Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Selamat Menyambut Tahun Baru 2014


Saya dan isteri saya mengucapkan Selamat Menyambut Tahun Baru 2014 kepada semua rakyat Malaysia, khususnya pembaca blog ini. Semoga kedatangan tahun baru ini akan memberi kita semangat dan iltizam untuk terus menerus berusaha menjayakan diri kita sebagai rakyat Malaysia yang bertuah.

Monday, December 30, 2013

ORANG HALUS DAN HANTU JEMBALANG II

1. Saya amat tertarik dengan komen terhadap tulisan saya berkenaan tajuk di atas. Ada yang cuba takrifkan iblis, syaitan dan jin sebagai orang halus. Sebenarnya kita tidak diberitahu dalam Al-Quran besar atau kecilnya iblis, syaitan dan jin. Yang kita diberitahu ialah iblis dan syaitan cuba memengaruhi pemikiran kita supaya membelakangkan ajaran Islam, melakukan yang dilarang, yang tidak baik. Untuk menghalang pengaruh mereka kita membaca ayat-ayat Al-Quran supaya dikukuhkan iman kita semula.

2. Tetapi orang yang percaya kepada orang halus ini meminta izin daripada mereka ini apabila masuk hutan atau tempat-tempat tertentu. Air jampi disimbah kesana-sini. Ini bermakna kita memberi kuasa kepada makhluk ghaib ini. Al-Quran tidak menyuruh kita meminta perlindungan daripada iblis dan syaitan yang kononnya adalah orang halus dan makhluk ghaib.

3. Antara makhluk yang ghaib dengan ghaib terdapat perbezaan yang banyak. Kita tidak dapat lihat tuhan kita Allah s.w.t., malaikat, syurga dan neraka. Tetapi sebagai orang Islam kita terima adanya semua ini. Tetapi dalam fahaman orang Melayu ada pula makhluk lain yang kita tidak nampak tetapi berkuasa keatas kita. Janganlah cuba menyamakan hantu jembalang, pelesit dan orang halus dengan malaikat. Jangan cuba samakan orang halus dengan kuman bakteria yang membawa penyakit. Kuman memang halus tetapi bukan ghaib. Kita tahu penyakit tertentu yang dibawa oleh kuman tertentu. Kita boleh baca doa apabila diserang penyakit-penyakit ini tetapi Al-Quran menyebut bahawa Allah s.w.t. tidak akan memperbaiki nasib kita (menyembuh penyakit kita) melainkan kita berusaha memperbaikinya. Dan percubaan kita adalah dengan makan ubat atau bedah. Kita juga terima walaupun kita berusaha, tidak semestinya kita sembuh jika tidak diizinkan Tuhan.

4. Saya ingin cerita sedikit berkenaan kepercayaan orang Melayu.

5. Dahulu orang Melayu berperang dengan orang Siam. Kepercayaan orang Melayu ialah orang Siam mempunyai ilmu ghaib. Mereka percaya orang Siam boleh kebalkan diri dan meresap.

6. Apabila tentera Melayu berhadapan dengan tentera Siam, mereka naik takut kononnya melihat tentera Siam ini meresap, terbang ke sana sini dan tidak boleh ditembusi peluru atau senjata lain.

7. Dengan kepercayaan ini mereka percaya mereka tidak mungkin kalahkan pasukan tentera Siam. Dan mereka pun lari dikejar oleh tentera Siam dan ramai yang dibunuh.

8. Kita tahu sebenarnya tentera Siam adalah manusia biasa. Tetapi kerana kepercayaan yang tidak berasas ini kita naik takut. Sekarang ini pun ada sedikit sebanyak kepercayaan seperti ini. Fikirkanlah kalau tentera kita mempunyai kepercayaan seperti ini apakah dapat mereka mempertahankan negara.

9. Sebenarnya tidak ada orang luarbiasa yang boleh lindungi kita daripada makhluk ciptaan mereka. Yang boleh melindungi kita ialah Allah s.w.t. Kita perlu usaha tetapi jika Tuhan tidak menentukan kita akan pulih atau berjaya kita tidak akan pulih dan berjaya. Samada kita percaya akan pulih atau tidak, usaha kearah pemulihan dan kejayaan mesti dibuat.

10. Sampai bilakah kita hendak simbah air di keliling hospital dan pejabat untuk mendapat perlindungan daripada orang halus dan hantu jembalang?

11. Bukankah aneh apabila orang yang kononnya boleh melindung hospital daripada orang halus, apabila sakit mencari doktor juga, bukan di hospital yang telah disimbah air tetapi di luar negeri.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Cost of Government

1. Governments need money. It cannot function without money. It has to pay the people who work for it. It has to provide services and infrastructures. And now it has to provide more and more social amenities such as education, medical care etc. And of course it must defend the country and maintain law and order.

2. The funds are mostly raised through taxes on the activities of the people, on incomes, on profits, on the services provided by the government such as transportations, sewerage, water and power, ports and airports, approval processes and oversights etc.

3. Although there are many countries where people avoid paying taxes and rates, the people of Malaysia generally pay their taxes and other charges for services rendered by the Government. But as the cost of Government increase over time, the taxes and rates will need to be increased. Naturally tax and rate-payers do not like to pay more taxes and other charges. But they admit to a need for higher tax rates if for nothing else the rise in the cost of living when the wages and salaries of government servants need to be raised as well as the higher cost of Government procurements.

4. But the tax payers cannot suddenly come up with the money to pay the new taxes and charges. Lately Malaysian individuals and businesses have to come up with more money because of the many increases in cost due to Government policy decisions. Firstly the increase in minimum wage to RM900/-. This increase cannot be limited to those earning less than RM900/-. Those already earning RM900/- and above will also need to be paid higher wages. With this the costs of doing business and producing goods and services have increased and in turn the cost of living for everyone has increased.

5. Over and above this the Government decided to reduce subsidies on petroleum products. Then the electricity charges are going to be raised. For the people of Kuala Lumpur new rates, some increasing by 2000 % are to be charged.

6. In 2015 the GST (Goods and Services Tax) will replace the sales tax. Obviously the Government wants to collect more than the revenue from sales tax, and this must add to the cost of goods and services.

7. We must accept that the Government needs more money with the passage of time. But should the increase be as big as the Government says. Should the taxes and rates come all at the same time?

8. In business there is a thing called “cost down”. When a business is faced with competition or its cost of production reduces its profits, it can either increase prices or reduce cost. To a certain extent the price can be increased. This might cause a reduction in sale and also profits. It is far better to reduce cost and maintain or minimise the increase in price.

9. When a business exercises cost down, what it does is to examine everything that it does which contributes to the cost of doing business. It examines the efficiency of the process, the material cost, the reduction of wastage, the speed and volume of production. Invariably some cost can be reduced.

10. The same can be done by Government. All its cost can be examined to determine which are truly necessary, which cost can be reduced, which service can be curtailed or modified etc. etc.

11. Government often waste money because it is not too concerned about the returns on its expenditure in whatever form. For example has a contract been given to the best offered price – though not necessarily the lowest. Every year the Auditor General reports on wastage through improper procedures and carelessness. Usually not much is changed so as to benefit from the Auditor General’s criticism. There is no doubt that much money can be saved if the AG’s criticisms are taken seriously. Even changing procedures can reduce costs.

12. If the Government is interested in reducing the cost of governance, it can do so and perhaps quite substantially. For example it can reduce the cost of electricity by switching to LED for street lights. The savings would be more than 50%. The subsequent reduction in the amount of electricity to be generated will reduce subsidy on fuel for power. But this has not been done by Government. The initial cost may be high but the savings will mitigate this.

13. With regard to taxes, the effect of the increase should be studied very carefully. Is it really true that the percentage fixed cannot be changed. It must always be remembered that increases in tax must contribute towards increases in the cost of living, the cost of doing business, the reduction in profitability and for the Government reduction in corporate tax on profits. Once a long time ago the Government was losing tax on goods brought in by travellers to Singapore simply because it was difficult to determine whether the costly watches, pens and jewellery items were bought in Singapore or worn by traveller when he went to that tax-free country. The Government decided to remove taxes on luxury goods. As a result tax-free shops sprouted in Malaysia and the Government collected more through corporate tax from these shops than it ever collected in import duty.

14. In another instance the government reduced corporate tax gradually from 45% of profits to 26%. More business was done and the collection in corporate taxes increased tremendously. Another case is the tax-free incentives for investments. With this investments increased. Indirectly the government could collect from income tax on executives. The nasi lemak eaten by workers increase the businesses of the rice wholesalers and the Government will collect corporate tax from them.

15. The public needs to find the money to pay the increased tax. Obviously it would be easier if the percentage is low, or spread over a longer period.

16. If the percentage increase is really necessary, cannot it be introduced in stages. For example the increase in electricity charges is fixed at 15%. That is a big jump. It will upset the cost of production of goods which all use electricity, some at a high percentage. Contracts which had already been made will result in losses and this in turn will reduce corporate taxes on profits .

17. Cannot the increase be in stages eg. 6 % per year for 3 years or longer. The losses on current contracts would be minimised. Future contracts would take into consideration the increases. There would be time for “cost down” and increase in contract prices.

18. At 6% per year for 3 years the rate would increase by 18% eventually instead of 15% now. But a 6% increase in the second year would be on 106% of original price and in the 3rd year would be on approximately 113% of the original price, therefore more than 18%. If this is too high, the yearly rate of increase can be reduced to 5%.

19. Clearly the Government would be getting more than the 15% of the current price. It will not really lose anything despite the delays in the increases.

20. Yes, Government needs more money with the passage of time. But with due consideration for the cost to people and business, the Government would really examine the tax rates to be introduced. It will not hurt the Government too much but it will gain a lot of goodwill from people. They might even remember in the next election.

21. Recently Francois Hollande, President of France decided to raise tax on profits to 50%. People left France to do business elsewhere. Far from collecting more tax, the Government may lose much when other businesses and business people emigrate.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Orang Halus dan Hantu Jembalang

1. Filem dan T.V. cerita yang paling popular di kalangan orang Melayu ialah berkenaan dengan hantu, pelesit, orang halus dan berbagai-bagai makhluk ghaib. Mereka bukan sahaja suka lihat dan dengar cerita-cerita berkenaan makhluk ghaib ini tetapi mereka amat mempercayai adanya makhluk ini dan kuasa luar biasa mereka ke atas manusia. Mereka diberi kuasa yang kadang-kadang menyamai Tuhan yang mereka sembah. Mereka mencari jalan supaya dilindungi dari makhluk ghaib. Dalam usaha ini mereka kerap mengguna doa dari agama Islam yang mereka anuti. Walaupun mereka percaya Allah S.W.T. boleh melindungi mereka tetapi kepercayaan bahawa makhluk ini juga memiliki kuasa ke atas mereka bertentangan dengan ajaran Islam yang menekankan bahawa hanya Allah S.W.T sahaja yang berkuasa ke atas segala-gala yang ada di dunia dan akhirat.

2. Kerana percaya akan kuasa makhluk ghaib ini mereka sering mengadakan acara yang dicampur aduk dengan agama yang kononnya boleh melindungi mereka daripada diserang oleh hantu jembalang dan orang halus.

3. Dalam Al-Quran tidak ada disebut berkenaan hantu dan orang halus. Yang disebut dalam al-Quran ialah shaitan, iblis dan jin yang suka memesongkan orang Islam daripada membuat suruhan Allah S.W.T. Iblis dan shaitan boleh disangkal dengan membaca ayat-ayat tertentu yang boleh mengukuhkan semula iman dan pegangan kepada ajaran Islam.

4. Di masa-masa yang lampau ini kita dapati ramai yang berusaha untuk melindungi pejabat dan hospital Kerajaan dari hantu dan orang halus. Acara ini termasuklah menanam telor, menyimbah air dan membaca doa-doa tertentu yang telah dikenalpasti oleh bomoh-bomoh. Ada juga yang menanam botol air di sudut-sudut tertentu bangunan berkenaan.

5. Yang anehnya Mat Saleh yang tidak percaya kepada hantu dan orang halus ini tidak dikacau oleh makhluk-makhluk ini. Mereka tidak perlu jampi dan simbah air di keliling bangunan-bangunan mereka.

6. Saya ingin tahu dari ulama-ulama akan kebenaran adanya hantu dan orang halus ini. Dari mana mereka datang. Apakah kedudukan mereka dalam agama Islam. Jika kita percaya mereka berkuasa dan kita perlu layan mereka jika ingin selamat, apakah tidak kita memperduakan Allah S.W.T. atau memberi kuasa kepada yang lain dari Allah yang kita sembah?

7. Saya percaya akan kejahatan manusia dan betapa ganasnya mereka. Tetapi saya tidak percaya dan tidak takut kepada orang halus atau lain-lain makhluk ghaib. Saya juga tidak percaya ada cara untuk jadi kebal dari tikaman dan peluru.

8. Dengan kenyataan ini akan adalah percubaan oleh orang tertentu dengan “ilmu ghaib” mereka untuk mengajar saya. Saya cuma akan menuntut pertolongan dari Allah S.W.T terhadap orang seperti ini.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

ELECTRIC CARS

1. Someone suggested Proton produce electric cars. It is a good idea. Electric cars cause less pollution because the electricity to drive the cars is ultimately provided by electric power plants. These use fuel oil, coal, gas water-power and nuclear power. The pollution is still there but minimised.

2. Electric cars need batteries, specifically lithium-ion batteries. They cost RM1,000 per cell currently. Tesla needs between 36 to 48 cells, adding to the cost of the cars.

3. Mitsubishi MIEV and Nissan Leaf use slightly less number of batteries but are still quite expensive, certainly more expensive than Proton’s internal combustion engine cars.

4. Charging the batteries take 8-hours. The batteries would be fully discharged after running from 70 to 130 kilometres. Some run further but needs more batteries, increasing the price.

5. The batteries are said to last 10 years. This is by computer simulation. Replacing the batteries would be costly.

6. Toyota and Honda produce hybrid cars i.e. petrol engines together with batteries. They don’t seem to have faith in electric cars. Chevrolet produce the Volt which is also a hybrid and not electric. They are all more expensive than ordinary cars.

7. For the past five years Proton has been researching and developing both electric and hybrid cars. It cost a lot of money though not as much as the major car manufacturers who have spent more than USD4 billion each. So far nobody has truly succeeded.

8. We are still trying in Proton.

9. The Malaysian Government subsidises fuel prices. More cars on the road means more subsidies. To recover some of this money, the Government taxes motor vehicles including Proton. The high price of the cars is due to the taxes.

10. The only way to reduce car prices is to lower or abolish taxes. The Government would lose a lot of revenue. There will be affordable electric cars when battery prices come down considerably. That will take a long time.

11. I am presently in Australia. This rich developed country had a national car – the Holden. When foreign cars came in the Holden lost market share and money. It was sold to General Motors of America which agreed to produce Holden GM cars on condition the Australian Federal Government support it by 200 million Australian dollars a year (600 million Ringgit).

12. Now General Motors wants to pull out unless the Australian Government guarantees to subsidise it beyond 2015. The Labour Party is offering Aus$300 million a year. The high cost is due to the rise in exchange rate of the Australian dollar and very high labour cost. The cars on Australian roads are almost all from Korea and Japan though a small number are produced in Australia with 30% local content. Toyota which produces a lot of components locally is also contemplating pulling out.

13. Consider what would happen to Australia’s economy if General Motors pulls out. No one is talking about electric cars.

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