Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Preve launched! Prices starting at RM59,990

After months of spyshots and teasers, Proton finally unveils the Preve, its latest and first of Proton’s new generation of cars.

Available in three variants, the RM 72,990 CFE-powered Premium, RM62,990 Executive CVT, and RM59,990 Executive Manual.

Where the 138hp CFE engine is coupled to Proton’s new 7-speed Protronic CVT transmission, the Executive makes do with the IAFM+ engines, with a 6-speed CVT and 5-speed manual transmission respectively.

The Preve is said to share the same platform as the Exora MPV and is built in collaboration with several world renowned parties.

Intended to be Proton’s global car, the Preve comes loaded with features.

On top of ABS, EBD, electronic stability control, dual airbags, and YES 4G capability, the Premium variant is topped off with an additional two airbags and push-start ignition.

“We are proud to say that the Preve utilizes up to 94 per cent components sources from local vendors,” said Datuk Syed Zainal, Proton Holdings’ group managing director.

The Preve is also the first Proton model to receive a five-star rating from the Malaysian Vehicle Assessment Programme (MyVAP), with its official certification presented at its launch by Wong Shaw Voon, director general of MIROS.

Both Premium and Executive variants are available in six colour choices with a 5-year or 150,000km warranty, or whichever comes first.

According to Proton the CFE engine comes with 10,000km service interval.

Source: CBT

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Soal Jawab PTPTN: Kita Mampu Hapuskan PTPTN

Berapakah sebenarnya hutang PTPTN yang perlu ditanggung oleh kerajaan sekiranya pinjaman PTPTN dihapuskan?

Hutangnya adalah RM24.7 bilion. Ini adalah pinjaman yang telah dikeluarkan oleh peminjam-peminjam sehingga kini.

Angka RM43 bilion yang disebut-sebut BN itu adalah jumlah keseluruhan pinjaman yang telah diluluskan. Sebahagian besarnya belum dibayar, ada juga yang membatalkan pinjaman di tengah jalan dan pelbagai perkara lain.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

9 jenis wanita yang jadi perhatian

1. Sikap Keibuan - Banyak lelaki yang terpikat pada wanita yang bersikap keibuan, lembut, mengambil berat dan penuh kasih sayang.Wajah yang keibuan mampu membuat lelaki berasa tenteram ketika sedang stress, cemas, gelisah dan senang.

2. Keanak-anakan - Dalam batas yang wajar, sifat keanak-anakan seorang wanita menjadi daya tarikan di mata lelaki. Mereka terasa terhibur dengan keletah anda, tetapi tentulah bukan sifat keanak-anakkan yang melampau dan menyakitkan hati. Tetapi sikap keanakan yang menyenangkan. Misalnya kemanjaan wanita yang membangkitkan naluri kebapaan dan kelakian lelaki, wanita ceria membuat lelaki lebih ghairah.

3. Penuh Pengertian - Sikap pengertian wanita membuat lelaki berasa dihargai dan diterima seadanya. Sikap ini tercermin dari perasaan mudah memaafkan, memilih waktu yang tepat untuk berbincang masalah dan sebagainya.

4. Menghargai - Wanita yang menghargai lelaki adalah wanita idaman lelaki.Berbeza dengan wanita yang suka di perlakukan dengan lembut, lelaki suka dihargai, dipuji dengan tulus ikhlas dan diberi kepercayaan. Pengharg­aan dari wanita membuat lelaki berasa bangga.

5. Menjaga Penampilan - Lelaki menyukai wanita yang pandai menjaga penampilan agar sentiasa kelihatan cantik, bersih, kemas dan menarik. Penampilan yang baik menunjukkan wanita tersebut menghargai dirinya.

6. Pandai Berbicara - Lelaki tertarik dengan wanita yang pandai berkomunikasi dan boleh diajak berbual. Walau walau topik perbualan yang disukai lelaki berbeza dengan topik kegemaran wanita, wanita tersebut dapat mengimbanginya. Dia bukan sekadar teman berbual yang pasif, tetapi dapat memberi respon dan pendapat yang baik, serta mengalihkan topik yang agak serius kepada perbualan yang lebih menarik.

7. Pandai Bergaul dan Menyesuaikan Diri - Wanita yang pandai bergaul dan menyesuaikan diri mempunyai nilai lebih dimata lelaki. Wanita tersebut tahu menghadapi org yang lebih tua dan cara berhadapan dengan orang yang lebih muda.Apabila berhadapan dengan suasan yang baru,wanita tersebut tidak gentar,malah cepat menyesuaikan diri. Dia mudah diajak kemana saja dan tidak kekok samada di bandar atau di kampung.

8. Menghormati Diri Sendiri - Lelaki suka wanita yang menghargai dirinya sendiri sebagai seorang wanita,bersikap sopan dan mempunyai etika. Wanita yang menghormati dirinya sendiri mempunyai keyakinan dan tahu apa yang baik dan buruk diperlakukan oleh seorang lelaki terhadap dirinya.

9. Simpati dan Prihatin - Lelaki suka wanita yang murah hati,mengambil berat, simpati pada nasib yang susah. Sayang pada kanak-kanak dan tidak memilih bulu. Kebaikan yang wajar dan spontan mencerminkan hati yang mulia. Ada kecantikan dalaman pada dirinya yang memancar keluar dengan indah dan mempesona.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Need-based affirmative action is unworkable

Both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat have advocated that Malaysia should shift from race-based affirmative action (AA) to need-based affirmative action[1].

The idea seems sensible and equitable. It appears we have finally discovered a wonderful formula that can shift us away from the rancourous debates over race-based AA, the New Economic Policy and its successors.

Sadly, the idea that we can replace race-based affirmative action with need-based affirmative is deeply flawed on both conceptual and practical grounds. In Malaysia, poverty reduction has been conflated with affirmative action, which results in the confusion we have today.

Affirmative action is principally not about poverty alleviation or need-based distribution. At root, it aims to empower a disadvantaged group through elevating individuals from that group to positions in the upper rungs of the educational and occupational ladders. The framers of the NEP set out two prongs:

(1)    to eradicate poverty irrespective of race;  and

(2)    to accelerate the restructuring of society to reduce and eventually eliminate the identification of race with economic function.

The second prong corresponds with affirmative action.

Affirmative action has a specific objective: to increase the participation of a disadvantaged group in positions that confer social esteem and economic influence – for example, in tertiary education, high-level occupations, asset ownership. Bumiputeras were overwhelmingly under-represented in the ranks of university graduates, managers and professionals, and equity owners when the NEP was formulated in the 1970s[2].

Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional both claim need-based AA focused on the poor will help mainly Bumiputeras, since most of the poor are Bumiputra. That is true. An effective need-based AA programme would indeed lift thousands out of poverty. But, it will not necessarily result in eliminating the identification of race with economic function. Bumiputeras would be lifted out of poverty, but might still be under-represented in high-level occupations.

An example will help. Let us say, for example, a needs-based policy targeting the bottom 40% of households surviving on an average RM1,500 per month is implemented. Let us say we deliver a mix of direct cash payments, child-care support and education and training assistance with the aim of uplifting household incomes. Implemented correctly, effectively and with integrity, let’s say we are phenomenally successful and manage to lift incomes dramatically.

Most of the poor households that see improved incomes and living conditions would be bumiputera, as they form more than ¾ of this group[3]. But these higher incomes might well have come from being better skilled workers or more productive small traders and hawkers. Bumiputeras might well still be overwhelmingly under-represented in high-level occupations.

How then would we increase Bumiputera representation in professional and management positions?

Let us say we decide to increase the number of Bumiputera accountants via a need-based policy. Accounting firms, when evaluating job candidates, would have to verify and evaluate applicants’ parents’ income and assets to determine who’s poorer and should be given priority. Three major issues surface:

It  would undermine a basic foundation of functional economies – that labour market entry and mobility correspond primarily with ability, not need;
It would be at odds with the principle that adults are independent from their parents and responsible for themselves; and
It would inflict upon the private sector a very complicated and costly process for which there is no benefit. In fact, it would force employers to pursue a very dubious and ineffective policy of hiring and promoting professionals and managers on the basis of socio-economic background, not ability.
It should now be clear that affirmative action is unavoidably race-based if the aim is to increase  Bumiputera representation in professional and management positions. It is delusional to believe need-based AA can replace race-based AA. In employment, the choice is really between race-based AA or no AA at all.

At this point, we must now admit a hard truth: affirmative action is inherently discriminatory. It confers preference toward a beneficiary group who are less qualified than other candidates. This discrimination is warranted by the fact that structural impediments in society had unfairly prevented this group from gaining the requisite qualifications, opportunities and work experience to compete on an equal footing.

Now, more than 40 years after the NEP was conceived, is a time for stock-taking and honest evaluation. The chasm between those defending the privileged status quo and those calling for meritocracy must be bridged. Critical issues must be rationally discussed:

Firstly, a thorough review of the achievements so far, and the costs involved must be conducted, widely disseminated and discussed. How successful have we been in (1) eradicating poverty irrespective of race; and (2) eliminating the identification of race with economic function?
Secondly, clear new targets and approaches must be set, after consultations with all stakeholders. In this regard, the foundation for success is a fundamental shift in attitude and educational content. We must start by addressing shortcomings in the education system, especially the matriculation programmes and under-challenging environments[4] that most Bumiputera graduates pass through. Beneficiaries must be imbued with self-confidence and a responsibility to excel because preferential treatment will be temporary. Blind allegiance to a party-state seeking permanent patronage must be rejected.
Effective affirmative action demands focus on developing capability and self-reliance, especially through attaining tertiary education and accumulating work experience.

For AA to be effective, we should select those within the beneficiary group who are most capable of coping with the challenges of upward mobility. This is difficult but it must be done, and it must be done productively, effectively and temporarily. Over time, the need for preferential selection should diminish, and the groundwork will be laid for rolling back the AA regime.

As the debate currently stands, we are locked in a triangular stalemate, between those who defend race-based AA regardless of cost, those who demand its swift abolition without thinking of viability, and those who press for a vague and incoherent concept of need-based AA. We should instead be making race-based AA more effective while preparing to roll it back.

Dr Lee Hwok Aun

11 January  2012

Source: REFSA

Isu sekolah Cina akan beri kesan kepada MCA dalam PRU, kata persatuan Cina

KUALA LUMPUR, 13 April — MCA akan menghadapi kesan lebih buruk berbanding pilihan raya 2008 ekoran tidak menangani isu sekolah cina dengan berkesan, kata sekumpulan persatuan Cina.

Dewan Perhimpunan Cina Selangor dan Kuala Lumpur (KLSCH) berkata, parti itu akan hanya memperolehi beberapa undi dalam pilihan raya akan datang kerana gagal memastikan sekolah vernakular Cina tidak dilayan secara adil oleh Putrajaya.

Semalam, Timbalan Perdana Menteri Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin menuduh ahli akademik Cina adalah “penipu” apabila mendakwa kerajaan menganak-tirikan sekolah vernakular kerajaan.

Setiausaha Agung KLSCAH Stanley Yong berkata, beliau merasakan MCA akan ditolak oleh pengundi berdasarkan penerimaan diberikan kepada Ketua Pemuda MCA Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong sewaktu perhimpunan dua minggu lalu.

Wee, yang juga timbalan menteri pendidikan telah dihalau selepas di kritik oleh peserta, yang sebelum itu mendakwa telah ditumbuk di muka.

Perhimpunan anjuran Persatuan Sekolah Cina Bersatu (Dong Zong) mengadakan bantahan berikutan kekurangan guru di sekolah Cina yang berkelayakan dalam sistem pendidikan nasional.

“Mereka berkata MCA tidak lagi revelan ... saya rasakan semakin ramai pengundi menolak MCA,” kata Yong kepada The Malaysian Insider.

MCA menerima kekalahan teruk ketika pilihan raya 2008, dengan menyaksikan mereka kehilangan separuh kerusi kepada 15 daripada 31. Barisan Nasional (BN) itu tidak menunjukkan peningkatan di setiap negeri.

Yong menjelaskan walaupun mempunyai ramai menteri di Kabinet sejak Merdeka, MCA gagal untuk mengetengahkan polisi Putrajaya berhubung sekolah Cina walaupun kominiti Cina sudah berulangkali membangkitkan isu ini.

Ini akan mengakibatkan masyarakat Cina menyalahkan parti berkenaan, terutamanya apabila ahli politik MCA sendiri memegang portfolio timbalan menteri pelajaran.

“Beliau adalah Cina, dan komuniti Cina menderita, dan timbalan menteri pelajaran adalah Cina, tapi tidak melakukan sebarang tindakan, sudah tentu kemarahan itu akan dilepaskan kepadanya,” tambahnya.

Yang turut memberi amaran MCA sudah kesuntukan masa untuk memperolehi undi memandangkan pilihan raya semakin hampir, namun parti itu masih lagi mempunyai harapan dengan mengemukakan pelan jangka panjang bagi menyelesaikan masalah yang dihadapi sekolah Cina.

MCA harus melakukannya walaupun terpaksa menggunakan dana parti dan bukan daripada kerajaan persekutuan “bagi mengurangkan kemarahan dan perasaan tidak puas hati” yang dirasai pengundi Cina,” katanya.

Namun beliau menegaskan ini hanyalah langkah pencegahan dan Putrajaya perlu melayan sekolah Cina “sama seperti” sekolah kebangsaan sekiranya Barisan Nasional (BN) mahu menyelesaikan isu ini.

“Mereka harus menyemak kembali kritikan dan tuntutan, bukannya menolak rungutan mereka seperti dibangkitkan pembangkang.

“Ini bukan sahaja tidak professional, malah tindakan kebudak-budakan,” katanya.

KLSCAH adalah payung terbesar kumpulan Cina di Selangor. Dibentuk 85 tahun lalu, mereka mempunyai 420 ahli terdiri daripada barisan ahli perniagaan dan aktivis awam.

Sumber: TMI

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Lynas issue: Not learning from bitter experience

Every Malaysian should know that Australia has a land mass 58 times bigger than peninsular Malaysia. But the Australian government and people have not permitted rare earth processing to take place on Australian soil.

With a population that is vigilant and a government that answers to the people, Australia dares not permit a rare earth plant because the health and environmental risks are too high. Why does Malaysia – a country with less scientific and engineering expertise – think it is all right to go ahead with the plant?

The USA has closed most of its mines, and so has China. In inner Mongolia, vast tracts of lands and thousands of square kilometres have been rendered hazardous, with toxic runoffs destroying everything in their path, and with high radioactivity, tainting and polluting precious water supplies.

This chain reaction will continue for thousands of years.

It is a scene that Chinese officials do not want the world to see. Several villages close to rare earth plants have already been relocated because of pollution.

Malaysia is now planning to build the world’s largest rare earth plant. This is truly madness of the highest order. We must remember the Chernobyl meltdown which was not supposed to have happened and similarly too the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown in Japan.

Peninsular Malaysia would be dead meat if any unexpected catastrophe happens.

Bukit Merah

The history of the rare earth industry in Malaysia is little known to most Malaysians. Most Malaysians in fact think that the Lynas project in Pahang is the first time Malaysia has been associated with this industry.

Few Malaysians actually know that there was a rare earth plant in Bukit Merah, Perak, which has been closed some 10 or more years ago, following a ruling by the High Court of Malaysia that the company involved was in negligence, and that the radioactive waste generated by the plant was dangerous and had to be removed and secured in a safe place away from people for hundreds of years.

The evidence of the hazardous legacy of this rare earth plant is still present in our midst as a reminder to every one of the risks involved. All you need is to take a trip to Bukit Merah and you will see the existence of a restricted site where the toxic radioactive waste has been stored in specially engineered concrete cells, and entombed deeply in a repository, to prevent any leakage of radiation from the radioactive waste for the next few hundred years.

The company that was involved in the rare earth plant was called Asian Rare Earth Sdn Bhd (ARE). This was a joint venture established between Mitsubishi Chemical Corp (MCC) of Japan, Beh Minerals Sdn Bhd, the local partner and the government, through Tabung Haji in the early nineties.

ARE was based in Menglembu, Ipoh and the joint venture was founded on the basis that the local partner  would supply the raw materials (tailings from the many tin mines in Perak) and MCC would provide the technology and expertise to extract the rare earth minerals, by a cracking process.

In this cracking process, along with the extraction of rare earth minerals such as Monazite, Xenotime, Zircon, Yttrium etc, a waste product called thorium hydroxide is produced and this substance is radioactive.

Experts brought in to present evidence in support of the court hearing against ARE testified that prolonged exposure to radiation leaked from the radioactive waste materials from ARE’s rare earth plant would be harmful to the health of the residents living in the Menglembu area, where the plant was located.

ARE was subsequently closed and wound up.

The shareholders of the company had to engage a highly specialised radioactive waste management consultancy firm from the US, called Dames and Moore, to relocate, treat and dispose of the radioactive waste from the dump site in Menglembu to a safe repository. The cost of the whole exercise ran into hundreds of millions of US dollars to contain radiation leak from the radioactive waste.

Meanwhile local residents have blamed the ARE refinery for the high numbers of birth defects and leukaemia cases within the last five years in a community of 11,000 — after many years of local history with no leukaemia cases. Seven of the leukemia victims have died.

Some of the surviving residents of Bukit Merah are still plagued with severe health problems. Until this very day, the Malaysian authorities refuse to acknowledge that the radioactive waste was responsible for the sudden escalation of health problems among the residents

Today, the government is the official custodian of this repository in Bukit Merah. This site in Bukit Merah is declared as a restricted and dangerous dump site for radioactive materials but a curtain of official silence has descended on it.

Learning from Bukit Merah

Has the government not learnt from Bukit Merah or will corporate profits, lack of transparency and accountability, and cronyism trump responsible and ethical governance?

The Lynas project is likely to be a replay of the ARE fiasco but on a much larger scale. The Lynas project involves the shipment of rare earth raw materials from Australia to Malaysia, and the extraction of the rare earth minerals in the rare earth plant in Gebeng. The cracking process to extract the rare earth minerals will similarly produce thorium dioxide.

Little attention has been paid to the containment process of this hazardous radioactive waste which will be generated once the Rare Earth Plant comes into production. Notwithstanding the high risks nature of the Lynas project, there are few benefits that Malaysia could gain by having such a hazardous project on our shores.

Lynas and its crony local contractors and shareholders will be the major beneficiary from such a project. They will be able to export the rare earth minerals at a huge profit and enjoy a 20-year tax holiday since the project is approved and supported by the Malaysian government.

At the same time they will leave behind a whole lot of radioactive waste on Malaysian soil, free from the stringent environmental scrutiny and monitoring found in developed countries.

Apart from creating a handful of jobs in the Gebeng area, the only people who stand to benefit from this project other than Lynas owners and shareholders, are the people who build the cracking plant in Gebeng and those who supply chemicals to the plant for the cracking process.

Who are these stakeholders and why have they continued to remain in the dark and unaccountable?

Malaysian must ask the question: “Why did the Government approve the Lynas project?” It does not seem to make any sense when:

The Malaysian court under the same government has ruled that the rare earth plant, in the case of ARE, is regarded as hazardous. The evidence is there to be seen by everyone in Bukit Merah where the repository is located. “

The benefits gained by Malaysia from the Lynas investment are very little relative to the risks involved. Whilst the profits of the project go to Lynas (untaxed) and the few Malaysian companies that are involved in the construction of and the provision of supplies to the Gebeng rare earth plant, the radioactive waste will remain in Malaysian soil for hundreds of years.

The argument that with proper containment, the risks will be rendered harmless, does not hold. Containment, as we know and have seen, is only as good as when there is no accident. Look at Chernobyl and Fukushima. These nuclear reactors are all supposed to have adequate and radiation leak-proof containment features approved by so called international experts.

All Malaysians must ask the government why the Lynas project was approved in spite of the history of ARE and the lack of economic justification of how this project could benefit Malaysians relative to its high and unacceptable risks.

All Malaysians must stand together and demand the closure of the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP).

Source: CPI Asia

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Sakit Otak

1. Parlimen Malaysia mengambil model Parlimen Westminster di United Kingdom sebagai badan perundangan kebangsaan Malaysia.

2. Suhunya yang dingin, kerusinya yang empuk mampu membuatkan sesiapa sahaja terlena tatkala hilang konsentrasi terhadap perbahasan.

3. Kerap kali kerusi lebih banyak daripada tuannya kecuali tatkala Yang di-Pertuan Agong bertitah membuka sidang.

4. Ironiknya, Parlimen Westminster tidaklah seluas dan seselesa Parlimen Malaysia. Namun, kehadirannya hampir penuh sentiasa.

5. Perbahasannya pula terus relevan dengan menjurus kepada kepentingan rakyat berbanding kepentingan politik peribadi. Kita pun tidak SAKIT OTAK menontonnya.

6. Parlimen Malaysia penuh lelucon. Mungkin ia satu keperluan buat ahli-ahli parlimen kita untuk kekal waras.

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