Saturday, May 30, 2009

Malaysia Entering Economic Recession

Early in the year in my blog posting, I have said that it is very likely that Malaysia will enter into a technical economic recession even with the stimulus package. There is a time lap before the impact of the stimulus package can be felt. Hence, we are talking about a time frame of 6 months to one year before most of the projects come on stream. I then said that the contraction of one percent was too optimistic. Now, we have read in the papers that in the 1st quarter, there was a contraction of 6.2 percent of the economy. This is a significant contraction and if there is any consolation, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan have fare worst than us.

In the 2nd quarter and 3rd quarter, Malaysia is unlikely to register any positive growth. We will be lucky if there is a slowing down of contraction, what we call bottoming. The most optimistic economist think that if we are looking for growth, it will be in the final quarters. Malaysia is very dependant on trade and export of manufacturing goods and commodities. If our major markets like America, China, Japan and EU which together accounts for about nearly 60% of our world GDP are in recession, it is unlikely that we see a significant increase in trade, in the export of manufacturing goods, the flow of FDI, and an increase in the prices of commodities. Of late, we see oil prices, oil palm and rubber prices going up which we hope is not due to speculation. Until these advance economy, which are our major market, registers significant growth, it is unlikely that we can have a rapid economic recovery. Our economic growth is still greatly determined by external demand.

In the long term, the biggest challenge to us is how to make Malaysia economy more competitive. We are still very dependent on oil revenue, export of commodities, and manufactured goods. We are still dependent on foreign workers. We are unable to move up the value chain. What we manufactured have very little value-added component. We do not have surplus labour, abundance of land and a low cost as the selling point.

Najib has set up the Economic Advisory Council. Let’s hope that the Council can come out with a sustainable economic model that will transform Malaysia and bring us to a higher level of economic growth. We need to develop our service sector since the manufacturing sector has its limitation. When Najib announced the liberalization of the financial and 27 sub-sectors of the service sector, it was seen as a timely move to spur the growth in the service sector. However, more initiatives need to be undertaken to liberalize further subsectors in the service industry. There is a need for total review of the FIC. The FIC have probably outlived its usefulness. This is one piece of legislation, which is regarded as the impediment to FDI and even domestic investment. One area, which is of great potential, is the creative industry in this country. When I talk about the creative industry, I am talking about telecommunication, arts, culture, IT industry, cinematography, handicraft industry etc. This is one area which is still under-developed that has great potential.

Malaysia cannot be low-cost sub-contracting manufacturing country if we want to leap frog into the next stage of our economic transformation to be a developed nation by year 2020. We need an annual economic growth of 6-7 percent in order to achieve 2020. Under the 9th Malaysia plan, we can never achieve the 6-7 percent economic growth a year. Hence, the next 10 years, which is the 10th and 11th Malaysia plan will be very crucial in order to achieve vision 2020. The old economic module that transformed Malaysia from an agriculture-based economy to a manufacturing and a trading nation served us well in the 80s and 90s. Today, we cannot hope to use the same module to substain economic growth in the next 10 years. The world has become more competitive and we have to climb up the value chain in all sectors of the economy if we are to achieve significant economic growth.

Cutting cost in doing business will definitely make our economy more competitive. When you talk about cost in doing business, the holding cost is an important consideration. Hence, an efficient private and public delivery system is important. A visit to any banking institution in this country will tell you how inefficient our banking institution is. Our banks enjoy one of the best margin of profit since their cost of funding (from deposit by customers) and the cost of borrowing (paid by us as customers) is still high. 3-4 percent and even higher for credit card charges. It takes a long time to open up a banking account in Malaysia. In the same way, it takes a long time to cash out a cheque. So we find inefficiency not only in the government public delivery system but also in private sector.

We need to create a people’s friendly business environment. Hence, to register a company and to start a new business, to buy a property and have it registered, to start a banking account and apply for a banking loan and even a simple S&P agreement should all be hassled-free. However, we know that it is often a time consuming undertakings even to start a bank account. To have your own property registered so that it can be charged to the bank can be a frustrating exercise. Malaysia’s front liners in all service sectors should realize that they are there to serve and not to frustrate their clients. All of us dealing with government agencies and also the private establishment have many stories to share about the slow delivery system. There seems to be no urgency to work according to schedule.

In the 2nd quarter and 3rd quarter, Malaysia is unlikely to register any positive growth. We will be lucky if there is a slowing down of contraction, what we call bottoming. The most optimistic economist think that if we are looking for growth, it will be in the final quarters. Malaysia is very dependant on trade and export of manufacturing goods and commodities. If our major markets like America, China, Japan and EU which together accounts for about nearly 60% of our world GDP are in recession, it is unlikely that we see a significant increase in trade, in the export of manufacturing goods, the flow of FDI, and an increase in the prices of commodities. Of late, we see oil prices, oil palm and rubber prices going up which we hope is not due to speculation. Until these advance economy, which are our major market, registers significant growth, it is unlikely that we can have a rapid economic recovery. Our economic growth is still greatly determined by external demand.
In the long term, the biggest challenge to us is how to make Malaysia economy more competitive. We are still very dependent on oil revenue, export of commodities, and manufactured goods. We are still dependent on foreign workers. We are unable to move up the value chain. What we manufactured have very little value-added component. We do not have surplus labour, abundance of land and a low cost as the selling point.
Najib has set up the Economic Advisory Council. Let’s hope that the Council can come out with a sustainable economic model that will transform Malaysia and bring us to a higher level of economic growth. We need to develop our service sector since the manufacturing sector has its limitation. When Najib announced the liberalization of the financial and 27 sub-sectors of the service sector, it was seen as a timely move to spur the growth in the service sector. However, more initiatives need to be undertaken to liberalize further subsectors in the service industry. There is a need for total review of the FIC. The FIC have probably outlived its usefulness. This is one piece of legislation, which is regarded as the impediment to FDI and even domestic investment. One area, which is of great potential, is the creative industry in this country. When I talk about the creative industry, I am talking about telecommunication, arts, culture, IT industry, cinematography, handicraft industry etc. This is one area which is still under-developed that has great potential.
Malaysia cannot be low-cost sub-contracting manufacturing country if we want to leap frog into the next stage of our economic transformation to be a developed nation by year 2020. We need an annual economic growth of 6-7 percent in order to achieve 2020. Under the 9th Malaysia plan, we can never achieve the 6-7 percent economic growth a year. Hence, the next 10 years, which is the 10th and 11th Malaysia plan will be very crucial in order to achieve vision 2020. The old economic module that transformed Malaysia from an agriculture-based economy to a manufacturing and a trading nation served us well in the 80s and 90s. Today, we cannot hope to use the same module to substain economic growth in the next 10 years. The world has become more competitive and we have to climb up the value chain in all sectors of the economy if we are to achieve significant economic growth.
Cutting cost in doing business will definitely make our economy more competitive. When you talk about cost in doing business, the holding cost is an important consideration. Hence, an efficient private and public delivery system is important. A visit to any banking institution in this country will tell you how inefficient our banking institution is. Our banks enjoy one of the best margin of profit since their cost of funding (from deposit by customers) and the cost of borrowing (paid by us as customers) is still high. 3-4 percent and even higher for credit card charges. It takes a long time to open up a banking account in Malaysia. In the same way, it takes a long time to cash out a cheque. So we find inefficiency not only in the government public delivery system but also in private sector.
We need to create a people’s friendly business environment. Hence, to register a company and to start a new business, to buy a property and have it registered, to start a banking account and apply for a banking loan and even a simple S&P agreement should all be hassled-free. However, we know that it is often a time consuming undertakings even to start a bank account. To have your own property registered so that it can be charged to the bank can be a frustrating exercise. Malaysia’s front liners in all service sectors should realize that they are there to serve and not to frustrate their clients. All of us dealing with government agencies and also the private establishment have many stories to share about the slow delivery system. There seems to be no urgency to work according to schedule.

今年初,我曾通过部落格指出,即使政府推出刺激经济配套,马来西亚也很可能进入一个技术性的经济萧条期。刺激经济配套需要一些时间才得以发挥其效应。因此,我们认为需时6个月至1年时间,国内大部分计划才可以陆续展开。我也曾说,1%的经济萎缩估算是过于乐观的看法。现在,我们从报章得知,今年首季经济衰退6%。这显示经济明显萎缩,而唯一让我们安慰的是,新加坡、香港及日本的情况远比我们恶劣。


在第二季及第三季,马来西亚经济也不可能取得任何积极增长。若能萎缩减缓已属幸运,因为经济已经跌至谷底。最乐观的经济学家认为,我国经济可以在第四季取得增长。马来西亚非常依赖贸易及制造品和原产品出口,若那些占我国经济生产总值60%的主要出口市场即美国、中国、日本及欧盟也处于萧条状态,我们的贸易、货品出口额、原产品价格,及外来直接投资,都不可能取得显著增长。最近,我们看到石油价格上涨,油棕及橡胶价也一并上升,我们不希望这是因为投机所致。惟有这些经济火车头的主要市场取得明显增长,否则我国经济不可能会迅速复苏。它长很大程度上是取决于外需。


长远来看,我们最大的挑战是如何令马来西亚经济更具竞争力。我们仍非常依赖石油收入、原产品及制造品出口。我们也很依赖外劳。我们无法提升价值链,制造品增值度不高。我们也没有充足的劳力、富足的土地及地成本等卖点。


纳吉已经成立经济咨询理事会。我们希望它可以拟定一个持续性的经济模式,为马来西亚转型朝高经济目标前进。基于制造领域发展有局限,我们必须发展本身的服务领域。纳吉宣布金融自由化和开放27项次服务业,被视为可以刺激经济增长的及时措施。然而,政府需要更大努力把服务业的附属领域进一步自由化。


政府也有必要全面检视外来投资委员会。目前,它被视为外来直接投资的最大阻碍。此外,国内的创意工业潜能很大。我所指的是包括通讯、艺术、文化、资讯工艺、电影摄影艺术、手工艺术等等。这一块是仍然欠缺大力开发的高潜能工业。如果我们要达到2020先进国目标,马来西亚不能成为一个地成本的制造品生产国。为落实2020宏愿,我们每年必须取得6至7%经济成长,但第九大马计划期间,我们无法取得6至7%经济年度成长。因此,在未来10年,即第十及第十一大马计划将是落实2020宏愿的关键期。旧经济模式在80年代及90年代把马来西亚从农业经济,转型为工业和贸易经济家。今天,我们不能仰赖以同样的经济模式,让国家经济在未来10年取得持续成长。这个世界已经变得更竞争,要让国家经济取得显著增长,我们必须强化所有领域的价值链。


削减商业成本必将使我们的经济更具竞争力。谈到商业成本,持有成本是重要的考量因素。因此,落实一个有效率的私人及公共传递服务非常重要。今天若我们走进国内任何一家银行,就会知道国内的金融机构多么缺乏效率。这里的银行只着重着如何继续收取最佳的利润幅度,因为他们的资金成本(顾客的存款)及借贷成本(顾客所支付)仍然很高,介于3至4%,信用卡收费更高。在马来西亚,要开设一个银行户口非常耗时,处理现金支票也须久等。所以,不只是政府的传递系统没有效率,基本上,国内一般的私人界也一样缺乏效率。


所以,我们需要建立一个亲商的环境。不论是注册一间公司、开始新生意、购买一个产业、登记或开设银行户口、申请银行贷款,甚至是签署一个简单的买卖合约登,都应该简化。马来西亚所有服务业的前线人员必须明白,他们是为顾客服务,不能让顾客失去耐性。其实,不管是和政府部门打交道,或和私人企业交易,我们都有很多经验和故事分享,这一切都是因为传递系统缓慢,缺乏效率所致。他们看来似乎没有按照时间表做事,工作态度也不积极。

Friday, May 29, 2009

PKFZ Report

Finally, the much-awaited PKFZ report is now published. This is one development that generated a lot of controversy over the years. Obviously, it involves a lot of politicians and alot of money, hence, the public interest. The initial report was fully discussed in the Cabinet meeting in the year 2007. Since what was discussed in the Cabinet is confidential, I find it difficult to comment on the report. How the government deals with this report is much awaited by the rakyat.

 

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Malaysia’s Civil Service

Recently, the PM proposed to open the civil service to the private sector. When he was the Deputy Prime Minister, this idea was brought up by himself in the Cabinet for general discussion. He even suggested that leading corporate figures and retired government civil servants should also be co-opted into the academic world. Students in the tertiary education then stands to benefit from the rich experience from the captain of the industries and top civil servants. This is rightly practiced in many countries. In America, the retired Secretary of State always ends up in important academic position. Tapping the private sector makes sense since they know not only the theory, but also the practical aspect of implementation and problem in dealing with government agencies.

Mixing the private sector with the civil service hopefully will give rise to a better cross-fertilization of ideas and practices, which are sadly lacking in the government service. It will also give the private sector an insight into the constraint of the civil service and the government machineries. The government delivery system is often bogged down with bureaucracy and having to work within the rather rigid general orders of the civil service.

In Malaysia, there is a clear dichotomy of service between the private and public sectors. The moment they leave the civil service to join the private sector, they lose their seniority and hardly ever had a chance to go back to civil service. The Malaysia civil service provides employment from the cradle to the grave. It is difficult to sack a civil servant, unless there are clear violations of the general orders. Hence, we have a lot of dead woods warming the seats. Some become what we call the little Napoleons and Josephines. They do not become facilitators to help the public. They do not serve the Rakyat but Lord over them. They construct all sorts of man-made barriers to make an average man dealing with the government with a bad taste. Bad civil service reflects poorly on the government of the day. Often, it is the politicians who stand for public office that gets the blame.

We have a bloated civil service of nearly 1.15 millions. With a population of 27million people, we have one of the higher ratios of civil servant to population. Despite aggressive privatization in the early 90s, the numbers of civil servant keep on increasing slowly but surely. The rising maintenance cost of the civil service is a major problem, about 41 billion a year. The biggest problem is inefficiency in the public delivery system. Since civil service provides lifelong employment, there seems to be ‘tidak apa’ attitude by some civil servants. Over the year, it has becomes the budaya or culture of these small group of civil servants. They obviously serve to damage the image of the public delivery system. To be fair, there are a lot of civil servants who are very good, professional and dedicated. Unfortunately, over the year this is getting smaller. While I was in the government, from the state to the federal level, I met some of these civil servants who will do the country proud, at the same time I also met a lot who don’t deserved a cent worth for their work.

Walk into any government office one is strike by the predominance of one ethnic group.

These ethnic imbalances get more glaring over the years. Today, about 77% of the government servants are Malays, only 15% are non-Malays and the others contribute 8%. To ratify this imbalance would take decades. Of course when this is raised, some will point out that the private sector is also dominated by one particular race. When the private sector places emphasis of the command of Mandarin, this is construed as discriminatory.

Remuneration cannot be a reason for the lack of interest for the civil service by the non-Malays. In fact, in some of the government services, the total package remuneration is not too bad when compared to the private sector. In order to attract the brightest and the committed, promotion should be based on performance and qualification, and not by who you know within the service. Right now, the general perception is that the government service is only for the Malays and the non-Malays have no chance in career advancement within the civil service. Until we show more transparency and professionalism in recruitment and promotion of civil servant, it is unlikely that we will attract the brightest. The non-Malays will continue to shun the civil service.

首相纳吉最近建议将政府部门的重要职位,开放给私人企业界人才。之前他出任副首相时,也曾把这项建议带到内阁讨论。纳吉甚至认为,商界翘楚及退休公务员也应被学术界重用,高等教育学府的学生可以从在商界长袖善舞的企业翘楚,及经验丰富的高级公务员身上受惠。其实,很多国家都有这么做。在美国,退休后的国务卿受委出任重要的学术职位。其实,这项构思有其意义,因为私企界人士不仅是纸上谈兵,他们有很多实际经验,也懂得如何与各政府单位打交道。混合私人界与公共服务领域的做法,固然希望能达到更好的相互交流及实践效益,而这向来是公共服务领域所缺乏的。这么做也可以让私人界深入了解公务服务领域和政府机制既存的限制弊端。政府传递系统常因为官员的官僚作风及行事刻板而造成怠慢。


在马来西亚,私人界与公共机构的服务明显不同。公务员离开政府机构加入私人界后,很难再返回公共服务领域。马来西亚的公务服务制度是雇用公务员到老;基本上并不会辞退公务员,除非他们严重违反既定条例或守则。因此我们这里有很多“朽木”霸占着位子,其中一些就变成我们所形容的小拿破仑。这些人无法帮助公众,不服务人民,却制造各种人为障碍,导致人民对政府机构服务的印象不好。其实,公共服务差劣也反映当下政府的效率。通常,那些担任公职的从政者成为箭靶,遭人责难。


我国的公务员有近115万人,是一支庞大的队伍。以2千700万人口计算,我国的公务员人口比率高于人口比率。虽然我国在90年代初期积极进行私营化,但公务员数据一直不断攀升。公共服务领域维持成本不断上升是政府的大问题。目前,公共服务领域的年度开销大约410亿令吉,却无法提供有效的公共传递系统。由于这是终身制的铁饭碗,一些公务员有恃无恐,造就了“无所谓”工作态度,甚至已成为一小撮公务员的工作文化。他们简直是在破坏公共传递系统的形象。公平而言,还是有很多优秀、专业及有担待的公务员。但不幸的是,这样优质的公务员越来越少。当我还在政府部门任职,不论是在州或中央机构,我偶曾遇到一些令国家自豪的公务员,也同时碰到工作态度非常糟糕、不值得一提的公务员。

今天,走进任何一个政府机构办事处,你会看到某个族群主占大多数。此种族比率失衡的情况近年来更严重。目前,约77%公务员是马来人,只有15%是非马来人,其他则占8%。我国或许需要数十年时间才能把这种失衡现象纠正过来。当然,当有人提出这问题时,一些人会说私人界其实也是由某个族群主导;私人界着重中文掌握的政策,也即被诠释为歧视。


薪酬劳并不是导致非马来人没有兴趣当公务员的因素。事实上,一些政府部门的薪酬总额不会比私人界差。为了可以吸引有素质及负责任的人才,当局应该根据个人的表现和资格进行擢升,而不是靠所谓的人际关系决定晋级命运。现在,一般认为公共服务是为了马来人而设,非马来人根本没有发展空间。要吸引有素质的人,我们要在录用及擢升制度方面透明化及专业化,否则非马来人将一直对公共服务领域却步。

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Flash Flood in KL City and Traffic Woes

The people in KL dread heavy rain especially in the early morning or in the evening. Every time when there is a downpour of more than 1-2 hours, it causes havoc due to the massive traffic jam. Flash flood is a perennial problem in the city of KL. Every time when there is a flood, the blame game starts. In the recent incident, apparently the electricity cables inside the pump house were stolen, causing the pump not to function and hence, flood in the affected areas.

KL is the premier city of Malaysia. It probably received more tourists than any other town in Malaysia. Johor Bahru may be an important entry point for foreign tourists but most of the tourists are only using JB as an entry and transit point in other words, day-tripper. In Kuala Lumpur, the tourists spend at least a night or two before moving to other places. It does not reflect very well that a modern city is saddled with flash flood. The Sg. Besi SMART tunnel and storm water management do alleviate flash flood in certain parts of the city. However, for the rest of the city folks, we just hate the rain that comes in the morning and in the evening when traffic jam becomes inevitable.

Every time when there is a flash flood in the city, one can imagine that a lot of people will be cursing the city council. The city council should come out with a flood mitigation program for the city. This will be a long-term plan that requires studies so that a total flood mitigation program for the city can be drawn out. Normally, when flood mitigation work is undertaken, it will cause traffic jam. Hence, it has to be done in phases and since it is done in phases, the financial burden on the city hall will not be great. City hall should give top priority to flood mitigation. While landscaping is important, I see no reason why flood mitigation in KL has never been the top priority in any of the city hall’s mayor. City hall seems to spend a lot of time and wasting a lot of money doing unnecessary landscaping.

My former kawasan was known as Bandar Penggaram and it is well known for its flash flood and often been given the nickname of Bandar Tenggelam.  When I was an EXCO, I managed to get funding, both from the state and the federal government, amounting to RM70 million. This was used to launch a comprehensive flood mitigation project in Batu Pahat that stretches from 1995 until 2004. Since then, we have resolved about 90 percent of the flood problem in the town of Batu Pahat. When Johor faces its massive flood in 2007, the Batu Pahat township was spared. Maintenance of the drain is important if we want to ensure that the water flow is not affected. There is a tendency for Malaysians to throw anything into the drain and to regard drains as their dustbin. This often causes blockage of the drain and minor flood.

Interview by Astro Awani - Part 3

Q: UMNO sentiasa dilihat sebagai ‘Big Brother’, jadi apakah pendekatan yang akan Datuk Seri bawa supaya ‘tarik rambut di dalam tepung, rambut itu tidak akan putus dan tepung tidak berselerak’?

A: Kalau di negara yang mengamalkan demokrasi, ianya adalah satu orang satu undi. Apabila kaum Melayu adalah 60 peratus dan ahli UMNO adalah 3 juta, maka kita dapat bayangkan UMNO akan sentiasa lebih dominan daripada satu parti yang mempunyai 200, 000 ahli. Tetapi dari segi suara dan hak mereka, ianya tidak dinafikan. Hanya soal sikap kita, sikap yang tidak berubah.

 

Masa kita menuntut kemerdekaan, UMNO memainkan peranan dominan dan ini memang tidak dapat dinafikan. MCA dan MIC juga memainkan peranan yang penting untuk membantu UMNO sama-sama menuntut kemerdekaan. Pengerak utama ialah UMNO, iaitu orang Melayu dan ini memang tidak dapat dinafikan. Kerana peranan dominan yang dimainkan semenjak dahulu sehingga kini, maka apabila ada aktiviti, maka kita ingat UMNOlah yang menerajui dan kita hanya memainkan peranan kedua, padahal dalam kawasan kita, di kawasan saya, iaitu Batu Pahat, UMNO akan bersama saya dalam keputusan yang dibuat.

 

Apabila BN mengadakan kempen di peringkat bahagian, UMNO, MCA dan MIC akan berucap di kawasan berkenaan. Semua pemimpin ada peranan masing-masing. Akan tetapi, sekiranya pengerusi BN datang daripada UMNO, maka dia memainkan peranan yang dominan. Begitu juga dengan Perdana Menteri, sekiranya beliau datang daripada UMNO, maka kita dapat bayangkan bahawa UMNO akan memainkan peranan di gelanggang antarabangsa, di dalam negara dia akan memainkan peranan dominan. Ini terserah kepada kita bagaimana kita berusaha memainkan peranan kita hingga dirasai oleh rakyat.

 

Q: Kenapa harus kita utamakan kedominan dan bukannya berpandukan kepada cetusan idea-idea hebat yang seharusnya didahulukan?

A: Itu lonjakan yang mungkin akan berlaku pada masa yang akan datang. Bila, kita tidak tahu. Tetapi, kita boleh nampak pada masa kini, pemuda lebih sedar tentang hak mereka. Mereka lebih gemar dengan demokrasi dan hak kemanusiaan lebih daripada soal kaum. Mereka menghargai kebebasan, “freedom of expression’ dan  ‘freedom of flow of information’.

 

Q: Di dalam satu program yang dianjurkan, apakah yang relevan?

A: Yang relevan ialah program apa yang dibuat boleh diterima oleh rakyat. Tak guna kalau kita syok sendiri dan menganjurkan pertandingan berbasikal yang mana hadir adalah penyokong kita, baik daripada UMNO ataupun MCA atau MIC. Orang luar tidak masuk.

 

Pada hemat saya, pertandingan mewarna-warni memberikan makna yang besar kerana kanak-kanak yang berusia 5-6 tahun tidak terlibat dalam politik, ibu bapa pula sayang pada anak dan menyertai pertandingan tidak kira siapa yang menganjurkannya. Ini satu contoh di mana satu program yang bukan sukar untuk dilaksanakan dan menarik perhatian ramai orang dan mendapat sokongan daripada semua lapisan masyarakat. Begitu juga dengan pertandingan karaoke. Kalau MCA, maka pertandingan lagu Cina, UMNO pula lagu Melayu dan Inggeris. Telah sampai satu masa kita mengadakan aktiviti yang berteraskan kepada masyarakat majmuk.

 

Q: Ramai penganalisis politik yang datang ke Astro Awani mengatakan sudah sampai masanya untuk politik menjadi politik budiman, maknanya di kedua-dua belah pihak harus menunjukkan contoh yang bagus kepada rakyat, jadi bagaimana Datuk Seri melihat ini?

A: Saya ingat semua ahli politik dalam pandangan dan perjuangan masing-masing adalah untuk kebaikan rakyat. Ini hanya bagaimana kita menyampaikan konsep perjuangan kita dan persepsi rakyat terhadap perjuagan kita. Ini sentiasa akan menjadikan negara demokrasi berdepan dengan partisan politik.

 

Partisan politik di Malaysia, ada orang yang ingin dapatkan sokongan memainkan isu agama, kaum, tempatan yang diperalatkan. Ini terserah kepada rakyat atau anak buah untuk menilai pemimpin yang benar-benar berjiwa rakyat dan perjuangan demi kepentinagn rakyat dan Negara dan bukan memperalatkan isu agama dan kaum untuk kepentingan politik.

 

Q: Ini juga berlaku di BN di mana Datuk Seri menjadi penyelaras. Bagaimana untuk menentukan ianya ditakdir ataupun diselesaikan?

A: Dalam mesyuarat BN kebelakangan ini, saya rasa saranan Perdana Menteri adalah tepat. Sudah sampai masanya pemimpin jangan mementingkan kedudukan mereka di parti masing-masing hingga lupa tentang BN. Kalau pentingkan parti dan kita kalah dalam pilihanraya umum, kedudukan parti telah menjadi tidak bermakna dan tidak lagi penting. Oleh itu, iany penting untuk tiap-tiap parti kuat dan kekuatan BN datang daripada kekuatan parti komponen. Asalkan satu parti lemah, ia akan menjejaskan kekuatan dan kestabilan BN.

 

Terima kasih.

 

Monday, May 25, 2009

Interview by Astro Awani - Part 2

Q: Perkhidmatan itu penting tapi kelajuan perkhidmatan itu juga penting?

A: Itu ‘basic’. Akan tetapi, tafsiran dan persepsi rakyat terhadap kerajaan juga adalah penting, sama ada pentadbiran kerajaan adil, adakah ianya telus dan ‘accountable’ yang mana rakyat boleh terima.

 

Q: Bagaimana untuk tentukan akar umbi di pendalaman faham dan dijalankan dengan cepat aspirasi 1 Malaysia?

A: Dengan tindakan. ‘Action speaks louder than word’. Kita kena menunjukkan niat kita untuk berkhidmat. Kita perlu menghayati konsep Satu Malaysia. Jangan cakap, tapi buat tak serupa kerana itu akan menimbulkan pertikaian.

 

Q: Baru-baru ini, negeri Selangor telah melancarkan TV Selangor. Ianya satu usaha luar biasa. Jadi, secepat manakah BN boleh mengatasi atau mempunyai satu alternatif sedemikian rupa memandangkan di maya BN lemah?

A: Saya akui bahawa sebar luas dan penyampaian maklumat BN adalah terlalu bergantung kepada televisyen dan ‘mainstream’ media. Kita ingat rakyat percaya maklumat di televisyen.

Parti pembangkang tidak ada kemudahan itu. Mereka perlu mencari kaedah supaya maklumat dapat disampaikan kepada rakayat. Kelebihan mereka adalah spinning yang mendahului kerja pembangunan dan ekonomi.

 

Q: Bagaimana nak masuk mode sedemikian? Bagaimana nak menang?

A: Yang pertama, kita kena mempunyai kesedaran di pucuk kepmpinan. Harapan dan aspirasi rakyat sudah berubah sejak zaman kemerdekaan. Tetapi sebahagian kita tidak berubah atau berubah tidak secepat rakyat.

 

Q: Umur Datuk Seri 62 tahun, bagaimana datuk seri nak menyelami perasaan anak muda yang berumur 21 tahun?

A: Dari segi klinikal, orang muda lebih mudah berinteraksi dengan orang muda. Tapi, kalau nak jadi pemimpin yang bertanggungjawab, walaupun kita di usia yang lebih tua daripada orang muda, kita masih kena ambil berat. Kita kena faham apa sebenarnya yang orang muda mahu.

Orang muda tidak suka ‘patronizing’ iaitu cerita apa seharusnya dilakukan untuk kebaikan mereka sendiri. Mereka tahu menguruskan segala hal peribadi mereka. Mereka tidak suka dengar cerita dan sumbangan menuntut kemerdekaan dan pembangunan yang telah dilakukan. Mereka lebih suka kepada mengetahui apakah pembangunan yang akan berlaku pada masa hadapan, apa jaminan yang boleh diberikan kepada mereka dari segi peluang pendidikan dan pekerjaan daripada cerita korban kita semasa menuntut kemerdekaan, maka pemuda perlu berhutang budi dan menghargai kita, saya ingat  cara itu, pemuda tak layan lagi.

 

Q: Bagaimana mesej patriotisme yang perlu dijelaskan kepada generasi muda ini disalurkan?

A: Generasi muda ini kebanyakkan penting ialah pendidikan dan pekerjaan. Soal patriotisme datang secara automatik. Sebagai rakyat, saya mesti hormat dan taat setia kepada negara. Itu adalah automatik, tak payah cakap kononnya saya tidak patriotik, hanya kamu orang tua sahaja yang patriotik. Itulah yang dikatakan sebagai ‘patronizing’.

 

Q: Dalam era demokrasi, bagaimana tentukan arus dari bawah ke atas dan bukan atas ke bawah dengan mengambil kira pandangan rakyat?

A: Sebab itulah saya cakap masyarakat sudah berubah. Sebahagian pemimpin kita masih tidak berubah. Adalah penting di peringkat awal bahawa berdialog merupakan cara berkesan untuk mendapatkan maklum balas mengenai apa sebenarnya mereka mahu. Tanpa dialog, kita tidak boleh membuat tafsiran bahawa apa yang kita lakukan atau fikirkan mencerminkan hasrat mereka. Mungkin itu tak tepat. Sebab itu saya mengatakan pemimpin perlu turun ke padang, mengadakan aktiviti supaya kita dapat bercampur gaul dengan anak buah kita.

 

Q: Bercakap pasal bercampur gaul, bila agaknya seorang pemimpin itu akan dipilih berdasarkan kehebatannya sebagai pemimpin dan idea-idea yang bernas dan bukan berdasarkan kepada kaum?

A: Ini dikatakan pemilihan yang mengatasi kaum, tidak kira kaum kita pilih kerana kebolehan dan kewibaan dan kepimpinan seseorang berasaskan kepada perjuangan. Ini saya ingat kita masih belum sampai ke masa itu.

 

Q: Kenapa?

A: Pada hemat saya, kita masih terikat dengan kaum masing-masing untuk menjaga hak masing-masing. Sebab itu, Satu Malaysia ialah rakyat tidak kira kaum, agama dan keturunan adalah didahulukan. Mungkin ini satu permulaan supaya perjuangan politik kita tidak berteraskan kepada kaum.

 

Q: Macam mana dengan parti lawan?

A: Parti lawan bukan sahaja hebat dari segi spinning, tetapi lebih hebat lagi dari segi packaging. Kononnya PR mencerminkan dan memperjuangkan hak semua rakyat, walhal kalau kita meneliti perjuangan mereka, PAS adalah berteraskan kepada agama, DAP adalah untuk orang Cina di mana 99 peratus ahlinya merupakan orang cina. Begitu dengan PKR di mana kebanyakan ahlinya adalah bekas ahli UMNO.

 

Q: Kenapa mesej itu diterima oleh rakyat?

A: Dari segi packaging dan kerana spinning, ianya dapat menyampaikan mesej kepada rakyat jelata bahawa ‘Pandanglah kami, kami adalah multiracial’ walhal kalau kamu tengok ucapan mereka di  Parlimen, ada yang masih mengatakan ‘saya seorang Melayu’ ataupun ‘saya seorang Muslim’ dahulu sebelum saya katakan ‘saya rakyat Malaysia’.

 

Q: Bukankah itu kritikan sendiri kepada BN yang kurang ‘articulate’ dalam menyampaikan hujah?

A: Sebab itu saya cakap, dari segi spinning, penyampaian maklumat dan dari segi packaging, ada banyak kelemahan yang seharusnya diperbaiki.

 

Q: Apakan 3 perkara yang paling penting sekiranya Datuk Seri diberikan ‘freehand’ dalam kerja-kerja penyelarasan di BN?

A: Yang pertama, kita kena membuktikan komitmen BN bahawa Satu Malaysia itu bukan menjadi satu slogan, ia akan menjadi satu kenyataan dari segi perlaksanaan supaya rakyat didahulukan, ini bermakna satu kerajaan yang prihatin dan mesra rakyat. Itu yang paling penting.

Yang kedua, bagaimana kerajaan nak pastikan ianya mendapat sokongan daripada semua lapisan masyarakat dan tidak hanya bergantung kepada sesuatu kaum, bahkan mendapat sokongan daripada kaum Melayu, Cina dan India dan lain lain. Untuk mencapai matlamat ini, bagaimana kita menjaga tuntutan dan harapan dan sensitivity mereka, ini merupakan cabaran yang besar.

Yang ketiga, bagaimana kita menangani cabaran ekonomi yang berlaku di banyak negara, termasuk di Malaysia. Di samping itu, bagaimana memastikan negara kita lebih kompetitif supaya kita mampu berdaya saing di peringkat antarabangsa juga penting. Pada masa kini, bukan kita berdaya saing di antara kita tetapi kita berdaya saing dengan satu dunia. Kita adalah satu ekonomi yang berteraskan eksport pembuatan. Jadi, kita kena lebih kompetitif dari segi perkhidmatan yang sedang dibangunkan, termasuk perhidmatan di restoran, hotel dan pembankan.

Kalau kita boleh melakukan seperti yang saya sebutkan tadi, kita masih boleh mendapatkan sokongan daripada rakyat kerana kelebihan kita ialah pengalaman kita. 

To be continued...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Interview by Astro Awani - Part 1

I was at one Astro Awani program where Suhaimi Sulaiman was the host on Thursday discussing about the challenges in my new position. Below are part one of the excerpts of the interview.

Q: Boleh Datuk Seri terangkan tentang jawatan baru Datuk Seri ini?

A: Ini sebenarnya satu jawatan yang baru, maka tidak ada kes yang boleh jadi tauladan. Jawatan ini adalah hasil perbincangan dengan PM. Jawatan ini adalah untuk membantu supaya jentera BN dapat bergerak lebih tersusun dan teratur, khasnya di peringkat akar umbi. Kalau diperhatikan di kawasan BN telah tewas, tidak dinafikan bahawa semangat perjuangan dan moral telah menurun dan ada yang dikatakan telah bersara, berkhidmat dengan harapan untuk dipilih semula sebagai wakil rakyat. Ini merupakan satu usaha BN di peringkat HQ supaya turun ke padang untuk membantu mereka dari segi gerakan jentera, membantu merapatkan hubunagn dan jalan aktiviti tertentu.

Q: Bukankah ini semua telah ada di BN kerana mungkin orang mengharapkan sesuatu yang ajaib daripada Datuk Seri?

A: Tiada apa yang ajaib. Kita sama manusia memang sedia maklum bahawa memang ada kemampuan kita. Kita hanya mampu usaha sedaya upaya supaya kita dapat menunaikan tanggungjawab yang diamanahkan. Itu saja.

Q: Ramai orang yang melihat ini sbagai satu perkara yang berbeza dan pelbagai tafsiran dibuat dan juga analisis yang dibuat daripada MCA mengenai jawatan Datuk Seri.

A: Itu biasa dalam sebuah negara yang mengamalkan demokrasi apabila keputusan yang dibuat mempunyai pandangan yang berbeza. Saya anggap ini sebagai tanggungawab. Saya telah menyertai parti MCA lebih daripada 25 tahun dan saya faham ramai lagi ahli-ahli BN (UMNO, MCA dan MIC) masih taat setia dan sayang kepada parti. Hanya kita tidak menyangka kita akan kalah di pilihanraya yang lalu. Apabila dilantik satu jawatan baru, saya lihat ianya sebagai pendekatan baru, usaha baru cetusan fikiran dan minda pucuk pimpinan BN, ‘think out of the box’.

Q: Di 5 negeri Pakatan Rakyat, apakah pendekatan yang diperlukan, ataupun apakah strategi yang boleh digunakan cepat oleh BN?

A: Think out of the box. BN terdiri daripada 14 parti komponen. Tidak dapat dinafikan kita telah diuji oleh rakyat pada setiap pilihanraya dan kita mempunyai pencapaian baik dalam setiap pilihanraya selain daripada pilihanraya yang lepas. Tidak seharusnya panik. Yang penting, kita perlu ambil ikhtibar daripada pilihanraya 308. Ada orang kata, pada pilihanraya yang lalu,Pengundi mengundi untuk perubahan, jadi apakah perubahan yang kerajaan perlu lakukan supaya dapat terus membela nasib rakyat. Seperti yang dizahirkan oleh PM Najib Konsep Satu Malaysia yang dilaungkan oleh Najib bahawa kerajaan utamakan rakyat, menegakkan keadilan, rakyat dapat menuntut dan menikmati hak-hak mereka mengikut perlembagaan kerana mereka telah terpengaruh oleh pihak pembangkang bahawa kerajaan tidak adil kepada kaum bukan bumiputra dan ini telah sedikit sebanyak mencetuskan kemarahan.

Q: Kenapa BN tidak berupaya patahkan serangan daripada pihak pembangkang?

A: Sebab itu, sepertimana yang saya cakap tadi, kita mesti think out of the box. Kita ingat media baru tidak penting, kita ingat mainstream media sahaja yang penting. Kita ingat Internet dan bloggers hanyalah orang yang minat dalam media baru dan bilangannya tidak ramai. Akan tetapi, ramai yang terpengaruh dengan new media dan ramai orang muda sekarang mempengaruhi orang tua mereka.

Q: Secara keseluruhannya, adakah pemimpin-pemimpin BN lain sehebat Datuk seri yang mempunyai blog?

A: Tidak. Itu satu kelemahan BN. Kalau kita berubah, kita kena ubah sikap kita. Kalau kita kena berubah, kita kena ubah orang muda kita yang dikatakan fasih dan mahir dalam internet supaya kita boleh lancar cyber war melalui new media kerana pada hari ini apa sahaja yang dibuat oleh BN, mesti ada orang yang masuk ke new media untuk lontar pelbagai comment kepada BN dan bagaimana kita nak counter ini menjadi satu cabaran.

Q: Tetapi ini bukan mengenai IT, ini mengenai cara mengendalikan blog, bukan?

A: Ya, saya tulis blog saya sendiri. Biasanya 1 jam. Ini bukan mudah nak tulis blog sendiri, kita kena ada maklumat, pengalaman dan kena pandai cerita supaya orang minat. Kalau sekadar data sahaja, blog akan menjadi boring dan orang tak nak baca. Kita kena pandai ‘spinning’.

Q: Bagaimanakah hubungan ataupun pertalian Datuk Seri dengan Presiden MCA?

A: Hubungan saya dengan Presiden MCA boleh dikatakan sebagai ‘working relationship’ ataupun dalam Bahasa Melayu satu perhubungan kerja dan tidak dapat dinafikan bahawa ada ruang untuk diperbaiki dan penambahbaikan.

Q: Bagaimana hendak menyelami perasaan mereka yang di sebelah sama yang mungkin tidak berapa setuju dengan cara BN berpolitik dan sebagainya ?

A: BN sekarang berdepan dengan persepsi negatif daripada rakyat bahawa BN adalah dikatakan tidak dapat dampingi rakyat dan tidak faham aspirasi dan tuntutan rakyat.

Q: Adakah ini benar, Datuk Seri?

A: Ini mungkin satu gambaran yang tidak berapa betul dan ini mungkin lanjutan daripada sebahagian pemimpin-pemimpin yang kononnya dianggap dan ditafsirkan sebagai sombong. Seperti kenyataan bila dirayu untuk dibuat, cakap 'over my dead body'. Ataupun bila sebagai rakyat Malaysia, mereka mempunyai hak memberi pandangan yang berlainan kerana ini kerajaan yang dipilih oleh rakyat. . Oleh itu, sekiranya kita ingin mendekati rakyat, kita kena turun ke padang. Apa yang saya katakan ini bukannya jalan-jalan. Lebih baik sekiranya PM atau TPM atau menteri kabinet apabila turun ke ke padang, apa salahnya duduk dan mengadakan dialog secara spontan dan bukannya dialog yang diatur kerana jika diatur, orang yang hadir adalah penyokong kita, orang yang berat sebelah dengan kita. Apa salahnya jika kita pergi ke pasar dan jumpa dengan pembeli, penjual dan bertanya?

Q: Mengapa ini tidak berlaku kerana 18 tahun dahulu, Tun Dr. Mahathir juga mengatakan benda yang sama?

A: Mungkin ini dalam kesibukan untuk membangunkan negara. Kita pandang kepada kejayaan fizikal, maka kita ingat bahawa rakyat akan berpuas hati, walhal rakyat bukan hanya mengkehendaki pembangunan fizikal, tetapi mereka nak rasa selesa dengan kenyataan dan tindakan pemimpin kita. Oleh itu, lebih baik turun ke padang dan berdialog, fahami secara dekat masalah dihadapi oleh rakyat. Saya yakin dapat engage dengan orang muda. Orang muda mempunyai tafsiran bahawa kita tidak faham aspirasi mereka, sombong dan remove daripada reliati yang berlaku di peringkat akar umbi.

Q: Bagaimana Datuk Seri mendapat informasi itu kerana ramai diskussi politik, kadang kadang informasi sampai ke pemimpin adalah berlainan?

A: Itulah yang saya kata turun ke padang, berdialog memang tepat secara dekat, tak payah melalui middle man, atau 3rd party. Kita kena bergerak jentera kita supaya lebih siap sedia untuk berdepan dengan rakyat.

Q: Datuk Seri menyatakan ada perlunya service centre seberapa banyak yang boleh di seluruh negara, apakah ini akan menentukan kejayaan?

A: Ini hanya sebahagian daripada usaha. Kita merupakan sebuah negara yang sedang membangun dan banyak masalah seperti infrastruktur, masalah tempatan, pembangunan da rakyat memerlukan bantuan kami. Oleh itu, pusat perkhidmatan yang cekap boleh memberi gambaran yang baik kepada kerajaan BN. Kalau perhatikan kalau dia datang daripada komponen A, maka pusat perkhidmatan itu akan diuruskan oleh pemimpin daripada parti tersebut. Kalau wakil MCA, maka pusat perkhidmatan itu diuruskan oleh MCA dan orang yang datang untuk mendapatkan perkhidmatan adalah kebanyakannya orang Cina. Begitu juga dengan wakil UMNO di mana yang kunjungi pusat perkhidmatan adalah Melayu. Kalau kita buat pusat perkhidmatan BN, khasnya di kawasan tewas untuk menunjukkan komitmen kerajaan BN dan pucuk pimpinan yang prihatin di kawasan yang kita kalah. Keprihatinan kita bukan sahaja kepada orang yang sokong kita, kita perlu tunjuk bahawa perkhidmatan kita tidak berbeza dan selari dengan konsep 1 Malaysia dan memberi perkhidmatan kepada 1 Malaysia.

to be continued...

上周四,我受邀上ASTRO AWANI时事节目谈论我受委国阵总协调的新职务。以下是访谈的摘要:

问:请向观众解释您的新职务

这是一项全新的职务,没有先例为参照。这是和首相上讨论后所达致的成果,主要的任务是协调国阵尤其是基层之间的步伐,更井然有序地推动国阵的机制。我们不难发现,在国阵败选的地区,国阵成员的斗志遭到重创,士气跌入谷底,一些领袖心萌退意,有者更选择隐退。因此,国阵中央要走入基层,协助重振国阵的机制,加强成员党和居民的联系及推展一些的活动。

问:但国阵向来不也是如此运作吗?抑或大家期望您能制造奇迹?

没有所谓的奇迹…我们都是普通人,大家各有长处。我们所能及的就是竭尽所能,履行受托付的责任。如此而已。

问:许多人对您的任命另眼相看,而且陆续出现许多有关您的评论和分析。

在民主制度的国家,一个决定引不同的多看法是正常现象。对我来说,这是一项责任。我加入马华已超过25年,我深信许多国阵成员(巫统,马华和国大党)对党仍然忠心耿耿。我认为这项委任显示出国阵领导层思想维新的新步骤,事实上国阵必须跳出旧的思维定式。

问:您认为在5个民联掌政的州属,国阵需运用怎样的策略?

跳出思维定式。国阵有14个成员党。国阵在过去每一届大选习惯被赞颂,但308却让我们溃不成军。虽然如此,我们无需惊慌失措,最重要的是吸取308的教训。选民投选了改变,那政府要如何改变以继续为民请命。我们必须要落实首相纳吉提倡的“一个马来西亚”理念,即贯彻以民为本、伸张正义,确保人民享有宪法赋予的权益。目前,不少人民深受反对党的影响,认为政府不公平对待非土著而感到愤怒。


问:为何国阵无力招架反对党的攻势?

正如我刚才所言,我们必须跳出常规的思维。当初国阵以为主流媒体超越一切舆论空间,忽视新媒体的力量,低估了互联网络及博客的影响力。事实上,新媒体的崛起已经颠覆传统媒体的地位,深深影响了新生代的思潮,而年轻一代亦影响了年长一代的想法。


问:整体来看,其他国阵领袖的部落格是否和您一样活跃及具影响力?

没有。这是国阵的弱点。如果我们要改变,首先要改变我们对新媒体的态度。今天,不管国阵做了什么,都会有人上网藉新媒体大力抨击。我们必须要懂如何发动和主导网络文宣战,对这些责难做出反击,这是国阵面对的挑战。


问:但这不是资讯工艺的问题,这关乎如何管理博客这样的一个言论空间,是吗?

是的。我每天要花一小时处理我的部落格。写一篇精彩的博客文章不容易,不仅要有扎实的内容和个人经验,也要有生动的叙述技巧来吸引读者。


问:您和马华总会长的关系如何?

我和马华总会长保持工作伙伴关系,而且关系有待改善。


问: 您认为要如何应对不满和反对国阵的情绪?

人民对国阵产生很负面的观念,这是国阵目前所面对的困境。人民认为国阵不能体恤民心,不了解人民的心声。


问:事实是否如此?

这或许是一些领袖的傲慢态度,让人民有不正确的画面。要贴近人民,我们一定要走进他们的生活。所谓走入基层,并不是随意走走亮相而已,首相、副首相甚至是内阁部长应该微服民访,能即席对话则更好。如果事先铺张安排,出席者肯定都是国阵的支持者。所以,领袖们到巴刹访问小贩和市民并没不妥。


问:敦马在18年前也说过同样的话,当时为什么没这么做?

也许当时他忙于建设国家以致无暇。我们以为人民满足于我国物质上的成就,其实,他们同时也很关注领袖们的言行。因此,了解人民的最佳途径是直接面对群众,展开对话了结民谟。这样,不仅能得到年轻一代的认同,也能改变他们对国阵的看法。


问:您是如何得到基层的讯息?因为基层心声往往无法直达天听。

正如我所说,走入进曾直接对话是最有效的方式,不需通过中间人或第3者传达信息。所以,国阵在基层的机制得随时准备就绪,以面对民众。


问: 您认为国阵有必要在全国设立行动室。这是否能为国阵扳回胜局?

这只是其中一项努力。我国还是发展中的国家,仍然面对许多民生问题,包括公共建设、地方发展等问题。人民需要我们的帮助。国阵行动室的服务效率能使人民对我们改观。目前,国阵成员党各设行动室,服务的对象也有种族局限。可是,设立国阵行动室,特别是在输掉的地区成立工作队,能反映国阵对败选地区的承担和责任心。不仅如此,我们还要而且不分政见为人民平等服务,体现“一个马来西亚”的精神和理念。

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Retrenched Worker and Job Vacancy

The Minister of Human Resource was disappointed that not many of the Malaysian retrenched workers take the opportunity to undergo training. The Minister claimed that they are choosy and unwilling to change their mindset. Of course the Minister is entitled to say what he wants to say. I know him to be one of those hardworking ministers but not pushy enough to make things move in the Ministry.

There is a lack of details about the various training program offered by the Ministry of Human Resources. I have said often in this blog that any training program to be successful should be tailored to the market demand and also taking into consideration the existing skills of the workers. It is difficult to train a middle aged retrenched worker in a totally new set of skills unrelated to his previous job. Training for job conversion requires a lot of cooperation from the industries.

Officials from the Ministry of Human Resource tend to simplify the employment scenario in the country by saying as an example, 10,000 people are retrenched but there are vacancies for 25,000 jobs. Problem arises is that the vacancies are not suitable for the job applicant. In this present downturn, most of the retrenched workers come from the manufacturing sector. Most of them are unskilled or semi skilled. The vacancies that exist will probably come from the service sector and the estates. Hence, one can imagine that it is not easy to migrate from the manufacturing sector to the estates. Hence, the number of vacancies and the number of retrenched workers do not reflect the actual employment situation on the ground. A lot of retrenched workers don’t bother to report to the Ministry of Human Resource, especially the Chinese workers. In the same way, a lot of employers don’t bother to report about job vacancies in their companies.

The estate sector and the construction sector are regarded as hard labour with low pay by Malaysians. Living in the estate is not the cup of tea for many Malaysians. I have alluded to this in one of my postings and I will not repeat here. Until they improve the pay and the perks, Malaysians will continue to avoid the estates. A general worker of RM600 can never survive even if they stay in the estate. Until we have a minimum wage, Malaysians will continue to avoid what is generally regarded as dirty, dull and manual work. Often, it is a job with no career path. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Chua denies new post is to keep him loyal to BN


By Shannon Teoh/ The Malaysian Insider.com

(PETALING JAYA, May 19) Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek insisted today that his loyalty to the Barisan Nasional (BN) should not be questioned, denying the ruling coalition's move to make him coordinate political activities opposition-held states was to cement his loyalty.

“I am a loyal party man and have been serving for 25 years. Leaving is not an easy thing to do,” the MCA deputy president said, when asked if the appointment would make him stick to the BN.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is BN chairman, announced Dr Chua’s appointment yesterday to coordinate the four Pakatan Rakyat-ruled (PR) states.

The maverick former health minister has been at loggerheads with his president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat since being elected in last October’s party polls and had recently revealed that he has been courted by PR to cross over the political divide.

He has also been the most senior BN leader to support fresh elections in Perak to solve the political impasse in the state despite Umno’s reluctance to dissolve the assembly.

That call led to a face-to-face meeting with PAS vice president Datuk Husam Musa yesterday to discuss possible solutions to the stalemate, which resulted in Dr Chua affirming that whoever was confirmed as the rightful government would still have to call for fresh elections to ensure a proper mandate.

A senior BN component leader told The Malaysian Insider however, that Najib had wanted to smooth over continuing tensions in MCA between its top two leaders by giving Dr Chua a significant role in the coalition after he had been omitted from the Cabinet.

Dr Chua told reporters the appointment was the result of a series of meetings with Najib.

However, Ong had yesterday claimed that he had brokered the post with Najib to give MCA a greater role in the coalition.

“I met with Najib twice in four-eye meetings to discuss this. Whatever other meetings might have been held, I do not know about it,” he said, adding that he would keep the prime minister as well as Ong posted on his progress.

He explained that he was tasked to look into the cooperation between BN components with a special focus on states that PR had won in the last general elections, including Perak.

He would also be giving more attention to Negri Sembilan and Johor but denied that this was because BN was slipping in these two states.

“This is in line with the prime minister’s 1Malaysia concept. We are facing a confident PR. What is the point if only your party is strong but BN still loses in an election?” he added.

Chua to mobilise BN resources at grassroots
by Giam Say Khoon/ The Sun Daily
PETALING JAYA (May 19, 2009) : MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said today his new role as Barisan Nasional chief coordinator is to mobilise the resources of all BN component parties at the grassroot level so that they operate as one unified team.

He said his task covers the four states governed by the Pakatan Rakyat -- Kedah, Penang, Kelantan and Selangor -- and Perak, Negri Sembilan and Johor.
Asked why only these states, he said he could not handle all."
We want to ensure the relationship among the BN component parties is always close and nice so that they will be able to move as a team, by first setting up BN service centres. If we want to achieve the goal of the prime minister of having 1Malaysia, we must move as a team regardless of whether you are coming from Umno, MCA, MIC or Gerakan," he said.
Chua said it will not be easy for the component parties to operate in such a way as many may not understand, be unhappy with or dislike such a concept but for a longer term objective, he is confident all BN members who love the coalition will support it."
We are facing a confident Pakatan Rakyat (PR) that strongly believes that it will take over the government in the next general election. We have to be ready now with our experience, members and machinery that have been tested for so many times.
"I can bring all (related) issues (directly) to the prime minister but since I come from MCA, I will also inform the party president," he said.
Asked if he will have problems getting cooperation from all component parties since he does not hold any government post, Chua said those with government post must be more sensitive and keen to work with him as they are the ones who are going to face elections and the people.
Asked whether his appointment was a way to prevent him from crossing over to the opposition, Chua said such talk has been going on since last year and it was not true.
When asked whose idea it was to create the post, he said he met the prime minister three times on this matter, and in the third time, MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein were also present.
On the statement made by Ong on Monday that he actually met Najib twice on the post, Chua said he was not aware that Ong had talked to Najib on his appointment."
He (Ong) had not told me about that. He might have met Najib over the matter but I don't know," he said.
On the meeting between him and PAS vice-president Datuk Husam Musa on the Perak impasse on Monday, Chua said the meeting was in his own personal capacity and that the BN and PR should also sit down and talk for the sake of the people in Perak.
Earlier, Ong told the reporters the outcome of Chua's meeting with Husam was not binding on the party.
He said Chua told him briefly about the meeting which touched on the political impasse in Perak, but clarified that the party had never mada a secision on such a meeting.
On whether MCA agreed with Chua's stand that the best way to settle the Perak impasse is to dissolve the state assembly, Ong pointed out that the Perak case had been referred to court and even "if you talk about the dissolution of the state assembly, we need the menteri besar to call for it."

不知翁诗杰推荐出任国阵总协调●这是我会晤纳吉的成果


郭史光庆 5月19日 下午4点25分


尽管马华总会长翁诗杰昨日声称是他向首相纳吉推荐副手蔡细历出任国阵总协调的新职位,但是蔡细历今日却有不同的说辞,强调这是他三次会晤纳吉所取得的成果。

“这是我和首相会谈的结果,最后首相认为是时候增设类似的职位。”

“我已经会晤首相三次,首两次是所谓‘两人四眼’的会面,第三次翁诗杰与(巫统副主席)希山慕丁也有出席,不过有讨论其他课题。当时首相告知,他将在昨日的国阵会议委任我一个重要职位,以协助国阵的党机关。”

蔡细历声称对翁诗杰是否曾会晤纳吉推荐他一事并不知情,“如果总会长与首相有什么讨论,可能他隐瞒,我不知道,他也没告诉我”。

“这是两个人的秘密,我不知道。”

蔡细历在儿子拉美士国会议员蔡智勇的陪同下,今午于八打灵再也一家酒店召开记者会,回应昨日受委国阵总协调的课题。

否认受委与拉拢跳槽有关

纳吉是在昨晚的国阵最高理事会会议后,宣布委任蔡细历为国阵总协调,负责协助国阵夺回失陷的4个州政权。翁诗杰在记者会后透露,是他两次会晤纳吉推荐蔡细历出任此职。

蔡细历否认获委此职与他早前声称民联拉拢他跳槽的课题有关,“没有关系,(民联拉拢我)跳槽早在去年就已开始”。

受询及他是否曾与纳吉商谈民联拉拢他跳槽的课题,蔡细历守口如瓶,“有些东西还是保持机密,就象你和丈夫的私房话”。
建议设统一国阵服务中心

他表示,根据本身与纳吉的讨论,增设这个职位是为了强化国阵各成员党的草根机关,尤其是国阵在308大选沦陷的五州,包括已经夺回的霹雳。

另外,他也需要专注森美兰与柔佛国阵,不过蔡细历否认这两州出现问题,“我们在森美兰和柔佛依然强稳,但是我们要加强”。

他表示,本身的责任就是确保各地的国阵成员党关系融洽,能够以一个团队的方式来运作。因此他将向纳吉建议,在特定地区尤其是国阵败选的选区,设立统一的国阵服务中心以及举办活动,改变目前成员党各别设立服务中心与举办活动的现象。

“这是因为我们必须面对民联,他们非常有信心能在下一届大选执政,因此我们必须从今天开始做好准备。”

直接向纳吉汇报工作进展

蔡细历指出,他将直接向纳吉负责,定时汇报与讨论其工作进展,不过同时也会告知翁诗杰。

受询及本身没有官职,而且又是来自马华,是否能够获得各州国阵领袖的合作时,蔡细历反指那些拥有官职的更需要与他合作,“因为他们必须在大选面对选民,如若他们拒绝(合作),那么我恭喜他们”。

“首相已经表示,目前是时候将国阵的力量,置于本身的党职之上。如果我们在党内拥有强大的力量,但是国阵却在大选中落败,这也没有用。”

至于此职是否受薪,以及是否相等与某些官职,蔡细历笑笑表示,“我从来没有问过首相,如果你们能够帮我问,我会很感谢你们,因为我就不用难为情了”。

文载自《当今大马》http://www.malaysiakini.com/


Monday, May 18, 2009

Influenza A (H1N1) Flu Epidemic becoming a Pandemic? / A(H1N1)型流感会否成为流行疾病

Now that the H1N1 flu has spread worldwide with 35 countries reporting more than 8,400 cases, the pressure falls upon WHO to upgrade the alert from level 5 to level 6 of the pandemic level. With 2 confirmed cases in Malaysia, we have also gone into the world map and the WHO radar screen of Influenza A (H1N1) virus.

Once a pandemic announcement is made, it would have severe economic consequences affecting trade and travel. Many countries with inadequate health infrastructure will be greatly stressed. Some nations may even place travel restriction and it may totally cripple the tourism industry. For some countries who are dependant on the travel industry, this may be the last straw that breaks the camel’s economic back.

Personally, I feel that there is too much of publicity about Influenza A (H1N1) and this have generated mass panic, rather than rational response. There is no reason to panic over Influenza A (H1N1) since up till now, death from Influenza A (H1N1) is still on the low side, with less than 1 percent. Of course it spreads rapidly and hence, has high morbidity. On the yearly basis, the common flu kills up to 500, 000 people a year without much fun fare and publicity. Of course if the H1N1 virus mutates and becomes more virulent and spread as rapidly as at present, then we are in trouble.

Right now, I have received a lot of calls about people putting on hold their intention to travel. Having said that, we should not let our guards down. Personal hygiene is still the best protection. Until then, we hope that all airplane passengers travelling with the 2 confirmed cases and all people coming into contact with them should come forward for observation. Otherwise, they may be passing the bugs to others.

I have been given to understand that the isolation ward in Sg. Buloh Hospital is full and new patients will be going to General Hospital Kuala Lumpur. I am of the opinion that for the more educated suspect cases, it suffices to put them in house quarantine and close monitoring by doctors, rather than in isolation ward in the hospital.

--------------------

继全球AH1N1)型流感疫区国增至35,确诊病例多达8400宗,全球爆发性压力促使世界卫生组织必须将流感警戒提高到第6级,也是最危急警戒。而大马因出现两宗确认病例,被世卫列入受高度监督的名单内。

我个人认为,AH1N1)型流感的宣传和报道已经过度,以致引起群众恐慌 ,失去理智反应。我们并无需感到惊慌失措 ,因为爆发至今,AH1N1)型流感的死亡病例仍少于1%,属于偏低。由于疫情正迅速蔓延,所以有很高的病发率。其实,若按年计算,普通流感平均每年夺走50万人命,然而却没有被大肆报道。当然,如果H1N1病毒产生突变变得更剧毒,以目前速度蔓延的话,那情况就不妙了。

我了解到许多人都纷纷把出国计划暂搁。不管怎样,我们还是不能掉以轻心,保持个人卫生还是最佳的防范措施。

现在,我们只能希望当时与两名确诊病人同机的乘客,即刻向有关当局备案接受观察。否则,他们很可能将疫情传染开去。

此外,据我了解,双溪毛糯医院的隔离病楼已经爆满,最新呈报病例的病人将被安排在吉隆坡中央医院接受隔离观察。我认为,一些对卫生认知较高的病人其实可以在家自行隔离,并由医生密切监督,无需涌往入院观察。

Welcome to my Blog

As a concerned MCA member, I am trying my best to help in the process of rebuilding and repositioning of the party.

Therefore, I welcome party members and members of public to post your constructive suggestions and opinions on my blog on how to rebuild and reform the party, eventually enabling MCA to regain support from all party members and the community.


Thank you for your suggestions.