Monday, 31 May 2010

1 Jun 2010 - Selamat Hari Gawai

Saya mengucapkan Selamat Menyambut Hari Gawai Dayak kepada semua kawan-kawan di Malaysia tidak kira di mana mereka berada.

May 31 2010 - Massacre of Gaza aid flotilla in the high seas by Israeli IDF Naval Commandoes

A very,very sad and bloody day today where a aid convoy headed for stricken Gaza under siege by the Israeli Government were attacked in international waters by Israeli Defence Force Naval Commandoes making the Israeli Government a institutional sponsor of piracy in the high seas.

News from about 10 peace activists massacred, killed by IDF Navy commandoes here.

These are comments from leaders of the civilised world on the atrocities committed by the Israel Government read here.

Albert Einstein once said that two things are infinite, one is the universe and the other is human stupidity. Today the state of Israel showed that the Government it elects has acted in a most stupid way...killing unarmed civillian in international waters cannot be justified as self defence by any stretch of reasonable thinking. Israel should pay the price for its bloodthirsty ways.


Najib personally involved in Western Digital decision to Invest RM3.87B in Penang

While the DAP led State Government is finding all sorts of excuses why there has been a huge drop of investments in Penang since they took over from BN in March 2008 ranging from the global downturn, lack of confidence to lack of skilled engineers etc. It is heartwarming to note that PM Najib has been tirelessly doing a lot of good deeds all over Malaysia in his personal and official capacity and the Western Digital’s decision to invest in Penang is certainly welcome news for Penangites in particular and Malaysia in general. Just hope that the DAP State Government this time will spare everything and give all its cooperation to Western Digital unlike last here.

From themalaysianinsider:

Penang FDI : Denial is not a strategy — Calvin Sankaran
May 31, 2010

MAY 31 — Western Digital’s decision to invest RM3.87 billion in Penang has provided a much-needed lifeline for the state’s faltering foreign direct investment (FDI) efforts and fading attractions as an investment hub. It is noteworthy that this FDI was secured with the personal involvement of our Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

It is absolutely imperative that Penang spares no effort to maintain its position as a key node in the global electronic supply chain by having the right policies, physical infrastructure, human resources, technological and managerial skills, and last but not least, a strong and visionary political leadership.

However, the undeniable fact is that Penang has dramatically lost its competitive edge in the last few years. The disastrous and unprecedented 80 per cent drop in FDI in 2009 is a sad testament and reflection of this alarming collapse.
That Penang has performed far below the national average and other key states in attracting FDI is an even further cause for worry. While almost every country and every state had seen a drop in FDI in 2009, none has witnessed a contraction as severe as Penang’s.

In fact, in my more than two decades of working in Penang’s electronics industry, I can’t recall a time when the future of Penang’s industrial sector has looked bleaker.
It is highly regrettable that instead of admitting and acknowledging the problems and focusing on finding solutions, the Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and his key investment officers seem to be in a defensive, denial mode by trying to rationalise the plunge by offering excuses that just do not make sense at all.

Much had been said by the Penang state government on the shortages of workers experienced by the industry currently. The comments by the Japanese ambassador had been frequently quoted by the state officials to defend their failure in attracting FDI.

However, such excuses might able to find traction with the uninformed man on the street but not knowledgeable industry professionals, who will laugh off these claims. It is well known that during the recent global economic slowdown, there were thousands of workers laid-off in Penang.

As the global economy has picked up steam resulting in demand uptick, the factories naturally need workers again urgently to meet the increased orders. It is common sense that while firing workers can be done quickly, hiring them takes much longer. More knowledgeable government officials and leaders would have anticipated this and taken appropriate pro-active actions instead of passing the buck to others.
Lim also had been quoted as saying that his highly controversial decision to turn down FDI worth USD3.0 billion(RM 10 billion) was a right decision in the light of “severe” shortage of electronics engineers.

This unbelievable and unforgivable blunder was justifiably called the “mother of all blunders” by many industry professionals. This is sadly again a reflection of poor managerial decision making and shocking ineptitude on the part of the state leadership.

Perhaps Lim is unaware of the fact that global high-tech leader, the United States, and the cradle of innovation, Silicon Valley, would not be what they are today if not for imported talents from around the world. It is estimated that around 60 per cent of the Silicon Valley’s engineers and scientists are foreign-born. Closer to home, Singapore is another example where much of its technological advances are based heavily on “foreign talents”.

The fact is no country in the world can produce 1,000 engineers at any given moment, not even the most technically advanced nations in the world such as the US, Germany and Taiwan. It must be noted that Malaysians and Penang engineers are highly regarded globally and much sought after. As such it is a mockery to claim that we don’t have the resources when the top companies in the world keep hiring and luring our best brains away.

Lim certainly is the CM who had made the most number of overseas visits to attract FDI among the all Malaysian state leaders. From FDI statistics, he also appears to be the least productive as well. As an industry professional, it appears to me that the real problem is political interference, a lack of knowledge and managerial skills. Penang must exclude politicians and politically well-connected individuals from the FDI efforts and allow only industry experts with proven records to spearhead it.

If Penang does not buck up and get its act right quickly, then the state faces a real risk of de-industrialisation. This would subsequently lead to a dramatic loss of quality of life. Such a scenario would be tragic not only for the state and Penangites but also for the entire nation.

Read more here.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Its Vesak Day Today

Warm Wishes to all my Buddhists friends on Vesak Day.

Saya setuju dengan Mantan Menteri YB Shahrir Samad

I am a JB resident but I must confess I am a not a great fan of my MP, YB Datuk Shahrir, however, today I wholeheartedly agree with him when he said it was "hysterically ridiculous to pretend" that the KTM track, its station and other plots are Malaysian territory when they are actually land leased from Singapore purely for the purposes of the rail service run by KTM Bhd.

read the story from Bernama here.

The opposition leaders should really find something else to oppose lah. Lets hear their counter arguments on the Government subsidy cuts instead and what other alternatives they can offer.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Forget about the Stubborn Samy and the insolent Vel Paari, lets talk subsidy cuts

I think we do not need to further debate about when and how Samy will retire, MIC will have to decide for them self when and how Samy should retire, they choose him in a democratic election. MIC will also have to suffer the consequence of their action and remains to be seen whether they will still have a party after the next General Election.

Here is more serious bread and butter stuff from Minister Idris Jala about subsidy cuts which I think is inevitable.

I hope that subsidy cuts are done progressively so that the inevitable price hike will not cause too much hardship for Malaysians who live near or below the poverty line. The timings and the quantum of the subsidy cuts on each subsidised items must be decided by the Cabinet holistically, economically and politically.

In tandem with the subsidy cuts the Government should also tighthen its Procurement and Tender awards procedures so that there will be no wastage due to overpricing etc. Its no point having across the board subsidy cuts if there are still leakages somewhere in the system.

From the Malay Mail news portal:

Idris Jala reveals Malaysia's growing debt and the need to cut it
Thursday, May 27th, 2010 15:17:00

KUALA LUMPUR: If the Malaysian government’s debts increase by 12 per cent every year, the country could go bankrupt by 2019.

This was revealed by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator Datuk Seri Idris Jala at the Subsidy Lab Open Day at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre this morning.

Idris said Malaysia has a rising debt of RM362 billion, which is 52 per cent of the country’s GDP.

It was due to this concern that the government would be taking proactive measures to do away with subsidies gradually.
To date, Malaysia is one of the most subsidised nations in the world. Its total subsidy of RM74 billion last year is equivalent to RM12,900 per household.

THE government’s subsidy rationalism framework, as announced by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator Datuk Seri Idris Jala at the Subsidy Lab Open Day at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre this morning, is as below:

• Fuel — increment of 15sen for now and followed by 10sen every six months. For diesel, a suggested 10sen increment every six months for the next five years.

• Cars below 1,000cc will receive RM126 cash rebate while motorcycles below 200cc will receive RM54 cash rebate. This will help the government save RM14.3 billion by 2015.

• Households using less than 100kwh of electricity per month will get free electricity while those using 100kwh to 200kwh will continue to receive the subsidy. With this, the government can save RM35.9 billion over the next five years.

• Idris said, if tolls done away with, the amount of income tax will increase in the next 20 years. The best solution would be to increase toll charges on highways that have other alternative roads and heavy users shall be given a discount of 20 per cent. This will save the government RM 3.75 billion in the next 5 years.

• A suggested increment of 20 sen per kilogramme of sugar from now until 2012.

• A suggested increment of 20 sen per kilogramme for flour for now, and an increase of 25 sen from next year until 2012.

• A 15 per cent increment for oil per litre for two years, followed by 5 per cent until 2014. There will also be a rebate of RM20 per year which can be collected at the post office.

• To encourage fisherman, RM200 will be given for every fish load landed.

• Concerning agriculture, fertilisers should be designed according to the soil for better results.

• For the health sector, it was suggested the current RM1 fee when visiting public hospitals be increased to RM3 to save the government RM16.3 billion over the next five years.

"Subsidy culture has brought negative consequences where it has often gone to the wrong beneficiaries, are subject to leakages and abuses, promote market distortions, and encourage over consumption that results in over production,” said Idris.
He said subsidies in Malaysia was on a blanket basis – given to everyone regardless of income level. "For example, 70 per cent of fuel subsidies go to mid- to high-income groups. "People are also subsidised for primary, secondary and tertiary education, medical services, petrol, sugar and cooking oil, as well as welfare aid and sustenance allowance. "Abuse of subsidies is rampant. For Malaysia to move forward economically, the nation as a whole needs to rationalise its subsidy issue before it is too late,” he said.

RM12,900 per household..

IT is an undisputed fact that Malaysia is one of the most subsidised nations in the world, with a total subsidy of RM74 billion in 2009, equivalent to RM12,900 per household.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator Datuk Seri Idris Jala said this whopping bill can be split into the following subsidy components:

• Social – RM42.8 billion
• Fuel – RM23.5 billion
• Infrastructure – RM4.6 billion
• Food (flour, sugar and cooking oil) – RM3.1 billion

Idris said according to statistics from the Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Malaysia’s subsidy expenditure as a percentage of nominal gross domestic product (GDP) between 2006 and 2009 is at a staggering 11 per cent, almost three times more than non-OECD countries like the Philippines and 55 times more than OECD countries like Switzerland.

He said Malaysia’s subsidy bill is not sustainable, especially in light of the rising budget deficit and government debts (as percentage of GDP).
This is higher than Indonesia at 28 per cent and closer to the Philippines at 62 per cent.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Do you really think that Singapore pays too cheap for our Raw Water?

Much has been said and argued about the Malaysia-Singapore Water agreements since before PM Najib took office, much of the argument are rather based on politics rather then looking at it from a commercial view point. One must note that in the Agreements beside paying dirt cheap for the raw water it extracts from Johor (3 sen/1000gallons) the Singapore Government also sells treated water to the Johor Government at dirt cheap price(50sen/1000gallons) the Singapore Government also have to make compensation payments for the land lost due to the water catchment, annual rents and also pay for the construction of new dams, water intake structure and new water treatment plant together with the main supply pipelines and managing the operations and maintenance of all the water catchment and infrastructure that it built.

We say the raw water we sell to Singapore is too cheap at 3 sen/1000gallons, but under the agreement Singapore also have to sell treated water to Johor for 50 sen/1000gallons. If you do the maths that means Singapore sells to Johor treated water at about 11 sen/cubic meter and how much does the Johor Government can resell water to the state domestic consumers…the water tariff starts at about 70sen/cubic meter last time I check. That’s a tidy profit for the Johor Government. That is a bit simplistic but just goes to show that Malaysia and Singapore both have their points in the upcoming negotiations and remember that every time Singapore sells us treated water they may make a loss as the electrical and water treatment chemicals will go up all the way to 2061..and our abundant raw water if not extracted will flow into the sea and evaporates comes back to land and fall back onto land as rain and become raw water available for extraction again forever.

I am however greatly confident that PM Najib without the political baggage of the past will be able to solve this water issue with PM Hsien Loong, just like the KTM land issue that has been resolved, cool heads should prevail. Of course the Opposition lead by its defacto leader Lim Kit Siang and DAP appointed leader Anwar Ibrahim will try to find fault to gain political points on whatever PM Najib does.

Below is a good condensed report on the the 4 water agreements that Malaysia and Singapore ever signed..after 2061 nobody would know what’s going to happen, I envisage Singapore with its growing population will still need water from Malaysia, heck Malaysia and Singapore could probably be back in a union at that time.

Singapore-Malaysia water agreements
By Chew, Valerie written on 2009-06-18
National Library Board Singapore
Comments on article: InfopediaTalk

Singapore and Malaysia have signed four agreements to regulate the supply of water from Malaysia to Singapore. The first - signed in 1927 - is no longer in force. Water imported from Malaysia under the other three agreements - signed in 1961, 1962 and 1990 - now meets about half of Singapore's water demand. However, this will be reduced after the 1961 pact expires in 2011. The government has also stated that Singapore can be self-sufficient in water by the time the 1962 and 1990 agreements expire in 2061.

1927 Agreement
This was signed on 5 December 1927 between the municipal commissioners of the town of Singapore and Sultan Ibrahim of the state and territories of Johor. It allowed Singapore to rent 2,100 acres (8.5km2) of land in Gunong Pulai for the purpose of supplying raw water from the area to Singapore. An annual rent of 30 cents per acre (per 4,047m2) was payable on the land, but the water was free. Johor set aside an additional 25mi2(64.7km2) of land and agreed not to alienate any part of this land without the consent of the Singapore commissioners. If the latter wanted to reserve any part of this plot for drawing water, they had to give notice to the Johor government and pay an annual rent of $5 per acre. In return, Johor could obtain 800,000 gallons (3,637m3) of treated water from Singapore daily at a rate of 25 cents per 1,000 gallons (per 4.55m3).

1961 Agreement
This was called the Tebrau and Scudai Rivers Water Agreement. It was signed on 1 September 1961 between the city council of the state of Singapore (the predecessor of the Public Utilities Board or PUB) and the government of the state of Johor. By then, Singapore was a self-governing state within the British empire while Malaya was already an independent nation. The 1927 agreement was declared void in this document.

The agreement gave Singapore the full and exclusive right to draw off all the water within the designated land at Gunong Pulai, Sungei Tebrau and Sungei Scudai for a period of 50 years up till 2011. Singapore was to pay an annual rent of $5 per acre for the land and a charge of 3 cents for every 1,000 gallons of water. Singapore also agreed to provide Johor with a daily supply of treated water up to 12% of the raw water it drew, subject to a minimum of four million gallons (18,184m3), and at a price of 50 cents per 1,000 gallons.

1962 Agreement
Called the Johor River Water Agreement, this was signed on 29 September 1962 between the Singapore city council and the Johor state government. Valid for 99 years up till 2061, it gave Singapore the full and exclusive right to draw water from Johor River up to a maximum of 250 million gallons per day (mgd) (1.14 million cubic metres a day). In return, Johor was entitled to a daily supply of treated water from Singapore up to 2% of the raw water it supplied.

Singapore had to pay rent for the land it used "at the standard rate applicable to building lots on town land". The water prices remained the same as in the previous agreement - 3 cents per 1,000 gallons of raw water supplied to Singapore and 50 cents per 1,000 gallons of treated water sold to Johor. After Singapore and Malaysia stopped using a common currency, the prices became denominated in Malaysian ringgit.

The 1961 and 1962 agreements provided for a price review after 25 years, with arbitration being the agreed course of action if bilateral price negotiations failed. However, the Johor government chose not to revise the prices at both opportunities, in 1986 and 1987.

The Independence of Singapore Agreement (also known as the Separation Agreement) signed between the governments of Singapore and Malaysia on 9 August 1965 guaranteed the 1961 and 1962 water agreements.

1990 Agreement
This was signed on 24 November 1990 between PUB and the Johor state government. It was supplementary to the 1962 pact and would also expire in 2061. A separate document was signed on the same day by the governments of Malaysia and Singapore to guarantee adherence to the agreement.

Under this agreement, Singapore was allowed to construct a dam across Sungei Linggui to facilitate the extraction of water from Johor River, with Johor setting aside about 21,600ha (216km2) of land for the project. Singapore agreed to pay RM320 million as compensation for the permanent loss of use of the land and its associated revenue, in addition to a premium of RM18,000 per hectare (per 10,000m2) and an annual rent of RM30 for every 1,000ft2 (per 92.9m2) of the land. The cost of building and maintaining the dam would be borne by Singapore.

In return, Singapore could buy (from Johor) treated water generated by the new dam. This would be over and above the 250mgd of raw water that it was allowed to draw from Johor River under the 1962 agreement. The price of this additional supply would be calculated based on a fixed formula: the weighted average of Johor's water tariffs plus 50% of the surplus from the sale of this water by PUB to its consumers after deducting Johor's price and PUB's cost of distribution, or 115% of the weighted average of Johor's water tariffs, whichever was higher.

This agreement was a follow-up to the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed on 28 June 1988 between the two countries' prime ministers at the time, Lee Kuan Yew for Singapore and Mahathir Mohamad for Malaysia. The signing of the MOU was hailed as a breakthrough in Singapore-Malaysia water relations, the culmination of six years of difficult negotiations.

Beyond 2061
The Singapore government has stated that it will not renew the 1961 agreement which expires in 2011. Attempts to reach a new deal with Malaysia to secure water supply for Singapore beyond 2061 have not borne fruit despite years of tedious negotiations. To reduce Singapore's dependence on imported water, the government has taken steps to increase the size of the local water catchment area and to build up the supply from non-conventional sources, namely NEWater (reclaimed water) and desalinated water. With the various water projects progressing well, government officials have assured Singaporeans that the country can be self-reliant in water by 2061 if it needs to be.

Valerie Chew


I am a BN supporter but this is of interest and I agree wholeheartedly:

Monday, 24 May 2010

Finally some concrete agreements between Malaysia and Singapore

Syabas, Congratulations where it is due, today 24 May 2010 Najib and Hsien Loong, Two leaders with no baggage from the past were able to “finally” resolve the longstanding KTM land issue without the usual grandstanding between the two sides, and here is some good news for all Johoreans in particular and Malaysians in general, Hsien Loong also promised to return the waterworks in Johor namely the Gunung Pulai, Sungai Skudai and Teberau Water works under the 1961 Water Agreement (refer: when it expires, back to the Johor Water authority in 2011 next year in good working condition. I however note that both were silent on the water rates which is still a contentious issue I guess to be settled after further rounds of golf probably in Putrajaya next time they know this things takes time kena perlahan-perlahan.

Looking at the brighter side there are many things that have been agreed on cross border travels,tourism and The Iskandar Development in particular, but I just hope that Khazanah Nasional do not cock up in the M-S Joint Venture company with Temasek and lose a 60% equity advantage in a blink. In this respect a Parliamentary All Party Committee (YB Tony Pua should be in the Committee) should be set up to oversee Khazanah’s performance in the JV Development company with Temasek. You knowlah with this trend about GLC’s cock ups overseas Sime Darby losing Multi million and Maybank losing money in banking in Indonesia somebody should be responsible for oversight duties as the Board of Directors seemed not very effective.

The rest of the historic agreement is here for better or for worse:


1. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak met in Singapore on 24 May 2010 for the Leaders’ Retreat.Both Leaders expressed their satisfaction at the present state of relations and cooperation between the two countries. Both Leaders discussed a wide of range of bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest, in particular enhanced bilateral relations and new initiatives for cooperation.

2. Both Leaders are pleased to note that in furtherance to the spirit of enhanced bilateral relations, the Singapore Consulate-General in Johor Bahru started operations since 4 January 2010.

3. Both Leaders are pleased to announce that as a result of the various discussions undertaken by the Joint Ministerial Committee on Iskandar Malaysia (JMC), the following have been agreed so as to increase connectivity between
the two countries:-

• Cross-border scheduled bus services will be doubled with the introduction of 8 new additional routes (4 from each side) between Pasar Bakti and Larkin in Johor and the two Integrated Resorts, Boon Lay, Yishun, Newton and Changi Airport in Singapore; and

• Cross border taxi services will also be liberalised with taxis being allowed to pick up and drop off passengers from any location on the domestic leg of that journey, instead of only at the designated taxi terminals.

• The Malaysian Automated Clearance System had been implemented to facilitate cross-border immigration clearance for frequent travellers between the two countries;

• A Cross Border Land Checkpoints Committee had also been formed to facilitate cooperation on operational management of cross-border traffic;

• On tourism, both countries are looking into the possibility of twinning an eco-tourism product;

• To share experiences and jointly develop plans for river cleaning in line with the efforts being undertaken in Iskandar Malaysia; and

• To optimise further existing road connectivity between Malaysia and Singapore, in particular through increased utilisation of the Second Link.

To this end, the two Leaders have agreed that the toll charges for the Second Link will be significantly reduced on both sides. The reduced toll charges will be announced within a month.

4. Both Leaders also discussed issues arising from the Points of Agreement (POA) on Malayan Railway Lands in Singapore and reached an understanding to move the issues forward. In this regard, the POA shall be supplemented by new terms and conditions to maximise the full potentials of the MRA Lands in Singapore.

To that effect, both Leaders agreed to undertake the following steps:-

• The Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) station will be relocated from Tanjong Pagar to the Woodlands Train Checkpoint (WTCP) by 1 July 2011.

Malaysia would co-locate its railway CIQ facilities at WTCP.

Singapore would facilitate the relocation to the WTCP and ensure bus service connectivity from the KTMB Station at WTCP to a nearby MRT Station for the convenience of train passengers.

• A company known as M-S Pte Ltd will be established as soon as practicable but not later than 31 December 2010 with Malaysia’s 60% held by Khazanah Nasional Berhad and Singapore’s 40% held by Temasek Holdings Limited.

• The three parcels of land in Tanjong Pagar, Kranji and Woodlands and three additional pieces of land in Bukit Timah (Lot 76-2 Mk 16, Lot 249 Mk 4 and Lot 32-10 Mk 16) will be vested in M-S Pte Ltd for joint development,which in turn, could be swapped, on the basis of equivalent value for pieces of land in Marina South and/or Ophir-Rochor. Both sides will conduct their respective valuations and Prime Minister Lee will visit Kuala Lumpur within a month with a proposal for the land swap for Malaysia’s consideration.

• The transfer of the said land parcels to M-S Pte Ltd will take effect at the
time when KTMB vacates Tanjong Pagar Railway Station (TPRS).

• A rapid transit system link between Tanjung Puteri, Johor Bahru and Singapore aimed at enhancing connectivity between the two countries will be jointly developed. The rapid transit system link will be integrated with public transport services in both Johor Bahru and Singapore. For the convenience of commuters, the rapid transit system link will have a single co-located CIQ facility in Singapore with the exact location to be determined later. It is targeted that the proposed rapid transit system link
will be operational by 2018. Thereafter Malaysia may consider to relocate the KTMB Station from Woodlands to Johor.

5. Both Leaders agreed to task a joint implementation team, to be led by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia and the Permanent
Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore to further discuss the
implementation details, which among others, would include as follows:-

• establishment and the framework governing the M-S Pte.Ltd;

• rapid transit system connectivity between Johor Bahru and Singapore; and

• co-located CIQ in Woodlands Train Checkpoint.

6. The joint implementation team will complete its works by 31 December 2010.

7. The outcome reached by the joint implementation team on the matters discussed should be reflected in a written instrument to be signed by both countries upon approval from their respective Governments.

8. Both Leaders agreed that the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station Passenger Terminal building would be conserved given its historical significance and would be a centerpiece for the new proposed development on the site. In addition, the old Bukit Timah Railway Station building at Blackmore Drive can also be conserved.

9. Both Leaders also discussed bilateral cooperation in the joint iconic project in Iskandar Malaysia. The Leaders support the “live work play” wellness township concept proposed by the Joint Ministerial Committee on Iskandar Malaysia (JMC) which will offer holistic wellness services and facilities. The proposed iconic project will involve a sizeable development of up to 500 acres of land, designed to be vibrant, culturally distinctive, yet socially harmonious and environmentally friendly. A unique feature of the proposed iconic project will be the encapsulation of “wellness” within activities throughout the township,alongside the integration of traditional healing methods, complementary alternative medicine and modern treatments. Both Leaders agreed that Khazanah Nasional Berhad and Temasek Holdings Limited will form a 50-50 joint venture company to undertake the development of the iconic wellness township project in Iskandar Malaysia which would involve the participation of private sectors from both countries. Both Leaders look forward to the launching of the project within a year.

10. Prime Minister Lee informed Prime Minister Najib Razak that upon the expiry of the 1961 Water Agreement, Singapore would hand over the waterworks under the 1961 Water Agreement to the Johor water authorities free of charge and in good working order.

11. Prime Minister Lee and Prime Minister Najib Razak expressed satisfaction that the arrangements relating to the POAwould facilitate resolution of the issue which has been outstanding for more than 19 years. Both Prime Ministers reaffirmed their commitment towards further strengthening bilateral relations and mutual collaboration in various areas.

Again Congratulations to DS Najib...I think job well done.

B.U.M 2011 -Lets discuss about Satu Sekolah Untuk Semua

Kudos to the organizers of the recent Blogger’s Universe Malaysia or B.U.M 2010 which was a great idea, good for freedom of speech but was unfortunately spoilt by the ALLAH discussion.

Problem is Religion and Politic is a very volatile mix made more volatile by the politicians who are just religious wannabees quoting a few Quranic verses and trying to convince everyone present that they are the experts.

B.U.M 2010 organisers should have invited Ustaz Haron Din to explain the ALLAH issue from a real Islamic expert perspective instead of Khalid Samad or other wannabbe ustads who thinks being able to quote a few sentence from the Quran qualifies them to speak on behalf of us Muslims about the Allah issue in a public gathering.


ALLAH the ALMIGHTY certainly does not need defending from us lesser mortals.

I think we Malaysians must do all we can to defend our society from being further polarised and segregated with the continuation of this multi school system that we have.

Lets have a civilised discourse in Satu Sekolah Untuk Semua, about how we can make Bahasa Melayu the main language while the English Language and one’s mother tongue be made compulsory for all students as a platform for our unity.

I envisage a day where we Malaysians would finally be having Satu Bahasa,Satu Bangsa, Satu Negara and Lim Kit Siang do not have to ask Muhyiddin whether he is Malaysian first or Malay first, finally catching up with our neighbors the Thais, The Indonesians, The Singaporeans,Filipinos, Cambodians and Vietnamese in regards to our nation's unity.

World Cup 2010: A must have guide to commentator speak

An article from the Independent UK newspaper 23/5/2010 which I think will be useful next month as many of the Soccer Commentators will be Brits, enjoy….

Commentators have enriched our knowledge of 'the beautiful game' with their clichés and knowing asides for years. But what are they really trying to say? John Leigh and David Woodhouse break it down, country by 'tactically naive' country


Many entries in this World Cup Lexicon are driven by the habit of the English media to refract international football through a parochial lens. Algeria will be a largely unknown (in other words, "under-researched") quantity, but count on whoever is dispatched to their first group game to tell us that Hull City fans know all about Kamel Ghilas


Although Uruguay's qualification relieves the Argentines of their traditional duties as chief pantomime villains (below), they are still likely to be cast as an intriguing mixture of beauty and the beast, and Maradona's presence at the helm is bound to attract a range of barbed remarks about his single-handed contribution to past triumphs


The Socceroo – officially, the Qantas Socceroo – is a cross between a footballer and an animal. For a prime example, see Lucas Neill


Even when managed by the pragmatic Dunga, the seleção are synonymous with the beautiful game. The moment the cameras focus in on a gyrating fan in a shirt tied at the navel, Brazil will be praised for the samba rhythm and carnival atmosphere they bring to the tournament. If a particularly nonchalant piece of play occurs on the pitch, it is likely Clive Tyldesley will purr: "Oh just look at Kaka, that little flick was straight off Copacabana beach"


It is only a matter of time before a commentator reminds us that it is only a matter of time before an African side wins the World Cup. Cameroon's Indomitable Lions will therefore find themselves portrayed less as representatives of their country than of their continent. The same members of the press who recite this cliché would never dare suggest England were flying the flag for European football – though one preview has already stated that Arsenal's Alex Song and Spurs' Benoit Assou-Ekotto will be flying the flag for the Premiership


It is unlikely but still conceivable that Chile might meet Italy in the quarter-finals, thereby evoking memories of the Battle of Santiago in 1962. David Coleman's indignation back then – "the most stupid, appalling, disgusting and disgraceful exhibition of football" – was fuelled by the fact that an English referee lost control of the game. (It is thereby guaranteed that any performance by Rotherham ref Howard Webb this year will meet with unanimous approbation from the BBC team as brave and unflustered – even if he shows a player three yellow cards)


When the local director cuts to a shot of a middle-aged foreigner hitching up his trousers in front of the dug-out, commentator Jonathan Pearce may, for once, be lost for words. However, Morten Olsen is one of those players-turned-managers who remains just about recognisable from old Panini stickers. Morten therefore qualifies as a football legend – even if his namesake Jesper, after a fatal backpass in the 1986 tournament, has become a synonym in Danish for cock-up


When referring to footballers' other halves, reference to "partners" has always been avoided in favour of the formulation wives and girlfriends. But it wasn't until the last World Cup, in 2006, that they were abbreviated to WAGs, an acronym now as universally understood as FIFA. The shopping may not be as good in Bafokeng as Baden Baden, but coverage of Coleen and the rest will still be a fairly reliable barometer of how well the team is faring on the pitch, as it will be inversely proportional to the prevailing odds on England winning the tournament


The French football lexicon revels in literary and historical allusion, with references to a player in space as Robinson Crusoe and a crowded penalty area as Verdun. Zidane and Henry are two exponents of the late-dipping free-kick known (with a nod to Verlaine) as a feuille morte. But they are more likely to be remembered in Anglophone commentary for THAT headbutt and THAT handball


While pundits are less likely than Alex Ferguson to say something politically incorrect about typical Germans they will almost inevitably subscribe to the notion of a ruthlessly efficient machine. The metaphors will allude to a purring BMW, but the main connotations will be military. The Germans started it with Der Kaiser (Beckenbauer) and Der Bomber (Gerd Müller), but Terry Venables carried it on by describing Horst Hrubesch as a real dreadnought of a centre-forward


Although lesser nations such as Ghana have evolved into the so-called lesser nations, and are accorded more respect, some pundits still imply that African teams are tactically naïve. There is, however, an equally active stereotype of the European manager, in this case Milovan Rajevac, wily enough to prevent his charges from having their limitations exposed ("wily" here translating to old and cheap)


It may be the Greek team's turn to provide their country with a much-needed boost, a faintly absurd assessment of the restorative powers of football that would usually be reserved for earthquake-hit Chile or politically unstable Honduras


Any mention of Honduras may instead provoke reminiscences about a football war. Not necessarily the real one, with El Salvador in 1969, but rather the hard-fought 1-1 draw with Northern Ireland in Zaragoza 12 years later


Italian football inspires a certain ambivalence. While catenaccio is as untranslatably Italian as cannelloni, and the term is dusted down as soon as the Azzurri set their stall out to defend a lead, the endlessly repeated images of Marco Tardelli's celebration in the 1982 final gratify an equally entrenched view of the Italians as an unbridled and passionate race

Ivory Coast

Ever since Roger Milla did his thing with the corner flag in 1990, any celebratory jig tends to be greeted with a patronising chuckle. Didier Drogba's trademark used to be the fouka-fouka, although even he seemed nonplussed when the country's president once joined in.


References to kamikaze defending are obviously prohibited but, in any case, media caricatures of the Japanese team tend to focus on the country's reputation for manners rather than its martial traditions. Take this recent headline on the FA website: "Japan bow to Serbia in friendly". Perhaps the emphasis would be different if anybody rated Japan's chances of actually lifting the cup


The principal role of Mexico in tournaments is to flatter to deceive. Commentators will cite the fact that the Mexicans won every home match in qualification, and should their national team duly succumb to defeat against Uruguay, we may be invited to infer that Mexico has great natural resources and potential – but is sadly corrupt and badly governed


Preparation is the standard noun to be adopted in the run-up to a tournament, covering everything from penalty practice to relationships within the camp. (Why is it always a camp when teams are at the World Cup?) In the case of the Dutch, this preparation always seems to be far from ideal, usually because of internecine squabbling

New Zealand

Rank outsiders get to enjoy a World Cup adventure, and this term will duly be enlisted if New Zealand, just happy to be there, are eliminated after the group games. If a country progresses beyond expectations, the adventure duly transforms into an odyssey (as in Senegal, 2002)


There is sometimes a tinge of resentment when players are sighted in the World Cup who have rejected England in favour of their motherland. A few Nigerian internationals have always played their football in England and we will no doubt be reminded that they chose the Super Eagles over the Three Lions, even if Danny Shittu is not exactly Ryan Giggs

North Korea

North Korea are unlucky enough to find themselves in this World Cup's Group of Death, a nice piece of hyperbole probably coined by the Mexican press in 1970, and now mandatory. If Peter Drury is assigned to commentate on one of Korea's games, he may steer clear of the cliché and note instead that Kim John Il has not been seen in the crowd


A country of modest proportions wedged between Brazil and Argentina, Paraguay inevitably invites remarks about a surprise appearance at the top table or on the biggest stage of all, even though its footballers have qualified regularly in the past. Should the team proceed to the next round, condescension may turn into indignation as Paraguay then ignore the script or crash the party


Whereas Portugal was traditionally depicted as England's oldest ally, such cheerful references fell out of favour at the same time as successive eliminations from football tournaments at Portugal's hands


In the way foreign correspondents tend to routinely refer to the Balkans as a tinderbox, the Serbians will probably win the prize for the most fanatical support, a phrase that hints gently, but unmistakably, that good-natured banter may give way to sectarian thuggery


If swathes of empty seats can be seen when they play New Zealand, it will be noted sagely that few fans have made the long journey from Slovakia. Nations such as the US, England and Japan may be further from South Africa, but the long journey seems to be the prerogative of fans from smaller countries assumed to be poorer


UK commentators are familiar with one player from Slovenia. He plays for West Bromwich Albion. No matter how mediocre he might turn out to be, Robert Koren will duly be appointed (not only by Adrian Chiles) as the team's talisman, in tribute to the strength of the English game

South Africa

It is one of the oldest World Cup truisms that a successful competition depends on the host nation surviving until at least the quarter-finals. The gathered media will naturally want to see stadia packed to capacity and streets thronging with jubilant home fans. However, rumours that Matt Damon is rehearsing for the role of Bafana Bafana's top scorer Benni McCarthy may be slightly premature

South Korea

Anyone not recalling the performance by South Korea in the World Cup it hosted in 2002 may instead describe the team as technically gifted but lacking physical presence – the polite way of saying that the average height of the squad is five foot six


The Spanish team has traditionally been cast in the role of perennial underachievers. After Spain won Euro 2008 at a canter, we would not venture to guess which big international team may have assumed their mantle


The Swiss nation is scrupulously multilingual, which is one reason why the Wankdorf Stadion in Bern is also known as the Stade de Suisse. Yet the euphemism coined by the Zurich police for the country's hooligans, erlebnisorientierte fans (adventure-oriented fans), has not yet been translated successfully

United States

Listening to an American talking about a football match is like drinking tea out of a Coca-Cola bottle: it feels odd, even if you recognise what is happening. It is possible for a home-grown commentator to parody the effect with borrowed references to corner balls, front headers and tying tallies.


Uruguay was the final team to qualify for South Africa, much to the delight of that prurient species of pundit whose role it is to point out that Latin Americans will be up to their old tricks. Commentators will be on the lookout for the first bodycheck or late tackle that they can classify as cynical. If an English player commits an identical foul, his challenge will be mistimed

Friday, 21 May 2010

Build cemetery with modern facilities, good infrastructure

1.I am sure most Muslims would find time at least once a year, especially during Ramadan and Hari Raya, to visit and tend the graves of our dearly departed.

2.I am writing on the state of the Muslim cemeteries in Malaysia in particular that I periodically visit in Johor Baru, like the Tanah Perkuburan Islam at Jalan Mahmmoodiah. I have nothing but praise for the immaculate work done in maintaining these cemeteries. However there are only so much that the maintenance people can do to make visiting the graves a more pleasant experience. I observed that careful planning and design of these cemeteries are severely lacking, except for the older area around the Royal Mausoleum at the Tanah Perkuburan Islam at Jalan Mahmmoodiah, which has proper roads and drains. The other areas lack these.

3.I believe the Jabatan Agama Islam Johor (JAIJ) is planning new cemeteries in keeping with the increasing population. I think other Jabatan Agama in other states would also be doing the same. In my frequent travels up and down the Peninsular I observed that most Muslim Cemeteries do lack the proper roads and drains infrastructure necessary for good and easy maintenance which means that graves cannot be easily be located.

4.With regards to the state of many of our cemeteries, it would not be surprising to come across with people who go to cemeteries, and take hours to remember and find the old graves of their departed.

5.As such, for the planning of new cemeteries I would suggest that the various States Jabatan Agama Islam procure the services of specialists Consultants in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Engineering, Surveying/GIS who would be able to design and build a cemetery complete with modern utilities and data management system. These shall include the design of terraced earth platforms for burial lots covered with grass turf, complete with footpaths, roads, and car parks with permanent drains and suitable landscaping features together with a building to house the cemetery Management, maintenance and security staff.

6.The new modern cemetery should also have a system of burial lots for graves placed in a computerized GIS database maintained by Jabatan Agama Islam so that the recently-departed can be quickly and systemically designated a burial lot and individual graves could be easily located.

7.A modern Muslim cemetery should be like a gated housing estate; the only difference is that there are no houses but just graves and burial lots which can easily be located at any time without the help of our parents whose memory would slowly fade as they gracefully age.

8.Good things are never cheap but if the various Jabatan Agama Islam can invest millions of ringgit in new buildings, a modern Muslim cemetery could not be beyond its budget.

9.We, the living work hard to have a beautiful house we wish to live with our family, I think it is only right that when our time on earth is up we are buried in well maintained cemeteries so that our loved one would visit our final resting place on earth sometimes.