Monday, October 31, 2011

BBQ at Burswood Park

PERTH, Mon: The other day, I wrote about the Bersih protest at Forrest Place in downtown Perth and stated my observation of there being no Malays involved. Some of you weren't happy about that but I will continue to make that kind of observations, if you don't mind. I am of the opinion that things Malaysian should be representative of Malaysia. If the "1Malaysia BBQ" at Burswood, a popular lakeside park just outside the city of Perth, was attended by just Melayus or mostly Malays and a handful of Cainis and Indians, I would be disappointed. And I will blame the organizers for failing to make a so-called Malaysian event really Malaysian. And I would feel sorry for the Prime Minister because it would mean that Malaysians of all races were not receptive to his 1Malaysia concept.

But Burswood was a high point for both visiting Malaysians and their countrymen in Perth. unlike the Bersih stage work in Friday, the barbecue yesterday was a colorful event. There were some Mat Sallehs around, including one in songkok! Even the Bersih protesters who came for the event were taking pictures of and with the PM and wife, even though they seemed to preferr to "camp" a little away from the rest of us. We did not mind as long as they were happy they had their own "corner", and that they respected the fact that the majority - easily 350-450 people, according to a Mat Sallehs who was there - wanted to have a good and easy afternoon with their PM and his wife.

The kids played soccer and cricket, the adults chatted and ate and watched the children play soccer and cricket. There are aout 20,000 Malaysians in West Australia, mostly in Perth, according to our Consulate. Aout half are Malays. I had the pleasure of meeting a Melayu taxi driver, Melayu IT specialist and a young, pretty Melayu medical doctor at the park yesterday. And their spouses.

I also met Chen, who used to like my blog because I was anti-government but who read me less now because I am pro-government. I tried to explain to him the difference between the government(s) under Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Najib Razak but stopped myself. If you don't know me by now ... the song played in my mind and I reminded myself that Chen was there for the PM, too. Junior was interested in my skull ring and Mrs Chen was taking our picture. I think we may have agreed to disagree ..

We also met Mimi from Penang, who has been here 26 years and still "i am a proud Malaysian, OK". Natasha from Ipoh, who looked like a Mat Salleh model, and her dashing husband who was in yellow and declaring "I am not pro Bersih, I am pro Giordano".

And then there was Mr Glenn D'Silva with wife and two children who had a brief exchange with Najib just before the PM went into his car to the airport. They were about 10 meters apart so they were not actually whispering.

Mr d'Silva: Keep up the good work, PM.

Najib: (turns around to locate the voice) Huh?

Mr d'Silva: (louder) Keep up the good work, Mr Prime Minister!

Najib: I will, thank you.

I have to say I am proud of Malaysians in Perth, whether or not the Malaysians at Burswood are microcosm of 1Malaysia, as the PM put it in his address. If I am forced to leave my country, I think I will migrate to Perth. Can't afford to be Pak Lah's neighbor, though, and not that I wish to be.

P.s. I will post pics from my Panasonic GF2 later but I took some with my Samsung Galaxy S2 and they are on my Facebook

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Working overtime for a common ground in Perth

CHOGM CHOC-A-BLOC. Foreign Ministers of the Commonwealth are meeting past midnight now in a frantic effort to save the Perth CHOGM from a major breakdown. The CHOGM leaders end their three-day meeting this afternoon but have failed to reach consensus on an array of crucial issues.

The Commonwealth, like it or not, has become more divisive than ever. And it's not just about huuman rights. Some journalists believe, or want people to believe, that Commonwealth leaders meeting here are divided because of human rights issues. They say the developed countries in CHOGM, such as the UK, Canada and Australia, want to push for action on human rights but, alas, their economically-lagging partners resent this. Anyone who re

ally believes that the divide is just due to this is naive.

The problem is more grave. The truth is that within the Commonwealth there now exists a new form of extremism. Among the 53 member countries attending this CHOGM, there are a handful that are starting to behave as if that ththe had the moral stature to preach to the others and impose their own high standards on them. Some governments are demanding that others look up to them as benchmarks.

Some member countries, for example, want the Perth Communique to describe the uprising in the Middle East as a "momentous" occassion. The majority of members despise this attempt, saying that the Commonwealth cannot be condoning bloody uprisings and violence. The enthusiasm of some countries to get CHOGM to condemn Turkey with regard to Cyprus is also viewed suspiciously by others.

The Eminent Persons Group's 106-point proposed reforms are also proving to be a pain in the neck and the major cause for the Foreign Ministers' urgent meeting. Observers are increasingly skeptical of the EPG and are bracing for the possibility that the bulk of these proposed reforms will not be adopted by the heads of governments.

Malaysia's ex-PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi chairs the EPG. ironically, Malaysia is said to be one of the strongest opponents of some of the proposed reforms.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Malaysia in Perth

PERTH, Sat: With over 50 heads of governments attending the once-in-two-years meeting, the hosts can't be too careful. Security is super tight. Some local NGOs have threatened to stage protests in conjunction with the meeting but you could not see any of these activities. The "Occupy Perth" movement involving 300 people seemed more subdued than expected. Najib & Co definitely missed lecturer Wong Chin Huat's five minutes of fame as he addressed fellow protesters from all around Australia and the Commonwealth in a city square yesterday, at the same time CHOGM opened its three-day meeting, and told them about Bersih and what it stood for. With him on stage were about 30 Malaysians and friends in yellow tees, some of them students and some permanent residents, who chanted "Bersih, Bersih" at Chin Huat's trained cues. There was a dog, leashed and draped in yellow, Malaysia's royal colour. I swear it was barking the same chants, too!

Some pictures I took [I have one of the doggy on my camera, will post later]. I went over to Chin Huat, who flew in two days ago, who said the protesters will be there tomorrow at Burswood Park, where the PM is meeting Malaysians in Perth before flying off to Malaysia and then to Mekah, to be heard and seen.

p.s. I mentioned to a protester the obvious, that none of them were Malays! It's the same in London when the PM was there some months back but at least the Bersih protests in then had one or two Melayus. Perth is said to be home or second home to thousands of Malaysians, and one of the most favourite destinations for Melayu Malaysia to migrate.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Perth, spring

If It sounds like Arab spring, that's because I'm told that there will be a mini Malaysian uprising in this Ausralian city when the Commonwealth heads meet for their once-in-two-years gathering from tomorrow. I have never been to Perth and am looking forward to this city many successful Malaysians, including a former Prime Minister, have made their second - for some, their first- home. Bersih's Ambiga is on a road tour in Australia, where she has spoken of the coming of Malaysia's own "people's power" (which always reminds me of the Philippines). Looks like wherever Najib Razak goes, there will always be Malaysians making themselves heard. The last time the PM was Down Under, Raja Petra Kamaruddin happened to be in the neighbourhood! Malaysia Boleh, indeed!

I will be in Perth for a few days, enjoying the Spring and covering the meeting for The Mole.

Read up why CHOGM is still relevant, here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Selamat Deepavali

My neighbor in Puchong is a vegetarian and since today is full moon, he will be celebrating Deepavali on Saturday. Works for me. To the rest of you, my dear Readers and commenters, Happy Deepavali.

Every day is a festival. Only in Malaysia.

[images will be added later, when I find a real laptop]

Monday, October 24, 2011

PM: Leave family out of politics

What goes around comes round, they say. 

They have attacked every one of Najib Razak's family members, none of who are politicians. They even accuse Rosmah of murder and black magic. Even as Lim Guan Eng cries foul over the blog harassment on his son as a molester, the attacks on the PM's family have continued. I don't remember Guan Eng ever coming to the PM's defence but here is Najib coming to his.

A good thing, too.

Our politics have gone to the gutter a while ago but since March 2008 it has gone really rotten. The politicians blame bloggers each time they have a chance. Used to be that only the government politicians would pass the buck to "evil" bloggers but these days, even Guan Eng resorts to blaming bloggers. 

It is the politicians who should stop their dirty games.

They can start by heeding to this call by the Prime Minister ... 

Najib: Leave families out of politics
By Melissa Chi
October 23, 2011

The prime minister said today that in a modern democracy, the ideal scenario would be for all parties to concentrate on policy matters. — file pic 
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak moved today to end allegations of sexual harassment levelled against Lim Guan Eng’s son by calling on politicians to leave family members out of politics.
“That is ideal in a modern democracy where you concentrate on policy matters.
“You can debate the differences in policies in terms of weaknesses of implementation but you leave aside family, or the exploitation of family matters for your own political gain,” the prime minister told reporters today.
Pro-Umno bloggers had claimed that the DAP Secretary-General’s son had assaulted a 16-year-old schoolmate and had tried to escape punishment by using his father’s name.
The Penang chief minister denied the allegations, saying he was furious with the “barbaric lies” made about his teenage son by “pro-Umno ferocious beasts”.
The DAP later said the picture of the purported victim used by pro-Umno bloggers was that of 21-year-old chess grandmaster Anya Sun Corke, who is studying at Wellesley College in the US.
On Friday, Corke denied ever having met or hearing of Lim’s son.
Lim’s colleagues in Pakatan Rakyat (PR) also came out strongly in support of the DAP secretary-general against what they called “the lowest gutter politics” seen in decades.
But Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday called on Lim to let the police investigate the claims if he had nothing to hide.
Najib today said, “You have to agree on certain ethics. It works both ways.
“I do not know the facts of this case but if you want to abide by certain ethics, to exclude families, then everybody should adhere to it, including the Opposition,” he said, appearing to refer to attacks against his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.
But will they be able to resist the temptation of getting down and dirty?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bloomberg and His Proofiness

Proofiness is the dark art of mathematical deception.

In other words, How to lie with statistics.

And SatD finds the word apt for a certain Chief Minister who has been getting curious rave reviews in the pages of selected foreign mags and wires, the latest of which being Bloomberg. In his latest posting, which is painstakingly researched as usual, SatD says numbers speak out the truth if you allow them: under Lim Guan Eng, for example, Penang grew only 1.7 per cent between 2008 and 2010. Which means Perlis actually did better than Penang. Which also means that Penang's GDP growth was actually better only than Terengganu and Kedah.

I am sure Lim Guan Eng and Bloomberg will want to counter SatD's piece The Proofiness of Lim Guan Beng.

Well, they should respond fast before this idea gets viral. Already the Big Cat has pounced on the opportunity to question today's journalistic objectivity and professionalism in Bloomberg's crap and SatD.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Enemies Within Pt 3: Why it can't be business-as-usual anymore at Felda

Some argue that Felda Global Ventures Holdings should not be listed as the Felda group has no need for additional funds from the capital market. The finances and liquidity of Felda Global Ventures Holdings are strong enough, they say. But that's not the only reason a company goes for an IPO, blogger Big Dog counters. In Felda's case, the exercise is aimed at "giving the opportunity to the stakeholders, namely the state governments, the EPF, the PNB and especially the settlers themselves to hold a direct stake in the Felda group". 

Read the second installment of his 3-part series on the listing of Felda h e r e.

Big Dog says the final part, which he hopes to post on Sunday, will look at why it can't be business as usual at Felda.  

Death Threat in DAP

Page 8 is the new front page: You usually read about politicians claiming to get a live bullet in the post or a threat from a rival party, but Dr Boo says here that he's received a death threat from a comrade. The Johor DAP chief will reveal all at a press conference soon.

We pray for his safety ...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

KJ and Kali

Or, rather, KJ vs Kali.I didn't think I'd see the day. Kalimullah Masheerul Hassan, in his tweets, ran amok yesterday, condemning Umno and the party's supporters for their incessant attacks on DAP's Lim Guan Eng with regards to the alleged case of Guan Eng Jr molesting a student, a mere blog-rumor that was given credence after Malaysiakini, a pro-DAP portal, reported it.

Kali, who was way up there when Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was PM, went to the extent of calling the Umno cybertroopers names. He also lashed out at Member of Parliament for Wangsa Maju Wee Choo Keong, most probably because of Wee's non-stop attacks on the MAS-Air Asia deal (Kali was ex chairman of Air Asia X and is still a substantial shareholder).

I'm not sure if Kali was aware that Khairy Jamaluddin, son-in-law of Abdullah Badawi, was at the fore-front of the attacks on Guan Eng. Read KJ defends attacks on Guan Eng, calls critics hypocrites.

Who's KJ calling a hyprocrite, you think?

I have to agree with the two people's representatives:People who live in glass houses should not be throwing stones ...

Enemies Within Part 2: The Little Resistance by a few Big men against Felda's listing

Last week I said we would be exposing the reasons why some quarters are opposing the proposed Felda listing announced by PM Najib Razak in the 2012 Budget. It came to my knowledge that another blogger is also in hot pursuit of the same thing. Big Dog claims to me he is in the midst of finishing the first of a planned 3-part series on Felda thus far, the proposed IPO, how it will elevate further Felda settlers' standard of living, and why some people don't want that to happen. Perhaps, also, who these people are.

The first instalment should be out on his blog, and in, by 'asar today ...

(Canadian, not Malaysian) Lawyers Against The War

Arrest Tony Blair, too!.I got an SMS the other day that Tony Blair, who is George Bush's partner in crime, is due back in Kuala Lumpur to address an Asean Business Club event at the Mandarin Oriental, Oct 28 2011. I could not determine if this is, indeed, true but I hope it isn't. The SMS said CIMB and Air Asia are co-sponsoring the event. Wallahualam bisawab.

The time Blair was here to address a business luncheon, only a couple of hundred NGO members staged a demonstration. Perhaps in future we will see lawyers getting involved with such campaigns ...

A mail I got this morning from Lawyers Against The War:

Go to the Facebook link Arrest George Bush

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wassup with Guan Eng?

I've taken the following excerpts from Malaysiakini. Lim Guan Eng, I'm sure, won's sue Malaysiakini, so he can't sue me without suing Malaysiakini. The Penang Chief Minister is challenging Umno to publish the "VVIP molester son" story in "Umno's papers" and the same time threatening to sue Umno if it does that. Why doesn't Guan Eng just flatly deny it, just like he denied speaking ill of Johor recently? Why the drama and the threats? After all, the blog that "broke" the story didn't even name anyone. Doesn't Guan Eng realize that his antics are making people wonder? - Bru

Courtesy of Malaysiakini, which is not the official mouthpiece of DAP: 
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has declined to answer allegations in pro-Umno blogs that a VVIP's son was involved in a case of outraging the modesty of his female schoolmate. 
Lim, who is DAP national secretary-general, has challenged Umno instead to publish the allegations in “their newspapers”. 
“Let Umno publish the news first, then you will see what I will do,” said Lim during a press conference in Penang today. 
“What happens now is they make allegations, then I reply (baling batu, sembunyi tangan). Why should I reply to them every time?” he asked. 
Lim said he has better things to do then to reply to each and every allegation or speculation against him. 
Earlier, when contacted, Lim's wife, Betty Chew, also declined to comment, saying, “Please ask CM about it”. 
The Penang media fraternity was abuzz today with news of a VVIP's son who has allegedly been caught for alleged sexual harassment of a female schoolmate. 
The unsubstantiated allegations are going viral among pro-Umno bloggers, and that the identity of the VVIP has been speculated to be that of Lim. 
It was claimed that his 16-year-old son had been recently transferred from a Chinese school, Heng Ee, to the well-known St Xavier's Institution recently due to alleged disciplinary problems. 
However, the school has denied the allegation, saying there was no truth in the rumours. 
The issue was first higlighted in a pro-Umno blog where the blogger Dr MiM - who blogs at novandri.blogspot - said that many had already speculated about the identity of the boy. 
He added that pro-opposition bloggers are “biting their fingers” because the VVIP is not from BN but from “their own species”. 
“If you are wondering who is this VVIP from Penang - he knows calculation and mathematics that he is able to calculate (set a price) at RM100,000 for each breast groped by his son?” quipped the blogger. 
'Transfer carried out according to procedure' 
Meanwhile, a source from Heng Ee school said Lim's son had indeed been transferred to another school but that the process was carried out according to proper procedure. 
He denied allegations that the boy was moved to St Xavier's Institution due to disciplinary problems, as alleged. 
“He was a prefect and has done quite well in the academic field. We did not want him to leave. Even his parents did not want him to leave but he preferred to study in another school,” said the reliable source, who requested anonymity. 
The source said he was quite surprised to hear about the allegations in the blog. 
The blog has published a photo of the girl, but the source denied that it was the individual allegedly involved.

p.s. Guan Eng hasn't been having a good week. Recently, in Segamat, they told him to "berambus" ...

New media bosses

Jalil, Sharil, Zainul, Azlan, Su... Latest chatter is of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, the body that regulates our cyberspace, getting a new chairman. The new boss is none other than Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi (pic), an industry pioneer who's had flings with the likes of Khazanah boss Azman Mokhtar and MAS new COO Rashdan Yusof aka Danny during their Bina Fikir days and who should have been MCMC boss much earlier than this, if the Minister involved had been more savvy.

MCMC boss

Sharil's appointment follows a rather exciting week for the Malaysian media, old and new alike.

Jalil, NSTP group managing editor
It started with the "unexpected" shake-up at the New Straits Times Press with the arrival at Jalan Riong last Friday of Jalil Hamid as Group Managing Editor of the NSTP. He replaced Zainul Ariffin and will oversee the operations of the group's three newspapers: NST, Berita Harian and Harian Metro. Jalil met with desk heads and editors just before noon today to inform them of his mission.
Azlan, replaces Anthony

Anthony Bujang, made NSTP
bottomline look dashing again

Zainul: Going over to Media Prima's e world

MalaysiaKini, the leading news portal, and the Malay Mail, the oldest KL newspaper, also grabbed headlines last week. Kini editor Steven Gan confirmed talks between the pro-Opposition portal with the Malay Mail, largely seen as a pro-Government paper even though it is not a political rag. Gan said the talks were on "a simple content arrangement".

Gan confirms talks with Malay Mail
Malaysiakini has filed a judicial review against a Home Ministry decision not to allow it a printing permit. The Ministry summoned two Malay Mail editors last Friday over reports that the newspaper planned to print several pages of Malaysiakini stories on a daily basis.

So, Who's Su...? 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Enemies within

As expected, they are now going to try and scuttle the plan to take Felda and 112,000 settler families higher through the listing of the plantation giant, as announced by Najib Razak in his Budget 12 last Friday. The plan, in a nutshell, will make Felda a global player in both upstream and downstream sectors, and enrich as well as empower the settlers.

Apparently, however, not everyone in Felda will benefit from the plan. Settlers, yes. Their families and children, yes. But not everybody. Saifuddin Nasution, unwittingly, has exposed some of these very few people who could lose out from Najib's grand plan for Felda. See underlined in red above.

Whether ISa Samad is eligible or not to head the cooperative is a question that will be answered soon enough. He is appearing in Soal Jawab at 11pm tonight with Ahmad A. Talib. Watch it.

And watch this space. We will follow the money and find out for you who the biggest losers in this winning formula for Felda are, apart from Saifuddin and gang.

Will ECM Libra back down?

NST 11/10: Sime Darby said it received a Securities Commission letter. SC found in its review that Sime doesn't have to make offer for E&O shares. For full story, click h e r e

In my posting on the matter last Thursday (The (still) continuing E & O saga: The Sime Darby vs ECM Libra tussle a proxy war?), I wrote, among other things, that
"the boys at ECM Libra are working hard to try and force a mandatory general offer ... Which is, by the way, a NO GO, I hear".
True enough, the SC has ruled in favor of Sime Darby. In the event of a GO, a lot of people would have made a lot of quick bucks. Because of the SC's decision, some people in ECM Libra have been denied the chance of making a cool RM150 million, give or take a few million ringgit.

Does the E & O saga end here? Certainly not, according to analysts which won't be quoted in the business pages of the mainstream media, ECM Libra is not expected to back down. If this was indeed an Umno vs DAP proxy war, they have to push on.

ECM Libra have several options. Two of them are:

1. Take a litigation suit against Sime Darby and E & O

2. Buy the "cheap" E & O shares from the market with vengeance and with a view of increasing their stakes (which currently could be around 20 per cent). Now that there won't be a GO, Kian Onn, the brains at E & O, won't want to hold 20 per cent that gives him no say in the running of E & O. So, he may consider the opportunity of outsmarting Sime Darby's Mohd Bakke and owning a bigger stake of E & O at a considerably lower price paid by Sime. 

Either way, analysts say, ECM Libra, now seen as a close ally of the DAP or at least the Penang state government, must end up with the ownership of E & O. Remember, the jewel of the crown is the massive tract of land on the island which could give Lim Guan Eng a lot of mileage in the run-up to the next general election, especially if it is in the hands of a "friendly" concern.

Big Dog has a different take on the matter in ...What about Insider Trading? 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Video? Anwar? Again?

Sleepless in Bangkok, Ruthless in Kuala Lumpur. Even if you want to close your ears, you will still hear the chatter about the latest xxx video secretly caught in a room allegedly featuring, yet again, Anwar Ibrahim the Pakatan Rakyat big boss and an unknown but willing partner. Latest from RBF and MiM, two staunch pro-Umno bloggers, the video will be up for viewing on Parpukari and Papagomo, two of the biggest blogs in the country today, (again) thanks to Anwar Ibrahim

So, we wait. Even if we close our eyes, we will see the images, I tell you.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Bajet 2012, a flawless budget?

As a journalist, I've covered the Budget since1984. Most journos from my time didn't look forward to this Octoberfest. Same thing, year in and year out, and most of the Budgets didn't really affect us, except when the prices of drinks and smokes went up, and they always did. The politicians, they said the same things, too, year in year out. If it's not an election budget, it's a people's budget. There were gems, of course, Anwar Ibrahim called his budgets "caring". Don't remember how many he tabled but they weren't really more caring the previous - or latter - budgets. Dr M coined the word "Bajet", further enriching - or corrupting - the beloved language.

Last night, an Opposition MP described to me Najib's budget as "a flawless budget". Another gem. But is it really flawless? Of course it isn't. There are many flaws in the 2012 budget. It is too rural-centric. Felda, Felda, Felda! It tries to do too much for the lower-income. It does't do enough for middle-income urbanites, only cabbies. Too many handouts, see HishamH's quick analysis. 

One thing for sure, Najib's 2012 Budget can't be a bad budget as his rivals from Pakatan Rakyat have claimed that he stole Anwar's ideas in the PR's budget; see Anwar: Copycat budget; see also, The Mole's Opposition leaders criticize.

Having covered 27, 28 budgets in my journalism career, I look at Najib's Bajet 2012 as a great follow through of a series of well-planned economic strategies that the Malaysian government has been renowned for. Where the proposed Felda listing is concerned, 2012 is a long-awaited follow-up to Dr M's last budget in 2003; see Revisting a sterling idea.  The lost years for Felda (2004-2011). But now there's no doubt, and in good hands, Felda will be one of the biggest news next year (planned listing by March 2012). There are plans to turn it into Malaysia's latest global player, too, as you might have guessed.

In the morning-after analysis, however, it's always the little things for the small people that reflect well on every Budget. In the case of Najib's latest Budget, there are many, for cabbies to housewives and free education for primary and secondary schoolers. Even the sinners rejoice as there's no increase in drinks and smokes taxes!

Friday, October 07, 2011

Between Guan Eng and Rais Yatim, who's the liar?

"Dua-dua sama hitam, kot ," Din heard a voice whispered and it sounded like his own ... 
Read his lips ...
BM and Penang. But, seriously, who's lying here? Lim Guan Eng, who recently apologized to the Johor Sultan for a slur he claimed not to have made despite audio recording evidence, or Rais Yatim, who has proven that politicians can keep burning bridges and then keep crossing them?

Helen Ang doesn't care for either of them, as far as I know. But in this posting, she has to make a choice. And the winner is ...

Thursday, October 06, 2011

The (still) continuing E&O saga: Sime Darby vs ECM Libra tussle a proxy war?

There is talk that the tug-o-war over Eastern & Oriental is really a front for some heavy political tussling involving Sime Darby, a government linked company led by Mohd Bakke, said to be close to the Prime Minister, and ECM Libra. a boutique investment banker that was once run by some of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's closest aides when he was PM but which is now intimately-linked to Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

ECM Libra's attempt to take over E & O, which owns a large tract of land on Penang island, has more or less been thwarted by Sime Darby. But there's still hope to make a cool RM155 million from the shares it owns, according to Big Dog, and that is why the boys at ECM Libra are working hard to try and force a mandatory general offer. 

Which is, by the way, a NO GO, I hear.

Read the political intrigues behind this corporate wrestling match H E R E.


Wednesday, October 05, 2011

21st century Felda

For the Felda settlers, things are really looking up

Bajet 2011: Najib to continue where Mahathir left off 8 years ago. Two days to go before Najib unveils the goodies in his Bajet 2012, talk is rife among the pundits of this being a "peope-friendly" budget, for which all of them could be proven right. But what has escaped most pundits are the voices rising from the desa and reaching the big city (see my earlier posting Bajet Desa).

These are the Felda settlers, especially the second generation, who have been calling out for more job creation, more business opportunities and the need to move along after 50 years of success. They seem to be looking for a game changer, a real transformation, as opposed to small incremental improvements.

Felda's success mirrors that of Malaysia's own relentless march in generating ever higher GDP figures over the past 50 years.

Of late, those Felda voices are being crystalized in asking for the stalled listing of Felda to be revived (What Settlers Want, 15/8/11). This was first announced by Dr Mahathir in his budget speech in 2003 - his last - but when he stepped down as PM, the idea went nowhere. For 8 years, it seemed forgotten.

No doubt, Najib as the first PM to fully embrace Felda as if it were his own "constituency", is keeping his ears to the ground and may be tossing the idea of responding to the ever louder calls by Felda settlers to have Felda listed.

One thing is sure to remain since the original announcement my by Dr M 8 years ago - settlers' land will not be touched in such an exercise. Much of the renewed enthusiasm to list comes from the recent success of Felda's listing of its sugar subsidiary, MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd, where settlers got a windfall of RM300 million through shares in Koperasi Permodalan Felda, which is owned fully by settlers. In fact, KPF is said to pay out some of the hihgest dividends, at 15 per cent per annum, which is a testament to settlers ability to run big business.

So this may be the Bajet where Najib transforms Felda into a listed behemoth to rival the likes of Sime Darby, no doubt a move that will make the market happy and the settlers happy.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Bajet Desa

One for the rural? Rural Malaysia, of course, isn't what it used to be. With the exception of the true "pedalamans" of Sabah and Sarawak, most desa in Malaysia are accessible and even wi-fied. Still, the urban-rural gap continues to widen and this is one of the areas the PM has been trying to address. It will help narrow the income gap, a major focus under the New Economic Model that Najib introduced not long after becoming PM.

The Bajet he will table this Friday - the last before PRU13, or so Bernama speculates - is expected to be friendly to the rural folks and the lower-income groups. And we are not talking about the usual annual handouts, such as pay increase for civil servants or more subsidies, but measures to help them deal with inflation and other consequences of a growing economy. More importantly, we could see new and radical initiatives aimed at improving the economy and living standards of the desa folks, including even better access to legal services (since even the rural folks are becoming quite litigious, eg the suits by the Felda folks).

Talk about Felda, this hugely successful social engineering economic project that's been instrumental in elevating the status of generations of desa folks throughout the country, there are whispers of something special for them in this Bajet, part of the effort to bring them into the mainstream of Malaysia's economic development.

Could this be an election budget?

It could well be. Especially if you consider that the current Parliament session that starts today will also deal with the death of a couple of archaic and draconian laws, a prelude to the repeal of the Internal Security Act in March next year. Personally, however, I would like to see Najib serve his full term and set the precedent for every future government to complete its five-year term before calling for a general election. The "snap" election business is as archaic as the ISA; we elect a government to work for five years and they should not be allowed to "resign" and seek re-election before their term is up!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

They suspend Mano for six, but Guan Eng gets off scot-free?

Racial discrimination? Eric Woon, the I am a Malaysian blogger based in Singapore until very recently, says it is clear as day:

Here are the facts … 2 fookups … 2 apologies … 1 suspension. What lah DAP, you are a racist party indeed! Discrimination seems to run deep with this Daddy Anak Party.

Eric Woon's posting DAP is racist. No two ways about it.

K. Manoharan, the Hindraf rep in the DAP, was suspended six months by the party for his 16/9 call to replace the Jalur Gemilang. Guan Eng has apologised to the Sultan of Johor for disparaging remarks made against the state when he was in Singapore recently but no suspension. Mano's ex-Hindraf pals outside DAP, especially those in the Human Rights Party and Makkal Sakti, are furious, H E R E.

Guan Eng and DAP better be careful. Back in PRU12, these Hindraf elements were very influential and PRU13 just round the corner ...

p.s. At last., a practising journalist has demanded an apology on her blog from Guan Eng's office for the foot-in-mouth by his junior press secretary, H E R E. Not very hopeful, though ...

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Koh in Koh out?

Doctored Koh. Someone doctored this photograph of our cool PM cycling around in Penang. Both pics were published in two different newspapers!

Question is:
Did he erase Koh Tsu Koon from this picture ...
Cool Najib on a mountain bike in Penang
... or did he add Tsu Koon on to this one?

How on earth did Koh Tsu Koon get there so fast?
The "difference" was first spotted on lowyatt yesterday, if I'm not mistaken. The Mole is going to find out for you if Tsu Koon was there or wasn't there in the original photograph.

One way of the other, however, I don't think he's going to be there beside the PM for too long ...

Updated: Stop The Lies has more telling pics of Koh on the kayoh ..

Mana Koh?