Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Justice in the PM's Office

It was a dark and stormy... err day!

First, the police - in their congenital stupidity - tried to stop buses and private cars this morning from entering Putrajaya for the Walk with Justice march to protest and send a memorandum on the state of the Malaysian judiciary not least with exposure of a video on alleged judicial appointments conspiracy.

But that did not stop some 2,000 of us - most in de rigeur black and white - from walking from the Palace of Justice in the hot midday sun - like the March of the Penguins - into the rain outside the Prime Minister's Office in Putrajaya.

No, it didn't. Neither did the setting up of a three-man panel to investigate the authenticity of the video.

Be that as it may, it made me proud to see so many lawyers making their way to the Palace of Justice and walking down the entire avenue to the circus - in more ways than one - just before the Prime Minister's Office for the protest.

The funny part of course is that the lawyers were chanting "We Want Justice" in front of the Prime Minister's Office which I can only presume to mean that justice is wanting in the Palace of Justice.


But the riot police - in their infinite wisdom and congenital stupidity again - decided to cordon off the entrance to the Prime Minister's Office, presenting the image of a government under siege from the multitude of Happy Feet that marched to the circus next to the mosque.

Well. the memo was sent while the rest of us were soaked to the bone, first drenched in sweat and later with rain, during the standoff between the riot police and the parade of lawyers and supporters, most of whom were also dressed in black and white.

With the rain, the riot police did not have to use their water cannons but it also cooled the white balloons that were meant to be released to symbolise justice. Maybe, it was just ice!

No matter. The lawyers made their point!

As for the Siber Party of Malaysia (M), we would like to put on record our support for a full inquiry into the matter and punishment for the guilty. That would be stating the obvious.

Also, we think the police should learn to just let things be. None of us there were security threats to the nation and the unnecessary show of force shows what a farce the police are.

Just remember, we are a democracy and have a right to assemble peacefully and say our piece. Whether in America or Malaysia!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Fuel Fools

Finally, what the Siber Party of Malaysia (M) has been saying about fuel prices has received support from none other than Petronas CEO Hassan Marican courtesy of a Bernama news report.

September 18, 2007 20:59 PM

Fuel Subsidies Unsustainable, Says Hassan Marican

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 18 (Bernama) -- Petronas president and chief executive officer Tan Sri Mohd Hassan Marican warned today that paying out fuel subsidies is unsustainable over the long term as the skyrocketing global oil prices have made it inefficient to correct the economic imbalances they are meant to address.

He also hit out at some companies which exploit the gas price subsidised by Petronas to achieve cost savings and consequently their financial targets.

"Who are we subsidising? Can we continue to afford that? There will come a time when our country cannot subsidise so many things," he stressed.

Petronas is pushing for a hike in gas charges, as it is only charging RM6.40 per mmBtu (million British Thermal Units) to local industries since 1997 although the subsidised gas costs about RM40 per mmBtu.

"Indirectly, we are subsidising the world," he told an editors' briefing on the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) here.

Oil prices shot to an all-time high of above US$81 a barrel on Tuesday on concerns of a winter supply squeeze in the United States.

Hassan also said the amount of total subsidies, even excluding oil and gas, paid out by the government is already "horrendous."

Subsidised gas so far this year has cost Petronas some RM15 billion. Since 1997, the national oil corporation has provided close to RM50 billion in gas subsidy.

Subsidies given by the government to gas and petroleum should cost Petronas more than RM35 billion for the whole of this year.

Despite the high oil prices, he said, the margin has been squeezed due to escalating costs in extracting the commodity.

Hassan reasoned that the subsidised gasoline and diesel had actually benefited the rich people - They have three BMWs each and leave their air-conditioners on in their mansions all the time.

For gasoline, he said, at the existing price RM1.92 per litre, the actual price should be RM3 per litre.-- BERNAMA

Yes, world oil prices are on the up and up and we are paying pittance for it at the pump but it still costs us plenty from our tax ringgit. Not that many of us pay tax but for those who do, they are basically underwriting all that oil that is fuelling our vehicles and industries and utilities.

Time for us to wean ourselves from such subsidies.

Yes, we advocate fuel prices at real cost but vehicles sold without the additional taxes. At least then, the economy will not be that distorted and motorists will figure out the exact cost of owning and using a vehicle.

Heck, we will even include a fossil fuel tax incorporated in the pump price with that money going to ameliorate the effects of pollution in the environment.

And for taxi drivers and operators who want to raise flag rates and fares, even if gas prices do not go up, we agree but with the caveat of stricter enforcement to ensure that the taxis use the meters, are clean and taxi drivers courteous and willing to pick up all fares.

You want to make money but you have to follow the rules, that's what we say!

Also, stage buses and all other buses will have to be gas-powered to reduce the effect on the environment. Buses will have right of way in two lanes in any three-lane roads within any city limits during rush hour.

For those who are in cars during that time, too bad! Use mass transit systems instead!

Now what do you think of that? If you say yes, vote for the Siber Party of Malaysia (M). Especially in our frontline area of the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur.

Otherwise, you can always hum along to this!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Malaysia Money Makers

Selamat Hari Malaysia!

And though we in the Siber Party of Malaysia (M) issue this greeting with thoughts of furthering Malaysia's progress, other people just have ideas to make money at our collective expense.

First is the scheme called e-kesihatan, which both the medical authorities and those in the public transport sector have opposed with some pretty good reasons.

While all doctors are registered with the Malaysian Medical Council under the Ministry of Health, the Road Transport Department is also registering doctors for the scheme which has been privatised to Supremme Systems Sdn Bhd based in Petaling Jaya.

The e-kesihatan people promise a better method of medical checks which basically means a more comprehensive medical check up with the report being sent electronically to the road transport authorities.

This is to prevent cheating and collusion between those being checked and the medical personnel doing the checks. All fine, dandy and reasonable.

But why can't government hospitals do the checks?
Why do doctors need to register with the scheme? After all, all one needs is an internet connection to send the report.
Why does it need to be privatised?
And if so, how come the system was not put to public tender?

These are some of the questions we are asking. And we want the answers. Because land transport is a serious issue with the number of deaths and accidents on Malaysian roads.

After all, statistics show that an average of 17 people are killed on Malaysian roads daily.

So something has to be done. But not taking advantage of the situation for someone to make a bucketful of money out of it.

Second is the education loan scheme called the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) which disburses students loans through poor administration and not really getting back in repayments.

While the authorities sort that out - and that will take time, the altruistic idea of giving student loans has actually spurred the growth of private education in Malaysia and hence the need for a Ministry of Higher Education.

With some 515 private institutions of higher learning in 2006, which is actually down from 790 in 2001 mainly due to competition, our taxpayers' money is going to underwrite all these students who are unable to get places in public universities.

Well and good. The question is, do these institutions have qualified academic staff and facilities to educate the aspiring graduates in many fields specifically engineering, medicine, nursing and others.

Why? Because those who graduate will have to pay their loans but might not have the requisite qualifications that they signed up for due to shoddy education. And the only ones making money from this will be the private institutions.

The authorities need to check on these institutions and ensure they have good staff and facilities as we have no trust in having too many medical, engineering or nursing colleges. They might have the paper qualifications but the real world requires more than that.

After all, what kind of Malaysia do we want? A good one on paper or a great one in the real world?

Selamat Hari Malaysia! Rock on, Malaysia!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Fear Factor - Tiada Lagi Subsidi; Mampukah Anda Mengharunginya?

Kepada umat Islam di seluruh dunia kami di SiPM ingin mengucapkan Selamat Berpuasa!

Sesetengah orang ada kata minum air boleh membatalkan puasa, whiski takpa.

Sesetengah je yang kata, yang lain kata ia haram lagi boleh membawa banyak istighfar!

Begitulah agaknya pendapat penduduk Malaysia, selalunya ekstrim melulu.

Cuba kita lihat dengan harga barang-barang hari ini.

Harga-harga barangan keperluan dikawal
seperti gula, ayam, susu pekat manis dan lain-lain menyebabkan harga barangan tersebut berada di paras tidak sebenar (artificial prices).

Pada yang masa yang sama, masyarakat Malaysia menpunyai paras penyakit kencing manis yang penyakit jantung yang membimbangkan.

Di SiPM, kami amat hairan mengapa pihak kerajaan harus memberi subsidi dengan mengawal harga makanan supaya rakyat Malaysia boleh membinasakan diri sendiri dengan penyakit 'middle-class'?

Baik kita jangan kawal harga gula, barulah rakyat akan sedar untuk makan gula dengan tidak berlebihan.

Rakyat mempunyai keperluan gula yang ekstrim, kerajaan BN memberi polisi untuk memuaskan pengundi dengan polisi ekstrim, SiPM pula memberi cadangan alternatif yang ekstrim.

Malaysia Boleh!

Baru-baru ini terdapat pula tanda-tanda bahawa kerajaan BN sudah mula sedar polisi ekstrim mengawal harga membebankan negara.

Contoh terbaru ialah kerajaan sedang mengkaji untuk memansuhkan subsidi diesel kerana khuatir harga minyak yang kian melambung, subsidi tersebut akan memakan peruntukan untuk pembangunan.

Jika SiPM diundi, bukan saja diesel malah subsidi petrol juga akan kami mansuhkan.

Tetapi jangan khuatir.

SiPM akan peka dengan kehendak rakyat supaya penarikan subsidi tersebut tidak akan membebankan mereka.

Rangka-rangka ekonomi terperinci akan kami umumkan sebelum pilihanraya.

Kalau itu adalah satu langkah yang yang berani oleh kerajaan BN, untuk memansuhkan subsidi, lain pula cerita harga ayam.

Pada mulanya kerajaan BN ingin meneruskan kempen pra-pilihanraya dengan bercita-cita untuk menurun harga kawalan untuk ayam dari RM6.70 sekilo ke RM5.60.

Tindakan Kementerian Perdagangan Dalam Negeri Dan Hal Ehwal Pengguna yang mendadak itu telah menimbulkan perasaan tidak puas hati Persatuan Dealer Ayam Perak.

Apabila cita-cita mat jenin Kerajaan BN untuk meneruskan kempen pra-pilihanraya itu tidak kesampaian apabila kementerian menarik balik keputusan tersebut.

Sudahlah jangan kita mengawal harga.

Jika pemborong dengan sengaja menyimpan stok supaya harga akan melambung tinggi, kita sudah ada peruntukan undang-undang untuk menghukum mereka.

Kita hanya perlu pastikan bahawa negara kita tercinta mempunyai barangan keperluan harian secukupmya pada bila-bila masa.

Barulah umat Islam di negara kita boleh membuka puasa macam jaguh!

Selamat Berbuka!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Keeping Malaysia Healthy

Keeping Malaysia healthy, in more ways than one, is proving to be quite a task.

While we won't yet go into details of the proposed 2008 budget announced by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, suffice to say a few points - if not all - is being hotly contested by various parties.

One that has been a pet peeve of the Parti Sosialis Malaysia and their ilk - front organisations which are fronted by them anyway - is the implementation of the full paying patient scheme announced in the 2008 Budget.

To sum up their arguments, those against the scheme say, inter-alia, medical specialists fail to turn up for duty due to exhaustion after spending hours treating private patients; doctors preferring to spend time with private patients rather than government-subsidised patients; hospitals being money-making concerns; eventual privatisation of government hospitals; and government's sacred duty to provide health care for all.

Right. The reality is of course, the ruling coalition is proposing the FPP scheme to start January 1 2008 despite a pilot six-month scheme in the Selayang and Putrajaya hospitals that began August 1, 2007. Also, a similar scheme was launched four years ago in two teaching hospitals - University Malaya Specialist Centre (UMSC) and Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

Okay, let's cut the disingenuous designs of those opposed to the scheme. The scheme will allow the civil service, and by extension the government, to retain the best and brightest medical talents to be used for all patients - poor and rich.

Otherwise, the poor will have to just do with doctors and specialists without much experience. Don't even think of paying them more to keep them as private healthcare centres are willing to pay more - whether in Malaysia or abroad.

One more thing, doctors are not so greedy or hard up for money that they won't treat all patients in government facilities. The fact that they are staying back in government service speak volumes for their dedication.

Also, the full paying patients in UMSC get full treatment after office hours as most specialists conduct their clinics then, after ward rounds and lectures in teaching hospitals. Also, the more specialists get to practise their skills, the better for all patients - rich or poor. Those in private practise might charge more but do not have many cases to be consulted on, and possibly have less experience especially for surgical cases.

As for the government's duty to provide healthcare, I know from personal experience that we are getting more than good treatment in government hospitals than others, such as foreigners, are getting.

Foreigners have to pay many more times than a Malaysian has to pay, for such things as broken limbs and other ailments. And even those who go for cardiac surgery pay less than those who opt for private care.

If the Siber Party of Malaysia (M) were to run the government, we would definitely extend the scheme to all hospitals to ensure we retain the best and brightest and to provide the best possible healthcare to all Malaysians.

Any other scheme will have to do the same.

Having said that, we were quite amused to read in Mentera's favourite online comic that the Democratic Action Party (DAP) held a forum on the proposed 2008 budget with only 20 attendees, but all agreeing that it was not a budget for all.

The party, has of course, proposed its own budget with some good ideas. We praise when it is good, you know! But of course they would not agree to the government's budget, no opposition party worth its stripes or salt would.

We will present some aspects of what we think any budget will need to make Malaysia, and in our case, Kuala Lumpur, better.

Meanwhile, if you are still interested in budgets, take a load of this.

UPDATE: Here's another letter opposing the full paying patient scheme with some of the tired old arguments. Guess doctors get shtick for just getting what they get while everyone expects reasonable or is it unreasonable rates for treatment.

The way I see it, better for patients who can afford it to pay for reasonable rates in government hospitals and thus enabling the government to invest in better facilities that can be enjoyed by all.

Let's face it, healthcare is expensive.

You break an arm and it might require to metal plates that each cost three hundred ringgit, a better option than plaster casts as recovery is faster. It is virtually free if you are a Malaysian but not if you are a foreigner.

So, think about it.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Adieu Luciano Pavarotti...

One of Malaysia's more famous visitors have now passed on.

One of the great 3 tenors, Luciano Pavarotti, died after suffering from pancreatic cancer.

He was the Sole Mio of many in the world of Opera.

Rest In Peace Maestro.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Titah Nasihat Baginda DYMM Sultan Selangor Mengenai Hak Rakyat Malaysia Tanpa Mengira Kaum

Mengadap Duli Yang Maha Mulia
Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah AlHaj
Sultan dan Yang DiPertuan Negeri Selangor dan Jajahan Takluknya
Istana Alam Shah

Ampun Tuanku beribu-ribu ampun, sembah patik mohon diampun.

Warkah yang tidak seberapa ini terbitnya dari patik hamba Tuanku, Dek Mat, yang senantiasa berdoa kehadrat Allah Subhanahuwata'ala semoga Duli Yang Maha Mulia Tuanku senantiasa dilindungi Allah dan berada di dalam kandungan sihat walafiat memerintah Negeri Selangor Darul Ehsan dengan penuh kebesaran dan kemuliaan.

Patik merafak sembah memohon limpah perkenan Duli Yang Maha Mulia Tuanku untuk patik menyembah-maklumkan disini bahawa patik amat terharu dengan kenyataan Duli Yang Maha Mulia Tuanku yang menggariskan titah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Tuanku untuk tidak berpolitik dan juga untuk tidak mengungkitkan perkara-perkara sensitif sempena perayaan Merdeka Malaysia ke 50 tahun ini.

Patik sekali lagi merafak sembah memohon limpah perkenan Duli Yang Maha Mulia Tuanku untuk patik menyembah-maklumkan disini bahawa setakat ini titah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Tuanku tidak dapat patik jumpa di dalam laman web Utusan Malaysia (mungkin kerana rencana tersebut adalah satu eksklusif dari the Star) dan dengan itu, dengan izin Duli Yang Maha Mulia Tuanku, patik ingin menyenaraikan ringkasan rencana tersebut:

  1. untuk tidak berpolitik dan juga untuk tidak mengungkitkan perkara-perkara sensitif sempena perayaan Merdeka Malaysia ke 50 tahun ini,
  2. kemerdekaan negara kita dicapai dengan bersatunya semua kaum,
  3. takkan Malaysia merdeka dengan hanya bergantung harapannya kepada hanya satu kaum,
  4. Islam adalah agama rasmi negara Malaysia dan kedudukan agama Islam tersebut patut dihormati,
  5. walaubagaimanapun orang Islam harus menghormati agama yang diamalkan oleh rakyat Malaysia yang lain,
  6. negara ini milik semua rakyat Malaysia dan semua rakyat Malaysia mempunyai hak untuk menikmati keistimewaan sebagai rakyat Malaysia
Sempena kemerdekaan negara kita tercinta untuk yang ke-limapuluh patik memohon perkenan Duli Yang Mulia Tuanku untuk patik menyebarkan titah nasihat Duli Yang Maha Mulia Tuanku.

Tetapi alangkah sedihnya, belumpun sempat patik menyebarkan titah nasihat Duli Yang Maha Mulia Tuanku, kerajaan Barisan Nasional telahpun melanggar titah nasihat tersebut.

Pada malam merdeka, kerajaan Barisan Nasional telah mebuat pertunjukan yang mengenang kembali peristiwa bersejarah negara kita.

Malangnya pertunjukan tersebut lebih mirip perakan politik Barisan Nasional.

Walaupun memang terjadi persitiwa tersebut, alangkah baiknya jika kerajaan Barisan Nasional dapat mecari ilham dari titah nasihat Duli Yang Maha Mulia Tuanku untuk tidak mempolitikan sambutan kemerdekaan kita.

Mungkin pada masa yang akan datang, dengan titah nasihat Duli Yang Maha Mulia Tuanku, penyambutan kemerdekaan negara kita boleh menjadi lebih sempurna dengan memperagakan tema-tema yang lebih miripkan masyarakat dan politik majmuk negara kita.

Sekian warkah patik, akhir kalam patik berdoa kehadrat Allah Subhanahuwata'ala semoga Duli Yang Maha Mulia Tuanku senantiasa dipelihara Allah dan dapat menjalankan pemerintahan Negeri Selangor Darul Ehsan di dalam keadaan sihat walafiat dan sejahtera.

Dan patik doakan juga semoga Malaysia senantiasa gemilang.

Amin, Amin Ya Rabbulalamin.

Ampun Tuanku.

Patik Yang Ikhlas dan Taat Setia

Dek Mat