Thursday, November 24, 2011

It's Early Christmas for Daily Express

Today's popular news: Party-mood Young Tigers mauled by Syria.

Wrong! I am a football crazy but this time it's the smaller prints that did it for me.

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My copy of the Daily Express - 24 November 2011

Alright, I admit it. That headline Syria Spoil the party caught my attention. It is a summary of the sad truth about our junior football team Young Tigers, Harimau Muda. They won the SEA GAMES football tourney barely 2 days ago and I bet many of the players are still celebrating as Syria put two goals into their net.

..and it is so important that I circled the word "Sport" on the top left-hand corner.

Not quite. Look closely at the enlarged image below.

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See it? Yes, it's the date. According to Daily Express it is Christmas eve already. This image is not doctored and you can check your copy if you still have it.

Okay, so, today is 24th December 2011. Pssstt!! It was actually my wife who spotted the small error and I suggested 2412 should be a lucky number for today. LOL

Moving on. Buoyed by our 'massive discovery' and believing that we would make it to the history book, we combed the papers for more golds and true enough we found one in the Bahasa Melayu section.


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Segmen Sukan Harian Express

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Khamis 23 November 2011? Hari Khamis bukan 24 haribulan kah?

This is nothing less than bad but I still prefer the 24-December-2011 blip. I really should now start wishing people Merry Christmas.

Sembang kosong kopi-o saja. Jangan marah.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Free Garbage Bins

ALOR SETAR, 19 NOVEMBER, 2011: Three million households that have settled their house assessments will be presented with free garbage bins on wheels until August 2014, said Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heung.

He said the bins would be supplied by three companies that had been awarded contracts for garbage and solid waste collection in Kedah, Perlis, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Pahang, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor.

Distribution of the bins would first be carried out in the state capitals followed by municipal council and district council areas, he said.

Read more about it at New Strait Times and New Sabah Times....

This covers only 7 out of 14 states in Malaysia and unfortunately Sabah has not move yet to that direction.

I took the following shot not too long ago at Tanjung Lipat seafront and it is not difficult to see that we in Kota Kinabalu have very low awareness of cleanliness and we don't seem to care much about how this will impact our well-being, today or in future.

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Sandy beach? maybe not.

Back to the topic, no doubt it would be nice to get free bins but the guys running the show should also ensure regular collection of rubbish. The place where we stay falls under the local government rating area where households pay for certain maintenance services fee and this covers garbage collection. As it is now, the collection is not on regular basis and one needs to call the municipal office numerous time before someone comes to do the job.

What's going on in Peninsula Malaysia is a proactive initiative by Minister Datuk Chor, and if done in the most proper way I believe these states will benefit from the participation of the private sector.

Can we do the same for Kota Kinabalu (for a start) and other main towns in Sabah later?

What happened to the short-lived privatised solid waste management services in Kota Kinabalu is a good example of a mis-management on the part of whoever. In other words it was a loop-sided deal.

Come on! We can do better than a biased agreement. We are all smart people, aren't we?

Pungut bah buanglah sampah tu!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sabah Budget 2012 - Updated

This is an update to the earlier entry posted on 17th November 2012, prior to the tabling of the state budget, titled Sabah Budget 2012. I mentioned that the state government would table a RM3.4 bil budget, an increase of 11% compared to the previous figure. It appeared to be an underestimation as the CM announced the biggest ever budget of RM4.048 billion later that afternoon.

The following Table shows Sabah's historical budget figures tabled by Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman who is also the State Finance Minister:

Budget 2012 was tabled by CM on 18th November 2011

1) The 2009 Budget Speech
2) The 2011 Budget Speech
3) Daily Express
4) The Star Online - for 2010 data.

Where will this RM4.048 bil expenses go to? view source

1) Salaries + administrative expenses
2) Infrastructure - RM1.3 bil
3) Supply of clean water - RM459 mil
4) Roads - RM271 mil
4) Sewage treatment - RM64 mil
5) Agriculture - RM336 mil
6) Tourism - RM159 mil
7) Bringing riches to the village poor - RM169 mil (whatever that means)
8) Training (jobs, scholarships, professional/vocational) - RM204 mil
9) New township and housing - RM123 mil
10) ICT (e-constituency portal, e-community, e-Desa) - RM72 mil

If the figures don't add up, don't blame your mathematics teacher, blame the rain instead.

Biggest ever spending there but it is necessary for continual development of Sabah.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sabah Budget 2012

Today, in less than a couple of hours time, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman will table the State Budget for 2012, during the state assembly sitting.

Chief Minister, Datuk Musa Aman, last year during the 2011 Budget tabling.

Among the highlights in putting the people's well-being first (as mentioned in the budget pre-tabling press statement) , are:

a) emphasizing on agriculture, tourism and manufacturing,
b) poverty eradication,
c) youth and human capital development,
d) balanced development statewide,
e) development of basic infrastructure and facilities

This is the general idea of what we will be hearing this afternoon, a full detailed report to be expected in the local dailies tomorrow.

Note that the government has been telling us all along that we have strong economic foundation and that we have a strong state reserve. While strong economic foundation is quite straight forward factual, "strong reserve" statement is debatable and requires elaboration on the part of the government.

Last year the Chief Minister tabled a RM3.07 billion budget and if the revenue rose as claimed then we can look at probably RM3.4 billion budget this year.

Coming back to strong reserve as reported by Bernama yesterday, that would imply that the state have a lot of money. I do not have access to the state government's account but there was a mentioned in Daily Express not too long ago that it is still using Cash Accounting in its financial reporting. Read about the difference of Cash Accounting and Accrual Accounting here.

Such accounting method does not give a true reflection of the financial position of the government of Sabah. The government would just need to defer payments of its long term liabilities for few years and you will immediately see 'surplus' in its annual report. Does 'few years' of withheld payment sound familiar to you - especially those in long term government contracts or concessions?

I bet it does. In fact, too familiar that some are getting fed-up with the waiting game.

It is no surprise that some opposition leaders are claiming that the state government does not have money and we are spending money that we borrowed. Now look at this objectively and for once don't look at it as political.

Check that your house is in order financially, see if you Buku 555 is not too stuffed and come up with that budget appropriately. Don't withhold payment unreasonably!

Kurangkan tambahlah hutang tu!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Go Ahead, Farting is Healthy

Question: Does everybody fart?

Ok I know, I should've used passing gas instead of that cute little word farting. Anyway, here is food for today:

Source: Daily Express, Nov. 6, 2011

In case the image doesn't work on your display I'll repeat the text bit for you:

    "Without exception! Gas ends up in the large intestine from air that is swallowed and from the action of the bacteria that live there. It is mostly nitrogen and carbon dioxide with some hydrogen and methane mixed in, with tiny amounts of skatole, indole, methanethiol, hydrogen sulfide and dimethyl sulfide to give it a stinky smell. Everyone farts but some people take enough care with the release that they are rarely caught out."

There you go, release the gas to a glorious sound, it's healthy, totally green act on your part and it does not hurt anyone around you. Ok, maybe a little.

Thanks for farting reading.


Monday, November 14, 2011

iPhone 4S Uptrend Pricing

My wife and I were passing by City Mall, Kota Kinabalu a couple of days ago and came across the same retail shop she had a first glance of her current Galaxy S2 earlier this year. This retailer seem to have the upper hand in terms of getting new smart phones early in their product lines.

While we were able to fiddle with the S2 for considerable amount of time last time around, the white iPhone 4S set was out of touch (not literally), it was nicely wrapped in plastic and the salesperson did not allow us to unwrap or switch it on to have a better idea. It was understandable considering at that time not a single premise has this set yet.

I'm fine with the no-fiddling house rule. What irked me was the price tag of RM3,399 for a 16GB variant. That is roughly USD1,085 compared to an unlocked set in the United States of USD649 (RM2033). In Singapore, unlocked set is retailed at SGD948 (RM2,316).

I suppose this is all about brand and people's perception and acceptance of certain products coupled with shortage of supply. But at RM3,399 I just think one should wait for the dust to settle and then decide if that amount of money is well spent.

A more likely pricing scenario (I believe still few more weeks away) is as follow:

iphone price nframe
*iPhone 4S prices are derived from Unlocked iPhone 4S retailed prices, Singapore

So, there you go. Don't pay un-necessary money unless you are a person who wants everything on the dot, or you are buying this for a very, very special occasion and hence money is not an issue in your equation.

Every time this company comes out with a new iPhone, for a similarly specced unit there will be a drop in recommended retail price. This is a common trend for electronic gadgets and iPhone should not be an exception. The above table shows the summary of their previous launchings, and taking 16GB variant as an example the price was lowered on every subsequent release. Expect the same for the 4S.

For a more street-priced feel of iPhone 4S in Singapore, visit here.

For an insight of the overpriced sets in Malaysia, visit here. By the way, this reseller offers iPhone 4S, 16GB here at RM3,099. Still exorbitant.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Testing of Feed-in Tariff Application

Poor Very poor response.

That was my conclusion of the 3-day Gamma Testing of Feed-in Tariff Application on the e-FiT Online System. Only 50 nos feedback received as at the time of this posting, including myself.

FIT feedback1
My response page to SEDA

Say, 10% of the population (28.3mil in 2010) is aware of the Government Renewable Energy (RE) initiative and incentives. That would be 2.83 million and as we don't expect every 'aware' person to respond we'll take a 1% as poor. A humble one percent is 28,000 but would you actually believe that out of 100 persons being aware of a rewarding initiative only 1 or less person would respond?

If I tell 100 farmers that I have been blessed yesterday with a lot of money and I would reward anyone for planting paddy according to a prescribed method and for achieving certain quantity of rice produced, I am quite sure half of them would at least ask what sort of reward and how much can they expect to get in return.

In the case of Malaysia Feed-in Tariff, the lack of response from the public is a strong indication that the population at large is not aware of such reward program. What we hear on the mainstream media is the government's commitment to reduce the CO2 emission and the policies drafted to achieve this. What we don't hear is that you and me can take part in achieving this and at the same time reaping monetary benefit from our participation.

Energy Commission is quite aggressive in promoting energy efficiency in this country, and SEDA should emulate EC's effort by:

  1. Conducting nationwide workshops, seminars and trainings on Renewable Energy initiatives, its objectives and their benefits to the people,
  2. Gamma test - redo the gamma test during weekdays, after publicizing it through the mainstream media,
  3. Advertisement - consider this as business venture and advertise it periodically. Don't keep things at SEDA office.

I have mentioned nationwide but I'll stress it again that SEDA need and must conduct seminars and promotional activities in Sabah and Sarawak. After all these two are the least served states in Malaysia in terms of electricity supply.

Give them alternatives to generate their own electricity through Renewable Energy.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

ONLINE Testing of Feed-in Tariff

Image source: SEDA Malaysia

SEDA Malaysia will release a test version of the e-FiT Online System for Gamma testing on the Feed-in Tariff Application.

The online test will be carried out as follows:

Date: 10:00 am 5th Nov 2011 to 5:00 pm on 7th Nov 2011.
URL: (to be activated at 9:55 am on 5th Nov 2011)
Send in your feedback by : 8th Nov 2011.

Members of the public are welcome to test and provide their feedback to SEDA Malaysia by Tuesday, 8th November 2011 to or by filling the feedback online form :

Feedback on the Feed-in Tariff Application via the e-FiT Online System

If Feed-in Tariff (FiT) is new to you, you may want to read about it here:

1) Incentive for Renewable Energy
2) Generate Electricity at home and EARN MONEY
3) FiT - Critical Success Factors

Or, read all about FiT at SEDA Malaysia website here.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

World Population hits 7 Billion

Think about this:

World population 1-Nov-11
A screen shot of the live updates at the time this entry was posted (1-11-2011).
Source: Worldometers

On Monday the United Nations officially declared a baby born in the Philippines as the world's 7 billionth occupant. According to the statement, Danica May Camacho was born just after midnight Monday at a local hospital in Manila. After declaring her the honorary 7 billionth inhabitant of the planet, U.N. officials presented the baby's parents with a scholarship for her education and a financial package to help them open a general store.

The world's population has doubled in the past 50 years, and the 6 billionth occupant was officially born Oct. 12, 1999, in Bosnia - just about 12 years ago.

As shown in the graph below, the world population is increasing at accelerated pace since 1950 and if this trend continues we will have a population of 10 billion by 2050.

World population 7 Bil-a
Source: USA Today

So, what does this mean to us?

It is inevitable there will be an increase in the demand on the world's natural resources and that increase would be exponential. Many of these are already under tremendous pressure from current rate of depletion.

Essential things like water, coal, oil and gas, phosphorus (for plants to grow), rare earth elements such as neodymium (e.g. for electricity generation, etc) will become scarce and as smart as we humans are, there will certainly be a melt-point somewhere not too far away from now where the graph will plot into a plateau.

In short, looking from science point of view, how well we cope with increasing population depends much on how well we manage our WATER, FOOD and ENERGY.

So, as you think of water, food and energy, think green. Act and treat our earth with our children's children in mind.