Sunday, March 26, 2017

Aren't our mail safe anymore?

This is shocking. Two weeks ago, I sent a registered cover to my business associate using an envelope that was in pristine condition.

Upon receiving the cover, my business associate took photos of the envelope and sent them to me..

The condition of the envelope was appalling. Not only were the sides peppered with tears but it was ripped open. They even used a tape and crudely taped back the opening on one side. A large part of the envelope was still left open.

Fortunately there were no important documents involved. So even if they were lost, I still have copies with me.

Do I suspect that the authorities are now checking our mail? Looks like certain people are getting jumpy these days, and definitely, registered posts are no longer secured.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

That moment has arrived ....

Two months ago, was the 20th anniversary when I first took the plunge to leave the security of the bank to venture into my own business that is related to the human development industry. I still could remember the Saturday before I left, my CEO had a long meeting with me, coaxing me to stay on. I told him I wish I could but I must make the necessary move as I have already arrived at the cross road of my life and if I didn't make a move then, I would never move at all.

Twenty years on, the painful decision that I dread most has finally arrived a month ago, i.e. whether to finally hang up my laser pointer for good as I felt I have done all I could partaking in the industry growth more so, seeing to the skill improvement of my charges.

During this time, I met many interesting people, from all walks of life and stations. But most of all, I enjoyed fully the many intellectual discourses that we had during and after each training session.  What is even amazing is that some of the participants who attended my sessions many years ago, are still in touch with me today via FaceBook and WhatsApp.

I wonder how many of you are now at that cross road of your life having to make that choice.

Friday, February 10, 2017

To donate or not to donate my blood ...

I may not have donated as many as 52 times as this guy but have been donating from time to time as and when the occasion calls for it. So would the GH or Red Cross staff be visiting our church any time sooner for their next blood donation call? Blood derived from the Catholic community is definitely non-halal? So how?

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Opening of The Top, KOMTAR, Penang

Opening of The Top, Penang's biggest indoor theme park, in the state's 68-storey KOMTAR on December 18 2016.

Pictures show the Chief Minister of Penang, Lim Guan Eng, and Minister of Tourism and Culture, Dato' Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, touring the new tourist attraction of Penang, and politics have taken a back seat.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

We meet again, 40 years later ....

December 12 2016 was and will be a special day to remember for all ex-Merliners as we gathered for the second re-union at the Royale Chulan Mutiara Hotel. As for me, I knew many of them back then in the 70s when I was working with the hotel group (Faber Merlin) as one its managers. Although I left three years later to pursue my other careers, the rest stayed on making a name for themselves in the hospitality industry. Today, many of them, are managing international hotels overseas and some local.

For the event, ex-Merliners flew in from the Philippines, Melbourne and Bhutan to join in the occasion, and what tales we had to tell as we walked down memory lane of the time when the KL Merlin stood tall in the heart of the Golden Triangle.
To grace the event, we had the presence of the three children of the late Dato Lim Foo Yoong, Mr OB Lim, Mr OK Lim and Belinda Lim.

Everyone contributed something to make the evening a memorable one. As for me, I did my part with music.

The imposing and towering sight of the once popular Kuala Lumpur Merlin.
Remembering their roots and it all began at the KL Merlin.

Eddie Yeo (L), former GM of the Pulau Tioman Merlin with Julian Blaydes, GM of the Royale Chulan Mutiara Hotel. Julian Blaydes was once a staff of the KL Merlin.

The ladies were former secretaries and managers with the hotel.
Andre Sibert, former GM of the Pulau Tioman Merlin, and me doing a number.
It was also the moment for us to celebrate the 80th birthday of George Loong, former GM of Kuantan Merlin.
Annette Yeo (L) was the former industrial nurse based at the KL Merlin.
Belinda Lim (daughter of the late Datuk Lim Foo Yoong) with Julian Blaydes on her right and Eddie Yeo standing behind her.
The blogger entertaining the crowd.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

In Memoriam of those who perished 23 years ago.

Today, is the 23rd anniversary of the Highland Towers tragedy that took 48 lives.
Let's remember those who have lost their lives.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

An open letter from Rafizi to Najib

Yang Amat Berhormat Dato’ Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak
 Prime Minister of Malaysia

I choose to write an open letter to you on the first day of this parliamentary session because of its (the session’s) significance to us personally and to the nation as a whole. 

This can be my last parliamentary appearance as the verdict on the OSA charge that your government brought against me will be decided on 14 November 2016. I expect a speedy appeal process afterwards that in all likelihood I may not be around for the March 2017 session.

Given the brittleness of the state of the nation, your government’s actions in manipulating the widespread different interpretations (sometimes deliberately misinterpreted) of the impact of Dato’ Seri Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill to increase the maximum punishment that a shariah court can mete out (to be more in line with shariah requirements) will pit the Muslims and the non-Muslims. 

Your government’s lack of concerns, almost to the point of being indifferent to the criminal activities of the red shirt thugs who provoked racial sentiments, spew out criminal intimidations and threatened racial bloodbaths will position race-religion axis as the most emotive national issue of Malaysia to the detriment of the suffering rakyat.

If you think you can wield all the resources you can muster as the Prime Minister to dictate the course of events when high emotions out of these issues collide with each other, you are wrong. You will be swept away just as the very foundation of our tolerant multi-racial, multi-faiths society will be broken into pieces. When this happens, you will not be a Prime Minister anymore and that’s why this may very well be your last parliamentary session too.

Deliberate manipulation of RUU355 may lead to hatred between communities

I detest your government’s manipulation and inaction that eventually led to the widespread misunderstanding over RUU355. You allowed different interpretations that were taken out of context because the disagreements within the Muslims and between the Muslims and the non-Muslims benefitted you politically. The emotive disagreements over RUU355 took rakyat’s focus away from your misdeeds with regards to 1MDB specifically, and your government’s incompetence in managing the economy generally.

The Muslims are split between those who believe the refusal to support the motion; even the act of questioning the wisdom of putting through the motion at this time; tantamount to a rejection of Allah’s decree (and therefore it compromises our faith in Allah) and those who do not subscribe to the view.

The non-Muslims generally believe that a vote on the motion proposed by Dato’ Seri Hadi Awang is equivalent to hudud implementation. Those who are more subtle argue that a yes vote is the first step towards a back door hudud implementation.

Hence why your lack of concerns over the destructive nature of the disagreements arising out of the misunderstanding over RUU355 alarms me more than I was alarmed over your 1MDB misadventure. It is as if you want the Muslims to view the non-Muslims as being anti-Islam and similarly you want the non-Muslims to be vocally opposed to this so that the Muslims will view each Chinese, Indian, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists as being anti-Islam.

Because this is where your government’s manipulation over RUU355 had led us: a very real situation where the disagreements may transform into the hatred of each other because each (Muslims and non-Muslims) considers the other as having breached the mutual respect code that one community shall not meddle in the religious affairs of the other. 

Clear the air over RUU355 immediately 

I was shocked into a disbelief that it had descended to this point judging from comments made by average Malaysians in social media and on the web. The issue is actually very straight forward and if you, as a Prime Minister, had the honour to put the welfare of rakyat ahead of your obsession to remain in office – this issue could have been a non-issue in the beginning. It would have been an academic exercise if the public understands the process that a private member’s bill has to go through before it becomes a law enacted by parliament.

For a start, you owe it to the public to explain to them the various constitutional safeguards that effectively limit RUU355 to only 3 different major changes (as far as limit of punishment is concerned) from the status quo:

1. Shariah court may punish Muslims who are found guilty of consuming alcohols under the respective state enactments to a maximum of 40 lashes

2. Shariah court may punish Muslims who are found guilty of sexual slander (accusing someone of adultery without proof) or qazaf under the respective state enactments to a maximum of 80 lashes; and

3. Shariat court may punish unmarried Muslims who are found guilty of having sex outside marriage or zina under the respective state enactments to a maximum of 100 lashes (subject to the prosecutor’s ability to produce 4 witnesses who witness the intercourse in accordance to the shariah requirements).

If you are truly concerned about the well-being of the multi-racial Malaysians, you could have clarified from the outset that RUU355 does not have the legal power to enact amputations, stoning to death, beheading or any of the much feared punishments that the opponents of shariah laws often talk about. It does not have the power because our Constitution is very clear on the division of jurisdiction between Federal and State governments and between criminal courts and shariah courts; therefore when there is an overlap of jurisdiction for a particular offence (for example theft), it is kocriminal courts that shall administer the legal process because the power over policing and home security lies with the Federal government.
But you may have chosen to be quiet personally over this very basic rule because it benefits you when the rakyat generally does not understand the distinction. You could have thought that if you had clarified earlier, the Muslim opponents of RUU355 would have pointed out that it is not hudud in entirety as some quarters could have claimed. When it is not hudud in entirety, Muslim MPs can discuss on its merits and may agree or disagree accordingly. This would not have benefited you politically, because it benefits you politically when rakyat sees Muslim MPs from the opposition bench as Muslims who sold out to kowtow to the Chinese from the DAP. 

You were almost most irresponsible when you did not explain to the public that effectively any or every decision with regards to RUU355 has to get your consent as the head of government. It is you who has the final say to give the green or red light as to whether Dato’ Seri Hadi Awang can or cannot read his motion in Dewan Rakyat (let alone debate or vote for it).

Your government did not explain that the motion RUU355 included in the Order Paper of Dewan Rakyat is effectively a procedural motion with legislative teeth because only bills presented by the government that can be enacted as laws. Therefore, any opposition MP who want to push for a specific law has to table a motion on his proposed law (called private member’s bill) so that the Dewan Rakyat can vote whether or not the proposed law has merits to be referred to the minister in charge of the areas of law. Even if the motion is allowed to be read and debated and eventually is passed by the Dewan Rakyat, the effect of such a motion being passed by the Dewan Rakyat is nothing more than passing the ball back to your court. To your feet almost literally.

The Standing Order is very clear that nothing can happen unless and until the Minister in Charge (in this case Dato’ Seri Jamil Khir) comes back to re-table a complete and improved bill (taking cue from the private member’s bill) to Dewan Rakyat for voting. You could have admitted to the rakyat that the decision whether or not to increase the maximum punishment a shariah court can mete out is actually your government’s decision.

Save whatever dignity left of your premiership 

While I understand your shrewdness in not doing your national duty as the highest public official to maintain harmony in our society, I do not understand your lackadaisical attitude towards the damage you inflict to your father’s legacy and reputation.

I went to Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) which had played one of the most prominent roles to shape me as who I am today. Your brother went to MCKK. Your first son was my junior by a year and I met you personally to receive him in 1994 when he registered as a new student.

We grew up in MCKK admiring your father Allahyarham Tun Razak as a patriot who always put the national interest ahead of his. We were inspired by your father’s determination to help the poor people of all races and because of that he did not have to be apologetic when he rolled out programs for the poor Malays because all races understood the necessity of it then.

We understood from your father’s leadership that Malaysia is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious nation and it is the duty of the majority (Malays) to be fair to the minorities and to protect them. 

Your leadership thus far has only served to undo those key tenets of your father’s legacy. 

Thus it is at this junction I would like to end my open letter to you: even if you cannot be a statesman like your father, at the very least do not destroy his legacy any much further than you had done already.

Do the necessary, put a stop to the deliberate manipulation of the misunderstanding over RUU355 so that we can go back to the real issue that matters more to the ordinary citizens: your government’s inability to create a Malaysia that is prosperous and fair for them.

Rafizi Ramli
MP for Pandan
17 October 2016