Friday, December 19, 2014

Malaysia's most intriguing cold case

The British claimed Maarof, who formed the first Malay bank in Malaysia, commited suicide 

They should re-open Encik Maarof's murder file. The first time I learned about the tragic story of Maarof Zakaria, the man behind Jalan Maarof, which today is not merely a road in Bangsar but an icon of the Federal capital of Kuala Lumpr, was courtesy of the journalist and author Rusdi Mustapha, who had a column in The Business Times back in the Nineties when I was its Editor. If I remember correctly, Datuk Rusdi used his pen name Seri Menanti when he wrote that article. 

Interest in the murder that took place in Dec 1948 was revived when Maarof's son, the veteran Malay actor Mustafa Maarof, died early this week at the age of 79. The anonyous blogger Pasquale described Maarof as one of the original Malay nationalists who "for his entire life until he the day he was murdered he championed and advocated for the Malay economic freedom" (Maarof Zakaria was my father's childhood friend, Dec 16). The photograph above is courtesy of his hard-hitting blog Barking Magpie.
Unfortunately, in spite of many enlightened Malay nationalist like Maarof, Pak Sako, Mustapha Hussin, the Malays then and now are still disunited and easily manipulated, to a point now that they might be losing control of their political domination. Or eventually, if they are still disunited, they may even lose the country. 
Pasquale hits harder still with regards to the current state of Malay politics in his latest posting Push comes to shove

From Tun M's outspoken daughter and her "liberal" friends to a reclusive former Finance Minister who allegedly used his position to amass fortune, "half-breed" newsmen who became rich because of Anwar Ibrahim, and "countless" ex Cabinet ministers who wanted concessions and projects,  few are spared his tirade.

"These ingrates thought Najib can be easily bullied."

Me, I believe Encik Maarof didn't die in vain. Not all Malays have forgotten. In fact, we think they should re-open the file and find his murderers, even if they too are six feet under.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Saving Bernama TV

Relieved to read YB Shabery Cheek's assurance (Decision on troubled Bernama TV soon - Rakyat Post, 16 Dec) but the Minister has to decide NOT soon but very, very soon.

Shabery to the rescue

Some 180 of my fellow journalists there haven't been paid salaries since October. Shabery is their only hope now for a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. There are bills to pay and school books, uniforms and fees to worry about.

To be fair, BerTV isn't Shabery's baby. Never was. The people responsible for setting up Bernama TV Synergy in those sleepy days of 2008, which lost RM9 million in the first year alone, are long gone (one is Senator now). Bernama, the national news agency, is forced to carry their baby now i.e find money to pay salaries, operations costs, etc (and I was told that the national news agency's finances have dried up because of this).

I agree with Shabery: it's impractical to run a TV program in four languages. And it must find a new business model quickly. 

My 2sens on what the Minister should do:

1. Pay salaries (the wage bill is about RM800,000 a month only);
2. Dissolve Bernama TV Synergy (don't forget to pay hutang2 lama to those local production companies, some of which had gone bust because of Synergy's non-payment);
3. Hand over BerTV to Bernama lock, stock and barrel. Absorb all staff; excessive manpower can be deployed to beef up Bernama's dwindling news operations nationwide
4. Launch BerTV's 24-hour ENGLISH news. Focus on breaking news, analyses and opinions, video streaming, etc. 
5. Sell content to all local tv channels, free-to-air, satellite and internet-based (even with Awani, Astro would still buy if the news churned out by BerTV is compelling and it should be the case because by now the company would be the national tv-news agency); enter into strategic alliances at regional level 

People forget that before Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's 4th Floor came up with the oh-so-brilliant idea of letting a private company use Bernama's sacred name to run a commercial tv station, the national news agency was doing fine with its internal AV unit and mobile studio that had been in operations since the turn of the millenium.

I wrote on BerTV's latest sad state of affairs last week in Dr M's former press sec is new Bernama chief

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Divine intervention needed to close Guantanamo Bay, says US

Have you read this?
US asks Vatican to help close Guantanamo
Don't say absurd, read the excerpts:

President Barack Obama’s goal of closing the Guantanamo Bay prison complex in Cuba has met heavy resistance from lawmakers in Washington, and now the White House is turning to a higher authority for help: the Vatican.
During an hour-long meeting with Cardinal Pietro Parolin on Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry asked the Vatican to help the United States find“adequate humanitarian solutions” for inmates currently being held at Guantanamo.
... There has been no information regarding what the Vatican would do to help.
Now we know why there were so upset with YB Khairy Jamaluddin for telling off US Vice President Joe Biden re the Guantanamo Bay. Because closing that torture facility in the Bay of Pigs is not quite humanly possible. Kena ada divine ntervention.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Why I welcome the Eminent 25

Updated Tuesday: More come forward to support E25 (Rakyat Post) 
11.45pm, Monday: Ah, Life of Annie does not welcome the E-25. But then I don't expect everybody to. Plus there's something so gratifying in being able to agree to disagree. That's why you should read her About being a nice moderate liberal Malay.

Original posting:

Some of the Emiinent 25
Why we all should.  On the day Najib Razak made one of the most defining decisions in his premiership, when he announced that the Sedition Act will stay and be reinforced to ensure religious and racial harmony will not be challenged, he was made to come to that unilateral decision NOT by his party or coalition members or by Perkasa or those brave lawyers who are against the Bar Council, even though they all contributed to the movement to save the Act, BUT, put simply, by the voice of the silent majority. I know that. You may ask how I know. Well, you have to be deaf not to hear the deafening demands of Malaysians from all walks of life for the Prime Minister to keep his hands off the Sedition Act.  
Kamil: A towering Malay
The arrival of the so-called Eminent 25 Malays (some of them ARE genuinely eminent, that I also know) will provide another great avenue for the silent majority to channel their views and feelings and be heard. Of course the E25 is not representative of all Malays (by their own choice, they want to be associated with the "moderate" Malay-Muslims) but neither is Perkasa or Isma. Or Umno, for that matter.  
Call them names if you have to because that's how you've been  brought up but once you're done, let's hear Ahmad Kamil Jaafar and the 25 out. 
They are Malays, too, you know, and right now what we need is for all the Malays to stand up and speak up.
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