Friday, 25 April 2014

Obama In Malaysia: From Strength To Strength

US-MALAYSIA TIES: History shows nothing but respect between military allies

KUALA LUMPUR: MALAYSIA has had ties with the United States for centuries, if historical sources are to be believed.

According to Pamela Sodhy, writing for the Institute of Strategic and International Studies, historical sources quote the earliest contact between what would later become Malaysia and the so-called New World, were forged in 1677 "when a Captain Davenport from Boston arrived aboard an English ship, the Flying Eagle".

Of course, both Malaya and America were then colonies, the former under the Dutch and the latter largely under Britain.

Sodhy maintains that what ties there were between Malaya and the US were economic in nature, with the latter needing tin and rubber, until 1945, when the Cold War took centre stage and "ushered in a new theme, the containment of communism".

Malaya received assistance from the US during the Emergency indirectly as the American government sent military aid to the United Kingdom for the purpose. In the Confrontation, the US sided with Malaysia against Indonesia.

In return, Malaysia supported the US during the Vietnam War by training South Vietnamese and American advisers in jungle warfare.

With the end of the Cold War, however, a new threat arrived -- that of international terrorism. And, the US and Malaysia enjoy strong security cooperation in this aspect, too.

Kuala Lumpur hosts the Southeast Asia Regional Centre for Counterterrorism (SEARCCT), where hundreds around the world have undergone training. The US collaborates extensively with SEARCCT on such training programmes.

The US and Malaysia both participate actively in the Contact Group on Piracy off the coast of Somalia, coordinating in efforts to fight piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Horn of Africa.

A number of military exercises are also undertaken every year between the armed forces of both countries, with Malaysia entering the US-Thai Cobra Gold exercise from 2011 onwards.

US Navy ships regularly visit Malaysian ports, and such visits have increased from single digits to more than 30 a year over the past decade or so.

Then US Assistant Secretary of State (Political-Military Affairs) Andrew J. Shapiro, in his address at the National Defence College here in 2012, had said defence and security cooperation was an integral part of the growing partnership between the US and Malaysia.

He especially noted that "the men and women of our armed forces are working together to help the people of Afghanistan".

A Malaysian medical team had been deployed to Bamiyan province to provide essential medical care and training to Afghan citizens.

"Malaysia is making an important contribution to the responsible transition underway in Afghanistan which we greatly appreciate," Shapiro had said.

Malaysian armed forces members undergo training in the US as part of their professional improvement courses, while US special forces, including the much-vaunted US Navy Seals, train here twice a year.

This is especially so in terms of jungle warfare, with many a special forces operative having called the jungles of Malaysia some of the most formidable and punishing terrain in the world.

The Malaysian armed forces, in fact, have received much praise from the US and other allies. This is especially so when it comes to joint operations under the umbrella of the United Nations.

Malaysia's willingness in the past to commit to peacekeeping missions under the UN meant that US-Malaysia military ties have grown from strength to strength, considering most of these missions are led by US forces.

None was more apparent then in 1993, during what is now referred to as the First Battle of Mogadishu.

US Delta Force operatives and Rangers were trapped under heavy fire in the Somali capital while trying to rescue the crew of two Black Hawk helicopters shot down during an operation to capture key lieutenants of a warlord and retrieve the bodies of those killed in the crashes.

The American forces had gone in without informing the UN peacekeepers in Somalia but had to request reinforcements when things took a turn for the worst.

Eventually, Malaysian and US forces broke through to the trapped American soldiers. In the process, Private Mat Aznan Awang of the 19th Battalion (Mechanised), Royal Malay Regiment, was killed when his vehicle was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, while nine other Malaysian soldiers were wounded.

Mat Aznan was posthumously promoted to the rank of corporal and received the nation's highest award for gallantry, the Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa.

Last year, 20 years after the battle, current Assistant Secretary of State (Political-Military Affairs) Tom Kelly paid tribute to Aznan, his colleagues and the Malaysian armed forces, thanking them for their assistance in peacekeeping missions in general and Mogadishu in particular.

That the US remembers still Malaysia's role in Mogadishu is an indication of the high level of regard the country has for this little Southeast Asian nation's armed forces, as well as the role military ties have to play in continued relations between both countries.

Posted on 20:30 | Categories:

Monday, 21 April 2014


They say time flies. And you just can't argue with that for a second. It has been a year since the Boston Marathon bombing, an unprecedented catastrophe that took the lives of 3 innocent people and injuring 260. This year, many seem to have forgotten the impact of incident, while some have their lifetime to remember each and every detail. Graphic pictures of the wounded will forever be available and all you need to do is to google them. As much as this writing is a dedication to the victims of the Boston Marathon, it is also a reminder to the world how a joyous, harmless event went deadly, when people least expect it.One might ask how a country as prestigious as the United States where security is as tight as one can only imagine, especially after 9/11, could afford to allow another deadly terrorist attack. Terrorism or not, the whole country and its people of various ethnicity and background joined hand in hand to mourn the lives lost and the injured. No one was seen or heard to condemn or blame anyone for that matter. This is why the country recovered so quickly after every tragic episode. The empathy and sense of togetherness as the people of a beloved country brought them together. Immediately after this bombing, security is tightened and every possible threat is treated with the strictest attention.

Now let us look at the situation in our beloved country, Malaysia. Of late this beloved country of ours is often tested with street demonstrations which started a couple of years back. Most of these demos were and are usually caused by deep rooted hatred towards the ruling government, mostly carried out without any permit from the authority. The best example would be during Bersih 3.0 protest which saw the protesters attacking public amenities and the police for nothing. Millions of Ringgit of public properties and police assets were lost, all in the name of greed and angst.    

The organizer of the event would usually use the term "Peaceful Assembly" when in reality, meetings amongst them on how to create chaotic scenes and have the authorities to blame for were carried out to deceive the protestors. More often than not, these organizers would plan on provocative antics towards the government white dogs, or in simpler term, the police to fish for public sympathy and inculcate hatred towards the government. While the people in the US come together hand in hand amidst different belief and ideology to recover from catastrophes and terrorism acts, do you think the same formula can be applied here? 

Is the rakyat ready to work together to mend the broken pieces and move on from there? Has the previous protests ended in peace? Let us not go too far but to just take the Lahad Datu invasion and lost MH370 flight as examples. Instead of nursing the affected families with care and love, some irresponsible people used these tragic incidents to fuel hatred and speculations that do not only hurt the families and friends, but to the extent of disrespecting the country. Some would entertain requests from international press to further give the country a bad name. How unpatriotic of them. 

With that being said, do you think that these street protests help to increase our country's economic growth? Is there any other country in the world that would benefit from street protests and public unrest? That is definitely doubtful. Thus, the rakyat has to be able to use your discretion to make the past events and experiences your guru. What the country needs is the rakyat to be responsible to contribute to its economic growth and stability, and not to ruin it with uncertainty and calamity.   

Posted on 22:11 | Categories:

Friday, 18 April 2014

US In Never Ending Failure to Install Proxy Regime In Malaysia

Merdeka Center for Opinion Research, a so called free and just organization carrying out election monitoring was found to be funded by the US State Department through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). This "independent" entity is now being compared to Russia's GOLOS which happened to be receiving funds from the same source. Despite this, Western media outlets, in pursuit of promoting the Western-backed People’s Alliance, has repeatedly referred to Merdeka as “independent.”

These media outlets would then misuse the subject of "electoral fraud" and "unfair elections" among others, to influence and fool the people of the country to have the idea that the elections are controlled and spearheaded by the ruling government, more often when the chances of the US-backed, proxy individuals  to win the elections seem to be slimmer by day. 

The ties between Anwar Ibrahim’s “People’s Alliance” and the US State Department don’t end with the Merdeka Center, but continue into the opposition’s street movement, “Bersih.” Claiming to fight for “clean and fair” elections, Bersih in reality is a vehicle designed to mobilize street protests on behalf of Anwar’s opposition party. Bersih’s alleged leader, Ambiga Sreenevasan, has admitted herself that her organization has received cash directly from the United States via the National Endowment for Democracy’s National Democratic Institute (NDI), and convicted criminal George Soros’ Open Society.

That Anwar Ibrahim himself was Chairman of the Development Committee of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1998, held lecturing positions at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, was a consultant to the World Bank, and a panelist at the Neo-Con lined National Endowment for Democracy’s “Democracy Award” and a panelist at a NED donation ceremony – the very same US organization funding and supporting Bersih and so-called “independent” election monitor Merdeka – paints a picture of an opposition running for office in Malaysia, not for the Malaysian people, but clearly for the corporate financier interests of Wall Street and London.

At one point during the elections, before ballots were even counted, Anwar Ibrahim declared victory - a move that analysts across the region noted was provocative, dangerous, and incredibly irresponsible. Again, there could not have been any evidence that Anwar won, because ballots had not yet been counted. It was again a move meant to manipulate the public and set the stage for contesting Anwar’s inevitable loss – in the streets with mobs and chaos in typical Western-backed color revolution style.One must seriously ask themselves, considering Anwar’s foreign backers, those backers’ own stated intentions for Asia, and Anwar’s irresponsible, baseless claims before, during, and after the elections – what is “clean and fair” about any of this?

Year in year out, these US-backed individuals are secretly meeting to further discuss the angles of chaos and calamity that can destroy the stability of this peaceful loving nation. Right after Anwar's sodomy conviction in March, his boys have expressed angst and prompted moves to infiltrate the minds of the people that Malaysian laws are controlled by the government ie Prime Minister Najib Razak. Some went to the extent of pursuing the people to topple the government by means of street protests and violence. "Reformation 2.0" is currently being lauded to save Anwar Ibrahim from a nonexistent "regime". 

We are expected to see one on the 1st of May this year, where people are forced to go to the streets to first protest on "injustice" against a sodomizer, now the organizer is said to have changed the subject to stopping the Goods & Sales Tax (GST or VAT elsewhere) implementation in 2015, a bill which has been passed in the Parliament with the presence of these opposition leaders ironically. These ever changing motives again prove how the street protests are not about the welfare of the people, but merely to topple the current ruling government only to replace it with US-backed proxy.

Anwar Ibrahim is a fraud, an overt proxy of foreign interests. His satellite NGOs, including the insidious Bersih movement openly funded by foreign corporate-financier interests, and the equally insidious polling NGO Merdeka who portrays itself as “independent” despite being funded directly by a foreign government, are likewise frauds – drawing in well-intentioned people through slick marketing, just as cigarette companies do.

And like cigarette companies who sell what is for millions essentially a slow, painful, humiliating death sentence that will leave one broken financially and spiritually before ultimately outright killing them, Anwar’s US-backed opposition is also selling Malaysia a slow, painful, humiliating death. Unfortunately, also like cigarettes, well-intentioned but impressionable people have not gathered all of the facts, and have instead have based their support on only the marketing, gimmicks, slogans, and tricks of a well-oiled, manipulative political machine.

For that folly, Malaysia may pay a heavy price one day – but for Anwar and his opposition party today, they have lost the elections, and the cheap veneer of America’s “democracy promotion” racket is quickly peeling away. For now, America has tripped in mid-pivot toward its hegemonic agenda in Asia, with Malaysia’s ruling government providing a model for other nations in the region to follow, should they be interested in sovereignty and independent progress – no matter how flawed or slow it may be.

Posted on 17:52 | Categories:

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

NYPD Drops Controversial Muslim Surveillance Unit

BBC has published an article regarding NYPD's secret programme of having a sole unit to counter 'possible terrorism threats by Muslims' by the means of eavesdropping and spying.  

This shocking revelation was made to light after the Department decided to disband such unit following 2 federal lawsuits and complains from civil rights group. The squad's method of operation was in the form of dispatching plainclothes detectives to eavesdrop on conversations and detect places frequented by Muslims.

The unit - in operation since 2003 and later renamed the Zone Assessment Unit - logged where Muslims worked, shopped, ate and prayed. It is also said to have sowed Muslim mistrust for law enforcement.

"The Demographics Unit created psychological warfare in our community," Linda Sarsour of the Arab American Association of New York told the New York Times newspaper.

"Those documents, they showed where we live," she added. "They were able to see their entire lives on those maps. And it completely messed with the psyche of the community."

The head of the New York Civil Liberties Union, Donna Lieberman, told the Associated Press the surveillance had harmed community relations.

"We hope this means an end to the dragnet approach to policing... and a commitment to going after criminal suspicion, rather than innocent New Yorkers,'' she told AP.

Such a squad shows how paranoid and unjust these US authorities are towards Muslims who ironically happen to hold similar citizenship! Ever since 9/11, the wrong perception of Muslims as terrorists just got from bad to worse. Any bombing or massacre or mass killings will subject the Muslims as suspects first, long before the suspects are nabbed!

It is a little peculiar to see the country where the terms "freedom of expression" and "championing human rights" were first coined has the audacity to practise racism and oppression of innocent Muslims. Islam is and always has been a religion of peace, just and true. Islam does not condone the act of hurting others what more terrorism.

When the authorities whose job is to protect the lives of the people against discrimination are the ones carrying out the discrimination, what kind of future do you think the country holds? All of a sudden, the American dream where hope and aspiration are made real is now seen so close to impossibility and far-fetched!

Posted on 17:14 | Categories:

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Impact Of Obama's Visit To Kuala Lumpur @NajibRazak @BarackObama

Kuala Lumpur is not the only entity awaiting anxiously for the arrival of the United States' 44th President, Barack Obama as Washington is also anticipating the impact of his official visit after having it postponed due to The auspicious event will be the first in 50 years, dating back to 1966 when Lyndon Johnson was President.

Washington is looking forward to visiting Malaysia as the President is known to be keen to acquire and learn the stability of an Islamic country like ours, progressing effectively and rapidly amidst challenges in a modern setting where technology travels faster than light.

Furthermore, Malaysia is widely known to be practising moderation in its foreign policy as well as upholding its position in NAM (Non-Aligned Movement) captures the interest of the President in the country’s role in global geopolitics.

Then again, one just can’t help but to doubt the sincerity of this superpower towards our country as Malaysia falls into their watchful eyes despite being known to ally with 2 other countries in this region namely Bangkok, Manila and the closest being Singapore.

And then we have some who believe that the positive impression roots from Obama’s open and friendly administration and not DS Najib’s.

Cynical thoughts aside, one needs to remember that Washington’s perception towards our country changed for the better as soon as DS Najib took Office in April 2009.

On June 4th 2009, Obama who had just sworn in as the President delivered a speech in front of the Muslim countries in Cairo, praising Malaysia as an Islamic country with moderation and wasatiyya, an approach that according to Obama, should be instilled in other Muslim countries around the world.

The Cairo speech and Obama’s outlook towards Malaysia can be deemed critical and meaningful as such view showed Washington’s diplomacy towards Muslim countries, be it friend or foe.

Another highlight would be when Obama opened a speech via telecast during the 4th Global Entrepreneurship Symposium in Kuala Lumpur in October 2013, addressing his admiration towards this country.

And then we have some who think that his visit to Malaysia is untimely and peculiar as the country is still grieving with the mystery and loss of the ill-fated Beijing bound MH370 flight. 

This is the same group who are trying to link Obama’s visit here and to other US allies such as the Philippines, South Korea and Japan. Well, his official visits to the three mentioned countries are free from negative perceptions as they are more of a known strategic understanding, with known agenda.

For instance, Washington and Manila would have deliberated and discussed about the arrangement of an US military base there and a visit by the President would be most obliged.

The cynical ones can be seen trying the very best to somehow connect the mysterious disappearance of flight MH370 with the inept Search and Rescue Team which included the prestigious US military and thus giving a somewhat negative perception towards the President.

However, the whole world saw and watched how Kuala Lumpur coordinated the Search and Rescue Mission involving over 26 countries, beginning from the last known contact with the plane in the South China Sea, along the Straits of Malacca and now the fierce and nasty waters of the Indian Ocean. Perhaps Malaysia’s ability to conduct and assist the military men and assets from around the world succeeded Obama’s expectations about our dear all these while.

Countries United Effort For MH370

Let us take a look at China, a country so sensitive and secretive with its military capability and statistics, have set that aside to aid Malaysia in finding the plane, considering that most of its passengers is its natives. Beijing has ordered for its war ships, planes and even satellites to be deployed and most are still being used to locate the plane. 

Even the US and Australia have indeed showcased their capabilities, namely the widely talked about but never publicly used JORN, located in Alice Springs, Australia which is able to detect air and maritime movements all the way up to the Indian Ocean. All the data are shared in the name of solidarity to locate the plane.

The Britain is also said to have sent their HMS Tireless submarines to the Indian Ocean to assist the ones that are already deployed. The involvement of HMS Tireless is seen as a significant epitome of solidarity as usually the deployment of naval ships and submarines are not something made public for the world to see.

Hence it can be concluded that the negative remarks and speculation with regards to Obama’s visit to Kuala Lumpur especially one where it is said to be untimely can be easily rebutted. Instead, we should view the official visit as the best opportunity for both parties, Obama’s particularly, to let him see with his own eyes the stability and peacefulness that this country has to offer to the world of geopolitics.

Thus, this foreign policy of ours in promoting peace and stability can be deduced as the main catalyst in getting the 26 countries to assist us in the MH370 Search & Rescue Mission. This joint effort, a first of its kind in the world, have shown how such a delicate and costly assignment of locating the doomed flight seem doable with the presence of trust and respect, and above all, to ease the pain and suffering felt by the families and friends. 

And to think that a small country like Malaysia is able to conduct and coordinate the rescue effort is just mind-boggling indeed!

In addition, we cannot leave out Malaysia’s active involvement with the Bangsamoro Comprehensive Agreement between Manila and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) which was signed a few weeks back, where again we can see our country acting as the catalyst for the peace, betterment and justice of Muslims at large.

Yes, Malaysia is a tiny country with developing economy and adequate military strength, but one thing is for sure, it has a big heart and willing to work with other countries to achieve peace for humanity and growth which can be seen with our keen participation in ASEAN as well as OIC.

Our influential voice is further noticed when DS Najib became the only ASEAN leader to be given a historic bilateral meeting with Obama during the Nuclear Security Summit in April 2010 in Washington. 

With all said, we can effectively conclude that amongst the 4 countries scheduled for Obama’s visit this end of April, Malaysia will be the most anticipated by Washington, as the impact will surely pave way for Asia’s future stability and significance.

Posted on 16:00 | Categories:

Don't pass costs on to consumers. #water

Consumer associations are concerned that when industries in Selangor face losses due to water shortage, the costs will be passed on to the public.

Water and Energy Consumer Asso­ciation of Malaysia secretary-general Foon Weng Lian said it was only natural for them to do this.

“We urge them not to increase prices as consumers are suffering as well.

“Industries should seek assistance from the state government or water operators instead to help cut back losses,” he said.

Many companies in the state are reportedly suffering losses due to water shortage, and the uncertainty over its water has forced some to forego proposed projects.

In February, the state government put into effect a “Phase 1” water rationing exercise that affected around one million people.

About 6.7 million consumers, who are now under “Phase 4” of the exercise scheduled to end on April 30, had been told to brace for three more months of rationing.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Muslim Consumers Association chief Datuk Nadzim Johan Johar said there was a limit as to how much losses a company could absorb.

“As and when it reaches the point where companies can no longer absorb losses, the cost will be passed down to consumers in the form of increased prices of products,” he said.

“As it is, consumers are struggling with increased cost of living,” Nad­zim said.

“We need a break too.”

Friday, 11 April 2014

Finding ways to deal with #water crisis

With no end in sight for the lengthy water crisis, some consumers in Selangor are getting savvy at meeting their bathing and washing needs.

Some are taking their families to petrol stations to shower and do their laundry.

Others are doing the same at R&R stops within reach of their homes.

And some are even signing up with clubs and gyms just to use their shower facilities.

A petrol station operator in USJ said many people were coming there to bathe and collect water.

“These people are desperate for water and have none at home so I’m just trying to help,” he said.

“The station has not been hit by water cuts and we have three or four water storage tanks on the roof.”

A sales representative of a well-known gym, who asked not to be named, said some people had resorted to coming into the facility for its running water.

“We have had people come in to use the taps in our washroom and some have signed up just to gain access to our shower facilities,” he said.

The gym has several water tanks which allow it to stay operational during water cuts.

Several college students hit hard by the water rationing at their homes have started going to their campus to shower.

Jeang Sheng, 21, said his area had not received water for two weeks since the onset of rationing so he showers at UCSI University where he studies.

“Sometimes I go in earlier to shower before class; other times I stay back to shower after class,” he said.

He said his water woes were worsened by the inconsistent delivery times of water tankers serving his area.

“They seem to come at random times. They have delivered water at around midnight and even at 4am once,” he said.

“I try to preserve the water I’ve stored at home by showering at my campus.”

Some petrol stations and other places have had to put up signs telling people that they cannot bathe or collect water on their premises.

Md Khairi Selamat, Selangor Water Management Au­thority (Luas) director, had announced that there would be a water emergency declared in the state if major dams hit critical level.

The Sungai Selangor and Klang Gates dams each have just over two months of water sup­­­ply before they reach the danger zone.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Hunt for black box zeroes in on final resting place - #MH370 #PrayForMH370

The hunt for more black box "pings" from missing Malaysian airliner MH370 was narrowing Thursday to a specific patch of remote ocean after two more signals were detected.

The head of the Australian-led search Angus Houston raised hopes Wednesday that wreckage will be found within days even as the black box batteries start to expire.

Houston's Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) announced Thursday the search area off western Australia was now 57,923 square kilometres (22,364 square miles) - some 20,000 square kilometres down on Wednesday.

But Australian ship Ocean Shield is focused on an area of the Indian Ocean 2,280 kilometres (1,400 miles) northwest of Perth where it picked up two fresh signals Tuesday to match a pair of transmissions logged over the weekend as searchers try to pinpoint the exact crash zone.

No debris from the Boeing 777 which disappeared on March 8 has yet been found.

A large number of objects were spotted on the surface on Wednesday, JACC said, "but only a small number were able to be recovered.

"None of the recovered items were believed to be associated with MH370."

Officials had feared that the signals which were initially picked up might not be detected again, particularly since the batteries on the black box tracking beacons have a normal lifespan of about 30 days.

"Yesterday's signals will assist in better defining a reduced and much more manageable search area on the ocean floor," Houston told a press conference.

"I believe we are searching in the right area but we need to visually identify the aircraft before we can confirm with certainty that this is the final resting place of MH370."

Houston, however, again urged caution for the sake of the families of those aboard the flight, which mysteriously vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board, and said the search for more signals would go on.

"Hopefully with lots of transmissions we'll have a tight, small area and... in a matter of days we'll be able to find something on the bottom that might confirm that this is the last resting place of MH370," he said.

 Australia confirmed Wednesday that the first signals were consistent with black box recorders.

"The analysis determines that a very stable distinct and clear signal was detected at 33.331 kHz and that it consistently pulsed at a 1.106 second interval," Houston said, explaining that the exact frequencies can vary according to time and conditions.

"They (experts) believe the signals to be consistent with the specification and description of a flight data recorder," he said.

No other ships will be allowed near the Ocean Shield, as its work must be done in an environment as free of noise as possible.

With the clock ticking on how long the black boxes could feasibly continue to transmit, Houston said it would not be long before a US-made autonomous underwater vehicle called a Bluefin 21 would be sent down to investigate.

"I don't think that time is very far away," he said.

Up to 10 military aircraft, four civil planes and 13 ships would take part in the search on Thursday, JACC said.

Fair visibility was predicted for the day with moderate southeasterly winds and isolated showers.

The case of the missing jet has baffled aviation experts and frustrated the families of those on board, two-thirds of whom were Chinese.

"I want to see the evidence that the plane is at the bottom of the sea," said Malaysian Tan Tuan Lay, whose daughter, 31-year-old bank employee Chew Kar Mooi, was one of the passengers on board.

"I am really sad (about) what has happened but I am prepared to accept whatever comes," Tan said when asked to comment on the fresh signals. - AFP
Posted on 14:00 | Categories:

Eighty days of #water left

 The water crisis in the Klang Valley could be the worst ever, with just about 80 days of supply left in two major dams – despite the dai­ly rain.

The Sungai Selangor dam and Klang Gates dam – each have roughly just over two months of water sup­­­ply before they hit the critical stage.

During the country’s worst recorded water crisis in 1998, 4.2 million people had to survive on 2,553 million litres per day (MLD), a shortage of 105 MLD.

This time round, 7.1 million people need 4,900 MLD but only 4,367 MLD is available – a shortage of 533 MLD.

The only solution is for the dams to get, by April 30, rain equivalent to the average monthly rainfall for No­­vem­ber – one of the wettest months of the year.

Selangor Water Management Au­­tho­rity (Luas) director Md Khairi Se­lamat said water at the Sungai Se­langor dam might last 71 days while water at Klang Gates dam 88 days.

“This is assuming the output remains as it is right now, which is 1,000 MLD for Sungai Selangor and 100 MLD for Klang Gates.

“Also, we need 200mm of rainfall for the Sungai Selangor dam to rise to 55% from its current level of 37.38%. Until we reach that target, water rationing needs to continue,” he told a press conference yesterday.

In 1998, 1.8 million people in Se­­la­ngor and Kuala Lumpur were affected by a six-month long water rationing exercise – from March to Sep­tem­ber – because of the El Nino pheno­menon.

The long drought and absence of rainfall that year led to almost critical water levels in four dams – Batu, Klang Gates, Langat and Semenyih.

A water rationing exercise that started on April 20, 1998, ended on Sept 16.

This year, Selangor began water rationing in early March, with the fourth phase expected to end on April 30.

Sungai Selangor dam’s critical ca­­pa­­city is 69 million cubic metres (Mm3) and the Klang Gates dam 4.7Mm3.

Of the seven dams in Selangor, four are below the safe level of 70%, including the Sungai Selangor and Klang Gates dams.

Currently, the Klang Gates dam is at 53.89% capacity, Langat dam 49.47% capacity and Sungai Tinggi dam 61.29%.

Md Khairi said the state was banking on increased rainfall next month, when the wet monsoon kicks in, to help raise the dams’ capacities and see it through even more difficult times expected be­­tween June and October.

“Cloud seeding operations will also continue next week and will be more focused on the water retention areas of Sungai Selangor and Klang Gates dams until May 31, subject to weather conditions,” he said.

Khairi said Syabas’ an­­nouncement to relax water ratio­ning came about after the treatment plants in Batu 11, Cheras and Bukit Tampoi were reopened on March 30.

“The plants, which were previously closed following high ammonia levels in the rivers, could be reopened as recent rains diluted the ammonia content in the rivers. This will allow for more treated water production, so the relaxation of wa­­ter rationing can happen,” he said.

In Shah Alam, Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim defended the rationing exercise, saying that the two days on and two days off rationing was the best me­­thod.

He said the decision was decided by a group of experts from the water industry.

“The rationing exercise has, in fact, ease the water problems currently faced in districts and areas that have not received water supply for weeks earlier,” he told the state assembly yesterday.


Wednesday, 9 April 2014

They're still alive... #MH370 #PrayForMH370

Friends and families of passengers and crew members of MH370 are refusing to give up hope, believing that their loved ones are still alive even though it has been more than a month since the aircraft disappeared.

Maira Elizabeth Nari, daughter of chief steward Andrew Nari, posted a hopeful message via her new Twitter account, @MairaElizxbeth_: “Today’s the day. Exactly one month the flight MH370 went missing. We are still hoping. Come home, dad. We’re here waiting for you,” tweeted the 17-year-old yesterday.

Izzat Nazli, the nephew of leading steward Wan Swaid Wan Ismail, finds it hard to believe that the plane’s flight may have ended in the southern Indian Ocean, and thinks it was hijacked to another place.

“MH370 has left us for a month, I am still hoping for their safe return. Never lose hope. Uncle Swaid, we love you,” he tweeted from @theonlywannn.

For Dr Mohd Ghouse Noor, a schoolmate of Capt Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the last 30 days were full of ups and downs due to widespread speculation about the pilot in charge of the flight.

“His sisters still believe that miracles do happen.

“ We are not giving up hope until we are definite that the wreckage has been found, or bodies recovered,” said Dr Ghouse, who serves as moderator for the Facebook group Friends of Captain Zaharie MH370 (FOCZ).

Mohamad Sahril Shaari, a cousin of passenger Muhammad Razahan Zamani, prays that solid evidence will emerge soon.

“If the plane is no more, we want proof. If it really ended in the Indian Ocean, there must be debris, at least one piece. Only then will we believe 100%,” he said.

Mohamad Sahril also thanked the Malaysian Government for their tireless work and the countries who offered assistance in the daunting search effort.

Another passenger, engineer Suhaili Mustafa, is deeply missed by her friends and family.

“She was really sweet and kind, and we all miss her,” said Farah Faisal, her friend and classmate.

Farah also paid tribute to Suhaili on her blog: “Su, like I told you on your birthday: I love you always. I am a better person for having known you.

“You are the kindest person I know, you never had a bad thing to say about anyone”.


Posted on 16:00 | Categories:

No taking clean #water supply for granted now

The ongoing water rationing is causing hardship and frustration but it is the only way to cope with the crisis, say experts.

They also believe that the exercise would change the attitude of consumers who had been careless when using water.

Water and Energy Consumer Association of Malaysia secretary-general Foon Weng Lian said the awareness to conserve water was still low among consumers.

“The water rationing is a wake-up call for users to learn how to reduce their consumption and appreciate the true value of a continuous supply of clean and safe water,” he said.

Foon said rationing and water demand management were only short-term measures, adding that long-term planning was vital to prevent such crises from recurring.

Among the long-term plans were inter-state raw water transfers, reduction of non-revenue water rate, permanent gazetting of all water catchment areas, and the implementation of a holistic national water policy covering water resources, supply, demand and waste water.

Foon said rationing was the only option available to help cope with the shortage, adding that it was still too early to say that it had failed.

According to the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry, people in Selangor were only using 7% less water even with rationing imposed in the state.

As of yesterday morning, the Sungai Selangor dam in Kuala Kubu Baru recorded a 37.31% capacity. Its critical level is 30%.

Environment and waste management specialist Dr Theng Lee Chong said water rationing needed to be done in a proper manner without upsetting the consumers.

“Rationing is needed because when the water level is low and supply to households is not controlled, consumers will use it like usual and will not make an effort to conserve it,” he said.

Dr Theng said Malaysians should learn a lesson from this crisis.


Monday, 7 April 2014

Security guards are hired to do more these days

Security  guards in shopping centres have certainly become more visible these days.

Walk into any mall and chances are, you will spot several guards patrolling the walkways, positioned near the entrances or escorting patrons to the carpark.

The heightened security comes amid growing concern over snatch thefts and robberies, especially in basement carparks. Some outlets have even hired their own guards to ensure the safety and security of patrons.

These days, however, guards in shopping complexes have to do more than guard the premises — they also act as the go-to person in cases of emergency or when shoppers are seeking directions.

StarMetro recently put to test guards at several shopping centres in the Klang Valley to see whether they could communicate in English or Bahasa Malaysia and their workplace knowledge. We asked for directions to the cinema, automated teller machine (ATM) and bookshop, among others.

While there were communication problems, most understood English and were helpful in leading visitors in the right direction, or at least to the nearest information counter.

One foreign guard at a shopping centre in Subang Jaya was able to accurately point out the location of the nearest bookshop. He even switched to Bahasa Malaysia when it appeared his directions were not getting through.

Those who were not so fluent in either language, were also able to communicate through hand gestures.

One guard in another mall in Subang did not understand what “karaoke” meant, but led us to the right location when asked where the “place to sing” was.

One shopping centre had Malaysian guards who could speak both English and Bahasa Malaysia fluently. When asked where the locksmith was, a female guard even offered to take us to the shop.

Another guard approached by the StarMetro team at the same mall was able to direct us to a camera shop and autopay machines on each floor.

While some malls did not seem to have a heavy security presence, this does not mean they were lacking in safety measures.

Concierge staff in a shopping centre in Subang Jaya told StarMetro that they employed plain-clothes guards to patrol the mall regularly, apart from the regular uniformed ones.

These plain-clothes guards were equipped with ear pieces for communication and work with auxiliary police.

In another shopping centre in Kuala Lumpur, the guards wore business suits and were able to point out locations within the mall and attractions close to the area.

One guard, however, was not sure how to lead StarMetro to the closest ATM but brought another to help with directions — probably because his base was outside rather than inside the premises.

In one of the biggest shopping centres in Petaling Jaya, security guards were placed in one location to make it easier for patrons to spot them and ask for help.

Most of the security guards StarMetro approached in this mall were foreigners. Out of the six guards, only one was not able to give proper directions but led the team to an information counter.

When asked where “Starbucks or coffee shop” was located, one guard whipped out a mini directory from his pocket and pointed us to the right direction.

Out of the 20 guards StarMetro tested, only a few were not able to give proper answers. However, instead of giving us the standard “I don’t know” reply, most directed us to another source of information.

All in all, the guards seemed to be well-trained and were a credit to their profession.

Posted on 16:00 | Categories:

3,000 attend mass prayer at Wisma #MCA. #MH370 #PrayForMH370

Support among mankind is strength that helps people cope with life’s many adversities, says Malaysian Buddhist Association president Ven Jit Heng.

Describing the support as da ai (universal love), he said this, together with a person’s ability to cope, made a lot of difference.

Ven Jit Heng assured this to more than 3,000 people at a mass prayer for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 that was organised by the MCA at Wisma MCA here yesterday.

About 20 Chinese families and two Malaysian families whose loved ones were on board the ill-fated flight were also at the prayer session.

MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said everyone wished for the safe return of all on board Flight MH370 as soon as possible.

“At the same time, we are also doing whatever possible to render support and care for their loved ones,” he said.

Liow said the support and help between people and countries were of utmost importance during this difficult time.

“Every effort possible is being taken to locate the plane since its disappearance 30 days ago, and 26 countries have join forces for that,” he said.

Liow said acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein had reiterated that the search mission would continue, no matter how remote the hope was.

He said he understood how hard it was for the family members who were pining for the return of their loved ones.

The MCA crisis relief squad (CRSM), led by party vice-president Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun, had been helping the Chinese families shortly after the plane went missing.

Chinese ambassador to Malaysia Huang Hui Kang said he was touched by the support offered by so many Malaysians since March 8.

MCA secretary-general Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan said “holding on to even a ray of hope is important as miracles could happen”.

The ceremony also saw Liow, his deputy Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong, Ong, other MCA leaders and masters of Buddhist groups praying on stage. It was led by Ven Jit Heng.


Posted on 11:44 | Categories:

Friday, 4 April 2014

Relook needed for civil aviation sector. #MH370 #PrayForMH370

There is a need to relook the civil aviation sector to enhance it and plug loopholes along the way in the wake of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the security and defence landscapes would also need to be revisited to address what might be perceived as weaknesses, in light of the plane’s vanishing over three weeks ago.

“We may have to look at matters such as satellites, radar link-up with the necessary expertise, as well as asset acquisition,” Hishammuddin, who is also acting transport minister, said here yesterday.

He is here to attend the first United States-Asean Defence Forum convened by US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel.

The Beijing-bound Flight MH370 with 239 people on board vanished mid-flight over the South China Sea after taking off from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on March 8.

The massive international hunt for the aircraft which is believed to have gone down in the southern Indian Ocean is being conducted west of Perth, Australia.

Sharing what transpired during his interactions here with regard to MH370, Hisham­muddin said: “We were discussing about the future, about the next phase – not that we’re praying for such time to come.

“We’re taking the technology that’s available, who has it, what needs to be done. And this calls for sharing of expertise among Asean countries,” he said.

On the presence of Asean defence ministers in Hawaii, Hishammuddin noted that Asean was here at the forum as a bloc.

“If we’re on our own individually, nobody will care about us,” he said.

He said a united Asean would command respect and this would lead to other countries being more forthcoming to render any support and assistance in its hour of need.

Posted on 16:00 | Categories:

11 hurt in blaze at R&R stop.

Eleven people eating at a popular rest and recreation area near a petrol station suffered burns after fuel being unloaded to the underground container at a petrol station in Gua Musang leaked and caught fire.

The blaze occurred at 10.10pm on Wednesday while people were eating at the popular R&R stop which was adjacent to the station.

It is believed that some of the fuel leaked from the hose during the transfer. The fuel then flowed down an incline from the station, which was located on higher ground, towards the stalls before an explosion occurred seconds later.

Many patrons ran for their lives while some were seriously burnt. Other than the foodstalls, the fire also destroyed four cars and three motorcycles parked nearby.

Police said workers were transferring petrol from the tanker into an underground storage bunker at the petrol station at Dataran Shell, Jalan Persiaran Raya, during the incident.

Gua Musang police chief Supt Saiful Bahari Abdullah said the explosion could have come from a cooking gas tank at the stalls.

The injured were five women – Nor Azila Amira, 23, Nor Marisah Mohd Yusof, 20, Nor Asyikin Mohd Salleh, 20, Dayang Nor Ilyani, 23 and Siti Zabariah Idris, 53.

The men were Muhammad Azman Hamat, 18, Mohd Zul Idzhar Akmal,16, Mohd Shair Hafizi, 24, Tengku Ahmad Afqih Tg Abdullah, 20, Mohd Quizuel Hakim Bahri, 20, and Mohd Fariz Ikhwan, 25.

Nor Marisah, Muhammad Az­­man and Tengku Ahmad Afqih were transferred to the Raja Perempuan Zainab II Hospital in Kota Baru.

Stallowner Mohd Fahmi Mohd Nasir, 27, said he heard a loud explosion and saw some of his customers in flames while cars parked in front were burnt.

“It happened so fast and I could only run away as fast as I could,” he added.

Machang Zone 2 fire chief Che Rusli Sulaiman said 10 firemen in two fire-engines took 10 minutes to put out the fire.

Raja Perempuan Zainab II Hospital media officer Zaid Ahmad said Muhamad Azman and Tengku Ahmad Afqih suffered serious burns and are in critical condition.

Posted on 11:30 | Categories:

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Consumers still using as much water as when dams were full. #SYABAS #SPAN

Selangor’s dams are running dry, but its residents are still using nearly as much water as they were when the dams were full.

Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry secretary-general Datuk Loo Took Gee said people in Selangor were only using 7% less water despite the water rationing in the state.

As of yesterday morning, the Sungai Selangor dam in Kuala Kubu Baru recorded a 36.53% capacity. Its critical level is 30% – which will be reached in just two weeks if water levels consistently drop.

“Despite the water rationing, the regulator has found that the (amount of) water saved is a mere 7%. The demand has only dropped by (that much),” Loo said in an interview, citing National Water Services Commission figures.

It was reported that the demand for treated water in Selangor was 4,641 million litres a day.

This would mean that a mere 325 million litres are saved each day, which Loo said was not enough. Malaysia, she said, had low water tariffs and Selangor gave 20 cubic metres of water for free to its residents each month.

This did not motivate people to save water, and the ministry was mulling the possibility of a water surcharge to stretch the state’s resources, Loo said.

“It’s a possibility in light of the present dilemma that we have right now...If you go beyond a certain consumption, you must increase (charges),” she added.

According to the Malaysian Water Industry Guide 2013, Selangor residents are charged RM0.57 per 1,000 litres for the first 20,000 litres. This is bumped to RM0.72 for the first 30,000 litres and RM0.77 for the first 35,000 litres.

The state’s last tariff review was in 2006.

Loo said the Government might consider declaring a water emergency before dams reached critical levels.

“We’re not going to wait until the levels reach 30%,” Loo said, referring to the Sungai Selangor dam, the state’s largest.

“I hope that by the end of April there’ll be more rain coming. We have to prepare the necessary measures needed to be invoked, just in case,” she said, declining to say when either a surcharge or emergency might take effect.

She added that the ministry was considering taking water from the Labu and Ngoi-ngoi treatment plants in Negri Sembilan to supplement Selangor’s water needs during this time.

If the critical level is reached, a water emergency can be declared and the Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister is given discretionary powers to do whatever he wants to conserve water resources.

He would have the power to ban car-washing and garden-watering as well as take action against those violating the water emergency rule.

MPS records sharp spike in #dengue cases

Areas under the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) registered an alarming 485% increase in dengue cases compared to the same period last year

“For the first quarter of 2014, we had 1,610 reported cases,” said MPS president Mohd Azizi Mohd Zain after the council’s second fullboard meeting yesterday.

Last year, there were 2,546 dengue cases, a 249% increase compared to 2012, he said.

More worryingly, Mohd Azizi added, the state Health Department’s Gombak district office had recorded three dengue-related deaths in the Aman Puri, Taman Sri Gombak and OC 8, Batu Arang residential areas.

However, the number of dengue hotspots in MPS areas have been reduced to five localities this year, compared to 17 during the same period in 2013.

These hotspots are Selayang Baru 18, Kampung Melayu Sri Kundang C, Bandar Country Homes Phase 4, OC 8 and Taman Sri Putra.

“MPS’ Health Department has set up a dengue taskforce comprising department officers and councillors,” said Mohd Azizi.

During the meeting, it was also announced that MPS would be conducting a seminar for developers, consultants and building/construction professionals on April 23.

The seminar, which will be held at the Shah Alam Convention Centre, is aimed at educating them on building code requirements and procedures in MPS.

“We did a study and found out only 21% or 146 submissions to our One-Stop Centre (OSC) were fully approved,” said Mohd Azizi.

Posted on 15:57 | Categories:

Additional 620,237 #Selangor households to face water cuts from Friday. #SPAN #SYABAS

More than 6.7 million Selangor residents will face water cuts, when the fourth phase of water rationing takes effect on April 4.

National Water Services Commission (SPAN) chairman Datuk Ismail Kassim said that the phase will affect nine districts here: Gombak, Petaling, Klang/Shah Alan, Kuala Selangor, Hulu Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Langat, Hulu Langat and Sepang.

“The fourth phase of water rationing will involve an additional 620,237 households making a grand total of 1,340,231 households or 6.7 million people,” he told reporters at SPAN’s headquarters here on Tuesday.

The Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), he said, will however not be affected by the water rationing exercise.