Sunday, September 24, 2017

4 Wakil Pekerja dalam Lembaga KWSP - Berjuang demi pekerja atau 'panas kerusi' sahaja?

Adakah MTUC dan/atau wakil pekerja dalam Board EPF/KWSP bertanggungjawab untuk kegagalan EPF memberikan dividend tahunan yang lebih tinggi...? Dengan adanya wakil pekerja dari MTUC dan CUEPACS, bolehkah kita menyatakan bahawa mereka juga bertanggungjawab semua kegagalan KWSP???

Pada masa ini, ada 4 orang wakil pekerja dalam Lembaga KWSP/EPF - yang bertangungjawab untuk semua aspek KWSP termasuk juga bagaimana wang KWSP dilabur atau digunakan?

Jangan lupa bahawa wang KWSP adalah 100% milik pekerja penyumbang KWSP - iaitu semua pekerja swasta dan mungkin pekerja sektor awam dan sektor lain yang tidak layak mendapat pencen, atau yang telah memilih menyumbang kepada KWSP...Majoriti adalah pekerja swasta...lebih kurang 6-7 juta penyumbang kini.

KWSP bertanggungjawab untuk melabur atau mengunakan wang tersebut untuk menambahkan 'wang' pekerja dalam KWSP. Jika keuntungan tinggi, maka dividend tahunan yang dilapurkan juga tinggi. Jika dividend tahunan 6%, RM1,000 milik pekerja dalam tabung KWSP akan menjadi RM1,060..

Wang KWSP tidak boleh digunakan untuk tujuan sampingan saperti membantu 'kerajaan' atau 'syarikat milik kerajaan'...

Wang ini adalah wang simpanan hari tua - wang yang akan digunakan pekerja menmpung kehidupan setelah hilang kemampuan kerja atau mencari pendapatan...Kini, jika hanya ada RM800 atau kurang sebulan untuk menampung diri untuk 20 tahun... kita ada masalah besar...

Kerajaan UMNO-BN telah menceroboh 'simpanan hari tua' pekerja ini, dengan alasan membantu menyelamatkan ekonomi negara - justeru pekerja dibenarkan gunakan duit 'simpanana hari tua ini'  - membuat pengeluaran beli rumah, dll ...kini ada Akaun 1 dan Akaun 2...justeru 'wang simpanan hari tua' secara otomatik berkurangan. Pekerja digalakkan beli rumah sendiri(kini juga rumah kedua) ...tetapi bila sampai umur 55 (atau 60), berapa ramai yang akan siap jelaskan bayaran pinjaman dan memiliki rumah sendiri? Jika terpaksa lagi menjelaskan bayaran pinjaman bulanan bertahun-tahun lagi, adakah RM800 sebulan cukup? Jika tak bayar balik pinjaman bank, rumah pun akan hilang ---dilelong bank? Mungkin 15 tahun lepas, RM800 sebulan cukup...tetapi kini, berapa yang perlu untuk setiap bulan...Ini MASALAH besar akan datang...dan kos kehidupan semakin bertambah...

Wakil pekerja dalam Lembaga KWSP pada masa ini adalah:-
  • Employees' Representatives:
    1. Tuan Hj Adnan Mat - Setiausaha Agung CUEPACS
    2. Puan Catherine Jikunan - Secretary of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress, Sabah; Deputy Treasurer of Federation of Bank Employees Malaysia -
    3. Puan Hadiah binti Leen -
      President of the Sarawak Bank Employees' union as well as head of Women of the Malaysian Trades union Congress (MTUC), Sarawak Division.
    4. Encik Abdul Halim Mansor - Presiden, Malaysian Trade Union Congress(MTUC)
Justeru - nampaknya ada 3 orang daripada MTUC ...termasuk Presiden MTUC sendiri...

CUEPACS - berapa sebenar ahli CUEPACS yang terlibat dalam skim KWSP? 

Tapi persoalannya adalah apakah 4 orang wakil pekerja dalam Board EPF ini melakukan?

* Adakah mereka hanya 'memanaskan kerusi'...dan tak melakukan apa yang perlu untuk berjuang demi pekerja memastikan EPF/KWSP melakukan apa yang perlu untuk memastikan EPF melakukan apa yang perlu untuk meningkatkan jumlah 'wang simpanan hari tua' pekerja?
 
* Adakah mereka hanya duduk diam ....'berterimakasih kepada Najib, Menteri Kewangan' kerana memberikan kehormatan jadi ahli Lembaga KWSP - tambah pula mendapat elaun tambahan? (Apa yang berlaku kepada wang yang diberikan kepada wakil pekerja ini - masuk poket sendiri atau dikembalikan kepada MTUC dan CUEPACs - padsa pandangan saya, wang elaun kecuali wang perlu untuk belanja pengangkutan, makan dan penginapan harus dikembalikan kepada pekerja memalui MTUC, CUEPACS atau terus masuk kembali kepada tabung KWSP...).

* Siapakah yang memilih wakil pekerja? Sepatutnya pekerja yang memilih - bukan kerajaan sahaja yang memilih dan melantik sendiri. Saya dimaklumkan bahawa kerajaan yang pilih, bukan MTUC yang memilih.... [Kini ketua kampung pun dipilih kerajaan ...justerus bukan sesuatu yang tidak mengejutkan jika kerajaan juga memilih dan melantik 'wakil pekerja'...Selepas Presiden MTUC Khalid Atan meninggal dunia, secara lojik 'Acting' Presiden dilantik tetapi Abdullah Sani tidak dilantik mengantikan Khalid sebagai wakil pekerja - adakah kerana dia dari parti PKR? ...?- Justeru, adakah kerajaan melantik "YES' man - mereka yang akan dengar dan ikut apa kata kerajaan bukan mereka yang berjuang sungguh-sungguh demi pekerja penyumbang skim KWSP?

* Haruskan Presiden atau Setiausaha Agung MTUC atau CUEPACS menjadi ahli Lembaga KWSP - jika ini berlaku, tidakkah ini akan menjejaskan kuasa MTUC atau KWSP mengeluarkan pendirian mengenai KWSP yang kritikal - bila pemimpin mereka dalam Lembaga? Kini, nampaknya wakil pekerja tidak memaklumkan apa-apa kepada pekerja yang mereka mewakili. MTUC pun, bila mengeluarkan kenyataan berkenaan isu KWSP... ianya bila maklumat sudah keluar dalam media...anih..kerana bila ada wakil dalam Lembaga KWSP - apa yang salah dan tak betul sepatutnya lama sudah diketahui MTUC - justeru isu harus lebih awal dikeluarkan oleh MTUC sebelum isu itu keluar dalam media massa... (Contoh...protes MTUC mengenai kadar dividend rendah...mengenai hakikat Malaysia mahu tambah pelaburan wang KWSP di US...- 2 keadaan apabila MTUC hanya membuat kenyataan SELEPAS isu itu dilapurkan di Media...) - Adakah ini bermakna wakil MTUC dalam Lembaga KWSP gagal memaklumkan kepada MTUC terlebih dahulu...

* Kini, dikalangan lebih 6,000,000 yang ada simpanan KWSP - ada masalah kerana mereka yang berpendapatan rendah tidak akan mempunyai 'wang simpanan hari tua' yang cukup - apa cadangan MTUC? Apakah cadangan menyelesaikan masalah ini yang akan dibawa oleh wakil pekerja dalam Lembaga KWSP kepada KWSP....
The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) says that nearly 80% of workers who will turn 55 this year will not have enough savings in their account to live above the poverty line...EPF chief executive officer Shahril Ridza Ridzuan said yesterday that the workers would not have enough in total EPF savings to enable them to live on RM800 a month for the next 20 years.
TAK GUNA ADA WAKIL PEKERJA DALAM LEMBAGA KWSP SEKIRANYA TIDAK ADA APA-APA YANG DILAKUKAN WAKIL UNTUK MENGUNTUNGKAN PEKERJA...atau menjaga kepenting pekerja penyumpang KWSP {Wakil yang tidak sentiasa berjumpa dan berkomunikasi dengan pekerja juga 'tak guna' - mereka bukan wakil pekerja yang sah - hanya wakil pilihan kerajaan sahaja???? bukan pun mewakili MTUC atau CUEPACs sebenarnya?? bukan juga mewakili pekerja...

UNION - hakikat kini adalah bilangan pekerja yang menjadi ahli kesatuan adalah sangat rendah - dan semakin lama nampaknya keahlian kesatuan di kalangan pekerja swasta berkurangan...Hanya lebih kurang 30% kesatuan pekerja yang kini jadi ahli MTUC..


Di kalangan kesatuan sekerja sektor swasta, bilangan keahlian semakin lama semakin berkurangan...

2014 - 376,362
2015- 366,348
2016-362,031
2017- 354,313
Bilangan keahlian dikalangan kesatuan pekerja sektor awam dan badan statutori bertambah sikit...

924,961 bilangan ahli kesatuan di Malaysia

Bilangan pekerja yang sedang bekerja adalah 14.16 juta - 14,160,000

 
Lembaga/Board EPF adalah yang paling berkuasa dalam KWSP - juga mengarahkan 'Investment Panel"...
"Section 4B(1) EMPLOYEES PROVIDENT FUND ACT 1951 'There shall be established an Investment Panel responsible for matters pertaining to the investment of the assets of the Board which shall be subject to such directions issued by the Board and approved by the Minister from time to time. 
Wakil pekerja dalam Lembaga KWSP ada tanggungjawab besar ... masa sudah tiba untuk pekerja dan kesatuan melihat dengan lebih terperinchi apa sebenarnya yang mereka melakukan dalam Lembaga... Adakah berjuang untuk pekerja, penyumbang KWSP)...ataukah mereka hanya duduk diam memanaskan kerusi sahaja? 

Undang-undang memberikan pekerja HAK dan peluang perwakilan, apakah yang pekerja dan kesatuan akan buat dengan hak dan kuasa ini?

EPF: 80% retiring at 55 will live a poor life

 | March 13, 2015
Retirees will not have enough to live above poverty line of RM830 for 20 years

KUALA LUMPUR:The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) says that nearly 80% of workers who will turn 55 this year will not have enough savings in their account to live above the poverty line.

EPF chief executive officer Shahril Ridza Ridzuan said yesterday that the workers would not have enough in total EPF savings to enable them to live on RM800 a month for the next 20 years. 

Malaysia’s poverty line income is set at RM830.

The reason for this is that most of them were on low wages when they started contributing to the fund in 1980s, and continued earning relatively low salaries till they turned 55.

More than 75% of 14 million EPF contributors earn less than RM2,000 a month. About 15% earn between RM2,000 and RM5,000 a month, and those earning more than RM5,000 are in the top 10%.

EPF has set RM196,800 as a savings threshold that would allow a contributor to spend at least RM800 a month for the next 20 years.

The threshold is revised every three years to take into account inflation.

Only about 20% of its contributors who turn 55 this year are expected to have RM196,800 in total savings. That percentage is likely to stay about the same in the coming years, said Shahril.

“Historically, we have a low wage environment, so that percentage has inched up only a little.”

“This is why we tell contributors not to take out their savings till they are 60, when they really retire.

“That extra five years can earn them an extra 40% through compound interest.”

These figures, he said, reflect the new reality of working life in Malaysia, as people will have to work beyond 55 in order to save enough to live out the rest of their lives.

“This is the trend in developed countries and we are getting there. The reality is that you can no longer retire at 55 and enjoy yourself.”

That age was set in the 1950s and has not been changed to take into account longer life expectancies. People are expected to live through their 70s.

“We need policies to deal with this, such as financial literacy training so that young people are aware of the need to save for retirement and how to integrate old workers into the market.

“These are issues that advanced economies have to deal with and we are getting there.” - FMT News, 13/3/2015

Saturday, September 23, 2017

25 million workers and people in N.Korea suffer - Is these sanctions anti- Human rights?

Workers and the ordinary people of North Korea will be seriously affected by the the recent UN, US and other sanctions being imposed on North Korea. Is starving the 25 million over population of the North Korea consistent with Human Rights?

When textile exports ar banned, for example, this will result in loss of jobs and income for people involved in this industry...Sanctions now ban sanctions the export of COAL, SEAFOOD, export of gold, vanadium, titanium, iron, rare earth metals  copper, nickel, zinc, and silver...the number of migrant workers have also been restricted and the amount that they could remit back to their families is also limited.. See earlier post:- North Korea - South Korea > Time to re-assess UN and other nation state responses?

The alleged reasons of this pressure on North Korea is about what?

- North Korea development of rocket/missile technology ..and testing [Well, so many countries in the world are doing this and even carrying out tests...Of late, the US, India and many countries have also carried out tests...

- North Korea development of nuclear technology - well, the present position of the powers that already have and still are developing this technology is that no other country (especially countries that are not 'friendly' or 'allies' or 'under their influence' should not be developing such technology...The agreement which was meant to bring about the destruction of nuclear weapons have failed ...in fact, there have been alleged violations, when 'friends' and 'allies' of these orginal nuclear powers have also got them now...[Recall also that...

Does Trump know anything about the history of the current crisis?  Does he know that North Korea agreed to end its nuclear weapons program in 1994 if the US met its modest demands?  Does he know that the US agreed to those terms but then failed to hold up its end of the bargain?   Does he know that the North honored its commitments under the agreement but eventually got tired of being double-crossed by the US so they resumed their plutonium enrichment program?  Does he know that that’s why the North has nuclear weapons today, because the United States broke its word and scotched the agreement? - see news report below
 DETERENCE - Many nations believe that that is the best Defence...

- Well, there are also other historical reasons for the US/UN war with North Korea never really came to an end - it ended with a 'ceasefire' agreement only...

When the armistice was signed on 27 July 1953, talks had already dragged on for two years,ensnared in testy issues such as the exchange of prisoners of war and the location of a demarcation line....Military commanders from China and North Korea signed the agreement on one side, with the US-led United Nations Command signing on behalf of the international community. South Korea was not a signatory. - see news report below
YES - the Korean War was an embarrassing movement in the UN history - when UN joined US in the war against North Korea, after North Korea almost won ... Interestingly, South Korea was not part of this ceasefire agreement, signed between North Korea and China on one side, and the US and UN on the other side. [So, is this really a North Korea -vs - US war, rather that a war between North Korea and South Korea. Recent media reports see threats thrown between US and North Korea ...South Korea has really been rather silent.

US, of late, have been flexing its muscle...and recent targets have been Iran, North Korea and even Venezuela...previously it was Latin American Countries, Cuba, Iraq, Libya... 

Compared to what was done to Israel - in terms of sanctions, etc by the UN? Violations of rights of the people of Palestine is ongoing ..

Of interest is also the fact what is happening to the nations of the Non-Alligned Movement(NAM), of which Malaysia is also a part of...so is North Korea?

Of interest also is the way Russia, China and many other nations are apparently caving in to pressure exerted by the US in particular - are we seeing the emergent of global community dominated by just one super-power, who not only has nuclear arms but has also shown that it will take action even fire missiles at other countries, without even waiting for UN approval... Is this new development something that nations of the world need to be concerned about...Even PM Najib of Malaysia went out of his way to allegedly show that we also support the US? 

The concern now is the people and the workers of North Korea ...the impact of UN and Malaysia on the livelihood of these about 25 million people...?

ARE WE GETTING THE FULL PICTURE FROM MEDIA AGENCIES - OR IS IT 'FAKE NEWS' - for fake news is also giving just one side of the story, and not the other side...is it not?

US President's recent UN speech really did not help matters ...and for him, it seems the lives of others do not matter, just the lives of America. The fact that compensations were only given to 2 European victims of drone attacks but not others is also disturbing...

“There is a difference in how Western civilians are treated versus non-Western civilians,” Moorehead said. “Of all the civilians who have been killed in these strikes, only the two Westerners who were killed in a 2016 strike have ever received any formal acknowledgement, apology, and compensation from the government.” - Drone/Missile victims - no remedy in US Courts?
 

Starve Them to Death: Wall Street Journal’s Solution to North Korea

Photo by Jennifer Feuchter | CC BY 2.0

The editors at the Wall Street Journal have settled on a plan for ending the crisis in North Korea. Starve them to death.

I’m not kidding.  In an article titled “Options for Removing Kim Jong In” the WSJ’s editorial board suggests that the US use “all of its tools to topple the North Korean regime” including, of course,  vital food imports which keep women and children from facing an agonizing death by starvation. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
“The North is especially vulnerable to pressure this year because a severe drought from April to June reduced the early grain harvest by 30%. If the main harvest is also affected, Pyongyang may need to import more food while sanctions restrict its ability to earn foreign currency….
While the regime survived a severe famine in the 1990s, today the political consequences of a failed harvest would be severe. …. The army was once the most desirable career path; now soldiers are underpaid and underfed. North Koreans will not simply accept starvation as they did two decades ago.
Withholding food aid to bring down a government would normally be unethical, but North Korea is an exceptional case. Past aid proved to be a mistake as it perpetuated one of the most evil regimes in history. The U.N. says some 40% of the population is undernourished, even as the Kims continue to spend huge sums on weapons. Ending the North Korean state as quickly as possible is the most humane course.”
(“Options for Removing Kim Jong In”, Wall Street Journal)
“Humane”?  The WSJ editors think that depriving people of enough food to stay alive is humane?
And look how cheery they sound about the fact that “40% of the population is (already) undernourished”, as if they’re already halfway towards their goal. Hurrah for the US embargo, still inflicting misery on innocent people some 6 decades after the war!

It’s sick!

Who are these people who grow up in our midst, attend our schools and universities, live in the same neighborhoods , and go to the same churches? Where do these monsters come from?

I’m reminded of what Harold Pinter said in his Nobel acceptance speech:
“What has happened to our moral sensibility? Did we ever have any? What do these words mean? Do they refer to a term very rarely employed these days – conscience? A conscience to do not only with our own acts but to do with our shared responsibility in the acts of others? Is all this dead?”
It’s sure as hell is dead at the WSJ, that’s for sure. Dead as a doornail.

And what is starvation supposed to achieve anyway? What’s the ultimate objective?

Why regime change, of course, isn’t that what it’s always about, installing a more compliant stooge to  follow Washington’s diktats?

Of course it is. But how’s it supposed to work, after all, depriving people of food isn’t like giving them guns and training them to topple the regime, is it?

No, it’s not, in fact, there’s not even the remotest chance that the plan will work at all. None. But it will help to punish the Korean people for the behavior of their government. It will do that.  And it will generate more suffering, unhappiness and misery. That much is certain.

Imagine if the shoe was on the other foot and North Korea had the power cut vital food supplies to people in the United States. Sure, it’s far fetched, but just think about it for a minute. How would you react? Would you gather your neighbors and friends together to concoct a plan to overthrow the government?

The idea is ridiculous, isn’t it? The editors at the WSJ know that. These are educated, intelligent men who understand how the world works and who know the impact of particular policies. They know that starvation isn’t going to lead to revolution.  That’s just not going to happen.

Then why support a policy that won’t work?

Good question, but that’s where we have to veer into a very gray area of analysis, that is, trying to understand why some people are so morally malignant that they seem to enjoy inflicting pain on others. Why is that? Why are there so many cruel people in positions of power and authority?

It’s a mystery. - Counterpunch, 18/9/2017

Why Trump Won’t Start a War With North Korea

Donald Trump isn’t going to start a war with North Korea. That’s just not going to happen.
Not only does the United States not have the ground forces for such a massive operation but, more important, a war with the North would serve no strategic purpose at all. The US already has the arrangement it wants on the Peninsula. The South remains under US military occupation, the economic and banking systems have been successfully integrated into the US-dominated western system, and the strategically-located landmass in northeast Asia provides an essential platform for critical weapons systems that will be used to encircle and control fast-emerging rivals, China and Russia.

So what would a war accomplish?

Nothing. As far as Washington is concerned, the status quo is just dandy.

And, yes, I realize that many people think Trump is calling the shots and that he is an impulsive amateur who might do something erratic that would trigger a nuclear conflagration with the North.

That could happen, but I think the possibility is extremely remote. As you might have noticed, Trump has effectively handed over foreign policy to his generals, and those generals are closely aligned to powerful members of the foreign policy establishment who are using Trump’s reputation as a loose cannon to great effect. For example, by ratchetting up the rhetoric, (“fire and fury”, “locked and loaded”, etc) Trump has managed to stifle some of the public opposition to the deployment of the THAAD missile system which features “powerful AN/TPY-2 radar, that can be used to spy on Chinese territory, and the interceptors are designed to protect US bases and troops in the event of nuclear war with China or Russia.”

THAAD is clearly not aimed at North Korea which is small potatoes as far as Washington is concerned. It’s an essential part of the military buildup the US is stealthily carrying out to implement its “pivot to Asia” strategy.

Trump’s belligerence has also prompted a response from the North which has accelerated it ballistic missile and nuclear weapons testing.  The North’s reaction has stirred up traditional antagonisms which has helped to undermine the conciliatory efforts of  liberal President Moon Jae-in. At the same time, the North’s behavior has strengthened far-right groups that –among other things– want to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in the South. By playing to the right wing and exacerbating hostilities between North and South, Trump has helped to fend off efforts to reunify the country while creating a justification for continued US military occupation. In other words.

The crisis has clearly tightened Washington’s grip on the peninsula while advancing the interests of America’s elite powerbrokers. I seriously doubt that Trump conjured up this plan by himself. This is the work of his deep state handlers who have figured out how to use his mercurial personality to their advantage.

A Word About North Korea’s Nukes

Leaders in North Korea don’t want to blow their money on nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles when their people are on the brink of starvation. But what choice do they have? The primary responsibility of every government is to provide security for their people. That’s hard to do when the nation is still technically at war with a country that has toppled or tried to topple 50 sovereign governments in the last 70 years. The Korean War did not end with a treaty, it ended with an armistice which means the war is ongoing and could flare up at any time. And Washington won’t sign a treaty with the North because it despises their form of government, and is just waiting for the opportunity to force them from power. Trump is no different from most of his predecessors in this regard. He hates the leadership in Pyongyang and makes no bones about it.

Bottom line: The US refuses to provide the North with any written guarantees that it won’t resume hostilities, kill its people and blow their cities to smithereens. So, naturally, the North has taken steps to defend itself. And, yes, Kim Jong-in fully realizes that if he ever used his nukes in an act of aggression, the United States would –as Colin Powell breezily opined– “turn the North into a charcoal briquette.” But Kim is not going to use his nukes because he has no territorial ambitions nor does he have any driving desire to be subsumed into a fiery ball of ash.  His nukes are merely bargaining chits for future negotiations with Washington. The only problem is that Trump doesn’t  want to bargain because US geopolitical interests are better served by transforming a few pathetic missile tests into an Armageddon-type drama. No one knows how to exploit a crisis better than Washington.

Does Trump know anything about the history of the current crisis?  Does he know that North Korea agreed to end its nuclear weapons program in 1994 if the US met its modest demands?  Does he know that the US agreed to those terms but then failed to hold up its end of the bargain?   Does he know that the North honored its commitments under the agreement but eventually got tired of being double-crossed by the US so they resumed their plutonium enrichment program?  Does he know that that’s why the North has nuclear weapons today, because the United States broke its word and scotched the agreement?

That’s not conjecture. That’s history.

Here’s a clip from an article in the Independent that provides a brief outline of the so called  Framework Agreement:
“Under the terms of the 1994 framework, North Korea agreed to freeze and ultimately dismantle its nuclear programme in exchange for “the full normalisation of political and economic relations with the United States”. This meant four things:

By 2003, a US-led consortium would build two light-water nuclear reactors in North Korea to compensate for the loss of nuclear power.

Until then, the US would supply the north with 500,000 tons per year of heavy fuel.
The US would lift sanctions, remove North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, and – perhaps most importantly – normalise the political relationship, which is still subject to the terms of the 1953 Korean War armistice.

Finally, both sides would provide “formal assurances” against the threat or use of nuclear weapons.” (“Why America’s 1994 deal with North Korea failed – and what Trump can learn from it”, The Independent)
It was a totally straightforward agreement that met the requirements of both parties. The North got a few economic perks along with the security assurances they desperately wanted and, in return, the US got to monitor any and all nuclear sites, thus, preventing the development of weapons of mass destruction.  Everyone got exactly what they wanted, right? There was only one glitch: The US started foot-dragging from Day 1. The lightwater reactors never got beyond the foundation stage and the heavy fuel deliveries got more and more infrequent. In contrast, the North Koreans stuck religiously to the letter of the agreement. They did everything that was expected of them and more. In fact, according to the same article, four years after the agreement went into effect:
 “both the US and the international atomic energy agency were satisfied that there had been ‘no fundamental violation of any aspect of the framework agreement’ by North Korea. But on its own pledges, Washington failed to follow through.” (Independent)
There you have it: The North kept its word, but the US didn’t. It’s that simple.

This is an important point given the fact that the media typically mischaracterizes what actually took place and who should be held responsible. The onus does not fall on Pyongyang, it falls on Washington. Here’s more from the same article:
“On its own pledges, Washington failed to follow through. The light-water reactors were never built. …Heavy fuel shipments were often delayed….North Korea was not removed from the state department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism until 2008, though it had long met the criteria for removal….Most importantly, no action was taken to formally end the Korean War – which was never technically ended – by replacing the 1953 ceasefire with a peace treaty. The “formal assurances” that the US would not attack North Korea were not provided until six years after the framework was signed.”  (Independent)
When Bush was elected in 2000,  things got much worse. The North was included in Bush’s the Axis of Evil speech, it was also listed as  a “rogue regime against which the US should be prepared to use force”, and the Pentagon stepped up its joint-military drills in the South which just added more gas to the fire. Eventually, Bush abandoned the agreement altogether and the North went back to building nukes.

Then came Obama who wasn’t much better than Bush, except for the public relations, of course.  As Tim Shorrock points out in his excellent article at The Nation,  Obama sabotaged the Six-Party Talks, suspended energy assistance to pressure the North to accept harsher “verification plans”,  “abandoned the idea of direct talks” with Pyongyang, and “embarked on a series of military exercises with South Korea that increased in size and tempo over the course of his administration and are now at the heart of the tension with Kim Jong-un.”

So although Obama was able to conceal his cruelty and aggression behind the image of “peacemaker”, relations with the North continued to deteriorate and the situation got progressively worse.

Check out these brief excerpts from Shorrock’s article which help to provide a thumbnail sketch of what really happened and who is responsible:
“The Agreed Framework led North Korea to halt its plutonium-based nuclear-weapons program for over a decade, forgoing enough enrichment to make over 100 nuclear bombs. “What people don’t know is that North Korea made no fissile material whatsoever from 1991 to 2003.”

“…the framework remained in effect well into the Bush administration. In 1998, the State Department’s Rust Deming testified to Congress that  “there is no fundamental violation of any aspect of the framework agreement.”
“…Pyongyang was prepared to shut down its development, testing, and deployment of all medium- and long-range missiles.”
“By 1997…the North Koreans were complaining bitterly that the United States was slow to deliver its promised oil and stalling on its pledge to end its hostile policies…”

“It was against this backdrop—Pyongyang’s growing conviction the US was not living up to its commitments—that the North in 1998 began to explore” other military options.”

“Bush tore up the framework agreement, exacerbating the deterioration in relations he had sparked a year earlier when he named North Korea part of his “axis of evil” in January 2002. In response, the North kicked out the IAEA inspectors and began building what would become its first bomb, in 2006, triggering a second nuclear crisis that continues to this day.”  (“Diplomacy With North Korea Has Worked Before, and Can Work Again”, Tim Shorrock, The Nation)
Now the North has hydrogen bombs and Washington is still playing its stupid games. This whole fake crisis is a big smokescreen designed to conceal Washington’s imperial machinations. Trump is using Kim’s missile tests as a pretext to extend the Pentagon’s military tentacles deeper into Asia so the US can assume a dominant role in the world’s fastest growing region. It’s the same game Washington has been playing for the last hundred years.  Unfortunately, they’re pretty good at it.
 

 

North Korea sanctions: UN security council unanimously agrees new measures

Ban on the country’s textile exports and capping imports of crude oil comes after US watered down initial tougher version to avoid veto by China
The UN security council has unanimously ratcheted up sanctions on North Korea, imposing a ban on the country’s textile exports and a ceiling on the country’s imports of crude oil.

The vote for the sanctions, the ninth package of measures imposed by the UN Security Council on Pyongyang since 2006 for its nuclear and missile tests, came as a relief to US diplomats who had feared a Chinese abstention, which would have considerably blunted the impact of the new sanctions.
In late night negotiations on Sunday, the US considerably diluted its initial draft sanctions resolution, which would have imposed a complete oil embargo and a partial naval blockade, in an effort to win support from China and Russia.

The final resolution adopted by the security council on Monday imposed a ban on oil condensates exports to the regime, capped refined petroleum exports at 2m barrels a year – cutting existing export levels by half – and maintaining international exports of crude oil to North Korea at existing levels, about 4m barrels a year. China supplies most of North Korea’s crude.

Western diplomats portrayed the Monday night vote as a win for international unity in the face of North Korean intransigence and provocations, and pointed out that it represented the toughest sanctions regime imposed on the regime to date. 

“We are facing not a regional but a global threat, not a virtual but an immediate threat, not a serious but an existential threat,” Francois Delattre, the French envoy to the UN said after the vote. “This threat is what unites us in the security council and, I hope, what will bring us towards unity when it comes to the vote and hopefully beyond.”


The US mission to the UN put out a statement saying the sanctions were the strongest ever imposed on North Korea.

“This resolution reduces about 30% of oil provided to North Korea by cutting off over 55% of refined petroleum products going to North Korea,” the statement said. “Combined with the previous Security Council resolutions, over 90% of North Korea’s publicly reported 2016 exports of $2.7bn are now banned (coal, textiles, iron, seafood), which does not include revenues from overseas workers.”

However, few diplomats or observers believed the punitive measures alone would force Kim Jong-un’s regime to stop its nuclear and missile tests. It test-fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July and carried out its sixth nuclear test, a powerful blast it said was the detonation of thermonuclear device, on 3 September. 

Textiles were North Korea’s second-biggest export after coal and other minerals in 2016, totaling $752m, according to data from the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency. Nearly 80 percent of the textile exports went to China.

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, said: “We are done trying to prod North Korea to do the right thing, we are now acting to stop it doing the wrong thing.”

However, she said the US was not looking for war with North Korea and that Pyongyang had not yet passed the point of no return.”

“If it agrees to stop its nuclear program, it can reclaim its future. If it proves it can live in peace, the world will live in peace with it,” she told the UN security council after the council adopted the new sanctions. 

“Today’s resolution would not have happened without the strong relationship that has developed between President Trump and Chinese President Xi,” Haley said.
The much stronger version proposed by the US last week, included the first asset freeze directed at Kim Jong-un, a complete ban on oil sales to his regime, and a mandate for warships from any member state to inspect ships suspected of carrying contraband to or from North Korea, and to enforce inspect using “all necessary measures”.

China’s UN ambassador Liu Jieyi called on North Korea to “take seriously the expectations and will of the international community” to halt its nuclear and ballistic missile development, and called on all parties to remain “cool-headed” and not stoke tensions. 

Liu said relevant parties should resume negotiations “sooner rather than later.” 

To kick-start talks, China and Russia have proposed a dual suspension of North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile testing as well as US and South Korean military exercises. 

“We think it’s a big mistake to underestimate this Russia, China initiative. It remains on the table at the Security Council and we will insist on it being considered,” Russian UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the security council. 

The Pyongyang regime threatened retribution against Washington for any new sanctions measure threatening to inflict “the greatest pain and suffering” the US has ever encountered.

The UK ambassador to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, was asked why he thought the new sanctions would change North Korean behaviour considering the eight earlier resolutions had failed.

“First of all, these are significantly tougher sanctions. Secondly, you’re right that sanctions take time to have an impact, but it’s only over the last year or so that the Security Council has been sanctioning sectors of the economy,” Rycroft said. 

“And the textile sector is the final sector of the economy that is not until tonight subject to a ban on exports. So this is a very significant tightening up still further of the constraints on the North Korean regime.” - Guardian, 11//9/2017

 

The Korean War armistice

  • 5 March 2015
The 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, with neither side able to claim outright victory.

Decades on, the truce is still all that technically prevents North Korea and the US - along with its ally South Korea - resuming the war, as no peace treaty has ever been signed.

Both sides regularly accuse the other of violating the agreement, but the accusations have become more frequent as tensions rise over North Korea's nuclear programme.

When the armistice was signed on 27 July 1953, talks had already dragged on for two years,ensnared 
in testy issues such as the exchange of prisoners of war and the location of a demarcation line.

Military commanders from China and North Korea signed the agreement on one side, with the US-led United Nations Command signing on behalf of the international community. South Korea was not a signatory.

The armistice was only ever intended as a temporary measure.
The document, signed by US Lt Gen William K Harrison and his counterpart from the North's army, General Nam Il, said it was aimed at a ceasefire "until a final peaceful settlement is achieved".

However that settlement never came, and a conference in Geneva in 1954 which was designed to thrash out a formal peace accord ended without agreement.

Ceasefire

The armistice is still the only safeguard for peace on the Korean peninsula.
The agreement provided for:
  • A suspension of open hostilities
  • A fixed demarcation line with a 4km (2.4 miles) buffer zone - the so-called demilitarisation zone
  • A mechanism for the transfer of prisoners of war
Both sides pledged not to "execute any hostile act within, from, or against the demilitarised zone", or enter areas under control of the other.

The agreement also called for the establishment of the Military Armistice Commission (MAC) and other agencies to ensure the truce held.

The MAC, which comprises members from both sides, still meets regularly in the truce village of Panmunjom.

Despite the relative peace since the war ended, tensions remain high between the two Koreas, and their border remains the most heavily militarised frontier in the world. - BBC, 2/3/2015

Friday, September 22, 2017

TOLL could be abolished - Revise or terminate PLUS Agreement (possible when government and EPF owns PLUS) now

Have we been deceived by the UMNO-BN government about tols, and how it had to be increased by reason of pressure from the Highway operators...well, interestingly, it is revealed that the company PLUS  is owned by the government vide Khazanah, and the EPF. How many other highway operators? 

Tol on PLUS Highway can be extinguished NOW - as PLUS is now owned by UEM(owned by Khazanah) - 51%, and EPF(48%).

The AGREEMENTS have been kept 'secret' for too long - Malaysians do not know what is the agreement about tol collection - how long will it last? How much more will it increase and when? The reason given is that money is needed for Highway Maintenance - but now that another PRIVATE company is interested in acquiring PLUS, it must be a profitable agreement ...

If PLUS is taken over by PRIVATE companies, then they can continue to rely on the right to collect TOL ...and we do not know for how long. BUT now, the owners of PLUS (Government and EPF) can be convinced to 'terminate' this agreement - and no more TOL, or at least vary this agreement so that TOL can be reduced, and collections will be for a definite time period.

WHY IS TOL BEING COLLECTED? 

Is it just to pay for the maintenance cost of these Highways  - then TELL us what exactly is the annual/monthly maintenance cost...and how much tol is collected every month/year? I am confident that amount collected is far more than the amount needed to maintain the highway - it is VERY profitable...for EPF to be a 49% owner - given that EPF's primary object is to ensure high profits for it's about 14 million worker contributors monies in EPF ...

Is it to recover the COST of building the Highway? Well, tell us what was the cost, and how much more needs to be recovered? Did not the government of Malaysia pay for the building of the Highway - so what cost are they trying to recover? Or is it the government of Malaysia trying to recover cost of building the Highway...tell us the TRUTH - be transparent.

If it is only maintenance, would it not be better to just outsource different portions of the highway to smaller Malaysian companies to provide maintenance services? OR is it not better for the government of Malaysia (Federal and/or State) to maintain the roads and highways using public servants - as was done in the past? That will return full control of public roads and highways to the government.

SLIM RIVER TOLL - that is an example to follow. There tol was collected until the cost was recovered, and then there was no more toll collections - that should be policy that should be adopted...NOT A CONTINOUS MONEY MAKING FROM PEOPLE policy.

I believe many Malaysians will be OK to pay tol to recover cost of building, and maybe regular maintenance - but we need to know HOW MUCH money need to be recovered, and how much is collected annually...and the balance every year.

Who gets these 'road maintenance' contracts - are they charging reasonable prices for the road maintenance, or are they charging exceedingly high rates - which is not uncommon when 'crony' companies are involved, which may also involve 'kleptocracy'...Open short term(1-3 years) for shorter stretches of the highway will be more competitive and cheaper... Maintenance of the highway could be given to the local governments(Local Councils) or even State - and at the Federal Level, we could simply have the Highway Authority setting standards and ensuring that roads/highways are maintained in accordance with the standards set with regard to speed, efficiency and quality. Those who fail in carrying out of the contract would be liable to fines and damages(and even prison term if fraud or some other crime is involved), and such contract could be terminated and allocated to new entities...  

Long term contracts (for more than 5 years) are extremely dangerous - and weakens government ability of control and ensuring best compliance -- When government tries to end the contract, then government forced to pay unnecessarily large compensations... Things becomes even more complicated for Malaysia, when these companies are owned by foreign nationals/entities, even in part - which cannot be restricted especially when the company is listed in the share market?? Then, there will other implications that came in as a result of Trade Agreements and Treaties.

The efficiency of government-owned, and/or 'linked' companies(GLCs) comes into question when this UMNO-BN government simply chooses 'friends', 'cronies' , etc to be Chairman of the Board, Directors ...even CEOs, who do not have the required skill and knowledge to be involved in that particular business. Former IGP appointed to be Chairman of Prasarana(a company involved in the transport industry)...Isa Samad in FGV...

In business, we need persons skilled in that particular business or in business generally to be Directors and CEOs... Malaysia would not have won so many Gold Medals at the recent SEA Games if the government used similar policies for choosing athletes representing Malaysia...as they are now doing for Directors and CEOs of government owned/controlled businesses...

MAS, PROTON, ...all also suffered losses... sad when Malaysia's Air Asia can be such a successful budget airline in the region. We have the persons with the requisite skills in business but Malaysia's UMNO-BN fails to use them....

I do not mind, and I do not think many Malaysians will mind if EPF takes over PLUS and make massive profits - because this will go to helping workers have more savings in EPF - that will be used to help them in their old age. Now, we know that the current EPF monies is insufficient to sustain the livelihood of Malaysian workers after they stop working and earning until they die...This is a major problem in the future...as the number of elderly is rising..

Mahathir started with the making of more rich 'Bumiputras' - but that was stupid for the rich Malays are not sharing their monies with the poorer Malays and other poor Malaysians. 
 
Najib talks about making Malaysia a 'high income' nation - but he is not really talking about increasing the income of all Malaysians and their families. 60 years in government, and still we find that there are so many poor people in Malaysia ...Even the FELDA settlers, who should have become financially self sustaining by now are still indebted and require government welfarism ...Lazy settlers..or poor government advise and practices?

Cost of living has to be controlled - and basic amenities like electricity, water, sewage treatment, radio/TV, telecommunication, education, healthcare, roads and public transport costs have to stay very low or better still 'FREE' for the majority of Malaysians, who are poor and cannot survive with the income they earn currently. Price Control for basic food items must be re-introduced. Failing which, the growing poor in Malaysia will not survive...whilst the few rich grow in prosperity and wealth. 

Najib must be reminded that the number of BR1M receipients is an indication of the failure of the UMNO-BN, and Malaysia needs help now - not the US. ...

So, back to TOL - now, the agreement with PLUS can be reviewed and amended, or even terminated as PLUS is still owned by Malaysian government and the EPF...

PLUS should not be allowed to be acquired by some other PRIVATE company ...We have most likely already lost DRB HICOM and even Proton, and possibly also POS Malaysia...because the ownership now is with private persons and companies, no more with government or government agencies...owning significant majority shareholding...

Government(Executive - PM and Cabinet)  alone has failed, and as such we need Parliamentary Oversight Committees to be set up to monitor all these government owned companies and GLCs...

The AUDITOR GENERAL scope should be extended to cover all government-owned and GLCs - whereby the report must be made public, and available also to Parliamentary supervision and monitoring...He must have access to all accounts, those in Malaysia and overseas...








About 14.5m EPF contributors may be impacted by PLUS sale
Corporate News


Wednesday, 20 Sep 2017 11:24 AM MYT







  • KUALA LUMPUR: There is rising concern that some 14.5 million contributors to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) may lose out on a steady stream of dividend income if the pension fund sells its 49 per cent stake in highway operator, PLUS Malaysia Bhd.

    These concerns seem to be gaining momentum amid news reports that entrepreneur Tan Sri Abu Sahid Mohamad is eyeing to take over PLUS Malaysia through his flagship Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd.

    Besides EPF's 49% equity in PLUS Malaysia, the majority 51 per cent shareholding is held by UEM Group Bhd, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Khazanah Nasional Bhd.

    Analysts say the proposal should be rejected as both the pension fund and the government's investment arm have enjoyed good returns from their acquisition of PLUS Malaysia since end-2011.

    They also said PLUS Malaysia represents a core business for Khazanah and a core investment for EPF and was undoubtedly an important income generator for both.

    As such, it raises the inevitable question as to why the fund or Khazanah would want to sell the highway operator at all.

    If the sale goes through, contributors feel that EPF would have lost its valuable income from toll collection and, as a result, will stop paying good dividends to contributors.

    The other question being raised is why sell a national asset to a private party when it belongs to the people via its ownership through a government-linked company (UEM Group) and EPF.

    The investment has been benefiting Malaysians including those from Sabah and Sarawak, hence PLUS Malaysia should continue to remain in EPF's portfolio as a long-term strategic investment, the analysts said.

    And, when the dividends are paid to Khazanah, it flows back to the government which can then use it for infrastructure development.
    Analysts note that given the strategic nature of the assets, it is important for Khazanah and EPF to remain the custodians of this business as they represent both the government and the people.

    It was good to note EPF Chief Executive Officer Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan as saying last month that the EPF has no plan to dispose its 49% stake in PLUS Malaysia 'as the investment in the company was reaping good returns for the pension fund'.

    Bernama quoted him as saying that the fund and UEM Group had invested substantially in expanding its network, especially in the Klang Valley.

    He was also quoted as saying that "PLUS Malaysia has contributed substantially to EPF's earnings.

    UEM Group, after receiving a non-binding letter of intent from Maju Holdings, also said it has no intention to sell its stake in PLUS Malaysia. - Bernama - Star, 20/9/2017

    Wednesday, September 20, 2017

    DEMOCRACY - Will the Opposition give us greater democracy - and abandon culture of APPOINTING local leaders and reps?

    UMNO-BN government sadly did not TRUST Malaysians - they considered that Malaysians were still not mature enough to democratically elect their leaders at the Local Government level(Local Councils) and also at the community level (kampung, kampung baru, Taman, kampung orang asli,...) - so the leaders and the representatives(wakil) were chosen and APPOINTED by the Government (Federal or State)...not democratically elected by the people...
    MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT  - Democratically Elected by the People
    ADUN (State Legislative Assemblyperson) - Democratically Elected by the People
    Local Government (Local Council, City Hall, etc) - NO DEMOCRACY - government appoint, not elected by people
    Kampung, Taman, Kampung Baru, Kampung Orang Asli - NO DEMOCRACY - government appoint, not elected by people
    SENATORS - Not democratically appointed by every citizen

    What is the Opposition political parties going to do about this? Will they bring back Local Council Elections? Will they trut the people to democratically elect kampung and taman local leaders? Or wll they simply continue with APPOINTING their selected candidates  - usually party members or cronies?

    Looking at SELANGOR, an opposition ruled state, ...sadly still no elections at the kampung or taman levels...(The only State that had elections at the kampung level was PERAK ...until the State went back to UMNO-BN by reason of some ADUNs leaving the Opposition and joining UMNO-BN)

    So, will it be the same after the next General Elections, if UMNO-BN is ousted from power? Still no local council elections ...still no kampung/taman/etc elections??

    Malaysians certainly do want a new Opposition government that operates in the same way as the BN government - Malaysians, after almost 60 years, are ready to be more participative at all levels of government ... Local Council...and especially in our kampungs and tamans..

    Government at Federal and State levels should recognize people chosen leaders at kampung and taman levels ...and work with these democratically elected leaders in dealing with local concerns and also development issues...

    One observation from some people after the Opposition took over State governments was that all that changed was the people in power...and maybe the 'cronnies'... 

    We want real CHANGE - not simply a change of LEADERS but essentially the same system of government and administration as the current UMNO-BN uses..

    SENATORS - the people are ready to elect their own Senators directly - now, after 60 years, Senators from States and Federal are still not directly chosen by the people through elections...

    The Malaysian people still do not elect our Senators, they are still selected by the State and the Federal government - but the provision in Article 45(4)(b) says that this can change in favour of direct elections by the people..  Maybe, we the people will finally get that right to choose our own Senators..
    (4) Parliament may by law -
    (a) increase to three the number of members to be elected for each State;
    (b) provide that the members to be elected for each State shall be so elected by the direct vote of the electors of that State;

    An APPOINTED leader tends to not be so bothered with the ordinary people but rather expends time/effort being close and maintaining good relations with the persons with the power to appoint...and that is the Government leaders of the day...

    DEMOCRACY - different from FEUDALISM - it allows for the existence of different opinions - including also the criticism of existing leaders. Do our Opposition political parties practice democracy - or are they undemocratic and intolerant of 'criticisms' even within their own party? 

    Party Pribumi BERSATU - recently we heard that some members(and even leaders) have been removed because they were openly critical or questioned the existing leaders - well, that is DEMOCRACY. Were these party members removed after 'due process' - were they given a right to be heard? 

    Different people in any organization are likely to have different opinions on different matters ...and they should be free to express and propagate their positions without risk of being EXPELLED from the party. It is not democratic if a party takes the position that every member must follow what the LEADER says and do...and any challenges or criticism would lead to disciplinary action and expulsion... 

    A party or an organisation's member will only be disciplined or removed if he goes against the BASIC OR FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF THE PARTY/ORGANISATIONS - and this does not include having different viewpoints, or even highlighting wrongdoings of existing leaders or even governments ruled by the said party... What did Husam Musa do that ended in his being expelled from PAS? 

    If a party's position that it is against Detention Without Trial laws like POCA and POTA, and a member comes out and says he supports POCA and POTA - this maybe a breach of a basic or fundamental principle of the party. But even then, if he/she had stated that it was a personal view NOT the official party view, then it is OK. Minister Nazri Aziz has come out and expressed his personal view against death penalty - but he stated that it was not Cabinet position...and that is OK. DAP members have come out and spoke out against party leaders but they still remain active DAP members - even MPs and ADUNs. The ability to accept different views and even open criticism of existing leaders is an important aspect of DEMOCRACY...
     

    We laughed at the absurd position of some UMNO-BN leader  -- 'LISTEN, LISTEN ...we know what is best...' - People want to participate in the decision making process - and that includes listening to opposing views - including criticizing the leader's views or statements..

    Some organisations and political parties may no longer practice true democracy - the lack of criticisms or questions about the 1MDB related matters, or the monies found in the PM's accounts wonders whether UMNO is still democratic - What has happened? Is PBBM, PKR, PAS, DAP, PRM, PSM...still democratic...or has it become 'feudalistic' or a 'dictatorship'? Would candidates from such parties be good choices for Malaysians, if we still want Malaysia to be truly democratic (which means so much more that the right to choose once every 4/5 years or during elections...)

    Is the Opposition ready for true DEMOCRACY - Malaysians are ready ...will the Opposition political parties give Malaysians more democracy - let the people choose - No more APPOINTING of our reps and leaders ??? 


    RISK OF DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS AT LOCAL GOVERNMENT LEVEL, KAMPUNGS, TAMAN - THAT THE STATE AND/OR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS AFRAID OF... people may chose someone from the Opposition party - but then, that is the people's choice...and their decision must be respected...

    FEAR OF LOCAL COUNCIL DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS - Some say it is 'MONEY' - Now. Local Council collects monies from the people - property tax('cukai pintu'), business license, signboard fees, parking, etc...  If no democratic elections, the State can still use and control this 'money' - after all, they appoint the Local Councillors??? Money collected by the Local Council is to be used for the people of that Local or District Council....Is it true?

    Well, STATE income - is there a need to introduce State 'Income Tax' - now, all the income tax and corporate tax goes to the Federal Government - so, State gets nothing?? Maybe, we need new laws, that give state a right to some of this 'tax money' - maybe a formula based on the total number of State population...maybe 20-25% of all taxes collected must flow to States according to the population? That will increase State monies...

    Likewise, there could be a law requiring 25-50% of Local Council income to flow to State governments...

    Of course, the other worry is that Local Council elections will be won by Opposition party members....that was one of the reason why UMNO-BN may have abolished local government elections? REMEMBER - Democracy means people decide and choose...

    Why does Malaysia have General Elections for both Parliament and State at the same time? The worry is the PEOPLE, some suggest. The people may be wanting 'check and balance' - so, if Parliamentary election is held at a different time from State elections, if the UMNO-BN wins the Parliament seat...then people may vote the Opposition in for the State seat... or vice versa. People are SMART - they may prefer 'Check and Balance' - not wanting to give all power to one party...

    Come this elections, State governments of Penang, Kelantan and Selangor will have the choice of not having General Elections for States at the same time UMNO-BN decides on Parliamentary elections (and possibly elections in UMNO-BN governed states). 

    In Penang, when Guan Eng was charged for corruption, DAP wanted to immediately call for State elections - but sadly one or two of the other Pakatan Rakyat party opposed that idea...a very bad move, in my opinion, it would have been best in the face of corruption allegations against the Chief Minister(or Menteri Besar) to go back to the people through a State Election - and get the mandate of the people again --- alas, one wonders whether many of the Opposition parties are also of a same thinking with the UMNO-BN? Selangor, in fact, proclaimed that they will not call for elections until the end of their mandate period received after the last General Elections..

    Wonder whether Selangor, Penang and/or Kelantan will call for State Elections at a different time ...or will they just wait for Najib to dissolve Parliament and call for parliamentary elections - hence trying again to force the State and Federal elections at the same time. It would be good if they are on different dates...Sarawak is the only State now that haves its State Elections at a different time compared to the Federal Elections - likewise, Selangor, Penang and/or Kelantan can also do the same...It may be good for Democracy?

    When Penang did not dissolve the State Legislative Assembly and call for State Elections, it affected its MORAL mandate to now even demand Najib(or future PMs or Menteri Besar) to resign or dissolve Parliament/State Legislative Assembly when there are serious allegations of corruption and/or other abuses by existing PM/Menteri Besar or governments. 

    If Guan Eng dissolved the State Legislative Assemble, called for a State Elections, and managed to win again his seat and/or the State - that will be a clear mandate of the people of Penang that they still wanted him as Chief Minister, and that they wanted the Opposition pact of DAP-PKR-PAS to continue to rule....in many other countries, there would have been an immediate resignation of the affected leader, or an immediate renewal of mandate of the CM and his government vide an election.

    SELANGOR - Who can be Menteri Besar - well, currently it is not democratic as there is an ethnic and religious criteria. Embarrassing, because even the Federal Constitution has no such 'racist' criteria - a person who has the confidence/support of the majority of the MPs becomes the Prime Minister. In Selangor, the Opposition (PKR-DAP-PAS) had the required two third majority, and they could have amended the State 'Constitution' - and the question is why did they not do so? Now, Selangor and States with such similar provisions will NEVER get the best Menteri Besar, the one that the majority of the ADUNs support... TRUST the people...trust the ADUNs the people chooses...Why limit choices?

    We see the problems in many of the government-owned and/or linked companies when Chairman of the Board of Directors, Directors and even CEOs are chosen based on ethnic/religious considerations, or political consideration > not so much on the basis of the best available Malaysian for the job...MAS, Proton, FELDA Global Ventures(FGV), Prasarana, etc ...and many of these have failed... In business and also government, the priority should be choosing the BEST Malaysian for the job...

    DEMOCRACY - What is the current Opposition going to give us? Same as what the UMNO-BN is giving us now, or will they be giving us GREATER DEMOCRACY....

    Do we want the SAME UMNO-BN policy and administration methods - but simply one that a more CLEAN more EFFICIENT more TRUSTWORTHY...I would want something so much better...and so much more democratic...What about you? 

    WELL, many of us are of the position that we want a CHANGE - we want to experience a new government other that the UMNO-BN government that we had for about 60 years since MERDEKA.... we are concerned about the various failings of the current government, including the massive DEBT, and the inadequacy of our Federal Reserve to settle it...We are concerned with allegations of kleptocracy...and other abuses that have most likely seen the loss of billions of ringgit... 

    CHANGE is a must but we must also not avoid looking at the Opposition parties, that are vying to be the alternative government - we need to look at their 'failings' be it in government, or how they operate as a party... We need to DEMAND the changes we hope a different government will bring ...we need details of some of these planned changes... We need to look at what they are promising? Not just the recovery of monies lost, a re-investigation of 1MDB and related matters or the abolition of GST and maybe tol....  What are the REAL CHANGES in the method of administration will we see? Democracy? ...If we do not 'push' - then, at the end of the day, all we may see is the same style and policy of the UMNO-BN - maybe much cleaner, more efficient and more trustworthy... That is NOT ENOUGH...we looked at Democracy in this post, and we will look at other areas maybe later...

    In terms of the States being governed by the Opposition, we now KNOW that they can govern...but where are the 'real changes'? What will be the real changes?

    Sabah and Sarawak - the Opposition is promising greater autonomy - but then what about the States in Semenanjung Malaysia - will they get back some more of the power that the Federal government has taken from them...Would they get some share of the 'taxes' collected by the Federal Government? Will they get back the authority to manage the towns, villages, etc in their own State - Now that power is with the Federal Government too...including the funds and development plans...Even garbage collection was taken away from local government and is now under the Federal Government ...

    Have the Opposition parties working on these proposed plans with one another and getting agreements - or are they simply spending time fighting for 'seats'? 

    The PEOPLE needs to push for greater democracy, etc...if not, after they come into power, there will simply be delays and excuses...and delays...