Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tengku Razaleigh changed his mind so dramatically

Former finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah joined Kelantan Menteri Besar Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat and issued the statement that the Kelantan state government should now get the oil royalty instead of compassionate payment.

The changed was contradictory to the statement made in October 2000, and his latest statement had confused the people, especially those in Kelantan.

Information Communication and Culture Minister Dr Rais Yatim said he was shocked at the change in the stand of former finance minister, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, which Kelantan had the right to receive oil royalty compared to his earlier stand.

Rais said Tengku Razaleigh's statement in 2000 was very clear that all states in the peninsula did not have any right under the Petroleum Act 1974, and "when Ku Li changed his stand two nights ago, it is most surprising how he could change his actual stand expressed in late October 2000 in front of thousands of people."

"For states thinking of making claims on the oil royalty as Kelantan is doing, they have no right under any Petroleum Act as they are in international waters where the federal government had the right.

"This is the position of the international law as well as the national law. The Petroleum Act is different from the provisions under the Continental Shelf Act where Sabah and Sarawak are subjected to.

The question arises: Why Tengku Razaleigh changed his mind so dramatically?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Nearly 43% of Malaysians above 30 have hypertension

The life is so hectic and it's very clear that so many people are still stressed at work. They did not know how to get stressed out.

It was reported that about 4.8 million or 43 per cent of Malaysians aged 30 years and above have hypertension or high blood pressure.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican said the figure was higher by 10 per cent compared to a decade ago.

He said based on the third study under the 'The National Health and Morbidity Survey', which is conducted every 10 years, the increase was due to many Malaysians having an unhealthy lifestyle and not being concerned about their health.

"We urge all Malaysians to check their blood pressure frequently. It has been revealed through the survey that two-thirds of Malaysians have hypertension and are not aware of the condition," he said.

Speaking at a news conference after officiating the Malaysian Society of Hypertension 7th Annual Scientific Meeting Conference here today, he said of those having hypertension, just 26 per cent took medication to control the condition.

Dr Mohd Ismail said those with hypertension should not stop taking medication as that contributed to the rise in the percentage of people having hypertension.

"If there are those with hypertension who feel their medication has side-effects, tell your doctors and they will change to another medicine," he said.

Friday, January 22, 2010

New petrol pricing mechanism is an ideal policy

The government spends 8,000 ringgit per capita annually on various subsidies including fuel. It is justify that the system for fuel subsidies should be revamped as it could save as much as 1 billion ringgit.

Currently, the Government is subsidizing petrol at 30 sen per litre. The market price for RON 95 is RM2.10 per litre but due to subsidy, the pump price reduces to RM1.80.

From May 1, a cap on the amount of subsidized petrol that a car owner can buy monthly will be implemented. The price for Malaysians will depend on engine capacity and “socio-economic” factors.

Malaysians and non-citizens will have to pay different petrol prices as foreigners are not eligible for subsidized petrol and MyKad will be used to determine the eligibility while purchasing petrol.

Ironically, subsidy is a centrally planned measure that money paid to a given product by the government in order to lower the price. It is claimed that it is a form of assistance based on social justice.

By and large, in order to make the price of oil more affordable, governments provide subsidies, which cause the price of oil to remain fixed below free floating market rates.

Undeniably, one of the adverse effects of subsidies is market distortion, which cause the price of the commodity does not reflect its actual cost. It jeopardizes the GDP as it would lead to excessive fuel consumption and wastage in addition to unhealthy practices such as illicit trade, cheating and smuggling.

Ironically, the idea of subsidy is polarized of the view that subsidies should be removed and the main justification is most subsidies implemented do not effectively benefit the targeted poor rather; the poor are being exploited. The subsidy will reduce the funds available to assist the poor and the rich who feed fat on the subsidy.

This school of thought argued that countries that subsidized fuel has tremendous negative impact which cause demand to continually rise steeply, threatening to outstrip the growth in global supplies.

It is argued that if subsidy not implemented properly which cause a large difference between subsidized and market prices, not only corruption rampant, any effort to reform the system will be suppressed. Moreover, if oil prices increase, the policy of heavily subsidizes oil prices may suffer as the cost of the subsidies will consume ever-larger amounts in their budgets.

Subsidies are "opportunity costs" which prevent the government from allocating more to national development to benefit a larger segment of the population.

Developed economies rather than subsidizing the fuel, often place a tax on every liter of petrol sold, to discourage over-consumption by the rich.

The ideal policy is that general subsidy applying to everybody should be removed and replaced with more targeted subsidies to help out the low-income households.

Undoubtedly, the new petrol pricing mechanism is the ideal policy but the development of an application model for effective implementation by having strong; informed opinions should be the first priority.

The authority should also need to make cost effectiveness as an ultimate priority in its revised policy toward the new petrol pricing mechanism to avoid the critica
l strings attached or hidden agendas.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Opposition losing Malay support in Perak

It was reported that Pakatan Rakyat has admitted to seeing a slight drop in Malay electoral support in Perak, almost a year after Barisan Nasional's controversial coup plunged the state into a crisis.

Ousted Menteri Besar Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said that, based on a survey, Pakatan has lost about 7-8 percent of the Malay electorate in Perak.

He said, the decline has been particularly significant in rural areas which Pakatan has not been able to penetrate successfully.

“This is because the alternative media has not been able to challenge the traditional media like Utusan Malaysia and other newspapers.

"So we reverted to trying to maintain the status quo…but unfortunately, BN has menggula-gulakan (given sweeteners) to village folk.

During festive seasons, BN also made a concerted effort to meet the people in remote areas by giving a lot of goodies.

Conceding failure in luring back support, Nizar attributed this to two main issues that are “close to the Malay heart”.

The first was the allegation that Perak Pakatan had been 'giving face to the Chinese and has become a stooge of (Chinese-majority) DAP'.

“The second issue is that I had committed treased with regard to the palace, to the sultan.”

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

1Malaysia is better than middle path Malaysia

The eight values of 1Malaysia as articulated by Najib Razak are perseverance, a culture of excellence, acceptance, loyalty, education, humility, integrity, and meritocracy.

It strongly emphasizes national unity, ethnic tolerance, and government efficiency.

The DAP’s “middle path” strategy, also named “Middle Malaysia”, was announced by party secretary-general and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, at the party’s 15th national conference.

They wanted to show that the opposition was providing an alternative and fighting "for fair and equality for all Malaysians".

The strategy aim at projecting a collective image of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and broaden their common ground as they see slogans are not enough to draw support from people, instead the government must appeal to all communities.

In the past, DAP had found itself to be the target of those who branded the party as "a Chinese chauvinist establishment out to erode the special privileges of the Malays and undermine Islam, the national religion".

It is just like Information communication and culture minister Dr Rais Yatim said, DAP's "middle path" strategy being like “the owl pining for the moon” (Pungguk rindukan bulan) and the moon will not drop unless if Allah wills it."

Friday, January 15, 2010

Stop religious violence by banning the use of 'Allah' by Christians

Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz in an exclusive interview said, banning the use of 'Allah' by Christians was a pre-emptive move to stop outbreaks of religious violence in the nation.

However, he said, Christians in the two Malaysian Borneo states can continue to use the term 'Allah' for God in Malay print as they have done for the last 300 years.

“Muslims in Peninsular Malaysia cannot accept it as 'Allah' was never used in Christian preaching until recently and they questioned the motive behind the substitution of Tuhan for 'Allah'.”

He added that Christians should recognize that using 'Allah' in their worship and publications is sensitive to Muslims and that this issue was not going to be solved by going to court.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Muslim NGOs protect churches

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib quoting Quranic verses to stress that Islam forbids Muslims from insulting other religions and the desecration of places of worship.

It was reported that the 15-member Coalition of Muslim NGOs against the Misuse of the term 'Allah' has set up a 60-strong team of volunteers to protect churches in the Klang Valley.

Among the groups making up the coalition that issued the statement condemned the torching of churches by “irresponsible parties” are Teras, Perkasa, PPIM, Macma, Batas, PPM, PUM, JIM, Darussyifa, PKPIM, IRRIMM, AMB, and Kimma.

The coalition said that it would help the police to “ensure the safety of the Christian community and to protect their places of worship”.

The arson attacks on three churches in the Klang Valley were condemned as “un-Islamic” by Islamic leaders and the 60-strong team of volunteers to protect churches in the Klang Valley could be beneficial and believed can greatly help to reduce religious tensions.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

No fresh polls for MCA

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Chew Mei Fun said today she would not resign as the Wanita MCA chief as it would not have any impact on the fresh elections the party is to hold to resolve its leadership crisis.

She also said she did not believe that the postponement of the fresh elections was due to her reluctance or that of MCA Youth chief Dr Wee Ka Siong to resign from their posts.

A simple logic tells us if she and her supporters resigned, MCA will fulfill the requirement of two-thirds of the CC members having to resign to allow for fresh elections to be held.

MCA required eight more resignation, so far only 13 CC members, among them MCA vice-president and Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai, Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Wee Jeck Seng and Deputy Higher Education Minister Dr Hou Kok Chung, have handed in undated resignation letters to party secretary-general Wong Foon Meng to pave the way for the fresh elections.

The question arises: Why Chew Mei Fun does not want to resign to pave the way for a contest?