MALAYSIA ASEAN/APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE WELCOMES THE PROACTIVE ACTIONS OF HRH THE CROWN PRINCE OF SAUDI ARABIA MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN!

WELCOMING THE PROACTIVE ACTIONS OF HRH THE CROWN PRINCE OF SAUDI ARABIA MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN!

A day does not pass where the air of expectation, progress and also the addressing of pertinent issues is not in the narrative in Saudi Arabia with its tsunami effect and impact on the global stage!

And the person most responsible for this drastic and timely transformation that has erupted is HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman!

HRH has vowed to destroy “extremist ideologies” in a bid to return to “a more moderate Islam.”

And those of us, who had listened to his speech at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, would remember that HRH the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman clearly cited the road map and strategic moves that will put the kingdom in lockstep with many other nations as it seeks to transform its economy over the coming decades.

His speech was passionate, powerful, committed, dedicated as it came out of his lips when he stated:

“We want to lead normal lives, lives where our religion and our traditions translate into tolerance, so that we coexist with the world and become part of the development of the world,” he said.

Though his every move that is much needed and strategic will rile, upset, stress the corrupt, the closet terrorists and their sympathizers and ultraconservative clerics who have held sway in the kingdom, holistic change is coming and coming fast!

Only an absolute lunatic will deny that the Crown Prince’s announcements and declaration will not be heralded by Saudi Arabia’s increasingly youthful population and the outside world!

Look at the facts – Seventy percent of the Saudi population is under the age of 30 and they certainly have great hopes and aspirations to be aligned in progressive moves that will position greater development and strategic changes in Saudi Arabia!

With an unemployment rate for those aged 15-24 over 30 percent, low and stagnant oil prices, a substantial budget deficit and depleting foreign exchange reserves, Saudi society need these drastic moves to bring in change!

And HRH’s statement that – they will not spend 30 years of their lives dealing with extremist ideologies but destroy them today and immediately is exactly the warning message to those who in the past and present have been ‘hunting with the hounds and running with the hares’ and being closet terrorists and financiers of evil but also a message of hope to those who also want holistic change and zero tolerance to archaic ideologies that keeps the Kingdom in pre-historic times, with growing allegations of terror theology being articulated and its funding under the guise of evangelism putting fear and sending shivers down all the spines of peace loving religious men and women of all faiths Abrahamic or otherwise!

In a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency today, they are also addressing to curtail those “working to promote terrorism through the exploitation of Islamic discourse”.

This will have severe implication in several Asian countries!

And may embarrass the governments therein for failing to monitor how funds were utilized as they went to institutions, NGOs, and other very suspicious conduits and what the message propagated was really and how funds were ultimately utilized?

I really enjoyed HRH’s message when he stated quite plainly –
“Saudi was not like this before ’79. Saudi Arabia and the entire region went through a revival after ’79.

“All we’re doing is going back to what we were: a moderate Islam that is open to all religions and to the world and to all traditions and people” he reiterated!

Gosh – it gave me goose pimples when the entire conference attendees broke into applause.

Since that speech we saw further action when the Anti-Corruption Committee in Saudi Arabia, driven by again by HRH the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, effected a number of detentions of high-profile and wealthy Saudis on suspicion of various forms of corruption.

I am not bothered what the so called “experts say” to me it is fast track transformation!

Investors and Saudis alike can now rest assured that all opportunities are equal and there will be no favoritism.

As an observer I believe HRH message are for two audiences namely first asking his people to trust him, and secondly, telling the rest of world that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is open for business – legitimately!

That is good enough for me!

MALAYSIA ASEAN/APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE: PM NAJIB MUST FIGHT OFF OPPOSING VIEWS WITHIN TO HELP PENANG RECOVER!

‘Penang needs help not politics of party, race and religion!
The people are watching and watching intently, believe me!’ Datuk Dr Jacob George

PM NAJIB MUST FIGHT OFF OPPOSING VIEWS WITHIN TO HELP PENANG RECOVER!

Perhaps, true that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has still to announce plans for any new allocation for flood mitigation projects in Penang!

I am certain however, after his visit to ground zero, Najib will seriously consider the RM1 billion allocation sought for flood mitigation projects still not released under the previous five-year Malaysia Development Plans.

I am certain that there will be opposition from within, from opportunist politicians under siege who may put caveats, oppose, and hinder any proactive funds to Penang unless they are the ones in the photo-shoots!

In every country you have such irresponsible self-servers!
It is all about them, they think and it is all about their political life span and how much they make enriching themselves and their families!

But Najib is the Prime Minister of Malaysia and must fight them off and their destructive politics!

Najib must take and make decisions, based as the nations’ premier and not based on narrow silos based perspective and whispers from these politicos!

From my intelligentsia, it was obvious many fighting for their own political relevance and effectiveness were present, to welcome the Premier as he landed in Butterworth former RAAF base in my home town!

Why they were there I cannot fathom, as some were more interested in taking ‘selfies’ rather than addressing pertinent issues, how we can go forward as one Malaysian team in a situation of great need and turmoil which, affects residents, created economic loss, destruction of property and infrastructures and displaced many communities not taking cognizance which political party they represent!

I am very glad that the prime minister and ‘Kak Rosmah’ visited several hot spots in Penang!

She brought great relief, encouragement and strength in this hour of need with her sweet smiles and interactions!

I am aware that our premier had approved RM150 million and certainly confident after firsthand look at the death and destruction will be considering additional funds for flood mitigation in Penang.

Through my walkabouts in my hometown, I am aware receiving intelligence of 13 value add necessities and projects which needed to be implemented with a cost of about RM1 billion!
Adding to these woes, we still have issues relating to relief and rescue work being addressed!

I will predict that the worst is not over yet, and sad that the Damrey Typhoon that hit Vietnam on Nov 4, and an unexpected fierce 65km per hour winds never seen before in Malaysia has left a trail of death and destruction, costs seven lives, stranded over 7,000 people, misplacing some 3,000 and left an economic loss and destruction that still is undocumented nor financially quantified!

Penang needs help not politics of party, race and religion!

The people are watching and watching intently, believe me!

 

MALAYSIA ASEAN/APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE CALLS FOR A THROUGH HEALTHCARE DELIVERY SYSTEM!

“The purpose of my call for this timely review is to address and maintain the call for safe and high quality care by addressing and articulating the key rights of all patients when seeking healthcare in the region!” Dato Dr Jacob George

MALAYSIA ASEAN/APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE CALLS FOR A THROUGH HEALTHCARE DELIVERY SYSTEM!

Healthcare is a fundamental human right and despite so, it has become a super abused right in many corners of the world!

It is now a victim of super commercialization, negligence, double speak, hypocrisy, corrupt practices and dropping standards of care through plain unadulterated hypocrisy and vindictiveness!

While in others, it is one where the practitioners behave more like politicians, businessmen/women and vagrants rather than life saving practitioners!

This is why I am calling for a comprehensive review of the Patient’s Charter wherever symbolically it is introduced, to spearhead accountability, professionalism and competence in healthcare delivery system.

The purpose of my call for this timely review is to address and maintain the call for safe and high quality care by addressing and articulating the key rights of all patients when seeking healthcare in the region!

I would like to specify the following nine areas (which is not all exhaustive) to be reviewed from time to time.

They are as follows:

Access: There should be equity of access to public healthcare.

Respect: Respect, dignity and consideration always being the hallmark.

Safety: We should promote safe and competent care.

Costs: The costs should be fair and reasonable leaving no room for profiteering.

Communication: Communication is paramount and should be the trademark throughout the period of patient care.
Information: Information on treatment, services, care should be constant and periodically updated.

Participation: This facilitates informed decisions and choices.

Privacy: There should an assurance that personal data and information is secure.

Redress: There should be a professional mechanism having care and concerns addressed.

I make this call after hearing feedback and allegations on the high rate of mortality and blotched surgeries in many parts of the region.

I call upon the Health Ministries of these jurisdictions to immediately set up an independent task force to investigate whether there is a rise in deaths and blotched surgeries in their respective countries!

The pertinent questions are – whether there are doctors and surgeons operating when they should not?

There are questions whether there is a regular certification and review process by a certification board before medical professionals are allowed to operate?

I am also concerned whether nationally they have a peer review board looking at the rising deaths and blotched surgeries and other related issues in a transparent, accountable and professional manner?

If they need expert intervention I am willing to assist these jurisdictions proactively!

MALAYSIA ASEAN/APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE’S TAKE ON ELECTIONS!

Emulate India’s code of conduct for GE14

The Election Commission (EC) in some countries are mere brainless stooges. They confirm it the moment they open their mouths and issue statements sounding like politicians rather than statesmen selected to uphold honour and justice.

They are worse than parasites and simply the political hatchet men specially selected by the powers that be, for their long sustained benevolent and unflinching servitude to their political masters. Some may call them ‘mere running dogs’ but I will not be that vulgar.

But in some countries the ECs do justice to their selection and appointment and to the merits and tenets of democracy. One such is the Indian Election Commission.

I had witnessed them in action not only in the last election in 2011 but also in 2004 and the manner in which they carried out their task was just superb.

Whether you know it or not there is a model code of conduct and its values are universal provided your intentions are noble, ethical and serving the free and fair election module. And the code forbids rule by acts of betrayal, treason and worst fraud. How does this code operate?

As an illustration, in 2004 Deputy Indian Prime Minister L K Advani flew in an Indian Air Force helicopter from Bangalore to Tumkur in Karnataka to address an election meeting?

By the time Advani had completed his speech, the EC had announced the dates for the general election and enforced the Model Code of Conduct for parties and candidates. Advani was thus compelled to send the helicopter back and return to Bangalore by car.

Such is the power of the Model Code of Conduct.

The Election Commission through its Code of Conduct monitors the behaviour and actions of the political parties and their candidates in any elections.

1. What is the Model Code of Conduct?

It is a set of guidelines laid down by the Election Commission to govern the conduct of political parties and candidates in the run-up to an election.

2. What is the need for such a code of conduct?

It is intended to provide a level playing field for all political parties, to keep the campaign fair and healthy, avoid clashes and conflicts between parties, and ensure peace and order. Its main aim is to ensure that the ruling party, either at the federal level or at state level, does not misuse its official position to gain an unfair and vulgar advantage in an election. That there will be no institutionalised fraud and worst treason.

3. When does it come into force?

The Model Code of Conduct comes into force the moment an election is announced and remains in force till the results are declared.

In 2000, in India there was a tug of war between the central government and the Election Commission on the Model Code of Conduct.

The government went to the Supreme Court against the Commission’s ruling that the code of conduct comes into force the moment elections are announced. The government insisted it should be enforced only from the date of formal notification of each phase of election.

The Election Commission called an all-party meeting to settle the row. Eventually all parties, including the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, agreed unanimously to support its stand on the Model Code of Conduct.

That was democracy, people-power, and statesmanship in action.

4. To whom does the code apply?

It applies to all political parties, their candidates and polling agents, the government in power, and all government employees.

5. So what does the Model Code of Conduct mean for a ruling party?

In 2004 in India’s ministers, including Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, were not allowed to combine their official visits with electioneering work. They also cannot use official/government machinery or personnel for electioneering work.

Public places for holding election rallies and helipads for flights in connection with elections are to be made available to all parties on the same terms and conditions on which they are used by the party in power.

Government institutions and enforcement agencies were expected to play a neutral role and not as active participants for the incumbents as in some countries.

6. Can ministries sanction grants out of the government’s discretionary funds during election time?

No. Ministers and other authorities cannot sanction grants and payments out of discretionary funds from the moment the elections are announced.

7. Can the government run an advertising campaign in the mass media?

Advertisements at the cost of the public exchequer or in some countries using the Ministry of Finance and misuse of official mass media for partisan coverage during an election have to be scrupulously avoided.

8. What are the other guidelines for ministers and other government officials?

Ministers and other government authorities should not announce or promise any financial grants to the people; they should not lay foundation stones for or inaugurate any projects; they should not promise public facilities like roads; and they should not make any ad hoc government appointments.

9. How do candidates and parties campaign when the code of conduct is in force?

Parties can issue their manifesto detailing the programmes they wish to implement if elected to government, the strengths of their leaders, and the failures of parties and leaders opposing them. They can use slogans to popularise and identify parties and issues, and they can distribute pamphlets and posters to the electorate.

They can hold rallies and meetings where candidates can persuade, cajole and enthuse supporters, and criticise opponents. Candidates can travel the length and breadth of the constituency to try to influence as many potential supporters as possible.

10. Can parties/candidates hold meetings wherever they want?

Yes, but the party or candidate has to inform the local police authorities of the venue and time of any proposed meeting well in advance to enable them to make necessary arrangements for controlling traffic and maintaining order.

11. Can parties call for votes on communal lines?

No. The Model Code of Conduct strictly prohibits parties and candidates from making any appeals to caste or communal feelings, on race, religion, or pitting communities one against another aided by a racist vernacular media as in some countries for securing votes.

Mosques, churches, temples, and other places of worship also cannot be used for election propaganda. No party or candidate can indulge in any activity that may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension among different castes, communities, religious or linguistic groups.

12. Can parties criticise their opponents?

Yes, but the criticism of other political parties should be confined to their policies and programmes, past record and work. Parties and candidates should refrain from criticism of all aspects of private life not connected with the public activities of the leaders or workers of other parties. Criticism of other parties or their workers based on unverified allegations or distortions should be avoided. Worst they should not use third parties to orchestrate all forms of allegations and gutter politicking.

13. What happens if a candidate or party does not obey the Model Code of Conduct?

The Election Commission has warned that any breach will be dealt with sternly. The Commission has the power to disqualify a candidate if s/he refuses to follow the Model Code of Conduct.

I salute the Indian Election Commission again for their commitment to democracy, fair play, accountability, good governance, transparency and zero tolerance for corruption and corrupt practices and not succumbing to direct and indirect attempts by the powers that be to manipulate and taint them.

They are unlike others ‘hunting with the hounds and running with the hares’- milking all the business advantages and perks from the incumbents domestically, then inexplicably they trade the shades in other forums putting on the face of reformers, which is the height of hypocrisy.