Saturday, December 26, 2009

Jeffery/Christina....The thorn in PKR?

The guns of Navarone have taken aim,but this time the pathetic targets are leaders within Parti Keadilan Rakyat Sabah(PKR).What was the ever charismatic de-facto leader, Dato'Seri Anwar Ibrahim thinking when he said during a press conference " I never saw the resignation letter of Jeffery Kitingan".As President Abraham Lincoln once said,"You can fool the people some of the time,but you can't fool the people all the time".

Does Anwar honestly believe Sabahans still live on trees...!! There is no denying that the reform agenda for change by Anwar has the thumb's-up by Sabahans, yes that includes the many who are still with UMNO/BN. Enough with all these David Copperfield illusions and get your act together.The people are thirsting for change and support your reform agenda,but will not bow down to the selfish demands of unscrupulous characters.

Were the voices of the majority heard,that propel Anwar to reinstate Jeffery Kitingan and Christina Liew?Why was PKR Sabah State Chief,Ahmad Thamrin silent in addressing the situation,when he perfectly knew the majority were not in favour on their returned?Was he merely safe guarding his position,surrendering to Jeffery's demands or was it poor leadership of the highest order?Ironically,what happen to the other state leaders?A precedent has now set in,the central leadership appear to have no qualms with any of it's leaders taking the party to hostage and ransom with their ultimatums.Like a sing-along in a Karaoke session,you sing the verses and we'll sing the chorus.

The one certainty we can all agree is,UMNO/BN and their bandwagon of con-artist are happily laughing all the way to the next general election.Should the present scenario persist,PKR is history and doomed to eternity,in Sabah at least.The younger generation must not fall prey to these hypocritical chameleons whose agenda has always been personal with total disregard to the aspirations of the people at large.We should now seriously examine these "sai- lang" leaders who have reached their prime,yet embarrass to admit. The people are watching and they don't like what their seeing.

I received an interesting article by email,written by someone calling himself NOBLEMAN-this could be a wake up call from within to the leadership of PKR Sabah.Enjoy reading.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you.

SABAH PKR CONVENTION 2009 : The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

By Nobleman

“Ini adalah konvensyen terbaik yang pernah diadakan di Sabah”said Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim in his closing address on Sunday at Atlantis Restaurant to the cheering crowd of more than 1500 party leaders.

The State PKR Chairman Saudara Ahmad Thamrin Jaini and Datuk Kong Hong Ming the chairman of the Organizing Committee were beaming. Christina Liew wept uncontrollably but only God knows why, as she has a very poor command of the National Language. So it can’t be the speech delivered by Anwar. Newcomer Datuk John Ghani who was seated next to her looked confused. He must be wondering why...!!Keningau Divisional Chief, Gapari @ Jeffrey who was still on sabbatical leave sat impassively without betraying his emotion.

Among the crowd were John Jinus Sibin, Jeffrey Yap, Hj Awang Bakar, Peter Linuk, Adris Taripin, Amirbeck bin Laja and their fellow AJKs from Keningau, Kota Kinabalu, Tenom and Batu Sapi Divisions. The party owes them unspeakable gratitude for holding the forts when the going got tough-all the fanfare of ultimitums. These were the good guys.

“ Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan telah membuat keputusan untuk berbuat demikian,saya menghormati keputusan dia,tetapi bukan bererti saya bersetuju dengan tindakan dia. Hak dan kebebasan untuk membuat keputusan adalah di tangan kita sendiri dan perlu di hormati. Keputusan yang saya buat ini adalah atas dasar prinsip moral dan maruah. Sebab itu saya meneruskan perjuangan saya didalam PKR dibawah pimpinan Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim,John Jinus Sibin Setiausaha Bahagian”. That was his sms to Hj Ansari Abdullah on the 5th. November, 2009 at 1.59pm.

On the first day of Ramadhan, while Muslims elsewhere were celebrating Hari Raya to commemorate their victory over human weaknesses and desires, a memorandum was crafted to humiliate Pakatan Rakyat Whip and Party Vice President YB Azmin Ali, the Sabah State PKR Chief. PKR Sabah was tested to the brink as the oncoming drama unfurled. It had to wither it's most bitter and painful storm since it's inception in Sabah in late 1999.

On the day of the convention, PKR Sabah had survived the onslaught by its own so-called leaders because there were those in the Division level who had the guts to stand up and defend the struggles of the Party. To these Borneo warriors, the Party and its objectives are more important than individuals, whoever there are.

John Jinus Sibin and his colleagues in JKC Keningau had prevented the party from being dissolved. “Once Keningau is dissolved, Kota Kinabalu will also be dissolved” so say Christina Liew in Malaysiakini. Earlier she had resigned as a member of the Party’s Central Committee on the ground that her mother were ashamed that she was not reappointed as Deputy Chairman of Sabah PKR.

However, when she tabled the motion to the committee members of Kota Kinabalu Division for it to be dissolved, Jeffrey Yap and the other committee members opposed the motion. No other member of the Divisional Committee supported her. For all these transgressions against the Party, she was rewarded with the appointment of Deputy Chairman PKR Sabah. Her partner in crime, Gapari @Jeffrey Kitingan was reinstated as nominated Vice President. Christina’s Mother will be celebrating like Santa Claus this Christmas.

Gosibin the acting Chief of Tenom with his “Kadoh Agundung” hairstyle and Datuk Nahalan Damsal were nowhere to be seen. Sylvester was busy carrying his computer, chair and table from the Papar division office as he and Evelyn Gobili had just taken their “sabbatical leave.” Daniel John and Moses Iking must be occupied with Parti Cinta Sabah. They were “the bad” guys.

There are other good guys, like members of the Organising Committees for the dialogue, convention and dinner including Dr Roland Chia, Ronnie Klassen, Jonathan Yassin and Datuk Chau Chin Tang the moderators. The eloquent speeches of YB Zuraidah Kamaruddin the Wanita Chief, YB Tian Chua the Director of Strategy and Hj Ansari Abdullah at the Convention and YB Tian Chua and Dato Chua Jui Meng at the Dinner made the Convention a memorable curtain closer for a stormy 2009 for Sabah PKR. The highlight was of course from the ever charistmatic leader of Pakatan Rakyat, Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

I leave it to you to decide who are “the ugly” but while doing so, please do not forget “the good” guys like John Jinus Sibin and the rest.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Corrupt Politicians Dampen Peoples Power Hopes

This subject has been given wide media coverage for many years. Insufficient power supply is a bane on our lives, not to mention on the effects it has on our economic development. The other basic need, water, or making a profit from selling it, is another problem the state government seems unable to solve.

Much opposition on the use of coal to generate electricity has high-lighted the problem of insufficient power supply even more. First, the people of Lahad Datu objected to having a coal-powered in Silam, citing pollution could impact the Danum Valley, amongst others. Then there was a plan to shift the project to Sandakan which also met with vehement opposition.

The last throw of the dice seems to point to the building of the plant in the Dent Peninsula, far away from people except for several thousand Indonesian workers working in the FELDA oil palm plantations. The smoke from burning coal, the proponents feel, will not directly impact the health of Sabahans because it is so far away from them.

I cannot claim to be an expert in the pros and cons of having a coal-powered power station but I am concerned about the long-term effects of having something that discharges huge amounts of pollutants into the atmosphere. What the coal emissions will do to the thousands of acres of oil palm trees (and probable loss to FELDA), only time will tell but what burning fossil fuels does to the planet is well-documented. There would be no need to have an important summit in Copenhagen otherwise.

What I am currently concerned about the implementations of mega projects in this country does not point to the benefits to the populace and nation as a whole, but rather at the politics of the implementation processes. Everytime a huge project is planned, certain vested interests somehow play a huge part, for the huge profits to be amassed by certain individuals figure prominently in all equations.

To narrow my point, if this power plant does get the go-ahead, who will get the huge contract, who will corner the contract to supply the coal, who gets to transport the raw materials and who in the corridors of power get to lay their hands on these lucrative deals? To my mind, these considerations play vital roles in seeing whether a so-called beneficial projects get done or otherwise. Prove me wrong.

Over the past 3 decades, much has been said about the huge Bakun hydro-electric dam. Until today, the dam is not even commissioned. One can write a very thick book about the politics, and shenanigans about this project. How much public funds, how much timber has been cut and sold, will never be known to Malaysians. Every so often, some important announcement is made that seem to point to more expenditure. Now the talk of sending electricity via hugely expensive submarine cables to the peninsula is back again.

This brings me to an important question which no state or national leader has so far addressed. Why spend billions of ringgit piping gas to Bintulu from Sabah? Further, why plan a medium size power plant in Kimanis and then spend billions on pipes and related works so that the industries in Bintulu get to utilize our gas?

More importantly, the Bakun hydro project is meant to benefit the entire nation and not just the peninsula and Sarawak. Sarawak is in fact, planning to build more dams to generate power. Why is Sabah left out of this equation? Why can't some power to be generated from Bakun be spared for use in Sabah?

If the cost of connecting power lines from Bakun to the Beaufort grid is prohibitively expensive, then why is the cost of piping gas from Kimanis to Bintulu not so? Anyone can tell that this does not make sense.

The Petronas gas pipeline from Kimanis to Bintulu covers a distance of over 400 kilometres. The land on which the pipeline travels was acquired by the governments of Sabah and Sarawak. Compensations to landowners have been paid. The width of the pipeline reserve is 100 feet all the way. Considering Petronas is a Government-owned company, there should be no reason why the same pipeline reserve cannot be used as way leave in the construction of transmission towers from Bakun to Beaufort by TNB, thereby saving huge land compensation and other costs.

There east-west power grid in Sabah has been completed, I am told. This means electricity can be transmitted almost state-wide from wherever there are generating stations, assuming there is a power surplus. Obviously there is no surplus, hence the frequent blackouts. If power from Bakun can be transmitted to the Beaufort grid, it can be further transmitted elsewhere. Being a non-engineer, can someone explain why this cannot be done?

If the coal power station at the Dent Peninsula takes off, when will it be commissioned? When will Bakun be commissioned? This mega project is supposed to generate in excess of 4,000 megawatts of electricity. The east coast requires only 300 megawatts. Why can't Sabah be spared this 300 megawatts?

Sarawak takes our gas but will not spare us some electricity. Just where is the quid pro quo?

By Haji Ramlee Dua

Thursday, December 3, 2009

“Minister-in-the-dark” caught in the limelight

OUR learned-and-honorable Plantation and Commodities Minister, Tan Sri Bernard Giluk Dompok was in the limelight recently, again for the wrong reason. This time he was accused of lying about the minimum wage of plantation workers, by Sungai Siput MP, Dr D Jeyakumar. (read the attached full story below)

While I’m not a fan of Dompok, I would humbly appeal to Dr Jeyakumar to give our innocent-looking Dompok a break, if not forgive him. This is because like what he recently claimed on the controversial proposed Kaiduan Dam project in his Penampang constituency, Dompok was probably also “in the dark” over the real situation and plight of plantation workers.

The other reason could be because Dompok could have mistaken that he was talking about plantation workers in Sabah, a majority (believe to be more than 90%) who are foreigners, illegal immigrants included.

But having said that, I somehow wondered whether Dompok was really always “in-the-dark”, or just that he wished the people would think so and forgive him for his slow response to their plight, just like in the case of the Kaiduan Dam issue.

Hence, my question to Dompok is – when are you going to come out from the dark and start shedding some light?

Jeyakumar: The minister did lie

Sungai Siput parlimanetarian Dr D Jeyakumar did not budge from his stand that Plantation and Commodities Minister Bernard Dompok lied about the minimum wage of plantation workers.

Jeyakumar, the MP from Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), said the minister mislead and misrepresented facts when he told Parliament on Oct 19 that the net income of an oil palm harvester was about RM1,700 and a rubber tapper's around RM870 a month.

Dompok, in a written reply to Mas Gading BN parliamentarian Dr Tiki Lafe, said that the earnings per worker was well above the poverty line which is at RM720 per month.

"How about single mothers working as weeders in the rubber estates or oil palm plantations?" asked Jeyakumar (right).

"What makes us angry is that he is hiding the facts? The majority of workers in estates are women and earn an income of about RM500 a month but that was not reflected," he said.

"Dompok's answer referred to harvesters and tappers and not the weeders, who form the majority workers in the estates now," said Jeyakumar.

"How many locals are working in the estates now? And you talk about just two categories and avoid the major one where Malaysians work," said Jeyakumar, referring to those employed as weeders.

"His answer is misleading and is bad for people in the estates. Those wanting to help them are getting the wrong information. The ministry is doing them a disservice, and we are very unhappy," he stressed.

Improbable figures

Jerit coordinator Y Kohila too, said the answer in Parliament was misleading. The question was how many Malaysians are dependent on the plantation industry and how much they were earning?

"The Minister's answer was about 600,000, where a tapper earned around RM870 and a harvester around RM1,700. This is definitely misleading as rubber estates have dwindled.

"And a rubber tapper definitely does not earn RM870 a month. Secondly, harvesters earning up to RM1,700 are mainly subcontractors," she said.

"Workers earn around RM13.70 a day including other allowances. Taken into consideration are market prices and the height of trees. They earn only around RM500 to RM600 a month," added Kohila (left).

She added that there are few locals who are employed as harvesters and usually the job is contracted out with higher payment to subcontractors and foreign workers who are able put in 12 hours a day.

"The deputy minister says that if 78 tonnes are harvested a month, a salary of RM1,700 is achievable. This may be true but it means working more than 12 hours a day from 6am to 7 to 8pm daily for a month and harvesting about 200 fruits.

"Not only that, workers are supposed to pick up the dropped fruits, clear the dried branches and leaves. Doing all this and harvesting 3 tonnes a day is not possible under normal circumstances," said Kohila.