Tuesday, May 31, 2016

This blog is 10

Sunway, 31 May: 
Rocky's Bru turned 10 years old on May 21. During that decade, this blog has registered  over 20.3 million pageviews (hits, pageviews, visitors), posted 3,637 times (including some 50 articles ordered by the Courts to be brought down in 2007), and published 135,000 readers' comments.

Rocky's Bru in summary

My last posting was on May 20, the day before the 10th anniversary of my very first posting [Time Flies, 21/5/2006] . Yes, I've slowed down a bit. Many think I've slowed down because I was caught between the Devil and the deep blue sea (Najib and Mahathir, or Mahathir and Najib - you decide). But the truth is, two out of three kids are in varsity and, contrary to popular belief, I still have to earn a living and, contrary to an even more popular belief, this blog doesn't pay bills.  
Moreover, blogs are actually passé. People don't blog anymore, I've been told more than a few times. With the exception of a small number of stubborn people, that is.  
Despite that, a lot of you my Dear Readers still open this blog every day, even when there are no new postings, as is evident here:

Close to 10k pageviews on unproductive days is not bad, right?

I guess this means that there are still a lot of stubborn blog readers out there. Certainly more than there are bloggers like me. 
To you, I say Thank You.  
I hope to be more a little bit more productive from today. And, God willing, to still be around by 2026.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Malaysian Minister says time WSJ starts quoting reliable and REAL sources

Salleh: WSJ's use of anon sources cowardly 
Puchong, 20 May: Malaysia's Multimedia and Communications Minister Salleh Said Keruak has accused the Wall Street Journal of fabricating the "sources" and "investigators" the newspaper has been quoting on the 1MDB affair for the past year or so. In other words, the combative Salleh is saying that the WSJ's "anonymous sources" and "anonymous investigators" do not exist.
"If they actually exist, then why doesn't the WSJ tell Malaysians who they are? ... But we know they won't provide names, because they can't. " - SSK 19 May
The Minister went on to describe the WSJ's use of anonymous sources as "a cowardly way to avoid being sued".

This is not the first time Salleh has taken the WSJ to task over their reporting on Malaysia and I fear for him. Insulting a powerful newspaper like the WSJ can get one in an awful lot of trouble. Salleh is either very brave or foolish. Or both. Kind of remind me of Dr Mahathir back then ....

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Jay cleared by Board: Bad news or good news?

Updated 20/5: On his widely-followed Instagram account, Nazir thanked his Board members. End of story.

Original story:
CIMB finds its Chairman NOT guilty of abusing his position

His detractors, of course, will have a good laugh at the news that the CIMB board had found their own Chairman and former CEO Nazir Razak innocent of the charge that he had misused his position with regards to money in his personal account meant to be disbursed to certain politicians (do read the MalayMail Online story h e r e).

Some of the comments that I have been getting:

"As opposed to the Islamic Bank CEO who "abused" his position via a FB posting?" 
"That means the BOD of CIMB condones the bank staff in distributing political funds? If so - did the Bank review who the monies were paid to? Was there audit of all Nazirs transactions?"  
"Why not an independent enquiry but an internal, you can't investigate yourself ? Why not call MACC to do the investigations?"  
"Seems to appear like a conduit to clear name - very much like the DAP clearing LGE over his bungalow purchase before MACC starts investigation!"

I am sure Nazir's supporters will agree 100 per cent with the CIMB's Board. I hope they will share some of their views with me ...

In any case, in a very related development, the Bank Negara is said to be looking at New banking rules to ensure that a former chief executive of a bank will never again be table to take over as Chairman of the bank's Board.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

How Mahathir is helping Najib (and Anwar's warning from prison)

Anwar fears for his PKR comrades

Bangsar Village, 17 May: "I believe Tun is trying to help Najib out. They are in this together." 

When Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad started his brutal offensive against Prime Minister Najib Razak, folks back in my kampung in Lubok China, Melaka, an Umno-stronghold since the beginning of time, accused me of not telling them everything. These folks believed Dr Mahathir was feigning the attacks but I was saying otherwise. These folks thought what the Old Man was doing would prove to be beneficial for Najib (including weeding out the disloyal among his generals). Don't ask how. Like many things Mahathir have done, you may begin to understand only years afterwards. Dr M works in mysterious ways, they believed.
And I kept telling them NO, "what you are witnessing, pakcik and makcik, is what you get: the Old Man is out to get Najib, just like he got Pak Lah out just a few years back".
They wouldn't listen. Stubborn in the way politically-unsavvy people are. They saw what Dr M did to Tunku and Hussein and they saw what he did to Malacca's own son Ghafar Baba and they saw how he took Abdullah Ahmad Badawi down, but folks just wouldn't accept the fact that Mahathir could do the same to Najib Razak. 
So I said to those uncles and aunties back home, "lantaklah, tak dapek den nolong (as you wish, I can't save you).

But now, with his don't-vote-BN statement, I'm thinking that the folks from my kampung may have been right all along. 
By default, I think Mahathir has gotten Najib a lot of support and sympathy than the PM could dream of. The Save Malaysia campaign, which got him to sleep with his deadliest foes, was ill advised. With this latest statement aimed directly at the coalition he had led for 22 years, Dr M is really pushing it.   
"Old Man's showing his true colours."
"He's crossed the line". 
The serpent that did sting...Now wears the crown.’ [Shakespeare]

And Mahathir's antics have got one man worried to death. Anwar Ibrahim's epistle from prison to his PKR comrades says a lot. In the context of Malaysian politics, one quotes Shakespeare when things are getting dire and when the end is near. For whom, perhaps my kampung folks will tell me ...

19 May
Leading Pro-Opposition portal Malaysiakini is still going to town with Anwar's letter. It won't end any time soon. The stage is set for  Mahathir vs Anwar fight again. The Final Battle, for sure.

Malaysiakini 18 May

Why now? Dr M-aligned ex-editor to Anwar
"Is it because the Mahathir-led Citizens Declaration received over 1.2 million signatories in just over two months?" 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Encik Banker from Rio days, Templeton's Mabius and why 1MDB is not working for Najib's detractors

TTDI, 12 May: Had a drink last night with a banker whom I met in Rio during the World Cup. Not one as privileged as Nazir Razak (oh, we did speak about him fleetingly) but as frank and honest, if not even more, and not as detached for sure. "Things are in slow motion these days," he said, referring to the economy - his own and in general (mine, for sure!). A client had just cancelled what would have been a pretty deal for him, citing ambiguous excuses. But Encik Banker was philosophical and remained optimistic. "That's what business can be like, even in the best of times."

What's needed - and what he's looking forward to - is a clearer direction from "above". An impetus everybody needs to kickstart whatever they are doing into quicker motion. 1MDB is not an issue anymore. "We accept there were flaws but please get on with it: address those weaknesses, punish whoever the culprits might be, and close the book so everybody else can move on." Instead, we are allowing politicians - or people with political motives - to continue using 1MDB as a hammer to knock around ONE MAN. "Their political games are hurting everything else. It's not funny anymore."

Encik Banker said we were lucky that the Prime Minister has been responding to the attacks the way he has. Calm. Collected. Calculating. "Most people would have lost their composure and jumped under that kind of pressure and siege. And that would have had a disastrous effect on everything. It would have wrecked confidence."

Encik Banker must have read PM Najib Razak's "I can't be daunted" interview on Tuesday:


Sharing his secret of being so composed, Najib, who is also Umno president, said: "As a leader, I cannot be daunted."
He said he was aware that every leader or individual could not escape from being tested by Allah, no matter in whatever way.
In fact, Najib said, the challenges he faced now were not as major as those during the time of former prime ministers like Tun Abdul Razak and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
"During his time, Tun Razak faced the test of the May 13 incident while Dr Mahathir was confronted with even more challenges when Umno was declared illegal, the devastating financial crisis with many going bankrupt and the problem of (Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim," he said in an interview at his office in conjunction with the 70th anniversary of Umno.
The interview was conducted by Prof Dr Azizul Halim Yahya, dean of the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies, Universiti Teknologi Mara.
"In my time, the issues are actually not so big but due to the social media and parties using the foreign media, it brought on a little more pressure," said Najib.
According to Najib, the issues faced by him were unlike the Asian financial crisis at one time or when Umno was declared illegal because the country's economic and political fundemantals were still strong.
"It is just a perception, as people in the west say the noise level is slightly louder due to the roles played by the social media and foreign press," he said.

But are our political and economic fundamentals really that solid as Najib insists? 

Mr Banker said yes, certainly, but I shall not take his word for it. I'll let Mark Mobius, the exec chairman of Templeton, do the analysis here. Mobius' views would be more acceptable especially since "our" detractors and their politicians - or those people with political agenda - really would rather believe foreigners and their reports these days:

You can read what else the Templeton boss has to say h e r e.

You may also like:

"A disorderly change in Government cannot be ruled out"

No discernible impact - Fitch

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Ah, Aziz Hassan writes!

Mid-Week Notes, a new column!

TTDI, 11 May 2016: Aziz Hassan, 63, is as temperamental and tough as seasoned journalists come. He's been at it for four decades now and, the last I checked (which was last Monday), is showing no interest in stopping or slowing down any time soon. His new column Mid-Week Notes in The Mole, where he's been holed up for the last five years, is just the latest of many diversions. He has a regular column on rugby in one of the leading English dailies and is pretty active on the social media for an ex-Hippie. NSTP old timers remember him for the brave battles against some of the Gang of Four, the big shots who led the management buyout of the NSTP at its height, in the early 90s, on behalf of the then DPM Anwar Ibrahim. 
Exact support of declaration depends on who's talking and future Mid-Week Notes pieces are the personal opinions of the writer and has nothing to do with The Mole or with its Advisor. Aziz and I, we hardly have time to discuss politics because there's a lot more to talk about than that. 

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Landslide in Sarawak

Kuala Lumpur, 7 May 2016: It rained so heavily here in the Klang Valley this afternoon but in Sarawak we witnessed a landslide at the State's 11th election [see results]. The Singapore Straits Times says the results of the election is seen as gauge of embattled PM Najib Razak's popularity. Of course it is, but what the outcome of the election really proves, in my point of view, is the maturity of people of Sarawak and the quality of Chief Minister Adnan Satem as a leader. The 72-year old Adnan, who took over long-time CM Taib Mahmud only in 2014, is a natural. He has none of the baggage that bogged down his predecessor, he is seen as clean and fair, and he doesn't mince his words when it comes to issues affecting Sarawak, from religious freedom to more royalty for oil. He had this no-nonsense approach towards anything viewed as external threat to the well-being of Sarawak, even if it emanates from other parts of Malaysia. As a result, several individuals were barred from entering the state or were evicted during the election campaign period. And they weren't all politicians from the Opposition. Adenan remains focused, calm and collected and didn't play into the hands of his more seasoned political foes. I think those guys must have thought they would have a lightweight to contend with once they succeed in forcing Taib Mahmud out. Well, they would know how wrong they had been: Adenan was the sleeping giant waiting to be awakened ....

Blaming the Voters
p.s. As the post-election comments come in,  we see how the contest for Sarawak has exposed the Opposition as a party that is stuck in the past. The DAP-PKR childish bickering over seat allocations aside, the inability to accept the voters' choice is still there ... and still despicable. Read what this chap had to say, for example: DAP blames low turnout, claims few Chinese voted BN.
And no wonder. His boss Lim Kit Sing was already accusing voters of accepting bribes offered by BN candidates even before polling had begun: BN congolomorates are wooing voters with money ...

Read also:
BN's landslide made sweeter with seven Chinese seats
Adenan's opponent loses deposit

Source: Facebook

And an analysis at Life of Annie's:


"... it's quite clear that there had been a swing to a certain extent as far as the Chinese votes were concerned. DAP suffered quite a lot while BN's Chinese-based party, namely SUPP did rather well.

"That's for me is the biggest significance of the Sarawak election.
"It gives BN the signal that there's real hope of winning back the Chinese votes in other parts of the country too."

Friday, May 06, 2016

The possible fallout from depriving Dr M of his police outriders

Puchong, 6 May 2016: What fallout, you ask? 
What fallout, indeed? Instead of being so defensive over his decision to withdraw the police outriders he had been according to the ex-PM (and entertaining clowns like this), IGP Khalid Abu Bakar should now consider withdrawing police outrider services to not just ex-Prime Ministers but also other more undeserving/less deserving VIPs, including Cabinet Ministers, members of the Royalty and their consorts, Chief Ministers and Menteris Besar and their deputies and their consortiums, and Mayors. A lot of people up there have been abusing the cops this way and instead of attacking the IGP, we should be encouraging him to do more in the interest of the taxpaying majority.
I say outriders should be assigned only to the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister, the Yang diPertuan Agong, selected foreign dignitaries, the Chief of Justice, and, perhaps, the IGP himself as and when they are on official assignments. And of course, as the practice is, for escorting vehicles transporting dangerous convicts from one point to another. 

VIP convoys with police escort - Must you give way?

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Strange, now the critics are suing!

Bangsar, 4 May: I say good luck to the PM's press secretary Tengku Sarifuddin Tengku Ahmad, a former colleague of mine at the New Straits Times in the 80s. He is being sued for defamation by Mukhriz, the son of Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Dr M and two other individuals had just last month filed a lawsuit against PM Najib Razak, Sarifuddin's boss.

I was also sued for defamation in 2006 by the very powerful friends and media advisors of the PM then, so I can appreciate how taxing it's going to for Sarifuddin.

I can see the irony, too. Back then, it was the PM's men who were trying to suppress dissent and intimidate the critics by suing them left and right.

This time around, the so-called critics of the PM are the ones filing legal suits against the Prime Minister himself and now his men.

How times have changed.

So if you are a supporter of Najib Razak, tread with care. You could be next to be served a letter of demand.

Tengku Sharifuddin's response to Mukhriz's lawsuit:

4 May 2016 

1.       It is ironic that Dato' Seri Mukhriz Mahathir has chosen to sue me. It is ‎his father Tun Mahathir Mohamed who always claims that the law is being used to silence critics of Prime Minister Najib Razak. ‎
2.       Unlike Tun Mahathir, I haven't made any wild allegations. My‎ opinions are fair comment based on actions by Tun Mahathir, Dato' Seri Mukhriz and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who led the failed campaign to unseat the Prime Minister.
3.       They were interested parties, and I believe motivated by ambition and desire for power. Many think that Tun Mahathir wanted Tan Sri Muhyiddin to be his proxy Prime Minister, with Dato' Seri Mukhriz as Deputy Prime Minister until he was ready to take over. ‎
4.       Their legal action shows that I have hit a nerve. It is understandable that Dato' Seri Mukhriz is emotionally distressed that for once his father has failed to get his way.
5.       ‎Tun Mahathir knows that there is a much faster way than the courts to stop all the speculation about his motivation for trying to replace the Prime Minister. ‎All he needs to do is state who he wants instead as Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. ‎
6.       His consistent failure to answer this one simple question betrays the truth: the objective of Tun Mahathir's Anti Najib Campaign is to pave the way for his son.‎
7.       Looking at my comments in the context of the entire episode, I'm confident it will be clear that what I said is fair and represents my reading of the actions of Dato' Seri Mukhriz and his father without any malice. ‎
8.       So I'm not disturbed by this legal action. I look forward to seeing Dato' Seri Mukhriz and discussing this further in court. ‎‎‎‎