Thursday, November 27, 2014

DEFORESTATION 2

1. We are reading a lot about illegal logging and illegal workers. It is right that illegal logging should be stopped and illegal workers arrested and deported.

2. But what about legal logging? They may be legal but they are also destroying even more of our shrinking forest. It is time that we limit legal logging. Concessions for legal logging should be controlled.

3. Just because permits are issued does not mean that the logging is not destructive of the forests. It may mean a lot of money for the recipients of the permit, but the need for timber from the forest can be replaced with other kinds of timber.

4. We have huge areas planted with rubber and palm trees. We need to cut down these trees every 25 years. Here is a good source of timber. We really do not need timber for housing, especially for formwork. Steel plates can be used again and again. They last longer.

5. For furniture use only rubber wood. Palm tree trunks can be made suitable for chipboards and planks. On the other hand, bamboo can be grown on a large scale and be processed into paper, flooring and even cladding for walls. Even coconut shells can be used.

6. Revenue from timber and forest-products go to state Government. Some poor states will suffer if not allowed to give concessions for logging the forests.

7. The Federal Government should compensate State Governments if they reduce or stop giving forest concessions. For this compensation the Federal Government should be given a say in issuing logging permits.

8. Sacrifice by the states by making land available for industries and other business activities has increased Federal income and corporate taxes. Some kind of basis must be found so that the poor states receive a bigger allocation from the Federal Government.

9. When the states are less dependent on giving logging concession, they will be more willing to reduce and even stop logging concessions.

10. If we are serious about preserving our forest, there are many things we can do. It is the will that we need. Will the governments have the will?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

SELAMAT BERSIDANG UMNO

1. Perutusan ini ditulis kerana saya tidak dapat hadir di Mesyuarat Agong UMNO kerana berada di luar negara. Tetapi kerana saya kurang sihat untuk keluar negara, saya mungkin hadir Insya’allah! Walaubagaimanapun saya ingin membuat kenyataan ini juga.

2. Sebagai orang tua, dan orang tua UMNO pula, izinkanlah saya memberi sedikit pandangan.

3. Semua tahu UMNO sekarang tidak popular seperti UMNO dahulu. Ada yang berkata UMNO tidak lagi relevan.

4. Sedikit sebanyak pandangan ini berasas. Jika UMNO dikalahkan dan hilang dari muka bumi, kepimpinan dan ahli UMNO tidak boleh nafi sumbangan mereka kepada kejatuhan parti yang begitu berjasa kepada Melayu dan negara Malaysia.

5. Apakah kesalahan yang telah dilakukan oleh pemimpin dan ahli UMNO?

6. Pada pandangan saya, yang pertama ialah kerana menganggap UMNO sebagai batu loncatan untuk perkaya diri sendiri.

7. UMNO hanya menerima ahli baru yang tidak mengancam kedudukan pemimpin yang sedia ada di semua peringkat.

8. Cawangan tidak terima sesiapa yang berkebolehan mencabar Ketua Cawangan. Ini adalah oleh kerana ada habuan bagi Ketua Cawangan.

9. Oleh itu yang dapat masuk UMNO hanyalah orang Melayu yang kurang berbakat daripada Ketua Cawangan. Apabila Ketua Cawangan meninggal, penggantinya ialah orang yang lebih lemah daripadanya.

10. Pengganti pun demikian. Hanya yang tidak punyai kebolehan yang lebih daripadanya sahaja yang diterima. Apabila dia kembali ke rahmatullah, yang mengganti lebih lagi lemah.

11. Dan seterusnya. Kepimpinan di peringkat cawangan dan bahagian semakin lama semakin lemah dan tidak berupaya memimpin. Sebab itulah apabila ditanya siapa yang akan jadi Menteri Besar Selangor jika Barisan Nasional menang, tidak ada jawapan. Walhal Selangor penuh sesak dengan Melayu yang terpelajar, berbakat, sudah kaya dan tidak perlu memperalatkan UMNO untuk perkaya diri sendiri. Mereka ini tidak boleh masuk UMNO. Yang sedikit yang dapat masuk akan disekat kenaikan sebagai pemimpin.

12. Budaya war lord (kepala perang) sudah meresap kedalam UMNO. “UMNO saya punya.” “ Bahagian ini saya punya.”

13. Kerana kecewa ada yang berbakat dan berjiwa UMNO menyertai parti lain. Maka akan merosotlah UMNO dan akan hilanglah parti keramat ini.

14. Yang kedua ingin saya tekan akan pentingnya menegur pemimpin. Tunku, Tun Razak, Tun Hussein bukan sahaja ditegur bahkan dicabar. Saya diserang dan hampir kalah dalam pertandingan.

15. Tanpa teguran pemimpin akan percaya segala yang dilakukan olehnya betul belaka. Tetapi sebenarnya ada yang dilakukan olehnya salah dan tidak baik.

16. Saya dinasihat supaya tidak membuat teguran terbuka. Sebenarnya sudah saya tegur secara tertutup berkali-kali, terutama berkenaan masalah Bumiputra dan UMNO. Tetapi tidak berkesan. Teguran secara terbuka terpaksalah dibuat.

17. Harapan orang Melayu ialah wakil-wakil ke Perhimpunan UMNO akan buat teguran terhadap beberapa perkara yang hangat dibincang ramai sekarang.

18. Pemimpin pula perlu dengar teguran ini dan ambil berat pandangan wakil. Janganlah selalu mendengar orang tertentu yang dikeliling kita sahaja. Yang mengeliling orang yang berkuasa tidak baik bagi mereka.

19. Orang Melayu mungkin tidak pandai seperti pakar-pakar rujuk, tetapi saya percaya orang Melayu tidak bodoh. Mereka yang membangunkan negara dari sebuah negara miskin kepada negara yang memberi banyak nikmat kepada semua.

20. Selamat Bersidang UMNO. Mudah-mudahan diberi petunjuk oleh Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala.

Monday, November 17, 2014

MALAYSIAN EDUCATION

1. When we became independent in 1957 we had a clear idea about education in Malaysia. We wanted every Malaysian child to go to national schools where the medium of teaching would be the National Language based on the Malay language, the language of indigenous people. They would know and be close to each other, get used to their different cultures and be distinctly Malaysian.

2. For a time the “English Schools” were to be allowed to go on. The students at these schools were from all the ethnic groups in Malaysia.

3. When Minister Aziz Ishak as acting Education Minister decided that all schools must be converted to national schools with the national language as the teaching medium, the Chinese raised a big row. Cabinet then decided that the vernacular language schools would be allowed. They were re-designated “Jenis Kebangsaan” or National Type. The national type primary vernacular schools would receive Government aid but the national type secondary schools were not to be supported by Government. The decision was political. Nothing in the Constitution provided for this. Then another Education Minister in 1971 decided to abolish Government secondary schools which teach in English.

4. The net result was an exodus of Chinese students to private Chinese Secondary schools.

5. With this the children of different races lost all opportunities to grow up together; the Malays to national schools, the Chinese to Chinese primary and secondary schools and the Indians to Tamil primary schools. There were no Tamil secondary schools. So most Indians studied in National Secondary Schools.

6. International schools using English were however allowed to exist. Then local private schools using largely English as the medium were set up.

7. The Malaysian children were not supposed to go to these private schools. In any case the fees charged by private schools as usual were high.

8. Then the ministers’ children, against national policy started going to private schools and international schools which use largely English as the teaching medium. The ministers also send their children to public (actually private) school in the UK. So followed the children of the rich.

9. The result is that the rich go to private schools in Malaysia and U.K while the poor go to national schools at home.

10. Apart from racial separation because of the ethnic language based schools, we now see a separation of the rich children and the poor children. The rich now speak in English and the poor in Malay, Chinese or Tamil. Jobs favour the English speakers.

11. Strangely the language nationalists have not protested as they protest the use of English for Science and Mathematics. Incidentally the Malay language nationalists also help promote the use of the Chinese language in Chinese schools and in business. Even Malay parents like their children to go to Chinese schools. And in Sarawak the natives prefer Chinese schools.

12. All these will result in the separation of the races and the separation of rich high-class English speaking people from the poor less privileged national language speaking people. There will also be a loss of the knowledge of modern science and higher mathematics among national school students.

13. I must confess that although my children all went to national schools, my grandchildren all go to private schools in the country and abroad. They do speak the national language but their kind of schooling widens the gap between races as well as between the rich and the poor.

14. It seems that poor parents must accept poor education for their children so politicians can be popular.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

BR1M

1. Let me begin by admitting that I am not a trained economist or financier. Still I don’t think it is fair for anyone to say I do not understand BR1M and the good things about it. I have in the past made some decisions on economic and financial matters which seem to have given good results for the country.

2. I have been opposed to giving monetary handouts as a way to increase the income of people right from the beginning. If at all financial aid should be given to the very poor who are unable to work to earn an income. My primary objection is because handouts on such a scale look too much like bribery. And when this is given near elections or the manifesto promises this, the impression that it is about buying votes just cannot be dismissed. If incomes are to be increase it should be by way of creating opportunities for work or business.

3. But BR1M has more negative implications than that. It increases the tendency towards personal dependence on the Government even for one’s income, without any effort by oneself. It weakens the character of people and reduce their competitiveness in the market place.

4. We want high incomes. But high income should come from increases in productivity. High productivity results from better education and training. A manual labourer cannot be more productive than a mechanic or a craftsman. And they in turn cannot be as productive as an engineer. The ability to increase productivity comes from greater added value to the products.

5. It follows that when we promote industries with greater added value, than the incomes of employees would increase due to greater contribution of the employees. We should note that in countries with big Government revenues from the foreign exploitation of resources, and people are given a part of the revenue to sustain a good lifestyle, there is a lack of desire to work.

6. Giving money does not increase productivity. Without increasing productivity, competitiveness will not improve. And the economy will not really grow. These countries invariably depend on foreign workers, executives and entrepreneurs.

7. When Malaysia adopted a policy of encouraging labour intensive industries, it was because at that time the people were jobless and had no income. After that to increase their incomes we switched to hi-tech, knowledge-based industries and our people are educated and trained for these more sophisticated higher income industries.

8. We can increase their wages further by adopting new technologies and management systems. Our workers should now be involved in designing new products, producing prototypes, testing and mass-producing. Marketing and sales of these more sophisticated products will also increase incomes.

9. We want to be a developed nation by 2020. We think that this can be done by increasing average incomes to a certain level. This is misleading. A few people with very high incomes will distort the average income. Per capita income should not be a measure of our achievement of developed country status. The emphasis on high income alone is not enough. In fact by itself it will not make the country a developed country. It would be even more misleading when the income is due to handouts by the Government.

10. To be developed we have to be at par with these developed countries in terms of education, technological and industrial knowhow, research and development, industrialised to a high level, commensurate infrastructure and high earned incomes for all.

11. It is imperative therefore to spend money on education and training to a higher level, to build up engineering and industrial capacities, to be productive and competitive, to expend money on building first-class infrastructure and to be researchers, inventors and developers.

12. Since we want to be developed in our own mould, we can reject the moral values of some developed countries. We see them obviously decaying because of the emphasis on unlimited materialism and personal freedom. We must sustain the good values that we have and acquire good ethnics which will contribute to our productivity and our income. In other words we must earn our income through higher productivity and not through handouts by the Government. The Socialist and Communists have tried to improve their people’s incomes through giving them money and making free availability of support facilities to ensure they have a good life. But Socialism and Communism have failed. They have to resort to free enterprise and hard work.

13. Finally we must not forget that Government money is derived through taxes on the people. Taxes raise the cost of living. Still the people are willing to endure raised cost of living because they expect the Government to give them security, to govern the country well, to have policies which benefit the people generally.

14. But the people would not like to see the taxes they pay to be expended in ways that are beyond this. Certainly they would not want their hard-earned money to be expended on winning popularity for anyone or political parties or administrations.

Monday, November 10, 2014

DEFORESTATION

1. As I was being driven along one of the magnificent roads in our country, I saw a stream of lorries loaded with logs passing in the opposite direction.

2. I asked my companion who was from that area as to who the logs belong to.

3. He turned and smiled conspiratorially and whispered the owner’s name. I could hardly hear him but it would seem he was afraid of being heard. He was clearly scared although apart from the driver and my ADC there was nobody else in the car.

4. Vast stretches of our forests are being cleared but nobody seems to know for whom the logging is done. But what is obvious is that our most valuable heritage – the great rain forest is being destroyed.

5. There are many reasons for cutting down the trees. Firstly of course is to extract timber legally and illegally. Then there is the clearing for development of rubber and palm oil plantation. These are very big, totalling millions of hectares over the years.

6. Small time farmer clear hillsides to plant ginger and other vegetable. Each farm is small but the total area for ginger is big.

7. The mining for iron ore and other minerals has begun again. Huge forest areas are being denuded as open cast mines expand and expand in area.

8. Living space also requires forest area to be cleared. As towns expand, the poor sell their suburban kampongs and move to forest areas where legally as well as illegally low cost houses are erected.

9. Between all these reasons for clearing the forest it is said that 70% of our forest have been cleared.

10. So what happens? This country is in the rain-forest region. Rainfalls are very heavy. In the past the rain falls on the thickly leafed trees of the forest and the thick undergrowth and much rain does not reach the ground. On the ground the trunks and exposed roots cause the water flow in any own direction to be slowed. So much of the water seeps into the ground or dries up.

11. Some of the water flows to lower ground and form tiny streams, which in turn form bigger streams which flow into the rivers. The speed of flow is slow obstructed by roots of trees and shrubs and rocks. Erosion of the ground is limited.

12. As the rain water now falls directly on the bare earth and immediately flows rapidly towards lower ground, the volume grows along the way. The rivers become swollen, rising rapidly and flow downstream. The massive amount overflows the banks and floods the surrounding land. The ground softens and landslides occur.

13. This is the origin of floods and landslides. No one can deny that the deforestation is causing this. Many are going to die and many have died.

14. We are fortunate in that we are free from typhoons. Our neighbours are not so lucky. We need to clear some forest for living space. But greed has overcome us and we are clearing too much of our forests too quickly.

15. First there is a need to stop illegal clearing of forest, to stop corruption that goes with it. Then we need to look again at legal clearing. Do we really need to make money from logging. Do we need to give out concessions for this? The people who get the concessions are not really poor. They should make more money than they already have some other way.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

UMNO SELANGOR PERLU BERUBAH

1. Sesungguhnya perubahan yang diperlukan oleh UMNO Selangor ialah pembubaran dan penyusunan semula. Pemimpin-pemimpin UMNO Selangor perlu terima hakikat bahawa mereka kalah dalam PRU 12 dan 13. Mereka perlu undur.

2. Hari ini untuk mendapat calon Menteri Besar di kalangan pemimpin UMNO pun tidak ada. Ini boleh diadakan dengan ramai jika UMNO Selangor sedia menerima ahli baru. Pemimpin UMNO biasanya tidak suka menerima ahli baru yang berbakat kerana takut mereka dicabar dan hilang jawatan atau tidak dapat jadi calon pilihanraya. Oleh itu usaha mereka bukanlah memperkuatkan UMNO tetapi memperkuatkan kedudukan mereka.

3. Penerimaan ahli baru dengan ramai termasuk yang berbakat adalah perubahan yang utama yang perlu dilakukan oleh UMNO Selangor.

4. Ahli baru perlu juga ditapis oleh badan yang terdiri dari veteran UMNO termasuk dan Bahagian lain. Tapisan diperlukan kerana ada makhluk perosak yang ingin peralat UMNO untuk agenda peribadi mereka.

5. Yang kedua ialah tumpuan kepada Gen-Y. Pada PRU 14, 2.5 juta pengundi muda akan mengundi.

6. Gen-Y tidak berminat dengan UMNO. Mereka, terutama yang terpelajar di Barat sudah menerap budaya dan nilai-nilai hidup Barat. Bagi ramai dari mereka penghargaan terhadap parti dan pemerintah yang memberi peluang kepada mereka mendapat pelajaran dan berjaya dalam kehidupan mereka tidak ada.

7. Jika disebut akan jasa parti UMNO kepada mereka, mereka menolak peringatan ini sebagai mengungkit. Lagi pun mereka berpendapat parti mana pun yang menjadi Kerajaan akan membuat perkara yang sama.

8. Pandangan cetek ini disebabkan mereka tidak membuat bandingan antara Kerajaan Malaysia pimpinan UMNO dengan Kerajaan-Kerajaan negara-negara lain. Jika bandingan dibuat oleh mereka, sudah tentu mereka akan lihat bahawa negara-negara yang mencapai kemerdekaan bersama kita tidak pun dapat dimajukan, jauh sekali daripada memberi pelajaran, biasiswa dan bantuan lain supaya rakyat mereka dapat menikmati taraf hidup seperti rakyat Malaysia.

9. UMNO Selangor perlu berusaha menarik pemuda Melayu menyertai UMNO dengan mendekatkan diri dengan mereka yang bukan ahli bahkan yang menentang UMNO. Untuk ini kepimpinan UMNO harus tahu sejarah UMNO dengan mendalam. Pemimpin yang mampu menjelas kedudukan orang Melayu dahulu dan sekarang tidak ramai. Mereka juga perlu diberi kursus.

10. Ketiga, kikis imej UMNO sebagai parti rasuah. Cara hidup pemimpin UMNO perlu lebih sederhana. Mereka perlu rapat dengan rakyat dan bukan sahaja dengan ahli UMNO. Jangan sekali-kali guna kereta mewah bila ke kampung.

11. Sesungguhnya banyak lagi perubahan yang perlu dibuat oleh UMNO Selangor. Tetapi jika yang tiga ini dibuat sokongan rakyat akan lebih kuat.
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