Aug 27, 2012

Judge says... Public interest best served!

“It will form part of the person’s criminal record and will remain there for the rest of his life. In this case, the appellant was given a suspended prison sentence. He has to behave himself for a five-year period. If he behaves he will escape the jail sentence.

“If he fails to observe the conditions of his bond, he will then be arrested and dealt with the original offence of rape. Like the learned Malacca Sessions Court judge, we hope the suspended sentence would give him another chance in life and that he will turn over a new leaf.
“If the order of a suspended prison sentence has the effect of rehabilitating him, then public interest has indeed been served and best served,” he said in his 14-page written judgment which is out today.

Front row, from left) Chief Justice Tan Sri Arifin Zakaria, Chief Judge of the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Panglima Richard Malanjum and Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif at a judges’ conference in Putrajaya 16-1-2012. Behind them is Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin.

Aug 25, 2012

Ready to 'grab the bull by the horn'?

Tengku Razaleigh's Speech in UK.

Thank you for inviting me to speak with you. I am truly honoured. I have played some small role in the life of this nation, but having been on the wrong side of one or two political fights with the powers that be, I am not as close to the young people of this country as I would hope to be.

History, and the 8 o’clock news, are written by the victors. In recent years the governments monopoly of the media has been destroyed by the technology revolution.

You could say I was also a member of the UKEC. Well I was, except that belonged to the predecessor of the UKEC by more than fifty years, TheMalayan Students Union of the UK and Eire. I led this organisation in1958/59. I was then a student of Queen’s University at Belfast, in a rather cooler climate than Kota Bharus.

Your invitation to participate in the MSLS was prefaced by an essay which calls for an intellectually informed activism. I congratulate you on this.
The Youth of today, you note, “will chart the future of Malaysia.” You say you “no longer want to be ignored and leave the future of our Malaysia at the hands of the current generation.” You “want to grab the bull by the horns... and have a say in where we go as a society and as a nation.” I feel the same, actually. A lot of Malaysians feel the same. They are tired ofbeing ignored and talked down to by swaggering mediocrities.

You are right. The present generation in power has let Malaysia down.

But also you cite two things as testimony of the importance of youth and of student activism to this country, the election results of 2008 and “the Prime Ministers acknowledgement of the role of youth in the development ofthe country.”

So perhaps you are a little way yet from thinking for yourselves. The firststep in “grabbing the bull by the horns” is not to required the endorsement of the Prime Minister, or any Minister, for your activism.

Politicians are not your parents. They are your servants. You don’t need a government slogan coined by a foreign PR agency to wrap your project in. You just go ahead and do it.

When I was a student our newly formed country was already a leader in the postcolonial world. We were sought out as a leader in the Afro-AsianConference which inaugurated the Non-Aligned Movement and the G-77. The Afro-Asian movement was led by such luminaries as Zhou En-lai, Nehru, KwameNkrumah, Soekarno. Malaysians were seen as moderate leaders capable of mediating between these more radical leaders and the West. 

We were known for our moderation, good sense and reliability.

We were a leader in the Islamic world as ourselves and as we were, without our leaders having to put up false displays of piety. His memory has been scrubbed out quite systematically from our national consciousness, so you might not know this or much else about him, but it was Tengku Abdul Rahman who established our leadership in the Islamic world by coming up with the idea of the OIC and making it happen.

Under his leadership Malaysia led the way in taking up the anti-apartheid cause in the Commonwealth and in the United Nations, resulting in South Africas expulsion from these bodies.

Here was a man at ease with himself, made it a policy goal that Malaysia be“a happy country.” He loved sport and encouraged sporting achievement among Malaysians. He was owner of many a fine race horse.

He called a press conference and had a beer with his stewards when his horse won at the Melbourne Cup. He had nothing to hide because his great integrity in service was clear to all. Now we have religious and moral hypocrites who cheat, lie and steal in office but never have a drink, who propagate an ideologically shackled education system for all Malaysians while they send their own kids to elite academies in the West.

Speaking of football. Youre too young to have experienced the Merdeka Cup,which Tunku started. We had a respectable side in the sixties and seventies.

Teams from across Asia would come to play in Kuala Lumpur.
Teams such as South Korea and Japan, whom we defeated routinely. We were one of the better sides in Asia. We won the Bronze medal at the Asian games in1974 and qualified for the Moscow Olympics in 1980.
Today our FIFA ranking is 157 out of 203 countries. That puts us in thelowest quartile, below Maldives (149), the smallest country in Asia, withjust 400,000 people living about 1.5 metres above sea level who have to worry that their country may soon be swallowed up by climate change. Here in ASEAN we are behind Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, whom we used to dominate, and our one spot above basketball-playing Philippines.

The captain of our illustrious 1970s side was Soh Chin Aun. Arumugam, Isa Bakar, Santokh Singh, James Wong and Mokhtar Dahari were heroes whose names rolled off the tongues of our school children as they copied them on the school field. It wasnt about being the best in the world, but about being passionate and united and devoted to the game.

It was the same in Badminton, except at one time we were the best in theworld. I remember Wong Peng Soon, the first Asian to win the All-EnglandChampionship, and then just dominated it throughout the 1950. Back home every kid who played badminton in every little kampong wanted to call himself Wong Peng Soon. There was no tinge of anybody identifying themselves exclusively as Chinese, Malays, Indian. Peng Soon was a Malaysian hero. Just like each of our football heroes. Now we do not have an iota of that feeling. Where has it all gone?

I dont think its mere nostalgia that that makes us think there was a time when the sun shone more brightly upon Malaysia. I bring up sport because it has been a mirror of our more general performance as nation. When we were at ease with who we were and didnt need slogans to do our best together, we did well. When race and money entered our game, we declined. The same applies to our political and economic life.

Soon after independence we were already a highly successful developing country. We had begun the infrastructure building and diversification of our economy that would be the foundation for further growth. We carried out an import-substitution programme that stimulated local productive capacity.
From there we started an infrastructure buildup which enabled a diversification of the economy leading to rapid industrialisation. We carried out effective programmes to raise rural income and help with landless with programmes such as FELDA. Our achievements in achieving growth with equity were recognised around the world. We were ahead of Our peer group in economic development were South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, and we led the pack. I remember we used to send technical consultants to advise the South Koreans.

By the lates nineties, however, we had fallen far behind this group and were competing with Thailand and Indonesia. Today, according to the latest World Investment Report, FDI into Malaysia is at about a twenty year low. We are entering the peer group of Cambodia, Myanmar and the Philippines as an investment destination. Thailand, despite a month long siege of the capital, attracted more FDI than we did last year. Indonesia and Vietnam far outperform us, not as a statistical blip but consistently. Soon we shall have difficulty keeping up with The Philippines. 

This, I believe, is called relegation. If we take into account FDI outflow, the picture is even more interesting. Last year we received US$1.38 billion (RM4.40 billion) in investments but US$ 8.04 billion flowed out. We are the only country inSoutheast Asia which has suffered nett FDI outflow. I am not against outward investment. It can be a good thing for the country. But an imbalance on this scale indicates capital flight, not mere investment overseas.

Without a doubt, Malaysia is slipping. Billions have been looted from this country, and billions more are being siphoned out as our entire political structure crumbles. Yet we are gathered here in comfort, in a country that still seems to work.’ Most of the time. 

This is due less to good management than to the extraordinary wealth of this country. You were born into a country of immense resources both natural and cultural and social. We have been wearing down this advantage with mismanagement and corruption. With lies, tall tales and theft. 

We have a political class unwilling or unable to address the central issue of the day because they have grown fat and comfortable with a system built on lies and theft. It is easy to fall into the lull caused by the combination of whatever wealth has not been plundered and removed and political class that lives in a bubble of sycophancy.

I urge you not to fall into that complacency. It is time to wake up.
That waking up can begin here, right here, at this conference. Not tomorrow or the day after but today. So let me, as I have the honour of opening this conference, suggest the following:

Overcome the urge to have our hopes for the future endorsed by the Prime Minister. He will have retired, and Ill be long gone when your future arrives. The shape of your  future is being determined now.

Resist the temptation to say in line with” when we do something. Your projects, believe it or not, dont have to be in line with any government campaign for them to be meaningful. You don't need to polish anyones apple.

Just get on with what you plan to do.

Do not put a lid on certain issues as “sensitive” because someone said theyare. Or it is against the Social Contract. Or it is politicisation". You don't need to have your conversation delimited by the hyper-sensitive among us. Sensitivity is often a club people use to hit each other with. Reasoned discussion of contentious issues builds understanding and trust. Test this idea.

It’s not uber-liberal” to ask for an end to having politics, economic policy, education policy and everything and the kitchen sink determined by race. Its called growing up. Go look up liberal” in a dictionary.

Please resist the temptation to say Salam 1 Malaysia, or Salam Vision 2020 or Salam Malaysia Boleh, or anything like that. Not even when you arereading the news. It’s embarrassing. I think it’ s OK to say plain old salam the way the Holy Prophet did, wishing peace unto all humanity. You say you want to promote intellectual discourse.

I take that to mean you want to have reasonable, thought-through and critical discussions, and slogans are the enemy of thought. Banish them.

Don’t let the politicians you have invited here talk down to you.

Don’t let them tell you how bright and exuberant” you are, that you are the future of the nation, etc. If you close your eyes and flow with their flattery you have safely joined the caravan, a caravan taking the nation down a sink hole. 

If they tell you the future is in your hands kindly request that they hand that future over first. Ask them how come the youngest member of our cabinet is 45 and is full of discredited hacks? Our Merdeka cabinet had an average age below thirty. You're not the first generation to be bright. Mine wasnt too stupid. 

But you could be the first generation of students and young graduates in fifty years to push this nation through a major transformation. And it is a transformation we need desperately.

You will be told that much is expected of you, much has been given to you,and so forth. This is all true. Actually much has also been stolen from you.
Over the last twenty five years, much of the immense wealth generated by ourproductive people and our vast resources has been looted. This was supposed to have been your patrimony. The uncomplicated sense of belonging fully, wholeheartedly, unreservedly, to this country, in all it diversity, that has been taken from you.

Our sense of ourselves as Malaysians, a free and united people, has been replaced by a tale of racial strife and resentment that continues to haunt us. The thing is, this tale is false.

The most precious thing you have been deprived of has been your history.
Someone of my generation finds it hard to describe what must seem like a completely different country to you now. Malaysia was not born in strife but in unity. Our independence was achieved through a demonstration of unity by the people in supporting a multiracial government led by Tengku Abdul Rahman. That show of unity, demonstrated first through the municipal elections of 1952 and then through the Alliance’s landslide victory in the elections of 1955, showed that the people of Malaya were united in wanting their freedom.

We surprised the British, who thought we could not do this.

Today we are no longer as united as we were then. We are also less free. I don’t think this is a coincidence. It takes free people to have the psychological strength to overcome the confines of a racialised worldview.
It takes free people to overcome those politicians bent on hanging on to power gained by racialising every feature of our life including our football teams.

Hence while you are at this conference, let me argue, that as an absolute minimum, we should call for the repeal of unjust and much abused Acts which are reversals of freedoms that we won at Merdeka.

I ask you in joining me in calling for the repeal of the ISA and the OSA.
These draconian laws have been used, more often than not, as political tools rather than instruments of national security. They create a climate of fear.  These days there is a trend among right wing nationalist groups to identify the ISA with the defence of Malay rights. This is a self-inflicted insult on Malay rights. 

As if our Constitutional protections needed draconian laws toenforce them. I wish they were as zealous in defending our right not to be robbed by a corrupt ruling elite. We don't seem to be applying the law of the land there, let alone the ISA.

I ask you to join me in calling for the repeal of the Printing and Publications Act, and above all, the Universities and Colleges Act. I don't see how you can pursue your student activism with such freedom and supportin the UK and Eire while forgetting that your brethren at home are deprived of their basic rights of association and expression by the UCA. The UCA has done immense harm in dumbing down our universities.

We must have freedom as guaranteed under our Constitution. Freedom to assemble, associate, speak, write, move. This is basic. Even on matters ofrace and even on religious matters we should be able to speak freely, and we shall educate each other.

It is time to realise the dream of Dato’ Onn and the spirit of the Alliance, of Tunku Abdul Rahman. That dream was one of unity and a single Malaysian people. They went as far as they could with it in their time. Instead of taking on the torch we have reversed course.

The next step for us as a country is to move beyond the infancy of race-based parties to a non-racial party system. Our race-based party system is the key political reason why we are a sick country, declining before our own eyes, with money fleeing and people telling their children not to come home after their studies.

So let us try to take 1 Malaysia seriously. Millions have been spent putting up billboards and adding the term to every conceivable thing.
We even have cuti-cuti 1 Malaysia. Cant take a normal holiday any more.

This is all fine. Now let us see if it means anything. Let us see the Government of the day lead by example. 1 Malaysia is empty because it is propagated by a Government that promotes the racially-based party system that is the chief cause of our inability to grow up in our race relations.
Our inability to grow up in our race relations is the chief reason why investors, and we ourselves, no longer have confidence in our economy. The reasons why we are behind Maldives in football, and behind the Philippines in FDI, are linked.

So let us take 1 Malaysia seriously, and convert Barisan Nasional into a party open to all citizens. Let it be a multiracial party open to direct membership. PR will be forced to do the same or be left behind the times.
Then we shall have the vehicles for a two party, non-race-based system.

If Umno, MIC or MCA are afraid of losing supporters, let them get their members to join this new multiracial party. PR should do the same. Nobody need feel left out. Umno members can join en masse. The Hainanese Kopitiam Association can join whichever party they want, or both parties en masse if they like. We can maintain our cherished civil associations, however we choose to associate. But we drop all communalism when we compete for the ballot. When our candidates stand for Elections, let them ever after stand only as Malaysians, better or worse.

“The world is a dangerous place not because of people who do evil, but because of good people who look on and do nothing about it.” ~ Albert Einstein

Aug 24, 2012

Ex-DG advice On Housemanship

Health Director-General (DG) has always been the 'real' leader in healthcare reforms as Minister of Health is more of a political figure. Although, lots would have worship his enlightening advice,
but many would also ponder why wasn't those gentle pressures be exerted 
when he was in the corridors of power. 

Perhaps he just chose NOT to burn bridges and yet, now he's 'suggesting' them 
bcos he's not the person executing them. 

He's not a hypocrite, only not as courageous or selfless as he should be. 
If we put ourselves in his shoes, many would do the same. 
Human nature, perhaps.

Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican
FOR housemen in Malaysia, the shift system has replaced the on-call system. Is this a good thing?
It depends on whom you talk to and what the objective really is. If it is to improve the quality of life of house officers (HOs), it surely is working.
But if it is to provide adequate training for them, then it has failed miserably. Ask anyone. Ask the HOs.
With shift duty, trainers can no longer relate to any particular cohort of HOs; there is no continuity of care or accountability; each day, different faces appear and this is not good for patients and trainers.
Many miss interacting with senior colleagues during the early morning rounds and do not attend tagging or continuing professional development programmes because such programmes are held outside their working hours.
They may attend if their shift duty coincides with the programmes. Otherwise, they would prefer to stay at home and do continuous resting and dreaming rather than continuing medical education (CME).
For example, the attendance for CME at Kuala Lumpur Hospital in February -- 48 out of 393 (12 per cent) -- was appalling and reflected what is happening in most Health Ministry hospitals.
HOs I talked to prefer the previous on-call system as it is becoming more obvious to those who are able to compare both systems that the shift system is inferior in many ways. Doctors who strictly abide by the shift system will end up being under-trained and untested. Patients will become the victims.
Just wait for another few years when they become medical officers, and we will be able to see the products of a decision based on sentiment rather than objectivity.
We are faced with this dilemma of overworked and overburdened housemen. What do we do?
FOCUS on local medical schools. Be selective in sending our students to foreign medical schools. Send them only to Ivy League medical schools and ensure that they come back to serve. Forget about the other mediocre foreign colleges and use the available funds to help local medical schools beef up their facilities and achieve international standards. Local schools which cannot comply, being small, inexperienced and short of resources, should merge with others which have sufficient resources or wind up. This way, we get less for more.
The Public Service Department should start by sending students to local medical schools, provided such schools have the strengths and the reputation of being serious players. This will help the national economy and encourage competitiveness, which will push up the quality of medical training.
AGENCIES, parties or organisations should stop sending students to unrecognised universities.
INTERVIEW aspiring medical students, if possible. Parents should not be the decision-makers. They should just facilitate. Students must know the full score and be physically and mentally prepared. They must learn from Dolly Parton; "If you want the rainbow, you've got to put up with a little rain."
HOUSEMANSHIP training should not have parental or political interference and compromises. Introduce a system that will ensure continuity of care, accountability and adequate training.
The previous on-call system fulfils these criteria, but not the shift system. Training places, in future, should be limited if there are not enough. New HOs can choose where they wish to be trained but must be willing to wait if places are already full. No more short cuts or express entries.
PROVIDE incentives for specialists who train others. Allow them to be continuously upgraded professionally. They need to attend conferences, workshops, undergo speciality and sub-specialty training or learn new skills to remain relevant. Leave the training of HOs to them. If they falter or fail, they will be declassified as trainers and lose all the incentives.
HAVE a clear career pathway for doctors: no surprises and no threats.
MANDATORY rural posting is important but it would be better to enforce it earlier on in a doctor's career. No appeals should be entertained.
LEAVE all matters pertaining to the profession to the professionals and the Malaysian Medical Council.
CREATE a healthy, dynamic, conducive and trusting working environment to get the best out of the doctors and others in the organisation.
INTRODUCE healthcare reforms in stages to accommodate future challenges. Reforms should include strengthening primary healthcare, introducing integrated healthcare, strengthening public healthcare facilities, enhancing patient safety, internalising quality in healthcare delivery and introducing healthcare financing, just to mention a few.
We are at a crossroads. We have to make a decision on the future of medicine in this country.
We can, of course, choose to sit and watch the clouds roll by and accept the imperfections or we can take up the challenge and exert gentle pressure to effect a change for the better: a change that will bring back the glory days of medicine at its best, amid the new and exciting discoveries and innovation of today and tomorrow.
The choice is ours to make. As the saying goes, "Present choices determine future consequences".
The above is an excerpt from the Malaysian Medical Association Oration

P.s. "Past choices determine present consequences"

The Color of Vandalism

The vandalism

The creative idea for make-over

Siblings Tan Jiah Hang, 20 and Jia Shin 19, students of art colleges took initiative to clean the glue splashed on the painting using pen knife and hot water.

What the police SHOULD have done to the culprit who vandalized the 'Mirrors of George Town'.

The culprit(s) is the enemies of the state.

If Penang State is being lenient to them, we can only see more rampant 3rd-world-mentality vandalism on our other Heritage assets.

Dear Chief Minister, do s-o-m-e-t-h-i-n-g.

Thank you.

Aug 12, 2012

Being a dad to a dad

A blogpost that i believe every young adult should read to better grasp the cold harsh reality of the dads of an era before us. 

And I hope every person can be a better son and daughter... 

Thank you, Salvador for such an enlightening post.
I had a good chat with a friend about dads growing old. I assume we are all filial sons and daughters. When our dads grow older and older, maybe some will have retired from their careers by now. I wonder how many of us "love our dads" in the way that allows him to continue to be the man that he is.
Dads who are now retired are dads from a different era. Most of our dads are the strong silent types, not like many of the younger dads nowadays who will try to be good friends with their kids. 
A man of the house usually takes the lead in the household. He takes care of the paycheck. He calls the shots in many areas of the household matters. When they retire, they may not have access to as much "money as before" - gee, do you ever wonder why, thats because he has brought you guys up, send you guys to further your studies, even finance your first car or even your first home, down payment for this and that. Flying you back from overseas, etc... 
Now he may be pushing 60 or 70, he may be living primarily off what you kids give him. We somehow think if we give them a few thousand ringgit a month, we have done our part. Your dad is still the man he was, faults and all. He used to call the shots, ask you guys where you like to have dinner, ask you guys what you want for your birthdays.
Now, he has to take money from you guys. Funds may not be so "loose". When you guys take him out to dinner, he doesn't have the "right" to pay for you guys anymore. Heck, he may even shy away from ordering whatever he likes from the menu or dictate where he wants to have dinner. He may not even be able to just take your mum wherever they wish to go for holidays. 
In these very many small ways, he is not "allowed to be the man he used to be". We as children should empathise with that. If we can afford it, we should give him more than what he needs to survive. We should allow our father to be the father he still is. 
A person's spirit is the hardest to please and easiest to break. Love comes in many disguises. Love is not just money but our attitude as well. Reconsider how we love our dads. Mine is no longer around. If your dad still is, be thankful, and be the better son and daughter. Love your dad better.