Thursday, 28 March 2019


My first job after graduation with a basic engineering degree in Electronic Communications was as a Process Engineer at the National Semiconductor integrated circuit assembly plant in the Senawang Industrial Estate, Negeri Sembilan in March 1980, or 39 years ago and my starting pay back then was RM1,000 per month.

That semiconductor plant has since closed down during the economic recession of 1987 but by then I had moved on and was happily working as a computer service engineer with Rediffusion Malaya in Kuala Lumpur.

Anyway, with that RM1,000, I rented a single storey terrace house in Taman Marida for about RM140 per month, if I recall right, just five minutes drive away from my workplace. I also could afford to run a used car and pay for the frequent repairs, commute back to Kuala Lumpur to meet my parents every weekend along the Seremban Highway, enjoy a beer or two with friends or colleagues in the evenings.

A full meal for one person at a Mamak shop in Seremban cost around RM4.50, including rice, vegetables and a meat dish or two and a drink, which I thought was a bit pricey compared to the 1970s but definitely much less that what such a meal would cost today. Anyone living in Seremban today, can tell you what the price of a plate of rice and dishes in Mamak restaurants there cost today. 

And the showroom price of a new 1,300cc car such as a Ford Escort, Datsun 120Y or Toyota Corolla cost around RM14,000, which could be paid off with a three-year car loan, though I would have had to put down one-third as a down payment from my own pocket.

Today, the price on-the-road (OTR) of an entry-level, 1,000cc Perodua Axia car is nearly RM10,000 more at RM23,800, whilst the price of an entry-level 1,300cc Perodua Bezza costs RM41,400 or about RM27,000 more that the OTR price of a 1,300 cc Ford Escort, Nissan or Toyota back in 1980, or almost three times more today.

The above prices of new Perodua cars are taken from En. Ismail's website below:-

Terima kasih, Tuan Ismail.

Well in 2018, the minimum basic salary for a graduate is RM1,983, down from RM1,993 in 2010, according to the infographic below, courtesy of The Star, based on Bank Negara estimates in turn based upon salary figures by the Malaysian Employers federation .

From the above, it's obvious that salaries have dropped for Malaysians higher up the skills chain, though as it's mentioned in The Star's article, this could be due to people with these higher qualifications having to accept jobs below their qualification level, not that there is any shame in this on their part but rather it's a shame on the government and policy makers that they are in this predicament.

I suppose, with an explosion in the number of private universities, some of which are more or less private graduate factories, Malaysia's employment scenario is flooded with a surplus of degree holders, hence it's an employers market and employers can depress salaries they pay, bearing in mind again, the purchasing power parity of salaries earned in 2010 and 2018 due to the higher cost of living in 2018 compared to 2010, so besides the numerical decline in salary quantum for diploma to masters degree holders between 2010 and 2018, there has been a further drop in the purchasing power of these salaries can pay for in 2018 compared to 2010. 

Also, the above surely must be an "great encouragement" for Malaysian school leavers to pursue higher education to be able to "move up the skills chain to be relevant for jobs up the value chain".
So what "High Income Economy in 2020 (opps! postponed to 2024) were the folks at PEMANDU (Performance Management Delivery Unit) and former Prime Minister Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak talking about back in October 2010?

The slides below are courtesy of Pemandu's Economic Transform Programme website, though I cannot find these slides anymore. Glad I had kept a downloaded copy. 

According to the slide above, Malaysia's Gross National Income per capita would be RM48,000 per annum or RM4,000 per month. I believe GNI per Capita is an average income figure for all Malaysians and with high levels of income disparity, it is possible that 70% of Malaysians would be earning less than the average of RM4,000 per month, not to mention the higher cost of living in 2020, compared to 2010 or 2009.

And, according to the above figures the number of Malaysians earning less less than RM750 would have declined over the 2009 to 2020 period, which tallies with Bank Negara estimates presented by The Star, where the minimum basic pay for PMR holders was RM892 in 2018, up from RM622 in 2010, and above RM750.

However, the minimum salaries of middle income earners with diploma, basic degree, honours degree and masters degree - i.e. those earning between RM1,500 and RM3,000 per month have decline between 2010 and 2018.

So over to you, Finance Minister Y.B. Lim Guan Eng and Economics Affairs Minister Y.B. Dato' Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali. What are you going to do about this legacy left over from the previous Barisan Nasional federal government moving forward, now that a Pakatan Harapan federal government is in the driver's seat??

The Star's article referred to follows below.

Double whammy for graduates

Thursday, 28 Mar 2019

by yimie yong and clarissa chung

PETALING JAYA: Degree holders are facing a double whammy as they stare at shrinking starting salaries coupled with a declining demand for high-skilled jobs.

Bank Negara, in its Annual Report 2018, revealed that real monthly salaries for fresh graduates holding a diploma or degree have dipped since 2010.

With the amounts adjusted for inflation, the starting pay for graduates with a basic degree was RM1,993 in 2010 whereas the amount dropped by RM10 to RM1,983 in 2018.

Those with a Master's degree saw an even greater decline in their starting pay.

Their real minimum salary recorded was RM2,923 in 2010 while this figure dropped to RM2,707 in 2018.

The report, however, noted that the minimum wage has supported increases in the salaries of lower-skilled workers in recent years.

It showed that the real starting salaries of PMR and SPM-educated employees have risen by 4.6% and 2.3% respectively.

Such data is a cause for concern among young graduates.

The cost of education keeps rising but the starting salaries of those with a diploma or tertiary qualification have not kept pace.

Even as the starting salaries of degree holders are diminishing in real amount, the study found that the rate of people being hired in high-skilled jobs is also declining.

The report showed that the number of diploma and degree holders entering the job market increased by 173,457 people per year (from 2010-2017) on average.

However, in the same time period, net employment gains in high-skilled jobs stand at only about 98,514 people on average per annum.

"This suggests that the economy has not created sufficient high-skilled jobs to absorb the number of graduates entering the labour force.

"In addition, a study by Khazanah Research Institute also found that 95% of young workers in unskilled jobs and 50% of those in low-skilled manual jobs are over-qualified for these occupations," said Bank Negara in its report.

Wages are forecast to rise by around 6% this year in Malaysia and the growth rate is below the long-term trend.

Bank Negara also found that Malaysian workers are paid less than workers from developed countries when benchmarked for the same level of productivity.

For each US$1,000 worth of output, a Malaysian worker is paid US$340 compared with US$510 in developed countries for the same amount of output.

"Further analysis reveals that most industries in Malaysia compensate workers less than those in the benchmark economies, even after adjusting for productivity.

"This is particularly evident in the wholesale and retail trade, food and beverage and accommodation industries that make up 19% of economic activity and 27% of total employment in Malaysia. These industries are generally more labour-intensive, and dependent on low-skilled workers," said Bank Negara.

The dynamics of the labour market is also changing as the growing sharing economy, advent of technology and increasing demand for flexible working arrangements are transforming the intrinsic nature of Malaysia's labour market, said Bank Negara.

It found that own-account workers, or self-employed people, in urban areas as a share of total employment rose from 10.9% in 2010 to 15.4% in 2017.

Economics professor Datuk Dr Amir Hussin Baharuddin said the decline in the starting salaries of degree holders could be attributed to the mismatch between degree holders and available jobs.

"Some of the degree holders have to go for lower-paying jobs, or else not have one.

"We have not created enough jobs for graduates to be choosy," he said.

Malaysian Trades Union Congress secretary-general J. Solomon said the report showed that Malaysian workers, except for senior executives, are still not being given their due.

"Wage levels are being artificially depressed by employers, and the government mechanism is too weak and unwilling to address this issue," he said.

He said there has been a growing wealth and income divide in the country, and this must be addressed by the private and public sectors.

He added that although employees with a PMR and SPM education have seen an increase in their starting salaries over the years, they were still below the minimum wage.

Yours truly


Monday, 11 March 2019


Electronic assembly plants have provided provided thousands of jobs for ordinary Malaysians since the early 1970s and now in Penang - dubbed as "Silicon Island" are downsizing, retrenching workers and have been having periodic plant shutdowns, according to the secretary of the Penang division of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC).

This downsizing and shutdowns are blamed on  a slowdown in global demand for electronic products but that's cold comfort for those workers impacted.

So what are the federal government and Penang state government going to do to help these workers who are so affected?

Provide them with retraining to enable them to move up the skills chain to be employable in higher value-added work?

However, even if they all can successfully upskill themselves, are there enough jobs higher up the skills and value chain for them all?

Report of 11 March 2019 carried by Aliran follows below:-

Notices indicate downsizing, shutdowns taking place in electronics sector

The Penang division of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has seen notices from a couple of multinational corporations involved in the electronics manufacturing sector announcing personnel downsizing, lower wage increases, lower bonuses and periodic plant shutdowns.

Besides these written announcements that we have seen, we have also received reports that other companies are also planning to implement such measures.

These notices that we have read attribute all this to weak global demand, weaker growth and an uncertain global outlook as the underlying causes for the course of actions that are being undertaken by employers here.

The notices that we have seen and the information that we are receiving seem to indicate that the electronics sector employers are initiating downsizing and shutdowns from the end of March 2019. We believe we have only received a tiny bit of information and feel that the uncertainty of the global market would probably affect most of the major players in the sector.

We therefore believe that the Penang state government ought to call for a meeting with the electronics manufacturers in Penang so that the depth of the problem can be appreciated. Such a meeting would also give the state an insight as to the manufacturers' plan of actions in the face of challenges facing the sector. This meeting should include all stakeholders, including the unions.

On the issue of plant shutdowns, Penang MTUC demands that full wages be paid during such periods as any loss of wages would, inevitably, put tremendous pressure on the economic needs of the workers, especially given current rising cost of living.

K Veeeriah is secretary of the Penang division of the Malaysians Trades Union Congress.

Yours trully


Friday, 8 March 2019


In all my 20 or so years of writing about the information and communication technology (ICT) and services industry in Malaysia and worldwide, during which time I heard no end from marketers in the industry and from Malaysian government policy makers and officials influenced by futurist paperback writers and CON-sultants, that Malaysia had to "move up the value chain" away from "sunset" industries such as manufacturing and agriculture to "sunrise" industries such as information and services economy if we are to continue to survive and prosper economically and  join the ranks of the advanced economies. 

I never bought into that crap and over the years I have noticed that as "sunset" industries departed Malaysia for our lower wage neighbours, they experienced an economic sunrise, whilst we experienced a sunset as we moved further towards embracing "sunrise" industries.

Well now analyst and statistics firm Statista comes out with figures which show that the U.S. trade deficit in goods (manufactured) reached a record high of minus US$891.3 billion in 2018 during the period 1990 to 2018, whilst U.S. trade surplus in services grew to US$270.2 billion in 2018 and flat at around that level since 2014, with a nett trade deficit in goods and services of minus US$621 billion.

No wonder Donald Trump won in 2016 based upon promises to address this huge trade deficit, the concerns of the U.S. working class who are suffering as a result, with jingoistic promises to "Make America Great Again".

Such chronic dire economic conditions have often preceded imperialist wars, in order to redivide the world, destroy lives, buildings, industries, infrastructure and so forth, after which there will be fresh demand to rebuild and recreate which gives capitalist economies an opportunity to thrive and profit again in the aftermath, such as during the periods after the first and second world wars. 

If you want to understand why U.S. imperialism under Trump is having trade wars with China, imposing sanctions on Russia, North Korea, Iran,  Venezuela, Cuba and so forth, and forever stirring up conflicts in the Middle East either by proxy or directly, look no further than the chart below, courtesy of Statista and Statista's explanation of the trend below it:-

International Trade

U.S. Trade Deficit in Goods Reaches Record High

by Felix Richter, Mar 7, 2019

Despite all efforts by the Trump administration to reign in the country's trade deficit, the gap between imports to and exports from the United States climbed to a 10-year high in 2018. According to figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Wednesday, the U.S. trade deficit in goods and services shot up to $621 billion last year, the highest it's been since 2008. The increase was mainly caused by a historically high deficit in goods trade, which amounted to a record $891 billion, of which $419 billion can be traced back to trade with China alone.

While Trump has often stated his disapproval of America's large trade deficit, arguing that the U.S. is on the losing side of world trade, there are several factors playing into the growing deficit, not all of which are bad. First and foremost, the U.S. economy is doing very well at the moment, resulting in strong demand for goods, many of which are manufactured abroad. At the same time, economic growth in China has slowed significantly last year, which reduced demand for American goods in the world's second largest economy. The strong dollar also contributes to the deficit as it makes U.S. goods relatively more expensive to foreign buyers while making imports to the U.S. relatively cheaper. 

Meanwhile, on Page 18, The EDGE Financial Daily of 08 March 2019 reports the same, showing the largest portion of the U.S. trade deficit being U.S.$419.2 billion with China in 2018, followed by U.S.$169.3 billion with the European Union, U.S.$ 26.5 billion with Malaysia, followed by U.S.$21.3 billion with India and so forth:-

So, if Malaysia insists on moving away from agriculture and manufacturing towards a "high income, knowledge-based, information rich" economy by 2020 (oops! postponed to 2024), we'll be in the same predicament as the U.S., whilst our leaders proudly proclaim that we are "up there with the advanced countries".

After all, the services sector contributed 68.88% towards Greece's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017. so Malaysian ministers and economic planners may want to visit Greece to learn how that country had managed to achieve such a thriving services economy to become of the richest and one of the most affluent countries in Europe, with one of the highest standards of living in the world and an excellent example for Malaysia to emulate and strive towards becoming by downplaying the "sunset" industries in favour of "sunrise" industries.

Welcome to the information and services economy!

Yours truly


Wednesday, 6 March 2019


In principle, I agree with Port Dickson member of parliament and "prime minister in-waiting" , Y.B. Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on the need for Malaysia to do more to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural Internet users, the need to learn from the experiences in India and China to expand access to information and communications technology to a wider community, rather than look towards the experience of cities in the affluent advanced countries. Also, the need to prioritise the welfare of humanity over technological advancement which was taking place at lightning speed, as per reported in The Star of 5 March 2019 below.

Malaysia has already made commendable progress in making Internet access available to Malaysians, either via fixed fibre and ADSL broadband, and mostly via cellular mobile broadband and recent efforts to make broadband access more affordable by our Communications and Multimedia Minister, Y.B. Gobind Singh Deo.

However, there is much more to Internet access and affordability. A more important question more relevant to what Datuk seri Anwar wants is what are users using their broadband Internet access for and how many are using it for useful and productive purposes. Well, we shall know further down.

According to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission's (MCMC's) Internet Users Survey 2018 report, Malaysia's Internet penetration in 2018 stood at 87.4%, up 10.5% percentage points from 76.9%  in  2016. Over the same period, the number of Internet users in Malaysia stood at around 28.7  million in 2018, up from 24.5 million in 2016.

"The upsurge in the number of Internet users in the country was mainly driven by the growth in mobile broadband  segment,  with  wider access  to 3G  and  4G/LTE network  coverage,  improved  network quality,  as  well  as  innovative  and  competitive  new  data  plans  and  promotions  by  mobile  service providers.  Furthermore,  there  was  similar  observation  across  the  globe,  where  the  International Telecommunication Union (ITU) cited that swift advancement of mobile network and mobile devices capabilities has contributed to a more effective Internet access".

However, there remains an issue with the 12.6% who still are non-Internet users, especially the age profile, as per Figure 1 from the MCMC's report below:-

(If you cannot view the image below, please enable 'view images' in your e-mail client)

You can also view and download the MCMC's report in full via the link below.

So Malaysia's Internet penetration is already pretty commendable and thanks must go to the late Tun Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, Minister of Energy, Water and Communications from 27 March 2004 to 18 March 2008, his successors Dato' Seri Shaziman Abu Mansor (18 March 2008 – 9 April 2009) and Tan Sri Dato' Sri Peter Chin Fah Kui (10 April 2009 – 15 May 2013), who during their respective tenures in the portfolio, helped to drive Malaysia's broadband penetration to 53% in October 2010, exceeding Malaysia's goal of 50% by the end of 2010.
Figure 5 of the MCMC's report (not included here) shows that 93.1% of users access the Internet on their smartphones and from my own experience, I know even wealthy urban people younger that myself (I'm almost 65), who know how to access social media on their smartphones backwards but do not even know how to check e-mail on their PC, do a simple Google search or write a simple letter even if their lives depended on it, let alone use e-government services such as even to download and print out a form, to file their tax returns online, do Internet banking or participate in e-commerce.

Some of these more involved online activities need more than a smartphone to perform comfortably and 44.2% of users access the Internet on netbook, notebook or laptop PCs, whilst 28.1% do so on a desktop PC.

I'm proud to say that I'm amongst the 28.1% who mostly access the Internet on a desktop PC, despite me having an Android smartphone an Apple iPad, two working notebook PCs and eight working desktop PCs, including two which I use daily, whilst the rest I use to playing around and experiment. All my notebook and desktop PCs run Linux and I'm writing this on an around 10 year old refurbished, used desktop PC running Linux.

Some, especially marketing and ICT media types, may say that I'm running a "dinosaur". Well I'll continue to use this "dinosaur" until it breaks down, rather than fall for the consumer IT industry marketing and advertising hype and spend my hard earned money running like a hamster on a treadmill after the "latest" and "greatest" version of technology which is released minor incremental improvements about every three months, or as frequently as my neighbourhood stray cats gives birth to a litters of kittens.

Figure 6 of the MCMC's report says it all, with 16.9% of Internet activity being to sell goods and services online - i.e. e-commerce, whilst a mere 9.6% of Internet activity is to maintain blogs and home pages.

Ouch! I did not realise that I'm so "old fashioned" and am amongst the tiny 6.9% who still blog for personal commentaries and have maintained web pages in line of work. 

Check out my three most active blogs below:-

I'm pretty sure that from my blogs above, Y.B. Gobind Singh will know the real identity of this rascal IT.Scheiss

If you Right Honourable still can't figure out my real identity, here's another of my blogs (long dormant) which might help.

And yes, I'm also amongst the 61.9% who access the Internet for work.

According to the MCMC's report:-

"As much as 96.5% used Internet for texting via over-the-top (OTT) messaging platform, while the use of Internet telephony (whether by voice or videocalls) was on the rise, reaching up to 60.6% as compared to 32.0% in 2016. Apart from texting and Internet telephony, social networking was also common amongst Internet users (85.6%)"

Now "texting via over-the-top (OTT) messaging platform" means messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and to a lesser extent WeChat (in Malaysia), mostly accessed on smartphones and I've found that even people who have PCs and are savvy with using productivity applications such as word processing, spreadsheet, presentation graphics, e-mail and web browser on PCs, however become rather limited in their ability or are too lazy to search for information to verify the authenticity of messages or news forwarded to them via an OTT messaging app, so instead believe even fake news forwarded to them virally, which they blindly forward to others without much thought.

Quite frankly, a smartphone screen, however big, is still a limited space which discourages opening of several browser windows and applications to perform more involved searches on, unlike a the 1920 x 1080 pixels flatscreen displays used with PCs. I too find my smartphone screen rather limiting in what I can do on it, which is why I much prefer to use a PC, including for WhatsApp messaging in a web browser through WhatsApp Web

So Datuk Seri Anwar and Y.B. Gobind Singh, if you want more Malaysians, especially the lower income group to be able to use the Internet for more productive applications such as to market their products online, apply for jobs and so forth, you'll have to do much more than provide them with more extensive and affordable broadband access.

For starters, you'll have to get more people accustomed with using PCs, whether desktops or notebooks (and preferably running Linux to save on software costs), and teach them how to search the Internet for information, conduct e-commerce, do Internet banking, set up blogs, websites or Facebook pages to promote their products, use e-mail, WhatsApp Web and so forth.

Anyway. entry-level notebook and desktop PCs are about the price of a mid-range smartphone, with new branded notebook prices ranging from around RM850 to around RM1,100, whilst new branded desktop PCs are going for between RM1,100 to RM1.400.

Whilst I would not recommend second hand notebook PCs, however refurbished, used branded desktop PC sets and be bought for around RM500 or less, inclusive of PC, monitor, keyboard and mouse from used PC retailers. The PC I'm using to write this on is a refurbished, used Dell Optiplex 755 Small Form Factor with a Core2Duo processor which I bought for around RM350 (without monitor) some years back and which costs around RM280 today.

Most of these used branded PCs are disposed of by banks, corporations and government offices in their fixed asset refresh and having been used in an office environment, they generally still are in a decent condition. All but one of my notebook PCs and one of my desktop PCs were bought brand new, the rest were bought refurbished used.

As part of its initiatives to enable computer use and Internet access amongst rural communities, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission has financed Pusat Jalurlebar Komuniti (Community Broadband Centres) out of the MCMC's Universal Service Provision (USP) Fund, such as the Community Broadband Centre in FELDA Chini 1, Pahang, featured in the article below from the MCMC's in-house magazine, .myConvergence back in 2009.

Later volumes of the MCMC's myConvergence magazine can be downloaded from here:-
Perhaps your "more people-friendly", "New Malaysia" government may want to set up more of these Community Broadband Centres, a.k.a. Telecenters in lower income communities in rural as well as lower-income urban neighbourhoods across Malaysia, using refurbished, used PCs (and running Linux hopefully).

Just make sure that these centres are professionally managed and supervised like the one in FELDA Chini 1, so that the facilities in them are used productively for work and study, and not misused to access pornography, for frivolous social media access, to play computer games, engage in online gambling and so forth.

Also, the Ministry of Education should consider equipping schools with more PCs and computer labs with refurbished used PCs for students to learn and practice AI (artificial intelligence) and software coding on.

Otherwise, all this talk about including AI and software coding into Malaysian school curriculum will end up like 1Bestarinet.

"Teachers' union says 1BestariNet useless for online learning from home"

Hopefully, this will help you include the "digital have-nots" in Digital Native Agenda 23 (Whatever that fancy, grandiose-sounding term means).

The Star's article referred to follows below:-

PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim says for the country to become a digital economy powerhouse, "digital have-nots" must be included in the agenda.

He said the digital gap would not exist if efforts were made to demo­cra­tise technology.

The digital gap is a term to describe a divide between those who have easy access to technological tools and those who do not.

Speaking at the Digital Native Agenda 23 (DNA23) launch at the All Asia Broadcast Centre in Bukit Jalil yesterday, Anwar said he had seen efforts to bridge the digital gap with applications that catered to those in the lower-income group.

"I will not share this concern of an increasing (digital) gap if the government and companies involved embark on a reform," he said.

DNA 23 is aimed at recognising challenges and seizing opportunities in the digital world.

Access to technology, Anwar said, could enhance the income and living conditions of rural folk, some of whom relied on selling local items as a source of income.

"For example, the Rungus community in Sabah uses technology to introduce their beadwork to a larger international community," the PKR president said.

He cautioned that ignoring segments of society, especially those living in rural areas, would only invite a backlash.

In order to expand access to technology to a wider community, Anwar said the industry should be looking at efforts undertaken in parts of India and China instead of looking at more developed cities like New York.

Anwar also said although technological advancement was occurring at lightning speed, the welfare of humanity must be prioritised.

Also at the event was Commu­ni­cations and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo, who shared tips on how his ministry could enhance the national digital economy.

He said the digital economy contributed to 18.3%, or RM247.1bil, of the national economy in 2017, adding it was expected to rise to 20% next year.

On another note Y.B. Govind Singh, 5G is a a set of mobile broadband specifications and standards from the 3G Partnership Project (3Gpp), not Huawei.

About the 3Gpp

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) unites [Seven] telecommunications standard development organizations (ARIB, ATIS, CCSA, ETSI, TSDSI, TTA, TTC), known as "Organizational Partners" and provides their members with a stable environment to produce the Reports and Specifications that define 3GPP technologies.

The project covers cellular telecommunications network technologies, including radio access, the core transport network, and service capabilities - including work on codecs, security, quality of service - and thus provides complete system specifications. The specifications also provide hooks for non-radio access to the core network, and for interworking with Wi-Fi networks.

3GPP specifications and studies are contribution-driven, by member companies, in Working Groups and at the Technical Specification Group level.

The three Technical Specification Groups (TSG) in 3GPP are;

    Radio Access Networks (RAN),
    Services & Systems Aspects (SA),
    Core Network & Terminals (CT) 

The Working Groups, within the TSGs, meet regularly and come together for their quarterly TSG Plenary meeting, where their work is presented for information, discussion and approval.

Each TSG has a particular area of responsibility for the Reports and Specifications within its own Terms of Reference (Details available in the Specification Groups pages).

The last meeting of the cycle of Plenary meetings is TSG SA, which also has responsibility for the overall coordination of work and for the monitoring of its progress.

As a telecommunications equipment and systems developer, manufacturer and supplier, Huawei may have contributed significantly to the 3Gpp's 5G specifications and standards but 5G is not exclusively Huawei's technology.

"MCMC still studying Huawei technology: Gobind"

I'm pretty sure that you are fully aware of the geo-strategic antagonism against China by the U.S. imperialists under President Donald Trump and other U.S. imperialist poodle countries, so please don't fall for the fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) created  and dispersed widely online and on social media by U.S. imperialist propagandists.

Basically, don't fall for their 5G scheiss.

Yours most truly


Tuesday, 26 February 2019


In all my 20 or so years of writing about the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, including in Malaysia,  ICT systems and solutions vendors, government ministers and officials have spoken about how ICT can be used to transform Malaysia's cities and towns into smart cities, in which public facilities, including traffic lights, traffic flow, water, municipal, electricity supply infrastructure, the movements of urban rail, buses and so forth are remotely monitored, managed and controlled by computer from a centralised control room in the city 24 by 7.

Smart city facilities also include intelligent building access systems, such as those in some buildings where the security desk reads visitors' personal details from their MyKAD smart national identification cardt, which are then returned to the holder along with a smart pass which allows access only to the relevant floor and not others, and which visitors must surrender by dropping them into a box at the exit turnstyle when they leave.

Malaysia's first smart cities which I first heard of way back in the late 1990s are the new administrative capital Putrajaya and next to it Cyberjaya, the heart of Malaysia's ICT and multimedia industry development initiative.

These two, especially Putrajaya were said to serve as models of what Malaysia's modern, tech-savvy, efficient civil service, urban planning and municipal management should be for the rest of Malaysia to emulate but 20 years later, it appears that despite its impressive and grandiose looking buildings, with wide public sidewalks along its roads, impressive gardens and landscaping; however at best, Putrajaya and Cyberjaya remain oases of first world urban elegance amidst a wider sea of third world urban mediocrity, and at worst, the mediocrity, inefficiencies, disorganisatiion, poor management and so forth in the federal, state and local authority civil services, poor municipal management, poor urban planning and so forth beyond them, have seeped into these two "model" cities, thus degrading them instead.

For instance, there are way insufficient proper parking facilities, such as covered, multi-storey car parks provided for members of the public who visit the government departments in the impressive buildings in Putrajaya. Instead, vacant plots of land nearby them are used as ad-hoc public car parks, albeit free of charge but still the government should not take the citizens it is supposed to serve for granted and treat us like serfs at the mercy of their "lordships".

Last year and in 2017, I visited the Ministry of Health's Medical Device Authority which was then located in Menara Prisma, Presint 3, Putrajaya, just next to Persiaran Perdana (Premier Drive) a long, straight, wide boulevard which runs from the Prime Minister's Office at one end, all the way past buildings housing Malaysia's major ministries and departments, as well as the Palace of Justice housing Malaysia's Federal Court and Court of Appeal.

When we got to the security desk on the ground floor of Menara Prisma, I found that the security guards asked to hold on to visitors' MyKAD, whilst they would manually record the visitors' details, give him or her a pass to go up to the relevant office and return the MyKAD to visitors when they hand back their passes when they leave.

Also, I had expected that especially in a building in this oh so "smart" city of Putrajaya, they would have had computerised facilities at the security desk which can read and record visitors' details from their MyKAD from its smart chip, as well as read and record visitors' thumb prints if necessary to ensure they match those stored in respective MyKADs and then return the MyKADs back to the visitors, just like they have at public service counters in government departments such as EPF (Employees Provident Fund/KWSP), in bank counters and in some private buildings, but here they did it manually and demanded to hold onto visitors' MyKADs.

On the other hand, perhaps they have such a computerised system but as often happens, it could have been a case of "computer down" at the time. So much for "smart cities" and "smart building management". 

Many of you may not know this, but it is against the law in Malaysia for anyone including security guards to demand to hold onto your MyKAD. They can ask you for your MyKAD to record your personal details manually or electronically and then must return your MyKAD to you before you go up to the relevant office.

In 2013, I was part of a media party which went up from Kuala Lumpur by bus to cover the Malaysian launch of a new PC processor on a cruise ship which and the tour guide on our bus told us that when we board the ship, we would have to surrender our MyKAD to the ships administrative staff, who would issue us with a ship's card and receipt, whilst they will hold on to our MyKAD and return it to us when we disembark, which our this case was the following day.  This overnight cruise was only a joy cruise out into the Straits of Malacca and back to Penang the next day.

I SMS-ed my friend in the Attorney General's Chambers who SMS-ed back the relevant act and clauses as well as the penalties for violation, which I presented to the ships administrative staff whilst boarding and told them that I refuse to let them hold my MyKAD and that it is against the law. They called a more senior staff member who gave me a form on which to fill in my personal details and let me hold onto my MyKAD throughout the voyage. This more senior staff informed me that the ship's administration needed to hold our MyKAD so they could record our details whilst we were on board and present them to Malaysian immigration as was required.

Well, if they had insisted on holding onto my MyKAD, as I was travelling light, I was prepared to walk off the ship, take the ferry across to Butterworth and take the train or a coach back to Kuala Lumpur at my own expense, rather than give in to such intimidation.

This cruise line could have installed a computerised recording system on their ships  to read our MyKADs and even to scan and record our fingerprints for verification upon our boarding, and then return our MyKADs to us there and then and provide a printed or softcopy record of the personal details all passengers who boarded to Immigration. They also could use the same system to record our personal details from our MyKADs when we disembark after the voyage.

I suggested this to the more senior staff who dealt with my complaint, though I don't know whether they have implemented such as system by now. 

So much for all the grandiose talk about "e-government", "smart cities", "smart building management systems" and so forth in the past 20 years or more - all much talk but little action on the ground.

Meanwhile, in the Free Malaysia Today article of 26 February 2019, David Chua, a former member of the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) Advisory Board advises the Federal Territories Ministry to  deal with the basic problems of public transportation first, instead of fantasising about "smart cities", "sustainability" and so forth.

Kudos to you, David Chua. Thank you for telling the Federal Territories Ministry to stop fantasising about such high falutin stuff such as "smart cities" and to get the basics right first.

Over the past 20 years or so, I've covered more of these conferences and seminars on ICT than I can remember, and more often than not, all the gee whiz stuff described there have remained within the splendid, hallowed confines of the conference and seminar halls, and very rarely have made it into reality on the ground.

Also, 10 years later, I'm pretty sure you will still be hearing the same old "songs" being "sung" about "smart cities", "urban sustainability" and so forth at conferences and seminars, whilst the "song remains the same" on the ground, to paraphrase that early 1970s Led Zeppelin song - The Song Remains the Same.

Let's face it, quite often, conferences and seminars are a great excuse for government officers and business executives to spend a day away from the office in 5-star or 6-star luxury, for systems vendors and marketers to win customers and business, for invited professional speakers to gain further exposure and earn speaking fees or for the organisers make money from paying attendees - or as a public relations consultant once put it to me, "from the number of (paying) bums in seats".

So Federal Territories Ministry, stop talking all this IT scheiss and deal with the basic urban problems first.

This messages goes out to you too - Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) and your "PJ a Liveable City" crap, when you have allowed too many high-rise buildings to sprout up in Petaling Jaya and turn it into an unliveable concrete jungle.

This message also goes out to other local authorities and state governments across Malaysia.

Read on:-     

Tackle basic issues before dreaming of smart city, FT ministry told

Monday, 25 February 2019


Well, well !! This Kosmo Ahad story carried by The Star online of 25 February 2019 reveals how far Malaysians have progressed towards becoming "high income", "tech-savvy", service workers by the year 2020 (oops! postponed to 2024), thanks to information and communications technology (ICT) tools and social media.

Why learn artificial intelligence (AI) and software coding in school, college or university and then hopefully find a decent job to match, when it's so easy to make good moolah without much effort? 

After all, why do an honest day of productive work in a factory, an office, a workshop, a retail store or anything like that where workers are paid peanuts and oh! so 'old school', when with a few taps on one's mobile smartphone, one can earn up to RM6,000 per month for a few hours of unproductive part-time work.

Heck! I never earned that much in a month as a computer service engineer or later as a journalist, despite burning the midnight oil struggling to find the problem with that office minicomputer or speeding all those sleepless nights researching facts to write an article whilst ruining my eyesight and health.

After all, prostitution is one of the oldest services industries around. Easy money, easy life.

Perhaps our neo-liberal and libertarian "New Malaysia" government should legalise prostitution and our Education Ministry introduce a new subject called Sexual Arts into our educational curriculum.

The sexual service industry will help boost tourism and earn much foreign exchange to pay off our RM1 trillion federal government debt, government guarantees and lease commitments to public-private partnerships.

'Mobile prostitution' the next thing for sex workers

Monday, 25 Feb 2019


KOSMO! Ahad reported that sex workers who are using online platforms to look for custo­mers are earning as much as RM6,000 per month.

Bukit Aman Anti-Vice, Gambling and Secret Societies Division (D7) principal assistant director Senior Asst Comm Datuk Rohaimi Md Isa said this type of sex work was called "mobile prostitution" as the activity was not confined to one place.

He said the sex workers were women in their 20s to 30s who hold professional jobs or were university students.

Many of these women wanted more money for a luxurious lifestyle.

According to SAC Rohaimi, pimps would advertise the women through social media and they would vet the customers first before allowing them to meet up.

"This vetting process is important to ensure the identities of the women are not leaked, because most of the women are only involved in prostitution on a part-time basis," he said.

He said the "mobile prostitutes" also did not use cheap hotels to meet clients.

This made it difficult for enforcement officers to trace their activities.

Yours truly