Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Delicate Balance 2 - Meritocracy vs Cruciality

No doubt the government is facing many hard choices today.

Should English be made compulsory in schools? Should scholarship be awarded on the basis of merit (outstanding performance in studies) or to enable poor students with promising ability to further their studies? Should all impediments to trade and commerce at both national and international level be removed to achieve maximum economic growth without considering the unequal opportunity for our businessmen to participate? Should corruption be stamped out without any compromise even if some top political, judicial, and business leaders must be put behind bars? Should the permissive culture of the west be allowed into the country without tough censorship so that Malaysians will become very modern? Should the green lungs of the nation be allowed to shrink further to allow for a faster expansion of modern housing and industrial sites?.....

The questions can go on and on. In many regards the government is desperately searching for a quick answer to prove to the multiracial electorate that it's very capable and trustworthy, and that it has always been fair to all the groups in our multiracial community.

The danger is, any quick and hasty decision may undo many of the key hinges and cables which had held the Malaysian society together for the past 52 years. While English is very important for getting a job and career development, Bahasa is the foundation stone for becoming a Malaysian nation. Fluency in English will open many job opportunities in the country and overseas but will not make you an 'orang putih' and be accepted as one by the Mat Salleh. As a Malaysian you need to be proficient in Bahasa and it was for this reason that a credit in Bahasa (for the SPM)was made compulsory for getting a job in the civil service after Merdeka.

Remember. Without a basic Bahasa requirement in an application for job in this country, any foreigner can compete for the job. English can be spoken by almost anyone although at different level of proficiency but speaking Bahasa (unless you're a multilingual) makes you a Malaysian.

About the award of scholarship based purely on merit, the question to ask is: Is it really surprising if the sons and daughters of well-to-do and well educated families in the cities get very good results in their exams. If the best among them are considered for a scholarship, how about the sons and daughters of poor families who don't do so well compared to their rich peers but have made considerable progress among those in their leagues? Are we going to help the genius sons and daughters of the well-do-do or the promising sons and daughters of the poor farmers and villagers? Award the budding geniuses by all means but do not take away the opportunities for the poor boys and girls who cannot compete with the rich geniuses, to get a chance for pursuing further studies. To them getting a chance to further their studies is a crucial matter. Without government assistance they will never move into the higher levels of society while the
children of well-to-do families are already there.

Meritocracy has a limit when it's used as a basis for selecting the young to go for further education. If a family can easily support the children to go for further studies why deprive the
children of poor families of the opportunity? There should be a differentiation between awards, scholarships, and financial assistance. Don't lump them all together.

On the question of removing all constraints to investment in this country to achieve maximum economic growth ( throwing equity conditions overboard and limiting the scope of the FIC), do we really want to be a super rich country but with 70% of the wealth belonging to foreign investors, with more lands going to the hands of the wealthy, and 10% of the people enjoying
more than 80% of the wealth of the nation? Do we please the foreign investors more than those who are going to vote in the next GE?

The delicate balance between wealth creation and wealth distribution has to be considered with greater urgency before undoing what the earlier leaders of this nation had established. Jangan nanti yang dikejar tak dapat yang dikendung berciciran.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Nubhan Sings at a Wedding

****My family attended a wedding of a relative in Klana Jaya and was surprised to see Nubhan, the AF6 no.3 sensation, humbly fulfilling the request of relatives to sing a few songs. Despite the less than desirable quality of the karaoke set and the mike offered to him, the national celebrity fulfilled our request. What a sport. I know of a number of older recording artists who would not sing at a wedding since it's for gratis and probably infra dig for the likes of them.

Nubhan. Thank you. You'were great although the performance was not preceeded by any fanfare,
not even a proper tribute by the MC.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

When You Feel Lost.......

The unexpected demise of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett certainly took us all by surprise. But that is the
reality of life. When it's time to go we go no matter how rich and famous you are.

Alfatihah for Mikail (MJ) and May You Rest in Peace for Farrah.

It's a sobering reminder to all of us that no matter how rich and popular you are, our exit from this world can be so sudden and cold. Mikail, like Elvis Presley and even Marilyn Monroe, seemed to be at a loss towards the end of his life. But Mikail did not cause his own demise, for he was a Muslim and Islam forbids such a thing. In fact Islam calls on all who feel lost in life to rediscover the meaning of life through its teachings. I'm sure Mikail has done just that but unfortunately his time was up.

Yes, we all feel lost sometimes for the world can be so crazy. But you won't think of forcing your way out of this world if you've to present yourself before Allah five times in a day and night. You always have a date to catch up with.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Delicate Balance: Growth and Distribution

The PM is going to announce major changes to the FIC gidelines - foreign investment guidelines as unveiled by his dad in 1974. It is expected that more liberalization of trade and investment by foreign investors will be made.

I just hope that the PM will not sacrifice the proverbial duck for the golden eggs. We all want economic and social development but the distribution and equity factor has
always been the key to national unity and harmony in Malaysia. There's a delicate balance between growth, equity and development in this multiracial nation. If the pursuit of growth and generation of wealth is allowed to go full steam without considering equity and redistribution according to the NEP, we might end up with a very
rich country but full of dissatisfaction and social turbulence. Some Malaysians would be eating out of golden plates and crystal goblets but others will be eating out of coconut shells and bamboo glasses.

Yes, you can say that hardcore poverty has been overcome and will continue to be vanquished.But remember. There're still thousands of empoverished families in the country and the media is slowly uncoveing and exposing them. The standards for being rich and poor have changed considerably and those quite well-off before have become relatively poor. Most important of all the ownership of priceless business centers and commercial buildings in the city and town centers can never be reallocated or balanced up by the ownership of some new-rich Bumiputera homes in the new residential areas. Our goal to restructure society to reduce ethnic and economic differences has not achieved much progress.

What's the point of becoming a very wealthy, sophisticated and prosperous nation if only the business and industrial communities can lay claim to its ownership, beside the political leaders in power, of course. Such an imbalance would not allow peace and harmony to prevail but rather precipitate unrest and turbulence.

Maybe we should slow down a bit and make sure that the equity and redistributive process catches up with growth and development.

PTD Pensioners

Since retiring from the service and becoming a blogger, I've surfed the internet to check on other retired civil servants who have taken on to blogging. Especially those who had been my peers or seniors in the PTD ( Diplomatic and Administrative service).

So far I found none, allowing for the possibility that they're hiding behind some pseudonyms.They do not seem to follow the retired politicians and especially the scribes and journalists. These people never actually retire, of course. They just change the arena for the pursuance of their activities.

What happened to the retired PTDs? Of course some are still working, filling in key posts in the private sector or in the GRCs. I've seen some becoming highly paid Public Relations men. They're the ones who had utilized their contacts and PR acumen well before retiring. Others seem to just disappear from the scene, not even surfacing on the website. That also goes for senior government personnel in the other services who have so much useful experience to share with the younger bloggers.

Many national problems and issues our political leaders are grappling with today would be well-known to the retired officers. If they could come up with some of their views, a lot of the backgrounds to the problems would be unveiled to make the search for their solutions much easier. If retired politicians and journalists could come out openly with their views, why are the ex-PTDs and other senior civil servants afraid to do so? Some of them had been very outspoken when they were in the service - people like Tan Sri Arshad Ayub, Tan Sri Ahmad Nordin, Tan Sri Othman Rizal etc.etc. Even very outspoken senior members of the Judiciary who have long retired like Tan Sri Salleh Abbas seem to be very silent now, after being compensated for the injustice suffered. Has life become so comfortable that they have nothing to complain

Or is the political situation in the country still too dicey to speak their mind out?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Iran Joins the Troubled States

The number of nations in the world today rocked by internal bickerings and unrest keeps increasing. Some, of course, have a reputation of always being so but not drawing much interest among the superpowers. Others get the superpowers all excited because of many reasons best known to them, but quite easily deduced by the rest of the world.

The troubles in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq have raged on for many years with full committment from the superpowers especially the US. The reasons for their involvement are well known. Trouble in North Korea would be of particular interest because of the county's determination to develop its nuclear power. The troubles in the Middle East are, of course, dragging on since they are endemic in the foreign policy of the superpowers themselves.

Now, Iran has erupted with the same kind of problem that could divide the people. The superpowers especially the United States, seem to be terribly excited about it for Iran too is very adamant in its persuit of nuclear power. It has many times been threatened with war by the US if the nuclear pursuit is not dropped. Would the trouble that has cropped up give the US a chance to interfere in the name of human, peace, freedom, justyice etc. etc.? We have to wait and see although the US under Obama is different from what it was under Bush and the President has said that there shall be no interference. But " Whasington wants a tough, direct dialogue with Tehran."

The security forces and the police in Iran seem to be doing their best to contain the uprising.They seem quite reluctant to use brutal strength and force on the public but nothing short of that seem to work. The threat of bloodshed and anarchy will certainly be most inviting for some parties to come in as a savior. Hopefully the trouble has not been subtly induced to trigger such invitation by some clendestine groups opposed to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Mir Hossein and Anayatollah
Ali Khaameni should see to iot that the protest against the result of the election be reviewed according to the law.

The quick and stringent action of the police to quell the rowdy protest now turning bloody, should be a reminder to other
protest prone countries. When things get out of control we have to rely on the police in spite of the many criticisms levelled at them. We in Malaysia are often rather tough on them, calling them all sorts of names. But when public safety is threatened the police is the best friend that you can have. Let's give them a thumb up once in a while and say 'thank you' that the rowdy protests in Malaysia including the wild scuffles in the Perak State Assembly and in Parliament, had all been brought under control promptly by our Police.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Human Desire and the Law of Nature.

What made me coin such a mouthful title for this post, is really a simple truth: that nothing is permanent in this world and everything changes. Yet human beings, including the religious people and ulamaks for whom the only eternal thing in the world is God, often talk about things in absolute and permanent terms. They want everlasting peace, everlasting partnership and marriage, everlasting happiness, everlasting prosperity etc.

Can there be anything at all that lasts for ever? The concern about and the search for a formula to bring political stability and
unity in the country, to me. seems to revolve around this ideal of permanency, this illusive mirage. Politics by nature is dynamic, everchanging and adaptable to the needs of time. Coalition is formed to win an election, to get a majority to form a government, to allow opposing factions to call a truce ( a temporary peace), and to join forces to achieve an overidingly important goal among many others.

So, is a desire for BN and PAS to form a united front any stranger or more difficult than for PAS to join hands with DAP amd PKR? It has done so once before and broke up when the need was no longer felt. BN has always been courted and later rejected without causing any fatal injury. What is more serious is its own loss of character and honour due to the betrayal of trust within the component parties themselves. A good coalition is when the strength of all component parties can be synergized with the centrifugal force holding stronger than the centripetal force. A bad one is where the agenda of each component member is stronger than the common goal which made them join up in the first place.

Even marriages and blood relationships break up when persoanal or individual interests override the common goals. So isn't it
foolish to expect political coalition to last forever? If necessity is the mother of invention, common political aspiration and goal is the father of a political coalition. Don't expect it to last forever and don't panic when a breakup occurs. That's the law of nature.

And nature will prevail so long as human beings don't revolt against nature itself. Does that make any sense at all? It's also part of human nature to talk without much sense as do those who oppose political coalition among what appears to be irreconcilable foes. As the saying goes: ikan di laut asam di darat, dalam periok mungkin sepakat.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Smart Girls: when being smart is a problem.

I have been bothed lately by the fact that my daughter is catching up in age and still single. Of course it's her right to decide on when to settle down. But everytime a relationship soured up, I'm saddened and feel sorry for her. She's smart and being a connoisseur of the opposite sex myself I must modestly admit that she can be quite a stunner.

I have observed every relationship without any intrusion or interference for I trust her intelligence implicitly. At the slighest sign of the relationship going sour I asked her some questions. Does he introduce you to his relatives and friends? Is he a responsible member of his family? Is he reliable and trustworthy? Does he really love you? I've told my daughter explicitly that I couldn't care less about his look, financial status or social status. If she wants to marry a pauper or a drifter, that's her problem.

Surprisingly, even when all the answers to my questions are positive, the relationship finally tails off as a mere friendship.Why? I can't blame the boys. It must be her.

Engaging her in a lot of discussions and arguments not necessarily on love and marriage, I found that she has an anwer to all my questions, however tricky I put it accross. She can argue logically and convincingly, with a lot of humour and some unexpectedly profound insights into life and human nature. She seems able to read people's character and gauge their intellectual acumen.

She has acquired the art of analyzing an issue to the root cause of the problem, which she says comes from me.
" Then how come you always fail in love?"
" Coz I haven't found the right man!"
" You're too choosy. You can't find polished diamonds in the field. ( A polished diamond usually belongs to someone).Get a good (even) rough stone and polish it yourself. It is in the process of polishing and customising the stone that love grows and
become the basis of a lasting marriange."
" I'm surveying the mines for a good stone. dad.So far I found duds. Only the polished ones ( and I know they belong to someone) are very quick on the draw, and I avoid them."

Can't win an argument with her. Slowly I realized that she's being too smart and the boys are scared of her. He would be overshadowed in any conversation with friends especially if he's not a graduate. I feel like advising her to act dumb sometimes
when in the company of a good prospect, allow him to show off his talent, praise whatever talent he has in an honest way, and let him run the show. As a man I like a girl to be that way, after satisfying myself that she has some brains in her head. Why, some gentlemen even prefer dumb girls! at least pretend to be dumb while in their arms. Men always want to feel smarter than their women.

Well, smart girls, that's how I feel. I wonder if the ladies who have found the right man could give my daughter some advice. Otherwise I'll just tell her what I felt and ask her to try the dumb act, without really becoming dumb.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Reaction to LKY's visit and Attitude of the Malays

LKY's visit to Malaysia had been a very successful one by any measure. More importantly, it makes a lot of waves among Malaysians, leaders and led alike. He was received, treated and respected like a 'Maharaja", even a "King of the Middle Kingdom", irrespective of what the motive for the visit was.

Surprised? Amused? Angered? Don't be. Malaysians are well-known for their hospitality. A failure to welcome a visitor to our home is like showing up our own lack of good-breeding and a blow on our own self-respect. What more if the visitor is a famous (and powerful) dignitary. To be visited (or consulted) by him is a great boost to one's own prestige.

But the visit shows that the attitude of the Malays ( and some non-Malays) has not changed much from pre-independent days. A foreign 'tuan' deserves all the respect, pomp and ceremony. A local 'tuan' deserves some, if he is a friend. Otherwise everything bad about him will be passed around while all the good things he has done will be forgotten (mudah lupa).

This basic attitude which can cause a potential leader, entrepreneur or businessman to fall is called "DENGKI". Not really "jealousy" or "envy" but just being unhappy to see someone achieving success. Being jealous or envious in quite good if it drives one to try and do better than the person concerned. But DENGKI drives one to just do something to bring the man down, for the pleasure of seeing him fall. Even when one gains nothing from it.

Interestingly, this attitude is not unleashed against foreigners or even locals of non-Malay origin. Thus a prosperous non-Malay shopkeeper in the kampung is well respected and his shop frequently visited by all. But a Malay shopkeeper will only be visited by his friends. Others will say and do anything to bring him down, especially if he has achieved some measure of properity. This attitude seems to live on and enter every sphere of the Bumis' endeavour towards progress. .

And when a prosperous or succesful man is brought down, those around him will laugh and even celebrate. Even if the one who falls could have been their savior. As such we can find many ex-Malay leaders( especially those who fell with some iota of disgrace) left alone in the ditch. And many currently powerful ones will join them sooner or later. The Malays don't celebrate and extoll their 'greats' until after their death. The late P. Ramlee is an example. After the golden era of Malay films ended, P Ramlee was ignored and even shunned. Only today the Malays hali him as a Seniman Agung. This has happily changed and more filmstars and singers are now decorated with Datukship and Tan Seriship than scholars and

When will the Malays change this attitude? Confucious for example taught: If you help a man up a hill you go along with him.
The Malays should realize the if you push a man down a hill, you might be pulled down along with him or someone else will push you down while you're celebrating your success. Another maxim the Malays should remember is: if you don't respect your own kind, who else will?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

UMNO's Image at the Village Level.

While UMNO's leadership is trying hard to renew the party's and Barisan's image at the National and State levels, I sincerely believe that much work to clean up and revamp the party's image at the village level must be carried out. The voters come from the villages and towns ( urban villages!). If the leadership at this grassroots level is unsavory or repugnant, the efforts of national, state and even divisional leaders might become futile.

The headman in the village (or even in the urban community) is the closest to the villagers ( or townfolks). While in the urban areas the headman is under the constant scrutiny of the national and state leaders, the headman in a remote village is like a king. Whatever he says goes and complaints against him are automatically construed as coming from the opposition, even if the complainant is a party member but quiet and unknown - one of the silent majority. Such villagers can really become victims of unfair practice and treatment, of discrimination and marginalization.

Yesterday, I had the experience of visiting a 6 acre piece of land planted with rubber and some precious balau and chengal trees being illegally logged. The right to tap rubber on the land was given to someone who paid the two lady joint owners, a fixed amount of money every two month. Suddenly the rentor reported that some of the trees had been cut down, including a few of the 70 year old balau and chengal. If more of the logging continues there would be no rubber trees left.

My wife, a daughter of one of the owners, asked me to accompany her to visit the holding where the logging was being undertaken, purportedly as an effort to clear up the fringe of the smallholding along which an estate road was to be constructed. She immediately realized that an illegal logging was being cariied out on her mother's and autie's property and
called the police to investigate. A huge tractor and piles of logs were still there on the land. The rentor of the holding had already contacted the husband of one the landwners about the logging and was infomed that permission had been given to the village headman to clear up the fringe of the holding. But no cutting down of trees must be done until he could come down to visit the site with his wife. When both husband and wife came to see what had happened they were shocked beyond belief. Their huge and precious 70 year old balau and chengal landmarks had been logged together with some 60 rubbers trees. No wonder that morning the headman had come to see him about the clearing work done, and offerred some money for compensation, which he refused to accept since he had not agreed to any logging work.

It would appear that the headman had on his own granted permission to the contactor who was clearing the ground for the estate road to cut down the trees including the giant balau and chengal. The police on conducting an on-the-spot investigation ( see pics) found this to be true and agrees that a criminal charge for trespasiing be instituted.The contractor claimed that he had paid the headman for permission to do the logging, The amount was not disclosed though the headman had tried to pay the husband of the landowner RM800 for compensation.

How could the headman do such a thing? He should have been protecting the rights of the landowners instead of trying to make some money from the illegal logging of their landholding. Earlier, another portion of the land contiguous to another owner had also been cleared after the permisson of the two ladies had been obtained, so that some money from replanting could be requested from RISDA. It was found out that the clearing was done before permisson was given and the two ladies were never given any portion of proceed from the replanting grant. They remained the silent victims of cheating which the village headman ( of another village) should have prevented.

Shouldn't village headmen who rebuilt and aggrandized their homes, built good roads and concrete ditches around their properties, bought cars and motorcycles for their unemployed kids, listened to and helped only their relatives and supporters while many villagers are enraged and disheartened, leave children's playground and community centres to be overgrown with lalang and weeds, and couldn't care less for the voctims of injustices in the village be allowed to remain in power under the flagship of UMNO?

Unless UMNO's top leadership looked into these matters and rectify the abuses of power going on at the village level, we need not be surprised if the 'pembaharuan program' being undertaken is looked upon by the rakyat as just another campaign. The party must clear the ground and remove the deadwood at the bottom of the pyramid, and not just at the top.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Political Unity and Disunity

The political climate in the country today is pretty much like the weather - very hazy, smoggy and vision is limited to less than a kilometer. But, everyone seems to be as busy as usual, the jams on the road as dense as ever, the supermarkets as crowded and our kids are playing in the parks without feeling the pinge of political wranglings or the economic crunch.

Only the newspapers and the blogs are full of disturbing views and commentaries on the state of the nation. Barisan and its component parties are facing tremendous stress and strain to keep united, centrifugal forces clouded by communal interests and extremist demands blowing stronger than the centripetal forces which the new leadership could master.

There's talk by MCA on leaving Barisan, by MIC and by PPP. While some factors in PAS want to pursue talk about unity with UMNOPAS's spiritual leader is dead against it. All talks seem to point towards disunity rather than unity. And this is true of Barisan as well as Pakatan Rakyat with Karpal Singh stirring up a lot of divisive dusts. Why has politics suddenly become a disuniting factor rather than uniting people to work together to achieve a common goal although through different political organizations?

It would seem that political ends are now viewed over a very limited span of vision, like what the the haze or 'jerebu' is doing to us. We go through the haze as if through a tunnel, making the wider horizon a dark mass of uncertainties. If there is an economic twister coming our way, we'd never be ready to face it when it hits us. It seems to me that this is the best time for political parties in Malaysia to join hands to seek a solution to our economic problems. Political coalition can be made and unmade but a nation ones fractured and maimed by divisive political interests, will become and remain incapable of giving its people a good life - the way we and our children are now enjoying.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Two State Solution for Israel and Palestine..

Tun Dr Mahathir's comments on President Obama's speech in Cairo is most eloquent and the views received from readers most illuminating. After all that is said, what do we do to help promote peace and bring back sanity to the warring factions. Is the two-state proposal by Obama acceptable?

The demands made on the Palestinians and Hamas by Obama to  promote a peace talk on the lines of the Road Map proposition, are heavy. Those made on the Israelis, as usual, are patronizing and 'benign'.
The question is: can Hamas through its aggressive approach or the Suicide Fighters through their gruesome activities force a political settlement to the issue? Can Iran or the Arab countries help? Meanwhile the Palestinians continued to be massacred by an overwhelmingly powerful foe.      
The two-state solution is the only avenue that promises result. Obama has articulated some of the conditions for moving towards this goal. Why don't the Palestinians state their own needs and requirements for the two-state solutions: things like the return of appropriated lands, funds to rebuild what had been destroyed, opening up job opportunities, ensuring safety and non-aggression, setting up a council to defuse sensitive issues and incipient conflicts etc. 
Harping back of the injustice and tragic history of the past would not revive the dead. We can only move forward and create a more acceptable future than what we face now. I think the Palestinians and Hamas should start putting their heads and minds together to articulate their requirements for the two-state solution, rather than pursue a policy of continued harassment and self-destruction.   

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Culture of Negation, Materialism and Morality.

I have always wondered why the young people of today are so argumentative about anything at all, often very critical and always make a decision contrary to what their elders suggest. Some say this is due to their desire to exert their own self, ego and
the right to make up their own mind. Others say they just want to be daring, be different from the old folks, or show that they are more intelligent than their seniors who could very well be moving towards senility.

I suddenly realize that we live in the age of science and technology. We believe that every action has a reaction, every thesis has an antithesis, every pro has a con. It is the process of negation that brings out a new understanding of things, a new perspective or a new possibility and a ne solution to problems.  The youths of today are just adept at counter -arguing anything at all, examining the other side of the coin and conceptualizing new possibilities, even exploring the ludicrous. Isn't that good?

But what happens next is most important. Todays' world has also emphaisized  the importance of material returns for whatever we do, achieving  practical results, benefits and satisfaction from whatever decision ismade or action taken.. Anything that gives tangible results which can be translated into pfofits or benefits is good.

What is often not taken into consideration is the ethical and moral implications of a certain decision or action. When this is given a very low emphasis or not givern any consideration at all, the decision taken could be most unacceptable or even despicable. Ethical and moral considerations are nurtured through  age or a rather rigorous religious background. Hence only the older folks allow ethical and moral consideration to rule their decisions.
Worse, even the older folks may not do so anymore since the material and worldly returns and benefits from what they decide to do are given more importance than the intangible or spirutual consideration. This is to ensure that we can do well in a world where only the fittest will survive. So, can the older folks be angry or embarassed with the attitude of their young?      

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Reviewing Our Priorities

Although our shrinking economy is the no. 1 issue of the country today, other issues seem to be distracting attention and stirring up a lot of emotions.

UMNO is certainly obsessed with the problem or regaining lost ( or fading) glory and trust of the public.

The more vociferous expression of extremist's and communal demands has become more diturbing and embarassing as expressed by Tun Dr. M in his blog (June 2)). Tun Dr M seemed fed up with the extremists' ranting, as if forgetting that he too was once labelled as an extremist which later made him the most distinguished PM in Malaysia.
Within party bickerings and power struggle seem to plague many of the BN components.

The teaching of Science and Mathematics in English which remains a contentious issue in our education policy, is now augmented by the suggestion to limit the subjects that can be taken by students for the SPM. Why? So that they don't acquire too many As which complicates the process of awarding scholarships. ( This sounds ironical. We should let the students earn their As but select the best only in the subjects that they offer for further studies when considering scholarship awards.)

On top of all these we have the perrenial problems of delays in project implementation ( up to 80%), sky-rocketiing project costs due to possible fraud( the PKFTZ involves RM12.5bil.), buildings that collapse due to shoddy work, rising crime rates with
greater sophistications and heinousness, the unveiling of more tragic cases of poverty and social neglect, injustice, etc.etc.

With a new PM and a new cabinet of Ministers, the public is expecting quick action with more justice: justice that's not only done but seen to be done.

This last factor is the most pressing. There had been a change in government and old hands found wanting in performance or
suspected of abusing power or funds, or unable to retain the trust of the public, had been removed from the cabinet or the frontline team of decision makers. But some remain in the frontline or even placed in a more pronounced key position. This is the worst example of justice NOT SEEN TO BE DONE.

There's no need to qoute names for they are very obvious. Is this the BN/UMNO way of taking public oponion seriously, of putting the rakyat first, of trying to regain the public trust, of soothing frayed emotions and proving that the attitude of
BN/UMNO leaders has changed? When officers in the public services who have failed in certain areas of work are pushed upstairs, the government and the public will frown. But what happens when some elected Wakil Rakyat continued to be placed in postions of leadership when their leadership had been seriously questioned or clearly rejected through the poll.

Is this an indication that BN/UMNO is running short of capable and trustworthy people? The habit of top leadership letting responsible Ministers deal with certain problems in which they have been part of the cause, and not taking over the problem for quick action and resolution, is really most disappointing. I don't think BN/UMNO will regain lost trust and confidence in that way.

Put a leader that the public does not anymore trust to solve a problem and the solution will be rejected even before it's put
to the trial.

With all the problems that we face now, government just have to reprioritize the public's concern. First in the list must be in regard to keeping prices down, putting more money in people's pocket and doing everything to boost up local business so that domestic trade and industries will boom in spite of global recession. Let business in the country mushroom and prosper at whatever cost. Reduce all forms of impediments and restrictions. When all the shops and supermarkets in the country are buzzing with business, we don't have to bother too much about what happens outside the country. Let our local factories
work overtime to supply all that is needed by the Malaysians, and where possible send out some as export. Meanwhile we should try to maintain the current flow of our export products. Where we have to cut back, the excess capacity in our factories should be used to produce goods for local consumption to meet induced demand.

Rev up the consumption and production machine in the country and we will be all right.

Make Malaysians feel rich and happy and BN/UMNO will swing back to its former glory. But all superrich UMNO and BN Wakil Rakyat should not flaunt their wealth but spend it to make the economy regain its vigour. It's when the rich and wealthy in this country are keeping their wealth in the banks and living on the interests earned and not using the wealth to generate more economic activities that recession will set in.