Sunday, September 29, 2013

Eyeing Datuk Ahmad A Talib opinion on Of bread makers and petrol stations

NO PLACE TO GO: Petronas should do more to help small-time food vendors, including bread producers, sell their products in highway petrol stations

 REST and recreation areas along our highways always offer a welcome respite. Imagine travelling from the capital to Penang on the North-South Expressway with no place to catch one's breath. It's unthinkable nowadays.
So we take short breaks. Tapah or Simpang Pulai rest areas can be a good stop to stretch our legs, freshen up a bit, have a cup of tea and stock up on fruits and some nuts. True believers of energy drinks will not fail to replenish their supply.
If going down to Johor Baru, stops at either Pagoh or Seremban can be a good break. For those who bring their own refreshments, a picnic at one of the wakaf or gazebos at these rest areas would be a real treat.
While the quality of our rest areas is not the main issue here, it would be good to have a few more rest areas. Sometimes, the distance between one rest area and another can be very far.
Look at the number of people packing them during festive or holiday seasons!
Perhaps, more rest areas can offer greater variety of foodstuff and services. A neck massage perhaps? Or reflexology?
But an item pointed out to me a few days ago needs a bit more scrutiny, I think. Not directly linked to rest areas but to the petrol stations located nearby.
There are allegations by small food manufacturers that they are being muscled out.
Specifically, by Petronas.
A few food vendors, in particular bread producers, have complained that they will soon not be allowed to place their bread in these petrol stations.
They are small producers, working with their own money and borrowed capital trying to break into the big time. Their products have gained acceptance and they hope to use this success as a springboard to bigger markets.
Recently, when they were told that they may no longer be allowed to place their products at the retail section of the stations, these producers cried foul.
In their place, products from bigger producers, including from overseas, are being displayed and sold.
The small-time local producers have no one to turn to. They've raised the matter with Petronas, whose response has been somewhat strange.
A newspaper report said these small local producers must register with Petronas to enable their products to be sold in Petronas' outlets. There is a proper agreement that must be adhered to, Petronas said. It could be that a few of them have not registered.
I think this makes sense. We don't want any Tom, Dick or Harry or Mat, Apu and Ah Seng selling their stuff without proper rules and conditions. We also don't want unhygienic food to be sold.
Therefore, proper registration is necessary.
The question is -- how come no one made any effort to register these long-time small producers? Oversight?
As a giant company, which is on the Fortune 500 list, Petronas should probably take another look at its policies on helping small local producers.
It's no skin off their nose if they were to do that. In fact, they certainly will be more appreciated if they were to do that.
Back to rest areas. Sometimes, when they are filled to the brim, travellers will flock to the petrol stations next door for their pit stops.
Rest areas and petrol stations make good combinations and therefore there should be more of them.

Read more: Of bread makers and petrol stations - Columnist - New Straits Times

Eyeing the closure to Cyclist's Rafizi Hamdan fate in a fatal hit and run case

VINDICATED: 'Ruling sends a message to road users'

AMPANG: THE widow of a cyclist who was killed by a musician in a hit-and-run incident, cried tears of joy yesterday when the offender was jailed six years,  fined RM10,000 for reckless driving, and had  his driving licence be suspended for three years.
Speaking to reporters after the magistrate's court proceedings, Ellis Suraya Radzuan, 37, said she felt vindicated by the verdict as it sent a message to all road users to be very careful when driving.
"My late husband Rafizi Hamdan was very much into cycling and he died a hero," she said of the 37-year-old banker who was also a member of the Letua Cycling Club.
"This is especially important as there are many cyclists plying the roads now," said the Amcorp Group property division manager while wiping tears from her cheek.
"However life goes on and whatever it is, I still have to look after my two children."
Magistrate Noor Farah Hazwani Osman ruled the defence had failed to raise reasonable doubt in the prosecution's case against Mohd Nabil Azhar Yahya Arif, 21.
She said testimonies by prosecution witnesses showed that that deceased's injuries were consistent with a high-impact collision in Ampang Jaya here on March 18, last year.
She said witness testimony proved that a car registration plate found at the scene of the accident matched that of the car driven by the accused. She added that Nabil's testimony that he did not notice Rafizi's bicycle at the time showed that Nabil was driving too fast.
When she informed the accused that the court found him guilty of the offence, Nabilwhispered "yes".
Nabil's counsel Samry Masri pleaded for a lenient sentence, adding that his client regretted his action and deserved a second chance. Deputy public prosecutor S. Purnima urged for a deterrent penalty as certain drivers endangered other road users with their irresponsible behaviour.
Nabil was charged with committing the offence on April 2, last year.

Read more: Musician jailed for killing cyclist in hit-and-run - General - New Straits Times

KUALA LUMPUR: A reckless motorist who caused the death of a man whose child was merely 45 days old paid the price when a magistrate’s court sentenced him to six years in jail.
Mohd Nabil Azhar Yahya Arif, 21, was found guilty of reckless driving leading to the death of cyclist Rafizi Hamdan, 37, in a hit-and-run on the Middle Ring Road 2 (MRR2) on March 18.
Rafizi’s wife Ellis Suraya, who appeared at the Ampang court to submit her victim impact statement, told the magistrate that her second child was just 45 days old when her husband was killed in the accident.
Ellis, who appeared distraught, said the accident not only took away her husband, it also meant her son would never get to know his father.
DPP S. Purnima asked the court for a deterrent sentence, saying Rafizi’s widow now had the heavy responsibility of caring for their two children.
Lawyer Aziz Hamzah, who held watching brief for the family, said: “He did not die in vain. He died a hero, and with his passing a strong message must be sent to other road users to abide by the law.”
Counsel Samri Masri argued that road accidents happened every day and that harshly punishing his client would not make roads safer.
Ellis, who remained in the public gallery along with her family and in-laws, sobbed when her husband’s accident was described repeatedly as “just an accident”.
Magistrate Noor Farah Hazwani Osman ruled that testimony and evidence proved that Mohd Nabil was in the wrong because he crossed over a double line to take a short cut when he rammed into Rafizi.
There was also paint transfer from Mohd Nabil’s car onto the bicycle and his number plate had loosened itself and was left at the scene.
Noor Farah sentenced Mohd Nabil to six years in prison, fined him RM10,000 and suspended his driving licence for three years.