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



Thursday, 14 February 2019


This report in Free Malaysia Today below really spiced up my day, when some veteran educators the Minister of Education what is the point of the Ministry's focus on artificial intelligence (AI) when the standard of Malaysia's education system has sunk so low.

It has been typical under former Barisan Nasional governments for the Ministry of Education to introduce all kinds of trendy or gee-whiz computers and information technology - based learning systems to Malaysian schools, supposedly to improve the quality of Malaysia's education, e-leaning systems such as 1Bestarinet, for instance.

You can read my blog post on 1Bestarinet.

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

Well now the Minister of Education under a Pakatan Harapan government is carrying on the tradition and singing about AI.

So the IT scheiss continues under a Pakatan government - same old wine in a new bottle.

I laughed out loud when OutSyed the Box wrote in one of his earlier blog posts:-

"The Pakatan government repainted the toilet but the same shit goes on inside." or something to that effect.

BTW. Mr. Minister of Education, may I suggest you read the book Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins.

Are you sure Malaysia's ministers of education past and present have not been hypnotised by the IT scheiss of IT industry hitmen?

Anyway,without further ado, the Free Malaysia Today article referred to.

SUBANG JAYA: About 200 people attending an education forum that was going at a monotonous pace suddenly perked up when a former school principal stood up to lash out at the education system.

However, after a stunned silence, they clapped and applauded as V Chakaravathy went on to tell Education Minister Maszlee Malik, who was also present, that the system had hit "rock bottom" and that the quality of teachers had deteriorated drastically.

The 200, who had paid RM1,000 each to attend the "Malaysian Education" forum, also cheered when academic Syed Ali Tawfik al-Attas asked why the government was focusing on artificial intelligence "when there is no intelligence in the country".

Syed Ali Tawfik, the former director-general of Institut Kefahaman Islam Malaysia, told Maszlee the country must face reality and admit that the education system was in shambles.

"The theme for this dialogue is bridging the gaps, (but) these gaps are chasms. It's not a matter of bridging anymore," he said, calling for a complete revamp of the education system.

He also said Maszlee might not understand the minds of pupils as, he said, until Standard Five, the ministry should focus on storytelling and languages.

He said at the end of students' education, they only needed six or seven subjects before going to university.

"Now here, in this country, we are trend-based – everything is a trend. And unfortunately everyone in the system is a political appointee. That is the problem," he said.

He advised Maszlee to get rid of political appointees as "they are connected to an ideology, to inculcate something political".

He said Maszlee often spoke about life-long learning, excellence and success but "these are all political words. Nothing is going to happen".

The academic said if the ministry was to move forward, it had to get the right people, particularly those without any political affiliations.

Syed Ali Tawfik expressed frustration that, in Malaysia, anyone who criticised those in the upper hierarchy or authority were sidelined. "They don't like hearing that; everything must be hunky-dory, everything is good. But it's not good, everything is broken," he said.

However, he applauded Maszlee for being the first education minister to say that he would do away with the arts and science streams.

Chakaravathy, who had earlier changed the tone of the proceedings with his outburst, decried the quality of teachers, saying it was so low that parents were forced to send their children for tuition immediately after school.

He said today's forum was "more on philosophy and does not address the reality on the ground".

Describing today's schooling system as "very, very sad", he said students in primary schools were burdened with subjects that were not worth learning.

At Primary One, Two and Three, he said, they should only learn arithmetic and languages.

"When they come to Level Four, put the History subject in, and put in the value system. If you teach Science to primary pupils, all they do is vomit it out; the pupils do not know what they are learning."

At a press conference later, Maszlee said he would not appoint MPs as vice-chancellors of universities. He also hoped to see more engagements in the future between him and the public so that they could work together for the betterment of the education system and unity in the country.

The one-day forum was organised by the Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute. Although the entrance fee was RM1,000, education providers were given a 50% discount.

Yours trully



Do you notice something amiss in the title of this Bernama report carried by The Sun of 13th February 2019?

I.E. - An alleged cable thief is electrocuted and lives to be arrested, charged in court, tried in court and sentenced if found guilty.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, "electrocuted" means:-

"to kill someone by causing electricity to flow through their body"

In American English it means.

"to send electricity through someone's body, causing death"

Whilst the story is sourced from Bernama, however, the onus also rests on the editor or sub-editor at The Sun to ensure that the meaning of words, grammar and spelling are correct.

Full text of the article as carried by The Sun follows below:-

Yours trully


Saturday, 9 February 2019


Since having a university degree today is important for one's career advancement and personal prestige, herewith is a proposal to start a distance learning university called Universiti Kari Laksa, which offers courses in a whole slew of disciplines leading to a certificate, all the way up to a PhD, with fees corresponding to the level of qualification awarded.

Oh! Since prestige is important, it must have an address in realspace within the good old U.S. of A. 

As Universiti Kari Laksa will be a distance learning university, there will be no need for students to incur additional expense to physically travel to and stay in the U.S. of A, to sit for their exams, to attend the graduation ceremony and receive the certificate, diploma or degree scroll from the university's e-President. Instead, the certificate, diploma or degree e-scroll, will be e-mailed to graduates in softcopy, which they can download and take in a USB-drive to a good printshop in their area to have printed out.

Universiti Kari Laksa will be a state of the art model of e-Learning which will rapidly propel Malaysia towards becoming a knowledge-based, information-rich, high-income economy by the Year 2020 (oops! postponed to Year 2024) and make Malaysians proud that Universiti Kari Laksa is amongst the top ranks of world class academic institutions.

The name Universiti Kari Laksa, sounds like "Laksa University", oops! I mean La Salle University in Philadelphia, which adds to the prestige of certificates, diplomas and degrees awarded by Universiti Kari Laksa.

Malaysia can award accreditation to qualifications awarded by Universiti Kari Laksa, and perhaps also Cambridge International University, in return for a percentage of commission from fees the distance learning university receives. This will also enable Malaysia to earn much needed foreign exchange.

Yours truly


Thursday, 7 February 2019


The Malay Mail wrote:-

"Deputy minister Marzuki reveals he did go to Cambridge... but not that Cambridge"

"In a report by Malaysiakini, Marzuki said his degree in business administration is from the United States-based Cambridge International University — an institution whose reputation has been questioned."

"I think [my critics] misunderstood [my credentials]. I [studied] at the Cambridge International University in the US.

"I was doing logistics [before joining politics]. So I just took that certificate for my knowledge to expand my business. As CEO of the company, I want to expand my knowledge and my business," he was quoted telling Malaysiakini."

Since the United States of America is the richest and most powerful country in the world and e-learning over the Internet is said to be far superior to traditional-style lecture room learning, qualifications from Cambridge International University in the mighty U.S. of A, must be far superior to qualifications from the University of Cambridge in the pre-BREXIT  U.K.

This is what Cambridge International University's website says about its:-


Programmes offered:-

Programme Fees:-

The President's Message:-

Yours trully


Friday, 1 February 2019


So Malaysia coming tops in social media penetration rankings in South East Asia and 5th in the world is something to shout about, or so it seems.

This reminds me of how I felt like vomiting when a deputy minister proudly boasted that Malaysia had the highest number of Facebook users per capita in 2011, according to a report which came out at the time.

I have been on some WhatsApp chat groups and found that people blindly forward all sorts of stuff on politics and so forth to the chat groups, which others believe as gospel truth a forward on virally and when I did a search on the issues or reports at hand in the posts, I've often found them to either be fake, dated, relate to some other country, related to events or reports which are years old and in some cases true.

For instance, there was a warning going around WhatsApp media a couple of years back that the Ministry of Interior Regulation would be monitoring all social media postings, so we should beware of what we post online.

Now Malaysia has no ministry by the name "Ministry of Interior Regulation", so I did a search online and found that the Ministry of Interior of the REPUBLIC OF GHANA had officially denied such allegation on its website.

Well, this WhatsApp message had originated in Ghana and as far as I know, it found its way virally to India and also to Malaysia.

I informed the WhatsApp group of my findings but weeks later someone forwarded the same message about the "Ministry of Interior Regulation" to the WhatsApp group again. It's a waste of my time trying to educate morons who can't be educated, despite how much one tries.

I also have found that many people who access social media on smartphones and tablets, even on PCs, are either too lazy or are incapable of doing a basic Google search to find reliable sources of information which can verify the authenticity of the post they had received, and many of these people are educated, English-literate, tech-savvy middle-class professionals.

I also know of some people who know WhatsApp and other social media backwards but do not know how to write a personal or business letter using a word processor even if it will save their lives, and their idea of sending a copy of an important document is to snap a picture of it, when the perspective of such a document is inevitably distorted in pictures snapped. Such people may not have the facilities to scan documents, in which case they should take it to a photocopy shop which will scan it for a fee. On the other hand, they have a scanner but are too lazy to scan it or don't know how to. or maybe they have scanned it using a computer but don't know how to get the document into their phone, either by cable or Bluetooth.

In the case of WhatsApp, one can access their WhatsApp through a web browser on their PC via https://web.whatsapp.com/, which allows them to upload scanned images and documents from the PC into their WhatsApp posts or to download pictures,documents, videos, audio files and so forth from WhatsApp to their PC's hard disk.

However, it appears than many are either unaware of how to access WhatsApp web, don't bother learn or are too lazy to do so, and they will lead Malaysia to become a "knowledge-based", "information-rich", high-income" economy ????  C'mon give me a break!

If they don't have a PC or still want to use their smartphone or tablet, there increasingly are affordable WiFi-enabled printers and scanners in the stores which let people print on them and scan from them on their phones or tablets over their home or office WiFi router or directly via WiFi between the phone and the printer or scanner. All they need to do is to connect their phone or tablet to the printer or scanner's WiFi access point. Of course they will not be able to access the web, social media or WhatsApp, whilst their phone or tablet is connected to their printer/scanner's WiFi access point. If they want to get back to the Internet, just connect back to the home or office WiFi access point or use their mobile data connection.

Also, some printer manufacturers such as Hewlett-Packard had tied up with Google Cloud Print in 2011 to provide you with a unique @hpeprint.com e-mail address for your WiFi-enabled Hewlett-Packard printer, so you can e-mail your documents to your printer from your phone, tablet or PC from anywhere as long as you have Internet access. I've found that if your printer is off, it will access eprint when its turned on and successfully connects to your home or office WiFi router and soon after the documents you sent will print out. Just don't tell everyone about this unique e-mail address or any Tom, Dick and Harry will be sending all kinds of junk to your printer and you'll end up having to fork out plenty of money to replace your ink or toner cartridges

All this is possible if phone and tablet users care to read the manual, they can learn how to do this with their model of printer but it seems that such tech-savvy people regard reading anything other than comics as so "old fashioned" or "uncool". 

Oh yes, they also need to install the print and scan app relevant to their printer or scanner for their Android or Applie iOS smartphone or tablet for this to work and this should not be a problem, considering that such people are most probably experts at installing hundreds of frivolous apps from Google Playstore or the Apple Appstore on their phones.

Then they can scan documents directly to their phone and send them with their social media messages.   

However, it appears that  the more social media there is around, the less savvy people become in performing productive tasks on their smartphones, tablets or PCs.

Is this how Malaysia will become a "knowledge-based, high-income nation" by 2020, now postponed to 2024 ???

I asked Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak when he was Education Minister whether smart schools will produce a generation of idiots by the year 2020.

He replied "no". That was well over 10 or 15 years ago but I leave you to look round today and decide for yourself who is right - i.e. Najib or IT.Scheiss.

Article in The Sun follows below:-

Malaysia ranks top 5 globally in mobile social media penetration, highest in region
31 Jan 2019 / 11:18 H

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia was ranked top five globally and highest in Southeast Asia for mobile social media penetration, according to Hootsuite and We Are Social in their latest Digital 2019 report.

Internet penetration in Malaysia said the report, stood at 80% with users spending a daily average of eight hours and five minutes online.

"A healthy portion of this time, two hours and 58 minutes is attributed to social media consumption.

"Emerging fourth globally in mobile social penetration, Malaysia is in the lead among Southeast Asian countries including Singapore is in sixth place, followed by Thailand (eighth) and the Philippines (10)," they said in a joint statement today.

Malaysia according to them, presented a unique opportunity for businesses, which 75% of the internet users spent their money via e-commerce with 58% spending on mobile commerce platforms.

The country as highlighted by the report, edged out Singapore in the adoption of mobile banking, with 66 per cent of the internet users in Malaysia utilised mobile banking options compared to Singapore's 64%.

This reflected their increasing dependence on mobile platforms.

"Ride hailing applications also proved to be highly popular in Malaysia, 48% of internet users used such an app, the third highest globally behind Singapore and Indonesia," it said. — Bernama


Yours trully