Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dear God/It's 2012!

Dear Readers and Commenters,

I know we are going to start 2012 with a bang or two, with one or two rogues in the bag for corruption, the Flee Anwar Campaign, etc. My court case against those guys will come up again at the KL High Court in the middle of January 2012 (it was filed against me in Jan 2007, so that also makes it the 5th anniversary of Bloggers United!). It should be General Election year, so so everybody says, and 110,000 Felda settlers have a chance to become glocals with 2012's most-anticipated IPO.

May all of you remain healthy of body and mind throughout the new year.

And may Dear God keep Malaysia and my loved ones safe.


Friday, December 30, 2011

Datuk ZZ

The Benchmark has a story that will concern the Istana as much as it should concern us the rakyat. No mention of which palace is involved but you read between the lines and you may get it. As I see it, the blogger is trying to send a warning to the palace. Of interest is the reference to a Datuk ZZ from a sleepy era "who claims to have the Sultan in his pocket".

Read Save the Sultan, Nab the Boys.

A Big Fish in the South: The-Friday-before Intermission


 Amok and the clean-up of Iskandar. While we wait for the fish to be marinated, let's rewind a little to around  the time just after Arlida Ariff was replaced as CEO of Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB). (Note: her husband was charged court on Monday, the first in a list of people expected to be tried on the recommendation of the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commisison). In March, Earnst & Young had just completed the audit ordered by Khazanah, the major shareholder of IIB (it owns 60% of IIB, EPF and Johor state government's investment arm Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor (KPRK) each owns 20%). It was reported that E&Y found cases of mismanagement and criminal breach of trust, among other things. Khazanah chief Azman Mokhtar, or Amok to his friends and to bloggers, studied the E&Y report and discussed with stakeholders the next course of action. Aides said he was keen to invite the relevant authorities in and let them probe deeper the findings of E&Y. Nothing to hide and he wanted the rogues out. He was proposing that Khazanah/IIB lodge a police report and another to the MACC. Strangely, not everyone was in favour of his idea. A representative from Kumpulan Prasarana (who was, in effect, the representative of Johor state government) who sat on the IIB board, in particular, was not too keen to go along with Amok's idea. But Amok was adamant and the IIB Board called in the cops in April this year to investigate tbe findings of E&Y. A certain Board member was adamant that a report to the MACC was unnecessary but the MACC eventually came into the picture, nevertheless.

A short story, but it should put some things in proper perspective and accord credit where it's deserved. Of particular interest to corruption-watchers should be the value of potential collaborations between the MACC and forensic auditors such as Earnst & Young.  

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Next change: A big fish in the South

Latest: MACC probes Iskandar kickbacks. NST's playing the story big, so I reckon something's brewing ...

Updated: Big Cat says Big Fish are found not only in the South but also in high places in KL. Read her latest posting h e r e. One of them very big fish is Azman Mokhtar, the Khazanah boss, Big Cat says. Is he, really? Let's see ...

Original posting:-

Johor assemblymen to be charged for corruption. The Malaysian Anti Corruption Commision is getting very busy in Johore. On Monday, the husband of ex-CEO of Iskandar Investment Berhad was charged in court with corruption. Today, a former Senior Vice President pleaded guilty to charges brought against him by the MACC.

After this, I hear, an ADUN or Assemblyman in Johor will be brought to court to face corruption charges related to the IIB.

Of course, some jokers will say this is a sign that the general election is nigh, especially after the conviction of Khir Toyo. They are not wrong, I tell you. But the dudes at MACC, they tell me GE or no GE, they will still go out fishing for more big fish. In the case of the IIB, the Commission had great help from Earnst & Young. And, of course, some bloggers, notably the now-defunct Irdawatch.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

From Kelantan, an open letter to YB Liow

One can never be 100 per cent happy with our hospitals, be it private or government. Earlier this year, I published an open letter to our Health Minister from a fellow blogger in Johor. YB Liow responded swiftly and effectively to that letter. A blogger in Kelantan, who lost his mom on Dec 20, complained to the papers about the hospital's shoddy treatment. What the hospital should have done was to contact the blogger and his grieving family personally, not to engage in a media exchange. Hence, the open letter to the Minister.

My takziah to blogger Jalan Sehala for his loss. I hope - am sure - YB Liow will attend to the matters he has raised in the letter a s a p.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Vatican's chief exorcist and Yoga the devil's work



Anak si-Hamid, who still spends some of her precious time in England, draws our attention to this Daily Mail's story quoting the Vatican's Chief Exorcist as saying that "yoga is the devil's work .. it leads you to Hinduism". Read here.

Remember, our blogger didn't say that; Father Gabriel, 85, a priest since 1954, did. But AsH does wonder, as we must all do: Why are our liberals so quiet about Father Gabriel's statement? Where is the outrage?

When they banned yoga for Muslims in Malaysia about a year ago, everybody used it as a stick to beat us with.
Read AsH's The Pot and the Kettle.

Looks to me we Muslims and the Christians may have found a new common ground in yoga .. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas in Malaysia

A young Muslim girl under a Xmas tree in Bangsar

Updated: I suppose we need to brace for another "anxious" phase as Rev Eu, at a Christmas tea yesterday, described the Malaysian Constitution as a "bully". Clearly, some religious leaders are more interested in politics than godly matters. And we wonder why religions in Malaysis are so screwed today?
See Let's Talk About "Rights" Rev Eu for context. 


Original article

Malaysians celebrate so many festivals each year but none as elaborate, merry and joyous as Christmas. The Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists in this country know that as well as the Christians. There's no white Xmas and the Santas here are too tanned and sometimes "metallic black", to quote a racist politician, but we celebrate Xmas as we celebrate all other festivals - in togetherness and regardless of race or religion.

So I can't understand how some Malaysians could feel otherwise, as in this article For Malaysian Christians, an Anxious Holiday Season. I believe these people are in the minority.

To everyone else, Merry Christmas! 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Malaysian Courts and Double Standards


Will the judges be cowed? Pic from MOLE
 The High Court found the ex-Selangor Menteri Besar guilty as charged yesterday (One year jail for Khir Toyo - NST). Someone asked me, wasn't he your friend? Ca't you help him? And Shahrizat is in a lot of trouble over the NFC issue, isn't she? Are you helping her?


There is no stopping the system when all the engines are fired up. Shahrizat's predicament was triggered by the Auditor-General's report, which was tabled in Parliament and made public. Yes, it was the AG that exposed NFC, not some anonymous whistleblower or the some wannabes from Pakatan Rakyat, and not the Alhabshees of Umno who reportedly gave out packets of Menglembu ground nuts to the Wanita reps during the recent Umno general assembly. Again, Najib Razak, he did not stop the report from being made nor did he try to sweep anything under the carpet. As PM, he ensured that the system is not tampered with. He allowed his AG to do his job. 

Khir Toyo was tried by the same court of law that has been accused countless of times, mainly by the people who make use of the system most, of having been cowed and compromised [by Mahathir] and subservient to the Executive. But the same system and the same courts have tried and banished several big politicians from the government before. My friend Khir Toyo is not the first one. And he will certainly not be the last one. Former Transport Minister Ling Liong Sik is being tried by the same Malaysian judiciary. So is Anwar Ibrahim.


Lim Guan Eng, the DAP Penang Chief Minister, won his defamation suit against Utusan Malaysia middle this month, and he is now RM200k richer. He is now suing the New Straits Times for defamation after NST snookered itself by agreeing to apologize to Kalimullah Hassan. The article NST was sorry about involved Kali and Guan Eng, but no apology was offered to the Opposition leader! 

In October, a judge hugged Karpal Singh on --- after ordering a businessman to pay the DAP strongman RM2 million in damages.It was a spontaneous act of compassion, Karpal defended the hugging judge later on. [And there I thought that if the judge really needed to show compassion, she should have hugged the dude who would have to fork out the RM2 million].

Earlier this week, ex-Selangor exco member Mohd Sharif Jajang was found not guilty by the courts that convicted Khir Toyo [before that he had won a RM400,000 suit against The Malay Mail for articles published when I was the Editor]. I think Guan Eng is going to win his suit against the Umno-owned NST, no thanks to the apology to Kali, who was the paper's own ex-supremo from a failed era. 

And you know what, I think many expect Anwar Ibrahim to walk on 9 January 2012. 

But so what? He may be your friend or your master, if he's done something wrong he should not get away with it, right? Same with Khir Toyo, Ling Liong Sik, Shahrizat Jalil, Lim Guan Eng, Kalimullah Hassan and everybody else.

But Yang Arifs, whatever you decide, no hugging afterwards, please! Takkan tu be tak reti, ye tak? 

And be prepared for Malaysia's great double standards when you rule against them. I quote fellow scribe Desiderata:
"IF there is one case of double standards from Malaysia, esp wrt to lawyers who are also politicians, it is always OKAY if the judge found in favour of their client. But when the decision is against them, hey, cry "FOUL" or the other "F" word."
updated: Anwar's supporters are piling up the pressure on the judges to rule in favour of the Opposition de facto leader. Not all varsity students want to be associated with him, though, h e r e.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

MoF raps Ministry, orders open tender for multi-million RM projects


A tender issue for Shafie Afdal
 Tendergate. Sabahkini, leading news portal in Sabah, calls it Tender-gate and has promised a series of newsbreaks on the issue, which involves the MoF (Najib Razak, the PM, is Minister of Finance) and the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development (Shafie Afdal is Minister). The article attaches a copy of a memo from MoF rapping Shafie Afdal's sec-gen for approving an RM11 million rural roads project in Sabah and Sarawak without calling for a tender. The MoF, in the memo, orders a probe into this (and, I've learned, several more similar projects) and wants Shafie's ministry to take action against the ministry officers involved.

Good for the MoF, transparency and openness. We await Shafie ministry's explanation on this matter. Hopefully, it can come before Part Two of Sabahkini's Tendergate series.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Now Rozali v Felda [then, Rozali vs Selangor govt]


ONE of the factors Pakatan Rakyat hopes will help it in trying to retain Selangor at the next general election is the water issue in the state. In fact, it was one of the reasons why it won in Selangor in the last general election of March 2008. That's why one of the first things that Khalid Ibrahim did as Menteri Besar after PRU12 was to adjust the water rates, which was an election promise and go after Syabas, the company that has been making tons from the privatization of water. 

The dude who owns Syabas is Puncak Niaga boss Rozali Ismail and you should know him as he has a high-rise building in Shah Alam named after himself.

Now, after years of benefitting from the state's biggest privatization program, the Tan Sri is throwing his support behind the faction in Felda that is going against the proposed listing aimed at elevating the status of settlers and their families.

Whatever Rozali wants out of this, I doubt it's good. 

Updates soon on the 10.45am press conference at Grand Cyrstal Hotel, KL

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

PRU13: The Statesman and his two states

One of the reasons for BN's poor performance during the 12th General Election was Dr Mahathir. He was fighting with Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who had aides who thought they were big enough to take the statesman down. The Opposition only had to ride on Dr Mahathir's wrath into March 2008. The rest is history.

Come PRU13, Dr Mahathir won't be out to take down a Prime Minister. In fact, I hear he's agreed to help Najib to campaign in two states, states that fell to Pakatan Rakyat partly because of the BN infighting, sleepwalking and arrogance back then.

So, it's going to be a little different this time around.

Proton-DRB and of Syed Mokhtar having to flee Johor

Updates by The Mole: Khazanah to make necessary discloure on any Proton sale courtesty of Bernama

I met a seasoned investment banker who, I found out later, used to work for KJ when KJ was an ECM director not too long ago and the first thing he asked was, "What do you think of the general elections?". Luckily for me, I was with a "bebas" politician who answered that question and more. It turned out that seasoned I-banker & Co had been talking about the latest deal in town - DRB eats Proton, that story you first read on this blog before The Edge unabashedly frontpaged it as their "breaking story" - before fate and sambuca brought us together.

Mr SIB who used to work with the SIL said it was his professional opinion that DRB got Proton because it also has gotten VW. If you remember, VW had been in talks with the national car since when Dr Mahathir was still PM and they almost clinched a deal. Under Mahathir's successor, however, things went differently as almost everything else went awry, and Proton lost MV Agusta instead for one euro. VW struck a deal with DRB, owned by Syed Mokhtar, the tycoon who turned pariah under Pak Lah and who is now a darling again and seems to be making up for lost time and opportunities.

Of course, like everyone else, our seasoned IB thought Khazanah or Proton should have announced the Proton-DRB deal instead of Dr M, who is just the Adviser to Proton. But that shows that the advisor post can be a very powerful one, as long as one is on the ball. Take note, all advisers.

Now, I was told there is another, more compelling, reason for Syed Mokhtar getting Proton (especially in view that both Naza and Sime Darby, the other two, contenders for Proton are capable of taking the national car to great heights: SD has BMW to beemerize Proton and Naza has Peugeot and Kia, if you want to talk about symbiotic and strategic relationships).

And the reason is not because VW is with him but because Syed Mokhtar is moving north, and not just figuratively. He who built Port Tanjung Pelepas into a Keppel threat and took away Senai from Malaysia Airports is said to be exiting Johore. Yes, some said his rapport with The Sultan of Johor has become untenable (there is no rapport in the first place). To facilitate the exit (or compensate him for his impending losses) Syed Mokhtar gets Penang Port and Proton, and maybe one or two other deals. After all that area called Iskandar is booming big time soon [see Big Cat's latest report on Irda, here] and Syed Mokhtar, most probably Malaysia's richest Malay as nobody seems to know what Daim Zainuddin is really worth, stands to lose big in terms of lost or missed opportunities.

In any case, that is the story I heard.

Understandably, my new seasoned investment banker friend took a while to respond as he contemplated whether to humor me or be frank.

"That is the first time I am hearing this, that he got Proton because of that reason.

"If it is all true, who gets PTP and Senai?"

Sunday, December 11, 2011

13th GE: Making way for new faces


 


Nah, this posting isn't about Khairy Jamaluddin. Some people tell me he wants to become the Menteri Besar of Negri Sembilan, that the incumbent, Mat Hassan, has served his last term, for sure, but I tell them this is no longer what-Khairy-wants, Khairy-gets era. If Najib Razak wants to offer KJ as Negri MB that's his prerogative.

After all, it's true that nearly all, if not all, of the MBs and CMs in the states under BN have served their last terms. These YABs are likely to retire after the 13th General Election or go back to Federal. Najib Razak is also looking at potential MB candidates for Kedah and Selangor, just in case the Pakatan Rakyat loses these states in PRU13. Not sure if Mukhriz Maahthir fancies himself as MB material, but Umno stalwarts say the boss is considering the guy. [Read Umno to take over Kedah?]

It is also true, according to the stalwarts, that Najib is hoping that ALL former Cabinet ministers from BN will offer NOT to seek re-election so as to give him a chance to introduce younger, fresher candidates. So far only Idris Jusoh, the ex Terengganu MB, has said he will not see re-election. 

In his latest posting Semua Parti akan janjikan calon "Winnable" [interpretation by The Mole, here], Kadir Jasin says Najib will have his list of "winable" candidates ready in a month or two. Within two months is what KJ says in the Bernama article above, too. Interestingly, 

KJ also said he won't camp outside Seri Perdana if he's not picked and has asked Umno Youth members not to sabotage the party if their candidates are not chosen by the PM, which was what happened in PRU12. I hope they remember that, when the time comes.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

La, they lodged a police report against a blogger

Big Cat's posting dated Nov 14 A Little Warning to IRDA has driven the Iskandar  Regional Development Authority silly, silly enough to lodge a police report. 

I say it's silly because, firstly, the blogger made it quite clear that he meant well. So the comments (125 as the time I write this, 102 when the Federal Commissioner with IRDA lodged that report on Nov 26) touched some raw nerves but so what? If they had badmouthed the Sultan of Johor, by all means lodge as many reports as you like; otherwise, best to regard them comments as poison pen letters.

And, secondly, when you decide to do a Rais Yatim on bloggers, you end up getting a lot more people reading the article and wondering why you are so afraid of shadows. In the end, you make things worse for yourself and your organisation.

Them PR people should have told you: There are many ways to skin a cat, pardon the pun.

Wasting the cops' time: The report lodged with the Danga Bay police, JB

Monday, December 05, 2011

Air Asia X CEO and the "tin kosongs"


Kucing kurap and Tin kosongs. I can understand Azran Osman Rani is not amused by the way some people have been criticizing Air Asia or Air Asia X but calling those who criticize AA names is not on, I did tell him in response to his tweet this morning. A lot of us rooted for Air Asia when it was a victim of the industry bullies; today, some of us still are, even though AA and Osman's boss Tony Fernandes are perceived as the big bully. Many of us mean(t) well and "tin kosong" is an unkind thing to call us. Maybe the noise soounds to Azran like the noice empty cans make but some of us just want to see all the players - Air Asia, MAS and Malaysia Airports - work together in the nation's interest. Some of us don't give two hoots about your brashness or how big your ego is.



Sure, a lot of people have called Tony Fernandes names and recentlyeven the YBs, from Wee Choo Keong to Anwar Ibrahim and Bung Mokhtar to Tan Seng Ghiaw, have been talking, sometimes bitching, about the man and his airline in Parliament. Like Tony said in an interview with the Borneo Post recently, he has even been called "kucing kurap"  (actually, a YB used that on Air Asia, NOT Tony Fernades, see screenshot below).


But how many of his critics called him that? And if Azran thinks the whole world is against Tony and Air Asia (and Azran himself, of course), dig up the good things people have said about Tony and the praises they have heaped on Air Asia. Dr Mahathir said some flattering stuff about Air Asia recently. Even the King has conferred Tony a Tan Sri-ship at such a young age.

I am sure that without the critics, Tony would not be quite where he is today.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

When a government-linked paper campaigns against a government-linked co

Why the Star should have said NO. The non-editorial people at The Star may be guffawing all the way to the bank with this bonus Air Asia ad.

I won't be too quickly too happy if I were them.


Why?

1. Because airport tax is a source of government revenues. Not everyone has to pay. An airport tax is charged only to the consumer (Air Asia uses "guests"). In other words: You don't fly, you don't pay; You fly, you pay. Same in other countries; the only difference is you pay through your noses if you fly to Heathrow, Changi and elsewhere. Our airport tax is second cheapest in the region after Indonesia, and still one of the cheapest in the world. And we know that we have one of the most stunning airports on Earth.

2. Air Asia's ad/campaign is misleading.


"Air Asia does not derive any profit from the airport tax collected from guests as the entire amount goes to MAHB"
Look, NO AIRLINE IN THE WORLD derives any profit from airport taxes. That's why it's called airport tax and not airline tax. Airport tax is for government (or the party appointed by the government) to maintain an airport, improve it, and build new airports, etc. In our county, MAHB is the government-linked company tasked to do all these and more. Airport is the main door to every nation so there's the issue of security, having to make sure Air Asia planes land on time and not hurtle to the ground, etc. So, other than the government, the biggest beneficiary of airport tax is the airline company.  [In Air Asia's case, there is that other story about it collecting our money we paid to the government/MAHB, to the tune of over RM100 million, and not passing it on to the government/MAHB. Ultimately, the airline paid the money to MAHB but not fully. But that's another story.]

3.Now that the Star has accepted ads to deny the government (or GLC) of their source of income, I am sure YB Tien Chua will be inspired to take the same path. Can it say NO? Of course the Star won't accept ads from PKR or DAP but what would stop those ad people in the Star from accepting ad campaigns from some affected, victimized or concerned parties.

Other thant SAY NO TO AIRPORT TAX INCREASE, possible campaigns in the run up to PRU13 period, which will affect government coffers and tarnish its image:
 
SAY NO TOLL EXTENSION!
(Tien Chua Sdn Bhd does not benefit directly from toll charges)


DOWN WITH GST!
(Tien Chua Sdn Bhd does not profit at all from GST)

SAY YES TO CHEAPER PETROL!
(Tien Chua Sdn Bhd won't go bust if petrol is free!)


p.s If you have other campaign ideas against the government or its GLCs, please pass them on through my comment box. I will personally despatch them to YB Tien Chua and cc it to The Star.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Where's the song for Sungai Besi, Tony?


Explaining Tony's 3 misconceptions. I won't blame you if you thought I was going to blog about Tony Fernandes. Both YB Tony Pua, the DAP MP, and Tony Fernandes, the new Tan Sri who's gone from underdog to misunderstood, are on rottweiler-attack mode. Funny thing their targets are airports: Tony F obviously wants to run an airport, and I don't think he'd mind if the Government hands him KLIA2 on a platter. Tony P's target is the development of the Sungai Besi airport, a project crucial to Najib Razak's "Greater KL" plan. Both have misled the general population somewhat, perhaps without realizing it.
In Tony Pua's case, he has created 3 big misconceptions in his attacks against the Sungai Besi project:
Misconception #1. That the 1MDB had gotten the Sungai Besi land from the Government for a song.
The fact is, the air base land in Sungai Besi is still Government land because 1MDB is wholly-owned by the Government as its sole shareholder. Federal Government lands are held under the name of the Federal Lands Commissioner. The beneficiary is the Government. When ownership of the Sungai Besi land went to 1MDB, the beneficiary is still the Government. 
When the ultimate owner is the same, ie the Government, there can be no sale. Tony Pua can't accuse the Government of selling land to iself or, for that matter, buying land from itself. 
Sg Besi airbase land still belongs to the Government of Malaysia
Sometime last year, the PM in his blog introduced the concept of strategic development. It is development that goes beyond building and selling properties. It is about unleashing the full potential of government land as game changers for long-term economic growth.
It is an easy-to-understand concept. And there is nothing secretive about 1MDB's sole shareholder – the Government of Malaysia – intending for such development to be undertaken by a Master Developer with the dynamism of the private sector and yet owned and controlled by the Government.

Misconception #2: That RM1.6 billion was the meagre sum 1MDB paid the Government.

Where did he pluck this figure from? If the MP cares to check the Hansard, the RM1.6 billion is what 1MDB will pay to relocate and develop nine new relocation sites for RMAF, Police Air Wing and the 31st Artillery currently in the Sungai Besi air base. Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Awang Adek stated this when replying to points raised in the Budget winding up at committee stage in Dewan Rakyat on 3 Nov 2011.
 “ ... ini merupakan perkongsian kos yang akan ditanggung oleh 1MDB dan juga Kerajaan Malaysia untuk membangunkan kawasan Sungai Besi. Kos awalnya ialah dari segi memindahkan operasi TUDM dan juga Polis Udara daripada kawasan tersebut kepada kawasan-kawasan lain.

"Perkongsian kos adalah sebanyak RM1.1 bilion yang akan ditanggung oleh kerajaan dan RM1.6 bilion ditanggung 1MDB dan RM1.1 bilion inilah merupakan pecahan untuk beberapa tahun, RM400 (juta) untuk tahun 2012 dan 400 lagi – jadi tidak harus dilihat sebagai suntikan kepada modal."
Misconception #3: No open tender for the Sungai Besi land.

As I've explained, the land was an outright transfer within the Government. From then on, as blogged by the PM, there will be an open process. 

Did Tony Pua miss the blog? Did he also miss the announcement by the Malaysian Institute of Planners? MIP is organising an independent international competition to design a Bandar Malaysia that can be the future model for sustainability and liveability. The competition is governed by the best global practice in every aspect including transparency and key criteria will include value creation for a better living environment and sustainability.

The Sungai Besi served the country well. It was our first international airport that led to the growth of several industries, aviation, travel, tourism and hospitality.  It later became the birthplace of the Royal Malaysian Air Force when Malaysians protected the country’s airspace.

For a national project as game changing as Bandar Malaysia, it is only logical for the Government maintains ownership and control through its fully owned 1MDB.

Coming soon: Tony's airport dream

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

On Myanmar, an open posting to Ambiga

We're worse than Myanmar, Ambiga?

The last time journo-blogger Nuraina Abdul Samad wrote an open letter on her blog was to Abdullah Badawi after aides of the then PM filed a lawsuit against Jeff Ooi, who wasn't an MP then, and I. This one to Ambiga, over 2 million unique visitors later, isn't an open letter, though. I didn't know Ambiga wanted protesters to be allowed to assembly peacefully at gas stations. Hehe. Tak ke bahaya, fumes tu, Achi? Anyway, for everyone's info, peaceful protesters in Myanmar aren't allowed to assemble at or near hospitals. In Malaysia, Boleh saja ..


If you wish to leave comments, go to her posting on Ambiga, here. Nuraina's mom, by the way, was half Burmese so you can leave comments in Myanmar language, which is bahasa yang lembut, I was told.

Her open letter, Please Sir, dated Jan 20, 2007.

Syed eyes Proton, Syed eyes Airports

... And the ghost of Labu airport. There are many Syeds around, in politics and in business, some good news and some bad news. Well one good Syed has been eyeing Proton and may have another shot, but it won't be a clear shot. It seems that Syed Mokthtar al-Bukhary's DRB will have to contend with two other corporate giants for a 30+ percent stake of the national car. Proton's boss Khazanah is said to have nudged Naza and Sime Darby to come in with bids. Naza may come in on its own or a not-so-reclusive tycoon may come in as its partner to take Proton private. Before the denials kick in, a word of caution: Next week something big is about to land ..

Another Syed in the news [see The Edge Nov 28, page 8] is Syed Faisal Albar, a distant relative of Syed Hamid Albar the ex-Foreign Minister and now chairman of land transport commission SPAD, who is reported to be taking over Ahmad Bashir, the charasmatic managing director of Malaysia Airports Holding Berhad. [True or not, remember that: 1. It was this blg that forewarned this in After MAS, the mother of all ... 2. Syed Faisal is sueing me for defamation with some ex Fourth Floor operatives' buddies].
Not the first time the Edge is promoting Faisal 

Incidentally, Tony Fernandez of Air Asia, now MAS, etc has been attacking MAHB, mostly for no really good reasons (especially if you consider that MAHB is the only aviation arm of the government that's making money). Then Zaki Zahid, out of nowhere , twitted the other day that the "cost overruns" at the KLIA2 under MAHB would not have happened if they had agreed to Labu airport, which was proposed by Tony Fernandez some time back when Dollah was PM and Forth Floor boys were kings.

A conspiracy against Malaysia Airports? Whoa, with former Fouth Floor posterboy & powerful friends involved, I won't discard this possibility too quickly. Azman Mokhtar, Khazanah boss, is watching this closely, I'm sure.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

DAP seeks New Delhi's intervention



NEW DELHI: MPs from Malaysia's oppositionDemocratic Action Party Monday urged theBharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership to raise issues of "discrimination" against Malayasian Hindus in their bilateral meetings with the authorities of their country. 
MPs M Manogaran and S Ramakrishnan said they had a cultural and civilisational bond with India and want it to provide "leadership on issues concerning human rights". 
Talking to reporters at the residence of BJP MP Tarun Vijay, the two MPs said there had been incidents of attacks on Hindu groups but their complaints had not been addressed. 
The MPs, who have met BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, are also intending to meet senior party leader L.K. Advani. 
They said they did not want India to interfere in their country's domestic affairs and were not seeking any physical help. 
Vijay said the MPs wanted to make people in India "aware about the discriminatory policies against the Malaysian Hindus". 
He said BJP hoped the government will take up their concerns as India is a signatory to universal declaration on human rights.
Mano and Rama, also determined to help Sri Lankan Tamils 

Yang Bitching. One thing that we might all learn from PRU12 back in March 2008 is this: Don't cast your vote in anger. Many of us did as we were unhappy and angry with Dollah. And we voted anyone that stood against his regime. We got him out as planned but we didn't plan on getting MPs that are, in Wan Azizah's words when talking about PKR reps, below par. 

MPs like these two clowns who, instead of using their positions as elected reps to help the Malaysian Hindus (and they were elected because they are Hindus first, I have to assume), behave like hurt puppies in New Delhi, seeking for other people's help to fight a problem that exists largely in their minds. As if India doesn't have enough problems of her own.

I hope the Chinese majority of the DAP do not behave like these two and report to Beijing or Singapore whenever they have problems with perceived discrimination against Malaysian Chinese Buddhists. I'm glad they don't. They don't, do they?

The problem with the DAP, or manyof their MPs and supporters, is that they still behave like the Opposition, like the underdogs and hurt puppies, as if they have no say in governing this country. We the People have put so many of them in Parliament and still they conduct themselves as though they have no voice and are in shackles. 

That's one thing about Malays in this country, they don't have anywhere to go to peddle their sad stories, the 500 years that we were colonized, the centuries that they impoverished and enslaved us. We don't go the Queen like some people do. We don't go to the Arab countries and claim to have religious and civilization bonding therefore they must help us fight the non-Malays in this country. Heck, we don't even report these things to our Big Brother next door with 200-plus million Malay/Jawa/Bugis/Minang-Muslim population!

Oh, maybe some of us did. Just remembered that a certain Opposition leader does make trips there to badmouth his own country. I stand corrected. Still, I rest my case.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Letter: What will Ambiga have to say about this?

A peaceful rally in the US: Shot in the face with chemical-laced substance

Short cut to politics and parliament. It was Ambiga who claimed that "when lawyers walk, something is wrong .. that means we would like to see changes". These words she uttered during the so-called Penguin Walk in Putrajaya, Sept 2007. That walk was sparked by a video on a prominent lawyer allegedly brokering a deal with a senior judge. That walk turned the video into a major issue during PRU12. Even the clueless dude who took the video was elected an MP during the general election!

Two months later, another group of lawyers led the Hindraf march against "the Islamic fundamentalist and Malay chauvinists UMNO led Malaysian government', in the words of their leader P. Uthayakumar. Another lawyer. Politically, it was worth the trouble. Anwar hailed himself as champions of the Indians and a Hindraf leader won in the PRU12 on DAP ticket. Recently, Ambiga finally succeeded in being perceived as bigger than Uthayakumar by leading the Bersih march.

Tomorrow, lawyers march yet again, this time against the proposed peaceful assembly act. Ambiga is at the forefront again. Wants the Malaysian government to Look Myanmar, a view shared by no less than DAP strongman Lim Kit Siang (pics shown here are of peaceful assemblies in the US, good reasons why Ambiga would want us to look away from that place right now).

Seems to me like walks and marches, protests and demonstrations have become the short cut to politics and Parliament for some. I'm not saying that the lawyers don't have a point on the peaceful assembly act but given their track record, one has to wonder if that's really their point. Is it?

In any case, I would like to share with you Dear Readers a letter sent to me by a fellow scribe Charles F. Moreira. Thanks Charles, at least we know that even peaceful assemblies in the US don't always end peacefully.


Dear Rocky, 


Now what does Ambiga have to say about this?

       Peaceful protestors being beaten, pepper-sprayed, arrested,
       journalists shoved into a corner, journalists arrested and all in the "land
       of the free & home of the brave"

       Can't criticise the regime which gave her an award?

       Where are the "independent" media on this?

       Charles



American job on peaceful assemblers
The Shocking Truth About the Crackdown on Occupy
 The violent police assaults across the US are no coincidence. Occupy has touched the third rail of our political class's venality

By Naomi Wolf 

November 26, 2011 "The Guardian" - - vUS citizens of all political persuasions are still reeling from images of unparallelled police brutality in a coordinatedcrackdown against peaceful OWS protesters in cities across the nation this pastweek. An elderly woman was pepper-sprayed in the face; the scene of unresisting, supine students at UC Davis being pepper-sprayed by phalanxes of riot police went viral online; images proliferated of young women – targeted seemingly for their gender – screaming, dragged by the hair by police in riot gear; and the pictures of a young man, stunned and bleeding profusely from the head, emerged in the record of the middle-of-the-night clearing of Zuccotti Park.

But just when Americans thought we had the picture – was this crazy police and mayoral overkill, on a municipal level, in many different cities? – the picture darkened. The National Union of Journalists and the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a Freedom of Information Act request to investigate possible federal involvement with law enforcement practices that appeared to target journalists.

The New York Times reported that "New York cops have arrested, punched, whacked, shoved to the ground and tossed a barrier at reporters and photographers" covering protests. Reporters were asked by NYPD to raise their hands to prove they had credentials: when many dutifully did so, they were taken, upon threat of arrest, away from the story they were covering, and penned far from the site in which the news was unfolding. Other reporters wearing press passes were arrested and roughed up by cops, after being – falsely – informed by police that "It is illegal to take pictures on the sidewalk."

In New York, a state supreme court justice and a New York City council member were beaten up; in Berkeley, California, one of our greatest national poets, Robert Hass, was beaten with batons. The picture darkened still further when Wonkette and Washingtonsblog.com reported that the Mayor of Oakland acknowledged that the Department of Homeland Security had participated in an 18-city mayor conference call advising mayors on "how to suppress" Occupy protests.


Slur after slur

Mulut lancang dan lancau. We have been hearing far too many racial and religious slurs lately. And from the people's reps, no less. This one, courtesy of Parpukari, is of DAP's Nga Kor Ming making a fool of himself with remarks unbecoming of an elected representative of the people. At the expense of Perak Menteri Besar and the colour of his skin.  

Nga should't wait too long to apologize publicly to all dark-skinned Malaysians.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Maal Hijrah

1433, general election year? During an interview with a TV station this week, Dr Mahathir was asked how he thought Najib Razak has fared as Prime Minister of Malaysia. 

"Better than the previous one," the Tun reportedly replied. 

That's the part of the interview you'd not get to watch when they air the interview. When the editor told me about the censored bit last night, I laughed my head off. No disrespect to Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, really, I don't think much of him these days but I still think he was one of our best Foreign Ministers, even though many said King Ghaz was the one. I covered Abdullah a lot when he was FM: in Singapore, Manila Jakarta, Bangkok, Vienna, Washington, New York, and a few other places. He was sure and firm on so many issues, from Myanmar to the former Yugoslavia. That he had Mahathir as boss was one of the reasons Abdullah was always on his toes. 

Then he became Prime Minister, and the rest, you know. Looking back, I'm sure it was not Abdullah who wanted to fight Dr Mahathir. It was some people around him took advantage of him. It got to their heads, the little power they had. 

Now Najib is PM. Two and a half years on, he's due to steer the nation into the 13th General Election.  The last GE, called amid great discontent for Abdullah's leadership, was the worst for the coalition that Najib now heads. Will Najib do better than Abdullah? Will any of the states that fell into Pakatan Rakyat's hands return to BN's fold?

The people will decide. My only hope is that Najib be judged for his strengths instead of his foes' weaknesses, and for the transformation or "hijrah" that he's been trying to get all of us to embrace. There's great likelihood that he will call for the 13th GE during the Hijrah year 1433, which starts tomorrow. If that's so, this new year will be a very meaningful one.

Selamat ber-Hijrah. Let us do everything better this year.

The PM's Maal Hijrah message, h e r e.

Serious blunder or dishonest reporting?


What war chest, Mr Leslie Lopez?  This is something the boys and girls at The Malaysian Insider won't be proud of, quoting the Straits Times of Singapore as alleging that:
 "... the ruling BN goverment hoped to raise as much as RM6 billion from publicly listing the federal land authority (sic) in March next year TO FUND ITS ELECTION WAR CHEST". 
Where the hell did Debra Chong get the idea about an election war chest?

Read her misleading piece below and Leslie Lopez's report that follows. Mr Lopez of ST did refer to the sum of RM6 billion (in the 2nd para of his story) ...
Malaysia's Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) could raise as much as RM6 billion (S$2.5 billion) from the listing. But its financial misadventures overseas are posing serious problems to its corporate reorganisation.
... but he made no mention whatsoever about an election war chest!

I am sure Felda will find the Insider's article offensive. The innocent reader would now wonder, was that an honest mistake or was that a dishonest reporting? (the phrase was used by this seasoned journalist who alerted me to the blunder just before dinner).

Whatever it is, the Insider owes Felda, the Straits Times of Singapore, and its readers an explanation. (Usually, editors don't mind apologizing for such mistakes though I know of one who now goes about as a "businessman" who refused to apologize for one of the greatest lies told in a newspaper column in Malaysia...)

The Malaysian Insider's "dishonest reporting":
Felda faces barriers to going public 
By Debra Chong  
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 25 — State-owned Felda is experiencing problems in its overseas stakes that appear to threaten its planned listing and could further impact national polls widely expected to be called next year, the Singapore Straits Times reported today.  
The Singapore daily noted that the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government hoped to raise as much as RM6 billion from publicly listing the federal land authority in March next year to fund its election war chest.  
But complications from Felda’s business ventures abroad, including a US-based vegetable oil processing company called Twin River Tech, have thrown a spanner in the works. Felda had acquired the plant in 2007 for RM241.4 million and was mulling selling it off to plantation giant Sime Darby, but the plan is also held up due to pricing issues.  
“Trimming the problem assets would make the listing more attractive, but finding buyers isn’t going to be easy,” the paper reported an anonymous senior banker close to the Felda restructuring plan as saying.  
It said Sime Darby’s Thai partner, PTT Chemical International — in another US-based oleochemical company — would unlikely support the proposal. It cited another anonymous banker as saying: 
“The (Felda) management has set end-March as the target for the listing. We will be lucky if we get it down by May.”  
According to ST, these complications were likely to add to the rising protests from some of the 113,000 Felda settlers who collectively own the controlling 51 per cent stake in the company and represent a crucial voting group.  
The crux of the matter, the paper reported, was because of Felda’s complex corporate structure. Felda Global Ventures Holdings, which handles many of the loss-making business ventures abroad, has a direct 49 per cent share in the main company called Felda Holdings. Felda Holdings is the money-spinning enterprise that handles the agricultural and plantation-focused side of the business in the country and is owned by the politically powerful settlers’ co-operative Koperasi Permodalan Felda, the Singapore paper observed.  
It noted too that Umno, the BN’s lynchpin party, had long depended on the co-operative members to deliver the votes in as many as 54 federal seats in the 222-member Dewan Rakyat. But the opposition Pakatan Rakyat had in recent months made inroads into this Malay-centric vote bank and exposed many financial irregularities and mismanagement within the Felda corporation, and fanned a groundswell of distrust against the ruling BN bloc.

ENDS

The Straits Times' honest reporting:
Felda's planned listing faces hurdle 
Leslie Lopez, Senior Regional Correspondent 
25 November 2011 
Malaysian plantation giant having difficulty getting rid of problem assets overseas  
KUALA LUMPUR: One of the country's largest state-controlled plantation groups wants to spruce up its corporate profile with a major overhaul ahead of a public listing early next year.  
Malaysia's Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) could raise as much as RM6 billion (S$2.5 billion) from the listing. But its financial misadventures overseas are posing serious problems to its corporate reorganisation.  
These could attract opposition from the roughly 113,000 people who have settled on Felda plantations. Collectively, they control a major stake in the company and represent an important electoral voting bloc in peninsular Malaysia.  
That in turn could have far-reaching implications for Prime Minister Najib Razak's ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition government, which is planning to call snap polls ahead of its five-year mandate expiring in mid-2013.  
'Trimming the problem assets would make the listing more attractive, but finding buyers isn't going to be easy,' said one senior banker close to the Felda restructuring.  
One major problem is Felda's investment in a loss-making United States-based vegetable oil processing company called Twin River Tech, which was acquired in 2007 for RM241.4 million.  
Felda is considering divesting its interest in the project to the Sime Darby plantation group, which also owns an oleochemical plant in the US. But the plan is facing problems over pricing issues. What is more, Thailand's PTT Chemical International, Sime Darby's joint-venture partner in US company Emery Oleochemicals, is unlikely to support the proposed acquisition, financial executives said.  
The complications arising from the financial troubles faced by Felda's international assets could delay the planned public listing targeted for the first quarter of next year, which the government hopes could raise as much as RM6 billion.  
'The (Felda) management has set end-March as the target for the listing. We will be lucky if we get it down by May,' said the chief executive of a Malaysian financial institution who is closely tracking Felda's corporate reorganisation.  
Several financial executives said that even if the deadline is met, coming up with a financial structure that will be palatable to the group's settler farmers, who collectively control a strategic equity block in the company, could be tough.  
The Felda group has a complex corporate structure. The government's wholly owned Felda Global Ventures Holdings, which owns many of the loss-making overseas operations, has a direct 49 per cent interest in the corporate jewel called Felda Holdings.  
Felda Holdings is the corporate stable for the group's profitable domestic agriculture businesses and other plantation-related business. It is 51 per cent owned by the politically powerful settlers' cooperative Koperasi Permodalan Felda.  
The plantation group's ethnic Malay settlers, who cast deciding votes in 54 parliamentary constituencies in peninsular Malaysia, collectively own the cooperative.  
Datuk Seri Najib's United Malays National Organisation (Umno) party has long relied on this group of voters to preserve its political dominance in the BN coalition government. But political analysts maintain that Parti Islam SeMalaysia, the country's religious opposition party which controls the state governments of northern Kedah and Kelantan, and Parti Keadilan Rakyat, headed by former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, have made inroads on Umno's stranglehold on this crucial electoral constituency in recent years.  
The analysts noted that a corporate restructuring of Felda that would dilute the value of the settlers' holdings in the plantation group is sure to be exploited by the opposition, which has in recent months uncovered alleged financial irregularities and mismanagement in the award of government contracts.  ENDS
Read also Big Dog's earlier response to Leslie's article, FGVH listing on track, investments abroad geared for winnings where the blogger made some clarifications. Big Dog has written quite extensively on the public listing of Felda in both his blog and the MSM.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Formulators, fornicators,and why you should treat Wikileaks like condom

From used condoms to hairbands
Use once only, don't recycle. I read the analysis in the Star, the press statement by the MCA boss, and the postings at Stop The Lies Bujai. I can tell you, going gaga over some so-called Top Secret despatches supposedly leaked out by Wikileaks is a natural thing. It can also be a dangerous pre-occupation. This thing acts like a double-edged sword. The so-called leak cables on Pakatan has no economic formulators may hurt Tony Pua and gang deeply today but tomorrow or next week the same diplomats from the US Embassy in KL in their report to their bosses in Washington will go out of their way to leak out information aimed at hurting Najib and Co. It is how they play you. Mark my words.

In any case, what is it that these diplomats are saying that we didn't already know? Pakatan Rakyat does not have good economic formulators to run the country? We all know that Anwar Ibrahim's economy starts and ends with lowering oil prices after the every general election (if Pakatan wins) and Nik Aziz does not know any better than him, that in Penang Lim Guan Eng has been claiming credit for decades of his successors' economic successes, and Selangor's Khalid Ibrahim is not doing any better. At least Tony Pua recognises that the Malaysian economy is sound and admits he would maintain the status quo if Pakatan Rakyat comes to power (he's assuming he would become Minister of Economics, by the sound of it). If it ain't broke, why fix it, right?

Krugman: One of Dr M's "advisors"
Here's the thing. The BN has good economic formulators but they are a rare commodity. One of the best is Daim Zainuddin but he is retired (and he will continue to retire as along as Nor Mohamed Yakcop is still around behaving like MoF, some says). Taib Mahmud and Musa Aman have a good grasp of the economy, too, which is why Sarawak and Sabah have always done well economically despite the complaints. Dr Mahathir Mohamad, of course, has the knack of picking the best economic advisors (including Paul Krugman without the man's knowledge).

Otherwise, the best economic formulators, regulators, propagators, perpetrators and what have you, are mostly in one place: Bank Negara. Day in and day out, they advise the politicians on economic matters.  One or two others are in the local Unis, another one of two in some ministries, and a couple more abroad minding their own business or advising foreign governments. Apart from the last group, these are all civil servants. Malaysia has been economically sound thanks to them and the fact that we have politicians who are not, in Krugman's words, politically naive.

We don't need to wait for some American diplomats to tell us through leaked cables that Malaysia would suffer an economic disaster if Pakatan Rakyat wins the General Election. Tell us something we don't know, please. 

But if you want to go gaga over this, go ahead. If the next "leaked cables" don't suit your political palate - and they will not, mark my words - go gaga over them, too. 

Malaysian journalists told once more they’re just NOT good enough!

The Hadiah Kajai is deemed as one of the highest awards that the long-suffering Malaysian journalist can expect to win locally. Last weekend...