Wednesday, 26 December 2012


The Himpunan Hijau crowd seem to be running out of ideas.  They held a desperate demonstration on Christmas Day outside the HSBC branch in Kuantan, because the bank supposedly handles the financing for Lynas.

Children were forced to waste their holiday by standing in the rain with signs obviously not written by themselves saying ridiculous things like ‘Radioactive wastes rob joys from Christmas’ and ‘Our Christmas has been darkened’.

The demonstrators wanted to prove a point, but it being a public holiday and all, and with the staff of HSBC not there, it ended up seeming a bit pointless, even pathetic.  After standing around for 25 minutes in the rain and taking some pictures they left, leaving a black Christmas tree at the bank’s doorstep. 

Apparently the demonstrators, all 50 of them, were protesting so they could put pressure on HSBC to cease its dealings with Lynas, which HSBC is obviously going to do now, after seeing a black Christmas tree at their door… 

What next?  Demonstrations at the restaurants where Lynas workers eat?  Things seems a bit desperate for our friends at Himpunan Hijau.  What with their PG-12 version of a hunger strike (100 hours) and some New Year’s car pool nonsense, have they finally used up all the gimmicks in the Demonstration and Protests for Dummies handbook?   

Monday, 10 December 2012

Lawmaker Says Supply Of Raw Water In Selangor Will Deplete If New Sources Untapped

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 10 — Selangor may be on the verge of a shortage of raw water should new sources of water remain untapped amidst the ongoing challenge to supply adequate treated water to numerous homes, offices, restaurants and factories in the state, says a federal lawmaker.

MCA Pandan MP Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat said the Selangor government must take stock to ensure that the current supply of raw water would be in tandem with population and industrial production growth, noting that certain portions of raw water currently sourced could not be treated and consumed by the state’s population.

“Why must we confuse the people by portraying that we have sufficient raw water? We know very well that not all the raw water that we have is suitable for treatment because we do understand that the raw water in certain areas may contain heavy metal, and this might even cost you a fortune in seeking (medical) treatment,” he said in an interview.  

Ong criticised the Selangor government for not tabling “convincing figures” or statistics in the state assembly that would put an end to the water impasse, saying that Selangor was grappling with two water issues on different fronts, namely, the shortage of raw water and raising the capacity of water treatment plants.  

“Pakatan Rakyat state legislators have been saying that we have enough raw water just because it is now the rainy season and all the dams are full. By saying that the reservoirs are full of water doesn’t mean that you have enough raw water in reality. We want the state government to come up with some unbiased statistics in order not to confuse the people,” said the seasoned politician.

He said the role of Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas) was confined to the distribution of treated water to Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, and that it was the state government’s jurisdiction over the issue of raw water to be provided to water treatment plants.  

Ong, who is a former transport minister, also questioned the state government’s ability to guarantee uninterrupted flow of water if it were to secure a 100 per cent stake and full management rights of Syabas against the backdrop of not constructing new water treatment plants and not tapping new sources of raw water.  

“Just by reshuffling or maybe taking control of the management rights and the water assets of the concessionaire, do you think the state government can resolve a water crisis in the long run? I doubt so,” he said.

Ong pointed out that the Langat 2 mitigation project was among several programmes that were planned before the 2008 general election to cope with the high demand for treated water due to the mushrooming of factories and business parks in the state, saying that the state authorities should look at it objectively and prevent a repeat of the 1997-98 water crisis.

“I do understand that the state government is playing hard ball with the federal government, especially when they make it a prerequisite to be guaranteed the transfer of the management rights of all the water assets, including the Langat 2 treatment plant (upon completion), before they agree to grant the green light to the project (Langat 2),” he said.

Last week, Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin Fah Kui told the Dewan Negara that the Langat 2 water treatment project had fallen behind schedule by 29 months and that the Selangor government should withdraw its directives to local councils to hold off giving the approvals that would allow 22 tender packages related to the plant to be disbursed.

The minister said the project, according to the original schedule, should have been 68.95 per cent ready as of October this year but the status of the project was only 28.40 per cent complete.  

On the Selangor government’s announcement to reopen the Bukit Jelutong water treatment plant as a pioneer project for membrane technology to treat water, Ong said the people had yet to see it translated into “real action” and it was vital for the state to announce new sources of raw water other than that from Pahang.

“On the Pahang raw water, I still remember, the current state administration said we do not need that, meaning they claim that they have sufficient raw water. But, actually, this is not true. So how are they going to handle such a situation? Ultimately, you have to face the people,” he said, adding that the existing capacity of the 34 water treatment plants in the state was at the optimum level.

In September, it was reported that the Pahang government would consider cancelling the raw water supply agreement with Selangor if the latter continued to politicise the issue.

The water transfer project between the two states will see 1,890 million litres of raw water pumped daily from Sungai Semantan in Pahang to the Hulu Langat water treatment facility in Selangor.
Questioned on the possibility of a sharp tariff hike with the current Langat 2 project proceeding as planned, Ong replied: “It depends on the negotiations between the state government and the federal government. I see no reason why the state administration wants to make this an issue.

“By making this an issue, alleging that they have to pay high tariffs because of Langat 2, is tantamount to putting the cart before the horse.” — Bernama

Monday, 5 November 2012


Further roadblocks to the operation of the Australia-owned Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) in Gebeng, Pahang, will trigger lowering of investor confidence and slow the inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Malaysia to levels seen during the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-2009.

Malaysia’s FDI inflow fell from RM23.4 billion in 2008 to a mere RM4.43 billion in 2009 as a result of the financial crisis which also placed the country in the red for the first time in 15-years.

The nation’s FDI inflow for 2012 may be on track to exceed the RM32.9 billion, in 2011 that was underpinned by the aggressive promotions and incentives by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, but the embattled implementation of LAMP will curtail Malaysia ’s attractiveness as a leading trading nation in the ASEAN region.

Against the backdrop of the LAMP protest, foreign investors that have been eying Malaysia as an investment destination will have second thoughts to place their money here as they will be under the impression that implementation of an industrial operation can be on hold despite having the green light from federal and state governments and complying with safety requirements.

LAMP has received the nod from regulatory and independent bodies including the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) Malaysia, Malaysian Nuclear Agency, Department of Environment, Parliamentary Select Committee and the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) albeit conditions such as long term waste management disposal and radiological monitoring were recommended from a technical perspective.

The fate of LAMP, a state-of-the-art RM2.5 billion rare processing plant, now hinges on the High Court which will deliver its judgment on November 8 on whether to grant a temporary operating licence (TOL) to two groups of Kuantan residents. Lynas was granted a two-year TOL by the AELB in September but the TOL has been challenged.

While November 8 is crucial, LAMP may not be able to fire up its long completed rare earth refinery until all legal avenues have been exhausted. As such, a protracted legal battle and protests by Kuantan residents will not be in line with Malaysia ’s recent ranking as the 12th most business friendly country globally by a World Bank report.

Malaysia’s FDI stands to dwindle if the Australian public-listed Lynas Corporation Ltd pulls-out and heads to another destination in ASEAN to start its plant rolling. Such an abrupt end to the LAMP here will also put a dent to the Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that will take effect January 1, 2013 following conclusion of negotiations between the two countries earlier this year.

The LAMP operation is expected to bring substantial benefits to the Malaysian economy. The facility will create 400 skilled jobs plus a multiplier of 5-8 times in secondary jobs through the economic ecosystem created by the plant. LAMP will also have 200 permanent contract workers and 1,000 indirect workers provided services to its facility. The capital investment to build the LAMP is RM2.5 billion while operating expenditure will total RM600 million per year.

Lynas prides its plant in Gebeng as the most technologically advanced rare earth plant in the world that enables production to be done in a safe and environment ally friendly manner. According to the company, rare earths were crucial for “autocats” in vehicles that could convert harmful gasses into inert gas, thus enabling increased thermal stability and reduction in precious metals.

Among others, rare earths are components to produce high power neo magnets for disk drives and speakers as well as polishing powders that are used for TV and computer screens.

The granting of incentives such as a 12-year tax exemption to Lynas for its LAMP operations will be academic should the company exits its project in Gebeng. Malaysia ’s credibility as a choice investment destination will be affected in the near term and the possibility of the economy taking a dip may surface as steady FDI inflows have been widely accepted to provide increased competition, technological spillovers and innovations, and rise in employment.

FDI is considered necessary to stimulate the economies of developing countries but with stiff competition in the ASEAN region and the controversial LAMP project, Malaysia’s FDI can return to that of the financial crisis levels of 2008-2009 as foreign investors often look for destinations that have attractive fiscal and non-fiscal incentives such as tax holiday, government support, and fast turnaround time.

Malaysia was ranked third for FDI inflow into ASEAN in 2011 with US$11.97 billion, while Singapore and Indonesia positioned at the top with US$64 billion and US$18.91 billion respectively.

The LAMP protest can not afford to go on at the expense of affecting Malaysia ’s economic fundamentals. Malaysia ’s economic performance registered a 5.1% growth in 2011 while it is projected to grow between 4.5% and 5% in 2012. In 2013, the economy is forecast to grow between 4.5% and 5.5% underpinned by domestic demand as proposals implemented under Budget 2013 picks up pace.

As the government continues to create a healthy business environment to sustain FDI inflow and promote private investment particularly in increasing the manufacturing and services sectors, a deadlock in LAMP’s operations will put a bump to intensified efforts in attract investors to new growth areas and drive private investment amounting to RM115 billion by 2015 as per the 10th Malaysia Plan.

In October, Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak described the RM13 billion FDI recorded in the first quarter of 2012 as a clear signal of investors' confidence in Malaysia despite a gloomy global economy and criticisms from Opposition parties.

The “feel-good factor” for the economy should not fizzle simply due to LAMP protest as Malaysia ’s stock market this year has been above the crucial 1,600 point level and is among the best performers in the world with huge listing such as the RM10.5 billion Felda Global Ventures Holdings now on board.

The launch of the Tun Razak Exchange in July also positions Kuala Lumpur as a leading global centre with more than RM3.5 billion worth of FDI expected to flow into the country under phase 1. The Exchange is a national initiative to spur sustainable growth in new areas and lead the way for the federal capital to be a sustainable, smart and liveable city.

The LAMP operations must kick-off soon so as not to affect the government’s long term plan to spearhead Malaysia into a developed nation which will see productivity levels that are on par with industrialised economies. The government, through the implementation of 12 National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs), is committed to transform Malaysia into a high-income status by 2020 that will see the per capita income at US$15,000.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012


Noted bloggers have panned the results of Edelman’s Trust Barometer for suggesting that there is a ‘trust deficit’ between the public and the  mainstream media.

Edelman’s Global CEO Matthew Harrington told StarBiz that the level of trust the public has for the local media can be improved and that, “Having better engagement with readers, having constant dialogue and being more transparent about its agenda is needed to create more trust for the Malaysian media sector.”

MP P Kamalanathan however questioned how the survey was conducted.

“It may be a subjective issue, but if you speak to a pro-opposition supporter, he or she will express their distrust in the print media...however, if you speak to pro-government people, they will say that they trust the media,” he said.

Criticism aside, the Edelman survey is among the few on the influence of the Malaysian mainstream media.

If global trends hold sway in Malaysia, the mainstream outlets should be panicking over the loss of revenues as a result of the internet, but that discussion, while not absent in this country, has not reached the franctic levels as seen in the UK or the US.

Paywalls, a major discussion point in those markets, is a subject rarely expored here.

There are exceptions of course: Malaysiakini has been subscription-based since 2002, while publications under the Utusan banner only post partial articles to nudge readers into buying the physical copies.

The push to bring screens to new screens, on the other hand, has gained prominence. Almost every major newspaper in the country has some kind of tablet app that packages their daily editions into digital formats.

Arguably right now those iPad editions appear to be straight ports of the print editions but it’s early days yet, and digital exclusive content is slowly emerging.

Monday, 15 October 2012


Tourist arrivals in Johor are expected to surge to unprecedented levels following newly-developed tourism products in Iskandar Malaysia that are family-oriented and suitable for all ages, says the Director of Johor Tourism Department, Md Za'nal Misran.

"Iskandar Malaysia is equipped with infrastructure and facilities that enable the state's tourism industry to comprehensively provide family tourism, edu-tourism and health tourism within a single location," he said in an interview.

"Johor tourism has (in the past) been very much dependent on coastal and island tourism, eco-tourism as well as its culture and heritage. We now have Iskandar Malaysia transforming the tourism industry in Johor with its family entertainment concept and high value products," he added.

Za'nal said with the opening of international theme parks such as Legoland Malaysia and upscale shopping complexes like Johor Premium Outlets, Iskandar Malaysia has attracted droves of local and foreign tourists to the southern part of Johor.

"The Puteri Harbour Family Theme Park featuring entertainment characters such as Hello Kitty, Barney and LAT's Place theme restaurant will be operational before year end. These will add to the theme attractions in Iskandar Malaysia and see more families coming here," he disclosed.

The 76-acre Legoland Malaysia, which opened to more than 10,000 visitors on Sept 15, will open its Legoland Water Park in the second half of 2013 followed by Legoland Hotel Park in 2014.

Khazanah Nasional Bhd is the prime mover of Iskandar Malaysia, which is targeted to secure cumulative investment of RM383 billion, over a 20-year period until 2025.

The southern development corridor has received cumulative investment commitment of RM95.45 billion between 2006 and June 2012, with the figure expected to hit RM100 billion by year end.

Expressing optimism on tourist arrivals to Johor, Za'nal said the numbers would surge this year, thanks to Iskandar Malaysia, and noted that the state has been recording a steady increase in tourists from about 3.5 million in 2009 to 3.6 million and 3.7 million respectively in 2010 and 2011.

The number of visitors to Johor rose by 22 per cent to 10.31 million in the January-June 2012 period from 8.28 million in the same period last year.

Za'nal said the positive effects of the increased visitor arrivals has resulted in greater business and job opportunities, thus making Johor better off economically.

In addition, he said Iskandar Malaysia also promoted educational and learning experience through its theme park attractions, adding that they help to drive family tourism and complement other projects.

They include spurring edu-tourism through various educational institutions in Iskandar Malaysia that cater to students of different age groups. For instance, Marlborough College Malaysia and Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia have built the momentum to attract students from various parts of Malaysia and neighbouring countries.

"There will be several more notable foreign universities coming to Iskandar Malaysia. As such, it will be cheaper for foreign students to study in EduCity than to go to a far-away country since the cost of living is much lower here," said Za'nal.

EduCity is also home to institutions such as the University of Southampton Malaysia, University of Reading Malaysia, Netherlands Maritime Institute of Technology, Raffles University Iskandar and Singapore Management Development Institute which are opening in the next year or two.

To complement the students' needs, EduCity will also have an international students village, a stadium and sports complex.

On health tourism, Za'nal said the opening of the 82-bed Columbia Asia Hospital in Nusajaya coupled with several more specialist hospitals being developed at the Afiat Healthpark could help promote Iskandar Malaysia as a world class healthcare centre for foreign and local patients.

The 300-bed Gleneagles Medini Hospital together with a 150-suite medical office block is expected to be opened by 2015. To be built in phases, the hospital will also have a rehabilitation centre, nursing home and hospital residency.

Meanwhile, the managing director of SN Vacation Sdn Bhd, Sharifah Nur'aini Al-Edros, said travel agencies were now customising their travel packages to include Legoland Malaysia, noting that theme park attractions and the completed development in the Kota Iskandar state administrative centre would also help boost tourism in Johor.

She felt that they can now market packages at overseas travel fairs to showcase international-class attractions like Legoland Malaysia and the Puteri Harbour Family Theme Park featuring Hello Kitty.

Other than theme parks, Sharifah Nur'aini said this was also a good time to promote Johor's rich culture and traditional cuisine such as laksa Johor, mee rebus and otak-otak.

Friday, 12 October 2012


(Credit: NASA)

If you were thinking of a conglomerate in the sense of a combination of two or more corporations engaged in entirely different businesses that fall under one corporate structure, then you're wrong.

Nasa’s Mars rover Curiosity has found a Martian conglomerate, which is a rock that could only have been formed from water-borne debris, and could be proof that the red planet supported life.

Thursday, 11 October 2012


KUALA LUMPUR, 11 Okt (Bernama) -- Kebanyakan sungai di Selangor yang menjadi sumber utama bekalan air mentah didapati tercemar dan berpotensi menjadi ancaman serius kepada keperluan asas yang amat penting ini jika tidak ditangani, seorang ahli sains memberi amaran Khamis.

Ketua Unit Permodelan Alam Sekitar, Pusat Penyelidikan Forensik Alam Sekitar (ENFORCE) Universiti Putra Malaysia, Dr Hafizan Juahir, berkata bahagian air bersih di sungai-sungai ini semakin pendek akibat aktiviti guna tanah yang terlalu tinggi, terutama pembangunan kawasan perumahan.

Sebagai contoh, beliau mendedahkan panjang Sungai Langat, sungai utama di antara beberapa sungai di Selangor yang menjadi sumber air mentah ialah 149.3 km tetapi bahagian air bersih hanya tinggal 49.3km sahaja manakala selebihnya 100km sudah tercemar.

Dalam satu temuramah dengan Bernama, Hafizan berkata, pencemaran sungai dikategorikan kepada empat kelas iaitu 1 dan 2 belum tercemar, manakala 3 dan 4 tercemar secara serius.

"Sepanjang 100km Sungai Langat sudah masuk dalam kelas 3, 4. Dan jika kualiti air sungai lebih teruk daripada ini, ia sudah dikira sungai mati," katanya.

Hafizan menjelaskan data-data ini adalah terkini yang diperolehi oleh para pelajar beliau yang membuat persembahan penemuan mereka mengenai keadaan Sungai Langat hanya tiga hari lepas.

Beliau berkata di daerah Hulu Langat kini keadaan semakin meruncing dan mengancam sungai akibat terlalu banyak pembangunan terutama kondominium, rumah-rumah kedai dan peningkatan populasi yang memberi impak negatif terhadap kualiti air akibat air cucian, sisa-sisa domestik dan sampah yang masuk dalam sungai.

"Saya adalah ahli sains dan penyelidik. Saya bercakap berdasarkan fakta mengenai kualiti air. Saya lihat secara terperinci setiap parameter kualiti air atau pun trend indeks kuailiti air. Jadi kuantiti air yang bersih sahaja pun tinggal sikit sahaja," tambah beliau.

Hafizan berkata ramai orang terkeliru apabila bercakap mengenai sumber air kononnya negara yang kerap hujan untuk mengisi empangan seperti di Malaysia tidak perlu bimbang tentang sumber air.

"Empangan hanya air untuk tujuan rawatan sebelum kita bekalkan kepada pengguna akhir seperti kita semua, pengguna domestik atau perindustrian. Tetapi sumber air daripada ini tadi perlu kita teliti daripada mana datang sumber air ini. Sumber air ini datang daripada sungai.

"Kalau nak mengharapkan hujan, memang jumlah hujan kita tinggi tetapi ia jauh daripada mencukupi dengan keadaan pembangunan yang pesat, pertambahan dan peningkatan dalam populasi. Tidak dapat tidak, permintaan bekalan air bersih dan air terawat terus meningkat dari semasa ke semasa," katanya.

Hafizan keadaan kualiti sungai yang semakin tercemar dan kuantiti air bersih yang semakin merosot bermakna kos rawatan air akan menjadi lebih tinggi dan ini akan mencetuskan persoalan sama ada kerajaan akan terus mampu memberi subsidi.

Ditanya mengenai dasar kerajaan negeri yang lebih mementingkan rancangannya untuk penstrukturan semula air di negeri itu daripada mengatasi masalah seperti ancaman pencemaran sumber-sumber air dan kekurangan kapasiti pengeluaran air terawat, beliau berkata penstrukturan semula seperti yang dicadangkan itu tidak akan memberi apa-apa makna sekiranya masalah-masalah yang lebih kritikal tidak diatasi.

"Tanpa mengambil kira bagaimana untuk mengawal pencemaran sumber air kita ini, meningkatkan keupayaan loji, mengambilkira aspek kuantiti air bersih, penstrukturan ini tidak akan memberikan apa-apa kebaikan," kata Dr Hafizan.

Beliau juga menyatakan sokongan terhadap rancangan kerajaan Persekutuan mendapatkan sumber air dari Sungai Pahang ke Selangor bagi mengatasi kekurangan sumber air dan pembinaan loji rawatan Langat 2 sebagai langkah tegas mengelak krisis air yang dijangka melanda Selangor, Kuala Lumpur dan Putrajaya menjelang 2014.

Lagi pun, katanya, air dari Sungai Pahang tidak tercemar seperti sungai-sungai di Selangor.


Friday, 5 October 2012


Johor is to emerge as the richest state in Malaysia by 2025, overtaking Selangor, if the current trend of development pace and investment inflows continues, an analyst with an investment bank said today.

Dr Nazri Khan, Affin Investment Bank Vice-President and Retail Research Head, said the projection was not something impossible to achieve with Iskandar Malaysia, one of the five economic corridors in Malaysia, having attracted more than one-fourth of the RM383 billion total investment target by 2025.

He said the economic growth brought to Johor by Khazanah Nasional Bhd, the government's investment arm, is seen as among concerted initiatives by the government to establish an economic hub in Johor outside the Klang Valley.

"We will see Johor transform into an Orlando in Florida and become Asia's Theme Park Hub with the presence of at least four theme parks in the state.

"They include Legoland Malaysia which opened recently, Puteri Harbour Family Entertainment Centre and Austin Heights Water Theme Park is due to open its doors soon. All these parks will provide ample jobs to our youths," he said.

The 2012/2013 Economic Report issued by the Finance Ministry on Sept 28 said job opportunities in Johor are expectex to double when some projects come on stream in the next five years such as Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios, MSC Cyberport City and Urban and Resort Wellness.

At the same time, Nazri said efforts to attract cash-rich Middle Eastern investors, who have the capital to invest, must be pursued to maintain the development momentum in Johor.

He said the massive oil and gas project in Pengerang is being initiated at a timely juncture when the world demand for oil and gas was spiralling.

"Moreover, Pengerang's demographic location in the middle of the international shipping route to Indonesia and Singapore provided an added advantage to us than to our neighbours," he added.

Meanwhile, a restaurateur in Skudai, Mohd Kassim Ali, 52, readily acknowledged that he could feel the spinoffs emanating from Iskandar Malaysia development.

With the oil and gas project in Pengerang and with various other development projects in the drawing board under the Iskandar Malaysia economic corridor, Johor has become the latest trade focus in Malaysia, he said.

"Johor has become the focal point now as people from throughout the country are flocking to the state in search of high-paying jobs," he said.

Development projects implemented by the state government with the support of the federal government have given an "assurance" to Johor-born school leavers of ample job prospects and a decent income, he added.




Just weeks following the opening of Asia's first Legoland in Nusajaya here, local taxi and restaurant operators are pretty excited over the prospects of higher incomes and revenue from the expected rise in tourist arrivals, which will ultimately boost Johor's economy.

Since it opened its doors on Sept 15, Legoland, a project under Iskandar Malaysia's development, has attracted more than 10,000 visitors. Iskandar Malaysia has been mapped out by Khazanah Nasional Berhad to help transform Johor into a major economic hub.

According to the President of the Johor Baharu-Singapore Taxi Owners Association, Wahab Hashim, the opening of Legoland Malaysia "means that there will be more trips to ferry passengers between the Causeway as the theme park is also a major attraction to Singaporeans."

"I believe there will be more business for us with Legoland. It will only increase the welfare and well-being of taxi drivers over the long term," he said.

Wahab said the opening of a new township at Iskandar Malaysia also meant that local and foreign tourists would not bypass Johor Baharu but spend more time and money in the state capital and its surrounding areas, thus boosting the local economy.

"Previously, Johor Baharu served as a transit point and taxis were mainly commuting within the area, But now Johor Baharu has expanded and visitors are talking about going to Kulai, to Nusajaya, to Pasir Gudang. Can you imagine what it means to us as taxi operators?" he asked.

Wahab thanked the government for developing Iskandar Malaysia as there would be more tourists visiting the southern development corridor, which would also benefit the socio-economy of the surrounding towns.

More than 100 Johor taxi drivers who had been selected to serve as "ambassadors" for Johor's tourist attractions were given a sneak preview of Legoland's attractions before its opening, said Johor Tourism, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman, Datuk Hoo Seong Chang, adding that it was important that they were aware of the state's latest tourist attraction.

Another taxi driver in Johor Baharu, who did not want to be named, concurred with Wahab that there would be higher frequencies in taxi services to and fro Legoland as the bulk of tourists would opt for an overnight stay in Johor Baharu, which was a mere 15 minute drive to Nusajaya.

"There will also be higher demand for taxi service within JB going to places such as Holiday Plaza Mall, to Danga Bay, to pasar malams, the museum and so on," he said, adding that many passengers he had been ferrying of late had been talking enthusiastically about their Legoland experiences.

He noted that taxi drivers no longer had to wait for the long school holidays or festive seasons to earn more as Legoland had shown prospects of being able to attract holidaymakers all-year-round.

Echoing this view, Dev Singh, General Manager of M Suites Hotel, here said the pace of tourism activity in Johor Baharu had picked up in the last two to three years.

Last year, Johor was among five states with significant increases in tourists, as it reported a surge to 4.321 million tourists from 3.310 million tourists in 2010. It aims to attract five million tourists next year.

"In the past, many Singaporeans would by-pass JB and go to Melaka or Kuala Lumpur for their weekend shopping or leisure activities.

"But with the opening of Legoland, it is a different story now as tourists are eager to visit JB. Many hotels in JB are doing good business and reporting high occupancy rates now," he said.

A chef, who goes by the surname Wong, at the Grand Bayview Seafood Restaurant in Danga Bay, said the opening of Legoland as well as other projects at Iskandar Malaysia had triggered a steady flow of diners to food outlets in Johor Baharu.

"More tourists mean more business for our restaurants. Prior to Legoland, we were busy mostly on weekends. But we are beginning to have more people dining at our restaurants even on weekdays following Legoland's opening," he said, noting that Singaporeans accounted for about 50 to 60 per cent of his business.

He was confident that restaurants here, which had also started to have more promotions to cash in on the tourist upswing, would generally do well from now on because there were more things to see and do in Johor to make visitors stay longer.


Friday, 28 September 2012


By Lord Haw-Haw

We should congratulate Tan Sri Muhyiddin on his leadership and the spirit of compromise with which he is striving for an agreement on the Selangor Water Crisis.

Muhyiddin’s comments yesterday stating his readiness to discuss the water issue with the Selangor State government were thoughtful and showed his concern for the long term interests of the state.

Tan Sri Khalid on the balance has proven to be unyielding, verging on obstructionist, in arriving at a lasting solution for Selangor’s water supply, preferring to defend his position of offering short term solutions at the expense of reaching a conclusive resolution.

At the heart of the issue is a failure of communication. Both sides have until now preferred to stand by their partisan views which have proven to be strongly prejudiced in favor of their respective causes.

It was Muhyiddin who crossed the political divide and appealed directly to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at a Luncheon on Wednesday given by the Speaker of the house.

Muhyiddin showed his political maturity by asking Anwar, in his position as economic adviser to Selangor, to press Khalid for an enduring resolution to the Water Crisis for the sake of the people of Selangor and not as a means of securing political mileage.

In light of this Muhyiddin’s appeal for compromise resonates like the first real voice of reason in this altogether prolonged and unnecessary fiasco.


Thursday, 27 September 2012


By PJ Uncle

The knee-jerk reaction by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) elected representatives in Selangor on an “infomercial” at Happy Mansion, Section 17, recently does not bode well with the state government’s pledge that “Selangoreans” are not bracing for a water crisis.

The defensive approach on the repercussion of the infomercial by some PR politicians does little to re-assure “Selangoreans” that there is adequate treated water in the near term without the need of the Langat 2 dam.

Many residents of the 9-storey Happy Mansion apartment were “unhappy” to be awakened on the morning of September 24 by the sound of water tankers and the sight of more than 200 people preparing for a commercial shoot.

While residents of the quiet and serene apartments occupied mainly by pensioners and students had the right to be concerned with the noise and what the gathering was all about, since when a commercial shoot had gathered so much attention of PR politicians.

Were there DSAI or MB Khalid look alike present? Were there any banners or buntings with PR party logos or paraphernalia? Were the hired extras wearing any shirt that were anti-PR or depicts the current Selangor government? For that matter, were the hired extras adorned with materials that were political in nature at all?

If there were no political elements present at the shooting of the infomercial, what’s the big fuss? Why must some PR politicians jump to the conclusion that the infomercial is on water shortage and alleged that it is political smearing campaign that will mislead Selangoreans?

PR politicians, especially the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)-led state government, should look at such infomercial objectively and positively. The message may perhaps be to educate Malaysians in general to conserve water and to use such precious commodity wisely.

It is certainly childish for PR elected representatives in Selangor to have pointed their fingers at Barisan Nasional (BN) for such infomercial when in the first place the PR leadership often boast of freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom to assemble that should be in place.

After all, the infomercial was shot by an award-winning production house with the permission of the management of the apartment coupled with hired extras that were willing to participate. Does the PKR-led state government want production houses to seek their permission and submit a storyline or agenda to them for consideration before any shooting is allowed in the state?

Certainly, nobody wants the “happy” residents of Happy Mansion to wake up one fine morning with dry taps. If that happens, the cafes and restaurants located within the Happy Mansion area will not be able to serve their popular Nasi Lemak, Chicken Rice, Pasta, Crepes, and Tom Yam to faithful customers. Worst still, there is a huge laundry in the area that services the many residents of PJ’s Section 17.

PR elected representatives should have the wisdom to think that BN could by the same token allege that the infomercial was orchestrated by the federal opposition to gain political mileage. Moreover, the production house did not disclose who their clients were for the infomercial and thus it will not be right to speculate if such infomercial had political overtones.

As many are aware that once the rumour mill starts to grind in Malaysia, anything is possible and believable. Perhaps, the question that lingers is was it a coincidence for the shooting of the infomercial to take place the same day when Dewan Rakyat convenes its third meeting of the fifth session of the twelfth parliament.

Saturday, 22 September 2012


By Lord Haw-Haw

Johor is reversing the trend of Malaysian’s travelling overseas to get a quality education, now that students based in Singapore are making the trip across the causeway to go to school in Johor. 

It’s a well known fact that Singapore is the main beneficiary of Malaysia’s brain drain, accounting for 54% of the total figure, but it seems that the tables have been turned.  Singapore is now taking lessons from Johor!

It should come as no surprise that the Singaporeans are already recognising the potential in Iskandar Malaysia’s Educity.

I mean take a good look at what’s there.  In terms of higher education Educity has branches of The University of Southampton, Newcastle University and the Netherlands Maritime Institute of Technology.

Three Singapore operators, namely the Management Development Institute of Singapore, Raffles University Iskandar and Raffles American School, have also chosen Johor over Singapore.

On top of that Educity is home to Marlborough College, one of the most renowned and prestigious British Public Schools. 

It was reported that nearly half the students in Marlborough College were from Singapore and that more than 100 children from Singapore travel to Johor daily to go to school. 

The only other place I can think of where that happens is Switzerland, where students from neighbouring France, Italy, Austria and Germany, sleep in one country and spend their school hours in another.  

Wait a minute, did I just compare Switzerland with Johor?


Thursday, 20 September 2012


Today marks the beginning of the alleged insider trading case against Datuk E. Sreesanthan in the Kuala Lumpur Session Court.

Sreesanthan, a seasoned legal practitioner who was called to the Malaysian Bar in 1988, has laid claim to his right for a fair trial and requested that the charges against him be dismissed or struck out as being void in law.

His affadavit reasoned that the Securities Commission has very wide powers of investigation which should be used to get all relevant information for the fair trial of the accused and not just information that is favourable to the prosecution.

The Securities Commission has charged him with seven counts of insider trading involving equities in Sime Darby, UEM, VADS and Maxis.

At case management today Sreesanthan requested the following orders:

(i)         That the five charges under the Securities Industry Act 1983 be dismissed or struck out as the charges are under a repealed law and therefore void in law;

(ii)        That all the seven charges be dismissed or struck out as being instituted under a consent for prosecution dated 18 July 2012 for each charge that is invalid, null and void;

(iii)       That various questions of constitutional law relating to the federal constitution, the Securities Commission Act 1993, the Securities Industry Act 1983 (repealed) and the Criminal Procedure Code be referred to the High Court for determination and if the High Court answers all or any of the questions in the affirmative, the institution of this entire prosecution would be declared as bad in law and should be struck out;

(iv)       That a summons be issued to the Securities Commission and or its officers to produce and deliver all statements, documents and any form of evidence that the prosecution intends to rely on, in connection with the investigation.

Dato’ Sreesanthan is represented by counsel Dato’ Cyrus Das, Dato’ Haji Sulaiman Abdullah, Datuk Tan Hock Chuan, Dato’ Jerald Gomez, Steven Thiru, Wong Kian Keong, David Mathew and Suzalena Salleh.

The Star has published an article on the court case: “Court case of high-flyer corporate lawyer begins


Wednesday, 19 September 2012


This video is interesting in a way that it shows how much opportunities Johoreans could benefit from Iskandar Malaysia development. It shows two Johoreans working as Lego model builders for Legoland Malaysia which has just opened its door last Saturday. This is something that all Johoreans and Malaysians should be proud of...

Tuesday, 18 September 2012


KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 16 (Bernama) -- Selangor will certainly face a critical water crisis if the state government remains stubborn by continuing to block the construction of the Langat 2 water treatment plant, a water management expert warned today.

Dr Ahmad Zaharuddin Sani Ahmad Sabri said providing treated water was a most important responsibility of the state government and the Langat 2 plant remained the only alternative means for the state to have adequate supply of treated water because all existing treatment plants had exceeded their production capacity.

"Without this alternative plan, the people and industries in Selangor will run out of treated water as we have reached the maximum production level. We have come to the stage of requiring a new solution and new alternative. And in the immediate term, Langat 2 is the only solution," he said in an interview.

Dr Zaharuddin Sani uses a simple "nasi lemak " analogy to explain the situation. "If we need 500 packets of nasi lemak to be given to 500 people, then it's enough. But if we only have 500 packets and there are 520 people to eat the nasi lemak, then it won't be enough."

He rubbished the Selangor government's free-water policy and called for a review of the policy because, he said, water was a precious asset for any nation and should no longer be deemed as something cheap, let alone given free.

Following is the Q & A from the interview:

Q: Will the Langat 2 plant overcome all water problems in Selangor?

A: At the moment, when we talk about Langat 2 being able to solve our water problems, the answer is yes, because we need treated water. Based on a very high current demand, we need Langat 2 as the solution. But even this solution is temporary in nature. Why I'm saying temporary is because in the future we will have 1,000 people who want to eat the nasi lemak and even if we have new dams, it's not going to be effective compared to the most important approach for us to adopt from now -- to educate the people to use water wisely.

We must recognise our water as an asset that no longer can be viewed as something cheap. Water can no longer be regarded as something to be given free. Water should be seen as something very valuable. If we compare one litre of bottled water and one litre of oil, the price is about the same, so we should appreciate the value of water. But why is it that we can conserve the use of oil and not when it comes to water?

So what's the solution? Because we ourselves don't realise that water is something very valuable. If we do realise how precious it is, then certainly we will be very cautious in using it.

Back to the question of Langat 2. Yes, it is absolutely necessary. And, at the same time, it should be followed with massive efforts to educate consumers on the real value of water, so that we won't need a Langat 3.

Q: So, it means that the Selangor government's policy of giving free water is something unwise?

A: There is nothing free in this world, and the water that's given is treated water. Treated water requires cost to produce.

If we require cost, we need money. So, if we give free water, then we devalue this vital commodity and no one will value something that's given free.

If we increase the water tariff, just like in Europe, we could see consumers place a high value on water in terms of their attitude towards water consumption as they look at water as a vital asset.

But if we are provided with unlimited water everywhere and, worst of all, provided free, we will lose our sense of value over water. So, the move to give free water should be reviewed.

Q: Langat 2 is a solution but it still doesn't exist due to the state-federal conflict. What's the implication?

A: The implication is that we won't be able to provide adequate treated water to consumers while, at the same time, we can say we have sufficient water sources.

Based on this assumption, we need to conserve our water resources. We just cannot dream that tomorrow we'll have more than what we have today.

We must live in reality. If we have so much today, we have to adopt accordingly. And if Langat 2 remains unresolved, we then need a new solution.

Among the solutions over the longer term is educating the people on water consumption and control on the supply of water.

Q: The capacity yield of rivers in Selangor that provide the main sources of raw water to the treatment plants is reported to be reaching the maximum. Will this undermine the supply of treated water?

A: To treat water, we need raw material which, in this case, is raw water. But if we want to treat something and the raw material is not available, so there's nothing to treat.

Yes, it's true to say that currently the capacity has reached its maximum. If we don't have raw water to treat, we can't produce treated water to supply to consumers.

So, if we think of our rivers, dams that have reached their maximum, we have reached a stage where we need to look at new alternatives.

Q: You have cited studies that show each Malaysian uses an average of 310 litres of water per day (lpd), which is 145 litres more than what consumers in other countries use. Can you elaborate?

A: It's 145 litres per person. If one household has five residents, then the consumption is five times more. Imagine the millions of litres in excess consumption per household.

This is the study by the United Nations that stipulates consumption at 145 lpd per person.

But in Malaysia the consumption is very excessive in every sense of the word.

Q: The Selangor government says that Langat 2 is not necessary because the ongoing mitigation projects are able to cope with the demand? Is this so?

A: The Selangor government only plans things for the short term. It looks at adequate water up to 2014. In contrast, the planning done by the federal government is over the long term, stretching more than 20 years.

Langat 2 is necessary for this period. At present, we might not see water problems as something critical because, everywhere we go, there's water in the tap. But, try to imagine the situation five years from now. Would we still have this luxury?


Tuesday, 4 September 2012


The oft-quoted 55% debt limit does not exist in our lawbooks.

HishamH is forced to repeat himself again to remind readers that the debt to GDP limit is not bound by law, but is the government’s internal target.

Gazzetted in Malaysian lawbooks however is a 55% limit on the amount of MGS, GII and Treasury Bills that the government can issue. Currently it stands at 45% of the GDP.

This is not the first time that the economist has written about this, thus his crankiness comes at no surprise.

Monday, 3 September 2012


By Hidup Johor

JOHOR BAHRU: The soon-to-be opened Legoland Malaysia is creating a lot of buzz as a tourist attraction and the anticipation of jobs and business opportunities it brings.

Sited on a 31 hectare site in Nusajaya, Legoland Malaysia is the first Legoland to open in Asia.

Opening ahead of Japan and Korea, Legoland Malaysia is the sixth in the world after Legoland Billund, Legoland Windsor, Legoland California, Legoland Deutschland and Legoland Florida.

Judging by the long queues at the public previews during the Hari Raya holiday weekends, Legoland Malaysia will be a hit among families and children.

Johoreans are very lucky as this Khazanah-led project costing RM720 million will change Johor into a destination tourists want to go to, instead of just being a cheap backyard to Singaporeans for car wash, groceries and massages.

Taxi operators for one are already excited about the opportunities Legoland brings. United Taxi Association of Johor Bahru (Gapet) treasurer Hadi Mohamed said the theme park, the first of its kind in Asia, would enhance their livelihoods.

"Many passengers, especially from Singapore, have been asking about it and we personally can't wait for the official opening of the theme park on Sept 22," he said.

Wahab Hashim, President, JB-Singapore Taxi Owners Association added that Legoland offers taxi drivers more business as taxi drivers have more travel routes than merely going to Johor Bahru city centre only.

Meanwhile tour company, Eastcoast Adventure Travel and Tour Sdn Bhd managing director Liza Alip said Legoland’s orientation towards family, will be a big pull among domestic and foreign visitors.

"Prior to this, we can only promote beautiful islands, such as Tioman and its seafood, but now we have a new tourist icon to promote for family holidays," she said.

Aidah Abd Rahman, the marketing and communications manager of Thistle Hotel, echoed this sentiment as the hotel industry is thrilled about the expected boost to business.

"The family-oriented theme park is expected to increase the bookings of rooms especially during school holidays," she said.

Legoland Malaysia has also opened up new job opportunities for Malaysian youths.

For model builder, Ahmad Radhi Abdul Rahman, 25 years, from Johor Bahru, working on Lego models was a chance of a lifetime which allowed him to remain in Johor.

“Initially, family and friends thought I was playing around with Lego, but as time went on, they came to understand what the job entailed. They support what I am doing and give me encouragement.”

Noor Amyee Suratman, 25 years, from Kota Tinggi, said the job allowed her to indulge in her creative interest. She is especially happy that in this new field, women can advance without limits to their achievements.

“There’s no need to think that a job like model building is strange or is just fun and games because you can go far in this field. “

Amyee, Radhi and colleague

Their skills will continue to be in demand with other existing Legoland parks and the new Legolands being built. Legoland expects to add another new park to its portfolio every two to three years.

In addition, Legoland is venturing into Legoland Hotels which will utilise the skills of these model builders.

So all good things come to those who wait. It was worth the five year wait for Legoland to be delivered. Welcome, welcome Legoland with open arms!


The Singapore government has been asked to hand out a S$100 million grant to seed 100 knowledge-based startups to spur the country’s economy.

NUS Pro-Chancellor, Ngiam Tong Dow, made the proposal in an article published recently, and asked that the government not leave the task of wealth-creation up to chance.

A grant of similar scale would be much welcomed by Malaysian entrepreneurs, and would go a long way towards funding Malaysian startups through the bootstrapping stage.

Though nothing so far suggests that the Singapore government has agreed to Mr Ngiam’s proposal, it wouldn’t be such a bad idea for the Malaysian government to consider his ideas.

Saturday, 1 September 2012


Hasil bancian terkini mendapati Gen Y sangat yakin objektif-objektif Wawasan 20 akan dicapai.

88% responden di dalam kelompok umur 21-35 tahun itu menyatakan yang mereka sangat optimistik visi mantan PM Tun Mahathir akan tercapai, seperti yang dilaporkan di dalam laporan hasil bancian oleh Universiti Islam Antarabangsa (IIUM).

Keyakinan Gen Y di dalam visi Malaysia yang maju menunjukkan mereka masih mempunyai motivasi untuk menjadi penyumbang produktif kepada ekonomi negara.

Hampir 20%  penduduk Malaysia hari ini berusia di bawah 20 tahun dengan kadar literasi yang hampir sempurna (98%), menjadikan kelompok ini berpotensi besar menjadi penjana kuasa ekonomi untuk negara.

Friday, 31 August 2012


credit: Aussiefordadverts

Salaries in Malaysia are not going to go up drastically anytime soon. Meanwhile, inflation continues on its persistent march up.

That means, for us average wage earners, the value of our income will slowly, slowly fall because prices go up faster than wages. That’s just economics.

Though its tempting to clutter this post with CPI tables and charts that show the relationship between inflation and wages (which you can find at the economist’s blog  by the way), most people who have to observe how they spend their money can tell you how much price increases have affected their lifestyles, via food, medicine, education, etc.

Since the likelihood of all of us getting big increments in the near future is slim, any kind of relief would be welcomed with wide open hands.

So let’s talk about car prices.

Malaysians have a love affair with cars.

Maybe it’s our really good highways, or the fact that our subsidized fuel makes it among the cheapest in this region, or that we just love those purring metal beasts, but despite the fact that buying a car would cost you an arm and a leg and your nose, we would still gladly sign over a significant portion of our income for the next 5 years just so we can own our own set of wheels.

Given the state of our public transportation system, that’s not at all surprising too.

Kuala Lumpur especially is fast becoming, or already is, a mass urban sprawl, and it’s not unusual to hear of commutes of 1,2 hours just to get to work.

Cars (and bikes) are an essential part of decent living in this country, though it may not be the green thing to say.

Without automobiles how else is someone who lives in Puchong Perdana going to get to her office in Ampang in a decent amount of time? And what if your job requires you to be mobile?

Living on public transportation alone is not impossible but it would be an experience not much different than eating only vegan gluten-free food in Malaysia.

So when someone suggests that prices for cars could be slashed down, the fact that many would raise their hands in celebration is a surprise only to the out of touch.

That cheaper car prices would make life better for a group of people who are already living on the brink of poverty is easy to understand.

That cheaper car prices frees up more of our income for spending on other things should be as easily comprehended as well, but for some reason it is not.

Sure, more shopping; dresses, cameras, computers, people will buy more of these with more money, but they’ll also be able to afford better education, better homes, and better healthcare.

More money in their pockets affords them better prospects, and gives them more to look forward to when they get home from that horrible commute.

Thursday, 30 August 2012


Berbaloikah kita raikan kenangan sedangkan negara kita sangat perlukan lonjakan produktiviti dari penambahbaikan sistem pengangkutan negara?

Festival sejarah anjuran pertubuhan aktivis RakanKL ini mengajak pelawat datang ucapkan ‘selamat tinggal’ kepada kawasan-kawasan bersejarah Kuala Lumpur yang akan berubah dengan pembinaan stesen dan landasan MRT di sana.

Sayangnya, kasih kepada bandar ini hanya mahu dizahirkan sekarang apabila perancangan sudah siap dibuat dan jentolak sudah mula bergerak.

Sebaliknya, aktivis warisan kini tiba-tiba melatah untuk menghalang pembinaan Kuala Lumpur yang lebih baik, sedangkan selama ini mereka enak tidur.

Thursday, 16 August 2012


Pergelutan air yang berterusan di antara SYABAS dan Kerajaan Negeri Selangor nampaknya sudah timbulkan kemarahan rakyat!

Video ini yang team OMBIZ jumpa cukup pedasss mesejnya!

Thursday, 2 August 2012


Malaysia has earned an admirer in BlackRock, Inc., the world’s largest asset manager with over US$3.65 trillion in assets under management.

Malaysia rose three notches on the BlackRock Sovereign Risk Index to 16th place on strong momentum from late 2011, when GDP surprised to the upside.  Drawing on a pool of financial data, surveys and political insights, the BlackRock Sovereign Risk Index assesses the government debt of 48 countries.

“Malaysia benefits from strong private consumption and investment growth.  Lower short-term debt levels and an upgrade of Malaysia’s projected ability to service its debt improved its Fiscal Space Score”, noted the report by the BlackRock Research Institute.

BlackRock is one of the keystone investors in the listing of IHH Healthcare, the third largest IPO of 2012.  Along with the listing of Felda GlobalVentures Holdings, Malaysia lays claim to the second and third largest IPO’s of the year after Facebook.

Developing countries such as China, Brazil, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand have been put on the defensive in the face of slowing global growth but Malaysia has managed to stand out from the pack by deciding not to cut interest rates this year.

“Right now, our interest rate is very supportive of growth,” said Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Governor of Bank Negara. 

“The domestic economy is very strong. Consumption demand, private investment activity is very robust.”

BlackRock has been attracted to Malaysian bonds as they have the highest yield in Southeast Asia after accounting for inflation.  The average yield is at 3.44 percent and inflation in Malaysia has slowed to 1.6%, the least in Asia.


So, this year mark 55 years of Malaysia as a sovereign country. However, I get the feeling that some of us are not in the celebratory mood for obvious reasons:

The government introduced the “Janji Ditepati” theme for this year’s Merdeka Day celebration. A lot of people are upset with the theme because it is a replication of BN’s political campaign to win the hearts of voters. Political views aside, I think the government have no right to make a statement such as “Janji Ditepati”.

The government still has a lot to accomplish before they can proudly admit “Janji Ditepati”. The Government Transformation Programme has yet to show its intended result. The Economy Transformation Programme has yet to put Malaysia in the high-income nation group. It is evident that the government is working hard to deliver its promises but have the government accomplish enough to warrant a celebration? Has the government really done a good job? The rakyat should be the judge and "Janji Ditepati" should come for the rakyat's mouth.

And why use a political statement for the Merdeka Day theme this year? The government made a huge mistake by introducing the “Janji Ditepati” theme. It doesn’t reflect unity and patriotism, which is what Merdeka Day is all about. Correct me if I’m wrong, I think this would be the first time in 55 years we’re celebrating Merdeka Day with a political statement.

Okay, we already had a lousy start to a supposedly harmonious Merdeka Day celebration. But the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture had to rub salt to the wound.

To further prove how lazy, uncreative and unprofessional the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture is, the minister introduced a horrendous logo for the 55th Merdeka Day celebration.

Again, Malaysians grew sicker of the nonsense. Fortunately, the government listens to the rakyat’s discontent and has decided not to use the logo. Instead, the ministry had decided to use the 1Malaysia logo again for this year’s celebration.

1Malaysia logo is an excellent logo. However, to see the same logo being used four years in a row is a bit tiring. We have a lot of creative and talented Malaysians. One Malaysian even made an effort to contribute to this year Merdeka Day celebration by setting up a Facebook page and call upon fellow Malaysians to submit proposed alternate Merdeka logo. Some of the proposed logos showcase excellent design and creativity.

So why are we not using one of those logos? By ignoring the effort, the government is also ignoring Malaysian creativity. How are we supposed to attract more talents to Malaysia when the government does not acknowledge Malaysian talents?

Theme Song

Okay, hopefully this will be the last thing we have to deal with when it comes to our gloomy 55th Merdeka Celebration. Last week the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture introduced the theme song for this year’s Merdeka Day.

And once again Malaysians are being fed with more bad news, this time regarding a ‘vulgar propaganda theme song’.

The song was not well received by Malaysians, to put it mildly. Since it was introduced last week, the song was given more than 30,000 thumbs down on Youtube. If the comments were any indication (the comments section was disabled yesterday), it shows that the general public just hate the theme song. And the minister had the audacity to ask what Malaysians think of it.

Now with all of these things going on, I can’t help but wonder why are we celebrating Merdeka Day this year?

Malaysians have become mature and more patriotic. The protest and discontent shown is proof that Malaysians love Malaysia and take the Merdeka Day celebration seriously. Why is the Prime Minister allowing someone who lacks understanding and creativity to manage a celebration as significant as this one?

Instead of bringing us closer together, it seems that this year's Merdeka Celebration is only dividing Malaysia apart. I urge the Prime Minister to listen to the Malaysians' voice and let us celebrate Merdeka Day as proud and united Malaysians.