Saturday, June 30, 2012

Waterheck, Selangor?!

... and something RM1 billion and dirty. Used to be that if you live in Selangor, even in the jin-bertendang parts like Puchong, you could boast of being a citizen of the most developed state in Malaysia. Then in March 2008 you could brag that Selangor was one of the states that created the political tsunami in Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's Malaysia. The new state government came in and promoted all kinds of freedoms, including free water (though terms and conditions apply).

Today, just a little over 4 years later, the euphoria seems to have died down. The tsunami is giving way to a Looming Water Crisis, h e r e.

Tough luck, fellow Puchongites. If you like, treat this as a sacrifice we have to make for wanting change for the sake of change ...


YB Chua Tee Yong's tweet earlier today, retweeted by Wong Chun Wai, the Star's big editor, is also a potential bad news for Selangor. YB Teresa Kok seems not to know about what's RM1 billion and dirty in her (and my) state, though, so we'll have to wait for Chua Jr, who is also deputy Agri Minister, to give us more bad news ...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Scorpene: Anwar's last hope for a ride to Putrajaya/Death knell for SUARAM

Updated: Blogger A Voice says the Opposition conspiracy to bring down Najib Razak by using the murdered Altantuya and linking her to the Scorpene deal will be the death knell for SUARAM, the Malaysian NGO that's taking the lead. If Malaysians did not know that SUARAM was so closely-linked to the Opposition and their leader Anwar Ibrahim, they now do. In a blow-by-blow, truth-vs-lies Debunking Scorpene Scandal Part 1: Sensationalizing Altantuya, he explains why France will be the graveyard where they bury SUARAM ...

Original posting:

PI Bala and Anwar Ibrahim during surer times
If you are still confused about what the Scorpene so-called trial in France is all about, don't fret. You are not the only one. The confusion is a result of a deliberate ploy, a sophisticated political play that only a few in this world can muster. Fortunately, our blogger Freddie Kevin has come up with a posting that will help the reader untangle the web of deceit and lies, and remind us why we - yes, you and I and a dog named Suaram - are mere victims of a man's political agenda.

A must read ...


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

For a more cultured bilateral ties

* With Updates

Positive response from Jakarta

Anifah Aman, our Foreign Minister, has summoned envoys from Singapore and Indonesia in the past week or so over smirches in bilateral ties. Jakarta's positive response to KL's concerns is very welcomed. The ball is now in our court, as a cultured nation, to respond, er, nicely to that friendly gesture. There is need, in future, to be more thinking about how we go about doing things that we know will affect our neighbours. That goes to both Malaysia and Indonesia. And, oh, yes, Singapura ...

*Latest Updates on Singapore's Bersih diplomats:

Correction by Bernama, after 5pm.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Some politicians and Felda settlers' naughty detractors

Public Investment Bank started Felda Global Ventures Holdings, the world’s third-largest palm oil company by acreage, with an "outperform" call on the back of a stronger sales growth outlook. 
“We like the stock for its impending aggressive expansion plans, turnaround in the downstream segment, and stronger sales growth, banking on its new business structure,” the research house said in a note on Tuesday. 
Pegging a fair value of RM5.44 at Felda Global, Public Investment said its upcoming listing will also help re-rate market valuations and inject renewed catalysts into Malaysia’s plantation sector. 
Felda Global has said in news report it is actively looking for more plantation asset acquisitions in the Southeast Asian and African regions, as well as expansion of its downstream business with the aim of becoming amongst the world’s top five commodities giants by 2020. \ -- Reuters

IPO: Chance for settlers to start looking up

The investment bankers at Public Investment Bank aren't the only ones bullish about Felda's IPO. What's there not to like? The Felda IPO is the second largest in the world after Facebook and it has the solid support of the Government of Malaysia. Of course there will always be those who'd caution or belittle the believers (Irrational exuberance over Felda - The Edge, 26 June) but for every piece of diffidence there will always be another to reaffirm the belief (Felda's IPO and its naughty detractors, Jebat Must Die, 26 June). Two sides of a coin, always.

What we should not accept is playing politics at the expense of the Felda IPO. Politicians like Malik Mazlan Aliman (PAS) and Isa Samad (UMNO) can have their differences in political views as much as they like, but on matters like the IPO, leave it to the professionals Malik, especially, should know where to draw the line. If he wants to prove his political prowess, go and challenge Isa Samad at the next general election. But do not file for injunction after court injunction to scuttle a plan that will benefit not just the 112,000 settlers (Malik and family included) but a lot of other people out there. 

Altantuya never set foot in France, did not speak French

So, were the French police lying? If Suaram was hoping to revive the ghost of Altantuya through the Scorpene "trial" in France, in the hope that it could help Anwar Ibrahim's tar Prime Minister Najib Razak at the next general election, it's not happening as planned. Read the Free Malaysia Today's report French Probe: Altantuya Never Entered France (June 25). Not only had Altantuya never set foot in France as alleged by Suaram. the murdered Mongolian also did not speak a word of French and could not have been the interpreter in the deal, or so the French cops say.

This new discovery has sent the anti-Najib operatives working overtime. Despite the (French) police findings, Susan Loone insists that there were pictures of Altantuya in France, that she had been shown those pictures, and that Altantuya had therefore been in France at one time in her life, preferably with Razak. Malaysiakini dutifully features her article: Photos show that Altantuya was in France. 

The rush to reassure the gullible is not confined to the local choir. Asia Sentinel has come out with yet another exclusive (Deep and Dirty: Malaysia's Submarine Scandal) based on secret documents allegedly sent to the portal's HK office "via a circuitous route that took them to Brussels, Belgium; Lagos, Nigeria; Brazzaville, Congo; Libreville, Gabon; then to Leipzig, Germany and finally to Hong Kong" [phew!] in an attempt to plug the leak in the whole story. Asia Sentinel also insists that Altantuya had been to France.

The French police better speak up!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Huffington Post: Look at Malaysia to fight corruption properly (and avert an Arab Spring)

 If the Arab Spring countries and other high-risk nations are serious about confronting their corruption culture, they should look to the innovative model instituted by an unlikely actor: Malaysia. - Anti-Corruption Program in Malaysia: A Comprehensive Approach (Huffington Post, 22 June 2012)

Mr Michael J Hershman is the co-founder of Transparency International, which inspired the birth of the Malaysian Chapter started by Tunku Aziz, once hailed by the DAP as "the Towering Malay" (a title that no longer holds after he openly opposed the politics of Bersih 3.0). Hershman has written an article in the Huffington Post that advises leaders of countries with Arab Spring syndrome to "take a look at the Malaysian model". 

Hershman says There are still imperfections that the government will need to address - but "clear goals and commitments to anti-corruption have been demonstrated in Prime Minister Najib's Economic and Government Transformation Programs. They will and should continue in the months and years ahead, regardless of who leads the Malaysian government".

Not an analysis that the Anwaristas or the DAPsters (to borrow Helen Ang's phrase) would readily acknowledge but an independent take on Malaysia's war against corruption - and against those who are trying to create an Arab Spring in this country - that must be read by every peace-loving and corruption-hating Malaysian. 

Read Why an Arab Spring won't happen h e r e.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

MP Kamalanathan slams PAS veep over religious slur, demands apology

"To add insult to injury you have also said that the Hindus who carry the kavadi during this spiritual ceremony are semi conscious and yet they don’t need tear gas to keep the situation calm. Sir, this statement reeks of political expediency ..". - P. Kamalanathan 

Street demo and Thaipusam: One and the same to Salahuddin? 
To the honorable YB Salahuddin Ayub, as an MP and also vice president of a senior opposition party I think your statements during the recently organized debate by Sinar Harian were both out of order and veritably rude to all Hindu religion believers in our country. YB, this debate was to explore if street demonstrations strengthen or weaken a democratic system. Yet you likened a pious spiritual activity such as the holy Thaipusam festival to street demonstrations. This similarity you have advocated has slighted and desecrated the holy event and injured the feelings of the over 1 million Hindu practitioners in the nation ...

Read YB P. Kamalanathan's entire letter to the PAS man h e r e. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Malaysia's Felda: The "bright spot" in a gloomy global market

World's second largest IPO to go through - New York Times
The other "F"
Bet you didn't think that those Felda settlers would one day do the world a big, big favour. But that's the fact. The world is not just watching and waiting for the Felda Global Ventures Holdings Berhad (they should just call it "Felda" lah) IPO on 28 June 2012, it is hoping that this "bright spot" would show the way.  It is the second largest IPO the world has seen after Facebook, and after what happened to Facebook's IPO the expectations on Felda to do well are indeed very high. I have relatives who were Felda pioneers who were never held in high esteem because, well, they were just settlers. But the "Y" gen of Felda can hold their chins up.

At home, a handful of people will still try and dampen the mood. That's expected, too. The Felda IPO and the benefits it will bring are big political points for Najib Razak. Politically, therefore, his enemies would want to scuttle the affair. Economically, some settlers are still not convinced and/or are suspicious. The Felda management and the MPs and Aduns in the Felda zones should work extra hard to convince these settlers and put their wayward masters at bay.

For example, the 800 units of shares allotted for each settler. We know that is not true, that the 800 units are just the chocolate covering the mountain of vanilla (think McD's Choco-Top). The settlers together own 20 per cent of the Felda shares after 28 June that will be placed and managed by an ASB-like fund. An analyst says that amounts to 7-8 lots per settler. All FOC.

Read more about it in Big Dog's Bumi agenda steadfast post Felda IPO. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Rising tally in Mynamar's communal violence

Malaysia is home to some 80,000 refugees from Myanmar

Original article:

"Without the rule of law, such communal strife will only continue." - Suu Kyi 

Won't happen here. Sad to read about the latest religious violence in Myanmar, between Buddhists and Muslims, which have so far claimed 28 lives, read Communal Unrest Threatens Myanmar's Future. What it also threatens are the reforms that the ex-junta Government is undertaking, reforms the West have touted as nothing short of remarkable. Goes on to prove that our neighour needs to take care of the basics first. For communally diverse countries like Myanmar (and Malaysia), a prerequisite for progress is peace and stability between the races and religions.

Sad, too, when you think that some of our so-called leaders want to mould Malaysia's democracy after Myanmar's! For once, I would like to hear what Anwar and Ambiga have to say about the situation there.

p.s And for their info, Switzerland says it is lifting sanctions against Myamar except for arms that it believes the Myanmar Government may use against its own people! Read h e r e. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Despite all that, it is still a peaceful Malaysia

Msia slips in 2011 GPI - The Edge

Global Peace Index 2012: The full lilst h e r e.
Ok, we slipped one place. So what? We are safer than Singapore. We are still the safest place in Asean. But  we won't be for long if we are going to have regular violent street protests, if journalists are stopped from doing their jobs (eg regularly sued, beaten up by cops or by barred from doing their jobs), and if politicians don't stop playing the racial card.

p.s. Bad news for the guys who love to compare us to Zimbabwe and Myanmar (attn Anwar and Ambiga), those countries have a long way to go. Somalia is the unsafest place on Earth.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

An anti-blogger blogs about KJ (and why Kepala Batas should go to KJ)

Thanks to word of "mouse", I know now that Zainudin Maidin, Tan Sri, the former Utusan Malaysia editor-in-chief who had a rather disastrous stint as Information Minister but made it as Tokoh Wartawan Negara while in Cabinet, is today a blogger, just like me. No need to recall the exact words he said of bloggers when he was high up there in the government but, like Khairy Jamaluddin, the subject of his twisty latest posting, Khairy can become PM in his old days, Zam his trying to claw back and no one can stop that. Of course, in KJ's case, Najib Razak can easily stop the young man's clawback.

Except that I don't think the PM should - or would.

KJ and Pak Lah
A lot of people are waiting to see what Najib has in store for KJ in PRU13. Talk is that the Negri Sembilan MB Mohamad Hasan wants to contest in Rembau, which KJ won in 2008, because he has done quite a dismal job in the state and desperately needs an exit. That wouldn't be fair to KJ, of course, but if it does happen then it is an opportunity to set KJ for more challenging tasks during PRU13: field him in Kepala Batas, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's very winnable seat.

KJ is head of Umno Youth and therefore wields considerable power -  he has a huge army of youths under his command and he possess all those qualities Zam has dutifully listed down in his posting. KJ is combatant, willing, and able. In my opinion, there is no better place to put KJ then to head BN's future offensive in the PR stronghold of Penang, where Anwar Ibrahim resides and Lim Guan Eng reigns.

And he is Pak Lah's son-in-law. The former PM has said he would like not to contest in PRU13. I am sure KJ will be welcomed by the UMNO warlords in Kepala Batas if Pak Lah has no objection to the son-in-law carrying on the legacy...

Liow's Righteous Action

BUT NOT SO WWW15E. YB Liow was quoted by the NST as saying that he gave up the WWW15 plate number as it was the "most righteous action". Sure, of course. But what the Minister should have done was clarify instantly. In this Internet age, speed is crucial. I sent him an SMS asking if he had bid for WWW15 on May 28. He did not respond, tak pe lah, maybe he's got a new special phone number, but he or his office should not have waited TWO WEEKS to issue a simple press statement explaining how the WWW15 had gone to him instead of the highest bidder. That's two weeks of damage done.

YB Liow said he couldn't respond earlier because he was abroad: Tiong Lai gives up WWW15

Sunday, June 10, 2012

"Raja dan Rakyat berpisah tiada"

Those were HM Sultan Ibrahim's words (relayed to blogger Zakhir Mohamad in Johor Roulette), after today's rally at the Istana Pasir Pelangi of 30,000 people angered by DAP's Nizar Jamaluddin's uncouth tweets about the Johor Ruler's RM520k bid for the WWW1 vehicle registration number.

I like Big Cat's point of view on the matter [read A Pledge of Loyalty]: it is not that we the people shouldn't question the conduct of the members of the Royal families - they MUST! - but do it with finesse and cleverness, and do it for the good of the good of the Raja-Raja institution. Learn from Dr Mahathir Mohamad la bro...

And you have to like the Sultan's "response" to one of Nizar's tweets!

The Sultan's specially painted Satria Neo that gets the WWW1 is a Proton, Nizar!

Guan Eng, China Press is upset with your holier-than-them, so how?

Updated: Guan Eng is anti-Press Freedom, blogs seasoned journalist Bujai, who used to be the Penang bureau chief for Berita Harian in the 90s

Pic courtesy of the new media, not MSM or Print media
Original posting:
China Press hentam Guan Eng dah ... The Chinese-language print media have generally been more sympathetic towards the Opposition; it has always been that way and it has become more so under Najib Razak's liberal attitude towards the Press. Lim Guan Eng, for instance, writes quite regularly for the Chinese-language newspapers despite his claim that there is no Press freedom in this country!

But the China Press seems to have had enough of the hypocrisy and the holier-than-thou attitude of Guan Eng. After the Penang Chief Minister's incessant attacks on the Print media (after a press conference where he was asked about an alleged affair with an employee in his office?), the China Press tells Lim Guan Eng to stop blaming the mainstream media. Guan Eng should just stick to his new media if he really believes that they are fairer and more truthful than the print media, it says ..

Expect Guan Eng to repent some, for he can't make enemies of the Chinese Press. Read the China Press article, translated into Bahasa Melayu, h e r e.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Lotus sacks Dany Bahar, makes British PR COO

Inordinate spending: Washington Post compares Dany's sacking to the firing of Merc's CEO

The thing you have to admire about Khamil Jamil is his ability to let someone go. At DRB-Hicom where he reigns, many have left without him shedding a tear. Or so they said. Perhaps you need a cold heart and a firm hand to run a business empire. In any case, the dismissal of Dany Bahar so early under his watch of our national car and its interests proves that Khamil means business.

The press release on the sacking: 
LOTUS APPOINTS CHIEF OPERATING OFFICERConfirms dismissal of Dany Bahar Norfolk, 7 June 2012 - As a result of several media queries, Group Lotus plc (“Lotus” or the “Company”) can today confirm that, Mr Dany Bahar has been terminated from his employment as Chief Executive Officer of Lotus with immediate effect. 
The decision was made by the Board of Group Lotus plc following the results of an investigation into a complaint made against him by the company’s penultimate holding company, DRB-HICOM Berhad.  
The Company today also announced the appointment of Mr Aslam Farikullah as the Company’s Chief Operating Officer with immediate effect. Mr Aslam, aged 51, has over 26 years working experience, most of which was in the automotive industry. He graduated from University of Bath, England with a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Engineering. A British permanent resident, Mr Aslam and his English wife of 27 years have three children aged 26, 22 and 16.  
Dato’ Sri Haji Mohd Khamil Jamil, Group Managing Director of DRB-HICOM Berhad and also Chairman of Lotus said: “I would like to assure you that we remain committed to ensure the ongoing and future business operations of the Lotus Group as we take the Lotus Group to the next level to remain relevant in the global automotive industry. I look forward to bringing mutual benefits to not only DRB-HICOM and PROTON Holdings Berhad but also the Lotus Group and its employees as well as contribute to the growth of the British automotive industry.”

Thursday, June 07, 2012

"Official" Bersih video: Good call, Haniff

Updated: A Question to Mahathir's Daughter. Apanama, in his latest posting, has two B3.0 clippings: one by pro-BN and the other by Pakatan Rakyat. The blogger also has a question for Marina Mahathir  ... Click to read Bersih Facts and Fiction Part 1.

Original Article: 
6/6 Home Ministry sec-gen: Bersih 3.0 video will be released for public viewing after panel headed by Hanif Omar has gone through it/STAR
Bersih 3.0's defining moments. Not from official video.

STEADY, Tun Hanif. I must say that's a good call by the ex-IGP, whose service to the nation right now is as head the probe into the Bersih 3.0 violence. Yes, many would love to watch the So-called official video and see the faces of the ugly Malaysians, the cop-bashers and journo-thrashers. But since an independent panel has been appointed to investigate these and other mot-so-bersih incidents on that day, the video should not be made public now as it could jeopardise the investigations which are being carried out by Tun Haniff's panel.

If Hishammuddin Hussein, the Home Minister, still wants to show the video after the panel has concluded its probe and evaluation, that is his call. The KDN should not feel it has been robbed by the Panel of an opportunity to show to the people the "truth". On the contrary, it ahould thank the Panel for not allowing the video to be made public until adter its investigation Why? Because, I believe, the people have made up their minds about Beraih 3.0 and will not be swayed; they are waiting for is for the Panel to prove that they have been right.

Of course, not everyone will be pleased with the outcome of the Haniff investigation.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Malaysia's not losing its edge

I was reading Is Singapore Losing Its Edge? with great interest not only because Singapore is dear to my memory, having grown up there till military conscription age, but because the Singporeans are getting worried for no good reason. Why I said so? Because it seems to be the trend: countries in the region are losing their competitiveness. Thailand is slipping, the Philippines too and so is Indonesia. The Thais, who dropped three notches to 30th place  (Singapore declined to 4th from its podium finish last year), blame their predicament on corruption and red tape. 

But we - yes, you and I - buck the trend. The Yearbook says Malaysia jumped two places to 14th. 

And you thought we were baaad, right? 

We've got a lot going for us right now, right here in Malaysia. Over dinner with an old pal who's based in India last night, we agreed that Malaysia hasn't lost and is not about to lose its edge. Our politics aren't even half as bad as in India. During Bersih, our police were polite compared with the authorities that deal with demonstrations elsewhere, including in democratic India. "They would get the organisers of pay for the venue and for damages". Tourists are comparing Langkawi to Singapore. 

What we're losing is our sense of perspective. We imagine that perception is more real than the truth. Wake up, people!

Monday, June 04, 2012

The Ultimate Loyalist: Azmin or Anwar?

Award-winning columnist Azmi Anshar's The Ultimate Loyalist leads me to wonder if it isn't Anwar Ibrahim who is the ultimate loyalist, the one who would kill and die for Azmin Ali, instead of the other way round. Especially if it's true about what they said - that even Wan Azizah and Nurul Izzah aren't too fond of Azmin!

Azmi's article makes you think, also, as to: What is Abu Kassim, the MACC boss, going to do about Azmin?

Has Abu Kassim re-opened the files? He must. The MACC is always a bit reluctant investigate the Opposition for fear of being accused of bias. It should stopped being afraid. Don't forget, an investigation could also clear Azmin of the accusations made by former ally RPK. It will also shed light on the real role of Shafee(read the article below) and tell us if, indeed, Anwar had swept more than a few things under the carpet when he was the Deputy PM.

Azmin's convoluted stinkers

ULTIMATE LOYALIST: Azmin can turn whistleblower to all of Anwar's secrets and wealth

Azmi AnsharANOTHER wrangle, another stinker in the convoluted life of Azmin Ali.
If it's not internal political horseplay within the Parti Keadilan Rakyat of which he is the deputy president, it is his role as receptacle to a nifty sleight of hand that led to the cordon breach in an ugly street demonstration.
If it's not allegations of sexual dalliance captured by a spy camera that went viral, it is the dysfunctional family feud with his mother and sister entrapping him. And all these inside the last five months.
Any mortal trapped inside the eye of any of these psychological hurricanes would have been crushed many times over, but Azmin seems resolute and tough despite the soft physique, confronting all hostilities unconvincingly in some, but with head on tenacity, nevertheless.
Now comes the latest, a Category 5-like hurricane, where Azmin and his wife, Shamsidar Taharin, stand accused by Raja Petra Kamaruddin (RPK) of illegally amassing fabulous wealth that betrayed their modest means, courtesy of their devotedly long patronage to disgraced ex-deputy prime minister and Umno deputy president, the PKR supremo and Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
RPK, through a series of A4 documents displayed as images on his news portal, Malaysia Today, quoted a former MACC officer as saying that the then Anti-Corruption Agency had buried Azmin's corruption file when Azmin could have been prosecuted.
Then ACA director-general Datuk Shafee Yahaya stated in an exclusive interview with the New Straits Times that he recommended to Anwar that disciplinary action be taken against (Azmin), following a 1995-97 probe into alleged corruption.
In a nutshell, the NST was told by highly-placed sources that Azmin was investigated for, among others, assets allegedly amassed with wife, Shamsidar, including houses and cars totalling almost RM1.5 million, shares valued at hundreds of thousands of ringgit, and almost RM10 million in cash and cheques that went in and out of both their accounts that had been certified by the banks concerned.
What is discomfiting, at least to Anwar and Azmin, is that the typical indignant reactions by opposition colleagues when their PKR bosses get assailed, has been somewhat muted.
Instead of dismissing RPK's imputations of corruption head on, some are calling Azmin and Anwar to come clean and be measured by the same broom that is being swiped to clear graft.
Intriguingly, the voices that had chimed for Anwar and, to a certain extent, Azmin, the so-called intimate backers and supporters, already have a history of desertion in sensationalistic ceremonies.
But not Azmin, who is sticking by Anwar like stubborn sticky glue -- absolutely nothing will break that steely bond, from the time he was Anwar's confidential secretary in the halcyon 1990s in the higher offices of the Federal Government to Anwar's torrid moments, from the sodomy trials to brutal political assaults from all sides.
Azmin is, undoubtedly in the eyes of supporters and detractors, the ultimate loyalist: so quintessential is he to Anwar's scheming that without this man, Anwar's travails could have flamed out ignominiously a long time ago.
In Azmin, Anwar was gifted the ideal right-hand man -- the executioner of his policies and plans, the keeper of all of Anwar's secrets and wealth, the man who knows where all the bodies are buried and skeletons are hidden.
Azmin's political career blossomed under the tutelage of Anwar, first as his confidential secretary and suggested by that career title, possessing confidential knowledge of Anwar's most intimate details.
In Azmin is where the highly sought paper trail ends. If the MACC is keen on resolving this conundrum, then they should train their investigations on Azmin, which means not just probes into his and his wife's financial affairs (Shamsidar read finance in University of Minnesota), but also subpoenas on bank records and people associated to the duo, including the so-called benefactors and sponsors who provided the generous, if not dubious, largesse.
Azmin and Shamsidar should not be treated as hostiles, only because the evidence they can reveal is extremely valuable. But it would be difficult: Azmin will defend Anwar, even if it means sacrificing himself.
In this sense, the authorities could cut a deal and mollycoddle Azmin and Shamsidar as supreme whistle blowers.
Read more: Facebook Comments - Columnist - New Straits Times