Thursday, October 25, 2007


Much has been written and blogged about the 'Lingam tape' biznes and I believe this is getting a bit out of hand. Malaysiakini today reports that former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim who has insisted on a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) has said 'no way' to the Anti-Corruption Agency's demands that he hands over the original full version of the tape or face imprisonment. This will effectively put him out of the race for the next general elections. Sheeesh.

As for the recent Seagull Express ferry mishap, fellow mariner Capt. Karim a.k.a. Capt Abdul Karim Stuart Russell asserts that "superficial investigations are only scratching the surface, there must be a web of malpractices awaiting exposure and there will be many others who should be thoroughly investigated for possible criminal neglect, dereliction of duty, bribery and corruption, and even other even more serious offences like manslaughter." As such, short of a Royal Commission of Inquiry, a truly professional and " independent Marine Accident Investigation Board should be established to properly investigate the ferry disaster and all other marine accidents."

I fail to understand the government's morbid fear of RCI's or any other independent and all-powerful inquiry panels to get to the bottom of things, but we can all have a pretty good guess, eh?

Footnote: Above photo taken at Anwar and Azizah's 'open house' on Sunday. Besides meeting other former MCKK classmates, I also bumped into Lim Kit Siang, fellow blogger Nathaniel Tan and an old friend and former Penang Port Commission chairman Dato Zaharin Hashim.


  1. The PM, according to the local print media, stated that, Malaysia
    “must strengthen maritime industry given its status as a trading nation”, he further went on to say “the country needs to have a more indigenous merchant fleet that is owned and operated by its nationals as well as efficient ports, shipbuilding and repair facilities.”
    He is also quoted as saying

    "an important part of our country's economic planning is to emphasise the application of high technology and value-added services.”

    "in particular, we are aiming towards greater application of technology and value creation in strategic industries, including marine transportation and logistics"

    This has all been said before, and based on the current state of the local maritime industry; there has been very little, if any, progress.
    Malaysian vessels are often manned by foreigners, whilst many Malaysian seafarers serve overseas where they receive far better working and living conditions, more leave and higher salaries.
    Malaysian flagged vessels are not known for their high standards of compliance with safety regulations, especially the ones trading in territorial waters (small cargo vessels and passenger ferries are a prime example) and even the vessels sailing overseas are often found to be sub-standard and deficient when inspected by port state control officials.
    Then look at the road logistics, the container road transport industry seems to be in a mess, lorries are of an unsatisfactory standard and the drivers more often than not are reckless and exceed the mandatory speed limits and are frequently involved in serious accidents.
    Once again the solution is simple, transparent effective 24/7 enforcement, without fear or favour, true professionalism from the authorities, (Ministry of Transport agencies, such as Marine Department, Road Transport Department; the Traffic Police also have a very important role too. Employees should always take the welfare of their employee into consideration, instead of just wanting to maximize their profits at whatever cost.
    It is hard to be optimistic unless there is a radical change of mindset from top to bottom.
    We shall see, but don’t hold your breath folks. We may be just experiencing another No Action Talk Only (NATO) situation.
    The outcome of the investigations into the Mersing to Pulau Tioman ferry disaster, and the PKFZ fiasco may be a good yardsticks by which to measure the probability of success.

    "Talking is cheap, people follow like sheep"

  2. Hot off the press!
    Transport Minister Chan Kong Choy, has been quoted in the Star on line as saying ”Security measures and enforcement in the maritime industry will be beefed up to emulate the best practices in the aviation industry", said This would include the weight of luggage allowed on board ferries and ships, similar to the regulations in planes, he said.
    Admitting there were security flaws in the maritime industry, Chan said there was also a need for more safety campaigns at sea similar to the annual road safety campaigns. "Spot checks on ferries will be conducted all year round and not only during the festive season."Strict safety and precautionary measures taken in the aviation industry will have to be benchmarked.
    "The Seagull Express 2 tragedy clearly showed the weaknesses in the monitoring and enforcement in this area," he told reporters here Friday after chairing two meetings, one with the Marine Department, marine police, Maritime Enforcement Agency of Malaysia, port operators and the port board; while the other with 45 ferry operators in the Peninsular and Labuan. Another meeting would be organised at a later date with the authorities and operators in Sabah and Sarawak, he said. Chan said the Government had to address the safety issue since the maritime industry drew much flak with the drowning of seven people * (* what an illogical and shallow reason for the MOT to give)following the fire and subsequent sinking of the 'Seagull Express 2' ferry when on its way from Mersing to Pulau Tioman on 13 October 2007.

    So lots of meetings, lots of talk, even about luggage weight, that is typical of Malaysia, confusing the issues, fudging and missing the priorities!
    Campaigns have had zero effect on safety on the roads, what is needed is 24/7 enforcement without fear or favour.
    All is certainly not well in the maritime sector, that has been patently obvious for many years. Well, at least they are talking about it now. In six to twelve months time, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating so to speak!!!
    Whatever the case, I will personally be keeping a weather eye on things that is something you can count on. Watch this space.

  3. capt, the more i read your site the more worried I become. Why? becos it appears that only those of our contemporary are concerned with such issues. Is it becos of the hard time we went through? or we have gone over-board? Those things that maketh the society do not seem important any more. Some of these up-starts think the old timers do not know what they are up to. Believe me, the days of reckoning will come! HE would not allow such insidious shysters to go on forever, becos if HE did, this world would have had gone kaput long time ago, as in all generations such characters were every where. So in spite of all our indignations, we will have the last laugh! By the way, when can we have our teh si? Railama

  4. Same ole same ol.

    I used to see speeches like that 20 years ago.
    In fact his words could have been lifted from some of the papers and, yes, speeches I used to write for my shipping industry bosses years ago. Nothing has changed. Quantum leaps into the past. Or to rephrase Mao, A Great Leap Backwards.

    Thinking new ideas, approaches, and strategies, must be tough on the old man. Or maybe just not worth his while.

  5. Apologies Captains,

    My comments were on Capt Karim's comments, not on your blog article.


  6. Now, on the eve of the four week anniversary of the Seagull Express 2 ferry fire and subsequent sinking, let us all spare a thought for all the families of those who needlessly lost their lives in this needless tragic disaster.
    Four weeks on, and here is still no news of the progress of the investigation, if one can call it such?
    It definitely cannot be either thorough or impartial, based on the fact that it has not been undertaken by an independent, impartial and competent team of investigators, nor has all the evidence been looked at.
    A vital question needs to be asked, that is:
    Why has the sunken ferry not been salvaged?
    Only when the wreck is recovered can it be forensically examined to ascertain its condition, and perhaps more importantly to find out the cause of the fire.
    The vessel will have had a diesel main engine, and should have also had diesel powered generators and pumps. Diesel fuel and fumes are relatively difficult to ignite compared to highly inflammable petrol.
    One wonders if there was an illegal petrol driven bilge pump on board which was being used to pump out seawater from the leaking hull, or was there perhaps a petrol powered electrical generator on board?
    If so there must have also been a supply of spare petrol as well.
    All of the above are not allowed to be used on board as passenger vessel.
    Petrol fumes would readily ignite with even one tiny spark!
    Photographs of the burning ferry show a fast spreading very intense fire, this arouses my suspicions.
    The sunken Seagull Express 2 will be holding many vital clues, will they remain at the bottom of the sea, covered up, forever?
    No proper investigation can be carried out without all the evidence being considered.
    The families of the bereaved deserve to know the truth.
    Is this too much to ask?


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