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Friday, March 28, 2008

Same bad song, with more gusto

This has my antenna tingling, and i don't like the feel of it.

The NST reports:

ALOR STAR: Kedah's mega RM50 billion oil refinery and pipeline project has become even bigger - with the budget for it soaring to a staggering RM83 billion.

The RM33 billion increase is due to a decision to construct a man-made island for the proposed refinery and storage facilities. Originally, the refinery and storage facilities were to have been built on reclaimed padi fields...

...The project would also be built on its original site of Yan instead of Gurun as suggested by Azizan. Azizan said he agreed to bring the project back to Yan after listening to the counter proposals by the six investors.

"I know I had announced that the refineries would be shifted to Gurun, but after hearing their counter-proposals, I have agreed to bring it back to Yan district, specifically Sungai Limau," he told reporters after the meeting.

This is flip-flopping; exactly the same criticism we leveled on AAB.

Worse, the price tag has leaped by an astounding 66% of the original value. I'd imagine that the original RM50 billion was already bloated to enrich the cronies, and that we'd get to see a major price slash instead after renegotiations. I'd expected public disclosure of the budget, as any ethical govt ought to practice.

Instead we get this: the same BN-style decision-making process which keeps citizens in the dark. And for crying out loud, an increase in the budget. The same questions thrown at BN are now thrown at you, Azizan. Is this the best way to use the billions of ringgit? Have you opened the floodgates? Are you indebted to those six investors now, shackled by them?

You have some serious explaining to do.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

He just doesn't get it

The way his points are presented betrays the sorry mindset of AAB. There seems to be a serious decoupling from reality.

From Malaysiakini:

"We certainly lost the Internet war, the cyber-war," Abdullah said in a speech to an investment conference.

"It was a serious misjudgment. We made the biggest mistake in thinking that it was not important," he said.

"We thought that the newspapers, the print media, the television was supposed to be important, but the young people were looking at SMS and blogs."

Young people. Sigh, as if it was so easy. It seems only young people caused BN to lose the 5+1 states. Like, young people weren't a factor during the Reformasi years and 1999 GE. Like, if BN had used the internet better in their campaigns (remember they had already swamped Yahoo! and other search engines), this wouldn't have happened. The impressionable young people fell for the internet smut, while the older voters remained essentially loyal because they watched TV, and read the papers.

What a blur toad.

He forgot about the years and months before, he forgot about Bersih, he forgot about Hindraf, he forgot the prime-movers of the internet campaign were the grey and middle-aged Rakyat... RPK, Haris, Zorro, Chin Huat, Rocky, James Wong etc. Citizens all. And of course, a freer e-media in Malaysiakini.

The analysis is actually quite simple - it revolves around the key words "forgot" and "remember".

He forgot to do his job.

We - young and old - remembered.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A shadow for Komtar

Now here's something constructive for a change: Penang's BN state assemblymen plan to form a shadow cabinet to act as check-and-balance to the Minority govt's exco.

The Star Online reports:

Teluk Bahang assemblyman Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said: “We have enough assemblymen to keep watch on the DAP-led state government.”

He said they would raise issues pertaining to state affairs publicly or at the state assembly.

“We will support the current government if its policies are good,” he told newsmen after meeting Singapore’s St John Chapel Choir group at Pusat Harian Harapan Bakti here yesterday.

This is refreshing; that BN in its role as opposition offers to collaborate with the state govt, to spar with it on issues in an organised manner, for the benefit of Penang.

That's the ideal, of course. It's the action that counts. The integrity of such promises can only be judged in the months to come but it is still a mile more imaginative than the inane discussions by the BN so far. Far better than Shabery Chik wanting to meet bloggers, or the promise to declare assets, or "finding out what went wrong" - i mean, that's the very least they ought to do if they are to remain relevant. There's so much more BN can initiate.

We're awaiting more inspired ideas.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Open Letter to The Star

Dear Editor,

We are very concerned and wary of the countless reckless and negligent reporting in your papers which could incite communal disharmony and civil unrest.

To be fair, you did publish such articles attributed to both the Barisan Nasional and the Opposition, but in this instance, we are obliged to refer to the article: PAS certain it can set up Islamic federal govt soon (The Sunday Star, March 16, 2008).

The fact is that no government can change Malaysia to be an Islamic state unless and until they can command 2/3 support in Parliament to amend the Constitution and support such a bill. So far, no single political party, except Barisan as a coalition of UMNO, MIC, MCA, Gerakan and 10 other minority parties, have had the capacity to garner such support. PAS, even with the claimed additional 30 voices, will still not be able to command the majority needed if no other party supports them.

Besides, a bluff is also obvious in the claim that PAS needs only another 30 seats to seize control of the country. PAS secured 23 parliamentary seats out of 222, the least among the three major “opposition” (though we would rather them be referred to as “minority” henceforth) parties. This is a far cry from the minimum 148 seats needed for a 2/3 majority.

In reading the story closely, you appear to be grossly editorialising the news in your headline and intro. Nobody needs another reminder of the ruckus caused by DAP because of their reluctance to submit to PAS rule.

Besides the need to be truthful and honest, we believe that when you feel or you are compelled to publish any inflamatory or contradictory remarks, regardless of source, you must, in the same breathe, play down the hatred it may sow.

In the instance of the article referred to, you should have done your social obligation and national duty by appending the statements of fact such as the actual number of parliamentary seats PAS has and how such changes can come about.

You can also help to demolish the inordinate fear of Islamic influence by quoting, perhaps, example of Islamisation in the country such as in the banking and financial services sector and the halal food industry for Muslims, both of which have benefited non-Muslims tremendously.

We sincerely pray that if you must really publish any contradictory statement which may or is intended to discredit any party, you would first consider the potential injustice to the innocent majority.

We hope that you will realise that while the people have voiced their displeasure with the Barisan through the ballot box, they may likewise voice their disgust with irresponsible reporting through the newsstand. you would certainly appreciate the commercial value in words of wisdom and the folly otherwise.

GetAnMP-PJ Utara



GetAnMP-PJ Utara fully endorses The People's Parliament call to Boycott the Lying Newspapers. Sock it to them till they wake up to their responsibility. At RM15 a month, Malaysiakini is a far superior product.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Enriching PJ

When the GetanMP flyers were first conceived, we inserted the tagline Make Malaysia Home.

Its brevity spurred multiple readings; a little aphorism aimed at different sections of voters. For the middle/upper-middle class contemplating the greener grass of migration, it was a challenge to stay and irrigate our own land. For the apathetic, it was a call of duty to clean up our own house. And yet on another level, it pleaded that we become more inclusive, that we breathe as a family regardless of race, religion and class.

March 8, 2008 is special. Be it the challenge, the call of duty, or the plea - this was collectively answered. It is now entirely up to us to make Home so. If we imagine, we give it life.


(Credit: Mob1900)

We at GetanMP-PJ Utara are embarking on the next step. We're out to make PJ a very fine place to live. Not PJ Utara, not PJ Selatan, not Bukit Lanjan nor Seri Setia, but all Petaling Jaya. We are Anak Bangsa Malaysia-PJ. And if you're a PJ resident we'd like you to join us. We're many different layers - fat, thin, black, yellow brown - yet we're common. As with GetanMP, we're starting an e-group of interested PJ residents. From there we'll work things out together. Commitment is entirely your call. Join us; bring a friend, bring a family. Send us an email and we'll set you up.

Below is a description of what we'd like to do. Can we? If we want it, why not.


This e-group is for the hopeful. It is for all who have been hurt in a relationship - boohoo - but are not afraid of a new one. Yet as we enter this one with the same dizzy feeling, we know we're coming in wiser, stronger and the creative commitment that we'll make it work this time.

We'll allow the dynamics of this group to unfold naturally. Like society itself, it's best left organic. Leaders will emerge, ditto specialists and interest groups within our midst. This is desirable. We're plural. We're mongrel.

Even so, we've identified three broad categories where AnakBangsaMalaysia-PJ will organise itself. Its geographic locus is PJ, yet its societal current is free to spread out to Selangor and Malaysia. It transcends mere politics; it is about Grace and Being. The categories are:

1) Community
PJ folks are diverse. Yet in its diversity it is atomic. We'd like to see bonds form. Ownership. A sense of Belonging. This can come via shared activities and interests. Some will take a long time to germinate, some sooner. Ideas include:

a) Talks/Dialogues: To get experts to talk about topical subjects. eg History of PJ and where we've sidetracked; the Sg Buloh Leprosarium, Bukit Gasing Wildlife and Wild Plans. Venues could vary. This could be in Living Room settings of 20 people; casual, but informative; it could be the auditorium at Sin Chew.
b) People First community-driven projects: This may be about working hand-in-hand with MBPJ, or with private-sector sources. Draw ideas from around the world - there are many - and let these inspire our own. For a very fine example, see Project for Public Spaces.
c) PJ Pengembara: Organise off-the-beaten-track road trips within the state and its neighbours. Orang Asli settlements, Carey Island, rubber estates... you name it.

2) Environment/Development
a) To hold awareness forums on development in PJ.
b) Public transportation and carparking issues - the strategic solutions.
c) To safeguard public parks and green lungs.
Again, the scope and depth is determined by members. It may be in alliance with existing NGO initiatives such as Save Bukit Gasing, or the Save the Valley of Hope program. We assure you that we're keeping a sharp eye on UM's reported 'lease' of its land to high-end developers.
In any case, it would be good that we get to know about the issues within our backyard.

3) Governance
This will be in line with The People's Parliament Representative Watch Committee. Barisan Rakyat happened; it wasn't merely a pretty poster, it actually happened. Now the next step. For more info, read Haris Ibrahim's election pledge. We shall be closely allied to PP on this initiative.
On the DUN and municipal level, a similar auditing/cooperative system will be set in place.

Biting off too much? Perhaps. And perhaps not. We're throwing as wide a net to involve as many PJians-with-a-heart as possible. The grandpa, the restless youth, the SUV man. Each comes with a cord. We'll weave. What we'll weave is what we dare imagine. The PJ we imagine won't happen overnight, we're well aware of that. Ideas will lie buried or kicked, there will be disagreements, bonds may even break. But the idea of an amazing tapestry is just too good to let go. It is our design.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dammit, you politicians

First DAP's Kit. He apologised this morning. Now Syed Husin Ali of PKR... If you don't get your act together, you will face a full boycott by the Rakyat. Not just Perak, but in all three west coast Opposition-controlled states. This is a promise.

You are fast showing that you are not worthy.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Watch it, DAP

Malaysiakini carries a press statement from Kit. In it he says the DAP CEC was shocked and unhappy over the appointment of PAS' Nizar as MB for Perak.

My message to Kit and the DAP is simply this:

You asked: Vote for Change.
We did.
Now how about you yourself?

Work on the commonalities. There is so much to be reaped. Yes, safeguard principles. Lay the ground rules and stick to them with your dear lives. But never, never enter the realm of BNspeak... you're treading on thin ice.