Saturday, April 23, 2011

LDP oh LDP...

Lately, LDP's Datuk Chin Su Phin has been making outrageous statements in the media. He seems to be hell bent to replace YAB Datuk Seri Musa Aman as a Chief Minister of Sabah.

Here's my take on the issue.

(1) Deputy President of LDP is free to raise any issue in BN supreme council meeting. This is not the first time nor last Datuk Chin Su Phin wants to bring his personal grouses to the Prime Minister's attention.
But as I see it, the Prime Minister and his deputy, on so many occasions, have publicly shown their appreciation toward the tireless efforts made by the state government and the Chief Minister in ensuring all communities in Sabah are not left out from the unprecedented economic growth and creating political stability for the state.

But a word of advice. Apportioning blame when you see the Prime Minister will be met with cold stares. It is just not his favourite subject.

(2) Instead of continuosly running down the popular Chief Minister for his personal gains, I advice Chin Su Phin to start preparing his party for the general elections. There is a lot to be done and time is not on our side.

Actually there is a lot to expect from a Deputy President of a component party.

First of all, he must carry that position with observation of decorum. A Deputy President must be seen as a debonair gentleman, with a degree of political sophistication and correctitude.

(3) At a working level, as a Deputy President, he must increase voters registration, increase membership drive, conduct dry-runs, do "kajian sikap" for his party. Chin must go down to the areas where his party hold incumbencies and listen and solve the rakyat's problems. Have these been done? If not, I am afraid the risk of his party being seen as an "easy meat" by the DAP in the next elections will be very real indeed.

I am sure Chin Su Phin will not want to be desribed as a trigger happy cowboy who walks into the high-noon duel and starts shooting from the hip, not knowing his bullet ricochets and hits him back in the head. That would be a political suicide.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device via Vodafone-Celcom Mobile.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Q&A and FAQs on 1Msia email initiative

I received so many queries re:1Msia email initiative. Hope the info below will help to clear the issues.

Q: Why was only one email provider selected for this project?

A: The government has to ensure the security of the confidentiality of data transmitted through this email as well as the targets associated with this project. Hence, only one email provider was selected (based on a set of criteria) to be closely monitored and tracked by the government. However, under the spirit of healthy competition and open concept promoted under ETP, every interested party is encouraged to provide alternative emails to rakyat.
(As a start, for purpose of focus and confidentiality of data transmitted one email provider was selected. The selection was based on a set of criteria  especially the business model that will be closely monitored and tracked by the government. Under the spirit of healthy competition and open concept promoted under ETP, every interested party is encouraged to provide alternative emails to rakyat as this is based on private investment.)

Q: How would the email provider generate revenue from this project?

A: The email provider can be innovative in the means to generate revenue. Some examples of how they could generate revenue are e.g. subscription to the value added services and advertisement. Given that this is 100% privately funded, such an entity will ensure a robust model for them to recoup the investment.

Q: Is the process of selection transparent?

A: The basis of ETP is to have the private sector led investment. The publication of the idea mooted by the ETP Lab made the idea non exclusive and open. Any interested private sector is free to submit its intended investment to the government. As such there is no closing date for submission. Any proposal mooted will be assessed to ensure that a good business model is being facilitated and supported. The evaluation is undertaken by the Entry Point Project (EPP) Lead; in this case is MAMPU and GITN Sdn Bhd which are the selected leads for the wider EPP of e-government as stated in the ETP book. The assessment is imposed on all proposals received which may not be submitted on the same day due to the open nature for the private sector. Every proposal is assessed on similar criteria.

Q : How can a company with a GN3 rating by Bursa be selected?

A: A listed company undergoes a more stringent assessment by the public and  has to comply to rules of listing. As explained by Bursa Malaysia, a GN3 rated entity is not prohibited from undertaking business opportunities. At the very least such a company will be delisted and will continue to conduct its business as an unlisted company. In order to remain listed, the GN3 rated company is to correct its financial standing and as such remains open to scrutiny of the public. A listed company is still a better choice as opposed to other companies that are not listed and dont have financials that can be scrutinised by the public.

Q : Can other companies be supported by the government?

A: Subject to having a strong business model, any other entity can be supported should they decide to make an investment to realise the idea of a similar nature. This is part of the healthy competition that is being welcomed. We have seen the market competition in non domestic email services such as yahoo, hotmail and google.

Q: Who came up with the idea of 1MY Email?

A: The idea was mooted by industry members in June 2010 during the NKEA Communications Content and Infrastructure (CCI) Lab organised by PEMANDU under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

Q: What is this idea about?

A: This idea is about having a 'Malaysian' email as an alternative channel for 2-way communication between the government and rakyat. 'Malaysian' means created, operated and hosted in Malaysia. The aspiration is for each Malaysian aged 18 and above to be offered with a single default  secured communication channel to government e-services on all devices with single sign-on user ID inclusive of a mailbox This user ID will eventually be used for any government e-services e.g. e-hasil, EPF statements, driving license renewals, quit rent payment etc. The email account will also be a default communication channel for confirmation of e-services transaction, communication of requested data etc.

In summary:
·         To provide a single sign-on email for the purpose of government communication with rakyat. Currently, there is no such service.
·         To provide an alternative secured mode of communication between the government and rakyat. Currently, some Malaysians use non-secured public emails e.g. yahoo mail, hotmail, google mail in their communications with the government.
·         To contain internet traffic locally for communications between the government and rakyat. Currently, yahoo mail and hotmails are hosted overseas.
This idea was then translated into a project, facilitated by the Malaysia Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU).

Q: Besides the above objectives, what are the other benefits of this project?

A: From CCI perspective, this could help to increase penetration and usage of broadband internet. This resonates well with the broadband penetration target and GNI contribution set forth for the CCI industry.

Q: Who are the target subscribers of this email?

A: For a start, the target population are Malaysians aged 18 and above as this group of people can legally enter to workforce market and would require frequent engagement with the government.

Q: What are the KPIs and Targets set for this project?

A:  There are 2 KPIs and Targets:
·         2015: 100% of Malaysians aged 18 and above to subscribe to this email.
·         2020: 50% of the subscribers use *value added services (VAS) to promote Gross National Income (GNI).
* Examples of VAS:
a)      VAS 1: Subscription to additional storage/Storage as a Service (StaaS) e.g. if basic account size is 1Gbps, tiered additional storage service at 3Gbps and 5Gbps could be offered.
b)      VAS 2: Subscription to Managed Lifestyle bill services where utility bills, credit card bills etc. could be sent to.
c)       VAS 3: Subscription to government specific news, statistic, info etc.
d)      VAS 4: Download services chargeable per transaction.
e)      VAS 5: National Archive (copy) purchase services chargeable based on items, mode of delivery and location to deliver.

Q: What is the government's role in this project?

A: The government acts as:
·         Facilitator: facilitate certain requirements needed from the government e.g. data validation from Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara.
·         KPI Tracker: the government is responsible to ensure the achievement of country's GNI by 2020 through many projects under ETP including 1MY Email. Hence, the government has to track the email provider's performance.

Q: How much is the government's investment in this project?

A: None. This is a 100% privately-funded project. During the NKEA CCI Lab, it was concurred that this project although to support the government communication with rakyat, it should be a privately-funded project as there is an opportunity for the email provider to gain economic returns through transaction fees, advertisement etc.

Q: Why was only one email provider selected for this project?

A: The government has to ensure the security of the confidentiality of data transmitted through this email as well as the targets associated with this project. Hence, only one email provider was selected (based on a set of criteria) to be closely monitored and tracked by the government. However, under the spirit of healthy competition and open concept promoted under ETP, every interested party is encouraged to provide alternative emails to rakyat.

Q: How would the email provider generate revenue from this project?

A: The email provider could generate revenue from several sources e.g. subscription to the value added services and advertisement. After all, this project is 100% privately funded, so the email provider will ensure the economic returns from the investment. This project can certainly beneficial to any email providers based on the proposals and interests shown by some companies.

Note: I must thank and credit Pemandu for the info above.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device via Vodafone-Celcom Mobile.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Riding Political Road

In an exclusive interview with FMT, Kota Belud MP Abdul Rahman Dahlan shares his views on politics as well as his passions, which include riding a superbike.

PETALING JAYA: On evenings when the sun dips a little lower, the distinct grunt of a superbike is heard across the grounds of Parliament. These days, the security personnel no longer bat an eyelid as the Kawasaki GTR 1400 cruises through the gates.
They know it’s just Kota Belud MP Abdul Rahman Dahlan on his high-powered machine.
“I drive home in the late afternoon to freshen up and then I ride my bike back,” he said. “It messes my hair but it clears my head so I can go working through the night. Riding is so therapeutic.”
Then he leaned forward and confessed with a grin, “The highlight of the Manik Urai by-election for me was riding my bike all the way up there. It was just music, my bike and the road.”
Rahman, 46, firmly believes in having passions outside politics and biking tops the list. The second is his love for gadgets, an iPhone, two iPads and an iPod. The third is American Idol runner-up, Adam Lambert.
“I was devastated that he didn’t win!” he declared. “Lambert has talent and I’m a sucker for talent. And he has the discpline and knowledge which in itself excites me.”
“I know he’s gay but that’s besides the point. I wanted to attend his concert in KL but I had to be overseas and then the concert ended up being banned which was so unnecessary.”
Nerve-wrecking experience
The Umno leader’s earnestness made the conversation seem like the most natural one to have in a Parliament lounge. He later dished out opinions and explanations with a curious air of easy confidence and candour.
A far cry indeed from the MP who arrived an hour ahead of his first Parliamentary sitting in April 2008 out of sheer nervousness that he will be late for registration.
“I told myself the previous night that I had to beat the traffic, but when I reached there no one else was around,” he said laughing. “So I sat in my car and waited for the others to show up.”
And when they did, he paid close attention to the Pakatan Rakyat MPs. They were on a high from freshly denying Barisan Nasional a two-thirds majority and Parliament reverberated with their excitement. Rahman had only three words to describe his first day – a nerve-wrecking experience.
Three years on, he has discarded those jitters and is among the more vocal MPs in Parliament and the social media. He blogs, tweets, has a Facebook account and belongs to 20 BlackBerry groups.
Hardly excessive for someone whose sole focus is on reaching out and serving the people just as his father taught him, albeit with a touch of modernity.
Rahman’s father, Dahlan Harun, belonged to the now defunct United Sabah National Organisation (Usno) and was the Sulaman assemblyman for six years beginning 1971. The seat is currently held by the Sabah Minister of Housing and Local Government and Rahman’s first cousin, Hajiji Haji Noor.
“Politics is in the blood,” Rahman shrugged.
“When I was studying in the US, I joined associations that studied public policies. I was among the founders of Umno California Utara in 1983. This was seven years before Umno came to Sabah. Kota Belud was its birthplace there.”
Rahman, a “100% Bajau boy and darn proud of it”, was born in Tuaran and belonged to the Umno division there. But that seat was promised to a component party in the 2008 elections so Rahman was slotted into Kota Belud instead. At the time he was also the Umno Youth secretary.
“It was tough going into a different constituency,” he remembered. “But Kota Belud has always been kind to Umno so I wasn’t too worried. In fact I was fretting more over other Umno Youth members particularly Khairy (Jamaluddin) who was rumoured to be faring badly in Rembau.”
Rahman won with a 3,020 majority over PKR’s Saidil @ Saidi Simoi but although the victory was expected, he was surprised that the majority was slimmer than what was secured in the previous polls.
Since then, he has been returning to Kota Belud every weekend and after three years, Rahman said that he can now feel the people’s warmth and acceptance.
In the right direction
The common perception of BN politicians is that they march to the government’s drumbeat. But Rahman has cracked that mould ever so slightly by deftly slipping in a few drumrolls of his own.
Expressing his views on Umno, he said: “I believe in what its founding fathers espoused it to be although some characters have tried to colour Umno to suit their style. When I’m confused I just return to the party’s constitution which contains none of the leaders’ names.”
“It gives me comfort that I’m moving in the right direction. All that Umno is criticised for is related to the people’s behaviour and not the party’s foundation. Unfortunately the party has to suffer for it”
Rahman also believes that Umno is regaining support from the Malay community and the recent by-election results are testimonies to this.
“We’ve seen five straight by-election wins so it’s safe to say that Umno is regaining Malay support. If you had visited the Malay belts after the 2008 general election, you could feel the anger and frustration towards Umno.
But now a lot of that is water under the bridge and the Malays are seeing Pakatan’s true colours. I can sense the acceptance for Umno returning.
The return of Malay support is a result of party efforts and the prime minister’s (Najib Tun Razak) work but Malaysian politics is always more personality driven.
Look at how (Pakatan leader) Anwar (Ibrahim) has glued the opposition together. It’s the same with BN. Najib is the single most important factor responsible for us winning back Malay support.”
Rahman also denied that BN politicians served merely as “rubber stamps.”
“It may appear so but it isn’t true. At each Parliamentary sitting we hold daily pre-counsel meetings during which the deputy prime minister (Muhyiddin Yassin) will present the gist of all Bills that are up for debate.
This is where we voice our support or protest. This was where BN backbenchers rejected the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill and delayed its implementation.
We fight among ourselves during these meetings but when we are in Parliament we stand as one because we have already come to a unaminous decision beforehand. So it’s not blind rubber stamping.”
Ask probing questions

Quizzed on the role of the social media, Rahman said it is definitely the way forward.
“When I’m replying tweets, it strikes me that I could be connecting with a teenager sipping a latte at a bus stop. This is the meaning of empowerment.
Its time politicians acknowledged that public discourse can no longer be dictated by government policies and ideas can no longer be contained.”
And what about the alternative media?
“I embrace them. They are important. But we must be careful not to abuse the very tools we need in our journey to become a mature democracy. The younger generation demands transparency from the government but not from the opposition.
So I ask of them to be bi-partisan. If they think PKR is doing good, then support it. But if the government is also doing good, then support it too.
Journalists should also ask more probing questions to expedite responses from the MPs and help people understand the full scope of the issue at hand. If a MP makes a statement, journalists should anticipate the probable response from the other side and ask a related question that will expand the story. Otherwise we’ll only be reading what the ministers want to say.
How seriously do I take the alternative media? Let’s put it this way. The first three websites I visit every morning belong to the alternative media. Only then, do I read the mainstream ones.”
On the problem of illegal immigrants in Sabah, the Kota Belud MP said until more West Malaysian MPs join the fight, the issue will not be resolved anytime soon.
“It’s a long standing issue that has raised a lot of concern. What’s worse is that a government survey showed that illegal immigration isn’t among the top ten issues on the minds of Malaysians. This has infuriated Sabahans.
West Malaysians don’t feel its weight but Sabahans believe that this is a security and sovereign issue that involves everyone.”
Sharing his views on Parliament itself, Rahman said the time has come for it to move into the electronic age.
“First, the amount of paper that we use is murderous. We all have laptops so why can’t we do everything electronically?
Second, all questions in Parliament that are answered in writing should be electronically stored because it contains the latest data which would greatly benefit journalists and the public.
Third, Parliament doesn’t move. This building is tradition and moving would mean losing that. Yes it’s compact and crowded but this is what it’s all about.”

This article first appeared in Free Malaysia Today. It was written by Stephanie Sta Maria. 
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