Friday, January 20, 2017

The Forest for the trees

1. Mahahtir responds to royal jab, he was merely aping a Bloomberg report of last Nov 22 - Malaysiakini, 17 Jan
2. Sultan of Johor to Mahathir: "I have said what needs to be said ... based on facts and figures, not a Western news report." - The Star, 18 Jan

3. Seeing the future from the Forest by Salahuddin Hisham, The Mole Jan 19
Puchong, Jan 20: So while the former Prime Minister is hoping to trade barbs with the Sultan of Johor, who in response says he is not interested ("I shall not lower myself"), The Mole columnist Salahuddin Hisham dives into the Malaysian FDI dilemma and resurfaces with the words of wisdom that "FDI cannot be on our terms only". 
Now that the concerns (including Dr M's) have been highlighted, Salahuddin says the necessary measures need to be put in place. But this, he stresses, should be kept professional and not politicised.
Instead of politicising the generous FDIs from China, Malaysia should be preparing itself and readying the nation to piggy back on this new wave of investments. 
 To claim that Chinese nationals, equivalent to the estimated number of people who benefitted from the Project IC in Sabah, will be flown in to live in Forest City and acquire citizenship is shocking – propaganda as old as Goebbels.

Salahuddin says the scaremongering that China's Chinese will invade and dominate southern Johor reflects ignorance of what the world is today. This alarmist misrepresentation of the past and present makes us lose sight of the future.

Peninsular Malaysia has a long history of labour shortage and dependence on foreign labour. Since the days of the Malacca Empire it has been attracting economic migrants. Colonial Malaya brought Indians and Chinese to attend to work in the plantation and tin mines. 
It is openness to migrants that allowed a Kerala descendent to be the longest serving prime minister till now.

The columnist is known to have disagreed with certain positions the Sultan of Johor took in the past. But where the verbal war between the Tuanku Ibrahim and Dr Mahathir is concerned, he says we should look at the bigger picture ...

Monday, January 16, 2017

Probably the last man Dr M would want to mess with

"(Mahathir) has forgotten many things he has done." - Sultan of Johor

Puchong, 16 Jan:
At his height of political power, Dr Mahathir Mohamad almost beat the Raja2 Melayu to a pulp. Using a battery incident involving a member of the Johor Royaly as an excuse, he took on the entire Royal institution and, aided by two of his biggest allies in Utusan Malaysia and New Straits Times, brought the institution to its knees during the 1990s - and his own prowess to a dizzying peak. Tuanku Ibrahim Iskandar was in his 30s then, not even heir apparent to the Johor throne yet, but his dislike for Mahathir was well known to those close to him then as it is now. Over the weekend, he openly displayed his disgust with the former Prime Minister yet again, albeit ever so politely and regal:

“During his te­­n­­ure as prime minis­ter, he was asking Malaysians to Look East but now he is critici­sing when Chinese investors come here to invest.” - Sultan Ibrahim

Read the story in the Star h e r e.

Make no mistake: Dr M is not down or out; on the contrary, he's at the height of his post-premiership political power. He's set up a new political party and seems to have the opposing parties in the Opposition in his pockets. 

But up against a Sultan who has the whole Bangsa Johor behind him, Tuanku Ibrahim may be the last man Dr M would want to mess with right now. I do hope the Tun's advisors can tell him that it would be wise not to rile the Sultan further.

Might even be a good idea to do another U-turn ...

Read also
Dr Mahathir's 17th U-turn, Rocky's Bru 11 Jan

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Dr Mahathir's 17th U-turn

Puchong, Jan 11: I was asked by a young reporter from The Malaysian Digest yesterday what I thought of Salleh Said Keruak's Jan 9 posting This is called Globalisation. Though the Communications Minister did not make any reference to anyone on the posting, I thought it was clear that he was happily jabbing at Dr Mahathir Mohamad who insisted in a Jan 6 posting that Prime Minister Najib Razak and Johor were selling out to China.  
The Tun used to use Singapore as a boogeyman to piss us off or of scare us off or to divert the nation's attention. China is officially his new (and bigger) boogeyman. 
Unfortunately, it is also another complete U-turn by the Old Man. His first for 2017.

Read the Digest's full story H E R E.
Read Dr Mahathir's FDI, h e r e

Salleh, in his posting, cited the irony of the British auto industry which enjoyed a record year last year but only after the Mini, the Land Rover and the Jaguar - all proudly British - have been sold to foreigners. Even Volvo is doing better since the Chinese took over the company whereas it was on the verge of closing down earlier, the Minister wrote.  
Mahathir knows what Salleh is talking about and for that reason I think he's going to let Salleh go this time. The Old Man did (or tired to do) a China long before the Chinese: he bought Italian pride MV Agusta and Britain's Lotus in the good old days of his premiership. 
Sadly, we weren't as successful as the Chinese, though ...

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Small fries, big sharks: Zahid defends the MACC


Puchong, 10 Jan: The Deputy Prime Minister is not amused by recent criticisms of the MACC, apparently. In the Bernama report MACC efforts to prevent corruption not seasonal, Zahid Hamidi said the anti-graft commission's new leadership is committed to nab the corrupt. “The (recent) arrests by the MACC were measures that translated the government’s commitment, especially the new MACC leadership, that not only small fries were nabbed but the big sharks too were also eliminated." . Zahid "placed strong confidence in the MACC leadership led by its Chief Commissioner Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad and ... Datuk Azam Baki, who is responsible for operations". 
Zahid, who is also Home Minister, made the strong remarks a couple of days after a usually government-friendly newspaper wrote an unfriendly editorial on the MACC. We're all for press freedom but in view of the string of arrests the Commission has been making in recent weeks, the tone of the editorial does seem a little unusual. As the blogger A Voice aptly puts it, "... the MACC should not be abused for political agenda, be it against the opposition or a certain past leader and his band of "friends" or competing groups within the ruling party." Wallahualam. 

Monday, January 09, 2017

If Dr Mahathir wins ...

KL, Jan 9
Official or not, and I don't mean to discourage or scare any of you, this is as good a Cabinet line-up the current Opposition can offer if they were to win the next general election. Mukhriz Mahathir is second row but both the No 1 and the No 2 on this list are on his dad's good books, so that should work. Lim Kit Siang is missing, and I'm tempted to say that perhaps we'll find him on Dr M's proposed Council of Elders ... 
First saw this on Stop The Lies, which makes a comeback to Rocky's Bru blogroll from today. 

Sunday, January 08, 2017

NST, be fair to the MACC, please

Former CEO of Tekun Nasional to be charged with graft,  NST 8 Jan

Anti-graft man in action

Original article
'Courage is something not in short supply under the current leadership and team at MACC.' - Blogger A Voice in response to insinuation that the anti-graft Commission does not have the balls to go after politicians

Puchong, 8 Jan: Still my favourite paper, the NST, should look closely at the MACC's track record before it accuses the Commission of lacking courage. That, in essence, is what A Voice is telling the people who run the NST in his posting MACC: Prawn behind stone unturned. Or, rather, the people who think they run the people who run NST.

He's not even asking anyone to defend the MACC. Just be fair to our anti-graft men and women.

"To imply the current leadership in MACC lacked courage, it is an unrealistic and could lead to a suspicion there is a sinister political motive behind it," the blogger wrote.

Is there a sinister political motive behind the NST's latest attitude towards the MACC? I am intrigued, I admit, especially after the recent "friendly fire" against Media Prima chairman FD Iskandar, who's seen to be close to the Prime Minister., and his "spat" (via one Tunku Aziz) with Media Prima editorial top honcho Ashraf Abdullah, who's also close to the PM. 

Intrigued because it's already 2017. GE14 year lah. Hardly the time for these minions to start a power struggle among themselves. Or trying to put (their own) people in powerful places, like MACC and Media Prima.

Tunku Aziz
FD Iskandar
Ashraf Abdullah

Read also:

Friday, January 06, 2017

As new Felda chairman, Shahrir Samad's biggest enemy is time

Different breed

Puchong, Jan 6
Last Friday, I wrote the posting Will Isa ever "die" so Felda and FGV may live? Well, well, well. PM Najib Razak announced today that Shahrir Samad will replace Isa Samad as Chairman of Felda. 
I wish the PM had appointed a non-politician to the post (Felda Chairman: Why Nazir Razak should consider, Jan 3) but under the circumstances, Shahrir's appointment is probably as good as it gets. For Shahrir is a different breed of Umno politicians. The benefit of hindsight tells us that this man has principles and he's got integrity. 
The only thing Shahrir does not have is time. Isa may have carried out a lot of programs to improve the lot of Felda settlers and their families (according to the press statement issued by the PMO) but he has also left Shahrir with a lot of holes to fix. Will Shahrir have enough time to turn around the negative perception that Rafizi Ramli and gang have patiently planted and replanted around Felda and FGV while Isa was Chairman? 
If Najib expects Shahrir to do that before the next general election, I'd say that's a tall order.  Especially since there's that other problem: Isa is still Chairman of FGV.   
Nevertheless, a good start for Felda for the New Year.

I won't do it again, I'm sorry: blogger Zaharin to MRCB

Bangsar, Jan 6: Before blogs existed, Zaharin Mohd Yasin was a little known minor leader in Umno. Blogging made him quite famous, and then infamous. He was with Mahathir Mohamad and against Abdullah Badawi one day and suddenly was with Pak Lah the next day. He was with Najib Razak at first and now against him. Zaharin is not unique in that sense. There are many politicians and political activists who swing or jump from one end to the other like changing underwear. But treating MRCB, a professionally-run business concern, as a political punching bag just because the construction firm refused to give him what he demanded was a big mistake.  
This morning, Zaharin ate humble pie and said sorry to MRCB for defaming it.

No retreat, No Surrender and No Other Way but Sorry

A lesson to all in social media, myself included. We don't live in a vacuum. We are governed and guided by laws. And common sense.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Marina Mahathir's business empire?

Bangsar, Jan 4 2017

Marina Mahathir was curt, defensive when a reporter from The Mole, the news portal that I help run, contacted her for her comments on an info sheet of her business "empire" that was going viral. 
"Why don't you go check for yourself with ROC, or wherever?"  
Actually, one look at the list of her "empire" and I could tell that a lot of the info on the sheet was dated. If it was a spin aimed at discrediting Mahathir Mohamad's sons and daughter, it was rather amateurish. 
In 1998, Mahathir did an excellent number on Anwar Ibrahim when the deputy tried to mount a coup on him at the Umno's general assembly that year: the Old Man made public a long list of company directors to show that there were more Anwar cronies than Mahathir cronies in Umno!  This one on Marina and her brothers attempts to take a leaf from that Mahathir classic. But, at best, a poor attempt. So Marina should chill; not everyone's trying to get her.  
Read Zaidi Azmi's report h e r e.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Felda Chairman: Why Nazir Razak should consider

"... the candidates must be vetted by the MACC".

Kuala Lumpur, 3 Jan, 2017
For once, I can agree with Akhbar Satar. In my previous posting, Will Isa ever "die" so Felda and FGV may live (Dec 30), I stressed that even Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad did not do too well as Chairman of Proton.  That being the case, what hope do GLCs have when lesser politicians than the former Prime Minister are appointed as Chairman of their boards?  
Ex Proton chairman
Putting a "professional" as Chairman of a GLC doesn't immediately guarantee success, though. We need the "right" professional, as Akhtar says. With the MACC in the picture, a lot of people - politicians and professionals - would be very happy to excuse themselves. 
I have two names in my head for the job of Felda chairmanship IF incumbent Isa Samad, the former MB of Negri Sembilan, who was found guilty of practising money politics by his own party, decides to quit amid the current crisis. 
One is Ismee Ismail, the Tabung Haji CEO for the fund's arguably most productive decade.

The other is Nazir Razak, the vocal little brother of PM Najib Razak.  
If you remember, there was (still is) some contention over the appointment of Nazir as CIMB chairman, where he had also served as CEO/Exec director from 2013 and before that as its Deputy Chairman. If he goes over to Felda, that contention will vanish one and for all. And he will have the opportunity to finally "save" Felda, a legacy of his late dad Tun Abdul Razak, Malaysia's second Prime Minister.
Plus, Nazir owes it to Felda. His bank was very much involved in the US$2 billion listing of FGV back in 2013 as an advisor.

Read also:
A Short note on Felda, LSS Report 3 Jan 2017