Still an InSyeder. As a blogger, the year 2013 ends on a cool note knowing that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has re-appointed fellow cyber scribe Syed Akbar Ali as a member of one of its panels. Despite his sometimes harsh criticism of the Prime Minister, the author who runs the popular OutSyed The Box blog has agreed to advise and help our anti-graft men and women as one of the 11 members of the PPPR panel. Syed was first appointed to the panel in 2011 (pls see my posting then Wanted by the MACC: Syed Akbar Ali).
Najib Razak handed the appointment letters to the 25 chosen ones at a closed-door do recently. I was told Syed Akbar could not attend the swearing-in; otherwise, he might have been able to discuss some of the subjects of his criticism with the PM.
I wish Syed and the others all the best, assured in the knowledge that they will serve without fear or favour.
Members of the three panels (new appointees are in bold):
1- Bekas Hakim Mahkamah Rayuan, Dato’ Haji Mohd Noor Abdullah (Chairman)
2- Datuk Muhammad Mohd Noor,
3- Dato Wan Abdul Wahab Abdullah,
4- Ravindran V. Muthu
5- Datuk Amar Wilson Baya Dandot.
6- Datuk Amar Wilson
Operations Review Panel
1- Tan Sri Datuk Dr. Hadenan Abdul Jalil (Chairman)
The A.S.P.I.R.E.S protest won't be anywhere near as potentially explosive - pun intended- as tomorrow's proposed rally to topple the government [see the link to the Mole story above] but it will be more definitive for the future of this country. And that's why I will take part in the parent protest. I'm not going to be there to burn down the country or thumb my nose at Abang Din the DPM and Education Minister ... I am there to gently persuade this government that it must resist the pressure from those moronic so-called pejuang bahasa and do right by our children. If we don't do anything, PPSMI will cease to be in 2016.
I read somewhere that the PKR sec-gen had denied the story and purportedly told someone that it belonged to one Rahim Ghouse (Saifudin kata banglo di Australia milik Rahim Ghouse?). Not many of today's young Malaysians know who Mr Ghouse is. Ask Anwar Ibrahim, he'd probably remember who Ghouse is and how/where he got all that money.
In any case, here's the house that was supposed to belong to Rahim Ghouse after Saifuddin denied it was his. Slightly cheaper than stepson's purported Big Apple pad:
Back in March 2009, this very blog posted From Perth to Ottawa about one of the most expensive homes in Ottawa belonging to a Jamilah, the daughter of Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud, and her Canadian husband.
You've got to admit, this is one beautiful home:
And then there's the famous home in Mosman Parkoverlooking the unforgettable bay in Perth. First thought to belong to former Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, it was later revealed by a close relative that the house, which was said to cost some A$10 million, actually belonged to Kamaluddin Abdullah, the son.
Never mind the house, one will be mesmerised all day by the view:
PKR's Tian Chua was quick to call on the MACC to investigate Riza's condo in New York. I'm not sure if the MACC could, should or would do that, but a politician half as sleek as Tian Chua would know that the call itself is enough to build the perception that corruption is somehow involved in the purchase of the apartment. Never mind if Riza is not Najib's son; he is Rosmah's and that's more than enough to end 2013 on a juicy note for some people!
Updated, 28 Dec:
Last year's news. Forgot to let Tian Chua know in my original posting that this Big Apple condo "expose" by Sarawak Report had actually been exposed in December last year (twenty twelve) by celebrity photographer Kee Hua Chee, who even explained how Riza Aziz made his money. Nobody paid too much attention back then, for some reason.
Read Kee Hua Chee's Dec 13 last year (2012) posting h e r e. Even throws in an interview with Riza and his business partner Joey McFarland on the making of the US$100 million Wolf of Wall Street starring Leonardo DiCaprio and the duo's company Red Granite.
Notes by an Anon for Rafizi via HishamH'scomment box, 27 Dec:
1) The selling of govt assets has been going on for decades2) from 1990 -2009, the then Malaysian govt has sold more assets (% revenue) than the current Malaysian govt3) Finance Ministers from 1990 - 2009 = Tun Daim, Dato' Sri Anwar, Tun M & Pak Lah4) In mid 90s, Malaysia experienced budget surplus. so, based on rafizi's logic, did Anwar also use sale of national assets to manage budget deficit/surplus?
Response by Hisham H to Anon:
@anon 7.40 Thanks for pointing that out. It's an obvious point, but I left it out lest I be accused of playing politics.
Lesson #? Perhaps the blogger who had called Rafizi Ramli a "fraud" (for claiming that the Government was selling and securitising its assets to try and mind its budget gap and meet its deficit target) was a little emotional and wasn't so neutral, politically.
But this guy HishamH, the dood who runs the Economics Malaysia blog, you can't accuse him of either. Yet even he finds the notion Rafizi's selling "plain silly". Excerpts for his latest posting Debt, Deficits and Government Assets:
"... since 2007, use of assets has never exceeded 2% of government revenue. Even going by the numbers being quoted in the article, we'r enot talking about much more than 2% or revenue.
"Want to know what the current situation is? Up to 3Q2013, total sale of assets is negative RM66.6 million. In other words, there hasn’t been a net sale of assets so far this year. There were net sales of assets in 1Q2013 of RM8.98b, but that was more than offset by asset purchases in 2Q2013 and 3Q2013."
Learn more h e r e.
p.s. Wonder if he'll ever learn
"... given the possible life and death nature of emergency services, MARAH calls upon MERS 999 to stop misleading the public that it is a two-step process and to publish a clarification immediately." - MARAH
You'd think that Dave Avran, the founder of citizens' crime-busting initiativeM.A.R.A.H., would be thrilled with MERS 999, the government's initiative to assist victims of crime. But, nope, he isn't at all; on the contrary, he is bloody put off by MERS 999. He thinks MERS 999, developed by the Communication and Multimedia Ministry at a cost of nearly RM1 billion - yes, ONE BILLION RINGGIT* - is daylight robbery!
Avran has done two postings on the matter. Excerpts from his first posting:
SaveMe999, developed at a cost of almost RM1 billion and launched on Sept 9, is currently solely reserved for disabled persons, who need to register with their Welfare Department registration number.
This is very distressing news indeed. What do we do in the meantime when there is no direct link to PDRM?The current MERS999 emergency hotline is administered by Telekom and precious minutes are wasted by the operator’s vetting process before they decide to connect you to PDRM, Hospital, Bomba or National Defence, where the caller will again have to go through another verification process by giving name, identification number, address and nature of emergency.Not exactly the experience we would want to have to go through when we are in a distraught and panicky state.
Quoting the latest Auditor-General's report, Avran said some 32 per cent of emergency calls made to MERS 999 had gone unanswered between Jan and Aug 2012.
That works out to roughly 7.6 million unanswered calls!
It's hard to disagree with Dave when he says:
"Even if only a minuscule 1% of these emergency calls were a life and death situation, the repercussions are truly alarming ..."
In his second posting dated Dec 22, Avran reproduced a press statement issued by MARAH against MERS 999 for "misleading the public" with its newspaper advertisement. He also challenged the wisdom of using the traditional voice call method when an existing mobile app (recently ditched allegedly to make way for MERS 999 and SaveMe999) had proven to be easier and hell of a lot cheaper.
"I would like to draw your attention to the half page color advertisement on page 28 (Nation) of the Star daily newspaper dated 21st December 2013. A copy of the ad is posted above for your easy reference. "This advertisement falsely implies that it is a two-step process to dial 999 and seek assistance in an emergency. This is in direct conflict with its own websitewww.999.gov.my which clearly states five steps ...
Updated and uploaded: Sin, sin, sin. With a little help from some friends, we're able to put up the two other clippings which we shall tag SIN 2 and SIN 3, below. SIN 1 is under Original Posting. The blogger Big Dog has the accompanying stories for all three SINS h e r e.
ORIGINAL POSTING Siaran Tergendala Dear Readers: Please bear with us while we try to fix the video clippings that Santarina dropped in our letterbox this morning, thank you.
When in Malaysia, say no to RASUAH. I've got friends and relatives in Singapore, and I'd like to wish them Merry X'mas and a Happy New Year. As many of them come over to this side for makan, holiday, and work during the holidays, please remember: don't do what you won't do back in your own country. Do not - I repeat - try to bribe our officers. If you'd heard that you boleh cerita with our cops, enforcement officers, customs, etc. to get yourself out of trouble by using your mighty Sing dollar, you have not been updating yourselves.
Some tips: If you have broken the law because you are not aware of our laws, just apologize profusely and stay charming and courteous at all times. If you're not lucky, you'll have to pay a fine.
Malaysian officers can be very understanding and are believer in second chances, but not if you try to sogok, tumbuk rusok, bribe or buy them like these fellas in the following clippings:
p.s. I wonder if these dudes have been bribing their way out of trouble back in Singapore. The authorities over there may want to check them out
X'mas 2013. Each year during Christmas a group of us would get together at a friend's place in Damansara to be merry. The same old Christmas tree would be there in the living room and the kids would swap cheap gifts while the grown-ups happily trade gossips. This year, however, I must give this annual ritual a miss. Y'see this is the first time I have a varsity-going kid and he's come back for a Christmas break and so we're going to get together to do our own thing, starting with turkey brunch, and singing "So this is Christmas ..." as sung by Christian Perri because the kids have no idea (yet) who Lennon was and what war he was going on about.
It's a time to be merry, not for fussing or fighting, so to all Malaysians, especially our Christian brothers and sisters, we wish you a Merry Christmas!
(Y.B.) (literally "The Honourable") is the style of Members of Parliament and state Legislative Assemblymen ...
Yang Berbohong means "The Liar". Sounds like the title of a movie but, I assure you, not to the people who run the Ulu Kelang Recreational Club and residents in the area whose only football field were seized form them by the local council on the directive of the Selangor state government, almost right after the general election. My heart is with the UKRC folks who for decades have kept and maintained the field and fought against developers and politicians who tried to take over in the name of development.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year guys, and may the force be with you always.
Santa probably left the following clipping in the letterbox of the blogger Apanama:
I didn't hear how much SMAB paid for the stake but he's not known for making bad investments. The newspaper industry in Malaysia is death-defying; while dailies in most other countries suffer from dwindling sales (many have had to close shop, citing the Internet challenge), the local industry has actually grown in spite (or because) of the new/social media. This year alone, several new titles have debuted, including the Weekend Runner, business weekly Focus, and of course The Heat, which was last week suspended indefinitely for offending the conditions attached to its KDN (publishing permit).
Net worth US$2.7 b as of March 2013, says Forbes
Knowing Syed Mokhtar, I don't think he will stop with the Reserve. And why should he?
The boy and the man. This picture shows the Chief Minister of Melaka Idris Haron with an old "hallowed" photograph. "It reminds me to be humble," he tells the Star columnist Jocelyn Tan. Find out why the black-and-white is so keramat for Idris, who recently came under fire from some quarters for a blunder thatn nearly got some trainee commandos and their trainers being awarded with the Pingat Gagah Berani for getting lost at sea, h e r e.
p.s. I don't think Apanama and the other critics are going to change his mind about Idris too readily, though. We all have seen too many "humble" politicians turned into monsters after having tasted power.
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.
In the latest issue of Fast Bikes, I spotted this news about Tony Fernandes and Din Meranun planning to make this wild-looking bike show in this picture. I tell you, if the bike works as great as it looks, a lot of Malaysians are going to let bygones be ...
Same goes with the newly-elected duo at MCA. If new president Liow Tiong Lai and his deputy Wee Ka Siong can show the world that they can work together, the party should be off to a great new year and many will be more than willing to let bygones be.
I've not had the chance to know Wee better (Annie says h e r e he's a tad arrogant) but Liow I have known for more than two decades, from when he was the Press Secretary to the then Human Resources Minister, Lim Ah Lek. The last time I met Liow in Bentong on nominations day before PRU13, Liow was as he'd always been - unassuming, hardworking, and seemingly anxious about what the next moment would bring. What I still like most about Liow is the fact that he is moderate in his ways as well as his views. Which I think will go a long way in helping bring back the old spirit of the Umno-MCA potent partnership ...
Most importantly, Liow can always seek guidance from Ah Lek, who is a fine gentleman, an incorruptible Malaysian and, to a lot of people, probably the best president MCA never had.
"Rafizi ni tak paham securitisation langsung lah tu, which involved sale and securitisation of rights to receive future $..... Dia ni ingat Govt 'mortgaged" assets in its true sense kot, macam kat UK which used the term mortgage loosely in the situation where kita ambil loan to finance our house purchase, or remortgage (to release some equity therefrom)."
".. we need people like you to argue with people like rafizi. all this while they have misled the people with half truths or outright lies"
".. the news portal as big as the malay mail should have financial experts to advise them b4 publishing stupid news like this.. "
Like they say, you can't fool all the people all the time. Thanks to SatD, we now know that
Rafizi Ramli, whose real-world job experience is limited to a brief stint with Petronas, doesn't know anywhere as much as he likes people to believe.
From violent street protests ... This clipping is from a Jan 2007 protest in Puchong organized by the Opposition, the year before Pakatan Rakyat seized Selangor from the BN.
... to token, boardroom resistance.
"We hope this matter can be discussed at the board meetings of the companies." - Khalid Ibrahim, Selangor Menteri Besar, nearly 7 years on
I'm guessing a lot of people didn't know that the Selangor government had shares in three toll concessionaires, namely LDP, Kesas and Sprint. I just found out about it, too. No wonder lah the toll issue wasn't turned into too big a deal by Pakatan's politicians, especially those governing Selangor, during the last General Election. Before 2008 when they were the Opposition, the same politicians would stare the cops in the eye and go to jail to oppose not only the increase in toll rates but the idea of toll itself.
Now, Selangor MB Khalid Ibrahim says he will instruct the state's business arms PKNS and Kumpulan Perangsang, who are substantial minority shareholders in the 3 concessionaires, to resist further toll increases from next year when the companies bring the matter up. He is quick to cleverly add, though, that the directors concession companies will have a final say, meaning to say the state's business arms should not be blamed .. [Pakatan and Toll: From violent protests to token resistence].
"We feel that the returns to PKNS are good enough and do not have to be increased through toll hikes. We do not have to take advantage to reap more profits just because" ... wait for it ... drum roll ... here it comes ... "the federal governmnent failed to ensure a good cash flow".
In other words, the MB is saying that the state government did, indeed, "take advantage to reap more profits" since 2008.
The blogger SatD hisses at the sheer hypocrisy of the Pakatan's state government in Selangor. Read his The
I think since the Pakatan politcians won't be going to the streets to protest against their own involvement in the toll concessions, perhaps the BN chaps can assume that role. Maybe Khairul Azwan Harun would like to take the lead and show that he meant what he said (h e r e) about toll when bashing up AWO based on an erroneous pro-Opposition portal's news article the other day ...
After all, even pro-government dailies like the Star and Utusan Malaysia are taking up the mantle!
Wed, 18/12/13 - Tan Sri Gani Patail, the Attorney-General, more or less says it h e r e: he hasn't a foreign bank account, not in Hong Kong nor anywhere else in this world.
"No need for (Rafizi) to trouble himself. What he needs to do now is just come and meet me and I will issue the authorisation letter to facilitate him in checking my accounts in Hong Kong, if there is one," (Gani) said when met by reporters after he delivered a talk entitled "The Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA)" here today.
He said Hong Kong also had a similar set up like Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) and Rafizi could carry out the search without much hassle.
"If there is one (bank account), its must be a miracle."
Rafizi ... If AG is found to be clean,
Shafee must apologize. Howzat?
Rafizi Ramli says he is not stupid but after his latest antics on the alleged wrongdoing of the Attorney General, I'm not taking his word for it.
Yesterday, the PKR strategic director bragged about turning over Gani Patail, the AG, to the ICAC as if the Hong Kong graft busters come under his boss Anwar Ibrahim's personal ambit. But today, after the AG told Rafizi he may look at his accounts in HK or anywhere in the world, Rafizi is suddenly not so gung-ho.
I suspect Rafizi has just found out that Gani may actually not have any foreign bank account, unlike some people do. It could also have something to do with the AG's promise to take legal action against those accusing him of treason, ie deliberately losing Pulau Batu Putih to Singapore at the ICJ in 2007 in exchange for money.
Either way, it is clear that Rafizi, despite his bravado, isn't ready not to face the music if in the end there's no wrong-doing on the part of the AG.
Read the article by fz.com (the same one in which Rafizi declares "I am not stupid" and "I don't want to be used as a pawn to clear [Gani's] name' -- Rafizi IS preparing to pass the buck to Shafee Abdullah or/and Mat Zain already!
Shafee: Me apologize to AG? Howzat again?
Rafizi also said that if after the scrutiny, there was no misconduct found, lawyer Tan Sri Shafee Abdullahwill have to apologise over his comments.
Mat Zain in his statutory declaration claimed Abdul Gani had deliberately lost Malaysia's attempt to claim Batu Puteh against Singapore in the 2007 case before ICJ.
(Mat Zain) quoted Shafee's statement that money was transferred to Abdul Gani’s accounts in Hong Kong to lose the case. Shafee however has denied the statement.
Updates: It's pleasing to note that on Facebook and Twitter, people are making one another aware of the gross misreporting by The Malaysian Insider.Tai Zee Kin, for one, says TMI should apologize to AWO for the "unforgivable misquote". On blogosphere, ABITW writes No toll hike, but cost saving planned. That's good news, no?
Original posting: The Sensitive Kind. If you had watched the news last night, you'd know that Abdul Wahid Omar DID NOT say this (as misreported by The Malaysian Insider yesterday):
Now, what did AWO actually say? The Minister was asked the question yesterday afternoon, after the ETP progam at PICC in Putrajaya, about FUTURE tolled road concessions to be given out, NOT EXISTING tolled roads which are already bound by existing concession agreements.
Calling Rafizi's bluff. News overdrive on Rafizi Ramli in the pro-Opposition news portals, all hailing his heroic pledge to refer Attorney-General Gani Patail to the anti-graft commission - not our own well-regarded Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission but the one in Hong Kong! Rafizi claims he's turning to Hong Kong because the Malaysian authorities weren't responding quickly enough to a Statutory Declaration made by former CID chief Mohd Zain Ibrahim (read about the filthy rich ex-cophere).
Rafizi .. Look Hong Kong Policy
“They have the authority and power to investigate any financial transactions into Hong Kong if there is reasonable ground to believe that the money was a part of corruption,.
"We need to compile to provide some information to Hong Kong authority which we will do within the next few days. (Then), I will wait for their response.” - Rafizi
The press release the AG issued to Bernama in response to Rafizi:
Dakwaan Tidak Berasas Berkaitan Isu Tuntutan Bertindih Pulau Batu Putih
Saya mengikuti laporan media sejak kebelakangan ini termasuk yang terbaru dikeluarkan oleh Pengarah Strategik PKR, YB Rafizi Ramli, hari ini.
Gani ... Super transparent
Saya sedia memberi surat kuasa atau autoriti kepada YB Rafizi jika beliau mahu memeriksa akaun bank di mana-mana negara termasuk di Hong Kong, kononnya berjuta-juta dolar telah dimasukkan ke atas nama saya sebagai wang sogokan berkaitan tuntutan bertindih Pulau Batu Putih di Mahkamah Keadilan Antarabangsa (ICJ).
YB Rafizi boleh datang ke pejabat saya bila-bila masa untuk mendapatkan surat kuasa jika mahu memeriksa akaun bank atau di mana-mana institusi kewangan di mana-mana negara.
Saya juga menafikan dengan keras dakwaan yang disebarkan ke atas saya sejak sebulan yang lalu, dan saya tidak teragak-agak untuk mengambil tindakan ke atas semua yang terbabit menyebarkan dakwaan tidak berasas sama sekali ke atas saya.
Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail
Peguam Negara Malaysia
16 Disember 2013
p.s. Rafizi had gallantly told the portals that he would give himself until Wednesday to gather all the necessary information on Gani for the Hong Kong authorities. But with the AG's invitation for him to come to his office in Putrajaya and get theLetter of Authorityto examine his bank accounts, the PKR MP need not wait till Wednesday.
Unless, of course, he's really just bluffing ...
I have a feeling we are about to find out very soon!
There are many Honda worshipers in Malaysia. If you happen to be one but have no love for your own national car, my condolences. Because the collaboration between the two must have left you quite disenchanted aka peeved. But if you, like me, believe in Proton and at the same time admire the Honda, and can see their synergies, then the prospects from this kerjasama should excite you. Especially if you know that this Perdana (pic), which is an Accord rebadged as a Proton, is NOT their only or last project together.
In fact, this Perdana is a "prelude" (remember Honda's iconic model?) to an all-new, all-Proton, based on Accord platform, Perdana by 2015. Also on the cards are data, tech and inventory sharing, a Honda-Proton smaller car, and the introduction of an all-Malaysian, all-Petronas engine in future cars made by Proton-Honda, which may include hybrids.
Honda Prelude: My ex-dream car
As for the rebadged Perdana launched on 11.12.13, it is an awfully awesome car. We were told at a briefing in Shah Alam last Friday that there are 17 changes made to the Accord, mostly - but not all - cosmetics. On the 2.0L version, for example, the Perdana is fitted with FOUR airbags instead of the original Accord's TWO (this Volvo-like obsession in safety aspects is something Proton will emphasize in future cars). I especially like the Proton DNA on the front end - handsomer than the Accord, IMHO. Under that hood, no changes made - it's Honda engine, tech and reliability down to the last nut and bolt. Even the H.O.N.D.A inscription on the engine block is left untouched.
My only gripe is the fact that it is meant ONLY for the Government. ie it will not be offered to members of the public who believe in Proton and admire Honda. Unfair and illogical. I was driving the Perdana for years (after the Saga, the Aeroback, and the Wira) before it was stolen from in front of the house. I have been waiting for a Perdana replacement ever since. Proton and Honda should consider offering it to the public (at Proton prices, of course).
The national car manufacturer is making some 3,000 units and they are meant for senior civil servants, deputy ministers, Cabinet Ministers plus 3 specially made stretched version for the PM, the DPM and Proton Adviser Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The "real" Perdana will be launched end 2015 or early 2016. I, for one, will start saving up for that turning point.
They say the past has a way of catching up with us. Kamaluddin, son of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, may be about to find out how much of his past - when daddy was Prime Minister of Malaysia - will be unearthed. The Deals that Kamaludin pulled could be just the tip of an iceberg, the blogger SatD says. "I will not speculate any further on the matter ... best to hear what the SPRM or the Securities Commission have to say about it."
Legend had it that Kamal - not the two or three other "K"s in Pak Lah's kitchen Cabinet - was the real taikor, the one everyone bowed and listened to back then. Perhaps we're about to know for sure.
But like SatD says, won't happen if the SC and our anti-graft boys don't feel like moving their butts ...
Updates:: YB Wee Choo Keong's takeh e r eis spicy, where names like Azman Yahya and Omar Ong are featured as well ..
Mandela, Mahathir, Haniff, AsH, and the Malaysian Insider. In his latest column in the NST, Shamsul Akmar reminds Malaysians of how Nelson Mandela had sought Dr Mahathir Mohamad's views on implementing the affirmative action ala NEP to help end Apartheid policies in South Africa. And in continuing where Tun Haniff Omar and the blogger Anak Si-Hamid had left off, Shamsul bashes up the editors at The Malaysian Insider:
"Probably the remarks by the former IGP had stung so much that in its eagerness to mock and debunk Hanif, the Malaysian Insider, when getting on its high horse, forgot about the number of apologies that it had to dish out for gross misreporting, if not outright lies. By any standards, the number of apologies from it in its few years of existence makes the traditional media, which had existed for decades, look like novices in the misreporting department."
Read Shamsul's Apartheid is about MINORITY supremacy, republished by The Mole h e r e.
If davidlee52 is calling Malaysia an Apartheid country, where one dominant non-indigenous group, the Chinese (like the whites in South Africa), control and hold the reins of wealth - then there is Apartheid in Malaysia! - Anak Si-Hamid in Perfidy (Dec 8)
In fact, Anak Si-Hamid writes, going by this twisted definition of Apartheid, there would be two other countries in Southeast Asia - Indonesia and the Philippines - where one dominant non-indigenous group control most of the wealth. AsH was responding to a comment left by "an ex-Malaysian Chinese living in England for most part of his life, davidlee52 of Swanscombe, who was first to leave a comment under the UK Daily Mail article Nelson Mandela is dead at 95.
Click to enlarge the screenshot:
This is not the first time some idiot accuses Malaysia of Apartheid. I have refused to publish such comments on my blog for sometime now because they are just so ...idiotic. It's a shame that these commenters, like davidless52, could find a new home in the online pages of the British media.
In a related development, reading news reports on Mandela's memorial service, you'd be tempted to believe the great man was America's great friend, and vice-versa (World leaders pay tribute ...). History remembers differently. As Nicholas Kristof writes in the NYT (Mandela Lives, Dec 5) ...
When Mandela was behind bars and most needed help, much of the world was mute. Dick Cheney even voted against a 1986 House Resolution calling on South Africa to release Mandela.
Najib Razak's account on how his beloved wife had helped him in two instances involving Malaysians abroad during the Arab Spring of 2011 has sent some critics through the roof. Chief among them was my ex-boss A. Kadir Jasin. His sarcasm-laden posting Antara Cinta dan Jasa* has gone viral, quoted freely and gleefully by friends and foes from The Malaysian Insider to OutSyed The Box.
And once she has been made Minister, Najib may want to "re-evaluate" some members of his Cabinet, including Foreign Minister Anifah Aman. "... clearly (Anifah) is not as effective as Rosmah in settling international crises," Kadir adds.
Before he flew off to Europe for an official trip last night, Anifah shared some his thoughts with me on the matter.
This was what he told me, more or less:
Anifah: Life-and-death situation
"My priority was the safety of Malaysians, especially our students.
"It was a life-and-death situation.
"We needed to evacuate and we needed to do it speedily, with the least hassle.
"I was in close contact with my counterparts (in Egypt and Saudi) throughout, to process the evacuation.
"The PM's wife had connections that I knew could help in a big way, especially under those circumstances.
"Why shouldn't she use those connections?
"And why shouldn't Wisma Putra accept help ?
"It was a life-and-death situation. As the Foreign Minister I would accept anyone's help, anyone at all, if it would ensure the safety of our people ...".
Anifah stressed that in the event of any such crisis in the future, he and Wisma Putra would not hesitate to accept help from anybody and any party if it would help guarantee the safety of fellow Malaysians.
There were more he wanted to say but the Minister had a flight to catch and we promised to pursue the matter.
In the meantime, some articles and pictures from the archives to remind us of the times of crises Anifah and the government were having to deal with when the Arab Spring reached Egypt, killing over 900 people in an 18-day bloody revolution. By any measure, I say Wisma Putra did a brilliant job.
After 30 years in powers, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is the most hated figure in Egypt
Mass riots by Egyptians, demanding Mubarak to end his 30 years rule, dominated the world media headlines.
Well it is not easy to evacuate 11,000 Malaysians in Egypt. However OPS PYRAMID is expected to bring all Malaysians out of Egypt in 4 or 5 days.
The plan is to transport all Malaysians out of Egypt via 5 aircrafts, 3 military aircrafts (C130 transport plane) and 2 commercial aircrafts (a MAS Boeing 747 and an Air Asia Airbus A 340) as well as a Malaysian Navy Ship (Bunga Mas 5).
All those Malaysians will be evacuated from Egypt to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia as transit point before going home to Malaysia.
News source - Bernama The Malaysian national news agency - 3 February 2011.
The first two planes operated by Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia, carrying about 600 Malaysian students from Egypt, are expected to arrive in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia by midnight today, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said.
The Malaysia Airlines plane, a Boeing 747, and the AirAsia Airbus A340 plane left KL International Airport early this morning for Cairo.
"As soon as these planes arrive there, we will arrange to fly out the first batch of Malaysian students and we hope, if everthing goes well, they will arrive in Jeddah by midnight tonight," he told reporters, here today.
Anifah said the three C-130 transport aircraft belonging to the Malaysian air force, which left for Jeddah yesterday, would start flying out Malaysian students out of Egypt tomorrow morning.
"These three aircrafts need to cease from activity for 24 hours before resuming the normal flying activity.
"That's why these planes can only start operating shuttle service tomorrow. Altogether the three Malaysian air force planes could carry up to 750 passengers," he said.
Anifah said the Malaysian embassy in Egypt was working round-the-clock to ensure the mission to bring home Malaysian students from the troubled country, would run smoothly.
He said the situation, particular in the vicinity of the Malaysian embassy office in Egypt, was under control, saying it was located from away from the troubled Tahrir Square in Cairo.
Anifah said he would monitor the situation and the evacuation process very closely in view of the prevailing situation there. -- BERNAMA