Monday, February 28, 2011

MACC boss is world's 4th most influential

100 most influential persons in business ethics. Abu Kasim Mohamed, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission boss, has been listed down as the fourth most influential person in the world by Ethisphere. No mean feat. Last year, Ethisphere listed Barack Obama as the 33rd most influential, see here.

The 100 Most Influential Persons in Business Ethics 2010:

Friday, February 25, 2011

Wanted by MACC: Syed Akbar Ali

IN: OutSyed The Box
BLOGGER SITS ON ANTI-GRAFT BODY. I flew out to Alicante* last weekend - the first time I'd gone abroad in over 5 years - and came back this morning to great nasi lemak and equally great news that blogger-author Syed Akbar Ali has been sworn in as a member of one of the 5 committees that govern the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). They couldn't have picked a better guy. Syed Akbar, who is interim president of the Blog House Malaysia, is fiercely critical of the government, including the MACC itself. The good news is: he is not driven by politics. The bad news? Syed is also fiercely critical of the wannabe government led by Anwar Ibrahim. Jadi, depan belakang, kiri kanan pun dia hantam!

IN: Johan Jaafar
Another chap who was sworn in to the MACC committee today is Johan Jaafar, the Media Prima chairman often accused to be an Anwar loyalist. JJ will chair the committee Syed Akbar sits on.

OUT: Phang
Robert Phang has not been called back to serve any of the committees after he had resigned last month over allegations that he had attempted to bribe a ministry's secretary-general. Another big name dropped is Ramon Navaratnam, who suffered a fall-out with Robert Phang over the latter's obsession with the Attorney-General's recent prilgrimage to Mekah.
OUT: Ramon

* Alicante is a coastal tourist destination in Spain. I have no idea how the city looks like - we came after a night in Paris at noon, test drove the Peugeot 508 through mountains and countryside till dark, attended a press briefing-cum-dinner at the hotel in Alicante, and left in a huff after breakfast for Paris (and then straight to Rennes in the southwest of France).

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Spanking the monkeys in TBH's Inquiry

“The lawyers representing them should have advised them against the withdrawal but it appears they did not act in the best interest of their clients."
- Associate Professor Dr Johan Shamsuddin of the Faculty of Law (University of Malaya) on the decision by the Teoh Beng Hock family to withdraw from participating in the RCI (just before the Selangor government also pulled out)

WATCH OUT, MONKEYS! Malaysia's early bloggers include one Dave Avran of Spanking DA Monkey, a gila-gila writer who poked fun at anything that could be spanked to bring a smile and laughter to his readers, yours truly included. These days, Dave Avran seems more circumspect. His latest posting on the "drama" preceding the Teoh Beng Hock's Royal Commission of Inquiry reflects the concern of a growing number of Malaysians about where it's really going
"Hopefully, the drama will cease and the RCI be allowed to do its job. It’s got the mandate from the King and it has to deliver answers to the public and media, to you and to me by April 2011.
Expect more spanking from this veteran blogger. Read his appetizer here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bolsover Revolution, against Taib Mahmud

DISCREDITING TAIB. A group calling itself Friends of Pakatan Rakyat will be hitting the Bolsover Street in London on 28 February (Monday) at 9 am in the hope of starting a revolution against Taib Mahmud, the chief minister of  Sarawak.

I received this e-mail today:-

On 26th March 2011, it will be 30 years since the Sarawak Chief Minister, Taib Mahmud, one of the most corrupt politicians of South-East Asia came to power. On the 28th February concerned Malaysians and friends would like to highlight Taib's personal responsibility for the chopping down of most of Sarawak's rainforests at the expense of the indigenous communities. We would also like to protest against the international community's inaction with regard to Taib's blatant corruption and his placement of assets worth millions of dollars in Western countries.

With the impending election, we aim to:
- discredit the Taib reign internationally as a corrupt kleptocracy that has earned its riches through logging and corruption.
- Pressure the authorities in Malaysia (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission MACC) and western countries (Canada,USA, UK and Australia) to start investigations against the Taib family. 
- In England - assets of Ridgeford Properties Ltd, belonging to the Taib family, should be frozen. The serious fraud office (SFO) should determine if the Taib family financed the real estate swindler Archilleas Kallakis.
Lee and Nik, two long-serving leaders
The agenda is very straight-forward: help PR unseat BN in Sarawak. And the way to do it is to get very personal and by telling the people of Sarawak that they can stop being cowards and start being as brave as the people of Egypt. It is no secret that the Oppostion will be using Taib Mahmud's long tenure as CM of the state as a weapon to anger Sarawak's people. Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim, although embattled in his own state and party, set the ball rolling by telling Sarawakians to bring down their Chief Minister, read HERE.

Taib has to call for a state election by July this year.

ps Nik Aziz in Kelantan is the second longest-serving chief minister in Malaysia. He must be watching reformasi Bolsover with great interest.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"My friend Din Merican ..."

So Din Merican is JR Malott's friend and Malott is Din's friend. That's OK and that explains why Din Merican is putting his already-shortened neck at stake to defend Malott's rather awful piece on Malaysia, which has riled so many Malaysians. Din said Malott's intentions were good. That may be so, but as a former ambassador surely Malott is aware that good intentions are not good enough. You have to deliver them well. Din Merican has the benefit of being Malott's friend so he can say he knows where the man's coming from. The rest of us are not as lucky. But we do understand English.

The mainstream media's response to Malott has been quite sober, I must say. The New Straits Times produced articles by Azmi Anshar (Malott trying to distract us from Anwar's woes) and Shamsul Akmar (Get your facts right, Malott!), among others. These are not friends of Malott but professional journalists who exposed and discussed Malott's flawed assessments. No names-calling, as far as I remember. The Utusan Malaysia also came up with editorials to correct Malott's harsh description of Malaysia. Sometimes they are a little harsh, too, but not more harsh than Malott had been about us in his article, surely.

None of the writers in our mainstream media called Malott Anwar's pet as Rachel Motte did in her article, though. The NST and Utusan reproduced Motte's article simply because it would be of interest to read what an American blogger thought of it all, but that's now being used against them by both Din Merican.

I thought nobody read NST and Utusan anymore; guess I was wrong!

It's interesting to note that Rchel Motte's article has now been brought down by the New Ledger and I'm not sure if NST and Utusan are going to do the same. Malott seems to be putting the pressure on our papers with his threat of a legal suit, and Din Merican in his latest posting  Mainstream Media and Umno Bloggers seems to be providing Malott the justification to sue the Malaysian papers.

I don't think Din and Malott should get too worked up by the whole thing. It's not like the papers started it, too, y'know. When Malott wrote the offending article in Wall Street Journal, I'm sure he expected -- hope for -- some backlast. Let's continue with the debate and not resort to legal suits.

p.s And Aang Din Merican, please advise your friend lah. And also, I strongly urge you to take alternative-stream media Malaysiakini to one side, quietly, to set the record straight. They can't still bedescribing you as "a close associate of Anwar".
"According to Malott's latest article which appeared on Din Merican's, a close associate of Anwar, blog, he said that he is now contemplating legal action against both dailies."
The fact, as I know it, is Din Merican is no longer a close associate of Anwar Ibrahim. In his political ride, Din is now in "N" mode (that's "Neutral", not necessarily "Najib"). Yes, he used to be in "P" (for Pak Sheh aka Anwar) gear but that was another lifetime ago.

Maulud Nabi


Salallahu alahi wasalam. 
Today Muslims all over the world celebrate the birth of Prophet Muhammad.
Peace be upon him.
Peace be upon you.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day.

I've always associated 14 Feb with love. I don't really care who or what Valentine was but if this day promotes love, caring, romance and peace worldwide, then it is a good day. Of course some people will always think differently. No disrespect. As long as they don't turn love into hate, I don't really care about what they do.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

15 million thanxx!!

15,000,000. Next month, it'd be five years since I opened this blog. Alhamdulillah, it is still alive and kicking. When I published my first posting on 21 May 2006, I wasn't thinking about the lawsuits, police reports, the trips to the lawyers' offices, MCMC probes, threats, the blogger brotherhood, the blogger split, and the millions of visitors. Today, the thrill hasn't gone. Notching another million on the stat counters still makes my day.

So thank you 15 million times, bros and sistas.

Mallot Malice and Little Malotts

Azmi's Facebook status

It is my opinion that the New Straits Times has in its posession one of the sharpest pens of our time. I'm talking about Azmi Anshar the political commentator, music critic, trade union expert, instant dad. His piece below, published in the NST today, is a gem. Incidentally, in my weekly column in the Malay Mail today, I write about Little Malotts. While Azmi responds to Malotts' article in the WSJ, I am using the former ambassador as a tool to promote a new book on Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Another able columnist will also be dealing with Malott this Sunday in the New Sunday Times.

Malott trying to distract us from Anwar's woes

By Azmi Anshar

FORMER United States ambassador to Malaysia John R. Malott has penned a sweeping but disingenuous indictment of Malaysia in the Wall Street Journal's Asian opinion page, alleging that "racial and religious tensions are higher today than when Mr Najib took office in 2009".
Referring to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's handling of prickly race relations issues in that period, Malott mischievously characterised the tensions as "worse than at any time since 1969, when at least 200 people died in racial clashes between the majority Malay and minority Chinese communities".

Malott went on to accuse Malay-sia's leadership of "tolerating and, in some cases, provoking ethnic factionalism through words and actions".

His 1,100-word missive had two obvious but odious slants:
- The so-called racial tensions he misdirected are perpetrated exclusively by the Malay leadership against what he deemed as helpless and hapless non-Malays; and,

- a deep-seated revulsion for the Najib administration, matched only by his consistently unabashed public relations pitch for opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, which makes his vitriol a simple sales promotion for Anwar.

Let's see. By cleverly deploying the noun, "tensions", against the May 13, 1969 trajectory, he is implying that racial clashes are a regular feature in Malaysian race relations since 1969.

The real question is, where are the worsening tensions that could trigger fatal racial clashes as terrible as those incited on May 13, 1969, as Malott slyly claims?

Malott asserted that the Malaysian leadership "is tolerating and provoking ethnic factionalism through words and actions". He can't be more flat on that.

What Malott perceived to be a malevolent circumstance can be seen in a more enlightened prism; it is Najib's willingness to engage all aggrieved parties -- Malays, Chinese and Indians alike -- by encouraging them to say their piece, even if it is unpleasant.

That's several notches up for free speech when previous administrations had curtailed debate on race relations, restricting them only to Parliament and special closed-door councils.

Now, the debate is so open that websites, blogs and social media networks are abuzz with the freedom to discuss what had been a taboo topic.

The downside? You'd think Malaysia is reeling in a perfect storm of racism, given the rancidness of many comments from all sides.

From Hindraf's exaggerated claims of genocide to the Chinese community's leverage of precious votes (some would call it blackmail) to get more Chinese schools to the Malays' defensive posture against shrill demands that their special position is irrelevant and obscured by historical skewering, the multi-pronged debate is boisterous and healthy.

These are strong, passionate stances made possible by an administration that accepts such sentiments as a fact of life and does not fear them from surfacing aloud, only if it allows Najib to formulate pragmatic solutions which may or may not appease the aggrieved parties.

Malott doesn't get this but, to be fair, he makes no mention of the word "racism" in his opinion piece but he, whether he likes it or not, is party to the loaded WSJ heading "The price of Malaysia's racism", which implies that Malaysia is drowning in a toxic cesspool of racism.

That's not what Malaysians are experiencing now though the WSJ appears to have no misgivings in branding that label on Malaysia.

Here's an alternative perspective to Malott's blinkered observation: Malaysians are no more capable of institutional racism (read apartheid and the US' pre-civil rights segregation) than Malott can be in his personal dealings with other races.

Malott might like to consider Malaysia's plus point as a burgeoning plural society that goes way back to 1957 when the first multiracial government was formed. In comparison, developed Western countries can't even place a non-white high up in their respective administrations.

The tensions Malott mischaracterised are what Malaysians get tangled up constantly -- seemingly irreconcilable social, cultural, economical and political disputes on how best to prod the country towards a promising future of prosperity and creation of new wealth.

A lot of harsh words and comments have and will be exchanged, but a prime outcome is the nature of its civility -- and none of that bloodletting innuendo. Everyone, naturally, wants a bountiful share but no one is willing to budge, compromise or lose pertinent benefits gained over decades of political struggle.

So, the logical step is to continue negotiating, bargaining and bartering, even if the outcome is a full-blown civilised war of words.

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had a barometer on gauging disenchantment among the races: he would ask representatives of each race if they were satisfied with their lot and the immediate response would be a "no".

Since nobody was satisfied, then the cogent conclusion was that the government had been fair in its treatment of all races.

Conversely, had one race stated that they were satisfied, then something would be wrong somewhere.

It's obvious that Malott based his thinking on the advisement of the opposition crowd which puts the blame squarely on the Malay leadership and certain Malay non-governmental organisations when the reality is that every ethnic community is shouting and screaming, jockeying and jostling for the best possible position to capitalise on the goodies promised under the New Economic Transformation Programme.

It comes to this: Malott has a very big axe to grind in manipulating Malaysia's political machinations. But his objective, since the time he was last ambassador in 1998, had always been to blacken Dr Mahathir to shore up Anwar's political doldrums.

Interestingly, Malott conducts his sorties on Malaysia when trouble fixates on Anwar, from his troublesome sodomy trial to his tribulations in dealing with the growing army of PKR rebels and dissidents.

This latest sortie fits into Anwar's scheme of things and, being a close associate, Malott would have no qualms disparaging Najib as long it can help distract Malaysians from a very beleaguered Anwar

Read more: Malott trying to distract us from Anwar's woes

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Hotel Halal in Malaysia

Commission not halal. KL is about to get its first Syariah-compliant five-star hotel (pic) not too far away from the Tabung Haji headquarters, but find out the RM38 million answer to why blogger-journo Shamsul Yunus is angry H E R E.

Monday, February 07, 2011

A global Malay on Lee Kuan Yew


Original posting:

"There is nothing as depressing as watching a man way past his use-by date trying to revive the old glory days, strutting his opinionated  versions of what should be." - Anak si-Hamid
The Malay archipelago

These days, the Malays in Singapore are not trying too hard to hide their contemt towards Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew.I have friends and relatives there, OK, so I know. The Minister Mentor's latest diatribe against the Malays in his latest book is the last straw for some. One more smart remark, Kuan Yew, and the Malays in Singapore may do a Hindraf on you!

Anak si-Hamid is no longer just a Malay in Singapore (she has homes in both sides of the Suez) but I'm sure Malays living on both sides of the Causeway and who are familiar with Kuan Yew's politics will enjoy reading. And she's not just hitting out at one man or one race; the best shots are reserved for her own ...
"However,  the Muslim-Malays also had their own turncoats and desperados who were happy to sell their people for a song, like the way Singapore was 'acquired'  from the Johor rulers.  And this Wayang is still going on today."
Read the rest of her posting, HMV (His Mentor's Voice), H E R E

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Ops Pyramid: Kudos Anifah Aman, Mas, AA, TUDM, Wisma etc

Feb 2: The "rescuers" from TUDM preparing for the evacuation of 11,000 Msian stsudents trapped in Egypt
Yesterday: The first batch of the students "rescued" from Egypt

The cost and benefits of rescuing Malaysians in Egypt. Last night while some of us were busy talking cock somewhere in Bangsar, the first batch of Malaysian students were being flown out to safety from a burning Egypt, and the blogger Zakhir Mohamad aka Big Dog was seen pawing the digits on his Blackberry. A while later, he lumbered over to interrupt with the conversation and annouced that he had just completed the math for Ops Pyramid - the initiative by the Malaysian governmen to rescue 11,000 Malaysian students trapped in Egypt.

I checked out Zakhir aka Big Dog's blog this morning and here they are. Impressive, Big Dog ni. And his sentiments are fair: "‘Ops Pyramid’ is a serious effort. Malaysians should not complain this herculean effort. Especially when ‘earth is literally moved’ to get these trapped Malaysians out."

Kudos, Anifa Aman and Co. Once again, it's action and not mere words that we need of the government, and the Foreign Minister has proven his mettle yet again. Of course, the Nik Aziz crowd who staged a protest in front of Wisma Putra the other day and who are not fans of this Foreign Minister (especially as he's deemed to be close to the First Lady), will disagree.

But as Anifa had told an aide of his, "Nik Aziz is irrelevant where foreign affairs are concerned". What's important is that we do out utmost to get all Malaysians out of Egypt safely. Those who want to get out, that is.

Anifa expects all 11,000 to be evacuated by Monday, according to the Star here.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Gong Xi Fa Cai

Arnab, Mesir dan Bah di Johor. Happy New Year to all, especially to my Chinese friends, in the cyber and the real world. May the year of the Rabbit give you more karats, and great health. Yaaaam Seng!

But do give a thought and a prayer to our fellow Malaysians who are not as fortunate as most of us, the victims of the Johor floods, and Malaysians in Egypt who want out. The good news is the floods are subsiding. According to someone who has been following the Sultanah of Johor, Raja Zarith Sofia, on her rounds:-
A flood victim in Ulu Tiram
Maklumat terkini [about noon] dr Bilik Gerakan Negeri yg di terima( setakat jam 8.00 pg). JB - 1 pusat masih  dibuka( 22 dah tutup), 9 keluarga 39 mangsa. Muar 23 pusat, 1074 keluarga, 4,759 mangsa. Batu Pahat 34 pusat ,1109 keluarga 5,090 mangsa. Segamat 84pusat (11 dah tutup) 5,194 keluarga 21,128 mangsa. Klg 29 pusat ( 23 dah tutup), 1,029 keluarga 4,135 mangsa.  Pntian 12 pusat (1 dah tutup) 180 keluarga 740 mangsa. Kota tinggi 18 pusat ( 3 dah tutup ), 353 keluarga ,1,523 mangsa. Mersing 1 pusat 25 keluarga 47 mangsa. Ledang 30pusat  ( 5 dah tutup), 1,308 keluarga , 5822 mangsa. Kulaijaya 0 pusat ( 11 dah tutup), 0 keluarga , o mangsa. Keseluruhan 232 pusat masih dibuka, 10,281 keluarga,  43,283 ...
As for Malaysians in Egypt:, the first evacuation of Malaysian students by tomorrow! Thank God, and those who are risking their lives to save others.

pic courtesy of Raja Zarith

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Ah, Datuk Nuraina Pak Samad

Datuk Nuraina & Hei Kersani
Anak Bapak. Ena, 55 this August, a Singapore-born Malaysian journalist for the last 3 decades or so, the Managing Editor of the New Straits Times, receives her Panglima Mahkota Wilayah this morning at the Istana Melawati in Putrajaya. I believe she is the first non-group editor/editor-in-chief/group editor-in-chief of the New Straits Times Press, the paper she joined back in 1978, who's been bestowed a datukship from the Agong.

She blogs at 3540 Jalan Sudin, which she started after we both left NST in February 2006, exactly 5 years ago. There's a book coming based on her Tuesdays with Bapak series, which had a good run until the death of her father Tan Sri A. Samad Ismail the Tokoh Wartawan Negara in Sept 2008. She co-founded the now-defunct National Alliance of Bloggers  and the NURIN Alert, which was recently adopted by the Cabinet and renamed NUR Alert. Datuk Nuraina is a trustee for the National Press Club and sits on the exco of the interim Blog House Malaysia, a new association to protect bloggers.

She is a product of ITM.


NST's Sidek heads FT honours ..

The Star's Chief Sec among 256 recipients ...
The Malay Mail's NST managing editor among FT award recipients
Bernama's KSN ketuai senarai ..