Monday, October 21, 2019

Blaming Mahathir for everything now, including possible trade sanctions

TTDI, 211019: Don't blame Malaysians if they choose to take their Prime Minister's latest remarks [re Mahathir warns of possible trade sanctions on Malaysia amid US-China trade war] with a pinch of salt*. Many have grown so skeptical of the Government. They feel they've been lied to too often these last few months and they are getting really tired of it.  
But sanctions are a serious business and if they are imposed on a country by the US (because China don't make it a practice to sanction others), all of us will be in great trouble. Rather than sanctions, I'd rather we be lied to by the Government because with a lying Government we will at least, over time, be the wiser. There's no getting wiser from sanctions! All countries that have been subject of American sanctions have suffered tremendously. Depending on the severity of sanctions, Malaysia could see a sudden drop in investor flow, capital flight, rising unemployment, runaway inflation, etc. Don't expect tourists to make us their destination (which means our VTAMY 2020 campaign would be screwed). Trade barriers would usually follow sanctions to further cripple the countries that are being sanctioned. South Africa when it was under Apartheid, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Iraq all suffered greatly as a result of some kind of sanctions or other [go h e r e for more examples].  
So if there's any truth in what Dr Mahathir is saying,  the Government must tell us what exactly is the reason for the sanction (because we are a kleptocracy, anti-Semitic, or for discriminating the Chinese and other minorities in the country?) and how it plans to save all of us. 
The people need to know their role. Do they defend the country and leadership or do they back the sanctions? If anyone thinks that's a dumb thing to ask of Malaysians, just look at the response of some of these Malaysians to their country's current predicament, where India is threatening a trade war against Malaysia to retaliate Putrajaya's support for Pakistan over the Kashmir issue. 
One Twitter user describes Tun M's mishandling of India as "anak kecil main api"
Not all Malaysians are backing their Prime Minister - or their own country  - on this issue against India.
On the contrary, there are Malaysians blaming Mahathir for New Delhi's boycott of our palm oil and they are going about it openly on their social media accounts. Sad, but that's the new truth about us.

Read also Dr M: Malaysia could benefit from China-US trade war 

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

From Kg Baru to the jungles: The (so-called) predicament of Malay urban land owners

Kg "Kudis" Baru against KL's skyline

bcc Thurs Oct 8: If I were asked that day (Oct 6) which part of Dr Mahathir Mohamad's address to the Kongress Maruah Melayu was worthy of an amanat, it would be his plea to the Malay landowners NOT to sell their land and properties, especially those in urban areas.  
When the Malays sell their assets in the cities and towns (to non-Malays, developers, the government?), these Malay landowners would then retreat to the suburbs and, with their newfound wealth, buy cheaper land and properties in those suburbs. Then these suburbs become developed and these Malays get offers to sell, and the cycle would repeat. Ultimately, the Prime Minister said, the Malays would end up in the jungles.

Yes, I tweeted that part of his address as I thought it was a damn good advice for the Malays, especially those in Kampung Baru who were under all kinds of pressure from Dr Mahathir's own Administration to sell to their land.  
Turns out I was mistaken ...

So now, if you ask me which part of Mahathir's address to the Kongres Maruah Melayu its worthy of an amanat ....

Monday, October 07, 2019

Amanat terakhir Mahathir

Sumpah Maruah Melayu

"This will be Tun's last address, bro Rocky. Please do come."

Even without such dramatics from the organisers, I would have been interested to attend the Kongres Maruah Melayu that took place yesterday in Shah Alam. The event promised me all sorts of news ingredients that a newsman would be loathe to ignore. Anwar Ibrahim, the PMiw8 (Malaysia's 8th Prime Minister-in-waiting), who is by our Constitutional definition as Malay as PMx2 Mahathir Mohamad, was not going to get an invitation. After some placating by the organisers, the Tun agreed to let them invite Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, the Umno president, and Hadi Awang, the PAS president. It would have been awkward if they were not there. And,  no, no xPM Najib Razak. It would have been doubly awkward for the Old Man.

And I wanted to get myself a tengkolok and I thought surely they will have lots for me choose from at an event like the Malay Dignity Congress.  During the Himpunan Ummah aka Muafakat Nasional organised by Umno and PAS last month, which I could not attend, I had asked friends to look for the ancient Malay headgear for me. I was told them that a bestseller at the PWTC, where the HU was being held was one called the Tanjak Dendam Mahathir Tak Sudah so I asked them to please get me that particular tengkolok. Unfortunately, it was sold out. Mahathir sells, whether or not he is there.

Tanjak and tengkolok at the fair

I'm glad I went to the Kongres Maruah Melayu. I was in good company (even though I was sitting all by myself in one of the "cheaper" seats at the back of the hall) - Siti Nurhaliza and Datuk K, Ustaz Hadi, Rani Kulop, Annuar Musa, KJ, Hishammuddin Hussein, Zainal Kling, Syed Saddiq, Mukhriz Mahathir, Azmin Ali and scores of Malay scholars. 

Siti Nurhaliza rendered the evocative Anak Kecil Main Api, a song about the Malays losing out everything in their own land, as Mahathir walked into the packed hall like a bridegroom.

Nenek moyang kaya raya
Tergadai seluruh harta benda
Akibat sengketa sesama kita ...
Bumi dipijak milik orang 

Zainal Kling got the Kongres the kind of controversy it deserved for with his "Malaysia belongs to the Malays" rhetoric. The resolutions tabled by the student reps and one PAS man (on Religion) were as hardline and hardcore Malay as they come. 

Among the resolutions:

1. Sekolah Wawasan in 6 years, abolish all Chinese and Tamil schools
2. Malay Minister of Finance, Malay AG, Malay Chief Minister, Malay DPM, Malay MB, etc
3. Jawi and Khat in the teaching of BM
4. Petronas and Bank Rakyat scholarships for Malays only

But the climax of the Kongres was also the anti-climax. 

A lot of people went there yesterday to listen to Mahathir to talk about - and against - the growing threat against the Malays, their interests, and their special position. Such a threat has been more prevalent, the Kongres heard,  after the last General Election. Zainal Kling and some of those who tabled the resolutions had made direct references to elements within PH itself, especially the DAP.  The organisers had claimed to me earlier that the PM shared the same sentiment. 

Me, well, for a while I did entertain the idea of Dr Mahathir actually expressing  some form of remorse for bringing this unprecedented post GE14 lament on the Malays, years after he had had 22 years to be the PM and so many opportunities  at leaving a lasting legacy other than the Twin Towers and the tolled highways ...

Mahathir did not mention DAP in his Amanat. Not even once.

Flying cars soon but for now have hopper will travel ...

I can understand why some described Mahathir's Final Address as condescending towards the Malays (read Ucapan Mahathir hina Melayu. )  But then, again, what's new? Mahathir has called the Malays names so many times before. "It's his way of motivating the Malays," said one diehard supporter. But even by the Old Man's recent "motivational" standards, I found it distressing when he insisted that our children should be willing to take up the jobs now filled by imported labourers from Bangladesh and the Philippines. Mahathir derided them for being ashamed of those low-paying jobs. "They are ashamed of jobs that pay RM1100 a month. But they are not ashamed of lining up to accept the RM500 saguhati (handout)!" he said in obvious reference to the aid given by the Government (BR1M when the previous government introduced it and renamed BsH after PH took over).

"You tell him to get his children's children to do those jobs lah," an ex-journalist who is about to lose his job shouted at me on the phone earlier today when I told him what Dr M said.

I sent a WhatsApp message to the organiser. "It's far from vintage Mahathir lah, bro." Well, I suppose all that rubbing with the ultras in his new coalition has affected the Old Man's wit, after all.  But the organisers remain stubbornly optimistic. "We will push the Resolutions of the Kongress to be adopted by the Prime Minister. We will." I guess all that Hidup Melayu cries at the Stadium Malawati yesterday have emboldened some Melayu.

But I've held my breath a little too long ....

p.s. Personally, though, I was not entirely disappointed. I got myself a tengkolok at the fair. It's called, aptly, Tanjak Melayu Menyesal Tak Sudah. 

Monday, September 23, 2019

Kongress Maruah Melayu

Hazy Puchong, Monday: By the looks of things, there will be many more pro-Malay forums and gatherings from now. The Umno-PAS' Himpunan Perpaduan Ummah  was just an appetiser. It has also triggered all kinds of buttons here, there and everywhere in our political industry. Panic button included or not, I don't know and you don't need to worry about that. Just know that Malay and quasi-Malay political leaders who matter, in government or outside, recognises change in sentiments among the majority Malay population of this country. And, therefore, the need to hedge so one does not end up losing. 
The Kongres Maruah Melayu to be held on Oct 6 in Kuala Lumpur will be only the first post-HPU gathering of Malays. This one will be led by several institutions of higher learning, notably UiTM, whose Bumiputera-only policy has come under serious threat after the Pakatan Harapan government took over in May 2018. But it's not an academic exercise, per se. The chairman of the Kongress Maruah Melayu is former Umno man and Najib Razak's Cabinet minister Hamzah Zainudin, one of the first to have switched camps to Mahathir Mohamad's Pribumi Bersatu after BN's defeat in the last general election. 
The Kongress is expected to identify the threats facing the Malays today and propose ways to strengthen the position of the Malays in the various socio-economic sectors. Of course, Hamzah and friends are also concerned with the relationship between the Malays and other races. To promote unity, they think that it is time the Government introduce the OSS - the One School System - and abandon the vernacular schools. This is not going to go down well with some quarters at all but as one of the brains behind the Kongress told me:  "If Singapore could do it, why not us?" 
Well, we know why we haven't been able to walk the talk but, I say, no harm trying. 
I was told Dr Mahathir Mohamad will deliver his amanat at the end of the Kongress, which has encouraged the conclusion that this is an event quietly sponsored by the Prime Minister's own party, Pribumi Bersatu . Wallahualam.

p.s. I am all for any effort to unify the Malays to unite Malaysians, if you know what I mean.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Haze, corruption, and conflicts of interest

Sept 19, Hazy Lunchtime: Great. So, the Cabinet is finally thinking of enacting laws to punish Malaysian firms responsible for forest fires in Indonesia responsible for the awful haze that has made life miserable for Malaysians and put the country on the map for yet another wrong reason (Malaysia di tempat pertama pencemaran udara tertinggi di dunia). 

Still top of the world. Source:

But while those new laws are being drawn up, surely there are provisions which the Government can use against those firms. Our own Primary Industries Minister did make a reference to such a provisions ie cessation of the offending companies' certification status just the other day when defending the 4 Malaysian companies allegedly responsible for the fires in Indonesia:

“Those familiar with the industry will vouch for the fact that an act of open burning such as the current accusations would result in the cessation of their certification status not only in Indonesia but throughout their operations including in Malaysia." - Theresa Kok raises concern on Indonesia's action against 4 Msian firms

Didn't YB Kok brief the Cabinet on this available course of action? If she didn't, why? Was she protecting the Malaysian companies? Or is it because one of these firms was linked to a fellow Cabinet Minister and party member? She needs explain these things to us.

The haze is not new but we need new means and an iron will to tackle it. Conflicts of interest won't do. And, please, the blame game is old - too old lah - and usually bites back, as I'm sure Yeo Bee Yee, our Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister, has discovered after her initial bravado and finger-pointing exchanges with her Indonesian counterpart Siti Nurbaya. 

Enacting tough laws, as the Cabinet has decided, is great but Singapore did it in 2014 and how has that worked for them so far? 

Another point to ponder:

Read also