Thursday, July 21, 2022

A good country to go missing

Puchong, 21 July: If you want to get lost, Malaysia is probably the best place in the world to go missing. Why? Because nobody will really notice, not even the police, and people will forget that you’d gone missing as soon as their minds make them forget, which is very quickly. 

The case of the former tv personality Zalina Azman, who has gone missing since Nov last year - yes, it’s almost end-July 2022 now - has gotten sone Malaysians concerned. At least more concerned than they would be if a 10-year old girl of the average Mat goes missing. So concerend that the police had to explain why it took them so long to finally broadcast the news of the missing Zalina. [Not very reassuring, though: if that’s how lonnng it took the police to coordinate efforts with the other government departments, bad news for the missing and the lost. Read Kenapa lambat hebah kehilangan Zalina? Ini penjelasan polis.] 

But, hey, I’m not sitting on the cops, okay? We the media didn’t do much better, actually. I sent a phone message to an editor of a Melayu news portal on Dec 1 last year to tell him that I heard a police report had been lodged about Zalina going missing. He sounded genuinely concerned, this editor,  but nothing in the news every came out of it. If it had, the police would have to come out a lot sooner and tell us that another person - this time a media celebrity - had gone missing in Malaysia.

And we would have forgotten all about it much earlier, too.

p.s Reminds me of Nurin Jazlin, every time someone lodges a missing person report. And, what do you know: the hunt for the killer is still on, or so say our police as reported by our media.

Monday, July 11, 2022

One election, three winners - the joke about Ampang’s PKR election


Bangsar, 11 July: It was probably one of the most bizzarre party elections ever. In a keen fight to pick a divisional chief for Pandan at PKR elections on June 24, Daing Muhammad Reduan emerged the clear winner over six other candidates, including favourites Hans Isaac and Altimet. Daing was later disqualified (read here). In the re-election on June 29, 51-year old Hans, a former actor, beat rapper Altimet by two votes. Such a razor-thin margin shoud trigger an automatic recount but in this case the recount was only done a few days later when Altimet asked for it. On July 9, more than ten days after the re-election, Altimet was declared the new winner (read here).

You can try to explain the process or the principles behind the Ampang elections. Most people, however,  have made up their minds about one thing: that this still has no idea how to conduct a free and fair election. At the next general elections, nobody from PKR should be taken seriously if they were to complain of rigging, lack of transparency or vote-buying.

In any case, congrats Altimet. That is, if the election committee does not order another re-electiona week or two from now. Nine votes, after all, is still razor-thin by any standard.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Altimet-ly, hard work pays off for Hans Isaac the Ampang boy

Hans-ups Altimet by two votes in PKR Ampang re-election - The Vibes

The Kita Budak Ampang story (watch the You Tube) has a happy ending for Hans Isaac, after all, at least for now. After two years of walking and talkng the grounds of Ampang in the hope of convincing the PKR members there that he is their best candidate for branch chairman, the celebrity businessman made the cut yesteday by beating Altimet, another big name in the entertainment business, in a tight re-election (read PKR disqualifies Ampang chief Daing Muhammad, fresh polls June 29). 

Party insiders believe this hard-earned victory opens up a lot of possibilities for Hans: he could even be fielded as a PKR candidate at the next general elections.. If party big boss Anwar Ibrahim also believes that Hans has what it takes, that is. And if you ask me, it’s hard not to believe in Hans if you know what he’s had to go through to take on the bigwigs in Ampang and within his party. Especially how he’s set out, tirelessly and almost single-handedly, to help and motivate the Ampang constituents during the pandemic. 

It has only been two years since Hans set his sights to becone a politician in Anwar’s party and look at how far he’s come. Imagine what this 50-year old newbie can do in the years to come to help mend our broken politics - and dreams.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Malaysian journalists told once more they’re just NOT good enough!

The Hadiah Kajai is deemed as one of the highest awards that the long-suffering Malaysian journalist can expect to win locally. Last weekend at the Malam Wartawan Malaysia, however, there was no wiinner. According to the Malaysian Press Institute, which organised the MWM where dozens of “lesser” awards were given out, its esteemed panel of judges unanimously felt that nobody had met the criteria set for Kajai. In other words, no Malaysian journalist was good enough. 

Not good enough for the MPI (or its panel of judges, MPI would insist), that is. Many of my colleages and I would beg to differ, We are of the opinion that the best article submitted to the MPI for the awards, no matter how weak or pathetic the standards of the competition was, ought to be awarded the Kajai. “The best of the worst”, if you like. Becaues telling all those editors, sub-editors, writers and reporters that none of them and none of their articles met the MPI’s standards is a great insult. Unkind.

MPI’s standards (oh, sorry, the judges’ standards) must be so damn high.

Congrats to all the winners of those lesser awards. May our journalism standards improve for next year’s Malam Wartawan Malaysia and the years to come so that we can have a Kajai winner every year.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Thick prick in the wall

After all these years, some bloggers are still considered by the authorities as a nuisance. The blogger behind the popular site called Another Brick in the Wall must have been one big pain in the ass (either to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission  or the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia. If you click on the site’s link (ABITW is still on my blogroll, for now) you won’t be able to open the blog because it has been blocked. Yes, blocked by the MCMC or the Ministry. 

We were more amused then irritated by the move by the authorities to make the blog “disappear”. Because it is such an primitive way of dealing with the digital media. It makes the Ismail Sabri admin look stupid. They ought to be thrown back to the Stone Age.

To read stuff written by this so-called enemy of the state, simply click HEREHe now goes by the name Thick as a Wall.

Don’t let the crooked hijack our courts

If some Dick implicates me in the court of law for receiving (or paying) bribes, I hope you won’t be a dick, too, and believe every word said under oath as gospel truth. Desperate people will do anything to get out of the hole they had dug for themselves and let somebody else fall into that hole. 

This could be the case facing Anifah Aman, whose name was the latest to be mentioned in the ongoing corruption case involving former Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi. One David Tan Siong Sun, an “admin manager” with Ultra Kirana Sdn Bd, testified that he delivered money to the former Foreign Minister. Details told to the court about the ‘transaction’ are sketchy, however.

Anifah has come out publicly to deny this. “I have never met David Tan nor have I received any monies from him or UKSB,” he said in a press release yesterday. “I am willing and able to assist any investigations by authorities on this to clear my good name.” [Read the story, find out who UKSB is, h e r e.

Here’s the thing: we are getting a lot of such (so-called) revelations and allegations in our courts these days. Anifah isn’t the only one who feels he’s been defamed in court. Just the other day, a witness in the same case claimed that Health Minister KJ also received money. Former PM Muhyiddin Yasin and former Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal were implicated, too. 

Some people think that because something is said in court it must be true. We know from history that that’s horse shit. Crooks will swear on the Quran or the Bible and lie through their teeth or throw other people under the bus to avoid jail or save their master. When it fits them, they will even claim to be senile and say they can’t remember.

How the media report this kind of manipulation of our courts of law is important in order to ensure that justice is done (at the very least, to ensure that their readers stay smart and are not hoodwinked). Prosecutors and judges, too, must draw the line so that crooks don’t get to use the court of law to pursue their own interest and narrative. That’s crucial to ensure that justice is seen to be done.  

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Living with Covid-19

When I tested positive for the coronavirus last Thursday, I even got a pat on the back. “Welcome to the club!” Such is life, we have come to embrace the once-feared Covid-19 and accepted it as part of life, a nuisance that refuses to go away. Two years after Malaysia’s initial lockdown, we know exactly how we are supposed to deal with it. Having been fully vaccinated (am due for my second booster anytime now), I suffered only mild symptoms during my quarantine and am lucky to recover without spreading the virus to loved ones. Lest we forget, the virus is still killing people out there. If there’s anything Covid-19 has taught me from March 2020 till now, it’s of 1. How pathetically little the governmennt knew about how to deal with the virus then (and how still little it knows about everything else now) 2. People don’t change: we are back to our pre-Covid bad habits.

Stay vigilant, stay safe and thank you for the well-wishes

Tuesday, June 07, 2022

Whoever helms Axiata next may hasten Malaysia’s long-delayed 5G takeoff

OR STALL THE PROCESS FURTHER ….

KL, 7 June:  A few names are being bandied about to replace Izzaddin Idris, who stepped down end last month - suddenly or otherwise, depending on who you talk to -  as the president and group CEO of Axiata Group in the midst of a mind-boggling opposition against a government-initiated scheme to roll out 5G. Mind boggling because Axiata, which owns Celcom and Tune Talk, is effectively linked to the Malaysian government itself.

One of the contenders to replace the seasoned Izzadin, I was told, is Shazalli Ramli, a name all too familiar with the industry. Shazalli is credited for making Celcom a trendy regional telco powerhouse. He also  made that famous comeback to the government-linked corporate world late in 2020 - expectedly or otherwise, again depending on who you’d want to believe  - after the fall of the vindictive Pakatan Harapan government. Shazalli is currently chief of Boustead, which has just announced a seven-fold increase in first quarter profits the other day.

Mohd Idham Nawawi, the current CEO of Celcom, is also being considered for the post, if you believe the gossips. Idham cut his teeth in Axiata and would be seen as a natural replacement. He was made Celcom chief in 2018, before Izzaddin came into the picture.

Industry observers generally think either man will augur well for the Government’s plans to roll out 5G through its single wholesale network enabler DNB, an MOF company. The nation has lagged far behind its own original plans on 5G due to unexpected (or no) opposition to the government’s 5G plans by its own telco GLCs. 

For the recored, Ralph Marshall, the man who helms DNB, had played a big role in the rollout of Maxis, the traditional rivals of Celcom. And Izzaddin’s departure last month, some said, had something to do with the opposition by the telcos against DNB. Wallahualam. 


 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Probe the security company, not just the guard

Bangsar, 17 May: Good to hear that the Kuala Lumpur CID will now investigate a skirmish involving a security guard and journalists from The Vibes. Whether or not there was a criminal element in the incident should be decided after a thorough investigation has been carried out. It is only fair to both parties. Read The Vibes journalist's assault reclassified, investigated under Penal Code: CID Chief.

The investigation into the case, I hope, will focus on the security company that hires the guard involved in the "assault/harassment" of the journalist. if you'd seen the clip on the incident, the said security guard was behaving extremely emotional. That is not how you expect a security guard to behave under tense circumstances. Begs the question if he was properly trained by the security company that hired him. 

Security guards, like the police, are armed. While in PDRM we trust, the same can't be said private security firms who might cut corners for profits. 

Read also Wong Chun Wai's Fashion Police Foibles

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Forget Tesla, give us our 5G now!

KL, 12 May: By now, it's fair to assume that nobody knows exactly when - or if ever - our proposed 5G network will be completed. It could take two or 22 years. If the government is not careful, it will not take off ever! Read Telcos stall on deal with DNB.

I'm not being dramatic. Consider the facts: we made Langkawi the testbed for out 5G rollout at the end of 2019, before Covid-19 took over our lives. Since then, very little progress has been made. The government set up Digital Nasional Bhd to oversee the roll-out. Good. But opposition from a handful of telco companies, who wanted control of DNB or an alternative to DNB, stalls everything. To appease the telcos, the government bent backwards and even offered them a combined 70 per cent ownership of DNB, which effectively give them the control they had asked for. 

But as of today, they are still not pleased. Only TM and Yes have subscribed to DNB's single wholesale network but the two won't be enough.

Did the government allow those telcos to hold the entire nation to ransom? It does look that way, although the telcos would have you believe that they are justified for still being unhappy. Well, I can tell the telcos and PM Ismail Sabri this, too: We - the people - are pissed off. We have put up with so much rubbish for too long and these people continue to take us for granted. We want cheap and efficient 5G, and we want it now!

The government has nobody to blame but itself if this whole saga continues and we, the nation, gets left behind as a result. Ismail Sabri should take inspiration from history. Imagine if governments of yesteryear gave in to opposition to all those developmental projects it had planned, from the North-South Expressway and a new international airport in Sepang to building an administrative capital in Putrajaya and the bridge for Penang. Malaysia would still be backward now if that had been the case.  

Other countries are already talking about 6G and even 7G but we're getting all excited about the prospects of Tesla investing in Malaysia

Sunday, May 01, 2022

The longest Ramadan


RAMADAN is coming to an end, the month of May is here (Happy Workers' Day!) and I've done exactly three postings this year, probably the lowest output by this blog since 2006! Many of you, Dear Readers, were wondering if I was OK. Thank you for always enquiring about my well being and the state of this blog. Rest assured, I wasn't resting on my laurels. On the contrary, I've been busy working hard - on dreams and other stuff. Said stuff includes work, ie The Mole (which enters its 11th year soon), The Vibes and Getaran (where I'm advising), and the National Press Club (as President). Last Friday, Zainul (Petra News CEO), Terence (Vibes and Getaran's editorial head honcho) and I recorded our first socio-political podcast which we're calling The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (probably available on Spotify this coming Monday (check us out h e r e). 

Just before the start of the Holy month, I climbed Mount Kinabalu after months of training and has since been back on my bicycle for short night rides around Kuala Lumpur. Am planning to scale the Mulu Pinnacles in Sarawak in June, peer into the Gunung Rinjani volcano in Java after that, and rent a motorbike to ride around Italy with friends before winter. I've resumed running and although I've struck out marathon from my to-do list, we've registered for a trail run in Janda Baik. Anapurna base camp by January 2023? 

At times I feel like I'm rushed to tick the boxes on my bucket list. Age is catching up and friends around you are dying one by one. But I hope it's just another round of mid-life crisis. How long does mid-life last, anyway?

A question I often hear lately is, "Will the general elections be held this year?" 
My response has always been, "No, it won't happen this year". 

Haha. Of course I don't have the answer to that question. Prime Minister Ismail Sabri may call for the general elections anytime before May next year but whether he does it soon or later won't make much difference to me or to the average Malaysian if things remain status quo. This is not to say that Ma'il can' t make a difference. He can if has the will to. For a start, do a Cabinet reshuffle now. Get rid of ministers who haven't been performing and those who scandals await them. He is in a position to bring back GST and undo the damages that the witch-hunting PH government did between May 2018, when they won the GE14, and the Sheraton Move, when their in-fighting let the BN back into the nation's driving seat. Abolish the mandatory death penalty, adopt a minimum wage policy, launch an all-out war against corruption starting with the top (politicians), the relevant authorities (the AG's Chamber, the MACC, the police, judiciary), clean up and strengthen the Bumi insitutions, and give back whatever is owing to Sabah and Sarawak. Not too much to ask, right?

This blog I started in 2006 has seen the GEs of 2008, 2013 and 2018 and I can't say we look forward to the next one. Fatigue has set in quite a while ago. We saw the fall of Barisan Nasional after a 60-year rule only to witness its foes squander a chance to take this country to the next level. The momentum for change, I dare say, is gone. At least where my generation is concerned.

If there's anything to hope for in the 15th general election, it's the difference that the 18-year olds, voting for the first time, will be making. Or want to make.

If these young ones are no better than us, it will be SSDD all over again: Same Shit, Different Day. The ringgit's sick, the economy languishing, employment sucks and our future remains uncertain. Don't blame Covid19. Even without the pandemic, we were already sliding down a slippery slope. We have ourselves to blame. We allowed the same people (politicians) whom we had accused of screwing us up to do the same things for this nation hoping that they will give us different - and better - results. 

The same with this blog. Here I am resolved (again) to return to blogging regularly, to do my bit in exposing the bad and the ugly in our society with the hope that I could contribute to improving our collective lot. So, yes, in a way I am about to go back doing the same thing and hoping for different results. But I shall have faith and not give up.

Selamat Hari Raya, Maaf Zahir Batin. 
  

A good country to go missing

Puchong, 21 July: If you want to get lost, Malaysia is probably the best place in the world to go missing. Why? Because nobody will really ...