Saturday, October 24, 2015

Tan Sri Muhyiddin is forgetting history 

Salleh Said Keruak 

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said today that he is not a ‘gunting dalam lipatan’. The closest English translation to this proverb would be a wolf in sheep’s clothing, meaning in short a betrayer. 

Muhyiddin said whatever he did he did for the good of the party and because he loves the party and not with intentions to destroy the party. He also said he is the lone voice in the party and condemned all those who refuse to voice out and speak their mind. How does giving ammunition to the opposition to hit the party be considered for the good of the party? 

Muhyiddin also complained that the Prime Minister is sidelining him and no longer gives him the respect and that he is no longer entrusted with the job of chairing certain meetings like in the past. Trust and respect need to be earned, not demanded, as the saying goes. 

Maybe Muhyiddin forgot that when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was no longer the Prime Minister and began criticising Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Badawi, it was Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak who publicly declared that his loyalty was with the Prime Minister. Muhyiddin, however, said and did nothing to defend Tun Abdullah. 

Muhyiddin related how it was he who convinced Najib to take over as Prime Minister and that this was what Dr Mahathir wanted. “The thing with Najib is, he takes a long time to make up his mind,” Muhyiddin said. 

What Muhyiddin left out from this story is that Najib did not want to betray the Prime Minister by going against him. Najib felt the deputy should be loyal to the number one. So it is not that Najib took a long time to make up his mind but more that Najib did not want to oust the Prime Minister. 

If Muhyiddin wants to relate history then let it be the correct version of history. Muhyiddin said Dr Mahathir discussed the possibility of him taking over as Prime Minister. What Muhyiddin did not reveal was that Najib had refused to betray Tun Abdullah and instead publicly declared his support for the Prime Minister.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Malaysia’s ranking in Internet development

Salleh Said Keruak

Malaysia ranks number four in the affordable Internet index in the emerging and developing countries category. Ahead of Malaysia are Costa Rica, Colombia and Turkey. Thailand ranks 13, Vietnam 22, China 23, Pakistan 25, Indonesia 27, Philippines 29, and India 30.

In the communications infrastructure sub-index category, Malaysia ranks number five with Colombia, Peru, Brazil, and Turkey ahead of Malaysia.

On the other hand, Malaysia and Singapore are global leaders in instant messaging use. Singaporeans, Malaysians and Thais are among the biggest users of instant messaging in the world.

Malaysia has emerged as the leading user of instant messaging, with 77% of Malaysians using it every day. Singapore is a close second with 76% using it daily, followed by Thailand with 74%.

One reason why Malaysia leads the world in the use of instant messaging is because its smart-phone penetration has grown significantly over the past few years, said Naveen Mishra, Frost & Sullivan's Asia-Pacific (Apac) industry principal for ICT.

“In 2014, smart-phone penetration reached 51.6% from 38% in 2013. More than 21 million people use smart-phones and strong competition in the market has made affordable Internet available. Malaysians are quite technology-savvy and people across all age groups adapt to instant messaging applications quickly,” Naveen said.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

When we get caught up in semantics 

Salleh Said Keruak 

It appears that some people would rather spend precious time debating semantics rather than focus on the more crucial issue of development and improving services. And because of that some have taken issue with my use of the word ‘prefer’. 

Basically, semantics is the branch of linguistics and logic concerning the meaning of words. The two main areas are logical semantics -- concerned with matters such as sense, reference, presupposition and implication -- and lexical semantics -- concerned with the analysis of word meanings and relations between them. 

When I said 71% of subscribers ‘prefer’ the entry-level package for fixed broadband offered by Telekom Malaysia, which starts at 386 kbps, I was not using the word ‘prefer’ in the context of liking. I was referring to statistics where 71% subscribers choose the lower package over the others. And statistics do not lie. 

Cost is certainly the main consideration here and Malaysians put cost as the prime consideration when choosing any service. If not then 71% would not be subscribing to this service. Therefore ‘prefer’ does not mean the liking of a lower Internet speed but about putting cost as the preference to speed. 

One must look at the use of words in the context it is used and not look at it in isolation because in different situations words would have different implications. If I say I prefer not to talk about it, this would mean I have a dislike of discussing this issue and not mean I do not like talking. So please do not make an issue of a non-issue. 

Anyway, if anyone finds my use of the word ‘prefer’ offensive, then I retract that word and replace it with ‘rather’ or ‘choose’. Based on the usage of these words they all more or less mean the same. But then ‘rather’ or ‘choose’ do not imply liking, as some may have interpreted the use of ‘prefer’. 

Improving the internet service while keeping costs low

Salleh Said Keruak

I have asked my Ministry to put special emphasis and to focus on infrastructure development to expand the Internet penetration and coverage all over Malaysia.  The government is working to upgrade Internet access for more people in the rural areas and not just in the urban area.

We are not only concerned over the issue of Internet speed, which has become an issue of debate of late, but also its affordability.  And off course, apart from that, we are also looking at the issue of coverage to ensure that more people get access to the Internet.

We do not want the Internet to be enjoyed only by people in the urban areas such as Kuala Lumpur and Penang but also by the communities in the interior and the islands of Sabah and Sarawak as well.  As I had said last month, we want to ensure that by 2020 at least 95% of Malaysians will have access to the Internet and that at least 50% of the urban areas and 20% of the rural areas have broadband speeds of 100 Mbps.

The entry-level package for fixed broadband offered by Telekom Malaysia starts at 386 kbps, which is what 71% of Malaysians subscribe to.  Although higher speed packages are available, such as that offered by HSBB, 87% of the subscribers opt for 5Mps package with hardly any takers for the higher speed packages of 30 and 50MPS

Once the infrastructure can cope with it we may consider changing the entry-level package to a higher speed without any substantial increase in cost to maintain affordability and at the same time offer a higher speed.  My Ministry is now looking into the details.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Response to Dr Mahathir’s press conference today

Friday, October 9, 2015

Why put the Rulers in the crossfire?

Salleh Said Keruak

“Not only do the Malay rulers want the 1MDB wrongdoers to be punished but they also called for an end to racism and religious supremacy by all,” said Zakiah Koya in The Heat Online today.

Yes, as The Heat reported above, the Rulers in a pre-council Conference statement issued by the Keeper of the Ruler’s Seal said many things. However, the focus of all the comments, views and statements is just on 1MDB. The impression being given is that the Rulers discussed only the 1MDB matter and nothing else.

Being the 239th Conference of Rulers over the last 58 years since Merdeka, surely many things would have been discussed. So why is the impression being created that the Conference of Rulers is a single-issue Conference?

Anyway, since the press statement by the Keeper of the Ruler’s Seal was issued, 1MDB, MACC, the AGC, the Deputy Prime Minister, etc., have all given their clarification. So why do they still insist that the government is keeping silent and is not responding to the questions regarding 1MDB?

Over the last two days alone many answers have been provided. So the allegation that no answers are forthcoming is not true. The opposition will always argue that there are no answers but when answers are provided they will argue that the answers are not good enough.

Is the opposition saying that the answers are inaccurate and that the reality is opposite of the replies being given? In that case the opposition should provide the evidence to rebut the explanation given by the government if they feel what the government is saying is not true. That is how it normally works.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Malaysia's Parliament must ratify the TPPA

Salleh Said Keruak

Yesterday, 12 Pacific Rim countries reached the most ambitious and largest regional trade pact in history that cuts trade barriers, sets labour and environmental standards, and protects multinational corporations' intellectual property rights.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) was concluded on Monday after lengthy negotiating sessions throughout the weekend and is designed to encourage trade between the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam -- jointly which accounts for 40% of the world trade.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomed Monday's agreement, saying it would benefit both Japan and the Asia-Pacific region. “It is a major outcome not just for Japan, but also for the future of the Asia-Pacific," said Abe after the deal was clinched.

According to the BBC today, the lawmakers of each of the 12 countries would still need to ratify the agreement, which means Malaysia’s Parliament would still need to debate and approve the agreement.

“It marks the end of five years of often bitter and tense negotiations. Despite the success of the negotiations, the deal still has to be ratified by lawmakers in each country,” said the BBC.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Malaysians appear to have lost their humanity

Salleh Said Keruak

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has been criticised for offering to take a mere 3,000 Syrian refugees. That is 3,000 from a total of 4,000,000 refugees looking for asylum.

Germany has offered to take 500,000 refugees a year. That is not a total of 500,000 but 500,000 every year while Malaysia is offering to take only a total of 3,000. Yet this is seen as an issue to criticise the Prime Minister.

Last year 3,500 refugees died while trying to escape to Europe. This year so far, as at August 2015, 2,500 have died. That means 6,000 died trying to reach the safety of Europe since 2014 and it is estimated that by the end of this year the figure is going to touch 7,000.

Of course this is a very controversial issue even in Europe. In the UK this is being used as an election issue where candidates can either win or lose the party election depending on their stand regarding immigrants.

However, there comes a time when we should put politics and racism aside and put more importance on human life. And in this refugee and asylum issue it is human life that is the consideration. And Malaysia should contribute in any small way it can in helping out what has become a huge problem in Europe by taking in just 3,000 refugees when Germany can take 500,000 a year.


Najib explained 1MDB to US business leaders

Salleh Said Keruak

In his recent trip to the United States, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak met business leaders during a meeting on business prospects in Malaysia now and in the future where he took questions from them regarding 1MDB. So the allegation that the Prime Minister refuses to address this issue or explain the matter is not true.

During a business luncheon a day earlier, Najib touched on the weakness of the 1MDB business model, which he described as too idealistic. Najib explained that only RM1 billion had been invested to undertake a huge property development and RM18 billion for the acquisition of power generation plants, resulting in the company having to go heavily into debt financing.

Najib then told the audience that he is confident that by the end of the year the company would be able to go through the process of rationalisation with a massive reduction of debt.

Najib also informed the business leaders that there would be an announcement in the coming days regarding a significant reduction of 1MDB’s debts to the tune of RM16 billion.

Needless to say, none of this was carried by the local news portals, which seem to want to avoid talking about any good news involving 1MDB.