“Major” tourism industry players have indicated that the Bersih rally will have a huge impact on tourism in Malaysia if it is allowed to proceed. A figure of losses of RM1.2 billion was even bandied about.
This is how our esteemed Minister of Tourism, Ng Yen Yen does her Maths:
Last year’s tourism income in July = RM6 billion
Ng Yen Yen is pessimistic, so she assumes that Bersih will cause the industry to lose 20% income, which equals RM1.2 billion
How did she arrive at 20% loss? Who knows, maybe she pulled it out of her ass.
RM6 billion is the tourism revenue for the entire Malaysia, and the Bersih rally only affects the KL city center, so once again, more magical numbers pulled out of her ass. Or does she have statistics to show that KL contributes a lot more income than places like Penang, Sabah, or the beautiful beaches on the east coast?
Because we are intelligent people, and not irresponsible tukang karut like Ng Yen Yen, let’s use some basic statistical information readily available from the Tourism Malaysia website to disproof Ng Yen Yen’s nonsense.
Let’s make a few assumptions:
1. Tourist arrivals is proportional to tourism revenue. This assumption is made because there are no statistics on tourism revenue on the website.
2. Tourist nationalities do not affect income spent. We all think we know Middle Eastern travelers spend a lot more than Singaporean travelers, but without hard statistical data, it’s just us making that assumption. So for the purposes of simplification, let’s assume all tourists spend the same amount of money regardless of nationality.
Ok, let’s start. The last 2 major rallies in the country were the Bersih 1.0 and Hindraf rallies. Both rallies took place in November 2007, on 10th November and 25th November respectively.
Using Tourism Malaysia’s reporting generator, here are some numbers:
Tourist arrivals in Malaysia (November 2005): 1,432,317
Tourist arrivals in Malaysia (November 2006): 1,564,286
Percent Growth: 9.2%
Tourist arrivals in Malaysia (November 2006): 1,564,286
Tourist arrivals in Malaysia (November 2007): 1,764,586
Percent Growth: 12.8%
(edit: Change dates from 2008/2009 to 2007/2008)
Tourist arrivals in Malaysia (November 2007): 1,764,586
Tourist arrivals in Malaysia (November 2008): 1,845,645
Percent Growth: 4.6%
Don’t just take my word for it. Go Google the statistics yourself (or use link above). So when Ng Yen Yen says that tourism revenue will drop by 20%, I don’t understand, because statistics show otherwise. The last 2 major rallies happening in Nov 2007, drawing tens of thousands of people, and tourism arrivals grew more in Nov 2007, than as compared to the growth in Nov 2006 or Nov 2008 (preceding and subsequent years). Tak paham! Tak paham langsung! My brain is about to burst!
But seriously, I know that statistics can be manipulated to prove some point (in this case, my point), but at least I am not pulling some numbers out of my ass to con you.
The real conman is Ng Yen Yen, who with her network of government-linked media would like you to believe that tourism will be hurt by a rally. Hong Kong just observed the 14th anniversary of their hand-over to China. About 100,000 people joined a pro-democracy rally. I wonder loudly if HK was hit hard by tourist arrivals.
For the misinformation Ng Yen Yen has been spreading, I now declare:
Ng Yen Yen says the darndest things!
Wow. I really haven’t blogged in a while, have I? The rust in my writing and thought process is obvious, so instead of trying to tell a story or impart a point, I will just keep this blog post as a narrative.
The event was an anti-ISA vigil held in Ipoh, one of the 8 spots nationwide selected to protest against the Internal Security Act that was enacted on August 1st 1960. Originally passed as a law of preventive detention to be used against the communist insurgency, it has been abused and misused by those in power to silence dissent, stifle opposition, and even more importantly, stunt the political maturity of Malaysians, the majority of whom till today do not dare to say anything negative about the government in public, regardless of legitimacy.
The event was to be held at the Dataran Bandaraya Ipoh opposite Ipoh Parade, but the police had cordoned off all roads leading to the venue. Eventually, after a few u-turns, I found the group standing beside the street in front of Ipoh Parade. By that time, it was 8pm, but the vigil had obviously not started yet due to the police cordon.
Eventually, the organizers decided to take it to the other side of Ipoh Parade facing the Catholic cemetery, which was an extremely smart move by the organizers. By the time the banners started unfurling and candles were lighted (~8.20pm), the police were nowhere to be seen because they were not able to mobilize quick enough.
By the side of the street, amid shouts of “Mansuhkan ISA!”, we obviously got the attention of the citizens of Ipoh, some who honked in support. Honestly, I didn’t expect more than 20 people to be there for the vigil, but was pleasantly surprised to see around 50 people.
It only took the cops 10 minutes to arrive once the vigil went into full swing. As a participant in an ‘illegal assembly’, the police siren is not something you like to hear. The group then packed closer together to make it harder for the police to arrest any stragglers at the fringes, which had been documented in previous rallies.
When the riot police started getting into gear and a police lockup truck arrived, then we sensed that it was probably time to leave.
The organizers gave a quick speech, and then after declaring the event a success (IMHO, it was a success even though it lasted less than an hour), we were told to disperse peacefully, which we did.
I rarely do this, but I would like to commend the police in Ipoh for showing restraint, unlike their counterparts in Penang and Selangor who went rabid with arresting close to 30 people in other locations. There were traffic policemen directing traffic and generally trying to keep things safe, and personally, I think if the police just let things take its due course in a peaceful assembly, there would be less drama and paperwork all around. And more happy citizens like me.
So, I end this post today, by explaining why I do not like the ISA. The ISA has shackled the freedom of speech of Malaysians for too long. Remember back then, when people would make fun of Mahathir, and someone comes along and says “shh, careful, after masuk ISA”? Well, it’s still happening today.
What about national security? Yes, what about it? Obviously, the ISA has probably kept our country safer than most due to it’s preventive detention, but at what cost? How many people have been arrested in the name of national security and turned out they were innocent after all? Can we justify putting innocent people into indefinite detention without judicial review, just for the sake of keeping the country safer? Is there no better way? Don’t we already have a act that deals with treason and taking up arms against the country? Can’t we use that law? If there is no substantial evidence to charge a person, can’t we mobilize our intelligence officials and Special Branch to ascertain whether that person is really a threat to national security in the first place?
How about you. Have you wondered if you’ll ever be affected by ISA? Or maybe your kids of grandchildren are arrested under the ISA one day, because they happen to disagree strongly with the government of the day? Then think about the frustration of not being able to do anything for your children, because the judges have no power to overturn the detention except under technical grounds. Perhaps, when we think of the future we want to leave for our descendants, then maybe we would start to care.
May 6, 2009
I’ve not been blogging for how long now? It’s not just the so-called political fatigue, it’s also having to spend time on my new job having to build a solid reputation, or in other words, to “recession-proof” my job.
The purpose of this blog has, and always will be about Malaysians spewing forth from their mouths their idiocy and hypocrisy. And during the time that this blog was inactive, there has been so much that has been bloggable, and from both sides of the political divide.
But I stayed silent. Seriously, if 50 other bloggers were gonna write about it, and I didn’t have a fresh opinion, I see no point rehashing the same arguments that can be read elsewhere.
But some events leading up to the state assembly sitting in my hometown Ipoh on May 7th has awakened my desire to write and to just get things off my chest.
First, was last night’s arrest of Wong Chin Huat, an activist, for organizing a campaign called 1BlackMalaysia. It was to be a campaign of ‘civil disobedience’ and encouraged people to wear black as a sign of protest during the assembly sitting called by the BN government.
His crime? Sedition. What was seditious? Inciting people to wear black.
Then, it was today’s arrest of 3 people for sending a birthday cake to Najib’s office to mark Altantuya’s birthday (video here). Pointless gesture? Yes. Illegal? Absolutely not.
Sani Md Shah, Saufi Mihat, and Yasir Sheikh Abdul Rahman, I feel for you. Note to self: Do not bring cake near PM’s office.
Then came the arrest of opposition politician Mohd Sabu, purportedly for organizing a prayer session tomorrow morning in Manjoi, near Ipoh.
Finally, just an hour ago, 14 people were arrested for holding a candlelight vigil for Wong Chin Huat outside the Brickfields police station. I assume that the police will probably investigate them for illegal assembly.
I bring you back to Najib’s inauguration speech:
In the coming weeks, I will be consulting with people around our country, as I begin to reshape the leadership and priorities of the Government. I am mindful that we should build on the successes and lessons of the past. It must be a government with new approaches for new times – a government that places a priority on performance, because the people must come first.
What Najib doesn’t realize is that the people are trying to give him feedback, and he just happens to be ignoring them. All pretense of him listening to the people is now obvious for all to see.
Oh, and what is the point of this post, if there weren’t any stupid quotes? I leave you with the chief of police, Musa Hassan, a favorite character around this blog:
Police have today obtained a court injunction which will empower them to arrest on sight any member of the public seen within the vicinity of Perak state secretariat building.
The court injunction bars all supporters of political parties from gathering within 500 meters of the building, where the controversial state assembly sitting will be held tomorrow.
Supporters from both Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional are expected to turn up to support their respective sides in the on-going power struggle to control the state.
Inspector general of police Musa Hassan (left) has warned the public not to wear black tomorrow or to gather to protest against the assembly sitting.
“The police will not hesitate to take action including arresting those who gather to protest or tried to stop the state assemblypersons to thwart the assembly.
“We will ensure that no one can create trouble by foiling anything that has been decided by the law. We also assure safety for all the assembymen.”
Apparently, wearing black is now illegal. To those members of the public planning to wear black tomorrow, I suggest you don’t tempt your fate like those 3 poor chaps who delivered the birthday cake. If you’re just planning to go for the slimming look, I suggest wearing something with vertical stripes instead. 😛
Musa Hassan says the darndest things!
February 17, 2009
Must be lots of fans from Gutter Uncensored:
Above image from my traffic tracker. Come on guys, what the fuck? Go Google for Chua Soi Lek’s sex video, it’s probably more interesting lah. Geez.
And yes, if your pidgin Malay sucks and you don’t get the hint, there are no Elizabeth Wong sexy/nude/naked pictures here ok?
February 17, 2009
I haven’t been blogging that regularly. After all, protecting my rice bowl is a million times more important than bitching about the same old politicians doing and saying the same old shit, as if they will ever learn.
But today, something blog worthy came about. Today, politicians from both political divides finally agreed on something. I can’t for the life of me recall the last time most of them agreed on anything.
By now, you must have heard about the case where Selangor assemblyperson, Elizabeth Wong had her nude pictures circulated. Apparently, her pictures were of her sleeping naked, and taken without permission (and obviously distributed without permission).
The press and TV are having a field day, terming this as a “nude pic scandal”. I beg to differ. This is not a scandal, this is a crime. And the victim is a woman who has had her privacy violated in her own home, or certainly a place where she felt safe, since she was sleeping. I can only hope that the government-owned media do not paint the victim as the guilty one, but I can only expect papers like Utusan Malaysia to draw parallels to Chua Soi Lek’s case (which was actually a scandal) and call for her resignation.
And politicians from both BN and Pakatan have jointly condemned the person(s) who took the pictures and distributed them, in a rare show of solidarity:
Quotes from Malaysiakini:
I truly feel sad and sorry for (Wong) after she told me about it yesterday. I had a bad dream last night and I can understand how this kind of thing can haunt a woman. I urge the police to take this matter seriously and I hope the culprit can charged.
I sympathise with the executive councillor, this thing should have not happened as she the people’s representative and she had been performing her duties.
Therefore, to foil what she has done for the community in this manner is not good. But I hope her spirits (remain strong) and she will not bother about what has happened.
Chew Mei Fun
We condemn the actions, firstly because the taking of photographs of body parts without their consent or knowledge is against the law and punishable under the Penal Code (Act 574).
Secondly, posting such pornographic materials in the public also constitutes a violation under the same Act.
Thirdly, any member of the public who circulates, distributes or passes on such photographs should also be condemned as this is tantamount to pornography, which is also illegal under the Malaysian law.
However, I will save the best for last. After all, this blog is called Malaysians Say The Darndest Things.
I present to you, no other than Khir Toyo, the opposition leader of the Selangor State Assembly, and also former Menteri Besar of Selangor:
From The Malaysian Insider:
KUALA LUMPUR, Fen 16 – Selangor Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Mohd Khir Toyo urged state executive councillor Elizabeth Wong to resign immediately after her nude photos were circulated.
Describing the scandal as embarrassing, Khir said Wong is no longer fit to remain as a member of the state administration or a lawmaker.
“This is about morality, whether the pictures were taken with or without consent is another matter, I cannot accept a lawmaker whose morality is questionable,” Khir told The Malaysian Insider.
“This is very embarrassing for the people of Selangor. This is about leadership, the people will not be able to accept this,” he added.
“In Barisan Nasional we asked Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek to resign after his video was circulated,” said the Sungai Panjang assemblyman, referring to the MCA deputy president who was forced to resign last year after his sex video was distributed to the public.
Khir added that the latest scandal was a reflection of PKR’s failure to provide good leadership and hoped that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim would clean up the party.
“They have been talking about integrity and morality I also hope the Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid will take stern action against the assemblyman,” said the former Menteri Besar. “The longer they wait the worse the damage will be to the state.”
Holy shit. This crap coming from the mouth of Malaysia’s self-appointed top moral crusader. The same guy that got Teresa Kok stuffed into the ISA because he got his facts wrong. The same guy that denied the tearing down of Indian temples 3 days before Deepavali. If God had a wicked sense of humor, he would get someone to break into Khir’s house and take naked pictures of him and post them on ILoveGayMalaysians.com or something. Then we’ll see him resign in shame, eh?
And to compare the morality of a woman whose photos were secretly taken while sleeping, against a man who got caught doing the dirty deed with another woman who was not his wife. What the fuck?
Someone slap me, because I feel like I’m in a dream sequence where politicians say stupid things and get elected as UMNO Youth presidents. Oh wait, I’m not dreaming, I’m living in Malaysia.
And to Elizabeth Wong, you’re probably not reading this, but you have my support. I have been reading your blog for more than 2 years, and you were one of my role models when I started this blog to voice my grievances. Please don’t quit, and do not allow them such an easy victory, whoever they are. Ipoh people support each other right
February 5, 2009
In the 12th General Elections last March, the people of Perak chose to kick Barisan Nasional out of power in Perak. Unfortunately, the majority voices were sidelined when the Sultan of Perak, DYMM Sultan Azlan Shah refused to dissolve the state assembly, paving the way for Barisan Nasional to reclaim power.
Here is why I think the Sultan actions have shown that he might not be acting in the people’s best interest:
1) On March 8th 2008, 443354 (53%) people voted for Pakatan Rakyat in Perak, while 400682 (47%) people voted for Barisan Nasional. The Sultan is indirectly telling 53% of us in the state to live under a state government that we did not elect.
2) Instead of affirming BN’s majority in the state assembly via a no confidence vote against the sitting MB, Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin, the Sultan has basically asked the Menteri Besar and the entire state exco to tender their resignations immediately, or their post will be declared vacant. Whether or not this is legal under the Perak Constitution, I am not certain.
3) Has the Sultan gotten reports from the ground that the people of Changkat Jering, Behrang, Bota, and Jelapang still agree that the people representing them in the state assembly is still who they want, after what has transpired?
4) The haste in which the Sultan is swearing in the new Menteri Besar is shocking as well (according to some rumors, it is actually happening right as I am typing this now), without even bothering to wait for the decisions in the court on whether the resignation letters of the ‘independent’ assemblypersons were valid or otherwise.
The right thing to do was to let the people decide again. Instead, with the powers vested in the Sultan to do the right thing, I can only say he dropped the ball on this one.
The Sultan has lost the respect of many of his subjects today, me included.
I shall end here now, because the grapes are tasting real sour, but suffice to say, me and 443353 other people will be feeling disappointed and angry today.
Daulat Tuanku, and if it’s any consolation, I think the best thing to do is still to allow the state assembly to be dissolved and power to be returned to the people, if it is not too late already.
February 4, 2009
Around 5pm, after constantly pressing F5 at the Malaysiakini, TheStar, and Malaysian Insider websites, it was confirmed that BN, with the support of 3 newly ‘independent’ candidates, has the majority in the Perak State Assembly. To say that I am saddened by the latest events unfolding in my home state would be an understatement.
I think it is fair to say that this is BN giving the PR (especially Anwar Ibrahim) a taste of their own medicine. The only difference would be that BN took us all by surprise, while Anwar chose to announce his grand plans to the world and even set a date for his supposed defections.
I also believe it to be a moot point to argue about the ethics of whether it was right or wrong for the PKR and DAP reps to jump over to the other side. After all, this blog writer, and most of its readers were clamoring for Anwar to parade his BN frogs on September 16th 2008.
However, some questions which beg to be answered:
1) How can the Bota assemblyman jump from one party into another, then back again, all in the space of one week? I will be very very surprised if this man would still win an election under any party banner, after taking his constituents for a roller coaster ride.
2) Did the Behrang (Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi) and Changkat Jering (Osman Jailu) assemblymen declare their independence because they were promised that their pending corruption cases would be thrown out of court? Or did they really feel ostracized by their own party? If their cases were to be thrown out by court, would BN be suspected of influencing the case? Does BN even care what people think of them?
3) The Jelapang (Hee Yit Foong) assemblywoman has been a DAP member for 22 years. Her story on why she jumped would be the most intriguing, as I cannot imagine how a long-time party member would choose to now leave the party, after declaring in the newspapers just a few days ago that “I have never had any intention of leaving the party and would feel very heavy-hearted if I did”. Was it her disagreements with the Perak DAP leadership that did her in? Or was she threatened in any way by BN? Or was it pure greed over maybe financial reasons or was she promised more power? I would like to know what her story is.
4) Was money involved? Well, with BN, you never know, since there is never any concrete proof (except for vote-buying during elections, of which there has been ample proof, but no action taken by the Election Commission).
I think with those questions hanging in the air, it would be wise for our Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah to consider them before making a decision. Would he tolerate the people of Bota being represented by a man with absolutely NO principles? Would he allow the people of Behrang and Changkat Jering to be represented by men with dubious records (even if the courts found them innocent, their innocence would unfortunately be disputed till kingdom come for their alignment to BN). The Sultan should also be curious on why a loyal DAP party member of 22 years can just jump ship without any clear reason given.
With such uncertainty surrounding these assemblypersons, especially when these assemblypersons are the one providing BN with a majority, I believe the best decision that the Sultan can make for the people of Perak is to accede to the request of current Perak MB, Nizar Jamaluddin, to dissolve the state assembly and let the people decide once and for all who they want leading the state.
I await his Highness’ decision with bated breath.
P.S. Najib must be smelling like a bed of roses now.