Saturday, 17 November 2018
Free Malaysia Today of 16th November 2018 reported Penang Chief Minister (Menteri Besar) Y.B. Chow Kon Yeow saying that if Hong Kong had listened to the advice of Penang's pro-environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs), Hong Kong would not be developed as it is today still be backward, and that Penang state would learn nothing if the state government which he leads listens to those NGOs - thus implying that Penang would not develop as fast if it listed to the advice of those NGOs.
Chow also cited that Hong Kong had suffered a landslide back in the 1970s in which resulted in the death of a hundred people but Hong Kong learned from their mistakes and come up with solutions to prevent future landslides.
Chow also referred to the landslide at the construction of the elevated Paya Terubong "paired road", resulting the death and injury of several people.
This recent comes almost a year after the 21 October 2018 landslide at the Granito housing construction site in Tanjung Bungah, which took 11 lives, mostly migrants workers.
I have three questions for The Right Honourable (Y.B.) Chow Kon Yeow.
1. You say that Hong Kong learned from its landslide tragedy in the 1970s, with studies which have developed means to avoid future landslides.
My question then is what has Penang learned from Hong Kong's studies and measures which could have been applied to hill slope development in Penang, taking into consideration similarities and differences between hill slope geology, soil structure, soil stability, rainfall volume, risk from earthquakes and so forth of hills in Penang
and Hong Kong?
2. Are more and more high-rise buildings and construction in Penang, including on its hill slopes your sole measure of "development". What about development of more inventive and innovative industries which produce higher quality, higher value-added products which can bring more revenue to Penang's economy and provide more jobs,
what about more affordable housing for Penang's people, what about quality of life issues for Penang residents?
3. Whose interest are you serving, Y.B. Chow - those of the developers or those of Penang's people?
Free Malaysia Today article follows below:-
Chow: If HK had to take advice of Penang NGOs, it would still be backward
Predeep Nambiar - November 16, 2018 11:38 PM
GEORGE TOWN: Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow (DAP-Padang Kota) today said the state would learn nothing if it took advice from parties urging it to stop all development projects following the recent landslide.
Taking the case of Hong Kong, which had a major landslide in the 1970s which killed nearly a hundred, he said the island learnt from its mistakes and decided to move on to come up with solutions.
Chow said as a result, they have become resilient in matters of hill development and have formed a geotechnical department much envied by others in the world.
He said although the Bukit Kukus incident was regrettable, there is a lesson to be learnt by all and the government is doing all it can to prevent a repeat.
Chow said the state was committed to improving worksite safety and compliance and would commit to taking the Hong Kong path.
"If NGOs like those in Penang were in Hong Kong, asking for development to be stopped over a landslide, Hong Kong would not be as developed as it is today.
"I can imagine them saying 'okay incidents happened, stop everything; state must stop all development projects'.
"The other option is to admit the faults and recognise the need to improve and move on.
"Now you see Hong Kong building on the steepest slopes without much fuss," he said during his winding-up speech at the state assembly today.
Last month, nine workers died in a landslide at a road construction site on a hill slope in Bukit Kukus.
The official cause of the incident is yet to be known pending a state and police investigation. Experts claim proper hill-cutting procedures were not adhered to.
'NGOs plucking figures from sky
Chow also addressed another thorny topic involving Penang's projected population in the next 10 to 20 years in the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).
The Penang Forum has claimed the estimates were too high and unrealistic to justify an expensive transport system, such as the Light Rail Transit (LRT).
An expert had reportedly said the population density for the reclaimed islands, at 21,636 people per square km was unrealistic, which was higher than London city centre (11,522 people per square km), Paris (20,909 people per square km) and Hong Kong (17,000 people per square km).
Chow said the population projection by the project delivery partner of the PTMP was based on data from the Statistics Department.
He said official numbers show Penang had a population of 1.7 million last year and this is expected to grow by 25,000 to 30,000, or at a 1.5-2.5% rate each year in coming years.
Chow said by the time the PTMP projects are completed, around 2030, Penang would have "at least 2.3 million people", as revealed by the country's statisticians.
"NGOs sometimes pluck figures from the sky, without referring to official statistics. The PTMP population estimate was based on the number available when the projection was made, which was in 2015.
"Based on population growth data and the current population, by 2030, we will have 2.2 to 2.4 million people.
"So how are we going to cater to that many people? Can the island hold these many people?" he asked, saying this was where the reclaimed islands came into play.
Chow said with the reclaimed islands, Penang will have more space to house its extra population.
"Maybe the NGOs are not responsible for the future 2.4 million Penangites but as the government, we need to take care of the future population.
"The PTMP will spur growth and create jobs from an excellent public transport system and other measures," he said.
PTMP will see a series of highways and transit lines built in the state in the next 20 to 30 years at a cost of RM46 billion.
It would be financed through the creation of three artificial islands on the south of Penang Island, which would later be auctioned off to interested parties. However, the plan has yet to be approved by environmental regulators.
The Penang government is eager to kickstart two of its main projects, the Pan Island Link 1 highway (costing RM8 billion) and the Komtar-Bayan Lepas LRT line (RM8.4 billion).
The state has requested for a soft loan of RM1 billion to kick-start both the projects so they can proceed concurrently, without having to wait for the islands to be reclaimed.
Thursday, 15 November 2018
Whilst, it would be unfair to blame PKR's e-voting system for the questions being raised over the validity of results in the party's recent elections for the Deputy President post, given the media reports of alleged shenanigans by human beings which have emerged, including allegations of missing votes, reports of alleged fraud by party members, allegations of money politics and so forth flying; however many citizens worldwide, including in advanced countries such as the United States are sceptical over the integrity of the results of computer-based voting, since the recording of votes and their vote tallying is invisible, hence rather opaque to most human polling monitors, except for a handful of computer-savvy persons in charge of monitoring the vote tally.
This is unlike traditional paper ballot voting, where the ballots dropped into the ballot box, which are made of clear plastic in Malaysia and visible to anyone, and even then, there have been allegations, valid or unfounded, of election fraud in Malaysia's past general elections.
I have served as an polling agent for then opposition candidates in three of Malaysia's general elections - if I recall right in 1990, 1995 and 1999. It's a tedious process whereby the election officer in charge of the polling stream announces the name and Identity Card number of the voter who collects the ballot paper from a printed list of voters and we had to quickly scan through the copy of the same list and cross out the name of the voter on the list, so that we will know if anyone has voted more than once at that polling stream.
When polling closes, the ballot box is locked and sealed with sealing wax and each of us polling agents are allowed to make some imprint in the still soft wax, such as by using our key, a coin or something like that.
We return about two hours later when the ballot boxes will be opened in our presence and the ballot papers are poured out into a tray by the election officer.
The election officer then picks up a ballot paper, opens it up, holds it up and shows the vote on it to all of us and we record down the vote for the candidate on it and have the right to object if the "X" in not placed in the right place.
The election officer then places that ballot paper in a tray relevant to the candidate contesting, and the spoilt votes into a tray for spoilt votes.
Whilst voting fraud is still possible with such paper ballot voting, such as if a voter votes at one polling station and then votes again at another, however the possibility this has been minimised with the use of indelible ink into which each voter must dip his or her finger and the stain takes days to disappear due to washing, etc.
There also have been allegations of vote fraud due to phantom voters and "40,000 Bangladeshis" being "flown in" and given temporary Malaysian Identity Cards to enable them to vote for a certain party in past Malaysian general elections, except for the 9 May 2018 general elections which the Pakatan Harapan won.
For instance, a giant, six-engined Antonov 225 freighter aircraft landed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport shortly before the last general elections and there was an allegation on social media that the aircraft would be used to fly in Bangladeshis to vote.
Well, the largest plane in the world that it may be, the Antonov 225 has a maximum payload of 250 tons or 226,796 kilogrammes.
Divide 226,797 kilogrammes by 40,000 Bangladeshis stuffed into the giant plane and it works out that each Bangladeshi would have to weigh on average 5.66 kilogrammes maximum, or about the weight of a baby each, or the plane would not be able to take off.
Social media is full of scheiss anyway, so I didn't take that seriously.
Anyway, rightly or wrongly, the proverbial scheiss has hit the proverbial fan over the recent PKR party elections, and it looks like the stink will linger for quite a while more, with more allegations of fraud, allegations of missing votes, more reports lodged with the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission and so forth reports being made.
As matters stand right now, I wonder whether the Registrar of Societies will accept the result of the recent PKR party elections or whether it will deem the results invalid and require the party to hold another round of elections.
If the RoS requires that the election be held all over again, I wonder whether PKR will use e-voting again, or revert to traditional, tried and tested paper ballot voting.
The Star Online of 13 November 2018 reports:-
The Star Online of 13 November 2018 reports:-
Akmal Nasir claims nearly 9,000 pro-Rafizi votes are missing
Tuesday, 13 Nov 2018
9:45 PM MYT
by tarrence tan
KUALA LUMPUR: As the conclusion of the PKR polls approaches, its Youth chief hopeful Akmal Nasir has dropped a bombshell, alleging that up to 8,926 votes in favour of Rafizi Ramli in the race for the deputy presidency are missing.
Akmal alleged this during a press conference in Parliament on Tuesday (Nov 13), referring to a study he conducted based on information collected from the official polls results displayed on PKR's website.
There is a ferocious battle for the deputy presidency between Rafizi Ramli and Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, which is marred by allegations of money politics and scuffles between their respective supporters.
Akmal identified 40 divisions where he claimed 20% to 35% of votes for the deputy president post are missing.
In the PKR polls, which are conducted electronically, registered members vote in order of party position hierarchy.
As Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim won uncontested as party president, the first vote they cast is for the deputy presidency, then the vice presidency, central leadership committee members and finally the top two posts for the Wanita and Youth wings.
Akmal claims that the votes are missing as there is a discrepancy between the number of votes cast and what has been tallied and displayed on the PKR website.
He said that out of the 40 divisions, 17 divisions in Sabah and Selangor were identified as Rafizi strongholds.
"The 17 divisions involve nine in Sabah and eight in Selangor, where the majority in these divisions were expected to give Rafizi an edge … based on the support given by his supporters," he said.
Akmal, claimed that a total of 8,926 votes are missing from these 17 divisions.
He said that the study is being presented to PKR's political bureau meeting Tuesday night (Nov 13).
However, he refused to accuse anyone of having a hand in this matter, and said that the party leadership should demand an investigation once all the facts are available.
"This is our party too. We don't intend to create trouble, but we want to help ensure this party remains strong," he said.
Also present during the press conference were Kelana Jaya MP Wong Chen, Sungai Siput MP S. Kesavan, Tangga Batu MP Rusnah Aluai, Tanjung Malim MP Chang Lih Kang and Kapar MP Datuk Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid.
Wong said PKR must address this issue as the credibility of the party was at stake.
"Akmal's data shows that the anomaly is too great. If one or two percent of the votes are missing, that is normal," he said.
Wong said that the vote for the deputy president post was first on the online voting system, and it was impossible that such a large percentage did not cast it.
"It is not logical that 20 to 35% of the very first vote were not cast," he said, adding that any statistician would immediately see something amiss with the figure.
Wong urged the PKR Central Election Committee (JPP), which is also meeting Tuesday night, to look into the allegations.
According to Wong, the investigation must involve an independent, reputable and globally-recognised firm such as PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
"Hopefully, we can conduct a full investigation – and prior to the investigation, we would not like the JPP to make any announcements that do not make sense," he said.
Wong was referring to the announcement by JPP chairman Datuk Rashid Din, who said earlier on Nov 13 that there would not be a re-election at the Julau division in Sarawak and that results of the re-election at Tawau and Pensiangan divisions would be revealed once checks are done.
Results of the party polls will be officially announced during the three-day PKR Congress starting this Friday (Nov 16) at the Ideal Convention Centre in Shah Alam.
The Malay Mail of 13 November 2018 reports that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir may reshuffle his cabinet after the PKR election results:-
Report: Dr M says Cabinet reshuffle possible after PKR polls
Published 4 hours ago on 13 November 2018
By Azril Annuar
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 13 – Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said he is open to the possibility of a Cabinet reshuffle following the conclusion of the PKR party elections but he wants to work with those he is comfortable with.
He told the Singapore daily The Straits Times in an interview that he has the final say when it comes to Cabinet appointments but will consider making changes if PKR submits new candidates which he approves of.
"They (PKR) can submit names, they can argue their case. I have my own views also. And the principle is that this Cabinet is chaired by me as the Prime Minister and I need to have people who I am comfortable with. So whether I accept nominations from them or not, is really up to me," he reportedly said.
Newly-elected Port Dickson MP Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has won the PKR presidency unopposed but the race for the party's deputy president's post has been rife with problems and issues including physical confrontations and suspicions of malware compromising the e-voting system.
Datuk Seri Azmin Ali is fighting to retain the deputy president's post against challenger, Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli and although the PKR central election committee has said the polls result so far is not final, Azmin's supporters have claimed victory.
Besides the PKR polls, there has also been speculations of a Cabinet reshuffle due to public criticism of many first time federal ministers.
The Straits Times had also quoted an unnamed official saying that Dr Mahathir has been unhappy with the Cabinet's performance for a while.
If Mahathir indeed does reshuffle his cabinet, I suppose some of the faces below will disappear and be replaced by others or will be moved to some other ministerial portfolio.
Or he perhaps Mahathir could buy one of these below from a furniture shop and appoint it as his cabinet.
Meanwhile, drawing from Malaysiakini and Malaysian Insight reports, the title of a Malaysia-Chronicle article of 13 November 2018 screams:-
The picture above looks a bit old, as that guy on the far right looks like Badrul Hisham ("Che Gu Bard") who has not been a PKR member for quite a while now - Anyway!
20,000 VOTES MISSING – WHAT'S THIS ANWAR? ARE YOU GOING TO LET AZMIN CAMP GET AWAY WITH IT?: PKR MAN DROPS BOMBSHELL – IN SABAH & SELANGOR ALONE 9,000 VOTES 'SYSTEMATICALLY DISAPPEARED', KEDAH, PERLIS, NEGRI SEMBILAN & MALACCA ALSO AFFECTED
You can read the full article via the link below:
Malaysia-Chronicle tends to be rather politically sensationalist, even since before the last general election, so decide for yourself.
Meanwhile, StarTV of 14 November 2018 publishes a video in which PKR Communications Director, Fahmi Fadzil said that the party will engage accounting and consulting firm Baker Tilly (Baker Tilly Monteiro Heng in Malaysia) to look into claims of these missing votes.
PKR to engage auditing firm to look into missing votes claim
Published on 14 Nov 2018 12:29:59 AM
PKR communication director Fahmi Fadzil said the party will engage a consulting and auditing firm to look into claims of missing votes in the recently-concluded party polls.
Fahmi said on Tuesday night that the political bureau had instructed accounting and consulting firm Baker Tilly to look into claims brought up by Youth chief hopeful Akmal Nasir.
Or read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/11/13/pkr-to-engage-auditing-firm-to-look-into-missing-votes-claim/
Perhaps Malaysia could be the first country in the world to engage a management and consulting firm to run the country on a five-year contract.
In this case, the competing management and consulting firms will pitch for the contract to voters at election time, citizens will then vote on which firm to award the governing contract to for five years and the firm which receives most votes will be awarded the governing contract.
In this case Malaysia won't have a prime minister but a Chief Executive Officer, a Chief Operating Officer instead of a deputy prime minister and the cabinet will be comprised of Divisional Managers of Finance, Home Affairs, Defense and so forth instead of ministers.
Yours most trully
Sunday, 11 November 2018
The discovery of a 4G and WiFi jammer device on an upper terrace of an indoor stadium in Kuala Selangor where the PKR's divisional party election was held on 28 October 2018 was the first clear piece of evidence of sabotage of the party's controversial e-voting system.
The jammer's placement on an upper terrace gave its signals optimal coverage of the polling venue, thus disrupting e-voting which relied on 4G or WiFi connectivity of the tablets used for voting. which in turn resulted in voting for the PKR's Kuala Selangor division having to be postponed.
The fact that the jammer was not removed, strongly suggests that whoever placed it there wanted it to be discovered, hoping that it would create dissension between contenders for the post of party vice-president and their supporters.
On 10 November 2018, The Malay Mail and The Star reported the discovery that the Prey anti-theft application had been installed on the 10 tablet devices used for e-voting at PKR's Julau branch in Sarawak.
Friday, 9 November 2018
This is something which Malaysia's dear Minister of Communications and Multimedia, Yang Berhormat (The Right Honourable) Gobind Singh Deo needs to look into.
Besides that, the good Minister (whose official e-mail address is also included Bcc (blind carbon copy) in this e-mailshot) should also look into the fact that my Telekom Malaysia Unifi bill dated 04 November 2018 remains at RM149.00 per month or RM157.95 after Sales and Services Tax, when Telekom Malaysia should have automatically reduced it to a lower monthly rate (of around RM120 per month), following the good minister's directive to all of Malaysia's broadband service providers to reduce their broadband rates.
Anyway, on 6 November 2018, The Malay Mail carried an article entitled - Malaysia stagnant in broadband affordability, even as broadband prices in some of our regional neighbours have become more affordable. The link to the article referred to is included below:-
The article drew upon data from the results of a survey entitled Worldwide Broadband Price Comparison 2018, published by Cable.co.uk, an Excel spreadsheet providing details of comparative broadband prices in 195 countries can be downloaded from here:-
The Malay Mail article included infographic showing the average monthly cost of broadband across 10 ASEAN countries in U.S. dollars and Malaysian ringgit and Thailand came out tops with the lowest average broadband price in 2018, followed by Myanmar and then Malaysia in third position ahead of Singapore and six other ASEAN countries.
The infographic also showed that Malaysia had remained in 76th place in terms of average monthly broadband cost in 2018 and in 2017, amongst the 195 countries surveyed worldwide.
The Malay Mail also highlighted that whilst Singapore came forth after Malaysia in ASEAN, in terms of average broadband price, however it came tops in ASEAN in terms of price per megabit per month.
Being one who as far as possible, prefers to get information and data for my articles directly from the source and make up my own mind, I downloaded the report in an Excel spreadsheet from Cable.co.uk's website provided above and present them herewith in a series of six screen captures, with the average cost of broadband per month in U.S. dollars in ascending order - i.e. the lowest first and we can see that Ukraine came out tops at US$5.00 per month. (pardon the mis-alignment in my first screen capture).
Taking a closer look at Malaysia, the screencap below shows Malaysia ranked at 76th place with U.S.$47.92 average cost of broadband per month, with other countries nearest Malaysia on the list.
Sorting the rankings by broadband price per megabit per month in U.S. dollars, Malaysia came 93rd at U.S.$3.06 per megabit per month behind Pakistan and ahead of Saint Martin - i.e. the northern part of the Caribbean island of Saint Martin, which is an overseas territory of France.
The screen cap below shows that Singapore came tops amongst the 195 countries and territories with U.S.$0.03 of 3 US cents per megabit per month, followed by Ukraine at 4 U.S. cents per megabit per month and so forth, and rather surprisingly, there are many developing countries with far lower broadband costs per megabit per month than Malaysia.
The infographic below from the Worldwide Broadband Price Comparison 2018 report shows the five countries with the most expensive and the five with the least expensive broadband packages in the world, and all of the five with least expensive broadband packages include Syria which is battling U.S. imperialist backed "rebels", "poverty-stricken" Venezuela which is "beset by shortages and economic problems" according to U.S. imperialist and Western European imperialist media reports, Iran which is under U.S. imperialist sanctions against oil exports in a vain attempt to strangle her economically, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan.
So why is broadband so expensive in relatively peaceful and supposedly prosperous, middle-income Malaysia, with our 'first world infrastructure and third world mentality', as former Prime Minister, Tun Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi described us?
Whilst the Excel spreadsheet downloaded from Cable.co.uk provides average monthly broadband prices in the 195 countries and territories, as well as broadband prices per megabit per month, however the list falls short on broadband speeds for what one pays for in each of these 195 countries and territories and and a very significant metric - i.e. broadband prices in terms of purchasing power parity in each of these 195 countries and territories, since the prices in purchasing power parity is a true indicator of the affordability of broadband packages for customers in these respective countries.
To digress a bit, I refer you to my second earliest IT.Scheiss blog post dated 4 October 2013, entitled 'Malaysia: A "High Income" nation for whom by the Year 2020?', in which I point out that earning RM48,000 per annum gross national income per capita (or RM4,000 per month) by the year 2020 as envisaged by Malaysia's Economic Transformation Programme announced on 25 October 2010 by our former Prime Minister Dato' Sri Najib Tun Razak, whereby Malaysia becomes a "high income nation" by 2020, is deceptive, since gross national income per capita is an average figure and averages can be deceptive indicators, especially when there is a high income disparity between the top income earners and the majority of the population, when the median mode income would be more accurate indicators.
Also, in my blog post, I describe the Geary-Khamis International Dollar - a fictional 'currency' - actually an index created by economists and used by international bodies such as the World Bank and others as a measure of the actual value of income in each country in terms of purchasing power parity.
One key metric I forgot in my arguments is the rate of inflation, independently estimated by unit trust companies and others to be around 5.6% in the urban centres such as Klang Valley at the time (2013), which would render it difficult for someone earning RM4,000 per month or RM48,000 per annum to make ends meet in face of higher living costs by the year 2020 (now postponed to 2024).
I understand that the official inflation rate for Malaysia published by the government is based upon the average of price increases in 200 goods and services and is an average for the whole country, whilst in practical terms, the inflation rate is lower in a rural village and considerably higher in a major metropolitan area such as the Klang Valley, so a good and reliable indicator of actual inflation in a particular city or town could be called the Local Nasi Lemak, Char Koay Teow, Chappati and Teh Tarik Index.
Reducing prices, the cost of living and inflation for us ordinary Malaysians is something which our 'Malaysia Baru' ('New Malaysia') Finance Minister, Yang Berhormat Lim Guan Eng, who is also included in this mailshot must look into seriously.
Anyway, back to the core topic of this post, the article on Cable.com.uk's website includes an active infographic based upon data from a report published earlier entitled - Average measured speeds of the five cheapest and most expensive countries, in terms of broadband prices in U.S. dollars (left) and speeds in megabits per second (right) in these respective countries, which I have presented in two screencaps side by side.
The above clearly shows one pays U.S.$768.16 for 0.7 megabits per second (700 kilobits per second) in Mauritania - Ouch!!!
Now the entry-level fibre broadband price in Malaysia is now around RM120 per month, though I still pay nearly RM158 per month for 10 megabits per second, whilst Singtel's entry-level fibre broadband packages costs Sin$44.90 for 1 gigabits per second connectivity (or the equivalent of RM136.05 at the current RM3.03 to the Singapore dollar right now).
In purchasing power parity terms, paying RM120 per month (or like me, nearly RM158 per month) is more than three times as costly for someone with an income of RM3,000 per month in Malaysia, than paying Sin$42.90 is for someone in Singapore with an income of Sin$3,000 per month, ignoring the 100 times faster broadband speed in Singapore.
Up in Thailand, AIS's entry-level home fibre broadband package costs 559 Thai Baht (RM70.43) per month for an asymmetric 50 megabits per second download and 20 megabits per second upload speed, which not only is five times faster download and two times faster upload for about half of what I in Malaysia pays for 10 megabits per second or about 58% of Telekom Malaysia's RM120 per month Unifi package.
In purchasing power parity terms, I reckon that Thailand is much closer to Malaysia than is Singapore, where someone in a job which pays RM3,000 per month in Malaysia would be paid 30,000 Thai Baht in Thailand, especially in Bangkok, where the cost of living is similar to that in the Klang Valley.
So, please look further into this, dear Communications and Multimedia Minister, Yang Berhormat Gobing Singh Deo, dear Finance Minister, Yang Berhormat Lim Guan Eng and yes - also dear Economic Affairs Minister, Yang Berhormat Dato' Seri Azmin Ali (once he has finished battling Rafizi Ramli for vice-president in your party elections).
For the benefit of readers, The Malay Mail article referred to follows below:-