Saturday, March 31, 2007

Which Part Of The constituition They dont understand?

There is a general feeling of despondency over the gradual erosion of non-Muslims rights as provided for in the Federal Constitution. The State Legislative List in the 9th schedule of the Federal Constitution provides specific provisions that the “syariah courts ... shall have jurisdiction only over persons professing the religion of Islam” and yet despite this legal provision cast solidly in stone, two High Court judges deemed it fit by a majority decision to dismiss Subashini's appeal.
The majority decision went on further to declare quite wrongly and in direct contravention of the Federal Constitution that Subashini's recourse albeit a non-Muslim was at the Syariah Court and not at the High Court.
How two learned judges could circumvent the Fedaral Constitution and arrived at such an erroneous decision is certainly mind boggling. There are two possibilities why a straight forward case ended in such an acrimonious fashion.
Firstly, the two judges were so illiterate in their knowledge of the provision of the Federal Constitution that they overlooked the relevant provisions embodied in the constitution. This is quite unlikely as the provision in the constitution is so elegantly crafted without any ambiguity that a chambering law student would not even overlook it.
The second more plausible possibility is that unseen hands already decided on the fate of Subashini's case even before her appeal was to be heard by the High Court. Earlier, all three attempts to divert the case of S Sharmala, M Moorty and A Rayappan to the Syariah Court ended in failure.
For some in the syariah and civil courts, there is a fervent desire to prove to the world that justice for the non-Muslims can also be obtained at the Syariah Court. In order to prove this, a non-Muslim must first be made to submit to the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court. Failure to bring a non-Muslim to the Syariah Court would tantamount to failure to reveal to the world how Islamic jurisprudence would deal with a non-Muslim and receive justice.
In short, there is an attempt by some authorities to compel a non-Muslim to submit to the Syariah Court so that it will have an opportunity to vindicate its propaganda that Islamic law is impartial to all and sundry.
There is no doubt in my mind that Subashini will win her case in the Syariah Court and that this case will be made a shining example for future cases to be brought to the Syariah Court for adjudication.
However, before we rush into this unprecedented decision to seek justice in the Syariah Court, bear in mind the consequences. At what cost, because this will inevitably open the floodgates for all future such cases to be brought to the Syariah Court and the consequences can be disastrous.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Why Iskander Development Region Will Fail

The response from the foreign investors to the Iskander development Region is quite evident.After few months from its launching, the Iskander Development Region has received lukewarm response from the foreign investors.This prompted Tun Musa Hitam,amember of the Iskander Development region Authority(IRDA)advisory Council to say unequivocally that'it was time to give up the New Economic Policy(NEP) for the success of the Iskander development Region(IDR).'On 22nd March 2007, our P.M declared that six sectors would not have to have Bumiputra equity participation.
For 50 years our malay political masters have deemed fit to cling to the NEP policy and now without much persuasion they have willingly relinquish that condition for the Iskander development Region.Why?
The simple reason is that Malaysia has missed the boat.Most of the FDI's that we are targeting have taken flight to China's economic region of Shenzan,Hangchou and to India's Mumbai and Bangalore region.Of late whatever FDI left have gone to Vietnam.So who are we trying to attract to the IDR? In order to answer this question let us examine the profile of the investors in Malaysia.
For the last ten years, the main investors in Malaysia have been the U.S and Singapore.Both their investments in Malaysia constitute almost 50% of all investments in the country.Therefore based on historical statistic it would be safe to assume that this would be the same category of investors targeted.
But would Singaporeans keen to invest in the Iskander develoment Region?Obviously not.Why would they want to invest in a country that seem to treat their presence with utter disdain and contempt.The scenic bridge, the sand issue, the use of Malaysian air space and a host of other minor irritants have seen relationship between the two countries at their lowest level.No matter what the incentives offered bythe Malaysian counterparts, the Singapore govt is defintely not going to take the bait.Further, a successful Iskander Development project would be at the expense of Singapore's own development.So logically it would be in Singapore's interest for theIDR to fail.
As for the Americans, would they want to pour their Investment dollars in the Iskander development region.?Definetely not, especially when their President was recently charged under the war crimes tribunal held in kuala Lumpur and presumably under the patronage of the govt.
By our own volition, our govt have foolishly offended the two most likely investors in the country and any amount of incentives or cajoling would unlikely to have any positive impact.Without the participation of these two major investors the Iskander development Region is destined to fail.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A.G's Chambers must wake up from slumber.

Lately, Our Attorney-General, Abdul Ghani Patail seems to be in a state of hibernation.So many legal infractions have passed through his hallowed corridor and yet not one of any consequence have been brought to face justice.Let us refresh his memory.
The mufti of Perak nearly caused a religious riot when he spread a false rumour from his pulpit that there was a mass conversion of muslims to christianity.There was strong irrefutable evidence that he had deliberately disseminated this false rumour to his congregation which nearly resulted in a riot at the church.If it had been any body else there would surely be a tangible case to be brought to court.Why then was the Perak Mufti exempted from any charge?
Then there was this Senator whose son had found it more lucrative to clone APs rather then apply it through the normal channel.The Custom dept. had found very credible evidence that a systemmatic cloning of APs was carried out by the Senator's son and the money involved was not a paltry sum but a conservative figure of $40 million.The custom dept were adamant that their evidence was strong and irrefutable and yet the Attorney-General have not filed any action against the culprits.Can the A.G explain why no charge was filed?
Then we have the famous wakil Rakyat fromMalacca who asked the Custom dept to close one eye on his indiscretion.If Anwar can be charged for corruption for giving orders beneficial to his interest then what is the difference with this case?Why the double standard?
Of late we see and hear alot of criminals being acquitted for their crimes for the simple reason caused by shoddy and inept preparation of cases.The thought that murderers and violent criminals are released because of technical reasons is a daunting prospect face by ordinary citizens of this country.
Theprospect for the future becomes even more grim when the very institution,the office of the Attorney-General, which we so highly put our faith in beomes mired in incompetence.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Blue Mosque,1606

Blue Mosque,1606, famous for its architecture as for its blue tiles

Night life in Istanbul

Friday, March 16, 2007

Those Linked to DPM the beneficiaries of N.S

I wish to refer to Victor See's letter on Who really benefit from NS? Our kids? To a certain extent, I would venture to say that the kids do benefit from a three-month stint, which in many ways is similar to a summer camp. As with all summer camps, the activities and programme sprinkle with military lifestyle can be an exciting experience for the youngsters who are leaving home for the first time.
As for achieving its stated objective of racial integration, it is a complete failure. After spending the most part of their adolescent life in complete isolation, how could anyone expect these kids from different races and diverse background to suddenly accept each other as buddies?
The expectation of the National Service in achieving racial integration is not only unrealistic but is a wanton waste of public funds. Spending a few billion ringgit annually on a programme that do not achieve its stated goal cannot be considered prudent expenditure.
Who then are the real beneficiaries of the NS? From the onset when the NS scheme was formulated and the budget allocated, it became crystal clear that the beneficiaries were the contractors given lucrative contracts to set up the camps throughout the length and breadth of the country.
We have lucrative contracts given to transport the trainees to the camps, the contract for supplies of uniforms and accessories, caterers for food and a host of other contracts too numerous to mention but all at a cost that is way above market price because they were given ad hoc and without proper tender.
And if we were to study the recipients of these contracts, the trail would lead to one source - the Defence Ministry where the deputy prime minister is the head. Part of the reason for the failure of the NS scheme could be attributed to discriminatory way in which the contracts were given out. Many of them just simply didn’t have the experience and expertise to do the job.
An example was the transport of trainees contract given to ex-army and retired officers. On the day of departure, many trainees were left stranded without any transport to ferry them to their intended destination. The vehicles scheduled to transport them did not even bother to turn up at the appointed time and place. Other failed contracts included catering where some camps’ food supplied for trainees were even not fit for human consumption.
The whole concept of fostering racial integration via the NS route is an illusory one. The path is not only fraught with uncertainties and failures, but at what cost? To date, we have already recorded 19 fatalities and the authorities are nowhere near a solution to arrest this problem. This incident of high fatalities should demand a comprehensive investigation into the preliminary screening of the trainees to ascertain if they are medically fit to be enlisted for the NS programme.
Unless and until such time when a suitable mechanism is in place to ascertain the suitability and eligibility of each trainee on medical grounds, the NS scheme based on its current form should be temporarily suspended.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

EPF forgot Sime Darby"s lesson in UMBC

The pension fund, EPF must surely think that money grows on trees when they decided to take-over RHB at a cost of $10 billion.They have still not recovered from their early foray into Bank Islam and Bank Pertanian where they suffered massive losses.BankIslam alone in its audited profit of two years suffered losses of $2.3 billion.Either they are so naiive about business investment in the banking sector or they must be sadist looking for more punishment.
If there is any parallel investment failure in the banking sector we need not go to far for examples.Remember Sime Darby's adventure with UMBC?Yes its brief foray caused them to lose more than $250 million in a short span of time.Luckily in quick timeUMBC was disposed off lock,stock and barrel and that was the first and last time Sime comtemplated venturing into the banking sector deemed 'a profitable business which could bring long -term benefit'by its CEO Mr. Azlan Zainol.
If it was profitable why did Sime's investment in UMBC resulted in such a massive loss?By his own admission Mr Azlan Zainol said they have no experience in Banking but they were going to engage professionals to run the bank.Does this imply that UMBC was not run by experts in the banking field? Surely not, because we would assume that Sime would have carefully selected a team of banking experts and yet they came up with a loss.
With the benefit of such banking failure one would have thought EPF would have been more cautious and prudent in their choice of Banking as an investment.
What really boggles the mind is that RHB is a debt-laden banking group and the bottom line is that if it was so profitable as claimed by its CEO then why is it heavily in debt? One simple test why it is a poor investment is to ask yourself why RHB owners are selling?Try asking owners of Hong Leong Bank or Public Bank to sell and see their response.
The recent forage into risky investments which yielded considerable losses in many of its portfolios reflects bad management.For too long the govt has regarded EPF as one of its GLC and like all GLC's poor management by key personnel has resulted in huge losses.And like all GLCs they are run by political cronies and supporters rather then for their expertise and experience.
If the pension fund is to recoup some of its earlier losses especially in MBSB (Malaysia Building society) where it loss more than a billion dollars then some sanity must prevail.The money collected from employees are sacrosanct and not meant to be indulged in risky speculative ventures nor should it be used to bail out UMNO cronies in failed busineses.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Burj Al Arab Hotel,Dubai

In this exceptional setting, traditions of Arabic hospitality are combined with the latest technology to provide a monument for the new millenium. Come and experience the first 7* hotel in this world - out of this world! SC 07/06 This unique sail shaped building stands proudly on a man-made island some 280 metres offshore, linked to the mainland by a gently curving causeway. At 321 metres high, the hotel is taller than the Eiffel Tower and only 60 metres shorter than the Empire State Building, the world's tallest hotel building. The hotel is a landmark and icon on the Dubai skyline. This seven star hotel is located on it's own man made island opposite Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Madinat Jumeirah approximately 40kms from Dubai.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

My Admiration For Lee Kuan Yew

I find the criticism by ex-Singaporean (Malayasiakini 1/03/07 ) regarding the extravagance of Mrs Lee kuan Yew totally unfair and without merit.First and foremost, the writer fail to appreciate what this great man has done for this small nation state, the neighbours call the'red dot'.His transformation of this small nation bereft of any natural resources to what it is today is an economical miracle no modern day country can ever emulate.I say it with envy because as a Malaysian Ihave the fortune to witness four past Prime Ministers and five including the present one and sad to say none of them can ever measure to this great Singapore icon.
The writer begrudged the Singapore premier for converting a Boeing 747 to fly his ailing wife to London for medical treatment and called it extravagant.The round trip perhaps may cost $5 million but does he know how much it cost to buy one?The one bought by our P.M cost about $210 million and that does not include expenditure on maintenance and stand-by crew.From this comparison alone we can see the cost saving incurred despite his one off expenditure to charter the flight to London.
No Singaporean in his right mind would begrudge such a luxury to this great man who have brought Singapore from obscurity to a prosperous first world nation.As a Malaysian I have never cease to admire this great man and it would be a dream for me to shake his hand and seek his autograph in his book 'Memoirsof Lee Kuan Yew.'