Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trouble bru-ing at SME Bank?

3/11/09 Read also, SME Bang!
with updates ...

The SME Bank
is in dire need of a total shake-up, people in the banking sector have been telling me. It suffers from high NPL, major losses due to bad investment decisions, and high turnover. This has affected bottom line and hampered the bank's goal of helping SMEs, especially the Bumi ones. Profits stated in SME Bank's accounts are cosmetic and not derived from the bank's core business.

When the contract of the bank's Managing Director ended last month, these concerned people in the banking sector sighed in relief and allowed themselves to hope that changes were imminent.

But now they hear that the government may renew the contract of the well-connected ex-MD, who still comes to the office and behaves as if he's still the Boss even though his contract has been terminated. This ex-MD, I hear, has recommended himself highly for an extension and is using his powerful cables that go right up to a former MoF ll to ensure the job doesn't go to anyone else.

Certainly something to watch closely in the coming weeks.

Notes on merger-demerger: The SME Bank is a product of an acquisition exercise of Bank Industri by Bank Pembangunan. The idea, which was mooted by the MoF 2 during the Badawi administration, was for the SME Bank to continue the role of Bank Pembagunan. But it was an idea not well thought of and after just 3 years, the government was forced to demerge SME Bank from Bank Pembagunan. This merge-then-demerge exercise was very costly, needless to say, not least for the Bumiputera business community these institutions were supposed to be assisting. In the event of a shake-up, according to the people in the banking sector I spoke to, the government should consider going back to basics i.e. return the original roles of these institutions as envisioned by the Razak administration.

Read immediate commentary at
h e r e.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Getting away with murder of Malaysia

Move aside MT, here comes the Asia Sentinel! Its latest commentary Getting away with murder in Malaysia is bound to win Asia Sentinel accolades for journalistic gall. For Malaysia, which is said to have a controlled traditional media but (probably) the freest new media in the world, the free-for-all allegations and claims made by Asia Sentinel is just another one of those ...

Or is it?

SPNB will pay half a B it owes contractors

Happy ending? One thinks not. While this may be good news for the 34 contractors [most of whom will believe it when they see the money], questions must still be asked as to why things had to come to this stage in the first place. If there are defaults at SPNB, it'd be wise for Najib's administration to ID them quickly and carry out the necessary repairs or changes. The national housing board has big responsibilities.

Read the Malay Mail story h e r e later in the day, or get a copy of your afternoon daily when it hits the streets around noon. The Bru's breaking story Trouble bru-ing at SPNB? here.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Trouble bru-ing in Selangor?

with updates
29/10 Selangor MB Khalid Ibrahim recommends that Port Klang assemblyman Badrul Hisham of PKR resign from his seat because of non-performance/STAR
Sounds familiar? Badrul Hisham, I was told, has been wanting to quit PKR and Khalid's outburst is probably just the break he needs. Non-performance? That's subjective. In PKR, I was also told, Badrul is not the only non-performer.

updated 7.45pmNST has the story here.
Bad is not the first Adun or MP to jump out from PKR. In Perak, they blamed the BN government when Opposition YBs jumped out to become Independents. Who do you blame in Bad's case?

Criminalising War: The Role of CSOs

Civil Society Organisations.
I am forced to stay away from this year's International Conference to Criminalise War due to F&F (flu & fever) but I am able to follow the proceedings via blogs and the excellent coverage at

The role of civil society to help end wars and conflicts is being discussed in depth. Surely, this will lead to a clarification of what civil society in Malaysia can do, rather than just a bonding exercise for like-minded people, and the growth of CSOs.

Read Civil Society as the united voice of the people against war.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Trouble bru-ing in PKR?

Conspiracy theory:
"There now seems to be a concerted campaign to portray PKR as a party mired in deep internal trouble and I hope Malaysiakini which has been the leading new media over the last decade can exercise better journalism and avoid being manipulated towards that end." - Lateefa Koya, PKR's Info chief, in a Letter of Protest to Malaysiakini

Read the full letter here.

Updated 5.15pm:

NST has the report H E R E.

Original article:-
No way in Hell ... First, Zaid Ibrahim, PKR's biggest Umno catch (after Anwar Ibrahim and Azmin Ali, of course) decided to go on two months' leave.
Then, Salehuddin Hashim is said to have quit the secretary-general post of the party.
Now, Jeffrey Kitingan said he quits as VP citing loss of confidence in the party's leadership.

To tell you the truth, some of the things I learned of party politics within PKR I get from Barisan Rakyat bloggers here and here who are very close to Zaid, especially. Nothing like getting it from the insiders. Still, Haris, I doubt that Anwar really said those words: "No way in hell will I have Jeffrey as chief".

When I want to know the nuances of Umno's internal politics, I read pro-Umno bloggers like Big Dog ad Voice. But when I want an outsider's point of view on blogosphere, I'll check out Reme's. His latest posting, PAS retak, PKR lagi teruk! is brutal.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Trouble bru-ing at SPNB?

SPNB, the national housing board, has run out of money, or so that's what it purportedly said in August to 34 Bumiputera contractors who are owed more than RM500 million and have not been paid at all this year.

The Malay Mail ran an article here on allegations made by a former Minister against the board and a follow-up on an internal audit ordered by the SPNB to probe any alleged misconduct here.

22 kids missing in Sg Kampar

30/10/09, 12.50am ...
This update from Tok Mommy shall be the last for this thread: Bodies of two missing girls found

The day after:-
The Malay Mail is a KL paper but it sent a team out yesterday to cover the Kampar river tragedy. The MM's piece on Dina, A Bright Child Gone, here.

Photo composite shows a younger Dina and the collapsed suspended bridge

Latest Alert, 1045am:
A girl [N. Dina Deve, 11, of Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil (SJKT) Mambang Di Awan] is dead. 19 found, safe. 2 pupils still missing. Read the Bernama report here.

updated 8.45am
: BH 27/10 Usaha mencari dan menyelamat sejak pagi ini masih belum temui 22 murid yang dikhuatiri hanyut akibat jambatan gantung runtuh di Kuala Dipang.

NST 27/10: 22 pupils, aged 10 to 12, believed to have drowned after being swept by strong currents when they fell into the Kampar river in last night.

Prayers for the children, and their parents. BH On-line has the story, here. It's news that won't make your morning. It made me think of my precious ones who just left for school a while ago.
These are dangerous times for kids, in case we forget. The Malay Mail have a story in today's edition, coming out noon, about a child rapist on the prowl. The latest victim is an 8-year old.
Do you know where your precious ones are?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Should Dr Porntip be allowed to conduct 2nd post-mortem on TBH?

YES. After her headline-grabbing 80% homicide-20% suicide conclusion on Teoh Beng Hock's death, Dr Porntip Rojanasunan, the Thai pathologist, should be allowed by the on-going inquest into the death of TBH to conduct a second post-mortem on TBH. Not just because it will allow her the chance to test her 80-20 theory* but to help bring all the evidence to the court in order to help the Inquest determine the cause of TBH's death on July 16.

Yesterday, TBH's family agreed to enhume the body for a post-mortem by Porntip, according to NST here. "I have advised them and they now have decided that it is significant and important to have the second post-mortem," Gobind Deo Singh said in his capacity as counsel for the family.

Yes, not many people are aware that Dr Porntip had indeed been invited by the Selangor state government to perform the first post-mortem jointly with the local pathologists but she did not come, not because she was not free but because Teoh's family did not want her to do the autopsy.

Gobind said the application to exhume the body will be filed later today. I hope the Court grants it.

p.s. Someone should also draw Dr Porntip's attention to the recommendations made earlier this year by an Independent Investigating Committee into the death of Kugan a/l Ananthan which involved two post-mortems. Or she can read it here.

* The Thai forensic expert had formed her opinion after examining the first post-mortem photographs, one set of scene of incident reports, X-rays, and trancripts of Dr Khairul's and Dr Prashant's testimony. She was not given 3 DNA reports, toxicology report and two important sets of photographs and, therefore, was not aware of the negative DNA reports and toxicology report. Dr Porntip had agreed that it was important that she be given these reports before coming to an opinion, especially as she did not perform the autopsy, did not inspect the body and scene of the incident.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Nik Aziz's Dilemma

Past Tense? Nik Aziz's call for an EGM was immediately scoffed at by his own party leaders. NST has the latest: No PAS EGM, only Special Meeting h e r e.

Some have said that the Tok Guru is trying to defray focus on the appointment of his son-in-law Ariffahmi Abdul Rahman as the CEO of Kelantan's development arm, the Perbadanan Menteri Besar Kelantan Bhd, early this month.

That may or may not be the case but things have not been the same for Nik Aziz since March 2008. Husam Musa, his favorite, lost in the last party elections and his decision to appoint his own son-in-law to a top post in government has cast him in a different light.

Not many outsiders ever thought Nik Aziz would be capable of nepotism or cronyism.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The story behind the Ministry of FTUW

Budget 2010: Curing the Urban Poor malaise. It's a funny name to give a ministry - Ministry of Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing - but Raja Nong Chik, the Minister, won't find it funny as he has suddenly found his tasks multiply.
His main job now, it would seem, is ensure the well-being of Malaysians who live in urban areas and who earn less than RM3000 a month.
Just how many are there in this category?

In 2008, 10.4 million Malaysians who lived in urban areas earned below RM3000 a month. The breakdown was 6.9 million Malays, 3.5 million Chinese, and 1.04 million Indians. And that ain't funny.

In his Budget 2010 speech, Najib said:
113. The urbanisation rate is increasing rapidly with 63% of the population residing in urban areas. The poverty rate in urban areas continues to increase due to high cost of living, low income and housing problems. To overcome this, the Government will allocate RM48 million to implement urban poverty eradication programmes, including welfare assistance and house rental payment.

114. To address urban poverty in a holistic manner, the role of Ministry of Federal Territories will be strengthened and expanded to include urban poverty eradication nationwide, including those with monthly income below RM3,000. For this, I propose that Ministry of Federal Territories shall now be known as Ministry of Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing. Among the main responsibilities of this Ministry include preparing a comprehensive action plan and implementing suitable programmes to address urban poverty.
In my mind, the PM's attempt to help ease the hardship of the urban poor in his Budget is what makes his first Budget special. If it's a hint of what he has in store for Malaysians under the 10th Malaysia Plan, we can expect him to do more to improve the qualify of urban life. This, hopefully, would also help reduce crime associated with poverty. Of course, politically, the urban folk have been said to be the unhappiest with the government during the last general election.

Najib's full speech on the budget, h e r e.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The attempt to steal IJN from the people, Round 2

Thieves! Thieves! Believe it or not, a blogger friend who's going to break the story told me, someone high up in the government is trying to "transform" the National Heart Institute (IJN) into something different from its current form. This time it's not Sime Darby, the blogger told me.

The story's coming, in a couple of hours.

Updated 12:06, Wednesday 21/10/2009
Big Dog reports:
"There is a fresh proposal to privatise the government facility. Management managed to obtain the full resolution of the BOD and full blessing of the Economic Planning Unit to do a Widespread Asset Unbundling (WAU) scheme to separate the operations within IJN and created new subsidiaries. WAU was first introduced by the Economic Adviser Tan Sri Nor Mohamad Yaackop for the asset restructuring of heavily geared Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and creation of Penerbangan Malaysian Bhd. as the SPV to undertake the holding and ownership of all MAS assets, especially aircrafts."

Read the entire article, The IJN Disembowelment, part II.

What can you build on half an acre up on a rocky hill?

A 17-storey condo! Yes, that's what they are doing up on a hill in Bangsar where, 20 years ago, only the Syed Kechik Foundation existed. I drove down the hill again this afternoon and eyed the hillslope palaces, single-storey bungalows, multi-storey condominiums. There must be a total of over 100 swimming pools up that hill. So there's always money to be made by developers in this area.

The Datuk Bandar says the latest condo project can go on if Ikram's study says it's OK. I don't know. Just because modern knowhow has taught our developers how to build a skyscraper on a land big enough for a couple of bungalows doesn't mean we should build that skyscraper.

The Mayor needs to be more re-assuring here. Say "Highland Towers" before you utter another word on the matter.
Read the Malay Mail's article Countdown on Stormy Bangsar projects to learn about the latest controversy.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ah, it's Liow's turn now

Updates: Talk about cars, read this article on abuse of official cars in several states last year, based on a report by the Auditor-General!

Original article:-
BH 19/10: SPRM akan kaji laporan polis oleh dua Ahli Parlimen berhubung dakwaan rasuah membabitkan isteri seorang Menteri Kabinet: Abu Kassim

Not even a week as Deputy President of the MCA, and Liow Tiong Lai already has a police report lodged against him for allegedly accepting a car from a contractor for his wife's use. Either we have become a society high on alert for any corrupt practice by our politicians (which is good) or corrupt politicians have become very adept at using the system to cast doubt on other politicians they consider a threat (which is not so good).

In any case, Liow has nothing to worry about if he's done no wrong. And we are assured that if Liow is a dirty politician the MACC has already opened a file on him.

Lawyers acting on behalf of Liow, who is also HealthMinister, have lodged a police report in Putrajaya and have requested that the MACC to inot only nvestigate the allegation but the people who made the allegation against Liow. Which, I think, is a fair request, especially if the allegation turns out to be fabrication.

16/9 a national holiday

Must Read: A new love story that has taken 46 years to bloom by Azmi Anshar

Original Article:
NST 19/10: PM declares Malaysia Day on Sept 16 to be a public holiday from next year.

BH 19/10: Najib isytihar 16 September sebagai cuti umum Hari Malaysia mulai tahun depan, ini bermakna rakyat akan raikan dua hari kebangsaan.

1Malaysia, 2National days. I see this as one of the more significant moves made by Najib under his 1Malaysia dream. On 16/9/63 Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore* joined Malaya, which achieved its Merdeka/Independence on 31/8/57, to form Malaysia as we know and love it today.

This is an opportunity to teach our children and ourselves the significance of the two dates and why they are both equally important to Malaysians.

*Singapore left in 1965 and I have often wondered about what-ifs if Sabah and Sarawak had left too. Would Sabah have been gone to the Philippines and Sarawak to Indonesia? A bit of Wikihistory here.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Zaid Ibrahim's strange leave

Updated 21/10/09
AA says "No Friction". So how, HI and BK?
Read On Leave or Leaving?
Aspan, a Ku Li faithful who is close to Zaid, says it is Azmin Ali's handiwork.
"Zaid was invited by Jeffry Kitingan, the then chief of Sabah PKR to attend Hari Raya gathering on the 17th of October (today) in Kota Kinabalu. Jeffry had made arrangement for Zaid to speak to 2,000 guests and Zaid accepted the invitation instantaneously.

He was also arranged to attend another gathering on the 18th in Kuching arranged and set up by Sarawak PKR leaders.

But these invitation was taken as a threat by Azmin who now heads Sabah PKR and he puts wedges between Zaid and Anwar."
Read his entire posting here.

Also, Syed Akbar Ali's Zaid Ibrahim Jumps Ship Again?
The Unspinners' Zaid Tersentuh Sarang Tebuan

Original Article:-
AA behind Zaid's "frustrations"?
Zaid Ibrahim makes an intriguing subject for students of politics, Nuraina A. Samad told me when we heard of news the Umno-2-PKR man is taking a leave of six months from PKR. I'm quoting Nuraina because I got close to Zaid through her (they were college mates at ITM or something like that).

But what's more intriguing at this point, if you ask me, is the fact that all's quiet on the PKR blog front where Zaid's strange leave is concerned. Barisan Rakyat bloggers Haris Ibrahim and Bernard Khoo make it very clear where their sympathy lies but Zaid's own party bosses Anwar Ibrahim and Azmin Ali (pic) have remained mum on their blogs.

AA was mentioned in HI's latest posting Skulduggery ala PKR as the culprit behind Zaid's dilemma but I can't say for certain he meant Azmin Ali. My initials are AA, too, see?

Except for Mana-Mana, the non-PKR/Barisan Rakyat bloggers seem uninterested with this big piece of news about Zaid.

Are they not interested in Zaid anymore, or is there something else? A pro-Umno blogger called me up and asked if I thought Zaid was an Umno plant in PKR that's about to cause a lot of damage to the party from inside. Oh. Uh. I seriously doubt that. But I've been wrong many times before ...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Deepavali 09

Happy Deepavali to all Malaysians.

May the light shine on all of us, regardless of race or religion.

p.s. Of all Dwali greetings, I find Amir Hafizi's May the Light Shine Forever most complex:
"My father, I believe, is worried I'm becoming a Christian ....". Amir blogs here.

Dignifying Malays

UiTM Alumni's inaugural discourse
Theme: Strategy Memertabatkan Melayu Di Dunia Tanpa Sempadan
[Strategies to Dignify the Malays in a Boderless World]***
Date/Time: Monday 19 Oct 2009, 9 am - 12.15 pm
Venue: Perdana Leadership Foundation, Putrajaya
Speaker: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad*

* Dr. Mahathir akan melancarkan projek Mansor Puteh, Alumnus 1977, yang berhasrat untuk mencipta sebuah rekod dunia yang tidak pernah dilakukan oleh sesiapa, iaitu dengan menerbit sebuah edisi khas 60 judul buku yang beliau sudahpun tulis dalam Bahasa Melayu dan Inggeris, dalam sebuah edisi yang dipanggil, The Prime Minister of Malaysia World Record Edition.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Uthaya back in court over letter to Gordon Brown

"100 over Indians were slashed and killed by the UMNO controlled Malaysian government in the Kampung Medan mini genocide." - P. Uthayakumar, Nov 2007
Around nine this morning (Thursday, 15 Oct), lawyer P. Uthayakumar goes back to the Sessions Court in Jalan Duta, KL to defend himself against the sedition charge leveled against him for the things he wrote in a highly-publicised letter to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in Nov 2007.

If you've forgotten what this was all about, I've decided to re-publish Uthayakumar's letter here:-

Hindu Rights Action Force
No. 135-3-A, Jalan Toman 7,
Kemayan Square,
70200 Seremban, Negeri Sembilan

The Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
10 Downing Street, Fax: +442079250918
London, URGENT

Dear Sirs,




We refer to the above critical matters in Malaysia but which generally gets the least attention locally even by the Opposition parties, NGO’s, the Malaysian Human Rights Commission and the media for this community is generally regarded as politically insignificant, do not draw local or international funding and are deemed not pressworthy. To the contrary the Malaysian government has successfully projected itself to the world as a modern Islamic thinking country which is not true.

The ethnic minority Indians in Malaysia were brought in to Malaysia by the British some 200 over years ago. Since independence in 1957 the Malaysian Indians have been permanently colonialised by the Islamic fundamentalist and Malay chauvinists UMNO led Malaysian government.

Among the recent atrocities committed by this government are as follows:-

1.100 over Indians were slashed and killed by the UMNO controlled Malaysian government in the Kampung Medan mini genocide. Despite numerous appeals, the Malaysian Human Rights Commission has refused to hold a Public Inquiry. The UMNO controlled Malaysian courts struck off a victim’s public interest civil suit for a Public Inquiry to be held without even the said UMNO controlled government having to file in their defence. The UMNO controlled Attorney General and the Inspector General of Police refused to investigate and / or initiate an inquest into the death of at least six Indians in this tragedy despite.

2. Every week one person at average is killed in a shot to kill policy and in every 2 weeks one person is killed in police custody. About 60% of these victims are Indians though they form only 8% of the Malaysian population.

3. In every three weeks one Hindu temple is demolished in Malaysia.

The latest being the demolishment of the Mariaman temple in Padang Jawa, Shah Alam, Selangor early this morning (15.11.2007) and the next being the (Mutaiya) Hindu temple in Sungai Petani scheduled for the 29.11.2007.

A violent armed pre down attack at 4.00a.m this morning was launched by the UMNO controlled Malaysian government backed by about 600 police, riot police, Islamic extremist and armed terrorists which completely destroyed this temple.

In an attack two weeks ago, uniformed police, riot police and city Council officers hurled rocks and attacked unarmed Hindu devotees with knives, sticks and iron rods.

At least 20 Hindu devotees were seriously injured and 19 arrested including 4 of their United Kingdom trained lawyers in direct violation of Article 5 (Right to life) Article 8 (Equality) Article 11 (Freedom of Religion) Section 295 (defiling a place of worship), Section 296 (disturbing a religious assembly), 298A(causing racial disharmony) and Section 441(criminal trespass) of the Malaysian Penal Code.

These authorities are plagued by an above the law mindset and in fact liberally take the law into their own hands. These atrocities however does not happen to almost all Islamic places of worship. Please visit for further and better particulars.

4. State sponsored direct discrimination against the Indians in Public University intakes, Indian (Tamil) Schools, skills training institutes, civil service and private sector job opportunities, business and license opportunities and in almost all other aspects of daily life.

Despite our hundreds of letters, appeals and pleas to the Malaysian King and Sultans, the Prime Minister, Attorney General, Inspector General of Police, Ministers, Chief Ministers and the latest being our letters to the Prime Minister dated 29.10.2007 and 30.10.2007 and to the Attorney General dated 1.11.2007 the Malaysian authorities are only proceeding with greater ferocity and with impunity with very little regard for the Federal Constitution and laws of Malaysia. So please help us.


We fear that this peace loving Indian community of Tamil origin having been pushed to the corner and the persecution getting worse by the day may be forced to into terrorism in a matter of time as what has happened to the Sri Lankan Tamils.


On our part we are committed to a peaceful and lawful struggle and pray and appeal that the Government of the United Kingdom:-

1. Moves an emergency United Nations resolution condemning these state sponsored atrocities and persecutions of Malaysian Indians in Malaysia.

2. Refers Malaysia to the World Court and the International Criminal Court for Crimes against it’s own ethnic minority Indians

Thank You,

Yours Faithfully

Legal Adviser

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Who killed Fox down south?

FOX Communications, the public relations firm preferred by the government when Pak Lah was the prime minister, is closing down its Johor Baru office after less than two years of operations. The firm's signboard at Danga Bay is still visible but there's hardly any activity at the office, my sources told me. Come Dec 21, that signboard will be taken down.

It's inevitable, if you ask me. Fox raised eyebrows 3 years ago when it started getting plum government-related jobs worth millions of ringgit despite its lack of track record, starting with the massive merger exercise of the three plantation giants. It went on to snap up many choice accounts, including the various economic corridors, the Monsoon Cup,the National Service, the Economic Planning Unit and even the Polis DiRaja Malaysia. The JB office was opened after Fox was given the Iskandar contract. The former journalist who quit NST's JB office to head Fox over there has started his own PR agency recently.

What it lacked in track record, Fox more than made up with its powerful connections. The two former editors who founded/headed Fox were close to the then 4th Floor, the MoF 2, one Kalimullah Masheerul Hassan, who was Pak Lah's media adviser then, and Khairy Jamaluddin, the PM's son-in-law.

Some people suspected Fox was set up by some insiders to cash in on the various projects which these insiders knew were coming on-stream, but this theory was never proven.

p.s. I hear there's a Fox copy-cat/wannabe out there as you read this. Najib, watch out!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Rakyat di Bagan Pinang bodoh?

Blame the rakyat, YBs. After so many by-election victories, you don't expect the Pakatan Rakyat camp to be graceful in the Bagan Pinang defeat. But I expected the leaders to be retrospect, to also look at themselves for flaws.

Anwar Ibrahim, in his blog, reproduced Azmin Ali's posting here which unabashedly, and quite unfairly, blamed the voters for electing Isa Samad. So bitter was Azmin that he suggested that there was now no need for Umno to reform the party as its candidate at Bagan Pinang was clearly the choice of the rakyat despite his "corrupt past" (Isa was found guilty of money politics by Umno when Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was president).

Azmin wrote:
"UMNO perlu membuat persiapan awal untuk menghadapi Pilihan Raya Umum ke 13 dengan menonjolkan barisan calon-calon UMNO di kalangan perasuah kerana itulah cita rasa rakyat Malaysia."
Blogging from New York, YB Zul could not believe that the people of Bagan Pinang had voted for Isa. In his posting here, he lamented:
"Saya melihat ini dengan suatu perasaan yang gementar, apa dah jadi dengan masyarakat Malaysia. Bagaimana kita boleh menjadi toleran kepada sang koruptor, dan membenamkan Hang Jebat. Apakah ini petanda masyarakat Malaysia sudah menjadi masyarakat yang rosak, atau apakah UMNo/Be End sedang mempercepatkan proses menalqinkan diri mereka."
Kit Siang hints at foul play by Umno ("What was unexpected was Isa’s 8,013-vote and thumping majority of 5,435 votes sweeping all the eight voting streams – the result of gross abuses of power, money politics as well as the postal ballot chicanery") but the veteran is probably the only one brave enough to ask the Pakatan Rakyat leaders to also look within:

"With the rout in Bagan Pinang, Pakatan Rakyat must go back to the drawing board and address the many issues bedevilling the coalition but which had been swept under the carpet, aggravating public concerns about its unity, discipline, cohesion, viability and sustainability as the alternative of the Barisan Nasional for federal power in Putrajaya.

"For a start, Pakatan Rakyat leaders must stop being shy about the need to demonstrate discipline and common sense of purpose at all levels of Pakatan Rakyat as well as have the courage to admit and to resolve any crisis of confidence undermining public support for the coalition."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Bagan Pinang, Viva MIC!

11/10 Official Bagan Pinang result: Barisan's Mohd Isa Samad wins with a huge majority, getting 8,013 votes against 2,578 for PAS's Zulkefly-Majo-5435

Before Jai [It takes Isa Samad to win] and Parpukari [Nizar Moron!Keputusan Live dari Bagan Pinang] alerted me of the official results, I received an SMS:- MIC count says out of 1,870 Indians who cast their votes in B.Pinang today, BN got a whopping 1,387 and PAS only 483. Viva BN, Viva MIC!

"Even if there was only one man in MIC ..."

The real Sakti. That the MIC's president-in-waiting G. Palanivel is not too pleased with the warm reception BN leader Najib Razak has shown Makkal Sakti, the latest political party that will rival the MIC for the support of Malaysian Indians, is understandable.
The country's first PM would not have turned his back on the MIC. "Unfortunately," Palani laments in his latest blog posting, "we no longer live in the era of leaders like the Tunku." [Who is the real Sakti? by Palani 11/10/09]

Yesterday, Najib quashed talk that Makkal Sakti was his baby [Government will work with anyone who back 1Malaysia concept, Bernama 10/10/09].

"Makkal Sakti was not formed on my instigation but eventually it would be good for these (Indian-based political parties) to consolidate. The formation of this party is probably the political evolution for Indians in the country," he added.

"I do not want to say whether the MIC failed or succeeded (in assisting the community)...but it is the choice of the Indians (formation of MMSP). What is important is that they support the government," said Najib.

Asked if MMSP would be BN's trump card in winning back the support of the community, which deserted the BN at the 2008 general election, Najib said it was not up to him to say if the newly launched party would be BN's trump card in facing future general elections.

"But Makkal Sakti has brought a lot of support and we hope it can attract more support. On their inclusion into the BN we will discuss that later. It is up to the BN supreme council. Whether they are in or out (of the BN), we are willing to work together and that is the most important thing," he added.

It's too early to tell how MIC and Makkal Sakti leaders will react to Najib's consolidation hint, but much depends on how the BN fares in the Bagan Pinang by-election today (LIVE coverage here), where Indian voters are said to be crucial in deciding if Pakatan Rakyat's by-election winning streak will end) and Palani's own brand of leadership when he takes over the MIC presidency from Samy Vellu (which is expected to happen very, very soon .. sooner than most pundits would dare expect).

Saturday, October 10, 2009

OTK, Chua punished by delegates

HEADNOTE: Article 35 of the MCA Constitution states that an EGM needs the votes of two-thirds of the delegates to oust the President.

Now, consider the outcome of the voting on Resolution 1: That the members of the general assembly have no confidence in the leadership of president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat.

There were 1155 delegates who voted FOR this resolution, against 1141 delegates who voted AGAINST it.
The margin, therefore, is 14.

That is clearly NOT a two-thirds margin!
Original Article:
Extraordinary, indeed. Yes, it is. The MCA members decided at the Extraordinary General Meeting today to pass a vote of no-confidence against their president, Ong Tee Keat, and to close the door on Chua Soi Lek's hope to be reinstated as the deputy president.

It looks like the members were fed up and decided to punish both men. Someone said it reflects the maturity of the MCA delegates.

The party is now without a president and a deputy president, but somehow many think this is the best outcome possible and that the next step for the party will be a step up.

[NST says it' s "Losers All"; it's "Dramatic Decisions" over at the Star. But Bernama decides to show us its sense of humor by asking Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for his opinion here].

Footnotes: The Malay Mail's online take, 2 Losers, 3rd Force Victors

Friday, October 09, 2009

Mark of (the Original) Zorro in Bagan Pinang

Election violence, or just poor acting/make-up? In silat, the Malay ancient and mystical martial arts, to master the art of kebal (invincibility) is the exponent's ultimate goal. The Unspinners, who are in Bagan Pinang covering the otherwise dull by-election, think this chap who claimed to have been slashed by a parang panjang is kebal.

Click here for more pictures of Z Z Z, the mark of the Original Zorro. I hope the cops get the attackers.

Dr M's message to the Umno General Assembly

Suntikan Semangat Satria II
at Dewan MBPJ
tomorrow 10.10.2009 at 10 am
[click here for full address and map]

Those were the days when Pak Lah was PM and listening to Dr Mahathir's speeches could be more dangerous than taking part in a street demo organised by Bersih or the Bar Council. I'd love to be there tomorrow but I'll be with a group of final journalism students at UiTM.

Go to Big Dog's to find out what the Old Man has to say tomorrow.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Universiti Malaya's back in Top 200!

Malaysian varsities ranked. UM and UTM climbed; the others faltered.

Original article
Harvard's No 1, NUS 30th
. The country's top university, UM, is back in the world's Top 200 varsities at no 180. That's 50 places better than it was last year!
I say, fantastic.

Now to go for the Top 50, where it's cousin the National University of Singapore nestles.

See the full ranking here.

Najib hasn't seen toll proposal

BH 08/10: Kerajaan belum membuat sebarang keputusan rasmi berhubung cadangan menjual Plus Expressways Bhd dan konsesi tol yang lain: Najib di Paris
So no decision yet on Asas Serba. Read the Bernama story here.
Whether or not the government is going to accept, reject, consider, put on hold or whatever else with regards to Asas Serba's proposal to bring down toll rates by 20 per cent, or whether the government is going to call in other parties to make their pitch, there should be a process to decide where we are going with toll.

During this process all the stakeholders, especially we the toll-paying people, should be made part of that conversation. Rakyat mesti diutamakan.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

How to pre-empt your boss

Toll tales. Either Nor Mohamed Yakcop has discussed the proposal by Asas Serba with Najib, or he thinks he is still the Finance Minister II and therefore can decide without asking what the PM thinks or if the views of the Cabinet on Asas Serba's proposal ought to be sought. [Nor was 2nd Finance Minister under Pak Lah; the post went to Husni after Najib became PM and took the finance portfolio as well].

Whichever way you think, what's certain is this man formerly nicknamed "Top Cat" sounded like he knew exactly what he was talking about yesterday.

“If anyone has a plan to buy (the tolled roads), good luck but we have no plans to sell." - Top Cat

According to the Star's report here, Nor Mohamed was responding to questions regarding a report that said private entity Asas Serba Sdn Bhd was to meet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on its proposal to consolidate the management and operations of all highway concessionaire companies in the country, including PLUS Expressways Bhd and Lingkaran Trans Kota Holdings Bhd, in a deal estimated at RM50bil. It is reported that Asas Serba would be able to reduce toll charges by some 20% after the consolidation while lessening the Government’s subsidies by some RM114 bil but to do so, it might need to seek a longer concession period.

According to the Business Times/NST, about a month ago, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had said state investment agency Khazanah Nasional Bhd has no plan to sell PLUS. Recent reports quoting Asas Serba's allies, however, claimed that the Prime Minister was now interested to listen to the firm's proposal, and that a briefing was supposed to have been held last week. Khazanah directly and indirectly holds 64 per cent of PLUS. The EPU is responsible for carrying out a study for the government to take over some of the busier highways including PLUS to ease the burden of toll users. It further reported that Asas Serba had in May this year proposed to the Works Ministry to acquire all 22 highway concessionaire companies for RM50 billion. The company is manned by four businessmen, two of whom are former senior executives of the former Renong conglomerate.

We are paying too much toll, especially those of us who commute daily on intra-urban expressways. We all want something to be done by the government to reduce our burden. But I happen to think that making us pay less but for a longer period just won't cut it. If all Asas Serba is thinking is that, then it will not go down well with most.

BUT is that what Asas Serba's proposal is about?

Has the proposal gone to the PM and the Cabinet? (And if not, why did NMY pre-empt them?).

Does NMY has a better idea?

Andif it's not the PM, shouldn't the official take on such a plan come from the 2nd Finance Minister?

MIED's not walking away

Palani blogs. Before politics, the MIC deputy president, G. Palanivel, was a Bernama journalist. We worked quite closely together when he was the press secretary for S. Samy Vellu, who was the Works Minister back then.
If Palani's concerned or unhappy about the way the mainstream media are treating his boss with regards to issues affecting the party and the Indian community (the latest being Samy's purported intention to "hijack" the Maju Institute of Educational Development or MIED), he's handling it well. No table and chest thumping from this man. This morning, he merely sms-ed me to say that he has posted his views on the MIED issue on his blog h e r e and asked me to read it when I have the time.

Another blogger just added to my blogroll is Lim Kok Wing. His latest posting here warns Malaysia that it will continue to lose its best if the system continues to ignore its wealth of talent.

Bloggers' FT

Less than 24 hours since its launch, the Blog4FT project has drawn more than a dozen postings. The pictures above are taken from 3 of them. The monthly blogging competition is open to public, juniors, media and foreigners.
So far, the journo-bloggers and the tourists/expats are still adopting a wait-and-see attitude.

Met many old and new bloggers at the launch yesterday, including Syed Akbar Ali, Desiderata, Mahaguru, Tengku Zafrul, Elviza, Nicholas, Akramshah, and a 20-yr old varsity student whose blog boasts of more followers (231) than many socio-political blogs that I read.

To enter the contest or enjoy the entries, pls go HERE.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Blog for FT

Blog and win a Peugeot 308! During a dinner with some of us bloggers on June 10, Raja Nong Chik spoke of doing an international or regional bloggers' do in KL. This Monday at 2.30pm (venue Pavilion, KL), the Federal Territories Minister will be launching that do. The organisers are calling it Blog4FT.

Essentially, it is an essay writing competition. You blog about KL, Labuan or Putrajaya and if the judges find yours to be the best entry, you win a prize. There will be categories for journalists and international travelers to Malaysia. The competition will be held over 3 monthly legs - Nov, Dec and Jan - which means there will be 3 monthly prize presentations (including laptops, I was told).

The overall winner will drive away with a Peugeot 308 (see pic below). You choose the color you want.

Get details HERE. I will update with more info this Monday.

Dead man's DNA on dead man's belt

NST 02/10: Beng Hock's inquest: DNA found on Teoh's blazer and belt belonged to deceased M. Gopala whose post mortem was conducted just before Teoh

BH 02/10: DNA misteri pada mayat Teoh Beng Hock adalah milik M. Gopala yang dibedah siasat di meja sama sebelum Teoh di HTAR Klang.

What happened to "proper" post-mortem procedures? After the Kugan Ananthan's case, where two pathologists came up with rather contradicting autopsy results, the independent investigating committee of experts appointed by the Health Ministry to decide on those two autopsies recommended, among other things, that "Proper post mortem procedures should be followed in all autopsy cases".

That recommendation was made in April this year and, obviously, nobody gave a damn. In the post-mortem conducted on Teoh Beng Hock, one of the most basic proper procedures, which is to wash/sweep clean the table on which the post-mortem was to be conducted, was clearly neglected.

As a result, we have a dead man's DNA on another dead man.

How lar, YB Liow?

Notes: I am making a link to a Press Release issued by the Health Ministry in April on the findings of the Independent Investigating Committee on A. Kugan's death in police custody. It's a long document, but it's worth reading it. Click HERE.