INDIAN SUPREME COURT DECISION ON PRIVACY SHOULD ENFORCE THIS FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT ACROSS ASEAN & APEC SAYS LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE!

“It is no secret and there are allegations that for example in Malaysia – an individual right to privacy has been sacrificed on the altars of obese profits and corruption by those who hold confidential information on the person (s), despite claims to the contrary!”
Datuk Dr Jacob George

INDIAN SUPREME COURT DECISION ON PRIVACY SHOULD ENFORCE THIS FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT ACROSS ASEAN & APEC SAYS LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE!

The rather blatant abuse of an individual’s privacy in the ASEAN/APEC is no secret!

This is why I am excited that the Indian Supreme Court’s nine-member Constitution bench, in a landmark verdict, has ruled that privacy will now be counted as a fundamental right.

The operative word is – fundamental!

I believe if the governments in the ASEAN/APEC region take cognizance of the ruling and adopt such in their respective jurisdictions it would bring holistic change that is much needed!

The Supreme Court ruling will now have a huge impact on the lives of millions of Indians.

A breath of much needed fresh air!

It was not easy!

It finally came in response to a clutch of petitions challenging the Centre’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing the benefits of various social welfare schemes.

The verdict was reserved after hearing marathon arguments for six days over a period of three weeks, during which submissions were advanced in favor and against the inclusion of the right to privacy as a fundamental right.

Here are five key points of that much needed judgment:

* Right to privacy is now a fundamental right under Article 21 and intrinsic to Part III of the Constitution. Article 21 guarantees the right to life and liberty as inviolable fundamental rights.

* All the nine judges of the Supreme Court arrived at the same conclusion — though through different but concurring judgments. Before pronouncing the judgment, CJI J S Khehar said that some of the judges have authored different orders.

* The two earlier Supreme Court verdicts — in the 1954 M.P. Sharma case (eight-judge bench) and the 1962 Kharak Singh case (six-judge bench) — that had held right to privacy is not protected under the Constitution stand overruled.

* Validity of sharing information under the Aadhaar Act will now be referred to a smaller bench.

* The judgment will have a bearing on law criminalizing homosexuality. There is also a possibility of a review of ban imposed on consumption of beef in several states and alcohol prohibition as well.

It is no secret and there are allegations that for example in Malaysia – an individual right to privacy has been sacrificed on the altars of obese profits and corruption by those who hold confidential information on the person (s), despite claims to the contrary!

My prayer is the intelligentsia sitting on the bench across these geographical jurisdictions will come together, initiate and adopt the same ruling as the Indian Supreme Court to protect the rights and interests of all individuals in the region!

The only exception being on individuals, groups, or religious organizations and others who indulge in terrorist activities or terrorism, directly, indirectly or through proxies!

ASEAN/APEC MALAYSIA LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE APPEALS FOR IMMEDIATE CURB ON SUGAR CONTENT IN SOFT DRINKS!

A FREE MALAYSIA TODAY REPORT BY NORA JASWA!

It is embarrassing that the government is playing catch-up with other countries when it comes to promoting health benefits for Malaysians, said the Consumers’ Association of Subang and Shah Alam (Cassa).

Those responsible in upholding Malaysian consumers’ healthcare are not doing their job well enough, says George.

Those responsible in upholding Malaysian consumers’ healthcare are not doing their job well enough, says George.

Cassa president Dr Jacob George said Malaysia’s policy makers should stop putting off enforcing curbs on sugar intake and be proactive instead.

He said it looked bad for Malaysia to wait for other countries before implementing health policies although many research findings were available on the internet proving the negative effects of high sugar intake.

“It is sad this is continuing to happen in year 2017, despite fast advancing technology and cross border sharing of information between nations.

“The information is there but Malaysia is slow in taking action. Those responsible in upholding Malaysian consumers’ healthcare are not doing their job well enough,” he told FMT.

What got George riled was an announcement from Singapore on Tuesday that seven major soft drinks manufacturers in the city state have agreed to reduce sugar content in all their drinks to 12% and below by 2020.

The companies are Coca-Cola, F&N Foods, Malaysia Dairy Industries, Nestle, PepsiCo, Pokka and Yeo Hiap Seng.

The Singapore health ministry’s announcement came two days after the republic’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong, in his National Day rally speech, urged Singaporeans to cut back on sugary drinks, as they were significantly increasing their risk of diabetes by having such drinks.

Just one can of soft drink can contain eight cubes of sugar – much more than needed for the whole day, Lee said, as he spoke at length on diabetes as one of Singapore’s long-term issues.

George expressed his disappointment that Malaysian policy makers kept making ‘U-turns’ on policies and ended up not reaching any decisions or taking any actions.

“By practicing delaying tactics under the excuse of consultations and joint meetings with stakeholders, nothing gets done,” he said.

He said it was timely for Malaysia to adopt the same stand as Singapore in tackling high sugar intake.

“I expect our policy makers to be stricter. Singapore has set the timeline to reduce sugar content in soft drinks to 12% and below by 2020. We should set a timeline for 2019. That is the kind of response I expect from the policy makers,” he said.

He said a Cassa study in 2008 on Malaysians’ dependency on sugar products found more than 75% of Malays had high dependence on such products. Indians were at about 65% and Chinese 40-45%.

Health ministry data showed 11.6 million of the 16 million adults in Malaysia are sick with a non-communicable disease like diabetes, hypertension or cancer.

The data is supported by findings from the International Diabetes Institute (IDI) which show Malaysia has the fourth highest number of diabetics in Asian countries.

Some 800,000 cases of diabetes were recorded in 2007, and the number increased to 1.3 million in 2010.

IDI data also show that almost 15.2% of Malaysian adults were diabetic in 2011 as compared to just one to two percent in 1960.

FOOD HYGIENE AND HOSPITAL CANTEENS WHY SUCH DOUBLE STANDARDS ASK MALAYSIA ASEAN/APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE?

‘Let us not forget that under Section 11 of the Food Act 1983 food premises can be closed down for their failure to meet hygiene criteria for restaurants.’ Datuk Dr Jacob George

FOOD HYGIENE AND HOSPITAL CANTEENS WHY SUCH DOUBLE STANDARDS ASK MALAYSIA ASEAN/APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE?

All Malaysians will agree that the number of eateries the Health Ministry (MOH) was compelled to close reflected a poor awareness among Malaysians and those who are expected to protect consumer rights and interests in this area of food safety and hygiene!

For example, in 2015, a total of 124,254 food premises were inspected. Of this 2,422 (1.9%) were ordered closed.

That is not the full story as a total of 8,210 compounds were issued to food premises operators for offenses committed under the Food Hygiene Regulations 2009!

A great move by Malaysia’s Ministry of Health!
Well done!

But sadly the situation shows no sign of improving.

And there are reports that in 2016, first half 645 of the 28,026 food premises inspected were ordered to close.

And allegations/report that 3,418 compounds have been issued for various offenses.

I am sure we are all aware of that circular issued by the ministry on Food Hygiene Regulations 2009, which was fully enforced from January 2014, stated 33 compoundable offenses for food operators.

And they range from licensing to the transportation of meat, cooked food and raw fruits as well as vegetables.

Maximum penalties include fines not exceeding RM10, 000.00 or not more than two years’ jail, or both.

But how many have received such punishments to date?

Food handlers including hawkers must be licensed by their respective councils who will ensure that they have been vaccinated against typhoid.

That is not all as we have a food handlers training programme started by MOH in 1996 in preparation for the 1998 Commonwealth Games.

Again if my data is correct we should have more than 251 entities recognized by the Government as training centers.

And those applying for restaurant and hawker licenses are advised to also attend the course.

But dirty eateries thrive, and one must ask, why this is so?

Perhaps, just perhaps, the inexplicable case of that cafeteria at Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital (HTAR) in Klang, which was ordered to close and inexplicably allowed to resume operations at 10pm on the same day may give some insights to why we have such heinous actions and defiling of health protocols in a country now playing host to an international event and in full glare of this episode for the world to see!

This really confirms Malaysia is a nation with “endless possibilities!”

There are reports that when HTAR director Dr Ding Lay Ming, when contacted is alleged to have stated that the decision to allow the cafeteria to resume operations was made following a review of the assessment made by the Klang District Health Office (PKD) on the cleanliness of the premises which complied with the set requirements.

We are told that the PKD which had issued a notice for the closure of the cafeteria at 2pm a day earlier following an inspection carried out after a 32-second video clip showing a rat feasting in a vegetable container at the cafeteria went viral on the social media, inexplicably allowed the cafeteria to resume operations after considering the welfare of the hospital staff and visitors.

Seriously – the “welfare of the hospital staff and visitors?”

Of course, we are told by the same good doctor that the same health department would continue to monitor the cleanliness of hospital cafeterias and would blacklist as well as terminate the contracts of operators that were frequently issued clean-up notices.

For one, Malaysians are not a bunch of idiots!

To the reasonable person, it shows clearly that that Health Regulations are not evenly applied.

If HTAR director Dr Ding Lay Ming assurance allows the cafeteria in this storm to be opened same day, would not a precedent be set for others caught for the same offense, nationwide?

Sadly, let me remind the good doctor cum administrator that it was under their watch this happened!

In fact, let me update those in administrative positions in that hospital and others, that this is not the first time this cafeteria has been in such a situation and in the media!

Since 1982, like many other hospitals nationwide, I have very intimate knowledge of all of them!

I need not say more!

Meanwhile, Selangor Health Department director must be asked to whom his loyalty lies – to the public interests or stakeholders caught once again exposed of their incompetence, duty of care and lack of professionalism!

Questions need to be also asked why a canteen that was to be closed for a longer period, was not so?

Amazingly, the canteen is given the all-clear within 8 hours!

Malaysian politicians obsessed with records, should take this speedy approval as another potential first for the Guinness Book of Records – No?

The speed with which the operator was allowed to re-commence his services reflects the depth of scrutiny the canteen was subjected to?

And why and whose interest is being protected?

Perhaps, the MACC should now seriously look into this case which has received great public interest and anger!

On the other hand, administrators managing hospital canteens or cafeteria from the world over should send teams to learn from the Malaysia’s Selangor Health Department, how they managed such a feat post an exposure such as this in such a short time frame!

On the other hand let me congratulate the Federal Territories health department who had launched a crackdown on eateries, stalls and restaurants to curb the spread of typhoid in the city.

That task force had inspected 160 premises in Kuala Lumpur and 10 were shut down for failing inspection guidelines as outlined by the Food Act 1983 and Food Act 2009!

Let us not forget that under Section 11 of the Food Act 1983 food premises can be closed down for their failure to meet hygiene criteria for restaurants.

More importantly, I wonder why we have such sensitiveness and high tolerance levels for rats in Malaysia and protect them!

Indeed, pun intended!

ON BEHALF PEACE LOVING MALAYSIANS, MALAYSIA ASEAN/APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST APOLOGIZES TO SINGAPORE ON UTUSAN MALAYSIA ARTICLE!

“However in recent times this non-interference principle appears increasingly undermined through expanded membership, new challenges arising from globalization processes, growing demands for democratization, the increasing international prominence of cosmopolitan norms or by the now increased racism, fascism, religious fanaticism and bigotry!”

Datuk Dr Jacob George

ON BEHALF PEACE LOVING MALAYSIANS, MALAYSIA ASEAN/APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST APOLOGIZES TO SINGAPORE ON UTUSAN MALAYSIA ARTICLE!

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN was created in 1967!

Interestingly it was Asia’s first regional body dealing with a variety of common interests that has survived to the present day!

I am advised by my colleagues in the international diplomatic circles and intelligentsia that the original norms meant to guide ASEAN’s behavior were first and foremost rooted in the principle of non-interference among neighboring states.
And in view that has significantly contributed to ASEAN’s regional stability.

Member-states are strongly discouraged from meddling in one another domestic affairs, political revolts or any acts or omissions that can contribute or disrupt another member of the grouping!

This directly, through “black operations” or by covert operations!

However in recent times this non-interference principle appears increasingly undermined through expanded membership, new challenges arising from globalization processes, growing demands for democratization, the increasing international prominence of cosmopolitan norms or by the now increased racism, fascism, religious fanatics and bigotry!

So I can understand the irritation of Singapore’s envoy to Malaysia who has taken Malaysia’s Utusan Malaysia to task for publishing what he cites as “inaccuracies and misrepresentations” regarding Singapore’s upcoming presidential election.

My learned friend High Commissioner Vanu Gopala Menon warned that:
“Singapore will not tolerate the use of race or religion to promote ill-will between different segments of Singapore society, or to undermine our institutions.”

Like Vanu, I am equally confounded what was the real intentions of Utusan Malaysia in publishing in its Aug 14 commentary titled “Berubahkah nasib kaum Melayu di Singapura? Presiden sekadar simbolik (Will the fortunes of Malays change in Singapore? President is only symbolic)”.

I am equally surprised why the same newspaper never published the envoy’s response to these articles?

Sadly, this omission can be interpreted as mischievous, arrogant and an abuse!

For those of us who have the needed intelligence, decorum, international political experience, the needed diplomatic exposure, we know that in clean Singapore, the president is the symbol and unifier of multi-racial Singapore and the custodian of the country’s reserves.

He is also the protector of the integrity of the republic’s public service.

On behalf of all respectable, peace-loving, law abiding and sensitive Malaysians, I sincerely offer my deepest and heartfelt apologies to Singapore!

In the ASEAN spirit, this should never have happened.

I wonder what the reaction and response would be if Singapore throws the rules and engagement of diplomacy and decides to also publish a series of articles on politics in Malaysia?

ARUL KANDA – IDEAL CANDIDATE FOR KHAZANAH HEAD SAYS MALAYSIA ASEAN/APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST!

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On Arul Kanda:

“Only the foolish, wayward, and politically bankrupt, would say that with such a track record, he is not worthy to lead the RM145 billion-Khazanah Nasional!” Datuk Dr Jacob George

ARUL KANDA – IDEAL CANDIDATE FOR KHAZANAH HEAD SAYS MALAYSIA ASEAN/APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST!

Khazanah Nasional Berhad is the sovereign wealth fund of the Government of Malaysia.

It holds and manages, selected commercial assets of the Government and undertakes strategic investments on behalf of the nation.

Among them – sectors such as power, telecommunications, finance, healthcare, aviation, infrastructure, leisure and tourism, and property, amongst others.

The fund is a member of the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds, which maintains and promotes the Santiago Principles on best practices in managing sovereign wealth funds.

Its portfolio includes Axiata, CIMB, Tenaga Nasional, IHH Healthcare, UEM Group, Telekom Malaysia, Malaysia Airlines, and Malaysia Airports.

For the record, Khazanah was incorporated under the Companies Act, 1965 in Malaysia on 3 September 1993 as a public limited company and commenced operations a year later.

It is owned by the Malaysian government and administered by the Minister of Finance Incorporated, except for one share held by the Federal Land Commissioner.

As per governance it is governed by a ten-member Board of Directors comprising representatives from the Government and the corporate sector with diverse professional backgrounds and expertise.

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Beloved Malaysian Premier Najib Razak, and Minister of Finance, is the Chairman of the Board.

So what am I alluding to?

There is news report that there are changes expected with the retirement of Azman Mokhtar who has had a very good spell at Khazanah!

But as always in going forward with new heights to scale, we need new blood, new visions and new leadership in view ever changing global matrix!

This is why I am excited to hear that 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) president; Arul Kanda Kandasamy is among the candidates to succeed Khazanah Nasional Bhd managing director Azman Mokhtar when he leaves in 2019.

It is important to prepare a successor to allow a period for the candidate to understudy Azman and prepare to take effective control of the organization.

And why do I think Arul is an ideal candidate?

He has vast global experience as a senior management leader and investment banker, with extensive experience in structured finance, corporate finance, and restructuring across multiple markets including London, the Middle East, and Malaysia equips him adequately for both domestic and global challenges!

He is a UK-qualified Barrister.

He received an LLM with distinction in Corporate and Commercial Law from University College London in 2000. He also earned an LLB degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1998.

More recently, Arul Kanda has been at 1Malaysia Development Berhad and also serves as its Chief Executive.

He had been the Group Executive Director at 1Malaysia Development Berhad since January 2015.

Previously, he served as an Executive Vice-President and Head of Investment Banking at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank P.J.S.C.
For the record, Arul Kandasamy had joined the Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank in July 2008.

Prior to this, he worked in several leadership positions at Barclays Capital and Credit Agricole.

He was the Director of Investment Banking and Financing Solutions at Barclays Capital plc.

He served as the Head of Islamic Financing Solutions at Barclays Capital, Dubai from September 2006 to July 2008, as Head of Islamic Banking, London at CALYON from July 2005 to August 2006.

He had also served as the Director of Capital Markets, Bahrain at the CALYON from June 2004 to June 2005.

That is not all!

He was an Associate Director of Securitization, London at the CALYON from July 2003 to May 2004.

He also served as a Securitization Analyst, London at the CALYON from January 2002 to June 2003 and as a Director of Global Investment House K.P.S.C. until June 04, 2015.

From July 2009 to May 10, 2011, he served as a Non-Independent Non-Executive Director of RHB Investment Bank Berhad.

He has also served as a Director of RHB Islamic Bank Berhad.

Only the foolish, wayward, and politically bankrupt, would say that with such a track record, he is not worthy to lead the RM145 billion-Khazanah Nasional!

I rest my case!

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