaian seragam tentera ini dimulakan.  Seingat saya, Dr Mahathir semasa menjadi Perdana Menteri Ke-4 hanya memakai pakaian seragam tentera darat semasa beliau dianugerahkan beret kehormat Grup Gerak Khas pada tahun 2001.  Selain itu tidak pernah saya lihat beliau mengenakan pakaian tentera.

Begitu juga dengan Najib Razak semasa melawat para pegawai dan anggota tentera kita di Bosnia semasa beliau menjadi Menteri Pertahanan. Beliau tidak mengenakan pakaian tentera penuh, hanya memakai sebuah jaket celoreng untuk mengatasi cuaca sejuk di sana.

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Najib Razak melawat MALBATT di Bosnia semasa beliau menjadi Menteri Pertahanan

Bapa beliau yang menjadi Menteri Pertahanan sebanyak dua kali, juga tidak pernah memakai pakaian seragam tentera semasa melawat barisan hadapan.

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Dato’ Abdul Razak bin Hussein, yang ketika itu Menteri Pertahanan, melawat pangkalan Tentera Udara DiRaja Malaysia di Sungai Besi pada tahun 1963

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Tun Abdul Razak bin Hussein semasa menjadi Perdana Menteri, melawat No.3 Skuadron di Pangkalan Udara Butterworth pada 31 Disember 1974 memakai Bush Jacket berlengan panjang

Begitu juga dengan Perdana Menteri Ke-3, Tun Hussein Onn.  Beliau tidak pernah mengenakan pakaian seragam tentera semasa melawat unit-unit tentera.

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Dato’ Hussein Onn, Perdana Menteri Ke-3, memeriksa kawalan kuarter Tentera Darat memakai Bush Jacket berlengan pendek – foto ehsan Jabatan Penerangan

Pemakaian pakaian seragam tentera oleh individu-individu yang tidak berkenaan, yang tidak pernah menjalani sebarang latihan untuk berkhidmat untuk Angkatan Tentera Malaysia, selain di atas sebab khusus dan istimewa seperti semasa pengurniaan beret atau sayap kehormat, adalah dianggap mencemar pakaian seragam tersebut.  Ini disebabkan mereka yang tidak pernah dilatih tidak mengetahui pahit jerih serta nilai pakaian seragam serta lencana dan sayap tersebut.

Kadangkala sebagai seorang Veteran ATM, saya rasa terkilan dan sedih apabila mereka-mereka yang tidak pernah lalui sebarang bentuk latihan ketenteraan dan diberikan tauliah kehormat, bersikap lebih tentera daripada warga ATM, dan meletakkan pakaian kepala mereka seperti topi ataupun beret yang mempunyai lencana kor, di atas tanah atau di lain-lain tempat tanpa menghormati makna lencana tersebut.

Pada tahun 2015, DYMM Sultan Johor pernah menegur sikap ramai pemimpin tentera dan pegawai kehormat yang memakai pelbagai lencana dan sayap kehormat ma­sing-masing sepanjang masa kerana berdasarkan tata cara pemakaian, ia perlu dipakai semasa majlis yang berkenaan sahaja.

Jika betul-betul ingin memakai lencana sayap sepanjang masa, saya syorkan buatlah terjunan dahulu. Sekurang-kurangnya sayap yang tersemat di dada itu benar-benar mempunyai nilainya dan bukannya hanya sebagai hiasan yang memenuhi uniform,” titah baginda yang pernah mendapat latihan ketenteraan di Pusat Latihan Tentera Darat (PULADA), di Fort Benning dan Fort Bragg di Amerika Syarikat, dan menjalani kursus jurutrbang helikopter di TUDM Kluang.

Oleh itu, saya amat menyokong pemakaian pakaian korporat oleh Menteri dan Timbalan Menteri Pertahanan semasa membuat lawatan ke unit-unit Angkatan Tentera Malaysia.

Pakaian Seragam Komunis?

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Gambar yang ditularkan yang mendakwa Timbalan Menteri Pertahanan memakai seragam Parti Komunis Malaya semasa memeriksa kawalan kuarter

Apakah pilihan pakaian yang ada untuk warga Kementerian Pertahanan yang bukan pegawai atau anggota tentera semasa berada di luar kawasan KEMENTAH?  Pakaian kemeja korporat mungkin kurang sesuai berbanding bush jacket sekiranya lawatan tersebut melibatkan mesyuarat dengan pucuk pimpinan ATM berkenaan hal-ehwal operasi.  Sekiranya ianya melibatkan perbarisan penuh bersama panji-panji maka lounge suit atau baju istiadat Ahli Parlimen lebih sesuai terutamanya dengan kehadiran Raja-Raja.

Tetapi, kenapa pakaian Bush Jacket korporat Kementerian Pertahanan itu mirip pakaian seragam Parti Komunis Malaya? Itu pertanyaan yang diajukan oleh mereka-mereka yang tidak pernah melihat pakaian seragam PKM.

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Pakaian seragam Ketumbukan Ke-10 Parti Komunis Malaya

Pakaian seragam Parti Komunis Malaya adalah berwarna hijau gelap.  Ianya hampir serupa dengan pakaian seragam tempur Tentera Darat ketika itu yang menggunakan warna ‘paddy green‘.  Hanya pada penghujung tahun 1970an barulah Angkatan Tentera Malaysia menggantikan pakaian tempur ‘paddy green‘ dengan pakaian tempur celoreng.

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Bush Jacket yang dipakai oleh Timbalan Menteri Pertahanan adalah berwarna khaki dan bukannya hijau tua seperti seragam PKM.  Khaki adalah warna yang lebih sesuai digunakan untuk tugas-tugas di tengah panas berbanding di dalam hutan kerana elemen penyamaran yang lemah.

Elak Menjadi Lebih Tentera Daripada Tentera

Angkatan Tentera Malaysia adalah sebuah organisasi professional yang berpegang teguh kepada disiplin dan tradisi.  Walaupun tidak dinafikan Menteri Pertahanan sebelum ini banyak membantu dari segi kebajikan warga Angkatan Tentera Malaysia, dan warga ATM memang berterima kasih di atas usaha-usaha tersebut, namun ada beberapa perkara yang tidak disenangi oleh mereka.  Pemakaian pakaian seragam yang berleluasa oleh Menteri ketika itu terutamanya beret maroon kehormat dan sayap penerjunan kehormat di hampir kesemua majlis pernah menjadi sebutan warga ATM.

Penganugerahan tauliah kehormat dengan agak mudah kepada para pegawai beliau ketika itu juga menimbulkan rasa tidak puas hati di kalangan para pegawai dan anggota kerana mereka rasakan nilai pangkat yang dipakai itu terhakis.  Yang memakai itu mungkin hanya mempunyai kesetiaan politik, tetapi kesetiaan kami bukanlah kepada elemen politik.  Kami setia hanya kepada Raja dan Negara.

Begitu juga dengan pengenalan budaya ‘fist bump‘ serta laungan “Perkasa Perwira” yang berlainan dengan laungan semangat tradisi iaitu “Gempur Wira” yang menjadi sebahagian daripada istiadat ATM itu sendiri.

Kita faham usaha kerajaan ketika itu untuk memperkasakan ATM, tetapi cukuplah sekiranya ‘Perkasa Perwira‘ itu hanya sebagai hashtag di media sosial dan bukannya laungan semangat.  Begitu juga ‘fist bump‘ yang sememangnya bukan budaya mana-mana angkatan tentera walaupun separa-formal.  Mungkin tujuannya ketika itu adalah untuk menunjukkan kepada orang awam bahawa warga ATM ini sebenarnya cool.  Kami sememangnya cool, namun sebagai sebuah organisasi yang professional dan bertanggung jawab untuk mempertahankan kedaulatan negara, kami tidak boleh dilihat sebagai cool apatah lagi hip seperti hipster.

Oleh itu, langkah memakai Bush Jacket korporat oleh Menteri dan Timbalan Menteri Pertahanan sekarang adalah satu langkah yang betul kerana mereka adalah sebagai facilitator membantu warga ATM untuk mencapai sasaran doktrin mereka.  Benar, kerjasama baik di antara Kementerian Pertahanan dengan Angkatan Tentera Malaysia itu penting, namun tidak perlulah sehingga menjadi cool dan hip.  Dapatkan apa yang terbaik yang diidamkan oleh warga ATM sebagai end-user adalah lebih bermakna bagi mereka.

Perkasakanlah Angkatan Tentera Malaysia tanpa menjadi lebih tentera dari mereka.

 

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)

Undi Awal? Tiada Masalah

Pagi ini Angkatan Tentera Malaysia dan Polis DiRaja Malaysia akan membuang undi awal. Saya berpeluang membuang undi awal beberapa kali semasa masih dalam perkhidmatan.

Baru-baru ini Mahathir ada menulis dua pucuk surat yang ditujukan kepada panglima-panglima perkhidmatan dalam ATM dan juga kepada warga ATM dan PDRM dengan pesanan agar mengundi dengan bebas tanpa dipaksa oleh mana-mana pihak untuk mengundi calon dan parti tertentu.

Ianya bertujuan untuk memberi gambaran buruk bahawa warga ATM dan juga PDRM akan diarah untuk memberi undi kepada calon dan parti tertentu.

Sepanjang saya mengundi dalam perkhidmatan belum pernah lagi sesiapa pun memaksa saya mengundi calon atau parti yang saya tidak sokong. Walaupun kami setia kepada Seri Paduka dan negara serta kerajaan Seri Paduka, pilihan sokongan politik tetap menjadi hak persendirian dan adalah rahsia.

Ini disahkan juga oleh Mejar Jeneral Datuk Zaharin Ahmad TUDM (Bersara) yang telah berkhidmat selama 42 tahun dengan jawatan akhir sebagai Juruiring kepada DYMM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong.

Proses pembuangan undi awal adalah sama sahaja dengan proses pembuangan undi biasa. Akan terdapat pegawai SPR dan juga agen calon-calon yang bertanding hadir di tempat membuang undi. Maka agak mustahil untuk sebarang penyelewengan undi berlaku.

Mungkin Mahathir takut kerana beliau mungkin pernah mengarahkan agar tentera dan polis mengundi Barisan Nasional semasa beliau menjadi Perdana Menteri dulu, namun hakikatnya tiada paksaan pernah berlaku.

Proses pembuangan undi awal dan biasa tidak pernah tercemar dahulu hingga sekarang. Mungkin alasan yang diberi hanya sebagai persediaan sekiranya Pakatan kalah sekali lagi.

Umur dah lanjut, tua dan ganyut, tolonglah ingat maut.

Drama Kera La Sebelum Terhempas

Mahathir kini agak tertekan untuk meraih simpati para pengundi akibat bekerjasama dengan DAP yang sejak azali menjadi musuh utamanya.  Beliau hanya membohong apabila berkata bahawa beliau ingin ‘menyelamatkan’ Malaysia, sedangkan kita tahu apa agenda beliau berbaik-baik dengan Pakatan yang amat membenci beliau.

Sejak dari tahun 1980an sendiri kita telah disajikan dengan janji-janji DAP untuk mengheret beliau ke mahkamah untuk membicarakan beliau di atas jenayah-jenayah salahguna kuasa dan penggunaan wang rakyat untuk menyelamatkan perniagaan anak-anak dan kroninya.  Kalau tidak, masakan Anwar Ibrahim gunakan isu kronisme dan nepotisme untuk menjatuhkan beliau dari takhta UMNO pada tahun 1998?

Tidak mustahil di antara Mahathir mengharapkan perlindungan daripada Perdana Menteri-Perdana Menteri selepasnya daripada tindakan undang-undang yang mungkin akan diambil terhadapnya.  Beliau mengharapkan kerajaan Barisan Nasional yang kuat, serta Perdana Menteri yang menurut telunjuk beliau, untuk terus berlindung dari tindakan undang-undang.

Apabila Pak Lah enggan mengikut telunjuk beliau, Pak Lah telah diserang dengan begitu hebat hingga hampir menyebabkan kejatuhan kerajaan Barisan Nasional.  Apabila Najib Razak pula enggan mengikut telunjuk beliau, orang-orang yang rapat dengan beliau telah dihantar ke luar negara untuk membuat seberapa banyak laporan terhadap Najib Razak.

Akibatnya, Najb Razak telah diserang hebat oleh bukan sahaja musuh-musuh UMNO, malah diserang juga oleh mereka yang di dalam UMNO.  Tujuan Mahathir hanyalah untuk menjatuhkan Najib Razak dan menggantikannya dengan pilihan Mahathir, ketika itu merupakan Muhyiddin atau Mahiaddin.

Namun, serangan tersebut gagal apabila Najib Razak bangkit menangkis dan membalas serangan-serangan tersebut.  Akibatnya, Muhyiddin dan Shafie Apdal kecundang, lalu meninggalkan UMNO.  Mahathir tiada tempat untuk berpegang, apatah lagi untuk melindungi beliau dari ancaman tindakan undang-undang terhadap salahlakunya semasa menjadi Perdana Menteri.

Lalu beliau tubuhkan parti sendiri sambil menjilat ludahnya sendiri agar dapat diterima oleh DAP serta rakan-rakan sekutu mereka.  Dan perjuangan Mahathir kini adalah untuk menjatuhkan Najib Razak agar Pakatan dapat berkuasa.  Sehubungan itu, Mahathir juga mengangkat dirinya sebagai calon Perdana Menteri Pakatan Harapan dan mengharap agar beliau terlindung dari tindakan undang-undang.  Tidak apalah sekiranya DAP memerintah secara proksi dan berpeluang untuk melaksanakan impian Malaysian Malaysia mereka di mana semua rakyat akan diberi hak saksama – termasuk dari segi peluang dan agama.

Tetapi tembelang Mahathir lama-kelamaan berbau juga, dan rakyat telah dapat menghidu segala pembohongannya.  Kalau kita lihat dalam video di bawah, jelas Mahathir hanyalah merupakan kuda tunggangan DAP, dan bukanlah calon yang mereka kehendaki.  Malah, DAP masih belum lupakan dosa-dosa lampau Mahathir dan tidak akan melindungi beliau:

Untuk tidak kehilangan sokongan akibat kerjasama beliau dengan musuh-musuh, beliau telah cuba meraih sokongan dengan membuat siri pembohongan yang mengatakan beliau akan dibunuh dan pesawat jet sewaan beliau juga telah disabotaj.  Meskipun siasatan telah dilakukan terhadap pesawat tersebut oleh Pihak Berkuasa Penerbangan Awam Malaysia serta pemilik pesawat tersebut dan didapati tidak disabotaj, beliau masih berkeras mengatakan bahawa ianya telah disabotaj.

Saya yakin, sehari dua sebelum pengundian dijalankan, beliau akan melakonkan suatu kemalangan terhadap diri sendiri dan akan meraih simpati para pengundi dari katil hospital di Hospital Langkawi dengan menuduh Barisan Nasional.  Drama Kera-La ini telah dijangkakan kerana Mahathir merupakan seorang pelakon yang amat baik.  Beliau sanggup lakukan apa sahaja untuk tidak membenarkan parti Pribumi terhempas ke bumi.

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