Wednesday, October 22, 2014

废除煽动法令是当代的责任

20141016日,正当逾百名律师身穿西装大衣,在马来西亚炎热的天气下走上街头,参与“和平游行”力促政府废除煽动法令,巫青与民青团长却各自在推特上对此游行大泼冷水。作为青年领袖的他们理应为下一代发声,但他们这番言论却显示了他们仍被蒙在旧政治的阴影里,实为令人失望。

他们二人皆认为煽动法令起着反对极端言论及维持国家社群和谐的作用。也许他们已经忘记在实施煽动法令的多年后,我国的和谐已经跌到了历史的最低点。

持久性的和谐需透过教育与谈论、让不同的群体达成真正的理解才能达成,而非靠言论思想的压制及对持异议者的压迫。马来西亚的青年须勇敢拥抱彼此的差异,而非避而不谈。

凯里也指出引起人民对煽动法令不满是因为选择性起诉造成的,而非煽动法令本身。在此我想引用律师公会的备忘录:我们学习到的是,法律能否公平地执行不能取决于当权者的信实。法律本身必须是公正及合适的。《1948煽动法令》就不是这样的法令。

马来西亚年轻的一代应当紧记,我们是国家日后自由的守护者。我们不应害怕起来反抗不公正的法律,也不应为误导,轻信压制性法律是确保国家和谐的灵丹。

过去我国一而再,再而三容许法律压迫人民的自由。《1971年大专法令》已几乎抹杀了所有在马来西亚大学的学生运动,抑制了大学生们在学生时代理应拥有的批判思维。《1984年印刷及出版法令》则限制了新闻自由,促使民主及公正选举的全面衰退。

因此,屈服于压制性法律不再是我们这一代的选择。我们有责任去确保压制性法律在马来西亚的未来并无立足之地。或许届时会有人像国阵青年团长们一样,质疑反抗这律法的必要性,但当一切都埃尘落定时,历史会记载那些曾经为自由、公正及民主挺身而出的人们。


我是杨美盈,我支持废除煽动法令。


Friday, October 17, 2014

Budget 2015: GST, BRIM and Income Tax Cuts

The implementation of the Good and Services Tax, a higher BR1M and income tax cuts are some of the key elements in the Budget 2015.

Following the Budget 2015 to widen the scope of items that will not be subject to GST, the increased in the limit of electricity consumption not subject to GST and the exclusion of retail sale of RON95 petrol, diesel and LPG, we re-computed our analysis and believe that:

The net revenue collection from GST will likely to be less than RM 690 million due to GST fraud

1) After taking into account BR1M, the Budget 2015 estimated that the net revenue collection from GST will amount to RM 690 million per annum.
2) However, if this amount is estimated before the incidence of GST fraud, we believe that the practical amount might fall short of this realistically.
3) Besides, as the enforcement and monitoring costs might not be included, the net revenue raised might be even less.
4) Given that the expected fiscal deficit is 3.5% of GDP in 2014, the actual net revenue raised from GST might only contribute marginally to the aim of having a balanced budget.

Low and middle income households will bear a higher GST burden compared to high income households

5) Despite setting essential items like basic food, public transportation, education, healthcare, higher limit of electricity consumption, petrol, diesel and LPG as exempt or zero rated items, we find that GST itself remains a regressive tax (i.e. the low and middle income households will bear a higher tax burden than the higher income households).
6) This finding is consistent with the norm in international practice (e.g. the US tax administrator’s definition of regressive tax) and with international findings [e.g. “Does Australia Have a Good Income Tax System?” published in the International Business & Economics Research Journal (May 2013)].
7) Our research shows that the proportion of income paid as GST for:
a. Lowest income households (earning RM 605 per month) is 1.71%
b. Middle income households (earning RM 2,580 per month) is 2.01%
c. Highest income households (earning RM 31,850 per month) is 0.96%
8) Our conclusion that GST is a regressive tax is robust as it was undertaken using:
a. Bank Negara’s estimates of income/expenditure
b. The latest Household Expenditure Survey 2009/2010 from the Department of
Statistics
c. The stipulation that essential items like basic food, public transportation, education
and healthcare are exempt or zero rated items

The average Malaysian household pays RM 70 per month or 1.9% of income as GST

9) Our research shows that the average Malaysian household is expected to pay RM 70 per month or 1.9% of their income as GST.
10) We find that a higher GST burden (as a percentage of income) will fall on households in these categories:
a. Low and middle income
b. Single person household
c. Young (less than 24 years old)
d. Bumiputera led households
e. Clerical workers, skilled agricultural and fishery workers
f. Households residing in Peninsular Malaysia

The combined net effect of BR1M, GST and income tax cuts will benefit low and high income households as they will have more cash; but the middle income households are worse off with less cash. 

11) In the Budget 2015, a higher BR1M and income tax cuts are introduced at the same time as GST.
12) By combining BR1M, income tax cuts and GST, we find that the Budget 2015 measures will have these effect (as summarised in Figure 1):


Figure 1: Low and high income households benefit with more cash whilst middle income households will have less cash (combined effect of BR1M plus income tax savings minus GST payment)

a. Low income households will receive BR1M which exceeds the GST that will be payable. The net effect is additional cash between RM 607 to RM 828 per annum.
b. High income households will receive income tax savings due to tax cuts that will exceed the GST payable, giving additional cash of RM 4,296 per annum.
c. Middle income households will neither receive BR1M nor benefit much from income tax cuts; but will have to pay GST. Consequently, they will end up having less cash – approximately RM 708 per annum. The annual household incomes for these middle income households are approximately between RM 55,000 to RM 110,000 per annum.
13) According to the Household Income Survey 2012, the average household income in Malaysia is RM 5,000 per month (RM 60,000 per annum). Therefore, we believe that the combined effect will result in the average Malaysian household having less cash to spend.

For more information on our research and on our interactive spreadsheet detailing the impact on different households, visit:
http://www.penanginstitute.org/gst/

Press statement by: 
1. Dr Lim Kim Hwa, Chief Executive Officer and Head of Economics, Penang Institute
2. Dr Lim Chee Han, Senior Analyst, Penang Institute
3. Ms Ong Wooi Leng, Senior Analyst, Penang Institute
4. Mr Tim Niklas Schoepp, Visiting Analyst, Penang Institute

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Oktoberfest and Malaysia's Holier-than-Thou Politics



Recent news of different groups making a fuss of the German beer festival Oktoberfest, which is quite widely marked in Malaysia, reminded me of what Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra said in 1975.

The nation’s first prime minister said,  “In the old days, people never bothered about what others did, so long as they were free to do what they liked themselves. Today, one cannot sneeze without being corrected, let alone enjoy oneself. That’s what politics have done to our society.”

Almost 40 years have passed and Malaysian politics has gone from bad to worse. Many politicians today have become “moral police”, busy going around telling people what to do and what not to do; some are sincerely convinced, while some are just pure hypocrites.

Anyway, who are we to stand on moral high ground to force others to conform to our values?

Oktoberfest is merely a private activity that some Malaysians choose to take part in. Perhaps beer drinking is a vice to some, but does that make a Malaysian less Malaysian? Does having fun in Oktoberfest make a Yang Berhormat less effective as a people’s representative?

Indonesia has just elected Joko Widodo, who is widely known as Jokowi (left), as their new president. He loves heavy metal music, which is deemed satanic to some Malaysians.

He is a fan of Lamb of God, which was a band barred from performing in Malaysia in September 2013 because of its 'inappropriate' elements.

However, in Jokowi’s tenure as the governor of Jakarta, he showed to Indonesians that Indonesia could be governed in an uncorrupted and efficient manner and he could be the people’s leader.

And today, Jokowi has been entrusted with even greater responsibility as the president of Indonesia.

The world will not wait for us as we argue over Oktoberfest or other trivial holier-than-thou issues.

As politicians, we should focus our time on figuring out how to cope with the rising cost of living, how to improve the standard of education, how to stop brain drain, how to provide more affordable housing, how to increase the security, how to revamp the judicial system, how to mend the porous border in Sabah and how to face Ebola, if it unfortunately reaches our shore.

In Selangor, we need to deal with issues such as water security, dengue, flash floods, local council services and so on.

All in all, we have enough issues that are far more pressing to handle than prohibiting Oktoberfest or any other ‘unholy’ private activities (to some) in the future.

For the sake of the country, some politicians in Malaysia should really stop the holier-than-thou politics and focus on our core business – policy-making, delivering and governing.

Yeo Bee Yin 
14 October 2014

Friday, October 3, 2014

CALLING FOR TALENTS – “Bestnya Malaysiaku” Wall Art Competition

Pusat Khidmat ADUN Damansara Utama is proud to present to you “Bestnya Malaysiaku” Wall Art Competition. We are calling for local talents to join us to give facelift to SS2 (Petaling Jaya) commercial centre. There are a total of 22 walls at SS2 commercial center to be decorated in ANY FORMS OF ART - paint, spray, installation etc.  



TWO PHASES OF COMPETITION 

Phase 1: Submission of Proposals 

Participants (individual or group) are required to fill up the online form (http://bit.ly/bestnyamalaysiaku) with the details of their concepts, preferred wall, materials needed, budget etc. 

Closing date for proposal submission: 27 Oct 2014

Phase 2: Implementation of Ideas

22 finalists will be selected to put up their proposed artworks on the walls. 

Announcement of finalists: 31 Oct 2014 

Finalists will have a maximum of 8 days to complete their works at any of the following date(s): 8/11, 9/11, 15/11, 16/11, 22/11, 23/11, 29/11 and 30/11. 

Announcement of Winners: 6 December 2014 


MATERIALS 

We will sponsor the required materials to a maximum budget of RM1,500 per wall. Participants are free to find their own sponsors or use free materials such as recycled materials. 


PRIZES

First Prize: RM 3000 
Second Prize: RM 2000
Third Prize: RM 1000
Consolation Prize (x3): RM 500
Other finalists (x16): RM 200


ENTRY RULES AND REGULATIONS

1. The concept of the entry must be original and should not touch on sensitive issues. 
2. The organizer reserves the right to suggest changes to the design during the proposal phase. 


CO-ORGANIZERS

Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya (MBPJ) and Street Art Movement (S.A.M)


LOCATIONS OF THE 22 WALLS 

17, Jalan SS2/55
39, Jalan SS2/55
80, Jalan SS2/60
20, Jalan SS2/61
38, Jalan SS2/61
40, Jalan SS2/61
20, Jalan SS2/63
22, Jalan SS2/63
1, Jalan SS2/64
23, Jalan SS2/64
43, Jalan SS2/64
45, Jalan SS2/64
2, Jalan SS2/66
24, Jalan SS2/66
44, Jalan SS2/66
46, Jalan SS2/66
4, Jalan SS2/67
24, Jalan SS2/67
26, Jalan SS2/67
54, Jalan SS2/67
9, Jalan SS2/75
33, Jalan SS2/75

* The walls are by the side of the above corner lots facing the side lanes. 

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Wawancara CEO Petronas bukan isu perkauman




Wawancara terbaru Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif Petronas Tan Sri Shamsul Azhar Abbas bersama The Edge tidak seharusnya menjadikan satu isu perkauman tetapi isu kebajikan dan pertumbuhan negara. 

Amat menghiburkan sekali melihat bagaimana Perkasa 
dan konco-konconya menjadikan segala-galanya berbaur perkauman, bahkan wawancara CEO Petronas itu sendiri yang menyenaraikan masalah sebenar yang dihadapi syarikat petroleum negara dan turut memberi kesan kepada kebajikan orang ramai pada masa akan datang.



Friday, June 27, 2014

Putrajaya Should Work Closer with NGOs in Combatting Human Trafficking

Last Friday, the U.S State Department downgraded Malaysia, together with Thailand and Venezuela to the lowest “Tier 3” status in its Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Reports, as the world’s worst centers of human trafficking. This came after the State Department found that the Malaysian government has shown no significant effort to comply with the minimum standards for elimination of trafficking.
Such a downgrade is a shame to us as we are dumped into the same category with some of the world’s most lawless, dysfunctional and repressive regimes such as Iran, Syria, Zimbabwe and North Korea. The downgrade may also open up the country to possible U.S sanctions.



Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Congratulations to "Allah" Soldiers 祝贺“阿拉”战士


This must be a happy time for those of you who think you have won a war for Allah.
First of all, I would like to congratulate Perkasa and other NGOs who have screamed, shouted, and threatened Malaysians who disagreed that Allah should be exclusive to Muslims. Congratulations! You have won your holy war. Go celebrate.


Second, I would like to congratulate the four judges who dismissed the Catholic church’s application for leave to appeal against a decision upholding the government ban against its use of “Allah” as a reference to God. If you made this judgement to protect your own religion, congratulations for sacrificing your professionalism.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Kidex highway will only cut jams by 3% to 5%, according to traffic report

The controversial Kidex elevated highway will only cut traffic congestion by up to 5% in Petaling Jaya when the RM2.4 billion project is completed, according to an early report prepared by its developers.

Selangor DAP lawmakers revealed the preliminary Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) for the Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex) today, saying it flies in the face of previous claims by the company's officials that the 14.9km expressway will reduce traffic jams by 20% to 35%.

Damansara Utama state assemblywoman Yeo Bee Yin said today according to the TIA, the highway would reduce congestion on 43 roads in PJ by only 3.05%, ten years after it has been completed by a company owned by an Umno lawyer and the family of former chief justice Tun Zaki Azmi.

When it is completed in 2018, the highway, which would cut through some of the densest parts of PJ, would only ease congestion by 5.84%.



 Damansara Utama state assemblywoman Yeo Bee Yin said today according to the TIA, the highway would reduce congestion on 43 roads in PJ by only 3.05%, ten years after it has been completed by a company owned by an Umno lawyer and the family of former chief justice Tun Zaki Azmi. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Faisal Salehhuddin, June 11, 2014.