Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pemuda BN kecam hina Dr. Mahathir

KUALA LUMPUR 14 Sept. - Pergerakan Pemuda Barisan Nasional (BN) mengecam kenyataan seorang perwakilan MIC yang mencadangkan agar kalungan selipar diletakkan ke atas gambar bekas Perdana Menteri, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad sebagai sesuatu yang tidak rasional dan tidak adil.

Pengerusinya, Khairy Jamaluddin berkata, walaupun itu bukan pendirian rasmi MIC tetapi cadangan itu nyata tidak sensitif terhadap semangat BN.

Katanya, isu mengenai kalungan selipar itu telah dibincangkan secara prinsip iaitu sebarang tindakan oleh mana-mana parti komponen BN tidak sepatutnya melukakan atau merosakkan hubungan dengan parti lain.

''Inilah contoh kenyataan yang boleh mengguris hati parti kita," katanya selepas mempengerusikan mesyuarat Pemuda BN di sini hari ini.

Tambah Khairy, pihaknya bagaimanapun berpuas hati bahawa apa yang diperkatakan perwakilan berkenaan bukan pendirian MIC yang sebenar.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Beautiful Mind

The beautiful mind of Richard P. Feynman, a Nobel laureate in physics, as elucidated in the following extract from his book: What do you care what other people think, published in 1988 by Unwin Hyman Limited (page 13).

“I have a friend who’s an artist, and he sometimes takes a view which I don’t agree with. He’ll hold up a flower and say, “Look how beautiful it is,” and I’ll agree. But then he’ll say, “I, as an artist, can see how beautiful a flower is. But you, as a scientist, take it all apart and it becomes dull.” I think he’s kind of nutty.

First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people – and to me, too, I believe. Although I might not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is, I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. But at the same time, I see much more in the flower than he sees. I can imagine the cells inside, which also have a beauty. There’s beauty not just at the dimension of one centimetre; there’s also beauty at a smaller dimension.

There are the complicated actions of the cells, and other processes. The fact that the colors in the flower have evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; that means insects can see the colors. That adds a question: does this aesthetic sense we have also exist in lower forms of life? There are all kinds of interesting questions that come from a knowledge of science, which only adds to the excitement and mystery and awe of a flower. It only adds, I don’t understand how it subtracts.”

The audio visual version of the above is available in You Tube

A Conversation

Abu: Ok guys, let’s have a topic to discuss.

Lim: Great, what do you think Samy?

Samy: Mmmmm, let’s discuss on whether the Government
should change the roads, that are presently on tarmac
to cement.

Abu: Good topic, but it’s a too broad thing to
discuss, hence we need to establish the scenarios and
thereafter set the parameters.

Samy: But we do not have facts and figures, everything
is purely on intuitive thinking.

Abu: No problem Bro. This is just a teh tarik
discussion, what matters is the structure and
framework of thinking. With that, we can use some
logical numbers and assumption.

Lim: Agreed. So, let me start first. When we talk
about roads, there are three types of roads namely
tarmac roads, non-tarmac and non-cemented roads and
cemented roads. Or you can also divide it into
highways, urban roads and rural roads.

Samy; I like the approach to divide it into highways,
urban roads and rural roads. For a few reasons…

Lim: What are they?

Samy: It gives us the opportunity to segment it on
priority basis at later time, two, road is a means
towards point to point connectivity and hence
geographical segmentation is the way to go and
thirdly, its more focussed.

Abu: Great but big picture big picture guys, hold your
thoughts on the details. Having said that, I have got
issues with your third point, as a statement like “its
more focussed”, could be interpreted as over
simplification or brushing statement.

Samy: Wait a minute Abu, what you said is also over
generalisation. I could expand my points, if you

Abu: No need. The other parameters would be cost.

Lim: That is when we do cost benefit analysis. But
now, it’s still on the issues.

Samy: Yup, ok by the way, from what I read, Malaysian
road system is pretty extensive and covers 63,445 km.

Lim: Ok, assuming the ratio of highways to urban to
rural is 1: 10 : 9, then the breakdown would be
3,1725.25 km for highways, 31,725,5 km for urban roads
and 28, 550.25 km for rural.

Abu: Good. So lets start on why do we need to change
from tarmac to cement or concrete roads, then we think
about the advantages and disadvantages of doing so.

Samy: I think the two parts you said are interrelated
to one another, answering one would indirectly answers
the other.

Lim: I disagree as we have to be structured here.
Second, the advantages and disadvantages can include
and be expanded to implementation issues.

Samy: Ok.

Abu: The debates are not new, thus far the arguments
have always be in favour for cement roads, especially
roads that are subject to extensive and heavy traffic.
According to our Government, the road maintenance cost
is 30 to 40% lower than tarmac roads.

Lim: Further, tarmac, as an internationally traded
commodity has increased in price. Concrete roads
require less maintenance, have a longer life span and
do not crack easily.

Samy: But the cost to build them is more expensive.

Abu: Precisely. The cost can be divided into several
parts. One is cost of material, second is the
engineering works and the third is time cost. I was
made to understand that the time taken to build
concrete roads is longer than tarmac.

Lim: By how long?

Abu: I do not know, but let us assume that the cost to
build concrete roads in total is about 3 times more
than tarmac roads. We….

Samy: What do you mean by three times more? Is it from a
ratio or 3:1 or the delta cost is tripple than that
for tarmac.

Abu: The ratio is 3:1. Ok, let me just continue.

Lim: Go ahead

Abu: We know that the cost of maintenance is about 40%
lower, ok. Assuming that annual maintenance cost for
tarmac is about 5% of the road-building cost, then the
savings for concrete roads would be 2%.

Lim: So… it takes 100 years to even out the marginal
spending for concrete roads. That is quite long.
Unless, the share of maintenance is higher, for
example if its 10%, we can reduce it to 50 years.

Samy: There is another cost that you forgot to factor
in and that is the re-layering cost. For tarmac roads,
you need to put another layer after few years.

Abu: Which mean, short life span. According to Indian
Public Works Department study, average life span for
tarmac roads is about three to five years. The
corresponding period of cement or concrete roads is
twenty to twenty three years, and it can withstand not
only the monsoon but also the hear and the drainage
systems better.

Lim: This is great, lets go back to the numbers. This
means that you can actually knock out the marginal
cost for cement roads by year 6, even without
factoring in 12% savings you made for that 6 years.

Samy: And reduction in maintenance and cost of
re-layering means more than the numbers as you will
require less organisational and institutional supports
for maintenance, one, and two, you need not to tender
out the work again and again, three, the cost will
jump over time due to inflation and the works of
demand and supply and you are shielded by this long
term hedging you made by building a long term roads.

Abu: But, is it for all roads? By the way, that is a
stupid question as the answer is definitely not.

Lim: I agree. What the government should do is to come
out with a policy on concrete and tarmac roads. Then
set up selection criteria for concrete and tarmac
roads. For example, concrete roads are meant for heavy
traffic roads and the one that cannot tolerate
frequent maintenance.

Samy: do not forge that concrete roads are suitable
for risk-prone areas such as those that are
susceptible to flood etc.

Abu: Good point. Also, this policy can be used as a
guide in selecting which of the present roads that
need to be cemented, as a matter of prioritisation and
which should remain as tarmac roads. It can also be
used in the formulation of terms for highways

Lim: I think, by the criteria we discussed, majority
of the roads that need to be cemented are that on the
highways. Second would be urban and the last would be
that in the rural areas. Its probably further
justified by the economics of it.

Samy: The implications?

Abu: Good views. First would be budgetary constraints,
given high one-off expenditure. Second, impacts to
cement market and third, impact to small-time
contractors who do the tarmac roads.

Lim: I don’t think impact no 3 is high, as they are
mostly serving low targets for cement roads. What I am
more concerned about is on the cement market.

Abu: You know what to do when we are not sure.

Lim: Sce….

Samy: Scenarios brother, scenarios.

Lim: Ok, lets say three scenarios. One: supply is
sufficient, two, supply is tight and three supply is
abundant. Lets assume that they are generated

Abu: You are insulating us from international markets,
which I do not think is a fair assumption.

Lim: I know, but lets us just assume that. And, my
base case is a sufficient supply. Hence, on this
scenario, it might move to scenario one of tight
supply and hence increase in domestic cement prices.
This is bad, if not managed properly as it will affect
construction industry, road building cost and economic

Abu: Thus, if the government wants to implement a
policy for cement and tarmac roads, they have to look
into this aspect as well. They should also look into
elements like ways to increase cement production
capacity or ways to import more cement. But, I think
things should go well, unless the government wants to
implement a drastic and quick change.

Samy: do not forget that tarmac producers will not
simply let their business down so easily. They might
do research and development and come out with a very
high quality tarmac, at a relatively fair price, long
life span and able to endure heavy traffics and bad
weather better.

Lim: Yup, we should not discount that possibility.

Abu: What a good discussion we just had. Excellent

Khairy mahu Pemuda jaga sensitiviti

KUALA LUMPUR 9 Sept. - Sayap Pemuda komponen Barisan Nasional (BN) diingatkan supaya menjaga perasaan serta sensitiviti kaum lain dalam setiap tindakan.

Pengerusi Pemuda BN, Khairy Jamaluddin berkata, sebagai sebuah parti yang disertai pelbagai kaum, mereka mempunyai kesefahaman di antara satu sama lain.

''Kadang-kadang kita terlupa mungkin semasa ingin mempertahankan kepentingan agama dan bangsa sendiri, kita tidak sedar tindakan kita itu membuat bangsa lain terluka hati.

''Membangkitkan isu-isu sensitif yang mungkin boleh buat pihak lain terguris hati perlu dielakkan supaya permuafakatan di antara parti komponen dapat dikekalkan,'' katanya ketika berucap pada majlis berbuka puasa anjuran Pemuda MIC di sini hari ini.

Turut hadir ialah Ketua Pemuda MIC, T. Mohan dan Ketua Pemuda Gerakan, Lim Si Pin.

Mengulas lanjut, Khairy berharap sebarang konflik yang timbul di antara sayap Pemuda BN dapat diselesaikan mengikut saluran dalaman.

''Andai terdapat masalah, saya seru atas semangat BN, kita selesaikan secara rundingan supaya maruah parti kita ini sentiasa dipandang tinggi oleh rakyat,'' jelasnya.

Beliau turut menghargai majlis berbuka puasa anjuran Pemuda MIC itu kerana ia lambang penghormatan kepada UMNO dan ahli-ahli komponen BN lain yang beragama Islam.

Jelasnya, apa yang dilakukan oleh MIC itu ternyata menyahut seruan 1Malaysia yang ingin dilihat oleh Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

''Pemuda BN perlu menjadi pemangkin kejayaan konsep 1Malaysia, kita jangan melihat ia hanya sebagai satu konsep retorik semata-mata,'' katanya yang juga Ketua Pemuda UMNO.

(Source: Utusan Malaysia)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

15Malaysia - "Meter" with Khairy Jamaluddin as a taxi driver

15Malaysia - "Meter" Head of UMNO youth Khairy Jamaluddin plays a taxi driver in this surprising social comedy. Jason Lo, Amber Chia, Matthew George, Namewee and Baki Zainal are amongst the cameos.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sak: Japan’s late LDP- object lessons for UMNO- 1

I am very thankful to be given some material on Japan's LDP defeat, by a well respected UMNO veteran. He views with great concern at political developments in this region and their possible ramifications on our own political landscape. I am adding just a little bit in this area. This essay is a first installment of a fuller version.

The LDP which ruled Japan for 54 years is broken. It just lost massively in the recently concluded Japanese elections. LDP's politics is founded on 3 pillars:-

  1. A party that claims a natural right to rule since the end of WW2.
  2. A dominant bureaucracy
  3. Cooperation turned into Collusion with big business interests.

Japan's LDP's exit is similar to the fate of ruling parties in France, Italy and India. Japan's election on Sunday marked the end of an era that started not long after World War Two and saw Japan rise from the ashes of defeat to a global economic power. Japan's rise to economic prominence is therefore closely associated with the LDP. Given such association, almost any Japanese LDP politician can't be faulted if he claims that LDP is Japan's destiny. To us in Malaysia, LDP's eminence and its position as bedrock of Japan's destiny finds an almost surreal parallel to UMNO's role and possibly future fate. What is disturbing is that those people around PM Najib are continuing on a business as usual mode. Yet, up to a time, there's not much anyone can do or object, to any UMNO politicians' claim that UMNO is Malaysia's destiny. No one has therefore pressed the panic button.

Let me put it in street talk- hey yo! UMNO can suffer the same fate. It seems to me UMNO is led more by people who are street-smart at a time when such specialty is no longer suited to a changing battle ground. The battle ground has shifted to the winning of the mind. If PM Najib thinks he doesn't need upstairs-smart UMNO generals, he is clearly mistaken.

Just compare the election war machinery of the PKR. They are managed by intelligent generals compensating perhaps Anwar's overrated intellectualism. In all the by elections thus far (excluding that in Sarawak) we, UMNO have lost. Their election machinery with a retinue of sympathetic and supportive alternative media luminaries will be there ahead, exploiting every issue available using the almost ubiquitous electronic apparatuses. During the Kuala Terengganu by election for example, not less than 5 SMS messages were sent to ALL the Malay teachers in KT accusing UMNO of abandoning the cause of Bahasa Melayu. UMNO is always short in terms of issues. In the recent Permatang Pasir, UMNO was caught with its pants down revealing not a horse's filly but a baby carrot. Thus UMNO was preoccupied with defending a felled candidate who can't be defended. The by election made UMNO looked very silly. UMNO people achieve full KPI marks in terms of hurling personal abuses, vile languages, ill mannered characterization and name callings.

The PKR election machine is superior to UMNO in many ways. One, they are directed by respectably intelligent people. Zulkefli Ahmad the MP of Kuala Selangor is worth watching and studied. UMNO on the other hand thinks it can survive with just the hail fellow well met characters to win elections. It can be very off-putting and even revolting to have FLCE (failed LCE) people come before you and put forth arguments or trying to lecture you on the future of Malaysia. The UMNO leadership cannot afford to be filled up with below average material. PM Najib must abandon the ill-advised notion that UMNO needs the Syed Razak( former Kedah MB known for his hail fellow well met personality) personages in order to convince a thinking public.

The myopic UMNO people have NOT sighted the panic button. In terms of grey matter just compare UMNO's secgen to PKR's son of Hashim Gera, PAS's secgen, DAP's secgen. I mean no disrespect to him, but his kind is less relevant today. The UMNO information chief is a laughing stock even among UMNO members. UMNO people are just fed up about his self congratulatory recollections of how he came appointed as information chief and deputy minister. PM Najib must abandon this addiction with sub standard generals if UMNO were to stay relevant. The other side can offer better products. National politics is not a carbon copy of Pekan politics. Here, the UMNO division can still afford to have a former time taker be its secgen and office boy is permanent chairman. At national level, if the same standard is replicated, UMNO is marking time.

If UMNO is Malaysia's LDP then, DPJ is PKR led PR. It was formed some 10 years ago which is also similar to PKR. Indeed, the PKR people can even claim that relative to DPJ, PKR is more substantial that DPJ. In Malaysia DPJ- the party that humbled and devastated Koizumi's LDP is almost unknown. Its leader is no Anwar Ibrahim- our own political maverick whose overdriving political ambitions are matched by an equally overarching grab for world attention. Anwar Ibrahim seeks and needs world attention and is in turn sought out by the world which is always on the side of the perceived and victimized underdog. You see, the crafty bugger will continue to be relevant and be always in people's mind if he continues to milk the idea of being an underdog and victimized. Stupid UMNO goons are playing his game.

The usual tricks of demonizing Anwar and vilification of the man for questionable but yet unproven sexual deviances are so very passé. The people are so fed up with the nauseating pornographic debauchery dished out by UMNO apparatchiks and functionaries. The 24/7 caustic and insanely abusive language poured out by overtime working UMNO's propaganda storm troopers with the usual artillery of the vilest of language and outlandish salacious tales are alienating the people further from UMNO.

Back to Japan. Now the LDP tastes the same bitter fruit as paramount parties in other countries whose voters decided a few decades in power for one party were enough. There is not even a rat's ass of a chance the BJP can fulfill its outlandish welfare-ish ideas. How will they finance such utopian ideas? The Japanese public knows this, but the prevailing sentiment now is anything-but LDP. The same sentiment is building up in Malaysia. The sentiment is anything but UMNO.

The circumstances in each country were different, but the democratic impulse was similar and the result much the same. In 1981 Francois Mitterrand became the first leftist president of France since the Fifth Republic was created in 1957. France then trembled as this imperious socialist did the impossible by sharing power with his Gaullist rivals.

The Indian National Congress spearheaded that nation's independence movement and then became the dominant political party led by the Nehru-Gandhi family. Eventually corruption allegations caught up with Congress and it had to yield power first to Hindu nationalists, then to a coalition of upstart leftists and regional parties. The world watched sullenly at the sight of chastened ex-Congress leader P.V. Narasimha Rao standing in the dock in a Delhi court accused of corruption charges, for which he was later acquitted.

Capitalizing on Cold War tensions, Italy's Christian Democratic Partywas that country's ruling party for almost 50 years until corruption allegations felled it, too, in the early 1990s.

Now Japan's voters have dealt a staggering blow to the LDP, an amalgam of factions which except for a few months has held power for more than half a century. The ruling party loss ended a three-way partnership between the LDP, big business and bureaucrats that turned Japan into an economic powerhouse after the country's defeat in World War Two. That strategy foundered when Japan's "bubble" economy burst in the late 1980s and growth has stagnated since.

Our government has recently revised our economic contraction rate from a bigger minus value to a lower minus vale. Hello- it's still a negative growth and nothing to be jumping up and down about. Just study the implications of the emboldened section of the above paragraph.

Source: Sak Mongkol

Tanjung Dawai

Tanjung Dawai @ Sungai Petani is one of Kedah’s most treasured and best-kept secrets, though unintentionally. It offers the best and the freshest seafood you can ever find at unbelievably cheap prices, attributable to its rural location and abundance of seafood supply from the fishermen's village.

I was there three years back with the whole troop comprising my wife, my son, our Kak Nah and my sis in law, and we all had the best seafood dinner accompanied by a clearly and romantically nostalgic sunset view at one of the many seafood restaurants along the beach of Tanjung Dawai.

With RM60, we had the table fully and unimaginably conquered by prawns, oysters, scallops, crabs, fishes, vegetables, drinks and plates of rice, and with all the foods served, we got ourselves busily engaged devouring them (with exaggeration). Well, we should be pardoned, for we were bloodily starved and the aromas of the fervently waited meals were very tempting.

The whole atmosphere was very serene and calm - the soft winds whispered into our ears with songs of the waves gently stroking the shore, as the sun quietly and slowly sank into the waters for a day gone by; it was heavenly and wonderfully unforgettable ... until now.

The Strong and The Weak

What did Walmart-Stores, Exxon Mobil, General Motors, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, General Electrics, Ford Motor, Citigroup, Bank of America Corp and American International Group, the top 10 companies in the 2007 US Fortune 500 have in common?


(i) With revenues totalling USD1.98 trillion, the top ten corporations were stronger than the combined GDPs of two of the largest countries in the world namely Brazil and Russia or even a consortium of three strong emerging economies like India, Mexico and South Africa.

(ii) Close to home comparison, the giants’ total revenue was 13.15 times richer than Malaysian’s GDP. On individual basis, each of the top seven companies’ revenue (Walmart-Stores, Exxon Mobil, General Motors, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, General Electrics and Ford Motor) was higher than our country’s GDP. In fact the no 8th, (Citigroup), was just USD4 billion short of passing the threshold.

(iii) Assuming that these companies could ‘buy’ any countries, priced on the values of their GDPs, then a superpower company like Walmart-Stores could straightforwardly get hold of 81 countries, including Samoa, Solomon Island, Zimbabwe, Haiti, Mauritius, Madagascar, Namibia and Papua New Guinea, and still have USD2.07 billion left to spend

That is how powerful these corporations have become and how weedy the poor countries are now.