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?


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 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.


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. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Abang Din gets a memo

1School (once and) 4All.  To get a memo is, usually, to get into trouble It means you've not made the marks and need to buck up or else. DPM Muhyiddin Yasin, or Abang Din to the blogging community, doesn't have to take the Memo to MOE in this vein but as an encouragement to make a difference. Just as Najib Razak can boast today of having made a difference where his predecessors (especially Anwar Ibrahim) hadn't the guts to when he was Minister of Education, years to come Abang Din can be remembered for having made the single most important step, ie wiping out vernacular schools as they so successfully did in Singapore, to unite Malaysians and weld them into a true Bangsa Malaysia.

Read the Memo to MOE.
Appreciate the Satu Sekolah untuk Semua memo, h e r e.

To leave comments, go to SatD's posting Equation of Nonsense where he trades barbs with another favorite blogger of mine, Helen Ang, a supporter of vernacular school.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Some curious Court matters

The market is saying kudos to the Prime Minister for staying clear of Harvest Court Industries Bhd. The players know that Najib Razak could have made the call and turn up the heat on SC and Bursa Malaysia not to designate Harvest Court. But he did not. This was not to be another Avenue. No smoke no fire! 

However, they say it was a sad sight indeed to see Najib Jr and  Raymond Chan making their rounds, first to the Chinese papers and to the Star last week. Some are saying they smell an  Ali Baba. I hope the young man does not forget that many are just waiting to use him and drop his name because of who his father is.

Read Businessman compares ECM-Libra's controversy with deals involving sons of Dr M, Najib if you don't know my meaning. And Barking Magpie's latest here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

One civil servant, 30 bods

Someone's personal gold mine
Felda the feudal mini-empire. One top civil servant in Felda sits on the thrones of dozens of Felda boards (see list above!). And his services are not FOC. He pays himself more than RM600,000 as directors of those BoDs. This is money from the blood, sweat and tears of 112,000 settlers. And you wonder why some dudes would turn his back on the Government and the settler families to safeguard his own welfare!

But why is one civil servant allowed to sit on so many boards? Why is he able to appoint his cronies to flank him on these boards, pay them CEO perks for their services and loyalty, and rule Felda like lords? This does not happen in any other services or departments in the Government. 

It's a long story. And it involves more than one or two civil servants.

When Najib Razak introduced Bakke Salleh (now Sime Darby boss) to Felda, Bakke was the first "outsider" to have an executive position in Felda, now a multi-billion concern started during Najib's father's time as an ambitious scheme to elevate the status of rural folk and turn Malaysia into a major oil palm player. Bakke, the industry knows, faced stiff resistance from inside Felda. Every step of the way. But at least now we have a peek into the inside story of a feudal mini-empire that this small group of civil servants have built and jealously protected over the years like a secret sect.

Sabri Ahmad, who succeeds Bakke, is facing a lot of resistance too. Depan semua diam, belakang semua tikam

Felda Director-General Dzulkifli Wahab, who has openly given his support to the proposed listing of Felda, must be wondering who the Enemies Within and Gunting Dalam Lipatan are. We wonder, too. We wonder if he's going to try and find out for us ...

Dzul, chairman of Felda Cooperative, claimes ignorance
 over the sacking of Isa, his heir apparent, by the Coop  pic by Bigdog

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The so-weak and superficial Muslims' faith

"... Is the faith of the Muslims so weak and superficial that Muslims can be so easily swayed, induced and bribed to renounce their faith in spite of the fact “the al-Quran is disseminated through loud speakers, television, radio and at government functions,” ... 
"Doesn’t this situation call for some soul searching as to why – in spite of great efforts made and billions of ringgit spent on building mosques, suraus, madrasahs, religious instructions, al-Quran reading competitions – all this had failed to strengthen the faith of the Muslims? Does this suggest that the method of religious teachings undertaken to instil the Islamic faith among the Muslims is either totally wrong or utterly ineffective." - P. Ramakrishnan, ALlRAN President
Read Mr PR's ramblings at Kit Siang's blog, Unscrupulous Actions, Unethical Behavior.

Perhaps the guy has never liked the fact that Islam enjoys precedence in this country, or maybe he does not love some Muslims around him (or all of us for that matter), but that does not make P. Ramakrishnan an expert on the question of our faith. Neither does it make him an authority on evangelism, covert or otherwise.

But this man sure writes as if he is both. And that's his problem.

The issue isn't about our weak or superficial faith, or how many billions have been spent on Quran competitions, on our mosques, or suraus. Rather, a PAS leader from Selangor, Hassan Ali (who sleeps on the same Pakatan Rakyat bed as DAP strongman Lim Kit Siang), is causing PR a lot of points for defending the raid on a church conducted by the State's Islamic religious police. There was talk about the involvement of this church in the conversion of Muslims, which is against the law.

How messy was that? Khalid Ibrahim, the Selangor MB, had to issue a gag order which I believe is still enforced until today, so Hassan Ali and JAIS's action must have been very damaging to the Opposition.

The raid by JAIS and the attempts by PR to sweep the issue under the carpet and bully Hassan into silent submission have absolutely nothing to do with the teachings of Islam to Muslims in this country. It is the politics of Pakatan Rakyat. Hassan Ali, Khalid Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang - they all belong to the same side - Pakatan Rakyat. I don't know and don't care what Rama's political leanings are, although a paragraph of his article does seem to worship Lim Guan Eng, but let's not deliberately use their political game to foster religious discord among the ordinary Malaysians. Don't try to drag the ordinary peace-loving Muslims into your unholy politics, Mr Rama, and don't use this as a cover to attack the sincerity of those Muslims.

Do not worry yourself about our faith. Don't pretend to care about our souls or if the methods we use to teach our children about Islam are wrong or ineffective. The Muslims in this country are a peaceful lot. We have agreed to peaceful and harmonious co-existence with the other faiths in this country for hundreds of years.

Read also Helen Ang's The bishop's back, siap dengan sidekick sekali (the sidekick obviously refers to our Mr PR here)   

Friday, November 18, 2011

NFC: Finally, KJ can take a breather ...

Read Jai's Between Fidlot and Pakatan Rakyat's Jenglots (living dead)

Original article
Taking the bull by its horns. Ah, so it was a loan and not a grant! Read ".. the bull claims better stop" [NST, 18 Nov]. That is a relevant point and would have changed the way a lot of people perceive the National Feedlot Company. And in this country perception is all important. The truth will always prevail, but only later. Sometimes much later.

Question is, has Salleh Ismail waited too long to respond to be accusations levelled at his wife, YB Shahrizat Jalil, and his children (all 3 kids were brought into NFC to help him run the company)? Some people think so. I am a believer that it's better late than never. Of course the longer you wait the harder it is to convince people.

But now that the NFC has come out to engage its critics head on, the process of establishing be truth can start in earnest. Salleh said the NFC is looking at legal action possibilities against some Rafizi and Saifudin. That is to be expected. We can expect the authorities to start grilling Salleh and the NFC. For example, the decision to use the soft loan to buy those condos. Is it legitimate or does it contravene with the terms and conditions of the loan and the contract? If it contravenes, does it fall under CBT or something more serious?

I'd rather not speculate. The investigation into NFC shouldn't take long. The facts are there, all audited. In fact, it was the Auditor-General who drew our attention to the state of affairs in the NFC. It would be silly to suggest that Najib Razak would try to sweep under the carpet what he, in the first place, allowed to surface in public domain.

p.s As for the title of this posting, it has to be placed on record that YB Khairy Jamaluddin has been at the forefront in defending the NFC, ie Shahrizat and family. There's good and bad to this. On the upside, we see an Umno Youth chief who is willing and able to defend a fellow Umno leader. The downside is, he's turned this completely into a political circus. Some even said he's got vested interest in KFC. On her part, Shahrizat didn't help matters when she told reporters the other day that there were people out to bring down Wanita Umno by taking her down. When the pro-Opposition news portal committed that terrible misreporting (something about her kids deserving the project when what she said was "her family didn't deserve the attacks"), she should have asked for an apology. It would have helped with perception.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Malaysia hosts symbolic trial against Bush, Blair

Event: War Crimes Hearing of Bush and Blair
Date: 19 to 22 Novemnber
Time: 9 am to 5 pm
Venue: Islamic Arts Museum,
Taman Tasek Perdana

I'm proud to say that we, the Malaysian bloggers, have been supporting this project to criminalize war since the very beginning. Why? Simply because Malaysian bloggers are against war. And when Dr Mahathir first invited bloggers to cover the conference, most of us didn't think he was serious. I mean, Malaysian bloggers were then seen as "outcasts" by their own government. Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his advisers were so anti-us that no BN politicians dared to open a blog; today, the majority of BN Ministers are blogging!

Have Dr Mahathir's efforts been futile?

It's making headlines all over the world, from Washington Post and Straits Times Singapore to Huffington Post and The Asian CorrespondentMalaysia to try Bush and Blair for war crimes! Symbolic it may be but the fact remains that a great many people want the real warmongers to pay for the lost of so many innocent lives.

Don't miss the trial!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Civil Servants and DAP Part 2

A new 4th floor. While Tony Pua talks about cutting the number of civil servants if the DAP and Pakatan Rakyat get to Putrajaya, his boss Lim Guan Eng has increased the size of his own office substantially since he became Penang Chief Minister. According to an Umno Adun, there used to be 13 aides in the Chief Minister's office. Under the DAP's strongman, the CM's office now employs 28 people. That's more than a 100 per cent increase! So much for wanting to reduce the number of the civil services ..

And that's not all, it seems. Read Helen Ang's Watergate: Koreklah sampai ke lubang cacing!

p.s Pls leave comments at Helen Ang's blog, thank you

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ah, Ghani, what have you done?

Peter Lim, in business with Johor "royal family"?
Someone putting pressure on Johor MB? The saying "like a cat and a dog" doesn't apply to Big Cat and Big Dog today. Both bloggers - one a Johorean and the other based in Johor - are absolutely on the same side in their frustration over the appointment of a former Pak Lah's Fourth Floor operative to the boards of two Johor Corp companies. Both are shocked and sad, and they want Ghani to answer the question eating them from the inside: Why?

Read Big Dog's JCorp mumbo-jumbo and Big Cat's A very sad day. 

I don't think, however, that Zaki Zahid's appointment is the worst thing that could happen to Ghani. When I tweeted the news this morning about the Johor royal family's involvement in a S$2 billion project to jointly develop a medical hub and marina city in Johor Baru, a perturbed Johor-based reader sent this message on my mobile:
"This is the start of Ghani's downfall".

I think (probably) not. Ghani is a cool head and he has handled many crises effectively. Johor is a state with many warlords, they say, and not just in Umno, and Ghani has proved his mettle time and again. 

All the same, it's crucial that the MB and his handlers remain mindful that people are watching him and how he handles delicate stuff like these. And people are beginning to talk about the state of things in Johor and if the MB does not do something quick, some may be royally peeved with what's happening around them.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Civil Servants and DAP

Malaysia's civil servants: Bloated, lazy and too big?
"Tony Pua is reeling over his proposal to cut the number of civil servants. He said they were costing the nation too much and he implied that there were too many deadwood among them. [Read Civil Servants, DAP wants to cut your jobs! by Parochial Sarawakian]. If I was a civil servant, I would not feel very civil towards Pua. Who the hell does this greenhorn think he is? But I am not a civil servant. Yet, I still feel upset. I can understand Cuepacs' reaction, why they think Pua was insulting them and that it's a cheap publicity move. Do I think Pua's statement racist, as "chauvinist" Shahrir Samad allegedly made him out to be? Of course not, he is from DAP and everyone but the DAP is racist. The fact remains that the majority of civil servants are Bumiputeras and Melayus, so Pua's grand plan will affect the Samads more than the Puas out there."

I had just finished writing the above paragraph when this young man, a researcher by profession, came by to say hello. We had "met" in cyberspace before but not in real life. I told him what I was writing about. I offered him coffee, which he politely declined, but he offered me his views:

"Our civil service is too big? In the first place, who are we comparing ourselves with? In Singapore, it seems, the civil service does not include the army, the police or even the teachers. If Malaysia is to exclude these professions from its definition of civil service, Malaysia would instantly be left with only 500,000 civil servants. Is that small enough for Pua? If it is, then all we need to do is adjust the definition of civil servants to exclude our policemen and policewomen, our soldiers and our teachers. Most of these 500,000 are support staff. Gaji kecik. The top ones, the ones drawing the big salaries, aren't many. There are only about 50 civil servants who are in the CEO category (but they get nothing like the CEOs in the private sector get, not by far). Unfortunately, mostly Melayus also. Surely YB Tony Pua is sensitive about that."

That was what he said, in a nutshell. Betul ke? Is our civil service really so bloated? Are civil servants in Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines (the ones Pua reportedly cited) better and more effective than our civil servants?

I am sure there is always room for improvement, but this applies not only to our civil servants and I am sure Pua will agree with me. Right now, he is reeling.You can tell when he admits (or, rather, claims) that the PM has also made a similar proposal in his Budget 2012 speech tabled last month in Parliament. 
“When Najib says it (measures to cut civil service), everything is good, but when Tony Pua says it, he is a racist,” he quipped. [quoted from Malaysiakini, Is PM anti-Melayu, too?]
Does that mean Pua was admitting to copying Najib Razak's proposal? It sure sounds that way but we alI remember the claim made by Anwar Ibrahim that it Najib Razak had copied the Pakatan Rakyat's shadow budget!

When it stinks/stings, no politician wants to own up. Most will pass the buck.

Monday, November 07, 2011

A new party again, Ku?

It's been brewing for some time, talk that Ku Li would leave Umno and lead - once again - a political entity that could give him one final shot at the very elusive premiership of the country. Blogger Apanama thinks this is going to happen tomorrow, at a press conference the Kelantan prince has called. If this turns to be true, the run-up to the 13th general election will be even more interesting. Ku Li has been very open about his ambitions even though he is way past 70 and his peak. Pakatan Rakyat is also said to be looking at Ku Li to lead the coalitiom in the event Anwar Ibrahim has to go to jail for his sodomy charges.

Let's wait. Meantime, check out Apanaama's posting Finally Ku Li?

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Raya Haj 1432

Selamat Hari Raya Haji to you, Dear Readers.
Congrats to those who are in Mekah right now performing the haj. Prayers for all and especially for my blogging bros Another Brick in the Wall, Mahaguru58 and RBF as well as pilgrims Najib Razak and Rosmah Mansor.
Last week, Abitw or A Voice encountered some health issues. According to his "twin" Big Dog, "(A Voice) is so thankful for Tabung Haji's impeccable preparation for cough and heart related ailments for the Malaysian Hajis and Hajjahs".
Thank you, people at Tabung Haji for making our pilgrims comfortable.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Setting the record straight for Malaysia

The Letter to The Editor

The letter from our Consul-General in Perth to the editor of The West Australia is short by any standard but it has gone to great lengths to set the record straight for us. It crushed the bad hearts of people who wanted the tabloid's story about Najib Razak's daughter splashing A$60,000 (about RM200,000) at David Jones to be true or, even if its NOT true, to remain unchallenged. My friend Chegubard even went on to the extent of charging the newspaper of conspiring with Najib Razak (to manufacture the story, create unrest in the hearts and minds of Malaysians and then get the newspaper to say that it erred!), that this was all part of the PM's media strategies! Read Dikatakan mereka Najib bayar suratkhabar tu. Shameless.

To the rest of Malaysians, we want and we deserve the truth. Thanks to the Consul-General, we now know that The West Australian, the biggest newspaper in Perth, had made a blunder. A big blunder. If NST or the Star or TV3 or Utusan had made such schoolboy mistake, heads will roll and rightly so. As a journalist, I can't imagine how my fellow journalists at The West Australian had let go that story without checking their facts. I came home and one of the first things I did was to remind my fellow journo-bloggers at of the need to check and double check our facts.

Credit to the editors of The West Australian., they quickly ran a clarification as soon as they got the letter. We usually apologize for such clear, big blunders which is why some journalists have demanded that The West Australian issue an apology to Najib and the daughter. Read Nuraina Samad's We Got it Wrong and Barking Magpie's The West Australian must, unreservedly, apologize to Najib and family. Nuraina was part of the Malaysian media corp covering CHOGM and Pasquale also happened to be in Perth!

Bersih supporters and the Yellow Dog

I was in Perth covering the PM's visit for The Mole. You can call it an attempt by the portal to place itself in the same league as the big media. It was not a very successful attempt, I must say. For one, I did not manage to get accreditation from Wisma Putra, only a "V" tag issued by the organisers. Without the media pass, I did not have access to the media centre and had to be escorted at all times when in "secured" areas, eg the Pan Pacific where the PM and other Malaysian officials were staying. So I covered the Bersih protest at Forrester Place, where Wong Chin Huat had his five-minute fame painting the place yellow. He seemed surprised that I was not accredited, saying the government would surely be friendly towards me and The Mole. Chin Huat flew in and out just to be with the 30 men and women and a dog draped in our royal color for the show. Some of the yellow guys turned up at a barbecue with Najib at Burswood Park that Sunday afternoon; it was good that they mingled with the hundreds of others Malaysians.

Quiet protest against CHOGM
I met many Malaysians, including the Consul-General herself and the High Commissioner, Salman, who is based in Canberra. Hamidah Ashari, the Consul-General, has been described as "the best" by a Malaysian in Perth. There are 20,000 Malaysians there and many have lived 20, even 30 years, longer than any civil servant can be assigned to one place. I am not qualified to agree or disagree with the comment but her letter to The West Australian proves to me that she does what she's supposed to do and does it well.

The thing is, our ambassadors abroad generally suffer a crisis of image. Not totally their fault, as today they all walk in the shadows of yesterday's greats -- the Razali Ismails and Ahmad Kamils of the heyday of Malaysia's diplomacy. Often, stories told about Malaysia abroad are not corrected even when they are factually wrong or, perhaps, fabricated.

The West Australian will have their own lessons to learn but for us ordinary Malaysians, the simplest lesson is that we can and must tell them foreigners that they are wrong when they are wrong. Nobody is going to set the record straight for us but ourselves. For our diplomatic corp overseas, whatever your political affiliations, you have a job to do. It is not about protecting the PM or his daughter, it's about ensuring that the people there get the true picture of our country.

Malaysian kids enjoying Burswood park

Friday, November 04, 2011

The West Australian admits it erred

Screenshot of the clarification:

Moral of the story?
Always double check your facts.
Even The West Australian becomes less great when it fails the basic test of fact-checking.
Good thing the paper admits its error and runs a correction.
Most editors don't think twice about it.
What we would want to know is, who fed the paper with the lies about Najib's daughter and wife?
How did they let it go?

P.s. I have not checked, but has Keadilan News run the clarification and apologize for running the story without checking the facts?

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Wisma's letter to The West Australian

Ah, Malaysiakini has published the clarifications. (Gotta give it to these guys. They can be pro. Steven, after all, is a bona fide journalist ...)

So, Rosmah didn't buy no pearls.
And Najib's daughter was not in Perth at all!

Told yer.
(Just waiting for Keadilan News to carry the clarification ...)

Read this article in yahoo! [updated Thurs 4pm]

Original article
 was told the consul general in perth sent a letter yesterday evening to the editor of the west ausralian, the newspaper that wrongly reported about najib's daughter's spending spree here.

Wlll try and get letter later. Boarding flight home now.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

David Jones and Najib's daughter who was not here

WISMA MUST CLARIFY AUSTRALIAN PAPER'S REPORT. I am convinced it is a publicity stunt, that news The West Australian published alleging a daughter of Najib Razak's had spent 60 thousand Aussie dollars at David Jones. I went there this morning, curious, but in the end did not buy a single thing. I am regretting it; should have gotten that AUD125 Fahrenheit gift package for a friend (cologne for him, I could keep the shampoo and the deodorant). Truth is, there was not much that interested me - David Jones is so much like our Metro or Jusco, perhaps just a little bit upmarekt ...

In any case, and as I have said in my tweets last night, and as this blogger has also confirmed a couple of hours ago, none of Najib's daughters were here in Perth during the CHOGM, which ended in Sunday, so the newspaper got it wrong. Totally.

But Wisma Putra needs to set the record straight, not us. Our Consul General in Perth or High Commissioner in Canberra must inform the newspaper, officially. Wrong is wrong, mate...

And then we can get our local cyber boys and girls back home, from Malaysiakini to Keadilan Daily, to help set the record straight. I am sure they would not mind. But if Wisma does not set the record straight, a lie told repeatedly will be perceived s truth and they only have themselves to blame.