CONSUMERIST – MALAYSIA STILL ON US RADAR FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING?

Human trafficking on the rise close to home

‘What is needed is a political will, global legislation which cannot be undermined by domestic legislation or ‘zig-zag policies’ to address a global scourge – the trafficking of humans which has its tentacles to organized crime, big business, vice, prostitution, drug trafficking, human slavery and aided, abetted and protected by political godfathers!

There must be a global response followed up by international sanctions and the freezing of monies and assets of those involved in this vulgar trade directly, indirectly and through proxies!’ – Dr Jacob George

CONSUMERIST – MALAYSIA STILL ON US RADAR FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING?

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I was not the least surprised that the United States of America has removed Singapore and the Philippines from a human trafficking watch list that had drawn concerns from the close allies.

Equally interesting to note was that Indonesia and Cambodia stayed at Tier 2, but Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam remained on the watch list.

No need to be a rocket scientist to know why!

The only Asian jurisdictions on Tier 1, meaning full compliance, were South Korea and Taiwan and we all know again why that happens in those two jurisdiction.

Hillary Clinton Picks Celine Dion Song for Campaign Theme - Our vote may go to another candidateThe US State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report has become increasingly sensitive for Southeast Asian governments, which face a cut off of US assistance if they are found to be unresponsive in fighting trafficking.

Worst when they are caught saying one thing in international fora and in consultations and doing the reverse domestically!

The latest report elevated the Philippines, Singapore and Laos off the watch list to the so-called Tier 2, which means that the countries do not fully meet standards on human trafficking but are making efforts to do so.

Human trafficking is a multi million dollar operation and is extremely well connected to organized crime and policymakers and governments in certain third world countries!

Meanwhile I must congratulate Malaysia’s Johor state Immigration Department for raiding a budget hotel at Jalan Wong Ah Fook and freeing six Sri Lankan men from the clutches of a human-trafficking syndicate.

Johor Immigration deputy assistant director Gajendra Bahadur is reported to have stated that they were acting on a tip-off!

Reports indicate that the said operation was a follow-up to an investigation on an agent of a human-trafficking syndicate who was arrested recently.

The agent, a local, was believed to have collected RM5,000 each from the Sri Lankans for job placement.

The case is being investigated under Section 44 (1) of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007.

Perhaps this is only the tip of an ugly huge vulgar iceberg?

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CONSUMERIST – NAJIB DID NOT SAY MALAYSIA GOING NUCLEAR!

http://antinuclearinfo.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/nukes-sad.gif

‘ I am certain in post Fukushima it is not easy to fast track and spearhead Nuclear Energy options without detailed studies, discussions, comprehensive research, dialogues and acknowledging the rights, interests of both Malaysian voters and a fragile environment

What is important is the Premier is aware of the issues involved and supports the need for detailed research, consensus gathering and listening to the voters before any final decision!’ – Dr Jacob George

Greepeace protester in Bangkok

CONSUMERIST – NAJIB DID NOT SAY MALAYSIA GOING NUCLEAR!

It was a question raised by an opposition member to the Premier whether the government would abort the plan to build the first nuclear power plant in Malaysia following the uncontrollable leakage at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan, in March this year!

Since then there has been rather many spins, twists and turns and it is pertinent that we examines quite carefully the statement of the premier on this rather contentious issue the world over!

If I am correct what Premier Najib stated was that the federal government was detailing the long-term and short-term plans taking into account various infrastructure aspects recommended by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

For the short-term plan, the focus would be on the implementation of detailed studies by international consultants with experience in nuclear power generation projects!

That was not all that studies to be conduction comprehensively will include the provision of Nuclear Power Infrastructure Development Plan (NPIDP) involving an evaluation of the country’s preparedness level in all the 19 aspects of infrastructure.

That studies are also made on the provision of information on the various aspects of the usage of nuclear power by all the interested parties including an opinion poll on nuclear power.

Najib stated quite clearly that a detailed study to identify a suitable site for the nuclear power plant based on the selection criteria suggested by the IAEA and normally used in the developed countries will also be carried out!

He also stated that the long-term plan would be deduced based on the NPIDP including the development of a comprehensive national legislation and regulatory system on nuclear energy, the management by interested parties, compliance on the system of international nuclear governance and the development of human capital.

I am certain post Fukushima most countries with existing nuclear power plants are repeatedly carrying out audits and comprehensive studies to entrench safety and resilience standards on their plants while others are totally scrapping any intention in this direction in line with the voters call!

I am certain in Malaysia public interest and voters power will finally determine whether such a project is to be financed taking into account all issues and concerns on the table!

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CONSUMERIST – BOYCOTTING NESTLE IF THEY CONTINUE ACTING IRRESPONSIBLY!

‘Gosh, nothing has changed (?) – then and even now these issues are hot but how many governments were willing to address the rot when the business relationship between government and industry is so blurred in the Asia Pacific Region and most of all in developing regions?

Last week, I addressed the whole issue of unethical advertisements and the manipulating of children, directly, indirectly and through proxies in Malaysia!’ – Dr Jacob George

The headquarters of Swiss food and beverage giant Nestle.
The headquarters of Swiss food and beverage giant Nestle.

CONSUMERIST – BOYCOTTING NESTLE IF THEY CONTINUE ACTING IRRESPONSIBLY!

I was then just in my late teens, a very young ‘up and coming’ Consumer Advocate under the care and guidance of my mentors, Uncles S.M. Mohd Idris, Anwar Fazal, Martin Khor at the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP), Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM), while Anwar Fazal was IOCU Head when advocacy groups and non-governmental organizations launched a public boycott against the Nestlé over the company’s promotion of their infant formula as better than breastfeeding.

Then according to UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), infants living in unhygienic conditions in poorer countries are 6 to 25 times more likely to die from diarrhoea and four times more likely to die of pneumonia when fed formula instead of breast milk.

And certainly and rightfully so this was the reason global health organizations, including UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), suggest that mothers  exclusively breastfeed their children for the first six months.

The boycott started because, despite the benefits of breastfeeding, Nestle reportedly used misleading advertising in many developing countries, claiming that their formula had physical and mental benefits for infants.

That was not all!

These advertising claims, according to boycott advocates, undermines breastfeeding and in turn jeopardizes the health of children.

Furthermore, Nestle is accused of giving health workers de-facto bribes (e.g. paying for flights to international medical conferences) to promote the use of infant formula in hospitals.

Gosh then and even now these issues are hot but how many governments were willing to address the rot when the business relationship between government and industry is so blurred in the Asia Pacific Region and most of all in developing regions!

Last week I addressed the whole issue of unethical advertisements and the manipulating of children, directly, indirectly and through proxies!

And so I am advised now by friends abroad and others working in vulnerable demography there is a battle going on between boycott advocates and Nestle in Laos where in an open letter ( open letter [pdf]) dedicated and responsible NGOs are accusing Nestle of:

– Public advertising and promotion of breast-milk substitutes.

– Promotion in hospitals and health care facilities of breast-milk substitutes

– Labeling of infant formula shows that they are to be used by infants from birth, thus misleading mothers from exclusive breastfeeding their infants for the first six months of life.

– Labels are not translated into the local language: labels in English and Thai are found throughout the country.

– Even if the labels are translated into Lao language, the marketing approach of Nestle does not give enough public health consideration to the local fact that the poorest and most vulnerable mothers and families are ethnic, and do not speak or read Lao language.

– Nestle representatives actively visit hospitals, especially pediatric wards and nurseries.

– Nestle representatives give different types of incentives to doctors and nurses, such as organizing and funding trips and gifts

– Conducting seminars for health workers in which misinformation is given.

– Conducting promotions of formula milk at pre-schools in which misinformation is given.

– Advertising is promoting unscientific and unsubstantiated claims that formula increases intelligence and enhances immunity. This creates a situation where family income is being spent unnecessarily on formula for infants and young children, keeping households poor.

If true, the actions of Nestle in Laos show why the international community must take stronger action against corporations exploiting developing countries to enlarge their profit margins — particularly when it comes to health.

And in Malaysia, why they should be stopped from using children in their advertisements and visiting institutions of education!

Is there a political will there somewhere for holistic change?

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CONSUMERIST – DEVAMANY PUSPAKOM MONOPOLY ‘SENSITIVE ISSUE’ MY FOOT!

‘But what took the cake was the inability and utter failure of a MIC deputy minister to address an issue of national interests instead of saying idiotic mantras like – he did citing that it was a sensitive issue! As for Devamany he should immediately resign!’ – Dr Jacob George


puspakom_logo

CONSUMERIST – PUSPAKOM MONOPOLY ‘SENSITIVE ISSUE’ MY FOOT DEVAMANY!

Several weeks ago I raised this issue with the mainstream media and again in my blog entry!

In fact, the issue got muddier when a former Transport Minister raised the same query justifying my concerns of the whole process when Malaysia today had a Competitions Act to deal with and this happens!

DRB-Hicom Bhd’s wholly-owned subsidiary Puspakom Sdn Bhd had recently entered into a concession agreement with the government and had its exclusive right extended.

The concession agreement, for a 15-year period commencing Sept 1, 2009 to Aug 31, 2024, will see Puspakom pay a pre-determined concession fee to the government!

But why such a long concession period which even a former Transport Minister queries about is again strange!

My Photo

But what took the cake was the inability and utter failure of a MIC deputy minister to address an issue of national interests instead of saying idiotic mantras like – he did citing that it was a sensitive issue!

Enlightened Malaysians have a right to know what was so special about Puspakom that it should be given a monopoly in a political climate where monopolies are being frowned about!

So I am really glad that both political divides addressed the issue as they should without fear nor favor!

In fact, I was overjoyed to see several BN lawmakers riled up with four of them taking the floor simultaneously to rap Devamany!

They were all senior politicians and among them dear friends – Azmi Khalid, Abdul Ghapur Salleh and Tajuddin Abdul Rahman!

In fact, Azmi Khalid was right this was no ‘rocket science’ and Malaysians all know only too well the reasons why Puspakom was given the extension the manner it was, which was a betrayal and spitting on the face of logic and Malaysia’s Competitions Act!

As for Devamany he should immediately resign!

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CONSUMERIST – IDRIS – ACCOUNTABILITY/TRANSPARENCY NOT GST THE ANSWER!

‘Many of us are living now on credit and some already facing bankruptcy proceedings since we do not own companies nominated by our political godfathers to be middlemen for multi million ringgit ‘fees’, commissions, consultancy for providing support services!

For the man in the street unlike the bourgeoisie politicians and others masquerading as reformers in Putrajaya with their multi faceted transformation programs which are being alleged to be frustrated and hijacked by little Napoleons’ in the civil service – the Malaysian voter – is more worried why his supply of fish is now cut off unless he pays more and his vegetables though from Cameron Highlands is rather expensive and all other consumables increasing drastically!

Certainly something individuals born with a golden spoon and economically and politically sheltered all their lives will ever be able to conceive!’ – Dr Jacob George

CONSUMERIST – IDRIS – ACCOUNTABILITY/TRANSPARENCY NOT GST THE ANSWER!

For all I care, Putrajaya could also believe cows can fly and buffaloes sing melodies!

But to spin justification for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to helping the poor in the country is plain poppycock!

Malaysia is not a poor country by any standards but wastage, seepages, corruption, duplication, abuse, cronyism and inflated and manipulated project spending have brought us to this!

We still have not addressed the billions of Petroleum revenue that is unaccounted for as to date the figure have not been presented to Parliament!

We have yet to admit nor address that there are economic leakages which has led to the capital flight and frittered away most of our money?

We have not addressed the huge obese public sector and refusing to conduct an audit for a leaner and more efficient public service!

We further abuse the system by extending the employment tenure of politically connected civil servants for political expediency!

Furthermore – on the other end we indulge in polemics and political wastefulness by providing employment for unemployed graduates instead of addressing why they are unemployable in the first place and addressing the rot in our higher education system!

How will this move address meritocracy let alone help expand and contribute to our ailing economy?

Idris are you consciously aware that our vehicle import taxes is one of the highest in the world at 300%.

On top of that, consumers do pay AP money.
Our alcoholic beverage is second highest in the world, after Norway.

Then examine the present system of economic abuse in the form of suspicious and dubious award for long term contracts that benefits politically connected individuals and cronies like that coming from Bernas, ASTRO, the vulgar and blood sucking IPPs, the controversial greedy highway concession, the slime pharmaceutical distribution to public hospitals, dubious other hospital support services and the script can go on!

One has to just look at recent controversies involving public monies the extravagant increase in expenditure in the Prime Ministers Department, at PEMANDU and the RM1.8 million by the Tourism Ministry just as examples – to remind Malaysian voters that all is not well in Putrajaya!

Worst all the recent demonstrations, verbal abuse, racism, orchestrated attacks against minorities are driving away foreign investors despite the high powered spin initiated!

So please Idris my boy –  do not patronize us Malaysian voters telling us it is for the poor!

The truth is only 10% of the nation is paying their taxes and one cannot wonder why the other 90% are not?

And we know who these 10% are do we not?

Furthermore – and in all fairness – I am aware of the assurances that there will be some 3,000 exceptions or zero-rated products available when the GST is implemented but fears remain that people will have to pay more for basic products.

If you have not noticed with all your high powered seminars, conferences, talk shops, briefs, various shades and shapes of exaggerated transformation programs which further bleeds the national coffers without immediate result that a large portion of Malaysian voters are struggling with escalating costs of goods and services!

If you missed this let me also remind you that the nation’s inflation rate hit a two-year high of 3.3 per cent last month and consumers are bracing for more inflation as the government has cut subsidies for electricity and fuel for vehicles, especially in the transportation sector!

Many of us are living now on credit and some already facing bankruptcy proceedings since we do not own companies nominated by our political godfathers to be middlemen for multi million ringgit ‘fees’, commissions, consultancy for providing support services!

For the man in the street unlike the bourgeoisie politicians cum businessmen and women with their many honorific and others masquerading as reformers in Putrajaya with their multi faceted transformation programs which are being alleged to be frustrated and hijacked by little Napoleons’ in the civil service – the Malaysian voter – is more worried why his supply of fish is now cut off unless he pays more and his vegetables though from Cameron Highlands is rather expensive and all other consumables increasing drastically!

Certainly something individuals born with a golden spoon and economically and politically sheltered all their lives will ever be able to conceive!

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