Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pakatan pledges sweeping reforms- Malaysiakini

The battle for Putrajaya has been raised a notched with the Pakatan Rakyat coalition today unveiling its common policy platform, containing promises of sweeping reforms and equality. In a direct response to its race-based rival Barisan Nasional, Pakatan's common policy promises to reduce race-based policies and enacting a Race Relations Act.
It further pledges to practice needs-based affirmative action, enact a Equal Opportunity Act and other merit-based policies, such as in the case of government scholarships. Special reference to the state of Sabah and Sarawak - where Pakatan has little influence - promises greater access to oil royalties and resolving long-standing problems faced by natives. Further promises include a royal commission to resolve the outstanding issue of illegal immigrants, which have been largely ignored by the federal government.
Reaching out to the two East Malaysian states is crucial to Pakatan's bid to wrest federal power from the BN as two states command about a quarter of the total number of parliamentary seats. Also addressed is the thorny issue of religion which had in the past caused schisms between the Islamic-conservative PAS and the secular DAP. Most prominently, the coalition pledges to establish a “comprehensive mechanism” to resolve cases where there is an overlap of civil and syariah law. A royal commission has also been pledged to “deeply study” issues related to this.
Decentralising state economy At the institutional level, Pakatan pledged to ensure full independence and transparency of the Judicial Appointment Commission to restore public confidence in the judicial system. Other reforms proposed include making the Election Commission, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Human Rights Commission (Suhakam), Petronas and other major government institutions directly accountable to Parliament. This would include having Parliament as the approval body for the appointment of important government posts such as the inspector general of police, attorney-general, MACC commissioner and auditor-general.
On the economy, Pakatan aims to decentralise state economic management which the policy document said will boost efficiency, productivity and balanced geographical development. This proposal involves distributing economic and administrative power and the implementation of infrastructure work to the state government. The one-day maiden Pakatan convention, held at the Shah Alam City Council auditorium, was attended top opposition leaders.
They are joined by 1,500 delegates - 500 from each component party - of whom 15 are to debate the common policy paper today.
The crowd, which comprised all races, turned the auditorium into a riot of colours with their green, red and blue party uniforms.
Salient points in common platform
Below are excerpts of other key areas of the policy statement:

Healthcare - Establishing a National Heath Commission to improve public healthcare.
Women - Ensuring 30 percent representation at the government's decision-making level.
Police - Establishing the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission.
Culture - Liberalising restriction on performances by artistes.Language - Promoting Bahasa Malaysia as the regional lingua franca but protecting mother tongue languages.
Labour - Minimum wage policy. Social security - Establishing a National Retrenchment Fund.
Elections - Redelineation of electoral boundaries to fulfil concept of 'one person, one vote'.
Public transport - Study the possibility of buying back North-South Highway and renegotiating highway concessions to reduce toll prices.
Media - Amending the Printing Presses and Publishing Act and enact a Freedom of Inforamtion Act to ensure media freedom

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Eid Mubarak in Dubai

During the recent Aid Holidays, went over to Dubai for vacation with my wife. During the 2 days stay,visited some interesting places like the Dhow Cruise, Deira City centre, Mall of the Emirates and Atlantis . Took the luxury bus service from Abu Dhabi to Dubai which cost only AED15.Upon reaching Dubai bus station, took the boat ride across the river to old Dubai. There we walk to the Dubai Chinatown where we had our lunch at one of the Chinese shop situated in Dubai Chinese Association building popularly known as Shoe City.

Joined the Dhow Cruise Dinner in the floating restaurant where Continental and Arabic buffet were served with some light music and entertainment. It was a memorable evening as the boat cruise along Dubai Creek by moonlight.

The next day took the Dubai Metro train to The Mall of the Emirates for breakfast before boarding a cab to Atlantis at Palm Jumeirah. Paid AED100 for entry to the Lost Chambers of Atlantis. It was an unforgettable themed marine experience in Ambassador Lagoon at the heart of Atlantis, 11.5 million litres of water and home to 65,000 marine animals in 22 different displays and habitats. It was really an awe-inspiring showcases of underwater world. During the construction of the resort, a complex series of passages was discovered, thought to have been buried thousands of years ago by the waters of the Arabian Gulf.