MALAYSIAN ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST & ATTORNEY SAYS – ACTION MUST BE TAKEN ON THOSE MAKING FALSE POLICE REPORTS!

ACTION MUST BE TAKEN ON THOSE MAKING FALSE POLICE REPORTS!

If any of us had thought that the season of making false Police reports was over, post GE14, we were wrong!

In fact, the number of such incidences seems to be gaining momentum, as police report making, has become a political tool and weapon to attack, undermine and defame one’s political, racial and religious opponent!

This is the sad state of affairs we experience domestically, while some of our politicos preach with hypocrisy on the rule of law and of human rights with a forked tongue abroad!

It would not be an error to say, that today police reports are being weaponised, to initiate criminal intimidation, fear and threat!

And as such, it is about time, action is taken against anyone initiating one, for such a purpose.

We do not deny that public interest encourages that a police report with regard to any crime that comes to his or her notice should be made.

And as a lead consumer activist and Attorney with over 41 years of track record and service, I am well aware that such a report is important to set any criminal investigations into motion so that any alleged crime may be investigated and the perpetrator be brought to justice through due process!

But here, there is a clear difference when political Police reports are made, immediately followed by a press conference and demonstration with banners outside the said Police station which is clearly an abuse of due process, and shows to the world at large the real intentions of those making the said reports as they viral the entire happening using social media even before the authenticity of the allegations are ascertained by the authorities!

And it is despicable, that despite provisions for prosecution for lodging a false report, under s.177, s.182 or s.203 of the Penal Code, it has yet to curtail such calculated and planned abuse.

Is this because action is not being undertaken against these mostly politicians and others masquerading as alleged NGOs?

A person who lodges a false police report, if charged in the first place, and if convicted, may face imprisonment up to six months or fine of RM2000.00 or both, which I state herein, should be increased in view current abuse!

But based on the manner it is abused, it is obvious, current penalties are not a deterrent!

Perhaps, it is also time that victims of such fake Police reports should initiate their own reports followed by legal proceedings!

After all, the political shenanigans who lodge such frivolous and politically-motivated reports do so at the expense of Malaysian taxpayers and undermine our stretched and hardworking Police force, whose resources are really needed to address spirally crime, law and order issues and terrorism, rather than be waylaid by fake reports!

Our men and women in blue, should be accorded due respect and not be abused and treated like a political tool and conduits to intimidate and frustrate one’s political opponents!

It is my humble appeal that in the weeks to come, our no nonsense Inspector General of Police, will address this issue of much public interest in a comprehensive manner.

MALAYSIA ASEAN & APEC PROF DR JACOB GEORGE APPEALS TO THE MALAYSIAN KING TO DECREE CAMERON HIGHLANDS A FOOD SECURITY ZONE!

PROF DR JACOB GEORGE APPEALS TO THE MALAYSIAN KING TO DECREE CAMERON HIGHLANDS A FOOD SECURITY ZONE!

The current population of Malaysia is 32,491,091 as of Monday, August 5, 2019, based on the latest United Nations estimates!

I am quite certain, it does not take into cognizance the alleged 5 million or so undocumented and illegals in the country!

With that in mind, how does Malaysia address food security issues to protect all stakeholders resulting in food available and affordable for everyone here?

Farming has been a major part of civilization for millennia and today, despite challenges, loss of farming land, human resources, operational costs and hurdles, dedicated and passionate farmers, continue that legacy.

Farmers have also worked alongside scientists, who have guided them in the development of new crops, created new tools, and pioneered new techniques.

Advances in plant breeding, crop protection, and farming technology have made it possible for farmers to produce way more food on the same amount of land, boosted the nutritional content of food, improved taste, and extended shelf life, all while keeping costs down.

But more need to be done.

We cannot deny that farming is also what most Malaysians consider “dirty, difficult and demanding”.

It is no wonder that young people are not interested in this sector!

And food production in agriculture is one of the most essential sectors but also the most criticized, under-appreciated and threatened in 2019!

This is why I find the act of destroying active farm land in Cameron Highlands, despicable, an offense of the highest degree, even treason, and in this case since, our food security situation in Malaysia is extremely fragile and vulnerable!

I was at the UN’s World Food Security Summit in Rome in the 90s and had the opportunity to monitor, present opinions with the IGO (international governmental organisations) and NGO communities as well as the government-to-government sessions face-to-face courtesy of our Malaysian ambassador to Italy during that period!

But my concern today is not at the global optics but to ascertain where Malaysia’s food security is benched at and most importantly, at Cameron Highlands!

For far too long farmers and food production centers in Cameron Highlands, have not be accorded special privileges and protection in order to preserve continued production, technical and technological advances and generational experience.

After more than 60 years of high intensive construction and development, the farming environment has greatly suffered severe reduction of good farming land.

Worse, there was never a strategic long term plan planned and rolled put to seek alternate sites to replace ecologically sensitive areas.

Despite the setting up of government agencies to spearhead a strategic plan to food security, most if not all, have failed despite billions been allegedly, spent over decades.

That leads me to ask whether, we have now a 20 year plan of action, which will be a paradigm shift, not just for farmers but farming land in and around the nation and most importantly, at Cameron Highlands?

Is there strong export and import oriented policies in place so that vicious price fluctuations are addressed to maintain a decent pricing for the crops to protect the rights, interests and needs of our farmers?

Do we have cash crop insurance for farmers?

Or are prices now controlled by cartels and monopolies and the underworld?

When will we have a policy on cluster farming, as it cuts cost of production by at least 40%?

When will we have agricultural inputs channeled as directly as possible to the farmers, so that production cost is mitigated?
As any reduction of operational costs to farmers cutting off the middle men, seepage, gravy train hunters and cronies, will reduce cost to consumers.

I do not deny that many of these issues have been raised and processes implemented, by the former Ministry of Agriculture then renamed, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry, but have they been really effective?

If so, can the results or audits of those processes, the effectiveness and delivery of these initiatives be made public?

What were the bench mark set and have these been achieved?

Who can vouch for these ‘achievements?’

It is embarrassing, that with billions pumped in through related agencies which include, Mardi and a host of agencies, we have yet to produce basic cash crop seeds.

On the other hand, fertilizer manufacturing is fragmented, thus the actual cost to the farmers is market based and not incentive based.

For example, composting all chicken manure and enriching it, will bring down cost tremendously.

But it is done more as small private initiatives and thus, there is no cost benefit to end users.

There must be an independent body working directly with the farmers in Cameron Highlands, which cuts across red tapes, politics and bureaucracy, so that allocations to farmers are delivered.

In recent years, Cameron Highlands has been experiencing rapid development, in terms of infrastructure and real estate has be a threat to their agriculture industry, food production and its security.

It impacts the most popular vegetables planted and processed from Cameron Highlands which are cabbage, tomatoes, peas and Chinese cabbage.

They are usually supplied to many parts around Malaysia, while, some are being exported to Singapore.
Strawberries are a very popular natural produce here are being exported as well.

But a clear and present danger and problem to farmers is the need for more land, for food cultivation and to address and combat the imminent threat from food imports from China!

Farmers are suffering in terms of profit and income due to this.

Meanwhile, about 90% of those who are employed in the farms are Bangladeshis and this requiring overhead like salary, incentives and accommodation, among others.

There are also other challenges where fertile land is being destroyed by state apparatus and agents as well!

With all these factors involved, the agriculture industry is no longer as lucrative and attractive as it was before, what more with the monopoly of a certain player and the rampant land clearing activities which have been happening without control by the state government or those who are in power.

There can be no food security without security for farmers in Cameron Highlands!

This is why I am appealing to our beloved King, who is also the Sultan of Pahang, to decree that Cameron Highlands be gazette a food security zone and provided all national and state resources and protection in the national interest!

 

MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD ADVOCATE PROF DR JACOB GEORGE SAYS – NEW STRATEGIC APPROACHES NEEDED IN DRUG WAR!

MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD ADVOCATE PROF DR JACOB GEORGE SAYS – NEW STRATEGIC APPROACHES NEEDED IN DRUG WAR!

As a lead consumerist and human rights advocate, who has addressed these issues from the late 80s, I am not the least surprised neither shocked, of news reports, that the government has suffered losses of between RM3 billion and RM5 billion a year, due to revenue leakages at the country’s entry points, smuggling or of the drug threat!

And having been familiar at ground zero, it would be rather simplistic to just cite smuggling activities, negligence, and inadequate equipment, as reasons for this predicament, as one senior civil servant attempted to allude to recently!

More so, when the real reasons are, that of corruption and incompetence, by those expected to monitor and protect entry, exit and border areas!

And though, multi million ringgit “new state of the art technology” is helpful, it is still meaningless, ineffective, if the real issues staring at our faces and denied in political expediency, is acknowledging, the twin pillars of corruption and incompetence within, which undermine all efforts to address this leakages!

And in comparison, this is why, I cannot but be excited and proud to hear from dear friend, the newly minted; Inspector General of Police (IGP) Abdul Hamid Bador, who did not hide nor mince his words, when addressing similar issues and more so, the ‘clear and present danger’ that is brought to the nation in high powered organized drug smuggling and distribution!

The IGP stated the facts without fear or favor.

Neither, did he deny that though his officers have intensified the crackdown on drugs, the levels of substance abuse have reached “breaking point.”

To someone like me, having been in the field for over 40 years, this is the first time a sitting IGP, has publicly acknowledged that drug abuse in this country, and is at breaking point!

Worst, that if we as a nation, do not tackle it now, the abuse will be on par with Colombia!

That is shocking!

I am glad that the IGP highlighted to the nation, that just the last two months, the Narcotic Crimes Investigation Department has redoubled efforts to crack down on drugs, gambling and vice with successful raids.

And that these raids, have even resulted in police officers being hauled up.

He went on record, like no other IGP, that they have arrested no less than 30 men in blue, high on methamphetamine, since January.

If that is not honesty and transparency, I wonder what is!

But the IGP is also correct, that it is time, that we initiated a new approach, to combat drug smuggling, its marketing and distribution which are a multi-billion ringgit operation.

As a lawyer, I am aware, that laws, alone are not adequate to address the surge in these activities, which are multi and Transnational in scope and optics!

Drug smuggling, marketing and distribution, is an international activity, with an international class of players, stakeholders, financiers, cartels and foot soldiers!

As such, old tactics and responses do not work or are ineffective!

It is time that we address this international menace by a strategic approach, where it becomes a joint international approach and response, where the security apparatus and intelligence of perhaps, ASEAN and APEC coordinate, exchange intelligence, data, assets and initiate joint operations on land, sky and sea!

That the respective state departments and attorney general chambers, will initiate joint responses to blacklist players, freeze proceeds from these ill-gotten gains even if, they are deposited in banks of international reputation, conduit companies or even NGOs!

At ground zero, we may have to go back to what we initiated, in the 70’s to 90’s, which was highly successful, where members of the public, are urged to work closely as ‘eyes and ears’ of the security apparatus to combat this menace in the nation’s and public interests!

The IGP has been transparent, accountable and forthright!

On our part, the least we can do is to assist him and our ‘men in blue’ in this war against drugs!

 

MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE LAUDS HOME MINISTER’S ACTION IN IMPENDING ACTION ON ILLEGALS!

HOME MINISTER’S ACTION LAUDED FOR IMPENDING ACTION ON ILLEGALS!

Being a Consumer Advocate and having worked alongside the Home Ministry over 35 years in addressing security matters and the many challengers and threats that confront us from the huge numbers of documented and undocumented workers and foreigners, I cannot but congratulate current Home Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, for being the first to put a strategic plan along time lines open to audit, which includes a joint inter-ministerial task force.

The plan is a strict departure from previously announced initiatives which at worst, were allegedly still born in view saboteurs!

Manpower is a multi-billion ringgit industry and one should never underestimate the reach and influence of insiders, politicians, political war lords, industry players and predators!

As such, the five key strategies namely:

1. Enforcement Operation Strategy which underlines the implementation plan relating to enforcement operations against Pati nationwide;

2. Legislative and Enforcement Policy Strategy which underlines the implementation plan relating to the drafting of new laws and coordination of policies on the enforcement against Pati;

3. Entry Point and Border Control Strategy, which underlines the implementation plan relating to security control and monitoring activities at the country’s borders and entry points;

4. Foreigners Management Strategy, which underlines the coordination plan of policies relating to foreign nationals; and

5. Media and Publicity Strategy, which underlines the plan relating to media coverage, publicity and awareness programs if professionally and without fear nor favor implemented, can see in my humble view and experience, results in the first 18 months!

For the strategy to work, it is pertinent that a new but experienced team be put in place reporting directly to the Home Minister and a special task force set up comprising of experienced members from the security apparatus, various ministries and the NGO community!

Without this framework in place, this strategy like its many forerunners since the 80’s will see failure!

The Home Minister is correct, that it is time we make the Eco-system, where these illegals live and move be made highly uncomfortable!

Basically it is community effort here,
Simple, serious, direct grassroots response and highly effective!

A strategy that involves the state governments, local authorities, village community management councils and village development, security and housing estate committees!

We can all spot a foreigner and stranger in our community!
And we must do our part!

It is time to get rid of the illegals safe havens and those who provide them insulation!

It is also pertinent to ask why there are still Malaysian employers using illegal foreign labor?

It is well known that these employers face penalties based on our Criminal Procedure Code: heavy fines; possible imprisonment; caning when caught employing more than five illegal workers.

No ordinary employer will sneezed at the penalties but the fact remains staring us in the face, foreigners can still find employment illegally.

The inference is super obvious.

The Home Ministry herself confirms that between Jan 1 and June 4 this year, the Immigration Department had carried out 7,940 operations, during which almost 100,000 foreigners were screened.

That legal action had also been taken against 23,295 Pati, with Indonesian nationals making up the highest number of those arrested at 8,011 (34 percent), followed by Bangladeshis (5,272 or 23 percent) and the remaining comprising those from Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and others.

No small number these.

But we have a saying that for every one offender caught ten get away!

And that is never a joke!

It is obvious that the benefits of cheap labor far outweigh the fear of getting caught, which, in turn, means that enforcement is either far from adequate or officers can be bought off.

Given the reports of corruption in the Immigration Department and other security apparatus structures following the human trafficking scandals recently, this is a serious probability which has to be addressed, not ignored or swept under the carpet!

We must also remember, that even Premier Tun Mahathir Mohamad, had recently remarked both on the sine biotic relationship between corruption and illegals!

The danger facing Malaysia, which includes terrorism, is real, given the danger of our open borders and recent arrests!

All entry and exit points must be plugged because the situation is no longer a benign one of “helping thy neighbor”, the poor from neighboring countries in a simple quid pro quo arrangement!

All law abiding peace loving Malaysians, do pray that the efforts now proposed will address what was previously a labor shortage issue now transformed into one with internal security implications!

And both locals, foreigners and their conduits, whosoever they may be, in the process must be treated as a security risk and action taken immediately!

MALAYSIA ASEAN & APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF. DR JACOB GEORGE ASKS – ARE THEY REALLY GURKHA GUARDS THAT’S ENGAGED IN MALAYSIA?

ARE THEY REALLY GURKHA GUARDS THAT’S ENGAGED IN MALAYSIA?

I am certain that many of us would have wondered about the nationality of the security guards at our housing estates, gated communities and condominiums.

And not all of us are aware that only Nepalese ex-servicemen, those from the Indian Army and Gurkhas were permitted to be security guards in Malaysia?

However the reality today is due to the ‘pawning of licenses’ Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Afghanis are alleged to be masquerading as security guards to further compound an existing security and locus problem!

It was reported last year that more than 150,000 locals and 50,000 ‘Nepalese Gurkhas’ were legitimately employed as guards in the country.

Can I know by what means the approving bodies certified that these 50,000 were indeed “Gurkhas?”

With demands for security guards growing especially those wanting ‘Gurkhas’ – even though it is a fact they no longer exists among the age group currently employed, it is vital that policy directives need to be relooked in view emerging challenges and fraud.

It is therefore time to address an alleged violent abuse and misrepresentation that is currently unattended to despite me raising my concerns behind close doors with past policymakers!

No one denies the importance and contribution of the historic Gurkha guards, in many parts of the world.

They were famous for their exploits in warlike conditions or in environments that require any physical prowess.

They were trained, disciplined and with their physical strength and faithful nature makes them extremely compatible for security jobs globally!

Their loyalty was also unquestionable!

Based on this, many countries within the Commonwealth, post-World War Two offered those positions and citizenship and where they lived now and had their being.

Among the countries still having those from this lineage in active duty though small is in the UK and Singapore!

Based on the past historical facts Malaysia had given a monopoly to Nepal and with it Malaysian security companies were allowed engage them.

But the pertinent question today in view allegations is – are those hired and represented as “Gurkha guards” in Malaysia today, really Gurkha guards?

This question was raised by me in the late 90’s and then again, in 2007 in policy circles!

As a result, twice, I was part of a task force led by then the respective Director Generals of both the then, Internal Security Ministry and the Human Resources ministry to meet the Nepalese Government and the respective stakeholders to assess the ground conditions and facilitate accreditation in the ongoing exercise involving Nepalese security guards!

Even then as we visited the training schools and security companies and witnessed their ‘security drills’, it was already evident, that those arriving as ‘Gurkha guards’ were not one but farmers, lorry drivers, workers and others unskilled with fake certificates.

I remember the then Director General of the Internal Security Ministry telling me during that trip, “George, ada banyak pelakon kat sini!”

On return, we decided that only those whose background was either from the Nepali or Indian Army were to be allowed and strict protocols were planned.

The validation for approvals for applications was the Army’s pension books which were to authenticate their background and credentials!

In recent years, it is a well-known fact that there are no more ‘Gurkha Guards’ in Nepal.

So the pertinent question is what is the background of those we are hiring and the government giving approvals to?

Today, we are told that the costs of the employment process for security guards is nothing lower than RM5000.00 based on political pressure from Katmandu!

The security firms employing them need to provide accommodation, uniforms and all monies for medical, levy and other payments are not deductible!

Their new take home pay is nothing lower than RM1800.00 for 26 days.

The amended tenure of contract from three years is today, two years!

I have absolutely no issues with all these as the architect of the government to government program launched in 2014 for ‘Free Visa Free Ticket’ to cut the middle men, agents and others manipulating the labor industry for both Vietnam and Nepal and several source countries!

But my concern today is the need to revisit the monopoly given to Nepal on the basis and representation that we are hiring “Gurkha guards!”

Today industry and security company sources are stating that the vast majority arriving as “Gurkha guards” are really ordinary Nepalese farmers, workers, lorry drivers and others who have absolutely no security training or background in law and order!

And they carry fake accreditation!

And firms here are helpless to intervene in view of the current policy.

As a former Nepalese IGP told me in Katmandu, in the presence of another serving general – “they are just Nepalese warm bodies masquerading as trained personnel! But it is a dangerous game they are playing. Security is no child’s play!”

Well put!

So why should we allow those unskilled and without security backgrounds to be employed here when what we should be initiating is looking at other options and countries!

In view to this, it is pertinent that a policy review is in need and we need to examine if the time is appropriate to open up this sector to both Indians, especially for those in Punjab, Gujarat and Maharashtra and certainly, Sri Lanka which was on the drawing board, before inexplicably, disappearing?