Why more information is better

July 24th, 2014 by admin Categories: Governance, Opinion No Responses
Why more information is better

by Tricia Yeoh. First published in The Sun Online 24 July 2014

WHAT both MH370 and MH17 have shown us is that accurate and timely information being provided to the public is absolutely crucial, and this is surely a lesson that must be extended beyond moments of crisis.

The MH370 incident took the world by storm in March. And our government suffered the consequences of not having responded with immediacy as well as providing inconsistent press statements. Having learnt from the past, credit should be given to Malaysia Airlines for releasing the MH17 cargo manifest in under a week, after this second tragedy in just four months.

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Prime Ministerial Leadership

July 22nd, 2014 by admin Categories: Governance, Opinion No Responses
Prime Ministerial Leadership

by Wan Saiful Wan Jan. First published “The face of the Conservatives” 22 July 2014

The whole country is still in shock with what happened to MH17 last week. This is a national tragedy and I wish to express my deepest condolences to the families and relatives of those involved. This incident is particularly painful because two of our staff have loved ones on that fateful flight.

At the time of writing, the details of this incident is still sketchy. So I will not write too much about it yet. The only thing I want to say about this incident is that I find it quite distasteful for people to blame Malaysia Airlines for the downing of MH17. No airline would intentionally put a flight on a route known to be risky. To insinuate otherwise is reckless. And I really hope the international community will work together to bring the perpetrators to justice.

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Quest for more organ donors

July 19th, 2014 by admin Categories: Healthcare, Opinion No Responses
Quest for more organ donors

by Dr. Helmy Haja Mydin. First published in The News Straits Times 19 July 2014

THE local newspapers recently carried a story on Malaysia’s first cardiac death organ donor. Shelly Mahoney, a tourist from Australia, tragically passed away when in Penang but two patients with end-stage kidney disease were given a new lease of life when they received her kidneys.

Organ transplants are complicated procedures, but the concept is not new. Kidney transplants were first performed in the 1950s; Malaysia had her first in the 1970s. A number of organs can be transplanted — the kidney, lungs, heart, liver and even the intestine. Recipients tend to have failing organs with poor outlook, but many thousands have been saved by the gift of a new organ.

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A sensation of flight

July 19th, 2014 by admin Categories: Opinion No Responses
A sensation of flight

by Keith Leong. First published in The Malaysian Insider 19 July 2014

The first time I ever flew overseas was on an Air Asia flight from Subang to Bangkok.

This was before klia opened and before Tony Fernandes worked his low-cost magic.

I have to say that it was a miserable experience, but of my own doing.

I accidentally cut my finger with my in-flight meal’s plastic knife and bled profusely.

That pretty much spoiled my first foreign holiday.

The next international trip was to Sydney, when I began my studies at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. My father and I flew Austrian Air there.

It was my first redeye experience: the flight departed well past midnight.

After that, I used to fly MAS (with its more godly hours) to go home or head back to university.

One time, they served us seafood curry and rice. It was the best in-flight meal I’ve ever had.

I’ve flown a considerable amount of times since then, for study, work and holidays.

I’ve been everywhere from Ambon to New York City.

Since returning to Malaysia in late 2011 – after doing my Masters in Cambridge – I think I’ve got on and off planes more than 40 times, not including transits and domestic flights.

But even this makes me a mere neophyte compared to some jetsetters out there.

Perhaps this is why I am and can never blasé about flying.

It feels like the first time, every time, whenever the plane starts to taxi.

Flight is arguably one of the greatest technological discoveries in our time.

It has and is connecting people, goods and ideas on a scale our ancestors could not have fathomed.

And it has also made the world a much smaller place.

There are apparently, on average at least 93,000 flights from 9000 airports worldwide. Some 8,000-13,000 planes are in the skies at any one time.

It has never been easier, safer or cheaper to fly than today.

But recent events – I refer of course to the disappearance of MH370 and the downing of MH17 – suggest otherwise.

These tragedies suggest that – technological advances aside – we are still very much at the mercy of factors beyond our control.

Take your pick: politics, weather, mechanical error, human action or just plain, ordinary fate.

Indeed, I am aware that every time I fly, my fellow passengers and I are putting our lives in the hands of the crew and ultimately, God.

There is always fear and anxiety.

What if there are problems at Customs when I land?

If I don’t make it, how will people remember me?

At times, one feels like eschewing flying altogether, but that’s impossible in this day and age.

We still take to the skies, whether for duty, love or adventure.

And the feeling you get when you arrive – especially when you make it back to Kuala Lumpur, when you make it back home – is one of joy indefinable and unadulterated.

Flying, in many ways, is a mixed blessing. But it is one that we continue to embrace.

There’s a wonderful quote from the Richard Curtis move, Love Actually:

“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”

A few days ago, and earlier this year, several hundred people did not make it to their arrivals gate.

They did not get the chance to embrace their loved ones.

They did not make it home.

MH370 and MH17 are heart wrenching tragedies. The wounds may never heal.

These events also remind us-as if we needed any-that Malaysia is a part of the world, that we cannot shut ourselves from it.

Writing about New York after the 9/11 attacks, of the courage and kindness its people showed in the face of terror, the late, great Peter W. Kaplan noted: “These are neither good things nor bad but they have happened. They break the heart but quicken the pulse.”

Life will go on and it must. We honour the dead by continuing to grasp at life, with all its triumphs and tragedies.

Love is still everywhere.

And we will still take to the skies. – July 19, 2014.

- – -

Keith Leong is a founding Associate of IDEAS

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Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit (Justice and unity and freedom )

July 18th, 2014 by admin Categories: Opinion, Other No Responses
Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit (Justice and unity and freedom )

by Tunku ‘Abidin Muhriz. First published in The Malay Mail 18 july 2014

During sahur last Sunday I turned on the TV to find that the World Cup Final was still 0-0; Mario Götze scored the all-important goal just as I finished my mango. After the final whistle, fireworks were audible in Damansara Heights, just as the azan for the subuh prayer began. The crowd in Rio de Janeiro waving yellow-red-black flags while singing their anthem reminded me of Negeri Sembilan’s Malaysia Cup triumph in 2009 after a drought of 61 years, weeks after the Installation of their new Ruler.

The German victory inspired me to listen to Joseph Haydn’s String Quartet in C (Op 76 No 3), including variations on the tune he composed in 1797 in honour of Francis II, the last Holy Roman Emperor and first Emperor of Austria. In 1841, Hoffmann von Fallersleben, a German poet with nationalist aspirations – the German Confederation was then a collection of over thirty sovereign monarchies and republics – set new lyrics to the same tune, beginning with “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles” – “Germany, Germany above all”.

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Health scares spread online

July 17th, 2014 by admin Categories: Healthcare, Opinion No Responses
Health scares spread online

by Dr. Helmy Haja Mydin. First published in the News Straits Times

IF you’re anything like me, you would be met by any number of health scares or lifestyle advice each time you log onto Facebook.

Some may be advertisements purporting to offer products or services that you might find useful, others are probably forwarded by well-meaning individuals. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

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Brain drain: stop the discrimination

July 8th, 2014 by admin Categories: Economy & Trade, Governance, Opinion, Other One Response
Brain drain: stop the discrimination

by Wan Saiful Wan Jan. First published as “Creating a pasture equally green” in The Star 8 July 2014

I spoke at a panel discussion organised by the Penang Institute last Saturday. Others on the panel were TalentCorp CEO Johan Merican, CEO of Agensi Inovasi Malaysia Mark Rozario, and CEO of Penang Institute Dr Lim Kim Hwa.

The topic was brain drain. Dr Lim and his colleagues recently produced a paper analysing the costs and benefits of the emigration of Malaysian professionals to greener pastures over the years. The panel speakers were invited to comment on their findings and recommendations.

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Sons of Harun al-Rashid

July 4th, 2014 by admin Categories: Opinion, Other No Responses
Sons of Harun al-Rashid

by Tunku ‘Abidin Muhriz. First published in the Malay Mail 4 July 2014

It has emerged that a number of Malaysians have joined the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (or Syria, or al-Sham: thus either ISIL or ISIS, but the former avoids confusion with our friends at the Institute for Strategic and International Studies), and it is shuddering to think that compatriots would be capable of the acts that have been reported, even filmed: the interrogation and murder of truck drivers, the humiliations and summary executions of captured soldiers.

In this context it is bewildering why anyone would cite ISIL fighters as an example of bravery in the face of the enemy. Why not mention the selfless Raja Aman Shah bin Raja Harun al-Rashid, who as Captain of the 3rd Battalion of the Federated Malay States Volunteer Force fought the Japanese during World War II, and was ultimately executed after refusing to be released from captivity unless all his comrades were also released? Why not cite the warriors of Yamtuan Antah who, during the War of Bukit Putus in 1875, pushed the British back to the Residency in Sungei Ujong before artillery reinforcements arrived? Why not refer to the courageous heroes of all ethnic backgrounds who have received the nation’s highest award, the Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa – one of the few federal honours yet to be sullied by political patronage?

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Unforced errors offside

June 27th, 2014 by admin Categories: Opinion, Other No Responses
Unforced errors offside

by Tunku ‘Abidin Muhriz. First published as “In sports we trust” in The Malay Mail 27 June 2014

Finally, the greatest spectator sports event in the world has begun. Millions across the globe will be following intently as the ball traverses furiously from one half to the other across the grass. Already many eager eyes are watching for the added bonus of enjoying some of the most attractive athletes competing. Their performances will inspire enthusiasts of the beautiful game in every country, and from the great arenas we will hear the soothing civilised applause each time a point is won.

Wimbledon is back.

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Consider profit rates, not interest rates

June 24th, 2014 by admin Categories: Economy & Trade, Opinion No Responses
Consider profit rates, not interest rates

by Carmelo Ferlito. First published in The Malaysian Insider 24 June 2014

I left Italy three years ago, when the country, like the rest of the continent, was struggling to find a way out of an economic crisis that was initially defined “financial”, then “debt” and ultimately “currency” to disguise the inability to understand the more global systemic nature of the current depression.

Since then, unfortunately, nothing has changed in the approach taken by political-monetary authorities to the crisis.

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