CONSUMERIST – CASSA/PPIM BOYCOTT OF ASTRO CONTINUES!

Dato Jacob George

Be concerned with customers complaints in seven days or face boycott action!

That is a warning from two influential consumer organizations in this country namely Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM) and Consumer Association Of Subang and Shah Alam, Selangor  (Cassa) towards Astro on what is regarded as “arrogance” of the paid television station which acted as please to charge extra payments to their customers.

In fact the boycotting warning was also given to companies that advertise their products on that station.

PPIM Advisory Council Chairman, Tunku Azwil Tunku Abdul Razak said, with earning profits up to RM800 million in the end of 2010, there are no reasons for Astro to pressure their customers with extreme charges.

“Astro not only monopolize the paid station market, in fact they already took commercials when the rules does not allow them to do so and now they want to charge extra payments to consumers as they please without discussing it with respective parties.

“This is a form of arrogance, until they even charge RM20 to customers just to reconnect their service, it does not even need a spanner.

“For your information, they also have their own censorship board, who are they (Astro) actually, who seems to be “invincible” to do anything that they like?”, he firmly said in a special press conference recently.

Also present is Cassa President and Legal Advisor, Datuk Dr. Jacob George.

Astro recently announced that they will carry out adjustments on packages offered effective this July 11 with subscription price standardized depending on the customer’s package choice.

Some customers may experience a rise around RM1 to RM15 a month, while others will enjoy a saving up to RM4 to RM14.95 a month.

However the notice regarding the service payment rise which was released by Astro to their customers was regarded as invalid because no approval was given by the the Malaysian Communications And Multimedia Commission (MCMC), said Minister of Information, Communications and Culture, Dato’ Seri Utama Dr. Rais Yatim.

Commenting further on the boycott issue, Dr. Jacob said, Astro cannot take lightly on this matter because consumers have rights which cannot be denied by anyone.

“I myself have been to the Parliament and voiced our concern and discomfort to The Honorable Members with hopes it will be discussed in the next Dewan Rakyat session.

“Remember, we are giving seven days or we will boycott Astro, not only the television station but also those who advertise their products there,”

‘This will be a national boycott’ Dr Jacob added!

Astro Given 7 Days Or Face Boycott

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CONSUMERIST – MALAYSIAN VOTERS REJECT TOLL ROADS!

Dato Jacob George

CONSUMERIST – MALAYSIAN VOTERS REJECT TOLL ROADS!

To put it rather bluntly – toll roads are not good public policy. It sucks real big time!

They are stupid and Malaysian voters who are consumers have already spoken against such enterprises and abuse with political patronage!

Toll roads are an inefficient, backwards approach to providing public highways. Worse, they foster corruption, political patronage, and discourage needed improvements on the rest of the highway system.

Malaysian consumers and voters must not be fooled by references to “free-market principles,” “proper pricing,” “supply and demand,” and “economic incentives” from those selling the for-profit roadways. The truth is, any resemblance to free-market principles is more illusion than fact.

A real market-based system has willing sellers, willing buyers, and reasonably unfettered competition.

Any highway of consequence falls flat from the get-go, when it comes to market principles.

First, highway corridors are not assembled by willing buyers in competition with other willing buyers. The state identifies the corridor it wants, establishes what it considers to be a politically and judicially acceptable price, and condemns the land of those sellers who disagree. This is market principles at the end of a gun barrel.

Toll road advocates argue that those who use the system the most will pay the most. Fair enough, but who determines what the buyers should pay? It is not competing sellers of similar services. Highway users do not have viable alternatives to buy highway services from other sources. For all practical purposes, there are no other sellers competing for the motorists’ business and realistic alternatives do not exist.

Toll roads are literally a monopoly that is sanctioned and protected by the state.

Yet, the state’s citizens and other highway users have no channel to influence toll road management and pricing decisions. Upgrades and improvements to any highway viewed as competing with the toll road are likely to be postponed or ignored. Unnecessary congestion, under posted speed limits and arbitrary enforcement on alternative roads are silently condoned by transportation officials and elected officials.

Think about it, toll roads cannot compete without the presence of congestion and motorist inconvenience on the public highway system. Are congestion problems going to be corrected if they threaten the income of the toll road? Not in our lifetime – our highways are already proof of this as all it needs is an accident to occur or worst flash floods!

Those benefiting and laughing all the way to the bank are the ‘no bodies’ and ‘political cronies’ who by a stroke of a pen become vulgar cigar smoking overnight billionaires out to bleed Malaysian consumers!
Astro Given 7 Days Or Face Boycott

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CONSUMERIST – LESSONS LEARNT FROM INDIAN ELECTION COMMISSION!

Dato Jacob George

‘The Constitution of India has vested in the Election Commission of India the superintendence, direction and control of the entire process for conduct of elections to Parliament and Legislature of every State and to the offices of President and Vice-President of India.

India’s election commission showed how to administer free and fair elections and I pray others who claim to be democracies will learn from the Indian experience! – Dr Jacob George’

CONSUMERIST – EC TOLD LEARN FROM INDIAN ELECTION COMMISSION!

This is late!

I should have responded immediately after returning from India but kudos to the Election Commission of India all the same!

Those of you who are familiar with Indian politics and have for example driven to Chennai during the last elections would have noticed the conspicuous absence of posters, banners, hoardings in the city, even though campaigning was at its peak for the April 13 elections in the state.

This is in a marked contrast from the past elections.

We all know that Tamil Nadu used to be known for its dominating, life sized cut outs of political personalities dotting the landscape at poll time. The 2011 election campaign has done away with all that, thanks to the tough stand adopted by the Election Commission of India.

In fact, I heard the distinguished SY Qureshi, the chief election commissioner not mincing his words when he called Tamil Nadu the most challenging of all elections.

Even before the polls to the five state assemblies were notified, the CEC had felt that just as “violence” would pose the big challenge in West Bengal and in Tamil Nadu it would be money power!

But I was informed by many distinguished members of the civil society that the elections that was just held was in all aspects an Election Commission’s election, not the election of the Dravidian parties!

In simple terms it was an audit and benchmarking whether the Election Commission there was dedicated, honest, independent, accountable, professional and had a dedicated yearning to promote free and fair elections in the world’s largest democracy!

That they were not plain pussies pretending to be Tigers or actually proxies and cronies of incumbents and on the take!

This last election in India was different and for example election rulings pertaining even to posters were strictly enforced what more other fundamental issues to spearhead fair and free elections!

In fact, that was not all as the Election Commission seized millions in cash after putting in place ‘flying squat’ to address corruption and abuse whenever a tip off from the members of the public came in!

I was told by the same distinguished individuals that certain extremely connected politicians became so rattled by the EC’s tough stand that the chief minister took the unprecedented stand of publicly attacking the EC for declaring what he termed as a “mini emergency” in the state!

Or for example hearing the pathetic lamentations of Home Minister P Chidambaram at the ‘absence of festivities’ in the state that an election brings.

But the message was clear when the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee came to Chennai to release the Congress party’s manifesto, skirted around the controversy, by saying that he did not want to comment on the functioning of the Election Commission, mandated by the Constitution to conduct  free and fair elections!

I concur that statement in itself was a powerful message of the things that was to come and the change in course initiated for free and fair elections in various states of India!

A senior politician told me over tea that in Tamil Nadu, to have an ordinary Inspector of Police stop the convoy of GK Vasan, senior Congress leader in Dindigul, because it had more than the permitted four cars, shows how seriously the State Electoral Officer Praveen Kumar and his team are taking their job, and even more important the extent to which they have managed to empower the officials to act independently.

The said Inspector who stopped the Congress convoy said he would have to be answerable to the EC if he allowed them.

The EC went for aggressive vehicle checking in the state and heroic stories of ordinary officials, doing their duty at considerable risk encouraged me to note that change finally came to India!

More encouraged was I hearing of another story where in Tiruchy, a woman official, a revenue division officer, equivalent to a sub divisional magistrate in the north and bear you this was her first posting had received a call in the dead of night, at around 1 am informing her of money transported in a bus. She immediately set out with her driver and office boy, picking up a couple of police inspectors on the way, and the money was found in 5 bags on top of the a bus adding up to Rs 5 crore!

There have been reports of the Chief Electoral Officer’s car being checked!

I was told that voters were encouraged that the EC had obviously got its act together even before the notification of elections.

In fact, I was told that they initiated transfers of four collectors and 6 police officials, and changed the administrative team among whom was a collector, superintendent of police and others, basically ‘ lock, stock and barrel in Madurai’ where I was told the clout of  Karunanidhi’s son, MK Azhagiri is legendary.

The new collector, for instance, did not think twice about entering the house of Azhagiri’s lieutenant and checking.

The result – massive landslides all over and in Tamil Nadu, I was happy to hear AIADMK Supremo and new Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, J Jayalalithaa ascribing her party’s decisive victory in the Assembly elections to 1. people’s anger against the DMK Regime and certainly 2. lauding the Election Commission (EC) for its fantastic job in ensuring a free and fair polls in the State!

Talking to reporters at her Poes Garden Residence, ‘Amma’ as I call her affectionately had expressed her sincere thanks to the EC for the fantastic job they had done.

She went on record to place her sincere appreciation for the efforts taken by the Election Commission of India to conduct a free and fair polls in Tamil Nadu and wish her sincere thanks to the EC for the fantastic job they had done!

In West Bengal, dear friend, former Union Rail Minister, the fiery no nonsense Mamata Banerjee won a landslide as well and in Kerala another great result!

In fact, the beauty in Kerala was the ousted Chief Minister was reported to have left office after his defeat on a bicycle refusing to use the official car for a drive home and agreeing to pay for whatever bill his hand phone incurred during his tenure from his pension!

That is politics of accountability!

Just imagine what the world of politics would be – IF only Election Commissions in different jurisdiction had the religious and mental courage to do the same rather than continuing to be ‘pretenders and actors’ and violating norms and betraying voters of their vote in return for various forms of gratuitous rewards and payments?

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CONSUMERIST – ARREST THOSE BEHIND THREATS AND SEDITION!

Dato Jacob George

‘The IGP has made a extremely fair statement asking all quarters to back off and allow some sanity to return and ‘hurt and angry’ voices to subside to facilitate a plan of action where the pertinent aspirations of all Malaysians can be addressed in a more conducive atmosphere!

There is no shame in ‘standing down’ as the point has been made and as far as I can gather, Malaysia’s GE13 is at the corner and Malaysian voters can choose which direction they want to take the nation from their vote at the ballot! – Dr Jacob George

 

CONSUMERIST – ARREST THOSE BEHIND THREATS AND SEDITION!

At the time of this writing Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali who issued threats of violence and bloodshed still walks free!

I wonder seriously why?

So do the ‘partnership’ of certain Umno Youth’s leaders present at the site of the opposition party headquarters where they were alleged to have openly threatened to burn down the said building?

Inexplicable as all these stupidity unfolds here in a fascist and racist manner, we have Malaysians on a tour to bring changes to West Asia with high powered public relations stunts and political overtones!

They forget that charity and benevolence should start at home not hundreds of thousands of miles away in a complex unresolved issues which involves International Law and the UN!

Again how would they be looked upon when a ‘sea of yellow lobbyists’ for ‘Free and Fair Elections’ hold their rallies in several foreign countries and among them the US, UK, the European Union States, Germany, France, Greece, Scotland, Wales, Portugal, Spain and in New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Korea and many others!

Padam Muka!

While these political charades continue and they must if political adventurers and pretenders need to survive – domestically we have a group of absolute idiots making  seditious statements in Penang island while another at mainland verbally abusing the families of detainees!

My sources in Penang tell me PAS has won great admiration and support from minority groups for coming to the assistance, defense and support of these families!

Worst, the alleged comments that are coming out of the mouth of those expected to protect, serve and act professionally equally disturbing and I will have a word on this with my dear friend the Penang CPO!

While the circus of making political statements have gone unaddressed and unabated I am also concerned whether the tenets of the Malaysian Constitution has been violated?

I am still wondering what ever happened to the perpetrator that sent SMS death threat to S Ambiga and the Bersih steering committee members.

The last time I checked the Penal Code it was an offense but what has been the progress if any of the said investigations?

What is the perception created on the ground as we await the dissolution of Parliament this year?

Are we telling Malaysian voters that demanding free and fair elections is seditious, while issuing threat of violence, bloodshed and arson is not? Ordinary citizens who are going to be the vary voter we are turning to soon – will find it very hard to understand what appears to be a pathological disapproval, or even fear, by the government to the clearly defined objectives to conduct a peaceful rally for promoting/protecting fair and equitable electoral processes in our nation’s democratic elections.

The heightened sense of warning and threats against the rally supporters and the detentions and questioning of legitimate organizers of the rally will not go down well with the silent majority of the people who are the electorate.

Whatever gains made by the Premier lately has eroded in the sea of such double standards, loose talk, fabrication and brute force unleashed by minorities with a hidden agenda!

What has happened to the promise of policy commitments to establishing a fair, equitable and progressive society and actions against brute racism, seditious statements and blatant use of threats by several groups against a noble exercise of fundamental rights enshrined in the Malaysian Federal Constitution?

My Professor of Constitutional Law always told us that it was not wise for any nation that seeks progress towards democratic maturity to engage the instruments of law and order indiscriminately for political purposes.

If they do then sooner than later – that is the beginning of the end of such regimes!

My advice contained herein is free!

I wonder what is the advice of local editors, journalists, friendly bloggers and highly paid US public relations outfits and spin masters on the same?

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CONSUMERIST – CORRUPTION/CORRUPT PRACTICES RIFE IN OUR HOSPITALS?

Dato Jacob George

CONSUMERIST – CORRUPTION/CORRUPT PRACTICES RIFE IN OUR HOSPITALS?

‘We are receiving disturbing feed backs about corrupt and unethical practices at our hospital and wonder if indeed they are true and if so how widespread is this practice?

Talking about corruption and unethical practices – I wonder what happened to that Specialist who had diverted hospital supplies contract to his own company? Did he go see some VVIP somewhere and get off from being prosecuted?

Or others diverting various hospital contracts to companies with whom they have a symbiotic relationship?’ – Dr Jacob George

Read a portion of the said letter we received:

‘Dear Jacob,

As discussed earlier this week, some of the issues that my clients have faced in XXXX Hospital are :-

1.  Doctors insisting that orthopaedic implants be obtained from  a specified supplier . No optional supplier can be counter proposed. These implants all come at a high cost.

2.  If a patient refuses to use the particular supplier proposed by the doctor, the doctor threatens not to perform the operation.

3.  Agents for the Suppliers who are stationed at the hospital , will similarly harass the patient saying that if the orthopaedic implants are not sourced from them the said operation will not proceed.

4.  XXXX Hospital seems to have a high operation rate compared to other government hospitals which are prepared to attempt conservative / non invasive treatment for the minor injuries / fractures.

5.  Despite the alleged good quality implants said to be used , it is surprising to see the number of recurring procedures due to implant infections.  We suspect that the implants are recycled.

I am not sure how you are going to highlight the above when I have no concrete proof . But I have experienced 1,2, and 3 above.

For most patients and their families, they want affordable and quick treatment to alleviate the pain and suffering – the above only add to their misery, more so since many of those admitted to XXX hospital are from humble backgrounds!

We trust you would be able to address these issues speedily!

Thanking you.

Flabbergasted’

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