Consumerist: Travel Advisories – Australia & International Community’s Duty To Protect Their Own!

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‘All stakeholders in Malaysia and elsewhere, must realize that in this modern global village, where time is of the essence, and where foreign countries depend more on their own intelligence gathering, and updates, diplomatic packages from their diplomats rather than rely solely on third parties to safeguard one’s own citizens!’

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Travel Advisories – Australia & International Community’s Duty To Protect Their Own!

It is important for all nations to protect its own citizens and Australia’s advice to its citizens to avoid eastern Sabah should be respected by all parties devoid of uncalled for sensitivities!

Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia, Rod Smith has reiterated the advisory would remain as long as the threat of cross-border kidnappings existed in the area.

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However, instead of being overly sensitive, we should be encouraged that the said advisory do not hinder, or level a caveat for tourists to visit Kota Kinabalu, and other areas of that state or Peninsula Malaysia!

We cannot deny or pretend, all is well in Sabah’s east coast, where in the past few years, we have seen cases of kidnappings for ransom, carried out by Abu Sayyaf militants from the southern Philippines.

We have witnessed gruesome murders, and the agony of families pleading for the safe return of their loved ones kidnapped!

All stakeholders in Malaysia and elsewhere, must realize that in this modern global village, where time is of the essence, and where foreign countries depend more on their own intelligence gathering, and updates, diplomatic packages from their diplomats rather than rely solely on third parties to safeguard one’s own citizens!

Secondly, there is no legal necessity to start a dialogue, or check with any parties whosoever, before issuing any advisory, whose sole focus is the safety of one’s citizens!

If some stakeholders fails to understand this fundamental right, one is lost in the woods and totally ignorant, how the international community and governments, are expected to act and whose felt needs and rights they are expected to protect.

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Instead of getting upset and issuing defensive press releases, which is unprofessional, it is also pertinent to understand what a travel advisory is?

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A travel warning, travel alert, or travel advisory is an official warning statement, issued by a government agency to provide information about the relative safety or not, of traveling to or visiting one or more specific foreign countries or destinations.
In this case, Australia has issued a Travel Warning, when they want their citizens and others, to consider very carefully whether they should go to a country at all.

There is nothing personal or political about this!

And examples of the necessity, for such acts are unstable government, civil war, ongoing intense crime or violence, or frequent terrorist attacks or an impending one – basically, a clear and present danger!

Other reasons may include, strikes, demonstrations, or disturbances; a health alert like an outbreak of H1N1; Zika, or evidence of an elevated risk of terrorist attacks or kidnappings by armed groups and terrorists, as is the case in point!

In some cases, it could be an action, taken as a final straw, after being convinced that there is a total loss of confidence, competence or professionalism in some external parties handling an issue based on a “checklist of concerns” on the matter of the country issuing the advisory.

To be honest, there is absolutely no reason in law, convention or in the diplomatic rule or play book that there should be consultation of any level!

It would be foolish and out of the times, for any quarter to think like that.

It shows that we are not aligned, how others in responsible and professional positions, carry out their duties, or “duty of care”, guided by their respective constitutions, laws of the land and convention.

Instead of “mourning and groaning”, professionals in countries cited in advisories, should do some earnest soul searching, what brought this state of affairs and how to regain the trust, confidence and respect of the global community going forward!

Anything less – is running away from the core issues!

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ASEAN Expert Dr Jacob George Lauds US Lifting Arms Embargo On Vietnam As Historical!

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ASEAN Expert Dr Jacob George Lauds US Lifting Arms Embargo On Vietnam As Historical!

Political analysts in the region cannot but be excited with the Obama administration’s announcement that Washington would fully lift a longstanding U.S. embargo on lethal arms sales to Vietnam!

This was despite human rights advocates in the United States calling and lobbying on the administration to maintain the weapons ban until more progress has been made by the ruling Communist Party.

To me, irrespective whether it is a decision that reflects growing concerns about China’s military clout or not it is a proactive move and it demonstrates the warming bilateral ties between the former enemy nations.

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It was just brilliant to watch and hear President Obama unveiling this new narrative with his counterpart Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang during the opening day of his first visit to the country.

It is a great move despite coming four decades after the end of the Vietnam War!

The result would certainly be a maturing relationship and deepening cooperation on security and economic investment that would spearhead economic investment and activities that would be great for Vietnam and ASEAN!

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One could see the smile on U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry, a veteran of the Vietnam War, who was in the front row at the Hanoi Convention Center, as the president heralded “a new moment” in the bilateral relationship.

The lifting of the ban “will ensure Vietnam has access to the equipment it needs to defend itself and removes a lingering vestige of the Cold War.”

Those of us who have been monitoring developments in this narrative would know that the last two years had seen the US administration easing strategically portions of the arms embargo that had been in place since 1975 to help bolster Vietnam’s maritime security in the South China Sea, where China’s move to exert more naval control of crucial shipping corridors has angered Vietnam, the Philippines and other nations that have claimed sovereignty.

And President Obama is right when he stated that this latest step “was not based on China or any other considerations. It was based on our desire to complete what has been a lengthy process of moving towards normalization with Vietnam.”

With this development Vietnam has access to the equipment it needs to defend itself and removes a lingering vestige of the Cold War at a stroke of a pen!

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This will certainly now spur on more foreign investments, aggressive economic activity which will result in Vietnam bolstering proactive changes to lifestyles and livelihoods!

These are exciting times for the region and Vietnam!

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Consumerist: GE14 – Lets Vote In Intelligent MPs/State Assembly Person Please!

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“Strange in Malaysia, if it is not sex it is religion – these bankrupt politicians have nothing better to address to uplift life’s challenges?”

Consumerist: GE14 – Lets Vote In Intelligent MPs/State Assembly Person Please!

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I cannot but concur with my schoolmate Chan Kong Art that it is time we had some standards, some basic barometer of intelligence and vision, when names are suggested to represent us either at state assemblies or at Parliament!

This has been another week when silly, stupid and irrelevant statements are highlighted or made at the highest political forums in Malaysia.

First we had a non-issue urging for a Taoist shrine to be removed from a public park on grounds that some Muslims could be confused.
Seriously – what’s next?

It is time Malaysian politicians desperate to stay relevant to play the race, religion card or just be the bogeyman and exaggerate issues be removed!

If that was not ridiculous another imbecile felt that the “No Pork” sign at eateries would confuse patrons?

Then hardly has the idiocy subsided another moron felt that we should have no dogs pounds in a certain area.

Yes this idiot felt that the area having many dogs have been causing discomfort in the neighborhood.

He is not bothered of racial and religious polarization and intolerance, diseases, dengue, the destruction of our hills, environment, the traffic, the rising crime, the infestation of foreigners taking over petty trade and business from locals, or the abuse of power and corruption!

He is more obsessed of the possibility imagined or otherwise of flash floods and floodwaters carrying the scent and whatever from the dog pound to homes in the area.

As Chan alluded to, what is next?

So many people can get confused according to their elected representatives so will someone bring out that hot cross buns and cross-junctions be removed as they signify a symbol?

Wild imagination these!

Strange in Malaysia, if it is not sex it is religion – these bankrupt politicians have nothing better to address to uplift life’s challenges?

But the prize of the Master Stupid Politician should go to PKR lawmaker Mohamad Imran Abdul Hamid who strangely suggested that amendments be made to the Merchant Shipping Ordinance to look at ways to prevent cruise ships with casinos from operating in Malaysian waters.

First are they operating in Malaysian waters or at international waters?

For someone who hails from the navy I find his claims rather disturbing!

He is so disturbed that he wants the government to address this issue which according to him is a national and international threat?

And according to him – “would lead to social problems among its passengers.”

Did he conduct a comprehensive survey or research to arrive at this finding?

I would be happy to read his research findings!

I think it is time we stop these kinds of madness and the people of Malaysia of Malaysia deserve better.

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It is time we had politicians and those who aspire to represent us have these qualities namely:

Compassion

Compassion is the humane quality of understanding the suffering of others and wanting to do something to alleviate that suffering. While many see compassion as a weakness, true compassion is a characteristic that converts knowledge to wisdom. Good political leaders use compassion to see the needs of those he or she leads and to determine the course of action that would be of greatest benefit to all those involved.

Integrity

The word integrity is defined as ‘the adherence to moral and ethical principles; the soundness of moral character.’ It is a synonym for honesty and uprightness, and is a vital characteristic for those in political leadership. Political leaders who possess integrity can be trusted because he or she never veers from inner values, even when it might benefit them to do so. A leader must have the trust of followers. This requires the highest standard of integrity.

Confidence

Having confidence in a political leader is about having faith or belief that he or she will act in a right, proper, or effective way. A good political leader needs to be both confident in himself or herself as well in their ability to lead. Leaders who possess this quality inspire others, drawing on a level of trust which sparks the motivation to get others on board and get the job done.

Flexibility

Flexibility for a political leader is about understanding the give-and-take aspects of politics, and the ability to find the common ground. More so in a multi-racial and religious country like Malaysia!
Good politicians listen carefully to all sides, to not only hear their arguments but to especially learn what it will take on behalf of all parties involved to reach a consensus. This characteristic allows political leaders to recognize setbacks and criticism, to learn from them and move forward.

Great Political Leaders

Great political leaders have all of these qualities – and more. Each aspires to respect different views, analyze problems, and identify the best solutions – not based on loyalty to political party, but rather based on what is good and right and in the best interest of the nation as a whole.

Sadly we hardly have them and as such we must start now planning for GE14 so that we have them so that we will have a transformed parliament and state assembly taking the nation forward not backward to the stone age!

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Consumerist: Adverse Town Planning & Corruption The Cause Of Flash Flood?

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“The truth is these are the consequences of reckless, negligent and criminal urban planning – period!”

Consumerist: Adverse Town Planning & Corruption The Cause Of Flash Flood?

Call it stupidity, foolish talk, idiotic statements or plain incompetence!
And these idiots are so predictable and we the victims are supplied with a rerun of excuses that have been going on for decades!

And the fresh announcements and statements come after last week’s flash flood that caused economic loss, damage to vehicles, threatened lives and brought the true face of administrative and bureaucratic impotence to light!

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Flash floods are not a new phenomenon in any part of the country.

We have had it so many times and the chorus of excuses pathetic!

The latest statements easily show we do not have the right leadership material taking the lead of such matters.

And because we have morons, pencil pushing idiots and politicians in charge – the symphony of excuses are the same!

They blame record breaking rains, the adverse impact of global warming and the climate change?

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These policymakers and their highly paid “town planners and city hall insects” already know from experience that our cities cannot endure an intensity of more than 80mm per hour.

It is plain foolishness to blame our geographical location to account for the mess we continue to find ourselves.

Is the mother of all answers and the grandmother of all solutions the need to build a multi-billion ringgit underground waterway big enough to serve as an outlet for water to flow out of the city?

I am sure the contractors and the politicians behind them will be laughing all the way to the bank be it the solution or not?

My advice has always being simple!

No rocket science this!

Let us look at the efficiency of existing tunnels, culverts, water retention ponds, our clogged drains!

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Let us look at where our town planning has gone disastrously wrong!
It is stupid to now say we have to identify which mega project has undermined the city, and they should face legal action!

The truth is these are the consequences of reckless, negligent and criminal urban planning – period!

The Gospel truth we are all avoiding is this is the adverse impact of which got aggravated because all the natural flood discharge channels of our towns, cities got blocked because of ill planned and not long termed and visioned constructions.

If only bona fide town planners had protected and preserved our natural water bodies and drainage channels – we could have mitigated.

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We may not have been able to control the rains, but we could have definitely controlled the flood situation.

Let us first start by stopping short-sighted urban planning as they are certainly connected to the impact of such disasters.

Secondly, can all of us get off our backsides and at every city and town conduct a walk-a-bout to survey what immediate can be done in the cities and towns that we have planned so awkwardly to prevent flash flood and the destruction they wreck on us consumers!

I cannot but wonder what catastrophic disaster will mega projects including Bandar Wawasan and PNB 118 will bring to this city in both the present and the future?

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Malaysia is not alone here as many countries who share this ill-gotten town planning scenario will face the same disasters from all kinds of calamities – floods, cyclones, droughts, tsunamis, avalanches, cloudbursts, landslides which in all fairness may be considered to be linked to unpredictable changes in climate patterns.

It is not just economic loss, it is going to cause!

A World Bank report already predicts that in the next 15 years, an additional 100 million people, could get pushed into poverty due to the adverse impact of climate change on agriculture and public health with more frequent disease outbreaks.

In this climate, town planners and city hall must rise to their true calling, behave as such and not be tempted, and swayed by corruption at its highest levels!

Do the right thing!

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Consumerist: Well Done Again Singapore Airlines!

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“They do not need a foreign chief executive officer, or chief operating officer all paid vulgar salaries and in Euros and yet nothing tangible has happened?

They do not have Board of Directors and policymakers politically appointed abusing SIA for personal and family interest and others using their political connections to put their fingers in all kinds of contracts to result in losses, exaggerated and manipulated costs overruns that bleeds an airline of its profits resulting in repeated bailouts!”

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Consumerist: Well Done Again Singapore Airlines!

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I am not surprised that Singapore Airlines full-year net profit more than doubled on higher income from investments and reduced losses from associate companies as fuel expenses fell due to lower oil prices.

That was not all as a refund for a fine paid by the carrier’s cargo arm in the previous financial year also bolstered earnings, but SIA was humble enough to state that the competitive environment remained “challenging” due to weak global economic growth and expanding capacity.

Reports indicate that the group net profit for the year ending March 31 came in at Sg$804.4 million ($587 million), up 118.5% from the year before. Revenue eased 2.2% to Sg$15.23 billion.

Net profit for the 4th quarter soared more than 5 times to Sg$224.7 million from Sg$39.6 million.

All these resulted in dividends from long-term investments being higher by Sg$102 million and its share of losses from associated firms falling by Sg$118 million, while it also received a Sg$117 million refund for a fine paid by SIA Cargo the year before.

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I was rather excited to note that SIA’s group expenditure fell, largely due to a 19% decline in fuel costs as jet fuel prices tumbled, but the savings were partially offset by hedging losses. Fuel accounts for around one third of SIA’s expenditures.

It was a wonderful result when they were contending with a challenging operating environment in key markets, caused in part by weak economic activity and relatively rapid growth in capacity.

It is obvious that SIA is facing tough competition from Middle East carriers in the long-haul premium segment, while budget airlines have taken market share in the economy section for short-haul routes.

But SIA being SIA – with a dedicated and passionate management entrenched in accountability, good governance and with zero tolerance for corruption and corruption filled procurement activities I believe is well positioned to compete in this challenging environment!

They have made strategic corporate moves as well with the entry into its fleet of the long-range, fuel-efficient Airbus A350-900 to open more routes.

SIA also has taken full ownership of budget carrier Tiger Airways while operating a medium- and long-haul no-frills airline called Scoot, allowing it to operate across a range of market segments.

This is all despite the economic slowdown in China and ongoing uncertainty surrounding the global economy!

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They do not need a foreign chief executive officer, or chief operating officer all paid vulgar salaries and in Euros and yet nothing tangible has happened?

What they have is a local!

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They do not have Board of Directors and policymakers politically appointed abusing SIA for personal and family interest and others using their political connections to put their fingers in all kinds of contracts to result in losses, exaggerated and manipulated costs overruns that bleeds an airline of its profits resulting in repeated bailouts!

What they have is a dedicated, accountable, committed BOD!

Well done again SIA!

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