Saturday, June 27, 2015

Close down food outlets at midnight? Soon a 'curfew' all to be at home after midnight?

Another foolish proposal to close down all food outlets by midnight.

The proposal is also 'accusatory' - It seems to say that people frequenting this food outlets are 'guilty of  committing social ills'? - Why don't you go do a survey of people frequenting eating places after midnight - and you will realize that they are all good people - not people doing social ills.
'Disallowing eateries from operating until past midnight to reduce social ills is among the proposals to be discussed at the National Social Council meeting next week...'
What 'social ills' are you talking about? - be specific - and mind you today, the major social ill that needs to be combated in Malaysia is the abuse of power, corruption, ....  - and that will not be solved by closing the past midnight eating places... 

Well, let us not forget that many in Malaysia work very different hours - shift work, overtimes, etc ...and hence these eating outlets is a need for them - unless the Malaysian government is now going to say let all workers work normal hours 9-5...

Many of these eating outlets that open past midnight is usually frequented by those not from the 'higher income groups'...

What about the youth - is it not better for them to be sitting around chit chatting having roti canai and teh tarek...with their friends past midnight rather than doing 'some other naughty things'...

So, what are you going to make Malaysia go to sleep at midnight ...so no more movies past 12 midnight or any other social activities... 

Many of these eating stalls and places are run by the 'small business people' - so once again the government may be attacking the 'income' of the smaller business people...? 

This 'National Social Council', I believe must be people who really do not go out and frequent these night eateries... so they really do not know the value of such establishments...

Or maybe, this is just another move to stop Malaysians from sharing their views and opinions with each other... maybe this government will just like all Malaysians to wake up, go to work, watch TV, go to sleep, wake and go to work --- do not interact with people ...do not discuss socio-economic and political issues...

As it is, through laws. they have made it so difficult for public ceramahs and forums, peaceful assemblies.... Of late even legitimate worker pickets provided for in law have been targetted ( 11 picketing workers charged for EXCESSIVE NOISE?)

Jun 26, 2015

By Bernama

Proposal for food outlets to stop by midnight

Disallowing eateries from operating until past midnight to reduce social ills is among the proposals to be discussed at the National Social Council meeting next week.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Shahidan Kassim said another proposal was limiting the operating hours of entertainment outlets in tackling the worsening problem.

“We take note that many developed countries have set certain rules with regard to night activities, such as those aged 18 and below are forbidden from being out of their home after 11pm.

“Eateries, meanwhile, are only allowed to operate until midnight, for instance. There is also no compromise on entertainment outlets that exceed the set operating hours, or action will be taken.

“But it’s different here (in Malaysia) due to the presence of many who require the services of this industry, such as tourists, foreign migrants and so so. The leeway has contributed to social ills.”

Shahidan said this in reply to a supplementary question from Senator Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki in the Dewan Negara yesterday, on measures taken by the government in tackling social ills.

He said a “serious note” would be included in the working paper to be presented at the National Social Council meeting for the parties involved to find common ground.

“This effort (curbing social ills) requires the cooperation of the Tourism and Culture Minister, local authorities like Kuala Lumpur City Hall, and other parties.”

Shahidan said the issue was also hotly debated in the social media, hence the government needed to consider the views of the food and entertainment industry players, as their services were required by both domestic and foreign tourists.

- Bernama - Malaysiakini

Friday, June 26, 2015

Pope Francis on climate change — the interrelatedness of the economy, the environment, and equity

To read the full Encyclical - just follow this link

Pope Francis’s Encyclical Makes Waves from Brazil to the Philippines

| June 25, 2015 12:52 pm |

With the release of Pope Francis’ landmark encyclical last week, it seems the whole world was talking about climate change. Two Catholic Climate Reality Leaders share their perspectives from Brazil and the Philippines.
“We need to strengthen the conviction that we are one single human family. There are no frontiers or barriers, political or social, behind which we can hide, still less is there room for the globalization of indifference.” —Pope Francis

Although we hail from two different continents, speak many different languages and represent two different hemispheres of this Earth, last week was momentous for both of us. That’s because before we became Climate Reality Leaders, we were Catholics, each guided by our faith to love God’s Earth and be good stewards of creation—all living creatures and the planet.

Last week, Pope Francis delivered a historic encyclical—a letter from the pope to Catholic communities around the world—about the interrelatedness of the economy, the environment, and equity entitled Laudato Si’: On Care For Our Common Home.

Pope Francis is not just writing to Catholics in his encyclical. He also hopes it will help people around the world—no matter their faith or creed—understand how the destruction and degradation of our environment is not only harming the home we all share, but also having especially devastating consequences for the poorest among us. It’s a reminder that if we want to solve climate change and poverty, we need to address both at the same time, and that by caring for our world and pursuing a more sustainable way of life, we can lift up the neediest out of poverty and ensure a peaceful, prosperous, and healthy world for future generations.

The eco (or green) encyclical, Laudato Si’, acknowledges that mankind is responsible for climate change and its devastating effects, especially on the poor. Although the encyclical is not a scientific document, it aims to engage society on the facts of climate science and create a sense of urgency for mankind to take action:

“Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day. Its worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades. Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to warming, and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and ecosystemic services such as agriculture, fishing and forestry. They have no other financial activities or resources which can enable them to adapt to climate change or to face natural disasters, and their access to social services and protection is very limited.” (Pope Francis, Laudato Si': On Care For Our Common Home, no. 15)

Faith can move mountains and, combined with scientific facts, can open people’s hearts and minds in a powerful way. The pope clearly sees that fighting climate change and restoring the Earth’s ecosystems is a moral duty we have to our fellow humans, to future generations and to Creation itself. This is a message that we find in the sacred texts of many other religions. Caring for the Earth is caring for the common good.

As Climate Reality Leaders, we strive to live by these teachings every day and this encyclical will only help to affirm and strengthen the work we do.

Sergio, who lives in Brazil, has worked with priests and Catholic leaders in Rio de Janeiro to take action with simple initiatives in their churches, and in the Catholic University to reduce waste and energy consumption. He engages the community in discussions of climate change and sustainability to preserve God’s creation.

Brother Jaazeal lives in the Philippines and has also worked with Catholics and people of other faiths to combat climate change. He is especially active in engaging young people in the Philippines to raise consciousness of environmental destruction and solutions for a greener future through art-making.

We both are amazed at how many hearts and minds are touched when we bring science and faith together in a meaningful way. With Pope Francis’s encyclical and his determination to engage the Catholic community in discussions of climate change, we now have one more powerful ally on our side.

This encyclical reaffirms longstanding Catholic teachings on stewardship and social justice, which, like so many other faith traditions, recognize and affirm the mystery, grandeur and power of God that can be found in nature.

Our work in our own communities and with people of other faiths has been building towards this moment. We hope this call to action reaches beyond the Catholic Church and into the hearts of everyone who understands the moral obligation we have to protect our resources and those most afflicted by climate change. You can start today, in fact, by taking action now:
  • Sign our petition to world leaders demanding they take climate action at COP21 in Paris
  • Tell your family and friends on social media you stand with Pope Francis (@Pontifex) by using the hashtag #popeforplanet, #papapeloplaneta or #papaporplaneta
We are all proud to support Pope Francis as he takes this bold step forward in calling for climate action and will redouble our efforts to engage our communities.

We invite you to do the same.

Source: Eco Watch

Pope calls for us to care for our ‘common home’

June 22, 2015
Environmental activists carry a banner as they march towards a Roman Catholic church to coincide with Pope Francis' encyclical on climate change Thursday, June 18, 2015 in Manila, Philippines. In a high-level, 190-page document released Thursday, Francis describes ongoing human damage to nature as "one small sign of the ethical, cultural and spiritual crisis of modernity." The solution, he says, will require self-sacrifice and a "bold cultural revolution" worldwide. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) Photo: Bullit Marquez, Associated Press
Photo: Bullit Marquez, Associated Press
Environmental activists carry a banner as they march towards a Roman Catholic church to coincide with Pope Francis' encyclical on climate change Thursday, June 18, 2015 in Manila, Philippines. In a high-level, 190-page document released Thursday, Francis describes ongoing human damage to nature as "one small sign of the ethical, cultural and spiritual crisis of modernity." The solution, he says, will require self-sacrifice and a "bold cultural revolution" worldwide. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) 
It is gratifying to us in the city of St. Francis that the opening words of the long-anticipated encyclical of Pope Francis, “Laudato Si,” are taken from the famous “Canticle of the Creatures” composed by our mutual patronal saint, the Little Poor Man of Assisi, who is such a model for all of us of care for all of God’s creation.

Pope Francis’ recurring use of the image of our “common home” weaves together the importance of responding to the environmental crisis in all of its complexities, from the economic inequities that create an ever-widening gulf between the rich and the poor to the underlying spiritual hunger felt by so many today.
These issues are all interconnected, and solutions must be found by involving men and women of many perspectives and disciplines. 

If we are going to repair creation and safeguard the dignity of every human being living on “our Sister, Mother Earth,” it will require cooperation, sacrifice and goodwill from everyone.

Pope Francis voices an urgent plea for Christians to revere and cherish what God has entrusted to us, while at the same time urging us to work in concert with others of goodwill, regardless of their beliefs, to heal our planet and share more equitably the goods of this world.

It is a call to all of us to be wise and responsible stewards of all the resources the Creator has entrusted to us, spiritual as well as material, so that we may put an end to waste and provide for the basic needs of all. 

Pope Francis has offered us a challenging moral vision; it is now up to us, in great ways and small, to apply his teachings where we find ourselves living in “our common home.”

Salvatore Cordileone is the archbishop of the San Francisco Archdiocese.

- San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday, June 25, 2015

No worry - still 40% or more will vote against BN, Electoral Pacts come and go?

Malaysians will still vote against the UMNO-led Barisan Nasional, as they have always been doing. Which Malaysians? Well, those that want a better Malaysia - where justice and human rights exist...

With regards to vote, the Opposition got more that 50% of the votes cast was in the 1969 GE - 50.7%, and in the last GE 2013, where they managed to get 53.7%.

Even before, the Anwar sacking and the emergence of the party now known as PKR, the Opposition managed to get 46.6% in GE1990.

In GE1999, after the Anwar sacking in 1998, the Opposition managed to get 43.5%....but in the 2004 GE, this dropped to only 36.1%.

In the last 2 GE, when Pakatan Rakyat came into the picture, the Opposition managed to get 46.75% in 2008, and in 2013 they got 53.47% of the popular vote. 

Pakatan Rakyat tried to be more than an Electoral Pact - but it looks that it failed to be more. Even the States they won, governance seem to have determined by the party who managed to be Menteri Besar/Chief Minister. Common policies and practices were not there. A PAS Menteri Besar governed Kedah after 2008 GE but their policies and practices of governance raised much criticism resulting in the Opposition losing Kedah in 2013 GE, when they did overall better in this General Elections in terms of popular vote. We remember also that Opposition did once win Trengganu, who had a PAS MB, but was lost the next elections - it is important to note that PAS was promoting Islamic State and laws just before the elections they lost Trengganu...

Pakatan Rakyat promised us greater democracy - Local Council Elections, but since then they have made this no more a priority...or have they forgotten about this. Even democratically elected kampung, kampung baru, kampung orang asli and taman leaders were possible but alas Pakatan Rakyat just seemed not interested. 

The Pakatan Rakyat parties DAP, PAS and PKR claimed to be an ALTERNATIVE - but alas when in power, people fail to see any significant changes in policies - all they claim they are doing is being 'Bersih Cekap and Amanah'(Clean Efficient and Trustworthy), which previously was a Barisan Nasional slogan. 

People on the ground were getting more and more frustrated with the Pakatan Rakyat (DAP,PAS,PKR) - for all they saw was 'new leaders'...and some say 'new cronies'...but the manner of governing seem to be the same. 

When there a big projects or agreements - there could have been greater public consultations, or even referendums to determine the feelings of the local people who will be affected by such projects/agreements. In Switzerland, even when a small bridge over a river is to be built, there is a referendum - and a majority is needed before the project goes through. This could have been done for KIDEX ...or even the Selangor water agreements...but it was not done.

Opposition have continued to highlight BN wrongs - and this is good, but where they fall short is in the proposed alternatives. In the PR governed States, there really should be REAL CHANGES OF POLICIES AND GOVERNANCE STYLES - but there is none. There were some areas that were still controlled by the Federal Government - but there were still matters that were under the State. 

There is growing 'loss of hope' amongst Malaysians in the Opposition - but thankfully there is also an ever growing anger and 'enough is enough' sentiment against the Barisan Nasional. 

The BN support is dwindling because people are fed up... and it 'asal bukan BN' sentiment that is in the minds. The Opposition parties go around claiming support - but really, do the people support the Opposition. There will, I believe, little change in the numbers whether the candidate is from PAS, DAP and PKR, or even any other Opposition party candidate contesting in a straight fight with a BN candidate...

The time has come for the Opposition to no longer depend on 'slogans' - but come up with real alternatives, which they must put into practice. PAS has a great leader in Nik Aziz, and it was his simplicity and humility that was a 'pull factor' - Nik Aziz's passing away will be a great blow to PAS - for many otherwise, anti-PAS people, voted for PAS candidates because of the example of 'Nik Aziz' - are the new PAS leaders also of the same ilk?

Anwar Ibrahim - well, if one were to consider public support - it really is not there in large numbers, is there? If one were to consider the number of people that turn up when he goes on 'road shows' of late, it really is not like the about 100,000 that first came out when he was sacked from government in 1998, is it? 

Will the break-up of Pakatan affect the outcome of the next General Elections - well, if there was another Electoral pact with more Opposition parties, and we see straight fights with the BN candidates, we may not see much difference in the results...but the PR parties must reform...and start doing things differently than BN. If there is no change, then people will punish the Opposition too - we may see a lower voter turn out. In Thailand, we have the option to cast a 'NO VOTE" - and this is what people will cast when none of the available candidates is supported, or available parties is supported...

We shall see...but be mindful that throughout Malaysia's history about 40% or more will still vote against the UMNO-led BN coalition...   

What we also need for new GOOD people to come forth and offer themselves as candidates...and for the Opposition parties to be open enough to pick these newer candidates...to run under their party tickets...and try to ensure that it is a straight fight between Opposition and BN.


List of General Elections in Malaya and Malaysia

Number Year Government* Opposition Total seats
Seats  % seats  % vote Seats  % seats  % vote
--   1955** 51 98.1 79.6 1 1.9 20.4 52
1   1959** 74 71.15 51.7 30 28.85 48.3 104
2   1964** 89 85.58 58.5 15 14.42 41.5 104
3 1969 95 65.97 49.3 49 34.03 50.7 144
4 1974 135 87.66 60.7 19 12.34 39.3 154
5 1978 130 84.42 57.2 24 15.58 42.8 154
6 1982 132 85.71 60.5 22 14.29 39.5 154
7 1986 148 83.62 55.8 29 16.38 41.5 177
8 1990 127 70.55 53.4 53 29.45 46.6 180
9 1995 162 84.38 65.2 30 15.62 34.8 192
10 1999 148 76.68 56.5 45 23.32 43.5 193
11 2004 198 90.41 63.9 21 9.59 36.1 219
12 2008 140 63.06 50.27 82 36.94 46.75 222
13 2013 133 59.91 46.53 89 40.09 53.47 222
* "Government" means Alliance Party in 1964; Alliance and Sarawak United People's Party for 1969; and Barisan Nasional since 1974
** Sabah and Sarawak did not participate in respective elections.
Source: Arah Aliran Malaysia: Penilaian Pilihan Raya

RM4,585 - median monthly household income for Malaysians in 2014? 4.5 million households entitled to BR1M?

Malaysia claims that the median monthly household income for Malaysians in 2014 increased by 11.7 percent annually to RM4,585 from RM3,626 in 2012. What is this MEDIAN VALUE? It is the "middle' of a sorted list of numbers - but my worry is what is this sorted list of value below the median value - are we still looking at a lot of households earning less than RM1,000 or RM900(Malaysia's Minimum Wage). Maybe it is 30-40% of all households, maybe the rest of the 10% is actually earning less than RM2,000 - if so, there is nothing to be happy or proud about. We want to know how many households earn less than RM500, how many less than RM1,000, how many less than RM1,500, how many less than RM2,000.... but alas, we do not have this data.

Median Value
The Median is the "middle" of a sorted list of numbers.

How to Find the Median Value

To find the Median, place the numbers in value order and find the middle.

Example: find the Median of 12, 3 and 5

Put them in order:
3, 5, 12
The middle is 5, so the median is 5.


3, 13, 7, 5, 21, 23, 39, 23, 40, 23, 14, 12, 56, 23, 29

When we put those numbers in order we have:
3, 5, 7, 12, 13, 14, 21, 23, 23, 23, 23, 29, 39, 40, 56

There are fifteen numbers. Our middle is the eighth number:
3, 5, 7, 12, 13, 14, 21, 23, 23, 23, 23, 29, 39, 40, 56

The median value of this set of numbers is 23.

(It doesn't matter that some numbers are the same in the list.)
HOUSEHOLD - well the definition now has changed - it is no more with regard to the family unit (plus extended family members)

Description 2A household is defined as a person or group of related or unrelated persons who usually live together and make common provisions for food and other essentials of living and sleep in the selected living quarters for at least 16 nights during the reference month. An exception is made in the case of fisherman, long distance taxi and express bus drivers and loggers who are considered as household members regardless of wether they slept in the living quarters or not.

Source : Prices
Source Detail : Report On Household Expenditure Survey Malaysia - Department of Statistics Website
So a group of 3 married couples, or even 8 individuals living together is also considered a household. Now, 6 minimum wage earners living together will earn RM5,400 monthly, and 8 of them in a same house(migrant workers are accommodated in such numbers) will earn RM7,200 monthly.

Now adult children and even relatives live in their parent's homes because they cannot afford to move out and get their own places. So, let's say father, mother, 2 adult working children...at minimum wage of RM900 will make the monthly household income RM3,600, and with overtime and allowances, that will put them above the median value.

SAMPLE - does this survey involves all households in Malaysia - or just a selection. If selection, then this could be manipulated....to show increases and decreases, could it not?

INCOME - well, really the value of the Malaysian Ringgit has dropped - what you can buy today with RM1 is far less than what you could have bought with the same ringgit in 2012. What is the real income increase? 

MEDIAN INCOME - If one looks at this, we find that there save for 3 Federal Territories (KL, Labuan, Putrajaya) and 4 States(Johor, Melaka, Selangor and Penang), the median income for the rest of the states are lower than the national median. 

BR1M - well, look at the allocation, does it tally with these figures about median income? 4.1 million households earned less than RM3,000, and another about 400,000 households was said to have an income of RM3-4 thousand. So how many households are there in Malaysia. Say, for each household there are 4 persons, that will mean about 18 million Malaysians are in 'households' that earn less than RM3,000 - and since our population is about 30 million > the national median would not have exceeded RM3,000? We need full data to correctly analyze this...

As such, to say that the median monthly household income for Malaysians in 2014 increased to RM4,585 is odd....


Jun 22, 2015

By Bernama

Median monthly income rises to RM4,585 in 2014

The median monthly household income for Malaysians in 2014 increased by 11.7 percent annually to RM4,585 from RM3,626 in 2012.

The Department of Statistics Malaysia said this in its report on the Household Income and Basic Amenities Survey 2014, held to collect data on the characteristics of Malaysian households.

“The survey was conducted using personal interview approach in a 12-month period in 2014, covering both the urban and rural strata.

“In general, there are four sources of income that can be received (accrued) by households - income from paid employment; self-employed; income from property and investments; and, current transfer received,” it said in a statement.

For the mean monthly household income for Malaysians, it increased 10.3 percent per annum to RM6,141 in 2014 from RM5,000 in 2012, it said.

The Statistics Department said Federal Territory (FT) of Kuala Lumpur recorded the highest median monthly household income of RM7,620, followed by Putrajaya (RM7,512), Selangor (RM6,214), FT Labuan (RM5,684), Johor (RM5,197), Malacca (RM5,029) and Penang (RM4,702).

It said other states recorded the median income below the national level at RM4,585.

The department said Kuala Lumpur recorded the highest mean monthly household income (RM10,629), followed by Putrajaya (RM10,401), Selangor (RM8,252), Labuan (RM7,591) and Johor (RM6,207).

“Other states recorded mean income below the national level (RM6,141),” it said.

The Gini coefficient declined by three percentage points from 0.431 in 2012 to 0.401 in 2014, it said.

“This indicates the improvement in the Malaysian household income distribution,” it said.

- Bernama -Malaysiakini, 22/6/2015

Median monthly household income by state, Malaysia, 2014

RM13 billion allocated for BR1M

RM13 billion allocated for BR1MAhmad said for this year's recipients, 6.4 million recipients received the aid through their bank accounts, while 820,000 received the aid though vouchers.
KUALA LUMPUR: The government has allocated a total of RM13 billion from 2012 to 2015 for distribution of the 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M) which had benefited almost 7.4 million people.

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan said this year alone, more than RM5 billion was allocated for the purpose.

"In 2015, those with household income of RM3,000 and below to receive BR1M totalled 4.1 million people, with total BR1M amounting RM3.9 billion.

"For household income of between RM3,001 and RM4,000, the total number of recipients is 400,010 people and the total BR1M was RM300 million and for unmarried youths with income of RM2,000 and below, there are 2.7 million recipients with aid totalling RM947 million," he added.

Ahmad said for this year's recipients, 6.4 million recipients received the aid through their bank accounts, while 820,000 received the aid though vouchers.

He said this in response to a question from Ahmad Lai Bujang (BN-Sibuti) on the number of BR1M recipients who still did not have saving accounts to receive the aid.

To avoid leakage and ensure only those eligible received BR1M, Ahmad said a verification process would be conducted every year by checking with the data obtained from the various government agencies.

The agencies included the National Registration Department, the Inland Revenue Board, Public Service Department and the Employees Provident Fund, he added.- Astro Awani

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Thailand: UN committee slams abuse of lèse-majesté laws, and Malaysia fights on against Sedition Act?

Malaysian government has and uses the draconian Sedition Act to suppress freedom of expression and opinion, and in Thailand the law that is used is  Article 112 of the Criminal Code.
Article 112 imposes jail terms for those who defame, insult, or threaten the King, the Queen, the Heir to the throne, or the Regent. Persons found guilty of violating Article 112 face prison terms of three to 15 years for each count.
Like Malaysia, people who believe in democracy, human rights, freedom of expression and opinion and justice is struggling for repeal for such draconian legislation that can be used to stifle human rights defenders and those with a different opinion/view from that of the government.

In May last year, democratic government was ousted to by coup to be replaced by a 'military led government' - and the struggle for democracy is outgoing. 

Thailand was far more democratic than Malaysia. The people chose and elected in peoples' representatives at all levels including Local Councils, and even communities(kampung/taman/etc/...). 

The Opposition promised us Local Council Elections - but since then have abandoned this promise. They could also have had democratic elections at kampungs, kampung baru, tamans, kampung orang asli..., whereby there was no law preventing them doing this and allowing Malaysians to enjoy real democracy, but alas save for Perak who did this when ruled by the Opposition, none of the other Opposition-ruled States followed suit... Why was the Malaysian Opposition scared of the people - why were they against greater democracy for Malaysians? 

Thais have enjoyed democracy - and that is why they protest much more strongly against loss of democracy, freedom of expression, freedom of opinion, freedoms...and human rights...

23 June 2015

Thailand: UN committee slams abuse of lèse-majesté laws

Paris, 23 June 2015: Thailand should amend Article 112 of the Criminal Code (lèse-majesté), the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) said in its concluding observations released yesterday after its review of Thailand’s report on 4-5 June in Geneva.

The CESCR expressed concern over the “adverse effect of the excessive interpretation” of lèse-majesté on the enjoyment of the right of everyone to take part in cultural life. The committee recommended that Article 112 be amended with a view to ensure “clarity and unambiguity regarding the prohibited acts and that any sanctions are strictly proportionate to the harm caused.” [1]

The CESCR issued its recommendations amid ongoing restrictions on public debates related to lèse-majesté. On 15 June, Thailand’s military junta, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), ordered the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT) to cancel a panel discussion on Article 112 scheduled for 17 June in Bangkok. The order was issued a few days after the FCCT rejected a police request to cancel the event. The police claimed the panel discussion “would sow disunity in Thai society and encourage people to break the law and stir up unrest.”
“The abuse of Article 112 has become an international embarrassment for Thailand and it is damaging the image of the Thai monarchy,” said FIDH President Karim Lahidji. “It’s time for Thailand to heed the numerous recommendations made by various UN human rights bodies to amend its lèse-majesté legislation,” he urged.

On the occasion of the CESCR’s review of Thailand’s report, FIDH released Dark Ages - Violations of cultural rights under Thailand’s lèse-majesté law. The report documents how Thailand’s overzealous enforcement of Article 112 has resulted in the country’s failure to comply with its obligation to respect and protect the right of everyone to participate in cultural life. Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) guarantees this right.

Article 112 imposes jail terms for those who defame, insult, or threaten the King, the Queen, the Heir to the throne, or the Regent. Persons found guilty of violating Article 112 face prison terms of three to 15 years for each count. Thailand’s abuse of Article 112 has led to the imprisonment of several artists and writers. Thirteen of the 16 post-2014 coup lèse-majesté cases resulting in prison sentences presented elements related to the right to freedom of expression and to take part in cultural life. Thailand has also routinely banned books and other publications that provide a critical perspective on the revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej and other members of the royal family. The atmosphere of fear created by these measures has resulted in widespread self-censorship. In addition, authorities have conducted a relentless and wide-ranging campaign to censor online content that is considered offensive to the monarchy.

[1CESCR, 55th session, Concluding observations on the combined initial and second periodic reports of Thailand, 19 June 2015, UN Doc. E/C.12/THA/CO/1-2, available at http://bit.ly/1BIodRy


Thailand Rules Lese Majeste Law Constitutional, Extends Crackdown on Free Expression

The decision by Thailand’s Constitutional Court to rule that Article 112 of the Criminal Code  - the ‘lese majeste law’ - is a devastating blow to freedom of expression and internet freedom in Thailand and contradicts the constitution’s mandate to protect human rights.   The Thai government has used Article 112 of the Criminal Code (Lèse Majesté) – which criminalizes defamation of the royal family – to curtail the space for diverse political opinions and freedom of expression online and offline.

The constitutional court’s ruling was based on petitions submitted to the Criminal Court by two individuals—Somyos Prueksakasemsuk and Ekachai Hongkangwan—who were charged under Article 112.  Prueksakasemsuk has been in detention since April 2011 after publishing two articles about lese majeste. Hongkangwan, a vendor, was released on bail after arrested for selling CD’s containing content that ‘violated’ the lese majeste law.

“Convicting and imprisoning ordinary citizens for expressing their opinions, even if deemed insulting to the royal family, does less for promoting national unity than for instilling fear and self-censorship among the population,” said Courtney Radsch, senior program manager for the Global Freedom of Expression Campaign at Freedom House.

Thailand is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2012 and Freedom of the Press 2012, and Not Free in Freedom of the Net 2012.  Fines and imprisonment for defamation and criticism of the government are often used to silence government critics.  The end of 2011 saw an increase in repressive practices through a new online monitoring agency and the expanded use of lèse-majesté laws. In December 2011, U.S. citizen Joe Gordon was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for posting a link on his website to a book that was critical of the monarchy. In May 2012, Ampon Tangnoppakul, known as “Uncle SMS,” died while serving a 20-year prison sentence after he was convicted for sending text messages “offending the Thai royal family.” Tangnoppakul denied all charges against him, claiming he did not even know how to send a text message. The same month, webmaster Chiranuch (Jiew) Premchaiporn was handed an eight-month suspended prison sentence and forced to pay a fine for comments posted by visitors on her online forum.-Freedom House, 12/10/2012

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Why is MAS which may cease all operations on 31/8/2015 appointing new Chief Operations Officer? Media Fumble?

MAS - well people are getting confused...

MAS was the term used to describe 'Malaysian Airlines Systems Berhad', the company who is still running Malaysian Airlines until at least 31/8/2015, and now the airlines is in trouble .... MAS has just sent termination letters to all its employees on 1st June - whereby they have all allegedly been told that their last date of employment will be 31/8/2015 - Merdeka Day. (See the Bernama News report below, that appeared in New Straits Times on 14/6/2015)

Thereafter, Malaysian airlines business will all be handed over to a new company - Malaysian Airlines Berhad, which properly should be called MAB - to avoid confusion with  'Malaysian Airlines Systems Berhad'. 

Then a BERNAMA report comes out in Star on 18/6/2015 - saying that MAS will be appointing a new Chief Operations Officer - and one becomes confused, as what will Peter Bellow be doing in 'Malaysian Airlines Systems Berhad', which will most likely cease operations on 31st August. Further, since the Administrator has been appointed for MAS since 25/5/2015, the power to hire and terminate rests with the Administrator...Under administration, would it not be the administrator that is doing the hiring and firing? 

Malaysian Airlines really is owned now by the government of Malaysia, vide Khazanah Nasional. What is happening is that they are really moving the airline assets from 'one pocket to another' but it is really still the same pants. 

The MAS ('Malaysian Airlines Systems Berhad') has sent letters to all its employees terminating them with effect from 31/8/2015. And, the other company, Malaysian Airline Berhad has apparently picked and chosen some and offered them employment in the airlines begining 1/9/2015.

This move of shifting the entire airline business from 'one pocket to another' will also result in the death of all MAS (Malaysian Airlines Systems Berhad)'s in-house unions. The only union that will survive will be the National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia(NUFAM). Now NUFAM was successful in the secret ballot, and the Minister has made the decision that NUFAM is a recognized union in MAS - and it is MAS that is challenging the Minister's decision by applying for Judicial Review in the High Court. 

He(Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai)said Nufam was not a recognised association and MAS would not conduct any discussion with an unrecognised organisation. 

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai must really check his facts before alleging that NUFAM is not a recognized 'association' (hello - it is a trade union). In fact, MAS(the private company) is challenging the government's decision - the Minister's decision? So, why is a member of the cabinet making such statements - he should check his facts. Until the High Court quashes the Minister's decision, NUFAM is a recognized union in MAS. MAS may have got an interim order preventing NUFAM exercising all its rights(or some rights) as a recognized union - but that is all until the High Court makes its final decision.

The High Court, I believe, has yet to make any final decision since all cases involving MAS has come to a stand still whilst MAS is under administration, unless the Administrator says otherwise. If, what is planned with regard the transfer of all assets and business to the new company, MAB. happens on 1/9/2015 - MAS thereafter will be with no employees or assets, and the case will most likely never proceed as the outcome is no longer of any use. 

So, why is MAS employing a new Chief Operations Officer(COO) now, after it has sent termination letters to all employees? Note Malaysian Airlines is still under 'Malaysian Airlines Systems Berhad' - not yet taken over by Malaysian Airlines Berhad. Maybe, the new COO was appointed by MAB - but that is also odd and early since MAB is expected to take over only on 1/9/2015, is it not?

Media, especially BERNAMA (our National News Agency) must be clear in its reporting - if it is MAB that is doing the appointing, then say so. If it is MAS, then say that clearly. Saying simply that it is Malaysian Airlines appointing is vague and also incorrect. The airlines cannot appoint, only MAB or MAS can do hiring and firing of employees.

Generally private companies can do whatever they want - and we are not bothered. But MAS that is currently running the Malaysian Airlines, and MAB who may be taking over the business of running the airlines on possibly 1/9/2015 really belongs to all Malaysians, and so we are bothered. As Malaysians, we should not just be concerned about just business and profits - but also the people, the employees and also their unions.

Earlier posts:- 

MAS Termination - DISCRIMINATORY? Just retrench those MAS do not need - wrong to keep them as employees until 31st August?

54 groups and unions:- Malaysian Airlines Must Respect Trade Union and Worker Rights Cease Anti-Union activities against NUFAM and its members

MAS must withdraw the legal suit challenging the recognition of NUFAM - members need their Union during this precarious period in MAS.

Najib to be blamed for MAS's failure,loss of employment of thousands, union busting,..?


MAS appoints Peter Bellew as chief operations officer

Thursday, 18 June 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has appointed Peter Bellew as its chief operations officer (COO) effective Sept 1.

Bellew will join MAS from Ryanair (Irish low-cost carrier), where he has served in roles with increasing responsibility since 2006. 

“Most recently, he was the director of flight operations for up to 72 bases, operating a total of 320 aircraft,” said MAS in a statement on Thursday.

Bellew was also previously head of sales and marketing at Ryanair where he played a pivotal role in introducing new customer service initiatives, pan-European TV advertising, and positive press relations contributing to record sales. - Bernama - The Star, 18/6/2015

Govt wants Mas operations to run smoothly: Liow
14 June 2015 @ 8:50 PM

Malacca: The government wants the Malaysian Airlines System Berhad (MAS) operations to be smooth-running and unaffected by the company’s restructuring. 

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said currently, the restructuring of MAS did not affect the company operations due to the high commitment of its manpower.

 “Personally, I want MAS’ operations to run smoothly because it is very important for the country. To date, there are no problems with MAS’ operations. 

 “I am happy to note that all MAS personnel are giving tremendous support and commitment to ensure the operations of MAS are running smoothly in serving the people,” he told a media conference after opening the MCA Tangga Batu division annual general meeting here. 

On June 1, MAS started a significant new phase in its restructuring programme by terminating 20,000 personnel. Of the total, 14,000 were offered to join the new entity, Malaysian Airline Berhad 

Liow urged MAS personnel or associations representing staff involved in the termination of service to channel their problems or questions via the right channels. 

On a plan by the National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam) to hold a strike, following the termination of service of MAS personnel, Liow said MAS had lodged a police report on the matter. 

He said Nufam was not a recognised association and MAS would not conduct any discussion with an unrecognised organisation. 

Meanwhile, on a MAS aircraft which performed an emergency landing at the Melbourne Airport, Australia on June 12, after receiving a false alarm on its engine fire, Liow said it was a standard operating procedure (SOP) to ensure safety of its passengers.

“MAS has good safety record, the action by the pilot was correct and followed the SOP. 

Flight MH148 from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur had 300 passengers and crew. – BERNAMA

Sunday, June 14, 2015

MAS Termination - DISCRIMINATORY? Just retrench those MAS do not need - wrong to keep them as employees until 31st August?

DISCRIMINATION - Is it there when all MAS employees were given letters of termination - some asked to continue working and some told 'get out' now but you will continue receiving just basic salary (no allowance, etc..) until the day of your termination in end August? The effective termination day of ALL Mas Employees is apparently the same day - the end of August? Most shocking if it is true...
Image result for MAS
If you do not need their services NOW - why not just RETRENCH - why keep them on as 'employees who cannot come in to work' until end of August?  [See also:- MAS - Please get out now - your name is on the 'list'? Is that the way to treat employees?]

Allegedly all 20,000 of MAS employees have received letters of termination on or about 1 June 2015. All these letters allegedly state that the last day of employment will be in the end of August (31/8/2015?)

There are allegedly 2 kinds of termination letters:-
a) One that states that the said employee have to immediately stop coming to work, return key cards - but still employee of MAS until end August???; This is allegedly the kind of letter received by those employees, who did not receive letters of offer from the new company, Malaysian Airlines Berhad (MAB).
b) The other is a termination letter that states work on until the last day of employment on end of August.

In my opinion, there is an obvious DISCRIMINATION with regard to these 2 classes of employees.

Well, for a Flight Attendant - the basic salary is allegedly about 30% of the take home pay, and as such other allowances and benefits forms the bulk of their monthly income.

Now, for those that are asked to stop work immediately, they will be paid only the basic salary for the next 3 months... and this is unjust and discriminatory - for in terms of monthly income, they will only be getting a third of what they usually earn. 

Now, these employees are all 'ready and willing' to work until end of August, and it is their employer who seem to have decided that 'their actual services' are no longer needed. Justly, if that be the case, it my opinion that they too should really also be paid monthly average of their 'take home pay' - not just a basic salary.

RETRENCHMENT - that is what MAS should have done - yes, retrench all employees who you do not need anymore, and pay them 'retrenchment benefit' now. It is absurd for an employer to send an employee a letter saying that you will be terminated at the end of August - but you are barred from coming in for work from now until then. 


Well, if you retrench your employees there are some accepted legal principles that need to be complied with - (a) LIFO - Last In First Out; and (b) The obligation to try the best to place the potentially retrenched employee in another position within MAS.... and retrenchment must be justified.

So, it looks like MAS is 'being SMART' - look we are not retrenching anyone now - but it is all done in the end of August - ALL employees will be let go then...

Every employee is apparently still an employee until end August - well what is unjust is that some will be barred from coming in to work, and will enjoy no allowances, overtime, etc -- and for a Flight Attendant, this allegedly will work out to only 30 plus percent of what he/she would normally be taking home every month. 


Well, maybe he/she can just leave MAS and be employed tomorrow with KLM, for instance, ... well, now that will mean the said employee will be RESIGNING now from MAS - and this will, I believe, result in MAS stopping his monthly pay... and this also may mean losing the 'TERMINATION PACKAGE' that MAS will give all employees terminated at the end of August...?

A SERIOUS DILEMMA for the still employee of MAS who has been asked not to come in to work from now, who as a result will now be having only about a third of the monthly take home pay because of this. [After all, flight allowances, overtime and some other payments only becomes an entitlement when you are working...

It is hoped that PM Najib, also Chairman of the Board of Directors of Khazanah - the owner of both Malaysian Airlines Systems Berhad, and also the new company- Malaysian Airline Berhad(MAB), would respond and clearly explain these termination - explain why MAS did not simply retrench NOW all the employees they have asked not to come in to work? 

# The above is my opinion,

1MDB - Najib is briefing UMNO when really the PM should be briefing Parliament and the people?

' the prime minister must give his written approval for any of 1MDB deals, including the firm’s investments or any bid for restructuring....'
Parliament must really be monitoring 1MDB, MAS and all GLCs - there really should a Parliamentary Oversight Committee or a Parliamentary Committee (made up of both Opposition and BN MPs) who should be tasked with the power of investigation, inquiries and even to have hearings on the doings of all government owned, linked, controlled companies...

Now, on the 1MDB scandal - our Prime Minister Najib is briefing UMNO - Why? He should be briefing the people - now represented by the 'peoples' reps' in Parliament. And, it really should not be a 'briefing' but rather a question and answer session...

In Thailand, every week, the Prime Minister comes on TV at a particular time and informs people of matters concerning the country - what is being done - why - etc. It is a GOOD PRACTICE - it is a good means of dealing with the many questions that people have. Evasion and silence is not the way for a good government to deal with doubts and queries. Likewise, denial of freedom of expression/opinion, censorship, threats to prevent alternative views and questions is not the approach that should be taken by any democratic government... Transparency and accountability is what we need - 'not secrecy' and 'so much to hide'....

As in 1MDB, in MAS too Najib is responsible...


Malaysiakini Jun 14, 2015

Why PM briefing Umno on 1MDB, not Parliament?

MP SPEAKS The Sunday Star reported that Prime Minister Najib Razak will brief Umno division information chiefs today on the 1MDB controversy as he steps up efforts to counter mounting attacks against him on the issue.

The question that immediately comes to mind is why Najib, who is the final approving authority for all 1MDB decisions, in law and in fact, prepared to brief Umno division representatives but not Parliament on the 1MDB controversy?

Najib is the final approving authority for all 1MDB decisions in law and in fact as 1MDB is a government company.

As the prime minister as well as finance minister he must accept full and final responsibility for all of 1MDB actions although he may not be responsible for its day-to-day operations.

Under Clause 117 of the 1MDB Memorandum and Articles of Association Agreement (M&A), the prime minister must give his written approval for any of 1MDB deals, including the firm’s investments or any bid for restructuring.

It was only ten days ago that the Second Finance Minister, Husni Hanadzlah (photo) ended the six-year pretence and admitted in his TV1 interview on ‘1MDB: Di mana wangnya?’ on 3rd June 2015 that Najib Razak as the prime minister, is the final approving authority for 1MDB deals, investments and transactions under the 1MDB M&A.

'Save Najib roadmap'

The question is whether the cabinet, at its meeting on 29th May which approved the Save 1MDB roadmap, was aware that the Save 1MDB Roadmap was in fact a ‘Save Najib roadmap’ as right from the first day of 1MDB in September 2009, the prime minister was the final approving authority for all 1MDB deals.

Did Najib give a full report to the cabinet on all his 1MDB dealings in the past six years as the final approving authority for 1MDB deals, transactions and investments?

Have all cabinet ministers understood how 1MDB could pile up RM42 billion debts in six years and endorsed all the 1MDB decisions taken by Najib as the final approving authority for all these transactions?

If the cabinet had not been aware that Najib was the final approving authority for all 1MDB deals from day one of 1MDB, and Najib had not given the cabinet a full report of all his 1MDB “written approvals” for the past six years, then the prime minister has been guilty of serious misconduct in misleading the cabinet on the 1MDB controversy.

Although the prime minister had told his ministers at the May 29 cabinet meeting to resign if they do not support him on the 1MDB issue, the pertinent question is whether all ministers have accepted the collective responsibility for the 1MDB scandal “to sink or swim‘ with Najib on the issue?

It is now known that the Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin (photo) who clearly agrees with former prime minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, that the 1MDB scandal was the “last straw that breaks the camel’s back”, was not present at the May 29 cabinet meeting as he was overseas.

Does Muhyiddin support the Save 1MDB Roadmap adopted by the cabinet on May 29?

Although Husni immediately refuted a Bernama report after the May 29 cabinet meeting that Putrajaya will wind up 1MDB, the credibility of ministerial statements and assurances are at an all-time low.

The report by The Edge Financial Daily at the beginning of the week that the 1MDB Board will be made to step down as early as next month, has also raised anew the question whether this will be a prelude to the winding up of the troubled investment firm.

Malaysians are reminded of Muhyiddin’s stand after the cabinet meeting on 1MDB in early March, clearly made in response to reports that Najib and his coterie of 1MDB advisers were considering an exit strategy for 1MDB.

This could involve 1MDB being left as a skeletal structure and possibly dissolved under a debt repayment plan in which most of its assets will be sold.

Muhyiddin in a rare statement in March said there should neither be a “bail-out” nor “strip sale” of 1MDB to pay off its hefty debts amounting to RM42 billion, wanting all allegations made against 1MDB to be taken seriously and the 1MDB board of directors be prepared to face legal action, if results of the investigation showed negligence or discrepancy.

Now that it is established that Najib is the final approving authority for 1MDB, will Muhyiddin similarly take the position that the prime minister should be prepared to face the legal and political consequences for negligence, discrepancy or other wrongs?

But the most relevant question is whether Muhyiddin fully endorses the Save 1MDP Roadmap adopted by the cabinet on May 29.

LIM KIT SIANG is the MP for Gelang Patah and DAP parliamentary leader.- Malaysiakini, 14/6/2015