Thursday, November 30, 2006
Seasoned journalist Syed Nadzri Syed Harun will be the group editor designate from tomorrow and come January 1, he'll be the Group Editor.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
"Whether he was stunned or not, Ahmad Sarji listened attentively to Abdullah as he laid out the impending coalescence that is now dancing with the subtlety of hissing pit viper.[click comment to read the rest of Bandit's take; click here and here to know where he's coming from]
Ahmad Sarji played the situation with an admirably straight poker-face, never unmasking his emotion nor sentiment, even if he disapproved of the merger.
Among the senior management of the three companies, he had made it known that if he had his way, he would not have allowed this merger on the faith that the trifecta companies can be major global players in their own right."
By the way, I was told that CIMB would be making around RM100 million from the deal. We'll wait for Nazir Razak to work out the numbers and tell us.
Azman Ujang, another seasoned journalist and Bernama's current editor-in-chief, will be the Acting GM until the agency appoints a new GM.
SJ's contract was not due to end until next year and his "early" retirement may spark speculation that there may be plans to merge Bernama with RTM, the other government media agency, or something to that effect.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Both The Straits Times and its sister, Singapore Business Times, carried Najib Razak's statement extensively. The piece by seasoned commentator S. Jayasankaran, here, is interesting:
Even so, Mr Najib inserted a cautionary note in his otherwise conciliatory speech. Elaborating on the growing cross-border deals between the two countries, he said the acquisitions of Malaysian interests especially by Singapore state-controlled entities 'have far outweighed' the acquisitions of Singapore companies by Malaysians.
He said the deals include the purchase of Singapore stockbroker GK Goh by CIMB Bank of Malaysia as opposed to Temasek Holdings' acquisition of a significant interest in Malaysia's Alliance Bank.
"I am hopeful that there will be a greater degree of reciprocity from Singaporean authorities in facilitating more Malaysian acquisitions of assets in Singapore," Mr Najib said.
Will Singapore open its door wider to Malaysia? I am tempted to believe that even Mr Najib does not think so; hence, the "cautionary note in his otherwise conciliatory speech".
Monday, November 27, 2006
KUALA LUMPUR - THE New Straits Times and Utusan Melayu, two of Malaysia's oldest media groups, will be merged in a corporate union that will establish the country's largest media grouping.Update, 7.45pm: Meanwhile, on that other proposed merger by Synergy Drive to create the world's largest oil palm company, Nazir Razak promised that everything about the RM31 billion deal will be transparent. [Read the Bernama's piece here from this morning's press conference].
And from Malaysiakini: Umno to rule the media
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Saturday, November 25, 2006
"Leaders are only humans and if there is nobody to criticise us, then we may be carried away by our positions.In a democratic system, our fate lies in the hands of the people, as such it is best to be corrected early rather than be rejected by the people later." - the Deputy Prime MinisterBut can the watchdogs still bark? Rather liberal of the DPM to ask the mainstream media to criticize the government. It's what the media are made for but will the editors rise to the challenge? Do they have what it takes to criticize and criticize constructively?
Click here for Mohd Najib Abdul Razak's invitation to treat.
"Although just about everyone has heard the rumours of the merger, observers believe that the management of the three listed groups were taken by surprise when PNB finally made its move through Synergy Drive Sdn Bhd. This perhaps reflects PNB's resolve to make the deal happen."But is that so? PNB chief executive officer and president Hamad Kama Piah Che Othman spoke up late yesterday said "the merger would be encouraged as long as it created value and gave benefits to the shareholders. He also said "PNB has also not seen the proposal, the three companies only informed PNB about the suspension". When asked if the move was initiated by PNB, he said: "It is not a question of who initiated it. We have to see the ultimate result. Otherwise how PNB is going to support all this."
Finally, he added:
"Synergy Drive is not our company but the thing is we always believe that whatever they do they should take consideration of PNB's expectation."Read the full article here. Hamad Kama Piah does not sound to me like he's on the ball. Someone else made that move through Synergy Drive Sdn Bhd, Oh Errol.
"Tertiary institutions have to implement strong measures to prevent plagiarism, as modern technology has been made easier for students to pass off others’ works as their own."Modern technology has also made it easier for journalists to pass off others' works as their own and get off scot free. In Brendan P's case, he still writes for the newspaper after the NSTP's chief executive here ruled that Brendan P's article was "original" and threatened to sue the BBC if it didn't retract its report.
[read The Star's article here on the UM's anti-plagiarism guide. the same article says StarEducation on Sunday will carry a full report on plagiarism]
Friday, November 24, 2006
Against the backdrop of the PM pooh-poohing Transparency International's latest corruption index, this poll could be viewed as politically incorrect. But then, the guys running MStar probably did not expect 90 per cent of the respondents (as at the time of this posting) to say "Tidak"!
Read my previous take on corruption here.
"There will be a lot to do ... many critical areas concerning Bumiputera economic participation, especially in view of globalisation," (Nor Mohamed) told Business Times.Soon after, Kalimullah was made chairman of a major bank. Kalimullah and Nor Mohamed, who used to be known as Top Cat for his prowess in currency trading (before George Soros turned his world upside down during the pound sterling crisis), would meet weekly for breakfast, together with a couple of other journalists who later went on to become senior editors with their newspapers. [note: I was never part of this breakfast club]. Years later, we spoke once more on the phone. This time he called to express a general displeasure about some stories we were publishing that touched the involvement of a member of Dollah Badawi's family in some Malaysia Airlines contract.
For business journos in the Eighties, Nor Mohamed's name was synonymous with the bilateral payments arrangement, an ingenious scheme used by Dr M to boost trade among countries in the South. But the BPA, and all these other credentials contained in the Bernama story here, are standard issue for the Junior Finance Minister's current CV.
A couple of details are missing from that CV. There is no mention of the RM9 billion losses suffered by Bank Negara in the forex market after Soros wagered against the pound and won. Nor Mohamed was largely blamed for these losses and left the central bank after the scandal came to light. Kalimullah's friend was also a player in Anwar Ibrahim's inner financial circle and his involvement, especially with financial house Abrar, has also been left out of the CV.
First three years. How did he fare? Nowhere near brilliant, according to the analysts and economists I spoke to. Since helping Azman Mokhtar with the financial re-engineering of MAS, which earned "Amokh" a place as head of Khazanah Nasional, the national airline has only flown deeper into the dark, turbulent skies. Proton is in a disarray. The stock market has remained sluggish. The economy is not vibrant. He's been accused of cultivating cronies, led by none other than Kalimullah. The average person is nervous about the capability of his "boys" in handling the merger of Sime-Guthrie-GHope, especially since their performance at the GLCs has been far from encouraging. Lately pro-Singapore, as seen in the case of Parkway and Pantai Hospital.
Second term as Second Finance Minister? His senator-ship has been extended for another three years and chances are Dollah Badawi will keep him in Finance. Top Cat may live up to his expectations; we'll have to wait and see.
Personally, I think it'd be good if he confronts his past at this point of time in order to move ahead. The RM9 billion story and the Abrar tales should be told and included in his CVs. It'll augur well for transparency and good governance.
Additional staff. Read Leslie Lopez's commentary today in Singapore Straits Times here.
Synergy Drive Sdn Bhd?
Synergy Drive was registered on Nov. 7, according to a filing at the Companies Commission of Malaysia, which named Rossaya Mohd Nashir and Wan Razly Abdullah Wan Ali as directors. Rossaya is an assistant general manager at CIMB Investment Bank and Wan Razly is a director of investment banking at CIMB, according to the person manning the bank's switchboard.
[Read the Bloomberg piece here]
Maya Maju Sdn Bhd?
There is another company, Maya Maju (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, registered with the RoC (Co Reg No: 254750-T). Here, there are 2 shareholders and 5 directors. The 5 Director are: Datuk Haji Man Bin Mat (rings your ear?), Md Nizam B. Md Sharif (rings your ear?), Rasidah Bt. Salleh, Lim Hooi Mooi (secretary), and Tan Enk Purn (secretary). The shareholders are: Maryna Keh Abdullah @ Miss Keh Kim Lan (RM1,450,000 shares) and Man B. Mat (RM3,550,000 shares).
[CTSB has the info here]
Thursday, November 23, 2006
He's turned to blogging as of today and here's why.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
You've probably never heard of the company. But you will and you will hear a great deal about it in the days, weeks and months to come. You will first hear of Synergy Drive Sdn Bhd at about the same time you hear the news tomorrow that trading of Sime Darby, Kumpulan Guthrie, and Golden Hope on the KL Bursa has been suspended.
By Monday, when the people at CIMB call for the press conference to announce the mega merger of the three giants, you'll know the names of the people behind Synergy Drive Sdn Bhd. You would have heard some of those names before and you will wonder who, really, are behind those names. You'll wonder if there's going to be transparency.
You will wonder who will benefit from the "death" of these three Malaysian corporate giants.
But one thing you'll know for sure, it won't be you.
"Govt supports PNB's merger of Sime Darby, K. Guthrie & Go0lden Hope"
"At least two years before merged entities gain from economies of scale"
List? What list? I love the latte at Starbucks (though I prefer the one at Austin Chase); Starbucks always reminds me of the Schindler's list that the Son-in-Law promised to issue, when Lebanon was news and bravado new. Gitmo also reminds me about priorities, how the Father-in-Law had no time to raise the issue of the two Malaysians during a meeting with Bush "given their intense discussions on efforts to achieve peace and understanding in the world".
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
If you really think that you can really criticize the PM, think again. Mukhriz Mahathir was just thinking aloud and that was enough to land him in the soup! He has said he regretted it and that he didn't mean to hurt Dollah Badawi's sensitive heart ,but he did not actually apologize and he did not withdraw his statement so he may not be off the hook yet. Remember, Mukhriz is no Lee Kuan Yew.
[Bernama has the report here; the Scribe puts things in perspective here].
Lim Kit Siang was furious and today demanded that the Government comes clean about the palace project. Expect a written answer at the Dewan Rakyat soon. Promahathir blogger has got that story here, Maverick SM had questions earlier here.
Sadly, you don't read about it in the papers or watch it on local TV. Thank you, The Star.
Monday, November 20, 2006
"There is a Chinese newspaper which raises issues that can create alarm among the people." - Mohd Johari Baharum, Deputy Internal Security Minister.And we were told that the media are freer now. Click here for Big Brother Jo's take on your freedom.
Not on the curriculum. Plagiarism as a subject in journalist, of course, will be taboo. Not after Brendan P has resigned amid the plagiarism row. And not since the NSTP is suing the BBC for its report.
Plagiarism and Singapore.
In any case, a survey by the National University of Singapore, Brendan P's alma mater, found that students who have studied in Singapore for more than five years have lower awareness of plagiarism!
No wonder they could not tell! [Click here for the findings of the survey].
Sunday, November 19, 2006
"He was an enduring personality in politics and government. To a lot of journalists in those days, Tan Sri was quite a character. And an endearing one. It was no wonder that they remember him with fondness."Update from Bernama: A national heroes' burial for Pak Khir. TV Smith remembers Pak Khir and Jeff Ooi sings for the man.
“We are doing our best. We have also signed 20 international treaties and are committed to reducing carbon dioxide.”
But while he considers that suit, Azhar should start suing publications worldwide which had "made" him a Christian that he is not. This one here, for example, was published way back in June and is still widely quoted and circulated. Because they were not immediately denied, such stories gained credence. And if not challenged now, such stories will become a gospel truth.
[click here to read the Bernama's "I Am A Muslim, says Azhar"; here for a most recent BBC piece on "Life as a secret Christian Convert"].
Saturday, November 18, 2006
What did the PM say? Well, he said he was happy to be criticized ...
Abdullah said that he would get very worried if people just showered praises. "But everybody (at the assembly) has spoken very frankly on what they feel about certain things. And I think that's healthy, that's good."but he ain't happy at all to all when it's Mukhriz who's criticizing him ...
"Well, he has said something which I thought was not right at all," was Abdullah's response when asked about the matter, adding that it was up to Umno Youth to tackle the issue.[Mind you, the PM's flip-flop about being criticized came from the same article here! Also, check out Cuit-Sikit's take on why the PM was wrong to say that Mukhriz had broken the party law by criticizing him here and Lily's review of the year's scariest movie here].
["Mukhriz is Irrational, Refuses to Accept Reality - Ahmad Zahid ".. click here to read the story]
Friday, November 17, 2006
Hi Bro Rocky,
Re: NST, today, page 7 by Wan Hamidi Hamid
I am saddened by this article in NST today which quoted a speech by Perlis delegate Hashim Suboh venting his anger at non-Malays. He asked our Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein:
"Datuk Hisham has unsheathed his keris, waved his keris, kissed his keris. We want to ask Datuk Hisham, when is he going to use it?”.I am shocked by his statement on being insensitive. Being a law-abiding citizen and truly loved to live in this beautiful country,
I rest my case, Malaysia.
updated: 11pm Dollah delighted with debates. [click here to read how happy the PM is with all these].
"We, as women, feel very embarrassed. We teach our children to dress decently, to wear the scarf, but the action of one minister's wife puts us to shame." - Rahimah Idris, Wanita Umno leader, who said the sexy Datin was not even decently dressed at her former husband's burial recently.The Umno Women's delegate must think that Dollah Badawi has nothing better to do. Or she thinks the Cabinet Minister in question is unable to "control" his sexy wife and needs his boss to act on her. And one wonders why this issue was not brought up with Bakti, the body representing the Cabinet minsiters' wives, instead. In any case, it would be hard to be more openly bitchier than this. Congratulations, Wanita Umno!
Tiara Jacquelina, the accomplished actress wife of Mohd Effendi Norwawi, the Minister in the PM's Department, will be wondering if Rahimah's attack was aimed at her. Or if someone is trying to ruin her husband's career. [Click here for the Bernama story on the "too sexy" Datin].
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Malaysia's prime minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, said Wednesday that frayed relations between the country's religious and racial groups had reached a "worrying" level and warned that the government would not hesitate to crack down to preserve peace between them. "Freedom has its limits," Abdullah said in a nationally televised speech to his party that serves as an annual state of the union address for the country. "I would like to warn those who abuse this freedom that I will not for a moment hesitate to use the law against them." Abdullah's threats were a marked shift in tone for a prime minister who previously portrayed himself as more conciliatory and compassionate than his predecessor, Mahathir bin Mohamad.However, according to Bernama here, quoting the same Dollah Badawi, race and religious tensions have not reached worrying level.
Racial and religious tensions in Malaysia have not reached worrying level, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Thursday.According to the Bernama article, in his keynote address when opening the 57th assembly Wednesday, what the PM actually said was:
"Not worrying level as far as I am concerned but it is time to remind the people and to lay down the ground rule and that is exactly I have said (yesterday)," he said.
"But of late, we see increased polemics on issues related to race and religion. And it has reached a level where it is now worrying."Don't you get it? Jakarta-based blogger Unspun seems to get it and sounds pretty worried.
Update 17 Nov 3pm: Delegates at the Umno general assembly agreed this morning that IHT should carry a correction on its front page article. They probably were not informed that The Al-Jazeera also has a similar story, "Racial Tensions on Rise in Malaysia".
[Here for the Bernama story on delegates demanding a correction by IHT; here for Al-Jazeera's]
Blogger A. Kadir Jasin by A. Kadir Jasin
The Khairy Chronicles by Raja Petra Kamarudin
These books would have sold like water in a desert if they had been allowed anywhere near the on-going Umno General Assembly at the PWTC. But these no-holds-barred sketches of Malaysia's political landscape under Dollah Badawi's premiership have been barred from reaching the Umno delegates.
The closest to the PWTC that RPK's book got was the National Press Club at Jalan Tangsi. You may, if you are lucky, still find a few copies left. AKJ will have to rely on his magazine vendors to distribute the books for him.
Here's to greater freedom!
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
"Extremely insensitive," she said. Not nice coming from someone who claims to be nice. Not what a non-Muslim (as against kafir) like her had expected from the Prime Minister.
Kafir is an Arabic word that means non-Muslim. In the Malaysian context, however, the word conjures such negative, unpleasant and even offensive connotations that it is hardly ever used as a substitute for "bukan Islam", which is Malay for "non Muslim".
I don't know if he was issuing that warning to Dr Mahathir, Bush, Kit Siang, his own son-in-law, me, you, Lee Kuan Yew, the world, the Devil or the half-past-six advisers from the 4th floor and NSTP. What I know is this kind of talk, from a bully or a statesman, always leaves a bad smell. Oh, yes, what a pong!
Other highlights from the address:
FDI - Yes it's slow but that, Dollah said, is because we're not as opened to mergers and acquisitions. But the PM vowed that national interest will always come first. Malaysia will not go the Pak Kadok way, menang sorak kampung tergadai. He will not sell off the country.
[note: no mention of Pantai Hospital, Parkway Holdings or the Singapore-Johor Economic Region, though]
The Economy - Yes it's slower. But that's because he wanted to reduce the deficit. Dollah said he has succeeded - deficit was 5.3 per cent of GDP when he took over; it is now 3.5 per cent. Now we are in better position to spend!
Stock market - Yes it's a little drab but we'll just have to be patient. The PM said he can, if he wants, get the Cabinet to agree and list Petronas and Felda on the Bursa. That will add billions of ringgit in market cap and make Bursa KL the biggest stock exchange in Asia. But, he said, that is not the economic transformation he has in mind for the nation. "It's not like cooking instant mee," he said.
Corruption - Is the fight against corruption waning? No, it's not. There seems to be more corruption but that, Dollah said, is because the media are freer in reporting about corruption cases. No arrest? That does not mean he is slowing down in his fight against corruption. At the same time, the PM said the people should come forward and provide proof of corruption and not just make wild accusations.
Bumiputera equity - To say that the Bumis have achieved more than 30 per cent equity is to accuse the government of lying. "This government does not lie".
Islam Hadhari - Islam Hadhari
Misc - Let's pray for Dr M's health, the PM said. And a Tun Ghafar Fund will be set up.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Still, in my opinion, the same advice would have been better served to the Pemuda. Its deputy chief, Khairy Jamaluddin aka the Son-in-Law, was seen as using his position - both as deputy chief and as SIL - to get his hands on those ECM-Libra shares! If the head, which is supposed to do all the thinking, can't resist the temptation of the ringgit, the rest of the body can't be expected to be cleverer.
And come to think about it, shouldn't this advice be given to Umno as a whole. The party is today perceived as nothing much more than a platform for the Malay who wishes to lobby for business, small and big. Hence, the word Umnoputera. The leader of the Women's wing has still to satisfactorily explain why so many APs were given to her former Miti officers. The President of Umno has been accused by his predecessor for abusing his position to give his only son huge government contracts worth billions of ringgit. The President of Umno has also gone on record to insinuate that the predecessor had also abused his position to give his children contracts worth even more than the ones he awarded his only son!
If the advice is not going to be served to the Pemuda, Wanita and Umno proper, let's not hope that the princesses of the party won't look for their own princely kickbacks, too. It would only be fair.
Monday, November 13, 2006
M. Zul and Simon Burgess probably never knew half the story of how and why they had been there in the first place, plucked from obscurity to spearhead what just two years ago was the fastest-selling English-language rag in the country. Not that they would have cared then (and now it's none of their business anymore). They must be told now, however, that they are scapegoats. The real culprit for all this mess at the Mail is Kalimullah Hassan, Editorial Adviser and Deputy Chairman of the NSTP. This man is still around, playing dumb while others take the fall, and taking home a real fat salary for doing nothing but harm to the NSTP from the first day he arrived as its GEIC in 2004.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
The interview with Utusan Malaysia, published today, was obviously timed to coincide with the start of the week-long Umno General Assembly today. Click here to read Zaini Hassan's interview with the Umno President. If you're wondering how long Dollah Badawi wants to rule this country, you are not alone.
But we can all stop wondering about one thing: Dollah Badawi wants to stay and is not shy at all about admitting it. Expect Umno Youth, whose de facto leader is Dollah Badawi's own son-in-law, to support the President's wish.
update 11.30am, 13 nov. In the meantime, Bloomberg has issued a C+ for Dollah Badawi's first three years in office and even ventured to say that he might lose support if he fails to convince this week's assembly that he will deliver on his earlier promises. Read the not-so-rosy article here.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Some0ne asked me which is worse, a journalist who lies in his writing or one who plagiarizes? Both are bad. The worst is when such people refuse to apologise and go unpunished, and even allowed to stay on in journalism and taint the profession by the day.
Friday, November 10, 2006
"We can assume that since the index is based on perception, it therefore differs from reality." - Abdullah Badawi (NST, "PM: Speed up graft trials")The 2006 index, released early this week, saw Malaysia slipped five big rungs to 44th position. Just World president Dr Chandra Muzaffar has blamed Dollah, who vowed to combat corruption three years ago, for refusing to compel politicians and their families, including his own son whose companies seem to be doing extremely well since he became the PM, to declare their assets.
The PM blamed the poorer index on the slowness of the courts in trying corruption cases and, believe it or not, the "freer" Press. According to the same NST report, Dollah said "it was possible that others perceived corruption had not decreased due to the greater openness in the media which has been actively reporting corruption cases".
Dollah did not seem to have a problem with the country's better position on the UNDP's human development index, though. Click here for the story; here for the index.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
A happy update at 9pm, 10/11/2006: Dr M has been discharged from the Coronary Care Unit. He is now under observation in a "normal" ward.
Widely considered a Mahathir man, Zam raised eyebrows recently when he joined most of his Cabinet colleagues in condemning Dr M for criticizing Dollah Badawi.
Before the smut, the Weekend Mail was printing just about 70,000 copies. Given the Mail's traditionally high return rate of unsold copies, we can safely estimate that some 50,000 people paid RM2 each every weekend to read the rag: 25,00o on Saturday and another 25,000 on Sunday. Not too many. The (murdered) Sunday Mail, which was edited by Aishah Ali until April 23 this year, was doing 50,000 copies on a bad day and the (old) Malay Mail was cruising at over 40,000 copies easily before there was Kalimullah Hassan.
Syed Faisal Albar will miss the Weekend Mail. Those 50K copies mean RM100k in circulation revenue. If the suspension lasts till the end of the year, that would mean more than RM1 million down the drain.
And with The Malay Mail (Mon-Fri) struggling to stay above 20,000 copies a day and with little advertisement coming in, a prolonged suspension of the Weekend Mail could ruin the NSTP chief executive officer's already badly-tainted KPI.
Consolation will come in the form of not having to pay Simon Burgess and M. Zul the fat salaries that they draw should the company decide to roast both raw editors. Syed Faisal could bring back the Sunday Mail. He should also demand a refund for the US$1 million they paid the consultants for this troubled "re-invention" of the Mail.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Syed Faisal Albar's troubles are far from over. The Cabinet meeting today is expected to discuss the rot at NSTP, the smut and the resignation of the disgraced NST group editor last week amid a plagiarism scandal.
But I tell this to the NSTP chief executive officer and to you: don't hold your breath for Editorial Adviser Kalimullah Hassan or GEIC Hishamuddin Aun to ever have the decency to accept responsibility for the mess.
Expect them to sacrifice others, such as:
1/M. Zul, the ex-magistrate Syed Faisal had handpicked earlier this year to be the Malay/Weekend Mail editor and chief operating officer. He has been suspended pending a domestic inquiry into last weekend's mess.
2/Simon Burgess, the expat who was given the cushy deal by Syed Faisal to work only three days a week (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) to produce the Weekend Mail. He's paid a bomb. He may sue NST if he's given the sack.
An error or a lie? In the meantime, I would like the NST and the MM to clarify their reports that said the Malay/Weekend Mail had been operating independently of the NSTP since January 1 this year. Because that is not possible: 1/I was still the Executive Editor of the Malay/Sunday Mail until February. 2/The ill-fated Weekend Mail wasn't even born until June. Something that did not exist could not have been operating independently.
Late yesterday, the loathsome threesome of NSTP chief executive officer Syed Faizal Albar, Group Editor-in-Chief Hishamuddin Aun, and Editorial Adviser Kalimullah Hassan decided that M. Zul should drown alone. Absolving themselves of any blame, the three ordered M. Zul to be suspended from his job pending the outcome of an inquiry into the "smut" issue of Weekend Mail, which is edited by a foreigner.
The suspension came just hours after the PM, who put Kali at the NSTP in 2004 to mess things up, commented from from Islamabad on the "smut" issue. [Click here to read the PM's response].
Plagiarise again, Plagiarist. In the meantime, no disciplinary action has been taken against Brendan P, The Plagiarist. There will not be a domestic inquiry, either. On the contrary, Syed Faizal and gang published yesterday Brendan's weekly column, now wholly dedicated, it seems, to taking potshots at Dr M . By now, of course, Brendan P shoots blanks.
Who'd believe what a plagiarist writes?
Just World president Dr Chandra Muzaffar, however, said the PM, who vowed to combat corruption three years ago, must share the blame for the more negative perception. He told The Star here that to quell rumours of nepotism politicians and their families should declare their assets but the PM recently said there was no need to. "That was disappointing. They should be able to demonstrate that they are above board."
In July, Matthias Chang, Dr Mahathir's former political secretary, was sued for RM50 million for, among other things, challenging the PM's son-in-law and his mentor Kalimullah Hassan to declare their assets in order to prove that they did not profit themselves from Abdullah's position.
Monday, November 06, 2006
"Smut" Syed Faizal Albar did not apologise for Brendan P's plagiarism because it would be seen as an admission of guilt, an embarrassing defeat for Kalimullah Hassan. The CEO of NSTP is made to say "WE ARE SORRY" in bold on the front page of the (New) Malay Mail today because it will be an admission of guilt on his part (and nobody else's, not the Editorial Adviser Kalimullah Hassan nor the Group Editor-in-Chief Hishamuddin Aun).
But Smut Syed has been around long enough and should, therefore, know that saying sorry does not absolve him of liability and responsibility.
The on-going inquiry into this "offensive and distasteful" chapter will find "editors" like "Mojo" M. Zul and "Sick" Simon Burgess guilty of carelessness, which is as serious a sin as plagiarism, or outright disregard for the acceptable notion of decency. But like I said in my last posting, Smut Syed is the one really in charge here. If they have to go down for this, he must go down with them.
SO, WHO IS THIS "SICK" SIMON BURGESS? When Smut Syed did the bidding for Kalimullah to squeeze me out of the Malay/Sunday Mail, the official line he gave me was they wanted to turn The Paper That Cares into a rag like FHM and they could see that an editor like me would not fit in. Truth is they had already spoken to Mojo M Zul from the FHM soon after my fallout with Kalimullah and the Mail did that expose on Pantai.
Sick Simon came into the picture much later and I was aware of him only a couple of months ago. In this country, we have "Mat Salleh" expats making good money and a name for themselves as editors of various lifestyle magazines.
But a "Mat Salleh" as editor of an Umno-owned paper? Singapore operatives running an Umno paper? We are learning.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
At the KL Umno Convention today, the DPM lambasted the Kalimullah-led NSTP for allowing the Mail to degenerate to a porn trash. "Memalukan (shameful)", he said. This week's issue dedicated 57 of its 66 pages to sex. Front page blurbs scream "Fetish Files", "Celebrity Sex", "Hooters!", "Pole Dancing Tips", "Kinky Cakes".
The delegates took Najib's displeasure as a cue to scrutinize the state of the (new) Malay Mail and its weekend edition. Shahrizat Jalil, the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, spoke out angrily against the newspaper editors for what they have done to one of the country's oldest English-language newspapers.
Although he is the CEO of NSTP, Syed Feisal has put himself directly in charge of the tabloid that was once known as The Paper That Cares. Under his charge, the Malay Mail changed from a paper that fought for the underdog to a kinky rag. Readership and sales numbers have fallen drastically in the past months and the desperation to check the slide may explain why the Weekend Mail has dropped all pretense of being a newspaper.
The Weekend Mail, by the way, is edited by an expatriate.
"... is not our "mega" project it will be Singapore's, it is now official that this project will become an official de facto extension of Singapore."This morning, GoBlog, another poster, said he alarmed to learn how much the SJER seems to be tailored to Singapore. Why should the SJER use Changi and Keppel instead of Port of Tanjung Pelepas and Senai Airport? If Brendan P could piece together one last "original" piece tomorrow, he would undoubtedly hail this venture. [Click here and here to read why this is Singapore's Johor Economic Region].
Syed Hamid puts Johor Sultan in "right context". This Johorean minister is certainly not a "yes" man when it comes to his own Sultan. Here, he saw it fit to interpret what the Sultan meant when he called for the dismantling of the Causeway yesterday.
The Singaporeans must have checked with him. Syed Hamid's counterpart in Singapore said here that what the Sultan said did not represent the Malaysian Government's position.
What is the Malaysian Government's position on the Sultan's call for the Causeway to be replaced by a bridge?
Saturday, November 04, 2006
If you have not heard of Dolahgate, click here and read Raja Petra Kamaruddin's account on how an entire Umno supreme council had conspired against its former president Dr M during its Sept 28 meeting.
"Rahim Thambi Chik and Aziz Shamsuddin shifted uncomfortably in their seats. They knew what Rais said was right. How could the Secretary have been so stupid as to minute something like this? In the first place, the Supreme Council should not have even discussed the matter or, worse, made the decision to sabotage Mahathir’s chances of winning. But to minute it.....sheesh!"
There's a poll at the end of the article. I was the 808th voter.
I don't have the Sultan's exact quotes but Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was there when the Sultan said this at the unveiling of the PM's own idea/vision/plan for the SJER.
The last time the Sultan reportedly spoke out on politics, it was widely reported by the media.
update 9.30pm: Bernama filed the report here on what the Sultan said (minus the fact he was not happy about the use of his name for the project) at 5.16pm.
There are some 1,000 journalists at Balai Berita, professionals who wield an instrument said to be mightier than the sword but whose mouths have been stuffed by yesterday's unprecedented gag order.
... no employees of the company are allowed to engage in or provide comments to the public, Press (international or local), television stations or any other media organisations except for the Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and the Group Editor in Chief."After the shock discovery that their group editor had plagiarized the work of a American journalist and has quit amid that scandal, the journalists at Balai Berita wanted answers. They wanted Brendan P to face them and give them his excuses. They wanted to ask the CEO why Brendan should not be sacked and why his resignation takes effect on Dec 31. They wanted to talk about plagiarism, the BIG sin. They wanted the GEIC to tell them if they, too, can use their positions as journalists to secure a small business contract for their spouses.
No one saw the gag order coming. "When Tun (Dr Mahathir) said Pak Lah is turning this country into a police state, our editors rubbished him," a young editor from the NST said. "Our papers rubbished him. Heck, some of us rubbished him! But now, what gives? We are journalists and we are not allowed to talk about these things? They are going to sack me if I talk about plagiarism with Tok Najib (the Deputy Prime Minister) and with my drinking buddies?"
"The company views this seriously and will not hesitate to take action should this be compromised."I have read about gag orders on journalists and the media by governments in Iran, Poland and several other countries widely considered as "police states".
for an update on BBC's response to NST's intimidation, click here.
Friday, November 03, 2006
"Our position is very clear; it is not (plagiarism). The other (Mitch Albom's) piece did not revolve around the Prime Minister of Malaysia or former Prime Minister. Our content was original." - Syed Faisal Albar, CEO of NSTP, on Brendan P's plagiarism scandal.In major editorial crises like this one, you'd expect Kalimullah Hassan as the NSTP Editorial Adviser or Hishamuddin Aun as the Group Editor-in-Chief to stand up for the profession. Instead, they have left it to Syed Faisal to come out with a most pathetic defence.
Syed Faisal's defence of Brendan P was also left very late in this NST on-line article about a threat by the NSTP to sue the BBC if it does not retract the news story its correspondent in KL had sent out yesterday on the plagiarism issue and Brendan P's resignation.
The CEO said Brendan P's resignation had been announced at a regional correspondent meeting on 18 August this year. Some of these correspondents will no doubt contest this claim. I remember Kalimullah announcing Brendan P's resignation on two earlier occasions; one of them was right after he had made the announcement about the appointment of the Singapore-trained Brendan P as the new Group Editor of the NSTP!
Meanwhile, the world is reading about NST and Malaysia, here and here.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
This morning, what they discussed appeared in the news here: "New Group Editor for NST".
Will this be a turning point for NST? Dream on. For as long as the other Singapore-trained operative Kalimullah Hassan who planted Brendan at the NST, who is responsible for the NST's current state and who is the author of the June 11 lies, remains as the Editorial Adviser and Deputy Chairman of the NSTP, and continues to rule men like Hisham and Syed Faisal, the decline continues.