Thursday, February 25, 2010

Blatant but feeble attempts to tarnish the image of Penang

Some people will go all the way (publish in The Star, The Sun and Malaysiakini) to put Penang in a bad light.

First there was this Calvin Sankaran, now another (?) person by the name of Raman Nair is again trying to blame everything bad about Penang on CM Lim Guan Eng. Is all that is bad in Penang the CM's responsibility? Where was this Calvin and Raman during Koh Tsu Koon's era - were we in a state of eternal bliss then?

Being a person from Penang (unlike Calvin and now Raman) I can certainly state that there has been much improvement (although more can still be done) in Penang since March 2008, but I would like to allow other writers to give their point of view. Here are two:

I refer to the letter Penang must arrest this alarming decline. As a citizen journalist and a Penangite who loves my island, I wish to point out some of the things that the writer mentioned in his letter. Being a citizen journalist, it is my habit to observe and report on things on the ground.

Firstly, I found that the same writer has written the same letter to The Star and The Sun (and also in Malaysiakini - JR) in January. Obviously, he is still sore from the 'supposed nightmares' he encountered in Penang after two months. A blogger had posted these two letters on his blog and claimed it as a blatant attempt to discredit the Penang government by BN/Umno.

I shall not dwell into the political side of things. But I can provide my own observations:

Read more from Lilian

I write in response to the letter titled Penang must arrest this alarming decline.

I find the writer's account of his visit to Penang rather strange. My recent experience in Penang was totally different. I am currently living in Selangor and my family and I were in Penang during the Chinese New Year.

Upon our arrival at the airport via a Firefly flight on Feb 13, (Chinese New Year eve), I did not recall seeing 'images of Lim Guan Eng everywhere'. I do not recall seeing 'huge billboards' and promotional videos of him.

What I do recall is an airport that is running smoothly, baggage delivered within a reasonable time frame but also an airport that is congested and badly in need of expansion. I remembered wondering to myself why Malaysia Airports is not doing something about this.

As we walked out of the arrival lounge and into my brother's car and as the car pulled out of the driveway, I remembered seeing Rapid Penang buses! Yes, Rapid Penang buses are running services to the Penang International Airport. The next day, I was at the airport again, this time to pick up another brother of mine arriving from Singapore.

As I sat in the car waiting, I could see Rapid Penang buses delivering passengers by the busloads to the airport with stunning frequency. I could not recall such an efficient and frequent bus service to the airport before. Things have certainly improved in Penang.

Read more from GH Kok

It is sad that The Star which used to be "The People's Paper" now seems more interested to publish letters slighting Penang instead of promoting the state where it was born in. Sad, but true...

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Penang enjoying a new tourism boom

Penang is definitley enjoying a resurgence in tourist arrivals this year. The majestic Queen Mary 2 (QM2) recently sailed into town and berthed for the first time at the Penang Swettenham Pier International Cruise Terminal.

Hundreds of curious locals and tourists gathered to admire the beautiful lines of the massive luxury ocean liner making her maiden port call at the pier as part of her 2010 Royal Route of Exploration world cruise.

Queen Mary 2 in Penang

The 119-year-old historic Kek Lok Si Temple in Air Itam has earned three entries in the Malaysia Book of Records.

The three entries are for the tallest pavilion at 89.23m, the tallest bronze Goddess of Mercy (Kuan Yin) statue at 33.67m, and the tallest granite pillars at 42.24m.

Kek Lok Si Temple

Watch it all lighted up from afar (you can see it all the way from Jalan Dato Keramat) this Chinese New Year as it is going to be a sight to behold.

Light Street is also all aglow with LED lights manufactured in Penang! THE main tourist spots in George Town, Penang, have been transformed into a fairytale land with LED lights and decorations put up at various streets to usher in Chinese New Year.

More than 500 strings of LED lights adorn 30 trees along the Light Street while an additional 100 strings of LED lights will be used to decorate Gurney Drive, Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Keling (Street of Harmony) and the Chew Jetty.

State Tourism Development and Culture Committee chairman Danny Law said the God of Prosperity figurine and love cupids would also be part of the street decorations along walkways of Light Street and Esplanade as the state prepares to make Penang on equal par with Hong Kong and Singapore in terms of night lighting.

More night images of Penang here and here

And if you are looking for a place to stay in Penang check out the new Hard Rock Hotel in Batu Feringghi:

Hard Rock Hotel Penang

Finally, say goodbye to one of Penang's grandest icon - the Penang Hill funicular train, which will stop its current service for extensive upgrading.

The last train ride leaves at 8.30pm on 21 Feb 2010

JR: Be prepared though for massive traffic jams during CNY in Penang. Me? I am outa here!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Sodomy 2.0 is released!

Malaysian PM Najib begins his sideshow to distract Malaysians from his own incompetent government

SLINGING mud at opponents is a staple of most democracies, even if voters might prefer a more sensible debate. In Malaysia, a prudish, majority-Muslim country, it seems that nothing succeeds quite like below-the-belt personal attacks. For Anwar Ibrahim, the opposition leader and former deputy prime minister, who went on trial this week accused of sodomising a young male aide, the tactic is wearily familiar. In 1998 he was charged with the same crime, found guilty and jailed. Exonerated and freed, he has staged a comeback that another conviction might jeopardise.

Much has changed in Malaysia since Mr Anwar last took the stand. His nemesis, the country’s longest-serving prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, who presided over his downfall, has retired, if not exactly gracefully or quietly. The once-mighty United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), which leads a 13-party multiracial governing coalition, looks increasingly vulnerable at a future election. A judiciary that was seen as beholden to its political masters has begun to assert its independence, and has sided with free-speech plaintiffs in prickly faith-related cases.

"Shall we do it again for the benefit of the audience?"

That independence will be put to the test in “Sodomy 2.0”, as Malaysia’s press has taken to calling Mr Anwar’s trial. His lawyers have pressed for the disclosure of prosecution evidence, including medical reports of the accuser, Saiful Bukhari. He told the court on February 3rd that Mr Anwar coerced him into having sex, which would be illegal in Malaysia and punishable by up to 20 years in jail. Mr Saiful worked briefly for Mr Anwar in 2008, when he was 23. During the same period, he was seen with aides of Najib Razak, then deputy prime minister and prime minister since last April. Mr Anwar accuses Mr Najib and his wife of a conspiracy to frame him and says they should testify. Mr Najib insists he has nothing to do with the case.

UMNO has been scheming to weaken the opposition, which won five out of 13 states in March 2008 elections that stunned the ruling coalition. Last year it seized back one of those states, Perak, by luring defectors. Then it tried, in vain, to peel off an Islamic party in Mr Anwar’s alliance. An anti-corruption agency has been mobilised to dig opposition dirt, with disastrous results in the case of Teoh Beng Hock, a political aide who died last July after falling out of a window while in the agency’s custody.

Mr Anwar’s trial is a much more potent weapon for UMNO, both as a blot on the opposition leader’s image and a distraction from his politicking. UMNO-owned media will harp on the sordid details, just as they did in the first trial when a semen-stained mattress was hauled into court. The blogosphere, however, where young Malaysians get their news, may not be easily impressed. Nor, it seems, will foreign investors, whom Mr Najib is desperate to attract with promises of a more open and less UMNO-dominated economy. His government’s image is already dented by corruption scandals, including a multibillion dollar project at Port Klang that has been dogged by accusations of mismanagement and cronyism. Some Malaysians may be wondering why such matters seem to generate less heat than Mr Anwar’s alleged transgressions.

- The Economist

I was angry and I refused... but then I figured, what the hell?

What really happened between Saiful and Anwar

Don't let Mr 1Malaysia distract us from the real problems

First he lost our jet engines, then he lost our FDIs, now it looks like Najib is also losing our military secrets!

Latest: Judge in Anwar's case biased and siding with Utusan Malaysia, a pro government publication

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

1Malaysia is all about reminding us of our "pendatang" status

1Malaysia used as a platform to push Najib's hidden agenda

It is not surprising now why many were suspicious about Najib's 1Malaysia agenda as it is now clear what UMNO is trying to do now that BTN has been "disbanded" (before they were exposed!):

1Malaysia is not meant for you ...

Nasir Safar (definitely a product of our much lauded BTN), Najib's aide of 20-years now again reminds us that:

* Indians and Chinese in Malaysia are “pendatang”

* “Indians came to Malaysia as beggars and Chinese especially the women came to sell their bodies (jual tubuh)”

* Umno was solely responsible in drafting the constitution sidelining the contribution of MCA and MIC

* Citizenship of those vocal about the subject cap for SPM examination will be revoked.

No surprises here knowing the history of UMNO. The only people who can feign surprise are as usual MIC and MCA.

What the mainstream papers never reported

Does Najib's silence means consent?

No apology from Najib - MIC and MCA plays deaf and dumb (definitely playing their role very well as 1Malaysia stooges!)

NST, Utusan and Star in all out combined attack mode against PKR and Pakatan