Saturday, February 28, 2009

Perak - Calmness Before Storm

The continuing saga of the power struggle in Perak has taken a new twist - the speaker V Sivakumar called for an emergency sitting of the state assembly on March 3, saying this is resumption of the previous sitting which was adjourned last November. As such, according to the speaker, a royal consent from the Sultan is deemed not necessary.

Is it constitutional to call a DUN sitting without the required royal consent? That leaves plenty of room for legal interpretation.

Inevitably, Perak is now embroiled in a constitutional crisis serious enough to cast reasonable doubts on the legitimacy of the state government.

With the 7 UMNO assemblymen being barred by V Sivakumar from DUN sitting and 3 other assemblypersons having "resigned" as ADUN, PR now has the majority votes in the assembly.

Topping the agenda of the emergency sitting are a vote of confidence on Nizar and a motion to dissolve the DUN. Effectively PR is manoeuvring towards having fresh elections. According to the poll results, this is what the rakyat are asking for.

Perhaps the voters should really be given the final say on the ongoing crisis in Perak!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Proverbs - A Book of Wisdom

Proverbs 31: 30 says, "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised".

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Stephen Walsh & Paul Greenwood - Nabbed For Frauds In United States

This recession seems to be laden with frauds. As the assets deteriorate, more and more fraudulent dealings start to surface.
The latest con men are Stephen Walsh and Paul Greenwood in United States.
Are there more to come?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dubling Unting Ingkot's Death - Now Is PKR Versus PRS

The death of Batang Ai assemblyman Dubling Unting Ingkot has stirred up the otherwise tranquil political scene in Sarawak. All heads have turned to this eastern state as a battleground has now been set for PR to test its viability in this dominantly BN environment.

Some called it an acid test for PKR (the likely PR component party to fight against BN).

I agree wholeheartedly with the commentator and the most apt term that he used.

DSAI has been on high profile lately making inroads into Sarawak since the state is on the run-up to the next state elections. Sarawak is a must for PR in its race to Putra Jaya.

One thorny issue for the upcoming by-election in Batang Ai is the NCR land. This sticky issue would definitely be hotly propagated.

Let's wait and see!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Borneo Talk - A Mission Possible

Bumi Serasi started off the magazine to call it "Kuching Talk". Although the horizon was not just confined to the capital city, but the name itself was a limiting factor.

Probably with that in mind, the publisher recently renamed the tourism publication "Borneo Talk" to give a sense of wider geographical coverage.

With the name change, I hope Bumi Serasi would set a greater mission to take the state's tourism to a greater height.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Together We Serve Our God

It is a tremendous blessing for us to serve God together in MAF of Sibu East District!
We met this evening to check on our work progress and thrash out some finer details of it. It was over some tea and snacks that we put our hands and heads together for God's sake.
I praise Lord for the wonderful working relationship and fellowship with the brothers and sisters.
O God,give us the courage to serve as faithful disciples in the world around us. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Rev. Tie King Tai - The Kind of Worshippers The Father Seeks

I missed Rev. Tie King Tai's sermons on two Sundays at Methodist Masland Church whilst away on worldly matters last year.

Rev. Tie's messages are well organised and he is concisely explicit in his exposition of biblical points. That makes his sermons enlightening.

This morning, Rev. King Tai was again invited to preach at Methodist Masland Church on "The Kind of Worshippers The Father Seeks".

Quoting John 4:20-24, Rev. Tie, who is now Methodist Theological School's principal, defined the purpose of worship as "not seeking to receive, but endeavouring to give to God".

"Worship God with spirit and truth. Uphold the truth in your daily lifestyle, both in private and public", Rev. Tie called on the congregation.

As leaders, you have to live a holy life. Your morality is not confined to your public lifestyle - your private style of living is equally important.

Rev. King Tai's message this morning was relevantly good.
The photo shows Rev. Dr. Tie King Tai. (Photo: )

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Anwar In Sarawak Today - Over The Seat Allocations

DSAI flew in today to reconcile the stand-off between PKR and DAP over seat allocations in the thorny Chinese-majority constituencies in Sarawak.
The State DAP has been adamant on contesting all the Chinese-dominant areas. The State PKR, on the other hand, would like a deal to be reached.
With the footsteps of the next state elections getting louder, it is time for the charismatic Anwar to straighten out the deadlock.
DSAI looks confident!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Eastern European Economy - Probably On Hard Landing

Eastern Europe is on the verge of a financial crisis similar in nature to the Asian Financial Crisis erupted in 1997!

Yesterday the local currencies took a dive, trading at a sentiment most worrisome to the analysts. The sign was clear that the foreign funds were on outflow to seek safe heaven.

Eastern Europe is heavily burdened with foreign debts and it has been relying on foreign funds to drive its economy.

During good times, all seemed to go well. Now with the globe in recession, Eastern Europe is one of the hardest hit zones. Like Asia, Eastern Europe is export-oriented, but it is very much financially fragile when compared with the former.

IMF and World Bank have got to come in now to rescue the region.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Get-Rich-Quick Schemes In United States

In the wake of the financial tsunami that erupted last year in September, to date, two fraudulent schemes operating on high, quick returns basis to lure investors into parking their bucks have been probed and subsequently charged in United States.

The first bombshell stunning the whole world was Madoff who operates a Ponzi scheme, allegedly to have conned unsuspecting investors of billion dollars.

Two days ago, Texas billionaire Allen Stanford was suspected to have been involved in a fraudulent multi-billion dollars investment scheme centering on an $8 billion CD (Certificates of Deposits) programme. The promise, again, was on lucrative returns at much higher rates than that offered by banks. Allen Stanford is presently facing a charge in court.

The above fraudulent financial schemes are quite similar to the get-rich-quick pyramid schemes sweeping over Malaysia about eight years ago. Not less than one million Malaysians were lured into the schemes, ending up with majority of them losing hard-earned savings. Some eloquent-tongued sales agents tried to talk me into taking up the schemes, but I held back since the schemes were economically illogical.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Elizabeth Wong - A Rising Political Star Gunned Down

Elizabeth Wong of PKR seems to be so helpless in her nude photo scandal, and she is certainly pitiful. She eventually chose to step down by resigning for the good of the party.

She labelled the controversy as a political plot to bring discredit to PKR. But the political reality is not on her side to give sympathy.

EW was simply gunned down in the course of a political agenda now going on!

Land Scamming - An Unending Agony

Land scamming abounds in Malaysia. It is escalating at an alarming rate, giving land owners a lot of sleepless nights.
This burning issue has been brought up for debate for years, but to date there is no light yet at the end of the tunnel.
The Adorna's case in year 2000 (Adorna Properties Sdn. Bhd. vs Boonsom Boonyanit, Federal Court of Malaysia, 13/12/2000) diverted effectively the protection under our legal system from owners to buyers, meaning in such disputes over rightful ownership, land owners stand to lose.
According to Sin Chew Daily yesterday, gone was another piece of land in Selangor worth about RM 40 million.
In a series of bogus transactions, the said land ownership was being transfered away from the rightful owner illegally.
The Adorna set a precedent which would be disadvantageous to the said owner in his courtroom battle to get his land back.
Now there is this market talk that even if you put your land title under lock, your land may still not be safe - and, worse still, the law is very much on the side of the cheats.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Saint Valentine's Day At Selangau

This eatery is adjacent to Methodist Selangau Preaching Point. Clean and spacious, it serves pretty delicious foods!
We are on board the Bas Sekolah taking us to Selangau. It was truly a blessed trip, with so much to praise the Lord for! Yong Ling gave a gesture of peace, seemingly to tell us to leave the trip to God.

Before the foods were served, it was a wonderful fellowship time, giving brothers and sisters an opportunity to interact with each other. Seating in the centre is Mr. Ling from Methodist Zion Church.

We came not specifically to savour the delectable dishes, but to share the love of God with the fellowshippers of Selangau.

Our DS Rev. Wong missed no time to share his views.

It was a truly brotherly and sisterly occasion.

Eu Tieng Ching (centre) has always been generous in her smiling!

I didn't quite get it, but I believe it has got to be a good joke.

Please get it right - it was not a rountable meeting!

All were ready to kick off the evening of sharing.

Anything you do for one of your brothers, however humble, you do it for Christ Jesus.

Delectable steamed fish head - a dish you can't afford to miss.

A sing-along time.

Our DS Rev Wong Koi Fo shared a good message.

It was the quiz time. Ling Yieng Ley must have been given a hard time by Peter Goh - her quizzical look tells it all.

Yii Yong Ling (L) was kind enough to sponsor all the prizes for the evening's quiz.

Peter Goh gave a wonderful power-point presentation on Methodist Wesley Church's short-term mission in Kampuchea. Humorous and concise, and despite him having a sore throat, Peter's sharing was very enlightening.

A group photo after the gathering. Rev. Wong Tuong Toh ( 3rd from left) and Rev. Liu Hui Dak (3rd from right) are our advisors.

Selangau is located halfway between Sibu and Mukah, taking about one hour by driving to reach.
This small town is not to be missed for those gourmets who love wildlife delicacies. According to my source of information, the eateries serving the delectable dishes are quite authentic.
But that was not the chief attraction bringing the MAF of Sibu East District to selangau on Feb. 14, the day the lovers across the globe celebrated Saint Valentine's Day.
As our DS Rev. Wong Koi Fo put it in his thought-provoking message, "achieve contentment through sharing the love of God with your brethren'. Quoting 1 Timothy 6:6-13, Rev. Wong advised brothers and sisters not to wander from the faith and pierce ourselves with many griefs.
Precisely, we drove the one-hour journey to Selangau not to let the wild boar meat to whet our appetite, but to share the love of God with the fellowshippers of Methodist Selangau Preaching Point, extending to them our caring hands.
The fellowship gathering started right away after our filling meal. The evening was a non-stop two-hour programme comprising of sing-along, DS's message, IQ / biblical quiz, power-point presentation on the short-term mission to Kampuchea etc. The time we had had together was wonderful and it was really brotherly and sisterly.
The dinner was delectable although the much renowned wild boar dish was somehow not in the menu. It would certainly have been an additional plus had the delicacy been served to tickle our taste buds.
Nontheless, it was a blessed visitation trip. Don't brood over too much the minus (the wild boar meat). Instead, let the joy of God be with all of us on this glorious occasion.
See you in selangau in 2010!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Confidence Is More Important Than Gold Now

The world economy is dwindling down at an alarming pace. Rich nations and developing economies alike, economic growth is contracting fast, driving people from top to bottom phobic.

Britain's economy is likely to shrink 2.5% this year. A member of of G7 ( the so-called rich men's club), Britain is really heading for deep recession. The Governor of Bank of England (the central bank) Mervyn King said recently that the Bank will launcha policy of "quantitative easing" (meaning to print a lot of money).

This nature of gloomy news is non-stop nowadays. It is truly hard for investors to stay firm in confidence facing the depressing outlook. And investor confidence is so crucial these days that, without which, a sinking economy would not revive.

As Wen Jiabo put it recently in an interview with Financial Times, "confidence is the most important thing, more important than gold or currency".

With uncertainties abound now about how quickly the various measures taken by the authorities around the world - banking rescues, fiscal stimulus packages, interest rate cuts and printing money- would work, what would you expect investors to do - dump money into a sea of uncertainties?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Economic Stimulus Package

Be them developed or developing, nations across the globe are rolling out economic stimulus packages, all tailor-made to suit individual needs, to shore up the sinking economies. From the States to Malaysia, the reeling economic trends have prompted the decision makers to crack their heads hard to come out with revival plans.

China was one of the earliest to pump in to stimulate the economy. There the factories are closing down like a domino effect. The unemployment rate is shooting up, giving rise to a potential social unrest. One source told me that, if the GDP growth rate falls below 7%, China would likely be dragged into to become socially unstable.

Yesterday,Senate voting approved the 789 billion stimulus package bill in U.S. This paved the path for the bill to be heading for passage in Congress by the end of the week.

The package didn't incite the market at all. Dow Jones reacted with a meager rise of 50.65 points, signalling that the stimulus may work very limited wonder.

Today Asian stocks generally decline on doubts that U.S. stimulus measures will revive growth. That shows how dented is the market sentiment.

Steve Forbes, former presidential candidate and Forbes magazine publisher, lambasted the fiscal stimulus programme working its way through Congress as a waste of money.

This guru is respectable in acute business acumen. I look up to his views.

According to Forbes, if you want sustained economic growth, you need incentives.

As such, if you want to throw around a lot of money, make sure it gets into people's hands in a way as direct as you possibly can do.

That makes me think of our soon-to-be released second economic stimulus package.

How much would the 10 billion stimulus get into the hands of our rakyat "in a way as direct as possible"?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Power Rates In Sarawak - It Is High Time To Revise Downwardly

It came out in the local press today that the state government is deliberating seriously to look into a downward revision on the existing power rates with a view to ease the recessionary tension the Sarawakians are encountering generally.

This is certainly a move on the right course by our leaders.

MAH (Malaysian Association of Hotels) is also in the process of submiting a memorandum to the state cabinet to revise the SESCO rates applicable to its member hotels. I guess our government would come out with a decision soon.

Time is really getting bad now. With the Obama Administration still struggling hard with the stimulus package, the outlook is depressing. The worst may yet to come.

My daily updates from the States are making me jittery. At times it might seem to be better to stay ignorant!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Saint Valentine's Day On Feb. 14

Saint Valentine's Day on Feb. 14 is the traditional day on which lovers express their love for each other by sending Valentine's card, presenting flowers, sending confectionery, or going for a romantic candlelight dinner.

This lovers' day is named after the numerous Early Christian martyrs named Valentine.

Saint Valentine's Day is a wonderful occasion when lovers are brought closer to one another.

In Sibu, if you have not yet planned anything for this great day, you may consider to opt for Premier Hotel's Six-Course Western Candlelight Set Dinner ( in Room 8, Level 1) or International Buffet Dinner (in Cafe Palmelia, Ground Level), all competitively priced.

Reservations are encouraged as we are expecting an overwhelming response.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Sibu In Water - Rajang River Grumbles!

This newspaper clipping tells the readers that Rajang River is grumbling now like an old granny!

I agree with the author. The silted up Rajang River and its muddy water tell us that this beautiful river is pretty sick now. When it overflows, it is grumbling to Sibuians about how pathetic it is now.

It is time for us to take good care of our mighty Rajang River!

(Source: Sin Chew Daily dated Feb. 7, 2009)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Sibu In Water - Miles-long Traffic Jam

Jalan Pedada is again flooded to knee-high!
The traffic cop on standby to direct the traffic flow!

A section of the miles-long traffic!

Jalan Kg. Nyabor - This area needs an urgent follow-up action to fill up.

The floods are back and they are anticipated to get worse!
Whenever flood hits Sibu, the traffic on Brooke Drive, Jalan Wong King Hoe, Jalan Kg. Nyabor and Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg gets clogged up badly, making driving a frustrating task there.
The recurrent miles-long jam is chiefly caused by severe sectional flooding at Jalan Pedada, Jalan Lanang and Jalan Wong king Hoe where low-lying parts are very flood-prone. As such, when flood swamps, the traffic there has to be diverted onto Brooke Drive and Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg.
This woe has been with us for donkey's years and much lip service has been offered, but so far little has been done.
All that we have to do is to level off the affected main roads first before we talk about the ambitious flood mitigation projects. As a first step, this would at least ease off the flood-related jams.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sibu In Water - Street Protests

The water level is again on the rise in Sibu. For years, Sibuians have been haunted by the fear of high flood. Down it goes and high it comes, the flood has kept the folks in suspense.
I was driving my family to Kingwood Hotel , picking up Allen and Pauline after their tuition class and school, for a CNY dinner function. On the way, it was pretty frightening to see the rising flood, making us feel worrisome about the worsening condition. Praise Lord that we eventually made it and came back safe. The above is now a typical scenario in Sibu.
According to Meteorological Services Department, the floods might swamp Sibu on the following three days, coming side by side with king tide.
Facing all the hardship, Sibuians can only protest in silence now.
The photos show Hii Tiong Huat taking the burning issue to the streets. The news was blacked out in Sibu.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

PR Versus BN In Perak - Najib Tun Razak Has The Upper Hand Now

In the political upheaval in Perak reasulting in a strenuous tug of war for power, Najib Tun Razak apparently has gained the upper hand. With the main government machinery in his control, DPM has bigger muscle to flex.

Now it is all up to the Sultan of Perak who has a crucial role to play.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

PR Versus BN - Battle Over Undated Presigned Resignation Letters

EC says since there are clouds of uncertainty over the duo's resignations, by-elections would be ruled out for the time being.

However, the Speaker of Perak State Assembly maintains that, as far as he is concerned, the two assemblymen have vacated their respective seats.

The battle now appears to be over the legality of the undated presigned resignation letters.

Our DPM needs something creditable for him to bring to UMNO assembly coming up in March. The state of Perak where PR has paper-thin majority over BN gives Najib the best venue to "bake a cake" for the delegates of UMNO assembly.

The whole of Perak is like in an oven now!

Monday, February 2, 2009

PR Versus BN - Political Storm Sweeping Through Perak

If the music is played according to the tune, a stage has been set for by-elections of the two seats vacated by the two state assemblymen, namely Jamaluddin Mat Radzi (Behrang) and Mohd. Osman Jailu (Changkat Jering).

Both Jamaluddon Mat and Mohd. Osman were elected under the banner of PKR. Of late, they turned fishy and signs started surfacing that they stood to defect from PKR and cross over to UMNO to pave way for a "sky change" in Perak.

Perak is vulnerable to a "change of sky" due to the very thin majority that PR is holding over BN.

The duo have flatly denied that they have resigned from their respective seats. Alas, their memories are far too short. All PR elected representatives are required to sign an undated resignation letter immediately upon winning their elections. An undated resignation letter has stood the test of the court and it is deemed valid.

The storm is just not yet over!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sibu In Water - A Horrific Experience!

What an experience to drive through deep water!

The evening of Jan. 30 was a horrific experience for me and Yian. On the way to Kingwood Hotel to attend a wedding dinner reception, we were at ease to note that the water level was tolerant. But little did we realise that within the two hours of the dinner, the flood surged up high enough to paralyse most of the main roads.

We got clogged up at Jalan Lanang where water was seen flowing in. Stuck in the middle of a chaotic traffic, we practically moved at a snail's pace, inch by inch, taking exactly one hour to reach home which at normal time would be just a ten-minute drive.
When splashing through the flood water, anxiety ran over us, worrying that our vehicle might get paralysed anytime in the water. At times, our hearts almost missed a beat. Yian prayed hard to God, asking for a safe journey back. After numerous short cuts through safety zone, we reached home safe.
The photo shows a photographer taking a moment off during the frustrating flooding time.