Monday, December 24, 2012

Something about Christmas (Merry Xmas, Malaysians)


I love Christmas, did I tell you? The tree, the snow, Santa, the Christmas movies and the Xmas albums. My favourite for 2012 is Christina Perri's Something About December. She even does Lennon's "So This is Christmas (The War is Over)"!

The tree at Smokehouse, Bangsar
Enjoying Christmas and celebrating it don't make me feel like going to Church or less a Muslim that the Muslim that I am. But wishing you, my dear Readers, a Merry Christmas gets me in a great holiday mood. Holiday from bigots and hypocrites and fools ...

Here's hoping that "our" war will be over soon. Merry Christmas, everybody.

Land for Ngeh proves cronyism is alive and kicking

Nik Aziz (pic by Mkini)
Both Nik Aziz, the PAS spiritual king, and YB Ngeh, the Perak DAP boss, have denied allegations that the 10,000-plus ha land in Kelantan valued at over RM30 million had been "given" to Ngeh in 2008 to "buy" his consent for the appointment of a PAS Menteri Besar for Perak. Ngeh described the accusation "a blatant lie" [Malaysian Insider] and Nik Aziz says land for Ngeh was "not a bribe" [Malaysiakini]. 

We can expect a slew of multi-million ringgit lawsuits to follow, of course, which makes any attempt to dig deeper into the issue very unattractive for bloggers like us. Nevertheless, do read the Malaysiakini's "explanation" carefully. I find that for all the talk against cronyism and nepotism etc, our friends in Pakatan are comfortable giving it to friends and people they know. They may have another name for it but call it what you like, that's CRONYISM.

As for whether YB Nizar's seat was worth the RM30 million, I shall leave it to you dear readers and the already busy courts! But for context, do read

Excerpts from Malaysiakini's article in defence of Nik Aziz and Ngeh & Nga:
The duo, who are cousins, have reportedly denied the allegation but refused to confirm whether they are owners or directors of Upayapadu Plantation. 
Land given to Kelantan Islamic Foundation
In the statement today, Ahmad Fadhli explained that the land located in Relai forest reserve in Gua Musang had been given to the Kelantan Islamic Foundation by the state government on Sept 13, 2000, to be used as a resource to fund the foundation’s operations.
After failing to develop the land through a joint-venture with a company in 2000, the foundation took back the land and cancelled the development, he said.
In May 2006, the foundation leased the land to Upayapadu Plantation, which was then chaired by Wong Yeon Chai, for 50 years at an annual rental of RM100 per acre for rubber plantation and RM150 per acre oil palm plantation.
Ahmad Fadhli said the change of directors and shareholders to Ngeh had been conveyed to the foundation in May this year ...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

AES, full speed ahead (but within speed limits, of course)

For two consecutive weeks, the Cabinet spent a great deal of time discussing the AES. The "review" sessions followed threats by some political extremists to vandalise surveillance cameras aimed at deterring traffic criminals and offenders, some legal doubts and other technicalities.

I have been told by reliable sources that the Cabinet was satisfied that the AES has shown to be a highly effective deterrent, indeed. The number of traffic offences caught on existing cameras have gone down by as much as 80 per cent!

"That, by any standard, is remarkable," said the source.

The Cabinet agreed that new element should be added to the AES, especially now that Malaysians are greatly more aware and generally not averse it (because the system does not affect those who drive according to the traffic laws and regulations).

These elements have been described as "more humane/considerate/Rakyat-friendly/caring.

For details, please wait for an official statement.

So to those who were celebrating the demise of the AES yesterday, too bad. Like I have said, the system is internationally tried and tested and it is good for road users in general, so why fix it? More than 16,000 people have paid their fines and they - together with others who have been issues summonses - are not likely to make the same mistakes. Those rempits are actually stopping when the light turns red!

A lot of things can be improved, of course. Some people expect the JPJ and the operators to get everything right from the word GO. How can? In the UK, where there are said to be some 1.8 million surveillance cameras, the authorities are still being challenged. It will take a little while before the system can be perfected, but the important thing is to get it going full speed ahead and not allowing those extremists to stop or delay it for their cheap political gains.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The AES is not being reviewed

The system stays, prosecution aspects examined. YB Mahfuz Omar was already celebrating "victory" against the AES. My friend Chegubard was claiming credit on behalf of his outfit, SAMM. "We told you so, SAMM did say the government was going to suspend the AES," he said online.

The government, however, is not suspending the AES. Nor is it reviewing the system. The AG has decided to freeze court proceedings related to summonses issued under the AES to study legal concerns raised. Repeat: Concerns on the law and other technicalities.

A decision will be made on these concerns in the next few days. In the meantime, you beat that red light bro, and you will still get a black eye from AES.

Read the Star's story below and following that my comments on why I don't think for a single moment that the authorities will review the system.

The Automated Enforcement System or AES is internationally tried and tested. The AES cameras have helped authorities in the UK, Australia, the US, Singapore and elsewhere discipline motorists and reduce traffic accidents and fatalities (and more). In Malaysia, it is beginning to take effect. The number of summonses issued is down by almost 80 per cent from the time it was introduced. In other words, people are making sure that they don't break the law.

The AES is forcing motorists to respect the traffic laws once again. They are starting to relearn to stop when the traffic light turns red! More than 16,000 people caught by AES cameras for breaking the speed limit and for committing other traffic offences have paid their fines. There is no reason, therefore, for the authorities to suspend a system that is working for the good of the majority of road users.

The NST has more:

"Musa Aman may likely be charged" (Rafizi said ICAC said)

Here's the thing you'd notice right away:  the Hong Kong ICAC did not say if the Sabah Chief Minister may or may not be charged, it is Rafizi Ramli the PKR dude claiming that the ICAC had told him so. There's a big difference there.
"James To memaklumkan kepada delegasi (KeADILan) bahawa ada kemungkinan besar Dato' Seri Musa Aman boleh didakwa atas tuduhan pengubahan wang haram (money laundering) yang undang-undangnya lebih ketat di Hong Kong berbanding di negara-negara lain."
James To is a member of Hong Kong's Bar Council and the naib pengerusi panel keselamatan dan Undang-undang Majlis Perundangan yang bertanggungjawab menyelia ICAC. 

The Hong Kong ICAC did not issue any official statement. James To did not issue any official statement. But Rafizi said James said all that was reported in Harakah in the PAS organ's Monday edition.

I can't imagine the ICAC telling a complainant from Malaysia (who happens to be a member of the Malaysian Opposition party) that the Commission may most likely charge a Malaysian Chief Minister who is the subject of the complaint (and who happens to be the complainant's major enemy) on the strength of the complainant's "bukti-bukti dan dokument". Sounds a little too convenient but that's what Rafizi wants Harakah readers to believe ...

I think he underestimates the Harakah readers' intelligence.

I especially like this part:
"... ICAC memohon kerjasama kami untuk tidak membuat kenyataan lanjut mengenai kes ini mengikut prosedur mereka bagi melindungi kerahsiaan siasatan ... Oleh itu, walaupun ICAC tidak akan mengesahkan secara rasmi bahawa kes ini tidak dibuka semula, kesiriusan dan perhatian yang diberikan mengenai kerahsiaan kes membayangkan bahawa siasatan penuh akan menyusul."
Jeng, jeng, jeng.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

DAP and its Melayus: How they both blew it!

A RACE LOST. Nearly nobody had anything good to say about the 8 Malays who lost in the race to be elected leaders of DAP, a predominantly, traditionally and spiritually Chinese-based party.  I don't have any good word for any of the 8, either.  Of course, I don't like to think that they lost because they are Melayus but because they are not good enough as well. In other words, if they were to contest in Malay-based parties such as Umno, PAS, PKR or even KITA, I don't think they would do any better.

Could the Lims and the other DAP leaders done more to get the members of the party to vote for a Malay or two for the 2013-15 line-up? They could have. And they should have. After all the hype about not being racist or race-based, the DAP failed to take the chance to prove that they really are multiracial and multi religious. The Malays in DAP have lost face and lost yet another battle to turn the party into a movement where they could compete based on merits. But to me the DAP is the bigger loser: it lost a big opportunity to walk that big talk ...

I don't think there will be another one.

Excerpts from the Unspinners:

Keputusan undi DAP ternyata menunjukkan kecondongan rasisma dan calun-calun Melayu semua kecundang. Keputusan yang diperolehi oleh 7 calon melayu dan 1 calon menyamar Melayu adalah berikut:
AHMAD TON - 347, ARIFFIN OMAR- 348, HARUN BIN AHMAD - 28, SULAIMAN SYED IBRAHIM - 98, TENGKU ZULPURI SHAH 121, ZAIRIL KHIR JOHARI - 305, ZULKIFLI MOHD NOOR - 216, dan bakal Melayu yang akan dikuda sebagai MB negeri Sembilan, LT COL (B) ROSELI ABDUL GANI- 39. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

PsST .. it's him again!

Syed Mokhtar hires over 100 CEOs
Puncak Semangat Technology (PST). The five years that Pak Lah was PM, Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary missed quite a bit of clear chances. Because he was "Dr M's crony". One or two projects that were already in the bag had to be given back, also. Nobody complained. SMAB decided to take his name elsewhere where he could compete on merits again. Then Najib Razak became Prime Minister and Syed came back. He competed for every project. When he loses, as in the case of the multi-billion ringgit Bestari (won by YTL Corp), it's ok. When he wins, ah, they get very upset.

Like how unhappy they are now about PST being one of the 8 companies awarded a piece of the 4G cake.

But psst .. here's the thing: PST did not win the thing with PST, which emerged a major winner of the country's 4G spectrum, is not because it was supposed to be linked to SMAB but because it has experts who have a sound plan that will add value to the whole spectrum.

Big Dog has the story, Added Value Beauty Contest.
DAP's Tony Pua is very unhappy H E R E

For some, when experts say Right things, they got to be wrong!

SPOOKED BY ANALYSTS' COMMENTS. If Khalid Ibrahim hadn't made such a big fuss over JP Morgan's latest take on the Malaysian economy, particularly the allegedly pro-BN comments made by the its Equity Director, Mr Mak Hoy Kit, I'm certain most of us would have missed this story in the Star:

Mr Spooked

As expected, Mr Mak became the target of typical hate comments in pro-Pakatan news portals following Khalid's protest here. But as the Star's article pointed out, JP and Mak aren't the only analysts who hold such a view. Last month, another expert was attributed saying these:

I count FOUR analyst firms saying more or less the same thing but expect Khalid to get his friends to come up with their own views to counter the equity experts' opinions. The Selangor is known to do such things, eg calling in KPMG to rule that Selangor's controversial Talam deal was "above board".

Thursday, December 13, 2012

From Lynas to Khalwat for non-Muslims

If the latest editorial in Sin Chew is anything to go by, PAS-for-All proponents have something to think hard about: non-Muslims' sentiment towards the arrest of four non-Muslims in Kelantan recently for "indecent behavior" has reached toxic levels; in fact, it is mentioned in the same breath - almost - with Lynas! That had been unthinkable before this. And then there's that ruling about who can cut whose hair in Pakatan's more Islamic territories ...

Read the editorial Cakap Yang Tak Boleh Dipercayai (Lynas and Khalwat for non-Muslims).

Monday, December 10, 2012

Robert Phang's Statutory Declaration

Updated 11/12Musa-Gate: Rocky's Bru-ing Wrong by Straight Talk  For someone who takes offence at being called Pakatan's Khoo Kay Peng Khoo Kay Peng is oddly at ease about labelling other people. Musa Hassan, for example, is "a well known henchman of the Umno regime". He's got some adjectives for me, too, but nothing original. Khoo does have an interesting theory about what Musa Hassan could be up to, so do read his thoughts. 
10/12: Musa Hassan says Robert Phang offered himself to be his adviser when he was the IGP. "Why do I need an adviser when I could still think for myself?" Musa told a press conference this afternoon. The Mole has the story in Musa to Phang: Apologise in three days or face lawsuit.
Read also Big Dog's piece, Musa: Ramli is the "White Knight" of PDRM

Original article:

Robert Phang
We have witnessed the writing of quite a few memorable statutory declarations in the last decade or so: RPK's on how Rosmah Mansor was personally involved in C4-ing Altantuya, PI Bala's SD that contradicted PI Bala's SD, the SD by VK Lingam's brother against VK Lingam ... 
Robert Phang's SD, in my opinion, joins this special group primarily because of who he was (a member of the MACC) and who the SD is aimed at (the MACC).
I don't know about you guys but when he received the letter from Rosli Dahlan, Tan Sri Phang should have lodged a report to the authorities to protect his own reputation. He did not do this and this has raised a kind of curiosity - in my mind, of course - as to what his relationship with Rosli Dahlan actually was.  
Was he compromised/Did he compromise his position by personally trying (promising?) to help a person that was being investigated by the police and the MACC? Were there minutes of his conversation with Abu Kassim on the matter or was it a private conversation?  
Abu Kassim, MACC chief
The SD connects a lot of big players: Rosli Dahlan was the lawyer of former Director of Commercial Crimes Ramli Yusof on more occasions than one. The two were classmates at UIA and Ramli, by Rosli's own admission, was perceived to be an Anwar Ibrahim supporter. Ramli and Robert Phang were in the news recently, both attacking former IGP Musa Hassan. Musa and Ramli are what I called sworn enemies. Rosli is suing a string of people, including the Malaysian Government. Robert Phang quit the MACC after blogs accused him of trying to bribe the former Home Ministry's secretary-general, which he had denied vehemently. The other dude whom he named in the SD - the Attorney-General Gani Patail - can be linked to all the above. 
Robert Phang's SD is not a coincidence. It was calculated. But to do what? 

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Focus Malaysia

Updates: My friends Toh Lye Huat and Charles Raj, the deputy EICs of Focus, can expect some major complaints on their inaugural issue. Their article RM1 b fuel card fraud (pg 14) is pitting Shell against the authorities, basically making all of them look like fools. More seriously, the piece on DRB-Hicom gets Audi blow (page 20), quoting sources, is seriously flawed, according to my sources. The article says distributor Euromobil may lose rights in Malaysia because Audi "is "unhappy with the performance of the DRB subsidiary for not delivering the targeted numbers ...". Well, let me tell you, a lot of people will be wagging their tongues. Many would be too happy to take Euromobil's place, if the story is true. But if the story is not true, the new mag's critics and rivals will be too happy to tsk tsk at the sloppy reporting ..

Holy cow! Tong's the Edge set to get a run for its money
Halim Saad the "White Knight", Syed Mokhtar viewed in a better light (and deservingly) and a lovely Poo with shapely acumen ... Focus Malaysia, the new weekly business magazine that has its guns aimed directly at The Edge, the hugely successful weekly owned by Anwar's pal Tong, is making a great first impression.

Chermaine Poo
The people behind Focus Malaysia have "deep pockets", I was told by a leading advertising industry man. How deep? "RM200 million deep". Deep indeed, if that is so.

Editor-in-chief Chong Cheng Hai, in his first editorial, says there is a shortfall in rational, authoritative and holistic articles out there.

"Our job is to provide clarity to readers long deprived of factual, non-partisan and apolitical news and views. We vow to do so without malice. And we promise to be free*, faithful. fearless and fair in our reporting". 

Comeback kid Halim Saad?

Syed Mokhdar: Usually painted by the other mag as bad or ugly

* The first edition of Focus Malaysia is "free" as in compimentary but I don't think Cheng Hai means MF will be given out free forever .. 

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Lynas: A report by the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining

"Much has been achieved by Malaysia in its development path and as with any industry from palm oil plantations to oil extraction to mineral process, there are trade-offs." - Bernadetta Devi, Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining

Politically radioactive. In Reconciling with Rare Earths in Malaysia, we learn that the demand for rare earths is likely to grow dramatically in coming years. In the US, they have even revived a rare earth mine in California to meet global demand. 

The author says Malaysia can lead the way and showcase "how a modern processing facility can be effectively managed to minimize risk'. But what's lacking is "constructive engagement between civil society and industry'. 

What the author hasn't touched on is the political radiation inflicted on the parties involved in the Gebeng facility. And just as well, too, because this is not unique to Lynas. Political poison is released on about every major project, from AES to the latest skyscraper. 

Whether you are anti or pro-Lynas, please read the article featured in the National Geographic's newswatch, 

Friday, December 07, 2012

Buy Brutish Last: Say No to Thug Politics

UPDATES: For "Anwar wants Musa Hassan to join PKR, not PAS" and other revelations, please read Former IGP bombarded with questions of the past featuring bloggers from Gelagat Anwar to former Information Minister Zainudin Maidin.

Original article:

"... massive problems can occur when it is understood that a change of leadership can be done via a revolution." - Musa Hassan

Those who were hoping that the ex-IGP would continue to slam politicians in the ruling Government were absolutely disappointed yesterday. The Tan Sri stuck to the forum's topic and whacked all political gangsters. Not too far from where the forum was held, a prominent Selangor politician was threatening to dismantle traffic cameras in the state in a blatant display of power, something Malaysians have been seeing a bit too often lately.

Real also; "Tak perlu reformasi kalau nak demokratik ..." - Musa against street demonstrations: Akta Perhimpunan 2012 boleh cetus hura-hara

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Stealthily, Malaysia Airports get new directors

Azman Mokhtar's Khazanah Nasional has brought into Malaysia Airports a couple of new directors, fuelling suspicion of yet another attempt to push out president and group CEO Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad. If there's really, absolutely nobody from Malaysia Airports who is good enough to lead Malaysia Airports, surely we must consider Khazanah's longstanding dream of bringing in an outsider to helm the GLC. But, please lah, the candidate must have a good track record.

Plus, I am sure Bashir has a succession plan. If he doesn't have one by now, damn!

Ramli Yusof vs Musa Hassan:

When a well-off ex-police officer is given free rein to demonize a former Inspector General of Police, you get that sinking feeling. Some of you probably still remember the feeling, despite our mudah lupa nature, when just months after Tun Mahathir stepped down as PM, his successor's "men" started to systematically demonize the statesman. Are the rogues taking over?

In a way, the source of the Musa Hassan's predicament is quite similar with Mahathir's: both find that their respective successors to be a pain in the butt! Or, rather, the people who surrounded their successors.

Ramli Yusof is a cop who's done well for himself but there's no love lost between him and Tan Sri Musa. How well has he done for himself? Big Dog has the details in his latest posting Taxman Cometh.   I hope The Malaysian Insider will verify those information, seeing that the portal is very keen to promote free speech against our ex-IGP.

As for Musa Hassan, I was told that he remains frugal and simple, half his pensions gone to mortgage on the house he lives in. Apparently he lacks the financial acumen.

Updated: Bujai, otherwise a strong critic of Hishammuddin Hussein, is of the opinion that Hisham has the right as Home Minister to "meddle" with police affairs. But, erm, Bujai's quoting Rais Yatim ...

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Confessions of a Pakatan Speaker

Power crazy Pakatan Rakyat politicians? Let's hear it from them ...!

Pakatan states 'have failed in legislative reform'

Almost five years after forming the state government in four states, Pakatan Rakyat has failed to reform the institution of the legislature, according to Selangor speaker Teng Chang Khim.

Teng attributed this to the refusal of politicians, who exert control over the Executive, to give up their powers.

NONEHe also said there was lack of political will for reform to make the legislative assemblies independent of state governments.

“If I were to set up a KPI (key performance index), it would show that Pakatan has failed in this respect,” Teng (left) told a forum on parliamentary reform at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall last night.

Teng, who is Sungai Pinang assemblyperson, noted that only the Selangor state assembly has been pro-active.

It has formed three select committees, as well as the Special Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency, to scrutinise the state government’s performance. It has also set up ‘live’ online streaming of sittings.

“We have been talking about this (select committees) for many years, but when we became the government, how many states have implemented this? Only Selangor has done so,” he said.

Teng pointed out that society, too, lacked understanding of the doctrine of separation of powers and failed to pressure politicians holding executive posts to reform the legislature.

“What is the speaker? Nobody pays attention to the speaker, no matter how great he or she is,” he said cynically.

Selangor gov’t found wanting

Teng also said the Selangor government had yet to agree to table the Assembly Service Commission Enactment Bill 2009 - which he had drafted - for passage through the state assembly.

NONEThe enactment would have made the state assembly fully independent of the Executive in terms of resources and funds, as is the practice in other Commonwealth countries that have a “remarkable” legislature.

“The separation of powers is about sharing of power, but it is not happening here. Before we came into power, we had said it loud and clear that we would do so,” he added.

“But afterwards, we are not willing to let go of power... When you change your position, you change your mindset as well.”