Sunday, November 30, 2008

CSL's latest flame

Chua Soi Lek, the newly-elected MCA deputy president, had gotten himself into another controversy, it seems. This time with some young Malay graduates who grouped under the Gabungan Graduan Melayu Muda, the same body that dragged the Penang state government to court over the multilingual road sign.
GGMM president Khairul Azam Aziz said he and supporters will march from the LRT station at Ampang Park at 3 pm to the Wisma MCA, where he hopes to deliver a notice of demand to CSL.
"We want Dr Chua to apologize openly to the Malays for his statement that ketuanan Melayu is not longer relevant," Azam said here.
GGMM plans to take Chua to court on Wednesday if he fails to apologize.

Right-wing Umno blogger Big Dog says MCA should take stern action against CSL, here.

Sime man faces Sessions Court charge

Sime Darby of the world's-largest-plantation-merger fame, which expects profits for the year to tumble 46 per cent, will make the wrong kind of headlines tomorrow when its Human Resources boss Ishak Abdul Hamid appears at the KL Sessions Court tomorrow (Monday, Dec 1) over the controversial sacking of Group Financial Officer Razidan Ghazalli and Golden Jomalina's General Manager Muhammad Mohan Kittu Abdullah.

Also charged for a similar offence is KPMG Corporate Services Sdn Bhd executive director Tan Kim Chuan. KPMG carried out a forensic audit on the purported RM120 million trading losses incurred by Golden Hope Plantations Berhad.

Both Razidan and Muhammad Mohan were sacked for alleged “failure to discharge their functions to the standard of care that were reasonably expected of them”, resulting in the RM120 million. Three others - former Golden Hope's Group Chief Executive of Golden Hope Dato' Sabri Ahmad, former Director of Oils and Fats Dr Anhar Suki and General Manager of Commodities Trading and Marketing Azmir Yahya were forced to resign immediately.

Ishak could go to jail for 3 years if found guilty but the charge has brought about fresh questions on the sacking of the two senior execs and the circumstances under which the others had to quit.

Click here for more.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Najib and RPK on Aljazeera

Monday- Thursday, Riz Khan LIVE interviews. The DPM and his most ardent fan Raja Petra Kamaruddin will appear on the Riz Khan's Malaysian special on Aljazeera this week. They will appear separately, though.
Riz Khan's series of "live" interviews with Malaysia's movers and shakers will also Kee Thuan Chye and Joe Kukhatas. And, of course, a one-one-one with Dr Mahathir.

Find out the programs' schedules and also how you can take part by asking Riz Khan or the panelists questions, here.

Friday, November 28, 2008

18 tahun penjara terlalu lama?

Adakah hukuman yang dijatuhkan ke atas pendera Nirmala Bonat terlalu zalim? Pasti anda masih ingat akan foto2 ngeri di atas. Semasa berita tentang pembantu rumah dari Indonesia diseterika dan disiksa oleh majikannya meletup, saya masih menjadi pengarang di Malay Mail. Kami membuat liputan besar2an tentang kisah ngeri serta menyayat hati ini. Hingga kini, sukar untuk dipercayai bahawa ada di kalangan kita di bumi bertuah ini yang boleh bertindak sebegitu kejam kepada insan lain.

Pasquale berpendapat penjara 18 tahun yang dijatuhkan ke atas Yim Pek Ha adalah setimpal (klik s i n i) tetapi seorang blogger Malaysia yang menetap di luar negara, Gobloking, merasakan di sini bahawa ianya suatu hukuman yang zalim kerana Yim mempunyai anak2 kecil. Katanya 3 tahun penjara adalah memadai tetapi Yim mesti bayar gantirugi yang tinggi kepada Nirmala.

Bagi saya, hukuman yang berat perlu untuk mengajar sesetengah daripada kita supaya menghormati orang lain, walaupun ianya seorang pembantu rumah dari seberang. Sama juga mesej yang perlu dihantar kepada rakyat bukan negara ini yang bikin sial di sini merampok, merogol and menipu rakyat tempatan, iaitu makhamah Malaysia kita TIDAK akan bertolak ansur dengan penyangak dan penjenayah.

Baru minggu lepas makhamah menjatuhkan hukuman 32 tahun penjara dan 18 rotan keatas seorang rakyat Malaysia yang merogol pembantu rumahnya yang berasal dari Indonesia. Isteri perogol dikenakan 6 tahun penjara kerana bersubahat dengan suaminya dan kerana menenyeh cili pada kemaluan mangsa selepas dia dirogol. Nak baca, klik sini.

Sila baca juga laporan Malay Mail, Divided Feelings.

Malaysian GLC's Snake & Ladder

Che Khaleb or Amokh for Petronas? Heavens forbid, but the market talks.

Ismee Ismail (with songkok), the group managing director and chief executive of Tabung Haji, is tipped to leave for TNB while Che Khalib, the current Tenaga boss, is said to be eying a Petronas job.

Like I said, it's market talk. We've also heard that Amokh or Azman Mokhtar, the Khazanah boss himself, is keen on Hassan Merican's job. Never mind if Hassan's shoes may be many sizes too large, even for both of them combined!

I won't rule out anything, especially after learning the other day that Kalimullah Masheerul Hassan had proposed to the NSTP Board to bring in Kamal Khalid, the PM's 4th Floor chief operative, as the new CEO! And when the Board turned this down, Kali, who is the outgoing NSTP deputy chairman and editorial advisor, had then proposed that a position of Deputy CEO be created for the PM's special officer! I'm not sure if Kamal even knew that his name had been dropped like that.

Syed Faisal Albar, Kali's trusted friend, left NSTP to head Pos Malaysia. Syed Faisal's right hand man, Jezilee, is leaving his COO post at NSTP for the equivalent in Pos Malaysia. A couple of other top execs from NSTP are expected to leave and join Syed Faisal at Pos Malaysia, too, leaving Anthony Bujang, the new NSTP chief executive, a big hole to fill.

Kamal Khalid may still find an executive's position in Media Prima (the international side, I heard). Another 4th Floor op, Zaki Zahid (pic), is expected to head for MRCB.

If this was a game of chess, someone's moving around his pieces in a desperate attempt to save the old King's reign. Perhaps Nor Mohamed Yakcop, the MoF ll, can shed some light on these moves, starting with his friend's attempt to put Pak Lah's chief press attache as the NSTP boss.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Understand the fatwa: Lah

update 28/11 - Christians fatwa on yoga
“Why must you get involved in a practice that has an intimate connection with a religion or religious belief?” said Rev James Wong of the Basel Christian Church of Malaysia in Sandakan."

Original post:

26/11 PM urges all quarters to understand yoga fatwa and not twist facts; Muslims performing yoga exercise and not chanting mantras can carry on/STAR
Ah, the Prime Minister must have read Nuraina's posting Now I Can Do Yoga. In it, she said she's glad that the National Fatwa Council has confirmed that it is okay to do yoga -- minus the spiritual elementsl, of course.

Tough few days

Lost & Found. It's been a tough few days. A death in the family. A favorite auntie. She cared for us when we were boys and Ramuan China Kechil in Melaka was very kampong, unlike today.
And I lost my bagpack while lunching at Kelana Jaya. The Panasonic Toughbook contained as much sentimental stuff - pictures of family and friends - as it did my work. Also gone is a digital recorder containing hours of interview with Tun Salleh Abas. Etc.
My daughter said there is always a good reason behind a misfortune. My son said maybe it's a sign sent from above that I should stop blogging. Heh. A brother has lent me his Fujitsu so it looks like the sign is for me to go on blogging.

p.s. And the counter says it's close to 8 million unique visitors. Thank you all in advance for the hits.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What is Hindu Sangam saying?

Many Hindus hurt by Yoga fatwa? I've been watching and reading the "yoga haram" issue with some degree of amusement, until I read The Star online's article Hindu Sangam urges Fatwa Council to "be more sensitive".

After reading it twice, I decided that we need to draw the line somewhere. It was quite ok to read of Sisters in Islam or a yoga instructor debating the decision by the Fatwa Council here, BUT when another religious body like the Hindu Sangam decides to openly question the wisdom of the Fatwa Council for what it has or hasn't done ("... it was regrettable that the Council had not consulted with the Malaysia Hindu Sangam first... "), I fear we may be treading on dangerous ground.

In my opinion, the Hindu Sangam is the one that should be more sensitive here.

As a Muslim, I have no problem with an edict or fatwa, as it is basically a guide. In the case of the yoga, the Fatwa Council says it would be haram if a Muslim performs the religions elements and the chants. The exercise alone is not haram. Some Muslims who are into yoga may decide to leave yoga totally following the edict while some others may decide to just do the exercise. As always, there would be others who will pooh-pooh the edict and still do the yoga -- all three elements of it.

But these are for the Muslims to decide. The edict applies to Muslims only and whether or not many Hindus or Christians or atheists have been disturbed by the edict should not arise. I don't see why they should be disturbed.

The Hindu Sangam should be concerned by how many Muslims would be disturbed by its statement, which can be seen as an attempt to interfere with the affairs of another religion.

Read the Hindu Sangam story again? Click here.
And if you are leaving a comment, be more sensitive than you've ever been, please.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bloggers' Buff 2008

Code of Ethics? Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar suggested today that bloggers consider formulating a Code of Ethics. He was opening the second Bloggers' Buff, a forum/gathering of not-too-political bloggers, in KL this morning [read h e r e].
I think it is not something that is easy to initiate, let alone accomplish, but I think it's a good thing to have.
Of course, not everyone thought bloggers should do it. One participant said it was akin to taking a step closer towards censoring the blog. On the contrary, I responded. A Code of Ethics would act a set of guidelines on how citizen journalists and citizen media behave.
Malaysiakini's misreporting last month on Najib Razak's "manifesto" was discussed in the context of such ethics. Some took the view that Malaysiakini was being irresponsible but I told the seminar that Malaysiakini's decision to apologize to Najib and its readers for the error was the ethical thing to do. The editors of the Malaysiakini were adhering to journalism's basic code of ethics. Something similar could be adopted for the blogging community, I said.
Of course, some of us won't give a damn.

The Bloggers' Buff was held on the same day Indonesian bloggers had their Pesta Blogger. I was invited as a panelist by the Buff organisers in my capacity as the protem president of the National Alliance of Bloggers. YB Jeff Ooi, who is also All-Blog protem vice president, has been in Indonesia for the Pesta Blogger, which has gone a little bigger and a bit more "international" this year.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Die Hard hero sees red over green project with Malaysian royalty

Bruce Willis sues Negri Sembilan royalty. Demi Moore's ex-husband is suing Tengku Imran Tuanku Jaafar, son of the Negri Ruler, over a green rubber venture.

According to Bloomberg, the Hollywood superstar is demanding the return of US$0.9 million of the US$2 million he invested in the project.

This is NOT the first time he Negri royalty has made the news. in recent weeks and months. After the US$1 million suit by Standard Chartered, h e r e, a grand nephew of Tuanku Jaafar was reportedly involved in a brawl with bodyguards of the Johor Istana after a KL nightspot misunderstand. If that wasn't bad enough, the Negri royalty reportedly demanded a certain huge sum of money for an out-of-court settlement with the Johor Istana.

I mean a jaw-dropping huge sum!

Read The Royal Blackmail to find out how huge a sum the Negri's royalty was asking.

In the meantime, the Bloomberg story on Will vs Pete:-

Bruce Willis sues Tunku Imran over rubber venture

LOS ANGELES Actor Bruce Willis sued Malaysia’s Petra Group and its chairman, Tunku Imran Ibni Tuanku Ja'afar, alleging that US$900,000 of the US$2 million he invested in a ``green rubber'' venture wasn't returned to him.

A Bloomberg report said that Petra's chief executive officer, Datuk Vinod B. Sekhar, and Tunku Imram had allegedly induced Willis in 2007 to invest in a company that was developing a non-toxic and recyclable rubber, the actor said in a complaint filed on Thursday in federal court in Los Angeles.

Willis, the star of the 1988 action-film ``Die-Hard,'' accuses Petra and the executives of breach of contract and unjust enrichment.

Willis was told that former US Vice President Al Gore and actor Mel Gibson also had invested in the company, Elastomer Technologies Ltd., according to the complaint. Willis had a put option, whereby for a specified period time he could get a full refund of his investment, according to the complaint.

He exercised the option on March 17, Willis said.

``Despite defendants' obligation to immediately refund Willis' investment, in April 2008, defendants continued to provide different specious excuses for the retaining of Willis' funds,'' the actor said in the complaint.

Andrew Murray-Watson, a spokesman for Kuala Lumpur-based Petra, said Willis is due to be repaid the remaining $900,000 in the next couple of weeks.

``We're very surprised Mr. Willis is taking this action,'' Murray-Watson said in a phone interview.

Willis's lawyer, Martin Singer, didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.

The case is Bruce Willis v. Elastomer Technologies, 08-7670, U.S. District Court, Central District of California.

Police extends bail for Malaysian blogger

Another month on bail. I'm having coffee with Sheih Kickdefella, wife and their four kids (three of whom on school holidays) in Bangsar right now. Sheih had just been to the Bukit Aman police headquarters, before the Friday prayers. His police bail has been extended by yet another month.

I asked Sheih how he felt. "Sigh," he said.

Sheih was discharged on 20/9 after being detained for 4 days over a posting on Aug 3 in which he turned the Malaysian flag upside down to depict a "nation in distress". The PM called for action against Sheih, calling him "evil blogger", about a week before Merdeka.

Daily reprimanded for too much Anwar?

"No fair". I was told that an officer of the Home Ministry has given a verbal reminder (read: warning) to Sinar Harian, probably the fastest-growing Malay daily of the last two years, to be fairer with its political coverage.

Specifically, I was told, the editors of Sinar were told to go slow on the coverage given to Pakatan Rakyat. Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, especially, has appeared too often on Sinar's front page, or so it seems.

I haven't been able to verify this info but Jelapang did a posting Sinar Harian diberi amaran? two days ago.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rafidah vs Shahrizat, confirmed

update 8pm: Exclusive with the Incumbent. Nuraina A. Samad, former political editor of NST, had lunch with Rafidah Aziz, it would seem from her posting Rafidah will defend her post.

20/11 Wanita Umno deputy chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil has announced she will be contesting the chief post/STAR
Rafidah Aziz, the incumbent president, told some friends over lunch today that "if that's what Shahrizat wants, I'll see her in the ring in March."

You can see this in any which way but, in essence, Shahrizat has broken an August 4 pact between the two, endorsed by the movement, for a peaceful and smooth hand over in June 2009.

Nuraina had predicted that Sharizat would take on Rafidah, here. Sakmongkol's analysis here is spot on, too.

Razak Baginda speaks out

"Those who have spread such lies can never produce any authentic evidence because there are none."
- Razak Baginda

This morning, Razak Baginda, who was acquitted of murdering Mongolian Altantuya Sharibuu on Oct 31, called for a press conference. This was the first time he spoke on the case since the acquittal. In a nutshell, Razak said:

1) Deputy Prime Minister and wife had never met Altantuya
2) They are not involved in the murder
3) Altantuya was never involved in any arms deal
4) The arms deal happened in 2002; Razak and Altantuya met two years later
"I know that Najib and his wife had never met the deceased, Altantuya. So much 'fitnah' (lies) have been thrown towards the DPM and his wife.

"Those who have spread such lies can never produce any authentic evidence because there are none."

Bru notes: I'm just wondering if Razak Baginda would put all these claims in a Statutory Declaration as there are people out there who would only believe you if it's stated in the form of an SD. Well, on second thought, I challenge Razak to make a Statutory Declration on the points he's made at the Press Conference today.

Pic/story courtesy of Malaysiakini.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Hadhari Arch for KL

No Marble Arch this. Malay Mail has the story on Outrage over mystery arch for the second day running today. The "mystery arch", I was told, is a Hadhari Arch.

I don't know how much people are making from the project but I've been told the project was awarded to one Media Libra. Interesting name. I've been told that one fine day this Hadhari Arch will be as famous as London's Marble Arch (pic)!

Anyone has a picture or graphic of the proposed Hadhari Arch?

ST: Anwar's Pakatan losing focus

Nov 18, 2008
Opp state chiefs under fire
Pakatan dogged by weak governance and internal bickering
By Carolyn Hong, Malaysia Bureau Chief

KUALA LUMPUR: The Penang government must
have winced each time the local newspapers splashed
photographs of bleachers being dismantled along its
Esplanade last week.
'I think there's a loss of focus after the first few months,' [an Opposition MP] said.
Oh, Carol! Reading recent angry postings aimed at me by rabid pro-Pakatan Rakyat bloggers, I almost believed that I had been overly critical of the Pakatan Rakyat state governments and leaders. Then I read Carolyn Hong's piece Opp state chiefs under fire in the Singapore Straits Times (18/11).

Monday, November 17, 2008

New NSTP boss reports for duty today

Pic (clockwise) TV3's Amrin Awaluddin, ex-7's Anthony Bujang, TV9's Bukhaari Che Muda, Media Prime International's Farid Ridzuan, and 8's Ahmad Izham Omar.
Anthony Firdauz Bujang. The last time we dealt with each other, Anthony was in charge of TV3's marketing and I was heading The Malay Mail. At worst, we were rivals in the same industry. Never enemies.

But today the former boss of NTV7, a Media Prima subsidiary, takes his place as the CEO of NSTP, the company that created waves in Malaysia by suing bloggers - Jeff Ooi and I - for defamation. Likes it or not, as NSTP's new CEO, Anthony will inherit these lawsuits that were filed in Jan 2007.

Lawyer Edmund Bond reminded me last week that my case is up for next hearing in March 2009.

p.s. Talk about Media Prima, I hear one of Pak Lah's 4th Floor boys will be heading there soon as part of his rewards for his excellent service to the nation ...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

"No such thing as Mahathirism"

Interview with Mukhriz. When I heard that Syed Akbar Ali was going to do an interview with Mukhriz Mahathir for his blog, I was impressed. Bloggers hardly do interviews because 1) many people don't fancy being interviewed by bloggers and 2) interviews are hard work where you can't put words into people's mouths

Read the interview in OutSyed the Box, h e r e.

Syed's interview reminds me that Mukhriz is a late bloomer in Umno. When his father was PM, he barred all his children from running for any office in party and in government. Imagine: if Lim Kit Siang had emulated Mahathir, someone else would be Penang Chief Minister today ...

In Malaysia, we now want to demonstrate in the Nude!

Naked Anger. The ab0ve picture is of Mexican farmers staging a naked protest. This is probably how it'd look if members of Reformis, an NGO, are allowed by the authorities to strip naked in front of the Selangor MB's office, as a protest purportedly against a proposal by the Selangor Government to double rental under a housing scheme for the poor.

We've seen many demonstrations before and after the 12th GE, including the Penguin Walk, the Yellow March, Hindraf, and the on-going anti-ISA vigils (including one in Penang tonight). None of them has done it naked.

In some countries that believe total freedom, it's No Sweat. But here, the police have issued a warning of stern action (see Bernama story below).

General November 14, 2008 23:18 PM
Stern Action For Demonstrating Nude: Selangor CPO

SHAH ALAM, Nov 14 (Bernama) -- Selangor police chief, Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar, today warned firm action will be taken on anyone or any non-governmental organisation (NGO) who stage illegal assemblies.

"We will take firm action against any NGO that holds a gathering without a permit, what more with nude persons," he said when contacted here Friday.

Khalid was commenting on the threat by 'Gerakan Reformis Rakyat Malaysia' (Reformis) that its members would strip in front of Bangunan Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah, which houses the offices of the Menteri Besar and the state executive councillors, to press the state government not to do things that did not benefit the people as reported in the 'Sinar Harian' newspaper Friday.

Among matters that Reformis is not happy about is the move to raise the rental of low cost houses under the People's Housing Project from RM124 a month to RM250.

Reformis' president, Ramlan Abu Bakar, was quoted by the newspaper as saying: "As the public, we feel we do not have a chance to change under the administration of Khalid (Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim).


Friday, November 14, 2008

Malaysia's Obama, according to Bakri Musa

"My view is that Malaysia already has her Barack Obama in the person of Mahathir Muhamad." - M. Bakri Musa

But our surgeon-blogger also says "Malaysians don't recognize their Obamas because they have adopted and are comfortable with the cultural values of the majority; they consider themselves and are being treated as a member of that majority ... They are fluent in Malay, not the language of their forefathers, just like Obama cannot speak a word of Swahili or whatever language his late father used in Kenya."

Read Bakri's piece h e r e; his blog here.

In Perak, MB says he did not seize camera

MB claims he only said: "Gimme your camera". Perak MB has come under fire from journo bodies for the incident. He deserves it. Read h e r e.

I voted in Perak during the March general election and am responsible in a tiny way for putting Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin where he is today in the Pakatan-ruled state. So I'm telling the MB that ordering the picman to hand over his camera is not the way to treat journalists. If he needs a crash course on how the Press works, I may give it to him for free.
At the rate he and his colleagues are treating the Press in the country, our Press freedom index will nosedive.

As for photographer Nazri, he should count his lucky stars if he MB does not sue you for millions, which seems to be the trend among some politicians these days.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Need to take time off race-based politics? Watch more of such clips from Tales from the Drunk Side, here. Thanks, The Malay Male.

"OK, OK, they were sacked!"

updated to include Azmi Anshar's DD: Will sacked judges return the money and demand new tribunal?

Original article:
Nazri regrets Nov 6 statement
. The de facto Law Minister who "broke" his predecessor's promise not to divulge how much the Government paid as ex-gratia to the six 1988 Judges has admitted that it was wrong of him to have said that those judges had not been sacked.

"I regret making the statement in Parliament because it was made without the facts," he said h e r e.

DAP's Karpal Singh, who described Nazri's Nov 6 statement as "a big lie", has called for the Minister to be referred to the Right and Freedom Committee. Decision on that next Monday, here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

If PAS is not a race-based party ...

After March 8, we are more racial than ever. Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has told those who say the last General Election was a vote to reject race-based parties and politics to stop deluding themselves. "We have become more racial than ever since the last General Election. We debate about race every day, more than before," he said. In an off-the-cuff lecture on Bangsa Malaysia in Putrajaya this morning, he said if the outcome of the March general election was a rejection of racial politics, there would be less talk about race today. Instead, race has become a central issue since March. That election has stimulated discussion about little else other than race.

"And if PAS is not a race-based party, then I am not Mahathir Bin Mohamad," he said.
DAP not a race-based party? "Apart from some window-dressing, it's still the old DAP".
And PKR? "It is said to be Islamic, it's also pro-Hindraf, and pro-Chinese educationists. But that's because there is this man with many faces who leads the party. After him, who will lead the PKR? If it is led by a non-Malay, it will not have the support of the Malays."

Bangsa Malaysia without Bahasa Malaysia? Dr M also chided those who clamour for a Bangsa Malaysia but are unwilling to give due regards to the national language. These people, he said, should emulate Obama and children of migrant races in the US, Switzerland and Australia.

"Obama, who must be in some ways a descendant of a slave, is today US President. The blacks had tribes in Africa but after years in the US they all speak English. English is their mothertongue. The speak English at work, at school and at home. The same as the migrant Jews. They became naturalised American citizens. But they accpet that as Americans they must speak English."

I'm not Malay Malaysian. Dr M said Bangsa Malaysia exists but mostly among Malaysians abroad, he said. "I've met many Malaysians overseas. Those who approached me introduced themselves as Malaysians, not Chinese Malaysians or Indian Malaysians or Malay Malaysians. Just Malaysians.

"But back home here, they want to go to different schools."

Sekolah Wawasan. For a Bangsa Malaysia to be born, the current race-based schooling system must go. "This is the only country where we have different streams of schools: Chinese, Tamil and National schools. The Chinese educationists think their kids should not get any close to the kids from the national schools. Or they might turn into Chinese Mat rempits."

The idea of Sekolah Wawasan was to put the 3 schools in one campus. This will compel the children of different races to meet and interact with each other. Morning assembly would be held together. The pupils will be in one assembly. When they play, they'll play together. Not Chinese school vs National school.

"I must admit the Sekolah Wawasan concept did not get support, especially from the Chinese educationist groups. They don't want to have anything to do with the Malays."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mahathir's Bangsa Malaysia

Bahasa jiwa Bangsa? We've heard so much about Bangsa Malaysia. Tomorrow former PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad delivers a keynote address at the Perdana Discourse Series on Bangsa Malaysia.

Venue: Perdana Leadership Foundation, Putrajaya
Time: 9.15 am
Date: 12 Nov 2008
Admission is free and for all.

And when you have the time, check out Demi Negara's ... The forging of Bangsa Malaysia. It's a posting of over 100 paras but it should be worth your while, especially if you think you believe in a Bangsa Malaysia.

Blog alliance oppposes Media Council

"Pls leave out blogs, Net". At the meeting called by the Home Ministry to discuss the latest proposal to set up a Malaysian Media Council or MMM (short for the proposed name in Malay, which is Majlis Media Malaysia), I took the following positions:

1. To oppose the formation of the Media Council
I told the meeting that I was of the view that blogs and on-line portals SHOULD NOT be included in the proposal to set up the Media Council. I said it was very ambitious on the parts of the sponsors of the idea to think that a single council would be able to deal with old and new media. (Bob Teoh of Sin Chew had made this same point before I did but he did not oppose the setting up of a media council).

2. To back the setting up of a Press Council
Since efforts to set up a Press Council had been initiated all the way back in 1973, I suggested that the meeting yesterday focused on the formation of a Press Council instead. I said as Adviser to the National Press Club, I'd be keen to take part in any effort to push for such a Council which, I believe, is greatly relevant.

3. To ensure that Press Council is Independent
I took the view that the Press Council must be independent and supported Zainon Ahmad's (theSun) insistence that the editors should have been the ones to initiate the effort, not the Home Ministry. To ensure the independence of the Press Council, the party that initiates the idea/effort must also be seen as independent. In this case, the initiative came from the Malaysian Press Institute which, I remember saying, had always been regarded as independent until it started agreeing to receive a direct grant from the Government when Zainudin Maidin was the Information Minister.

4. Don't use Press Council as a bargaining chip
After nearly four decades, the idea of a Press Council has remained an idea. Part of the problem is journalists' demand that the Government repeal all legislation before the Council is set up and starts operations.
I said the proposed Council should not be used for horse trading. We cam set up a Press Council and, at the same time, put pressure on the Government to repeal said Press laws.

Norela Daud, president of the National Union of Journalists, said instead of a Press Council, the industry should consider forming a Press Complaints Bureau. The Star editor-in-chief Wong Chun Wai disagreed. He said there would be a long queue of people who'd have something to complain about the papers and some of them may not even be genuine complaints.

Some 40 editors and media activists attended the 2-hour meeting. Nut Graph has the story, Editors want media laws reviewed first.

Monday, November 10, 2008

All-Blogs at MMM meeting

Tuesday, 10.30 a.m. at Putrajaya. The National Alliance of Bloggers or All-Blogs has been invited to the first meeting of editors and media stakeholders to discuss the proposed National Media Council (Majlis Media Malaysia or MMM) at 10 am in Putrajaya tomorrow.
The meeting will be chaired by Home Ministry's sec-gen Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof.
Representatives of the Centre for Independent Journalism executive director V. Gayathry and Malaysiakini chief editor Stephen Gan have also been invited. I will represent All-Blogs in my capacity as its protem president.

more soon ...

PM bukan Cina di Singapura?

Belum boleh lagi, kata Hsien Loong. Asal-usul Singapura tidak menjadi pertikaian. Semasa pedagang Inggeris Stamford Raffles menjejak kakinya di pulau kecil ini pada tahun 1819, penduduknya rata-rata nelayan Melayu. Singapura pada ketika itu dtadbir oleh seorang Temenggong yang berkiblatkan Sultan Johor. Kini penduduk Melayu di Singapura hanya tinggal 14 peratus dari jumlah rakyatnya. Selain dari Yusof Ishak, teman karib Lee Kuan Yew yang menjadi Presiden pertama repablik itu, tidak ada pemimpin Melayu yang pernah sampai ke mercu kerajaan. Selama 43 tahun merdeka, Singapura telah mengenali tiga Perdana Menteri, semuanya berbangsa Cina.

Apakah kemungkinan Singapura akan diterajui oleh seorang Perdana Menteri bukan Cina? Seorang Melayu? Tak kiralah samada berdarah Jawa, Boyan, Bugis, Siam, Arab, India ataupun Minang, asal jiwanya sawo matang?

PM Hsien Loong ditanya soalan ini semalam semasa berdialog dengan anggota masyarakat Melayu di Singapura.

Jawab beliau: Singapura belum bersedia untuk memilih PM bukan Cina dalam tempoh terdekat.
"Kemungkinannya ada, ini bergantung kepada cara penduduk mengundi dan siapa yang mendapat keyakinan rakyat. Adakah ini akan berlaku tidak lama lagi? Saya tidak fikir begitu ...".
Sekurang-kurangnya Hsien Loong jujur dan berterus-terang. Seorang pemimpin negara perlu pandai menjaga hati rakyat, lagi-lagi buat negara yang berbilang kaum seperti Singapura. Tapi yang lebih penting dari pandai berdiplomasi ialah kejujuran dan kemampuan untuk memperkatakan sesuatu yang realiti yang sensitif tanpa mengguris hati sesiapa.

Bagi Melayu di Singapura, realiti kedudukan mereka memang mengharukan. Rakyat Singapura berketurunan India, yang merupakan bangsa pendatang seperti kaum Cina, adalah lebih kecil (9 peratus) tapi mempunyai peranan politik yang lebih menyerlah. Presiden Singapura ialah seorang berketurunan India manakala seorang daripada dua Timbalan PM Singapura serta tiga menteri dalam Kabinet Hsien Loong adalah dari kaum India.

Bandingkan Singapura dengan negara kita sendiri.

Dan bandingkan jawapan PM Singapura dengan PM kita sendiri. Seperti yang saya katakan, sekurang-kurangnya Hsien Loong berani berterus-terang. Perdana Menteri kita pernah ditanya tentang kemungkinan orang bukan Melayu menjadi PM Malaysia.

Jawab Pak Lah? Sesiapa saja boleh jadi Perdana Menteri. "It's up to the people to decide". Dah tentu Hsien Loong sudah membaca dan meneliti jawapan rakan sejawatnya di sini sebelum mengeluarkan kenyataannya semalam.

Sila baca:
Non-Chinese PM for Singapore? (TheStarMobile, 9/11/2008)
Isu PM bukan Cina pernah diutarakan, sila baca Who really is "not ready" for a non-Chinese PM? (11/12/2007)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Three houses and Mosman Bay

A blogger on holiday in Perth posted this picture of Mosman Bay earlier today. It's summer there, he writes. He also posted pictures of three homes on Mosman Park in the exclusive Bay area. They are houses no 44, 66 and 66A.

After March 2009, some people are making Perth their homes.

Read the posting and see the pictures h e r e.

Zaid Ibrahim calls for Press conference tomorrow

Ex-de facto Law Minister speaks out. Zaid Ibrahim will hold a press conference tomorrow to defend the decision to pay the RM10.5 million ex-gratia to judges sacked during the 1988 judicial crisis.
The ex-gratia payment, believed to be Zaid's idea, was announced by PM Abdullah Badawi during a dinner hosted by the Bar Council attended by some of the judges, including former Lord President Salleh Abas, on April 17. Zaid was the de facto Law Minister at the time.
Even some of those who supported the payout to the judges have criticised Zaid and the Government for the quantum, especially for keeping it a secret from taxpayers. The most loaded words have come from Dr Mahathir, who wrote h e r e:
"I wonder whether the amount of ex-gratia is based on how much the ex-de facto Minister of Justice considers would please the Bar Council."
At the rate things are going, I won't be surprised if Salleh will call for a Press conference to defend his good name.

Friday, November 07, 2008

"Don't let my hubby rot inside Kamunting"

Triumph against ISA: One out, 65 still inside. The Court, ordering for RPK's immediate release, has described his the Malaysia Today editor's detention "illegal".
What, does that mean the detention of others still languishing inside Kamunting on the orders of the Home Minister "legal"?

When I heard of the news of RPK's release from Elviza, who was at the Shah Alam court this morning, I wondered about the families of the other detainees. Nuraina Samad, who late Bapak was detained for 5 years throughout Hussein Onn's premiership, called me. Excited. This isn't the first time she's wished that the people of three decades ago had the power they do now to go against the ISA dread.

I got in touch with with Laila, whose beloved husband Mat Sah Mohd Satray s one of the longest-serving Kamunting detainees. I told her about the good news.

"Alhamdulillah", she said. But, at the same time, she's sad. "I Sedih. Nothing much I can do except to compose myself and be steadfast in the struggle.

"Will I be alone?"

Laila's wish:
"I wish there'll be vigils, the MPs will walk their talk, the momentum to abolish ISA will be maintained or raised higher than now. One released but 65 still inside. Plse dont let my hubby rot inside ..."

Excerpts from Malaysiakini::-

Court orders Raja Petra's release
Hafiz Yatim | Nov 7, 08 9:46am

The Shah Alam High Court this morning ruled that the detention of well-known blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin under the ISA was illegal and ordered his immediate release.


Judge Syed Ahmad Helmy Syed Ahmad said that Raja Petra's detention was unconstitutional.

He said that the Home Minister had not followed the proper procedure under Section 8 of the ISA to issue the detention order against Raja Petra.

The judge also ordered that Raja Petra, editor of the popular 'Malaysia Today' website, be produced in court by 4pm today after which he should be immediately released.

Sultan Azlan speaks up

More pics from Pesanan-Pesanan
History, political evolution and spirit of Malay nationalism.

“It is the understanding and agreement under the social contract that enables the country to be successful, harmonious and stable." - Raja Azlan

Read The Star's article here.

The Perak Ruler said that although Malaysia is a multiracial country, it is still based on the history, political evolution and spirit of Malay nationalism. He stressed that the Malays need an assurance that their status, as enshrined in the Federal Constitution, is not threatened while the rights of other races are protected.

More than a thousand people marched to the Istana Kuala Kangsar to submit a memorandum to Sultan Azlan. The gathering was organised by Malay groups in Perak, Selangor and KL.

I'd take it as a gentle reminder following the Conference of Rulers' special statement on the social contract here.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Govt breaks promise to ex-Judges

RM10.5 mil. On the night of April 17, at a dinner hosted by the Bar Council and sponsored by the PM's Department, the PM promised to pay compensation to the judges "wronged" during the 1988 judiciary crisis. Zaid Ibrahim, the short-lived de facto Law Minister, and the Bar Council had hoped that the compensation would start what they saw as judicial reforms. Politically, someone was hoping that these reforms would save Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's job.

The judges involved had their reservations about the compensation But Zaid promised Salleh Abas and the former judges that the Government would not make public the amount of compensation to be paid to them. Only a handful of people had known exactly how much was paid to whom. Apart from Zaid and the judges themselves, they were the PM, the Minister of Finance ll, and someone from the Bar Council.

Today, the secret is out. Nazri Aziz, who got his old job back after Zaid resigned, told the Dewan Rakyat today that RM10.5 million was paid out to the judges. Salleh Abas, the former Lord President, received the highest amount - RM5 million. Supreme Court judges the late Tan Sri Wan Suleiman Pawan Teh and George Edward Seah Kim Seng got RM2mil each while Tan Sri Wan Hamzah Mohd Salleh, Tan Sri Azmi Kamaruddin and the late Tan Sri Eusoffe Abdolcadeer were paid RM500,000 each.

Today's disclosure was made in the name of accountability, or so Nazri said.

But what about Zaid's promise of confidentiality, a promise he made in his capacity as a Minister of this government? Today that promise was broken. I am sure the former judges are hurt and embarrassed, so shouldn't someone apologize to them and their families for breaking the promise.

p.s. YB Nazri, I know dinner for 500 ain't that much but if I may ask, in the name of accountability, how much did it cost to organize the dinner that night? And who took the tab, the Government or the Bar Council?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The first black President of the USA

Barrack Obama wins. The US wakes up tomorrow to a new - and its first black - President. But will it change anything for the rest of the world? Will he be able to turn around the US economy? Will he close down Guantanamo Bay? Will he stop America's holy War againstTerror?
I have my doubts.
But who cares, uh? They say anyone after Bush would/should make a better US President, at least to the rest of the miserable world.

Btw, Obama is mixed, actually: dad's a black from Kenya, mom a white from Kansas. So why is he the first BLACK president of the USA?

p.s. Dr M will appear on Aljazeera English channel @ 4.30pm today under the programme "The World Watches" to discuss the US election.

Barack Obama elected President - The Star
Obama wins historic US elections - BBC News

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

How should a judge endear him/herself to the Bar?

A holiday together, Lazar?
NST's chief Dewan dispatcher Azmi Anshar is not letting the Salleh Abas vs Bar Council issue die just yet. I must thank him for reminding me about Robert Lazar's comment to my disclosure here on Salleh's predicament: "If Rocky really wants to know, the Tun never really endeared himself as a friend of the Bar pre-1988 ....".
I'm not sure why I didn'tn pin Robert Lazar there and then. Am glad Azmi's asking these questions in his latest despatch:

"But to “endear as a friend to the Bar”? How should Salleh endear himself to the Bar as a friend? Play golf with lawyers? Lunch or dinner together? Go for holidays together? Rule everything in favour of the lawyers of the Bar?"

Read Azmi's piece If you have to sock Salleh Abas ..... The new CJ should take serious note of Robert Lazar's response ...

Who are Khairy's demons?

Updated: Just Look at My Track Records - An evaluation of Khairy Jamaluddin's performance since 2004 by Jebat Must Die.

Dr Mahathir, Kalimullah, Khairy himself? Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's son-in-law was not expected to be trailing in the Umno Youth chief race. But he is.* I did not expect him to be so desperate as to claim to have been "demonised", either. But he did. Read the Malay Mail's exclusive interview I've been demonised, says Khairy.

In the interview with veteran journo Zainal Epi, whose last job was editing a magazine funded by a strong supporter of KJ, the 32-year-old SIL says he is a victim of politics of demonisation and that the demonisation process has gone on for so long. While not naming the parties involved, he did not dismiss the suggestion that they were "influential people within Umno".

He also said this: "I have maintained from the very beginning that if there is any wrongdoing on my part, people should come forward and make concrete complaints, lodge concrete reports, whether to the police of the Anti-Corruption Agency or whoever for them to investigate".

On the last bit, I'll just reserve my comment until I've read the full transcript of the interview in today's (Nov 4) Malay Mail. I'm curious to see if Zainal Epi still has it in him to probe his subject ...

p.s. Anybody remembers Kalimullah Masheerul Hassan's half-fiction And who, really, is demonising whom? which he wrote on June 11, 2006? Click here to go back memory lane. Kali and KJ must have lots of demons ...

* KJ has 51 nominations for the Umno Youth top post, trailing behind Khir Toyo's 55 and Mukhriz Mahathir's 68. All three have qualified for the race, scheduled for March next year.