Consumerist: 80’s Kedah ‘Death By Starvation Issue’ – Receiving Apologies After 30 Years!

Dato Jacob George

‘And it is a pity, when individuals are not able to differentiate between historical data, facts, figures, documentary evidence, reality and a film made for commercial peak!’ – Dr Jacob George

Consumerist: 80’s Kedah ‘Death By Starvation Issue’ – Receiving Apologies After 30 Years!

My last blog posting on the above incident received many positive feedbacks and apologies, from three close confidants, who ‘hammered me away’ at the height of that controversy!

They had thought I had ‘sold out’, especially when they knew my very close ties to the then Kedah State government led by the late Syed Nahar Bin Tun Syed Sheh Shahabuddin and his successor Osman Aroff.

Now, they know the truth and what urged me to go into ‘micro managing’ that sad episode, more than 3 decades ago!

Yes, Syed Nahar was extremely close to me and more like a ‘father figure!’

And as far as I was concerned, he was one of the best Menteri Besar, we have had there.

Honest, competent, visionary and professional!

He suffered not fools, idiots and ass kisses!

And yes, I do miss him lots!

I still remember our last and final meeting at the Langkawi Airport in the 90s!

Fast forward!

And I see that as a run up to a certain political party’s soon to have elections and assembly, many statements are already coming out!

And they look pretty racist!

It is pretty stupid that one has to go down ‘so low’ to try to win political accolades for themselves or strategizing positions for themselves or others, for their children by targeting another group of people, who are not in a position to hit back.

It is pathetic really!

And I want to ask the same question that was asked by a former Malaysian premier when he had his outburst with his once ‘trusted lieutenant’ – asking him – ‘how much is enough?’

Just as we are trying to ‘limp out’ – a badly managed flash point, that is the ‘SK Seri Pristana’, I notice a ‘persona non grata’ is now trying to ‘make a name for himself’ by addressing what certainly he knows will have a political backlash!

And he has hit out at the upcoming release of the film ‘The New Village’ that he claims glorifies communism.

Really, in today’s enlightened society and global village?

I am advised that the censorship board received a review application from the producers on September 6th last year, it was viewed and censored by a team of three from the said board three days later!

And a Certificate of Admittance A ( permission to screen) was also issued on November 9th last year!

Inexplicable to be noted is that movie was rated as “lulus Bersih” (no censorship) with a P13 classification.

Interestingly, the said censor felt that the scenes in the movie contained action shots which were not overdone to maintain the story flow!

Now where is its flaw?

Is some racist journalist who has a history and track record of ‘apartheid trend racism’ and others aspiring politicians, predators and shenanigans going to benchmark morality and what Malaysians can and cannot see now?

What rubbish?

You have just abused and disgraced the said censorship board now with this kind and continued branding of racist policy making, where repeatedly, a racist individual ‘starts a fire’ in a vernacular newspaper which is not authenticated and others join the band wagon and create an unnecessary controversy – yet again!

And it is a pity when individuals are not able to differentiate between historical data, facts, figures, documentary evidence, reality and a film made for commercial pea

Perhaps, that is the pandemic facing certain Malaysian politicians in Malaysia!

An sadly, it is all happening in a month that is to be spent most importantly, rededicating our lives by giving  up immoral ways and vice, to be tolerant, sacrificial, in prayer, have faith, reflection, fasting, show goodwill and glorifying the ALMIGHTY!

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Consumerist: What Is Wrong Is Wrong! Is Truth, Fair play, Ethics and Accountability A Casualty In Malaysian Politics?

Dato Jacob George

‘But, during the entire episode no one tried to turn it into a ‘racial and religious issue’, no one put up a facebook page to spin a wrong as a right, no deputy minister made foolish statements which caused embarrassment to intellectual discourse, common sense and foresight, no one was threatened with Sedition chargers!

No one made devious death threats at ‘whistle blowers’ even though the facts in that case, were wrong.’ – Dr Jacob George

Consumerist: Is Truth, Fair play, Ethics and Accountability A Casualty In Malaysian Politics?

In the 80’s, there was a major media blitz, that an infant died of starvation in an estate in Lunas, Kedah!

The media, newspapers and NGOs took the case to town.

The local state assemblyman from the MIC was under major political attack and so, was the state government!

I received a telephone call from a close aide of our first Prime Minister who was then in a private hospital undergoing medical treatment, saying he wanted to see me.

I was in my twenties then, but had already a reputation in the media as a hard hitting consumer advocate!

I rushed to see him and immediately, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s first and in my eyes, greatest Prime Minister said in a mild, loving and caring voice in his hospital bed – ‘Jacob, no one dies in the rice bowl of Malaysia, no one dies of starvation in Kedah or Malaysia, son – something is wrong here!’

‘Do what you should and get at the truth, no matter how painful and make it right. Come back and update me!’

I looked at Uncle Owen Chung, who was ADC to the late Tunku Abdul Rahman and he too nodded his head!

Despite fallout with my friends within the NGO fraternity, others in various positions, MIC politicians who wanted to use it to remove the then state assemblyman, I went in investigated and got at the truth!

And the truth was, it was infection that caused the death, and due to parental negligence, and the father was a alcoholic, as well.

It was a straight forward case of neglect, negligence and naivety.

However, we took the ‘high moral ground’ of addressing a wide cross section of issues from the availability of illicit Samsu in the estate shops, poverty, bad salary structure and living conditions to the sad fact that it was parental neglect that caused the sad death of that infant!

I reverted and updated the Tuanku!

And he was delighted!

But, during the entire episode, no one tried to turn it into a ‘racial and religious issue’, no one put up a facebook page to spin a wrong as a right, no deputy minister made foolish statements which caused embarrassment to intellectual discourse, common sense and foresight, no one was threatened with Sedition chargers!

No one made devious death threats at ‘whistle blowers’ even though the facts in that case, were wrong.

We simply worked on the same platform, got at the truth and made it known and initiated remedies immediately!

In was a total package – as the Tunku wanted it from the onset!

Today, we have changed far too much and each case is seen sadly in racial and religious eyes not right and wrong or plain issues that must be dealt with!

GE13 came and went and if you had hoped for a holistic change so that we can go forward, you were disappointed!

And if, you thought the three main characters who were foaming in their mouths and trying to take 1Malaysia back to the dark ages will back off you were again found wanting!

It is as if nothing has been learnt from the ‘misfortunes and mistakes’ of the past as we linger on from one major fiasco to another!

Peaceful, honest and hardworking Malaysians and our children the future of this nation are today watching helplessly from the sidelines as past dictators and politician, their mercenary bloggers, media, advisers, “Ngos” play parts of a well orchestrated drama not bothered about the image of the nation in and out of the country!

Each day, I become increasingly disillusioned with the causalities that the system is leaving in its wake.

Basically it is this.

As the politicians competition gets tougher because of an enlightened voter base questioning on issues of accountability, good governance, ethics, fair play, governance and zero tolerance for abuse and corruption threatened and exposed candidates appear to take a lower and lower road and yardstick on these virtues to their nomination and election.

Today, we seem to have redefined corruption as incentives, we fail to speak out on a wrong and worse, spin it as a ‘race and religion’ issue!
Wrongs are accommodated and defended as Gospel truth!

What should be a campaign of issues, becomes a campaign of individual vitriol. What should be a campaign of truth and honesty has now fallen casualty to lies, fabrication and deception.

Our political system is broken. Most of us do not believe any of our politicians any more. They say one thing and do another. They lie about positions that they have. They lie about their accumulated wealth directly, indirectly and through proxies!

They lie even in little things, what more, crucial ones?

When exposed they blame the media for misquotes!

They avoid discussions of issues that may diverge from party orthodoxy and racism. They have destroyed our political system that was carefully negotiated with our former colonial masters and the vision of our much loved founding fathers!

Whichever political divide we have here that candidate is not out there.

What we get are candidates that have beliefs and positions that some Malaysians agree with and some do not!

Many should have left the political stage because of excess baggage but still cling on to under warped and vulgar deliberations and logic!

I am willing to have a candidate out there, warts and all, telling me what his or her honest positions are, than an Armani dressed or in Italian suits – perfectly coiffed candidate telling me what someone else is telling him to say.

Worst, if it is a multi million paid foreign public relations consultancy at work!

Like most Malaysian voters today, enlightened with the real situation of the nation, I look with disbelief at what is happening all around me!

I am reasonable enough to acknowledge that I am not going to get the perfect politician in my eyes, but what I will get is a candidate that I believe will do what is promised. I will get a politician who tells the truth to the Malaysian voter and people and willing to resign if they fail the voters!

I think that is far better than to vote and support or having to deal with a political system and parties that has claimed, as a casualty, truth and honesty, and reinforced it with lies and deception.

Do you not think so too?

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Consumerist: Mother Told Take Civil Action! Young Woman 27 Dead And RM7000.00 Fine Only – Public Interest Demands More!

Dato Jacob George

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Consumerist: Young Woman 27 Dead And RM7000.00 Fine Only – Public Interest Demands More!

I want to thank brother Rocky for the alert!

And I concur with him ‘this sucks big time!’

I cannot but concur that there is something terribly wrong about this case!

It is shocking, hurting and does not make legal or moral sense at all!

Is this justice to her family?

Is this taking into cognizance public interest?

Is this a deterrent sentence?

In this tragic case, a mother lost her daughter, air stewardess, Ng Sweet Yuin, 27 to another’s careless driving and that man responsible was merely fined RM7,000, in default of a seven-month jail term.

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Shocking but true, as the magistrate’s court in that case delivered the sentence to the driver engineer Tan Chia Hui, 25 (above) after he pleaded guilty to driving carelessly, which caused the death of an air stewardess 27!

According to reports the driver’s vehicle collided head-on with the victim’s Perodua MyVi on the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway on Dec 2, 2010 at 3.06am.

The victim 27 died on the spot.

It is reported that after the sentence was read in court, his lawyer had asked that the driver be allowed to pay the compensation money directly to the court to avoid any untoward incident with the victim’s family.

And yes, deputy public prosecutor did not object.

There was also a request that the said driver be not handcuffed as he would settle the fine and bail on the same day.

And yes, the Magistrate agreed to both requests.

According to what we have now heard the said driver had pleaded guilty to an amended charge of driving without consideration of other motorists.

He was charged under Section 43 (1) of the Road Transportation Act 1987, which carries a fine of between RM4,000 and RM10,000, and a jail term of up to 12 months.

The strange thing is in February 2011, the driver was charged under Section 41 (1) of the same act for reckless driving, but had claimed trial to it.

Section 41. Causing death by reckless or dangerous driving.

(1) Any person who, by the driving of a motor vehicle on a road recklessly or at a speed or in a manner which having regard to all the circumstances (including the nature, condition and size of the road, and the amount of traffic which is or might be expected to be on the road) is dangerous to the public, causes the death of any person shall be guilty of an offence and shall on conviction punished with imprisonment for a term of not less than two years and not more than ten years and to a fine of not less than five thousand ringgit and not more than twenty thousand ringgit.

On this charge – the Magistrate had then found that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against the accused under this charge.

What is happening in Malaysia?

I advice the mother to now take a civil case, a third party dependency claim against the said  driver @ insurance, immediately!

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Consumerist: ‘It Is Stupid To Have 90 KPH Stretches On Our Highways!’

Dato Jacob George

‘To be honest, it is also stupid to place our speed custodians under bridges, trees, over overheads and downhill slopes after the area is tagged at 90KPH to catch the even slight overrun of speed!

That is not addressing speeding, that is plain entrapment!

And AES is entrapment!

I am more concerned that approvals are being given for highly dangerous modifications on vehicles and the continued usage of cut cars (Potong Kereta) in assemblies! ’ – Dr Jacob George

Consumerist: ‘It Is Stupid To Have 90 KPH Stretches On Our Highways!’

As far as I am concerned, it is extremely stupid to have 90kph stretches along the North South Highway unless the particular stretch is cutting through densely populated areas of human, cows, dogs and cats!

It is also stupid to fine the maximum fine of RM300/- if one is driving just at say, 100kph in a 90kph zone!

And the AES is bloody expensive and does not serve the issue except the cronies behind it and their political masters!

I have no problems with the said fine if the said driver was doing 180kph because that shows a passion for speeding!

To be honest it is also stupid to place our speed custodians under bridges, trees, over overheads and downhill slopes after the area is tagged at 90KPH to catch the even slight overrun of speed!

That is not addressing speeding that is plain entrapment!

And so it is time we re-look at the speed limits after all I like other lobbyists are arguing for an increase in some speed limits to curb boredom and road rage.

And as far as I am concerned, it has been a mantra all drivers learn from the time they first slap on L-plates: the faster you go, the greater your chance of a serious crash.

The reasoning is simple. The greater your speed, the less time you have to react to a problem, the greater the braking distance required and the greater the forces involved in any collision.

But is it always this clear cut?

Really?

Not according to pro-speed campaigners, who are agitating for governments around the country and around the world to raise speed limits, particularly in rural areas and on stretches of high-quality highway.

They passionately argue boredom and frustration, rather than speed, are the main killers when people are traveling between isolated rural communities.

With the entry of high performance cars and car safety rapidly improving, I see the need to substantially increase speed limit.

Some advocate the total removal of speed limits on these types of roads as a way of reducing the road toll.

Take the case of US activist Chad Dornsife.

As the executive director of lobby group the Best Highway Safety Practices Institute, he is pushing for the removal of speed limits in his homeland on the grounds it will lower the number of high-risk overtaking moves and reduce trip time and fatigue.

He believes drivers are at their safest (suffering from less stress and impatience) when they are in their comfort zone.

Like many pro-speed campaigners, he points to Germany’s often speed-limit-free autobahns as a shining example, saying they have recently recorded an all-time-low death toll due to their “emphasis on flow management rather than speed limits”.

I agree, having driven on the autobahns that they are a successful model, which has become a political embarrassment for every other EU country and also Malaysia!

Then let us look at Australia, where another lobby group the National Motorists Association of Australia (NMAA) has called for higher limits on appropriate stretches of road as a way of lowering fatalities.

The debate over speed limits has also recently been put into focus by comments by NRMA Motoring & Services on plans to lower the speed limit on the NSW section of the Newell Highway. (Footnote:

The NMAA and NRMA are similarly named but not linked.)

In August the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) completed a review of safety on the highway, which runs through the outback and links Victoria and Queensland via NSW. In it the authority announced plans to lower the 110km/h limit to 100km/h, citing problems with “road geometry [and] traffic volumes”.

This prompted a heated response from the NRMA, which argued in this case speed would save lives.

The president of the NRMA, Wendy Machin, said a 100km/h limit would add an hour to the travel time between the Queensland and Victorian borders.

“Fatigue is the major factor among casualties on the Newell Highway, with around 26 per cent of casualties in 2007 involving fatigue,” she said, citing the RTA’s own research.

“This figure is higher than other country highways [15 per cent in 2007].”

So are there indications that a raised speed limit could save lives?

The National Motorists Association of Australia for is skeptical of the sums and favors an increase in the speed limit in some cases.

But let us have a look at two very persuasive arguments from abroad namely:

1.The autobahn

German autobahns are often cited as a model by advocates of higher speed limits in Malaysia! And with good reason: they seem to work.

Despite having no speed limit along much of their routes, these massive roads account for 31 per cent of road travel and just 3 per cent of the road toll.

Moreover – a 2005 study by the German interior ministry found sections with unrestricted speeds had the same crash rate as sections with a variety of speed limits imposed.

But can Germany be compared with Malaysia?

I must agree that the undemanding license tests that apply in Malaysia create problems where new drivers are concerned!

It is not a ‘suka suka’ test!

It must be noted that German motorists must pass a challenging regimen that includes high-speed highway driving competence in varying weather conditions.

Perhaps comparing Malaysians and Germans is like comparing apples with bananas?

2. The Montana highway

Did you know that the US state of Montana was paradise for pro-speed advocates from the end of 1995 through to mid-1999 when there were no specific daytime speed limits. Motorists were required simply to drive at a “reasonable speed”.

The state eventually introduced a top speed of 75mph (120km/h).

A subsequent study by the US National Motorists Association revealed the safest period on Montana’s interstate highways was when there were no daytime speed limits or enforceable speed laws.

When speed limits were reintroduced, fatal crashes initially doubled, which was attributed to decreased road courtesy and a rise in “flow-conflict” crashes.

But I am certain the dinosaurs in our policy making institutions and other busybodies will want to keep the speed limit down and place vital manpower resources under the trees and bridges on major billion ringgit highways to entrap motorists driving high performance cars and others over speed limits that are positioned and placed without proper comprehensive study!

How else can you explain the 90kph stretch in many parts of the country just meters away from the 110 kph zones where no humans, cows, cats and dogs live and the road is straight and safe?

Perhaps, the Ministry of Transport is expecting a UFO to suddenly land on that stretch?

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Consumerist: H1N1 Is Not But Dengue Is A Threat! Looking Back And The Future?

Dato Jacob George

Consumerist: H1N1 Is Not But Dengue Is A Threat! Looking Back And The Future?

So I cannot but concur that the WHO must have been suffering from four decades of amnesia because ordinary seasonal flu, which sweeps the world annually and which is far more lethal than the currently circulating low-virulence H1N1 swine flu certainly meets the organization’s definition of a pandemic: infections over a wide geographic area that affect a large proportion of the population?

In the dengue case – strange that human life has suddenly become very cheap and our policymakers high threshold of tolerance and apathy to dengue deaths, to the extent that a death from dengue is just regarded as a statistic to be hidden from public knowledge instead of a human tragedy compounded by its totally unnecessary and avoidable character! – Dr Jacob George

H1N1 IS NOT BUT DENGUE IS A THREAT!

So has the H1N1 swine flu outbreak ended?

I have rightly felt that from the onset the World Health Organization’s actions have ranged from the dubious to the flagrantly incompetent.

That is me and my interpretation of events such as that!

Inexplicable when the so called ‘outbreak’ took place WHO boosted the pandemic alert to the highest level, Phase 6.

Which to the learned mind means a pandemic was under way and for the record that the WHO in 41 years had made such a declaration.

So I cannot but concur that the WHO must have been suffering from four decades of amnesia because ordinary seasonal flu, which sweeps the world annually and which is far more lethal than the currently circulating low-virulence H1N1 swine flu certainly meets the organization’s definition of a pandemic: infections over a wide geographic area that affect a large proportion of the population?

God help us and ironically, one might even consider the emergence of the H1N1 flu during the past year a net public health benefit, since it appears to have suppressed, or at least supplanted, the far more virulent and lethal seasonal flu strains.

I am advised for example that during the second week of January then, 3.7% of Americans tested positive for the seasonal flu, compared with 11.5% during the same week.

The death toll in the U.S. from H1N1 is estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be around 3,900, while in an average year seasonal flu kills about 36,000!

Someone is failed to look at the statistics!

Intentionally or otherwise?

So I am justified to say that the WHO’s April 2009 decision to raise the pandemic flu threat to the penultimate level, Phase 5, “Pandemic Imminent,” was unwarranted and far outpaced the data accumulated.
Worst, that the June declaration that a pandemic was under way, which exposed the WHO’s flawed fundamental paradigm.

A warning system based solely on how widely a virus has spread, but that does not consider the nature, severity and impact of the illness it causes, is prone to false positives; it would classify not only seasonal flu but also the frequent but largely inconsequential outbreaks of virus-caused colds and gastroenteritis as “pandemics.”

The truth remains that WHO has never offered any explanation for why these examples that seem to fit its definition of a pandemic do not meet its criteria.

But I am only citing the above in showing how misplaced the priorities of our policymakers and others expected to watch over our health needs are!

So this morning, we will move away from this ‘H1N1 thingy’ and concentrate on a more dangerous threat that seems to have got the authorities underwear all soiled up for the wrong reasons!

I am really saddened that more and more people are falling victim or have contracted dengue.

For the record, we have also had fatalities, including a Subang Jaya resident and a former Universiti Hospital eye specialist and associate professor who was a very close family friend!

For this reason alone, I cannot but be angry and upset that the information ‘that dengue fever continue to claim victims – 54 lives in 2002, with 10,753 confirmed cases reported nationwide then and still the figures rising is pathetic!

It is easy to give stupid statements like one given by an official who stated to a foreign wire that Malaysia is urging people to take precautions against dengue fever after a rise in deaths from the mosquito-borne virus.

The last time I checked, I was told that 31 people have died after catching the disease in the first two months of that year, compared with 28 deaths in the same period the year after and this year?

More than 8,000 people caught dengue fever in January and February then, the peak time for infection after monsoon rains.

That week alone, six people died.

And instead of addressing a great plan of action we see the same of stupid reasoning and advisory asking people to keep their surroundings clean and destroy mosquito breeding grounds, such as stagnant pools of water.

That they should seek treatment if they have such symptoms as high fever, joint pains and nausea.

It does not take a rocket scientist to say that the current dengue epidemic, the worst in the history of the nation deserves urgent government and public response and attention like it is abroad in countries like Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia!

But here strange that human life has suddenly become very cheap and our policymakers high threshold of tolerance and apathy to dengue deaths, to the extent that a death from dengue is just regarded as a statistic to be hidden from public knowledge instead of a human tragedy compounded by its totally unnecessary and avoidable character!

To add salt to the wound, neither was there a concerted nationwide effort to combat this outbreak nor action taken against those who allow this situation to exist, be they individuals, developers or the local council.

As a consumer advocate, may I ask the Ministry of Housing and Local Government and the Ministry of Health, how many “body bags” must we fill before it is classified “an epidemic” and worthy of a national alert and effort?

In 2001, Malaysia posted 50 deaths and reported 8,669 dengue cases.

I am also aware that the World Health Organization had issued an alert warning all tropical countries, including Malaysia, to be prepared for an increase in the number of dengue cases. It is a pity that our local authorities have not adequately responded to the alert.

Ironically, the problem is not in some unreachable corner but in several cities.

Time here is of the essence and it is of utmost importance that the Housing and Local Government Ministry and the Health Ministry put away their petty squabbles and ministerial tussles and address the outbreak.

The present situation calls for a high powered inter-ministerial effort support by NGOs like CASSA not excuses and childish pranks!

It is also important that the Ministry of Information, instead of spending too much time on “political propaganda”, goes on a media blitz, using private television stations too, to reach the public about the dengue problem.

Here, time is of the essence!

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