Ah Long days are numbered…

Top Story: Number’s up for Ah Long!

KUANTAN: Now that most prepaid mobile phone users are registered, the authorities have a potent weapon to use against Ah Long.

They can now trace loan sharks through the telephone numbers printed on their call cards and advertisements. The police and the Housing and Local Government Ministry planned to check phone numbers used by moneylenders to verify whether or not they were licensed, said the deputy internal security minister yesterday.- more here

Finally - such a simple solution to a long standing problem.

I wonder if anyone figured it out previously when prepaids were not registered - that Ah Long distribute business cards and that these business cards have phone numbers. And you can, if you wish, call them and go undercover to find out where they are located and how they operate, pretend to be a borrower, and finally nab them.

In anycase, better late than never, let’s hope the authorities will use put technology to good use and clamp down on them.

ps: Does anyone know how the name Ah Long originated?

Front Page: State of civil service: Too few, or bloated?

Need more be said?

State of civil service: Too few, or bloated?
M.K. Megan

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has shot down a suggestion by Cuepacs that the civil service should be beefed up by an additional 200,000 employees by 2020 when Malaysia attains developed nation status…more

Well, what do you think?

Posted in: Front Page

Author's web site: http://www.monsterblog.com.my

Public sector negligence

It is unfortunate that so soon after I wrote the piece advocating a pay hike for civil servants that the following news came to my attention.

Summary: Zara Davies Abdul Rahman, a businesswoman and a mother of five chanced upon an accident last Wednesday (13th December 2006). A driver had hit a young highway road sweeper, later identified as Mohd. Yusry along the Elite highway. She stopped to help, and found that Mohd. Yusry was ’still alive but heavily concussed’. No one had called for ambulance, so she told the driver to do so.

After an ugly-go-round with the telephone operator, and more than an hour after the accident occurred, the driver finally allowed his car to be used to send Mohd. Yusry to the hospital. Another Samaritan drove his car (as the driver was too shook up to drive) and they followed Zara’s vehicle to the Klang hospital.

Unfortunately Mohd. Yusry died in the car on the way to the hospital.

Excerpts from Zara’s letter:

At 1.57pm I received a call from the phone number 03 3371 7989 - the ambulance control centre at the Klang Hospital. The guy in charge of the control centre asked to speak to me and asked for the location of the accident which I gave, adding that the victim was dying and that this was an extreme emergency.

The guy manning the control centre did not know my location, so I repeated it clearly and concisely. It seemed that he needed to understand it for himself otherwise he could not pass on the information and dispatch the ambulance. It was a frustrating conversation. I repeated the details of my location and he asked me if I was sure that Klang was the nearest hospital. I repeated firmly, yes.

I told him the injuries of the victim, hoping he would feel the urgency. Instead he wanted to know whether ‘dia jatuh motor ke…?’ I told him politely that his question was completely irrelevant and to hurry up with the ambulance. I had to hang up and attend to the victim. I called back at 2.06pm to ask if an ambulance had been dispatched. The same guy told me ‘belum’. He asked me the same questions. I answered them.

On the Federal Highway despite our attempts to notify motorists that we were in a state of emergency, many blocked our path and only relented to give way when I practically sat on my car horn.

I was so angry, my words were simple, ‘Kecuaian pihak hospital menghantar ambulans membantu mangsa ini telah mengecewakan rakyat’. (The negligence of the hospital in not sending an ambulance to help the victim has let the public down).

You can read the fully-published letter written by Zara recounting her experience here, or here.

It’s not a pretty letter, but it is what it is: we Malaysians are not a pretty nation.

It has been less than 3 months after NST highlighted the problem of ambulance crisis in our country. Other than the promise of 800 new ambulances, there doesn’t seem to be much follow-up to the story. Besides, a promise remains a promise — Rapid KL promised 100 accessible buses in 30 days, erm… sorry to point this out, but that was on the 26th September, today is the 18th December, you do the math.

Talk is cheap, unfortunately in situations such as this, it comes at a very heavy and tragic price.

Worse of all, it is reported that Zara ‘has received an intimidating call from the Klang Hospital authorities’ after the case was highlighted by DAP opposition leader Lim Kit Siang (link).

Now more than ever, we need to seriously monitor the quality of work of those in the public sector and SERIOUSLY enforce disciplinary actions against those who are deliberately negligent. We need a thorough review of the hospitals and other such service providers’ systems. We have been depending and literally putting our lives in the hands of these people, and if it’s you, dude, you wouldn’t want to be in Mohd. Yusry’s place.

And WHAT THE *@&#^% is with the people who drive slowly past an accident site to get the numbers of the wrecked cars?!?! Do you know that you are DIRECTLY contributing to a traffic jam, hence delaying help to the victims?!? Dahlah the road systems in Malaysia is not efficient, it gets WORSE when the greed and selfishness of people take over. Next time if you encounter an accident, feel free to stop and try to help. But if you are going to just gawk and jot down numbers, allow this blogger who is a Buddhist to remind you that it is disastrous karma to make money off the unfortunate.

Please do not brush it away as ‘not my problem’. Imagine it’s YOU or YOUR LOVED ONE involved in the car accident — life is full of the unexpected so never say never.

But yes, Datuk Chua Soi Lek, it is mostly your call now.

Posted in: Issues

Author's web site: http://www.suanie.net

Front Page: Peak hours levy - KL flirts with congestion fees

What do you think of this:

Peak hours levy: KL flirts with congestion fees

19 Dec 2006
Minderjeet Kaur

KUALA LUMPUR: Motorists used to stewing in the capital’s worsening traffic jams can look forward to an easier ride but it may come at a price.

On his first day at work, Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Ab Hakim Borhan said the time for road or congestion charges — much discussed and long in the pipeline — has finally arrived with the city’s improved public transportation.

Vehicles entering the city centre during peak hours will have to pay a levy. But the new Datuk Bandar’s proposal differs from the restricted zones of Singapore and London, where congestion charging has dramatically freed up traffic and reduced pollution.
… more here and here

And before we forget, welcome aboard, Datuk Ab Hakim!

Posted in: Front Page

Author's web site: http://www.monsterblog.com.my

Conference on Transportation and Education for Disabled Persons in Malaysia

Lift van from Mobiliti at the BAKTI-MIND Exhibition

The BAKTI-MIND Project organised a conference on education and transport at Bangunan Siti Hasmah from December 17 to 20, 2006. The theme of the BAKTI-MIND 2nd Annual Conference is “Empowering Persons with Disabilities (PWD) through Information Provision” which aimed at “Bridging the Critical Gaps in Transportation and Education for PWD in Malaysia.”

The current hot issue is accessible public transportation. This is the line that connects all the dots for disabled persons living in the community. Public transport is crucial to the lives of disabled persons. It allows them to go to school to get an education. It allows them to get to work and be gainful employed. It allows them to lead an active social life. It allows them to fulfil their cultural, political and religious aspirations. In short, being able to move around freely is, among others, the key to a gratifying life for disabled persons.

The three foreign speakers on transport spoke at length about alternative transportation for disabled persons. This mode of transportation is mainly door-to-door or point-to-point service using modified taxis or vans with lifts to ferry specifically wheelchair users, generally people with mobility impairments and other forms of disability. At the same time, Malaysian speakers shared about the state of public and alternative transportation in the country in relation to disabled persons, and also the infrastructure needed to make the entire system effective and practical.

Persatuan Mobiliti Selangor dan Kuala Lumpur is one of the only two groups providing door-to-door transport service for disabled persons in Malaysia currently. At RM3 per trip to anywhere within the Klang Valley, one can see that this service is heavily subsidised. Undeniably, they are doing an impressively good job in providing the transportation needs of disabled persons. Nevertheless their service is limited from nine to five on weekdays only. What happens to those who need transport after-hours and on weekends?

Public transport for the mobility-impaired such as buses and urban rails should be the main mode of transportation because of their vast network and resources. Alternative transport such as accessible taxis and lift vans can play a supplementary role by working on routes not served by public transport and for specific needs that cannot be fulfilled by public buses and trains.

The burden to provide accessible transport to disabled persons should not be left solely on the shoulders of Non-Governmental Organisations and a few private entities. Instead, the government should be proactive in drawing up a sustainable public transportation policy to ensure that no one community is marginalised or inadvertently left out. Technorati Tags: BAKTIdisabledMINDPeter Tantransport

Posted in: Issues

Author's web site: http://www.petertan.com/blog/

Appeal for Help

A reader of this blog Judie Teh is appealing for help for her sick father who is now in Kampung Segamat Baru in Johor. He was evacuated to this village when Segamat was affected by the floods last night. This village is now cut off by floodwaters and Judie’s father is running out of medication. (Mr Teh is a diabetic and is recovering from a stroke)

Judie who is located in Kuala Lumpur is trying to get medication to her father but to no avail. She has tried contacting the Red Crescent but they could not be reached.

If there are any blogger who knows someone or an organisation who can get into Kg Segamat Baru, please call her. You could help save a life. Her number is 016-2872191.

Help us to lend a hand by also spreading the word/blogging about this so this message may reach out further.

Judie just called with good news. A local clinic in Kg Segamat Baru apparently had some supplies of the medication for Mr Teh and he is now is good hands. Thank you for everyone who responded to the call. In times like this, bloggers can do a lot to assist each other. From Monster bloggers, our prayers are with those still cut off by the floods. Thank you.

So, have you been up to mischief?

This is interesting…

Adultery on the rise as women look for ‘love’

By : Minderjeet Kaur and Jennifer Gomez
KUALA LUMPUR: “Your cheating heart” could easily be the theme song for some couples these days.

It appears that more marriages are on the rocks because of extra-marital liaisons.

But here is the shocker: More women are now cheating on their husbands.

This has to be qualified, however, as they are usually the ones who were cheated first by their husbands.

Malaysian women are increasingly refusing to take being cheated lying down.
Marriage counsellors are noting a hike in the number of working women seeking professional help to sort out troubled marriages.

More here

What say you?

Sick nation: Non-communicable diseases affect 11.6m

It was a rainy Monday morning when I went to the mamak restaurant nearby my office for my usual roti kosong and nescafe ais. The shop owner accidentally spilled my morning coffee and dhal all over the plastic bag it was contained. I had to wait for another 10 minutes for them to replace my breakfast. To top it all off, I spotted the NST front page screaming that I may have NCD. Can Mondays get any worse?

(Actually I am sure it could.)

Sick nation: Non-communicable diseases affect 11.6m

KUALA LUMPUR: Seven out of 10 Malaysian adults suffer from at least one non-communicable disease like diabetes, hypertension or cancer.
Latest Health Ministry statistics show that 11.6 million of the 16 million adults nationwide are sick with an NCD.

And by all predictions, the numbers are going to get worse.

The ministry is predicting that the number of Malaysians with NCD is expected to increase to 13 million by 2015.

Health Ministry Deputy Disease Control Director (NCD) Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar blam-ed the situation on the lifestyle of Malaysians, which included higher use of tobacco, unhealthy diets and inactivity.

He said changes in the economic, social and demographic aspects of Malaysian life had led to a rise in NCD.

Raja Nazrin: Allow only honest officials to serve the nation

I’ve always liked the Raja Muda of Perak. So here’s another one of his inspirational speeches that perhaps could be… looked into?

KUALA LUMPUR: People without integrity, honesty and morality should be prevented from holding public office.

The Raja Muda of Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah said the fight against corruption should see good governance with figures in authority being qualified for such positions.

He said the corrupt should be held in contempt by society.

“Those with a chequered past or clear evidence of questionable morality should be prevented from taking office.

“There should be zero tolerance for corrupt practices,” he said in his lecture entitled “Towards a Decent Social Order for All Malaysians” at the Islamic Arts Museum yesterday. ( Story link )

Brief highlights from the First Malaysian Student Leaders Summit 2007

He’s at it again! This time the Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Dr Nazrin Shah says,

“The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. It guarantees the rights of every Malaysian. The integrity of that document must be protected at all cost.

The Constitution was a cleverly crafted document which clearly provided for adequate checks and balances against excesses through the separation of powers between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, each protected from encroachment by the other, he said.

“It has often been said that many a misunderstanding may be avoided if principles embodied in the Constitution are adhered to strictly. Upholding the rule of law is paramount.” ( Story link )

Indeed, I have not heard consistent clear reasoning from any leaders for the longest time, on any topics. When was the last time you heard something that did not contain warnings, threats, name-callings, keluar dari negara ini, act of God, [you name it] ?

You can read the whole speech from this link. One good word of advise from his keynote address, “Let us not be naive in thinking it is all a rosy picture. There is still much room for improvement.”

Another ‘highlight’ is the following:

Students boo over remarks that they can freely express views

KUALA LUMPUR: Boos and catcalls greeted Datuk Rafiah Salim when she said public university students had the freedom to express their thoughts and ideas.
Several hundred dissenting voices rang out when the Universiti Malaya vice-chancellor, when taking a question from the floor, said there was “no such thing as students being unable to address their concerns”.

Hearing their disapproval, Rafiah retorted: “Behaviour like this is exactly what causes people not to respect you. You won’t even give me a hearing. And you won’t get respect.

Heh, I would have loved to be there.