Sunday, October 21, 2018

Stop Dreaming a la Baru Bian?

FMT - 11th Malaysia Plan review: What reformasi agenda? by Dr Kua Kia Soong:

We expected the Mid-Term Review of the 11th Malaysia Plan to be an exposition of the new Pakatan Harapan government’s development strategy that would be radically different from that of the previous Barisan Nasional government’s. After all, the new MP for Port Dickson Anwar Ibrahim expressed gratification that Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had integrated the “Reformasi” agenda into the national agenda.

What radical reforms are in this review of the 11MP? Pray show us.

In fact, if we survey the headlines in the mainstream press today, we will see two issues being given prominence, namely, “Two terms for PM and CMs” and the irrepressible “Crooked bridge”.

Limiting the terms of office for the prime minister and chief ministers could have been announced during the 100 days and has little to do with the overall course of the 11MP.

The crooked bridge, which was the brainchild of Dr Mahathir more than a decade ago, is as crooked an idea at a time of austerity as it is a ludicrous spectacle in a supposedly “new” Malaysia.

This crooked bridge seems to have found only one other champion and that is our youngest minister who did not give any cogent reasons as to why he supports his mentor’s crooked bridge.

In fact, the prince of Johor had more “reformasi” spirit when he suggested the money would be better spent on building the hospital that was allocated for his state.

What Reformasi agenda?

The mid-term review has merely set new economic forecasts and goals for the remainder of the 11MP – lower economic growth, lower current account surplus in our balance of payments, lower private and public investments growth, higher trade surplus, higher per capita income, a fiscal deficit by 2020, lower development expenditure. It expects Malaysia to breach the threshold of a high-income nation by 2024 and not 2020.

There is announcement of revenue diversification from indirect taxes and non-tax revenue and efforts to provide affordable housing and increase home ownership but there is not much on details for these plans.

On governance, the term of office for the prime minister and chief ministers will be limited to two terms, and legislation will be introduced to curb political financing. There will be tougher action against misconduct and wrongdoing of public officials and a task force to conduct a comprehensive audit and review across public sector institutions and agencies.

The real Reformasi agenda

The electorate who voted for PH in GE14 expect nothing less than serious transformational reforms that will reconstitute truly democratic institutions and improve the lives of the 99% especially the B40 Malaysians as follows:

1. An end to race-based policies – Replace them with needs-based measures that truly benefit the lower-income and marginalised sectors. It is common sense that poor rural Malaysians should be assisted based on their needs in their particular economic sectors. Today, there is a lack of ethnic diversity in the civil service and armed forces. It is also time that recruitment and promotion in these services be based on merit.

2. Reinstate our democratic institutions – Bring back local elections that have been suspended since 1965. The existing laws should be amended to allow freedom of assembly and association as well as freedom of expression and information as guaranteed by the fundamental liberties in the Federal Constitution. Institute judicial freedom by devolving the appointment of judges to an independent commission comprising judges, Bar Council representatives and NGO representatives in order to ensure the independence of the judiciary.

Repeal all laws that allow arbitrary declaration of emergency, torture, capital punishment, detention-without-trial and incommunicado detention including the Security Offences (Special Measures Act), Prevention of Terrorism Act, and Prevention of Crime Act.

Lim Kit Siang with MACC strategic communications director Rohaizad Yaakob (centre) and other opposition leaders at the MACC Office in Putrajaya, August 6, 2015. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

what a fCking hypocrite and traitor to Teoh Beng Hock's family and his memory

and just one lousy year after his pathetic pompous speech vowing:

Beng Hock’s death would be “in vain” if firstly, his killers remain free and unpunished; and secondly, the MACC is not held responsible and liable for his death and instead allowed to “go to great lengths” to participate in a “cover-up” of the actual causes and circumstances of Beng Hock’s death at the TBH RCI, with MACC officers telling “lies after lies” at the RCI.

I call on Malaysians to stand for justice and to make a commitment that they will not rest until the “cover-up” of Teoh Beng Hock’s criminal and senseless murder is exposed and the killers, including MACC, are brought to justice.

3. Zero tolerance for corruption – The new PH government should stop the dubious practice of appointing peoples’ representatives as directors of federal and state corporations. All public corporations must be run by independent and qualified professionals and not government lackeys, an obvious conflict of interest. The MACC can be put in charge of this asset disclosure programme which monitors and evaluates the information and can investigate, prosecute and sanction those who fail to comply.

4. A progressive economic policy – Renationalise those assets, especially land, water, energy, which belong to the Malaysian people instead of local and foreign capitalists. This will not be that difficult to do as at present many of these assets are under the ownership and/or control of various government funds and government-linked companies (GLCs). A pro-people government will be able to open these GLCs to democratic control of the people and direct them to implement good labour and environmental policies.

It is time that Petronas’ revenues are invested in a Sovereign Wealth Fund as a pension fund for future generations and the oil-producing states. 

We also want a strong and fairly distributed public-sector health, education, housing, transport services, including highways which have been privatised to crony capitalists at the expense of the public good. Our small and medium enterprises, farmers and fisherfolk need adequate support in order to develop our local food and industrial production.

5. Redistribute wealth fairly – The increasingly serious gap in income inequality needs to be addressed through progressive taxation on the high-income earners, their wealth and property and effective tax laws to ensure there are no tax loopholes for the super-rich. Transfer pricing that enables the largest corporations to stash their profits in off-shore tax-free havens has to be curtailed by proper legislation. Capital allowances and tax holidays for foreign firms must be reviewed while a tax should be imposed on all international financial transactions and hedge funds.

6. A far-sighted and fair education policy – Education should not be politicised as it has been since independence. There should be equal opportunities for all without any racial discrimination with enrolment into all schools, including tertiary educational institutions.

Besides building national schools using Bahasa Malaysia, mother tongue schools for the various ethnic groups should be built in education precincts sharing facilities to promote integration, ensuring proportionate financial support and training adequate teachers for these schools. Schools should be built according to demand by the local communities under the respective elected local councils.

7. Defend workers’ rights and interests – The right of all workers to unionise is a universal right and we want a progressive guaranteed living wage for all workers, including foreign workers. Workers must be given the right to association, full employment, retrenchment pension fund and workers’ representatives should be part of decision-making in enterprises. We want a retrenchment fund for laid-off workers and we want universal pensions for citizens aged over 70 years. At the same time, we would promote self-governing workers’ cooperatives to produce goods that are useful for society.

8. People-centred and caring social policies – Institute a Housing Development Board, managed by elected local councils to implement an effective low-cost public housing programme for rental or ownership throughout the country for the poor and marginalised communities, with adequate space for community activities, recreation and green areas. We need to prioritise the public transport system in the country for the benefit of the majority while regulating highway construction and car traffic in city and town centres. We also want child-care and crèche facilities in all public and private sectors for working parents, homes and day-care centres for the elderly and disabled through benefits and support services, including access to mobile healthcare.

9. Prioritise Orang Asal rights and livelihood – It is a priority that we put the rights and livelihood of the Orang Asal at the top of the national agenda by recognising their rights over the land they have been occupying for centuries, prohibiting logging in Orang Asal land and ensuring all Orang Asal villages have adequate social facilities and services. The autonomy of the Orang Asal must be respected by ensuring their participation in all policy making involving their interests and introducing policies and laws that comply with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, especially their right to customary land.

10. Sustainable development and environmental protection – All local people must be consulted before any development projects and all permanent forest and wildlife reserves are gazetted. We want renewable energy projects that do not destroy forests or Orang Asal land and reject nuclear power and other toxic industries. The government should lead the development of renewable energy and not rely on the private sector to suggest environmentally harmful and socially destructive projects. A people’s government will enforce recycling measures, responsible waste disposal and enact laws to protect animal welfare.

These are the major reforms the people expect from the PH government. If “Saudara Anwar” says that the current prime minister has already incorporated the “Reformasi agenda” into his present policies, does it mean we will not be expecting anything more when and if “Saudara Anwar” takes over as prime minister?

Kua Kia Soong is the adviser to Suaram.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

By-Election Downunder - Liberal Party crashed in own blue-ribbon seat

Sydney Morning Herald - Kerryn Phelps kicks Liberals into minority government:

Dr Kerryn Phelps

The independent Kerryn Phelps has made history, winning one of the safest Liberal seats in the country and stripping the Morrison government of its one-seat majority in Parliament.

In a devastating loss for the Liberals, the party suffered a massive a 21.8 per cent swing against it in the byelection, which saw Wentworth leave the hands of the Liberals and its predecessors for the first time in a century.

Dr Phelps' win meant she secured the strongest swing against any government in federal political history.

"Just a few short weeks ago I was told this was an impossible task and if we actually managed to win the seat of Wentworth, that it would be a miracle" Dr Phelps told supporters at the North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club.

"It was said if we won the seat of Wentworth, it would make history, and, my friends, we have made history today," she said.

Dr Phelps described her victory as a"David and Goliath struggle" and a "great moment for Australian democracy."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke to the Liberal party faithful at the InterContinental Hotel in Double Bay on Saturday night, praising their candidate Dave Sharma who he described as outstanding.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison

"This is on the Liberals, not on Dave Sharma," Mr Morrison told the packed function room.

Liberal candidate Dave Sharma 

"When I took this job, I said there would be tough days and great days. This is a tough day but the great days are coming," Mr Morrison said.

"We will stand up for what we believe in until the bell rings and the bell hasn't rung, Liberals."

Mr Morrison, joined by his deputy Josh Frydenberg, said the government would "work constructively with all those on the crossbench."

"We have paid a great price for the events of a few months ago," Mr Morrison said, referring to the former Wentworth member Malcolm Turnbull being deposed as prime minister after a bloody internal coup.

Dr Phelps, a local GP who has worked in Double Bay for 20 years, insisted throughout the campaign that she did not pose a risk to the Coalition government if she won.

Mr Sharma, a former ambassador to Israel who endured a bitter preselection battle in order to contest Wentworth, addressed the crowd after being welcomed with chants of support.

"This is over tonight a little sooner than I expected, and I am certainly glad I kept my day job," he joked.

He paid tribute to Dr Phelps, as well as the Labor candidate Tim Murray, and Mr Turnbull and his wife Lucy.

Mr Sharma said Mr Turnbull, who has been out of the country since he lost the leadership, had been a "fine Australian over many years" and he had been a supporter of his throughout the campaign.

"I am sorry Malcolm couldn't be here tonight," Mr Sharma said.

Dr Phelps said her win should be an encouragement for other independents wanting to enter public life.

"This win tonight should signal a return of decency, integrity and humanity to the Australian government. And let's hope for a bit of common-sense on climate action," she said.

"I would like to say [to] any young people, any women, any aspiring independents out there, if you are thinking of running for Parliament or running for public office, yes, it can be tough, yes, the road can be hard, but it is so worthwhile that we have the right people stepping up to represent Australia."


Political lesson from Australia.

How much is a billion ringgit?

I cannot yet conceive of just how much a billion ringgit is, let alone sums like RM2.6 billion or RM42 billion or RM100 billion, the last was which Barry Wain alleged in his book "Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times" that Mahathir wasted RM100 billion on grandiose projects and corruption during his 22 years as premier.

T'was reported that:

Malaysian Maverick became a hot topic in online forums, blogs and even offline, in the political arena:

Opposition elder statesman Lim Kit Siang called on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to set up a royal commission of inquiry to investigate Tun Mahathir over the book’s allegations .....

But ...

Najib Tun Razak has dismissed the call to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate the claim that former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad wasted RM100bil during his years in office, saying there was no basis for it.

“Having a commission is inappropriate,” he said when commenting on the call by DAP veteran leader Lim Kit Siang.

Lim made the call following the recent release of a book Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times by author Barry Wain, who alleged that Dr Mahathir “burnt” RM100bil in corruption and grandiose projects during his 22-year reign.

Speaking to reporters after opening the 14th Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah annual congress here, Najib said: “There is always a call for a royal commission. For every single thing, they want a royal commission. It is not appropriate to have a royal commission just because somebody has written a book.”

And Lim KS riposted (extracts):

It is the quintessence of Mahathirism – pure Machiavellianism, perverse illogic and most cunning to distract attention from the core issue.

This was what Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad produced in his blog yesterday when claiming to welcome my proposal that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate into the allegation by Barry Wain’s new biography, “Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times” that the former Prime Minister had wasted or burned up to RM100 billion on grandiose projects and corruption in his 22 years as PM.

Those exchanges were in 2009, and Malaysian politics has certainly changed since. Najib and Lim KS have changed roles, wakakaka, where Lim now is Mahathir's most ardent defender and supporter.

I wonder whether Najib now regrets he didn't listen to Lim KS to investigate Mahathir for wasting RM100 billion, wakakaka, and Lim KS wishes he isn't reminded of his yester-years' rants on Mahathir, his current chummy buddy, wakakaka again.

But screw those big-shot politicians like Mahathir, Najib and Lim KS.

I cannot help but recall my school days when my MBS school principal forced, yes, forced every student including those poor like me to buy at least RM3 worth of church fete ticket if not more.

The old man didn’t use any recognized compassionate Christian approach. He was full of sarcasm, insults and dire threats for those who pleaded that their parents, or in my case (as with many other students) my widowed mum, couldn’t afford the RM3.

As typical of most financially impoverished mums in those days, mine gave me hell for the RM3 she was forced to dole out - which sometimes consisted of lightning-fast slaps if I were to stand too near her, wakakaka. I haven’t stopped cursing that school principal yet, wakakaka No 2.

On the day of the fete at Wellesley Church in Burma Road, I walked up and down pondering how I could maximize my RM3 worth of ticket.

[Of course I quite cleverly didn't tell my mum I was going to the fete. That would have reminded her she lost RM3 to a church which would have re-triggered her fury].

Wellesley Methodist Church Penang

Burma Road

I saw and liked the nasi kunyit kari ayam which was RM1.50 a plate (aiyoh, too expensive lah for such a teeny weeny itsy bitsy small plate), whilst the rose syrup ice water was RM1 (what! KNN), which would then leave me with an unusable 50 sen because every damn thing at the church fete was at least RM1. No way was I going to go home with this sum unspent. It would have been an unmitigated sin to waste 50 sen.

the one at the fete aeons ago and selling for RM1.50 was only one-sixth the above size


I agonized for over an hour on the best combination of dishes and drinks to use up the entire RM3, whilst pacing restlessly up and down the beautiful church garden.

In the end I skipped the ice water and had 2 plates of the nasi kunyit but which only keened up my appetite as the servings were way too Lilliputian – guess I was just a born loser, sigh.

someone in Lilliput and it's not Gulliver


And the worst thing was, because of my long-ish agonising over how to fruitfully spent the RM3, I didn’t have the untroubled mind and time to enjoy the event at all. I missed out ogling the beautiful girls from MGS and St Georges visiting the fete, wakakaka. Of course the lovely sweeties from (Catholic) Convent wouldn't be seen dead at a Methodist Church fete, wakakaka again.

like me they have all grown up, wakakaka 

When I read of billions of ringgit in Malaysia's obscene profligate shindig-ing since 1981, I wonder where’s the bloody justice? Some people just can’t be trusted to use money wisely like sweet naive kaytee, wakakaka.

Remembering Evelyn Ang (2)

MM Online - Third Run for National Unity draws impressive 1,600 crowd (extracts):

our dearest beloved (late) Evelyn Ang 

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 20 — The Run for National Unity 2018 aimed at promoting national unity and harmony saw the participation of 1,600 Malaysians from all walks of life amid the backdrop of the Perdana Botanical Garden in the city centre today.

Organised by HELP University and the Redberry Group, this year was its third run following a successful debut in 2016

We remember well, t'was nearly a year
When you left us for that BIG run above
Yes, we haven't forgotten you, our dear
Wherever you run, you do have our love

Wishing you had been down here with us
We miss your sweet self, and your smile
We know you'd have run without any fuss
Just to cover the distance mile after mile

[over at KTemoc Komposes]

Crooked Bridge - Obsession of a single individual - Mahathir's Crooked Bridge:

The Crooked Bridge proposal has once again come into limelight following the installation of the new government under Tun Mahathir, and will likely be incorporated into the government's development plan very soon.

The issue invariably triggers tremendous contentions among Malaysians and could even have an impact on our vulnerable relationship with Singapore.

Johor menteri besar Osman Sapian says the Crooked Bridge project was the brainchild of Mahathir and he would therefore leave it to the PM to decide on its destiny, and that the state government will offer its cooperation.

As the project needs the coordination from Singapore as well, things have gone rather fast these days. Economic affairs minister Azmin Ali is heading a delegation to the Lion City to discuss the project will the Singapore government.

Osman personally feels that the Crooked Bridge will bring more benefits than harms to the country and will help ease the congestion and pollution on Johor Straits while boosting the visual image of Johor Bahru.

The Singapore government has yet to express its stand. As Singapore previously opposed to the idea of tearing down the aged Causeway to build a brand new bridge, Mahathir unilaterally insisted to construct a crooked bridge entirely on the Malaysian side.

Singapore opposed to the project because it felt it would not benefit from the project and had failed to secure a deal to swap the project with sand and opening of airspace.

Relationship between Malaysia and Singapore plummeted to a low during Mahathir's previous tenure as prime minister, and the same is expected to change once again following the postponement of the KL-Singapore high speed rail project to after 2020 as well as the tacky water tariff issue. With the Crooked Bridge project now coming into picture to complicate things further, the official stand of Singapore government will become public focus.

The relationship between Mahathir and the two successive prime ministers Abdullah Badawi and Najib Razak soured because they could not get his pet project going. Abdullah was eventually forced to step down while Najib is now facing corruption charges following the collapse of the BN administration.

Given his obstinacy and obsession, it is highly likely that Mahathir will press ahead with the project as in the case of the third national car project.

Does the Crooked Bridge really benefit the country and is it really that necessary? I am sure many will feel that the bridge is not going to significantly solve the perennial congestion problem of the existing Causeway.

Traffic planning experts have earlier stated that the proposed bridge project must take into consideration the existing railway and water pipe alignment as well as safety aspects.

As a matter of fact, the Crooked Bridge is not an urgent project and may not effectively solve the congestion problem. The government should instead invest in infrastructure that may benefit Malaysians more, such as construction of hospitals, schools and roads. Moreover, the country's current financial situation may not allow us to embark on the Crooked Bridge project.

No Malaysians will oppose to the project if it will really boost the country's economic development and bring tremendous benefits to the general public. However, if it is carried out purely out of the obsession of a single individual without comprehensive planning on the part of the government, it is poised to impart a largely negative impression among Malaysians.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Mahathir and his never-ending 'crooked bridge'

FMT - Of crooked bridges and crooked relations by TK Chua (extracts):

Sometimes I am just amazed by the new government and its so-called new resolve. Despite its pragmatism, the issues being considered are myopic and even stupid. I am referring to the “crooked bridge” currently being considered.

TK Chua should have added one more 'crooked' description, to wit, 'crooked thinking' by the Maddy Bodek-ites.

The government is screaming of humongous debts left by BN and the necessity of severe cutbacks including cancellation of a number of multi-billion ringgit infrastructure projects.

Yet we are now hearing of National Car No 3, man-made island in Middle Rocks and now the resurrection of the infamous Crooked Bridge.

These contradictions in terms are bewildering, annoying and bespeaks of the government's questionable governance and policies.

TK Chua, the author of letter to FMT wrote:

Singapore has so many dealings with Malaysia. I am sure the republic can be persuaded to replace the causeway with a “normal” bridge to facilitate movement of ships and boats along the Johor Strait. I am sure Singapore could benefit from it too, although the proposal comes from Malaysia.

Building the crooked bridge would just be so uncool. It would permanently epitomise the crooked relationship between Malaysia and Singapore, showing that both Malaysia and Singapore are governed by intransigent and hard-headed people out to get each other.

Obviously TK Chua might not be aware of the proposed 'crooked bridge' saga. The reason why it was designed to be crooked by Mahathir and his cohorts was because Singapore had previously NOT agreed to altering the current causeway into a bridge.

The Sings saw no benefit to the Island State and thus said 'NO'. As to be expected, the usual Mahathir angry response as then-PM was to do what he WANTS on the Malaysian side as he wished. Thus the birth of the proposed 'crooked bridge' came about.

I had to admit it's actually quite a bit of clever design for Mahathir to get his way, where Malaysia’s bridge would ‘meander’ in order to gain height because of the short span, in order to enable vessels to sail safely under. The design was so to avoid abrupt and steep climbing and descent gradient of the otherwise 'short' Malaysian bridge.

Thus a 'crooked bridge' could join the Singapore part of the Causeway, providing a continuous physical link (presumably inclusive of water supply) between the two nations – the Malaysian part being the 'crooked bridge' and the Singapore part being the old Causeway.
Yessir, the idea was to leave Singapore's half as the original causeway while Malaysia's half would be a bridge. International laws and legality became moot points once former PM AAB kaput-ised it.

AAB cancelled the project due to its impracticality (international laws-relationship, etc) when Singapore has refused to cooperate, whilst the cost was skyrocketing at that time.

Wakakaka, at that time Anwar Ibrahim who was still on the outer but still very keen to return to Mothership, offered his finance ministerial expertise to AAB to 'negotiate' with Singapore.

After gently chiding AAB for not doing his homework on the matter of the crooked bridge, Anwar poured on luscious honey for AAB by expressing full support for the latter’s decision to abandon the project as a commendable decision, crooning:

“It takes a lot of courage and wisdom ... after weeks of massive campaigns against Singapore ... (for Abdullah) to suddenly say that the decision (to build the bridge) was faulty and that we have to scrap the’s commendable.”

Naturally Anwar blamed Mahathir (wakakaka) for sending Daim Zainudin to negotiate with former Singapore prime minister Lee Kuan Yew over the terms of the project, openly pontificated:

“I would grant the criticism of many that negotiations with Singapore are not always easy. The solution therefore is to send competent people to negotiate. If you send semi-literates to negotiate, we will lose out in the negotiations.”

Wakakaka, Anwar must then have insinuated Daim Zainuddin was a semi-literate who shouldn't be sent to negotiate with a tough intellectual like Lee Kuan Yew.

Anyway, after AAB was sabo kaukau by Mahathir until he resigned, the now-defunct The Malaysian Insider (resurrected today as The Malaysian Insight) published: Dr M wants Najib to use 'crooked bridge' as bargaining chip.

The news online reported: 

Dr Mahathir said that since Singapore would only agree to a straight bridge to replace the Causeway if the ban on selling sand was lifted and that considering Johoreans were against the sale, the government’s only option was to build the crooked bridge. […]

[kaytee's speculation: I doubt Johoreans were against the sale of sand. Aren't we selling sand to India?]

Dr Mahathir cited the package of outstanding bilateral issues, including Singapore’s refusal to release CPF contributions to Malaysians, the railway land issue and the low rate in which the island republic pays for water from Malaysia.

“All these issues are in Singapore’s favour and not negotiating better terms because the Johore people refuse to sell sand is like cutting one’s nose to spite one’s face"

We all know that then-PM Najib 'acted dunno' about the bridge and went on to cooperate with Singapore on developing KTM land on the island, wakakaka. Part of the reasons for Maddy hating him.

But with Maddy as The Imperator once again, the Bodek-ites are crawling out of wood work, wakakaka.

In the face of Mahathir again insisting the 'crooked bridge' does NOT require Singapore's agreement to its construction (meaning he wants it one way or another, wakakaka), poor Liew Chin Tong who proposed a 3rd Bridge in lieu, has to now suck that up kuai-kuai. As reported by NST in its Johor DAP chief denies not being 'in line' with Dr M's crooked bridge plan):

KUALA LUMPUR: DAP Johor has denied that it was not in line with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir’s proposal to revive the so-called “crooked bridge” plan.

Its chairman, Liew Ching Tong, said any difference in opinion did not mean the state DAP was not “in line” with Dr Mahathir.

“There is no (problem). This is merely a proposal, nothing has been decided. This is also a democratic process ... we talk about every proposal and only make decisions after discussions are held,” he told reporters in the lobby of Parliament.

On Wednesday, Liew had said the crooked bridge, which was proposed years ago to replace the current Causeway, should not be a priority.

He had said a more appropriate suggestion would be the construction of a third bridge linking Johor and Singapore so that traffic congestion can be eased.

Another priority, he had said, was to build the rapid transit system (RTS) linking Malaysia and Singapore.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, when approached, said he did not know about any proposal to revive the crooked bridge plan.

He said the best person to ask about any such plan was Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian.

What Maddy wants, Maddy gets, and even a straight man like Liew has to kuai-kuai step aside, when he sees the usually vociferous Lim Kit Siang 'acting dunno' and quiet as a mouse, whilst his 'financially-brilliant' son, wakakaka, Guan Eng sneakily deflected the ball to Johor MB Osman Sapian, wakakaka again.

No backbone lah.

saya olang tua, 'dah lupa liao lah 

keep playing your Sudoku and don't answer any reporter's question on the 'crooked bridge'


Landslide mishap in Penang

Star Online - Three killed, 12 missing in Penang landslide:

GEORGE TOWN: Three people were killed while 12 were missing after a landslide occurred in Bukit Kukus in Paya Terubong here on Friday (Oct 19).

Four containers used to house workers at the construction site were covered in the landslide and 10 workers were reportedly buried under the earth.

According to state exco member Phee Boon Poh, three people were killed in the incident.

The search and rescue operation by Fire and Rescue Department is still ongoing while survivors have been sent to hospital.

Photos being shared on social media show parts of the disaster where mangled cargo containers, possibly used as site offices, store rooms or workers’ quarters, are seen lying on their sides.

The landslide took place at the construction zone of the paired road from Bandar Baru Ayer Itam to Bukit Jambul, which has been beset with problems.

Last Thursday (Oct 11), 14 concrete beams, 25m-long each, crashed down from an elevated section of the highway. No injuries were reported.

State Works Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari earlier described the project as “very complicated”

Very sad. It's not far from where my old house was. As a kid I used to play around that district. I hope the missing 12 can and will be located soonest. My thoughts are with them and their families.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Political lesson from Australia

Guardian (Australian Edition) - Wentworth byelection: Liberals in danger as vote slumps to 32.7% – poll:

Exclusive: ReachTel survey shows Dave Sharma’s primary vote falling, suggesting independent Kerryn Phelps will take the seat.

Protesters outside the Wentworth byelection forum at Bondi Surf Bathers Lifesaving club this week.

Photograph: Carly Earl for the Guardian
The Liberal party is in serious danger of losing the seat of Wentworth this weekend according to a new ReachTel poll that shows Liberal candidate Dave Sharma’s primary vote has slumped to 32.7%. The vote of high profile independent and local GP Kerryn Phelps has surged to 25.8%.

Labor’s Tim Murray has also increased his share of the primary vote to 21.6%, compared with 19.5% in a ReachTel poll two weeks ago. The Greens’ Dominic Wy Kanak has 9.1% while independent Licia Heath has 5.6%.

The poll commissioned by Greenpeace did not attempt to calculate the two-party preferred result but did ask about preferences. Ominously for the Liberals, the result is in line with their own internal polling reported in the Australian this morning. [...]

The Australian report on the Liberal’s internal polling showed Phelps would have a thumping victory of 55% to 45%, two-party preferred. [...]

The responses showed 61.2% of those sampled had voted Liberal at the last election, which is in line with the actual primary result in 2016 for the former member for Wentworth, Malcolm Turnbull, who won 62.2% of the vote.
Greenpeace Australia Pacific also asked how much climate change policy would impact on a person’s vote – particularly in light of the recent IPCC global emissions report

local GP Kerryn Phelps (Independent)
Kerryn Lyndel Phelps, AM (born 14 December 1957) is an Australian medical practitioner and politician. She was the first woman and first LGBT person to be elected president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA).

In 2003, she was awarded the Centenary Medal for services to health and medicine. In 2011 she was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for her service to medicine, particularly through leadership roles with the AMA, education and community health, and as a general practitioner.

She is a pioneer in the field of health communication and integrative medicine in Australia, and is a Conjoint Professor in the National Institute of Complementary Medicine at the Western Sydney University.

Phelps was elected to the Council of the City of Sydney on 10 September 2016 as a member of the Clover Moore Independents Team, and was then appointed as Deputy Lord Mayor of the Council. She resigned as Deputy on 27 June 2017 and is now an independent politician.

On 16 September 2018, Phelps announced she would run as an independent candidate in the 2018 Wentworth By-election.

It found that more than 40% of Wentworth voters list climate change as being the biggest issue for them in this election, eclipsing issues including immigration (15.3%), the economy (19%) and health and hospitals (8.4%).

A total of 64.8% of voters surveyed agreed or strongly agreed with the recent statement of John Hewson that: “A major party without a credible climate action plan should forfeit the right to govern.”

The federal constituency of Wentworth in New South Wales, Australia, is what would be described as a Liberal Party's "blue ribbon" seat.

Its equivalent in Malaysia would be, for example, Permatang Pauh for PKR, Sri Petaling (or originally Seputeh) for DAP, and wakakaka, Pekan for UMNO - in short a party's fortress or stronghold.

But it may be won by Kerryn Phelps, an Independent, who BTW is also a gay and once-married to a Jew; since her once-marriage she converted to Judaism.

As I suspect, the main reason for the voters' disenchantment with the Liberal Party has been its treacherous intra-party backstabbing. The right-wingers have just deposed Malcolm Turnbull as their leader, and he decided to quit parliament as well which has been why Wentworth is having a by-election a la Port Dickson.

Malcolm Turnbull

very capable person but lacked the support of his party's right-wing warlords

Australian voters, in this case particularly Liberal Party supporters, have been disgusted with the party's serial backstabbing.

12.5% of the Wentworth voters are Jews which has been why the new PM, Scott Morrison, a very staunch Christian of the evangelistic variety, has announced his proposal to move the Australian Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a combination of his own evangelistic proclivity and his populist action for his party to win Jewish votes for the by-election.

He places the reason on the "advice" of the Liberal Party's candidate for Wentworth, Dave Sharma, a former Aussie Ambassador to Israel. Dave Sharma is of Indian extract - his full name is Devanand Sharma - and a very brilliant scholar who was educated in Cambridge University graduating with 1st class honours in law. He has other degrees as well. At 37 he became Australia's youngest ambassador and the second person of Indian extract to be appointed as an Aussie envoy.

Devanand Sharma 

But green awareness is a very sensitive issue among some Australians and it seems the more upper middle class voters in Wentworth including the affluent Jewish community are very conscious of that ecological issue. The Liberal Party warlords have been pro-coal so have been less than enthusiastic about the factor of climate change.

The lesson for us Malaysians, bearing in mind of course that there is undeniably a vast cultural-political-social gap between us and Aussies, is that Australian voters are more keen on issues such as climate change and ethics in political party (they hate backstabbing), while racial-religious populist baiting may not attract Jewish votes in Wentworth the way that agama-raja-bangsa do in Malaysia.