Ak57\’s Weblog

Thoughts and opinions on Malaysian news, its people and its culture

Posts Tagged ‘Elizabeth Wong

Moving Towards a Change in Lifestyle – No Plastic Bags

Several years ago I used to stockpile used plastic bags from supermarkets, with the intention of sending them for recycling. Then a friend pointed out to me that such plastic bags were bio-degradable (actually, photo-degradable) and all my collecting was for naught. She was right. As the years went by plastic bags became thinner and quickly changed composition after exposure to air. They become flimsy constructs – a single touch and they break apart into tiny pieces. Pieces that are tough to clean up as they stick to rags, fingers and the inside of a vacuum cleaner. I still have a drawer full of stored plastic bags that I’m hesitant to open in case a gust of wind breaks them into pieces. This decomposition happens in stages by the way, I wouldn’t recommend you experiment at home.

These plastic bags used to come in handy for throwing rubbish, but due to their deterioration I had no choice now but to buy the black/blue/green plastic bags sold in supermarkets. What was I to do now? I can’t recycle them. I can’t use them. I hate just throwing them out with the garbage because it is so wasteful. I don’t even like that plastic bag usage is so dominant in our society – I’m strongly anti-plastic/Styrofoam/polystyrene. At one of the places where I worked I brought my own bowl to takeaway food from the nearby restaurant.

So the only solution left was to change my lifestyle to reduce the number of useless bags lying around the house. For years I’ve been following the lifestyle of ‘only buying what I can carry’ because I conveniently find myself near a supermarket every few days. Sometimes when I buy many items, or items that can’t mix I do use plastic bags. I often keep a scrunched-up bag in my pocket for such situations. These lifestyle changes have effectively removed the problem I used to have.

No Plastic Bag Day Campaign

In Selangor/KL, IKEA set an example by charging for all plastic bags in June 2009, with the proceeds going to the Malaysian Nature Society. This was part of its commitment to phase out plastic bags at all its outlets worldwide, initiated in March 2007. This was followed by Village Grocer since August 2009 that gave an option of getting a used free plastic bag, or paying for a new plastic bag. Cold Storage made the bizarre move of banning plastic bags on Thursdays, forcing customers to buy a canvas/polymer bag or use their own. For shoppers caught unawares at the cashier this seems like cruel punishment. Why buy a bag that can last for years, just because you forgot to bring your own? I have personally witnessed angry customers demanding they be given the option of a plastic bag rather than buy a bag. I learned my lesson after a few visits – don’t visit Cold Storage on Thursdays.

In July 2009 Penang government started a ‘No Plastic Bag’ campaign, implemented as a tax on businesses, with the proceeds going towards welfare. Retailers had to start charging customers 20 sen for plastic bags and starting 2010 the state government made it mandatory for retail outlets to adopt ‘No Plastic Bag Mondays’ or ‘No Plastic Three Days (Mon-Wed)’.

This month the Selangor government started a similar campaign for Saturdays and is considering making it mandatory like in Penang. I guess the Penang campaign started on weekdays to ‘test the waters’ and now that Selangor has seen the good reception there its safe to start with Saturdays where the consumer base is larger.

Unfortunately the campaign implementation in Selangor is left up to the supermarket, so the proceeds from sales of plastic bags are not guaranteed to go towards welfare. No wonder so many stores are eager to sign up, it’s a no-brainer for them because they can earn profit from previously free bags! You can read about how major supermarkets implemented it at this blog.

No Plastic Bags? Are They Crazy?

The name ‘No Plastic Bag’ sends a mixed message. As the unlucky customers of Cold Storage found out, one message is fear. The Penang and Selangor state governments had to clarify that they don’t mean to ban plastic bags completely, just reduce their usage. They want to promote reusable bags as an alternative to plastic bags, hence ‘no plastic bag’.

Couldn’t they come up with a less scary campaign title though? I know ‘No Plastic Bag, Reuse Bags Instead’ and ‘Less Plastic Bag Day’ aren’t catchy alternatives and given time people will understand. My first reaction to the campaign title was shock, because I don’t want to live in a future where I’m told to go home and get my own bag (because the store doesn’t provide any)!

We are right to fear a ban on plastic bags. Some items stain or smell so they need to be kept separate, especially meat, fish and vegetables. You can’t be expected to bring a container for each category of item, especially when its something small like a dozen eggs. There is also the hygiene aspect – reusable bags I see offered by supermarkets today aren’t easy to clean and wouldn’t survive repeated trips in the washing machine. Some form of disposable packaging is needed.

We didn’t always have the luxury of plastic bags. We used baskets, paper bags and cardboard boxes for our shopping. That was before the advent of hypermarkets where food, sundries, clothes, footwear, electronics and more can be obtained in one visit. You know how it is when you go shopping for a few items and end up at the cashier with more than you planned for?

Even if you did bring your own bag(s), the option of a plastic/paper bag should always be there. Start with 10-20 sen now, make it daily instead of one day a week and slowly raise the price over the next 5-10 years to phase out its usage.

Impact for the Future

The reason supermarkets moved into shopping malls is because of the convenience of it. Shopping malls with cinemas, restaurants, supermarkets and retailers meant people could go there for one reason (food) and sidetrack into shopping for clothes and buying groceries.

There will come a time when the cost of a plastic bag becomes prohibitive. Forcing consumers to bring their own bag means they will only go to the supermarket when it is planned. This reduces the amount of casual shoppers like me, who go to a mall for one reason then pop in for a few items because it’s convenient. When that day comes I will have to start making shopping lists and planning my shopping trips well in advance.

In the future I would like to see:

  1. A ban on non-biodegradable plastic bags and food containers.
  2. The government publish standards for biodegradability and reward manufacturers of low-cost, high standard plastic bags.
  3. The Selangor government to adopt the Penang government policy of channeling the plastic bag sales funds towards welfare.
  4. Stores reward consumers for bringing their own bag. People respond better to rewards rather than punishment, even more so in a materialistic urban society like Selangor/Penang. TESCO for example has a rewards system in place that I hope other supermarkets adopt.

I hope this ‘No Plastic Bag’ campaign runs daily like Village Grocer, with the option for used plastic bags. The price being charged is negligible now and what is important is to get the consumer used to the idea of paying for something they took for granted. Then phase out the use of plastic bags slowly.

Update 2/2/2010: I read the notice issued by Elizabeth (Exco for Environment, Consumer Affairs and Tourism) on 29th December 2009 to participating businesses where she states that consumers must pay 20 sen for each plastic bag and the proceeds from those sales are to be channeled towards charities as part of the companies’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The wording implies it is compulsory because the campaign comes into force starting 4th January 2010. However it is clear that the Selangor govt is taking a soft approach as the participating companies are implementing CSR in their own way, such as absorbing the profits then giving discounts without a clear link between money earned and money returned to the people.

The main focus in Selangor now is on reducing usage of plastic bags and not about welfare as there is no tracking being done. This explains why I found no mention of channeling the money towards welfare in any media. I stand by my hope that we follow Penang’s example one day .

Written by ak57

January 17, 2010 at 8:42 pm

A Show of Support


The outpour of support for Elizabeth since she made her offer to resign has been overwhelming. It even surpassed the public outcry and support given by the public when Teresa Kok was detained under ISA! I myself have scores of emails from her supporters clogging my inbox.

I did some research online and its safe to say that over 90% of bloggers and commenters support her and don’t want her to resign. I figured that with this level of support, the backlash against PKR (i.e. lost votes) would be severe. Wouldn’t she have to come back?

Sources within the party say it is highly unlikely, even with the public reaction as it stands now. At best she may resign the Exco position and remain an ADUN.

I’m sure right now everyone is angry, hurt and confused. We don’t know why she offered to resign. We can speculate, but we know so little. After the unending outpour of support, Elizabeth issued another statement (link) saying that she intends to resign. No more ambiguity.

I choose to respect her wishes. To chase her and plead her to stay or ask her why – this would only be more hurtful.

A Book of Support

Last Wednesday (18/2) a signature campaign was started in Bandar Utama to gather personal messages by voters and friends. Not a petition, just a way to write a few kind words to show our support.

We got 40 signatures the first day, and reached 100 the next day. A trip to the CNY dinner event opposite Amcorp Mall on Friday brought the total to 190.


Wednesday night

A couple of pages from the signature book are below, where you can see the messages penned by her PKR ADUN & MP friends:


Sivarasa, Tian Chua, Gan Pei Nei, William Leong


Wan Azizah, Azmin Ali, Syed Husein, Hee Loy Sian, Loh Gwo Burne, Ronnie Liu, Irene Fernandez

A banner of support was also put up at the Sony Bridge interchange next to Bandar Utama:


The book will be at the service centre in BU3 from Tuesday (24/2) onwards. I hope those of you who are able, drop by and sign the book. It is easy to spend a few minutes to write an email, send an sms or write a comment, but to make the journey there takes real love and dedication that I’m certain she will appreciate during this difficult time.

A Petition to the Menteri Besar

A group of NGO’s and RA’s (Residents Association) started an online petition last Wednesday which at this time has 5000 signatures. They are also running a physical petition in parallel with that. The petition is addressed to the Menteri Besar and is intended to show the level of support by her voters and friends. You can read more about it here (link).

There was a road trip today to various places in Elizabeth’s constituency to get as many signatures as possible to be submitted to the Menteri Besar on Tuesday/Wednesday. I dropped by the first stop at BU3, group photo below:

Written by ak57

February 23, 2009 at 2:52 am

An offer of resignation


I was surprised by today’s events. At first I was upset because I thought she resigned over such a minor thing. Then upon closer reading of her press statement (link) I saw the key phrase: offer my resignation.

Elizabeth’s offer to resign instead of tendering her resignation could imply that she is being pressured to resign either by the party or by some anonymous person(s). Maybe there are more damaging photos/videos which have not been released to the public. Something that creates a real scandal and brings further shame to her, her family and the party.

Whatever this ‘something’ is, its not strong enough to make her resign immediately.

I am certain she would never voluntarily resign over what has already been released, perhaps that explains today’s compromise where the final decision rests with PKR’s top leaders.

An offer of resignation (which many take as being the same as tendering resignation) appeases the voters who want their politicians to be absolute saints – and the PKR haters too.

If PKR were to refuse to allow her to resign, she retains the benefits of having already offered. Not 100% of course, but from what people tell me the offer alone was like an admission of guilt, which they found acceptable. Then she can announce that she offered, but the party and the voters want her to stay.

If PKR accepted her resignation, she keeps her pride of not allowing these photos to force her to resign. Not allowing the criminals who took them, to control her.

I have no doubt that there are other issues that prompted her action today, its not just photos.

I have my doubts that there will be a good outcome to this, but we will just have to wait and see. Don’t go celebrating or mourning just yet.


Nude photos: Wong offers to quit – Malaysiakini (link)

Tearful Wong quits over nude pix – The Malaysian Insider (link)

Written by ak57

February 17, 2009 at 7:36 pm

An act of indecency


By now everyone has succumbed to the latest factoid circulating around – that nude photos/video of Elizabeth Wong have been released to the public, implying some sort of ‘sex scandal’.

This is nothing more than a crime; an invasion of privacy. To paint it as a scandal is the work of a fool.

I don’t see a scandal here.

I read the Malay Mail’s story, which was surprisingly complimentary to Elizabeth and not the usual tabloid trash that I expected. Funny thing is they ran a high-and-mighty editorial claiming its none of their business and condemning the dissemination of the media.

Here’s a quote from their editorial – “In this vicious political environment of bitter rivalry, some will certainly see the opportunity to profit from this disgraceful violation.

Who ran (and tried to profit from) this story? What hypocrits.

I must count Khir Toyo in the company of fools as well. To be photographed nude/partially nude while asleep and unaware – how does that suggest immoral conduct? Its completely daft! Without further evidence to back it up he just comes across as a weak-minded individual.

However after some discussions with certain people I learned that there is a chance that Elizabeth may be forced to resign. It is hard for me to see the logic in that. Yes, we have two by-elections coming up. The photos could be used in the election to portray PKR as a party with immoral politicians. Is that reason enough?

Resignation would only show the voters nationwide that we cave in easily.

There were no indecent acts portrayed in the photos. Yet, there was an act of indecency. The individual(s) responsible for taking the images/footage and spreading it around – they are the ones committing indecent acts. They are the ones we should be cursing and condemning.


Its none of our business – Malay Mail (link)

Invasion of privacy – Malay Mail (link)

Nude photos: Exco lodges police report – Malaysiakini (link)

Selangor MB stands by embattled exco – Malaysiakini (link)

Factoid (noun) : A piece of unverified or inaccurate information that is presented in the press as factual, often as part of a publicity effort, and that is then accepted as true because of frequent repetition.

– American Heritage Dictionary

Written by ak57

February 17, 2009 at 3:15 am

BU Walk The Talk Event Report

A Crime Prevention Awareness Walk was held on May 17th 2008 in Bandar Utama, organised by the BU6 Area Commitee. In attendance were:

  • Sivarasa Rasiah (Subang MP)
  • Elizabeth Wong (Bukit Lanjan ADUN)
  • Muhammat Sarip bin Siran (Police Chief, Damansara Police Station)
  • Jipa A/K Langob (Deputy Police Chief, Damansara Police Station)
  • Bandar Utama Residents Association (BURA) Committee Members
  • St. Johns Ambulance representatives
  • Bertam Security guards
  • Metro Security guards
  • 290+ Residents of Bandar Utama
  • A police helicopter

People started gathering at the BU3 Community Hall before 4 pm. Before the walk started, various VIPs gave speeches, summaries follow:

Sivarasa Rasiah

Sivarasa Rasiah

Sivarasa Rasiah (4.15 pm)
The police are in charge of safety, and nationwide we have 100,000 policemen. The best ratio of police to citizens is 1:250, and in our country we have 1:260 so it is not too far off. The real problem is deployment. I had asked in Parliament how many policemen are in the Special Branch, and was informed that the numbers cannot be divulged as they are under the Official Secrets Act.

One-third of the police are in administration, while another 20% are in ‘Public Order & Security’, the duties of which are not known to us. Roughly 7000 – 8000 officers are in the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) which only amounts to 8% of the force in total. Eight percent in charge of investigating crime.

Turning our communities into walled enclaves with guards is not the answer to crime. We want our police force to be deployed strategically to fight crime, not for political reasons.

Elizabeth Wong

Elizabeth Wong

Elizabeth Wong (4.20 pm)
I had met Tony Pua recently and spoken to him about the ongoing crime issue. He informed me that for the PJ area the ratio is 1:1800. I asked him how recruitment of new officers is coming along, and he replied that it was slow. 36% of the police force are in administration.

Someone I know personally in Damansara Jaya had a break-in at his home recently, so it is obvious that the robbers have merely shifted their targets away from Bandar Utama to nearby areas. We will continue to push for the IPCMC suggestions to be implemented.

I have spoken to the Mayor about the directive to remove the boom gates in Bandar Utama. He has assured me that MBPJ will not remove them for one month, in the meanwhile we will have a meeting to discuss further on the crime issues.

Muhammat Sarip bin Siran (4.30 pm)

Muhammat Sarip bin Siran

Muhammat Sarip bin Siran

There are only 84 police officers to cover half a million citizens for the Damansara Police Station. Many neighbours don’t know each other and this makes it easier for burglars to break in. Many people also do not know the phone number for the police station, which is 03-77222222.

Dato Manpal

Dato Manpal

Dato’ Manpal, BURA Chairman (4.35 pm)
The purpose of this event is to foster collaboration between the police and the residents. We need to reduce the opportunity for criminals to break-in by implementing crime prevention measures. We have been too reliant on the police for protection, and recent events such as MBPJ’s directive to remove the boom gates have not helped matters.

The ratio of 1:4000 ~ 1:5000 for the area covered by the Damansara police is clearly inadequate. We need greater numbers of police to increase patrols in Bandar Utama and the surrounding areas.

The Walk (4.45 pm)

After the speeches were made, Jimmy Tan (BURA) instructed the crowd on how to perform warm-up exercises.

Jimmy Tan

Jimmy Tan

Then the security guards, St John’s Ambulance, police, VIPs and residents assembled and marched into the BU6 Area, some carrying banners with ‘Walk the Talk in Crime Prevention’ printed on them. It was hard to gauge the distance travelled but everyone was back at the hall in just under an hour. The VIPs, press and interested citizens then headed upstairs for a press conference.

The Press Conference (5.45 pm)

Dato’ Manpal pointed out that The Star, NST, Sinar Harian, Nanyang, China Press and Sin Chew Jit Poh were present for today’s event. He then went on to say that at least 289 people attended the Walk today which was quite a good turnout. Summaries of the other VIP’s press briefing follows:

Sivarasa Rasiah (5.52 pm)

The effectiveness of the police force has become a big issue, particularly in Klang Valley and Selangor where the crime rate is very high. Residents have been forced to hire guards and build walls, resulting in paying a double tax (regular tax to Government plus fees to the security companies).

The Prime Minister has said that the ideal ratio of police to citizens is 1:250. The ratio we have here of between 1:4000 and 1:5000 is quite disparate. We will continue to bring up this issue in Parliament, and the need for implementing the IPCMC suggestions.

It is clear that PDRM itself should have better facilities, pay and housing to make it more attractive for new officers to sign up. Their allocation for these things is not enough.

Elizabeth Wong (6 pm)

We need to look at the cause of the high crime rate – the high level of unemployment coupled with the migration of people from rural to urban areas has resulted in an increase of population beyond what was planned. This is a failure of town planning, and we need to look at allocation of land for the police. Local councils play an important role in helping to alleviate the situation we have now (Dato’ Manpal mentioned at this point that a police beat station is scheduled to be built in Bandar Utama).

Muhammat Sarip bin Siran (6.08 pm)

I have been here for 10 years, at a time when there was much less crime. There are far more residential areas today compared to that time, such as Bandar Utama, Damansara Utama, Damansara Jaya and so on. Given that the police force stationed here is small, we hope there will be more cooperation from the residents in helping to be our eyes and ears to watch for suspicious activities.

Question & Answer Session

Q: What specific changes to the police are needed?

Sivarasa: The police force is imbalanced e.g. 33% are in Jabatan Keselamatan Awam. They should redeploy members from Special Branch into CID.

Last Sunday I was at a HINDRAF gathering at KLCC, and there were over 100 police and Special Branch officers. Why do they need such numbers to monitor us, when they could be out investigating crime?

Police are becoming documenters of crime, not investigators – this has led to citizens being reluctant to report crime. Their pay rate is also another issue; they should be compensated according to the risk they take.

Q: What about the relation between migrant workers and crime?

Sivarasa: This is a common misconception by the public – the fact is that only 1-1.5% of crimes are done by foreigners, as related to me by the Home Minister.

Q: I feel that responsibility for security lies with citizens, police and town councils. We should re-examine current laws because town councils are seen as impedance e.g. the boom-gate dismantling issue here in BU. Maybe we can use the Rukun Tetangga law? A lot of pressure should be applied by legislators to solve the police issue – why is that traffic roadblocks get ten officers, but crime investigation only two? We need to reduce this ratio.

Elizabeth: We are aware of what you have mentioned, in fact we have had a meeting between the ADUNs and Chief of Police on this and will continue to have discussions with them.

Sivarasa: We will push with the Inspector General of Police for reforms – look at Kayu Ara, where the crime rate is getting worse every day. The urgency for change is clear.

Q: Can we tap into FRU or Military Police for help in policing residential areas?

(No answer)

Q: I noticed more police stations being set up – are they going to dilute the police force in Damansara police station, or allocate more cops to this area to accommodate the new stations?

(No answer)

Read more for additional photos.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by ak57

July 12, 2008 at 4:05 pm

Bandar Utama Meets The OCPD

The rising crime rate in Bandar Utama these past few weeks has the residents worried. Thanks to the efforts of Bandar Utama Residents Association (BURA) members, Lim See Meng and Dr. Tok, a meeting was quickly arranged with OCPD Arjunaidi (Police Chief of Petaling Jaya) and CID Chief Mazlan Mansor.

It was hoped that during this meeting the police would be able to provide some reassurance to the residents that steps were being taken to improve their safety, as well as advise us on ways to improve our safety.

The meeting took place between 10pm – 12.30 am at Starbucks Centrepoint on 2nd May 2008. In attendance were:

  1. OCPD Asst. Comm. Arjunaidi
  2. CID Chief Mazlan Mansor
  3. Elizabeth Wong (ADUN – Bkt Lanjan)
  4. Dato’ Manpal Singh (BURA Chairman)
  5. Lim See Meng (BURA Deputy Chairman)
  6. Various BURA Committee Members
  7. Various BURA Area Committee Members
  8. Bandar Utama residents, including victims of recent break-ins

After a brief introduction by Dato’ Manpal, Arjunaidi stated that the police are aware of the snatch thefts and break-ins and are trying to have more patrols in the area. He suggested keeping the police station number close at hand to call immediately if residents see anything suspicious.

Questions, Observations by Residents & Arjunaidi’s Answers

Q1: During the time the robberies occurred people are inside the home, and not aware of what is going on outside. Either that or they are not at home. They are therefore unable to observe suspicious goings-on.

A1: Residents should get to know their neighbours to differentiate non-locals.

Q2: What are the police doing to identify and catch these gangs? (A five-man Chinese gang has already been identified as the major criminal group in the area)

A2: It is difficult to identify all the criminals involved.

Q2 (follow up): You should enforce harsher punishments, not jail them for six months and release them. Is there an information network that you are tapping into?

A2: Yes, but obviously we cannot inform you further on that. How we solve crimes is for us to know.

Q3: You should have road blocks, working together with the security guards as a deterrent. It shows the police presence in the area. (Elizabeth Wong also commented at this point that robbers have the perception that the police are weak)

A3: We will consider the road blocks, and study where best to put them. However working together with your security guards presents legal issues as they are not empowered to stop vehicles on the road.

Q4: What about a barricaded community with card access? This will prevent the robbers’ scouts from coming in.

A4: It is illegal to do so, because Bandar Utama is not a gated community. (Dato’ Manpal interjected at this point to say that 100% approval by the residents is needed to get gated community status, this is due to MPPJ law. Any attempts to barricade without approval will result in MPPJ demolishing them)

Q5: Johor has faced worse crime problems than us. Maybe the police and MPPJ can get advice from them on what measures proved effective?

A5: We will look into that.

Mazlan’s Comments
CID Chief Mazlan explained that the role of the system is to catch robbers, but we can only hold them so long after which they go back to the street. Moreover the time allowed to investigate individual crimes is too short. He then added that it was not right for the police to be questioned on how they work, and they had come to this meeting to discuss crime prevention.

Having said that he got up to leave, whereupon the meeting quickly dissolved.

Personal thoughts
Overall I felt this meeting did not turn out as well as it could, due to a number of factors:

1. Arjunaidi being the most soft-spoken man in the world
I refuse to believe that he got where he was speaking in such a manner, it was only after the meeting did I realise that he spoke that way on purpose. By limiting the range at which his voice could be heard, only the ADUN and a few BURA Committee members could hear him, thereby protecting him from any backlash from residents (and making this reporter’s life very difficult ;)) .

Arjunaidi is a very smart man.

2. The choice of Starbucks as the venue
Starbucks did not seem like the right choice for a meeting with a crowd of 20-odd people. It was noisy and the armchairs further distanced us from each other. Other than the aforementioned people next to the OCPD, the rest of us were left in the dark as to what was going on. It was almost like the majority of the crowd was eavesdropping on a private conversation between the ADUN, OCPD, CID Chief and four BURA members.

I must give kudos to the BURA Chairman for announcing what was mentioned by the OCPD at periodic intervals, so we were not completely lost. Thank you, sir.

3. No timeline or commitment by the police
Answers such as ‘we will look into it’, and so on are fine if a follow-up date is established. Without that the meeting resulted in a lot of ideas and no decisions. If I was a victim I would have wanted the police to make strong assurances such as ‘we will increase patrols within the week’.

Written by ak57

May 28, 2008 at 12:34 am

The Results Are In

It took ages for me to get around to writing this – my health problems finally proved too much to bear forcing me to spend most of the past three days in bed recuperating. Nevertheless, the laughter must go on!

Sivarasa Rasiah and Elizabeth WongElection Night

I got to the Bilik Gerakan a bit late, some time after Elizabeth Wong had been declared a winner – not that I was surprised of course, given Yong Dai Ying’s less impressive public presence and lack of even basic things like banners and such. Shortly thereafter (10.30 or 11 PM) we left for the Nomination Centre (some community hall at BU3) to claim victory, but no motorcade as police had banned victory parades. By the way, until today I have no idea what they were claiming, I’m guessing a boring looking government document 😛

When we got there along with Sivarasa Rasiah and his supporters (yes, he won too!), only a limited number of people were allowed into the hall (I think it was candidate + representative + 18 random supporters for them to choose). I decided to wait outside, figuring it wouldn’t take more than an hour.

I was so wrong – scarcely had the doors been closed when the cops told us to leave the compound and wait behind the fence, in the drizzle. PAS/PKR/PSM supporters all waited outside for what felt like ages (just over three hours I think).

The PSM candidate came at one point and didn’t take too long to claim his prize, after which the PSM supporters cheered, sang some song then left. I realised that there were a ton of cops around, the ratio of cop to supporter felt one to one. They looked as bored as we did, poor chaps.

The waiting wasn’t too bad I guess, I managed to chat up a Bangsar resident and found out that there were multiple Residents’ Associations and that they don’t stand up to Shahrizat, or listen to the residents at all! I had heard stories before about Shahrizat ignoring major complaints by her constituents and even the RA one time, so I guess the RA lost whatever teeth they had.

The current hot issue is the relocation of the pasar malam, which from the sounds of it looks like Shahrizat was planning to push it as far as possible from the ‘upper class’ bars and restaurants that pretty much dominate the Telawi area now.

Amusing rumours were flying in…Khir Toyo burning/shredding/stealing documents from his office…unrest in Bangsar…fourteen (14!!!) ballot boxes suddenly discovered in Bangsar. Well that last one turned out to be true, but fortunately did not affect the count of votes.

Where could fourteen boxes magically appear from?

Elections #11

Eventually everyone was allowed inside the hall at 1+ AM which was a great improvement really – well lit, ample seating and shelter from the rain! Apparently there was some ‘technical problems’ with Sivarasa’s vote count, hence the delay. So the SPR official had to leave for the Selangor SPR headquarters to straighten things out.

I got a bit worried really, this sounded like a ploy to sneak in some uncounted boxes or postal votes. We were even locked in ‘for our safety’. We eventually found a way to amuse ourselves, and I even managed to use my notebook to do some cartooning while we waited.

The SPR guy returned at almost 3 AM, and Sivarasa was declared victorious at 3.20 AM.

Sivarasa Rasiah and Elizabeth Wong

No wrap party as I expected, so everyone decided to head back home, apart from a handful who returned to the Bilik Gerakan.

You know what surprised me? Nurul Izzah won! Wow! I have hated Shahrizat for years for various reasons…and now she’s gone! I hope those banners of her devouring a baby are gone next time I drive up Bukit Bandaraya 🙂

Written by ak57

March 12, 2008 at 12:02 am

Happy Voting Day

Election Wishes

Written by ak57

March 8, 2008 at 8:38 am

Last Day of Campaign

Last day to campaign today – Elizabeth Wong, Sivarasa Rasiah and their supporters will be visiting as many areas as possible in their 10-car motorcade:

Elizabeth Wong Motorcade
Half the motorcade (other half sped off before I could snap them)
Decorated Kelisa

Written by ak57

March 7, 2008 at 9:14 am

Elizabeth Wong @ Bandar Utama

Elizabeth Wong @ Bandar UtamaA PKR ceramah was held in Bandar Utama at the BU3/6 field. The speakers were, in order:

  1. Sivarasa Rasiah
  2. Elizabeth Wong
  3. Irene Fernandez
  4. Tian Chua

Attendance was far greater than the Gerakan ceramah from the previous night, at least three times the size (500+ people). Attendees were mostly young and middle aged people. Donations from the crowd was very generous, PKR managed to raise funds amounting to RM10,154.

I arrived late at 8.45pm and Sivarasa was just about to start fielding questions from the audience. Please note that unless otherwise stated, all answers written in this article are not quoted verbatim as I was unable to get an audio/video recording of the proceedings.

Sivarasa Rasiah Q&A

Q: When is the New Economic Policy (NEP) going to end?

Anwar Ibrahim (defacto leader of PKR) has for the past two years stated that the NEP cannot continue in its present form. It is PKR’s view that the NEP has to be revamped and its benefits given regardless of race. Instead the benefits should be based on merit. These statements have not been challenged by the majority of the Malays because they know that the NEP has been abused, and the abuse is wrong.

Q: What are your views on the cancellation of indelible ink?

The Elections Commission has misled the public on this matter since it was proposed last year. First they wanted to consult the Fatwa Council to get approval, which was given after a couple of months. Then they discussed what kind of ink, and how many bottles they should buy. They delayed as much as they could, and now the cancellation of it allows the EC to retain the same power to cheat and deny us a win, as in previous elections.

Q: Najib has mentioned that the oil subsidy is not sustainable, how does that stack against reducing corruption?

An increase in subsidy can be used to control inflation by controlling the price of essential goods. If you want to see wastage due to corruption, look at the purchase of the Scorpene submarines, and Sukhoi jets- RM 1 billion was wasted there alone. By reducing wastage such as that, we can increase the subsidy.

Q: What is the check and balance that ensures that candidates will follow the manifesto and remain clean

I don’t believe that presigned resignation letters work. The real solution is to amend/repeal the Official Secrets Act, the Printing and Publications Act and the Police Act to allow transparency, and to empower the citizens to take action. These amendments will restore democratic rights to the citizens.

Q: How will you deal with candidates who are ‘bought’ and switch parties?

(Siva cited a case in 1990 of two PAS members who switched parties. It was not clear but the impression given was that there was no by-election)

If this happens PKR will have a by-election in the seats held by those candidates.

Q: Will the serial number be on the ballot?

No more. In previous elections what happened was that the serial number of the ballot paper was written next to the name of the voter, so the government can track your votes. But you need not fear that anymore.

Sivarasa Rasiah @ Bandar Utama
Sivarasa Rasiah fielding questions from the crowd

Elizabeth Wong’s Speech (summary of talking points, quotes in italics)

  • Gave examples of Exco members’ wastage, such as an ‘educational trip’ to Egypt, quote, “To learn what? To learn belly dancing!”
  • The clearing of 1200 hectares of forest by PKNS, also due to the Exco members – when Khir Toyo (head of PKNS) was asked, he claimed to not know
  • “What are the features of a developed state? It is not tolls, high assessment fees, factory housing or traffic jams”
  • A developed state or country does not have to wait for residents to come up to them and present their problems on what’s wrong in their neighbourhood, it would have monitoring in place for maintenance work like that
  • There is a Master Plan for Petaling Jaya, but this has not been followed
  • The solution to the damage done by the Exco members is to have proper town planning and a neutral, elected local council so they are held accountable for their actions
Elizabeth Wong @ Bandar Utama
  • The funding allocated for development is for the citizens, not pocket money to be spent freely for personal use
  • Problems such as the traffic jam caused by the Chinese school nearby can be solved by reopening the Damansara school down the road, not to close this school or widen the road
  • “Why after 50 years, have the citizens become beggars, having to beg to fix problems such as potholes and traffic lights?”
  • Spoke about having a policy about lease of land for places of worship
  • Need exposure of spending of State money
  • Unlike BN, the Opposition brings up problems publicly, no talking behind closed doors or secret deals

Elizabeth’s Five Immediate Actions (once elected)

  1. Initiate a Private Member Bill on freedom of information, so the people know reasons such as why assessment rates have gone up
  2. Ensure no more demolition of places of worship
  3. Regazette the Sungai Buloh Forest Reserve
  4. Work on reducing the crime rate, most police are in administration and Special Branch, we need to have more active police officers and do away with the Special Branch
  5. Have local council elections
Elizabeth Wong @ Bandar Utama

Elizabeth Wong Q&A

Self-Q: On Khir Toyo’s recent statement that there will be no allocation for Opposition members in the State Assembly

On 10th of March the Opposition will initiate a lawsuit against Khir Toyo for his statements. We will ensure that we get the allocation due to us and are held accountable for our spending. For example, look at Permatang Pauh, where 2-3 times more money is being put to work for the community compared to its neighbours.

Q: Will you create a service centre in Bandar Utama?

I hope to establish three service centres, because there are many areas in Bukit Lanjan that need attention, such as Desa Jaya, Desa Pandan and Kayu Ara.

Q: What is your plan for health service?

There has been too much privatisation of hospitals that has led to high insurance fees and medical fees. (rest of answer unclear, believe the plan is to cut back/stop privatisation)

Elizabeth Wong @ Bandar Utama
 Elizabeth Wong speaking to an appreciative crowd
Irene Fernandez @ Bandar Utama
Irene Fernandez
Tian Chua @ Bandar Utama
Tian Chua

Written by ak57

March 7, 2008 at 7:41 am