Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Who does WHO think it is?

Does WHO think it can override the sovereignty of member countries? 

Puchong, 26 Oct: NOT all is well at the World Health Organisation, it would seem. 
The public health arm of the United Nations has seen incidents of reported fraud rose by 20 per cent last year. Allegations of rampant corruption, blatant cronyism and sheer extravagance are causing real concern. 
Sensationally, the world body has also "blacklisted" the Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organisation, from key meetings.
Some cynics are quick to blame internal rivalry for WHO's predicaments but that would be missing the point. A country like Malaysia, which is a member of WHO, stands to lose. One has just to look back at what happened to FIFA recently to be convinced that if nothing is done the same fate awaits WHO. 
In the case of the world football governing body, half of its 24 Executive Committee members were charged with serious improprieties stemming from bribes, illegal ticket sales, match-fixing, and World Cup hosting.  

Monday, October 24, 2016

NOT a Budget for "monkeys"

But a big, tacit NOD for KJ
Kuala Lumpur, 24 Oct: 16 YEARS at the Business Times, I think I've covered my fair share of the Federal government's annual Budget sessions in Parliament. 
One chore was to try and "label" each Budget in order to simplify or capture its essence for the busy readers. 
The most overused till this day has to be "the people's Budget" (and its variations "a budget for all/everyone/rakyat etc). 
At the height of his power (over the media bosses, at least), Anwar Ibrahim described his own Budget "a caring Budget". 
At the height of his, Dr Mahathir Mohamad officially changed Belanjawan, the old Bahasa Malaysia word for Budget, to Bajet

I think Ibrahim Ali was spot on to call Najib Razak's 2017 Budget tabled last Friday Bajet roti dan keju (bread and butter Budget). There's quite a lot for civil servants and those in the bottom 40 per cent of the salary scale. What I don't understand is why the Perkasa chief was so unhappy with the fact that Najib is trying to ensure that the people's welfare is made a priority in these trying times. As former banker and Cabinet Minister Abdul Wahid Omar pointed out, this has got to be one of the most challenging Budgets that Najib has had to prepare, given the limited financial resources and the sluggish world economy. 

My circle of friends wanted me to thank the PM specifically for:

The bikers have complained about the bike lanes for years and many had actually given up hope that something would actually be done. I hope the relevant authorities have bicyclists in mind, too, when upgrading those lanes. A lot more cyclists are using those narrow lanes these days ...

The gadget-laden kids, meanwhile, are grateful about this:

For their assignments, of course,
not for anime and those silly computer games

There are actually a lot of little things for the small people in the Budet. That's why Wahid calls it "a people-centric responsible Budget", I suppose.  
But the "monkeys" won't know it, said social media journalist Ahmad Cendana  on his Facebook, in reference to Opposition politicians who had staged a walkout during Najib's Budget speech. 

“Monkeys – that’s a harsh word to use, but it is well justified in this case. Come to think of it their actions are a good thing. They have inadvertently exposed themselves to their supporters as to what they really are. A bunch of uncouth empty barrels without much substance. So these are the people who are being promoted to replace the present government?” - Malaysians still disgusted over MPs' budget storm out  The Mole 23 Oct

Khairy Jamaluddin, the Youth and Sports Minister, has a billion reasons to be happy.  
The RM1.2 billion allocation made by the PM in his 2017 Bajet is the biggest yet for sports. All those years covering the Budget, we business journalists were never really interested in how much was going to be spent on sports. That's probably because we are were a nation of losers when it comes to sports. Not anymore In the past year alone, we have produced Paralympic gold medallists and Olympic silver and bronze medallists. Latest, we are now world dodgeball champions
But more money for sports aside, it is the tacit approval that PM Najib has given the Minister, who is also the Umno/BN Youth chief, that's caught my eye. Wasn't that long ago when KJ was deemed "not yet ready" whereas Mukhriz Mahathir, who had just lost to KJ in the contest for the Umno Youth leadership, was made a Deputy Minister, many said in deference to his dad!
Today, like it or not, you have to admit that KJ has done an excellent job, indeed. You don't have to like his politics but if he continues to perform and his Boss continues to have faith in him, it could only mean that he is poised for bigger things in the government and the party. 
There are vacancies for Umno vice presidency that need to be filled, urgently!

p.s. In the Budget, the Prime Minister has also given KJ the responsibility of spearheading the TN50, the new 30-year vision for Malaysia that will replace Mahathir's Vision 2020. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The integrity of our system

The State of the Nation's Integrity Today: Who is Responsible? At a seminar on integrity yesterday, I told the audience and my fellow panel members that we have the tendency to look at things negatively. As a result, we cause ourselves unnecessary stress and alarm. 

The examples I cited:
1. The 1MDB issue and the RM2.6 billion
2. The charge against Lim Guan Eng over his "banglo tak berkolamrenang"
3. The RM112 million cash discovered in the Sabah "watergate"
These issues made major news abroad. I've met some people who said they were ashamed to admit that they were Malaysians because of these issues. I wish they could look at things more positively.

If you ask me, these cases prove the integrity of our key institutions:

1. The bipartisan Public Accountability Committee (its report on the 1MDB in April here), the PDRM (which hope to conclude its investigation into 1MDB soon, here),  and, especially, our Bank Negara, which has fined the 1MDB for administrative failures Singapore and Swiss authorities have acted against their banks for rule breaches related to dealings with 1MDB. 
2. The Attorney-General himself is prosecuting in the case against the Penang Chief Minister to uphold the integrity of the AG's office. Some people talked about Apandi Ali's move as politically influenced, but they failed to mention that not too long ago an Umno chief minister was charged and jailed over a case not too different from Guan Eng's 
3. The Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission has proven beyond doubt its commitment towards defeating graft. It knew the repercussions of the watergate and, as if on cue, the politicians in Sabah started accusing one another but, so what? Important thing is we now know that despite all the attempts at politicising and undermining the MACC since 2009, the integrity of our anti-graft men and women remains intact.

The problem is some people are not interested in whether the MACC or Bank Negara or our justice system is fair and independent. They just want to get their guy and if they don't it means the system must be corrupt and has lost its integrity!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Trump to call in BERSIH over rigged US election

Important Notice: The article below, lifted from Reuters by The Mole, is news but the headline I'm using for this posting is irony. Or wishful thinking ...:-) 

Updated: The Mole also has a story about Star's boss accused of bias against Red Shirts!
Wong Chun Wai is being accused of "pretending to be an angel" for his comment piece There is no place for bigotry! 

Excerpts from Cheah Sin Song's thrashing of Wong:
“We have all seen how people wearing yellow t-shirts using slippers to whack on a photo of Najib (Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak), performing mock Chinese funeral rites on a photo of Najib, carrying long, big banners with hell notes with a photo of Najib and many other acts that have angered the Malays. I am not trying to side with the Malays but let us be fair and zero in on the real culprits, which Wong has failed to do. .."

Original article: 
"The election is absolutely being rigged ..." - Trump

17 Oct: I couldn't help but think of our own Opposition and their Yellow agents when I read about US presidential hopefool Donald Trump talking about the rigging of the US elections. Shows how confident he is about beating Clinton. But if Trump had heard of Bersih, he'd surely fly in Maria Chin and Bersih to help him campaign against his alleged rigging. Jamal and Red Shirts would then feel obliged to go after the Yellow Shirts. And we'd be free of both nuisance! How blessed!

Yes, Trump, they're rigging the elections, I swear!