Thursday, December 21, 2017

The scoundrels of Semarak

Right about now, Felda chairman Shahrir Samad will be addressing a major press conference at the 49th floor of the Felda Tower in Kuala Lumpur. There will be many questions the Tan Sri will be asked about the Berita Harian front page story today:

The facts are simple and quite known though some in authorities may want them forgotten: Felda general manager Abdul Ghani Ali, appointed by Shahrir in September, lodged a police report on Dec 12 on a deal involving a company called Synergy Promenade, believed to belong to "allies" of a former powerful Felda big boss, that could see Felda lose ownership of the land. 
The front page by BH is an opportunity for Shahrir to push for a closure to the scandal and demand justice for Felda and punishment for the scoundrels. It will save not just Felda's Jalan Semarak land but also the integrity of this Administration. 
Felda had been hit by massive scandals after an attempt to get rid of a senior executive at FGV by the then Felda chairman Isa Samad. In Aug, Isa was even kept in remand by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to help in the investigations into massive graft. He was released after five days. 
In Sept, the MACC said it was wrapping up the probe into Isa and Felda and would send in its papers to the AG Chambers for the next course of action.
Isa was detained for five days by MACC in August

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

APPs: Necessary or just another IMAMS in the making?

Arriving in Malaysia to be more expensive soon, in the name of homeland security
Kudos to the Government for canceling a plan to charge Umrah pilgrims from Malaysia RM90 for nothing [Zahid: Cabinet not told Imams would be outsourced). Imams, it turns out, is just someone's ploy make a lot of money in the name of religion. Or was it tourism?  
Never mind that, there's an equally mind-boggling scheme that's about to be shoved down our throats. It's called Advanced Passenger Screening System. APPs is a scheme to charge inbound passengers a "token" sum, this time in the name of homeland securityMy sources say the Cabinet approved this project recently and a company awarded the concession, which is for a period of 15 years. Was there a tender? I'm not sure but what I know is that the project implementation cost is in the region of RM8 billion. Who's going to pay for this? Answer: Malaysia's inbound travellers.  Which means that with APPs, each person flying to Malaysia will have an additional US$5 or RM21* only (to be added on to their fares). 
Is that fair? Mavcom, the body that regulates economic and commercial matters related to the country's civil aviation, should be able to tell us. 
But if you ask me, this smells Imamsy. We have one of the best homeland security records in the region already. There's no need for something like this, honestly. - Dec 19
* Small compared with Imams' proposed charges but Malaysia eyes 94 million inbound passengers by the end of 2017, so you do the math ...

Thursday, December 14, 2017

PAU 2017, a quick recap (Who said it was an utter disappointment?)

Don't field the mulut celupars at GE14, Najib
SOMEONE told me yesterday he thought last week's Perhimpunan Agong Umno (PAU) was a waste of time. I disagreed. I thought the speeches by President Najib Razak and his deputy Zahid Hamidi were substantive. Khairy Jamaluddin's one played to the gallery quite well too. So the party's wings did not want a contest for the No 1 and No 2 posts come the next Umno elections. So what? That has been the norm ever since Ku Li challenged and nearly defeated Dr Mahathir in 1987 but, as in Umno's tradition, there's always the compromise in lieu of a contest if God wills it.

But what won it at the General Assembly, to me, is this one:

KUALA LUMPUR – December 6, 2017: Many Umno members do not want their party to field those who are ill-mannered as candidates in the next general elections.
The common belief is that it would be a costly mistake for the party to field such candidates as their less than proper character could cause the people to find Umno objectionable.
“We don’t want our party to be represented by foul-mouthed people… they are the ones who cause Umno to lose votes.  
“With Pribumi Bersatu touting themselves as our counterpart in the opposition bloc, Umno needs to showcase itself as the good guy,” said Saad Hussin from the Ayer Hitam division in Kedah.
“Our party cannot do that (be seen as the good guy) if it is represented by obnoxious candidates,” he remarked.
The crucial need for Umno to field likeable candidates was stated at the ongoing general assembly by party number two Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi at the opening of the three wings last night.
Zahid had admitted that it is difficult to find candidates with such a quality as they will most likely become victims of jealousy and subjected to unnecessary internal politicking.
Another party member, Awarna Palil, said it is important for the leadership to choose candidates who are well-versed with the nuances of today’s youths.
“Convincing youths to vote for Umno is something that senior members like me have trouble doing because of our generation gap.
“Even more so if we are campaigning for a candidate that youths regard as too old,” said the 63-year-old single mother from Tebrau.
When asked if there is any Umno leader that fits the criteria of being a winnable candidate, Puteri member Siti Khairunisa Jamil named Sungai Besar assemblyman Budiman Mohd. Zohdi.
Budiman won the Sungai Besar by-election last year by a whopping 9,191 votes, a significant increase from the 399 won by the late Tan Sri Noriah Kasnon in the last general elections.
“He (Budiman) may be 45-year-old but his Selangor Young People Secretariat (a non-governmental organisation that Budiman chairs) is quite popular among especially the underprivileged youths in Selangor.
“To me Budiman’s victory in Sungai Besar proved how important it is for Umno to have a candidate who is not out of touch with the people, particularly youths who are the biggest voting bloc in the country,” said Siti Khairunisa, who is from Sungai Besar.
Saad and  Awarna also named Budiman as an example of Umno’s likable candidate.

Now, I thought this was a smashing shot  at quiet a few Umno bigheads who think it's their birthright to be fielded in any general election they choose to contest.

Read also:

Friday, December 08, 2017

"Super smart" Neelofa is AirAsia board member!

Even Tony Fermades thinks she's super smart

Ah, and I had just mentioned Neelofa in my latest posting Different Icons, Different IQs. Here's hoping she remains level-headed and keeps her feet always on the ground (not in the mouth like some icons do). 
Fight for a cause, Neelofa, don't cause a fight.
Congrats, Air Asia!

Read also:

Different Icons, Different IQs

Food is expensive, ringgit is weak ...
From Sheila to Neelofa
I have come to believe that what Sheila Majid wanted to do, actually, was, really, to champion a cause. Like a lot of Hollywood celebs have been doing. Unfortunately, her tweet the other day on soaring cost of living came out all wrong. She came across as unduly critical of a government whose policies have actually helped improve the people's welfare, especially those in the lower-income bracket.

And, unfortunately times two, her tweet was used by Mahathir and Co as proof that "yet another icon has spoken up (against the Najib administration)". Cheap shot, but they have nothing to lose in trying to bring down this government, so why not?

Pro-Najib supporters were also unnecessarily harsh towards Sheila, if you ask me. Like a seasoned journo wrote in her FB, the jazz diva may be all-class when she sings but she ain't that smart. That partisan politics is ugly and manipulative is probably beyond Sheila or the likes of Siti Nurhaliza and Nur Fathia Abdul Latif, both of whom have also recently put their feet in their mouth in their attempts to be political. 
Candidate for Pekan at GE14?

I say let those celebs who want to rant on their social media do so. But their managers must do their job and tell their stars that they can actually champion a good cause without looking silly or, worse, stupid. Or without being partisan (unless, of course, they have political ambitions) because that will surely isolate a lot of their fans.

If Sheila is concerned that her fans are spending too much of borrowed money, advise them to be thrifty and to say NO to their desire for what they could hardly afford (like the iPhone X which, incidentally, has become the best-selling iPhone model despite the nearly RM6k price tag, so much for and Sheila's complaints about the government and rising cost of living). 

Sheila doesn't have to be super smart to give a good advice and because she's an icon a lot of people will listen to her if she's got something good to share.

Pro-Mahahtir or anti-Najib?
In any case, I'm not too concerned about Sheila or Siti Nurhaliza or even less so Fathia because I am not a fan (I did buy Sheila's album Legenda in the early 90s because it of P. Ramlee's songs and I had never heard of Fathia before this). I am Awie, Amy Search, M. Nasir and, of course, Ramli Sarip kinda guy. I dig Joe Flizzow even though I am not into rap. And am forever in awe of Ella and Yuna, too. 

We have more than enough icons who are smart, who constantly fight and who speak up (but not to please the old political gods) ...

Moderate but firm

And then there's Neelofa, an icon who has not only made the tudung fashionable but has continued to make tudung affordable (despite the expensive food, weak ringgit, high cost of living, etc etc). Tak bodoh, tak sombong dan tak bodoh sombong ...

Icon, both sides now

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Umno and Jerusalem

THE Prime Minister has been known to bide his time before making up his mind. Some say he's indecisive; others call him meticulous. But on US President Donald Trump's shocking move to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Najib Razak didn't blink an eye. 

At the Umno General Assembly this morning, he wasted no time in setting the Malaysian agenda on Jerusalem: Malaysia will never accept Jerusalem as capital of Israel.
"As Umno president and Malaysian prime minister, I call upon all party leaders, delegates and members here and out there, wherever they may be, to stand and express your stand with confidence ... so that the world will hear the voice of Muslims in Malaysia, that we vehemently reject the proposal to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital for all times". 
Those expecting the Prime Minister to be coy because this concerns the most powerful nation on Earth are mistaken (What say Najib on Trump's Jerusalem's move?). Trump may regard Najib as a "good friend' and vice versa but the US President won't have Malaysia's support on this. Over the next three days, the Umno general assembly will set the Malaysia's biggest political party's agenda on Jerusalem. Barisan Nasional's other component parties will no doubt pledge solidarity on this, just as they have done over the years.

It would be interesting to see if Pakatan Harapan will follow suit. The Opposition's interim PM-designate Dr Mahathir Mohamad was a champion of sorts for the so-called developing countries of the South, for Palestine and South Africa, and for Bosnia during his 22 years as PM. But in cahoots with the DAP, who is known to have a different view on some of these issues (PKR-Amanah, PPBM membisu isu Jerusalem Jubilee sebab DAP, dakwa NGO), Dr M may have to sing a different tune. 

If he did, it wouldn't surprise too many people. But let's hope that won't be the case. We need to be united on the Jerusalem issue.

Read also:
Wisma Putera to Washington: Reconsider decision

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Felda TAK Bangkrap rupanya

The defaming front page from June 2010

PKR's husband-and-wife bosses Anwar Ibrahim and Wan Azizah Ismail may blame karma. First, the decision by the Pakatan Harapan elders to name Dr Mahathir Moahamd, the man who sacked Anwar accused the then DPM him of sodomy, among other things, as the Opposition's Prime Minister-designate in case, just in case, the Opposition wins the 14th general election, which is due before mid-2018. Same elders also proposed Wan Azizah as interim DPM but PKR has requested to defer a final decision (fear that in the interim, an interim may send the other to jail, perhaps?). 
There was that little something to gaze the sky upon when blogger Papagomo was ordered by the court to pay Anwar nearly RM1 million in damages. But, as it turns out, there won't be any early Christmas celebration as Wan Azizah was told yesterday to pay RM2 million to Felda, whose settlers are traditionally BN diehards, for defamation. 6 Dec 2017 

Read also

Monday, December 04, 2017

Blogger in Malaysia pays Anwar Ibrahim close to RM1 million in damages!?

The Star's report
BEFORE anyone gets any ideas, let me assure you that bloggers in Malaysia generally don't have this kind of money. We are basically unemployed, liars, cheats and female. The only ones on my blogroll who may be rich enough to make you richer if you win a lawsuit against them are Najib Razak and Dr Mahathir Mohamad. And they are not really bloggers, at least not like the rest of us, if you know what I mean.