Saturday, April 21, 2012

illegal BN?? or who???

Media Statement by Howard Lee on 20th April 2012 at IPD Ipoh.

It has been brought to DAP’s attention that there are some information leaflets of a defamatory nature being circulated throughout Perak. There has been several issues over the last few months, are double-sided and in full colour of A3 size, in Chinese and carries the name ‘EXPRESS NEWS’. (快讯)

Furthermore, the said leaflets are in clear contravention of the Print, Press and Publications Act 1984 Part 5 which stipulates that every publication printed or published within Malaysia shall have printed legibly in Bahasa Malaysia or the English language on its first or last leaf the name and address of its printer and publisher. The contravention of this section on conviction, is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to a fine not exceeding five thousand ringgit or to both.

The said leaflets have allegedly reached the letterboxes of over 10000 households throughout Perak. The said leaflets also contains misleading and politically spun misrepresentations tantamount to political defamation of DAP and several of its leaders.

In one of the issues, an article makes a baseless accusation of Penang 2nd deputy chief Minster Professor Ramasamy as an appointment ‘in name but not in power’. This rings clear that those behind the dissemination and publication of the leaflets are doing so to incite racial hatred and social disharmony. DAP unequivocally condemns this backward and archaic social and political idealogy.

There was also an incident recently reported that a distributor of one of said leaflets in Ayer Tawar, was openly defaming the chairman and secretary of DAP Perak, calling them ‘Christian extremists’. This is completely unethical and unacceptable electioneering.

This is clear indication that there are certain quarters making an orchestrated and well funded effort in spreading lies to deceive the public. As Perakians have shown their eagerness and urgency to topple BN in the coming elections to return governing power to Pakatan Rakyat, these quarters are resorting to cowardly deceit and unlawful dissemination of information to discredit DAP.

Of late, DAP has been a victim of defamation, and been the subject of outright lies from both reputable as well as unknown publishers. With the imminent 13th General election touted to be as early as June, it would come as no surprise that the Perak BN would do everything they can to continue their illegitimate rule that they snatched from PR and the rakyat of Perak.

As the Election preparation director of DAP Perak, I am today launching a police report, urging the authorities to investigate the abovementioned offence. I would also like to issue the following:

· A challenge to all BN component parties, and their strategists and machinery to deny openly their hand directly or indirectly in this heinous electioneering campaign

· A challenge to all BN component parties to join DAP in openly condemning the dissemination of these leaflets and the messages within.

· A challenge to MCA and Gerakan to assure Perakians that they will not employ lowly tactics such as inciting racial tensions to achieve their political agenda.









Saturday, April 7, 2012

Reply to Perak MCA secretary Datuk Tan Chin Meng's Statement

Dato’ Tan,

(writer's words in black, and Datuk Tan Chin Meng's article in red)

I respect your courage in speaking what you think, and expressing how you feel. I welcome your continued input in the arena of opinions that makes us Malaysian proud that we are all accepting of pluralistic discourse. Tahniah.

But quite frankly I think that your opinion is at best limp; and at worst … not worth mentioning..

It is truly unreal how naïve and gormless some people get, when they are blinded by their inherited and indoctrinated political ideas that they fail to see their own contradictions. I’m often stuck between pitying and being angered by some of our fellow countrymen and countrywomen, who in this case (and most others) I am specifically referring to BN, MCA members. For the sake of ease, I will explain this whilst replying to Tan Chin Meng’s pitiful article a few days ago.

Pakatan Rakyat Perak state assemblymen are trying to gain votes and pushing the blame away from themselves over the Vale SA iron ore distribution centre and palletising plant project in Teluk Rubiah, Manjung by claiming that the Barisan Nasional state government is not protecting the environment and dismissing the health of the people.

By the way, before I start, a friendly advice from a little nobody like me may go a long way sometimes. VALE is building a PELLETISING plant… not palletising plant. I don’t think Mr Neves would be very happy if your good for nothing government only approved their plans to be a palletising plant…

So are you saying that allowing an iron ore pelletising plant with no publicly aired plans to limit environmental damage, and to neutralising hundreds of thousands of ringgit worth of touristic beautification IS protecting the environment and NOT dismissing the health of the people.

I hate to tell you this Dato’, you really ought to stop shooting yourself in the foot. I’m starting to get sympathy pains on your behalf… Kesian…

However, the facts speak for themselves, and it has been made clear during the state’s legislative assembly sitting that former Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin had signed a support letter for the project thus revealing Pakatan Rakyat’s lies and attempts to discredit the BN state government.

And if Dato’ Tan and his not quite so honourable chums in MCA, UMNO and BN can differentiate a supporting letter from and invitation-to-trade, from one CEO to another, we won’t be wasting the precious time of Perakians on such a heinous lie spun by Zambry.

Yes indeed, the facts do speak for themselves, and something has been made very clear in the state assembly; Zambry is well versed at peddling half truths and is a blatant liar. The UMNO BN government have little credit to take in the first place, so yours truly here, and Pakatan leaders have little to DIS-credit.

Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri Zambry Kadir has revealed the true face of Pakatan Rakyat by declassifying this confidential document proving that Pakatan Rakyat had attempted to hide the scandal by pushing the blame to BN while they claim to protect the interest of the people of Perak.

So let’s not insult the intelligence of the rakyat here. Lets say Dato’ Tan decides to tell the world that I’m an MCA sympathiser. All he needs to do is just black out everything in this letter apart from the first paragraph, and my signature on the bottom, and publish it in the press.

All he needs is copy of my NRIC, a forged signature, and Hey PRESTO! Howard Lee is the next proud member of MCA.

That’s what Zambry did with this whole saga, isn’t it? I doubt there’ll be many who would beg to differ.

Double standards

When Pakatan Rakyat was in control of the Perak state government, they had issued a letter of support welcoming Brazilian mining giant Vale SA. However, when Barisan Nasional recovered Perak, Pakatan started to discriminate against BN by practising double-standards over many issues and completely forgetting about the people’s welfare simply because they were focusing too much on advancing their own political interests.

Dato’ Tan. I really feel sorry for you. The audacity you employ here is so silly, it’s beginning to resemble a badly written comedy of errors.

Using the phrase ‘recovered Perak’ isn’t going to make an illegal power grab any less legal; any more glamorous; any less disgusting that it actually is; and certainly not going to garner you any more than one measly seat in the state assembly. No one from BN Perak has the right to talk about double standards and discrimination as the very fact that you’re still in the state assembly, let alone your being in the seat of government is the mother of all double standards.

Do I even need to touch on advancing political agendas? Surely on that subject, nothing beats a political coup d’etat that involves physically dragging a speaker of his chair and locking him in a room…

Their way of thinking is completely illogical, constantly changing their stands over the simplest issues. Pakatan can be described as a two-faced, ‘wishful-thinking’ political party as they constantly bring up the subject on how they were not allowed to complete their long-term political plans to solve the troubles faced by the people.

HELLO!!! Earth to Dato’ Tan!!

The Pakatan Rakyat EXCO started off offering Tanjung Hantu. They were never in a position to offer Teluk Rubiah. That’s the prerogative of Harta Makmur Sdn Bhd. As it’s a PRIVATE LAND! Up until now, Pakatan are still maintaining the stance of Tanjung Hantu being the first choice. As to the rest of that paragraph, I really have no idea to what you are referring to and what you’re trying to say.

Please, allow me the honour of inviting you to list your examples of Pakatan Rakyat being so-called two-faced and wishful-thinking. Just let me start this invitation to dialogue with an example of your party’s two faced, flip-flop-u-turning, constant-mind changing stance: MCA on Lynas. Say no more….

I urge Pakatan Rakyat state assemblymen to abandon their old outdated political thinking in this 1Malaysia era where the people come first and the state government is supposed to implement policies which benefit the people.

Outdated eh? Pre-independence: the British split us up to Malay areas, Chinese areas, Indian Areas. We were conquered as we were divided. Geographic segregation bred cultural and racial animosity. Our national founding fathers didn’t like that. That was pre-independence. Today, BN is still segregated by race. Your coalition’s very existence is itself a testament of outdated political and social thinking….. So spare me the strength of my fingers and the calories that my brain metabolises by processing the stupid contradiction you just badly made.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Turning Wheel of Democracy: The story behind the scenes of the NO to Tmn Kemuncak Land Conversion Campaign-

Kah Woh was first engaged by Teresa on the issue, at a breakneckingly swift speed when she first found out about the planning application. Kah Woh was also rather expedient in the speed in which he drafted the petition introduction. The momentum was carried on almost at the speed of professional pressure groups and the efficiency of seasoned lobbyist, by Teresa, under the support and assistance of many more local residents.

At this juncture, there were some very bold, yet underhanded political maneuverings made by certain quarters, in an attempt to ‘hijack’ the issue in claiming it their own. I shall remain cryptic on this issue as those who understands what I’m writing here, can have a little chuckle at the failure of those undignified and cheeky attempts, at seeking glory without contribution.

This was when I had the privilege of meeting with Teresa, when I was immediately touched by her sincerity, assertiveness and focused manner. Moreover, it was the underlying modesty behind her courageous actions that made me work harder with her in making the petition-signing and submission a success.

Signatures came in like hot cakes, and the petition was on track for a respectable number well ahead of schedule. More importantly, what started off as 3-4 letters sent to specific addresses, in the space of 10 days or so, had transformed in to the hot topic discussed by everyone in the entire Ipoh Garden East. Those who knew about it were talking about it; and those who didn’t know about were more than likely being told about it. So, hats off to those who were involved in the dissemination of the message; a big thank you to those did the leg work of canvassing door to door for signatures; and heartfelt acknolwedgements to the likes of Teresa, Alan, Rajiv who kicked off the debate initially.

Like many operators within political folds, I have a multitude of opinions on most topics ad issues I come across. They normally conflict, which is great for academic and political purposes, as it presents the decision making mechanisms more choice, not to mention an ‘objectivity cushion’ for the debater to bounce around unscathed . This availability of choice though, does become a burden upon one’s own conscience and peace of mind as it become very difficult to decide upon a personal stance when the issue at hand affects one’s own life.

It can be said that I’m one of the many affected residents and my wife and I live in Taman Perak. As usual, I can see the many positive arguments and negative arguments in allowing or disallowing the planning application. Sometime, when deliberating within my own on an definitive stance on an issue, my mind goes off on very crazy tangents and almost always end up maiing some kind of political point out of the issue at hand…. (can’t guarantee this won’t happen hereJ)

Before I share with you my vote on the issue, I’d just like to share with you some of my thoughts thorugh my insignificant involvement in getting the ball rolling with the NO campaign...

The main arguments bouncing around the walls of Kopitiams, as well as on the wall of the facebook group is that the residents don’t want to ‘live near the dead’, or ‘be near a place full of death’. Others are citing their dissatisfaction towards the prospective increase in traffic into the area, in the case of the proposal being realized. Some are speculating the drop in the value of their property and others’ in the area if and when the colambarium/crematorium is built.

All of the above are valid arguments against the application. I wouldn’t say any of them are particular strong arguments, but nonetheless, they are how the residents feel and that’s that. A vote by a big strong muscular healthy man, isn’t any more or less of a vote than a skinny, short and fat and ill man. In fact, by going down that chain of thought, the needn’t even be a reason for one’s support or objection of the application. But I’d like to take this opportunity to articulate my personal reasons.

Here goes;

Despite the fact that the proposed project will affect all houses and shops which happen to be en-route to the proposed site when entering the area from all major routes, only 3-4 house were informed of the application. That to me, as a resident who lives one of several routes that will DEFINITELY be affected in more ways than the obvious increase in traffic, is a blatant disregard of the importance of public consent.

Furthermore, If I’m not mistaken, the city councilor appointed to the area would also have been informed. Why did the residents contact Kah Woh instead of the city councilor for assistance as this is within the remit of the city council? More pressingly, why did the councilor not proactively seek feedback on the issue? And VERY importantly, how do we hold the councilor to account for not performing adequately or sufficiently in the proceedings of pushing for the residents agenda on the matter in hand.

Yes…. Lots of questions, isn’t there? But to me, that’s a good thing.

Insufficiency in the required publicity for planning applications

Yes, I realize that according to the planning regulations and legislations, what has been done is well and legally sufficient. That to me doesn’t give the application any more credence, it simply means tthat there are holes in the current legislations and regulations, and naturally need to be CHANGED.

My suggestion is, for a development (very loosely used term for this situation) of this scale and of such geo-social-political impact and sensitivity, there needs to be a much wider public notice mechanism involved in the consent seeking process. With it being a residential area, and therefore full of lamp-posts, how about having a laminated A4 sheet of paper, with a summary of the application cable tied to one in every 3 lamppost. On said summary, it will include details of how to support or object the application. It’s obvious why it’s better, and how it’s better. Every affected will have a much better chance of findng out, and therefore supporting or objecting the project. Greater transparency, with much better community communications; It’s a win-win proposal.

Yes, it’s a great deal more administration than is legally required by the town and country planning act 1976 but I genuinely feel that it’s absolutely crucial. If it wasn’t for the extremely enthusiastic and assertive, not to mention highly efficient way in which Teresa and her neighbours set the right things in motions and placed it in the hands of the right people, the NO campaign wouldn’t see the support it’s enjoying right now.

Holding councilors to task

The economic system that we live in, dictates that everyone who is financially compensated for a service, duty or task must be held to account for his/her performance. Failing that, would mean individuals being paid to do nothing, or worst still, being paid to do the opposite of what they’re supposed to do. That’s bad in any country!

Politics should be the same as any other profession or sector of service. We claim to live in a democratic system, with the different levels of legislative assemblies and representation. In Ipoh, there’s the Ipoh city council, the the Perak State Assembly, the federal Parliament, and the Upper house of Senate. Sounds like quite a robust system of lawmaking, and public interest assurance right? Let me just make the following points;

  • 1) Ipoh City Councillors are all political appointments.
  • 2) The Perak state assembly is chaired by an unelected individual who got there unconstitutionally, and the state executive(government) started this parliamentary term as opposition and have gotten into power without being re-elected. All in all, pretty unconstitutional!
  • 3) The current head of the current federal government, also didn’t start the current parliamentary cycle as our prime minister. He inherited it from either his father, or Tun Adbullah Badawi, depending on how deep you want to dwell.
  • 4) The upper house of the Federal legislature are also all political appointment.

Not so robust and not so democratic after all, is it? At least not here in Ipoh.

Returning to holding councilors to account, it think it’s unfair to blame the councilor directly and entirely for not doing the job. A big part of it is to do with the system, which allows incompetent individuals to be appointed to play an integral role in serving and representing the residents in matters within the remit of the city council.

The solution is simple: Restore the third vote.

At least, by experiencing the difficulties, it has highlighted things that we can bring to the fore to be discussed and suggested. The outcome of those discussions then will and can be put forward for our elected legislative representatives to propose so for it to be debated, and passed through the legislature to become law….. This is democracy at work!

And oh, If I haven’t made it clear enough, MY VOTE IS A NO to the land use conversion!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Part 1: a study on the approaches of PDRM and the Metropolitans police

30 days ago, in Kuala Lumpur, tear gas, water cannons, the army, different police units, were deployed under the orders of the government to deter, suppress and ultimately stop an organized, peaceful march organized by civil groups, to highlight irregularities and serious flaws in Malaysia’s electoral system. Weeks leading up to the march, Yellow items of clothing were blanket-ly banned, huge numbers were arrested; on the day itself, water cannons were used, tear gas canisters were thrown into open as well as enclosed spaces, including the compound of a fully functioning hospital to name but a few, but still 50,000 peaceful marchers turned up. Many were injured, one was killed, a message was hopefully sent. No satisfactory answers have been given.

In London 30 days later, what started off being a peaceful protest by a very small group of local residents who were seeking answers to the death of an individual purportedly caused by the police, spiraled out of control. Youths turned rioters and looters, rode on the wave of discontent to instigate a series of anarchistic attacks on buildings and individuals the following night. The third and last night, saw the peak of a three night long crescendo of riots, with 13 different towns and settlements within the greater London area seeing extreme violence in the forms of opportunistic looting, entire blocks of buildings being set on fire, people being physically attacked and robbed… what I’ve mentioned is far from being exhaustive…

What happened?

Regular sirens of ambulances, fire engines and police vehicles maybe part of the standard package in most London hotels; and no doubt is inclusive within the inventory of fixtures and fittings if you choose to rent or buy a property in London. It goes without saying, a heightened awareness of your immediate personal space, and a slightly increase base heartrate (…at all times) , and a needless to mention increased level of tetchiness, confrontational behavior, and fear of something bad happening etc etc etc ar all side effects of living in London.

Maybe I’m being a little doom and gloom here. Surely it can’t be any worse than any capital city?

What about the tolerant, multicultural, multinational, creative, cohesive, expressive and most of all PEACEFUL face of the city of London. All the aforementioned were available by the bucket loads… except for the the very last, capitalized and italisiced face. I, along with I’m sure millions of Brits and otherwise, who live in the UK, and have access to a TV saw scenes unfold that would only previously be seen on TV screens.

But last night, it was for real.

The sirens were loud and unrelenting; the calls by the Met Police acting commissioner to ‘clear the streets’, ‘ask the children to go home’, were spin chilling; the images of burning buildings and hoody’ied youths throwing heavy things against breakable things and looting to boot were scary; and the thought of innocent, law abiding, and until very recently peaceful lives being torn apart right before my eyes, not to mention it being only 4-5 tube stops away from where I was, was nothing nothing short of gut wrenching.

All this aside, what was at the forefront o my mind was an intensely uncomfortable debate unfolding as rapidly as the locations being broken on BBC news 24 to be the next affected by riots.

One side of my mind was asking : Why are water cannons, tear gas and more aggressive, if not more assertive force used? Surely the risk of political fall-out and a few injuries of thugs and criminals are negligible collateral damage to protect the livelihoods of people whose property and possessions are being destroyed, burnt down and looted? It doesn’t matter, how great the greater good is, and what political or social implications might be in stall, suppressing violence with equal force, to make an example of those who have offended is and best strategy for containment and prevention. And more importantly, stopping whats in front of our eyes that is stoppable, is more important that any philosophical argument. Some one’s gotto have the balls to make that call, surely!

How come the Malaysian police used watercannons and tear gas so readily with peaceful protesters, but the Metropolitan police wouldn’t move past the passive tactics which is allowing buildings to be burnt down and peoples’ lives being destroyed?

The other side of my mind was objecting loudly and vehemently: Apart from the political arguments that even the lowest grade of political spin doctors would see and obviously use, it’s a much deeper question at stake here. Firstly, the police needed to contain the situation and prevent it from getting even more widespread that it already has. Countering the violence with more violence would be a louder call-to-arms and more fuel for the ‘fence sitting’ potential anarchists out there, to take that leap of faith and tunr their anger into action. Furthermore, an untouched record of being a tolerant, civilized society who seeks the continuation of peace only thorugh peace, and a sudden U turn to suppress violence with further violence is essentially allowing years, even decades of social and political evolution to go up in flames.

To be continued….