Thursday, September 17, 2009




A Malay Wedding, a Hindu wake and a misunderstanding over a broken wind-screen exploded into a clash that caused 6 deaths of scores of injured.

The ethnic nature of the clashes appears to have masked the undercurrents in Malaysian society and the emergence of a frustrated underclass in an economy long touted as the next Asian tiger economy. The clashes between Malay Muslims and ethnic Indians erupted March 8 in run-down sections of Petaling Jaya, a largely upper- middle class residential town just next door to Kuala Lumpur. Six people have been reported killed, 52 hurt and 190 detained.

In socio-economic terms, "the area is one of the worst areas around Kuala Lumpur", says Professor Ishak Shari, head of the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies. "I suppose the feeling of frustration [at their plight] is there. The feeling of dissatisfaction must have been brewing all along," he explains.

The poor must be able to walk with dignity.

Some 60 percent of the 22 million Malaysians are ethnic Malays or indigenous people. About 50 percent of the people are Malays, almost all of whom are Muslim. A quarter are Malaysian Chinese, while 8 percent are ethnic Indian. For several years now, a few academics have been pointing to a growing underclass in Malaysian society, the result of an unbridled, lopsided
approach to "development".

During his 20-year tenure as premier, Mahathir Mohamad has pursued a model of heavy industrialization, complete with towering skyscrapers, a glittering airport and an impressive Formula One racing circuit. But he has neglected social security nets for the poor, critics say. How one defines poverty in the country is problematic to start with. The official poverty line in peninsular or western Malaysia, where Kuala Lumpur is, in 1997 was a monthly income of 460 ringgit (US$121) for a household of 4.6 persons, says Ishak.

If that figure is used, Malaysia's level of poverty does not look so bad - 8 percent overall in 1998 with urban poverty less than 5 percent. But most households need a combined income of 1,000 ringgit to meet the demands of modern urban living, asserts Ishak. The Malaysian Trades Union Congress, for instance, has been demanding a minimum monthly wage of 900 ringgit.

This is where the crux of the problem lies: many among the working class, including factory workers, barely earn that amount. Indeed, those at the lower end of the ladder, especially plantation workers, general workers and laborers, struggle to earn 500 ringgit monthly. Before the Asian crisis in mid-1997, academics had argued that 750 ringgit would be a more appropriate gauge of the minimal cost of living for urban households, said a report prepared by the Malaysian Institute for Economic Research for the United Nations Development Program in 1998. Given this measure, during the boom decade between 1985 and 1995, the percentage of poor households increased from 14.3 to 23 percent, much of the rise occurring in the urban areas.

(The above are excerpts in my archives. I regret being able to identify the sources. I apologise for that.)


This from blogger Cowboy Caleb:

And in this shocker – the Malaysian government plans to act as housing loan guarantors to poor folk who can’t afford to buy their own homes.

What a load of bullshit.

Poor people can’t afford to buy homes because of inflation and the ever increasing cost of basic items. All of which are problems created, perpetuated and worsened by the current Malaysian government. Tackle those problems and build cheaper homes for the poor, instead of shackling them to government-endorsed loans which they can already ill afford.

It’s not rocket science!


And Patrick Teoh in his NIAMAH post asks: WHAT FOR?


Anonymous said...

What do you suggest? Give free house to all the poor? This is the problem of capatalism and meritocracy. We just have to accept this and help the poor through various ways except giving them free lunch unless we want to be like commonist countries.

Anonymous said...

Tony F, now suddenly you are the bad guy like Idris Jalal

lanaibeach said...

F1 dream
Malaysian car on the race
Challenging the track
Wasted money

The country doesn't need it
Enough of cronies milking the economy
Time to do for the people
The money better spend constructively

The money burn on the tracks
When backyards people are suffering
We should understand our priorities
It is our people make them live joyously

F1 dream isn't 1Malaysia
We are a small country
Thinking too big for her own good
Get our objectives right
F1 is for rich countries

What we currrently do
Earning income to hold its races
The profits can be projected
Don't lose the focus
F1 participation
We aren't ready

mauriyaII said...

I have always wondered why the housing developers are giving 5 to 7 percent discount to well placed bumiputras buying houses more than RM 300K when that big sum of money could be used to either build low-cost homes for the poor or even be used to subsidize the low-cost homes and make them more affordable.

Looks like the ministry incharge of housing is just bent on widening the chasam between the haves and havenots.

I do not begrudge giving such discounts to all house buyers in the lower income category but to give semi-furnished and some even fully furnished houses for the affluent bumiputras is indecent and vulgar.

If they can buy a half million ringgit house or a multi-million ringgit bunglow, it is like assisting the rich robbers to rob more from the very poor.

Some strange, lopsided policies in Bolehland.

zorro said...

So give your money and my taxed money to rescue some GLC's. You go ahead and be magnanimous to thieves. Me I'd rather beg, borrow or steal to help some poor destitute Malaysian brother and sister. You know what? You are plastic....artificial, not steel!

zorro said... said TG is bad guy. You said Jalal is bad guy. Really? Takes a thief to recognise (to catch) a thief. Sleep tight, son.

Prince said...

I heard that Najib's relative has a stake in the event management setup involved. Can anyone verify that? Hey Zorro used your investigative power and your connections.

Old Fart said...

Patrick Teoh asks WHAT FOR?

Answer: Do any one of you know of anyone who has been to any of the F1 races who told you that they bought the ticket with their own money?

Well, maybe I am such a loner and don't mix around enough. But just about everyone who I know has boasted having had a good spot to see the F1 races was given the ticket from one sponsor or another. One advertiser or another. One company or another.

Whats it with F1 tickets? Is it an opportunity for companies and bosses to show their Santa Claus nature long after Christmas?

So, is this another opportunity to use to squeeze businesses off their advertising budgets maybe?

After all when approached by a charitable organisation that tells you hey by buying these tickets from us our charity benefits and you get to see the Malaysian F1 team!! How could you refuse??

You can sure bet the wives of the ministers led by Rosmah herself will be selling these tickets in the name of one charity or another. You think can refuse meh?

I think we should warn all charities in Malaysia that if they lent their names to anything to do with F1 or even receive monies from F1 ticket sales that they will be boycotted. After all Lotto was supposed to be for the benefit of sports in Malaysia. but just see who is really minting the money?

Unknown said...

Hi Uncle Zorro,

This topic is not related to the posting but i found it interesting to share...Public protest in the streets is disallowed in Pittsburgh,USA during the G20 Summit, BUT the Federal Court Judge allowed "TENT CITY" protest at State parks in the city during the G20 Summit...something creative to hold demo.

Judge Rules Pittsburgh Must Allow Protest at G-20

Published: September 17, 2009

PITTSBURGH — A federal judge on Thursday ordered the City of Pittsburgh to allow a group’s tent city protest during the Group of 20 meeting next week, but he denied two other requests for permits for demonstrations, saying the city’s goal of “protecting visiting foreign leaders is of the highest interest.”

Judge Gary L. Lancaster of Federal District Court made his ruling just over a week before the leaders of 20 of the world’s largest and emerging economies meet here in a gathering that has become a rallying point for a variety of groups.

Six of those groups sued the city, state and federal governments last week after being denied permits after months of discussions.

Since their lawsuit was filed, the city granted permits to three of the groups: for an interfaith march by the G6 Billion group; for another march by the group Bail Out the People; and for permits for a group of artists to use a city park.

Judge Lancaster granted one of the remaining groups, CodePink, the right to use Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh to hold a tent city demonstration Sunday night through Tuesday night. The city had tried to deny the permit, saying it would conflict with a run in the park, as well as a free speech festival being organized by a group supported by former Vice President Al Gore. Denying Code Pink the right to hold its tent city “would result in the loss of CodePink’s First Amendment freedoms,” Judge Lancaster ruled.

Jules Lobel, a lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights, which was representing the organizations along with the American Civil Liberties Union, said the ruling for use of the park “shows that it’s not just for the powerful, but for everyone.”

But Judge Lancaster also denied a request from the Thomas Merton Center to end a march through the city on Sept. 25 with a rally on the Seventh Street Bridge, near the convention center where the meeting will be held.

He said the city’s view that such a rally, with 5,000 to 7,000 people on a bridge, would be unsafe was valid. The judge also denied a request from the 3 Rivers Climate Convergence to camp out overnight in a city park all of next week because it would put too much of a burden on the city to clean up after the campers, and set a precedent for other groups.

Unknown said...

These guys are crazee, they never fail to surprise and i am speechless..what the F1??? the PM said this will raise our profile in the world stage?? the cow head has done it and it is much cheaper. another multi billion ringgit project and this time all you get in return are burnt tyres.

zorro said...

Present Value,
Thanks. Am considering putting up as a posting.

We'll follow the paper trial.

Old Fart,
Spot on...and the Paddock Lounge is the epitome of lavishness complete with wine, women but no song though.I had an invite by HSBC who sponsored Jaguar then.

Hawkeye....burning rubber and a conspicuous hole in the country's collective pocket, yes?

Anonymous said...

Malaysia for F1.
Don't forget this:
first malaysian f1 driver was also first with the DNQ status in a long time. and subsequent to the malaysia driver's DNQ status, there has been NO other DNQs.

Expect DNQ in f1 again next year.

Anxiously waiting.

shar101 said...

Hmmm .. DNQ still rankles till now.

And howz about:

ECS - Engine Cannot Start.

DIT - Driver In Toilet.

Anonymous said...

cant get through MT, any feedback on this??

Old Fart said...

Ya, can't get through to MT even from down under where I am!! Whats happening? Pete, you o.k.?

zorro said...

That right, MT has been "silenced". But it will come back barking louder.

julian said...

hey uncle have faith think about all the commission that they will get-----read earlier that air asia boss tony is thinking about pulling out????????????
dont worry too much the car will last 1 lap at least ok?

Oneofthesedays said...

Tony's ego has really gotten out of control.

Why is it that none of the so called super rich Malaysians still don't (or won't) learn to spell philanthropy^??

Tony is classic kacang lupa kulit.

He'll have to settle up in the afterlife. And guess what all the money in the world won't help him one bit.
*The word was coined 2500 years ago in ancient Greece, by the playwright Aeschylus or whoever else wrote Prometheus Bound (line 11). There the author told as a myth how the primitive creatures that were created to be human, at first had no knowledge, skills, or culture of any kind—so they lived in caves, in the dark, in constant fear for their lives. Zeus, the tyrannical king of the gods, decided to destroy them, but Prometheus, a Titan whose name meant “forethought,” out of his "philanthropos tropos" or “humanity-loving character” gave them two empowering, life-enhancing, gifts: fire, symbolizing all knowledge, skills, technology, arts, and science; and “blind hope” or optimism. The two went together—with fire, humans could be optimistic; with optimism, they could use fire constructively, to improve the human condition.- Wikipedia