Friday, August 24, 2018

Dr M, Pak Lah and Petronas: The thing that really matters ...

Three men and a country

Friday 24/8/2018: That Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who succeeded Dr Mahathir Mohamad as Prime Minister in 2003 and Petronas advisor in 2016 [Mahathir sacked ...], would again fall victim to their bitter political adversary was expected, even if totally unfair. And if some people think it's all about sweet revenge, they can't be faulted: the Old Man made sure that the non-renewal notice to Pak Lah with regards to his position at the national oil corporation was served on the coldest platter.

“He is going to be retired because we don’t need an adviser anyway.
“I was adviser for a long time, but of course when I was adviser, I knew a little about the business and so I gave advice.
“But advisors sometimes don’t give advice, so I think we would be wasting money if we just paid as a way to give some money to people,” the prime minister told TMR,

Vintage Mahathir. He wasn't going to allow Pak Lah to step down gracefully when his term ends.

But revenge and rivalry aside, the PM made this important point to the newspaper: there was no need for an advisory role at the national oil firm as the company had been performing well:

Dr Mahathir noted:
“Petronas is actually rated by investors as a very well-run company. That is because the people there are ... well, we don’t see any signs of stealing money and all that.

“They do pay better salaries but overall, their performance is recognised by the market as a company that is well-run. That is why it is the only company in Malaysia which is on the Fortune 500 list.
“We cannot really blame Petronas. Surely, its president and group CEO Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin is there. Who appoints him is not relevant if he performs.”

I think that is what matters. To know that the national oil corporation has been performing well, no matter who the PM or the advisor was. Certain individuals in this new Pakatan Harapan government have been harping on all kinds of crap - a lot of it mere accusations - about the past in an effort to make the previous government look bad. It's time to give credit where it's due as the Old Man is doing.

And move on, make things even better for all of us, as you've said you could.

Read also
Petronas first quarter profit up 26%
FY18 volume expected to grown for Petronas Dagangan

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Washing dirty laundry

Najib faces 3 charges under the Anti Money Laundering Act 

KL 8/8/18: Surprised no one that instead of being charged with stealing billions from 1MDB, which was the issue his political foes had used successfully to bring him down at the May 9 polls, former Prime Minister Najib Razak has been charged with something else altogether this morning. But Najib should still count his blessings. Two decades earlier, he could have been charged with sodomy.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Of Dr Mahathir's totally corrupt Cabinet

Abdullah notched the biggest GE victory ever (in 2004) partly
because Malaysians believed he would clean up after Mahathir

27/7 2018: Having sacked thousands of so-called political appointees in the public sector, including heads of government-linked companies, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said he "inherited a government lousy with corruption and with few trustworthy officials". He announced to the world: "Most of the top echelons in the government are corrupt". Those fellas at the CNN may find this a brutally frank and, perhaps, refreshing, admission from the leader of a Third World country. But we have heard this before. Quite often, too, especially towards the end of Dr M's original tenure as PM (1981-2003).

Once, when asked why he chose to retain some blatantly corrupt politicians as his Ministers, Mahathir quipped: "If I were to take action against them for corruption, I won't have a Cabinet left!"

We never failed to laugh at his witty response. It is funny, isn't it?

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Praying for the blues, this Sunday

Message from the organisers:
"It hasn't been a good year for Blues fans as two co-founders of the Blues Gang suffered misfortunes. Jim passed on and we believe his soul is resting in peace in Heaven. Shaik Karim, is out with dialysis treatment.These two great musicians formed the rhythm of Blues Gang. Karim is also gifted with true blues vocals. We are sure that these two will be like a fish in a pond if asked to perform with any Blues Band in the world. "July 29 2018 is a Fund- Raising Night for Karim. Zzz Blues is urging all Blues fans to congregate at Rock Bottom from 5.30pm till late to help raise funds for Karim’s treatment."He has entertained many of us so let’s chip in for a good cause. See you on July 29 at Rock Bottom Bangsar. Thank you."

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Did you, Zeti?

The above is not a fake posting from a fake account. Saiful Bahari Baharom is a real person, a graduate of Cornell, and quite a well-known figure in Malaysia's financial and political spheres. He was the one who told us about Mahathir's £65 million bank account in April, an accusation that the 93-year old Prime Minister has not commented on, as far as I know. If the 56 billion pound expose was sterling, we should find SSB's July 23 posting on how Zeti had allegedly lobbied for a project when she was the Bank Negara governor even more sensational.

Because Zeti is a member of Mahathir's Council of Eminent Persons, alongside the likes of Daim Zainuddin and Robert Kuok. Although the CEP has come under growing criticism and suspicion (read stories below) it remains influential. She is also the new Chairman of PNB, which had some RM279 billion in funds just before the May 9 general election which catapulted Zeti back into the national scene after a rather hurried and and unceremonious departure toward the tail end of Najib Razak's premiership.

Now, if Saiful Bahari Baharom is telling the truth about Zeti's lobbying and threats relating to a project for a company belonging to her family, she should not be where she is today, lording over our Malaysia Baharu. Okay, maybe she can still be on the CEP but certainly for the PNB we must demand a Chairman whiter than the white Abdul Wahid Omar.

Zeti must respond to the allegation to clear her name and, more importantly, to safeguard PNB's integrity. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) should move in, otherwise.

Read also, on Zeti's CEP:
Where was Wisma Putra during Daim's Beijing meets? 
Govt not bound by CEP's decisions
CEP should be disbanded: KJ

Monday, July 23, 2018

A veteran kleptocrat, a dear friend of the Prime Minister's

People like me remember that Sarawak Report, which attained gospel status (at least in the eyes of Opposition leaders and lackeys) after Malaysia's May 9 general election, was started only to go after Taib Mahmud, the former Sarawak chief minister and now its Governor. After the fall of Najib Razak, an emboldened Clare Rewcastle Brown, the high priestess behind this gospel portal, promised to renew her crusade against Taib. On May 21, in Change will come to Sarawak soon, the British citizen said "more stories (on Sarawak/Taib) would unfold". Regardless of the fact that Taib was Dr Mahathir Mohamad's close buddy.

True enough, last Friday the Sarawak Report published Taib's secret interest in Sarawak's Petros Venture: EXCLUSIVE!

In a nutshell, the article suggests a shady, even unholy, link between Petros, the Sarawak state oil company that is somehow embroiled in a post-GE tussle with national petroleum corporation Petronas, and a company called Southsea Energy controlled by Taib and one of his sons.

It also suggests that the current campaign in Sarawak to protect the interest of Sarawak (starting with its oil revenues) is "no more than a sham policy". 
"There is nothing surprising to Sarawak watchers about what appears therefore to be emerging as a no more than a sham policy to ‘return Sarawak’s oil revenues’, when the priority appears to be to yet again provide the Taib family and its cronies a lucrative grip over the vaunted Petros project.
"For the entire past half century Taib has identified Sarawak’s interest as being what enriches him personally.
"It is not even surprising that the obedient former AG Gani Patail chose to ‘clear’ Taib back in 2013 when presented with an MACC report, much in the same way that his successor ‘cleared’ Najib."

Clare did take a swipe at Dr Mahathir (old habits die hard) and his administration:
"What is surprising is that the present government appears willing to tolerate this drift in events, as the supposedly failing Governor makes yet another grab at the riches of his state – old habits die hard."

The Sarawak Report's exclusive was clearly timed with Sarawak Day, which was yesterday, but it did little to tamper with the celebrations. There's an air of liberation and power about Sarawak these days. But there's also this rather disturbing article, though: No need for Sarawak to quit Malaysia (to pursue all its rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963). The article quotes Chief Minister Abang Johari throughout but the accompanying photograph and caption are all about Taib Mahmud. The man Clare described as Malaysia's veteran kleptocrat is clearly very much in control.

Friday, July 13, 2018

LRT3 savings: Proof that Guan Eng is not from this planet

My heading should actually read "Yet another proof that Guan Eng is not from this planet".

After raising Malaysia's national debt to RM1.1 trillion from RM700 billion just days after being made the Finance Minister, which was the first sign  that he was not from here, Guan Eng has now "saved" billions and billions of ringgit for the taxpayers by slashing the cost of the LRT3 from RM31.6 billion to RM16.6 billion.
That's 47% savings, he screamed.
I wonder if someone has told him that he was just crapping on Malaysians again.
It would have been a savings IF the the LRT3 project's specs had remained unchanged (or have somehow improved). But in this case, the project's specs have been downscaled, and by a great deal, too!

The facts:

+ Instead of 44 sets of trains with 6 cars each, the project will now be getting only 22 sets of trains with 3 cars each;
+ Lim will also shelve five stations to "save" costs and this means taxpayers around Lien Hoe, Temasya, Sirim, Bukit Raja and Bandar Botani will have to travel farther to the nearest LRT stations;
+ We taxpayers will also not get the 2-kilometre tunnel together with an underground station at Persiaran Hishamuddin, Shah Alam;
+ And, Einstein, because there will be fewer trains, the size of the depot will also be smaller lah; and
+ Istead of 2020, the new date of completion will be 2024.

So, still think those are "savings" for taxpayers? Uneducated taxpayers (and those from Lim's planet) may rejoice. But the truth is, this is not about savings at all. This is about scaling down the LRT3 project. A project meant to overcome transport woes of ordinary, hardworking and hard-pressed Malaysians has jsut been downgraded!

Read here.

p.s. Now, perhaps this also explains why Guan Eng needed Bahasa Mandarin to communicate better.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Freezing Umno's bank accounts and deregistration: What it really means

On June 21, Zahid Hamidi revealed how during a closed-door meeting on June 7 Mahathir Mohamad had asked him to dissolve Umno and get all the party's MPs to cross over join his Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia. The disclosure came after Mahathir's claim that the acting Umno chief had met him to seek his advice on how to run Umno after the May 9 polls defeat. Zahid had meant his explanation to be kept closed door but when the video was leaked, he made not attempt to deny it. Especially after Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah had chided him for "crawling" to the PM. Khairuddin Hassan, the man who arranged the four-eyed meeting, was furious: "Zahid is a liar. Every word he said (of the meeting with Mahathir) was a lie," Khairuddin fired back at Zahid.

But with Mahathir's move to (ask the MACC or the 1MDB Task Force to) freeze the bank accounts of Umno HQ and Selangor ahead of tomorrow's Umno elections, where Zahid and Razaleigh are clashing for president, the story Zahid had told the Umno members in Selangor in the video has suddenly become a whole lot more credible now.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

BR1M is now BSH

Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia was one of the main excuses Mahathir Mohamad had given when he started gunning for Najib Razak in 2015. He called it a form of corruption. Since then BR1M had been lynched and its recipients were shamed and told that there were receiving "dedak" from the Najib Administration. Najib was accused of bribing his way to get the people's support and of draining the nation's coffers in the process. In the run-up to the PRU14, even Mokhzani, the usually low-profiled son of Mahathir, and one of the wealthiest persons in Malaysia, got tangled up when he made perhaps one of the most seething insults on BR1M and its 7-odd million recipients. Read Getting BR1M nothing to shout about, says Mokhzani; Vell Paari slams Mokhzani for "disrespecting" BR1M recipients.

Perhaps realising how well BR1M was doing to help out Malaysians in the lower-income groups, and how threatening to abolish it might lose him and Pakatan Harapan support in the May 9 general election, Mahathir softened his stand on Najib's brainchild. Najib: Dr M thick-skinned for U-turn on BR1M

Today the scandal-ridden Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng confirmed that the Government is keeping BR1M but will be calling it BSH, or Bantuan Sara Hidup. The first BSH payout will cost the Government RM1.6 billion and benefit 4.1 million people. 

Alhamdulillah! And Thank You, Najib Razak.

Monday, May 28, 2018

A good Opposition leader, like Kit Siang?

If Zahid Hamidi listens to Lim Kit Siang’s unsolicited advice on “How to be a good Opposition Leader”, I’m afraid it might take BN 50 years instead of five to take back Putrajaya. BN does not have such luxury. Kit Siang was lucky, he had all the time in the world. The DAP stalwart was Opposition leader for a record three times, spanning 30 years. Including a 24-year uninterrupted stretch from 1975 to 1999, which must have been some kind of a world record or something.  
Despite this long tenure, the Opposition made very little headway under Kit Siang. In fact, it became weak and it suffered many humiliations, especially during Mahathir Mohamad’s era (Prime Minister, 1981-2003). If Kit Siang had been a good Opposition leader, the voters would have kept him. Instead, at the 1999 polls, they showed him the door. Lim led the Opposition for the last time from 2004 to 2008 and had better luck in the 12th general election, but only because he and the Opposition had help from Dr Mahathir, who was going after Pak Lah, the Prime Minister then. 
If Kit Siang had been a good Opposition leader, we the people wouldn’t be paying through our noses for our highways today. And Mahathir would not get to create the IPPs for his cronies. And Penangites would still be taking the ferry to go to the mainland. Just to mention a few.  
No, Zahid will be better off creating his own brand as Opposition Leader. I hope he does not oppose just for the sake of opposing, which was what Kit Siang was all about. The Leader of the Opposition must provide check and balances, call a spade a spade, tamper the new Government’s over-eagerness with the realities on the ground. Put the people first, as Tony Fernandes would say, and everything would fall into place. 

#Leader of the OppositionPolitical partyTerm of officePrime MinisterRefs
Took officeLeft office
1Male portrait placeholder cropped.jpgBurhanuddin al-Helmy
MP for Besut
PMIP19591964Tunku Abdul Rahman
2Tan Chee Khoon.jpgTan Chee Khoon
MP for Batu
-Position vacant19691971
Abdul Razak Hussein
3Male portrait placeholder cropped.jpgMohamed Asri Muda
MP for Pasir Puteh
4Lim Kit Siang cropped.jpgLim Kit Siang
(b. 1941)
MP for Bandar Malacca
DAP30 January 197331 July 1974[2]
5Male portrait placeholder cropped.jpgJames Wong
MP for Miri-Lubis
6Male portrait placeholder cropped.jpgEdmund Langgu Saga
(b. 1936)
MP for Saratok
SNAP4 November 19744 November 1975[3]
(4)Lim Kit Siang cropped.jpgLim Kit Siang
(b. 1941)
MP for Kota Melaka (1975-1978)
MP for Petaling (1978–1982)
MP for Kota Melaka (1982-1986)
MP for Tanjong (1986–1999)
DAP4 November 197512 June 1978[4]
Hussein Onn
31 July 197829 March 1982[5]
Mahathir Mohamad
10 July 198219 July 1986[6]
8 October 19864 October 1990[7]
10 December 19906 April 1995[8]
15 June 199510 November 1999[9]
7Male portrait placeholder cropped.jpgFadzil Noor
MP for Pendang
PAS20 December 199923 June 2002[10]
8Abdul Hadi Awang
(b. 1947)
MP for Marang
PAS9 September 20024 March 2004[11]
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
(4)Lim Kit Siang cropped.jpgLim Kit Siang
(b. 1941)
MP for Ipoh Timor
DAP19 May 200413 February 2008[12]
9Wan Azizah.jpgWan Azizah Wan Ismail
(b. 1952)
MP for Permatang Pauh
PKR30 April 200828 August 2008[13][14]
10Anwar Ibrahim.jpgAnwar Ibrahim
(b. 1947)
MP for Permatang Pauh
PKR28 August 20083 April 2013[15]
Najib Razak
26 June 201316 March 2015[16][17]
(9)Wan Azizah.jpgWan Azizah Wan Ismail
(b. 1952)
MP for Permatang Pauh
PH(PKR)18 May 201510 May 2018[18]
11Najib Razak 2008-08-21.jpgNajib Razak
(b. 1953)
MP for Pekan & Former Prime Minister of Malaysia
BN(UMNO)10 May 201812 May 2018Mahathir Mohamad[19]
12Deputy Prime Minister Hamidi - 2017 (36294565072) (cropped).jpgAhmad Zahid Hamidi
(b. 1953)
MP for Bagan Datuk & Former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia
BN(UMNO)12 May 2018Incumbent

Monday, May 21, 2018

Malaysians, bow your heads

Move aside Khairuddin Hassan, Matthias Chang and Tony Pua ...  The hero is Justo, says Clare Rewcastle-Browne. 

Clare, the Sarawak Report editor, is in town. Her travel ban to Malaysia has been lifted by the new Government, which is clearly indebted to her. And especially to ex-convict Justo, who had an audience with the new Prime Minister. Three weeks ago, Clare was ordered by a court in the UK to pay Ustaz Hadi Awang of PAS RM155,000 for defamation. Today she's a goddess.
A new Malaysia, indeed.  
Tun Taib Mahmud, you may be good friends with Tun Mahathir, but you're next!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Tunami: 7 days later

"It wasn't a Malay or Chinese tsunami, it was the Tunami ... if BN ever want to know what hit them." - A former NST sports editor

It's already a week after Pakatan Harapan won the 14th general election but, as pointed out by the blogger Big Dog while the cops were raiding ex-PM Najib Razak's family home in Kuala Lumpur yesterday until the wee hours of Ramadan (hence, Nurul Izzah's tweet), Malaysia was practically still under a one-man Government. After that posting, Dr Mahathir Mohamad made himself Education Minister and gave his deputy a portfolio but it won't be until next Monday, at the earliest, that we'd have a Cabinet. 

The move to zero-rate the GST, effective June 1, has appeased many. People aren't celebrating just as yet, though. Because they don't know if the new SST will actually reduce their cost of living, a major theme in the general election. Plus, it may take longer than 100 days to instal a new tax regime, said former Bank Negara government Zeti, who is one of the members of the Council of Elders helping out Mahathir's government. But it is a good start, nonetheless.

In the meantime, Mahathir said he was Not aware raid on Najib's house done at night. Deja vu?

Selamat berbuka puasa to all my Muslim readers.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Anwar Ibrahim, pardoned and freed

Someone in the group asked last night, "Is there anything that Mahathir fears? What, apart from the Almighty? I don't know. Right now I guess IF there's anything or anyone that Mahathir Mohamad might fear, it'd be a free Anwar Ibrahim. I repeat: IF...  
KUALA LUMPUR: Jailed Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) leader Anwar Ibrahim on Wednesday (May 16) left the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital a free man after receiving a royal pardon from the Malaysian king.
The Pardons Board met at 11am to discuss Anwar's release and application for a pardon.
Smiling and looking spry in a tailored black suit, Anwar emerged from a Kuala Lumpur hospital where he had undergone surgery for a shoulder problem, giving a thumbs-up to a crowd of journalists before leaving in a car without comment.
Anwar and his wife, the nominated deputy prime minister, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, were earlier on Wednesday morning invited for an audience with the king, Sultan Muhammad V, at 12.30pm at the royal palace.
According to Anwar's lawyer, the king granted the PKR leader a full pardon, expunging all past convictions.
The 70-year-old began serving a five-year sentence in February 2015 after the Malaysian high court upheld his conviction and sentence on a charge of having sodomised a former personal aide.
Anwar was jailed in Sungai Buloh Prison, and was scheduled to be freed on Jun 8. He has spent the last few months in hospital recovering from a shoulder operation.
The royal pardon reverses Anwar's conviction and makes him eligible to actively participate in politics. His daughter Nurul Izzah told Channel NewsAsia on the eve of his release that the pardon "completely validate(s) his innocence".
Newly elected Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has said he will hand over the reins to Anwar once the latter is elected as a Member of Parliament in a by-election or elected as a senator.
On Tuesday, Dr Mahathir told a Wall Street Journal conference that he will be prime minister for "one or two years".
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Dr Wan Azizah also said the appointment of her husband as Malaysia's new prime minister will not be made in haste.
The reversal of Anwar's conviction and his role as PM-in-waiting caps a roller coaster political career for the former deputy prime minister. In 1998, he was sacked by then-Prime Minister Dr Mahathir.
A year later, Anwar was sentenced to six years in prison - and then another nine years for corruption and sodomy.
In 2004, he was freed after the sodomy conviction was overturned. He became the de facto leader of the opposition Pakatan Rakyat alliance and in the 2008 general election, led it to victory in the states of Penang, Kedah, Selangor, Kelantan and Perak.
In 2015, he was sent back to jail on the sodomy charge - a move he said was a bid by then-Prime Minister Najib Razak to end his political career.
He eventually teamed up with his former foe, Dr Mahathir, and watched his former boss sworn in as the country's seventh prime minister from his hospital bed.
- Channel News Asia