Expansion of medical tourism will hurt general hospitals

Business Times reports that Sime Darby Healthcare, the healthcare arm of Sime Darby, has teamed up with Medilink Network (PVT) Ltd of Bangladesh and Medilink (Beijing) TPA Services Co Ltd to promote medical travel from Bangladesh and China to Malaysia.

The expansion of lucrative, profit-oriented medical tourism will hurt the government-owned general hospitals, which are already experiencing a critical shortage of specialists. It will further contribute to the exodus of specialists to private hospitals from the overstretched public sector.



Obama in the Notre Dame University controversy

Obama’s controversial speech at a Catholic university. Parts 2, 3 and 4 below. Full text here.

The US president pleads for open hearts, open minds and fair-minded words over some of the bitter debates that divide American society. See also ‘The real scandal of Notre Dame‘ by the head of a Catholic university.

Obama, however, doesn’t touch on the US military adventures in Afghanistan (and the rising death toll) and Pakistan and the US Occupation of Iraq. Neither does he mention the massive and scandalous Wall Street bailouts – the result of easy and uncontrolled credit and financial deregulation and liberalisation.



Churches + Land matters = Controversy


The Anglican Church reportedly has sold the St Mark’s Secondary School field in Butterworth to a developer much to the dismay of the school’s PTA/PIBG


Long-time residents of a century-old kampung in the St Francis Xavier Catholic Church premises within George Town’s world heritage zone look on as a contractor illegally demolishes one of the houses in the village on 8 May

It seems that controversy is never far away when the churches in Malaysia get involved in land deals involving tracts of land that were originally allocated to them for religious, social, community, educational or health care use.

This is not the first time that the churches in Penang have courted unwanted publicity over such land deals.

Now the latest controversies:



Why is Umno/BN not contesting in Penanti?

Well, apart from the obvious answer, allow me to suggest a few possible reasons:

  • After what happened in Perak, Umno and the BN are not in the mood for elections anywhere. If they were to contest, they could be in for a drubbing after what they have done in Perak.
  • Even if Najib’s Perak adventure had not occurred, it is unlikely that Umno could win in Penanti given the erosion in support for the BN since the last general election (even though Malay support for the party may have increased).
  • The number four is bad luck for the Chinese! If Umno contests and loses Penanti, that would be its fourth straight by-election defeat since the last general election – a thoroughly demoralising prospect for its leaders and supporters.



S’pore firm shuts Penang plant; 200 workers in limbo

The Edge reports that the Singapore headquartered Carmel Group, an integrated provider of electronic manufacturing services (EMS), has closed down its subsidiary in Bukit Minyak, Penang, leaving 200 workers jobless.

From the report, it’s not clear what kind of compensation they have received, if at all.  Note, the workers reportedly have not received their remuneration since April.

Of the 200 workers at the Scarmel Penang subsidiary,120 of them were locals. They lodged a report with the State Manpower Department on May 18.

On May 13, they were notified by the management about the immediate closure. However, they have yet to receive their remuneration since April.



Obama “salutes” Najib? DPM’s post “very lucrative”?

A Bernama report titled ‘Obama congratulates Najib on premiership’ has been given a new headline in the NST: ‘Obama salutes Najib’.

If you read the Bernama report carefully, the language is just one of diplomatic courtesy and niceties. It’s the sort of message – often drafted by an underling – that a national leader would regularly send to a new leader elsewhere. Nothing exceptional in there to give the impression of Obama “saluting” Najib – and that too, one and a half months after the latter assumed the top post.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Anifah Aman let rip into Anwar during a joint press conference with Hillary Clinton in Washington – but in the process, he dropped a clanger. The US State Department reported Anifah as saying:

And also just for the information of the audience here that, you know, he also said that he will form a government on 16 September and he has changed the dates many time. And he was trying to entice the members of parliament. And I was personally offered to jump into the oppositions and offered a very lucrative position, and also to be told it’s like a deputy prime minister. And these are not known to the world at large.



Hill-cutting scars Pulau Jerejak


Pulau Jerejak is not spared the ravages of “development” - Photos by Max


An excavator, a dumptruck, two fuel tanks and a stack of waterpipes

Wonder what they are doing here at Pulau Jerejak. Much of the island is supposed to be a state park, which could be a haven for Penangites wanting to escape from the hustle and bustle of city-life.

Wouldn’t it have been great to have a relatively untouched natural sanctuary so close to Penang Island?



Who was that gagged man?


It’s a lone ranger: A silent, solo protest yesterday by an unidentified man outside the Perak state government complex – Photo courtesy of Kula’s blog, which has the full story here.

It was a day of solo protests yesterday – in Ipoh and Penang. A single-person protest cannot be deemed an ‘illegal assembly’, right?

In Ipoh:

In short notes to (Kula’s) Political Sec in a piece of paper, he wrote “People 1st, Performance Later” and also “I don’t support any party. Just as Perak Citizen, all I want is 4 my state to be at peace. Just make the people who can do something, do it now.”



ntv7 poll: An amazing 99% want fresh Perak elections


The results of the SMS poll over the 8.00pm news on ntv7 yesterday


This evening, the women’s wing of PKR launched a signature campaign to lobby for the dissolution of the Perak State Assembly. They aim to collect a million signatures within a week - Kinta Kid has the story here.

An SMS poll conducted by ntv7 on its 7 Edition (English news) bulletin at 8.00pm yesterday revealed that an astounding 99 per cent of viewers want fresh elections to resolve the political impasse in Perak.

This clearly gives the lie to those who claim that Malaysians are “weary” of elections. If anything, what Malaysians are probably weary of are all those political stunts to avoid holding fresh elections.