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30 Mei 2007

Be cautious of fake networks

By Chandra Devi (New Straits Times, 11 April 2007)

MORE and more hotels, cafes, airports, libraries and now even parks are providing Wi-Fi Internet access to the public. Some locations provide hotspots for free and there are others who require a subscription or fee.


While these businesses view it as an attraction to get more customers, for the business traveller and holiday reveller, hotspot means being able to be connected easily wherever they are.
Sad to say that in this case, convenience has its disadvantage.


Most public Wi-Fi hotspots on the open public network are not secure and hopping on it means being exposed to hackers and security breaches. Mobile users are actually taking a security risk when relying on hotspots.

Although hotspots authenticate users, this does not secure the data transmission or prevent hackers from sniffing network traffic. Hackers are known to "hang" about public Wi-Fi networks, sniffing for names, passwords and credit card numbers.

An easy target for hackers are users who have turned on file sharing.

When on this mode on the public network, you provide easy access to all the resources on your hard disks. Also when you connect to a public network, you are more open to viruses, worms and various malware.

Of course, simple precautions like disabling file sharing and installing anti-virus software can save your computer from being hacked and your personal data stolen but be wary that hackers have other ways of getting to your mobile computer.

According to reports, one worrying method that have many falling victims to is the use of malicious hotspots. This apparently is not a new scam but one that is on the rise. The trend among cyber criminals is to set up a look-a-like network that dupes public Wi-Fi network users into believing that they are signing on a legitimate network.

The "evil twin" network looks normal for a user who then proceeds to type in sensitive data and access e-mail not knowing that all these information is being hijacked by a "man in the middle".
So, be wary when you are on a public Wi-Fi network. While it can be difficult to identify malicious hotspots, being cautious can save you a lot of trouble.


Here are two tips to stay safe - never connect when there is no sign for a legitimate hotspot provider and never set your wireless card to connect automatically to any available network.

Casting the Net for money

By Chow Kum Hor (New Straits Times, 11 May 2007)

KUALA LUMPUR: Fed up with day jobs and measly pay, a small but rising number of people have become full-time Internet entrepreneurs, some raking in five-figure salaries, often in the comfort of their living rooms.


A popular Internet income generator is through the sale of advertisement space in websites and blogs. Others sell anything from e-books to software, either authored themselves, or through an affiliate programme.

There are no statistics on the number of Malaysians who have gone full-time into online money-making ventures, although anecdotal evidence suggests more are doing so.

However, before Malaysians start jumping on the Internet income bandwagon, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has a word of caution: Beware of online scams.

"Surfers should not fall for get-rich-quick scams that are aplenty online. MCMC continuously monitors and acts on them," said a spokesman from the regulatory body from the communications and multimedia industry.

But for those who have struck gold online, the returns are generous, not only in terms of pay.
Most work from home, which means they do not have bosses breathing down their necks, don't have to get stuck in traffic jams and can spend more time with their families.


Liew Cheon Fong, who runs a technology blog (www.liewcf.com), claimed he was the first Malaysian to go into blogging full-time in 2005 in what started out as a hobby to share computing tips with friends.

The Kluang-based 27-year-old computer science degree-holder posts a few entries in his blog daily. He needs to keep his entries interesting to attract web traffic, failing which his income could dip.

One of his sources of income is Google Adsense, an online advertisement programme run by Internet giant Google. Liew gets paid whenever visitors click on advertisements placed on his blog.

Website operators who sign up with Google Adsense display advertisements related to their websites. For example, a blog on pets may feature ads on dog shampoo or pet grooming services.

Often, revenue generated online is in US dollars and credited into e-commerce facilities like PayPal. While Malaysians cannot withdraw money from PayPal accounts, many use them to make online purchases instead.

Unless you earn a monthly five-figure salary like Samsul Zamzuri Abu Bakar, 32, a Sungai Buloh-based Netpreneur (see accompanying story). He has opened an account with a United States bank which allows him to withdraw earnings credited into PayPal.

Then using his ATM card, he withdraws his money here.

But Samsul, who co-runs several blogs on gadgets like handphones and digital cameras, said many people have the misconception that entrepreneurs making money over the Internet involve "just working a few hours a day and spending the rest of the time watching their money roll in".

Samsul spends up to 12 hours in front of a computer, either liaising with his co-bloggers, marketing his blogs or simply surfing the Internet for ideas or to keep abreast with the latest developments in technology.

There are also drawbacks when your sole income is derived from such unconventional means. A common complaint is erratic income.

In Samsul's case, revenue peaks during the Christmas and the US summer seasons when sales of technology items go up, while for the rest of the year, earnings can be slow.

Last June, Liew's income was badly hit when Google dropped his blog's ranking, resulting in a drastic reduction in the number of visitors to the site. Liew has since recovered after Google upgraded his ranking.

Now, almost a quarter of a million visitors go to his blog per month.

Gobala Krishnan, 27, who sells e-books and software online, said it was more important to plan ahead and follow it through. Otherwise, his earnings would be affected in the long-run. He claimed to be making RM20,000 to RM30,000 per month.

How does one identify online cheats, especially since some of the operators are based overseas?

Krishnan offered his rule-of-thumb: "If it's too good to be true, it's probably a scam. Just like any business, Internet business takes capital, time and dedication."

Di Sebalik Wisma Putra

Oleh AZLINARIAH ABDULLAH (Utusan Malaysia. 29 Mei 2007)

WISMA Putra yang kita tahu, mungkin ia nama lain buat Kementerian Luar. Atau, kita barangkali mungkin terdetik, Wisma Putra itu bangunan menempatkan petugas Kementerian Luar, yang sekarang ini diterajui Menterinya, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar.

Tetapi bagi generasi baru pula, Wisma Putra yang mereka tahu terletaknya di Presint 2, Putrajaya, bukan di Jalan Wisma Putra, berhampiran bangunan Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP).

Pernahkah kita mahu bertanya kenapa namanya ialah Wisma Putra bukan Wisma Putri atau sebarang nama lain? Bilakah usaha penubuhannya mula dilakukan?

Di antara banyak kementerian yang ada di Malaysia, Kementerian Luar antara yang pertama memiliki bangunannya sendiri iaitu Wisma Putra.

Asal sejarah, usaha mewujudkannya (asalnya juga dipanggil Kementerian Hal Ehwal Luar (MEA), dibuat setahun sebelum negara merdeka pada tahun 1957.

Tujuan asalnya pula ialah mahu melatih sekumpulan 11 diplomat untuk bertugas bagi misi diplomatik negara di luar negara. Kumpulan perintis ini dilatih di Britain dan Australia. Antara yang paling awal berkhidmat dengan Wisma Putra ialah Tan Sri Zainal Abidin Sulung. Zainal sendiri menulis sejarah awal Kementerian Luar dalam sebuah buku terbitan Institut Diplomasi dan Hubungan Luar (IDFR) berjudul Number One Wisma Putra.

Dalam pada itu, MEA mengambil model daripada Kementerian Luar Britain, seiring dengan birokrasi yang direka dengan mengambil kira struktur Perkhidmatan Awam British. Kita juga mempunyai Malaysian Civil Service (MCS) yang kemudiannya menjadi Malaysia Home and Foreign Service (MHFS) dan sekarang ini Pegawai Tadbir dan Diplomatik (PTD).

Laman web rasmi Wisma Putra menyebut, pada awalnya, tiga pegawai membahagikan tugas masing-masing di kawasan yang dipertanggungjawabkan.

‘‘Misi diplomatik Malaysia pada awal sejarahnya ada di London, Washington, Canberra, New York, New Delhi, Jakarta dan Bangkok. Ia berkembang pesat sehingga kini negara memiliki 102 perwakilan (kedutaan dan konsuler) di negara luar.

‘‘Kedutaan sebuah negara Komanwel di sebuah negara Komanwel yang lain dikenali sebagai Suruhanjaya Tinggi, manakala di negara-negara bukan Komanwel ia dikenali sebagai Kedutaan Besar seperti biasa,’’ kata bekas diplomat yang kini pensyarah di Jabatan Pengajian Antarabangsa dan Strategik, Universiti Malaya (UM), Datuk Ahmad Mokhtar Selat.

Kalau kedutaan dibuka di ibu kota sesebuah negara, konsuler kebiasaannya dibangunkan di wilayah-wilayah.

Dalam pada itu, seperti bangunan, pejabat dan syarikat yang menyaksikan perubahan demi perubahan kerana faktor masa, Kementerian Luar juga tidak ketinggalan.

Selain namanya juga bertukar, lokasi menempatkan bangunan kementerian turut berubah.
Tahun 1966 menyaksikan perubahan bagi Kementerian Luar ini, ujar beliau yang mula ‘memasuki’ Wisma Putra pada tahun 1971.

Pada 31 Ogos, Kementerian Luar memiliki bangunannya sendiri iaitu Wisma Putra, terletak di Persiaran Hose, Bukit Petaling sebelum ia bertukar nama menjadi Jalan Wisma Putra selepas itu.

Ia dirasmikan oleh Perdana Menteri pertama, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj pada pukul 10.30 pagi, 31 Ogos 1966. Beliau juga Menteri Luar Malaysia yang pertama.

Bangunan berkenaan bernilai RM2 juta dan pada masa itu ia memiliki 200 anggota.

Dalam ucapannya, Tunku Abdul Rahman mengakui bangunan Kementerian Luar itu mempunyai signifikan tersendiri buat diri beliau dan kepada negara.

Malahan, beliau turut mengimbau bagaimana bangunan itu adalah tapak tempat tinggalnya yang dihadiahkan oleh kerajaan British semasa beliau menjadi Ketua Menteri Persekutuan Malaya pada tahun 1955.

Signifikan

‘‘Rumah itu sangat lama dan uzur. Ia bocor di sana sini, terutamanya di bilik tidur. Apabila hujan, saya dan isteri terpaksa mengalihkan katil ke mana-mana sudut yang selamat daripada ditimpa hujan. Jadi, ia memberi signifikan kepada saya apabila ia dijadikan bangunan Kementerian Luar di tapak sama,’’ katanya semasa merasmikan bangunan terbabit.

Katanya, mana-mana tetamu asing akan melawat Kementerian Luar jika datang ke Malaysia walaupun tetamu itu adalah wakil daripada kementerian lain di negaranya. Jadi, dengan menjemput tetamu luar datang, ia sedikit sebanyak ‘menonjolkan’ bagaimana rupa sebenar asal Wisma Putra itu sendiri.

Ucapan Tunku Abdul Rahman semasa merasmikan Wisma Putra itu dijilidkan sebagai volume 1-No 1 dalam buletin Wisma Putra.

Nama Wisma Putra dicadangkan oleh Tan Sri Ghazali Shafie pada tarikh ia dirasmikan.

Katanya, Wisma Putra adalah gabungan perkataan Sanskrit di mana Wisma itu bermakna bangunan dan Putra itu adalah nama Tunku Abdul Rahman.

Kata Ahmad Mokhtar, ramai yang tidak tahu bahawa surau Wisma Putra adalah dapur kediaman Tunku Abdul Rahman. Tetapi kini setelah IDFR menduduki bangunan itu, segala-galanya diruntuhkan dan tiada lagi asal kediaman Tunku Abdul Rahman.

Selepas lebih empat dekad beroperasi di Jalan Wisma Putra, Kementerian Luar sekali lagi menyaksikan perubahan di mana pada 5 September 2001, Syed Hamid sebagai Menteri Luar mendapat replika kunci bagi Kompleks Wisma Putra yang baru daripada Profesor Zainuddin Muhammad, Pengerusi Putrajaya Holding pada satu majlis ringkas di Putrajaya.

Kementerian memulakan operasi di kompleks baru yang bernilai RM170 juta itu 12 hari kemudian iaitu pada 17 September.

Kompleks itu tersergam di atas bukit dan panoramanya dikelilingi oleh Taman Wawasan dengan ia dibina di atas tanah seluar 12.12 hektar.

Kalau sebelum ini Jalan Wisma Putra dinamakan sempena terdapat Wisma Putra di situ, apa salahnya jika Presint 2, tempat duduk letak Wisma Putra sekarang ditukarkan menjadi Bukit Wisma Putra, begitu syor Ahmad Mokhtar.

Hujahnya, ia penting bagi mengekalkan penjenamaan Wisma Putra itu sendiri.

Kompleks Wisma Putra baru itu melambangkan kekuatan institusi kerajaan yang berdasarkan kepada kombinasi seni bina tradisional dan moden. Perlambangan tradisional misalnya boleh dilihat pada reka bentuk bumbung di mana ia adalah simbol rumah Melayu lama. Begitu juga motif flora yang terdapat di tingkap-tingkap bangunan tersebut. Reka bentuk geometri Islam turut dicipta pada lantai marmar dan granit di dalam bangunan.

Vehicle Maintenance

MANY people think that once they have purchased a new car, all they have to do is fill it with fuel and drive. But the responsible driver will know it takes more than that.

The fact that today's cars are equipped with high-tech computer systems does not exclude them from the need for servicing and maintenance. Cars,like all machines, need to be serviced regularly so that they can perform at the optimum level.


Check the following at least once monthly:

* Coolant level in the coolant recovery reservoir.

* Battery water levels: Check the battery indicator for the maintenance free ones.

* Air filter: Replace it when it becomes dirty or as part of a general maintenance.

* Whether the exterior lights: brake lights, turn signals and hazard warning flashers are operating properly: Make sure all the car's lights are clean and working. Keep spare bulbs and fuses in your vehicle.

* Tyre pressure: Refer to the information label.

* Keep the windshield washer fluid reservoir full: Ensure that the wiper blades are clean so that water droplets are repelled effectively.



The following items must be checked/serviced at the stipulated intervals:

- Engine oil and engine oil filter.

- Engine timing belt.

- Automatic transmission fluid.

- Manual transmission fluid.

- Transfer case fluid (4WD).

- Front and rear differential fluid.

You should, at least twice a year, do the following:

* Check the radiator, heater and air-conditioning hoses for wear and tear, leaks, or damage. If a hose looks bad, or feels too soft or too hard, it should be replaced. Replace those bulging, rotten or brittle hoses and tighten clamps.

* Check the windshield washer spray and wiper operation. Clean wiper blades with clean cloth dampened with washer liquid. Wiper blades should be replaced at least once a year. Do not wait until the rubber is worn or brittle.

* Check the headlight alignment.

* Check the muffler, exhaust pipes, shields and clamps: Look underneath for loose or broken exhaust clamps and supports. Check for holes in muffler or pipes. Replace the rusted or damaged parts.

* Check the lap/shoulder belts for wear and tear, and whether it functions. Replace worn or frayed belts.

* Check for worn tyres, cuts, bulges, excessive tread wear, and loose wheel lug nuts. Uneven wear indicates tyres are misaligned or out of balance. Regularly rotating the tyres is advisable for better handling,energy efficiency and safety. At least once a year:

* Clean body and door drain holes.

* Lubricate door hinges and check hood hinges.

* Lubricate door and hood locks and latches.

* Lubricate door rubber weather-strips.

* Have the air conditioning system checked.

* Check the power steering fluid level. If the level is down, add fluid and inspect the pump and hoses for leaks.

* Clean battery and terminals.

* Check brake fluid level.

* Check shock absorbers. Look for signs of oil seepage on shock absorbers, test shock action by bouncing the car up and down. The car should stop bouncing when you step back. Worn or leaking shocks should be replaced. Always replace shock absorbers in pairs.


For more information on how to care for your vehicle, read the Owner's Manual thoroughly.

08 Mei 2007

Falak bukan ilmu telahan

Oleh: DR. ABDUL HALIM ABDUL AZIZ (Utusan Malaysia, 7 Mei 1999)


SALAH satu hasil dari sesebuah tamadun yang besar ialah sistem pengukuran tarikh yang teratur, iaitu satu sistem kalendar yang membolehkan penentuan tarikh sesuatu peristiwa yang betul.


Tamadun Islam telah menghasilkan sistem kalendar Hijriah dengan ciri-cirinya yang tersendiri. Tidak dapat dinafikan bahawa sebelum kedatangan Islam masyarakat Arab sudah pun mengamalkan satu sistem kalendarnya yang tersendiri.


Namun terdapat beberapa kelemahan pada sistem tersebut. Selepas kedatangan Islam sistem tersebut telah diperbaiki dan dijadikan lebih sistematik dan ia mencapai kemantapan semasa pemerintahan Khalifah Umar al-Khattab.


Umat Arab sebelum Islam menggunakan kalendar tanpa rujukan jelas kepada sesuatu epok, iaitu waktu permulaan kiraan. Sesuatu tahun biasanya dirujuk kepada sesuatu kejadian yang menonjol pada tahun berkenaan, misalnya tarikh kelahiran Nabi Muhammad s.a.w dikatakan pada tahun gajah dengan merujuk kepada serangan di Mekah oleh tentera bergajah dari Yaman (Guillaume, 1978).


Kalendar ini pada asasnya bergantung kepada perjalanan bulan, tetapi pengamalannya tidak sistematik. Terdapat amalan oleh pembikin kalendar mengubah-ubah bulan sewenang-wenangnya bagi memenuhi keperluan pihak-pihak tertentu.


Agama Nabi Ibrahim dan anaknya Ismail a.s telah menetapkan bagi umat Arab empat bulan yang dilarang berperang, digelar bulan haram. Walau bagaimanapun pembuat kalendar boleh mengubah bulan-bulan kalendar bagi memenuhi kehendak mereka untuk berperang. Amalan ini telah dilarang di dalam al-Quran (at-Taubah: 37):


Mengundurkan (bulan suci itu), hanya menambah kekafiran, disesatkan dengan dia orang-orang kafir, mereka menghalalkannya dalam setahun dan mengharamkannya dalam tahun yang lain, supaya mereka bermuafakat tentang beberapa bulan yang diharamkan Allah, lalu mereka halalkan bulan yang diharamkan Allah... (terjemahan Yunus, 1957).


Perintah ini telah memastikan pengamalan kalendar yang sistematik dan bebas daripada campur tangan wewenangan manusia, dan sekali gus meletakkan satu sistem pengukuran masa yang baik dan sistematik.


Terdapat dua belas bulan di dalam sistem kalendar Islam, sebagaimana telah ditetapkan di dalam al-Quran (at-Taubah: 36):


Sesungguhnya bilangan bulan di sisi Allah, dua belas bulan, dalam kitab Allah, pada hari Allah menjadikan langit dan bumi...


Dua belas bulan tersebut (mengikut urutan) ialah Muharram, Safar, Rabiulawal, Rabiulakhir, Jamadilawal, Jamadilakhir, Rejab, Syaaban, Ramadan, Syawal, Zulkaedah, Zulhijah. Empat bulan haram yang disebutkan di atas ialah Zulkaedah, Zulhijah, Muharam dan Rejab.


Titik permulaan pengiraan tahun telah ditetapkan sebagai tahun berlakunya penghijrahan umat Islam dari Mekah ke Madinah, iaitu di sekitar tahun 622 tahun Masihi. Penetapan epok ini telah dilakukan semasa pemerintahan Khalifah Umar al-Khattab, Khalifah Islam kedua. Dengan itu kalendar Islam juga dikenali dengan gelaran kalendar Hijriah atau takwim hijriah (kerana merujuk kepada epok berlakunya hijrah).


Umumnya untuk tarikh berdasarkan kalendar Islam diletakkan huruf ''H'' pada hujung tahun berkenaan bagi membezakannya dengan tarikh Masihi, seperti 1420 H. Permulaan bulan ditentukan dengan kenampakan anak bulan yang hanya dapat dicerap selepas terbenam matahari.


Jika anak bulan ternampak, maka bulan baru bermula pada waktu tersebut, kerana permulaan hari di dalam sistem kalendar Islam ialah pada selepas ketika matahari terbenam, bukan pada tengah malam seperti yang diamalkan di dalam sistem kalendar Masihi.


Mereka bertanya kepada engkau tentang keadaan bulan. Katakanlah, bulan itu untuk menentukan waktu bagi manusia dan untuk (mengerjakan) haji...'' (al-Baqarah: 189).


Beberapa amal ibadat Islam bergantung kepada pengamalan kalendar yang betul. Tarikh-tarikh haji ditentukan berdasarkan kalendar ini. Begitu juga tarikh permulaan dan berakhir puasa yang difardukan kepada umat Islam. Pengiraan tempoh kelayakan membayar zakat juga adalah berdasarkan kalendar ini. Satu tahun Hijrah ialah lebih kurang 11 hari lebih pendek dari satu tahun Masihi. Selain itu terdapat banyak lagi amal ibadat (fardu dan sunat) yang waktunya ditentukan berdasarkan kalendar ini. Lantaran itu ilmu falak (astronomi) telah menjadi salah satu cabang ilmu yang ditetapkan sebagai fardu kifayah kepada masyarakat Islam.


Saintis Islam pada zaman lampau telah mencipta kaedah dan rumusan bagi menentukan kenampakan anak bulan. Mereka telah juga membangunkan ilmu matematik yang diperlukan untuk menentukan kedudukan matahari dan bulan dan mencipta beberapa kriteria bagi kenampakan anak bulan (Ilyas, 1995).


Perkataan almanak, iaitu buku yang mengandungi jadual kedudukan matahari, bulan, bintang dan lain-lain badan cakerawala, adalah dari bahasa Arab.


Sistem kalendar Islam adalah satu sistem kalendar lunar sepenuhnya. Ini bermaksud penentuannya hanya bergantung sepenuhnya kepada pusingan bulan yang mengelilingi bumi. Tiada hari ditambah atau ditolak untuk menyesuaikannya dengan musim.


Oleh itu dalam jangka masa yang panjang bulan-bulan dalam kalendar tersebut beranjak dari musim ke musim. Kalau pada satu ketika bulan Ramadan (bulan puasa) berada pada musim panas, satu waktu akan datang ia akan berlaku dalam musim sejuk.


Amalan ini berbeza dengan kebanyakan amalan kalendar lunar di dalam masyarakat-masyarakat lain (seperti masyarakat Cina dan India) di mana dari masa ke semasa dilakukan penyesuaian dengan menambahkan bilangan hari supaya perjalanan bulan (kalendar) itu sejajar dengan musim. Kalendar Masihi pula bergantung sepenuhnya kepada peredaran matahari, oleh itu sentiasa sejajar dengan musim.


Ilmu untuk menentukan awal bulan melalui prinsip-prinsip sains berdasarkan jangkaan kenampakan anak bulan adalah penting dengan pembinaan kalendar untuk masa hadapan dan juga untuk menjejak tarikh bagi masa silam.


Bagi penggunaan kalendar yang lebih meluas masyarakat Islam sekarang memerlukan kalendar yang dapat menentukan tarikh beberapa tahun ke hadapan supaya mereka dapat membuat perancangan yang rapi.


Oleh itu usaha penyelidikan yang telah dijalankan oleh Universiti Sains Malaysia melalui Unit Ilmu Falak dan Sains Atmosfera yang dipimpin oleh Prof. Mohammad Ilyas ke arah memantapkan kriteria penentuan awal bulan adalah usaha yang penting untuk zaman ini.


Usaha ini bertujuan untuk menghilangkan ralat (atau perbezaan)- di antara hasil pencerapan sebenar dan kaedah pengiraan. Sokongan kerajaan negeri Pulau Pinang dalam membina balai cerap Pusat Falak Sheikh Tahir di Pantai Acheh bagi tujuan penyelidikan di atas akan dapat membantu menjayakan usaha ini.


Terdapat sedikit salah faham di dalam masyarakat Islam tentang pemahaman istilah ilmu falak (astronomi). Ada yang tersalah tanggap bahawa ilmu falak itu sama dengan atau berkait dengan ilmu nujum (astrologi).


Sekarang tanggapan ini boleh dianggap salah kerana ilmu falak muncul sebagai satu cabang ilmu yang dibangunkan berdasarkan kaedah saintifik yang dapat diuji dan dibuktikan, padahal astrologi tidak dapat dibuktikan secara saintifik.


Kemungkinan besar pada awal-awal pembentukan ilmu falak, kedua-dua aspek (astrologi dan astronomi) bercampur aduk dan tidak dapat dipisahkan. Jika demikian tidak hairanlah mengapa terdapat beberapa ulama silam yang menolak ilmu falak.


Tetapi kini ilmu falak (astronomi) bukan lagi merupakan ilmu telahan atau teka-meneka tetapi adalah sebahagian daripada ilmu sains yang terdedah kepada proses penelitian, pengujian dan kritikan masyarakat saintifik sama seperti ilmu sains yang lain.


Dengan bantuan peralatan moden dan pengetahuan saintifik yang lebih mendalam penentuan posisi matahari dan bulan dan juga waktu ijtimak bulan-matahari kini boleh diketahui dengan tepat.


Bahkan tahap ilmu kini mencapai kehalusan sehingga manusia mampu mendarat di bulan. Oleh itu tanggapan ilmu falak sebagai ilmu yang bersifat telahan sudah tidak diterima lagi.


* DR. ABDUL HALIM ABDUL AZIZ, Pensyarah Unit Ilmu Falak dan Sains Atmosfera Universiti Sains Malaysia.

07 Mei 2007

POP your Yahoo! Mail



Many long years ago (actually, prior to 2002), Yahoo! allowed access to its Yahoo! Mail service via POP3.

This meant users could read their mail using e-mail programs such as Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, or Eudora.

Unfortunately, the company decided to disable its free POP3 access sometime in 2002, and now only provides POP3 access to premium users.

As stated on the Yahoo! Mail help page: "The ability to access Yahoo! Mail via a POP3 e-mail client (such as Outlook or Outlook Express) is only available to customers of our premium Yahoo! Mail Plus service.

If you have not purchased the Yahoo! Mail Plus service, you will be unable to retrieve messages via an e-mail client." Well, that's not true.

The fact is you can still use your favourite e-mail programs with Yahoo! Mail if you run YPOPs, a free and open-source program which translates webmail on-the-fly to the POP3 format.





BROWSER NOT REQUIRED: You can still read your Yahoo! Mail in your preferred mail program with YPOPS.


But before I proceed with this review of YPOPs, there are a few of things you should know.

Firstly, I've grown less dependent on Yahoo! Mail, mainly because I signed up with a commercial e-mail provider a few years ago.

Secondly, Yahoo! Mail faces stiff competition from Google's Gmail service, which still offers free POP3 access.

And finally, Yahoo! insists on using exclamation marks in their company and product names, so relax, dear reader, I am not shouting at you.


POP3 via the Web

YPOPs acts as a e-mail proxy which sits in between your e-mail program and Yahoo!'s website.

So instead of connecting to Yahoo!, your e-mail program connects to YPOPs, which in turn logs on to your Yahoo! Mail account without launching a web browser, reads your mailbox and translates the contents to POP3 mail.

When launched, YPOPs takes up about 5.2MB of RAM and just sits unobtrusively in the system tray; even its icon can be turned off — YPOPs has a "hide tray icon" option.

YPOPs doesn't have a progress bar or animated icon, so you can only find out if it is working by checking your e-mail program's status box (see image).







The YPOPs webpage has guides on how to set up the program to work with most major e-mail programs.

This basically involves setting your POP3 server to 127.0.0.1 or Localhost instead of Yahoo!'s servers.

The program has a multitude of configuration options (see image).

For example, you can choose to delete downloaded mail off the Yahoo! server (or not), download bulk mail (spam), or download mail only from specific folders, plus YPOPs also has support for web proxies.









In one week of testing, YPOPs retrieved hundreds of messages off my Yahoo! account, some with large attachments.

Impressively, YPOPs can also send e-mail through your Yahoo! Mail account, in effect, acting as an SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) proxy.

It even provides the option to save sent mail in your Yahoo! Mail "Sent Items" folder.



Challenges

While YPOPs works remarkably well, it isn't a 100% substitute for a true POP3 e-mail service.

For instance, it won't work when Yahoo!'s webmail is unavailable, or when the server produces error pages.

Now this is beyond the control of YPOPs, but in my experience, Yahoo!'s webmail tends to go down more often than most POP3 e-mail providers.

Fortunately, YPOPs fails gracefully, and doesn't lose any messages if it encounters problems with Yahoo!'s webmail servers.

Another drawback for YPOPs is when Yahoo! issues a "challenge screen" or Captcha (an acronym for "completely automated public Turing test to tell computers and humans apart") when you try to send out certain types of e-mail, or if you try to email too many people at once.

Although this only happens occasionally, that means YPOPs can't send out the e-mail, and you will need to log onto Yahoo! Mail to solve the Captcha (see image).






YPOPs can't handle Captchas.


To be fair, Captchas are designed to foil automated software, so one should not expect YPOPs to handle them.

YPOPs! does support attachments, but note that the restrictions imposed for Yahoo! Mail apply here as well.

For instance, Yahoo! allows a maximum 10MB of attachments when sending and receiving e-mail.



Conclusion



I must confess that I'm amazed that YPOPs even works, and not only that, it does its job efficiently.

If you have messages in Yahoo! Mail that you would prefer to read in your favourite e-mail program, then you can't go wrong with YPOPs.

The program is lightweight, configurable, and does all that it claims to do; plus, you can't complain about its price.

The alternative would be to sign up for Yahoo! Mail Plus which would cost you US$20 (RM70) a year.



Pros: Free; lots of configuration options; reliable.


Cons: Can't deal with Captchas and webmail outages.

Download : http://ypopsemail.com/

04 Mei 2007

Are you ready for DirectX 10?


The biggest draw for gamers in Windows Vista is its support for DirectX 10. This issue we take a look at what gamers can expect from the new graphics programming tool.

Windows Vista has been out for nearly two months now and it is only a matter of time before PC gamers will have to make the switch to the new operating system (OS).

Without a doubt, Windows Vista sure looks pretty with its spiffy Aero interface and upgraded features for home and business users. However, the biggest draw for PC gamers is the inclusion of DirectX 10 in the OS.


For the uninitiated, DirectX 10 is basically a collection of APIs (Application Program Interfaces). It is widely used in the development of computer games for Windows and used by software producers to render high quality 3D graphics using the latest 3D graphics hardware.

DirectX 10 holds many benefits for PC gamers in general, boasting more efficient performance and stunning graphics – it is the next big thing in the upgrade path in terms of graphics.

So settle down and strap up as we take a look at the benefits the Windows Vista-exclusive DirectX 10 holds in store for gamers.


Going BIG on graphics

Needless to say, 2007 is going to be an exciting year to be a PC gamer. PC games have long been the hallmark of the latest and greatest graphics set to grace a game system.

In the past they have always been one step above consoles, with cutting edge games like Half-Life, Black & White, Far Cry and many more.

But the gap is slowly closing as next-generation consoles such as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation3 push new graphical boundaries that rival those of the PC.


NIGHT
AND DAY:
Alan Wake features some nifty lighting effects that an dramatically alter the way you look at your environment.

DirectX 10 is set to deliver what it is hoped to be the next-evolution of graphics in games. Giving a boost in the graphics between PC and consoles, DirectX 10 holds lots of goodies for PC gamers.



Increased CPU performance

One of the most notable upgrades DirectX 10 has over its predecessor is its tremendous increase in performance. Smarter resource management, improved API and driver efficiencies and move more work from the CPU to the GPU.

This means that DirectX 10 will reduce CPU utilisation and increase graphics card power. Also, the enforcement of stricter hardware standards will make games easier to develop.



Stricter hardware standards

Speaking in terms of hardware standards, standards are one thing that videogame consoles have going for them.

This is because games created for consoles have a set standard and be played across all consoles of the same make.

The same cannot be said true for PC games, as developers need to consider the type of hardware and graphics card on an individual's computer.

That being said, having to cater to different standards makes it difficult to develop games.

With DirectX 10 enforcing more standard hardware requirements, developers will be able to focus on making the game itself and not have to worry on differing hardware standards.



Virtualised memory

Another benefit is the use of virtualised memory for the GPU. Virtualised memory will benefit the video card by enabling it to use space in RAM to store information that would not have fit on a local video card memory.

Previously, textures were limited by the amount of onboard memory possessed by the graphics processor. Using virtualised memory, textures can be stored on the system memory thereby eliminating any memory bottleneck on texture size.

Basically, games will feature richer textures making them prettier to look at.

It is worth noting that some Windows XP games will have enhanced DirectX 10 modes when running under Vista. Games such as Company of Heroes and Supreme Commander will receive the DirectX 10 treatment with improved graphics and smoother frame rates.


Greater amount of detail

DirectX 10 promises to add a new level of realism to games with an incredible amount of emphasis to making characters look life-like.

If you look closely at some sample screenshots, you can see that character details stem right down to the pockmarks on their faces.

However, the biggest improvement gamers are likely to see is the greater environment complexity and increased amount of detail.

In-game environments will look more realistic with better-looking foliage, grass, trees and rocks. By allowing data to be generated within the graphics processor, the game will be able to add specific shading parameters and even change the geometry of in-game environmental objects adding to the complexity of the scene.

To give characters a more realistic appearance, DirectX 10 enables better-looking shadows to add a level of depth to characters. On DirectX 9, shadows were generated on the CPU, thus slowing down the performance.

However, on DirectX 10, shadow volume can be generated and rendered entirely on the GPU, easing the processing burden on the CPU.



Seeing more, but different

Another benefit from offloading work to the GPU is the ability to generate more objects on screen. Currently in games, you might find that blades of grass on a field are drawn up to look exactly the same.

This can detract the realism of the game because in the real world, no two objects are exactly the same.

However, next-generation DirectX 10 games will feature thousands of unique objects that will make the environment more realistic and immersive. So each generated object is not just carbon copies of one another but rather, unique objects that differ in perceptible size and weight.



Hardware matters

DirectX 10 is going to be visual treat for the PC gamer – that much is certain. However to enjoy the terrific graphics, you are going to need both Windows Vista and a DirectX 10-compliant graphics card.



8800GTX



At present there are only three DirectX 10 graphics cards – the nVidia 8800GTS (320MB and 640MB versions) and the GeForce 8800GTX (768MB), with prices ranging from about RM1,200 to RM2,400. ATI has yet to release a DirectX 10 graphics card at the time of writing.

While there isn't much choice out there at the moment, news of nVidia releasing more DirectX 10-enabled graphics cards (there's even an AGP version) sometime soon may help ease the burden for budget gamers.



Be prepared to be amazed

PC gamers are faced with a tough decision. With so many drool-worthy DirectX 10 games set to be released in the coming months, it is getting harder to ignore the growing need to upgrade.

With the future clearly leading towards Windows Vista, DirectX 10 may just be the push needed to get PC gamers to make the switch over to Vista.

But is it too soon to upgrade and will the potentially enormous cost associated with upgrading deter gamers?

That's a question only gamers (and their wallets) themselves can answer.

TM leads push for new undersea cable

By H. AMIR KHALID (The Star Thursday May 3, 2007)

PUTRAJAYA: TM Bhd and 16 other telecommunications carriers, mostly based in South-East Asia, have signed an agreement to build a US$500mil (RM1.75bil) undersea fibre-optic cable linking the region to the United States.

The 20,000km long Asia-America Gateway, scheduled for completion by the end of next year, will avoid the most earthquake-prone undersea cable routes passing through North Asia.

As one of the lead members of the consortium, TM contributed US$50mil (RM175mil) to the total cost, according to TM chief executive for Malaysia business Zamzamzairani Mohamad Isa. The other consortium members include AT&T, Philippines Long Distance Telephone Co (PLDT), Bharti Airtel of India, British Telecom Global Network Services, CAT Telecom of Thailand, Eastern Telecommunications Philippines Inc, and Indosat of Indonesia.

Undersea cables have traditionally passed through the northern Pacific, because they carry traffic from north Asian countries like Japan, South Korea, China and Taiwan. But this has meant that they pass through the most seismically active parts of the Pacific Ocean floor.

The disadvantage of this route was demonstrated late last year, when an earthquake off the southern coast of Taiwan damaged several undersea cable systems, disrupting for several weeks telephone and Internet links between the Asia-Pacific region and the rest of the world.

The AAG cable's western terminus will be in Mersing. It will run from there through major landing points in Lantau in Hong Kong, Currimao in the Philippines, and Hawaii to its eastern terminus in San Luis Obispo, California.

There would also be secondary landing points in Thailand, Singapore, Brunei, and Vietnam.
The cable route will avoid the Pacific Ocean's "Ring of Fire," seismically and volcanically active regions along tectonic plate boundaries, but will pass less active tectonic plate boundaries in South-East Asia, Zamzamzairani said.

In addition, a cable passing through a different part of the Pacific Ocean floor would reduce the likelihood of major disruptions similar to that caused by last year's Taiwanese earthquake as it would be unlikely for an earthquake to happen in two different regions at the same time.

The AAG cable's initial capacity will be 480 gigabits per second (Gbps)in total, but this could go up to as much as 1.92 terabits per second if the electronics were upgraded in the future.

Zamzamzairani said the cable would increase add TM's data capacity by 60Gbps from the current 75Gbps. The additional capacity could be used to improve the Internet experience for TM Net customers, or distributed to TM subsidiary companies in the region, he said.

The AAG will increase both the capacity and diversity of Internet links between Asia and the United States, according to TM group chief executive Datuk Abdul Wahid Omar.

"It will also serve as a direct link between major Asian regional centres with the United States. This will make it more viable for more foreign investments to pour into these fast growing economies and subsequently, open up new business opportunities for all," Abdul Wahid added.

Energy Communications and Water Minister Datuk Dr Lim Keng Yaik, who witnessed the signing ceremony, praised TM for its foresight in coming up with a long term solution that would prevent a recurrence of the telecommunications and Internet disruption caused by the Taiwan earthquake.

He called on other local companies to emulate TM in coming up with similar solutions that aided the country and the region.PUTRAJAYA: TM Bhd and 16 other telecommunications carriers, mostly based in South-East Asia, have signed an agreement to build a US$500mil (RM1.75bil) undersea fibre-optic cable linking the region to the United States.

The 20,000km long Asia-America Gateway, scheduled for completion by the end of next year, will avoid the most earthquake-prone undersea cable routes passing through North Asia.

As one of the lead members of the consortium, TM contributed US$50mil (RM175mil) to the total cost, according to TM chief executive for Malaysia business Zamzamzairani Mohamad Isa. The other consortium members include AT&T, Philippines Long Distance Telephone Co (PLDT), Bharti Airtel of India, British Telecom Global Network Services, CAT Telecom of Thailand, Eastern Telecommunications Philippines Inc, and Indosat of Indonesia.

Undersea cables have traditionally passed through the northern Pacific, because they carry traffic from north Asian countries like Japan, South Korea, China and Taiwan. But this has meant that they pass through the most seismically active parts of the Pacific Ocean floor.

The disadvantage of this route was demonstrated late last year, when an earthquake off the southern coast of Taiwan damaged several undersea cable systems, disrupting for several weeks telephone and Internet links between the Asia-Pacific region and the rest of the world.

The AAG cable's western terminus will be in Mersing. It will run from there through major landing points in Lantau in Hong Kong, Currimao in the Philippines, and Hawaii to its eastern terminus in San Luis Obispo, California.

There would also be secondary landing points in Thailand, Singapore, Brunei, and Vietnam.
The cable route will avoid the Pacific Ocean's "Ring of Fire," seismically and volcanically active regions along tectonic plate boundaries, but will pass less active tectonic plate boundaries in South-East Asia, Zamzamzairani said.

In addition, a cable passing through a different part of the Pacific Ocean floor would reduce the likelihood of major disruptions similar to that caused by last year's Taiwanese earthquake as it would be unlikely for an earthquake to happen in two different regions at the same time.

The AAG cable's initial capacity will be 480 gigabits per second (Gbps)in total, but this could go up to as much as 1.92 terabits per second if the electronics were upgraded in the future.

Zamzamzairani said the cable would increase add TM's data capacity by 60Gbps from the current 75Gbps. The additional capacity could be used to improve the Internet experience for TM Net customers, or distributed to TM subsidiary companies in the region, he said.

The AAG will increase both the capacity and diversity of Internet links between Asia and the United States, according to TM group chief executive Datuk Abdul Wahid Omar.

"It will also serve as a direct link between major Asian regional centres with the United States. This will make it more viable for more foreign investments to pour into these fast growing economies and subsequently, open up new business opportunities for all," Abdul Wahid added.

Energy Communications and Water Minister Datuk Dr Lim Keng Yaik, who witnessed the signing ceremony, praised TM for its foresight in coming up with a long term solution that would prevent a recurrence of the telecommunications and Internet disruption caused by the Taiwan earthquake.
He called on other local companies to emulate TM in coming up with similar solutions that aided the country and the region.

Mencuri maklumat melalui Internet

Oleh: RABIAH AHMAD (Utusan Malaysia, 2 Mei 2007)

Kejuruteraan sosial atau social engineering adalah satu bidang di mana maklumat diperoleh oleh pencuri maklumat tanpa disedari oleh penyimpan maklumat. Melalui perbualan di telefon misalnya, penjenayah memperkenalkan diri sebagai pekerja bank dan meminta mangsa menyerahkan nombor kad pengenalan atau kad kredit. Ini adalah contoh paling mudah.

Selain itu kita sering berhadapan dengan kaedah jurujual yang datang ke rumah dengan helah ingin membuat kaji selidik terhadap sesuatu perkara dan bertanyakan bermacam-macam maklumat peribadi.

Mangsa selalunya terpesona dengan pujukan janji dan pujukan penjenayah lantas menyerahkan maklumat dengan rela hati. Menerusi Internet jurutera sosial ini juga dapat mencari mangsa.
Contoh yang paling mudah adalah menerusi laman laman web yang kononnya menawarkan skim cepat kaya melalui pelaburan Internet.


Halaman web palsu direka dan pelbagai tawaran skim cepat kaya dipaparkan untuk menarik pelanggan. Bagi yang mudah terpedaya dengan senang membuat bayaran pendahuluan dan memberikan maklumat peribadi seperti nombor akaun bank.

Bayangkan hanya dengan tawaran AS$380 pada bulan pertama mangsa memberikan nombor akaun bank kepada orang yang tidak dikenali.

Setelah mendapat maklumat penting ini langkah seterusnya iaitu mencuri wang secara atas talian dapat dijalankan tanpa disedari oleh mangsa.

Jurutera sosial juga akan menggunakan sistem mel elektronik untuk mendapatkan maklumat mangsa. Penghantar mel ini menyatakan penerimanya telah memenangi sesuatu pertandingan dan hadiah yang amat lumayan. Jika terperdaya mangsa akan membalas mel ini dan menyerahkan segala maklumat rahsia kepada penjenayah.

Kaedah ini dinamakan social phising yang merupakan salah satu cabang dalam social engineering. Pelbagai contoh cerita benar yang berkaitan dengan jenayah komputer berasaskan kepada social engineering.

Mempercayai kenalan siber tanpa sebarang pengenalan diri menyebabkan mangsa dengan rela hati membuka saluran maklumat kepada penjenayah. Aplikasi chating kadangkala mendorong mangsa meyakini seseorang tanpa sedar.

Menurut kajian, jenayah komputer dan Internet bersandarkan kepada kaedah ini dapat dikawal dengan kesedaran yang mendalam terhadap keselamatan terutama bidang maklumat. Sistem keselamatan maklumat yang paling berkesan perlu bermula dengan kesedaran pengguna. Kurang kesedaran mengenai keselamatan komputer dan Internet punca utama maklumat disalurkan kepada orang yang tidak bertanggungjawab.

Polisi keselamatan maklumat yang terperinci dan tegas dikatakan mampu mengawal mangsa dari menyalurkan maklumat tanpa sedar.

Pertahankan tanah pusaka

Oleh HASSAN AHMAD (Utusan Malaysia, 3 Mei 2007)

KITA menjadi rakyat negara ini kerana antara lain kita mempunyai kawasan atau tanah - tanah pusaka nenek moyang kita. Dengan kata lain, kita mempunyai tanah, tempat tumpah darah kita, yang di atasnya kita mempunyai hak mendirikan rumah kita, bercucuk tanam, dan sebagainya.
Inilah salah satu kriteria penting yang mentakrifkan kedaulatan sesebuah negara atau sesuatu bangsa, iaitu kebebasan atau kemerdekaannya di tanah airnya sendiri.


Kedaulatan negara dan bangsa bukanlah ‘benda’ yang abstrak, bukan konsep yang diciptakan oleh imaginasi dan perasaan cinta tanah air semata-mata, tetapi ia merupakan konsep atau entiti yang nyata, yang konkrit.

Tanpa tanah, tanpa kawasan yang kita miliki sejak zaman nenek moyang kita sebagai pusaka kita, tidak bolehlah kita dikatakan bangsa yang ‘berdaulat’.

Jikalau kita hanya menumpang atas tanah milik orang asing di tanah air sendiri disebabkan tanah kita sudah berikan kepada pelabur asing, itu bererti kita sudah kehilangan suatu hak harta, iaitu tanah, yang mentakrifkan kita sebagai ‘rakyat’ tanah melayu atau Malaysia ini.

Taraf kita samalah seperti warga asing yang ‘menumpang’ di Malaysia (misalnya sebagai pekerja asing).

Perhatikan bahawa orang Melayu menggunakan istilah tanah air. Gabungan dua kata ini, ‘tanah’ dan ‘air’ tidak terdapat dalam bahasa Inggeris atau dalam bahasa-bahasa lain.

Berdasarkan istilah ini kita dapati bahawa orang Melayu mementingkan tanah dan air bukan sahaja sebagai syarat untuk membentuk konsep ‘negeri’ tetapi juga sebagai sumber ekonomi dan sumber hidup yang asas bagi rakyat di negeri ini.

Tanpa tanah dan tanpa air, manusia sukar hidup di dunia ini. Kerana inilah sejak dahulu hingga hari ini, tanah - dan air - sering menjadi punca peperangan. Rakyat Palestin, misalnya, sanggup mati untuk mempertahankan tanah mereka, walaupun seinci, atau untuk mendapatkan semula tanah yang telah dirampas oleh Israel, sama ada melalui peperangan ataupun melalui taktik dan muslihat lain yang lebih halus.

Maka hairanlah kita sekiranya ada negara yang sanggup menjual tanah, air dan sebagainya kepada orang asing atau kepada negara asing kononnya demi kemajuan, demi pembangunan ekonomi - yang selalunya hasilnya atau kesannya tidak sampai kepada rakyat yang miskin dan terpinggir.

Barangkali bangsa Melayu patut belajar daripada sejarah, tentang bagaimana Singapura, misalnya, akhirnya jatuh ke tangan orang lain, melalui syarikat asing, iaitu Syarikat East India Company atau syarikat Hindia Timur Inggeris (SHT). Stamford Raffles bertugas sebagai wakil Syarikat ini yang ditubuhkan oleh kerajaan Inggeris untuk mencari kawasan perdagangan dan ekonomi di luar England, dan akhirnya untuk menjajah negeri orang lain.

Apabila penjajah Belanda menguasai Melaka hingga awal abad ke-19 (setelah mereka mengalahkan bangsa Portugis di situ dengan bantuan askar-askar Melayu dari Johor), Syarikat Hindia Timur Inggeris mulai mencari kawasan lain untuk menjadi kawasan atau pusat perdagangannya untuk menyaingi Melaka.

Singapura

Kawasan yang dianggap sesuai ialah Singapura. Pulau ini ialah milik bangsa Melayu atau merupakan tanah takluk kerajaan Johor-Riau, bukan merupakan pulau kosong seperti “Pulau Robinson Crusoe” yang boleh diduduki, dicuri atau dimiliki oleh bangsa lain.

Raffles cepat-cepat mempengaruhi Temenggung Abdul Rahman, waris kerabat diraja Johor yang berada di pulau itu. Abdul Rahman dianugerahi gelaran ‘Temenggong’ oleh kerajaan Johor-Riau dan Singapura diberikan kepadanya sebagai hak warisnya. Raffles mengadakan perjanjian (pada 30 Januari 1819) dengan Temenggung Abdul Rahman, membenarkan Syarikat Hindia Timur Inggeris membina loji atau kilang di Singapura. Sebagai balasannya, SHTI bersetuju memberi semacam sagu hati atau elaun sebanyak ‘3000 rial setahun’ kepada Temenggung.

Pada 6 Februari 1819 suatu perjanjian lain telah ditandatangani antara Raffles bagi pihak SHT dengan Sultan Hussain Muhammad Syah, Sultan Johor-Riau, dan Temenggung Abdul Rahman untuk mengesahkan perjanjian yang terdahulu. Salah satu fasal baru, iaitu Fasal Kelima, yang terkandung dalam Perjanjian baharu itu ialah, Sultan Hussain dan Temenggung Abdul Rahman tidak dibenarkan membuat apa-apa perjanjian perniagaan dengan mana-mana pihak lain, baik dengan orang putih dari Eropah, baik dari AS, di Singapura selama ‘kompeni Inggeris ada duduk di dalamnya’.

Perjanjian ini juga menetapkan pembahagian hasil negeri: Temenggong mendapat dua bahagian daripada ‘hasil cukai segala perahu kapal orang hitam dan laka oleh kompeni Inggeris membayar segala belanja atas menjaga bendera (iaitu bendera Inggeris) terima hasil cukai itu’.

Melalui Perjanjian itu SHII tidak sahaja diberi hak untuk mendirikan kemudahan perniagaan di pulau Singapura tetapi juga hak menempatkan angkatan tenteranya di pulau itu dan hak untuk menguatkuasakan undang-undang dan peraturan Inggeris ke atas penduduk pulau, khususnya di kawasan yang dikuasai oleh syarikat Inggeris itu.

Pada 2 Ogos 1824 pihak Inggeris yang diwakili oleh John Crawford, Residen Singapura, dan Sultan Hussain serta Temenggong Abdul Rahman menandatangani satu perjanjian lagi. Melalui perjanjian ini kedua-dua pembesar Melayu itu bersetuju menyerahkan pulau Singapura ‘dengan laut dan selat dan pulau kecil-kecil iaitu sepuluh batu jauhnya berkeliling Pulau Singapura itu menjadi hak milik kerajaan Kompeni Inggeris sampai kepada warisnya yang akan menggantikan dia selama-lamanya’

Sebagai gantinya, SHT bersetuju membayar kepada Sultan Hussain tiga puluh tiga ribu dua ratus ringgit (33,200 ringgit) sekali bayaran dan pada tiap-tiap bulan seribu tiga ratus ringgit (1,300 ringgit) seumur hidup Sultan itu. Temenggong Abdul Rahman dibayar dua puluh enam ribu delapan ratus ringgit (26,800 ringgit) sekali bayaran dan sebanyak tujuh ratus ringgit (700 ringgit) sebulan seumur hidup. Perjanjian ini juga menyebut bahawa sekiranya Sultan Hussain dan Temenggong atau waris mereka berhajat untuk berpindah dari Singapura dan tinggal di mana-mana tanah lain milik mereka (yakni, di luar pulau Singapura) maka SHT akan membayar sebanyak dua puluh ribu ringgit (20,000 ringgit) lagi kepada Sultan Hussain atau warisnya dan sebanyak lima belas ribu ringgit (15,000 ringgit) lagi kepada Temenggong atau warisnya.

Segala hak milik mereka yang tidak dipindahkan, seperti tanah, rumah, kebun dan segala jenis kayu yang terdapat di pulau Singapura dan di semua pulau takluk Singapura diserahkan kepada SHT sampai kepada warisnya selama-lamanya. Tetapi selama kedua-dua pembesar Melayu itu menerima bayaran bulanan daripada SHT mereka tidak dibenarkan mengadakan apa-apa perjanjian dengan mana-mana bangsa lain tanpa pengetahuan SHT atau warisnya yang akan menggantikannya selama-lamanya.

Abdullah Munsyi, dalam karyanya yang terkenal, Hikayat Abdullah, menceritakan bagaimana Sultan Hussain dan Temenggung terpaksa mengemis meminta wang tambahan daripada Raffles atau dari SHT kerana mereka sentiasa kehabisan wang untuk membiayai perbelanjaan para pengikut mereka yang berfoya-foya di pulau itu, dan sering melakukan pergaduhan dan kekacauan.

Akhirnya mereka ‘dinasihatkan’ oleh Raffles supaya berpindah dari kawasan Melayu di Kampung Gelam ke kawasan tidak maju, jauh dari pusat bandar, iaitu ke Teluk Belanga. Memang itulah rancangan jangka panjang SHT, iaitu untuk mengusir mereka dari Singapura atau untuk meminggirkan mereka daripada ‘proses pembangunan’ yang sedang dilakukan oleh SHT. Abdullah Munsyi menjelaskan bagaimana pembesar Melayu itu tertipu oleh muslihat dan ‘mulut manis’ Raffles memujuk orang Melayu supaya berpindah ke kawasan lain.

Raffles menggunakan wang untuk mempengaruhi pembesar Melayu supaya menyerahkan tanah mereka kepada syarikat asing, iaitu Syarikat East India Company atau Syarikat Hindia Timur Inggeris.
Demikianlah kisah bagaimana tanah milik kerajaan Melayu, milik nenek moyang Melayu, akhirnya dijual atau berpindah milik kepada orang asing melalui sebuah syarikat yang disebut Syarikat East-India Company.

Diharap kisah ini tidak berulang lagi. Tandanya sudah ada dan nampaknya makin hari makin jelas. Bangsa yang pandai, yang cemerlang akal, yang bijak, tidak akan menjual ‘tanah airnya’ kepada kuasa asing melalui pelaburan asing, atau pun melalui diplomasi tolak ansur’.


* DATUK DR. HASSAN AHMAD ialah Pengerusi Eksekutif Yayasan Karyawan.