Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"Hired killers are Sanjeevan's friends: IGP. Seriously, FMT?

Updated/FMT stands by story:  

We stand by our report

FMT editor in chief K. Kabilan said the FMT report was absed on a question posed to Khalid after his press conference. 
“We reported what he told our journalist. There is no reason for us to manufacture anything here. 
“After the press conference, our journalist had approached Khalid, saying that he wanted to ask one final question. Our journalist had asked if hired killers were involved in the Sanjeevan shooting to which the IGP responded by saying what was reported. 
“We just reported what Khalid told our journalist,” said Kabilan, adding that the IGP was entitled to deny his statement.
Bru's comments:
Kabilan's attempt to defend his reporter is noble - all editors should do that. But his explanation doesn't make sense, all the same.
Logically, if the IGP had info that Sanjeevan's friends were the shooters and wanted that info to be made known to the public, wouldn't he have announced it during the press conference? Why would he give that info to a reporter from a news portal who might have missed his press conference earlier? If that reporter is from the national news agency, maybe I can understand because what Bernama reports will be shared by the subscribers and most newspapers, portals, tv/radio subscribe to Bernama

 Original report:
Screenshot 5.30am, 31/7/13: Despite a clarification, FMT's report stays 
I was taken aback to get a tweet just after buka puasa yesterday about Free Malaysia Today's scoop: the Inspector-General of Police had told the news portal that the people who shot Sri Sanjeevan were the MyWatch chairman's own friends!
The tweets over buka puasa and a tweet to the IGP
Alarm bells in my head went off immediately. Sure, there was talk about the victim's purported links with the underworld and the real role of MyWatch, etc, and of how Sanjeevan had refused to cooperate with the police (that bit is included in the FMT report above), but the IGP saying the shooters were Sanjeevan's own "friends"?! You'd understand if I say that it sounded rather fantastic. 
Thanks to the journo-blogger Apanama, who sent a tweet to the IGP for clarification, and kudos to the IGP for responding to the query, we now know that the FMT's report is, in Apanama's word, "bullshit":
Moral of the story, bros and sis, a pinch of salt when you go online. Don't always believe what you read in the newsportals. Always double check. 
p.s. The FMT seems to be standing by its story that the IGP had indeed said Sanjeevan's shooters were not hired killers but his own friends ... Wallahualambisawab. Do read Big Dog's Anti-Crime or Guised Anti-Police Bashing?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Crime busters, unite!

An article in the Star today: 
Crime busters will not be intimidated, says Marah 
PETALING JAYA: Those attempting to silence individuals dedicated towards crime busting such as MyWatch chairman R. Sri Sanjeevan must be quickly and duly dealt with, said Malaysians Against Rape, Assault & Snatch theft founder (Marah) Dave Avran. 
“We must act swiftly without fear or favour to arrest the perpetrators who initiated the shooting. 
“If the act is meant to silence crime busters, then the perpetrators are sadly mistaken,” he said in a statement yesterday. 
He condemned Sanjeevan’s shooting and urged those involved in crime prevention movements to unite and work with the authorities. 
He extended Marah’s well-wishes to Sanjeevan for a speedy recovery and offered support to his family. 
Avran founded Marah in July last year in response to calls for Malaysians to unite against crime. 
Marah, a non-political, non-religious and non-racial movement, campaigns for safer car parks, safer streets, and the right to be safe in and outside homes. 
Its Facebook page currently has 4,548 members. - Ends 

Bru's comments: 

It is time anti-crime outfits like MARAH and MyWatch join forces with the police to fight the crooks and for PDRM to take them under their protective wings. They are all on the same side, after all, aren's they? My prayers to Sanjeevan's quick recovery so that he can re-unite with his loved ones and celebrate  Hari Raya with the Muslims, and to the early capture of the people who had made the attempt on his life. Those assailants are armed and dangerous so if the cops had to shoot first and ask questions later, I hope the crook-sympathisers among us don't come down too hard on our cops. And like Dave Avran says, if those scums thought  it would intimidate crime busters like him, they were terribly mistaken.  Salute!

Tanda Putera vs the New Village

When local production the New Village reaches the cinemas, I will probably go and watch it. Y'see, I'm a fan of Chinese movies, from Bruce Lee to Fu Sheng, Jacky Chan to Ip Man. if it's true, as they claimed, that this movie is politically-motivated and that it's the intention of the people behind the movie to make heroes out of the (largely Chinese) Communist guerillas who waged war against the Yang diPertuan Agong, right after the World War ll to even after Merdeka, well, I say good luck to them. A lot of Malaysians may be gullible and probably don't know their history, let alone the American history, but very few are ready to believe that Abraham Lincoln was, actually, a vampire hunter! You get my drift? 
But if the New Village is not coming soon to cinemas near us, I think you'd understand.
Coming Soon for over a year now
We still remember Tanda Putera, don't we? That movie by award-winning Shuhaimi Baba portrays Tun Razak, the father of current PM Najib, as one of the national heroes during one of the most trying times in Malaysia's history. He and his deputy, Tun Dr Ismail, who both tragically died early deaths and mourned by an entire nation. 
Despite its good intentions, Tanda Putera hasn't been shown to the public! Reason? Because there are politicians like Lim Kit Siang and his hound dogs who saw it (based on the trailer and FB forums) as politically-motivated, racially seditious or/and personally slanderous etc. 
No thanks, also, to the relevant authorities who had no balls to stand up to Kit Siang, Kua Kia Siong, and other movie critics like them.  
What Tanda Putera had to go through last year, the New Village will have to go through now. The national censors have okayed the New Village (just like they had okayed Tanda Putera) but the date for its public screening, originally slotted for the Merdeka month of August, has now been suspended. We can't blame Kit Siang and his barking dogs here but there have been complaints that the New Village may be politically-motivated, racially seditious and/or may revive the Communist movement in Malaysia. Sounds familiar? 
What goes round comes around. 
Related postings: The responsive Home Minister 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Drive safe, make sure you - and others - reach kampung for Raya

On road or on rail, in Malaysia or in Spain, speed kills and it kills a lot of people. In the Spanish train crash, at least 78 people died horribly. Forensic experts had to carry out DNA tests on body parts to see who they belong to.   
The coming Hari Raya season, like other Malaysian festivals, will see more deaths on the road. 
It has become a horrifying ritual. The authorities will come up with another Ops to deter motorists from killing themselves and others on their way back to kampung for the Raya, but it won't stop the carnage. Last year, 243 people died during Ops Selamat. Between Jan and May, 2,849 people have already been killed on our roads (2,779 same period last year). 
It's time we wonder what has become of the life-saver AES. Will it become another of our road fatalities?

Friday, July 26, 2013

This is justice?

The Star's Page 1 today
The Star front-paged two court cases today. The main headline Conversion quashed is on Big Court Case No 1, where a High Court in Perak decided that the conversion to Islam of three under-aged children by their father was invalid. The so-called Big Court Case No 2 is on the decision by the High Court in Kuala Lumpur to grant bail that had earlier been refused to Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee for - no prizes - offending Muslims/Islam with their bah kut teh Ramadan Facebook greeting. The sex bloggers' predicament was made the main story for the Star online, with an additional story on how they fear for their lives (even though they must be disappointed that no threats on their lives had actually been made!).

The Star Online's cover , July 26
These two are big stories, indeed, but I think a lot of people would agree that the case in Penang where Engineer (was) fined (only) RM7,000 for careless driving in stewardess'death is as significant and could do with better treatment. I mean, this dude drove against the flow of traffic on an expressway at 3 a.m, caused a head-on collision that killed someone's daughter, and all he got was a RM7k fine. Of, yeah, OK, he also had to pay the family of the dead girl RM4,000 in compensation (which he paid on the spot).  
Try the Sun's version, more details and more human interest ...

Engineer fined RM7,000 for careless driving

GEORGE TOWN (July 25, 2013): A woman who lost her daughter to another's careless driving could not hold back her grief after being told that the man responsible was merely fined RM7,000, in default of a seven-month jail term.
The magistrate's court here delivered the sentence to engineer Tan Chia Hui, 25, after he pleaded guilty to driving carelessly, which caused the death of air stewardess Ng Sweet Yuin, 27.
Magistrate Sri Pracha Nanthini Balabedha also ordered Tan to pay the family RM4,000 in compensation.
Later, outside the court, Ng's mother Thniah Poh Choo, 55, who was accompanied by several family members, was seen in tears. "The fine is too low. It's not fair," she cried.
Tan's vehicle collided head-on with Ng's Perodua MyVi on the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway on Dec 2, 2010 at 3.06am. Ng was reported to have died on the spot. Tan broke both legs and sustained multiple injuries.
After the sentence was read in court, his lawyer Baljit Singh asked that Tan be allowed to pay the compensation money directly to the court to avoid any untoward incident with the victim's family. Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohd Faisal Md Noor did not object.
Baljit also requested that Tan not be handcuffed as he would settle the fine and bail on the same day. Magistrate Sri Pracha agreed to both requests.
Tan had pleaded guilty to an amended charge of driving without consideration of other motorists.
He was charged under Section 43 (1) of the Road Transportation Act 1987, which carries a fine of between RM4,000 and RM10,000, and a jail term of up to 12 months.
In February 2011, Tan was charged under Section 41 (1) of the same act for reckless driving, but had claimed trial to it.
Sri Pracha had then found that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against the accused under this charge.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The minority bigots (or bigot minority) who threaten our harmony

Did the ethnic Indians become overly emotional over the "changing room" saga? I think some people were working very hard to try and incite the Indian community to run amok over Seri Pristina [read The Mole's latest - It was racial/religious from the word go] but, thankfully, they failed. And that's thanks largely to the quick-thinking YB Kamalanathan, the Deputy Education Minister, and the restraint shown by the people. This isn't the first time the ethnic Indians are being pitted against the Malays. Hindraf promised trillions of ringgit in damages to the Indians in Malaysia from a lawsuit they said they were going to file against the former British colonialists for forcing their ancestors to leave India and work in plantations in the Tanah Melayu. YB Waythamoorthy was part of the Hindraf (remember?) that made that fantastic accusation that "over 100 ethnic Indians were slashed and killed by the Umno-backed Malaysian government ... in the Kg Medan mini-genocide". 
I think it's time the reformed Hindraf leader come out and undo his mistakes.
26/7/2013 Death threat: The headmaster of Seri Pristina primary school lodges police report after getting a "I'll kill you" phone call from an NGO man. 
Updated: My dear commenter*s who accuse The Mole (and I) of trying to spin the issue to save the school's authorities can go ad fly kite. Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan, in a front page report in the Star today, clarifies::  
"The canteen will be reopened (today). The changing room had been used along with the canteen by ALL pupils since March becasue the canteen can only seat 500 to 600 people SK Sri Pristina has 1,300pupils."  
* If you can't fly a kite, jump from a tall building. We don't need your bigotry here in Malaysia.  

Original piece:
Folks who have kicked a racial fuss over the Sg Buloh primary school's changing room canteen ought to be ashamed of themselves. Them and their damned narrow-minded politicians and hate-mongering media hound dogs, they have been jumping at every little opportunity to paint Malay-Muslims in this country as the the bad guys. Frankly, I'm tired of them. 
As it now turns out, EVERYBODY at this school had been using this very changing room as their makeshift tuck-shop. Even the Muslim teachers and parents had been breaking their fast in this same changing room. It was something the PTA had agreed upon.  
Shame on you, bigots!  

The Mole has the pictures and story:  
Bilik persalinan Sekolah Kebangsaan Seri Pristana
Photos of parents and teachers breaking fast in the room were published in several blogs 
KUALA LUMPUR: Amid outcry over students using a changing room as a makeshift canteen, several blogs have published pictures of Muslim teachers and parents breaking fast in the room at Sekolah Kebangsaan Seri Pristana, Sg Buloh.

One of the bloggers, former journalist Mazidul Akmal Sidek had published in his blog post photos of teachers and some parents from the school’s Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) who had decided to break fast after visiting the area yesterday.

Mazidul claimed that the photos had been sent to him by the PTA chairman Hussein Mohd Ariff who said that the parents had no problem of eating and drinking in the room.

Parents of the school children when interviewed today said the decision to use the changing room as a make shift canteen had been decided in a PTA meeting earlier this year.

IMG_0507Speaking to The Mole Zainah Zainordin (pic), 37, said: “We have all agreed to let the changing room to be used as an additional eating room as the canteen couldn’t accommodate all students in one go.”

“This has been done months before Ramadan. I am puzzled why do people bring it up now? My daughter prefers to eat there as it is clean and even I have been in the room myself.”

When asked whether she agreed to have the changing room to be used as the makeshift canteen, Zainah said: “Yes. Because the place is clean, this school is a new school so the cleanliness and hygiene are kept in optimum condition.Better than eating next to the drain.”

She expressed regret that the issue has been highlighted as national issue, saying aggrieved parents should inform the school administrators first, instead of using social media.

Commenting on the calls by public who asked for actions to be taken against headmaster Mohd Nasir Mohd Noor for making such decision, Zainah said: “It will be a great loss for the school.”

“Even if he has erred, I don’t think it’s fair to sack or remove him from the school. He is a very hardworking headmaster, conducting extra classes and tuition out of his own initiative. The public do not know him, but we do. I don’t think he has malicious intentions against his own students,” she added.

A Facebook user known as Farah Asyikin who claimed that the headmaster is her father had also published a comment from a student who said that the changing room has been used by Muslim students even before the fasting month.

The student said nobody has showered or used the changing room. The room was decorated and changed into a proper dining room and that the decision was never racially-motivated.

Farah Asyikin wrote:

“Do you really not know, heard or even care about RACIAL SENSITIVITY? If you do why is there only non-muslims in that photo even though muslim students ARE ASKED to do the same if they aren’t fasting?TThey are not given extra treatment, to eat in a luxurious dining hall. They are all treated equally. Just the fact that there are more non-muslims who aren’t fasting makes it a bigger deal. Do you see what I see now?”

Another parent Amarina Yusof, 45 (pic) said: “I really do not know why people turn this into a big issue, bordering racial and religious sensitivity.”

The retired lawyer said although the concerns of some parents’ were valid, she questioned why did they bypass the school authority to air their grouses.

“The canteen is small. When we decided that it is okay to use the (changing) room, it is because know that the place is clean and safe to be used.”

When asked why they did not decide to use other spaces, Amarina said: “Do you want them to eat in the classroom? It will be impractical too, with them being primary schoolers. A class room is for study.”

A teacher who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity said the parent who had highlighted the case in social media might not be aware of the PTA’s decision.

“The student is a new student. Maybe that’s why the parent feels that the school had unfairly segregated non-Muslim students in Ramadan.

There are 26 non-Muslim out of about 1,300 students in the school.

The school was ranked as the best school in Kuala Selangor, until its ranking dropped to number two, this year.

Another parent J.Puspalatha, 30, said she only wants the school to accommodate non-Muslim students to eat in a proper place.

“Our request is only that. We do not mean to cause any racial dissatisfaction.”

When pointed out that Muslim students have eaten in the room too, she said: “They are lying.”

It was reported on Tuesday that photos of the non-Muslim pupils eating in the changing room in the school had surfaced in social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Deputy Education Minister (II) P.Kamalanathan who had earlier said that the decision was unacceptable had visited the school at 1pm on Wednesday.

In a press conference after meeting the school administrators together with the state and district level education department, Kamalanathan said the issue has nothing to do with religion and race.

“The decision was made and agreed by the PTA to use the changing room temporarily as the canteen could not accommodate all the students.”

Saying that the decision was made in March, Kamalanathan added: “The headmaster has a good intention but unfortunately the location is not right.”

The deputy minister said the concern to close the canteen for the past two weeks due to renovation for fear that the children may harm themselves was also valid.

“They have agreed that it is not the ideal location. The headmaster has apologised and I too would take this opportunity to say I’m sorry and we’ll make sure things like this won’t happen again.”

Also present during the press conference was Kuala Selangor MP, Datuk Irmohizam Ibrahim.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Between PAS and Mat Said ...

Updated: BN takes first by-election after 505 with even bigger majority  If anything, the Kuala Besut results yesterday confirms three things: 
1. that PAS has lost its grip on the rural Malay crowd 
2. the Pakatan Rakyat alliance is vulnerable without the DAP Chinese support. 
3. these third-rate spin doctors and hate mongers don't win by-elections

Original posting  
The mom of a friend from Kuala Lumpur is back in Terengganu for today's Kuala Besut by-election. The friend said she isn't sure how mom will be voting this time. "It's a choice between PAS and (Menteri Besar) Mat Said ... I don't envy her," I said. A rock and a hard place, the Devil and the deep blue sea. 
At the 13th General Election in May, Kuala Besut elected a BN-Umno man as its rep by a 2,000-plus majority. The turbans from PAS are not likely to be able to overturn that in today's by-election (which was called following Dr A. Rahman's sudden death) but in the event of a Ramadan miracle, the state of Terengganu would see BN and the Opposition having 16 seats each. That would be unprecedented and a big blow to Mat Said, a prospect that quite a few in BN-Umno itself wouldn't really mind. The local joke is, only the Sultan of Terengganu might miss the MB. 
But as many observers have observed, a PAS win remains at best a remote possibility despite the party's all-out campaign and Anwar Ibrahim's push. The BN candidate Ku Zaihan Ku Abd Rahman, 37, is a young and energetic local chap who, as PM Najib Razak describes in his message to the Kuala Besut voters yesterday, "is full of ideas to engineer further progress for the people in the constituency".
By the end of the day, we will know if the young engineer's potential is enough for BN to avoid an awkward political impasse in Terengganu. One thing for sure, friend's mom regardless, there will not be a "Chinese tsunami". Some 98 per cent of the voters in Kuala Besut are Malays.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Singapore would have whacked them nicely ...

Here in Malaysia we have baskets of apologists for this "takde akal" couple. If they had tried the same stunt in Singapore they would have been whacked nicely, even though Malay-Muslims form the minority of the population, and even thought Singaporeans are supposed to be more liberal, say lawyers in the Republic. Well, the couple tried to be porny with Singapore last year and look what happened: Mr Halal Bakuteh lost his NUS scholarship! Perhaps their apologists here should fight for his reinstatement in the university and, failing which, accuse the Singaporeans for being so square. 
The article in the Singapore news:

SINGAPORE - Had Malaysian sex blogger Alvin Tan - a former National University of Singapore scholar - and his girlfriend posted a religiously-offensive photograph here, as they did in Malaysia, they would likely have been charged for their actions. 
This is because Singapore's sedition laws are not too different from those in Malaysia, said lawyers here whom My Paper spoke to. 
Tan, 25, and girlfriend Vivian Lee, 24, were arrested last Thursday by the Malaysian authorities and charged under the Sedition Act, the Penal Code and the Film Censorship Act. 
The couple had posted a Ramadan greeting on Facebook that showed them eating pork, which is offensive to Muslims. The couple were also charged over posting of pornographic images online. 
They were denied bail and jailed pending trial. 
Mr Amolat Singh, managing partner of Amolat & Partners, said that if the couple had posted the offensive photo here, it could be a crime under Singapore's Sedition Act.
Last October, The Straits Times reported that the couple was investigated by the Malaysian authorities for making public their sexual activities. 
Tan subsequently lost his university scholarship here. 
Mr Bryan Tan, a partner with Pinsent Masons MPillay, said the sex bloggers "would probably have been called in for the Ramadan greeting post" if it was made here, as Singapore has a "very strict view regarding the maintenance of religious harmony". 
Still, Mr Daniel Lim, a partner at Joyce A. Tan and Partners, said it is up to the discretion of the Singapore authorities to charge people. 
On why the Malaysian authorities charged the couple over the pornographic images only last week, Mr Singh said they might have been prepared to give the duo a chance. 
"However, the two continued to push the envelope. They became bolder," he said.

In Malaysia, sloppy trade unions don't get busted ... they get voted out!

Malaysia Airlines flight attendants ditch in-house union for new national body. Trade unionists used to be a militant lot. The predecessor to the MAS Employees Union (Maseu) used to be feared by both the airline and the Government: when it staged the infamous airline strike in the late 70s, the Hussein Onn administration had to bring the issue to the Dewan Rakyat for a resolution. One labour correspondent recalled the famous last words of the union boss Mohamed Hahi Hussein then: "We want peace in one piece, not in pieces".
Today, Maseu isn't what it used to be. Or the employees are the militant ones, harder to please. In an unprecedented referendum by way of secret balloting organized by the Ministry of Human Resources last week, flight attendants with the national airline voted to find out if the majority wanted Maseu or a newly-registered National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia or Nufam. The outcome had been expected: they voted out Maseu. (Note: Official results aren't out yet but do read the Mole's report h e r e).
Maseu officials have started to blame everyone (except themselves, of course). They are particularly sore with the management for adopting a "neutral" position. They felt that the Board, the CEO and the top management should have openly thrown their support for Maseu. In the middle of the secret balloting last week, the union called for a press conference and urged the Government to replace the airline's management!
Meanwhile, in the banking sector, a national union is back-pedalling against a small
in-house body. At Maybank, the country's largest commercial bank, employees are rejecting the national union in favour of a tighter, in-house outfit. The National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE), one of the richest trade unions before a series of self-inflicted financial crises of the 90s, is reacting badly to the reception given by the management towards the in-house union. Same sob story: the union accuses the management of the bank of trying to put it out of business and even blame the Minister for their predicament. At the recent general election, a group of trade unionists reportedly took to campaigning against the then Human Resources Minister in his constituency in the hope that he'd lose his seat! 
Expect another secret balloting as the more affluent Malaysian workers exercise this new-found freedom.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Warnborough, revisited (possibly with a lawyer letter)

A "proud graduate" of Warnborough College, Ireland is threatening a lawsuit against a top English-language Malaysian daily for describing his varsity as unaccredited. I was told that the Phd holder, a bestseller author, is mighty pissed off with the newspaper for suggesting that he and others who had graduated from the college were cheats. 
Warnborough's status was first questioned by blogs [including my own The great, unaccredited Warnborough University] which pointed out that Dr Emir Mavani, who was the Felda Global Ventures CEO-designate then, may have gotten his Phd from a university that was not on the list of higher institutions of learning recognized by the Malaysian authorities. 
Last week, as soon as he was officially appointed as President and Group CEO of FGV, Emir went public for the first time to defend his academic qualifications, h e r e.   
The spotlight on the 49-year old, however, remains. Over the weekend, critics challenge his decision to buy a local plantation company for reportedly 30 times its PE ratio.
p.s For more info on Warnborough's latest status, click this link to the Accreditation Service for International Schools, Colleges & Universities or ASIC.   

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A brother in IJN and a mega, mega project

Main lobby wall, IJN
Some people want people to remember Dr Mahathir Mohamad for his "mega" projects. Well, our ex Prime Minister is also responsible for building the National Institute of Heart or popularly known as IJN (Institut Jantung Negara). I was a young reporter with the Business Times when I was assigned to cover the groundbreaking ceremony of the hospital back in the early 90s, when a heart attack or cardiovascular disease was one of the least of my concerns. Over the last two decades, thousands of Malaysians from all walks of life have benefited from IJN; poor people make up about 85 per cent of the its patients. This week, the Attan family can finally boast of having benefited from some of the world's best facilities and experts on matters related to the heart. My brother's surgery isn't until later this week but I would like to thank the doctors, nurses and staff of the IJN on his behalf and on behalf of the entire clan for the top-notch service. And when I meet Dr Mahathir, perhaps during Hari Raya, I will personally thank him for all the good things he's done for the people of this country, but especially for this mega, mega project.

Friday, July 19, 2013

A case for another Felda chairman

Isa: Runs FGV like a political party
Isa Samad, the former Menteri Besar of Negri Sembilan who was found guilty of money politics in Umno, is chairman of both Federal Land Development Authority, or Felda, and the public-listed Felda Global Ventures. His was a political appointment, meaning he was put there by Prime Minister Najib Razak. Felda was formed by an Act of Parliament to help the poor in rural Malaysia and today is made up of over 112,000 settler families, largely Malay-Muslims, in nearly a quarter of the country's total parliamentary constituencies.. FGV, on the other hand, is the world's third-largest plantation company in an increasingly challenging global industry. Isa was made chairman of Felda at a time when Najib was planning to revive a 2003 idea by Mahathir Mohamad, then the PM, to make it a public listed company. FGV was the result of that effort. 
I can't boast of no personal interaction with Isa Samad and I can't help notice how controversy and scandal and crisis have dogged the man. Clearly, they have followed him to Felda and now FGV. And clearly, also, at least to me, Isa Samad does not have the knack to nip these issues in the bud. The appointment of Emir Mavani as President and Group CEO, for example, has been an issue on the blogs since May this year. Isa Samad's response only came in today after the mainstream media questioned Emir's credentials and speculated an early departure. 
Where was Isa between May and now? Why did he think it was not urgent enough to defend his candidate for the President and Group CEO post in FGV? 
My take is, Isa Samad runs FGV like a political party. Or like Felda. The people I have been speaking to said that just won't do. FGV needs its own Chairman who is not a politician or, if he is, does not have the kind of baggage that Isa Samad carries with him. When Isa Samad was telling people to allow Emir Mavani and FGV focus on its business, he should have done more to stop the Emir-bashing in the media - including the new media.  
Nothing personal, but if this is how the Chairman of FGV is going to deal with matters, it doesn't augur well for the public listed entity. I therefore agree with the people who have been telling me: FGV deserves its own Chairman. In fact, even Felda may do better with another individual at the helm, if they ask me. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Malaysia's Richest

Updated, after buka puasa: Forbes Malaysia's 50 Richest: Apa Lagi Cina Mahu? by Hantulaut
Original piece:
Here's Forbes' usual Malaysian suspects, give and take one or two new names. If you think they ought to include some other names, especially from among our politicians, they'll be too happy to read your suggestions.

I attach the following tweeter one-two for some context.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Vatican envoy does the right thing, apologizes to Malaysian Muslims for "Allah" comment

Updates: A Muslim in Sarawak, where Christians are allowed to use Bahasa Indonesia bibles which refer to god as "Allah", explains why the same "privilege" should not be extended to Semenanjung Malaysia. Read Let Me Rest, Let Me Rest, Let Me Rest 

Swift and sweet end. The next time Archbishop Joseph Marino gives an interview, he'd be more careful - not just with what he says but to which media he says it too. The Vatican's ambassador to Malaysia would have learned that a remark not intended to hurt anyone's feelings can, in the hands of the wrong news portal, be spun to do more than that. Credit to the Nuncio, he has apologized to Muslims in this country for his remarks. The apology was conveyed to Foreign Minister Anifah Aman during a closed-door meeting yesterday. 
The Archbishop's 3-para statement: 
At noon today (16 July 2013), the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Joseph Marino, had the opportunity to speak directly with the Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, who had called him to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the comments recently reported in the local media.He was grateful to the Minister for the meeting during which he assured him the comments were never intended as an attempt to intrude into the internal affairs of the country. In that context, he asked him to convey apologies for any misunderstandings and inconveniences that it may have caused.In fact the Apostolic Nuncio happily told the Honorable Minister, that as the former Holy See's Apostolic Nuncio to Bangladesh, a country whose majority population is Muslim, he firmly believes that inter-religious dialogue is the means to promote good relations among peoples of different faiths, who can discover the beauty of each others' belief. Consequently, he assured the Minister of the commitment of this Mission to promote closer relations among all religions. 
In the spirit of Ramadan, the Muslims in this country will be just too happy to forgive Marino, just wait and see. But let's not forget that it will take some effort and time one everyone's part to repair the damage. Allah bless Anifah Aman, our Foreign Minister, for his swift and sweet diplomacy, may he have the strength to continue to lead us in forging a peaceful interfaith co-existence, even though he's not the Minister in charge of religious matters. Kudos to Khairy Jamaluddin also, who is not the Minister in charge of religious matters, either, but has played a role in echoing and supporting Anifah in dealing with crisis. Read After Vatican envoy's contration, (Khairy) urges end to rumpus.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Living with hardcore bakuteh fans in moderate Muslim Malaysia

Pakistani Christian Gets Life in Prison for Blasphemous Text Messages 
By Anugrah Kumar , Christian Post Contributor
July 15, 2013|6:22 am 
A court in Pakistan's Punjab province has sentenced a Christian man to life imprisonment and a fine of $2,000 for sending blasphemous text messages to Muslim clerics to seek revenge from his ex-fiancée. 
A court in Punjab's Toba Tek Singh district sentenced the Christian man, Sajjad Masih, for sending blasphemous text messages from a mobile phone to Muslim clerics and others in Gojra town in that district, according to Pakistan's Dawn newspaper.
Masih, a resident of Punjab's Pakpattan district, was arrested in December 2011. 
Police say Masih was engaged to Ruma Masih of Gojra town but she contracted marriage with another Christian man in the U.K. To teach her a lesson, Masih used her SIM to send blasphemous messages to clerics. 
Gojra is religiously sensitive, having witnessed massive attacks on Christians triggered by reports of desecration of the Quran in 2002. 
Police initially refrained from charging Masih under the blasphemy law, but added it to the complaint later on the demand of Muslim clerics. The clerics also pressured police to include his ex-fiancée in the case. 
Consequently, Pakistan's interior ministry sought a red corner notice from Interpol for Ruma's arrest in the U.K., but she could not be traced. 
The blasphemy law, embedded in Sections 295 and 298 of the Pakistan Penal Code, is frequently misused for personal revenge. It carries no provision to punish a false accuser or a false witness of blasphemy. 
The law is also used by Islamist extremists to target religious minorities – Christians, Shi'as, Ahmadiyyas and Hindus. The government of Canada recently helped a Christian girl, Rimsha Masih, who was falsely accused of burning the Quran last year and forced into hiding, to flee her country and settle with her parents in the North American nation due to concerns for her safety. 
Efforts by some of the country's prominent leaders to repeal or amend the law have gone in vain. 
A Pakistani Christian, Shahbaz Bhatti, who was elected member of the National Assembly, was assassinated in March 2011 for his efforts to repeal the law. Minister of Minority Affairs, Bhatti was killed two months after Punjab's Governor Salman Taseer was assassinated for his advocacy for Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi, who had been convicted by a trial court for blasphemy. - Ends

Duo who insulted Islam can be prosecuted

Monday, July 15, 2013

This Bakuteh couple (read story h e r e) would have been in hiding if they were in Pakistan or Indonesia or Saudi Arabia, where the Muslims and the authorities have little mercy on anyone - Muslims and non-Muslims - who deliberately insult Islam. Here in Malaysia, the Malay-Muslims are easy-going and have been so for centuries. Will the Alvins and Vivians of this land ever learn to appreciate this?

Monday, July 15, 2013

So, who's Felda Global Ventures boss from tomorrow?


Tan Sri Sabri Ahmad's contract as the Group CEO of FGV ends officially at midnight tonight but for all intents and purposes, it came to an abrupt and premature end in January 2013, just months after its world-class listing, when someone announced the appointment of a CEO-designate by the Middle Eastern-sounding name of Emir Mavani.
We still don't know who wanted Sabry out in such haste - Isa Samad the chairman, Najib Razak the Prime Minister, or some unseen hands pulling strings from behind both men - but the Emir emerged from virtually nowhere (ie Pemandu) to become the CEO-in-waiting of the world's third largest plantation giant.  
It hasn't exactly been a harvest yet for Emir, though, and things are threatenening to get worse before they get any better. If they get better at all, that is. The blogger Big Dog, long a defender of the largely Malay-Muslim Felda settlers, has been leading the charge on an Emir-picking mission ever since the very shocking announcement of Sabri's forced departure, culminating in the story about how Mr Emir purportedly brought Mrs Emir to recent top-level FGV meetings. Clearly, Mavani is not the most popular outsider in FGV, where at least two generations of settlers reckon it's time a Group CEO is chosen from among them. 
Now a strong rumor has it that the powers that be are listening to the settlers. Tomorrow, I was told, Emir may not clock in as CEO after all and that a genuine Anak Felda (son of Felda), who is currently one of the top executives of the company, will be named as Sabri's replacement. 
Wallahualam bisawab. It could be wishful thinking in this holy month of Ramadan, we'll see in a few hours time. 
In the meantime, here's wishing that Sabri gets well soon to pass the baton to the new FGV boss. And, oh yes, thanks for the RM16 million payout!

KJ echoes Anifah Aman's statement, slams Vatican man for "ïnterference"

The headline says KJ urges Wisma Putra to censure Vatican cnvoy. I say bravo to YB Khairy for coming out to make a strong statement at a time when other Malay-Muslim ministers and politicians are just happy to wait and see and be safe.
Anifah: Swift rebuke
Never mind if KJ was urging Wisma Putra to censure Joseph Marino a day AFTER Anifah Aman, the Foreign Minister aka Wisma Putra boss, had censured the Archbishop for his remarks on the "Allah" issue.  
Perhaps, YB KJ's press secretary should start monitoring the blogs, too, as they are faster if not more objective than Malaysiakini or the Kini-wannabe Malaysian Chronicale. Eg my posting Do the right thing, Nuncio or Big Dog's even earlier Latin version Ludens Ignis Malitia. 
p.s. Waiting for the other Bumiputera-Muslim leaders to take the cue from Wisma Putra ...

KJ urges Wisma Putra to censure Vatican envoy

BN Youth has urged Wisma Putra to issue a protest note to the Vatican representative to Malaysia for purportedly supporting the use of the term "Allah" by Christians.
"This is a very delicate and sensitive issue in the country," said its chairperson Khairy Jamaluddin told a press conference today.
He hoped the note to the Vatican government would stem the flow of comments on such issues as it could further complicate matters.
"It's a national problem which is still being debated. The archbishop (Joseph Marino) is not helping the situation at all. His statement could complicate the situation."
“This is a matter of interference. Whether or not it (ban of word) has been agreed to or not is within court proceedings,” Khairy said.
“The majority of Muslims in the country have disagreed with (the judgment) and have requested for the court to review its decision. But it is still our affair, and the archbishop shouldn't intervene.”

Majority views
Khairy also stressed that such a complex issue must be delicately handled.
“We must take into account the views of the majority (population) and the Catholics without the archbishop's interference.”
However, he stopped short of demanding that the office be shut down and for Marina to be deported, as demanded by some irate Muslim groups such as Malay rights pressure group Perkasa and Jalur Tiga (Jati).
Last Thursday, Marino spoke to several reporters and chimed in on a fact sheet by the Christian Federation of Malaysia on why Christians should be allowed to use "Allah".
“In terms of how they presented the arguments in favour, it seems to be quite logical and acceptable,” he said, which was taken as overt support by some news organisations.
In Dec 31, 2009 the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled in favour of Catholic Church of Malaysia's suit to revoke the federal government's ban on the publication's use of the term "Allah" to describe God.
However, a stay order on the judgment was granted pending appeal. The hearing for the federal government's appeal has yet to begin.
Khairy was speaking to reporters after the soft launch of the BN Youth job fair.
- Malaysiakini

Do the right thing, Nuncio

Foreign Minister Anifah Aman's statement against Archbishop Marino 15 July 2013

In my previous posting, I asked if Archbishop Joseph Marino had risked putting the Vatican and the Malaysian Government on a collision course with his remarks on the "Allah" issue". Yesterday, our Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said his piece, which represents the official stand of Najib Razak's government. 
He's not saying the Vatican ambassador should pack up his bags and go; Anifah is a more polished diplomat than that. The Nuncio was welcomed in January as the Vatican's first ambassador to Malaysia and we, as always the good host, continue to welcome him or anyone else who wants to, as long as they don't habour malicious intent towards us, to stay on. What's not welcomed is any attempt by anyone to interfere with the democratic process of this country. The "Allah" issue, for example, is being handled in the most democratic and fair manner. The Government, in fact, is in the process of appealing against a Court decision that was NOT in its favour!  
Marino can see for himself what his remarks have done. The Malaysian Insider has come up with an editorial that is aimed at provoking the Christians on Najib Razak's Cabineet, needling them to do something - anything, questioning their effectiveness in protecting the "flock". Some in this country will view the editorial as most seditious; yet, others have gotten away with murder more grisly than this one, in the name of freedom of the press. 
It won't stop with Anifah's firm and diplomatic stand, though. Things will get a lot worse before it gets better. Some madmen will burn some suraus down and some other madmen may torch some chapels to the ground. Maybe these madmen will do crazier things but we pray they won't. 
The Archbishop, as a good Christian that he is, must put a stop to all this madness that he started. I don't have to tell him what he needs to do or how, but he needs to do the right thing. 
p.s. If in doubt, perhaps Marino can start by checking out the Malaysian Foreign Minister. Anifah Aman is from Sabah, where "Allah" has been used in the Bahasa Malaysia bibles for years without any protest by the Muslims. How is that, you ask? Well, welcome to Malaysia, Nuncio. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Is the Vatican headed for a collision course with Malaysia on the Allah issue?

There's a Malay saying they should have taught the Vatican man so he might have understood us Muslim natives better:  Terlajak perahu boleh diundur ...
Or, perhaps, he meant to provoke; in which case, he has succeeded, as these and many more comments show:
1. Hassan Ali and Muslim NGOs tell Marino to retract comments on Allah, or else ... by Zakhir Mohd
2. Boleh Allah? by Anas Zubedy
3. Pas crucifies Nuncio for insensitive remarks, by The Mole

Original posting:
Supports the stand of the Catholic Church of Malaysia
It's only the second day of Ramadan but the Vatican "ambassador" to Malaysia has left Muslims in this country ample food for thought. In his very first interview with the Malaysian media today, Archbishop Joseph Marino openly backs Malaysian Catholics' wish to replace the Christian God with Allah in the texts of Bahasa Malaysia bibles.
It's going to be hard for Muslims here to swallow Marino's declaration, especially so since the dispute is an on-going court case. While the Vatican's first Apostolic Nuncio to Kuala Lumpur may not care too much about such trivial, surely he'd like to make sure that his statement does not divide Muslims and Catholics in Malaysia further. And surely he'd be concerned about putting the Vatican and the Government of Malaysia at loggerheads!
You may read Marino's full interview h e r e but if you must leave a comment, please remain respectful of Ramadan and one another's faith. 
Read also When in Rome, do as Romans do