Monday, December 17, 2018

Fireman Adib is dead; I hope they all hang


Alfatehah, Adib Bomba. Nowhere in the world has a fireman been beaten to death for doing his job, for trying to help. Only in Malaysia.
For you, adik Adib, I hope for Jannah.
I hope Waythamoorthy does the right thing and die. Everyone else involved in the murder should hang. Bastards. 
And they should close the temple, voluntarily. 

Related news and postings
Farewell, Adib: Fireman dies of injuries sustained in Nov 27 riot 
Rest In Peace, Adib - Annie
Segera dakwa pembunuh Adib: Selangor MB
Temple won't be demolished, says Waytha
Court dismisses bid to postpone takeover of temple
Tycoon Vincent Tan proposes fund to save temple
Fund reaches RM2 mil
Sgor MB: Temple should return land and RM1.5 mil compensation

Ex Utusan vs Utusan


Digital news war. Last month, scores of journalists from Utusan Malaysia left the daily under a voluntary separation scheme. Last week, led by former editors Zaini Hassan, Gamal Nasir and Aziz Sharif, the journalists started Bebas News, a bilingual news analysis portal that will compete with Utusan's own digital paper and dozens other political news sites. Bebas is Malay for "free" or "liberal".
Zaini, author of the political column Cuit Sikit, told pals that Bebas News will be critical, daring and independent. Critical and daring have been Zaini's own trademarks as a journalist of some 30 years. As for being independent and everything else, we'll just have to wait a little and see. 
For now,  the Prime Minister's mugshot and caption on the top right-hand side of the portal's pages will attract the curios, though: is that little corner reserved for the Old Man to dish out his words of wisdom or are they meant to be a reminder to the PM himself? 
Meanwhile, Utusan Malaysia, under new executive director Ibrahim Yahya, is also planing to go very big digitally in 2019, or so I was told ...  

Read also
Aziz  quits as Utusan's exec chairman after 6 months

The hypocrisy over the indiscriminate smoking ban etc

Note: The Prophet and the angels is a sign for us to take a breather from political commentaries. Perhaps for the rest of the year, which will be good for our well-being. We won't be lacking issues to explore: journalism, health, sports, business, books, movies, cycling ... 

Courtesy The Star

I'm an ex-smoker, so I shouldn't care about the smoking ban at eateries (including open air ones) come the New Year, right? The Health Ministry says it will "help make Malaysia tobacco-free", so that's a good thing, kan? 
Nope. On the contrary, I think it's a damn stupid ruling the Ministry is trying to justify with the darndest "make Malaysia tobacco-free" excuse. If you want to make Malaysia tobacco-free, the thing to do is stop the sale of tobacco altogether. Wage war against cigarettes, like we have been waging the war on drugs. Ciminalize smoking and hang the tobacco smugglers. 
But the government is not doing that. Why? Because the government makes money from cigarettes.  A lot of money. Every year it collects over RM1 billion in cigarette taxes and now that "the government has no money" (or so says the minister Khalid Samad; [refer to the clip in my previous posting h e r e] we can expect it to up the taxes so that it can earn even more. 
Well, if it means more government revenue, I say go ahead and collect more taxes. But, please, let's not be hypocrites by like banning smoking at Q Bistro and telling people like me who go there frequently and co-exist with smokers who sit peacefully in their designated smoking area that it will help make this country tobacco-free. Because that's not what you want.

And what good does a smokeless environment do? Just look at the ban on smoking in Parliament. Have that made our politicians cleverer or their debates healthier? If anything, it's the contrary. Again, the antics of Khalid Samad comes to mind. And have you not been paying attention to what the likes of  Mazlee Malik and Mujahid Yusuf have been spewing lately?
Not forgetting Yeo Bee Yin, who have refused repeated requests from Lynas workers to visit them at their workplace and choosing instead to write them a most-condescending open letter to employees in this country, telling them that she had it equally tough if not tougher growing up on a farm and that she sympathised with the workers if they lose their jobs because of her crusade for a larger good. 

Ah, but I digress ...

Back to the ban. It won't hurt business, says Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye. "I don't see why their business will be affected, as customers go to the restaurant to eat, not to smoke," he said. The eateries are claiming otherwise: the ban will discourage smoking patrons from coming and that will affect their business.

My greatest problem with the ruling is that it makes me feel that we are becoming such a regimented nation all of a sudden. Macam Singapore, pulak. Why can't we leave it to the eateries to decide. Their decision will be dictated by patrons and not by government or politicians. As a regular patron of eateries that have smoking and designated non-smoking sections, I have always found the arrangement a happy one for both. Why fix something that ain't broke?

Plus, the Ministry should focus on bigger and more urgent healthcare issues.

Read also

Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Prophet and angels in Malaysian politics

Khalid Samad has done it again. Not that he cares, I suspect. And if you're wondering how this joker could so recklessly liken his government's failures to the Prophet's own, don't look far. Just the other day his Boss said that even angels make mistakes.
Apt pupil or leadership by example?
On the other side of the political divide, someone responded on Facebook to news of the sad passing of Zainuddin Maidin, a strong supporter of Dr Mahathir Mohamad's, with an "Alhamdulillah". Totally unacceptable.
 So rotten.

Read also:
Asyraf Wajdi says Khalid Samad is too much
Avoid U-turns or risk pushing investors away, MIA tells Government

Friday, December 14, 2018

The road to a "truly Malaysian car"

Pic from Paul Tan's
If anyone had any doubts about the ties that bind Proton and its maker, the 121218 launch of the much-anticipated X70 cleared the air. Clearly, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad holds Proton very close to his heart. This is his big baby, after all. And much as he was not overly pleased about Proton's marriage to China's Geely in 2017, he could hardly conceal his excitement with their firstborn: the X70. The pictures of Tun Dr Mahathir and his wife with the Proton SUV, against a nostalgic backdrop, tells a thousand words. And while Dr M's wish that the marriage would give birth to a "truly Malaysian car" may never come true, we can expect this Malaysian car manufacturer to start making truly great cars.

A discerning millennial'a take on the X70:

Read also Handsome old man and the X70 by Annie (who is certainly not a millennial)

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Tying to stay colour blind ...

Pictures sometimes lie. But these Lynas workers who are fighting to keep their jobs look like Malays, all of them. And those who want to close down Lynas (and make those Malays jobless) have always been predominantly Chinese.  
Am I wrong to see a clash of colours here?  
But Annie, I notice, is experiencing the same symptoms. Her latest posting Why YBY and gang want to close down Lynas contains words like "overwhelming Chinese majority", "the support of the Chinese community" and "DAP". 
I'm hoping it's just the light, playing tricks on our eyes ..

p.s. The Star has a clip on the rallying Lynas workers at Parliament today. While DAP's anti-Lynas rallies have always been picnic-like, the workers look grim. One was even crying. Watch laaah.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Tabung Haji vs Tabung Haji (or is it PWC vs EY?)

Updated, Melayu vs Melayu: Apa punya manusia, Tabung Haji pun mereka noda oleh A. Kadir Jasin vs Isu Tabung Haji: Apa yang perlu kita tahu oleh Cucu Tok Selampit

Inexperience + Arrogance = ? This government's problem is not so much that too many of its ministers are green but that they can be arrogant like hell. The Malay has a most apt description for it: bodoh sombong. Minister in the Prime Minister's Department for Islamic Affairs, Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa (pic), would be the quintessential BS if you were to ask his growing army of detractors. His latest statements on the Tabung Haji affair could seal that reputation for him. Read h e r e where the minister said that from 2014 to 2017, TH was paying dividends to its depositors "illegally". 

The facts of the matter, however, are:

1. TH cannot - dulu, kini dan selamanya - pay any dividend without the approval of the Auditor-General. And Ambrin Buang, in this Feb 2016 article, clearly deemed it "legal" for dividends to be paid to the 9 million depositors. Bank Negara was also satisfied with TH's ability to pay, according to the same article:

 2. Other than the AG, external auditors have always been in the picture. PWC was appointed after Pakatan Harapan won the general election in May (Mujahid did mention this) but before that it was Earnst & Young. It was learned that from 2015 to 2017, the auditors reported asset surplus over liabilities for TH: some RM1.4 billion in 2015, over RM701 million in 2016, and well over RM350 million in 2017.

Now, could Mujahid have been selective or even ignorant when representing PWC's findings? It won't be the first or most radical with this government: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng pushed Malaysia's debts to over a trillion ringgit almost overnight despite the rosier reality (Moody's maintains Malaysia debt burden at 50.8 per cent of GDP). 

But why? Politics, of course!

If one is not convinced that TH is being used as a pawn for the (new) political masters, then try swallowing Mujahid's assurance (at the same press conference where he had just revealed the RM4 billion "hole" in TH) that the depositors will get their dividends this year (2018):

“Now that the restructuring plan is here, if we can fulfil two conditions and if there is profit, then definitely we will get (dividends). 

"But that will be announced before the end of the year, we have not close our (sic) accounts for the year yet.” - Mujahid: Tabung Haji paid dividends illegal since 2014 as debts exceeded assets

Writing on his Facebook yesterday, Azmi Arshad, accountant and social media journalist, is clearly disturbed:

"He was trying to give the impression that TH was never in the financial position to pay hibah. But…. MAGICALLY…. Tabung Haji will be able to pay dividend in 2018. Why? How? You’ll have to ask Mujahid how he will suddenly pluck RM4 billion cash out of nowhere, especially when the stock market has plunged under the present government – it closed today at a nearly 2-year low." - Mujahid's TH Horror Story - Another PHollywood Production

How, indeed?

p.s. I totally agree with former deputy minister in charge of Islamic affairs Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, who said this government may spook depositors with its alarmist statements on TH. Read Stop issuing alarmist statements and sue TH bossesNeither green nor arrogant, this Umno Youth leader. Not in this instant, anyway.

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Walking against ICERD

In spirit I walk with my fellow Malaysians today. They are, even as I write this, gathering in growing numbers to show appreciation of the Government for deciding NOT to ratify the UN's International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination (ICERD). 

Thank you, especially, to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for making the timely U-turn on the matter. It could not have been easy for him. But perhaps the good doctor realised how flawed this UN convention is in the context of our nation. Or perhaps he did not wish to risk the wrath of the "lazy" and "corruptible" Malays. Either way, it's one U-turn of his that gets my thumbs-up.  
Lim Kit Siang says the ICERD episode shows that Malaysia has "a long way to go to accomplish our new goal of a new Malaysia, which is to make Malaysia a top world-class nation and not a divided and fractured one, warring against itself".  
As if ratifying ICERD will make us a top world class nation tomorrow.  
But, to be fair to him, the DAP leader also concedes that considering the multi-cultural nature of Malaysia, the country should not ratify the treaty as long as the majority of Malaysians do not want it. 
As I see it, the reason why Dr Mahathir decided there was no need to ratify ICERD is simple: ICERD is flawed and will not do Malaysia any good. This country has been progressing well - certainly better than its neighbours including, in some departments, even Singapore - and the people have enjoyed peace and unity all this while (except for a brief period in 1969 which was sparked by politicians at the time, many of who are still alive and active today).
What we have ain't broke. Far from it. 
But threatening to "fix" the system - and the Malays/Bumiputeras - compelled the "lazy" race to come out in numbers today to show their displeasure. And if you didn't know, Melayus generally keep their word: when they've decided to do something, they don't backtrack. Pantang undur. So when Dr Mahathir decided on the U-turn, they gently turned a potentially angry demonstration into one big, gentle thanksgiving where they show their appreciation and say their doas.

Read also:
The illusion of power in post-Reformasi Malaysia by Tajuddin Rasdi
... Discrimination against Malay-Muslims by Mak Khuin Weng
Lynas, ICERD, and DAP by A Voice
Malaysian Opposition garners support with protest march by Straits Times Singapore

Friday, December 07, 2018

Political hysteria behind Lynas ... among other things

Ho-ho-ho! [apologies to Santa Claus and the wonderful spirit of Christmas], Fuziah Salleh ain't gonna be too happy with Akramshah Sanusi for this unexpected stinger on Lynas (Judge Lynas on merit, not political hysteria, says PPBM leader). 

In a nutshell, Akramshah has accused the PKR Kuantan MP of acting irresponsibly and that she and her "larger cabal" including DAP MP Wong Tack "were seeking forgiveness for their irresponsibility by claiming that their environment, or the environmental health of their community, was their priority". 

He also said Fuziah was taking political hysteria to new heights.

The chemical engineer questioned the push by Fuziah and Wong Tack for the removal of waste on grounds of environmental health when the main threat to the health and safety of Kuantan's community was the bauxite industry which "regularly paints the town red with dust".

Akramshah said many other things. 

So I think it's better that I re-post the entire FMT article here:

Judge Lynas on merit, not political hysteria, urges PPBM leader

PETALING JAYA: A PPBM Supreme Council member has urged the government to judge Lynas Malaysia based on merit, not “political hysteria”.
Akhramsyah Muammar Ubaidah Sanusi, who is also a chemical engineer, accused PKR’s Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh of leading such sentiments since 2011, which he said had led to many missed opportunities for the Malaysian economy.
In a statement, he referred to a proposed 2012 joint venture between Siemens and Lynas to manufacture high-end rare earth magnets in Kuantan. He said the plan never materialised due to the perceived high political risk.
Siemens instead built the plant in Vietnam, exemplifying, he said, why no similar rare earth-dependent manufacturer had chosen to build a supply chain in the area.
This is despite Lynas producing 22% of the world’s rare earth elements necessary for producing high-tech products, from mobile phones and flat-screen televisions to turbines for wind generators and electric vehicle motors.
Accusing Fuziah of acting irresponsibly in the matter, he said she and her “larger cabal”, which included Bentong MP Wong Tack, were “seeking forgiveness for their irresponsibility by claiming that their environment, or more specifically, the environmental health of the community, is their priority”.
He noted that Lynas had a six-year track record of safe operations supported by audit reports from both government regulators such as the Department of Environment (DoE) and Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB), as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency and the review committee commissioned by the new government.
He said the review committee, led by Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin, and comprising experts previously critical of the Lynas Advanced Material Plant (LAMP), had published a report that supported its continued operations.
However, he claimed Fuziah was taking the “hysteria” to “new heights” by “spinning the reported findings and through emotive misinformation”.
“Bahagian 8 from page 91 of the LAMP Review Committee Report endorses the building of a permanent disposal facility (PDF) for all the waste, including the mildly radioactive waste, and urging completion of the research for the conversion of the said waste to safe materials such as fertilisers with the ongoing support of local universities,” he said.
“Exporting the waste is only seen as an option should the first two recommended efforts be deemed unsuccessful.”
He also questioned the push by Fuziah, Wong Tack and others for the removal of waste on grounds of environmental health when in fact the main threat to the health and safety of Kuantan’s community was the bauxite industry which “regularly paints the town red with dust”.
He voiced concern that the Cabinet might decide on Lynas’ fate based on a case presented by a minister who had been influenced by such claims.
“Yeo was publicly opposed to Lynas before her appointment as the minister, and now presides over the plant’s regulators, the DoE and AELB. As a Pakatan Harapan leader, our higher standards should have led her to recusing herself from decisions pertaining to Lynas, instead of being the one that instructs the regulators.
“As she has chosen not to recuse herself, one would expect her to at least demonstrate her impartiality by visiting the plant formally before forming any recommendations on Lynas’s fate. She has not.”
He said the Cabinet must stand above political hysteria and residual bias as Malaysia’s reputation as a high-end industrial and technological investment destination was at stake, in addition to the livelihoods of Lynas’ employees, suppliers and their families.
“At the very least, as a chemical engineer who has operated a hazardous plant before, I recommend that key Cabinet members, even the prime minister, visit the Lynas plant before deciding on its fate.”

p.s. I got to know Akramshah during the blogging heydays (circa 2006) when he regularly shared his thoughts on Tangents: Restless Musings of a Malay Mind. I was pleasantly surprised just now to discover that his blog is still alive although the last entry was in August this year about the proposed third national car. Before leaving Umno for Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's Pribumi Bersatu in 2016, Akram actively campaigned against the MRT's decision to build lines too close to some homes, including in his neighbourhood.

Monday, December 03, 2018

Vincent Tan's strange crusade to save the USJ temple

I call it strange not because Vincent Tan is the Prime Minister's good friend but because I didn't know the Seafield Seri Maha Mariamman temple at USJ 25 needed saving. From what I read in the media, all parties involved in the relocation of the temple had mutually agreed to it. There's a consent court agreement in 2014, a RM1.5 mil compensation and even a new site for the temple on one of the two plots of land given to the temple committee by the developer.

Vincent Tan's idea of a RM15 mil fund to save the temple seems to have come out of nowhere. He spoke as if  One City, the developer, will have no choice but to agree to sell the 1.1 ha of land where the temple has sat for four decades. 

The developer hasn't said a word but I'm sure they could feel the "weight" of the tycoon's words:

I'm sure (the developer) will come up with a solutionSolet's wait for themThey could be very charitable and maybe they want to give a very big discount and maybe they want to donatethe entire land ..." - Vincent Tan in RM2 mil raised so far by temple fund.

Strange too is the fact that Vincent Tan's fund was announced after the riots had come under control and the court had rejected a last-minute bid to block the relocation. 

Even Muhammad Adib, the 24-year old on-duty fireman who was beaten to a coma by the rioters, has regained consciousness. I would have found it less strange (and equally if not more noble) if Vincent Tan had set up a fund to help Adib, seeing that he may not be able to return to active duty anytime soon.

Don't get me wrong. I have no doubt that Vincent Tan means well. 

But is this the way we respond to criminals and puppet masters now? [Read also Riot at temple criminal, not racial, says Dr M]

If this is how we resolve problems of this nature, I am sure many will be happy. The bewildered residents of Taman Tun Dr Ismail, for example, can't wait to welcome Vincent Tan and his friends to try and save their Rimba Kiara from a legal and binding agreement signed between the previous government and another group of developers.

Those fighting for the Kinrara Oval will be thrilled, too, seeing that Vincent Tan, the Cardiff football club owner, is a big supporter of sports. So will those who don't believe that developers should take away one of the few public golf courses in the country in Bandar Kinrara to build more condominiums. The long-suffering UKRC folks, who have been in and out of courts to save their miserable field, would see Vincent Tan as a god-sent, almost divine. The list goes on ...

Friday, November 30, 2018

MRT: Were we foolish to have wanted, built it?

Too big, too early, too lavish. I won't know what's lavish - read MRT too big, too early, says PM - where the MRT design, trains, etc are concerned. Some people have said the same about some of Dr M's projects in the past, for example the bridges of Putrajaya and the mosques when I could only see beauty and class then what others were calling lavish. Subjective, perhaps? Or selective?
But I - like Dr M, I assume - don't use the MRT to commute. I have heard, though, of how packed and congested "like tin sardin" the MRT trains can be during peak hours. So perhaps the system's not big enough, contrary to Dr M's assertion?
Certainly it can't be "too soon". If we build the MRT in 2050, imagine how much it would cost. Singapore, for example, had theirs running in 1987. When the idea of building the MRT system cropped up, some of the politicians were dead against it. One even called the the idea "foolish". Try telling a Singaporean to imagine life without the MRT today.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

So what's the practical thing to do, Khalid?

Latest: Adib's injuries due to accident, claims Hindu kuil committee - Berita Harian

Original article:
Not practical to scrap Rimba Kiara project, says FT Minister

'We can discuss to scale down the project ...' - Khalid Samad, FT Minister 

Should Taman Tun Dr Ismail residents stage riots, too, to get back their Rimba? After rioting and beating up an on-duty Malay-Muslim fireman half dead (Muhammad Adib transferred from ICU to IJN), the Hindus in USJ now get to keep their temple. 
Or at least that's the promise made to them by P. Waytha Moorthy
Until a permanent solution over the kuil crisis can be found, the Minister of Unity told a press conference after repeatedly saying he had met earlier with Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday. 
Did Dr M agree to that? 
I don't know but as I see it, Waytha has got to keep his word. He is the former leader of the militant Malaysian Hindu group Hindraf. And a promise made over a holy temple is not the same as promises made in a Pakatan Harapan manifesto that, we all now know after voting them in, need not be fulfilled ... 
Waytha made the promise despite a court order, the involvement of a public listed company and foreign investors, and even as Adib was fighting for his life .. 
Of course, I won't recommend that the TTDI residents stage riots to save Rimba Kiara from being turned into a concrete jungle. The more practical thing to do is to continue engaging Khalid Samad the FT Minister and pray that he would man up. And get your MP, Hannah Yeoh, to play a more active role in defending the park against the developers. She's been awfully quiet.

Read also
Riot at temple criminal, not racial says PM
USJ temple land belongs to ... 
Developers hired thugs, says Home Minister 
Prayers for Muhammad Adib (updated) by Annie

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Khalid Samad's political will vs some housing developers

Sorry to say but FT Minister Khalid Samad's latest statement on the Kiara Park controversy does sound wimpish [Documents to developer Taman Rimba Kiara binding]. Remember, Khalid belongs to a government that has cancelled the ECRL, deferred the fast train project to Singapore, downscaled the MRT, took the entire ex-BoD of FGV, sacked thousands of so-called political appointees, and the list goes on, since wining the May 9 general election. Like it or not, those were very bold moves against deals that were also, to borrow Khalid's words, "formal, legal and binding". The ECRL and speed train projects involved foreign governments, some more! 
The proposed Rimba Kiara Park project, in comparison, is a puny domestic feud. I'm not saying that it won't give the minister headaches but he's making it sound as if it's something insurmountable. Which it is not.
Political will, YB, political will. 

Read the whole FMT article h e r e
Related articles:
Tun Daim meet Rimba Kiara residents, The Edge

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

"What happened to Wong Tack's fire?" [Updated with latest allegations of bribery]

Updated 151118:
Utterly desperate Wang Tack accuses authorities who certified Lynas as safe over the weekend of accepting funds from the company.
The Mole has the story and video clip h e r e.

Original article:

Can't blame people for taking potshots at Wong Tack and calling him "drama king" and a "bogus champion of the green" (read What happened to Wong Tack's fire?) following the government's positive review of the Lynas Corporation rare earth project over the weekend. After all, Wong Tack did win the last general election (after losing by the thinnest of margins back in 2013) as a result of his fiery attacks on Lynas. He actually threatened to burn down the Lynas plant in Kuantan. 

But, quite simply, what killed Wong Tack's fire are the facts and the evidence about the rare earth project that came out during the official review.

As they're so fond of saying so often: the truth always prevail.

Lynas unscathed by first Malaysian review hearing - The Australian Financial Review

Friday, November 09, 2018

Listen to Daim, Eng

Daim Zainuddin doesn't lose his cool but you can see from the headlines today that he's gotten really fed up with the current crop of leaders in the Malaysia Baharu-Pakatan Harapan government that he's part of.   
I will hazard a guess that the former two-times Minister of Finance and powerful chairman of the Prime Minister's special committee of Elders is growing peeved with current MoF Lim Guan Eng. 
From his untrue trillion ringit (sic) national debt to his kelakar tak masuk akal excuse for making low-income PPTPN-laden students pay back they study loans, contrary to earlier PH promises, Eng has been quite obsessed with the blame game. Anything he can't account for or explain or understand, he blames (former PM) Najib Razak or the previous (BN) government. 
Six months after PH had won the general election, little has been achieved, Even the Federal government's Budget 2019 failed to lift the gloom and feeling of doom.    Latest bad news: Moody's move to change Petronas outlook to negative. That decision was made in direct response to Eng's Budget, I must stress, not for weak governance or any fault of the national oil corporation. 
'In a statement today, the global ratio agency's senior vice-president Vikas Halan said the decision to change the outlook to negative reflects its view that the financial profile of Petronas may deteriorate if the government continues to ask the national oil company to keep dividend payments high, especially should prices decline. 
This follows the announcement by the government that Petronas will pay dividends of RM26 billion in 2018 and RM54 billion (inclusive of a one-off special dividend of RM30 billion) in 2019. "Such a situation would no longer support a ratings level for the company that is current two notches above that of the sovereign. In such as scenario, Petronas' ratings could be constrained to no more than a notch above that of the sovereign," Halan said.
As announced in Budget 2019 on Nov 2, Petronas will pay RM30 billion as a one-off special dividend to the government in 2019, in addition to the regular annual dividend, which in 2019 will total RM24 billion. The company will also pay RM26 billion in dividends in 2018, versus annual dividend payments of RM16 billion in 2016 and 2017.'
The new crop should listen to Daim. The rakyat is sick of the blame game. Eng, especially, better buck up instantly. Or he'll end up as the shortest-serving Minister of Finance ... 

Thursday, November 08, 2018

And the new CEO of Bernama is ....

By convention, Zack should be the next CEO of Bernama
The search for a CEO for Bernama, the national news agency, continues. Quite unexpectedly, if you ask me. As of late October, Wan Hamid Hamid's name was the only one being considered by the Bernama board of directors. There were "one or two" other candidates, but only one CV placed in front of the directors. So, the appointment of Wan Hamidi looked pretty academic.

Wan Hamidi has the right to be upset but I agree with Annie the blogger: Wan Hamidi should be upset with Gobind Singh Deo, the Communications and Multimedia Minister, who had proposed him for the Bernama top job. Or with whoever it was that made that call NOT to have him helm Bernama.!

The only person(s) who could have said no to Gobind's candidate would be his boss in the Cabinet (the Prime Minister) or in the DAP (Mr Lim). Read Annie's posting DAP should have defended Wan Hamidi.

Would it be too much to expect Gobind to tell us where the intervention had come from?

p.s. By convention, the Bernama chief editor upon retiring would go on to become the General Manager of the agency. If that convention is followed, then current chief editor Zakaria Abdul Wahab, who once served as the Prime Minister's press secretary the first round Dr Mahathir was PM, would be the new CEO of Bernama. Mokhtar Hussein, his number 2, should move up as the new chief editor of the national news agency.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Utusan's Cuit cuts the crap, speaks out

updated, Thurs 8/11, Insaflah Zaini dari sentiasa menyalahkan Utusan
and related stories at the end of this posting.

Original article
"Utusan harus berani, bukan sahaja mengkritik pemimpin terdahulu, yang menjadi tuan punyanya, malah kerajaan sekarang yang harapannya masih tidak berapa jelas." - Zaini Hassan in his latest column Insaflah Utusan, jika mahu terus hidup ...  © Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd 

Following Aziz Ishak's departure from Utusan in July, Zaini Hassan was one of the names bandied about as the new group editor-in-chief* of the Umno-owned newspaper. But it wasn't meant  to be. The UiTM journalism graduate and author of the hard-hitting Cuit Sikit column will be leaving Utusan, voluntarily but with a heavy heart, at the end of this month. His column in the Utusan today is a brutally honest take on what he thought had gone wrong (editorially) with the newspaper. 

The outgoing assistant editor-in-chief is still hopeful of an Utusan revival but only if it goes back to its original aims and principles:
Utusan harus berubah daripada terus menjadi mata telinga parti kepada suara bangsa dan rakyat jelata. Perjuangkan suara rakyat marhain di luar sana. Masih ramai lagi yang hidup merempat, makan nasi dengan garam. Ingatkan cogankata akhbar ini: Penyebar Fikiran Rakyat. Bukannya penyebar fikiran sang politiks rakus dan partai siasah ...

Zaini's stinging attacks on Utusan's immediate past editors won't make him the most popular person around. The uncomplimentary reference to Umno politicians, too, although we may see more of that from Utusan. Just the other day, Umno members - especially those still loyal to former PM Najib Razak - were rudely jolted by the editorial by "Awang Selamat" that accuses the ex-Umno president of lying about the RM2.6 billion donation. All this while, Utusan had stood by Najib not just on the purported Arab donation and 1MDB but on everything else (just as previous Utusan editors had stood by previous prime ministers and Umno presidents) ...

The Aziz gambit - Big Dog
Senior editor says Utusan must "repent" if it wants to survive - FMT
Strange days: Utusan newspaper asks Najib to apologise for 1MDB lies, DAP leader agrees - Coconuts KL

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Golf, anyone?

For context, read Cricket, anyone?

As if the intent to get rid of the Kinrara Oval wasn't bad enough, developers concerned are said to have set their eyes to also take back the public golf course in the vicinity to build low-density apartments (not to be mistaken for low-cost apartments).
"A check with the Subang Jaya Municipal Council website shows that it intends to convert the five-acre land which was a green lung area into a commercial site.
It turns out that Kinrara Oval is not the only green lung earmarked for development in Bandar Kinrara, the other being the Kinrara Golf Club, which is almost six times bigger than the cricket ground."Cricket association not giving up on Kinrara Oval despite lease expiry, The Mole

Some people tell me the developers made their move when the "old government" was still in power. Others say the developers leapt into action at the dawn of Malaysia Baharu. I don't care which is which, just as I care little about golf as a pastime. But what I know is that if the developers succeed, there will be hardly any green lung left in Bandar Kinrara except for a few playgrounds and the occasional football field. 

Sunday, October 28, 2018

What did Adel really say?

Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said his visiting Saudi Arabia counterpart Adel Ahmed al-Jubeir had said that the RM2.6 billion "donation" to former Prime Minister Najib Razak had nothing to do with the Saudi government. [Saifuddin: Saudi Arabia had nothing to do with RM2.6 billion].
I'm sure Adel said something to the effect, as Saifuddin claimed Adel had said. But how Malaysians wish they had heard it from the horse's mouth. 
Like this one:

IMHO as someone who used to park myself at Wisma Putra for "stories" in the good old days, what Saiduddin should have done was hold a joint press conference with Adel after their closed-door meeting so that the Saudi FM could speak for himself and for his own government.  That's what Wisma Putra used to do. 
Our reporters would then have the opportunity to ask Adel if he had been high on something when he spoke of "a genuine donation from the Royal family" with "no strings attached" to then PM Najib Razak with regards to, presumably, the same RM2.6 billion in the above 2016 video. 
And in this one, too:  

Friday, October 26, 2018

Zahid Hamidi's misspent Youth

So Umno Youth thinks the best thing for the party president now, who's facing 45 charges of corruption, abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and, of course, money laundering, is to take leave and rest until the court reaches a verdict.
If he's found guilty, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi can then resign or face the sack (he would be going to jail, anyway). If found not guilty, he may come back and resume his duties as Umno president! 
So when they come after Tok Mat Hassan, the Umno deputy president, and charge him for corruption, abuse of power, CBT, money laundering or maybe illegal funds transfer, the former Negri Sembilan MB too should go on leave and rest. 
And when they go after Annuar Musa, the former Mara chairman and now Umno secretary-general should also go on leave and rest. 
What if they charge every one of them who sits on the Umno supreme council? After all, they have put Azeez Rahim in the MACC orange (for corruption, abuse of power, etc etc) despite the fact that he was once the Prime Minister's blue eyed boy. They were also said to have visited Tok Pa before the Jeli MP decided to go on permanent leave from the party! 
So if they decide to charge former Youth and Sports Minister KJ with the so-called stolen RM100 million, does he take leave and rest? (KJ does not hold any position in Umno after losing to Zahid for the presidency in June but he's one of the main Umno leaders and sits in the Opposition's "Shadow Cabinet). 
And if they charge Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki (pic) for some or all of the above, he must immediately go on leave, rest and wait until the court decides if he's gullty or not?  
Court cases in Malaysia involving politicians take ages to settle. If all the leaders in Umno must go on leave and get some rest when charged in court by this Government that's clearly hostile towards it and its leaders, I'm afraid there won't be anyone left to lead the party. 
Might as well leave like Tok Pa. Better still, go rest in peace.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Umno IS selling off its shares in Utusan and Media Prima (and why that's not a bad thing at all)

It's more or less decided: Umno will sell off its 49 per cent ownership of Utusan Malaysia.   
Its executive chairman Abdul Aziz Sheikh Fadzir was said to have met Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi at the Umno headquarters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. After the meeting, Zahid was overheard to have told associates that "we have no choice, the party doesn't have money to keep Utusan". 
The Utusan group's monthly overheads come to around RM5 million. Circulation is falling and ads, the main source of revenue for traditional media companies, are just not coming in fast enough. To add to injury, political foes have systematically made the PN17 company a target for lawsuits, further weakening the newspaper and its owner.  
Umno also owns about 18 per cent in Media Prima, a media giant that gathers New Straits Times, BH, Metro, popular television stations including TV3 and NTV7, several radio channels, and digital platforms within its huge stable. 
With the decision to sell off Utusan, Umno is most likely to dispose off its shares in Media Prima as well.
Zahid will get some flak for the decision to let go of these companies and their publications and broadcast stations. Umno has been linked to them - and vice-versa - for decades. Sentimental reasons aside, many are of the opinion that it's a bad call to sell Utusan and Media Prima. Umno needs a strong media more than ever now. Especially now as the party comes under relentless siege from a hostile Pakistan Harapan government that defeated it in the last general election and is clearly bent on burying it before the next GE. 
They are not wrong. But as a product of a so-called government-owned newspaper company (Business Times was a subsidiary of NST, which now comes under Media Prima) for over 20 years myself, I've never been a fan of political parties owning shares in the mass media. 
For journalism or the people to benefit at all from this, though, Umno's exit from Utusan and Media Prima must mark the start of an end to the ownership of mass media by any and all political parties AND their proxies. And puppets. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Sending the Rohingyas back (to the killing fields where they belong)

I was listening again to the stinger levelled at Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah, made by his predecessor Anifah Aman, when this news report on Rohingya came on: Rohingyas to be repatriated beginning next year
To be honest, I could still hardly believe what I'm reading. Because it would seem, based on what was reported, that we are suddenly in such a hurry to wash our hands off the Rohingyas.  Are there really so many of them for Malaysia to cope, as Mat Sabu the Defence Minister alluded to the other day? Or is this what our new foreign policies  going to look like?
Ultimately, the Muslim Rohingyas should be allowed to go home. But the immediate priority is for us in Asean and as fellow Muslims to ensure the return of the Rohingyas' basic rights, including their right to safety in their own homes. 
NOT to return them to their murderous pursuers so they can finish off what they had started. 
Now I'm wondering if Anifah was being "harsh" at all ...

Read also

Monday, October 22, 2018

Cricket, anyone?

Cricket? Not my cup of tea. But where I live, the cricket stadium - the Kinrara Oval - has become one of the major landmarks for the area. Not too many housing estates can boast of having a playing field, let alone a cricket stadium.  In fact, there are only two such stadiums in the Klang Valley and the Kinrara Oval, "Home of Malaysian Cricket", is world class.  
But, sadly, it might not be there for long. Right after the 14th general election, a housing developer had filed in court a demand to wrest the land back from the Malaysian Cricket Association. Cricket fans are up in arms, of course. The local authorities have washed their hands (It's out of our hands, MPSJ says of Kinrara Oval closure) so the cricket body is asking the new Minister in charge of sports and the Prime Minister himself to step in. 
I hear the Malaysian Cricket Association has been trying to see PNB chairman Zeti Akhtar Aziz as well. PNB, a government-linked company, owns the developers who're trying to take back the Oval so if Zeti says so, these people can keep their stadium and field. I hope she says so.
Like I said, cricket is not my thing. But playing fields, open spaces and green lungs are and they have become so scarce. If the developers want back the land so that they can manage the Oval themselves, I will support them. If the developers plan to turn the Oval into an integrated sports complex (with public swimming pools, running tracks, gym, etc), I will be all for them. Heck, if they want to revert the area into a park (which was what it used to be before the cricket stadium was built), go right ahead. 
But if the developers want that piece of land for more luxury condos and shopping malls, which is what many people suspect they're planning to do, then they may go to hell. 

Read also:
Kinrara Oval closure - Who's to blame? by Haresh Deol