Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Syabas! Malaysia advances To 18th Spot in The Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016

Malaysia has advanced two spots to 18th place out of 140 economies, consolidating its position among the world's top 20 most competitive economies, its highest ranking since 2005.
The Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016, unveiled by the World Economic Forum (WEF) today, ranked Malaysia in 18th spot with a score of 5.23 from the 20th place out of 144 countries last year.
Malaysia also remains the highest ranked among developing Asian countries.
International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed said the improvement in the ranking was a welcome news in the context of the challenging global environment.
"This ranking is also an endorsement of the progress we have made in enhancing efficiency and competitiveness through the Government Transformation Programme and the Economic Transformation Programme," Mustapa said.

He said backed by sound fundamentals, Malaysia was well on track to continue its progress towards high-income developed status in the next five years as the country closed the gap with gross national income per capita of US$10,660 (RM47,522 at current rate) last year.
According to the report, Malaysia is the most competitive economy among 20 economies in the transition stage from an efficient-driven to innovation-driven economy.
With an enhanced competitive performance, Malaysia continues to be ahead of economies such as Belgium, Luxembourg, Australia, France, Austria, Ireland, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea.
Switzerland ranked first for the seventh consecutive year in the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) 2015-2016, followed by Singapore, the US, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, Hong Kong, Finland, Sweden, the UK, Norway and Denmark.
The WEF further asserted that gains in Malaysia's macroeconomic stability (ranked 35th, up nine notches) were mainly the result of a reduced budget deficit of 3.7 percent of gross domestic product, the lowest in six years.
Improvements in most of the 12 pillars
Mustapa said the report indicated that Malaysia's competitiveness were based on goods market efficiency and financial market development pillars, in which Malaysia was ranked in the top 10 at sixth and ninth positions, respectively.
"Malaysia improves in most of the 12 pillars, with gains in macroeconomic stability, higher education and training (36th, up 10 places) and, most notably, technology readiness (47th, up 13 places)," he added.
Among contributing factors to the significant improvements, with more than 10 places, are mobile broadband subscriptions (ranked 48th, up 45 places), net primary education enrollment (41st, up 19 places) and government budget balance (85th, up 17 places).
Amid the positive assessment, the GCI also points to specific areas for improvement, including low participation rate of women in the workforce.
Mustapa said renewed efforts would be undertaken to boost productivity in a focused and targeted manner with clear outcomes at the national, industry and enterprise level during the 11th Malaysia Plan.
He said this was in line with the WEF's emphasis on higher productivity to address sluggish growth.
Mustapa said Malaysia's strong foundation of public-private partnership would help ensure the nation maintained its growth momentum to become one of the top investment and trade destinations in Asia.
"The private sector will continuously step up efforts to invest in technology, pursue productivity, and nurture innovation and talent," he added.
Source: Bernama

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Dato' Sri Idris Jala on Malaysia's Status Today

Reproduced below is a post from Dato' Sri Idris Jala's blog which I feel sums up where Malaysia stands today very well.

image credit:

Malaysia today is facing an unfolding scenario challenging the administration – trust deficit. People take to the streets and call for change, with as many needling at worn-out racial sores and long-held suspicions. We enter the arena fighting for what we want without fully understanding the eventualities, and in our anger we become even more small-minded and vindictive, pushing our country to the precipice by widening fault lines in society. I am very concerned about this.

Let us step back for a moment. There are not many countries in the world where since independence, for more than 50 years, we have had the same ruling party. Naturally in such an environment, the grass appears greener on the other side.

Countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and even Thailand, which all experience change in government fairly consistently, can attest to the fact that there is no such thing as a perfect state.

Of course there is tremendous room for improvement in Malaysia and it is for that reason that the Government embarked on its national transformation ambition.

Unsatisfied with the status quo, we aspire towards a new reality. PEMANDU is essentially, the brainchild of the Prime Minister. He believed in the cause and the need to transform, and by that, gave us tremendous latitude to do what is brave and bold. Working alongside the civil service in transforming the government, we addressed key areas such as corruption, crime, low income households, rural development, urban public transport and cost of living.

Despite real progress being made in these areas, discontent persists. We improved public transportation and today, the MRT construction is changing our urban landscape. In the past five years, we built roads with the distance of Johore to Bangladesh, benefitting 2.5 million rural folks. Over 6 million are alleviated with the cash injection from BR1M.

People are discontented because there is trust deficit.

I believe long periods of incumbency breeds two things:

Curiosity amongst the urban and the young about the grass being greener on the other side. People want radical changes overnight and they want to feel it immediately. Our difficulty in the Government today is that we work on capturing the middle ground amidst a world of polarities. This makes policy-making as complex as it is intricate.

If the Government chose to pander to extreme views, whose interests do we fulfil? Majority? Minority? Where will this put the group whose views don’t get represented? What might it lead to?

The Government has to find solutions to these substantive emotive issues – whether imagined or real.

Personally, I believe public appetite is for needs-based policies that will help each strata of society find its footing. We need good investments, good jobs. We need a world-class education system so we can compete with the rest of the world. We need to have access to good public infrastructure. These are the areas the Government is working on transforming; no matter how noisy the politics get, our job is to keep our eye on the ball.

I have received encouraging feedback but there are equally as many who are so mired in the storm of trust deficit, it clouds their perception and stops them from seeing facts. To this group I say, be fair and put on your rational thinking hat to accept evidence of progress for what it is.

We must avoid doing things that will fracture the economy. Tarring every good with negativity will drag us all down, instead, we should seek to engage in meaningful conversations and find common ground in the spirit of unity. There is a lot of cause to rejoice and we can count ourselves fortunate to be Malaysians.

Dato' Sri Idris Jala
Minister in the Prime Minister's department


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

It's True - Najib's Opponents Wear Blue Checked Shirts

What started as a possible coincidence with both Tun M and Zaid Ibrahim sporting checked blue shirts at Bersih 4 has led Spanking DA Monkey to investigate this phenomenon further.

Yes folks. It's true that Najib's opponents do indeed have a preference for blue check shirts.

In case you're not familiar, the blue check shirt fler above is former Special Branch Deputy Director Abdul Hamid Bador, famous for his "I'll never turn against Tun Dr Mahathir" stand and recently for attacking Rosmah

If you still want more, Fake News Malaysia also carried a satirical piece on blue checked shirts.  

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Global Transformation Forum 2015

If you're interested in Malaysia's transformation program are encouraged to attend this forum as the GTF presents a unique and dedicated platform in providing and promoting cohesive dialogues on the ideas, insights and best practices that will successfully operationalise transformation.

The forum will focus on non-traditional approaches to policy making, project implementation and overcoming personal challenges. Speakers who will hold court for the 2-day event will include notable leaders, including present and former Heads of State, business icons and socioeconomic practitioners, who will share their personal transformation experiences as well as challenges faced in bringing their pursuits to transformational outcomes.
Registration is open and interested participants are encouraged to register early, as places are limited. Further information on GTF 2015 can be found here.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Tanah tumpahnya darahku,
Rakyat hidup, bersatu dan maju,
Rahmat bahagia, Tuhan kurniakan,
Raja kita, Selamat bertakhta.
Rahmat bahagia, Tuhan kurniakan,
Raja kita, Selamat bertakhta.

Wishing all Malaysians a very happy Merdeka Day.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Enforcement is key when it comes to the Internet

The following article by Bhag Singh who acted as the solicitor for the working group set up to draft and finalize the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Content Code appeared in The Star newspaper on 13th August 2015. It is reproduced here in its entirety.

image stolen from the net

Compared to several years ago, the public are exposed to more controversies and issues. Whether this is a result of a greater freedom of communications or because more is happening is a matter of conjecture.

Yet, many are indifferent to what is going on. This is because they are completely absorbed in managing their daily lives.

Whatever the outcome and the direction, their lives will continue as they always have and always will.

But if some of the statements made are to be relied upon, is there a lack of laws?

A reader asks how proposed amendments and changes to the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and adopting the changes and restrictions placed in other countries could be the possible solution to problems faced.

This requires an understanding of our leaders’ desire for the country not to be left behind in the fast-changing technological era.

This of course involved adopting new technologies and, as with everything else, the advantages and disadvantages that result in any new situation.

There was a time when information could only be conveyed personally. The development of the printing press and then telecommunications and broadcasting changed all this, until we arrived in the age of the Internet.

The Internet is not only about ease of communications.

It can also be an obstacle, as will be experienced by some, if not many, who are trying to cope with the Goods and Services Tax.

When there is a need to reach the Customs Department, one is told to use e-mail, but there is no response within a reasonable time. Phone numbers are provided, but the challenge is to get through to the person on the other side.

The Internet was welcomed with pomp as the country took the lead in the convergence that took place, which resulted in the earlier Broadcasting Act 1988 and the Telecommu­nications Act 1950 being repealed and taken over by the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

There continues to be a misconception that the Communication and Multimedia Act 1998 has changed the law and given the individual the right to say anything with impunity.

Statements made by some people in high places do not help to clarify the situation.

Over lunch at a conference on the subject of Internet laws, a person attending the conference told me, “All my law studies will have been wasted because now the law relating to multimedia has changed everything.”

This misconception is caused, in part, by Section 3(3) of the Act which states that “nothing in this Act shall be construed as permitting the censorship of the Internet”.

Many have wrongly interpreted this to mean that one can say what one likes as long as it is through the Internet. In a way, that interpretation is not entirely wrong. One can say whatever is desired because the prior restraint against publication is removed.

Prior restraint in this connection means the need to submit to censorship or obtain a permit. It does not prevent the publisher of the content from being acted against, penalize or prosecuted if the laws are breached.

Some public statements made seem to suggest that we need to look at British laws.

As an example, Section 127 of Britain’s Communications Act 2003 has been referred to, where it is made an offence to send a ­message that is grossly offensive or of indecent, obscene or menacing character over a public electronic communications network.

However, we already have such laws.

Section 211 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 already makes provisions with regard to prohibition and punishment for publication of such content:

“No content applications service provider, or other person using a content applications service, shall provide content which is indecent, obscene, false, menacing or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any person.”

image stolen from the net

In fact, not only does the Act criminalize such communications, it also provides for self-regulation through the means of an industry-created Content Code, referred to as the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Content Code which was registered with the relevant authorities on Sept 4, 2004.

This self-regulatory code is self-administered by the Communications and Multimedia Content Forum of Malaysia, a body whose existence is provided for and recognized under the Act.

The Code enjoys a legal status under the Act, so long as it is registered with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commissions – which it is.

In addition to what is already provided for under the Act, the Code goes on to provide guidelines on content and deals with aspects such as indecent content, obscene content, violence, menacing content, bad language, false content and other aspects such as ­children’s content and family values among others.

The Code is administered by a body referred to as the Content Forum, also provided for under the Act, which has a Complaints Bureau under it to deal with the complaints made that come within the scope of the Code and contravene its provisions through a variety of ways.

It will therefore be seen that there is already in place a considerable amount of laws and regulation. This is both self-regulatory and otherwise, in the form of the Act and the Content Code, as well as the sub-codes that have been put in place.

Regarding claims about the situation created by the social media, the remedy may well lie with the systematic enforcement of the existing codes and laws rather than continuing to focus on making changes to the existing legislation in the hope that it will provide an easy remedy for what is perceived to be not right.

Spank this lil fella to read the original 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Social Media Is No Kacang Putih Matter

Latest updates:

It's a happy ending one day after Selvajanaki's case was highlighted in the papers. The Ipoh City Council returned the confiscated three-wheeled motorcycle, assisted her in applying for a mobile trader’s licence and gave her two legal locations to trade around the Kampung Simee and Fair Park areas.

You can read more here

Student Nuruddin Abdul Mujid who originally posted the pictures on his fb page, 
has apologized for defaming the Ipoh City Council (MBI) officers, admitting his action was stupid because he did not think about the consequences.

You can read more here
Original Post:
Proving the might of social media, an incident involving kacang putih (also colloquial for “small matter” or “no problem”) got Malaysians all riled up and got the Ipoh Chief Minister (Menteri Besar), Mayor, City Council members and Hospital Board to hastily call a press conference to clarify matters.  

image credit: facebook

The reason? An fb posting which went viral last week showed street trader S. Selvajanaki, 41, bending down outside the Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun in Ipoh with kacang putih scattered on the road. Three council enforcement officers were standing nearby. The uploaded picture gave the impression that the officers were responsible for the act.

College student Nuruddin Abdul Mujid, 19, who uploaded the images, had implied in his post that the City Council was being cruel towards those who were merely trying to earn a living. The pictures of Selvajanaki sitting dejectedly on the curb with her kacang putih spilled on the road were shared on social media and eventually found their way to popular news blog Siakap Keli.

image credit: The Star Online

The picture was captioned by a man named Ahmad Shuaib Ismail who said he was saddened to see the fate of this trader who was not only not allowed to sell her goods but also suffered from her goods being thrown on the road.

“If she has no licence, give her a licence, don’t throw her goods like that,” Ahmad Shuaib Ismail had posted, based on the screenshot.

In the press conference the next day, the Ipoh City Council together with the hospital’s board and Nuruddin, denied the noise on social media alleging its enforcement officers had used high handed tactics on Selvajanaki.

During the press conference Nuruddin gave a different story, saying it was Selvajanaki herself who had thrown the kacang puteh on the road. He added that he was overcome with emotion when he saw her crying.

Ipoh Mayor Datuk Zamri Man said the enforcement officers were sent to the hospital area after the council received complaints from the public. After the incident, he met with the officers concerned and was informed that they did not use any rough tactics when dealing with Selvajanaki.

They had merely stood and watched her as she was carrying out her business in a prohibited area. Datuk Zamri claimed that council officers are trained to solve problems in an amicable manner and not be confrontational.

Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir who was also present at the press conference said such postings could be used by certain groups for their own personal gains, adding it will also create issues related to social and racial sentiments. He asked the council to conduct an investigation to get to the root of the issue.

Ipoh City Council secretary Mohd Zakuan Zakaria said he had asked a city councillor to meet S. Selvajanaki to discuss her situation, adding that they could not let anyone simply trade anywhere, especially in a hospital area.

The hospital’s visitors board chairman Datuk Omar Ahmad said there were many illegal traders in the area.

image credit: The Star Online

Selvajanaki claimed her kacang puteh fell after a scuffle with MBI officers. She clarified it was not the officers who threw her kacang puteh, but claimed that they had indeed been rough and she was only trying to protecting her wares.

Moral of today's story? Check, verify and authenticate before you share posts. Don't be a monkey spreading rumors and false information.