Saturday, August 31, 2013

Merdeka, foolish GSC folks, and a Cina reviews Tanda Putera

Updated:
1. Guan Eng backpedals after calls to screen Tanda Putera 
2. Annie on Dennis Chua's review
 
Original posting:
So, since Guan Eng's "directive" has suddenly become "only an advisory", the people at GSC, the largest cinema chain in the country, have decided OK-ah they'll screen Tanda Putera, the locally-produced movie the DAP hates and fears for reasons only known to the DAP. 
Ah, so we should all be so grateful to the GSC lah, eh? God works in mysterious ways, you see, and now we all know how eager you buggers were about the prospects of polishing Guan Eng's shoes ...
I hope the GSC pr people have learnt a lesson or two about their politicians from this episode.
BashesTanda Putra in his Merdeka message
Advisory to Lim Guan Eng, take a break from your extreme politics for one day today, go and take your family to watch Tanda Putera. Thousands of Malaysians have watched the movie and I don't hear of anyone starting a racial riot as you said they would  ... 
Advisory to the GSC people: go read this review by Dennis Chua, From A Page in History (NST, Cinema, 29/8/2013)
"... this film ought to be on every citizen's "must watch" list for its historical significance ... it remains a strong contender for the top prize at the next Malaysian Film Festival."
A Malaysian Down Under tweets: Celebrating 31st August without duress
Selamat Menyambut Hari Merdeka ke 56 kepada rakyat Malaysia, di mana jua anda bermastautin ..

Thursday, August 29, 2013

No more GSC for me, thank you!


No go for Tanda Putera at Golden Screen Cinemas in Penang
BY K. SUTHAKAR
GEORGE TOWN: Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) will not be screening the controversial Tanda Putera movie in its two cineplexes on the island and mainland here following a request from the Penang Government. 
Queensbay Mall GSC manager Sam Kok Kee said he received a directive from his headquarters yesterday not to screen the movie. 
The cineplex in Queensbay Mall has advertised that the movie will be screen six times today, same as GSC cineplex in Sunway Carnival. 
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the state government did not impose a ban on the screening of the movie in the state. 
“We only issued an advisory. No action will be taken against cinema operators who continue to screen the movie despite our advice,” he said in a statement on Thursday. 
The movie is to be screened nationwide from today.
 

If it's just an advisory or a request, why are the people at GSC going out of their way to please DAP's Lim Guan Eng? Because the movie is produced by a Melayu? Because the movie glorifies Melayu leaders? Because GSC fears retribution from Penang's own beloved leader? Because GSC is a supporter of DAP? 
Whatever their reason(s), they can't put the blame on Lim Guan Eng because the Chief Minister has made it clear that he did not force any of the cinemas in Penang to not show Tanda Putera. Lim Guan Eng even gave his word that "no action will be taken against cinema operators who continue to screen the movie despite our advice". In other words, you won't get shot if you screen Tanda Putera or if you take your family to watch the movie or if the multiracial cast of the movie go to Penang to promote their movie. 
Despite Lim Guan Eng's assurances, the GSC has taken it upon itself to not screen Tanda Putera, a movie about the life and death of two of our greatest national leaders - Tun Razak and Tun Ismail. 
I will not boycott Lim Guan Eng, I think he is not racist but a man seriously ill and needs help and I will try my utmost to get him that help, but I have watched my last movie at GSC, for sure.

An open letter to Najib Razak (and no, Apanama did not call the PM names)



Dear Prime Minister, 

I hope that you take note of the fact that one too many of your ADVISORS have elevated themselves to your level. Some of them think they are the Prime Minister of Malaysia, thus criticizing them and correcting them is tantamount to being anti-Najib or trying to topple the Prime Minister.  
Dear Prime Minister, please take note that we know exactly how to ask/demand a sitting Prime Minister  to vacate his seat. Please remind your Advisors of their actual standing. Please also remind them (...) that they are there to serve you, the PRIME MINISTER, and not themselves. 
 Dear Prime Minister, please take note that we take the trouble to tell you and/or the administration as it is. Black is black and White is white, we tell you that without fear or favour because we want you to remain as the Prime Minister and steer this nation to greater heights again.   
Dear Prime Minister, we won't be doing what we are doing now if we think you are not fit to be the Prime Minister.  
Thank you, Mr Prime Minister. 
Extracted from Apanama, Ending the Endless, 26/8/13

Dear readers, 
The blogger Apanama speaks for legions. Those of us who were already blogging about Malaysian politics when Tun Awakening was the Prime Minister remember exactly what the Fourth Floor boys (the term used to describe his disastrous team of close advisers) did that brought their boss crashing down after just one term in office. 
We also know how history tends to repeat itself. 
Apanama's message should be taken in the right spirit by the Prime Minister's Office. We can't let history repeats itself, and so soon too. 
p/s Regarding the title, the part about calling the PM names, I admit that during the pre-Awakening days we bloggers were fond of calling the sleeping Prime Minister all sorts of names. Today's socio-political blogging environment is different. Most of us are less brash and not so brave. So when I read OutSyed the Box's inference in The Morons Around the PM that Apanama was "calling the PM and his henchmen morons or sewel", I was concerned and immediately checked if Apanama had dengue or something. Found out that the seasoned journo-blogger called the PM no such things. Read his entire posting h e r e.  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

AES: Get on with it please

Updated: Latest talk is that the Cabinet has decided to allow the police to man the AES system/ Jolly well. But the question thousands of motorists are asking now is not whether the police is up to it or not but ... Do I have to settle the AES summons? I don't know the answer but I do have a question: Why should they pay if the Government now realizes the AES should not have been run by the two companies? I am reminded of what the ex AG told the current AG: Drop AES summonses, refund fines. 
 
Original posting: 
In the end (and the end is near), the two companies behind the Automated Enforcement System (AES) gained a most unlikely ally in the form of the people who run the Edge. In its latest editorial Takeover not the solution over the weekend, the influential financial weekly finally admits that "the AES system is good as it would deter speeding on the roads". It says it is "baffling" that the government is considering taking over the facilities set up by two private companies to implement the AES.  
"Wouldn't it be more logical for the ministry to negotiate with them and change the contract terms? In return, the two companies can get to maintain the system for the next five years?" the Edge asks.
Unlike the Edge, I have been supporting the AES from the very start. Maybe because I'm a law-abiding motorist myself and I can't stand people  - especially motorcyclists - who do not respect the traffic lights. My logic is simple: I don't break the speed limit and I stop when it's red, there is no reason for me to oppose a "good system" like the AES.  
But if Hisham, the acting Transport Minister, thinks that the Government had made a mistake and it must take over from the two companies in order to make it right, then get on with it. Admit the mistake, compensate the companies, pay the refunds, forgive the offenders, educate the motorists, equip your authorities, and just do it. And once the good system is up and running, for heaven's sake defend that system - and your decision. Just remember that no matter how good the system is or how right you are, there will still be Opposition.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Pork-on-flight issue: Zam's for-years-to-come apology to Air Asia & X



The spat between a subsidiary of Air Asia and the influential Malay daily Utusan Malaysia is far from dead; in fact, it recently escalated to a verbal exchange in public between two prominent Dins: Air Asia deputy group chief exec director Kamarudin Meranun and former editor-in-chief of Utusan Malaysia group Zainudin Maidin or Zam.  
Din Meranun
Like Din Meranun, I wasn't aware that Air Asia or AAX had filed a lawsuit against Zam the blogger-journo for his writing  reproducing the article Hidangan babi dalam penerbangan Air Asia (Pork menu on baord Air Asia) in May this year. Unbecoming as the lawsuit is, though, it has become a norm these days where big corporations, including political parties, resort to financially-crippling court actions to silence their critics, especially journalists. 
As always, when a fellow blogger gets into trouble, we extend a hand to Zam in the spirit of solidarity. There was a time when we bloggers stood against Zam when he was the Information Minister but this occasion calls for a different kind of response.   
Read Zam's promise to repeat his "for years to come" apology so that people will know of the circumstances that had led to the pork-on-flight issue.

For a background on the spat that has divided Malays in the country further, read Air Asia X won't pull out ads from Utusan, says Rafidah.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Malaysia vs Israel (updated: vs Mongolia) - Endless Possibilities, one outcome

Updated 3.40pm 24/8/2013: No sooner had I put up the posting below, JMD brought to my attention the fact that Mongolia - yes, Mongolia - had launched Mongolia - Endless Possibilities about a year before our Davos launch or about 18 months before the Israelis thought of their Endless Possibilities campaign.   
"... it was not about who copied whom. But it is more of the people who had thought of the idea for our PM had done a really sloppy job in making background check about the slogan ... since there are over 50,000 words in the English vocabulary, the chances of two words coming together and coincide with national slogan of two countries is one in a billion, therefore it is no longer by chance. It is by design. Popular notion is, the same brand consultant was used.." - JMD's Endless Possibilities on the issue of "Endless Possibilities"
Watch the video on journalist Haresh Deol's blog FOUL! 
No question about who the real losers will be if we continue with the 17 Sept launch ... 

Original posting Original headline - Malaysia vs Israel - Endless Possibilities, One Outcome

The current edition of Esquire has Malaysia Boleh on the cover
Imitation is the best form of flattery. We don't need Israel copying from us but that seems to be the fact of the matter where Endless Opportunities is concerned [Endless Opportunities: Not copied from Israel, The Mole, 24/8/2013]. 
Unfortunately, the choices left us aren't endless, just two:  
1. we abandon our Endless Possibilities campaign and think of a new one or 
2. we push on and make the Israelis wish they'd done their homework a bit more instead of spending all their time and money on making lives miserable for Palestinians and its neighbors. 
Me, I have no doubt we will win this battle with Israel. Not just because we are way better at slogans than they are but, more importantly, because it is true that Malaysia is a land of endless opportunities. Ask the Brits, the Americans, the Arabs who have invested trillions into our economy and the Lims, the Tans, the Tonys and the Arumugams who have made billions, if you don't believe it.  
Israel, on the other hand ... come now, think of Israel and what pictures come to mind? Yes, there's a reason why their Israel. One Place. Endless Possibilities campaign is aimed only at their MICE sector only, isn't there?
But even after we've beaten the Israelis, winning the hearts and minds of Malaysians themselves with 1Malaysia, Endless Possibilities will be harder. Most of us grew up with Malaysia Boleh. I must admit I wasn't that taken in by the Malaysia Boleh thingy when it first came about but nobody can deny that it has been a potent battle cry that has inspired a generation of Malaysians and convinced them that they, indeed, can. 
In fact, this new Endless Possibilities campaign, which some of us are trying to beat to a pulp even before its Malaysian launch on Sept 17 (the international launch was in January this year at Davos, Switzerland), could be yet another proof that we can, and Malaysia, indeed, Boleh!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Making Education in Malaysia More Affordable, Not Free -- the Obama lesson


In view of the storm in the teacup created  by an ill-fated proposal fo publicly shame defaulters of billions of ringgit in student loans, it's heartening to know that even the Americans are facing the same problems. 

The US position on tuition fees and student loans may differ from the Malaysian position, but the manner President Barack Obama is tackling the issue is worth a look, especially his "income-based repayment program, which caps student loan payments based on new graduates' incomes". 

Please note that US President is stressing on making education more affordable, not free as some lunatics in Malaysia claim they are entitled to. 


The message from President Barack Obama: 

Friend, 

Michelle and I wouldn't be in the White House today if it weren't for our college educations.

It wasn't cheap. We didn't finish paying off our student loans until about nine years ago.

That's why it's been a personal mission of mine to make higher education more affordable for more Americans -- and starting today, I'm hitting the road to talk about real reforms to fundamentally rethink how we pay for college in this country.

I'm asking you to speak out as well.

Stand with me today -- tell Congress you support real action to make college more affordable for American families.

Right now, the average student who takes out loans to pay for school graduates with more than $26,000 in debt. Something's got to change -- it's not enough just to tinker around the edges. We've got to shake up the current system.

My plan won't be popular with everybody, especially those who profit from the way things are. But we owe it to our students to make sure that our colleges are working for them.

While we'll need Congress' help to get some of this done, my administration will continue to do what we can to make sure quality, affordable higher education is in reach for millions more young Americans.

So far, we've taken some good steps forward. We've published college scorecards to ensure that families are getting the best information as they pick a school, doubled funding for Pell grants, and established a college tax credit. And thanks to the income-based repayment program, which caps student loan payments based on new graduates' incomes, 1.6 million young Americans can keep more money in their pockets.

But there's much more we can and should do -- this is key to creating a better bargain for the middle class.

That's something I've talked a lot about -- every day, I think about what I can do to live up to it. 

That's why I'm calling on Congress to tackle rising tuition costs and pass reforms, so families can get a better bargain when it comes to getting a world-class education.

I'm counting on OFA supporters to be part of this fight. Not much gets done in Washington without the voices of people like you.

Add your name:

http://my.barackobama.com/College-Should-Be-Affordable

Thanks,

Barack



Monday, August 19, 2013

So much for Johor/Malaysia being unsafe for the Singaporeans ...



Ah, how nice if The New Paper had the following story and then had thought of thesfollowing heading ...  [For the "original" headline to the article you've just read, click h e r e.


WELCOME TO MALAYSIA where
DEATH IS CHEAP, 
and the CONDOS even CHEAPER! 


Country Garden Danga Bay, a condominium development in Johor Baru, has sold over 5,000 of the 7,000 units on offer, with 30 per cent of them snapped up by Singaporeans. 
It used to be 30 per cent Bumiputera quota ... 
SINGAPORE: After an elaborate campaign to woo buyers featuring fun-fair rides, fireworks displays and free yacht trips at the showflat site, Country Garden Danga Bay, a condominium development in Johor Baru, has sold over 5,000 of the 7,000 units on offer, with 30 per cent of them snapped up by Singaporeans. 
The project by Chinese developer Country Garden is located in Iskandar Malaysia, some five minutes from the Malaysian immigration checkpoint. 
It features 9,000 units on the waterfront ranging from about 400 sq ft to 1,400 sq ft. There will also be a shopping mall, a man-made beach and six yacht berths. 
The project is reportedly slated for completion by 2017. 
A representative for Country Garden said on Sunday that 40 per cent of buyers so far are Malaysian, 25 per cent are Chinese nationals and the remaining 5 per cent were of other nationalities. 
Buses were deployed at five pick-up points in Singapore to ferry buyers to the showflat site. 
Visitors to the development's open house, which started on Aug 11, were attracted to the relatively affordable prices. The average selling price is reportedly about RM720 (S$279) per sq ft. 
Said Mr Vincent Lau, a Singaporean in his early 50s, who visited with his wife: "I am impressed with the project and it is one of the lowest-priced sea-front properties. However, since all sea-facing units have been sold, I will explore other investment options in Johor. My only concern is whether I will be able to find tenants." 
Ms Serene Wong, 42, a Singapore permanent resident, said the development was ambitious compared to others in Johor Baru, but stated that she would still prefer to invest in a property in Singapore. "The infrastructure is dependable and I don't have to worry about lack of tenants," she said. She added that prices in Johor Baru were on the rise. 
Mrs Theresa Sim, in her late 50s, said she had been keen on a unit as her son had already purchased one and prices are "reasonable". "But our experience so far has not been pleasant. The shuttle buses run late and there seems to be a lack of sales reps on hand when you need to talk to one. But we will reconsider," she said. 
p.s. And this was even before the Malaysian police had launched Ops Cantas, where 200 crooks have been detained and at least five suspected triad members shot dead in the last 24 hours. Read Unsafe for the Undesirables


Sunday, August 18, 2013

What's a foreign wire agency doing with our police internal memo? (WIth updates on CRACKDOWN BEGINS ...)

Updated, Monday:
Start counting. The crackdown has begun. Me, I'm waiting for the "advocates" to start coming to the defence of the triads, for the human rights of the crooks needs advocating ...

Updated: Mon, 19 Aug 2013 04:24:18 GMT | By Agence France-Presse

Malaysian police kill 5 as crime crackdown starts

Malaysian police said they killed five suspected criminal gang members in a shootout early Monday, as they crackdown on a burst of violent crime that has shocked the country.


Police said they launched the nationwide anti-crime push Saturday, following a growing public outcry over lawlessness that for the past month has seen near-daily shootings and other violence, the vast majority going unsolved.
The Barisan Nasional ruling regime has blamed the chaos on gang members and other criminals released when a tough security law that allowed preventive detention was scrapped in 2011 after pressure from reform advocates.
But police critics blame the national police force, which is widely viewed as corrupt and unprofessional, for failing to keep the peace.
Police said the five gang suspects were killed in an exchange of fire when police moved into their hideout in the northern state of Penang.
Known for its beach resorts, multicultural Penang has seen a recent spate of shootings, some in broad daylight, that authorities have blamed on a gangland turf war.
State police chief Abdul Rahim Hanafi confirmed a media report on the Penang shootout.
"Yes it happened at 5:00 am. (2100 GMT Sunday). The (Inspector General of Police) will give more details later," he told AFP.
The Star newspaper said the five dead were suspected to have been involved in the recent Penang violence.
Prime Minister Najib Razak called on police late last month to curb the "brazen" gun crimes that have sowed fear among normally laid-back Malaysians.
Malaysians have complained for years about a perceived surge in burglaries, robberies, and purse-snatching.
But concerns have spiked in the past month with a series of killings.
They included the shooting to death of Bahrain-born Hussain Ahmad Najadi, 75, who founded one of Malaysia's largest banks in the 1970s, who was gunned down in broad daylight on a street in central Kuala Lumpur on July 29.
Police have yet to track down the shooter or offer a clear explanation of the crime.
The crackdown launched at the weekend in the capital will include increased roadblocks and patrols to corral "suspicious" people and gradually be expanded nationwide, police have said.
Police will employ a previously little-used law allowing them to detain people 14 days without a court order.
Media reports said 15 people were detained Saturday. Police were yet to update the numbers.
Najib's administration -- which set crime reduction as a key goal -- says crime in the Muslim-majority country has fallen sharply the last two years.
The claim is widely met with public derision and accusations by the opposition that data is being tampered with.

Original Article:
The Bloomberg full report h e r e
The Police share a lot of tips with the Press, and vice versa. That has been going on for as long as any rookie can remember. But when a member of the Press gets an info about a Police crackdown and decides to lead it to whole world, you have to start wondering who the good guys are these days. Therefore, I so understand why this blogger is appalled with the serious security leak but I don't understand what made the editors at Bloomberg decide play up the internal memo. 
Bloomberg is an international news provider thousands of business organisations in Malaysia subscribe to (Bloomberg's not cheap). It usually concerns itself with news and analyses on stock prices, IPOs and boardrooms tussles. Now no thanks to its tip-off, all the KL gangsters, mafia and triad bosses involved in recent spate of shootings would have left town. Buggers.
p.s. The internal memo confirms that the cops will apply the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 from tomorrow. For an introduction to this "new" act, please read my posting Poca 101 h e r e.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Browns and Bridgets and their love-hate relationships with Malaysia

The modern white Rajahs. Just read New York Times' article on Ms Clare Rewcastle Brown, glorified and littered with factual errors, and wasn't really surprised to see another white chick, Ms Bridget Welsh, being quoted by the NYT writer. I had told you so - Welsh has begun to sell herself as an expert on Malaysian political affairs, which have officially included deforestration and greedy Malaysian elites. As I'd written h e r e, the number of people claiming to be experts on Malaysian politics is growing fast and some of them, like Welsh, are based in Singapore.

Back to the Brown article, even the headline Barred from Malaysia is not quite factual. Brown was never barred from entering Malaysia, she was denied entry into Sarawak (by the Sarawak immigration). Sarawak is a huge state in Malaysia once ruled by the White Rajah and its state government has the authority to stop any undesirable person - even fellow Malaysians - from entering the state. For eg, Member of Parliament YB Tian Chua was barred from entering Sarawak too, but that does not mean that he was barred from entering Malaysia; in fact, Tian Chua resides in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia which still boasts of the tallest twin towers in the world and if he was barred from Malaysia he would have nowhere else to go. These Mat Salehs, they think they know everything ... 
I am especially fascinated with Brown's "vivid memories of leaving North Borneo at 8" and remembering "vast canopy of rain forest", and how devastated that little girl would be to see "the destruction of the forest" when she returned to Sarawak ...40 years later! 
Brown isn't the only foreigner who has been denied entry into the beautiful East
Malaysian state, a popular tourist destination and the serene home to the oldest rain forests in the world and the flowers and fauna that come with the "vast canopy". She joins a list of Malaysians - predominantly Opposition leaders who harbor the hope to rule Sarawak themselves - who have been stopped from entering the state in the last year or so. 
Malaysia has also barred foreigners from entering the country, including Australian politician Nick Xenaphone, who not only has been openly supporting the Opposision leader in Malaysia but who has been openly opposed to the Malaysian Government.  
But as far as the US and Brown's own country the UK are concerned, denying undesirable elements entry into their borders isn't a bother at all, it's a hardly contested responsibility and right of the government of the day. The list of people banned from entering the UK  includes even elected leaders of sovereign nations! And believe it or now, Yusuf Islam aka Cats Stevens was barred from entering the US after 911 for some suspected terrorist links! 
Singapore, where Welsh is happily based, has also barred foreigners and if Welsh thinks she can criticize Singapore half as freely she now enjoys criticizing Malaysia, she'd soon be shipped back from wherever she came from. 
In 2012, Singapore even denied rescued boat people from Vietnam asylum in the republic! Guess who had to take in those poor souls? Why, Malaysia of course! 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

For those who wetted their pants over Fitch, do read on

Updated, Thurs 15/8
A timely article for rubbing it in ...

Moody's has stable outlook on Malaysia's A3 sovereign rating
KUALA LUMPUR: Moody's Investors Service has a stable outlook on Malaysia's A3 sovereign rating which balances its relatively healthy growth outlook and still formidable foreign exchange reserve buffer against its susceptibility to external demand.
The international ratings agency said on Thursday following the implementation of countercyclical measures in the wake of the global financial crisis, fiscal and debt ratios worsened and have yet to recover to pre-crisis levels.
"Nevertheless, funding conditions have not been adversely affected, while the government's debt profile remains favourable as compared to peers," it said. 
Read the rest of the article  h e  r e



Original posting Wed 14/8





Excerpts:
"So, what happens if Fitch goes ahead and downgrades their rating for Malaysia during their next review? Honestly, I don’t think much will happen.
Remember, at “A-“ Malaysia is still well within the investment grade rating category. A downgrade to “BBB+” doesn’t change that. We’d need to go down another three notches to be classed as “speculative” i.e. junk. It’s hardly time to panic just yet.
Second, investors are all looking at the same data, so by the time Fitch gets around to revising their rating next year, it will be more in the nature of a fait accompli rather than presaging a round of investor sell-offs, i.e. a rating downgrade would probably lag, not lead, what happens in the capital markets.
Note that the selldown in the Ringgit and in the capital markets the last couple of weeks was part of a general investor retreat from emerging markets, not something specific to Malaysia per se. The Fitch news added a little push to the rush for the exit, but it wasn’t the trigger.
Lastly, while an actual downgrade to the rating should in theory make borrowing costs more expensive, there are many more factors that determine the yield the government has to pay on its borrowings. For example, the last time Fitch cut Malaysia’s rating (local currency only; February 2009) MGS yields did indeed rise, but to levels well below where they were six months earlier." - Hisham H, Aug 14

In my Aug 12 piece The difference between Fitch and bitch, I argue the need for us to be circumspect when faced with rating agencies' behaviour. I was also bitching about the fact that none of our economists or politicians seemed bothered to come to the Malaysian economy's defence. Today, I welcome back blogging economist Hisham H from his hiatus with the timely The Fitch Rating Downgrade: Much Ado About Nothing.



Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Abdullah says he didn't say he would launch book

Updated 18/8/2013. Jebat Must Die was awakened by Abdullah's book to write a lengthy piece on his blog that surmises, "... (the book, Awakening) is just an effort to change what really happened during (Abdullah's) years as Prime Minister. 
The Five Pillars of Abdullah's Years, according to JMD, are:

1.  Ineptitude and stupidity are disguised as inability to reform Umno (Umno members are to be blamed here);2. Mismanagement and corruption of his cronies and family members are disguised as “Mahathir’s pet projects will make this country bankrupt”;3. Cronyism, nepotism and total control of mainstream media editors are disguised as ‘democratisation of society’;4. Wastage and unwise decisions are disguised as national projects; and5. Dictatorial tendency where nobody within the party can criticise the Prime Minister is disguised as proponent of democracy 

Original posting: 
Nurul: Msian launch will be presided
over by Abdullah himself and Musa Hitam
Last Sunday, Bridget Welsh, one of the countless Singapore-based experts on Malaysian political affairs, issued a long statement published by the Malaysian Insider in which the co-editor of Awakening: The Abdullah Badawi Years in Malaysia took to task the Malaysian media and bloggers for their book review style and quality. 

Buried deep in the statement (para 16) was her announcement that the official KL launch of the book had to be postponed "given the politicization of (the book) and in an effort not to promote further misunderstandings". 

Although the statement didn't say it, by then the Malaysian public had understood that the KL launch was to be done by former PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and former DPM Musa Hitam. Two newspapers had quoted Nurul Izzah binti Anwar Ibrahim (who's launching the book in Singapore on the eve of Merdeka) on this: the Sun h e r e and the Star h e r e.  

Now Abdullah, I think in an attempt to stop the misunderstandings, has come out to say that he was never scheduled to launch the Awakening in the first place. Excerpts from the Bernama report: 

Abdullah said he did not know of, was not informed about and was not responsible for any invitation to launch or discuss the book. He said he had no plans to attend the launch of the book for it could be then assumed that he wrote it and sponsored its publication. "The news that an opposition leader has been invited to launch the book in Singapore, even if it is true, is the decision of the publisher, not mine," he said. 
Someone's taking us for a ride ...

Read also:
in response to Big Dog's Sleeping with the enemy

Monday, August 12, 2013

The difference between Fitch and bitch

 "We know from history that rating agencies tend to have a herd mentality – when one agency initiates a downgrade, the others follow. If that happens, it could mean a rough ride for the domestic economy." - Malaysia cannot afford another rating downgrade by Anna Taing, The Edge/fz.com
But instead of learning from that history, Malaysians start pissing in their pants at the sound of Fitch's ratings threat. Our politicians and financial experts, too, are rather quiet, perhaps cowed by the complexity of the subject or too busy making money to care. Even Anwar Ibrahim when he was our Minister of Finance, credit to him, would leap to the country's defence and vilify the ignorant foreigners and then preach about our "strong fundamentals" before signing off with his signature "Arigato". Surely Anna Taing remember those days?  
So when I was sent a link to her commentary on Twitter this morning, my immediate retort was: I smell a rat. I can't help but take Fitch with a handful of salt: Is this not, after all, the same rating agency that empowered the US economy with triple-A marks just before the sub-prime crisis just a few years ago? It's all part of history: the US went on to file a lawsuit against one of the so-called Big Three rating agencies - of which Fitch is one - for fraud! Read S&P Lawsuits: US accuses rating agency of Fraud leading up to financial crisis.  
I'm not saying we ignore warning signs. I expect our economists and financial experts to analyze and address Fitch's concerns and the concerns of any investor. MoF and Bank Negara have got to assure them that our economic is a-OK. You can't do that by keeping quiet. How I wish we still had a strong EPU; see, you can't rely on Pemandu for things like these (they might even agree with Fitch for all you know!). The facts are: our fundamentals are, indeed, strong, our GLCs (Khazanah, where are you?) have been making healthy profits, our companies are investing abroad again, and the domestic economy, while not at its strongest, is well managed. 
Leave the rest to us. Some of us think Fitch is here to wage an economic warfare. Me, I am suspicious of its timing vis-a-vis the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (read TPP will be another bad pact - Dr M). History has taught us that some countries will go to great lengths - even "plant" weapons of mass destruction in enemy territories - for oil and gas, and we happen to be an oil/gas-rich country ...   
p.s. As for the difference between Fitch and a bitch, you tell me. But do read this article by Forbes: Do we need them?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Awakening KL launch postponed "so as not to promote further misunderstandings"

With updates
"Given the politicisation of the (book) in media reports and in an effort not to promote further misunderstandings, the official launch in Kuala Lumpur will be postponed ... We call on the media and the blogging community to act responsibly, to read the book before making assessments and to avoid erroneous speculation." - Bridget Welsh, editor of Abdullah Badawi's book, Awakening

Bridget Welsh's attempt to blame the Malaysia media and bloggers for politicizing Abdullah Badawi's book foolishly-titled Awakening is feeble and her call for us to "act responsibly" a tad rich. I'm being forgiving here (in the spirit of the season, you see).

 Instead of putting the blame on others, Welsh should have done her homework, engaged the media/bloggers, and avoid politicizing her own work. Being a Singapore-based "outsider" is not an excuse; unless she is a very slow learner, Welsh should be an "expert" on local affairs by now, having been a familiar fixture here in Malaysia for several years. I remember being on the same panel with her at the Chinese Assembly Hall in KL in conjunction with the launch of another book in 2009 (read here), which means that four years ago she was already considered an expert on Malaysian politics. 

And surely Welsh knows that getting Nurul Izzah binti Anwar Ibrahim to launch the book* is an act of politicizing the book with the aim of creating all kinds of "nasty" speculation. From where I see it, Welsh had it all planned, so don't take us all for fools lah. 

* Welsh's statement to postpone the Aug 16 Malaysian launch of the book by Abdullah and Tun Musa Hitam h e r e We have to assume that the Aug 30 launch of the book in Singapore by the daughter of Malaysia's Opposition leader will go on as scheduled so as  to promote further misunderstandings ...

Updated: Awakening ditunda, macam2 penafian ... Boleh percaya ke? 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A joint taskforce to gun down the gunmen

“Gang 18 is made up mostly of Chinese and Indians, while 36, once active in Malay-majority areas such as Ampangan and Senawang is now dominated by Indians," he said. - Most shootings tied to gangland turf war, The Star 10 Aug 2013  
Bringing on Poca. I don't need to do a racial profiling because the facts are: the gangs are Chinese and Indians, predominantly. And guess what? The police are predominantly Malays. That's not good, but those are the facts. I think we need an NEP-like fix here: get more Malays to become gangsters and recruit more Cinas ad Indians into PDRM. Call it the restructuring of our secret societies. 
Jokes aside, I hear the Attorney-General, the Inspector-General of Police and several other important individuals tasked with the safety of the people and their property are to meet soon on the idea of setting up a joint task force. This still-nameless taskforce aspires to: 
1. put an end to the turf war by throwing the gangsters behind bars under Poca (Prevention of Crime Act 1959), the much-touted and more humane substitute for the Emergency Ordinance 1969; and if possible ... 
2. eradicate that "turf" altogether.  
For we forget that without a turf, there won't be a turf war. "There's a turf war because there is a turf to protect, you see or not?" a former taikor reminded me after wishing Selamat Hari Raya the other day. 
And whose job is it to ensure that those gangsters don't establish their turfs in the first place? The police, of course. And with the benefit of a little hindsight, we all know now that the gangs were expanding their turfs even when the EO was in operations. Otherwise, how do you explain the reported spate of shootings as soon as the 2000+ EO detainees were released back to the public following the repeal of the Ordinance? (Eight shootings in as many days, The Star 4 Aug 2013)  

33 Shootings Since April 2013.


1. Saturday, Aug 3 -  Kajang: Balamurali Balakrishnan died at the scene.

2. Friday, Aug 2 -  Pandan Indah: Gold dealer Wong Foo Yui was shot at traffic light 

3. Wednesday, July 31 - Parit Buntar: Former EO detainee N. Jeevandran, 26, shot dead 

4. Tuesday, July 30 - Mentakab: Several shots were fired into the house of a businessman 

5. Monday, July 29 - Bkt Mertajam: G. Santhanasamy, 30, injured in the legs 

6. Kuala Lumpur: Banker Hussain Ahmad Najadi, 75, was shot dead 

7. Sunday, July 28 - Ipoh: Jasrafveenderjeet Singh, 25, died due to a gunshot wound 

8. Saturday, July 27 - Jempol: MyWatch, Sri Sanjeevan Ramakrishan, was shot in Bahau. 

9. July 26: Temerloh: A lorry driver from (PPK) Temerloh was shot 
10. July 18: Kulim: A gunman fired nine bullets, killing a 45-year-old teacher 

11. July 15: Kampar: A 51-year-old man and his son were shot 

12. July 12: George Town: A four-year-old boy was injured when a gunman opened fire 

13. July 8: Bachok: Student affairs senior assistant Hashim Mat Zain, 43 was killed

14. July 5: Pasir Mas: Teacher Mat Zaki Hashim, 35, serious injuries after being shot 

15. June 15: Putrajaya: Customs deputy DG Datuk Shaharuddin Ibrahim shot dead 

16. June 14: Kuala Kurau: businessman, Lim Kong Hai, seriously injured after shot 

17. June 6: Muar: Tan Chai Heng, 51, died of gunshot wounds on his face 

18. June 4: Taiping: Govindaraju @ Murthy, 36 died while  Manivannan injured 

19. May 29: Kuala Lumpur: A businessman survived despite being shot at seven times 

20. May 12: Butterworth: S. Kannan and G.Suresh killed while two others injured 

21. May 11: Seremban: Chalidass and G.Surentharan died and two friends shot 

22. May 12: Cheras: N.Saravanan and Tamil Selvam both shot 

23. May 11: Lunas: Thangaraja, 31, was found dead with 10 gunshot wounds 

24. May 9: Alor Setar: M. Nagenthiran, died from three gunshots 

25 May 8: Tangkak: Muthu Pillai, was found dead with three gunshot wounds 

26. April 30: Taiping: 26-year-old victim and called out his name before firing.

27. April 25: Seremban: N. Ragunathan, was shot dead in his car 

28. April 26: Cheras: R. Karikaalan, died after hit by two of 10 shots 

29. April 25: Tampin: N. Ragunathan was shot dead in his car 

30. April 16: Taiping: K Muthazagen, was killed when bullets penetrated his head. 

31. April 14: Seremban: Tan Kok Soon, 56, was shot at close range 

32. April 12: Seremban: James John, 45, was shot dead in his car at traffic lights 

33. August 3 KOTA KINABALU: 44-year-old businessman killed in a drive-by shooting 

The list (courtesy of OutSyed The Box h e r e) has grown to include a car bombing and the latest Aidilfitry shootings - Raya ke tidak Raya, berbunuh berterusan. 
The authorities have got to get cracking. The joint taskforce can't wait. But please, don't let PEMANDU drive it la. Get the AG or/and the IGP to head the task force. 

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