Lesson on cooperation from starlings
Like starlings, Sarawakians can build something beautiful if everyone works towards the same goal
was handed a suspended sixmonth prison sentence after earlier pleading guilty to 11 charges of making similar offensive posts.
In Malaysia, the civil law on invasion of privacy is on firm ground after the Court of Appeal delivered its landmark decision in Maslinda Ishak v. Mohd Tahir Osman & Ors  6 CLJ 653, followed by the High Court in Lee Ewe Poh v. Dr Lim Teik Man & Anor  1 LNS 1162. In the first case, a guest relations officer (GRO) was photographed easing herself in a truck by Rela (People’s Volunteer Corps) personnel after the GRO was detained in a raid conducted by Jawi (Federal Territories Islamic Affairs Department) at a club in 2003. The GRO filed a claim against the Rela personnel, Rela director-general, Jawi director and the government. She was awarded damages by the court.
In the second case, a doctor (the defendant) had taken a picture of the plaintiff ’s anus during a medical procedure without informing her. The doctor’s reason for taking such a picture was for medical purpose and claimed that taking photographs during medical procedure without the consent of the patient is normal practice. The judgment of the Court of Appeal in Maslinda Ishak’s case was referred by the High Court in the second case when it held that invasion of privacy is actionable in Malaysia.
In May 2013, a woman lodged a police report in Sandakan, Sabah, claiming she was extorted RM3,000 by another woman who threatened to disseminate her naked photos taken some three years before.
The victim said she was brought to a hotel in town where she became unconscious after a drinking session, only to find herself naked when she awoke the next day. She was approached by a female friend who demanded money from her and threatened to make her naked photos public if she failed to pay up.
Then district police chief Assistant Commissioner Rowell Marong said the case was investigated under Section 383 of the Penal Code (extortion), punishable under Section 384 (10 years’ imprisonment, fine and whipping). Thus, our civil law on invasion of privacy is on firm ground.
WHEN Don Tapscott delivered his keynote address during the International ICT Infrastructure and Digital Economy Conference Sarawak last month, he highlighted several salient points for a state or a nation to move forward.
The Canadian business executive and digital economy pioneer weaved in an important point in a video of a sighting of “murmuration” involving a massive flock of starlings at the end of his speech.
While most dictionaries simply define “murmuration” only as a “flock of starlings”, scientists agree that it is a phenomenon that happens when hundreds or maybe thousands of starlings fly in a coordinated pattern.
The spectacular video of the starlings in a massive flock in beautiful movement, swirling across the sky had the packed audience at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) glued to their seats.
Although some scientists have made conclusions about how starlings can maintain cohesion in a group and fly in unison, Tapscott said the coordinated movement of the birds using a good example of what could be achieved if an individual within an organisation or people in a state work toward the same goal.
“The murmuration has its function. Apart from warming up the birds during the cold night, this process also protects the birds from predators.
“Here in this video, you see a hawk, which is 25 times the size of a starling, being chased away by the collective power of the little birds.
“Is this some fancy analogy that we can learn something about it?” Tapscott said.
“Their interest is the collective interest, and it (the formation) has great integrity, where it gave the birds confidence to take on a fierce predator.”
Among the 1,500 participants at the event, which aimed to formulate a framework for Sarawak to explore the digital economy, was Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Abang Openg, who has been passionate about digitising the state’s economy.
It can be concluded from Tapscott’s analogy that Sarawak can move to greater heights should everyone in the state, state cabinet, administration and state worked together for a common vision.
The same call was made by Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud during the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu’s (PBB) “Jasamu Dikenang” special convention at BCCK on Sunday.
“We must realise that development (in Sarawak) never stops. Besides producing enough manpower, we need to have quality people, too.
“We need to focus on both quantity and quality to face the future. It is important (for all of us) to be united and work together,” said Taib, who was former chief minister and former PBB president.
After the event, Abang Johari announced a restructuring exercise with the promotion of a minister and two assistant state ministers and the introduction of two new faces.
Besides announcing the appointment of Datuk Awang Tengah Ali Hasan to fill one of the three vacant deputy chief minister posts, Abang Johari also outlined the significant changes in portfolios and the setting up of two new ministries.
Under the restructuring exercise, Abang Johari is now minister-in-charge of the finance and economic planning, urban development and natural resources portfolios.
He will also oversee affairs pertaining to energy development, oil and gas, digital economy and telecommunication and Kuching Urban Public Transport (including the light rail transit).
Abang Johari will also be in charge of financial modelling to assist the establishment of the Development Bank of Sarawak.
The two new ministries are the International Trade and E-Commerce Ministry and Education, Science and Technological Research Ministry, which would be headed by Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh and Datuk Seri Michael Manyin respectively.
“This is the team that will implement all that have been decided by the state government,” said Abang Johari on the state cabinet reshuffle.
The creation of new portfolios supervised by Abang Johari is seen as a strategic move and an assurance to the people that the chief minister was committed to implementing all the initiatives announced on many occasions, including Sarawak’s venture into the digital economy, the state’s bid to emerge as a regional power hub in Borneo and the plan to develop an LRT system connecting Kuching, Kota Samarahan and Serian.
“He is ‘assigning’ himself and several ministers to ensure that development plans for Sarawak folk will be implemented.
“The chief minister means business, and he is committed to deliver all of his promises,” said a party insider.
Abang Johari has established Sarawak’s new direction and laid the foundation to achieve the goals. But he needs commitment from Sarawakians to achieve developed state status by 2030.
The writer, born in Kuala Lumpur, raised in Perak, is NST Sarawak bureau chief. A nature lover, he never tires of discovering new sights in the Land of the Hornbills
Starlings can teach a nation how to move forward.