Telekom Malaysia’s (TM) services have gone from bad to worse. Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) is tired of complaining of the poor Internet and telephone services provided by TM.
Despite widespread international opposition, trade officials from the 12 countries negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) in Atlanta, USA announced yesterday that they have reached an agreement on a devastating trade deal that threatens people and the planet.
The final texts are expected to be available within weeks. The TPP trade ministers’ press release states that to formalize the outcomes of the agreement, negotiators will continue technical work to prepare a complete text for public release, including the legal review, translation, and drafting and verification of the text.
Hence the fight is not over, the TPP still faces a number of procedures and challenges before being ratified at the national level. Firstly, the TPP is not yet signed and Malaysia will still have to decide whether to sign. The public and Parliament can still make their views known, and influence the government not to sign. Secondly the text of the TPP is still a secret and it is imperative that it be released so that the public can know what exactly it says and its implications.
Seed is a farmer’s most essential input. For thousands of years farm communities have been observing, selecting, nurturing, breeding and saving seed. Yet, in the last century there has been a dramatic decrease in global seed diversity, of which the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported in 2010 that 75% of the world’s crop diversity had already been lost.
The erosion of agricultural biodiversity can be largely attributed to the agro-industry business and the policies that support them. Farmers now purchase many of the essential inputs of farming, whereas in yesteryears the inputs were produced and recycled within the farm. The corporate control over seeds is very worrying because it threatens to hold farming hostage to big business interests. According to La Via Campesina, the International Peasants Movement, and GRAIN an NGO working on seed issues, just 10 companies account for 55% of the global seed market. Among them are Monsanto, Dow, Dupont and Syngenta.
Auctions have been carried out since the country was under the British rule and the laws regarding auctions have generally remained unchanged. It is time we bring the auction laws to the 21st century for the benefit of all parties concerned especially the bidders (buyers).
Currently the auction business is governed by the 86 year old Auction Sales Enactment F.M.S. Cap. 81 (No. 2 of 1929) and the slightly younger National Land Code of 1965.
The 1929 Enactment has 13 sections and is only four pages long covers very briefly issues like – licensing, notice of sale, details of auctioneer to be displayed what auctioneer may buy, details of bidding agent, a separate contract of sale for every lot auctioned, completion of sale, penalties, power to make rules and sales under court order. The renewal of the auctioneer’s license is still RM10 and the fine for breaking the law stands at RM100.
In 2002, the Sarawak Penan Association (SPA) released the Long Sayan Declaration 2002, which was signed by more than 40 Penan community leaders. Among others, the declaration called for the halting of all logging operations on Penan territories, the gazetting of their territories into Communal Forest Reserves and the provision of accessible healthcare, education, quality housing, power and clean water supply as well as agricultural training and support to the community.
However today, more than a decade later – the Penan community of Sarawak by and large are still living without adequate land rights security and in substandard living conditions. Worse, due to the depletion in natural timber resources in Sarawak as a result of three decades of unsustainable logging, timber tree and oil palm plantations are fast taking the place of the declining timber industry. Plantations, which require the total clearing of logged over forests, will certainly bring about more adverse consequences to local communities, although the impacts of logging operations had all the while been severe enough.