Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Throw Section 134 at your own boss, SC told

Conflict of Interest. The SC's use of Section 134 of the Securities Commission Act 1993 to cow practising journalists has now brought focus on the SC itself, in particular its chairman Zarinah Anwar.

Investigative corporate blogger A Voice, who helped expose skeletons and dig out dirt in Sime Darby, IJN, and Labu airport in recent times, has this time trained his sight on the alleged involvement of Zarinah's husband in various companies. The level of involvement itself should have disqualified Zarinah from the top chief regulator position, A Voice argues in Will SC's interrogating goons dare harm "Mrs" Zarinah?

Explosive stuff. I hope you'd understand if I can't allow comments. If you wish to respond to A Voice's posting, you will have to go there.  H e r e, let me provide you the link again so that you can leave comments there if you wish.
The SC must come out and defend itself against these allegations. More importantly, it must resist any temptation, if any, to try and silence the bloggers with its Section 134.

Anwar says sorry for anti-Semitic remarks

with updates, at the end of posting.
Hero Islam? This stinger is from Reme Ahmad's blog posting Anwar mintak maaf dengan Yahud:
Bagus si Anwar Ibrahim.
Tentu ada lebih baiknya anda meminta maaf kerana berkasar dengan Yahud daripada meminta maaf dengan sesama Melayu-Islam di negara sendiri.
Beliau baru pulang dari Washington -- rupa-rupanya nak jumpa rakan Yahud meminta maaf kerana 'garang' sangat dalam isu Apco dan demo anti-Israel.

Menurut columnist akhbar utama di ibunegara Amerika, The Washington Post:
He said he regretted using terms such as "Zionist aggression," which are common coin for demagogues like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "Why do I need to use it if it causes so much misunderstanding?" he said. "I need to be more careful."
Read the article and some interesting comments here. The Washington Post article Flirting with Zealotry in Malaysia, thanks AIDC.
updates ...
June 30, 2010 20:13 PM
Anwar Tells Washington Circles He Regrets Using Terms Such As Zionist Aggression
KUALA LUMPUR, June 30 (Bernama) -- Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has told his friends in the United States (US) that he regretted using terms such as "Zionist aggression", the Washington Post reported Monday.

In an article by its deputy editorial page editor Jackson Diehl, the paper said Anwar was in Washington for a couple of days last week.

"(He) spent a lot of time offering explanations to old friends, not to mention House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman and a Jewish leader or two," Diehl wrote in the article with the headline "Flirting with zealotry in Malaysia".

Anwar said he regretted using terms such as "Zionist aggression", which are "common coin demagogues like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad", Diehl added.

"Why do I need to use it if it causes so much misunderstanding? I need to be more careful," the writer quoted Anwar, who is also the advisor of the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

The daily noted Anwar recently joined a demonstration outside the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur where an Israeli flag was burned and had also made dark insinuations about the "Jewish-controlled" Washington public relations firm, Apco Worldwide, which is working for the Malaysian government.

Diehl said many of Anwar's friends, among them former diplomat and ex-World Bank chief Paul Wolfowitz, were inclined to give him a break.

Diehl said Wolfowitz told him: "What Anwar did was wrong, but considering that he's literally fighting for his life -- physically as well as politically -- against a government that attacks him as being 'a puppet of the Jews', one should cut him some slack."

Diehl said Anwar was not getting the kind of support from the US for his current second sodomy trial unlike the first prosecution when the then vice-president, another of his friends, had spoken up for him.

President Barack Obama said nothing in public about Anwar during a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in Washington in April, he added.

Anwar, he said, found his own way to fight back by trying to turn the tables on allegations that he was an Israeli agent and a "Wolfowitz-loving American lackey".

"..he tried to turn the tables, alleging that Apco was manipulating the government to support Israeli and US interests. He also said that Israeli agents had infiltrated Malaysia's security forces and were directly involved in the running of the government," Diehl wrote.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Power Corrupts Zarinah

 Pic of SC's headquarters taken from A Brick in the Wall's latest posting SC lied .. Stop Cooperating.

Updated, Wed 30/6/10 8am
The Star warns SC of legal action if ...
The SC's investigation officers are running amok. Yesterday, at the end of a 3-hour session with BK Sidhu, the Star journalist, the attending IO named Arif demanded that Sidhu surrender her notes to him. Sidhu had been taking notes of the Q & A, perhaps out of habit or maybe to ensure against being misquoted. She refused to hand over her notes, of course. Arif then told the lawyer representing Sidhu and The Star, Mr Tharminder Singh, to sign a statement of the proceedings. Tharminder, I was told, refused to do so because he was there just as an observer. He had been told earlier to sit quietly in the Q & A room and not to offer any advice to Sidhu. He offered no advice to his client, whatsoever, even when Sidhu refused to give up her notes to Arif.

That was when the SC's officer issues a notice under this powerful Section 134 to Mr Singh, which would compel the lawyer to come back tomorrow (Thursday) to face the SC's "firing squad".

The Star wrote to SC yesterday advising it to withdraw the notice issued to Mr Singh, or face legal action.
Original article
Is Zarinah Anwar so powerful? Based on the powers vested on the SC chairman under Section 134 of the Securities Commission Act 1993, yes she is so powerful. Bujai, a journalist of nearly three decades, wrote in his latest posting here that Zarinah is so powerful that he does not expect the Prime Minister or the Finance Minister to be able to do anything to stop her from terrorising the journos.

Do journalists need protection? The Centre for Independent Journalsim (CIJ) says Section 134 is so open to abuse. Read it here or visit the CIJ's website for their press release entitled SC interrogation shows need for journalist protection.

"...come near me, I'll throw this chair at you ..."

SC wanted to bodysearch lady reporter. Dalila Abu Bakar told me the Securities Commission investigating officer wanted hto subject her to a body search. They wanted her handphone and refused to believe her when she said she had left it at home. The IO brought into the room a lady officer by the name of Mastura, who is physically ok to pat down Big Dog, if necessary, of so I imagine. The body search was called off after Dalila told them to go on a make her day. "I asked her what if I had my phone in my undies, and she said she will come and get it from me. That's when I lost it. I told her if she comes near me, I'll throw the chair at her".

The SC sounds desperate to me. But it said in a press release this morning that "the investigation is above board". I'll get a copy and publish it later.

The Centre of Independent Journalism is coming into the fray. I'll publish their Press Release here also.

Monday, June 28, 2010

SC threatens to jail reporter 5 years, fine RM1 million

Selective prosecution. The Securities Commission continues to harass reporters over reports their newspapers published on Kenmark Industries Co (M) Bhd. Malaysian Reserve reporter Dalila Abu Bakar reported at the SC's headquarters in Bukit Kiara not once but twice - at 11 am and again at 6pm. The SC threatened Dalila with some Clause under some Act which could land her in jail and a RM5 mil fine if she did not surrender her handphone and SIM card to them. That's intimidation.
And Najib said he would give more leverage to the Press?
Now please read the Free Malaysia Today's commentary here and tell me the SC isn't a bully.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

In Malaysia, business reporters interrogated for hours

Kuala Lumpur, Mon 27 June: Malaysian Reserve's Dalila Abu Bakar is the third journalist to be interrogated by the SC at its headquarters in Bukit Kiara at 11am this morning.

A Voice's latest posting here urges journalists to boycott the SC. Excerpts:
"Financial journalism under Securities Act

Despite the mainstream newspapers "assisting" SC to cover their incompetence and impropriety under pretext of public relation, SC treated these business journalists badly and all MSM newspaper should boycott and blackout SC in protest.

There is no basis for SC to subject the journalist for such long and suspiciously abusive interrogation. They are merely reporting the event and are not suspected offenders."

updates: Zarinah: "Gangster" of Bukit Kiara

Big Dog digs up a bit about the SC chairman's record ..
1. Reports were made to the SC against the ‘merger’. Nothing avail. At least 17 reports were filed by minority shareholders alone. At best, the complainants got an acknowledgement for their complaints. Even three police reports were filed. The commercial crime policemen did the proper thing; They forwarded the police reports to the subject matter expert: The Securities Commission. Guess what? SC did nothing. SC allowed the highly controversial and irregular merger to go on.

2. The more recent is the case about One of the players whose company comprises part of consortium which provided service for the online service provider for Malaysian Government counter services, one Singaporean Mr S K Ong pleaded guilty under Singaporean Sect 97 (1) of the Securities Industries Act in 1999. And yet S K Ong as a white collar criminal was an active shareholder and partner of Paxelent Corporation Bhd. How could SC allow such a person hold position in a plc, moreover which provide wholesale online services on behalf of the Federal Government? This was notified to the SC but then again, non avail
 Original article:

Securities Commission gets rough with journos. Ms BK Sidhu, the Star's seasoned business journalist, was hauled in for questioning for eight straight hours on Wednesday. This is unprecedented. Another journalist Azlan Abu Bakar from the Business Times went in the next day. Two other journalists, Dalila Abu Bakar (not related to Azlan) and Ishun P. Ahmad of The Malaysian Reserve, will get their turn on Monday. 

Their "crime"?
All have been reporting on Kenmark lately. This company saw the re-emergence of controversial corporate player Ishak Ismail of the KFC fame recently. We know the SC and Ishak have crossed swords, the latest just last week when the SC obtained an ex parte injunction against Ishak here.

Malaysian journos don't normally mind being at the wrong end of an interrogation. We don't turn our backs if we know we can help in an investigation, especially if it's to solve a crime.  But no need for the high-handedness lah. The SC investigating officers must also remember that journalists not only have the
responsibility of telling the truth but they also need to protect their sources. If we don't protect our sources, who'd want to talk to us? And if people don't talk to us, how are we going to our job?
pixs of Ishak and SC chairman Zarinah Anwar.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Khalid Ibrahim, Chief Sitting Duck

Mr 100 Percent. I watch with interest the shadow boxing between Khalid Ibrahim, the Selangor Menteri Besar, and Anwar Ibrahim's protege Azmin Ali. It's no secret that the two don't see eye to eye and have been trading jabs. Azmin's decision to quit his PKNS post (compare news reports No problem with MB and  Azmin resigns from PKNS board, unhappy with Khalid is seen as part of an orchestrated move within PKR to discredit MB ahead of the party's elections in November.
But sitting duck or not, Khalid is not sitting still. He has come out strongly to try and emerge as champion for the Kg Baru landowners over the Federal government's plan to redevelop the Malay settlement. I wrote in my latest Rocky's Bru on Thursday column headlined Taking out the slum out of Kg Baru that Khalid's support for 100% Malay ownership of the redeveloped Kg Baru may not go down very well with his partners in Pakatan Rakyat, especially those who are so fond of questioning and ridiculing the NEP's (and now New Economic Model's) 30 per cent quota for Bumis and Malays. This could further weaken his position against Azmin and the likes of ZaidIbrahim, who is also likely to go for deputy presidency in November.
Go to Din Marican's posting Under pressure Khalid Ibrahim is PKR's chief sitting duck to learn what's bruing in PKR.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

'Is the ex-Finance Minister II also being investigated?"

"YAB PM perlu memberi penjelasan kenapakah sehingga kini En Hasbie (Satar) belum di dakwa di Mahkamah atau pun kes rasuah ini telah ditutup walaupun SPRM telah memperolehi bukti-bukti yang mencukupi dan juga adakah siasatan juga dijalankan terhadap bekas Menteri Kewangan II." - YB Wee Choo Keong, Konsensus Bebas, 21 June 2010 in Parliament

Nor Mohamed Yakcop, the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, is the ex-Finance Minister II mentioned by YB Wee Choo Keong in his highly anticipated speech in Parliament yesterday. This was the first time YB Wee had spoken since quitting PKR to become an Independent and formed the Konsensus Bebas.

YB Wee's focus on Hasbie is interesting and most probably not incidental. Just last week Norza Zakaria, who also used to serve Nor Mohamed Yakcop as political secretary when NMY was Finance Minister II, was acquitted by a magistrate court in Temerloh of corruption charges.

NMY, also known affectionately as Top Cat by his worshipers, is best remembered for losing billions in forex trading when he was with Bank Negara. He was also at one time linked to the Abrar Group, a company closely associated with former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. NMY earned the Top Cat's nickname for his ability to survive. He has served as a key aide to three Prime Ministers - Mahathir, Abdullah and now Najib.

Read the rest of YB Wee Choo Keong's parliamentary speech yesterday (Mon 21/6/10) here.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mother of all days

Happy Father's Day, dudes. My dad was a biker. He was not interested in politics. When I was growing up in Singapore, I never heard him say anything bad about Lee Kuan Yew. He never had anything good to say about him, either. But he thought taught me how to ride a motorcycle and bought me my first bike. When I got a place in the School of Mass Comm, ITM, in 1982, we rode on his bike from Melaka to Shah Alam.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"Knowing what the right hand does"

H E R E to read my column in The Malay Mail today, about the collapse in the government's messaging system, starring Nazri Aziz (who said Najib wanted him to head the SPAD) and Syed Hamid Albar (who was the one made Chairman of SPAD, not Nazri), among others.

Nor Mohamed Yakcop's ex-political secretary walks free

MACC's uphill battle. Norza Zakaria was the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's biggest fish until his acquittal this morning.The people will be asking again why the MACC keeps losing cases in court. If the case against Norza, the former FT Umno Youth chief, wasn't water-tight, why prosecute him in the first place?

I say it's time the MACC chief be given prosecution powers. That way it's his neck if the MACC loses a case or he will have to explain why nobody is being prosecuted in the case of PKFZ and alleged corruption involving big names like Khir Toyo and Khalid Ibrahim. Very few people know that the power to prosecute lies with the Attorney-General. But when MACC loses a case or the A-G decides not to prosecute, it's always the MACC that takes the blame. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

DAP Adun loses faith in party, quits

Another one to singh the Indie tune. Konsensus Bebas, the newly-formed political alliance for "independent" MPs and Aduns (state assemblymen) could get a new member today. The press conference by this Perak Adun is expected to happen at 1 pm today (read here).

This latest development in the Perak political scene is made most interesting because Nizar, the ex-MB,  has just told reporters at the Parliament this morning that several BN reps had come to see him. These reps had told him they were unhappy with MB Zambry and would support Nizar if a vote of no confidence is proposed against the MB.

Monday, June 14, 2010

New Sime Darby chief

Meet the new group chief executive Bakke Salleh, read it here. A lot of people are disappointed the job's not going to Azhar.

updated june 15, 12.06pm

Got this mail from someone who has worked closely with Bakke, and who knows that Bakke the right person for the job. Bakke, among other things:

- Turned around the operations at LTH
- introduced transparency in the investment appraisal process & incorporated the risk mgt function
- instilled & implemented professional best practices in the overall operations
- strengthened & improved the operations at TH Plantations that enabled the successful listing & consistently respectable financial performance

And where this guy's integrity is concened ...

  - refused higher allotment of shares when TH Plantations was to be listed by recommending (which the board duly approved) that the directors & all eligible senior staff get only 1,000 units
- paid for own expenses when making private trips for umrah

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Whose house this?

£8.5 million. According to Another Brick, it belongs to a Malaysian politician. A Cabinet Minister! But the blogger also says it's a rumour lah, which means it's not true until somebody owns up or can prove that it is so.
This blog has "visited" several Malaysian palaces abroad, including a RM30 million Ottawa home part-owned by a Malaysian lady. We have also heard some people claiming that an ex-MB lived in a RM30 million Shah Alam mansion and couldn't prove it after the ex-MB said it was built with a loan of only RM3.5 million.
In any case, it's good to know that Malaysians are investing abroad. But it would be better if they are not shy about it.
Pic of Holland Park in London where the Malaysian politician's house is supposed to be. Read all about M'sian Minister bought £8.5 million Holland Park home

Saturday, June 12, 2010

TenMP and the Malays

"Can we the Malays leave our fate in the hands of (this) Government?" That's the big question blogger SatD is asking in his latest American Pie-length posting Social Capital, the modern MALAYsian dilemma, and Economic Models. It's a critical appreciation of Najibnomics and where the PM and his economists could go really, really wrong. The article includes how the Malays can learn from the Chinese and their social capital.

SatD is an under-40 working abroad, one of the many bright young Malaysian lads who
have no place locally because they don't believe in cables or are considered a threat to the 4th-floor type liberals.
Interestingly, he began this posting with the Sumpah Melayu by Onn Jaafar, the man who proposed that UMNO open its doors to all Malayans:

KAMI, umat Melayu beragama Islam pada hari ini berjanji tidak akan berhasad dengki, khianat dan iri hati, bertelagah dan berbalah sama sendiri. KAMI berjanji akan bersatu padu dan patuh menegakkan agama Islam. KAMI juga berjanji akan bekerja kuat untuk menyara diri dan keluarga kami.
KAMI sedia bersaing sesama umat Melayu dan kaum-kaum lain dengan jujur dan terhormat.
KAMI umat Melayu bersumpah setia untuk:
Mempertahankan kepentingan dan hak Melayu;
Mempertahankan kedaulatan Raja-Raja Melayu;
Memperjuangkan ikhtisad dan pelajaran bangsa Melayu; dan
Mempertahankan maruah Negara supaya aman sejahtera.
Please click here to leave comments.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Chua Jui Meng, stripped

Anwar Ibrahim's twit 9:54 this morning: ChuaJM: penarikan pingat Johor memeranjatkan. CJM menerima dgn tenang; semangat kental. Inshaallah saya mohon mengadap Tuanku Johor. #fb

Above politics. I felt compelled to check with the Istana after reading the twit by Jimmy Chua's boss and the posting by a Johor blogger here, and was told that he still hasn't sought an audience with the Sultan of Johor. The fact that Anwar pre-empted the meeting with the Sultan and tweeted to the whole cyberworld that the stripping of CJM of his datukship was "shocking" is not going to help. Just as CJM's own response won't endear him to anyone.

The former Health Minsiter was quoted by the Star:
“I am very disappointed with Umno and BN leaders for doing such a thing,” he said, adding that he does not blame the Sultan because he understands the “politics behind the move”.
I was told by the Johor Istana that the decision to strip Chua Jui Meng of his datukship (SPMJ, first class datukship, beb!) has nothing to do with politics. "The Sultan is above politics," the aide said to me. As it should be the case.

Three others, including the Sultan's own brother-in-law, were also stripped of their datukship. It has something to do with "integrity", I was told.

Johor has not been known to be generous when it comes to awarding titles in conjunction with the Sultan's birthday. There was a year when only 1 person was conferred a datukship. Some states give out hundreds at one go. So losing a Johor datukship must be extra painful.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

10th Malaysia Plan

Under the 10MP 2011-2015, the 30 per cent Bumiputera corporate equity target remains and rightly so for this alone will ensure that the country's socio-economic re-engineering made out in the New Economic Plan 1971, which has contributed greatly towards peace and prosperity, will be pursued. Najib Razak's challenge is to ensure that his Administration is able to check against rent-seekers and promote fair competition in order to expedite the achievement of the 30 per cent goal.

There's heavy emphasis on the "bottom-40 percent", a core driver for the government's New Economic Model. Among other things, the RM230 billion budget under the 5-year plan will be used to:

• Reduce poverty from 3.8% in 2009 to 2% in 2015
• Raise average monthly income of bottom 40% of households from RM1,440 in 2009 to RM2,300 in 2015
• Increase percentage of SPM qualification and above in bottom 40% of households from 30% in 2009 to 45% in 2015
• Education assistance for children from bottom 40% of households
The main thrusts of the 10MP include restructuring subsidies and increasing the per capita income. There will be full employment (with the creation of 1.4 million new jobs during the period) and the economic should grow by 6 per cent, if all goes according to plan.

Get the details in your free afternoon paper, or read it online h e r e.

160 x 6 native speakers of English for Malaysia

RM15k-a-month to teach English. That's the plan, anyway. I'm told the Ministry is in the process of selecting six agents for the purpose of MBMMBI (Memartabkan Bahasa Malaysia & Memperkukuhkan Bahasa Inggeris).  Each agent will bring in 160 English native speakers to become trainer-teachers. By 2012, when this project kicks off, there will be 960 tts altogether. The plan is to pay them RM8000 to RM15000 each.

Snag: Local teachers are paid a lot less. The experienced ones get between RM3k and RM4k a month. So how?

My Rocky's Bru on Thursday column, which debuts in The Malay Mail today, talks about this issue. Please read Dinosaurs, 160 x 6 teachers, and "Rachel Corrie" at 84 Jalan Tangsi.

Rocky's Bru on Thursday

Weekly column in The Malay Mail. I had a column n Singapore's mypaper, a weekly
round-up of the happenings in Malaysia, until I re-joined The Malay Mail as The Editor about this time last year. Today, I start a weekly column for The Paper That Cares. It will be called Rocky's Bru on Thursday. 

Every column will have an appetizer, the main course and a dessert. Today's piece opens with a glance at the rise and rise of Malaysia's political dinosaurs, followed by the Education ministry's 160 x 6 formula for teaching English in English which I think is a heartache waiting for local teachers, and a teaser of a conversation between a "Rachel Corrie" activist with his Israeli interrogators.
I will publish each column in my Jalan Tangsi blog and invite you my dear readers to comment.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Najib's more pop, but people are still waiting for that BIG fish ...

When provided with a list of issues, 53% of the voters chose ‘fighting corruption’ as the most important issue that the government should pay attention to. - The Merdeka Centre poll
61% dissatisfied with anti-corruption results. The Merdeka Centre's 72% approval ratings on Najib Razak will rile the PM's detractors, as Sinatra Z predicted in his twits, or stun them into silence. But popularity poll aside, what does the survey say about the rest of the government. Read SatD's latest posting Najib's trail of Incompetence to get my meaning. And Nor Mohamed Yakcop and Nazri Aziz are still in Najib's Cabinet. And where's the BIG fish that the Government's campaign against corruption is supposed to catch? Look again at the Merdeka Centre's survey here: 6 out of 10 Malaysians are dissatisfied with the performance in fighting corruption.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Vincent Tan, on the verge of losing (again) a license he apparently didn't get in the first place

Misunderstood. Did you know that Najib Razak's administration has REFUSED to grant Vincent Tan a car manufacturing license to build China's BYD cars here? Yep, it hardly made the news. And no full-page blog entry by RPK accusingVincent Tan of being a mere trustee for UMNO. But reissue him a sports betting license (see the Bloomberg report below) and  Vincent Tan suddenly becomes UMNO'S biggest crony since Malaysia was formed. 
Yet Vincent Tan must take the blame, for most part of it, on how his communications team let him down. Vincent Tan's half-a-billion planned donation, may have been laced with good intentions, but with scant thought for muslim sentimentality. Every muslim and everyone who respects Islam knows it's not halal for a Muslim to accept money or gift from sale of a haram asset.
Malaysia Has Yet to Issue Betting License to Ascot, Najib Says
2010-06-08 04:37:35.758 GMT

By Ranjeetha Pakiam
     June 8 (Bloomberg) -- Malaysia’s government has yet to
issue a sports betting license to Ascot Sports Sdn., Prime
Minister Najib Razak told Parliament in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
     The government is discussing the licensing terms and
conditions while getting feedback on the plan from various
parties, Najib said in his written statement obtained by
Bloomberg today. The government is considering the license to
help reduce illegal betting activities in the country, he said.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Indie MPs to form alliance today

Dewan Rakyat, June 7: The independent Members of Parliament (those who left Pakatan Rakyat for various reasons, usually loss of faith in the leadership, but have not joined rival parties such as Umno) are expected to announce the formation of an Alliance (not a political party). Thais Alliance may have a secretariat which, among others, will help others who want to leave their parties and become Indie MPs.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

IGP Abdul Rahman Hashim

7 June 1974. I read on twtiter this morning about a "beautiful story by NajibRahman abt his father the late IGP on @nst-online". I've read Najib's account of the gunning down of IGP Rahman Hashim a couple of times, but his latest piece My father, the IGP, was gunned down moved me still.

Thank you Najib for keeping the memory of IGP Abdul Rahman Hashim alive. Everybody else seems to have conveniently forgotten about the IGP and the sacrifices the family had to make. The PDRM's own website has only this about Abdul Rahman Hashim.

The hijacking of 'Rachel Corrie'

Updated, Sun morning:
Received this SMS just now ...
Vessel already docked. All 19 (10 x crews, 6 x malaysian, 3 x irish) under going medical inspection. After inspection all of them will b taken to Holloun City for futher investigation afterwhich to Bengaroun Airport for deportation. We expect 2 pick d m'sian at d border today by noon. All r safe bro

AsH, my dear ex-teacher, posted these images on her latest blog posting DID YOU KNOW? today. She has been calling to ask how Shamsul Akmar and friends on board MV Rachel Corrie were. AsH and husband Iain have spent many hours discussing Israel and Palestine with Shamsul. Most times I'd just sit back and enjoy their exchanges. I'm looking forward to the next one, sooner the better.
Press Release

The Hijacking of Rachel Corrie and Kidnapping of Passengers and Crew

June 5, Kuala Lumpur: The Perdana Global Peace Organisation (PGPO) demands the unconditional and immediate release of all peace activists, humanitarian aid workers and crew members aboard the Rachel Corrie that was illegally seized and forcibly towed at gunpoint to Ashdod by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).
The Malaysian delegation consists of Member of Parliament, Nizar Zakaria, PGPO members Shamsul Akmar, Matthias Chang and Ahmad Faizal Azumu as well as two members of the press, Halim Mohamed and Jufri Judin from TV3.
They are joined on board by former United Nations Assistant Secretary General, Dennis Halliday, Nobel Prize Laureate, Mairead Maguire, Derek and Jenny Graham from the Free Gaza Movement and documentary film maker Fiona Thompson.
We call for Malaysians of all faiths and creed to pray for the safety of the kidnapped Malaysians as well as other members of the humanitarian aid flotilla. The people of Malaysia must stand united against injustice and cruelty perpetrated by the Zionist regime against members of the peace flotilla whose only crime is to want to lift the intolerable siege and alleviate the suffering of the innocent and brave people of Gaza.

Mukhriz Mahathir
Perdana Global Peace Organisation

Saturday, June 05, 2010

"We won't sell KLCC"

Petronas' new chief, Shamsul Azhar Abbas, engaged the Editors for the first time yesterday afternoon at the Petroleum Club, KLCC. He marked his 100th day at the President and CEO of the national oil corporation on May 25.

Shamsul on Shamsul:
''I'm a Malay and proud of it ... I don't believe in spoon-feeding".
"We are Malaysians and ready to compete".

On the appointment of non-Malays at Exec VP level (Is it a deliberate and forced attempt at being 1Malaysia?):
"It's not 1Malaysia concept but a need to bring in industrial experience. (Their appointments) are based on competence. We need ideas to grow. External infusion".

On how transparent he's going to be:
"Even though Petronas is not a Plc, it does not mean that we can't behave like one ... in the name of corporate governance and transparency".

On Dr Mahathir:
"I bounce off ideas with Dr Mahathir (the Petronas adviser). So far I've been lucky with him".

On Omar Ong:
"The kind of questions he's asked at the Board is always penetrating and challenging. We've got an active board".

On his succession plans:
"The next CEO will come from inside Petronas. The Prime Minister says that's how it should be. The Advisor also wants it that way".

Jagdev from the Star has a report here based on yesterday's meeting.

Sweeping sand under the carpet in Selangor

Sands fear or favor. For all the promise to deliver justice sans fear or favor, the Selcat or[Selangor Legislative Assembly Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency is failing its first basic test. Badly.

Bloggers who have been skeptical of the Pakatan Rakyat's Selangor government are saying I-told-you-so; eg. Shamul Yunus here. Only the staunchest Pakatan supporters will not own up to Selcat's impotence here. Shamsul said even Haris Ibrahim** couldn't take it anymore.
Select Committee or Selective? Haris calls Selcat ... Selective Competency, Accountability and Transparency .. here.
** For the record, Haris went public at the recent BUM to say that he is not a pro-Pakatan blogger; I can agree with that: there's a difference between being supportive of Umno, for eg, and being pro-Umno.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Rachel Corrie, D-Day

updates Saturday; click here for breaking news.
SMS from Matthias Chang, who is on board MV Rachel Corrie
(Note: Malaysian time 5-6hours ahead of ship)

9:30am (Malaysian time)- Three Israeli patrol boats are now following Rachel Corrie;

10.00am- Israeli boats coming towards our ship. Stay calm;
Last contact 10.35am- They have jammed our radar
 Original Article:
Go with God, Shamsul, Matthias and all on board "Rachel Corrie". Thousands of people marched and demonstrated  in support of the six Malaysians on board of Gaza-bound vessel name Rachel Corrie and to condemn Israel's atrocities against the international aid flotilla earlier this week. In Kuala Lumpur, they gathered in front of the US Embassy on Jalan Tun Razak in one of the largest demonstrations the city has ever seen.

Muslims Pray, Protest Against Israeli Violence
KUALA LUMPUR, June 4 (Bernama) -- Muslims on Friday offered special prayers for Palestinians and protested against the Israeli raid on the Gaza humanitarian flotilla killing nine people.

Non-governmental organisations (NGO) including Aman Malaysia and Umno Youth gathered in the compound of Masjid Negara after Friday and special (hajat) prayers for the safety of the activists.

Aman Malaysia adviser and Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said the rally was to support Palestinians and condemn the inhuman act of the Israeli regime.

Chairman Datuk Ahmad Zaki Zahid said Malaysians had been angry with Israel for a long time for oppressing the Palestinians.

"Israel's act of violence and utter disregard for international law has inflamed anger among Malaysians," he said.

Khairy launched a "SMS For Gaza" campaign to collect funds for Gaza. Donors only have to send SMS by typing "GAZA" and send to 32928.

Earlier, Masjid Negara imam besar Tan Sri Syaikh Ismail Muhammad used the sermon to condemn Israel for the inhuman act against activists taking humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Another rally took place at Masjid Jamek Kampung Baru led by opposition leader and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The anti-Israel rally attended by about 10,000 people then proceed to the United States embassy in Jalan Ampang and ended at 4pm after a memorandum was delivered.

In JOHOR BAHARU, over 100 NGO and Pakatan Rakyat party members held a rally in the compound of Masjid Sultan Abu Bakar after Friday prayers.

The anti-Israel rally in heavy rain lasted 30 minutes and ended with burning of the flags of Israel and United States.

In KOTA BHARU, some 5,000 Muslims gathered near Sultan Mohammed Stadium for special prayers for Palestinians led by Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat.

He said the Kelantan government spent RM25,000 monthly under the Palestinian Education Aid Fund to finance Palestinian students at several institutions of higher learning.

In Penang, over 500 people participated in an rally organised by Penang Federation of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) at Masjid Kapitan Keling.

The 30-minute anti-Israel protest after Fridays prayers was filled with fiery speeches by NGO representatives.

In TAWAU, about 100 Muslims held a peaceful rally at Masjid Al-Kauthar after Friday prayers to protest Israeli violence.

Special prayers were also held for the safety of Palestinians and the humanitarian vessel heading for Gaza.

In IPOH, the family of Dr Selamat Aliman, one of 12 Malaysian activists on board "Mavi Marmara" raided by Israeli commandos, would be holding a feast to mark his return.

Dr Selamat, 54, a member of Jemaah Islah Malaysia (JIM) was expected to arrive at KL International Airport (KLIA) early Sunday with nine others, including two staff of Astro Awani.

His wife Faezah Hassan, 52, said no date had been set as it would depend on Dr Selamat's work schedule.


Thursday, June 03, 2010

NO to non-Malays in KL's Kg Baru

"We are going to fight for our land. We will never accept the proposal to open 40 percent to non-Malays in Kampung Baru. Any native of Kampung Baru will not agree to the proposed lifting of restricted ownership.This land belongs to the Malays, hence the name Malay Agricultural Land. It was given by the then Sultan Selangor to the Malays." - Baki Husin, 72, a Kg Baru land owner

The above are excerpts from The Malay Mail's report No to non-Malays in Kg Baru. It's the Most Viewed article this week. To be fair to the government, it has said that the proposed 60:40 idea is just an idea and that it's out to gather feedback. Well, based on the feedback so far, the FT and Urban Well-being Minister Raja Nong Chik must realize now that it's not going to be a walk in the park at all. Previous administrations have tried. I think it would be wise to accept that he only way to develop Kg Baru is to ensure that Malay ownership remains intact. It ain't broke, why fix it? 

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Rachel Corrie, the "last man standing"

Activists on Rachel Corrie undeterred by Israeli action. There are six Malaysians on board, including our own Shamsul Akmar and Matthias Chang. Together with other brave men and women, including Nobel Laureatte Mairead Maguire and former UN assistant secretary general Denis Halliday, the ship donated by Malaysia's former Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, is sailing ahead to Gaza.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Najib's "minor" Cabinet reshuffle

Ong Tee Keat dropped, Chua Soi Lek's son a Deputy Minister. I've met YB Chua Tee Yong a couple of times, the first time when I was in Labis with the Mahkota Kembara in July 2008, and I think the PM's decision to make him the Deputy Agriculture Minister is about the most inspiring news about the reshuffle. 

That, and the decision to drop Johari Baharom as deputy minister.***
But a shake-up this is NOT. Nor Mohamed Yakcop and Nazri Aziz, for example, are still up there.
*** Oops, I got this so wrong. Johrari Baharom is ALSO still up there. - 10am, Wed 2 June

The curious case of Asas Serba: Cabinet to decide tomorrow?

Savior, or the ultimate Monopoly in the making? It's been nearly a year since Asas Serba, which has rightly or wrongly been linked to Halim Saad and Daim
Zainuddin, made headlines with an offer to help the government reduce toll rates on all highways by 20 per cent. I first wrote about it in How to pre-empt your boss on Oct 6 last year. It is rather curious that out of the blue this private entity's name is being bandied about again, in both the papers and the blogs. It started with Asas Serba telling a press conference in KL that No Single individual will control highways on May 3.

Some toll-paying bloggers are dead against Asas Serba.
On May 16, Syed Akbar Ali did a posting on Another Highway Monopoly:
They say they will bring down toll rates by 20% and maintain that rate level for the remaining concession period (up to 2038 – 28 years from now). We are talking about our grandchildren paying for our actions.
Folks if Asas Serba can cut toll by 20% and keep it fixed for the next 28 years, why cant the Government do the same? That is the question.
Via Khazanah Nasional Bhd, the Government has a 63.87% stake in PLUS. This stake is said to be worth RM10.5bil at current prices. Another 22% is held by the Employees Provident Fund and PNB/Amanah Saham. So the Government controls 84% of PLUS.
There are many ways to do this. I think what is confusing everything is cronyism and party politics rather than good economic sense or even common sense about how the public is going to vote at the next General Elections. (Silap-silap kena tendang nanti).
And just a little while ago, economics-finance blogger ABITW posted Asas Serba: DON'T play it again, Sam in which he argues why the Cabinet must REJECT the proposal at its weekly meeting tomorrow.

The proposal is going to be studied by the Cabinet tomorrow?