Friday, September 29, 2006

Brendan, be warned!

Pujangga, a poster on this blog, heard that Sang Kelembai was not the only one discussed at the Umno Supreme Council meeting yesterday. He said former Singapore Straits Times operative Brendan Pereira, who was made group editor of NST by Kalimullah Hassan, was also mentioned.

See under "Comments" below to read what Pujangga heard from someone inside!

Umno bloggers, be warned!

It's not a threat, it's a clear message. When asked if Zaharin Yassin's sacking was a warning to other bloggers who are Umno members, Umno secretary-general Radzi Sheikh Ahmad's immediate response was, "Possibly". He then added: “It sends a clear message.”

And just last week Nazri Aziz spoke of the "lack of freedom and some dictatorial tendencies during the previous administration" [NST, 20 Sept - "Nazri: Lack of freedom in previous government"]. Click here to read.

A young Umno member sent me this sms this morning after news of Sang Kelembai sacking:

"teruk sangat ker dia kutuk umno sampai kena pecat? it means ramai lagi la kena pecat. umno is sure to lose their grip on young professionals. they hv critical minds n like to debate. i'm really dissapointed."

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Sad Times. Synovate's latest readership stat is bad news for Kalimullah Hassan: his New Straits Times' readership is now nearly ONE MILLION less than rivals The Star. And theSun is rising.

To add to NST's woes, The Malay Mail, which was the fastest growing English-language daily in 2003, a year before Kalimullah was sent to NSTP as its GEIC, is now the least-read of all dailies in all languages, according to Synovate.

Synovate, yes. AC Nielsen, no.
Two years ago, there was no Synovate. The gap between NST and The Star was only about 600,000, according to AC Nielsen. But Kalimullah refused to believe it: he had shrunk the NST's size, gave away many luxury cars to readers, and brought in his foreign-trained journalist friends to replace the "old" editors. He accused AC Nielsen of being bias in their readership surveys and, with the help of theSun, started a campaign against AC Nielsen. He went to the extent of soliciting the PM 's support to fight his battle with AC Nielsen and The Star. The PM was "bemused", wrote The Star, when NST asked him to comment on the NST-AC Nielsen "dispute". Kalimullah then brought in Synovate to prove he was right.

The first time around, Synovate gave NST a readership of 530,000 (from the 300,000-plus AC Nielsen gave it) and around 1.1 million for The Star.

But last week's numbers show that NST is continuing to lose readership while The Star keeps pulling away. Will Kalimullah, now the Editorial Adviser and Deputy Chairman of NSTP, seek a third opinion to prove Synovate and AC Nielsen wrong? Will he turn to the PM for help again this time around?

New Lady Boss at SC

Hardev Kaur, the former NST group editor and BT editor, early this week joined the Securities Commission as its head for all communication.

SC big lady boss Zarinah Anwar has merged two key departments - corporate affairs and international affairs - and placed them under the veteran journalist.

Hardev is expected to continue writing her column My Notebook in the NST.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Less competitive. Malaysia has slipped a notch, to number 26, in this year's competitiveness survey covering more than 125 countries.

Among the reasons cited by the World Economic Forum for pushing us down the ranking are inefficient government bereaucracy, corruption, and crime and theft. Which is surprising because we were supposed to have done so much, especially with regards to corruption, in the last three years or so.

All the same we shouldn't be too upset with the results, which made us the second most competitive country in Asean after Singapore. Note: We were recently very upset with the Freedom Index, which saw Malaysia did a 30-rung freefall!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Devi's Corner

This popular restaurant in Bangsar, just a hundred metres from the mosque, offers two pieces of kurma and a little bowl of bubur kacang when you decide to break fast with them. Years of buka puasa at countless mamaks, finally a lovely Ramadhan gesture from one.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Aeneas. This American hedge fund is currently being investigated by our Securities Commission and its US counterpart for alleged manipulation of stocks in 4 listed Malaysian companies.

But there's another angle to the story that journos won't report. It seems that a business daily within the NSTP group has been churning out article after article on the 4 companies, articles which were overly "positive" - even PR-ish - in nature despite the fact that prospects weren't that rosy.

One Mr K. Lau would alert a top editor of NST about each news release about the 4 companies. At the same time, someone else would send a bottle of vintage wine now and then to a certain Executive Editor to ensure that the stories remained, er, sparkling!


Najib speaks out, again! First, he lashed out at LKY for the disparaging remarks about Malaysian Chinese. Today, the DPM did it again by responding to Johor Umno's angry calls for a review of relations with Singapore and for the government to cancel projects that prosper Singapore more than Malaysia.

Najib said while the government can't cancel all investments from Singapore, it must ensure that any investment from overseas does not undermine national interest in strategic sectors.

The statement is buried deep in this article but Bernama has the story, nonetheless.


Johor Umno speaks up! We had to wait, but the Umno in Johor, the birthplace of the great party, has finally spoken up. Utusan Malaysia has the story HERE.

In a nutshell, the MEN in Johor have asked the Abdullah Administration to:

1/ cancel all projects that would benefit Singapore more than it would benefit Malaysia, especially the proposed KL-Singapore Bullet Train.

2/ stop taking into consideration Singapore's interest when implementing projects under the RM15 billion Johor South Corridor. [Abdullah has already appointed Singapore's Parkway Holdings Ltd, which runs Pantai Hospital, as consultant for the setting up of a mega medical hub in the South Corridor. see The Star Aug 12]

3/ to review overall relations with Singapore.

Lee Kuan Yew's disparaging statement about this country's "compliant" Chinese is the obvious excuse for these demands by the Johor Umno.

Slightly less obvious is the fact that Johoreans have been very unhappy with Abdullah's decision to cancel the crooked bridge because of Singapore's potential opposition and because, according to the PM, "the rakyat wanted it cancelled".

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Where's the spin?

I had expected Brendan Pereira to spin it and use one of his favourite openings "The Prime Minister was an angry man yesterday" for Pak Lah's response to Lee Kuan Yew over the latter's disparaging remarks about Malaysian Chinese being marginalised and compliant.

But the former Singapore Straits Times journalist decided to go back to straight reporting in this case and "soften" Abdullah's demeanour in the face of LKY.

So you get straight reporting on that issue from the NST today, which read just like the ones published in Bernama, Utusan, and The Star.

Well, Brendan will have another chance to make a soup of LKY in his column tomorrow!

Saturday, September 23, 2006


All bros and sis, a blessed Ramadhan!


Taking on LKY and KJ at one go. Lee Kuan Yew and Khairy Jamaluddin aren't related, of course. NOT that we know of, anyway. But they are both getting too big for their own good, according to Dr Mahathir.

LKY's remarks about Malaysia marginalising its Chinese shows how arrogant he has become, Dr M said HERE.

HERE [KJ and Patrick Badawi rule Terengganu] and HERE [My son had to beg Khairy], Dr M speaks of how dangerously powerful Pak Lah's son-in-law is making himself out to be. [all reports appeared in Malaysiakini]

Friday, September 22, 2006


update 23 Sept datuk mahathir police singapore who rape .. (malaysia)?

Did someone tell us to wake up and smell the Web 2.0, that the image below was automatically generated?

See the new image (above). Their Web 2.0 must be reading the blogs!

Original posting 22 Sept:

So, Kali, Hisham and Brendan, you think this is funny?

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Finally, some balls! The Deputy PM was asked just now to comment on Lee Kuan Yew's remarks about Malaysia's compliant Chinese.

Najib applied some strong words to describe LKY's remarks: "mischievious", "uncalled for", "inaccurate", and "misleading".

"I don't know his agenda but he shouldn't have made those remarks," Najib said.

Will Abdullah Ahmad Badawi rule Najib offside when he returns?


US$100 million bail-out. The board of directors of GLC Tenaga Nasional Berhad has approved a scheme to help get CK out of a massive mess in Indonesia.

The board met two days to discuss ways of bailing out its CEO and President Cik Khalib Mohd Noh, or CK, from a series of blunder dealing with TNB Coal's Indonesian partners, especially the man they unaffectionately called Pak Robert. [refer to my earlier postings on July 31 here and on Aug 4 here]

Robert Priantono Bonosusatya comes on top in this bail-out with US$34 million. Interestingly, this payoff will be forwarded to Pak Robert, in two instalments, by Singapore-based Noble Energy Inc.

CIMB is also in the picture. The Board had earlier (on Aug 25) decided to engage Credit Suisse First Boston to look into the mess but decided that CIMB was, well, cheaper.


TV Smith the blogger has painstakingly come up with probably the first map of Kuala Lumpur fashioned after Google Earth.

Click here and let him take you around the city. I've just returned from the P. Ramlee Memorial.

This guy deserves a datukship for his effort.

Talk of which, quite a number of journalists didn't know that Joniston Bangkuai, the longstanding and outstanding NST bureau chief for Sabah, has been conferred a datukship. Congrats Jon!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


And Imran Khan, as anyone can see, is not only cleverer than Bush; he's a lot more better looking, too.

Bookmark this blog if you'd like follow Dr M's travels around the world.


Thai PM Thaksin is in control, too.

From New York, where he is attending the UN General Assembly with other world leaders including Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Thaksin declared a state of emergency for Bangkok just before midnight, our time, amid rumours of a coup, according to Bernama.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Successful and hardworking but ... The remarks made by Lee Kuan Yew (click HERE) are a few days old but they won't go away, I suppose, until I've put them down on the blog.

Or until someone on this side of the cancelled crooked bridge stand up and respond accordingly.

In a nutshell, the former Singapore PM was having fun having a go at Malaysia. He said the Malays in Malaysia are facing problems with the Chinese here (who are being sytematically marginalised) and that Malaysia wants Singapore, "to put it simply, to be like their Chinese -- compliant".

The Scribe left a comment here the other day with regards to LKY's remarks but I suppose no one has felt slighted.

Monday, September 18, 2006


Staying put for Umno. Last month, Kalimullah Hassan told NST's bureau chiefs before their session with an editorial trainer specially flown in from Singapore that by year-end, by the grace of God, they will get a new Group Editor.

Brendan Pereira quitting? Again?!

Well, actually none of the bureau chiefs believed what Kalimullah said. As it is, for the 4th time in less than 3 years, Brendan the former bureau chief of the Singapore Straits Times has been told that his services are still required by the Prime Minister.

(That is what Kalimullah said each time! The first time Brendan could not quit because, according to Kalimullah, Pak Lah had called Brendan personally to ask him to stay).

Brendan faithfully responds to the PM's desire to have him remain at NST by prematurely launching a round of pre-emptive attacks against Dr M in the context of November's Umno general assembly in his weekly column "Get ready for some pap (PAP?) between now and the Umno general assembly in November" today (CLICK here to read).

You can expect the return of the Alphabet-soup series from this former affidavit writer in the run-up to the assembly.


Khairy Jamaluddin may need lessons on social etiquette and the Malay adat.

He was in Johor the other day to gate-crash a youths event organised by the Tengku Mahkota, and the stories told to me were of an man who was so visibly arrogant.

KJ didn't greet anyone, none of the other members of the royal family, not even the TM's consort, it seems. He didn't even go up to the Johor Menteri Besar to shake hands. But he would try to approach the TM whenever he had the chance to.

Wonder what the Prime Minister or his Son-In-Law wants from Johor now?

In another development, Lim Guan Eng called the SIL a millionaire and a hypocrite the other day. Click here to read his full statement at the Parliament House on Khairy.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Aisehman did what you'd expect editors of the BH, Utusan and NST to do, from reporting Pope Benedict's controversial statements on Islam and analysing the angry response it solicited to demanding a retraction from the Pope and thanking the Vatican for the yesterday's apology.

From the first posting on the issue to the apology last night, he kept people informed and helped them maintain a sober perspective of the issues.

Meanwhile, a so-called real editor chose to lull you, in his column today, with the glory of going fishing with successful friends in Bali and having Thai desserts in Bangkok.

His Mat Chai no 2, in his Berita Minggu column, defends Umno Putera's stupid defence of the Mat Rempits.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


16 Sept. On the road since eight in a "Rally for Humanitarian". There are over 100 cars, 30 bikes and some 500 Malaysians. We have just reached Pekan, home of our 2nd Prime Minister. The rally's organised by the National Press Club and Maxis, backed by more thab a dozen corporate sponsors, to mark the end of Merdeka month, raise funds for charity, and celebrate Malaysia Day.

So, how do you celebrate September 16?

Friday, September 15, 2006


Correction A poster pointed out to me that Para 3 of the original posting here is , that ECM-Libra shareholders were NOT entitled to free Pos Malaysia shares. See also comment in KMU.
Khairy was entitled to 12,
990,000 shares in Avenue International Capital Berhad (which later changed name to ECM Libra Avenue Bhd after the merger) for the 12,990,000 shares he had bought with Kali-money.
His shares of 12,990,000 shares in ECM Libra, underwent a capital reduction to 1,299,000 shares in ECM LIbra Sdn Bhd, which should be worth ONLY RM1,299,000.
I lose sleep over such errors. My sincere apologies to readers and bloggers. - Rocky

Original posting

Or how a son-in-law can make 5 million ringgit ...

First things first: Why has Khazanah Nasional been accumulating shares of Pos Malaysia for the last 3 months? It now has in excess of 30 per cent stake in Pos Malaysia, news that drove up its shares to a 7-year high of close to RM5.

[Khazanah will not say why, which is another good reason why there should be full disclosure and why an independent Audit should be brought in to look at Khazanah's books!]

Incidentally, ECM-Libra shareholders are entitled to 1 Pos Malaysia share for every 11 ECM shares. If you remember, Khairy Jamaluddin, the Prime Minister's son-in-law, bought 11 million shares with money borrowed from father-in-law's close aide Kalimullah Hassan (which means he could have been entitled to 1 million free Pos Malaysia shares at the time).

KJ later claimed he sold off all 11 million shares after the whole deal blew up in his face, Kalimullah's face and the PM's face.

Khairy said he lost RM200,000 as a result, remember?

Now, thanks to Khananah Nasional, the boy's 1 million Pos Malaysia shares, assuming he got them and has not disposed of them, would be worth close to $5 million!

And who do you think the chairman of Khazanah Nasional is?


Screenshots has a take on the RM20 million bill to beef up security at Sri Perdana, the PM's official residence. [read Malaysiakini's original piece HERE]

Sure beats the RM12 million renovation Abdullah Ahmad Badawi ordered after the place was vacated by Dr Mahathir.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Following Temasek's lead. That's the headline for one of Ho Kay Tat's editorial pieces in the latest issue of The Edge.

In a nutshell, he's asking Khazanah Nasional to emulate its Singapore counterpart, Temasek Holdings where disclosure is concerned.

Kay Tat is suggesting that Azman Mokhtar's Khazanah has not been forthcoming with details of its performance and that Azman Mokhtar and his outfit have been conducting business as if they are above this country's demands of others to observe corporate transparency and good governance.

"Compare (Temasek's) level of disclosure to that shown by (Khazanah) and one will be dissapointed."

"..Khazanah does publish an annual report, but it seems to be on a limited-edition basis ... only those considered important enough manage to get their hands on one."

"Why the secrecy? It's high time the state investment arm raises its diclosure levels ...,"
writes Kay Tat.

TheEdge is not the only one asking more out of Khazanah.

Earlier this week, Dr Mahathir also raised concerns about Khazanah's corporate behaviour and has called for an Independent Audit.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Extradition. Wisma Putra's Syed Hamid Albar should ask his US friends to extradite our 2 Malaysians who have been detained at Guantanamo Bay for alleged terrorist activities.

Instead of asking Washington to ensure that the Malaysians' human rights is not violated, the Abdullah administration should demand that they are sent back here to be fairly dealt with. [Washington would have done the same].

Human rights does not exist in Guantanamo Bay, and Syed Hamid knows that.

Bernama's Salmy Hashim has the latest on the Malaysians. Please read HERE.


And what else is normal, Jo? Mohd Johari Baharum, the Kubang Pasu Umno division chief, has unwittingly confirmed the existence of the "preferred list" that Dr M claimed was given to delegates so that they didn't vote the ex-PM.

He said it was normal to have such a list.

"In fact, such lists are not only confined within Umno, but were common at other (Barisan Nasional) parties," he was quoted by the NST today ["Division chief dismisses claim of money politics", page 7].

If the list existed and the brow envelopes changed hands, how does this man expect us to believe that Dr M's claims were baseless, that "it is just propaganda by (Dr M's) supporters."?

According to Ibnu Hakeem:

"This very frank slip-of-the-tongue by Johari also raises doubts over his denial that "the supreme council had instructed that Dr Mahathir be prevented from contesting". If the Supreme Council had not given such instructions then Johari Baharom must explain who gave instructions to prepare the preferred list and put it in an envelope to be given to the delegates ?"


Reassuring Singapore. Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has reassured his Singaporean counterpart during a 1-on-1 meeting in Helsinki that the this-is-my-idea Johor Super Corridor project will benefit the island Republic.

The NST, the English-language daily run by former Singapore Straits Times operatives, decided to bury the story deep in another piece ("PM: Include non-Europeans as peacekeepers").

Sister paper Berita Harian, however, was told to play up the issue on the front page yesterday ("Batal Jambatan tak jejas hubungan: PM").

And the Singapore Straits Times carried a similar story quoting the Malaysian prime minister ["Ties with Spore very good, friendly"]. But this piece, though similar in the "reassuring" theme, was actually taken from the interview Abdullah had with The Edge, published in its latest issue that hit the stands over last weekend.

Ah, what a lovely coincidence!


Good news. Bernama has a story [read here] about Malaysia being a net exporter of coconuts by 2020, irrespective of whether we'd achieve the desired developed nation status by the year.

Mr FF, who alerted me to the piece of good news, remarked: "At least we won't be a banana republic!"

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Zainon Ahmad's commentary in theSun yesterday ["Best to exit like a statesman"] makes him the first Malay editor of an English-language mainstream newspaper to do what the likes of Kalimullah Hassan, Brendan Pereira and P. Gunasegaram have been doing - demonise the former PM.

"By not being a delegate on Saturday," Zainon writes, "(Dr M) will never be a source of embarassment to the leaders of the party and the assembly this November. Better still for everyone concerned if he did not attend at all - even as a guest."

The former theSun's group editor-in-chief and now its political editor (and scriptwriter for What They Say) was never known to be critical of Dr Mahathir when the Tun was prime minister.

But in yesterday's article, he came out of the woodwork. He quoted an unidentified speaker at a What-They-Say-like gathering in a house in Kubang Pasu a couple of days before the divisional election:

" we want to allow (Dr M) in his old age - when he is probably incapable of making the right decision anymore - to become a delegate and to suffer all manner of indignities? We must protect him and shield him."

The ensuing para was probably meant to be a swipe at some editors from a recent past (Zainon could also be aiming this at himself as he was one of the senior editors of NST during Dr M's era):

"Indeed that had been the role adopted by some newspaper editors occasionally in the days when he was the prime minister: to protect Mahathir from his own excessive vehemence and to make Mahathir look good."

Compare Zainon's piece with veteran Rejal Arbee's blog-commentary here and Zainon's ex-boss' analysis here. In Jakarta, blogger Unspun had an earlier take here.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Ah, I haven't forgotten!

Three months ago this day, a certain columnist, a former Straits Times (Singapore) operative, wrote a column of lies about a meeting in Tokyo between Dr M and his successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Till this day, he has yet to apologise for the "errors".

But Kalimullah Hassan isn't the only one in the Abdullah's administration who won't say sorry for their blunders.

Son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin hurt the feelings of the Chinese with racist remarks and won't apologise.

And the PM himself won't apologise for the big blunders he made during his 7th August interview on tv.


A cheat and a liar.
Dr M called his successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi bohong (a liar) and said he was cheated of victory at the Kubang Pasu divisional election on Sunday ("which seemed more like a presidential election").

Delegates who were not bribed were threatened, he told a press conference after addressing a group of supporters at the Perdana Leadership Forum this morning.

2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 11, 14
According to Dr M, delegates were each given a piece of paper that contained these numbers. They were told to vote these candidates. "I was no 1 ... Somehow or rather, the delegates still voted Mukhriz (no 10) so the no 14 did not win".

The envelope containing this piece of paper also contained RM200. "That's the price of maruah orang Melayu," he said.

Dr M said money politics in Umno was not a new phenomenon but he couldn't believe that the government would resort to money politics to defeat him.

The Liar.
"Abdullah buat dakwaan yang berbohong," Dr M said. Instances:

Lie No 1. the crooked bridge - the PM said the rakyat did not want the bridge ["I never heard the rakyat saying no to the bridge"]
Lie No 2. Scomi - the PM said his son's company did not get any government projects [Dr M, who is Petronas adviser, said Scomi was given more than RM1 billion worth of contracts by the national oil corporation alone]
Lie No 3. Scomi again - the PM later said he did not know that his son's company was, indeed, award government projects ["the papers, including (New) Straits Times, reported how Scomi was awarded projects from the government .."]
Lie No 4. Open tenders - the PM said the government was going to award projects through open tenders ["when many projects are given out without tenders being called"]
Lie No 5. Corruption - the PM said he was going to fight corruption ["money politics was used at Kubang Pasu"]

The Abdullah
Dynasty. And Dr M said Abdullah is turning the government into his family's property.
"The BN government has become a government of Abdullah's family members. He can deny it but we know what (his son-in-law) Khairy is doing. How he has empowered friends at Putrajaya's 4th floor and ministries. Some people even asked me if I had to consult with Khairy before doing anything. A Menteri Besar was told to change contractors (for a project). Another Menteri Besar came down to welcome Khairy himself whenever Khairy visits his state. But Abdullah denies this," he said.

original post
A journalist woke me up with an SMS minutes ago to say that people have started gathering at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya for a show of support for the former PM.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Utusan Mohon Maaf . Mingguan Malaysia's apology today to the PM over his statement on Friday about his son's company, Scomi Group Bhd, has further confused the issue.

In its report Scomi tiada projek kerajaan (No government projects for Scomi) yesterday, Utusan Malaysia said: Kuala Lumpur 8 Sept. - Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi mengesahkan bahawa Scomi tidak pernah mendapat tawaran projek kerajaan.

Today, in a 12-para apology, the Bahasa Malaysia newspaper rewrote the entire report under a new heading, PM tidak terlibat pemberian projek kepada Scomi (PM not involved in award of projects to Scomi).

The apology means that Scomi had indeed been awarded government projects, contrary to what the PM claimed in his TV3 interview, right?

So, does this mean he owes us an apology?

Saturday, September 09, 2006


Defeat at Kubang Pasu. Former PM and Umno president, Dr Mahathir, has failed in his bid to become a delegate of the Kubang Pasu division.

It's a big loss for the man who has brought Umno where it is today. But I believe the bigger loser is Umno. The party has probably lost its last opportunity to try and bring together Dr M and his hand-picked successor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Dr M had anticipated a defeat. He told a press conference earlier this week that the Umno leadership was using the party's entire might to ensure that Kubang Pasu delegates would not pick him as a delegate. He also said defeat today will not stop him from criticising Abdullah and from demanding that the PM steps down.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Zainuddin Maidin, our Info Minister, said the other day Dr M should have emulated Lee Kuan Yew who, after stepping down, made himself Senior Minister and then Mentor Minister to remain powerful in the Singapore government.

If Dr M had, perhaps he would have been made Citicorp Inc's special advisor instead of LKY, eh? (read article here)

If Dr M had wanted to, he would have made himself Senior Mentor Minister to the Malaysian government. But he didn't, and he is the greater man for that. If he'd wanted to, too, Dr M could be special advisor to any international giant. He chose, instead, to be the advisor to Proton and Petronas to help Malaysia's own corporations.

Someone just asked me, by the way, if the appointment of LKY was not unethical and was not a serious conflict of interest.

I'd leave that to Zam to respond on behalf of his "mentor".


New GEIC. Michael Aeria has been named the new Group Editor-in-Chief of the Star, the largest English-language daily in terms of circulation and profitability. He replaces Wong Sulong.

Mike, one of the few senior editors left who have not been conferred a datukship, has put in more years than the Star no 2, Wong Chun Wai.

Chun Wai, however, will continue to be Ong Ka Ting's "eyes" and "ears", and should helm the paper in two or three years, by which time the Star expects to still be the No 1.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


36 hours. After tomorrow, we'll know if Dr M will be elected to the G7 that will represent Umno Kubang Pasu to the party's general assembly in November.

All the President's men are working at a feverish pace to try and make sure the former president will not make the cut. A press conference was called by Johari Baharom earlier today to get the division's leaders to openly reject Dr M even before Saturday's election.

About two dozens turned up for the PC, which left Jo red-faced, according to KMUdotnet.


P. Gunasegaram can take his "2nd casino" idea elsewhere because Johor Menteri Besar Ghani Othman WILL NOT ALLOW a casino built in Danga Bay or anywhere else in the state.

In his article ("We need another casino") carried in the latest issue of theEdge, the financial weekly whose major shareholders include gaming tycoon Vincent Tan, Guna bets all on the economic merits of a second casino even after admitting, at the onset of his article, that the idea of a second casino "may be strange one to make in a Malaysia which is increasingly assimilating Islamic values.."

Vincent Tan has also been accused of using theSun, theEdge's sister paper, to attack Selangor Menteri Besar Khir Toyo for shooting down his proposal to build a horse-racing turf in Bukit Tagar.

People familiar with the issue said Vincent claimed that the Sultan of Selangor had given him the royal consent to build the turf. Khir Toyo was said to have sought an audience with the Sultan the other day to seek a clarification.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


4th floor tells Hisham: Get rid of Datuk Rejal or ...! And, thus, Rejal Arbee was told yesterday that his Wednesday column has been retired, effective immediately.

Rejal was informed by one of the editors via e-mail. Expectedly, Hishamuddin Aun, the group editor-in-chief moulded and sculptured by Rejal when he was his group editor, had neither the courtesy nor the balls to pick up the phone and speak to his former boss.

Rejal's "retirement" is the result of direct intervention in the newsroom by the 4th floor boyz at Putrajaya.

It seemed that they had told Hisham of how they had taken offence at references, in Rejal's last article, to Malaysia Today and Beritakmu as "gentlemen bloggers" against machai, malaysiatomorrow and kpmu (which are pro-Abdullah Badawi blogs) for not identifying themselves.

In the same article, Rejal also mentioned Kadir Jasin, Rocky's Bru and Jeff Ooi as "gentlemen bloggers" but these references had been deleted by the editors before sending the article for print.

Rejal started his career as a journalist at Berita Harian on September 30, 1963.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


First time. Dr M has named P. Gunasegaram as an "(new) Umno boy and spin doctor". [see Screenshots for context]

Brendan Pereira, the ex-Singapore Straits Times operative, has been mentioned before but for Guna, yesterday was a first.

Interestingly, in his latest weekly column Question Time in the Edge ["We Need Another Casino", pg 57], Guna argued about the merits of setting up a casino in Danga Bay, a tourist attraction in the heart of Johor Baru, the capital of Johor, the birthplace of Umno.

Guna supports a new casino to compete with Singapore's two casinos which should come on stream in the next few years. Yes, the call for a new casino "may be strange one to make in a Malaysia which is increasingly assimilating Islamic values," he writes, "but there are compelling economic arguments for it."

"And really, there will not be a compromise with religion because Muslims can still be kept out of it. It's a business and economic decision - that's all."

Guna is a veteran and knows the sensitivity of the casino he's promoting. You'll find .. mention of Islam and Muslims in the story, though not once was AAB-sponsored Islam Hadhari mentioned, to assure Umno and the government that there shouldn't he a backlash.


"Of course, the Muslims would be barred from the casino as is currently the practice at Genting."
"Remember, while our casinos will restrict Muslims, it won't restrict non-Muslim Malaysians."
"Muslims too will find the projects attractive because of its promenades and walkways, its food courts, its theme parks and other attractions."
"The only difference is we will not be handicapped by excluding some activities which may be considered to be less inviting for Muslims."
"All we need to do is to ensure that Muslims do not take part in these activities and to control all unsavoury aspects so that they
(the activities) do not get our of hand."

Now, what will Umno Johor say to a Johor Casino?

Monday, September 04, 2006


How far will Umno go to try and stop its former president of 22 years from being chosen by the Kubang Pasu division as a delegate to the party's general assembly?

All the way, it seems. They are/have:
1. Blackballing the Perdana Leadership Foundation. Varsities are being told to cancel events planned at the PDF, government officers are barred from holding dialogues with Dr M, funds are not to be channelled to the Foundation
2. Sending top Umno leaders to campaign against Dr M at Kubang Pasu. Radzi (party sec-gen seems to be there all the time)
3. Sabotaging the ex-PM's events by organising quickie concerts at places where he was supposed to officiate or meet the people, such as in Johol last week
4. Ordered Umno youth members to cancel Jasamu dikenang event
5.Told senior government officers to call off dialogues and training sessions with Dr M

The party's divisions throughout the country pick their delegates to the assembly this Saturday (Sept 9). Dr M received the highest nominations from his division but party leaders and workers are busy talking to Kubang Pasu members not to choose him.

"They seem to be going all out," Dr M said. "Even government officers are being told not to support me. They say people should not pick me as their delegate (to the assembly) as it would lower my glorious position as former president and prime minister."

But they are doing it NOT out of love for him, he told a press conference at the Perdana Leadership Foundation today. "They want to shut me up.. there must be something frightening that they think I would be saying (at the general assembly)".

Asked if perhaps his successor Abdullah didn't know the attempts by the party to shut his ex boss, Dr M said he was told that the effort to block his way to the assembly "was the decision of the Umno Supreme Council" (which is chaired by the party president).


Dr M predicts that Scomi, the company owned by the son of the Prime Minister, will grow to be one of the biggest corporations in the history of this country in the shortest time.

"Scomi will be a giant. And yet not too long ago no one had heard of Scomi," he told a KMU dialogue in Putrajaya the other day. He had been asked about the billion-ringgit worth of projects that Scomi has allegedly amassed since Abdullah became PM late 2003 and if it was true that Kamaluddin Abdullah was eyeing to buy KTM Berhad.

The former PM is calling for a press conference at Putrajaya this afternoon.

In the meantime the PM would have gone through the report submitted by Scomi about just how little [or, rather, how much] of its earnings is derived locally.

After that we'll know who'll be sorry.


Terminal. Those on Flight AK6305 had their patience tested to the limits yesterday. The plane was supposed to depart Langkawi for KL at lunch yesterday but by dinner time they were still there.

When Air Asia told them that a "substitute" plane would fly them out at 10.30 pm, a friend decided that he had had enough. He didn't want to risk spending the night at the terminal and he didn't want to quarrel with the ground staff about another RM10 meal voucher.

So he bought a Malaysia Airlines ticket and was in time for supper at home.

This wasn't his first delayed flight with Air Asia but his worst. "A 10-hour delay on domestic is too much. That's the last time I'll fly Air Asia. "

This friend had earlier demanded what "technical problem" the aircraft was facing. A staff later told him it was a "pressurisation valve malfunction", whatever it was.

I have a feeling Kamarudin Meranun, the pass-the-buck Air Asia CEO, will find someone else to blame, somehow.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


"..if I was wrong, I don't want to lie. I will apologise to all." This was what the PM said hours ago of the statement he made last month that his son's company, Scomi, was not getting any government contracts.

[Please read the Bernama report here]

During the Aug 7 interview, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi stiffly denied that his son had abused his position as the PM's son to get government contracts from for Scomi. This was immediately disputed, especially on the Net. Scomi's PR exercise on Aug 20 did little to convince people that it got its projects on its own merits.

Now Abdullah said he received a letter saying he had lied." I read the contents of the letter. There is some information which I don't know about because I don't run my son's business. I don't ask him (Kamaluddin) to report to me. He's already an adult.
"I've asked for a report from Scomi. Let me see. If I was wrong, I don't want to lie. I will apologise to all."

Scomi was not the only issue from the Aug 7 interview. The PM had also:

1/ declared that no Malaysian company was controlled by foreign companies.
[The same week, he was forced to admit that Pantai Holdings were in the hands of Singaporeans and that it was a problem. This led to the creation of the Joget Pantai Irama].

2/ defended son-in-law's purchase of shares in ECM Libra.
[ Khairy Jamaluddin sold all those shares soon after].


He said that!? Well, according to the Star (today, Pg N29), Hishammuddin Hussein did.

Hisham: Leaders who make racial comments will not last long
Young leaders who make racial and religious statements to be popular with a particular community will not go far in a multiracial and multicultural Malaysia, said Barisan Nasional Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

Read the full article.

Well? Could Hishammudin be bitching about anyone else other than the PM's son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin, his deputy in the Umno Youth who is still in the soup over his claim that the Chinese would take advantage of a weak Umno by making demands?

Friday, September 01, 2006


theSun's new agenda? Is Vincent Tan the tycoon using the free tabloid to bash Selangor Menteri Besar Khir Toyo into submission (failing which, into a pulp)?

That's what CUIT SIKIT blogger AMLG heard. Vincent Tan, a major shareholder of Nexnews, which publishes theSun and the Edge, has failed to persuade Khir Toyo to approve a proposal to build a racehorce club in Bukit Tagar, Hulu Selangor.

To help "convince" the Menteri Besar, Vincent Tan's theSun "will continue to exploit issues against Khir Toyo until the general elections". Vincent Tan has given this special mission to Citizen Nades, or so it seems [a sample of R. Nadeswaran's vicious hooks HERE].

theSun recently tried to bash into pulp and submission blogger Jeff Ooi for a shooting incident that didn't happen.


Azman Mokhtar should learn from the Indians on how to deal with the Singaporeans.

The same day the Khazanah Nasional became Parkway's "chaperone" [read Reuters' analysis], India's central bank told Temasek and the Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC) to eff-off.

It was believed that the two were trying do a Joget Pantai Irama on India's largest commercial bank [read it here].

GIC, chaired by Lee Kuan Yew, is a significant shareholder of Pantai Holdings. It bought 25 million shares (more than 5 per cent) in Malaysia's largest healthcare provider in terms of capitalisation on Aug 4, just 3 days before the ill-timed, ill-advised declaration by Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Malaysia's PM and Khazanah chairman, that "there is no Malaysian company that is controlled by a (Singapore) company" [when Parkway already had 31% in Pantai way before then!].