Friday, March 26, 2010

Don’t Tear Down a Noble Idea

On The Beat by Wong Chun Wai

We are missing the forest for the trees. Let not ‘One Israel’ derail our plans to work towards 1Malaysia.

CONTROVERSY is brewing over whether the 1Malaysia slogan is original. The accusation is that Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s unity slogan is a carbon copy of the “One Israel” concept devised for the Jewish state.Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has further accused Apco Worldwide, an international public relations company hired by the government, of being behind former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s similar sounding concept.The company has denied involvement in the Israeli slogan, saying it has a website where its list of clients can be seen.

Most Malaysians would not really get excited by Anwar’s accusation but there is a substantial number who regard any link with Israel, no matter how minor, as unacceptable.In short, it is a sensitive subject and there certainly are political points to be scored, if given a chance.It is not even a major controversy in the media but the subject is expected to crop up again in Parliament.The Barisan Nasional and the Opposition have already clashed over the issue, with Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin saying the 1Malaysia slogan was coined even before Apco was hired.

But let’s take a few steps back and look at the issue from a non-political angle. Seriously, with due respect to the Prime Minister, it is a catchy slogan and one that is easy to remember. But it’s hardly original.

Who’s copying who?

The One Utama shopping centre in Petaling Jaya has been around way before the 1Malaysia concept. In fact, One Utama was launched in 1995 – that’s four years before One Israel (conceived in 1999).Go on Google and you’ll see there’s a One America group which aims to celebrate African-American heritage and other minority groups that are pushing for recognition of diversity.There are countless “One America” or “America One” slogans used by groups, companies and non-governmental organisations. They range from marathons to television stations. Certainly, there is no point in accusing anyone of copying anyone there.

In Saudi Arabia, there’s a popular television station called “1 Saudia-Arabia” and certainly no one would make any allegation that the TV station took its name from the “One Israel” concept.We can be sure that the staff at the television station, which promotes Islamic programmes, would not take kindly to any suggestion of that sort.

Over in China, when one talks about the One China principle, it simply means that any diplomatic relations should be with mainland China and not with Taiwan, which it still regards as one of its provinces.Regular visitors to China will tell you that “One China” is regularly used in restaurants, and even non-governmental groups use it with some variations.At risk of being accused by the Indonesians of copying them again, there was a “One Indonesia” campaign launched by an NGO in 2006 after its independence day to celebrate love, unity and change among Indonesians.

Now, let’s get back to the point of One Israel. It was a political alliance formed by Barak, a Labour leader, in the run-up to the 1999 elections. The Labour Party wanted to make the party more centrist.Well, his idea wasn’t original either. The new term was coined after Tony Blair’s New Labour image. One Israel, as a party, collapsed in 2001 with the party being investigated for receiving foreign funds.

The sensitivity, if not animosity, in Malaysia towards Israel and Jews has long been instituted given our links with the Muslim world.But the presence of Americans with Jewish roots is something we have to accept and learn to live with. We shouldn’t be hypocritical about this whole issue.

Former World Bank president and US deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz is a Jew with strong links to Jewish lobby groups. He is regarded as a neo-conservative and a hawkish advocate against Iraq. He is also a supporter and friend of Anwar and, whether rightly or wrongly, that has also been used against the Opposition Leader.

But the point is that in the US, among the elite and inner circle, the powerful Jews are always there. Even in the Obama Administra­tion, there are at least 17 influential Jews inside the White House, including the powerful Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

Don’t go overboard

There are two issues here that we need to be rational about. As much as politicians want to create controversies, we should not get too carried away and not see the big picture. They shouldn’t throw stones too if they live in glass houses.

If we really want to use the Jewish card, then we should switch off our television every time talkshow host Larry King appears on CNN because he is a Jew. We should stop listening to Barbra Streisand and Barry Manilow because they are Jews. Certainly, we must stop watching director Steven Spiel­berg’s wonderful movies.

No one can argue against the concept of 1Malaysia. It has been generally accepted by most Malaysians who want to see it work. There are Malay nationalist groups who question 1Malaysia and there are opposition groups who want answers about Najib’s commitment to 1Malaysia. But for most of us, a noble idea should not be torn down. Let’s make it work.

At day’s end, let’s go for a drink at One Bangsar before we watch the Formula One race this weekend.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bakun Dam,The Forgotten Scandalous History

Was the Bakun Dam project is much more worse than the PKFZ in Klang?

The truth now is here people! Nobody wonders that the initial idea to build the most highest concrete structure dam in the world (outside China) was proposed in 1960s and a lot more studies has been done in the late 80s by the former predecessors of Malaysia Prime Minister and finally has been revived by Dato’ Sri Mahathir bin Mohamad (At That time was the current PM) in 1993.

Can you imagine, project that was halted in 1997 due to the global financial crisis at that time, still need to proceed because since we know that it was the ‘lubuk cepat kaya’ for the certain important persons in this project. As we can see, the project’s contract was totally gone to the local base company which is owned by the state government at that time – even the contract was initially given to the foreign company.

So, why we are so vital in this project? Since we are the tax-payer; it is totally confirmed that the cost of USD 2.4 Billion to certainly kept the project survive and displaced almost 10,000 natives to Sungai Asap resettlement camp in 1998 was ours; which those money suppose to help poor people and not to let the millionaire to be a super-millionaire. The home-grown people had been given RM 2500 for each family (a lot for the poor and uneducated indigenous people) and force them to sign a fake document when they arrive at the settlement.

But, it was not as sweet as the tidbits.

After the 3rd attempt, the project finally will be completed this October (2010) and they will started flood an estimation of 500 sq km (187.5 sq miles) of rainforest, equivalent to the size of Singapore, and destroy one of the oldest wild-forest in the world to produce a 2400MW of power; which at last, will go to an unknown-rich-pocket. As the initial needs for Sarawak was just nearly 200MW at that time (1980).What is more important isthe project completely attached with the under-sea cables; which they estimate to be started in 2017.

Why 2017?

Okay, can it be considered that the project which is at the final phase of completion and will be flooded in just a few months from now; but the power generated between the years of 2010 to 2017(as if it started) will go to no-where.

Yes, they have signed the agreement with Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary’s GIIG Holdings has tied up with Aluminium Corp of China Ltd (Chalco) which is reported will need 600MW and Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd’s joint venture with Rio Tinto Alcan will require between 900MW and 1,200MW of electricity. Collectively, that adds up to 1,800MW. Granted, these projects are expected to be phased out.

Even that the agreement has been signed and the project has said to be started soon .But it will only completed in 2013; still have 3 years of power-spill. And recently Sarawak plans 5 more hydro dams. What the heck?

So, what you think?

Remember, East Malaysia currently has the highest number of poor households in the country. It’s not enough with just build more hydro dams and aluminium smelters; and left behind the priority of the home-grown people, but they(government) also need to ensure the maximum benefit to the people of the state- and by extension the country.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sorry, You Are Left Behind

People,we are left behind! We never noticed that Malaysians live cheaply but paid poorly too.This has been proven by the research done by banking group, UBS. It states that the world's cheapest places to live were Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur along with Manila in Philipines and India's Delhi and Mumbai.

Why this is happened? Is it an advantage to us or it will indirectly affected our economy growth? Can the expectation of our Prime Minister, Dato' Sri Mohd. Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak to achieve the 6% of annual economy growth this year can be achieved if something like this is happened to us, Malaysians?

Malaysians are too rely on the subsidy from the governments and too sensitive to the price issues. Are u agree with me? This is one of the factor why Malaysians are paid poorly. Since the NEP (New economic Plan) launched by the Malaysian Government in 1971, the NEP's success has been a subject of heated debate. The NEP targeted a 30% share of the economy for the Bumiputra, but according to official government statistics, the NEP did not succeed in reaching this target.

It’s a curious situation, indeed. Which subsidies should be continued? Fuel or NEP?Since fuel subsidies help keep prices down generally – because everything is ultimately produced, transported, lighted up or cooked by something using fuel – would that not help the poor generally too?

Well, some sections of Umno itself do not think so. After the general election, they staged demonstrations in Penang, Ipoh and Shah Alam criticising new Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and calling on NEP (New Economic Policy) subsidies to be maintained. Yet their Federal leadership thinks that the fuel subsidy (for petrol, diesel and gas) cannot continue.

Some may call it “political matters”, but the call to use RM10bil (from Petronas’ annual profits of RM80bil) to subsidise fuel, struck a chord in the electorate; and this is something the Barisan Government has to address to recapture hearts and minds in 2013.As we move forward, we have to appreciate our Nation's achievements and stop relying to the government so that Malaysians will be paid higher than what we have now. Majulah Malaysia Untuk semua!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

SPM result; what your say?

It's still not too late to say congratulation to those who achieved a good result in SPM last year. For those who not success, don't be too sad. The path is still long. It's just the beginning. Why I'm saying this because no all top students in SPM can success in their next level of studies, or even in their life generally.

In the recent years, we always heard about the students who achieved straight As for their SPM will fly abroad and continue their study overseas.Otherwise, they can continue locally. They will get their scholarship (mostly) and the government (JPA) will pay all the fees of their studies and those students will be bonded to the government, unless they can afford to pay the money back.

But the phenomena that become the issue is there are a lot of the straight As nowadays. Are all the students become smarter than the past students? or, the level or the grading system has been changed that students can easily get good results for their examinations?

Maybe i shouldn't say it is all about politics. its not possible to say it since almost all of the systems in today's government has to be apart of it. Maybe I'm wrong. But you should think about it, and say it to your own self.Let the good things happen people. Tahniah semua!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Icy Kick-start

I am a Malaysian first, pure and simple. One who is beyond race, color, creed and social standing.As i am a Malaysian, you are Malaysian too (Malaysian citizens).What ever the color of your skin is,we are 1Malaysia prahhh! peace to you all.