Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Crowd Spilling Out After Terawih Prayer

I havent written anything for some time. A bit busy.

These are essentially the same picture, taken one after another. One with flash and the other without.
Masjid An Noor, 101 Deans Avenue,

The Imams for Terawih prayer here, tried the very best to follow the steps of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
Let me tell you the ritual here.
After Isha' prayer, Sheikh Salleh would normally give a small talk about prayer, or fasting or a small snippet of Hadith and a simple explanation. Usually about 5 minutes. Then individuals would perform sunat Isha' and then Terawih, the first lot is 2 rakaat and then 2 rakaat. The verses of Quran read during terawih prayer is usually long. I would say about 15 minutes worth, maybe less, but when you are standing and trying to concentrate, you might fall asleep standing. I did, but I didnt fall, you know just few seconds of almost asleep.. That how bad I am.

After the 4th rakaat, the Imam would sit down, and another Imam would stand and give talk about prayer. Yesterday he talked about Witr prayer. It was narrated through 'so and so', sorry I dont remember the names here, that Rasullullah used to do Witr in odd numbers, 1,3,5,7,9,11 and 13. Sometimes 3 rakaat, sometimes 7 rakaat, and sometimes 11 rakaat, so on and so forth, but never more than 13. Raullullah did said that 'dont make it like Maghrib prayer' meaning break it into 2 and 1, and not 3 rakaat before salam.

The second lot of 4 rakaat terawih prayer is usually led by Sheikh Salleh until finish with 3 rakaat Witr. The qunut is usually long.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Malaysia Budget, what are our priorities?

Budget discussion as in Malaysiakini TV.

Spare a nick of time to read a section of the budget. The budget allocation is 10.9% higher than last year, resulting in fiscal deficit of 3.2%. Meaning we will continue to print more money to finance this deficit. Meaning inflation continue to be used as a form of tax. Taxing the general populace to finance top down centric and directed economy.
(Rather than the market finding and improving its efficiencies, Govt officials plan and encourage certain sector to flourish by allocating incentives and funds)

As in my previous posting, I support reduction in corporate taxes and investment in human resources.
No reduction in individual income tax? Is that a big issue?
To me individual income taxes is already low. We cannot encourage a culture of 'tax someone else, but not me'. But I dont see any distribution where it should be, to the low income workers. The increase of RM100 to poor old retirees and disabled is pathetic. And the offer of Govt Bond with 5% yield is similar to silap mata. How many of the retirees have that much money in the first place. Worse, given inflation rate of the basket of goods that these retirees buy (rice, bread, fish and meat etc) running at about 5% plus, the Govt is practically stealing their money.
To the retirees, please find other forms of investment that return more than that.

I like the idea of encouraging fund management industry. But please dont put that ownership clause of 30% Bumiputera ownership. That is like saying 'please come' but open the door only an inch, letting only the most agile cat to come in but not real people. Its designed to give influential people who want to get into fund management a cheap ride. Who would that be? Wink wink.

Shall continue reading...

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Malaysia Budget, a step in the right direction

Two years ago, I wrote this article, which was published in letter to editor section of Malaysiakini and Malaysia-today.
I do not get all I wish in one go of course, but some stuff that I suggested back then is in the policy.
e.g;1) Reduce corporate tax.
2)Investment in human resources, free school books can qualify for that.
No I havent read all about the budget. So I reserve final comment until I finish reading.

That is the gist from what I read in the IHT online.

Malaysia's budget cuts corporate tax, dangles carrot to attract Islamic funds
The Associated Press
Published: September 7, 2007

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: The Malaysian government announced Friday a further corporate tax reduction, and offered Islamic fund management companies concessions — including full foreign ownership and a nine-year tax holiday — as part of the 2008 budget.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi also unveiled steps to stimulate the property sector, and said he was abolishing all school fees, which had already been negligible, in government schools. Textbooks will be free, he said.

"The budget will focus on three main strategies, namely enhancing the nation's competitiveness, strengthening human capital development and sharing the well being of all Malaysians," he said, reading out the budget.

Corporate tax, already slated to go down to 26 percent in 2008, will be reduced to 25 percent in 2009 to "enhance the nation's competitiveness and spur the growth of private investment," Abdullah said in announcing the 176.9 billion ringgit (US$50.54 billion; €38.87 billion) budget.

Corporate tax is currently 27 percent.

"I am confident that this reduction will have spillover effects in terms of economic growth and employment opportunities," he said. But he disappointed most Malaysians by failing to provide any other tax reliefs, including in personal income tax.

In a bid to consolidate its position as a global Islamic financial hub, Malaysia will allow foreigners to fully own Islamic fund management companies, he said. The government's pension scheme, the Employment Provident Fund or EPF, will channel 7 billion ringgit (US$2 billion; €1.53 billion) to be managed by Islamic fund management companies.

These companies will be given income tax exemption on all fees received until 2016, and will be allowed to invest all their assets abroad. At the same time, the government said it will issue three new stockbroking licensees to companies that can source investment funds from the Arab countries.

Abdullah said the government will let Malaysians make monthly withdrawals from the EPF to finance house purchases. The scheme will make available up to 9.6 billion ringgit (US$2.74 billion; €2.1 billion) annually for buying houses.

The government will also give 50 percent stamp duty exemption on the purchase of a house worth less than 250,000 ringgit (US$72,000; €55,000). The measure will reduce the cost of purchasing a house by up to 2,000 ringgit (US$571; €440).

Friday, September 07, 2007

MTUC and Politics

my writing is in Malaysiakini letter to editor section today.

Everyones attention is on the budget today. I shall comment on that later.
MTUC needs political clout
Noor Yahaya Hamzah
Sep 7, 07 1:36pm Adjust font size:

I refer to the malaysiakini report MTUC digesa 'kembali kepangkal jalan'.

I disagree with the so-called component trade union organisations which called for MTUC to desist from making a political stance and affiliation. It’s not that MTUC is 'joining' or supporting opposition parties, but rather the opposition parties are supporting MTUC in its fight for minimum wage and better working conditions.

I believe that if MTUC make a political stand, supporting whatever party that support sand fights for MTUC's causes, then MTUC would make headway in its fight for minimum wage and better working conditions.

Why do I say that?

Well, in Malaysia, as in any other democratically-governed countries, political clout will get you power, and power will translate to getting things done in the form of law provisions. When things are written down as law of a country, then citizens have to do things according to the law.

Do you see the missing link here? MTUC doesn’t have the political clout, hence it cannot elect or sway members of parliament who are sympathetic to its causes. So whatever MTUC wants, eg, a Minimum Wage Act, the MPs don’t give a damn. It is probably a case of our MPs already being swayed by parties who don’t want minimum wage laws.

According to this malaysiakini report Pemimpin MTUC jangan jadi juara politik kata Ketua Pemuda Umno, Johor Umno Youth chief Razali Ibrahim discouraged MTUC from getting involved in politics.

This fellow knows that if MTUC is a political force which can deliver a block vote of 10 million plus, then any political party which rubs MTUC the wrong way will be finished!

Human Resources Minister Dr Fong Chan Onn knows about this too. So he is using his deputy, Abdul Rahman Bakar to threaten the MTUC with de-registration.

Pigs Might Fly(2)

I passed through Masjid Tanah town once, back in the early 90's on the way to that beach with a few big stones. I liked seeing that old masjid, not sure if it was built from clay or not. The village environment was peaceful.
I am not sure that its peaceful now, with the 150,000 pigs making their home in the neighbourhood.
Alas the Pig Issue in Melaka hasnt calmed down, and the racial tension that comes with this issue is simmering.
The latest news from Malaysiakini website says that the land belongs to PKNM and Yayasan Melaka. One question immediately comes to my mind, who is the Govt servant that approve the land to be used for piggeries? He or she should be culled first! Just imagine that, a piggery not far from a housing area!

Where else but in Malaysia, where any issue can become political issue.
Consider this;
The pig farmers were permitted to have 48,000 pig.
How many do they keep? 150,000.
Okay, okay, these farmers might not be well educated, and we can give them the benefit of doubt. But more than 100,000 extra? Oh come on.
I believe that State Govt has the right to cull the extra number of pigs, down to 48000. Because the farmers cant count, so let the State Govt count for them.

It has become such a big issue in Malaysiakini because the pigs worth a lot of money to the farmers. I do not know why other newspapers hasnt devote much space into this. Too sensitive? Racially charged?

Well, at the end of the day, the planned culling was stopped, to the relief of the enforcement officers who has the unenvieable task to killing the pigs. That was common sense. After all, who want to do it in the first place. You would have recurring nighmares for the years to come.

I concur with KTemoc, its iether the nearby residents move away from the piggery vicinity or the piggery move away from the village where people lives.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Flying Pig

Some years back I used to live near the main road in Telok Panglima Garang. This main road is the only road connecting Klang and Kuala Langat. So it was pretty busy most of the time.
I used to have bicycle, and I used to cycled to go around in the neighbourhood, to the market or just getting some exercise. I even cycled to Banting and Morib.

Now, there is one hazard of cycling on the main road, beside the fast lorry and cars that I dont like. Its the lorry carrying live pigs. If the lorry goes in the same direction with you, you would know its coming until the lorry passed you. Most of the time you would get rained on (as in pigs urine) before the unbearable stink.
I suppose motorbike riders also face the same problem. I pity those who got stuck behind lorry carrying pigs in a traffic jam.

In those days, in Kuala Langat district some pig farmers set up pigsties under palm oil trees. Typically these pigsties are overcrowded, and the waste would flow into the nearest river, creating pollution for miles downstream to the sea.
This discharge of pig waste into the local watershed is plainly irresponsible and should stop. Rivers that should be clean and alive with fish become dead and dirty.

In the West, pig farms are normally large in size, and they treat their own wastewater onsite. No discharge of dirty water into local river. If any farmer pollute local waterways, they will be fines as well as pay the cost of cleaning up. For repeat offender, their business will be closed down.

Compare that to environmental polluters in Malaysia. Some of them has been doing that for years and years, yet they seem to get away with it.
So I am rather happy with Melaka Govt for taking hard stand with pig farmers as in this report in Malaysiakini.

I reckon the pig farmers has been taking advantage of the enforcement people aversion towards pigs. So they push their luck, and doing nothing to improve their pig rearing practices. Pig farmers know that Malays/Muslims have aversion towards pigs, and the Malays/Muslims would normally move away from pig farming areas. Sort of insidious way of taking over a Malay/Muslim area/constituency. Malays move off, they can buy the land cheap, and expand operation.
So who gave the pig farmers the permit to operate? If that fellow is a Malay/Muslim, he must be dumb idiot.
read the stories here, here and here. Nowhere else but in Malaysiakini, other newspaper doesnt highlight this issue because of sensitivity. I also reckon Malaysiakini is playing up this issue as if siding with the pig farmers.

Does anyone cares about the environment? There is no fish left in the river, killed by pig waste.

Such a dirty business.
Let them finished off selling their pigs, maybe until end of next month. We dont want the image of draconian Govt 'yang tak kesian kat orang'. The remaining pig farms should be forbidden from discharging waste into local waterways, and they must treat their water waste.

MTUC, Politics, Power and Getting 'what they want'.

Reading this report in Malaysiakini by Muda Mohd Noor, I disagree with the so called components trade union organisations who called for MTUC to desist from its political stance and affiliation. Its not that MTUC 'joining' or supporting Oppositionm parties, but rather the Opposition parties are supporting MTUC in its fight for minimum wage and better working conditions.

I believe that if MTUC make its political stance, suporting whatever party that support and fight for MTUC's causes, then MTUC would make headway in its fight for minimum wage and better working conditions.
Why do I say that?
Well, in Malaysia, and any other democratically governed countries, political clout would get you in power, and power would translate to gettting things done in the form of law provisions. When things are written in law of the country, then citizens has to do things according to the law.
Do you see the missing link here? MTUC doesnt have the political clout, hence cannot elect or sway MP's who are symphatetic to its causes. So whatever MTUC want, e.g. Minimum Wage Law, the MPs couldnt give a damn. Or its probably the case whereby our MPs are already swayed by parties who doesnt want Minimum Wage Law.

Reads this report also in Malaysiakini which stated that Ketua Pemuda Umno Johor, Datuk Razali Ibrahim discourages MTUC from getting involved in politics, meaning this fellow knows that if MTUC is a political force, which deliver a block vote of 10 million plus, then any political parties which rub MTUC the wrong way would be finished!

Human Resources Ministry under Datuk Dr Fong Chan Onn knows about this too. So he is using his deputy, Datuk Abdul Rahman Bakar to threaten MTUC with deregister.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Komiyum and Vibuthi

I am refering to this letter in Malaysiakini; Indian eateries: Lodge report against mischief-maker.
Now someone has let the cat out of the bag. Before this most of us Malaysian do not know about these words. Now that we know, Malaysian Muslims would think 3-4 times before entering and eating at a Hindu restaurant. Thanks to our Hindu friends like Krisnad who wrote this letter to Malaysiakini and Vijai who responded to my previous blog and Umar Rentaka.
I copy Krisnad letter below. Umar Rentaka explained that cows urine is used to ward off evil and its also antiseptic, so its being used to clean the restaurant...
Malaysian have used Dettol for a long time, I suppose its expensive..

Well I have no problem with that, you are free to wear your ancestors ashes.
Umar Rentaka said 'By the way, Hindus, sprinkle cow urine on floor to purify it and not to get the blessings from our God. Cow urine is best for warding off evil spirits. It is also anti-septic.'

Thanks for letting us know.
From now on I would think 3-4 times before entering Hindu restaurant, let alone eat there.

Let me explain why;
For a Muslim, piss and poo(shit) are najis. If you wear them to prayer, your prayer is not acceptable. Sembahyang tak sah!
And to enter restaurant that has been cleansed with piss? Its like eating in the toilet. I dont think many Muslim would do that either!

Indian eateries: Lodge report against mischief-maker
Sep 4, 07 4:42pm Adjust font size:

I wish to refer to the malaysiakini report, Another e-mail raises ire of religious group.

‘MJH’ - the person who wrote the e-mail - should have the proper attitude, astuteness, brilliance and broad-mindedness to argue and put forward his points for Malay Malaysians rather than to take cheap shots. Now, the Muslim Consumers' Association of Malaysia says that there is no one by that name in their organisation.

‘Komiyum’ (bovine urine) and ‘vibuthi’ (turmeric powder) are only used during washing of a new premises before any start of business to signify the cleanliness of the premises. None of the two items are used by Indian eateries in their daily routine.

So it is very naughty and sinister of ‘MJH’ to claim something without cross checking with a reputable organisation like the Malaysian Hindu Sangam. He aimed to create ill-feelings among Malaysians.

I would like to see the political parties claiming to champion Indian Malaysians to lodge a police report against the website Tranungkite.net and this ‘MJH’.

We should get rid of morons like MJH who those who retard the Malaysian march to the year 2020.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Boycott Coke.

A few days ago my sister emailed me this picture.
From the picture, I can deduce that the men were sujud, doing prayer as on jemaah formation. The style of the turban looks like they are of Balkan or Turkey origins.
But wearing 'Coke'kopiah and dress?
Technically, its okay to wear a shirt emblazoned with Coke or Pepsi or whatever brand while doing prayer. But I feel that Coke make fun of Muslims doing prayer. If the point of Coke advertising is to show that Coke is revered and accepted by all cultures, I believe that this advertisement would generate indignation among Muslims.

The meaning of Coca-Cola.

I dont drink Coke anyway. Or any other fizzy drink.
Its full of sugar, has no nutritional value and grossly overpriced. I drink water or milk any day.
Why would you buy overpriced Coke when you can buy water? Pure water if its served chilled taste good.
Another thing is that sugar is not good for you.

Abd Rahim Green lecture on Coke

On the subject of boycott, I saw this report in Malaysiakini that there is an email going around calling for boycott of Hindu restaurants in Malaysia because they sprinkled stuff on food. Or was it on their shop floor?
Wasnt the purpose of them sprinkling the stuff is to get blessing from their gods?

Let me remind my fellow Muslims to eat what is halal and avoid what is haram. And if you are not sure, its best to leave it.

Does this mean I am calling for boycott of Hindu restaurant? No.

Monday, September 03, 2007

One Merdeka story.

It has been 50 years. How times flies.
So we did celebrate, at times to the excess, and this time more so. Malaysian Associations see it fit and proper to organise a Merdeka do ie 'makan-makan, ucapan, show and dance'. Not just in Malaysia but also overseas. Millions of ringgits have been spent on flags, decorations, lightings and whatever.

The people feel patriotic, love the country even more. And forget about their daily struggle and pains for a day, a few days maybe.

In essence a national day is good for the country, and for the economy. People have a holiday for sure. And if you are working for the Govt or a company, your holiday is paid. If you are working on that day, sure you would get extra money.
Even though I feel that we are splashing to the excess, if the money circulate within the country its okay.

My first experience in joining the march on Merdeka Day was in 1981, when I was at school in KL. We were asked to join the march carrying the National flag on Merdeka Day, and paid RM6 back then, everyone of us. A couple of days before the Merdeka Day, we were bussed to KL in front the soon to be Dayabumi for the training of the march. We were given instruction of what to do, and when. We were given a national flag each, a blue T-shirt and a blue cap, with the words Merdeka and Malaysia, not so sure anymore. That day was hot, but sure it was exciting. When the D-Day, oops Merdeka Day comes, we were bussed early to KL for the march. Most of my colleagues, the 5th form students were wearing jeans and the given t-shirt and cap. I was the only one wearing black trousers back then, because i didnt have jeans.
So when it was our turn to march towards Sultan Abdul Samad Building, we walked as directed and looked at the dais where the VIPs were sitting. Saw the PM and TPM standing in the middle. Back then the PM was Tun Hussein Onn.

On we walked until Jalan Tuanku Abd Rahman where the march ended, for us. We didnt go back to the hostel, instead we went to see a Malay movie at the then Pawagam P. Ramlee. Me and 2 or 3 other friend (dont really remember, it was a long time ago). After the movie we had nasi campur at a stall near the Pawagam P Ramlee, Jalan Sultan Sulaiman.
A Malay man asked us if we want to sell our t-shirt. Collectively we said no. It was the only thing to show that we had taken part in Merdeka parade.
That school holiday, my Merdeka t shirt and cap were show off material in my kampung.
No I dont have it anymore, I dont even remember what happened to them.