Sunday, April 05, 2020

The beautiful Malaysians

Covid-19: Malaysian corporate citizens are coming forward to help 

Puchong, 5 April: There will always be one or two ugly Malaysians, even now as our nation - and the whole wide world - grapple with this deadly pandemic. But you'd agree with me, Dear Readers, that there are a hell of a lot more beautiful Malaysians who have stood up to be counted since the outbreak. The people at Air Asia are not the first and won't be the last to do so but it's worth noting that they're doing it despite the airline facing the worst turbulence in its history. Apart from its donation drive for vulnerable communities, the low-fare airline has launched SOS - or Save Our Shops - to help the small merchants. 

Advertising revenues, like oil prices, have slumped to ridiculous levels but The Edge still managed to bring together donations worth more than RM21 million to equip our tireless front liners. Tycoon Lee Kim Yew chartered a whole plane to fly in 1.5 million pieces of surgical masks and personal protective equipment (PPEs) for our medical teams dealing directly with Covid-19 cases.

Naza for Tabung Covid-19
Car sales and the property market will continue to fare poorly for the whole year because of the Covid-19 but Naza still came forward to help boost a national donation drive. 

And even before the Government unveiled its RM250 billion stimulus package, Axiata and its subsidiary Celcom had launched a RM150 million cash fund to help micro-SMEs

These are just some of the wonderful deeds of our fellow Malaysians that I can cite, off hand. There are many, many more. Most don't even want to be known. 

A prominent businessman asked me one day how my fellow journalists were keeping with the Movement Control Order (MCO). Y'know, the reporters, photographers, editors, sub-editors, production crew, and the other front-liners who have to go to work because somebody has to gather the news about the pandemic. At the end of the conversation, he offered some money for the Journalist Welfare Fund under the National Press Club of Malaysia to help out journalists and our members in whichever way we can during the MCO period. I said it was very kind of him, and this was what he said:
"Bro, it's at time like this that we really need to stand and be counted. Not for publicity or applause but because those of us who can, must. This is when we must."
The NPC has been reaching out to journalists in need during this period. It's not much but we hope it can still make a difference. At the very least, we're letting the journalists know that there are those who are thinking of them during this difficult period.

Read also:

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Reluctant Muhyiddin replaces Dr Mahathir at Khazanah

Updated #17: Muhyiddin is my PM by Annie
The winner takes it all

The loser standing small
Beside the victory
That's her destiny
- Abba

Puchong Day#16: For a reluctant* prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin sure understands the scope and power of the incumbent. In the short time since his "backdoor" appointment as Malaysia's 8th Prime Minister, he has shown that he has the speed and the will. He was quick to place the whole nation under a Movement Control Order to stem the spread of Covid-19 and surefooted about who needed the government's help most during this terrible period with his RM250 billion stimulus package. But if those were more or less expected of an incumbent government, the quietly brutal way in which Abang Din brings down the sword on his political enemies surprises many, and delights not a few.

Yesterday, on April Fool's Day, he quietly replaced Dr Mahathir Mohamad as Khazanah chairman, bringing along with him Azlan Hashim, who had to leave after Pakatan Harapan's  victory in the general election in May 2018. 

Mohammed Azlan's appointment marks his return to Khazanah after nearly two years. In July 2018, Mohammed Azlan, former Khazanah managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar and seven other directors had tendered their resignations after reaching a unanimous decision that Mahathir's Pakatan Harapan coalition government, which won the May 9 2018 general election, should determine the fund's new leadership structure.
The others were Tan Sri Raja Arshad Raja Uda, Tan Sri Andrew Sheng Len Tao, Datuk Seri Nazir Razak, Datuk Dr Nirmala Menon and Yeo Kar Peng.
Mahathir had previously lamented that Khazanah, the strategic investment fund of the Malaysian Government, which he set up in 1994 when he was prime minister for the first time, had deviated from its original intention of holding shares for bumiputras.
He claimed that instead, Khazanah had become a convenient vehicle for the previous government to reward politicians and non-professionals with positions and lucrative compensation packages.

The change of guards at Khazanah followed a series of changes and overhauls (ie sackings) at key institutions under various ministries, including the country's largest statutory body MARA and the Yayasan Kebajikan Negara. Read Mara chairman, council members sacked and Syed Azmi temporarily recalled after sacking. Yesterday, Noor Farida Ariffin, the chairman of the Human Resources Development Fund, confirmed the marching orders, Her contract was supposed to run until Jan 2021. Read G25's Noor Farida, CEO and Board members removed from HRDF with immediate effect. 

Noor Farida had been brought in Jan 2019 to "clean up" the HRDF. 

Last month, I posted Will we see PH-stule 'execution' of GLC leaders? Well, it does look like it's going to happen. As the song goes:
The game is on again

A lover or a friend
A big thing or a small
The winner takes it all

p.s I must put on record that under Noor Farida's watch, two prominent journalists were charged for allegedly misleading the HRDF. Both cases were linked to an overseas training program involving the National Press Club of Malaysia and conducted under the auspices of the HRDF before Noor Farida was appointed. The case against Veera Pandiyan was  struck out by the magistrate while in the case against journalist and author M. Krishnamoorthy, the HRDF had offered to withdraw its lawsuit.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

When a joke may land you in jail

Rina Harun's ministry says sorry over 'Doraemon' joke 


LONDON (THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION) - From Thailand to India, countries have told people not to make April Fools' Day pranks related to coronavirus, with some threatening jail time as they seek to prevent the spread of rumours which could put lives at risk.
Tech giant Google, which is famous for its annual spoofs, has cancelled the tradition because of the pandemic which has killed about 40,000 people worldwide.
Thailand said on Tuesday (March 31) that April Fool's Day jokes about the virus could be punished under a law carrying a sentence of up to five years in prison.
"It's against the law to fake having Covid-19 this April Fools' Day," the government said on Twitter.
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen took to Facebook to tell people not to prank about the virus, adding that anyone spreading rumours or false information could face up to three years in jail and/or a fine of up to NT$3 million (S$141,500).
In India, Maharashtra state's cyber security unit said it would take legal action against anyone spreading fake news on April Fools' Day.
"The state govt won't allow anyone to spread rumours/panic on #Corona," Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh tweeted, adding that he had instructed the authorities to "act swiftly & strongly (against) such miscreants".
Under the heading "Corona is no joke", Germany's health ministry also urged the public not to make up stories related to the virus.
With people relying on the Internet and media for vital information about coronavirus, there are fears that jokes could fan the spread of misinformation.
From drinking cow urine to sleeping by chopped onions, myths about how people can catch and cure Covid-19 are already widely circulating.
The World Health Organisation has described it as an"infodemic", which could increase the spread of the virus among vulnerable people.
Google said it had suspended its annual April Fools'tradition "out of respect for all those fighting the Covid-19 pandemic".
"Our highest goal right now is to be helpful to people, so let's save the jokes for next April, which will undoubtedly be a whole lot brighter than this one," it said in an internal e-mail to staff.
In previous years Google has advertised fictitious jobs at a new research centre on the moon, turned Google Maps into a game of Where's Waldo - also known as Where's Wally - and claimed its search technology uses trained pigeons to rank pages.
Taylor Herring, a British PR agency whose clients include TV channels and international brands, advised all companies to ditch the jokes this year.
"Tip for any brands planning an April Fool's Day stunt.
Just. Don't," it said on social media.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Monday, March 16, 2020

In facing Covid-19, the difference between us and them Jews

Here's how the politicians in Israel face up to Covid-19 ...

The whole story h e r e
March 15: President Reuven Rivlin hosted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White chair Benny Gantz for an “urgent” three-way summit Sunday evening in an effort to encourage the two men to form an emergency unity government amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The hour-long meeting, held at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, began with Netanyahu and Gantz each elbow-bumping Rivlin in accordance with instructions to avoid handshaking to stop the spread of the virus.
Signifying his intention to being negotiations immediately, Rivlin also invited the heads of the Likud and Blue and White negotiating teams to be present in the meeting,

Following the meeting, Netanyahu and Gantz released a joint statement saying that they had both “thanked the president of the state for inviting them to the joint meeting” and that “the two agreed that negotiating teams would meet soon.”
In a separate statement, Rivlin’s office said, “The president emphasized that [Gantz and Netanyahu] should continue and intensify direct contacts between them and between the Likud and Blue and White negotiating teams, and welcomed both sides’ willingness to do so. At the end of the meeting, the two sides agreed that the negotiating teams of the two parties will continue the discussions.”
Earlier Sunday, Netanyahu went public with a pair of alternative offers for a unity government with Gantz, urging the de facto opposition chairman to choose either to serve under him in a six-month emergency government or replace him after two years as part of a four-year rotational coalition.
Rivlin, after September’s election, proposed a unity government between the two, with Netanyahu serving as prime minister for some six months before being replaced by Gantz. While both had a stab at forming a government, neither succeeded, leading to the elections in March, the third in under a year.
Rivlin’s proposal this time is based on the previous offer, but gives Netanyahu a full year as prime minister before handing the baton to Gantz, the Kan public broadcaster reported.
Immediately before the Sunday evening meeting, Rivlin announced that he will task Gantz with forming a government after the Blue and White leader received the endorsement of a majority of Knesset members.
His announcement came shortly after Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman joined the Joint List and Labor-Gesher-Meretz parties in endorsing Gantz for prime minister. With the nod given by Liberman during consultations with Rivlin, Gantz picked up 61 of 120 recommendations, compared to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 58 endorsements.
Netanyahu’s Likud won 36 Knesset seats in the March election compared to Blue and White’s 33, but the Likud leader’s right-wing bloc again failed to muster a parliamentary majority.
Once a close ally of Netanyahu’s Likud, the right-wing Yisrael Beytenu has refused to join a coalition led by Netanyahu, after the previous two rounds of elections. Liberman in April 2019 backed Netanyahu for premier; he refrained from endorsing either candidate after the September vote.
Liberman’s backing for Gantz marked an unlikely alliance between the hawkish ex-defense minister, who has long condemned Arab lawmakers as “terrorist sympathizers,” and the predominantly Arab Joint List, with both aiming to unseat Netanyahu.
As of last week, Gantz’s only realistic path to a coalition appeared to be a center-left minority government backed on the outside by the Joint List, a controversial prospect that before the election the centrist leader vowed he would not pursue. Vocal opposition by rightist members of Blue and White, MKs Zvi Hauser and Yoaz Hendel, along with Labor-Gesher-Meretz’s Orly Levy-Abekasis, who vowed to vote against a minority government, appeared to reduce the likelihood of that scenario.
Opening the consultations, which were being held with limited representation from each party and no press due to limitations on gatherings of over 10 people, Rivlin said that efforts to deal with the outbreak must not come “at the expense of Israeli democracy.”
“We are committed, more than ever, in light of the urgent need for a government, to hold essential democratic processes, even in a time of crisis,” Rivlin declared.
“These are not normal consultations; we need to work to form a government as soon as possible,” he warned.
The number of Israelis diagnosed with COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, rose to 200 on Sunday morning. The Health Ministry said two of the sick remained in serious condition, with 11 in moderate condition and the rest suffering light symptoms only.

Read also: Netanyahu's corruption trial postponed over Covid-19 restrictions, March 15

.... and here is how our politicians choose to do it:

Former PM's son challenges PM for party post that may make him PM

PETALING JAYA: The Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) elections is set to be a mouth-watering affair with Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir challenging Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for the party president’s post. 
Another relative unknown in the party, Cheras division deputy chief Mohd Faiz Azlee Sham, will also contest the position, it was confirmed yesterday. 
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, meanwhile, will remain as the party’s chairman at the post was uncontested. 
Bersatu elections committee chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said this in a press conference after nomination closed at 3pm today. 
However, he said the party polls, which was supposed to be held on April 18 at the division level, has been postponed until at least June 30, after the Registrar of Societies ordered all party meetings and conventions to be suspended in light of the Covid-19 outbreak. 

Faced with a formidable enemy, the Jews unite, even for a brief moment, so all resources can be used to defeat that national threat. Our politicians and leaders are not Jews but maybe some of them should try to behave like the Jews once in a while. Especially now. Then maybe, in the face of Covid-19, they will start thinking of us instead of their own little egos and endless greed  for power.