Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fuel Price Hike

The recent fuel price hike is most unwelcome at a time when the people are still grappling with the effects of record high prices of food items. Next, with the fuel price hike, a cascade of other problems that are more humanitarian in nature may emerge soon in poverty-stricken areas and this will add to the complexity of the dissatisfaction, frustration, and anger of the people in the urban areas.

The government or Petronas for that matter has not yet answered professionally the simple but smart question of the people. “In an oil-rich state like Sabah why is the price of fuel so unbelievably and illogically high?” In Venesuela, an oil-rich nation, the price of petrol is just about RM0.70 per liter as revealed by a reliable source. Perhaps Malaysia could take a page on oil management from Venesuela.

Of course we are encouraged to personally take positive measures in the face of this crisis but this is just micro economics which is far from complete to solve the problem which is systemic in nature. Nevertheless, I did try out some measures. I minimized my travels greatly and bought a fuel enhancer that saves fuel up to 28 percent while it increases engine power by up to 20 percent. The cost of the fuel enhancer is RM39.00 with a meagre content of 120ml. For every 5 litres of diesel I pump into my Ranger I add an ml of the enhancer. Apart from that the enhancer reduces harmful emissions up to 98 percent and extends engine life. So far it works.

But then again this is not the ultimate solution. We must address the elusive but bottom-line question: “Why is fuel very expensive in oil-rich states?” The people are suffering from the fuel price hike now because of the lack of a strategic, comprehensive, futuristic, transparent, and people-oriented management plan on the energy resource. I support the call on Petronas to make all its accounts and transactions available soon for public scrutiny. Irregularities should meet the initiation of an appropriate Commission of Inquiry.

Finally, it may not be a scientific management problem but a basic gut drive that we are dealing with after all, as we fondly remember the hint insisted by Mahatma Gandhi and paraphrasing him, “Oil is enough for everybody’s need but not enough for somebody’s greed.”

Monday, May 12, 2008

From Bungalow to Terraced House: Sabah MPs Slow and Blur

Our Sabah and Sarawak MPs are slow to read the signs of the time and blur to decipher the winds of the moment. If they feel that there is injustice and unfairness done they should cross over to a more viable party to offset the injustice and unfairness.

Instead of begging for positions from a collapsing government they should write a new chapter for Sabah. The proposed content of that chapter will be: A Deputy Prime Minister, New Genuine Autonomy, Redemption of our rights enshrined in the 20 Points Document, 20% oil royalty, 16 September as National Day as starters.

There is no point discussing insignificant matters like JPPS to be changed to SDO or reshuffling a dysfunctional cabinet, etc. etc. All these matters will be automatically solved when we have a new more enlightened and just Malaysian government.

So, East Malaysian MPs what are you waiting for? The rakyat is waiting for you!

On the Mandatory Retirement Age at 58

The govrnment must have strong reasons to raise the mandatory retirement age to 58 years for civil servants. There must be valid reasons for the extention: more quality contributions, problem-solving, creative and innovative ideas, dynamism and others and all these should lead to impoved efficiency of the civil service.

It is not just for the welfare of the civil servants but that of the rakyat that must be of concern. It is heartening to see when civil servants perform their work with commitment and dedication but disgusting when they are indiffereent to the rakyat when they request for help in the offices, most especially the kampong folks.

Remember that the civil servants should be servant to the rakyat, their bosses who pay for good services.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

No to the Proposed Anti-Hop Legislation

Let not the Rakyat be Bamboozled Again

I beg to differ from the main stream thinking expressed in your esteemed paper as regards the attempt to garner support for the legislation of the Anti-Hop law. We need to be philosophical and sophisticated in debates that involve important matters. For one, its legislation is undemocratic, that is, not people-oriented and unconstitutional as it undermines and kills the freedom of choice, option and preference of the person. If a Member of Parliament (MP) wishes to “change clothes” all he or she needs to do is to refer to the rakyat, his or her supporters for their opinions and decide based on a simple majority from their decision. The government has no right and constitutional standing to impose its morality on MPs.

As regards the contention that it is unfair for the MPs, Assemblymen and Assemblywomen to leave the political party that gave them the ticket to stand on, one must remember that a political party is just a creature of the rakyat, that is, its existence depends on the rakyat, the commanding bigger picture in life. If the people representative sincerely thinks that the political party can no longer serve the good of the rakyat, it is appropriate and rightly so for the people representative to leave it in view of a better vehicle of service for the rakyat. The people representative may leave the party in good conscience and, therefore, such act is moral. The guiding principle and spirit to be adhered to here is the general good of the rakyat first and not the party’s.

Democracy, rule for the people and by the people, should be the main focus and the more crucial issue to defend and debate and should not be conveniently eclipsed by the sudden proposition of morality. For the BN government to talk about morality now comes to me as a great surprise as it has yet to address the several alleged election offences, one of which is the use of big money to buy votes, committed by its members (Refer to 12. Kesalahan-Kesalahan Pilihan Raya, 12.3.5). By the way, I heard bankers talking about detecting and separating counterfeit RM notes even till last week. For sure they must have been printed in great abundance for purposes known to the voters!

When the federal government brought down the PBS government in the 1990s it encouraged enthusiastically frog politics. Now, it is against MPs from “frogging.” In hindsight, I can only say “you reap what you sow.”

The BN government should consider seriously another alternative, that is, apply the Integrative Social Contracts Theory (ISCT) that allows for moral diversity among various cultures while maintaining certain universal norms as it (ISCT) is realistic, comprehensive, universal, normative, and most of all democratic.

If the BN government is successful in legislating this Anti-Hop law, it must apply retrospectively and retroactively, that is, it must be applied to MPs and Assemblymen and Assemblywomen who have “frogged” to cause the downfall of a government. If it does not apply to these then it is obvious that the government is practicing a double standard. Practising a double standard is more immoral than “political frogging.”

As the original Greek concept of government (“Kybernan”) reminds us, the government is just a driver, a guiding and steering agent, not the nation. The people constitute the nation. The government must never be equated to the nation as it (the government) is a mere creature of the nation. The government should be at the service of the nation, the rakyat and not otherwise. The government being a human institution can err and it is far from being perfect. In some cases the government may only serve its own cause and purposes and not that of the people. It can destroy the nation when it (the government) becomes tyrannical and despotic. To save it we need patriots. A genuine patriot, therefore, is someone who sacrificially protects and guards his or her nation from the cruelties and oppression of the government.

As I see it and considering the circumstances in which this matter is brought to the forefront, it is, at best, a last ditch effort by a rookie to salvage a shaky and collapsing BN government.

Media MP – People Debating Issues in the Media – A New Feature

On Anifah declining the post of Deputy Transport Minister
A great opportunity to help the rakyat discarded just like that...He should have accepted the post in view of the needs of the rakyat, not just because of giving a chance to a younger individual. His rationale in not accepting the post is suspect and egoistic. He should have considered the greatest good for the greatest number by being utilitarian to the Sabahans. Therefore, an unwise move he’ll regret later.

On the appointment of Rafidah and Sharizat as advisors to the PM
A move reflecting weak leadership. Ng Yen Yen should be accorded full trust in running the ministry. Giving Rafidah and Sharizat ministerial status as advisers is wasting the rakyat’s money as both have duplicating roles. The advisorship from the two should be on a voluntary basis and honorary in nature then only we see genuine contributions from the two, if any, that is.

On the education ministry and higher education ministry portfolios
The ministers for both portfolios should be drawn from those who have themselves cultivated the life of the mind, with vigorous teaching experiences and a valid and recognized doctorate in education. We need people who can paradigm shift, not brandish keris.

On the Huguan Siou
Majority of the KDMR don’t see and feel there is one. However, the people see dissensions among the KDMR, brother fighting against brother. They see people who are greedy for positions to a point where they have to fight their own fellow brothers to get the social status and positions. They see leaders unable to defend the marginalized village folks of Kg. Maang and Kg. Sinulihan Baru. In fact this so-called leader needed the people to defend him instead. What an irony?

The supposed to be "Brave Leader" (Huguan Siou) is defenseless himself. Motivated by greed and positions he cringes and crumbles shamefully before a minister in the Prime Minister's Department. Instead of being an agent and force of unity of the KDMR he is a destroyer of that unity and force.

In the future such social position will become irrelevant and vestigial when there emerges a genuine leader who integrates and truly cares for the KDMR. I hope such a time is not too distant because the KDMR needs a genuine Huguan Siou NOW.

On candidates not being elected
That’s not the end of the world. What’s vital is for the rakyat to feel and see in you a concerned and caring person vis-à-vis their needs. The acid test of whether you are a wakil rakyat or not lies in your continued defence of the rakyat who are oppressed. As a candidate you might have lost in number only but actually won the thousands of hearts of the electorate. You are now better able to reflect the rakyat’s life and vibrate with them. This is crucial. Thus, you are more a wakil rakyat than those so-called elected ones who spend most of their time in KL after "winning" or is it cheating in the elections.

On Patriotism
The government is just a driver, a guiding and steering agent, not the nation. The people constitute the nation. The government must never be equated to the nation as the government is a mere creature of the nation. The government being a human institution can err and it is far from being perfect. In some cases the government may only serve its own cause and not that of the people. It can become tyrannical and despotic. A genuine patriot, therefore, is someone who sacrificially protects and guards his/her nation from the cruelties and oppressions of the government.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Coal Not the Alternative But A Hidden Dirty Agenda

Leo Moggie of TNB instead of addressing appropriately the power supply problems faced by Sabahans was attempting to articulate his rationalisations of a hidden dirty agenda - the extraction of coal in Danum Valley. We fully know that the supply of coal from Indonesia is very much limited. The solution proposed by Leo will lead to the extraction of coal from the nearest coal site, that is, Danum Valley.

Sabahans must register the strongest protest against Leo Moggie's malintentioned proposal as not doing so will result in another devastation of the last pristine Bornean ecosystem that's non existant in other parts of the world. Sabahans must protest now as it would not be easy to dismantle the coal plant when it is already fully operational.

If SESB under TNB is unable to deliver the goods the State Government should look for more reliable alternatives including but not limited to researching sustainable power supply management in advanced western countries.

When it comes to billing the consumers SESB is insistent but its services are deplorable. If SESB is incapable of solving this perennial power supply problem immediately, the rakyat who have been faithful consumers have the right to boycott payment of their electricity bills.

The thing is, get this basic problem solved immediately. Shape up or be shipped out!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Rights More Important Than Development

Looking back at the past, the current issues of the people and the questionable promises and leadership today, the people's future is bleak especially with the present political trend here in Sabah.

We must do something drastic. It is useless for us to see physical and material developments in Sabah if we are not happy with certain significant matters that affect us all.

Most importantly, one fine day we may lose our sovereignty and rights over Sabah and when that time comes we will also lose our dignity because we do not take the necessary steps today to protect and defend Sabah from external foreign intrusion.

Then we will say, "These physical developments are not ours; they were designed for the intruders. Sabah is no longer ours." And we will regret for our failure to be responsible Sabahans.