Monday, December 30, 2019

MACC bedal polis?


updated 31/12:
Counter-report against 3 "lying" cops by MACC officer


Original article 30/12


30 Dec 2019: Sometimes you just don't know what to make out of such things you read. Back in the day, before Teoh Beng Hock jumped out or was pushed out of an MACC window to his death, we in the media often heard whispers of skirmishes between the Malaysian Anti Corruption and the Polis DiRaja Malaysia. Nothing too serious, just a slap here and push and shove there. You raid me, I raid you kind of thing. You can look at it as part of the system's check-and-balance. Or tit for tat, quid pro quo
But after the Teoh Beng Hock's case, the cops and their brethren from PDRM closed ranks. The MACC's procedures with regards to interrogation of suspects were reformed and improved.  
Surely, now, there would be CCTV to record the interrogation of the three police officers who claimed to have been punched and slapped by the Selangor MACC officer? And lawyers representing the police officers when they were called in to assist the investigation? 
I smell a fish, small but still rotten. Best to get to the bottom of this little wayang quick, before things get out of hand. Don't forget to keep us taxpayers, voters, Rakyat in the loop ...

Thursday, December 26, 2019

One PM, Two Oppositions (The 3 factors pulling this great nation down)


Ah, so this is Christmas ...
I hope you, my Dear Readers, had a merry one.
Me, it was a sederhana one for us. I visited an old buddy at Damansara, who opened his house (and makeshift bar) over (extended) lunch, where I met several other old friends and former little kids who have now grown up into full-fledged adults with their own little girls and boys.
Generally, Hari Natal was a subdued affair. Most everything is, including the manner in which we are ushering in the new year and new decade. The economy is such. As YB Johari Abdul Ghani, the former Minister of Finance ll, said, this beloved country of ours is sinking ...


1. The PM. 2. Flip-flopping. 3. GST. You can read Johari Ghani's diagnosis of this nation's 3 big weaknesses here. AKJ, the PM's communications advisor, has taken exception to the former Minister's analysis. That was to be expected, of course.
But the fact is, this great nation is being pulled down, going under. Many factors are responsible but if you ask me to limit them to three, I'd go with Johari. Our problem is we have ONE Prime Minister (who can't or won't let go) who has to deal with TWO (not one) Oppositions, including his own Pakatan Harapan people, who have opposed his decisions and undermine his position on more occasions than we thought possible. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Why you shouldn't even bother reading Azilah's SD

Azilah

KL, 17 Dec: Like me, you may not have read Azilah Hadri's statutory declaration and, like me also, you probably know all there is you needed to know about the SD without reading a word of it. Because everyone is talking, writing and commenting about it.
That's how I came to know that in the SD, Azilah has made the explosive (pun intended) claim that he had murdered Altantuya Sharibuu one night 13 years ago on the orders of Najib Razak, who was then the Deputy Prime Minister. 
But that wasn't what the courts heard, though, and the courts, given the evidence and arguments of a long and fair trial, had found Azilah guilty of that cold-blooded killing of the Mongolian (together with Sirul Azhar Omar, who managed to flee to Australia). As RPK pointed out, Azilah is extremely desperate. I'm quoting RPK because he did author an earlier,  fantastic SD on Altantuya's murder, so he must know how the game is played.  RPK is also claiming that PH leaders had met Azilah and that the SD was planned since Feb). 

Between RPK's and Azilah's, there were other statutory declarations. The following are just some of them that I captured on this blog:





By the way, he most graphic SD is still the one written for (not "by", please-lah) PI Bala but I'm not sure if it was the first or the second SD ... you may read my old posting on that but, a word of caution, it remains anal until this day. 


Monday, December 16, 2019

543 more journos to lose jobs today as NSTP retrenches




16 Dec 2019: A national tragedy Today, 543 journalists from NSTP will receive their termination letters as the group's newspapers - NST, Berita Harian and Metro - execute its biggest retrenchment exercise to date. Read 543 from NSTP to be axed in retrenchment exercise.  The number will be higher when we know later today how many broadcast journalists from these papers' sister companies under the Media Prima group will lose their jobs.  In the last year or so, some 3,000 journalists would have been displaced throughout the country as result of business closures or consolidation.  
Easily one of the highest casualty numbers in the world, if not the highest. 
Such tragic news makes the government's announcement that the Cabinet has agreed, in principle, to establish a Malaysian Media Council "to secure the future and safeguard the welfare of the media practitioners in the country" almost pointless, certainly insensitive, and even sinister, if you ask me.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Ex Finas DG: I didn’t know group’s real intention

Updated Dec 13:
Only the minister can tell me to go - Hans


Original article
KL, Dec 12: Not everyone present at last Tuesday’s press conference organised by Profima agrees with the association’s call for Hans Isaac, the Finas chairman, to step down.



Kamil Othman (far left), the fomer DG of national film development corporation for two years until 2018, claims he didn’t even know that the press conference was to declare support for outgoing Finas CEO Ahmad Idham.

“They invited me to talk about Finas, so I agreed to attend and that was what I did (talk about Finas),” Kamil said.

“I had no idea they were going to ask the Finas chairman to step down over the CEO affair”.

The pro-Ahmad Idham group, led by Professional Film Industry Workers Association president Khir Mohd Noor (pic, in white), also demanded that Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo be transferred out to another ministry over Ahmad Idham’s “shortened” tenure as CEO.

When asked his stand on the issue, Kamil said it’s not about Ahmad Idham or Han Isaac. “It’s about what the industry needs”.

And he believes that what the industry needs is a Finas CEO with strong corporate background.

“Columbia Picutres, 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Universal Pictures, Disney Corporation, Paramount Pictures, MGM ... they all have one thing in common: all their CEOs have solid corporate backgrounds. Finas should be headed by such a CEO,” Kamil said.

Ahmad Idham sure doesn’t fit that bill, if that’s the case. He made his name as an actor and a movie producer before he was made Finas CEO in  March last year, an appointment that surprised many in the industry. His tenure was supposed to end in 2021 but this has been shortened to March 2020, at his own request.

Many believed that after his call for Netflix to be censored last month, Ahmad Idham’s position as Finas chief executive had become untenable. He had since denied making the Netflix call.


Wednesday, December 11, 2019

China, rare earth and the suit against Mahathir and Cabinet over Lynas decision

Source: Malaysiakini

If you're not a Mkini subscriber, don't despair! You may go to Ktemoc Konsiders h e r e. The news article did not mention that Save Malaysia Stop Lynas, the grouping that has been on the forefront of the anti-Lynas movement since Day 1, is not a registered organisation [read The Mole's A peculiar facet of Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas]. 
Me, I'm fascinated with the fact that the trio is "muhibah" team when all know that the anti-Lynas movement has always been 99% Chinese. One commenter at Ktemoc suspects a "multiracial" political party to be behind the lawsuit against their own Big Boss the PM and his Cabinet. Well, you can't stop people from speculating. But the suit did come hot at the heels of another earth-shattering story Crackdown on rare-earth mining and smuggling (The Mole, 10 Dec) about the authorities uncovering a syndicate smuggling out rare earths from this country. Where to, you ask? 
Yes, all rare earth roads lead to China, it seems.


Read also:
Rare earth mining to resume in Perak  
Perak rare earth mining deal with China comes under fire

Monday, December 09, 2019

What PKR infighting will actually derail ...




Puchong, 9 Dec: If you're a PKR party member or supporter, you probably won't be amused by this picture. But you'd understand if some of us nearly died laughing. I bet the Old Man was sniggering, at least, when he was told of what had happened at the PKR Congress and to the so-called Prime Minister in waiting. Of course Dr Mahathir Mohamad was expected to say that the PKR infighting won't affect the Pakatan Harapan ruling coalition. And he is probably right, you know. The only thing the infighting might derail is the transfer of premiership. If Anwar Ibrahim can't take care of affairs within his own party, how can one expect him to be able to rule a nation?

Monday, December 02, 2019

The day Ronnie Liu praises Dr Mahathir

Dec 2: For decades, DAP was a chauvinist party whose raison d'être was to make life for Dr Mahathir Mohamad, when he was Umno president and the country's 4th PM, as difficult as possible. From top echelon leaders to the grassroots, they seemed dedicated to this mission. Then, after the 14th general election, Dr M became the 7th PM and the DAP his strongest supporter. Except for Ronnie Liu.  
Today all that changed.

Excerpts of what Dr M said with regards to Chin Peng's ashes:
“Yes, we know the guerrillas fought a war, and they have killed many people in the war. We killed many people too. So what is the point of raising issues like this? Who are we appeasing?
“Are you telling us to pick up his remains and send him back (to Thailand)? These petty things are being dug up to cast the government in a bad light,” he said, rubbing his forehead a few times when asked to comment on the issue.  



Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Recession already here, says survey


Puchong, 26 Nov: The experts, including from Bank Negara, have been telling us that 2019 won't be a recession year. Well, according to the latest survey by Nielsen, 3 out of 4 Malaysians think that our great economy is already in a Recession.
 
But it's not doomsday. Nielsen, the research firm, tells us that these Malaysians are also  optimistic that better days lie not too far ahead. Give the economy a year, at the latest, they say. It also helps that Malaysians are generally prudent spenders, according to Nielsen.
Read the entire article h e r e.


I'm no economist, but I've been having this feeling - more or less the same as the 3/4 of those surveyed by Nielsen - that we ought to start saving up for rainy days, dear Readers.


Read also:
Recession in 2019 unlikely, says economist 
Recession fears overplayed for now, says BNM 

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Fight for Change now [updated]


updated 25 Nov
The journalist who fought for change 
FIGHT FOR CHANGE RAISES RM20K FOR JOURNALISTS' FUND

source: twentytwo13news insta


ORIGINAL article
CAUTION: There's nothing political in this posting


Journoman vs MMA pro fighter for good cause 
D-Day for Haresh Deol, deputy president of the NPC as he takes on "The Jeneral"

PJ, 23 Nov 2019: The fight takes place tonight.
If you are feeling charitable, or just curious as to what will happen when a journalist takes on  a pro MMA fighter,  just head over to the Cobra Rugby Club in Petaling Jaya.
The doors open at 5pm with some demo fights and scheduled undercards. Admission RM50.

Haresh will take on Shareh "The Jeneral" Nasrullah at 8pm.




Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Dilema Mahathir (and why Anwar's better half may be the Tun's best way out)

Why the hell not?


TTDI, 20 Nov: Post-Tanjung Piai, things in Dr Mahathir Mohamad's Pakatan Harapan ruling coalition have gone halter-skelter. From calls for his resignation for losing the Tg Piai by-election to Azmin Ali's clandestine meeting with so-called thieving MPs to purportedly form a "backdoor" pro-Mahathir government, the knives are out and the war drums beaten. Anwar Ibrahim's supporters are openly calling for the Old Man to gently pass on the premiership to their man. The only thing left is for Anwar himself to make Mahathir do it.

But do people REALLY want Anwar Ibrahim as Prime Minister? 

Personally, I don't think Anwar is the answer to the mess that new Malaysia has found itself in. I don't speak for the people, of course, but I've spoken to quite a few who agree that, yes, Dr Mahathir shouldn't wait until he's 104 to call it a day but, no, Anwar is not fit to be PM as he carries with himself too much baggage. Anwar  Ibrahim is part of the problem, they say. And he's an ex-convict!

But Mahathir promised that he would step down in 2-3 years!
Yes, he did give his word but after all the broken promises to the people by this Pakatan Harapan government, what does one promise to one individual matter, right?
So, he should make Azmin his successor?
Noooooo! That will lead to greater strife within PH. And, also, there's that video ...
So, who lah wei?

Therein lies Dilema Mahathir.

Foto hiasan: The book by Jalil Backer. is out now! 

People forget that we have a Deputy Prime Minister. 
Her name is Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. 
She has been an MP since 2019, is president of PKR, a major partner in the PH coalition, and the first woman DPM.

Now, why shouldn't Mahathir hand over the premiership to his deputy when he thinks we are all ready for the transition, whenever that is? Isn't that the natural - and democratic - process of transition? 

But, but ... does Wan Azizah have what it takes to be PM? 
Ronald Reagan was not brilliant but he was one of the more successful presidents in the US modern history. He had a great team of advisors. Trump thinks he is the most brilliant President of the US. Look at him now. Look at America today.
Will Anwar allow it?
I can't see how or why Anwar Ibrahim would want to oppose her appointment. Anwar, in fact, should rejoice. His wife has sacrificed so much for him and she has suffered like no other politicians' wives, because of her husband.
She's weak lah. 
She also has relatively no baggage. And, more importantly, so far she's shown to be as good a Deputy Prime Minister as Anwar was in the 90s. If not better.


But Mahathir decides, one way or another. As for us the people, a decades-old animosity is rekindling in front of our very eyes and, once it burns we can rest assured that it will burn for a long time. We will burn.


Monday, November 11, 2019

Good news for official media staff but more job cuts elsewhere likely


No job cuts ... yet

KL, 111119: No news is good news, as the old saying goes, but news of no job cuts is damn good. For we are bound to read about more layoffs and retrenchments in weeks and months to come not only for us journalists but for others, too, in government as well as the private sector. Things are so bad even the Human Resources Minsiter has finally snapped out of his denial syndrome as he admitted last week that there will. be more layoffs in the private sector this year. 
The media industry used to be quite immune to retrenchments or layoffs. Digital tech has seen to it that this is no longer the case. The closure of several news portals the last couple of years and two old dailies this year has resulted in thousands of what used to be secured employment. More will lose their jobs as revenues for media companies continue to fall. In this context, Gobind's assurance that there will be no job cuts in Bernama and RTM for now is good news, indeed. The Minister was careful not to make promises (note his liberal use of for now and not yet when making this point) but we shall take whatever good news we get, for now. 
What's important is to get the safety nets ready for those who have just lost or are about to lose their jobs. Media Prima, for example, is throwing in "career counselling" for the next batch of employees who will be laid off soon. But more needs to be done. YB Kula told Parliament last week there are some 640,000 jobs for grab, 150,000 of them created during the first nine months of this year alone. Now that's terribly, terribly good news, really.  
If only Kula can share the jobs-to-fill data with members of the public, trade unions and the Malaysian Employers Federation. Companies that are forced to lay off their workers can help those workers seek quick - even immediate - reemployment with Kula's help.

Read also

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Anwar may be next PM, but it won't be in 2020


So many people are so angry because of this Malay Mail headline. They said it is misleading. But that's what the Old man actually said: he will pass the baton to Anwar Ibrahim, as he had promised, except that it won't happen next year.
2021,  perhaps? 
But that's besides the point, really ..




What's more important is this latest statement by the PM provides a sense of stability - and security - to foreign investors. That's why Dr M made this statement in Bangkok, where he is assured of a captive international audience. Those angered by this statement are mostly Pakatan Harapan supporters who want Anwar Ibrahim to take over NOW in order to check what they see as the Old Man's growing intrigues. 
In other words, they don't trust Mahathir. Their own PH chief.
But like I said, foreign investors need this kind of assurances from us. And, honestly speaking, right now we need these investors more than ever. Malaysia is a basket case (don't you know?) because we have too many morons in the government who think they are running the country (and bigger morons who can't wait to run the country). Like it or not, the Tun is the only one keeping it together for Pakatan Harapan.

Monday, October 28, 2019

In Malaysia, there's a new storm coming ..


PMiw8: You want to fight, I will give you war.
H20: Bring it on, I'm ready
PMiw8: Good luck, deputy prime minister.

The above is a recent exchange at the lobby of our Parliament between Anwar Ibrahim, still the 8th Prime Minister in waiting, and Umno loyalist Hishamuddin Hussein. It's a brief verbal war "amid big smiles" that will precede the real thing, according to Joceline Tan in her latest column.


Friday, October 25, 2019

Ah, chedet ... he still blogs!

Updated:
Anwar Ibrahim: Congress "smokescreen" for corruption, inequality 
Exceprts:
"Patriotism can be a refuge for scoundrels. They reserve the issue of race because they fear the tough stance I havre against corruption and abuse of power. My interest is to proceed on that score ... I a Malay and committed Muslim and I want Muslims and Malays to succeed. But I am also a leader for all Malaysias." - Anwar (who did not  an invite to attend the Malay Dignity Congress)
After Dr M defends Malay congress, his own Cabinet minister says wasn't race that made it racist 
Excerpts:
“The gathering is not the problem but the content. All races, even clans, have gatherings amongst themselves to discuss their problems and how to improve their position and that of the nation. But when it works to create racial hatred and strife, then it becomes racist." - Khalid Samad


Original posting 251019: 
"I attended the congress on Malay dignity because I am a Malay," Dr Mahathir Mohamad wrote in his latest posting The Malay Dignity Congress.  
The Prime Minister hadn't posted anything since early September, one of his longest hiatus from blogging. I read the posting twice, the second time more slowly, almost in tempo with John Mayer's Slow Dancing in a Burning Room playing over and over in this bistro.  
The Kongres Maruah Melayu was held on Oct 6. The controversies that have raged since the gathering have yet to die down and are threatening to rip apart the already-fragile Pakatan Harapan's coalition; hence, I suppose, the Tun's belated response. 
I attended the Congress, too. In fact, just last night my old friend KP, who was having a pre-Deepvali get-together at the National Press Club in Jalan Tangsi, commented on the headgear I had worn at the Congress (see my Instagram and FB). KP said I looked good win the tengkolok, that he didn't care for "all these race politics and rhetorics". For as long as he could remember, he said, we've lived in peace, the Malays and the Indians. "Just make sure the economy and our children don't suffer lah." 
I attended the congress on Malay dignity because one of the organisers said Dr M would be delivering his amanat terakhir (final address). I blogged about my impressions here and here. Quite clearly, I was quite disappointed with the so-called amanat, as were a lot of other Malays who were expecting the Old Man to address more urgent matters related to their (the Malay's) latest fears and insecurities. 
This latest posting by the "I will be labelled a racist for writing this" PM, I must say, is a lot more convincing than the so-called last amanat he delivered at the Congress.
Read it in full, because you are a Malay-sian. 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

The man who may be Malaysia's next Minister of Finance speaks up on "threshold bailout"


"Developers build too many high-end homes for the well-to-do"

KL, 241010: They sure don't make our national budgets like they used to. When the economy advisor to the Prime Minister starts taking jibes at his own Government's Budget 2020. you can only guess that not all the proposals in the Budget were thoroughly discussed with everybody that matters (if discussed at all!). And when a dirty word like "bail out" is used, you can't help wonder if someone who's part of the team that made the Budget was trying to smuggle some proposals which shouldn't be there. 
Dr Muhammed Abdul Khalid's quarrel with Lim Guan Eng's budget concerns the proposal by the Minister of Finance to lower the threshold for property prices for foreigners from RM1 million to a mere RM600k. Guan Eng's excuse: developers haven't been able to sell.  The idea became very contentious immediately, largely because developers have the bad reputation of making too much out of house buyers. So-called affordable homes have not been affordable for quite a while now due to greed, corruption and poor planning. The PM had, at first, defended the proposal but Housing Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin's disclosure that the "threshold" was Guan Eng's Ministry's idea and had nothing to do with her ministry led to suspicions. 
Because it was Zuraida, most people paid no heed.  But now the PM's Economic Advisor himself has spoken. And a lot of people tend to take the PM's Economic Advisor a lot more seriously. In fact, some people think Dr  Mo would make a better MOF than Guan Eng any day. I don't necessarily subscribe to that thought, of course. 

Read also:
List out those condos for foreigners, Jo Ghani says

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

From estate to Cabinet to this!


Minister did not consult workers' reps, says MTUC

Puchong, 231010: Trade union leaders are calling M. Kula Segaran names that I don't have the wish to repeat on this blog. Suffice to say that if what the Human Resources Minister really wants is to make enemies out of these hardened fighters for workers' rights, some of whom have worked the estates when Kula was still in school, he's got it coming alright.  
The war of words have already begun. In recent days, the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) leaders have openly slammed the first-time Cabinet minister for not consulting them on the amendments to the Industrial Relations Act (Kula arrogant, says MTUC) and, latest, for unilaterally deciding to tap into a national workers' contingency fund to build a colossal facility in - of all places - his own constituency! "Kula has been more than just a big disappointment. He's been very uncooperative ... he acts like a dictator," a veteran trade union leader told me.

I've never dealt with Kula  personally, so I can't say if he's arrogant or just green. He has bad advisors, we were told. But his decision recently to get the HRDF under his ministry to initiate frivolous lawsuits against journalists M. Krishnamoorthy and Veera Pandiyan suggests, to me and many of us in the fraternity, bloody poor judgement on the Minister's part.


Read also:
Court strikes out HRDF suit against journalist
Man sued by HRDF rejects allegations, shows letters on journalist status
In "new" Malaysia, another journalist is sued over a Berlin course


Monday, October 21, 2019

Blaming Mahathir for everything now, including possible trade sanctions


TTDI, 211019: Don't blame Malaysians if they choose to take their Prime Minister's latest remarks [re Mahathir warns of possible trade sanctions on Malaysia amid US-China trade war] with a pinch of salt*. Many have grown so skeptical of the Government. They feel they've been lied to too often these last few months and they are getting really tired of it.  
But sanctions are a serious business and if they are imposed on a country by the US (because China don't make it a practice to sanction others), all of us will be in great trouble. Rather than sanctions, I'd rather we be lied to by the Government because with a lying Government we will at least, over time, be the wiser. There's no getting wiser from sanctions! All countries that have been subject of American sanctions have suffered tremendously. Depending on the severity of sanctions, Malaysia could see a sudden drop in investor flow, capital flight, rising unemployment, runaway inflation, etc. Don't expect tourists to make us their destination (which means our VTAMY 2020 campaign would be screwed). Trade barriers would usually follow sanctions to further cripple the countries that are being sanctioned. South Africa when it was under Apartheid, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Iraq all suffered greatly as a result of some kind of sanctions or other [go h e r e for more examples].  
So if there's any truth in what Dr Mahathir is saying,  the Government must tell us what exactly is the reason for the sanction (because we are a kleptocracy, anti-Semitic, or for discriminating the Chinese and other minorities in the country?) and how it plans to save all of us. 
The people need to know their role. Do they defend the country and leadership or do they back the sanctions? If anyone thinks that's a dumb thing to ask of Malaysians, just look at the response of some of these Malaysians to their country's current predicament, where India is threatening a trade war against Malaysia to retaliate Putrajaya's support for Pakistan over the Kashmir issue. 
One Twitter user describes Tun M's mishandling of India as "anak kecil main api"
Not all Malaysians are backing their Prime Minister - or their own country  - on this issue against India.
On the contrary, there are Malaysians blaming Mahathir for New Delhi's boycott of our palm oil and they are going about it openly on their social media accounts. Sad, but that's the new truth about us.


Read also Dr M: Malaysia could benefit from China-US trade war 





Tuesday, October 08, 2019

From Kg Baru to the jungles: The (so-called) predicament of Malay urban land owners

Kg "Kudis" Baru against KL's skyline

bcc Thurs Oct 8: If I were asked that day (Oct 6) which part of Dr Mahathir Mohamad's address to the Kongress Maruah Melayu was worthy of an amanat, it would be his plea to the Malay landowners NOT to sell their land and properties, especially those in urban areas.  
When the Malays sell their assets in the cities and towns (to non-Malays, developers, the government?), these Malay landowners would then retreat to the suburbs and, with their newfound wealth, buy cheaper land and properties in those suburbs. Then these suburbs become developed and these Malays get offers to sell, and the cycle would repeat. Ultimately, the Prime Minister said, the Malays would end up in the jungles.



Yes, I tweeted that part of his address as I thought it was a damn good advice for the Malays, especially those in Kampung Baru who were under all kinds of pressure from Dr Mahathir's own Administration to sell to their land.  
Turns out I was mistaken ...




So now, if you ask me which part of Mahathir's address to the Kongres Maruah Melayu its worthy of an amanat ....

Monday, October 07, 2019

Amanat terakhir Mahathir

Sumpah Maruah Melayu


"This will be Tun's last address, bro Rocky. Please do come."

Even without such dramatics from the organisers, I would have been interested to attend the Kongres Maruah Melayu that took place yesterday in Shah Alam. The event promised me all sorts of news ingredients that a newsman would be loathe to ignore. Anwar Ibrahim, the PMiw8 (Malaysia's 8th Prime Minister-in-waiting), who is by our Constitutional definition as Malay as PMx2 Mahathir Mohamad, was not going to get an invitation. After some placating by the organisers, the Tun agreed to let them invite Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, the Umno president, and Hadi Awang, the PAS president. It would have been awkward if they were not there. And,  no, no xPM Najib Razak. It would have been doubly awkward for the Old Man.

And I wanted to get myself a tengkolok and I thought surely they will have lots for me choose from at an event like the Malay Dignity Congress.  During the Himpunan Ummah aka Muafakat Nasional organised by Umno and PAS last month, which I could not attend, I had asked friends to look for the ancient Malay headgear for me. I was told them that a bestseller at the PWTC, where the HU was being held was one called the Tanjak Dendam Mahathir Tak Sudah so I asked them to please get me that particular tengkolok. Unfortunately, it was sold out. Mahathir sells, whether or not he is there.

Tanjak and tengkolok at the fair

I'm glad I went to the Kongres Maruah Melayu. I was in good company (even though I was sitting all by myself in one of the "cheaper" seats at the back of the hall) - Siti Nurhaliza and Datuk K, Ustaz Hadi, Rani Kulop, Annuar Musa, KJ, Hishammuddin Hussein, Zainal Kling, Syed Saddiq, Mukhriz Mahathir, Azmin Ali and scores of Malay scholars. 

Siti Nurhaliza rendered the evocative Anak Kecil Main Api, a song about the Malays losing out everything in their own land, as Mahathir walked into the packed hall like a bridegroom.

Nenek moyang kaya raya
Tergadai seluruh harta benda
Akibat sengketa sesama kita ...
Bumi dipijak milik orang 

Zainal Kling got the Kongres the kind of controversy it deserved for with his "Malaysia belongs to the Malays" rhetoric. The resolutions tabled by the student reps and one PAS man (on Religion) were as hardline and hardcore Malay as they come. 

Among the resolutions:

1. Sekolah Wawasan in 6 years, abolish all Chinese and Tamil schools
2. Malay Minister of Finance, Malay AG, Malay Chief Minister, Malay DPM, Malay MB, etc
3. Jawi and Khat in the teaching of BM
4. Petronas and Bank Rakyat scholarships for Malays only





But the climax of the Kongres was also the anti-climax. 

A lot of people went there yesterday to listen to Mahathir to talk about - and against - the growing threat against the Malays, their interests, and their special position. Such a threat has been more prevalent, the Kongres heard,  after the last General Election. Zainal Kling and some of those who tabled the resolutions had made direct references to elements within PH itself, especially the DAP.  The organisers had claimed to me earlier that the PM shared the same sentiment. 

Me, well, for a while I did entertain the idea of Dr Mahathir actually expressing  some form of remorse for bringing this unprecedented post GE14 lament on the Malays, years after he had had 22 years to be the PM and so many opportunities  at leaving a lasting legacy other than the Twin Towers and the tolled highways ...

Mahathir did not mention DAP in his Amanat. Not even once.

Flying cars soon but for now have hopper will travel ...

I can understand why some described Mahathir's Final Address as condescending towards the Malays (read Ucapan Mahathir hina Melayu. )  But then, again, what's new? Mahathir has called the Malays names so many times before. "It's his way of motivating the Malays," said one diehard supporter. But even by the Old Man's recent "motivational" standards, I found it distressing when he insisted that our children should be willing to take up the jobs now filled by imported labourers from Bangladesh and the Philippines. Mahathir derided them for being ashamed of those low-paying jobs. "They are ashamed of jobs that pay RM1100 a month. But they are not ashamed of lining up to accept the RM500 saguhati (handout)!" he said in obvious reference to the aid given by the Government (BR1M when the previous government introduced it and renamed BsH after PH took over).

"You tell him to get his children's children to do those jobs lah," an ex-journalist who is about to lose his job shouted at me on the phone earlier today when I told him what Dr M said.

I sent a WhatsApp message to the organiser. "It's far from vintage Mahathir lah, bro." Well, I suppose all that rubbing with the ultras in his new coalition has affected the Old Man's wit, after all.  But the organisers remain stubbornly optimistic. "We will push the Resolutions of the Kongress to be adopted by the Prime Minister. We will." I guess all that Hidup Melayu cries at the Stadium Malawati yesterday have emboldened some Melayu.

But I've held my breath a little too long ....




p.s. Personally, though, I was not entirely disappointed. I got myself a tengkolok at the fair. It's called, aptly, Tanjak Melayu Menyesal Tak Sudah. 



Monday, September 23, 2019

Kongress Maruah Melayu



Hazy Puchong, Monday: By the looks of things, there will be many more pro-Malay forums and gatherings from now. The Umno-PAS' Himpunan Perpaduan Ummah  was just an appetiser. It has also triggered all kinds of buttons here, there and everywhere in our political industry. Panic button included or not, I don't know and you don't need to worry about that. Just know that Malay and quasi-Malay political leaders who matter, in government or outside, recognises change in sentiments among the majority Malay population of this country. And, therefore, the need to hedge so one does not end up losing. 
Hamzah
The Kongres Maruah Melayu to be held on Oct 6 in Kuala Lumpur will be only the first post-HPU gathering of Malays. This one will be led by several institutions of higher learning, notably UiTM, whose Bumiputera-only policy has come under serious threat after the Pakatan Harapan government took over in May 2018. But it's not an academic exercise, per se. The chairman of the Kongress Maruah Melayu is former Umno man and Najib Razak's Cabinet minister Hamzah Zainudin, one of the first to have switched camps to Mahathir Mohamad's Pribumi Bersatu after BN's defeat in the last general election. 
The Kongress is expected to identify the threats facing the Malays today and propose ways to strengthen the position of the Malays in the various socio-economic sectors. Of course, Hamzah and friends are also concerned with the relationship between the Malays and other races. To promote unity, they think that it is time the Government introduce the OSS - the One School System - and abandon the vernacular schools. This is not going to go down well with some quarters at all but as one of the brains behind the Kongress told me:  "If Singapore could do it, why not us?" 
Well, we know why we haven't been able to walk the talk but, I say, no harm trying. 
I was told Dr Mahathir Mohamad will deliver his amanat at the end of the Kongress, which has encouraged the conclusion that this is an event quietly sponsored by the Prime Minister's own party, Pribumi Bersatu . Wallahualam.

p.s. I am all for any effort to unify the Malays to unite Malaysians, if you know what I mean.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Haze, corruption, and conflicts of interest




Sept 19, Hazy Lunchtime: Great. So, the Cabinet is finally thinking of enacting laws to punish Malaysian firms responsible for forest fires in Indonesia responsible for the awful haze that has made life miserable for Malaysians and put the country on the map for yet another wrong reason (Malaysia di tempat pertama pencemaran udara tertinggi di dunia). 

Still top of the world. Source: airvisual.com

But while those new laws are being drawn up, surely there are provisions which the Government can use against those firms. Our own Primary Industries Minister did make a reference to such a provisions ie cessation of the offending companies' certification status just the other day when defending the 4 Malaysian companies allegedly responsible for the fires in Indonesia:

“Those familiar with the industry will vouch for the fact that an act of open burning such as the current accusations would result in the cessation of their certification status not only in Indonesia but throughout their operations including in Malaysia." - Theresa Kok raises concern on Indonesia's action against 4 Msian firms

Didn't YB Kok brief the Cabinet on this available course of action? If she didn't, why? Was she protecting the Malaysian companies? Or is it because one of these firms was linked to a fellow Cabinet Minister and party member? She needs explain these things to us.

The haze is not new but we need new means and an iron will to tackle it. Conflicts of interest won't do. And, please, the blame game is old - too old lah - and usually bites back, as I'm sure Yeo Bee Yee, our Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister, has discovered after her initial bravado and finger-pointing exchanges with her Indonesian counterpart Siti Nurbaya. 

Enacting tough laws, as the Cabinet has decided, is great but Singapore did it in 2014 and how has that worked for them so far? 

Another point to ponder:



Read also



Sunday, September 15, 2019

Taking the cue from Umno-PAS' unity charter ...


Kalau Melayu tak mampu bersatu
Manakan Malaysia boleh?

It's common sense. How do you forge a united Malaysia if half the population - the 16 million or so Malays - are divided? And divided the Malays are. The Umno-PAS Himpunan Ummah on 13-14 Sept may be seen as a political coup led by the Malay parties in the majority-Malay Opposition - and, make no mistake, it is, too! - BUT for the Malays in general, particularly those who are neither PAS nor Umno members (or members of any political party, for that matter), the gathering is a reassuring development, something they've been waiting for, one that gives them a flicker of real hope. Especially in today's environment, where more and more of these Malays are coming out to say they are feeling more and more disenchanted (and, at times, sympathetic) with the Malay leaders of the current government. 

And before anyone accuses Umno and PAS of "playing the race and religion card" again, let him or her be informed that the Himpunan Ummah had the support of the other races, although in the form of members of political parties aligned with the Barisan Nasional. 

It wasn't an all-Melayu or Malays-only event.


A Chinese at the Malay unity gathering ...

... And more Chinese and Indian and others, too

Among the Malays, there have been reservations, and there still are some suspicions. That's to be expected. PAS and Umno, after all, had been bitter enemies for decades, since the Eighties, when Mahathir became the Prime Minister for the first time. Some Malays I know were worried that Umno might become "more Islamic than PAS" as a result of the PHU. 

But as Nicole Wong, the MCA Youth chief, writes in her FB, "HPU transcends the races ... we believe we can achieve national unity based on common ground without having to compromise anyone's culture".




It wasn't a Melayu-only event
Taking the cue from PAS-Umno's #penyatuanummah aka #muafakatnasional, another group of Malays (outside Umno and PAS) is already planning a so-called Kongres Melayu to "further unite the Malays". Look out for it:  Oct 6 in Kuala Lumpur. 

I am looking forward to this so-called Malay Congress, and to anything that forges Malay - and Malaysian - unity. My hope is that the organisers will be inspired, as a lot of us have been, by the peaceful and disciplined conduct of the Himpunan Ummah organised by Umno and PAS. If there's one thing we can learn from the PHU, it is this: we don't need vehicles to burn in the streets to ignite our passions.