Friday, October 28, 2016

Abang Din the Opposition Leader

Exactly today last year, I wrote the posting Should Muhyiddin Quit Umno? On hindsight, maybe I should have asked if Muhyiddin Yassin shouldn't quit politics altogether, while he still could. Because after listening to his maiden speech as an Opposition leader in Parliament yesterday, I'm convinced that Abang Din is going to make even less impact in his new role than he ever did when he was, say, Minister of Education (the last portfolio he held as a Minister in Najib Razak's Cabinet).

When he was Umno, Muhyiddin was the quintessential gentleman, always composed and in control (even when he wasn't). But yesterday, as Opposition, he looked ill at ease. He was trying to be more Mahathir than Dr Mahathir Mohamad himself. In his haste to get even with PM Najib Razak, Muhyiddin has shown that he's capable of ungentlemanly conduct. And willing to bring anyone down with him if that is what it takes, as Gani Patail, the former Attorney General, found out ... 

"Kalau dia (Gani) bohong, bohonglah saya ..." [If he'd lied to me then I'm lying to you...] - Muhyiddin, insinuating in Parliament that former Attorney General Gani Patail had shared with him (when he was the Deputy PM) proof that implicated his ex-Boss, Najib Razak, in the 1MDB "scandal". 

The blogger Big Dog isn't the only one in shock and awe with the "new" Muhyiddin, Abang Din the Opposition. Read his latest posting Didn't Muhyiddin understand the oath he took for Secrecy? 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hurting them big cooking oil smugglers, at last!

Updated: Partners in Crime by Big Dog
Because civil servants turned a blind eye by A Voice

No increase in price for 1kg cooking oil!

In "What's Cooking, Doc?", seasoned crime-watcher Dave Avran wrote:
Currently 85,000 metric tonnes of controlled cooking oil is subsidized by the government whereas domestic national consumption is only 40,000 metric tonnes, the excess 45,000 metric tonnes are illegally smuggled out of the country. This means the excess subsidized cooking oil costs the government a whopping RM540 million annually which is not benefitting local consumers at all.
Because Avran is a seasoned crime-watcher [see MARAH, the closed FB group he started to fight crime only], I couldn't help wondering if the "Big Boys" in the cooking oil industry, who stand to lose the most from the Government's move to take away the subsidy for 5kg cooking oil, had any information on the "illegal smuggling". It's a huge crime (worth more than half a billion ringgit a year) ... surely some of these big players would be aware of the massive leakage! 

If I were a bit more suspicious, I'd be wondering if any of them had anything to do with the crime! But I'm not like that lah ...

p.s. As for the cooking oil price increase, I read that the price of 1kg packet of minyak masak remains unchanged because the move will only affect the 5kg or more packets, which are used by commercial outlets. That's good news. Not that it changes anything as my home hardly uses up 1kg of cooking oil every month, anyway. Some traders and food outlets will use it as an excuse to pass the additional cost to the consumers but then again they will use any excuse to do that. After the smugglers, these traders are the kind of unscrupulous people the relevant authorities should really go after and expose form today ...

Read also:

Who does WHO think it is?

Does WHO think it can override the sovereignty of member countries? 

Puchong, 26 Oct: NOT all is well at the World Health Organisation, it would seem. 
The public health arm of the United Nations has seen incidents of reported fraud rose by 20 per cent last year. Allegations of rampant corruption, blatant cronyism and sheer extravagance are causing real concern. 
Sensationally, the world body has also "blacklisted" the Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organisation, from key meetings.
Some cynics are quick to blame internal rivalry for WHO's predicaments but that would be missing the point. A country like Malaysia, which is a member of WHO, stands to lose. One has just to look back at what happened to FIFA recently to be convinced that if nothing is done the same fate awaits WHO. 
In the case of the world football governing body, half of its 24 Executive Committee members were charged with serious improprieties stemming from bribes, illegal ticket sales, match-fixing, and World Cup hosting.  

Monday, October 24, 2016

NOT a Budget for "monkeys"

But a big, tacit NOD for KJ
Kuala Lumpur, 24 Oct: 16 YEARS at the Business Times, I think I've covered my fair share of the Federal government's annual Budget sessions in Parliament. 
One chore was to try and "label" each Budget in order to simplify or capture its essence for the busy readers. 
The most overused till this day has to be "the people's Budget" (and its variations "a budget for all/everyone/rakyat etc). 
At the height of his power (over the media bosses, at least), Anwar Ibrahim described his own Budget "a caring Budget". 
At the height of his, Dr Mahathir Mohamad officially changed Belanjawan, the old Bahasa Malaysia word for Budget, to Bajet

I think Ibrahim Ali was spot on to call Najib Razak's 2017 Budget tabled last Friday Bajet roti dan keju (bread and butter Budget). There's quite a lot for civil servants and those in the bottom 40 per cent of the salary scale. What I don't understand is why the Perkasa chief was so unhappy with the fact that Najib is trying to ensure that the people's welfare is made a priority in these trying times. As former banker and Cabinet Minister Abdul Wahid Omar pointed out, this has got to be one of the most challenging Budgets that Najib has had to prepare, given the limited financial resources and the sluggish world economy. 

My circle of friends wanted me to thank the PM specifically for:

The bikers have complained about the bike lanes for years and many had actually given up hope that something would actually be done. I hope the relevant authorities have bicyclists in mind, too, when upgrading those lanes. A lot more cyclists are using those narrow lanes these days ...

The gadget-laden kids, meanwhile, are grateful about this:

For their assignments, of course,
not for anime and those silly computer games

There are actually a lot of little things for the small people in the Budet. That's why Wahid calls it "a people-centric responsible Budget", I suppose.  
But the "monkeys" won't know it, said social media journalist Ahmad Cendana  on his Facebook, in reference to Opposition politicians who had staged a walkout during Najib's Budget speech. 

“Monkeys – that’s a harsh word to use, but it is well justified in this case. Come to think of it their actions are a good thing. They have inadvertently exposed themselves to their supporters as to what they really are. A bunch of uncouth empty barrels without much substance. So these are the people who are being promoted to replace the present government?” - Malaysians still disgusted over MPs' budget storm out  The Mole 23 Oct

Khairy Jamaluddin, the Youth and Sports Minister, has a billion reasons to be happy.  
The RM1.2 billion allocation made by the PM in his 2017 Bajet is the biggest yet for sports. All those years covering the Budget, we business journalists were never really interested in how much was going to be spent on sports. That's probably because we are were a nation of losers when it comes to sports. Not anymore In the past year alone, we have produced Paralympic gold medallists and Olympic silver and bronze medallists. Latest, we are now world dodgeball champions
But more money for sports aside, it is the tacit approval that PM Najib has given the Minister, who is also the Umno/BN Youth chief, that's caught my eye. Wasn't that long ago when KJ was deemed "not yet ready" whereas Mukhriz Mahathir, who had just lost to KJ in the contest for the Umno Youth leadership, was made a Deputy Minister, many said in deference to his dad!
Today, like it or not, you have to admit that KJ has done an excellent job, indeed. You don't have to like his politics but if he continues to perform and his Boss continues to have faith in him, it could only mean that he is poised for bigger things in the government and the party. 
There are vacancies for Umno vice presidency that need to be filled, urgently!

p.s. In the Budget, the Prime Minister has also given KJ the responsibility of spearheading the TN50, the new 30-year vision for Malaysia that will replace Mahathir's Vision 2020. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The integrity of our system

The State of the Nation's Integrity Today: Who is Responsible? At a seminar on integrity yesterday, I told the audience and my fellow panel members that we have the tendency to look at things negatively. As a result, we cause ourselves unnecessary stress and alarm. 

The examples I cited:
1. The 1MDB issue and the RM2.6 billion
2. The charge against Lim Guan Eng over his "banglo tak berkolamrenang"
3. The RM112 million cash discovered in the Sabah "watergate"
These issues made major news abroad. I've met some people who said they were ashamed to admit that they were Malaysians because of these issues. I wish they could look at things more positively.

If you ask me, these cases prove the integrity of our key institutions:

1. The bipartisan Public Accountability Committee (its report on the 1MDB in April here), the PDRM (which hope to conclude its investigation into 1MDB soon, here),  and, especially, our Bank Negara, which has fined the 1MDB for administrative failures Singapore and Swiss authorities have acted against their banks for rule breaches related to dealings with 1MDB. 
2. The Attorney-General himself is prosecuting in the case against the Penang Chief Minister to uphold the integrity of the AG's office. Some people talked about Apandi Ali's move as politically influenced, but they failed to mention that not too long ago an Umno chief minister was charged and jailed over a case not too different from Guan Eng's 
3. The Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission has proven beyond doubt its commitment towards defeating graft. It knew the repercussions of the watergate and, as if on cue, the politicians in Sabah started accusing one another but, so what? Important thing is we now know that despite all the attempts at politicising and undermining the MACC since 2009, the integrity of our anti-graft men and women remains intact.

The problem is some people are not interested in whether the MACC or Bank Negara or our justice system is fair and independent. They just want to get their guy and if they don't it means the system must be corrupt and has lost its integrity!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Trump to call in BERSIH over rigged US election

Important Notice: The article below, lifted from Reuters by The Mole, is news but the headline I'm using for this posting is irony. Or wishful thinking ...:-) 

Updated: The Mole also has a story about Star's boss accused of bias against Red Shirts!
Wong Chun Wai is being accused of "pretending to be an angel" for his comment piece There is no place for bigotry! 

Excerpts from Cheah Sin Song's thrashing of Wong:
“We have all seen how people wearing yellow t-shirts using slippers to whack on a photo of Najib (Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak), performing mock Chinese funeral rites on a photo of Najib, carrying long, big banners with hell notes with a photo of Najib and many other acts that have angered the Malays. I am not trying to side with the Malays but let us be fair and zero in on the real culprits, which Wong has failed to do. .."

Original article: 
"The election is absolutely being rigged ..." - Trump

17 Oct: I couldn't help but think of our own Opposition and their Yellow agents when I read about US presidential hopefool Donald Trump talking about the rigging of the US elections. Shows how confident he is about beating Clinton. But if Trump had heard of Bersih, he'd surely fly in Maria Chin and Bersih to help him campaign against his alleged rigging. Jamal and Red Shirts would then feel obliged to go after the Yellow Shirts. And we'd be free of both nuisance! How blessed!

Yes, Trump, they're rigging the elections, I swear! 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Tun's U-turn, Cont'd

"Mahathir offering the Kelantanese detdak". - RPK,  15 Oct
Helen Ang's "Raja Mendeliar's Trojan Horse farm in Johor." 16 Oct
Mahathir offers "dedak" to make son PM, The Malaysia Outlook 17 Oct

"Back then I was thinking, what did the Opposition know about administration? They were just wasting public money. But now it's the opposite: they do good things, especially for the poor. "- Tun M: Contohi Selangor, SelangorKini 14-21 Oct

Bangsar, 14 Oct: There is no stopping Umno former president Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Almost on a daily basis, he's U-turning against his old party, against the coalition he once led for 22 years, and against his old self.  
In this latest incident, he was full of praise for Azmin Ali, the Selangor MB and one of Anwar Ibrahim's most trusted. Mahathir has cited BR1M as one of the reasons he's so against PM Najib Razak, but here he is endorsing free water and BR1M-like handouts for newlyweds and firstborns. 
But then again, lest we forget, the Tun IS an Opposition leader. The only one who's capable of challenging de facto Opposition leader Anwar, if you ask me ....

Read also:

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A mid-day in XiaMen University, Sepang

Is Blogging Dead in Malaysia? It's not what it used to be but blogging is far from dead, or so this social media journalist told  a group of journalism students at the XiaMen University yesterday. 

If the power of Dr Mahathir's blog is anything to go by, then blogs are still very relevant to Malaysians today. And if Dr Mahathir is, in turn, affected by blogs of the so-called little Goebbels (like Big Dog's and Salleh Said Keruak's) and that (he thinks) we are standing in his way of bringing down another Prime Minister to save the notion (sic), then these bloggers must be a force to be reckoned with!

Generally, however, blogs lag far behind social media platforms. But experienced and credible bloggers will use their blogs to rise above the din and the chaos of social media and, that way, remain visible to a large audience. They could evolve into a guest-blogging portal like Huffington Post but that will require a lot more resources.

I had never given a "lecture" before and I must say I enjoyed the experience. Dr Siti Suriani's (Foundation) students are an attentive and curious lot: every one had one question, at least. I don't believe in what I am writing, so how do I deal with my conscience in the newsroom? Is it better to be a blogger than a journalist? What was the most outrageous thing I've encountered as a journalist? 

The brand new 60ha university campus - its first intake was in February - is located on the rolling hills of Bandar Sunsuria, somewhere in Sepang. It oversees a beautiful lake which welcomes the visitor as he takes the stairs to the third floor of the main building. 

"Waaah, you have a big swimming pool there," I poked Jacky, pointing towards the lake. 

"Oh, the swimming pool is on the Fourth, sir," he poked back. Same floor as the gym and the surau.


XMU [Malaysia] is the first Chinese university overseas campus approved by the Government of China. The agreement to build the campus was signed this month three years ago (Oct 4 2013), witnessed by the Chinese President Xi Jianping and Malaysian PM Najib Razak. The medium of instruction is English and student composition is one-third Malaysian, one-third Chinese, and one-third International.

Read also: 
Latecomer XiaMen U a big draw, The Star  17/1/16

Thursday, October 06, 2016

In Malaysia, another blackmailing blog exposed

Updated 7/10: The politician who is subject of a lawsuit by MRCB (see story below) did not enter his defence at the court yesterday. Not even his lawyer was present. 
The alleged blackmailer Nuclearmanbursa, meanwhile, has challenged the authorities to get him if they think he'd committed a crime. 
“If I am writing lies, please do the needful. If I have met any Reach Energy officer in an official or unofficial capacity, please do the needful,” the blogger wrote, here.
These people don't seem to be afraid of the law at all. Perhaps they have seen how lenient our courts can be. Read Aussie "strippers" freed after judge's reprimand. Just plead ignorance and remorse (in the case of our two bloggers, they can't cite "young ages" to get off scot free).

Original article
Cops trying to reach ex-journalist over extortion claim 
Bangsar, 7 Oct:s This blog gives free publicity to other blogs from time to time. A leg up for newbies, if you like. Last week, we gave readers a link to Nuclearmanbursa. We felt that anyone who thought that Tabung Haji's foray into Kazakhtan could hurt PM Najib in the long run deserved closer inspection. 
And closer inspection that blog did get! My friends in the department tipped me off yesterday about a police report that has been lodged against a local individual suspected to be behind Nuclearmanbursa.  
The individual is said to be a former business journalist, who has told Reach Energy that he was willing to stop writing bad stuff about the company if they pay him more than he was being paid to discredit Reach Energy. Wow.
A mole at the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission told me they have also received a report on the extortion attempt involving by the same individual. 
This is not the first such case. MRCB is suing a small time but prominent notorious politician for attempting to extort money from the company. The politician was supposed to have entered his defence this week. 
The MCMC has tracked down and prosecuted several individuals for their postings on blogs and in social media in recent years. Not too long ago, a Cabinet Minister won a suit against a blogger for defamation. Another blogger who was paid to run down a businessman was unmasked in court and pleaded guilty to save his skin. The anonymous blogger who broke the story on Anwar Ibrahim's sex video was also tracked down and charged.
All of which prove that there is no such thing as "anonymity" in cyberspace. Big Brother knows who you are. If you break the law, the law will break you.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Why Mahathir is Mad Part 2: Najib's "real" Goebbels that the Old Man refuses to name

"The problem is Mahathir’s propaganda team is a bunch of dimwits." - Raja Petra Kamaruddin, MAD: Acronym for Mahathir Accedes Defeat, Malaysia Today 3/10/16

Bangsar, 4/10/16: A. Kadir Jasin, Jebat Must Die and Syed Akbar Ali will disagree with RPK but the fact that the Old Man had to take matters into his own hands and "whack" Najib's "little Goebbels" on his own blog means he could not wait for his own top cyber warriors (and Kadir, JMD and Syed are up there, at least in my book they are) to do the dirty work for him. If I were part of the Tun's propaganda team, I would not allow him go down on his knees like that. But, like he said, I am not with him.

In his posting h e r e, the Tun gives me too much credit, though. My friends who are still with him could have told him  that, yes, I am clearly not with him but I could not have been out to "kill" him.  Helen Ang put things in perspective in Rocky, Big Dog and the myth of neutrality (30/9): Rocky made a grand total of seven postings in his blog for the entire month of August. This is hardly reflective of a media man out to get Tun.

But, I suppose, as A Voice, former staunch Tun supporter, puts it in his latest posting Crossing the line (4/10), if you are not with the Old Man, you are against him!

Overheard: Siapa sokong Chedet dapat detdak

What's really interesting in RPK's posting, though, is his assertion that there exists a "real" Goebbels on Najib's team. Dr Mahathir knows this man, RPK said, the Old Man just won't name him ...

This man is the head of the Boffin Boys, who Mahathir knows personally and knows he is Najib’s head of counter-propaganda. Yes, this man who Mahathir will not name has managed to outthink Mahathir and counter all Mahathir’s propaganda with an effective counter-propaganda.

Mmm ... Now who could it be?

Why Mahathir is mad

Puchong, 1 Muharram 1438: You can tell that the Old Man was fuming mad when he wrote Propaganda (28 Sept). This blog was mentioned in the posting, rather unkindly. References to Goebbels and of being bought, etc. Of course, I had done nothing to Dr Mahathir Mohamad or his family to deserve such wrath. The Old Man, obviously, was wrongly advised again, I suspect deliberately.
But Big Dog aka Zakhir Mohamad, the other blogger mentioned in the Old Man's posting, did "sin". 
He "crossed the line". 
He "touched" one of Mahathir's. A no-no-no ...

Among Mahathir's children, I have always liked Mukhriz most. But the call for him to resign from Ansara, I think, is fair. 22 years, we all know, is too long to be at the helm.   
Selfie after calling on the guy's resignation. Classic

To be cont'd ... (maybe)