Friday, 29 February 2008

"Man In Black"

What a difference in election campaigning style!

General knowledge quiz: Who is KJ?

Maimun Yusuf, 89, campaigning as an independent candidate in Kuala Trengganu

From Maverick sm

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Non-Malays in National Schools

An interesting but worrying observation was made by Alias Mohd Yusof in his letter to Malaysiakini. He was puzzled and worried as to why there was not a single Non-Malay student out of the approximately 300 year-one students enrolled at the Taman Sri Pulai Primary school in the Kulai district even though there is a substantial Chinese population living in the vicinity of the school. He further noted that Chinese parents were even willing to send their children to a Chinese primary school further away even though the Taman Sri Pulai Primary school is just a door-step away.

The phenomenon of declining non-Malay enrolment in national primary and secondary schools has been happening. But as Alias Mohd Yusof argued, this unhealthy trend has to be arrested in the interest of real racial harmony. It could not be due to poor academic standard of the school as it has an excellent track record. If the problem has to do with learning the pupil's mother-tongue, surely national schools could provide this so that non-Malay pupils could learn their mother-tongues in the same school?

However, the heart of the problem is non-Malay perception that national primary and secondary schools have become fertile ground for institutionalizing Islamic practices, and this perception has been reinforced again and again by school heads and teachers who have an Islamic agenda of their own. Before Tun Dr Mahathir retired, he had warned against the increasing Islamization of national schools and said steps had to be taken to encourage non-Malay parents to make national schools the schools of their choice. The recent case of a national co-ed secondary school in Seremban which tried to segregate the sexes by stipulating separate classrooms, separate entrances and staircases, separate canteen counters and god knows what, is an example. Another common incident is the stipulation that non-Muslim female students should wear skirts that cover up to their ankles even though the guideline for non-Muslim female students is the blouse and the pinafore with a hemline below their knees. This is the national dress code for all secondary non-Muslim female students in Malaysia. But the little 'napoleons' have deemed it fit to bend the rules. The intent to change the secular nature of schools is real and widespread.

The dress code for non-Malay female students in secondary schools in Malaysia

Dress code for Muslim female students in secondary schools

In reply to Alias Mohd Yusof, David Kumaran narrated his unfortunate experience as a father who sent his three children to national schools, and how his children were subjected to these Islamic influences. He recounted how one of his children together with other non-Muslim children was forced to sit through an Islamic lesson because the Moral Subject teacher was absent. A case of indirect proselytising?

We should thank Alias Mohd Yusof for recognizing and voicing his genuine concern over the issue.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Snippets on the General Election

Source: the Star online

More Posters on the General Election

From apeapeaje

Tracking The Election Campaign Trail 9

The Keadilan Rakyat election manifesto is out. Its slogan: A new dawn for Malaysia

Part I - A Constitutional State for All
Upholding Unity, Integrity & Human Rights

KeADILan believes that the spirit of the Constitution and the rule of law must be honoured in deed, and not only in words. True adherence to the Constitution and principles of universal justice will ensure the rule of law and an independent judiciary, as well as guarantee that the basic human rights and dignity of all are protected and upheld.

Part II - A Vibrant, Prosperous Economy for All
Equitable Distribution for Better Competitiveness

KeADILan’s Malaysian Economic Agenda espouses our belief that if we are to compete globally and ensure vibrant internal growth, discriminative polices that only enrich the elites must be replaced with a policy that ensures assistance to all poor Malaysians regardless of race.

Part III - A Safer Malaysia for All
A Cleaner Police Force for Safer Streets

Endemic mismanagement of the police force for political ends, internal division and tolerance of a culture of corruption have all crippled the ability of the police to serve and protect ordinary Malaysians....KeADILan envisions a police force that is professional, neutral, better deployed, better trained and better equipped to realise their primary goal of patrolling our streets and keeping Malaysians safe from every harm.

Part IV - An Affordable Malaysia for All
Better Control of Prices for Petrol & Basic Goods

As Malaysia is a net exporter of oil, sudden and dramatic hikes in petrol prices only reflect subsidies of an insatiable appetite for corruption in the ruling party. KeADILan promises to lower the price of petrol in line with higher Petronas profits as well as manage the prices of basic goods to ensure a consistent, steady supply. Tolls and tariffs will also no longer be raised unreasonably only to satisfy conglomerates and corporate interests.

With Malaysian university rankings slipping well below the 200 mark and children leaving the national school system in droves, we must seriously re-evaluate the government’s policies. KeADILan will allow institutions of learning the freedom to engage the best practices that raise the standard of education, pay educators the salaries their profession deserves, and enable universal access to scholarships and higher quality education for all.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Tracking The Election Campaign Trail 8

The Barisan Nasional election manifesto is out with the slogan "Security, Peace and Prosperity".

The Manifesto:
Promise of a better tomorrow

Doesn't it sound familiar? One blogger calls it 'the Manifested-illusion'.

Malaysia's Last Independent Paper Sold

The last Malaysian independent newspaper has been snapped up by Berjaya Group tycoon, Vincent Tan, the man implicated in the V K Lingam tape controversy. Read here for more.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Lingam Video Clip Controversy

The Royal Commission of Inquiry into the V K Lingam video clip controversy has revealed that that august branch of the government has been subjected to interference from the executive branch of the government. The tape revealed how a prominent lawyer was involved in the brokering of judges' appointments. When questioned by the commission on the identity of the speaker on the phone, his reply, "It looks like me and it sounds like me" became the Malaysian quote of the year. The video from provides a light-hearted angle on the inquiry that has ended.

People allegedly mentioned in the controversy:


Sunday, 24 February 2008

Barbecued Prawns on Skewers

It seems that I am promoting Batu Pahat Ocean Seafood Restaurant. But I have always found the restaurant to be cozy, has a lot of parking space, and above all the food is excellent but reasonably priced, and the service is great. Last night, we went and ordered a few dishes.

Batu Pahat Ocean Seafood Restaurant

A chef, immaculately attired, barbecued prawns on skewers outside the restaurant

The barbecued prawn

The sauce for the prawns. Alongside, are pickled pineapple

RM 8.00 per 100 grams of prawns

Another excellent dish we had: mixed seafood tofu deep-fried with mayonnaise dressing and fresh vegetable

This is braised diced belly pork with steamed buns, minced pork and vegetables. It's a variation of the 'kong ba' pao. Really good!

'kong ba' or braised pork eaten with steamed buns

Saturday, 23 February 2008

How to Stop Cars and Win Enemies by Farish A. Noor

When it comes to dealing with the grouses of the Malaysian public – many of which happen to be legitimate, mind you – it would seem that the benighted leaders of our blessed country have read every single page of the stupid book.

We recall the period when we, the Malaysian public were told by our – Malaysian – government that we had the right to speak up and that our voices would be heard. We were assured that we had the right to speak, to raise our concerns, to voice our opinions and to even state our differences and disagreements in this new Utopian, idyllic public space that had appeared out of nowhere. But no sooner than had we opened our mouths to utter the first sentence beginning with “But…”, the tear gas canisters were shot in our faces, the batons were raised, the water cannons were put to work. It is hard, as I wrote not too long ago, ‘to listen to the people while you gas them in the face ’.

Read more here.

Humour the Voters

This clip from will provide some temporary relief from the eye-strain of reading names, names and more names of election candidates and the internal squabbles of political parties.

Tracking The Election Campaign Trail 7

For the past few days, the mainstream media have been bombarding readers with who will stand, where they will stand and how they will stand. This time around several new faces have been named by various political parties including sons and daughters of retired politicians and ministers. Significantly, the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) pesident, Samy Vellu has announced that this will be his last general election; the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) president, Ong Ka Ting also announced that this will be his last. Also shocking (to MCA members anyway) was MCA Deputy President, Chan Kong Choy's announcement that he would not seek re-election. To the man in the street however, who stand, who are replaced, where they would stand are not earth-shaking events. He is more concerned with issues that would directly affect his livelihood and well-being. What are these issues he is concerned about? Will the coalition party, the Barisan Nasional be able to address these issues satisfactorily?
  • Inflation and fewer business opportunities. He is worried about the next round of inflation after the general election. Particularly worrying is the petrol and diesel price hikes which would translate into higher cost of living and doing business.
  • The rising crime rate. The police are perceived to be neglecting their duty in ensuring the safety of the people. Streets are not safe for children and adults anymore.
  • Religious issues and the perceived Islamization of the country. Many fear the encroachment of Shariah laws into the secular judiciary of the country.
  • Corruption. There has been so many high profile cases of mismanagement of government funds and the alleged collusion between bureaucrats and politically well-connected businesses to reap huge profits from government projects at the expense of the people.
  • Marginalization in employment and business opportunities. Small non-Malay businesses and companies have been shut out of government contracts as these are reserved for the bumiputras. The public sector has also become overwhelmingly mono-ethnic.
  • Mother-tongue education. Many vernacular schools have experienced an explosion of enrolment and they are bursting at the seams to provide more places, particularly in urban centres. These schools have also suffered from an acute shortage of teachers and the government's attempt to rectify the situation has been seen to be lukewarm.
  • A tainted judiciary, as exposed in the Lingam tape enquiry.
  • The Malays on the other hand feel that their special rights and Islam have been threatened. They would like to see that Malaysia is officially declared as an Islamic state and their special rights cannot be discussed or negotiated. Read the Muslim Non-government Organizations' Election Demands.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Campaign Posters and Banners

We have begun to see signs of the election campaigns of various political parties as banners and buntings are being put up. Meanwhile, the campaigns are also being conducted on the net with posters, mostly opposing the Barisan Nasional, or the Coalition party and urging voters to vote wisely.

I received these posters from an email. As it has always been said, a picture is worth a thousand words.

On inflation and price hikes of essential items

Price hikes of consumer products

The purchase of the 200 million ringgit luxury jet for the Prime Minister's use

The multi-million ringgit mansions of leaders

The price of a 'hot' car number plate could build a modest house for the common man

Whistle-blowers could go to jail for reporting corruption

ELECTION 2008: Size really does matter to some
Wed, Feb 20, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - When it comes to attracting voters, does bigger always mean better? The previous general election saw an array of posters, banners and buntings, in various sizes, promoting the various political parties.

Running high on election fever, Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd recently came up with a huge banner, covering half of its building, in a show of support for Barisan National.

The banner which carries the words Maju Bersama Barisan National (Progress with BN) will be up throughout the election campaign period.

A company spokesperson said the banner which covered 23 floors of the building was put up on Valentine's day.

(From AsiaOne news)

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Tracking The Election Campaign Trail 6

From www.straits

Goodies galore to woo voters

Grants to Indians and Chinese alone run into millions as govt pulls out all the stops this year By Jeremy Au Yong

FOR four years after graduating from a local college, Mr David Jeyaraj could not get a job, because he could not prove that he was a Malaysian.

adjusts the Umno 'rocket'. Campaigning is heating up as rival
parties declare their intent to go all out this election.

Born in a rural area in Kedah and given away at birth, he was never registered and did not hold an identity card.

When he tried to get one, he ran into a brick wall.

'They had me going in circles. There was so much red tape, just trying to prove that I was born here,' he said.

A few months ago, everything was finally resolved. He got an IC, and found a job working in IT.

But some are calling the pushing through of his application, together with those of thousands of other stateless residents like him, part of the government's drive to sweeten the ground before the general election.

More goodies to woo voters

From www.straits

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Tracking The Election Campaign Trail 5

Churches campaign for religious freedom in the coming general election

Although churches together with other religious bodies of the minority ethnic population have hitherto remained nonpartisan, this time around they are urging their followers to vote for candidates that support religious freedom. They view with increasing concern over what they perceive as an attempt to Islamize the country by overzealous Muslim politicians and bureaucrats . Read here for more.

M'sian opposition reaches GE pact to avoid multi-cornered contests

KUALA LUMPUR - MALAYSIA'S two main opposition parties have agreed to field only one candidate in every constituency in next month's elections to avoid multi-cornered fights, which in the past have split the votes and benefited the ruling coalition.

The Democratic Action Party and the People's Justice Party reached the deal after much haggling over the past weeks - ahead of nomination day this Sunday for the March 8 general elections, officials said on Tuesday.

'By and large, we have reached an agreement. It was not easy,' DAP chief Lim Kit Siang said. 'There should not be any three-corner fights.'

He said the parties had agreed on the seats for four key states, including hotspot Penang, while pacts for the remaining nine would be worked out by party officials at the state level.

(From www.straits

More goodies given.
Mara Junior Science Colleges which have been and are continuing to be built throughout the country cater overwhelmingly for Malay students.

Hostel fees waived for needy Mara students

PARIT: Mara Junior Science College (MRSM) students whose families earn RM650 monthly or less will be exempted from paying hostel fees and provided with free uniforms and other educational necessities.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the poverty line of RM650 per family would now be used to determine those who qualified for the aid.

“In this era of globalisation, one could only succeed if given quality education,” Najib said at the groundbreaking ceremony for a new RM80mil MRSM building here, about 40km from Ipoh.

Among those present were Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Tajol Rosli Ghazali and Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Minister Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin.

Najib noted that 15 such colleges would be built under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.

(From star online)

Monday, 18 February 2008

Tracking The Election Campaign Trail 4

HINDRAF 'rose' rally in New York on 17 Feb 2008 demanding detained HINDRAF leaders to be released

Khir advises Indians to be self-reliant

BANTING: The Indian community has been advised by Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo to be self-reliant in order to improve their lot.

He said they should find ways to lift their economic status through hard work instead of expecting handouts.

“The only way you can change your lives is by your own efforts and not through others,” said Dr Khir in his address at a special programme organised by the Selangor Vanniar Welfare Association’s youth wing.

The programme, entitled The Future of Vanniar Youths under the Barisan Nasional Government, at the Kuala Langat Industrial Training Institute near here, was organised to reaffirm the organisation’s loyalty to the ruling coalition.


Isn't it a case of the pot calling the kettle black?

More Jokes On Malaysian Politics and Politicians



No one can accuse Malaysians of dourness. On the contrary, they have an earthy sense of humour, judging from cartoons by professionals and amateurs, and by the great number of jokes that have circulated through email and through sms. Here is one I received through sms:

Einstein is known for his genius mind,

Newton is known for his extraordinary mind,

Bill Gates for a brilliant mind,

Dr. Mahathir as the master mind,

Abdullah Badawi? Never Mind,

Samy Vellu Hmmmm? ALL MINE,

"When she lifted her skirt up, I lost my MIND," said former Health Ministe, Dr Chua Soi Lek.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Tracking The Election Campaign Trail 3

I am ready to make a comeback, says Rahim

MALACCA: Umno supreme council member and former Malacca chief minister Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Tamby Chik is prepared to make a comeback and contest in the general election should the party decide to field him.

Remember him? Tan Sri was allegedly involved in a sex scandal along with fourteen other men with an under-aged girl in 1994. While the fourteen men were charged on the basis of the girl's police report, Tan Sri was not charged as there was no police report made against him although the girl had admitted to having sexual relations with him.

Whether he will be nominated by UMNO to stand in the coming election remains to be seen.

The Works Minister, Samy Vellu, seems to be fighting a battle on his home front. Indications are that he is struggling to regain the confidence of his community.

Angry Hindraf supporters mob Samy

BUTTERWORTH: MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu was prevented by a group of people from leaving a function here.

The group, believed to be Hindu Rights Action Force supporters, surrounded his car last night and demanded for an undertaking for the release of women and children who were detained during a Hindraf rally in Kuala Lumpur yesterday morning.

From Star online

The Community Development Minister lost no time in reminding Malaysians that they should be grateful to the government for the various subsidies given.

Shahrizat: Subsidies benefit every Malaysian

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians are fortunate to benefit from the huge subsidies given by the Government.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said the Government provided some RM81bil in annual subsidies to ensure Malaysians continued to enjoy healthy and “quite luxurious” lifestyles.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

What Are Politicians Made Of?

I thought it might be interesting to find out what people of substance, including politicians themselves think of politicians.

Politicians are like diapers. They both need changing regularly and for the same reason. ~Author Unknown

All of us who are concerned for peace and triumph of reason and justice must be keenly aware how small an influence reason and honest good will exert upon events in the political field. ~Albert Einstein

In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant. ~Charles de Gaulle

Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where they is no river. ~Nikita Khrushchev

An election is coming. Universal peace is declared and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry. ~T.S. Eliot

Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel. ~John Quinton

Midas, they say, possessed the art of old
Of turning whatsoe'er he touch'd to gold;
This modern statesmen can reverse with ease -
Touch them with gold, they'll turn to what you please.
~John Wolcot

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. ~Aesop

Political language - and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists - is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. - George Orwell

Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote. ~George Jean Nathan

Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber. ~Plato

Jokes on Malaysian Politics and Politicians

Golf joke on the politics of seduction

I got this from 'The Antics of Husin'. This story has been probably adapted from one about a female senator been hit by a truck and met St Peter after ascending heaven.

"Sugar and spice and all things nice"

While walking down the street one day a Malaysian politician is tragically hit by a truck and dies. His soul arrives in heaven and he is met by an angel at the entrance.

"Welcome to heaven," says the angel. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you."

"No problem, just let me in," says the man.

"Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity."

"Really, I have made up my mind. I want to be in heaven," says the Yang Berhormat (honorific for a member of parliament or state assembly man or woman).

"I'm sorry, but we have our rules," says the angel.

And with that, the angel escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.

Everyone is very happy and dressed in the finest batik there is. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people. They play a friendly game of golf and then indulge themselves on lobsters, caviar and the most expensive food there is. Present together is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes.

They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go. Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises. The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where the angel is waiting for him.

"Now it' s time to visit heaven."

So, 24 hours pass with the Yang Berhormat joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and the angel returns.

"Well, then, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity."

The Yang Berhormat reflects for a minute, then he answers: "Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I am better off in hell."

So the angel escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. Now the doors of the elevator open and he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above. The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder.

"I don't understand," stammers the Yang Berhormat. "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?"

The devil looks at him, smiles and says, "Yesterday we were campaigning, just like you did during an election...... Today you voted."

Friday, 15 February 2008

Batu Pahat Streets

It took my sister’s observations to jolt me into looking at BP with new glasses; she has been away for four years and the first observation she made was how clean the streets are, and how many buildings along the main streets have been given a new coat of paint. Speaking of cleanliness, garbage collection has also improved considerably. By 12 midnight, all the garbage would have been removed by these anonymous garbage collectors.

We were doing some spring cleaning before Chinese New Year, and articles we considered to be useless, including old clothes, ceramic plates, toys, video tapes, audio tapes, were packed carefully in thick plastics so as not to inconvenience these collectors. We were slightly worried that they might be peeved by this mountain of garbage and refused to collect them. But the next morning, the garbage was gone. The next night, we again left about 9 huge plastic bags, and waited for the garbage truck to remove them. However, a human scavenger beat them to it. This old man infuriatingly tore open the plastic bags to take what he wanted and left the rest scattered haphazardly on the road. We rushed down and scolded the man for being so inconsiderate. We told him to take what he wanted, but to repack the rest in new plastic bags given by us.

The various government departments too have shown signs of improvement. The department for issuing and renewing licences have become a one-stop centre: renew the licence, take a queue number and pay at the payment counter just a few feet away. The Land Office where you pay your quit rent is similarly efficient.

Even the Immigration and Passport Department has cut issuing and renewing passports to only one day. Previously, one could see a long queue that snaked its way from the counters to the compound of the department. Now the new premise is air-conditioned and has comfortable seats for the public.

Recently, some roads have been repaved and it was a joy to drive, and pot-holes have been filled in short time. Roads are planted with trees and dividers have potted plants.

Yes, the district council has been working hard. But somehow, these improvements have gone unnoticed and unappreciated.

Note how clean the street is

Some repainted shoplots

Tracking The Election Campaign Trail 1

Even an army will not stop me, says Samy Vellu

KUALA LUMPUR: Even an army will not be able to stop MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu from defending his Sungai Siput seat.

Roses, cards to woo women voters

PENANG: Gerakan and DAP leaders wooed women voters with roses and heart-shaped cards as lovers celebrated Valentine’s Day yesterday.

From Star online

RM10mil more for Chinese schools

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has approved another allocation of RM10mil to develop, refurbish and renovate Chinese schools, said MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting.

RM500,000 for Chinese Assembly Hall

KUALA LUMPUR: The Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry has allocated RM500,000 for restoration work on the 85-year-old Chinese Assembly Hall here.

From Star online

RM10m to aid Chinese dropouts

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has approved an allocation of RM10mil for more Chinese school dropouts to undergo training at the MCA-run Kojadi Skills Development Foundation.

Kedah MB promises Thaipusam holiday next year

KEDAH Mentri Besar and state Barisan Nasional chief Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said necessary action will be taken to ensure that Thaipusam is declared a state public holiday next year, Malaysia Nanban reported.

Celebrating Thaipusam. From