Sep 30, 2009

It's the system, dude!

The development of high quality human capital is one of the most important fundamentals that a country needs to propel forward. And in order to achieve this, a good system must be in place so that programmes can be carried out efficiently. A good example is our neighbor, Singapore. The government of Singapore has a reputation of always planning ahead of times so that the need for human capital can be identified in the relevant sectors.

The fact that its Education Ministry officers have come over to Malaysia to identify bright students to offer scholarships and subsequently to work there demonstrates Singapore's seriousness in its quest for quality human capital. When it realizes that it is in dire needs of IT and financial professionals, it has no qualms in offering PR status to attract them to serve in the country.

The call by Najib to bring back Malaysia's talent by providing incentives to keep them home is not something new that the government has done. It has been offered quite sometime ago: albeit with a lukewarm response. Why is this so?

Although monetary reward is important, it is certainly not the main reason why many of our talents are reluctant to come home to serve. The main deterrent is the political system of the country which is a total turnoff. With so much of emphasis being place on race in almost all the sectors: promotion, scholarships, loans, contracts and a plethora of other benefits which are almost exclusively given to one race, can we blame them? What kind of future will it hold for them and their children if they ever return home?

And Najib also wants to know whether it is the brain drain that Malaysia is not able to have a bigger number of science professionals. How can we achieve this when our education system is in a state of confusion? Come on Najib, we all know the reasons a long time ago, don't you?

It is the system that is letting us down: a system of imbalances and inefficiencies. We have been living through these systems for so long that they not only impede the progress of the country, they have also made the people 'retarded'.

Sep 22, 2009

Invasion of the foreign kind

This scene must be very familiar to many Malaysians by now.

Each time, whenever there is a long holiday during the festive seasons, we see many of the foreign workers taking this opportunity to relax and explore the country. In KL, we will see many of them converge in ‘strategic’ locations like KLCC and major shopping malls. There are also many who will converge in popular areas like Jalan TAR and Jalan Silang.The area in Jalan Silang ( behind Kotaraya) is so popular among the Nepalese and Bangladashis that they have set up restaurants and shops. As a Malaysian, if you happen to be in this area, you may be wondering whether you are in Nepal or Bangladesh. Their presence is so overwhelming that it simply makes you feel like a minority there.

In fact, Malaysia is a melting pot of many other nationalities. The largest group is undoubtedly the Indonesians which is not surprising due to the many similarities in culture, language and religion. While the males are mainly construction workers the females either work as maids or in restaurants. The second largest group is the Bangladeshis who seemed adapt to work in many fronts: construction, restaurant, factory and even in Petaling Street. The third largest group is the Burmese. Most of them work in restaurants with many managing stalls in coffee shops. Then there are the Nepalese who work mainly as security guards which suits the reputation of the Gurkhas. We also see of the many Vietnamese who are employed to work in factories throughout the country. There are also the pocketfuls of Indians who work in the IT industries while the Chinese and Thais work in restaurants as cooks.

I believe that the government will not be able to provide a correct statistic of these foreigners who are here either legally or illegally. A rough estimate of about 3 million is almost equal to the Malaysian Indians population, if not more.

As a workforce, although these foreign workers play an important role in supporting our economy, there are some downside as well. There have been many social problems that are attributed to these foreigners: security and health. Robberies have been rampantly committed by a certain group of foreigners while in the health front, when tuberculosis was already extinct here, it has resurfaced again. No thanks to the lax in the health screening checks by the relevant authorities.

What will the impact of these foreign workers be to our economy?
Well, apparently the local bus companies have already felt the impact of these foreigners for survival. A random check in bus stands here and KL showed a ratio almost at one Malaysian to seven foreigners. We have seen them manning stalls and doing retail businesses. Once they have tasted some successes in making money, they are bound to stay on and even take over these small businesses. By then, it will too late for the government to do much to repatriate them. And for the years to come, we will witness a baby boomer of the foreign kind.

Is our dependence on these foreign workers at the expense of the locals or are we just over dependence on them?

Sep 19, 2009

Greeting to all muslims

When terrorist Noordin Md Top was reported killed in a shoot-out with the crack Indonesian anti-terrorism squad, the world must have heaved a sigh of relief. This is the militant mastermind who has been responsible for a string of deadly bombings in Indonesia, including those in Bali in 2002 and two luxury hotels in Jakarta recently.

But then the Home Minister of Malaysia said he was sad over the death of the terrorist. He even said that this terrorist could have been rehabilitated.

Like many of you, I just could not believe what this minister had said.

Feeling sad over the death of a terrorist?
How about those hundreds of innocent victims who have been killed by the terrorists?
Mr.Minister, you should go and tell how you feel to the victims' families.

To rehabilitate a terrorist?
When we can't even control the menace of the mat rempits and rehabilitate the drug addicts, this minister is talking about rehabilitating terrorists. Maybe he should talk to Osama bin Ladin to work out a deal on rehabilitating his army of militants.

And if he succeeds in his rehabilitating programme, Malaysia will definitely be flooded with investments from the United States.

Sep 16, 2009

Bagan Pinang by-election: Whack them where it hurts most

Analytical overview of the electorates

Registered voters as at 4th Sept.09: 13664 (including 4604 postal voters)

Breakdown by race:
Malays - 8577 (62.77%)
Chinese - 1498 (10.96%)
Indians - 2834 (20.74%)
Others - 755 (5.53% )

Since the election will be held on Sunday and with most of the electorates working in nearby KL and Selangor, a good voters turnout of 80% is expected which will gives a total of 10931 voters with the following racial breakdown:

Malays : 2257 ( 6861 – 4604(postal votes already in Umno’s favor)
Chinese: 1198
Indians: 2267
Others: 604
Projected support for PR with racial breakdown:
Malays - 1128 (50%)
Chinese - 838 (70%
Indians - 1785 ( 70% )
Others - 422 (70% )

Total votes for PR: 4173
Total votes for BN: 6952
Majority: 2779
Let us assume that the above hypothetical analysis of the by-election is generally correct, then it is without a doubt that the postal votes hold the key to victory for Umno/BN. Even if PR managed to garner 80% of the votes from all, it will still lose by 812 votes in this Umno stronghold.

It seems that the only solution for PR is to ensure that there is no massive cheating of the postal votes and to allow the postal voters the freedom to vote.

As for the election campaign, Umno will do what it knows best: use the racial trump card and ketuanan Melayu to incite fear and confuse the Malay voters. It will also attack Pas by accusing it as a puppet of the DAP and is not strong enough to protect the muslims. But then, the more they engage in racial issues, the more negative perceptions they will generate for Umno.

On the other hand, PR must try to avoid a direct confrontation with Umno on racial issues. It needs to work out a road map for the Malays to move away from the old orthodox of racial politics. In other words, the Malays must be convinced to do a paradigm shift: to stay with a racist party and move backward or to support PR and go forward together

Although the PKFZ scandal, cow head protest and the death of Teoh Beng Hock have given some bonus points to the election campaign of PR, this by-election is by far the most difficult one. No thanks to the postal votes, which has put PR in a disadvantage totally.
Although this constituency is an Umno stronghold, a victory by PR will certainly hammer a solid nail into Umno/BN's political coffin.

Sep 12, 2009

The never ending war

Today is the eight anniversary of the 9/11 attack on the United States by the terrorist group of al-Qaeda which brought the World Trade Center down that has killed more than 3000 innocent lives and which also brought the United States to its knees. No one would have ever imagined that such a large scale attack can be carried out in the most powerful country of the world and which has the most sophisticated intelligence agencies like the CIA and the FBI where both have failed miserably against terrorism.

The accolades of martyrdom on the terrorists have ramified greater terrorist groups like the Jenamiah Islam Indonesia, Moro Liberation Front (MNLF) Philippines, Palestine Liberation Front(PLF), Hezbollah Lebanon and many more. And all of these terrorist groups have its own agenda and a myriad of reasons to fight: religion, land, oppression, freedom. The fight for land in Palestine with Israel against the backdrop of religion has been a long standing issue and with no solution in sight, the people of both countries can brace themselves for greater sufferings and destructions. Granted that this issue has been resolved, the terrorists will still have other reasons to continue to fight. They will fight a jihad war in the name of religion. They would want to liberate the Muslims in the belief that they have been oppressed by the west. So, the war on terror continues.

Why do these people so ever willing to fight and to kill? It is their religious beliefs or are they being brainwashed to fight for the sake of fighting? The fact that they have members who are willing to sacrifice their lives by becoming suicide bombers must have sent shivers down the spine of many. To achieve their objectives, they have no qualms to maim and to kill even the innocents. And history has taught us that a religious war is always long and bloody.

The resources to fight a war whether conventional or otherwise require a tremendous amount of manpower and finance. The ability of the terrorist groups to fight such a long war showed that they must have a huge amount of financial support. Can the United States identify its sources to cut this financial lifeline of the terrorist groups? Although President Obama has begun to reach out for peace to the Muslim world, especially Iran (but with a lukewarm reciprocation), he must continue to work with those countries where terror cells are rampant.

If olive branch diplomacy fails to work, then for the sake of world peace, should the United States leads an all out war, physically or economically against those countries that harbor terrorism?

Sep 8, 2009

Ghost stories

1) The weather for the last two weeks has been extremely hot, so much so that I need to on the room’s air-condition full blast before I can enjoy a good night sleep. One night, at about 2.00 am, there was a sudden urge for me to urinate and having done that, I walked towards the window just to have a look outside. To my horror, I saw a ghostly figure of a man standing opposite my house and he was wearing a bow tie! I froze for a while and when I realized that he was staring at my direction, I pulled the curtain slowly to hide my face. And for a good ten minutes he was standing there before he disappeared into thin air.
I realized the next morning that this is a Hungry Ghost month where the gates of hell open to allow them to roam the world and for those who died untimely deaths, the opportunity to seek revenge. However, this ghost with the bow tie seemed to be a friendly one.
2) About three years ago, my third elder brother passed away unexpectedly at a relatively young age of 59. He owns a restaurant which has been doing pretty well as he has been working hard to ensure his business is well taken care of. Just as he is to reap his success, his life was snatched away right before my eyes. One Sunday afternoon, he called me to fetch him to the hospital as he was having difficulty in breathing that seemed like an asthmatic attack. And two days after admission, he was gone.
One night, as usual on a weekend, I was sitting on the sofa watching my favorite Astro programme past midnight, when I could smell something pleasantly nice coming from the kitchen. As this perfume smell was familiar to me, I knew instinctively my brother had come to ‘visit’ me as the fragrance was his favorite. I sat still on the sofa with tears rolling down my eyes as I recalled his last breadth, and not wanting to turn back to ‘see’ him.
3) This happened quit a long time ago.
Previously, during each Chinese New Year, I need to drive home to my hometown in the East Coast for the celebration and then on the third day, to drive to Ipoh to celebrate with my in-laws. And this journey requires me to drive to KL and then to Ipoh by using the trunk road.
One New Year, while driving back to KL and as I drove through the tunnel near Genting, I saw a ghostly shadow of a child on the wall and was wearing the full attire of the Manchu era of China! When I revealed this to my wife, she told me that it is bad luck to see a ghost during Chinese New Year.
As I reached KL, I received a call from my friend who happened to go back to Ipoh as well. Remembering what my wife had told me, I arranged to travel in his car. When we reached Kampar, my friend met with two accidents. His car windscreen was smashed by a flying stone and later when this was fixed, his car door got knocked by another car.
Is there a relation to what I saw and what happened to my friend’s car?
I shudder to think what would have happened to me and my family if I were to drive to Ipoh.
Will I meet with a more serious accident and survive?
Whether we believe in fate or faith, let us appreciate what we have and not take things for granted.

Sep 6, 2009

Malaysia race relation: The way forward

I believe many of us by now are already blasé with the political milieu in the country whereby racial hatreds are being stirred so blatantly that it has made many of us nauseous.

So for once, let us forget about any political parties so that we can talk as one. Maybe we can share something interesting that demonstrate racial harmony. Maybe we can contribute some good ideas on how to enhance greater racial integration among the people.

And I hope the following stories can bring some cheers to all of us which aptly demonstrate the true meaning of racial integration:

Moving request for prayers

Chinese and Bumipitras working together for prosperity

Chinese yee sang for Hari Raya. What a great combination!

I have once mooted an idea(
read here) quite some time ago for the people of different races and religions to congregate at the same venue and on the same piece of land for prayers so that each and everyone can understand one's religion better. But then, the goons in the cow head protest have shattered my dream.

We must always bear in mind that the future of this country hinges tightly on the racial relations of the people. And to those who like to sow the seeds of racial hatreds, I would like to appeal to all of you not to destroy the bondage of the people. The above three stories have shown that the people of different races can work and eat together because there is respect and trust among them. And I believe there are many more of them out there.
Let us learn from our very own people.

Sep 4, 2009

Let us be focussed

-->The success of Frenchman Alain Robert in conquering the height of the Petronas Twin Tower is a feat that has earned my utmost respect.
What I admired about this Frenchman is his bravery and the never-say-die attitude to succeed. And to achieve this, he must be extremely focused on what he sets out to do. Who else in this world but this Spiderman as he is aptly known, is brave enough to climb the tower with his bare hands without the ropes and a safety net? A slip and a misstep will kill him instantly from the fall. But then he has the will and exudes full of confidence to succeed. One can see the sheer joy on his face when he stood on top the pinnacle of the tower, which is the highest point.
Now, respect needs to be earned as it definitely does not come from the sky. I respect this Frenchman not because he is romantic but because of his bravery in doing what nobody dares to do and the way he achieved it.

How can we make Malaysia as a country and us as Malaysians be respected in the world stage?

If the majority of you think that the takeover of the government from BN by PR is the answer, then let us focus to change the government. Impossible? Well, the recently concluded election in Japan has shown that in politics, anything is possible.

With the intense pressure mounting on Umno/BN now, it has begun to attack PR on all fronts: with all the wrong moves.
They can do and say what they want. They can also twist and turn and spin whatever stories to divide PR. In other words, while Umno/BN is using cow sense in making all the wrong moves, PR must ensure it uses common sense to stay focus and makes the right moves.

As for the votes, my family and siblings, with a total of 15 votes, have already made up our mind.
Have you?

Sep 2, 2009

A party of self-destruction

The open feud between Ong Tee Keat and Chua Soi Lek in MCA is reminiscent of the infamous feuds of Tan Koon Swan versus Neo Yee Pan and Ling Liong Sik versus Lim Ah Lek. All feuds, past and present, are between the President and the Deputy President, each with his own supporters: a perfect recipe for destruction.

In such a divisive party, where the top echelon of power fights, the bottom part of the party members are confused and equally divided, it is a matter of time MCA loses its support not only from the Chinese community but also from Umno, which is the main component party of BN. Even when the EGM is over, the feud will continue to escalate with greater propensity and ferocity from both feuding parties.

I see this new episode of political feud in MCA as a disgrace to the Chinese community.
It is akin to two brothers fighting outside the house. And as if that is not enough, they continue to fight in the cinemas and shopping complexes for all and sundry to see. Wouldn't this bring shame to the parents and other siblings? Even if there is reconciliation among the two brothers who fought, the neighbors will still frown and shy away from the family. On the other hand, if the two brothers were to talk things over in an amicable manner in the house, there will be respect from the neighbors, no matter how bad the feud is.

It is most disheartening that despite of the two past political feuds among the President and the Deputy President, MCA has failed to learn its lesson. Like the neighbor, Umno has stayed away from this feud. Whether Umno will become a close ally again to MCA or distance itself further, depends on how good is the 'neighborliness' of Umno. But then, when the damage has already been done and respect lost, who will give a damn to MCA anymore?