Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu(林苍祐)

Tun Dato' Seri Dr. Lim Chong Eu (林苍祐) is a Malaysian politician who served as the second Chief Minister of Penang for a record 21 years. He was also the founding president of Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia, a member of the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional.

Dr Lim was born in 1919 in Penang. He attended school at the Penang Free School, where he was the King's Scholar in 1937. He later obtained a degree in medical and surgery from the University of Edinburgh, in Scotland, in 1944.

In 1951, he was appointed to the Penang Local Council and in 1955, he was appointed a member of the Federal Legislature.

In the March 1958 party elections, he challenged Tun Tan Cheng Lock and won the presidency with a majority of 22 votes.

After the victory, he called an extraordinary general meeting to amend the Constitution consolidate the power of the Central Committee. This was met with strong resistance by Tun Tan Siew Sin and his supporters.

Although the proposal was passed with a single-vote majority, the move left the Party split. At the same time, the MCA under Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu also had severe political differences with the then Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman.

The crisis worsened especially on the eve of the 1959 general elections when Tun Dr Lim demanded 40 parliamentary seats and also wanted to make Chinese an official language.

The Tunku increased the seats allocated to MCA from 28 to 31 but this was rejected and their relationship worsened.

During the one-year period when the MCA was under Tun Dr Lim, the party was under tremendous pressure from within and outside. In December 1960, Tun Dr Lim left the MCA and in 1962, he formed the United Democratic Party. Dr Cheah Toon Lock became the Acting President with the resignation of Tun Dr Lim.

He was one of the founder members of the Opposition Party Gerakan before the 1969 General Election. The formation of Gerakan has thrown the Chinese into a dilemma, weakened their political strength and above all, eroded the political representation of the MCA as the only party for the Chinese community. Gerakan joined the ruling Barisan Nasional after winning the Penang State Government in 1969.

Dr Lim served as Chief Minister of Penang from 1969 to 1990. In the Malaysian General Elections of October 1990, a crisis occurred as the incumbent Chief Minister Lim Chong Eu lost his state seat and Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia (Gerakan) had less seats than UMNO in the Penang State Assembly. A crisis was averted when Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik, the then president of Gerakan, was able to convince the then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad to allow a Chinese to continue being the Chief Minister.

Dr Lim has since retired from politics and concentrates on business. He is currently the chairman and advisor for several large corporations. In 2007, Dr Lim was named founding chancellor of Wawasan Open University.

(source: wikipedia)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Typical Malaysian Chinese story

Penang state hit a record high in state revenues

When the opposition is playing with the petty issues, and playing up the emotion of the people using the senior citizens and even now using filling a form for returning of the welfare payment as a tool. But the most important issue is not that, it was just political gimmick. Let the Auditor General speak for the state government, the state received the "good" rating for 2009, then the people of the state will also give the same rating to the state government.

The state government or CAT government shine again, with the recently-released 2009 Auditor-General's Report 2009, Penang is the only Pakatan state to receive the 'baik' (good) accreditation in their financial standing. The state also collected 29.1 percent more in actual revenue, bringing their tally to RM376.51 million.

In 2008, the state government had already shattered records when it surpassed the billion-ringgit mark in accumulated funds as shown in the previous Audit Report 2008, collecting a total of RM1.025 billion.

Under the previous BN state government, the accumulated funds were at RM847.45 million for 2007.

This is the concrete proof of the performance of DAP led CAT state government, out performed the previous Barisan National state government in two consecutive years. The question is why the previous state government was not able to do it? ......There were poor rated local Councils, MPSP was in bad shape.....

Look at the high rise government office buildings in Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah(Northam Road), Anson Road, Burma Road, and Bandar Perda, Bukit it necessary to have high rising office buildings for government departments located at prime areas? What is the occupation or utilization rate?. I will rather wish they improve the general hospitals,public infrastructure with that 5 stars effort....and improve in government services...There were many failed projects, and unnecessary projects that did not improve Penang. Public fund were used, Penang remained as what Singapore Lee Kuan Yew had said, no development lah....Our free port status was transfer to Pulau Langkawi, and even Penang international airport was in the plan to move out of the state, lucky it was not done....what left for Penang when state like Pahang, Johor, Selangor, Malacca,and other states are moving ahead, Penang seems to be left behind. Yet we were blinded to be satisfied with the current status, until the out pour of emotion during 308 election, and Lee Kuan Yew gave a shock comments, and we suddenly wake up....what happen to Penang, once the Pearl of Orient?.... That was the story of the previous state government....

But the current state government today has done it.... The financial performance is one of the crucial KPI to assess the performance of Penang state government, and they passed with flying colors. A "A" rate performer. A rating by a government agency, Auditor General.

What will be the reflection of state people, a vote for them lah....Keep up the good work, CAT government.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Irving Road, Penang & Charles John Irving

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Jalan Irving or Irving Road(爱民路) is located between Jalan Dato Keramat or Dato Keramat Road(柑仔園路) and Jalan Kerian or Kerian Road(吉辇路). Kerian Road is an side road of Macalister Road (中路). Irving Road was named after Charles John Irving(b 1831- d 1917), who was acting Lieutenant Governor of Penang in 1879-1880, Resident Councillor of Penang (1882-1887). Irving was also the first Auditor General to the government of Strait Settlement, working under Archibald Anson, after whom Anson Road was named. Charles John Irving was in Penang from 1879 to 1887. The buildings along Irving Road are mainly residential houses.

The side roads of Irving Roads are Jalan Kek Chuan(克全巷), Lorong Susu(牛奶巷), Naning Street(南宁街), and Jalan Selangor(雪蘭莪路). Surrounding the Irving Road within the precinct of Siam Road(暹路), Dato Keramat Road(柑仔園路), Macalister Road(中路), and Anson Road(安顺路) are Jalan Perlis(三合源路), Jalan Seang Tek(祥德路), Malacca Street(馬六甲街), Lorong Bahru(New Lane,紐冷) and the most interesting one, Jalan Seratus Tahun (百年巷).

Jalan Seratus Tahun is the most interesting name, it was the only street in Malay in the area, which means one hundred year. This clearly revealed that the area was developed 100 years after the founding of Penang in 1786. The one hundred years street was built in 1886. Lorong Bahru, the famous hawker street is New Lane(紐冷) in English, and the Chinese also called it in English, it was the first lane from the Jalan Bahru, literally means new road in Malay(now it is called Macalister Road), the first new road from Penang Road or Goh-Chang-Teng(Magazine Circus).

Malacca Street(馬六甲街) was named after the Malacca state. Naning Street was named after the district of Naning in present-day Malacca. Formerly part of Negri Sembilan, it was annexe3d by the British into Malacca in 1832 in the Naning War, which forced Dol Said, the leader of Naning, into retirement. Jalan Selangor was named after the state of Selangor. Jalan Perlis (三合源路) named after the small northern state of Malaysia, Perlis state; the local Chinese however called it sar-hup-guan-lor(三合源路), may be the name of a firm. Siam Road is named after the old name of Thailand, Siam. Other than Siam Road, the streets are named after the various states at the West Coast of Malaya. Siam Road( 暹路) was joined with Patani Road(百大年路), also a province in Siam state, where the first Strait Settlement police station was built.

Jalan Kek Chuan(克全巷) and Jalan Seang Tek(祥德路) are the only two street in the area with Chinese names.

Jalan Kek Chuan or Kek Chuan Road, was named after Lim Kek-Chuan or Lin Kequan(林克全,祖籍福建漳州政海澄縣三都林東社)(b 1858 - d 1907), born on 6-11-1858 at Penang. He was a revenue farmer in the colonial days. The farm was the system of government tender for business from opium, gambling,alcohol to tobacco. The successful revenue farmers will act as monopoly wholesalers, who will sub-contract to the retailers. Most of the revenue farm were lucrative sin businesses, mainly opium. Lim Kek Chuan was one of the successful revenue farmers, his son Lim Soo Chee was also revenue farmers. He was also one of the founder of Penang Chamber of Commerce(中华总商会)and Chung Hwa Confucious School in 1904(中华学堂). Lim Kek Chuan also served as directors of the Khaw Group's five principal firms, namely the Eastern Trading Company, the Eastern Shipping Company, the Eastern Smelting Company(granddaughter of Khaw Sim Chua, who married the son of Lim Kek-chuan), Lim Kek Chuan was Chairman in 1858 of Penang PFSOB . Kek Chuan joined a shipping firm first, then owned a rice business with branches in Rangoon, Ca''ta, and Mandalay. He was also landlord, miner, and revenue famer holding a share in the various companies. Together with AR Adams and George Stothard, were directors of Brieh Rubber Company Limited in Bagan Serai. In 1905, he was one of the 10 members committee, which was formed by Penang Chamber of Commerce in response to the call by Shanghai Chamber of Commerce to boycott American goods(抵制美货运动) for 2 months, protest against the mistreatment of Chinese immigrants in America. He died on 18-11-1907, and was buried at Batu Gantong Cemetery, Penang.

Seang Tek Road(祥德路)is named after Koh Seang Tek(辜尚德 b 1838-d 1874), the great grandson of the Koh Lay Huan or Kapitan China Che Wan, the first Chinese Capitan. Shortly after Captain Francis Light arrived at Penang, he was visited by Koh Lay Huan who had brought with him, from Kuala Muda, Kedah, several boatloads of Chinese and Malays to clear the land, inhabit, trade and generally develop the island. At their inaugural meeting, Koh presented Light with a present of some fishing nets. Koh's eldest son, Koh Kok Chye(辜國彩), was from his Penang wife and was promoted to be the governor of Kuala Kedah (1821-1841). His son Koh Teng Choon(辜登春), was the planter, his son Koh Seang Tat(辜尚達, b 1833 ─ d 1910), Koh Seang Tek's brother, was the Justice of Peace(JP) and councilor. Koh Seang Tat who together with Foo Tye Sin operated the successful firm of Tye Sin Tat & Co. Another son, Koh Seang Tek was also early merchant.

The area near Dato Keramat Road(柑仔园), Perlis Road, back lane of Seang Tek Road, and back lane of Malacca Street are famous red light area since colonial days. They are called by the locals with the name hua-liau-kei(花柳街) by Chinese, which means prostitute street or red light area street. Paris Hotel at Irving Road near junction to Dato Keramat Road is the hub of the night activities.

There is a back lane, the locals called it “Lorong Gaharu”(制香路), Gaharu is the name of the wood used to make joss stick(香)which is incense or 'joss' sticks used for a variety of purposes associated with ritual and religious devotion in Chinese culture. The name of Lorong Gaharu was given because there were joss sticks making cottage industry in the area, reported there were two joss sticks makers, with their shop facing Dato Keramat Road. The back lane was used for drying the newly make and painted joss sticks. One of the shops(永香兰) had moved to Kimberley Street, the shop had been around from 1946-1994. There is still a single storey sundry shop house at the corner of the road, one of the joss stick maker was at the same row with the shop, the neighboring unit.

Gaharu , Agarwood or oodh (or just agar) is a dark resinous heartwood that forms in Aquilaria trees (large evergreens native to southeast Asia) when they become infected with a type of mold. Prior to infection, the heartwood is relatively light and pale coloured, however as the infection progresses, the tree produces a dark aromatic resin in response to the attack, which results in a very dense, dark, resin embedded heartwood. The resin embedded wood is commonly called gaharu, jinko, aloeswood, agarwood, or oud (not to be confused with 'Bakhoor') and is valued in many cultures for its distinctive fragrance, and thus is used for incense and perfumes. One of the reasons for the relative rarity and high cost of agarwood is the depletion of the wild resource. Since 1995 Aquilaria malaccensis, the primary source, has been listed in Appendix II (potentially threatened species) by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. In 2004 all Aquilaria species were listed in Appendix II. I wonder is the current joss stick still used gaharu wood?...

The interesting landmark at the area are Anson Road Market, Pakistan Mosque, Lorong Susu food stalls, New Lane food stalls and Sun Yat-sen museum. Chee Yee Thor Seah Clan Association (徐余涂同宗会),was located at 15 Kek Chuan Road, 10400 Penang

The part of main road Dato Keramat Road, between the goh-chang-teng or Magazine Circus to the traffic light junction where Perak Road police station is located, was called kam-a-hui(柑仔園) by local Chinese, which literally means mandarin orange plantation, after a former orange plantation there. The sound of the street name now sound more like kam-ma-hui. The area was known in Malay as Kebun Limau. After the Perak Road until the Dato Keramat market, it is called si-kham-tiam(四崁店), which means four shops. I wonder which four shops the Chinese named the part of the road?. Is it the four corners of shops at the traffic light junction? Before 1866, the area must be an agriculture based or village area.

Sir Charles John Irving(b 1831- d 1917)

1831 - born 7th Feb 1831, Isabelle Place, Camberwell, London, Son of Charles Mitchell Irving & Anne Dorothea Madgwick.


1852-1853 - the Colonial and Immigration Office from June 1852 to 1853.

1853-1864 – clerk Audit Office

1864 –1867 Special Audit clerk in the Audit Office at Mauritius(The Mauritius almanac and civil service register 1865 pg 14); married Mary Jane,J of Charles Tompkins

1867 – 1879 - Colonial Auditor General to the government of the Straits Settlements at Penang from 1867 to 1879(The Colonial Office list for 1867). Audit Office of the Straits Settlements which was established by the British colonial government in 1867. This was the year that the Straits Settlements were made a Crown Colony of the British Empire. The formation of the Audit Office was under the Exchequer and Audit Departments Act which was passed in Great Britain in 1866. The Act required all government departments to produce annual accounting reports. The Office of the Comptroller and Auditor-General in charge of an Exchequer and Audit Department was established under the Act to audit those accounting reports. Charles J Irving was appointed the first Auditor-General of the Straits Settlements by the British Crown in 1867 with responsibility for reporting on the Colony’s financial accounts, confirming the accuracy of the financial returns, assuring the soundness of its accounting procedures and conducting investigations into any financial discrepancies that might have emerged from the Colony’s financial statements. As Auditor-General, Irving held a seat in the Straits Settlements Legislative Council, but reported directly to the Colonial Secretary in London and not to the Governor of the Straits Settlements. This was to preserve his autonomy as an auditor and his ability to act as an impartial check on the local government for the British Crown.
In 1871 Anson sent James W. W. Birch, then Colonial Secretary, together with Auditor-General Irving to see Sultan Abdul Samad at Langat to re-establish order there.
Acting lieutenant Governor Malacca 1870 & 1871; Penang 1879
acting colonial secretary, 1871, 1875, 1878 and 1888?(source: The Colonial Office list for 1905)
1878 - Son, Edward Alexander Irving was born on 24th July 1870 at "Bukit Tunggal", Singapore, Straits Settlements, British Empire

1879-1882 – resident councillor, Malacca
Starting in 1879, Charles John Irving served as resident councillor, Malacca. He probably greeted USG at Penang in the absence of the local resident councillor. Col. Archibald Anson, then serving as act. governor. Straits Settlements.

1879-1880 - acting Lieutenant-Governor of Penang (present-day Malaysia) from 1879 to 1880

1881 - he was knighted as CMG

1882-1887 - Resident Councillor of Penang from 1882 to 1887

1887 – retired

1917 - DEATHS. IRVING— On February 23 , 1917, at Sarlsdowr, Exmouth, suddenly, Charles John Irving; C. M. G., late Resident Councillor of Penang, aged 86. (source: The Straits Times, 7 April 1917, Page 8)


Charles John Irving,Resident Councillor of Penang from(1885-1887).Son of Charles Mitchell Irving & Anne Dorothea Madgwick. He was Auditor General to the government of Penang under Anson.He was born in 1831 at Isabelle place in Camberwell,London and christened at St Marks Kennington.He been took up some appointments in Mauritius.He married to Mary Jane Tompkins.
His issue - i)Charles John Irving(1868-?). ii)Dorothea Irving. iii)Edward Alexander Irving(1870-1958) married 1stly to Christina Margaret and 2ndly to Dorothy Mabel Bray.Their issue - ai)Archibald Denys Irving(1898-1918). aii)Rachel Mary Margaret Irving married to Edwin Lessware Price. aiii)Hope Dorothy Irving married to Robert Fowler Walker.Their issue - bi)Hope Lindsay Walker married to John Alexander Sellers.Their issue - ci ? Sellers(1951-?). bii)Judith Walker married ? Holmes. biii)Garry Walker. aiv)Charles Arthur Le Mesurier Irving. av)Janet Gilmour Irving married to Edward George Northway.Their issue - bi)? Northway(1938-?). bii)Colin J.G.Northway married to G.E.T.Madge. iv)Janet Irving. v)Archibald Irving(1872-1893). vi)Miles Irving(1876-1962)married 1stly to Gertrude Edith Clarke,2ndly to Margaret Mary Crick and 3rdly to Emily Elspeth Grace Baillie. His issue - ai)Mary Catherine Irving married to Maurice Henry. aii)Dorothea Bethia Irving married to James Samuel Montgomerie. aiii)Margaret Graham Irving. aiv)Hilary Minden Irving married Louis Joseph Pratt.

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The Ugly Penang people

On 24th October 2010, falling stone killed a private taxi driver at the Jalan Sungai low-cost flats. A 64-year-old Koay Chin Chai died after he was hit on the head by a stone measuring 14cm by 10cm and weighing about 300 grammes.

This is a sad news for Penang, what happen to the civic mind of Penang people, that such uncivil thing happen in Penang. There were many report of flying objects from the high rising buildings, flying screwdrivers, flying flower pots, there are many things that can fly down from the flats. If you do not believe you just check with the zinc roof of the ground floor shop lot in any low cost flats, you can found any things there.

Penang city was once one of the dirtiest city; Sungei Pinang was one of the dirtiest river; our hawker stalls are also one of the dirty one. All just because we are so used to throw any unwanted rubbish or even old things to anywhere when we see it convenient. It is not only low cost flats, even high end condominium, if you happen to walk beside any cars parked near the housing units, the chances are you can found plastic bags, plastic containers, food wrappers, soft drink bottles, beer cans..... just beside the cars.

How we waste our water, which is one of lowest rate in the world....

The way the Penang people drive their cars, fond of overtaking even at the narrow street; and the way we parked our cars, and the illegal parking attendants waiting for you.

Coming late for the functions; talking loudly when the speakers is deliver his speech at the stage...

We damage the public telephone booth, we steal the electric cables....

Where is the civic minded Penang lang?....

Now the uncivil act of Penang lang killed a fellow Penang lang. It has come to the critical state that we need to check ourselves, are we continue to be an ungly Penang lang..... or to stop all these uncivil manner not fit to be in a developed state.

It is time Penang lang need a re-education to become a civic minded Penang lang.

Penang need an education campaign to teach us to behave in civil society, it is high time a poster campaign by MPPP or state government to put up posters to remind us to be civic minded....

We do not want to be an ugly Penang lang....

Related blogs

1.Penang Bad Habits Story ,

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lee Khoon Choy -former Singapore senior minister

Lee Khoon Choy(李炯才)

By Chew, Valerie written on 2008-10-28
National Library Board Singapore

Lee Khoon Choy (b. 1924, Penang, Malaysia -) served Singapore as politician and diplomat over a span of 29 years. Before he retired from public service in 1988, he had held many positions in the government, including Member of Parliament (MP) and Senior Minister of State and had been ambassador and high commissioner to eight countries. Since 1988, he has founded his own firm, Eng Lee Investment Consultants, and sat on the board of several other companies. The multilingual former diplomat is also a musician, an author and a painter. He has published nine books and his paintings have been exhibited in Singapore, Indonesia, Japan and China.

Early Life
Lee was born into a Hakka family in the town of Butterworth in Penang. His father had two wives and 15 children. His mother was the second wife.

He received his primary and secondary education in Penang. He went to Yeok Keow Chinese School, followed by the prestigious Chung Ling High School.

After Penang fell to the Japanese in December 1941, he took refuge in his uncle's farm located in a jungle. Towards the end of the Japanese Occupation, he learnt Japanese and became a Japanese language teacher. After the Japanese left in 1945, he began teaching at his alma mater Yeok Keow.

Journalistic Career
1946 : Joined the Chinese-language daily Sin Pin Jit Poh in Penang as a cub reporter.
1947 : Transferred to Singapore to work for Sin Pin Jit Poh's sister paper Sin Chew Jit Poh, also a Chinese-language daily.
1949 : Left for England on a year-long scholarship from the Colonial Welfare Fund to study journalism at the Regent Street Polytechnic in London.
1950 : Graduated with a diploma in journalism. Returned to Singapore and worked for both Sin Chew Jit Poh and its affiliated English-language daily Singapore Standard.
1953 : Resigned in protest against the dismissal of his brother-in-law from Sin Chew Jit Poh. Joined Nanyang Siang Pau as its chief reporter.
1955 : Covered the historic Afro-Asian Conference at Bandung, Indonesia.
1956 : Covered the Malayan Merdeka ("Independence") talks in London. Founded the Singapore National Union of Journalists with S. Rajaratnam as chairman and he as vice-chairman. S. Rajaratnam later became Singapore's first foreign minister.
1957 : Dismissed from Nanyang Siang Pau after asking for the reinstatement of a colleague who had been detained by the government for alleged pro-communist activities but later found innocent and released. Joined The Straits Times.
1959 : Left The Straits Times, unhappy with the treatment he received at what he felt was an agency dominated by Europeans with no respect for Asian views.

Political Career
1959 : Joined the People's Action Party (PAP) and became the party's propaganda chief for the legislative assembly election. Elected as assemblyman for Bukit Panjang. Appointed as parliamentary secretary to Ministry of Culture and government whip.
1961 : Transferred to Ministry of Education as parliamentary secretary.
1963 : Lost Bukit Panjang seat in the legislative assembly election. Appointed as political secretary to the prime minister and deputy organising secretary of PAP.
1965 : Elected as assemblyman for Hong Lim in a legislative assembly by-election. Appointed Minister of State for Culture after Singapore gained independence.
1968 : Retained Hong Lim seat by a walkover in the parliamentary general election (GE). Transferred to Prime Minister's Office (PMO) as Minister of State.
1972 : Re-elected as MP for Hong Lim in the GE. Promoted to Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
1976 : Elected as MP for Braddell Heights by a walkover in the GE.
1977 : Became deputy chairman of the People's Association (PA).
1979 : Appointed Senior Minister of State in PMO.
1980: Re-elected as MP for Braddell Heights by a walkover in the GE.
1984 : Stepped down as Senior Minister of State, MP and deputy chairman of PA.

Diplomatic Career
1968 - 1970 : Served as Singapore's Ambassador to Egypt, Ethiopia, Yugoslavia and Lebanon and as Singapore's High Commissioner in Pakistan.
1970 - 1974 : Served as Singapore's Ambassador to Indonesia. Efforts to thaw the diplomatic chill between the two countries (which had resulted from Singapore's hanging of two Indonesian soldiers involved in the 1965 MacDonald House bombing) climaxed in an official visit by then prime minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, to Indonesia in 1973.
1984 - 1988 : Served as Singapore's Ambassador to Japan and South Korea.
1988 : Returned to Singapore and retired from public service.

1974 : Awarded the Bintang Bakti Utama, meaning "Meritorious Service Star", by then Indonesian president Suharto for his work in enhancing relations between Indonesia and Singapore.
1986 : Given the Scholarly Achievement Award by the Japan Institute of Oriental Philosophy for his achievements in the research and development of eastern philosophy, thought and culture.
1988 : Awarded the Order of Diplomatic Service Merit by then South Korean president Roh Tae-woo for his service in promoting relations between South Korea and Singapore.
1990 : Conferred the Darjah Utama Bakti Cemerlang, meaning "Distinguished Service Order", by the Singapore government in recognition of his contributions.
1997 : Made an honorary member of the Chinese National Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing for his contributions in the field of humanities and social sciences.

Other Positions Held
Chairman, Eng Lee Investment Consultants (the company Lee founded in 1990)
Independent Director and Chairman of Audit Committee, Koh Brothers Group

Chairman, Sino-American (UIC) Tours Corporation
Independent Director, Metro Holdings
Non-Executive Chairman, SSH Corporation (formerly known as Sin Soon Huat)
Independent Director, L & M Group Investments

1966 : Politics and Life (written in Chinese)
1976 : Indonesia: Between Myth and Reality
1983 : An Ambassador's Journey
1988 : On the Beat to the Hustings: An Autobiography
1993 : Diplomacy of a Tiny State
1995 : Japan: Between Myth and Reality
1999 : A Fragile Nation: The Indonesian Crisis
2005 : Pioneers of Modern China: Understanding the Inscrutable Chinese
2007 : Passage Through China: This Land so Rich in Beauty

First wife: Florence Khor Swee Hoon (died of cancer in 1959)
Second wife: Eng Ah Siam (married in 1962)
Children: Two sons (by first wife) and five daughters (by second wife)

Valerie Chew


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Penang General Hospital - the positive change

Have you being to Penang General Hospital lately? We have heard so much negative about the bad reputation and services of government hospital. Poor nursing, poor parking, overcrowded hospital, poor administration,....and lately,the issue of Aedes Mosquito breeding there, have further aggravate the negative image of Penang General Hospital.

If I said you can now getting fast service from Penang General Hospital, do you believe? I have experienced it recently. It is a most welcome refreshing change...

People said good doctors are all in private hospitals; what remain in Penang Government General Hospital are the young doctors under horsemanship; the doctors and nurses are racially biased toward a single race, which created communication problem, especially for the old folks. The Penang General Hospital's image was not that good to Penang people. Most of the Penang people avoid going to General Hospital if financially capable.

Government General Hospital is an alternate to Private Hospitals, Malaysia had inherited from the colonist one of the good medical hospital system. It was the Government General Hospital that served the medical needs of people during the colonial days and early days of Malaysia independence. Until the arrival of private hospital industry, government hospital and private hospital run by charitable organization or Christian mission were the choice of the people. The charges are cheap and the services are good.

My perception toward the government general hospital is different; being familiar with the hospitals in Kuantan and Kuala Lumpur; we know there are good doctors in the government hospitals who faithfully served in the government medical services, despite the attraction of better remuneration from the private hospital sector. These experienced doctors are the one that have the heart for the masses, which gain the respect from the people. The government general hospitals are fortunate to have this type of doctors. They are also the mentors for the many new doctors under compulsory horsemanship. Without them, the private hospitals will have hard time to train new doctors. We salute the doctors in the government general hospitals.

Government Hospital Malaysia charged the lowest rate comparable to other hospitals in the world, it is the best services provided by the government that benefited people. The minimal RM1 for Malaysian, and RM15 for the foreigner, where can you find such rate in the world?. We need to appreciate the service.

Government Hospital are having some facilities that private hospitals do not have; some may not be profitable to operate, or too expensive for the private hospital expenditure. For some cases, private hospital still need to sent their patients to general hospital. However I see the difference that Government Hospitals in Kelantan, Pahang, Perak, which I have visited have new hospital buildings, with better infrastructure than Penang General Hospitals. Penang General Hospital is still in the old colonial buildings, and congested, may be as Heritage City we need to maintain the heritage building. For your info, Sungei Siput hospital, a district hospital in Perak was located at a place surround by the hills, look like a resort. So why the Penang general Hospital still look like an old lady?

Not many non-Malay nurses remained in government hospitals; mainly due to the attraction of higher remuneration from the private hospitals and foreign countries. But also due to the negative perception of government civil services to non-Malay Malaysian. The promotion opportunity, the chances of training, the working environment , the volume of work, the demerit of government civil services are the main criteria for the aspiring nurse. The nursing in government had able to attract the non-bumiputra in the past, during colonial days and early days of Malaysia. Some of these criteria has changed, volume of work in private hospitals are now in increasing trend,they are equally work heavy. But the priority employment for the nurse now is still to enter the private hospital, they attract the best potential candidates from schools. Naturally, the quality of the nursing in government hospitals will decline, mainly due to the leaving of experienced nurses to private sector and to foreign countries; and lower quality of the new nurses replacing them.

The filing system still under manual system, and not computerized. The tons of paper medical files in the outpatient office, is the source of long time wait; the time of waiting for the doctors; and the time taken waiting for the medicine. This together, with the time to find a parking place...make the long waiting time in the hospital. This was the main complaint of the Penang people, too long waiting lah...

The most significant change is the Pharmaceutical department,Penang General Hospital. The counter service of medicine receiving have a big leap forward; they are efficient and fast, compared to the private hospitals, I can say they are even more efficient than the private hospital. They take time to patiently explain the type and usage of the medicines to the patients. They are more friendly, despite the work volume. They even use Chinese and Tamil language in their notification at the counter. This is the most impressive department I have seen. What a refreshing change.....

The outpatient service is also improving, waiting time has declined.

For parking problem, actually a parking block have been constructed. But due to its location, it is difficult for old folks and patients to move from the block to the hospital blocks. Not many people use the parking facility. This is another government project that failed due to poor feasibility study, may be they only cater for normal car owner, not hospital patients.....(note on 8-1-2011: the parking block has now fully utilized, there is lift for multilevel car park and the visitors after parking their car is able to take the lift to ground floor, and walk to the gate near Forensic department, a short distance to the general hospital main entrance. The only problem is the direction to the lift is not clearly indicated in the car park. Well done, PGH!)

But the filing system, the parking area, the cleanness, the nursing....these are the area for improvement. And the hawker area outside the hospital, which is not match to the image of the hospital, firstly it will create traffic congestion, difficult for hospital ambulance van on emergency to move, it avoid the place for the parking; and it create pest problems....

After all with proper administration, Penang General Hospital can be a hospital of the choice not only for the low income people, retired people, and the golden age citizens; but also for all Malaysian. We hope that the Penang Government Hospital will improve further, if everyone play their role effectively and efficiently ....taking example from the Pharmaceutical department of Penang General Hospital.

Penang General Hospital need to improve, for the benefit of the Penang people; for the image of Government Hospitals...... who say Government Hospital cannot compare with Private Hospital, it is time Penang government hospital make their effort to gain back their reputation....

Related articles:
1. My earlier blog on Wednesday, April 22, 2009, Penang General Hospital(槟城中央醫院)
2. Penang Hospital to be fined,
3. Penang wants heavier punishment on contractor,

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Haram Money in Penang

Penang & Haram Money

Recently there was some dispute about the issue of Haram Money in Penang state. Some senior citizen who received money from the state's Senior Citizen Appreciation Programme have returned the money, accusing the money was obtained from the racing activities of Penang Turf Club.
The newspaper from New Strait Time reported the following on 2-10-2010:-

GEORGE TOWN: Another 70 senior citizens from Bayan Baru here have decided to give back the RM100 reward they received from the state government as they feared that the money could have come from gaming activities.
Habsah Said, 81, from Permatang Damar Laut, said she was very disappointed and shocked to discover that the money for the state's Senior Citizen Appreciation Programme was obtained from the racing activities of Penang Turf Club.

"For Muslims, we are not allowed to receive money from forbidden sources and it is considered as "duit haram", which all of us have decided to return," she said at a press conference call by Bayan Baru Umno division chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Saibu here today.

She said she had accepted the money earlier because she thought it was "halal" (permitted by Islam). Another senior citizen Zainab Abu Bakar, 67, from Kampung Melayu, said she decided to return the money voluntarily back the the state government for the same reasons.
Earlier, some 50 senior citizen had opted to give the money to Umno Bayan Baru before it was returned to the state government while another 20 of them turn up later to do so the same. –
(source: Bernama)

Is it true that the money is from non-Halal source?

Government Revenue

How did federal government and state government derived their revenue to support their government expenditure budget(or public expenditure budget)? . Government revenue or Government income is revenue received by a government to meet their expenditure. Government revenue may be from various taxes, direct or indirect; non tax revenue from businesses owned by government owned corporations and investment revenue from sovereign wealth funds, fees and licenses collected, and donation from the public.

The tax income source of government revenue may be derived from sin tax or sumptuary taxes.
Wikipedia stated that “ A sin tax is a kind of sumptuary tax: a tax specifically levied on certain generally socially proscribed goods and services”. These goods are usually alcohol and tobacco, but also include candies, soft drinks and coffee, while services range from prostitution to gambling. Sumptuary taxes are ostensibly used for reducing transactions involving something that the society considers unwanted, and is thus a kind of sumptuary law. Sin tax is used for taxes on activities that are considered socially undesireable. Common targets of sumptuary taxes are alcohol and tobacco, gambling, and vehicles emitting excessive pollutants. Sumptuary tax on sugar and soft drinks has also been suggested [1]. Some jurisdictions have also levied taxes on illegal drugs such as cocaine and marijuana.
The revenue generated by sin taxes is sometimes used for special projects, but might also be used in the ordinary budget. American cities and counties have used them to pay for stadiums, while in Sweden the tax for gambling is used for helping people with gambling problems. Acceptance of sumptuary taxes may be greater than income tax or sales tax.
(source: Wikipedia)

Haram & Halal

Then what is haram money? To understand that we must know the difference between Haraam and Halal according to Islamic law.

Haraam (Arabic: حرام‎) (often Haram) is an Arabic term meaning "forbidden". In Islam it is used to refer to anything that is prohibited by the faith or considered as an improper or illegitimate way in Islamic faith. It not only apply to food , Haraam also applies to ill-gotten wealth obtained through sin. Examples include money earned through cheating, stealing, corruption, murder or any means that involves harm to another human being. It is prohibited in Islam for a true Muslim to profit from such Haraam actions. Any believer who benefits from or lives off wealth obtained through Haraam is a sinner.

Halal (Arabic:حلال, ḥalāl; means lawful or legal) is a term designating any object or an action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic law. It is the opposite of haraam. The term is used to designate food seen as permissible according to Islamic law (Sharia, الشريعة الإسلامية). As with haraam, it can also use for wealth , obtained from allowed sources from Islamic Law.
(source: wikipedia)

A Muslim cannot take nor do something that is considered an improper or illegitimate way. There will be sins doing something that is considered Haram and definitely will be no virtues. For "Makruh", it basically means "disliked" and it simply means that when a Muslim does, or consumes something, there won't be any sin nor virtue for him or her but is advised not to do so. The last one is the "Sunah", a Muslim will get a virtue for doing or consuming something that is considered Sunah but if he or she does not do it, there won't be any sins or any virtues.

So Haram money is money derived from haraam source or non-Halal source, or sinful sources, like corruption, sinful activities, gambling, pork farm, alcohol or tobacco business. For tobacco, there is still debate. The money from haraam sources, will be rejected by the people of Muslim faith.

Malaysian need to understand that most of the Haram money, is also not accepted and not allow by other religion faith. They have in fact common value. Whatever is Haram is also haram or not allow by other religion. The only difference is that there is no strictly imposed law to prohibit the acceptance of the money, there is freedom of choice to accept it.

Penang State Revenue, Federal Revenue and the dilemma

(i) State Government
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng says Auditor General's report shows that for the first time ever, the state's revenue have breached the RM 1 billion mark in 2009. Income Tax from individual and corporation are revenue for the federal government, so there is no way Penang state derive their revenue from sin taxes or Haraam income. Most of the state revenue is halal.
The only possible one is the donation from companies involved in gambling and alcohol businesses. The money from the Haram source or non-Halal source should not be used in public infrastructure used by the people which include Muslim citizen, it can only be used for Non-Muslim citizen. A responsible state government will respect the faith of the people. Non-Halal fund or income can be used for social institution/charitable institution that accept the fund. For donation it is easy to separate it, unlike tax revenue , the donation is normally is one –off and not continual. The donation can easily allot to specific fund for non- Muslim usage. The state government should publicly disclosed the availability of Non-Halal fund, confirmed by external auditor that the source of the fund is non-Halal, and not use for expenditure involved with Muslim people. A proper disclosure will avoid the communication problem and politically motivated accusations. That should not have problem for state government.
Moreover, Penang state councillor for religious affairs, domestic trade and consumer affairs, Abdul Malik Kassim is in the state cabinet , being a Muslim himself, he will be involved in the matter concerning Muslim affairs. The citizen of Penang should be of comfort that the issue of Haram money will be properly handled by the said state councilor.
PENANG'S state halal agency, PIHH Development Sdn Bhd (Halal Penang) has been set up to develop halal business hub in the state. An Halal industrial Park has been developed by the state halal agency. Located in Bukit Minyak with a land size of 52.65ha the Penang Halal Industrial Park has so far attracted RM150 million in investment from a Chinese marine biotechnology company. The company will hold its groundbreaking before the end of the year. Three other projects that are in the midst of being finalised at the Penang Halal Industrial Park are a gelatin project with an Iranian group, an Australian group who wants to produce containers using organic products, and a biotechnology group from India.(source: NST dated Jun 22, 2010).
This indicated that the state is fully aware of the issue of Halal and Haram in Muslim faith.
(ii) Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang (MPPP)
The Municipal Council of Penang Island or Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang (MPPP) is a local authority which administers Penang Island. This agency is under Penang state government. MPPP are responsible for public health and sanitation, waste removal and management, town planning, environmental protection and building control, social and economic development and general maintenance functions of urban infrastructure. The MPPP can only derived revenue from fee and assessment from the activities undertaken by them. The only possible of haram income are fee or license collected from gambling outlet or pork business, but it is collected for the services rendered, and not consider as Haram or Non-Halal. There is no problem of Haram Money.
(iii) Federal Government
Federal government however have some of their revenue from gambling tax, from companies like Genting, Sport Toto etc, and company tax from alcohol or gambling businesses. A responsible federal government will need to split their revenue into Halal income and Haraam income, since the majority of the citizen of the country is from people of Islamic faith. The fund from the Haraam income should be separated and use only in the sector that accepted the fund. It is fair to the citizen of the Islamic faith that the fund should not be used to the area that directly affected them in their daily living. The federal government is facing the problem of the separation of Haram revenue, as sin taxes are a continue sources. Federal government need to disclose the source and how the fund are used.
The issue of the Haram money; the ball is now with the federal government to meet the request of the people, as advocate by the opposition party in Penang(from their own party)……..

Then, why wait.....for the benefit of citizen from Muslim faith.

What are the feedback from public

1. From Thomas Lee
The Penang state government has acknowledged receiving RM500,000 from the Penang Turf Club, but said the money would be used to help poor non-Muslims.
Certainly, due respect must be given to our Muslim friends whose religious conscience does not permit them to accept money originated from non-halal source, but the unwitting and inadvertent incident should not exploited into a religious and political issue.
Guan Eng should not be lambasted for something which he probably assumed is proper and harmless, since over the years, the Barisan Nasional federal government has been using tax monies from the gambling corporations and haram businesses like pubs and non-halal restaurants which serve alcoholic drinks, and also from workers in haram professions such as pork sellers, to fund government and public projects.
Now that we know that it is forbidden (haram) for our Muslim citizens to accept and use monies derived from non-halal sources, then the federal government should rectify the matter, and have a special separate account for all tax monies collected from the haram sources such as Sports Toto, Magnum, the Genting casino, the pubs, and the entertainment joints and restaurants selling alcoholic drinks. These monies must never ever be used in anything associated with Islam, or in projects which may involve the Muslims.
As for the tax monies collected from the haram sources, the federal government could use them for the building of Chinese and Tamil schools, temples, churches, cemeteries, or even scholarships for the non-Muslim students.
Let us look at the positive side of this incident, and learn from it. Don’t aggravate the situation to turn it into a religious issue…..

2. If you ever get haraam money, you should dispose of it by giving it away to the poor. Throwing it away is not correct. ...

3. From

For as long as I can remember and that goes back to the sixties, Malaysia has had some form or other of gambling - horse racing, social welfare lottery, 4D, Sports Toto, etc., now whether this is right or wrong is another question altogether (which the scope of this posting will not cover for now).

Some of which were legacies from our colonial past and some of which were new introductions after independence. All of them were and are still heavily regulated and heavily taxed by the federal government of the day, which in Malaysia's case had been the Alliance and BN government. In both instances, whether Alliance or BN, UMNO to which Azhar Ibrahim belongs is the real power behind the government. And they have been collecting huge amounts of "haram" money in the form of taxes for the treasury.

Over the course of many years, these "haram" money together with "halal" money (those which have not been lost through corruption) had been spent on subsidies and various social programs not to mention the bribes given each time elections comes around. I dare say that not a single Malaysian then and now have benefited in one way or another from "haram" money which the treasury collected.

I dare say that no one today can distinguish what is "haram" or "halal" money spent by the government not that they made any attempts to make that distinction in the first place. The reality is it is just impossible to make such a distinction.

In all those years,did Azhar or for that matter any politician from UMNO, ever once questioned if the federal government was being insensitive to pious Muslims by giving them "haram" money in one form or another? Why bring it up now when it involves the DAP state government of Penang? Why cause such anguish to those whom they claim they represent when they have been doing it for all these years since independence?

4. MUAR: Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has called on Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to answer allegations made by Umno Youth on the state government's financial source to fund its poverty eradication programmes. Muhyiddin said Muslims would not want to be associated should gambling money were used for the programmes.(source: Bernama dated 25-9-2010,

And many more in the internet……

So actually what is the issue?

It is actually another political game played by the failed politician, who knows that the election is coming. But the playing up of the issue on old citizen is disrespect to the old citizen, the playing up of the issue without conclusive evidence is also considered a non-Halal act of accusation.

Why accuse the Chief Minister, when it is the state government decision; with the joint responsibility of all state exco members or the state cabinet. Politician should avoid personality attack, but focus on policy issues. if it is a good policy, the state government should stand firm. The ultimate decision and views of the people are more important, as they will open their eyes clearly on the issue.

Please stop playing the emotion of the innocent people over religion and racial issue to discredit the current state government. The political agenda behind the plot is clear to the Penang people. A good noble act by the state government cannot simply be constructed as bad by a “sour grape “politician. Any accusation without ground and evidence is political motivated. The accusation or any grievance should be support with evidence. We expected the game to continue as election is becoming closer… it is time the opposition need to know and act like a responsible opposition in the state.....lately there were too many issues playing up....

I call upon all citizen of Penang, regardless of race, religion, political background to reject this type of politician who bought instability to the state. They have deprived the elected state government of the valuable time which need to be used for the state affairs.

Penang lang, open our eyes….we need political peace for the state...