Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dear Kamaliuk1973 Tun M 
Thanks for your comments (HAS TERRORISM SUCCEEDED – March 29, 2010 7:11 PM).

I have looked at the pictures. They show nothing.

But most interesting they are from the Holocaust Museum, United States. They are obviously Israeli propaganda.

The “Holocaust” happened 60 years ago. The Jews were killed by Nazi Germans. Why don’t the Jews punish the Germans instead of the Palestinians and Muslims?

Tribal wars take place in Sudan and most countries in that area since ancient time. Darfur was highlighted at a time when incarceration and torture of prisoners in Abu Ghraib was exposed. Obviously the intention was to deflect attention from Abu Ghraib.

Malaysian relief workers have gone to Darfur. They report no genocide, only a lot of starving people because of the tribal wars.

If you are interested I can send you pictures of torture of the genocide in Iraq where 500,000 children were killed by starvation and lack of medicine when sanctions were applied principally by the United States and Britain.

I agree there are no winners or losers in a war. That is why I have been campaigning to make wars of aggression a crime. Killing people in order to solve disputes is uncivilised and primitive. The right thing to do is to negotiate, arbitrate adjudicate in order to solve disputes.

Monday, March 29, 2010

1. I read in a magazine that an American airline lost one billion dollars since 9-11. Joseph Stiglitz wrote in a book that the Iraq war has cost the United States three trillion dollars. It must have cost the British and the others more billions.

2. Checking passengers at airports is now very stringent. Apart from inconveniencing travellers, the personnel and equipments cost billions. But every now and again a determined “terrorist” would break through. Besides examining shoes, now underwear has to be checked also.

3. But despite all these the fear of “terror attacks” has not abated. Nor has the war in Iraq and Afghanistan shown any sign of ending.

4. The terrorists may not have won but they have not lost either. The end is nowhere in sight. The cost is going up very rapidly. Even if the proposed attack against Iran does not take place, the Governments and the business commmunity in every country will suffer huge losses. So will people everywhere.

5. New weapons and equipment can be invented and developed. They will cost money again but it would take only one incident before there would be a scramble to counter the new methods of attack by the terrorists. Seems that all the sophisticated costly weapons invented and deployed have failed.

6. This state of affairs can go on and on. Short of killing all the Muslims in order to ensure that none of them would become “terrorists”, I don’t see how an end to terrorism can be achieved.

7. But we cannot do that can we? So what is the alternative? Well go for the root cause. Why are they doing these things, “terrorising” the world? The answer is that they feel a strong sense of injustice. Who are they? They are the people most affected; the Palestinians, Iraqis, Afghans, Syrians, Iranians. But there are also those who for various reasons sympathise with them; their co-religionists and many others.

8. All these people feel for the Palestinians’ loss of their land, for the invasions and killings of Iraqis and Afghans, the ill-treatment of Muslims everywhere, their demonisation and the demonisation of their religion, their humiliation etc. etc.

9. Until the Palestinians regain their country, until Iraq and Afghanistan are freed of foreign occupation, until the oppression of the Muslim people stops, the attacks by the terrorists would go on, and fear of such attacks would remain.

10. Don’t surrender to the terrorists! It would only encourage terrorism. But look at it from their angle. If they surrender to the seizure of their lands, to their oppression by their enemies, then they would be encouraging their enemies to continue the seizure of their land and their continued oppression.

11. The super powers need to try to look from the viewpoint of those they have labelled as terrorists also and not just from their own viewpoint.

12. Until then we are going to see lives being lost, people living in fear and trillions of dollars wasted on efforts which will yield no worthwhile result for years and years.

1. Saya terkejut melihat sejenis ikan yu yang besar yang telah ditangkap oleh nelayan kita baru-baru ini.

2. Ikan Yu jenis ini dikenali sebagai “Whale Shark” atau Yu Paus. Ia tiak ganas dan pernah membiar orang menaiki belakangnya. Ia termasuk dalam jenis haiwan yang dilindungi (protected).

3. Setakat yang saya tahu isinya tidak menjadi makanan manusia. Mungkin siripnya boleh dikeringkan untuk sup sirip Ikan Yu. Tetapi apakah harus kita korban haiwan yang terbesar antara Ikan Yu kerana keuntungan daripada jualan siripnya.

4. Saya harap Kerajaan akan nasihatkan nelayan kita supaya tidak menangkap Ikan Yu Paus ini.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

1. We hear a lot about how in Malaysia it is who you know rather than what you know that wins you contracts from the Government.

2. I must admit there is some truth in this. One has to know the background of the bidder before deciding to give the award. If awards are made entirely on the basis of the offer, mistakes can be made also. This is because the bidder can get professionals and others to make “cannot be refused” offer which in the end would prove impossible to carry out.

3. It is true that those tasked with evaluating bids would tend to favour known performers rather than totally unknown strangers. The more they know about the bidders the more would their decisions be influenced. It is indeed “whom” you know and not “what” you know.

4. Decision-makers cannot avoid being lobbied directly or indirectly. In any case no matter who succeeds, there will be unhappiness on the part of the others who fail. And of course the accusation would be made that they fail because they did not know the right people. However if they have a chance to pull strings and influence decision makers they would not hesitate to do so. That they don’t like it when others get does not mean they won’t like it if they get. As for the critical observers, given the opportunity they would do it too. That is why contracts given by a previous Government would be nullified by an opposition Government so the contractors they know would benefit.

5. People should know that in the private sector “whom you know” is even more decisive than in the Government sector. If we look at the private construction industry which is bigger than in the Government sector, if you don’t know the right people you will not get a contract not even a small supply contract. To succeed in the private sector you must not only know what but most certainly you must know whom.

6.I have been asked by foreign gentlemen why is this so common in Malaysia and other developing countries. Isn’t this wrong? Shouldn’t the best bid win? Whom you know should not influence decisions.

7. Today I am amused by a news report about Ex-Labour Ministers in the United Kingdom being suspended because they offered lobbying service for cash. They can offer this because they know whom to lobby. “Byers, a former Transport Minister, boasted to the undercover journalist he had made a secret deal with Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis over the termination of a rail franchise contract.” Everyone denied of course.

8. But in America, the greatest democracy in the history of mankind, Congressional and Senate lobbyists actually set up lobbying firms. Most of the firms’ owners had been holding high positions in the previous Governments and they know the staff and the members of the current Government well.

9. They openly offer lobbying service for a fee. If you don’t have the money, that is too bad. The moneyed ones can actually cause motions to be put before the congress which could be passed. In fact Government policies in America have been shaped by the rich in Wall Street. I will not say more.

10. Seems like those who take the moral high ground and criticise influence peddling in Malaysia and other developing countries should have a good look at themselves. Pots should not sneer at the blackness of the kettle.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

1. Many people think that as soon as you accept democracy, then you will be practising democracy.

2. Unfortunately mere acceptance is not enough. It is not enough because everyone, from the top most person to the ordinary people, be they from a political party or of a nation, can find ways to abuse and frustrate the true democratic process. As a result we see democracies failing to work in most organisations or political parties and in many nations.

3. Basically democracy is about giving power to the majority. It is assumed that the majority knows what is best for the whole. The minority should therefore be prepared to accept the rule of the majority albeit after presenting opposing views and criticisms. The minority must be prepared to wait for the next election in order to make another bid.

4. In a mature democracy almost everyone respects the results of national elections. The majority forms the Government and the minority take their places in the legislature and try their best to influence policies and laws introduced by the majority Government. And so for the four or five years before the next elections, the legislature debates, approves or disapproves the proposals by the Government. But the minority and even the individual legislator may also move proposals or laws although in most instances they will not get through for lack of majority support. Playing their parts, both the majorty and the minority would contribute to the proper workings of a democratic Government.

5. Political parties love democracy as it seems to be fair to everyone. Anyone can bid for any place in the party, including the top most. That is the theory at least.

6. But the reality is that only certain people could aspire to lead because of the support of a substantial number of the members.

7. Ideally in a contest the one with the biggest number of supporters should win. Ideally as with Government the loser and his supporters should accept the decision of the majority.

8. Unfortunately the loser or losers may not want to accept the results. This can ultimately lead to the party being split and weakened.

9. The process may have been very democratic but the objective of choosing a leader by majority vote has not been achieved. The losers must also remember that when they win they same can happen to them. In other words a deocratic contest can only lead to the break-up of the party (I am speaking from experience).

10. I would like to cheer on the candidates who are contesting for any post anywhere through the democratic process. Obviously only one would win. If those who lose cannot accept the decision of the majority of the members, then it is better not to talk about democracy. You really do not know what democracy is about. *

* Of course I am assuming the contest is fair.

Monday, March 15, 2010

REPO 105 Tun M 
1. I have been away in Argentina and have not been reading the papers or watching news on T.V. Back in London I picked up The Times newspaper and the front page reads, “Lords place themselves beyond the reach of the law.”

2. It is about MPs and members of the House of Lords giving their main home addresses out of London in order to claim £174 per day allowance during Parliamentary sitting even though they actually live in London. Seems that some vagueness in the rules has placed the Lords beyond the reach of this rule.

3. Next, on an inside page, the headline reads “City’s biggest names face legal action over Lehman’s collapse.” I am sure Malaysian papers would have reported this.

4. Lehman of course is the biggest bank in the world whose collapse started the 2008 financial crisis which we are still suffering from today.

5. This bank had been hiding the huge debts worth as much as 600 billion US dollars by an accounting trick. Debts of billions which were unpaid were reclassified through some accounting procedure called Repo 105 and they became assets of the banks.

6. And it went on for years until the amount became so huge that they cannot be hidden any more, Repo 105 notwithstanding.

7. As we all know Lehman Bros. was allowed to go bankrupt and other banks and industries went down with it. And so the great financial crisis of 2008 began.

8. Globalisation is about opening borders to those who have the means to do so. The big banks, industries, accounting firms and consultants firms are certainly the greatest beneficiarists of globalisation. But now we know that in many instances they collude with their rich and powerful clients to cover up wrongdoings. Their being internationally well known ensures that their reports are accepted by the directors of companies and banks and by the public.

9. I had often said that globalisation is inevitable but we, the developing countries should not accept globalisation as interpreted by the rich countries. We should seriously think again about the interpretations of globalisation. We should think again about open borders. We may be letting in some of the most unprincipalled professionals, some of whom are the most greedy international crooks into our country.

10. Of course this is only my opinion.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

1. I heard from someone that a certain Muslim country has disallowed Swiss Airlines to fly there because a cross is on the tail of the aircraft. The Swiss flag has a white cross on a red background. This was to retaliate against Switzerland’s ban on building minarets for mosques in that country. There are altogether four mosques in the whole of Switzerland.

2. Intolerance simply invites intolerance.

3. What next?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

1. For the first time Proton takes part in the prestigious motor show in Geneva. It is costly to exhibit there but I was gratified at the interest shown by the foreign and Malaysian journalists and motoring fans in the new Proton concept car – the EMAS (Eco-Mobility Advanced Solution).

2. Malaysians will not be able to buy it for a long time but even though the car was designed for the world market it would first appear on Malaysian roads.

3. It is a small car, designed by Italdesign Giugiaro and Proton designers and engineers in Turin. For a small car it is very spacious and has many innovative features. It can actually seat up to five adults and comes in three versions. There will be three more versions later.

4. The completed car which was the principal attraction has a hybrid engine. But ordinary Internal Combustion Engine can also be installed and would cost less than the hybrid. However, no price has been fixed yet.

5. Malaysian journalists present have already reported on the car. I am just adding for the visitors to my blog.

6. I may be wrong (and as usual many comments will tell me I am wrong) but I think the journalists and the hundreds of motorcar enthusiasts who visited the stand were impressed by the many unique features of the car.

7. If this car proves to be a success it may mark the true recovery of Proton.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

1. Since the appointment of Dato Nazmi Salleh as the chairman a lot of improvements have been shown by Proton. It is once again making money. More Proton cars are appearing on the streets, particularly the new Saga, the Persona and the Exora.

2. I was invited to see the new F1 car being developed by Dato Seri Tony Fernandes and Dato Kamaruddin Meranun at the facilities they had acquired in Norwich, England. I had promised to sit in and start the engine of this car if it could be built in the short time they had before the first F1 race in Bahrain in March. I was pleasantly surprised that by the time I arrived on February 22, not only could I sit in the racer and start the engine but the car itself had been undergoing trial races in Spain. They had brought back the car for me to sit in and start the engine. The next day they were to take the car back to Spain for further speed trials.

3. I was glad to see quite a number of Proton engineers working on the production and assembly of the car.

4. The British people were very excited that once again a Lotus car would be in the F1 race. The three drivers were optimistic. The two foreign drivers, Jarno Trulli and Hekki Kovalainen, were very experienced. Fairuz Fauzi our Malaysian driver was the first to test-drive the car in Spain. I hope he would get a chance to drive in the actual race. I wish them the best of luck.

5. My next stop was the Lotus factory where the Elise and Evora sports cars were being produced. Lotus had not done well and was losing money. But the new CEO, Dany Bahar has put new life into the management bringing in experienced people from well-known racing teams and sports car producers.

6. New sports cars were being designed and they looked as good as the Ferraris and the Aston Martins. I test drove a turbo-charged Proton Exora, an electric Tesla which Lotus was building for an American company and the Lotus Evora.

7. A lot of Proton engineers were working with Lotus engineers contributing to the development of Lotus cars.

8. The next day I flew to Turin, Italy to see the lubricant plant which had been bought by Petronas. It was again heartening to see Malaysians among the top executives of the company.

9. The final stop was the design firm of Giugiaro together with Proton which were designing a new small car and a redesigned Persona for Proton. Some 20 Malaysian designers and engineers were working on these projects together with the Italians.

10. It may be remembered that one of the objectives of going into the automotive industry was to develop Malaysia’s engineering capability. Seeing all these Malaysians in the development of sophisticated automotive designing and engineering work seems to indicate that we have largely acquired engineering design, development and production to put us on the road to becoming a developed country.

11. Some people said that the price of cars in Malaysia is very high because the Government is protecting Proton. Actually the high price is due to the Government’s attempt to discourage petrol guzzling big cars. Whether there is Proton or not Malaysians will pay a high price for their cars. Cheap cars will lead to even worse jams than now.

12. Most people started to own cars only after Proton cars were produced. Such was the increase in the usage of cars that in one 10-year period, Proton cars contributed 18 billion Ringgit towards Government revenue. Considering that the total Government investment was only RM480 million Ringgit in 1984-85, the returns on the investment must be considered very high. The people as a whole must benefit from Government expenditure of this large sum of money.

13. Besides, Proton supports about 300,000 workers, vendors and their families. It produces almost 200,000 cars yearly. If we import foreign cars at RM25,000 per car, the outflow of money would add up to approximately RM5,000,000,000 or five billion Ringgit. Even after deducting some component imports the amount saved in foreign exchange is huge.

14. At one stage there were rumours of an attempt to practically bankrupt Proton so as to sell it off cheaply. This was what happened to Agusta. Proton has assets which the buyers can develop profitably. But I am glad that these are just rumours and no one talks about it anymore. If a person looks at the whole picture he will appreciate that Proton is too valuable an asset to sell for RM4.
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