Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Malay Mail: A Second Tour of Duty

The Edge and Singapore Business Times today have the story about white knights and the Malay Mail. My name was mentioned in the reports.

"Siew and Mohamad intend to recall Ahiruddin Atan (sic), a blogger who used to edit the newspaper when it was under the NSTP, as the daily's editor."

I can confirm that we have been talking, and that I am seriously considering going back ...
I left the Malay Mail on Valentine's Day in 2006. I had to leave. The Board of the New Straits Times Press had already made the decision to turn the Malay Mail into what the CEO then described as "a college paper". And they didn't think I'd like to be the Editor of such a paper. Of course, they were right on the last one.

Months earlier, the Malay Mail had to close its offices in Penang, Ipoh, Melaka and Johor Baru to allow the New Straits Times, which had just been shrunk to its current size from broadsheet, to grow. It was thought that the Malay Mail was in the way of NST's effort to catch up with The Star. Someone said the NST's circulation was poised to hit 180K a day in no time if the Malay Mail pulled out of the "regions".

In 2003, two years after became the Editor of the Malay Mail, it emerged as the fastest-growing English daily in Malaysia, doing particularly well in JB and Penang. We were doing what theSun does very well these days. People first, even back then. Mudrakers, exposes, probes. Good old-fashioned news. We were never that interested in politics (except when we got hold of pictures showing the MCA boss with a triad chief or when a certain politician got caught for multi-million ringgit casion debts). After we branched out from Kuala Lumpur, the average daily circulation exceeded 60k for the first time since the mid-1980s' peak (as reported by the Singapore Business Times, reproduced in White Knights here). Ads remained an issue, though. We failed to recover the Classifieds we lost to The Star's great siege of the 1990s. It was always "NST first" when it comes to ads, something which we'd learned to accept as the small brother in the NSTP family.

The college paper project was an experiment that went awry. After the Weekend Mail was suspended, here, there was talk that the NSTP was going to sell the paper to Ananda Krishnan or Tony Fernandes, or even closing it down. In March last year, Blue Inc.'s Ibrahim Nor, a former NSTP man, and Abdul Rahman Ahmad of Media Prima, one of the few who backed me openly against the shutting down of Malay Mail offices at the regions, bought the paper from the NSTP in an attempt to save it from closure.

After more than a year, Ibrahim's team did good to bring back the spirit of the "old" Malay Mail, the Paper That Cares. But sales continue to languish. The daily circulation is said to be around 20k. Why that is so, nobody can really answer. Perhaps the world has moved on. Perhaps the newspaper-reading public have lost faith in the paper ...

In any case, the newspaper business is never meant for the faint-hearted. Given today's environment, it has become tougher than ever. The economic slowdown, competition from the new media, stifling laws and regulations, and low esteem. Five years under the Abdullah Administration, the credibility of some of the major newspapers has reached bottom.

The Malay Mail, at 113, is the oldest Malaysian newspaper (the NST claims to be 164 years old but 1845 is actually the year The Straits Times was established in Singapore; the New Straits Times that was born in KL following the Malaysia-Singapore "split" is only 37 years old). It survived two World Wars, it survived the television, and was there at the start of our Nationhood. The Malay Mail has given the ordinary people a voice through a mass media, assumed the role of government watchdog, and helped draft the history of this country.

To me, it is more than just a newspaper. It's a Malaysian heritage.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Logging Kenyir

The Yang diPertuan Agong's home state losing its wilderness. The Star has an excellent write-up here (Lost Wilderness, by Tan Cheng Li, 26/5/09) on some UFOs (unexplained felling operations) that are threatening Terengganu's reknowned Kenyir.

There are enough hints in the article to suggest that someone, or a group of someones, is making tonnes where they shouldn't, at the expense of Mother Nature and all of us in general.

"As if it is not bad enough that over 6,130ha of wilderness will have to make way for the two reservoirs, the Terengganu state government intends to log another 12,620ha around the inundated area.

Much is at stake: forests and riverine habitats, together with the flora and fauna within. What worries conservationists is that the forest here is among the last few refuges of the highly endangered Sumatran rhinoceros, Malayan tiger and Malayan gaur (seladang). It also harbours the Asian elephant, tapir, primates, wild cats and plants, of which 94 species are Red Listed as threatened by extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Last November, Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said told The Star that the logging was to prevent loss of timber revenue when the area is submerged – but he failed to explain why the state is allowing logging of an extra 12,620ha outside of the 6,130ha that would be flooded."
I'm very interested on who these logging companies belong to. I hope The Star follows this up with the MB. Surely, he knows who the loggers are and, more importantly, who the people behind these loggers are.

Talking Cock? Aminah and her two guests from PKR

2hr 38min. H e r e it is, the recording handed over to the Anti-Corruption officials by Aminah Abdullah, the ex-PKR leader who created a storm with her accusation that Anwar Ibrahim's men had offered her bribes if she pulls out of the Penanti by-election.

According to the blog, the original recording lasts 3 hrs. Editing had to be made to omit private details, such as phone numbers, etc. but you can still hear a lot of cocks talking in the background, which suggests that Aminah's is a kampung house. Notice the plastic chairs, too.
"Di dalam perbualan yang mesra ini dapat kita dengar pujukan agar Aminah Abdullah menarik diri, dan di tawarkan kedudukan di dalam Majlis Perbandaran termasuk lah tawaran 2 Pakej sebagai imbuhan dari parti PKR sebagai ganti rugi. Aminah di desak berulang ulang kali supaya menarik diri. Satu lagi tawaran diberi,kak min bertanding, jika menang dia harus menyertai semula PKR dan bakal mendapat jawatan TKM 1". -
Listen to the recording and judge for yousrelf if they are just talking cock.

Or if Aminah is a "Minah Ronggeng" as Azmin Ali, the PKR VP, in a fit of anger, calls this lady.

The term is more derogatory than "Mat Rempit", according to Maimbyt.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

First ISA detainee under Najib

FREE MAS SELAMAT movement ... here.

Original posting
NST 27/05: Mat Selamat Kastari, caught by police after escaping from Singapore, has been detained under the ISA for two years in Kamunting.
Safe in ISA. This officially makes Mas Selamat the first person to be detained without trial under the Najib Administration.

I wonder why the Home Minister did it. Finders keepers? I mean, Najib has released 26 detainees from the ISA since he became PM early last month so why spoil that record by sending to Kamunting this alleged terrorist who escaped a high-security prison in Singapore?

RNC's Facebook Hour

Question Time. Raja Nong Chik, the FT Minister, is proving to be quite the savvy one. Every Wednesday (from today) he will dedicate 60 minutes of his time, from 6 pm to 7 pm, to answer your questions "live" via Facebook.

That, I believe, is a first for a Malaysian politician.

So, city folks, if you want to know how RNC is going make KL crime free or you have a problem with roads being closed for races or you think he is not going enough, etc, do visit his Facebook, here, and leave your mark.

p.s. In case the link above doesn't work, go to the Minister's blog here and click on his Facebook.

Nash vs Husam & Mat Sabu

A clash of ideologies. I don't suppose there has been a race for PAS deputy president post more crucial than this one. So crucial that the outcome could have a major bearing on how BN and PR will fare during the PRU13 even, which is still a good 3 years away!

Husam has fired the first salvo, effectively calling incumbent Nashruddin Mat Isa a pro-Umno PAS leader. But even before that the labeling and name-calling had begun.
Reading the Malay Mail article posted by Sheih Kickdefella, h e r e, you are not sure who's liberal and who's fundamentalist, and there's such a thing as young professional liberal, too liberal, and pro-liberal fundamentalist!

Jeff Ooi calls it simply a PAS-PR vs PAS-UMNO contest.

Either PAS has come of age or it has gone ideoligically berserk beyond return since March 08.

p.s. Husam was one of the candidates I "followed/supported" during the PRU12. I still believe he has the potential to go all the way in Malaysian politics but it must be said that some perceive him now as a right-hand man of Anwar Ibrahim. Husam needs to shake off that stigma.
Pix of Husam and RPK during out tea in Bangsar in March 08.

Notes: In my interview with Husam on March 6, 2008, which was published by Singapore's mypaper, here, I referred to the man as PAS' No 2! I stand corrected.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A straw called Omar Ong

A camel called Dr M. Those who are close to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad are fully aware that the former Prime Minister whose harsh criticisms against Pak Lah hastened the successor's downfall, has been holding back his punches when it comes to Najib Razak.

The shock appointment of Ali Rustam to the Umno supreme council and the shocker proposed 3rd link to Singapore have left the Old Man unhappy with the PM but he's so far refrained from taking any kind of offensive.

But Omar Ong's appointment to the Board of Petronas Nasional, or Petronas, could break the camel's back.

If that doesn't do it, then Najib's next anticipated move surely would. For Omar Ong's appointment, they say, is a precursor to bringing in Syed Hamid Albar, the former Home Minister, as chairman of Petronas. If that happens, Najib would be sending a message as clear as day that he does not want Dr M at Petronas as Adviser anymore.

And his replacement? Sleepy Hollow Part 2. Or, rather, Sleepy Head ...

Pro-Umno bloggers are pleading with Omar Ong to walk away from Petronas. They say Omar can help Umno avert a Mahathir-Najib war by rejecting Najib's offer. Read An Appeal to Omar Ong, here.

p.s. Why shouldn't Omar Ong and Syed Hamid Albar work for Petronas? Because, according to here, the management of Petronas must remain free for any direct or indirect political interference. Omar Ong, A Voice contends, will be seen as "the voice of (Najib)" if he sits on the board of Petronas and that's not good for the PM.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

PKR vs former PKR at Penanti

Monday: 25/5 Penanti by-election: Independent Aminah claims PKR offered her RM80,000 and MPPP president post to withdraw, will file report with EC on Tues/STAR
BH 25/05: Calon Bebas DUN Penanti, Aminah Abdullah akan buat laporan polis berhubung tawaran habuan oleh PKR untuk tarik diri atau sertai parti itu.

Original posting
Aminah Abdullah, described by Shamsul Yunus here as "disgruntled former PKR Pulau Pinang Wanita chief", is making headlines and seems bent on being more than just "an annoying fly on PKR candidate Mansor Othman’s walk in the park".

She has alleged that Anwar Ibrahim's PKR tried to bribe her so that she would pull out of the Penanti by-election.

PKR is quick to deny the accusation, here. Tien Chua, the party's information chief, has told Aminah to prove her allegation.

I totally agree with Tien Chua (pic by Shamsul Yunus) as I have said too many times that you have to be able to prove what you say/write/post, especially if you are making such a serious allegation as rasuah.

Anwar is suing Anifah Aman over a bribery allegation made in front of the Americans, here, so expect another suit.

Guess who's Down Under?

Updated, Tuesday: NST 26/05: Second warrant of arrest for RPK issued for failing to turn up at KL Sessions Court. Wife who bails him gets show cause notice

Original article:
RPK's new home. The Star has a story here that should answer many people's question about Raja Petra Kamaruddin's whereabouts after failing to appear in court on April 23 to face a sedition charge.
Talk is that he has sought political asylum there. If so, it won't be the first time. Rahim Ghousse, Anwar Ibrahim's right-hand man when he was the Deputy Prime Minister, ran off to live on a ranch in Australia around the time when Anwar was arrested.
England used to be the most common destination for Malaysian activists to run and hide while their friends face the authorities and the music back home, but Australia seems to be our preferred destionation these days. Good choice, I'd say!

Pasquale wants RPK to come back, here.

MCA Youth to lodge police report against 1Sekolah promoters

A wee machai. MCA Youth leader Dr Wee Ka Siong is seriously contemplating lodging a police report against bloggers who initiated the Satu Sekolah Untuk Semua campaign aimed at creating a "true" Bangsa Malaysia.

Wee, who is also the DeputyEducation Minister, said he may also refer the bloggers to the Malaysian Commications and Multimedia Commission.

Like Nuraina A. Samad who blogged about this earlier today, here, I am truly taken aback by Wee's quality as a politician, as reflected by his inability to agree to disagree. What's wrong with engaging the bloggers? Why so militant one?

The promoters of 1Sekolah did send his boss, the Education Minister Muhyiddin Yasin, a letter on the 1Sekolah. Muhyiddin has not responded to the letter but has said that the government is, more or less, not interested to go that way. Read here.

The bloggers who initiated the 1Sekolah campaign are very disappointed with Muhyiddin. We think he is hasty. But we are all grown-ups and we'll just soldier on. We don't report him to the police. We'll try and make him see why we need 1Sekolah.

I hope Wee changes his mind about that police report. Our cops have so much to do already. Just last week, they had to contend with yet another unnecessary police report against a Chinese-language weekly lodged his other boss, Ong Tee Keat.

Read about the 1Sekolah campaign here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"Bumi status for all Malaysians born after 1957"

A Hindraf idea. A leader of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) says he will propose to Najib Razak that the government accords "Bumiputra status to all Malaysians born here after August 31, 1957 to dismantle racial barrier".

M. Manoharan thinks such a move might give the PM's One Malaysia slogan of unity a chance of bearing some fruit, as it would be the first step towards recognising all citizens as equal Malaysians.

I think it's an idea all Malaysians would want to discuss. Pasquale thinks it's a gem of an idea.
"The way I see it this country should have always been about the Malays and the Bumiputras, and those who were born after independence should not have to fight for what is rightly theirs..".
I'll say cheers to that!

Read on here and say what you feel.

Bru's 3!

Thank you, Pasquale, for the announcement, here. And to fellow bloggers, including Shanghai Fish whose blog turns 3 tomorrow, who sms me reminders of another good year gone by, cheers!

Looking back, the events that helped define the journey so far:-

May 21, 2006 - Bru is born with Time Flies (about a hundred days after leaving the Malay Mail).

Two weeks later - The New Straits Times forms a firewall to prevent staff, journalists and otherwise, from having access to Rocky's Bru from the main office in Jalan Riong, KL

Jan 2007 - NSTP files lawsuit again this blogger and Jeff Ooi for defamation

April 5, 2007 - The National Alliance of Bloggers, or All-Blogs, established to help promote responsible blogging and protect bloggers

To be cont'd ...

To be continued ...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Letter to Bru, the New Yorker's Malay Dilemma

A young friend sent me an e-mail yesterday, wondering if I'd read the article on Malaysia by the New Yorker magazine.
The article's headline is The Malay Dilemma, borrowed from Dr Mahathir's once-controversial and formerly-banned book.
I thought that Anwar's Malay Dilemma [or click here, courtesy of commenter Long Live Dr Mahathir] would have been a more apt title for the article. If you rely wholly on the New Yorker for your analysis on Malaysian politics, you'd think that Malaysia is a nation almost beyond redemption, where salvation lies with one man.

The following, in italic, is my young friend's email.
Dear Rocky, I have always wondered why that, as a young Malay, my morale has been very low since coming back in 2005. Why my non-Malay friends are publicly telling me that it is because 'your skin-color people' that Malaysia is going down the drain and to the dogs. After reading this article, I think I have finally understood why. This is the reality that Anwar has managed to paint of Malays and Malaysia. Through the blogs and American media, he has managed to paint this reality in the minds of all Malaysians and the world. This article was forwarded by a buddy of mine in the States, nasi lemak, with the following comment. You should read the comments after the article. Thought it'd be interesting read for you. Cheers.

The comment;

Anwar will never be the Aung San Suu Kyi of Malaysia. How can you be, when for the first 2/3 of your career, you were the strongest man in the Junta?

"So many angry posts about Anifah and his "big mouth," but no one wants to link it to Anwar's already-launched American-seduction PR campaign. Just read that pandering New Yorker article. The impression I get is Malaysia is a backward neo-theocracy, with UMNO warlords running it to the ground Islamic-fundamentalism style - and Anwar is the sincere, self-doubting "messenger of god" to save the nation. What a load of cock. Sounds just like Ahmed Chelabi when he was bullshitting the Americans into invading Iraq - paint the nation as an American enemy, and they will take notice. BN is suffering from corruption and apathy, yes; Malaysia has alot of socially outdated and ineffective policies, especially race-wise, yes; people are fedup - yes! But framing us as Baath-esque, blind-to-the-world, anti-semetic religious rice-monkeys? Come on. Anwar is a true-blue traitor for going around shitting on Malaysia with such fervor, but it seems so many people want him to do exactly that. Says alot about his supporters and what they sincerely think.

People will believe exactly what they want, to get whatever it they want;
that is life. Anwar is just providing himself as a receptacle for our
people's projection - using their grouses as his personal platform to be Big Boss of Malaysia. Maybe the people need some kind of figure like that, to embody and fight for their frustrations. But, for the love of God, please know what kind of receptacle you are using. You may not notice it is a toilet bowl.

Nothing Anifah said is new - anyone with a passing interest in Malaysia
would have heard the Altantuya accusations (even my American friends have read it in passing somewhere on international news sites, and they don't particularly give a damn about this part of the world).

With the New Yorker article, the American intellectual community may now finally have Malaysia as a dirty blip on the radar. What Anifah did, in the light of this, is in my opinion, appropriate. Good thing Secretary Clinton didn't seem to take too much interest in Anwar personally (while maintaining that America brought up rule of law and due process during discussions). I think she can smell a rat here, especially considering Anwar's escapades with neo-con war-peddlers like Paul Wolfowitz. For my money, she knows how Chelabi played Wolfowitz (perhaps also the other way round), and won't take the risk on another asshole with a personal agenda. And despite his best efforts, Anwar will never be the Aung San Suu Kyi of Malaysia. How can you be, when for the first 2/3 of your career, you were the strongest man in the Junta?

By the way, I fully expect this comment, and others of similar leanings, to be mostly ignored or ridiculed. Right now, the popular thing to do is
rubbish the government. All the cool kids are doing it.
So will most of their fanboys."

Another paper in Malaysia sued by politician

Ong Tee Keat sues Hau Wai (Special Weekly), lodges police report. The MCA president joins a growing number of Malaysian politicians resorting to lawsuits to shut up the media and intimidate journalists. Some of these politicians are the same ones who shout for Press freedom, especially when elections are around the corner.

I accept that individuals in this country have every right to defend themselves against defamation and lies in the media. Politicians, however, should resort to better means to deal with negative reports. The most common way is to issue a denial to the editors of the newspaper which published the reports.

Read theSun's story here.

New Key Players in Media Prima and NSTP

A & Z.
A is for Ahmad A. Talib, 58. He makes a comeback to mainstream media as Media Prima's executive director of news. That makes him, in effect, the editorial supremo for all the tv stations under the group (TV3 to Channel 9), radio stations, New Straits Times, Berita Harian, Harian Metro, Business Times, and the various news portals, including NST Online and Gua.

When he was squeezed out of the NSTP in 2005 by the Abdullah Ahmad Badawi regime, AAT was just the Group Editor of NST. Pak Lah had earlier sacked Group Editor-in-Chief Abdullah Ahmad, or Dollah Kok Lanas, for an editorial he wrote.

AAT's appointment also marks another milestone for Malaysian bloggers. He runs the blog Pahit Manis.

Z is for Zainul Arifin, 47. He comes back from the "cold" as Group Editor of NSTP (not to be confused with GE for Berita Harian and GE of NST, both of whom report to him with immediate effect).

Zainul's tenure as Editor of Business Times from 2001 was cut short after Pak Lah became PM in 2004. The regime then brought in a foreign wire journalist to head BT.

This Dylan and Beetle (not Beatles) diehard does not run a blog but his column Zainul Arifin on Wednesday is republished on NST On-line under the "Blog" category.

The title of this posting is borrowed from Nuraina A. Samad's speculative posting on Monday. She has an update, here.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Ethos' boss is Petronas' new director?

Omar Ong. He's young and, according to some people, too ambitious for his own good. If Khairy Jamaluddin was supposed to have said that he wanted to be Prime Minister of Malaysia by 40, Omar Ong was supposed to have uttered the famous words "I want to be Petronas boss by 40".

If that's really the case, then the Ethos Consulting supremo is well be on his way. According to A Voice in his latest posting Omar Ong to advance Tingkat Empat Agenda with Petronas Appointment, Omar has been given his letter of appointment to the Petronas board as one of its directors. The appointment takes effect this week. Read also Big Dog's take here.

Wonder what the Petronas adviser, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, has to say about the appointment. The last time he wrote about Ethos Consulting, it was not very soothing, at least not to the Prime Minister's ears. Read Dr M's piece Tingkat 4 Najib, here.

Some excerpts (but before that please note that the Ethos man above is not Omar Ong; the picture was taken from the movie The Spirit]:

7. Mempunyai penasihat bagi PM adalah baik. Tetapi apabila penasihat mempunyai syarikat sendiri dan dapat menggunakan pengaruh ke atas Perdana Menteri untuk meraih keuntungan daripada projek-projek Kerajaan atau dana-dana yang dimiliki oleh Kerajaan nasihat yang diberi mungkin terpengaruh dengan minat untuk memperkayakan diri.

8. Kita lihat peranan yang dimainkan oleh ECM-Libra. Apakah Ethos, yang juga terlibat dengan Tingkat Empat, akan menjadi seperti ECM-Libra? Ethos Capital, sebuah syarikat pelaburan jenis Equity Capital tidak banyak berbeza daripada hedge fund. Mereka amat berminat untuk dapat sebahagian dari tabung Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja (KWSP) yang sekarang berjumlah RM300 bilion untuk mereka mengurus pelaburannya, kononnya dengan pulangan 40 peratus. Najib mungkin ingat bagaimana Orange County di California menjadi bankrap kerana pelaburan dalam hedge fund.

9. Nasihat badan penasihat yang dianggotai oleh orang-orang muda yang amat disanjungi oleh Tun Musa Hitam telah bawa bencana kepada Abdullah. Najib harus berhati-hati supaya pisang tidak berbuah dua kali.

1 Sekolah Untuk Semua

updates at the end of this posting
1 School for All. A group of pro-unity bloggers have started a campaign for Satu Sekolah Untuk Semua.

Satu Sekolah untuk Satu Bahasa, Satu Bangsa, Satu Negara.

I am going to make myself part of this group of bloggers, whether they like it or not. Because I like what they are trying to do. Mine's the 494th signature on the petition here.

I'm the product of a 1 Sekolah system. I started schooling in Singapore in 1968, a year before the May 13 racial clashes and three years after the island achieved its Independence. The government of Lee Kuan Yew went about to "integrate' all primary schools. My school on West Coast Road had a flag of blue and yellow, and for many years it was known as Jubilee Malay Primary School. By the time I went to Primary 1B, it was called Jubilee Primary (Integrated) School. They abolished the Sekolah Melayu Jubilee. Other vernacular schools around the island were systematically replaced by "integrated" schools. Singapore went for its 1 School for All and I thought that they were doing quite alright.

In Malaysia, we have let ourselves fall behind in this regards, but that gives us the benefit of hindsight. Today Malaysians regardless of race or religion (including political ideologies) want a Bangsa Malaysia. 1 Bangsa. Civil society has never demanded harder for One Race as it has been doing in the last couple of years. The government tried to lay the foundations for a Bangsa Malaysia under Wawasan 2020 and there were attempts earlier, including the Bangsa Malaya concept dreamed up by Usman Awang and his Asas 50 friends after the War and just before Merdeka.

Time to join all past and present efforts towards that. Time to walk your talk.

Start with the kids. Integrate. Lets' have 1 School.

Read and Sign the petition again h e r e.

Please also paste the logo at the top of your blogroll so that the Education Minister won't miss it! Attached here is the open letter to the Education Minister "to implore the government to seriously look at the current multi-stream educational anomaly with an eye towards forging a singular Sekolah Kebangsaan for all Malaysians".

p.s. Thank you, KijangMas for initiating the campaign. But I believe we'll need to bring this initiative out of cyberspace into the real world, too.

Updates and Must Read:
1. Satu Sekolah Untuk Semua: Is there a reason to say NO?
2. SSUS by I am A Malaysian [in New Zealand], h e r e:
"Do I think that vernacular schools are the main reason why our society is so broken up, and so racially segregated? No, I don’t think so (but) ...."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Anifah Aman for DPM?

Latest from Malaysian Instinct, Anifah to Anwar: "So sue me!"

Original Article, + updates:
Was there an offer? Malaysian socio-political bloggers are looking at the new Foreign Minister closely and in a different light now, especially after telling American journos in the presence of Hilary Clinton that DSAI had promised him a Deputy Prime Minister's post if he'd abandon the ruling coalition for Anwar's Pakatan.

Blogger Pasquale, a Najib loyalist, is full of praise for Anifah in Well done Anifah Aman for catching the bull(shit) by the horns, h e r e.

PKR's Din Marican (I was hoping to meet him at BUM 2009 but he could not make it) has asked the PM to sack Anifah as he comes to the defence of his boss in Why is Anifah Aman Attacking Anwar? h e r e.

p.s. Wonder if Anifah got a date for Najib to meet Obama.

Anwar denies offering Anifah DPM post, here
Will sue if FM does not apologize, here

What Anifah said, according to Bernama in Washington, h e r e.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Malaysian Police out-foxed

updated 18 May: Syabas, Polis DiRaja Malaysia! by Syed Akbar Ali

Original posting:
YB Wee Choo Keong's
atest Question of the Week on our cops' recent hard-line approach against hardcore criminals is food for thought. We all want crime rates to fall, but is shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later the only way to do it? Read here.

Last Kopek. Equally interesting is the talk that Fox Communications Sdn Bhd is handling the public relations for the Royal Malaysian Police. YB Wee seems quick to want to dismiss the rumour, but I've also heard that the contract was given to Fox in March, just before Abdullah Badawi stepped down as PM. Hishammuddin Hussein, the new Home Minister, can help me confirm this: Did he inherit Fox from the previous Administration?

Heard also that Fox is handling public relations for the Economic Planning Unit in the Prime Minister's Department.

Nor Mohamed Yakcob, the former MoF2 and now Minister in the PM's Department, can tell us if this is true. He knows a lot about Fox and should share the info with us tax-payers.

B.U.M 2009

Bloggers Malaysia, Selamat Berforum!

Date/Time: 9.30 am to Dinner, Saturday 16 May 2009 Venue: Lake Club, SUBANG Jaya

The Theme:

The Speakers:

Friday, May 15, 2009

Dr M to speak at BUM 2009 tomorrow

The Bloggers Universe Malaysia (BUM), an annual even since 2007, will feature Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad @ blogger Che Det, the former Prime Minister, as its key speaker tomorrow.

Dr M is scheduled to speak at 5.30 pm.

To attend, you must register by 10.30 am tomorrow at the venue of the forum. About 150 have signed up, so please hurry as seats are limited.

For more details, click here.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Chinese for China, gesture of trust?

There's this report in the Malaysian Insider, the portal allegedly run by Pak Lah's insiders, that Najib is likely to break with tradition and appoint a Chinese as Malaysian envoy to China. The report says Najib is doing this as a gesture of (the government's) trust towards the Chinese in Malaysia.

I don't care if the people behind Malaysian Insider want to put the PM in a fix by pre-empting the appointment. As a Malaysian, I take offense to the suggestion that this (Malay?) government is only now able to trust the Chinese Malaysians enough to make one of them Malaysia's envoy to China. Before this, the report seems to suggest, the government was reluctant to appoint Malaysian Indians or Chinese as the High Commissioner to India or ambassador to China because of worries about their loyalties to the motherland!

Perhaps some of the editors at Insider forget that they are not in Singapore. Over there, yes the government hasn't yet been able to trust the minorities - especially the Malays.

What next? Malaysian Turk as ambassador to Turkey?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Official Secrets Act 2009

"I wish to remind all civil servants that they are under Official Secrets Act (OSA) oath and they should know that they must not leak ...". - Lim Guan Eng, Penang Chief Minister

Alive and kicking in Penang.
Once upon a time before March 2008, we were hoping that all these "draconian" Acts will be history once we have effected change in/of government. The O.S.A. is one of these Acts, tailored, I believe, to make life more difficult for journalists in the country. A proverbial sword over our head, if you like. [More about OSA? Click here]

We can still hope for freedom of information, of course, but I' must remind Guan Eng that he isn't supposed to be supporting the O.S.A. just because he is now the Government.

Report thanks to theSun.

Correction, on behalf of ..

The Malaysian Insider has not made any correction about their report last week that I have been appointed as the Malay Mail CEO. I made a clarification in my other blog but many people, including friends, were not aware that I'd started another blog and think that I have already returned to the MM.

The report by the Malaysian Insider was inaccurate, probably done with mischief. I have not been appointed as Malay Mail CEO. Neither am I "the newly-minted Malay Mail Chief Editor" as lawyer Art Harun reported in his Perak Ramblings.

Please read my three-day clarification, here.

Thank you.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Nizar is Perak Menteri Besar!!!

NST 11/05: High Court declares Nizar as Perak Menteri Besar
You guys said the Courts in this country can't be trusted.
Our judges are biased and bought.
You are right?

RPK, my enemy?

Grow up, man! In his latest posting, A lot of growing up to do, Raja Petra Kamaruddin, described recently as "the king of drama" by a Ku Li aide, named me as one of the Umno people who saw him as "The Enemy".
"The same also goes for Zakir, ‘Rocky’, Aspan, Ron, and many others -- all Umno people. These people, as far as I am concerned, are my friends -- fellow Bloggers. Unfortunately, to these people, I am the enemy."
I don't know whether to laugh or to cry reading that, but I know that RPK isn't fit to be my enemy.

Sure, I have ticked RPK off several times in my blog. But that's only because of a problem I have been having with him, i.e. he makes serious allegations in his articles without bothering to check his facts. It's a professional fault, and I've picked on him in my blog postings several times over this bad habit of his.

I've waited for him outside the police station those times after he was picked by the cops for questioning. I am against police intimidation but in the same press statement where I criticized the cops for their art of intimidation, I'd also always stressed the need for bloggers to stick to the truth and substantiate their allegations. RPK does not do that, you see, and I feared that this would eventually give bloggers a bad name.

Other than that, he does not have the traits that would make him a worthy enemy of mine. Sorry, Pete!

I don't care that he had jumped so many camps in such a short time: from Anwar Ibrahim to Dr Mahathir to Ku Li and back to Anwar. That's none of my business. I am a journalist and not a political activist or machai so I wouldn't know why people like RPK do that. I didn't even ask him if he had "sold out" to this other side or that other side. For power, money, women, cars, glamour, ideals, principles?

But I am glad RPK's talking about the times when he was "working" for Dr M in 2006 and 2007. Our paths crossed many times back then as I was also close to that "inner circle". Dr M wasn't a blogger yet but he saw the potential of blogs and he gave the space that bloggers needed then.

I did ask an aide of Dr M why RPK left the Old Man. The answer was, nobody knew. But there was no bad blood, I was told, and that was good enough for me.

I am also glad to read RPK's latest article as has finally decided to tell his readers about his night visit to Najib's home. So now the readers all know that it's not just Saiful who can have an appointment with Najib at home! Of course, some of us had known about this "visit" by RPK for quite a while but we kept the secret to ourselves for we didn't want to embarrass the night visitor.

There are many other stories to tell about that period, when bloggers were united against the Abdullah Badawi administration and when their political differences did not get in the way.

RPK has told his side; I'm sure the others will tell theirs soon.

As for me, I just want clear the air about this "enemy" business. And as for pro-government bloggers declaring war on anti-establishment bloggers ... that's the first time I've heard of it.

For Shamsul Yunus as well, judging from his response in Is RPK offering a surrender?.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Lesson from Perak

Dr Bakri Musa sent me an e-mail late yesterday congratulating me on the Malay Mail CEO appointment. He has not read my posting here but I thank him for his confidence, nonetheless.

Attached to his e-mail is his latest article The Lesson from Perak (which he hasn't posted on his blog yet, but which you can read h e r e). He may sound a little let down by Raja Nazrin in his posting but in his mail Bakri says he harbours the hope that the Perak Regent will "change our monarchy for the better".

A slightly different take from socio-political blogger A Voice* here, who said DAP and PKR (but not PAS?) had resorted to tyranny because they were outmanouvred and ill-prepared for the moment of truth.

p.s. One of the pictures from Perak's Day of Shame that tell a thousand words, a favorite of OutSyed the Box, who writes: "Democracy ruled the day in Perak. Any DUN who wanted to shout at the top of his voice got his chance. YB Loke even did it while standing atop a table."

* A Voice was one of the bloggers who were accredited to cover the assembly, an unprecedented move by the state government and a simple acknowledgement of the role of bloggers alongside other media practitioners.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Najib frees 13 more ISA detainees

Happy Wesak Day. The PM has decided to release 13 more ISA detainees to coincide with today. This is the second real good thing Najib Razak has done since he became our Prime Minister on April 3; the first was to release the first batch of 13 ISA detainees.

But why release the Hindraf 3 and not Laila's husband and the other long-serving ISA detainees? Hishammuddin Hussein, the new Home Minister, said the Hindraf 3 are "no longer a threat to national security".

There should still be 39 ISA detainees left. Najib has released 26 in two months. At this rate, there will be no more ISA detainees by August, the month Malaysia marks its Independence!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Royal Rebuke

"Beta tak mahu masuk campur."
"Beta tak mahu masuk campur. [I don't want to get involved in this]. I just want to give my speech, so respect my speech, when I am giving it. You understand that? If you want tto work with me in future, you have to respect my speech. Understand? "So go and tell that (to the Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen who had stood together in front of the royal dais) to take their seats." - Raja Dr Nazrin Shah
You have to give it to the Perak Regent. He knows how to give a good one.

And good thing, too, that Nizar understood.

This should have been Page 1 of the papers but it was buried deep inside the pages of NST [Perak Regent admonishes Nizar to respect Royal address] and The Star [Five-hour wait for Nazrin].

More pics at Jinggo.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Yellow to Black

6/5 PAS and PKR leaders Mat Sabu and Badrul Hisham arrested in KL, believed to be over planned gathering for Perak assembly sitting on Thurs/STAR
When I was taking part in the Yellow March in Nov 2007, I had to buy a yellow t-shirt. It was not easy to find a yellow t-shirt. The one I got was a size too small. I was happy enough when it rained so I could hide it under a baggy, more comfortable raincoat.

The organisers promised us that the street rally was not going to involve politicians. No, no politicians would hijack the event. It was a march by the people for the people. It was for clean and fair elections. I marched in searh of my own idea of justice.

At the gates of the Istana Negara, the destination of each of the 30,000 or 40,000 so marchers that day, the politicians suddenly appeared from nowhere, some on motorcycles! Speeches were made, photos taken for tomorrow's newspapers and the blogs, and many of us bitched about the "hijacking' of the rally by the politicians for weeks and months to come.

For tomorrow's Black Malaysia Rally in Ipoh, I'm not sure if the organisers are making the same promises again. I hope they are more honest this ttme. Tomorrow's Black rally is about politics - by politicians, because of politicians and for politicians.

I have lots of black t-shirts, shirts, baju Melayu, jackets, singlets, boxers. Black is my favourite colour. I may wear black tomorrow, but I ain't going to march for no politicians again. Once beaten twice shy.

Anas' 1Bangsa

Anas Zubedy has bought an ad in the Star today to deliver his 1Race message. This time it's on A Social Contract.
In Feb, Anas took a newspaper ad to plead with Malaysian politicians to stop the politicking and get down to work. Obviously, politicians on both sides of the divide have a problem understanding the message.

Hope Anas has better luck this time. The ad appears on Page 22 of today's The Star. The following excerpts are taken from his blog, here.

What Malaysians Want:

A Social Contract

We want a Social Contract that ...

I) Sees wrong as wrong and right as right, no matter who did it.

II) No individual or community is left behind regardless of race or geography.

III) We work towards zero poverty – it’s superfluous to have skyscrapers and state of the art structures when there are Malaysians who do not have a place to call home.

IV) Recognizes the Malay and indigenous customs form the core culture while the Chinese, Indian and other cultures play strong supportive roles to make our nation a unique and exciting brand.

V) All Malaysian children receive a first rate education, every child is supported and encouraged to achieve his or her maximum potential.

VI) Encourages us to practice sustainable development without corruption.

VII) Allows us learn and appreciate our own religion while at the same time encourages us to understand the religions practiced by our fellow Malaysians.

VIII) We help each other in business and transfer knowledge and skills from one community to another.

IX) Treats non-Malaysians serving in our nation, Bangladeshis or Europeans; with equality, respect and dignity.

X) Does not introduce racism and division to our children at school or at home.

XI) We provide adequate health care for all.

XII) We look at our constitution as a whole and not pick and choose out of context to suit an argument.

XIII) Do unto your Malaysian brothers and sisters as you would like them do unto you.

XIV) Acknowledges that we are Many Colors, but One Race, Bangsa Malaysia.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

RPK's reliable informer exposed, by RPK himself!

Ouch, Not another Fiction by Aziz Hassan [Read]
RPK's endless morbid cyber-anarchism via pure lies by Zakhir Mohamad [Read]
What if someone else with a lot to lose did it? by Pasquale (NOT Rusdi Mustapha) [Read]

Original post:
Lt Kol Azmi Zainal Abidin.
Remember the Statutory Declaration that RPK signed, the one that said he was "reliably informed" that Rosmah was present when Altantuya was bombed to her grisly death?

The informer turned out to be one Lt Kol Azmi Zainal Abidin (or so RPK claims in his latest article from exile), someone trusted not by RPK but by someone RPK knew and trusted.
"I admit I don't know Lt Kol Azmi that well. But he is always in Ku Li’s office. He is very close to Ku Li. And Anwar Ibrahim also knows him very well." - RPK
I happen to know John Pang, one of the characters who starred in RPK's latest piece. Told him about the article and the role he was supposed to have played in making RPK believe this person.
"I also asked John Pang, who also works for Ku Li, to check with Ku Li whether Lt Kol Azmi’s information is reliable. I told John what Lt Kol Azmi told us and asked him to inform Ku Li about it. John confirmed that Lt Kol Azmi told Ku Li the same thing and that the information is reliable." - RPK
John, who was abroad, said he was shocked. "The King of drama does it again", was the SMS that I received from John.

Read more, h e r e.

As a journalist, I had to be skeptical when RPK made those allegations in the Statutory Declaration [see the SD here]. Those allegations were not backed by any kind of evidence, just claims by a "reliable informer". I'm not sure this Lt Col Azmi is the informer. RPK could be protecting the real informer, and I hope that's the case here, though I really doubt it.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Tsunami at NSTP?

with updates ...
Editorial Adviser. An Italian-backed online news portal has the story that everyone in the media has been talking about. Is Ahmad A. Talib going back to NSTP? He will be better than Kalimullah Hassan but will he be good enough for the paper? Why are they turning to him to bring back the New Straits Times, especially?

Read my piece in my new blog 84 Jalan Tangsi on journalism and other press-ing matters, h e r e.

updated 3/5 2am: Read seasoned journo Aziz Hassan's posting Umno unlikely to reign in its media.

A Blog for Press-ing Matters Only

84 Jalan Tangsi. I have started a new blog to let Netizens know of what the National Press Club has been up to and what it's planning to do. Also my take on matters with regards to journalism, the state of our Press, its relationship with the government, the people, and everything else.

The birth of the new blog's timed with the World Press Freedom Day tomorrow. The National Press Club and the National Union of Journalists are planning an event together in conjunction with this day soon. A discourse on Press Freedom, involving this side of politics with the other side.

I'll be posting the details, here, in the next couple of days.

LCCT Part 2

Why RM2 billion and not RM1.6 billion? Jebat Must Die was part of a blog campaign against a proposal to build a low-cost carrier terminal in Labu, Negri Sembilan. That proposal by Tony Fernandes of Air Asia was shot down by Cabinet for various reasons. In its place, the Government said it would build an LCCT in KLIA as per the airport master plan.

Jebat Must Die is not opposed to the new LCCT but demands to know why it has suddenly become more expensive than Labu's RM1.6 b price tag.

The announcement was made by the PM, so he should explain.

Jebat's 9 questions on the new LCCT, here.