Wednesday, March 20, 2019

After the Christchurch mosque massacre, we still want the Death Penalty banned?

Erdogan urges NZ to restore the death penalty
KL, 20 March: The Christchurch massacre teaches us a lot of things. One of them is that the campaign by some Malaysians to ban the death penalty is foolish and unjust.  
Brenton Tarrant, who mercilessly gunned down scores of unarmed Muslim civilians during Friday prayers last week, will live. Imagine that. Oh, sure, he has been charged and they say he "faces unprecedented sentence" but, be that as it may, he will live happily ever after. 
Why? Because there is no death sentence in New Zealand (and in Australia, the killer's country of birth). 
In New Zealand, being found guilty of murder usually comes with a minimum of 10 years in jail before possible parole. Imagine that! The longest-ever murder sentence imposed in New Zealand was in 2001 when a judge sentenced William Bell to life imprisonment with a 30-year minimum term for a triple murder. Which works out - yup - to 10 year's per life taken, give and take a couple of years. 
Tarrant knows this and obviously he does not want to die (otherwise, he'd have killed himself after the massacre, which is what they usually do). This man recorded the whole heinous act so apparently he fancies that one day he would be able to discuss what he'd done and why. Books will be written about him. Maybe even a movie. Heck, I won't rule out a video games. Along the way, they might try to make him out to be the "real" victim. Eventually, a hero. Others would want to emulate him. 
Elsewhere, including here in Malaysia, Tarrant would pay for his heinous crime with his own life. He would get justice.
I believe that the laws we have today, here in Malaysia, especially the death penalty, is the reason why we still live, work and pray in peace. Many didn't give it much thought before  but now, after the massacre in New Zealand, many believe the death penalty does not mean that life is cheap; on the contrary, it reminds us of how precious life is. 

Read also:
"How many countries do we have to cite as examples to show that the death penalty isn’t the magic pill to solve crime? In the Global Peace Index, the top seven safest countries – Iceland, New Zealand, Austria, Portugal, Denmark, Canada and the Czech Republic – have all abolished the death penalty." - Abolishing the death penalty: Q&A with Ambiga Sreenevasan and Ding Jo-Ann, November 2018

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Pakatan a one-term wonder? Helen says yup, AKJ says noooo!

Here's a one-hit wonder Who let the dogs out, quite relevant seeing how dogs are in the news these days [Dog broke my wrist, says Najib's lawyer]

Puchong, 13 March: A. Kadir Jasin thinks Pakatan Harapan "has actually made a pretty good progress for itself and the country". 
First and foremost, "Malaysia is no longer a kleptocracy"
"Secondly," Kadir writes in PH is not a one-term government, "the problems of the people are being attended to in a more systematic and transparent manner with a longer-term view of making "shared prosperity" the basis for sustainable wealth creation and distribution".
But there's no "thirdly" or "fourthly" or "finally", though. The rest of AKJ's posting turns into one big lament. Not just Kadir's but also Dr Mahathir Mohamad's:
“What difference does it make whether they wear black or white shoes?” 
“Yes, cigarette smoking causes cancer but how do we know whether the smokers are three metres away from the restaurants?” 

“And what is Malaysia Baru? Is it exclusively about the election manifesto?”
Never one to mince words, AKJ says heads must roll for this government to work:
"As the one-year milestone approaches, the PH will be subjected to greater scrutiny by the people, the press and investors.
To pass this public relations and confidence test, the PH has to improve its story-telling. It may even have to consider rearranging or even firing some cast members.

The plot and narrative must be understood and believed by the people and the cast must be respected. There is no role for clowns and comic characters.

Ministers, Menteris Besar and Chief Ministers must engage in self-examination and, where necessary, self-criticism.

Don’t rush to blame the press and the people if the flying car story flew past their heads and the government is seen as inept, arrogant and aloof.

Moving ahead, the PH must work hard and smart to fulfill the aspirations of the people and to prove to them that it is not a one-term government. It is here to stay.

In Harapan, a one-term government Helen Ang says if Umno and Pas stay happily married, GE15 is in their bag. DAP's panicky response to the union is very telling (and damaging to the coalition), she says. The poor Indians are being marginalised under Pakatan, with little bargaining power, she adds. And the antics of the PH ministers mainly from Pribumi (Mahathir's party), are not helping, Helen tells us.
"All three of the ministers embroiled in dubious or missing bachelor's degree scandal are from Pribumi ... 
"Yet the most cohesive and solid Harapan party DAP is kowtowing to the party's weakest party Pribumi. Harapan makes a mockery of the meritocracy concept. 
"There is no way Harapan can last more than one term in Putrajaya."


Thursday, March 07, 2019

Politics of terror

Updated 8/3:
Umno and PAS did declare war but NOT against non-Malays
Preparing for Guan Eng's war by Life of Annie

Original piece 6/3:
Utusan says Guan Eng needs to be responsible

Frightening. If Dr Mahathir Mohamad's Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng was correctly attributed in the Malaysiakini headlines above, you are right to fear for the children. Yes, racially and religiously insensitive politicians do not reside only in DAP but this one is trying to pull down Malaysia - Baharu or not - to a new, shitty lho.   
Guan Eng knew this so he quickly corrected himself ...
But if he thought he'd done damage-control by swapping "WAR" with "TARGET", he must really think we're all idiots. The amendment does little, if anything at all, to reduce the terror (Wee: Lim's "declaration of war" statement is inflammatory) of the message. And the resultant anger and despair of anyone reading it. If anything, it just reaffirms his original intent. 
So, will Dr M take his Minister to task?

Flashback h e r e 
Most likely NOT. It took the former Umno president many decades to admit he was wrong about the DAP. One bad apple don't spoil the whole bunch, girl [give it one more time before you give up on love :-]. Plus, Dr Mahathir needs their support more than ever now.

Monday, March 04, 2019

"An irreplaceable hero ..."

KL, 4 March: And when you think you've done something power, always know that someone else has made a much bigger difference, without so much ado.   
Sharing with my Dear Readers a clip the guys at The Mole did recently on Azrul Aziz, an awesome human being ...

Friday, March 01, 2019

Semenyih: Anwar won't change voters' hearts this time

TTDI, Mar 1: PM-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim's revelation about some money PAS leader Hadi Awang purportedly paid Claire Rewcastle Brown to get their lawsuit settled out of a London court stinks to high heavens of - if you're old enough to have witnessed - the old 80s and 90s politics of intrigues and last-minute disclosures before a major election.
I told a fellow journalist who's been covering the Semenyih by-election that what Anwar is doing is so typical of the dirty politics of old. I thought the "new" Anwar will be above it. I thought we had left all the "lapoks" in this Malaysia Baharu. 
"Anwar and Clarie (Rewcastle Brown) may do as they wish, bro," my journalist friend said, sounding a little disinterested. I thought. 
"Sure," I prodded, "but surely Hadi must respond to the RM1.4 million accusation and I suppose he would want to do it very close to midnight so that Anwar and Claire can't counter whatever he has to say." [The deadline for campaigning is midnight before the by-election day). 
"No matter," the journo said. "The people of Semenyih have already decided who they are going to vote tomorrow".
Ah, they have?
Anwar's Pakatan Harapan is defending the seat, 9 months after winning it big at the 14th general election, following the death of the incumbent Bakhtiar Mohd Nor. PH, which is the ruling coalition, is fielding Muhammad Aiman Zainali, who is Bakhtiar's  son-in-law from Bersatu, the component party led by PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad. 
Barisan Nasional, fresh from a crucial by-election victory in Cameron Highlands on Jan 26, is banking on 58-year old Zakariah Hanafi. 
Hadi's PAS is not contesting the four-cornered by-election but is seen as the force that could help BN wrest the seat from Pakatan.
Early voting for this by-election starting last Tuesday (see story below) saw a 79 per cent voter turnout. 

Monday, February 25, 2019

They don't make press aides like they used to

Dear press aides, stop being entitled jerks - courtesy The Mole

“Knowing now that RTM was merely following its SOP (standard operating procedure) in showing only the Prime Minister’s speech during the live telecast of the CNY (Chinese New Year) celebration in Seremban, I wish to apologise for my Facebook post dated Feb 17, 2019. I support media independence and media freedom and would love that one day RTM can be truly transformed into high quality, professional public broadcaster." Lim Swee Kuan, press officer to the Transport Minister, on Facebook

Puchong, 25 Feb: Yeah, right. And I would love that one day, knowing that day will not come, that YB Anthony Loke's press officer can be truly transformed into a high quality, professional officer ...

That Lim Swee Kuan had the cheek to take a high-and-mighty position on media "professionalism" after his faux pas is a joke that won't make anyone's Monday better. We know now that Anthony Loke's press aide did not know the first thing about how the Press works. In other words, Lim didn't know his job! If he expects others to be high-quality, professional, and so on, he should try to be professional himself. 
Not need to be so high, lah.

I was going to kick Lim's butt, but Zaidi Azmi beat me to it. And just as well. I couldn't have done it better; it is Zaidi and his current crop of fellow journalists who have to deal with inept press officers like Lim. Read his Dear press aides, stop being entitled jerks!

Yes, they don't make press secretaries like they used to, for sure.

Zaidi mentioned my ex-boss A. Kadir Jasin in his commentary. I can only imagine how AKJ might really feel deep down inside. As the numero uno of NSTP and the unofficial chief of all chief editors back in the Eighties and Nineties, AKJ was the person Cabinet ministers, if they were smart, would go to when they needed high quality, professional press aides. 

The current Prime Minister, the former Prime Minister, the waiting Prime Minister as well as all the former Finance Ministers since Daim Zaiuddin and several other ministers during the 80s and 90s, had top grade press aides who came personally recommended and meticulously chosen by AKJ. 

I kid you not.

Some press secs went very far. Liow Tiong Lai, the former MCA president, was press aide to Lim Ah Lek when Lim was the Labour Minister. Former Bernama journalist G. Palanivel was brought in by S. Samy Vellu as press secretary when he was Works Minister and MIC boss. Palani went on to become MIC president himself. 

All of them had one thing in common: they understood perfectly how the media worked. 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

"Just abolish the Haj subsidies"

TTDI, 21/2/2019: I know many are following the juicy exchanges on the state of affairs at Tabung Haji, the (supposedly embattled) pilgrims fund, between the uber blogger A Voice and seasoned ex-Utusan Malaysia scribes who are now digital journalists at BebasNews. The "fight", some calls it that, revolves around the curious police reports lodged by the New management of TH against the Old, the antics of the so-called Empress Dowager at the helm of the New, and a few matters close to TH contributors' pockets like returns and dividends. Basically, the blogger, in this corner, is seen as sympathetic with the Old while the ex-Utusan's portalists, in the other corner, are ganging up with the New against the Old. But whether they express it or not in their writings, they are both still trying to defend the integrity of the institution, ie Tabung Haji. So far, that is how I see it.
This latest article by the portal's Ku Seman, another Utusan Malaysia vet at BebasNews, might escalate the cyber war. Or, rather the piece's Utusan-ish headlines - Just abolish the haj subsidies ... - will. 
That is, I must add, if the article reflects what the new TH management is planing or hoping to be doing. And I don't think that is the direction the New will take, seeing how the government is still happily dishing out the handouts under BSH, petrol subsidies, etc.

Read the full Ku Seman article h e r e.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Post-Dark Period: A New NST in New Malaysia

KL, 20 Feb: If this were the dark days of the old NST under A. Kadir Jasin, I believe Transport Minister Anthony Loke would have been roasted for his press secretary's terrible faux pas. Even the old NST under Dollah Kok Lanas (RIP) would have eaten Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo for breakfast for even entertaining Loke and his press sec. Fortunately for them, the New NST is nowhere near as brutal as the Old. 
But credit where it's due. At the very least, the NST has the guts to stand up to the press secretary and defend its colleagues at RTM and the integrity of the media. It's a good start.

A tweet does not tell the whole story. Pls read full editorial below

NST Leader: It is what the press says 
IF we want vibrant journalism — and we believe that New Malaysia demands it — there must be a free press.
By vibrant journalism we mean initiating conversations on issues that affect the people. And if in the process of doing so we have to hold people in positions accountable, we must.
Attacks and threats on the press such as the one directed at Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) by the Transport Ministry would only turn serious reporting into sissy journalism. So will the demand for standard operating procedures (SOP) from the press.
We perfectly understand that press secretaries have key performance indicators that may compel them to get every piece of speech and media statement reported or televised. We understand, too, that not all press secretaries end up doing this, but some politicians may compel them so.
Let’s be very blunt: neither the minister nor the press secretary should compel the press to report an event. Because, that is as good as running the news business. And the government has no business running media entities.
To those who demand coverage, we pass on the words of the United States Supreme Court in the case of New York Times Co. v. United States: the press is there to serve the governed, not the governors.
The New Straits Times may have had a dark period in the past, but we are making a conscious effort to bring back vibrant journalism that our newspaper was known for once.
We are a newspaper that is 174 years old, and in that long history, we had a good stretch of vibrant journalism.
During our heyday, we decided what is and is not news. Now, we pledge to do this again. It must be said that our return to vibrant journalism coincided with the birth of New Malaysia.
Like all Malaysians, we at the New Straits Times rejoiced the birth of New Malaysia because we saw in it the promise of a free press. It will be a mistake to allow the promise to fade away.
The 21st-century readers are discerning ones who demand facts and analyses of matters that concern them. They need an outsider’s view. Or a critique, if you like. A free press makes this possible.
Because with free press, we can write without fear or favour. We can decide what is news and what is not. And how and when to gather it. We know a news item when we see one.
Those who are not in the business of news should not pretend to define it for us. We do, however, recognise freedom comes with responsibility.
News media entities — print and digital — must accept this responsibility.
As a first step in being responsible media entities, we must be transparent about who own us. We cannot say that we will report without fear or favour if we hide our shareholders behind a veil.
Responsibility requires a lifting of the veil. Only then our readers can judge if we are a fair press.
And in the interest of our readers, too, each media organisation must make public its Press Charter by which we pledge to adhere to the standards of a free and fair press.
Again, the readers will be the judge.
Freedom must perforce come with responsibility.  ENDS

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Sabotaging each other (updated: Wee tells Loke to sack aide)

Update 20/2: DAP persona non-grata Wee Choo Keong said Anthony Loke should kick out his press secretary over the RTM sabotage claim. In his tweet, the former MP blasted the PH Transport Minister for seemingly allowing his aide to smear the national broadcast station. "(If) complaint against RTM not  on (your) instruction, then sack your press secretary!" Wee said on Twitter.  Loke is unlikely to respond, given the history between Wee and his bosses the Lims.

KL, 19 Feb: You've read about the clown who accused RTM of trying to "sabotage" his Minister [read Anthony Loke's press sec throws a fit after his boss' speech not broadcast]  and then Loke himself actually defending the press secretary [Transport Minister defends aide in RTM row, defends part omission of "live" event]. 

I thought to myself, what a joke! On twitter, I expanded that thought a little more:
I'm not quite sure about Loke now. I thought he was more level headed than this. RTM, sabotage? Just because you didn't get the coverage you wanted?

YB Gobind Singh Deo, the Minister in charge of RTM, should have quashed the allegation immediately. He sounded a bit rattled by all the drama made out by his DAP colleague Loke and, to be fair, he doesn't fully understand how RTM works, yet. "... I've asked RTM to let me know, in particular, when there was a request for them to cover the event and what the terms and standard operating procedures were. I think these are the things I have to look at before I can comment on it".  [Gobind wants RTM to explain missing speech] 

It's actually quite simple, YBs. 
It's Media Relations 101 ...
In any event officiated by the Prime Minister, the PM will be given precedence by the media. Often, the event itself is relegated to a single column in the newspaper or a few pitiful seconds on the news. In the case of the "live" event that brought about this sabotage drama, it was officiated not just by the PM but also the DPM. And there was also the MB of Negri Sembilan to boot. Not to mention "several Cabinet Ministers". 
Imagine if RTM were to broadcast everyone's speeches and comments! Who's going to watch RTM?

Still not convinced?
Take a look at the pic used in the Gobind news article above. Bernama chose to focus on the PM, the DPM and the MB, No photograph of Loke. The caption also doesn't mention Loke or the other Cabinet Ministers. 
So is your press secretary going to accuse Bernama of trying to sabotage you, YB Loke? 

I hope YB Gobind will come to the defence of the editors and producers at RTM, Give the journalists leverage to do carry out their duties, without fear or favour, as this government has been espousing all the time.

It may be tempting to suggest again bringing in your own political appointee(s) in the name of ensuring there won't be any "sabotage" at RTM or Bernama in future, but that's going back to the old ways, Gobind, so please don't even think of it.

Your own colleague Latheefa Koya has tagged you:

Monday, February 11, 2019

The good news is ...

Puchong, 11 Feb: Good news is a rare commodity these days. Entertaining (not entertainment) news melambak - just read up on our politicians and their academic qualifications, Cabinet Minister's dumb statements, etc. No wonder the former ambassador Dennis Ignatius, in his twitter profile picture below, is slapping his forehead!

So when you get news like "Proton delivers 1000 units X70 in single day", we ought to feel good, right? And most of us do. I, supporter of Proton since the idea of the first national car was mooted, am happy that the company is selling cars - the X70 particularly - despite the inclement economic weather. 

Why the X70, in particular? Because it's Proton's first SUV, first car after it's association with China's Geely, and because a lot of people were so skeptical at first ...

Also because Perodua (the 2nd national car) has launched its (much cheaper) SUV and if you know the history of their rivalry then  you'd know that when the two national car companies collide, the same one has always ended up bruised and battered. So it's really, really nice to know that Perodua's Aruz is also doing quite well and that the two are not going to eat each other up this time (Toyota Aruz will cannibalise Toyota Rush's market share).

Not everyone is impressed, though. Former assemblyman Lee Hwa Beng may be one of them.

But I'm not slapping my forehead. As I see it, the YB is trying to be constructive in his own way. He's in effect raising a valid concern: are our local players ready to keep up with the higher benchmark set by the new Proton management? If the local players are not ready and, worse, if we continue to defend them (because they are Malaysians and they need more time and yet another chance, etc), quality will suffer and the national car's image will be dragged through mud again.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Anti-graft chief quashes talk of Petronas arrests

But he could have spoken sooner, couldn't he?

KL, Feb 9: So, the news that the anti-graft authority was going to arrest two Petronas execs over some alleged corrupt practices is NOT true. 
If Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission boss Mohd Shukri Abdull had not come out yesterday to clear the air (MACC denies portal's claim on impending arrests of Petronas officials), we would not have been the wiser. Question is, why didn't Shukri come out with the clarification earlier? Why did he have to wait for the media to prod and after Petronas had made the police report against the news portal? 
The truth is, it's so easy these days to use the MACC's name in vain. I'm sure Shukri is aware of this. And I'm sure he'd agree that the onus is on the MACC to deter and discourage this blatant abuse. This is where his Comms Department may want to be more proactive. For example, if a newspaper or a blog claims that the MACC is investigating a person or a corporation for alleged corruption, the Comms Dept must come out immediately to confirm or deny the news. No need to wait for reporters to follow up. Because the longer they wait, the greater the damage.  
In the case of Petronas, it helped that the national oil corporation had decided to go to the police right away. That gave us the impression that it had nothing to hide. But if everyone has to go to the police each time something bad is written about them, the police won't have time for anything else. 
So, Tok Shukri, the next time someone invokes the name of your good organisation, please do everyone - especially yourself - a favour and come out immediately with a response. Jangan tunggu lama-lama. Managing public perception is as important as battling corruption itself. 

Sunday, February 03, 2019

"Sila duduk jangan lari, Gong Xi Fa Cai sudah mari"

Here's wishing you my Dear Readers a Happy Chinese New Year.May the Year of the Pig bring all of us health, happiness and prosperity.

p.s. Thanks Bad and friends, your festive videos remain our all-time, each time and anytime favourites. Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019


Delete, Defer, Downsize?

Jan 28: My view on the ECRL project? Simple: if the Government of the day decides not to carry on with the ECRL (or any project, mega or otherwise, that was brought in by the previous government, for that matter), go ahead and cancel or defer or downsize it as the Government of the day sees fit.  But the flip-flopping, the U-turning, the ding-donging gotta stop. It's not helping the Government's image. Not helping us Rakyat, either, if the economy and confidence are hurt by "mistakes" made by the Ministers.
Show us that you can go beyond the black shoes for school kids. smoking ban at open-air restaurants, curfew for teens policies and strategies, and no-brainers like those.
Don't let some of us have too-easy a field day. Read RPK'as Dithering over ECRL decision due to fear of Beijing Pushback, says report. 

Read also:
Dr M: Malaysia may resume ECRL but on a smaller scale,  Jan 2
Dr M: Be patient, wait for Guan Eng's announcement on ECRL, Jan 28
Dr M: ECRL cancellation letter could be doctored, Jan 28
Guan Eng shocked by Azmin's announcement on status of ECRL, Jan 26

Monday, January 28, 2019

Cameron Highlands shows that Kit Siang still PH Big Boss

Bruised Lim, maybe, but still your Big Boss

Jan 28: Journalists and bloggers who closely followed the Cameron Highlands by-election may tell you that Lim Kit Siang was one of the major reasons for Pakatan Harapan's loss. They'd say that the DAP stalwart made one too many almost-amateurish blunders in his attempts to get voters to elect comrade M. Manogaran, the PH candidate. The worst, arguably, was his promise to come out with an Orang Asli blueprint if - yes IF - Pakatan won the by-election. 

His exact quotes:
“If Pakatan Harapan wins in Cameron Highlands by-election on Saturday, I will convene a Pakatan Harapan conference of Orang Asli representatives in Cameron Highlands to draft a blueprint for Orang Asli to become full citizens of Malaysia.”
In view of the many Pakatan Harapan broken promises from the general election they had unexpectedly won last year, this one went down really poorly with a lot of people, Asli or otherwise, voting or not.  Zuhri Aziz, a young professional from Umno, the biggest Opposition party, was by no means the only one who saw red over Kit Siang's "blueprint" statement. 

On his Twitter: 
"If PH win? Win or lose, you are the Government now. Should convene regardless."
When Kit Siang wasn't annoying the Orang Asli, who made up about one-fifth of Cameron Highlands' registered voters, he was going overboard with the DAP's Malaysia Baharu rhetorics. Read Kit Siang: A BN win in Cameron Highlands will sink Pakatan's mission to transform Malaysia . What's so baharu about this same-old crap?

It also really did not help that former PM Najib Razak, who was enjoying an unprecedented popularity spike due to his rather phenomenal cyber trolling, had picked on Kit Siang during the campaigning period and declared him the Menteri Hal Ehwal Najib (Minister in charge of Najib affairs). Of course, there is no such ministry in Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's Cabinet but we can expect that title to stick and for a very long time.

But blame Kit Siang for Pakatan's defeat at Cameron Highland at your own risk. It would not only be unfair but also grossly inaccurate. The numbers floating about social media show that almost all the Chinese voters who came out to vote in the Cameron Highland by-election voted for the DAP. not for Manogaran but for Kit Siang.  

BN - 12,038
Malays 72% (8,667 votes)
Chinese 1% (120)
Indians 2% (241)
Asli & Others 25% (3,010) 
PH - 8,800
Malays 8% (704 votes)
Chinese 82% (7,216)
Indians 4% (352)
Asli & Others 6% (528)

If not for Kit Siang, Pakatan Harapan would have lost by an even more embarrassing margin. 

Of course, we shall not take away anything from Ramli and the Orang Asli power.

Read also:

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

AG's boogie with the Judiciary: What the three ex Judges think

Updated Jan 24
Thou shall not:  One of the ex judges attached this tablet of Commandments, too ..

Original article
Jan 22: You remember the 3 ex Judges I consulted with on Latest US court decision on Jho Lo's Equanimity: What it really means, according to 3 Malaysian ex-Judges. I needed to seek their wisdom once more, this time over the  issue of the Attorneyt-General, the Chief Justice, and the Law Minister doing the twist at a recent legal gala dinner. Which got tongues wagging, eyes rolling, fingers pointing and, of course, hips swaying! So much so that Malaysians are generally left more confused than ever.

For sure, we know that dancing is not a crime and not the issue; sometimes. But does the AG dancing with the judiciary create the perception of an AG capable of dancing to the tune of others? 

These are the three ex-Judges views, almost verbatim:

Yang Ariff 1:  I used to tell the magistrates not to misbehave in public. In private, it's your business what you. In this particular case, it's not the dancing. It's the free mixing resulting in the lawyers influencing the judges, especially when too much drinking!! 
Yang Ariff 2: I love dancing but in this particular case, it is simple: JUSTICE MUST BE SEEN TO BE DONE. The AG should NOT be seen dancing with the judiciary. Attending the dinner with the Bar is okay. We used to do that. All very official. To be socialising and being very familiar raises issues of possible bias-ness. 
Yang Ariff 3: You need to understand the different modes of celebration between those in Semenanjung and those in Sabah and Sarawak. In Putrajaya (such gatherings) would proceed without the dinner and dance. Sabah and Sarawak have different ideas. Previously, while the Muslim CJs were still present (at dinner), itineraries were kept formal. Only upon their departure would all hell break loose! But this CJ sure enjoys the "hell".

Read also:

Friday, January 18, 2019

Educating our insurance people

In my years as a Press man, I've come across numerous cases of ordinary Malaysians forced by desperate circumstances to go to the media and beg fellow Malaysians to help them out of a personal tragedy or a family crisis. Often, it had to do with health, a surgery that could save a child's life or a procedure that could enable a man to walk again (Health Minister Dr Zul, raise those epic eyebrows and take note). And usually they involve low-waged (hence, ordinary) Malaysians.  
But the story of Encik Sahrom Ahmad, who suffered a crippling stroke in London and , as a result, a even more crippling medical bill, is rare. The 58-year old is a former employee of Tenaga Nasional Berhad so he is probably neither rich nor poor, like most of us Malaysians. But he could send his daughter to study in the UK (presumably, with a little help from the government as well) and he afford to buy a return ticket for himself (but not his wife) to attend her graduation. 
And he had the sense to invest in a small insurance for himself, just in case ....  

But when the "just in case" actually happened to Encik Sahrom, it certainly didn't go as well as he or his family would have hoped for  and have the right to hope for.  In the end, the daughter had to go to the media and begged fellow Malaysians to help.
Ordinary Malaysians will continue to help, as they have proven again and again. And in Sahrom's case, he is lucky to have a former employer that cares. But Dr Zul, this is where you can come in and make a huge difference: 
Educate Malaysians about the importance of health and medical insurance. 
And while you're at it, school the insurance companies about us Malaysians, about being humane, and about the functions of the brains and the hearts that the Almighty has given all of us to put to good use, please and thank you. 

Encik Sahrom's latest, from The Mole:

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Lynas and the third national car project

In this interview with FMT, Redzuan Yusof, the Minister in charge of the proposed Third National Car (TNC) project, sheds a little more light on the mysterious project.
"It will be a hybrid based on the internal combustion engine ..",  he said. 
For those of you who know nuts about the hybrid the minister was talking about, think Honda City Hybrid and Toyota Prius (pic above). Nice, kan? And I'm not being sarcastic; I will support any national project be it motorbike, bicycle or, as it happens in this case, car. 
But Proton will aways be the national car for me and Malaysians from the same era. I'm not sure which age zone he comes from but the Minister, quite apparently, does not know as much as he thinks about Proton, especially the history of its vendors, and should have kept mum on it and focus, instead, on the TNC. 
Like elaborate a little bit more on those investors who are said to be keen on the TNC project.
He said the ministry has attracted a lot of interest, with investors voicing their intent to come here because of existing infrastructure, talent and raw materials. He cited the rare earths processed for battery manufacturing at the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant in Kuantan, Pahang.
The bit on Lynas, though, makes me wonder.
Does Redzuan know that his own Cabinet colleague, the Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin,  is so anti-Lynas?
So how?

The interview with FMT:
New car project different from Proton: no bailouts, says minister
PUTRAJAYA (16 Jan 2018): When Dr Mahathir Mohamad set out to establish Proton in 1983 in his first stint as prime minister, the goal was to boost the country’s automotive industry and create a national car.
Yet now, despite decades of government support and bailouts, the carmaker has never lived up to its full potential. So it is unsurprising that Putrajaya’s plans to develop a new national car have raised concerns that this will be the “next Proton.”
Entrepreneur Development Minister Redzuan Yusof has dismissed such pessimism, claiming that the thinking behind the new project is very different this time.
“Proton was conceptualised as a car first, and then the vendors were developed and brought on board. The new national car will be all about enhancing the existing vendor capacity that is already there thanks to Proton,” he told FMT.
“The vendors who have been supporting Proton, have gone beyond what they were expected to do. We have original equipment manufacturers, including major suppliers to top car makers. Some of our manufacturers are now operating in other countries. Several carry out research and development for foreign car manufacturers.”
Essentially, Redzuan said, the new national car project is not merely about creating an automobile but taking advantage of existing talent and resources to create a catalyst for the development of an ecosystem in which entrepreneurs, businesses and industries can grow.
The minister added that the national car project will be the ideal catalyst for this due to the sheer amount of engineering skills and components needed, including structural, mechanical, electrical and electronic, and robotics and automation.
He insisted that engineering is one of the vital keys to Malaysia becoming a producing nation. Excelling in the automotive sector would be a stepping stone to higher-level manufacturing and engineering sectors like the aerospace industry.
He said the ministry has attracted a lot of interest, with investors voicing their intent to come here because of existing infrastructure, talent and raw materials. He cited the rare earths processed for battery manufacturing at the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant in Kuantan, Pahang.
“There are even large overseas corporations making inquiries to invest here because of the spinoffs we envisage from the new national car project.”
As for manpower, Redzuan said Malaysia produces a lot of talent, but without an appropriate ecosystem in which our best can flourish, they will leave to seek opportunities abroad.
As examples of this he cited a number of Malaysians excelling in foreign countries, from an Australia-based man who is among the top drone operators in the world, to a US-based electronics engineer who works for NASA.
“If we do not create an ecosystem here for them to excel in, we cannot become a developed nation. We have the talent and resources, we just don’t have the ecosystem.”
Redzuan, the Alor Gajah MP, also gave his assurance that no public funds would be used in the development of the project as it will be driven by a strategic private sector partner. He stressed that the grant his ministry applied for was for research and development to determine the type of car to be built.
“The government has no intention of the project being a drain on any public funds,” he said, adding that should the project fail, the government will not resort to a bail out.
Redzuan said his ministry has very strict criteria for its selection of a strategic partner for this project. The partner must be an established car manufacturer producing components for its supply chain and after-sales market. It must also conduct its own research and development.
He also said that unlike in the past where political interference negatively affected the running of certain companies, this will not happen with the new national car project.
So what will the new national car look like?
The minister said they are looking at a car for the mass market with a smaller more efficient engine. “It will be a hybrid based on the internal combustion engine, this will reduce risks where supply and demand are concerned.
“As for the design, we are now at the stage of trying to finalise the shape and form of the prototype, which will be revealed later this year, and all without us having spent a single sen.” - FMT

Friday, January 04, 2019

All's well that ends well. Well, maybe ...

Read the Malaysian Insight story here

Jan 4: Good news? Well, the minister did well enough to respond immediately with his re-assurance to the 283 (now former) employees of SPAD that they will be offered jobs. How that will go, we'll have to wait and see next week. But to me this episode is yet another proof that ordinary Malaysians still need to go to the media for recourse, even in Malaysia Baharu. And we the Media still have that role to play in 2019.
Same old, same old but we're always at your service.

Yesterday, The Mole reported:

KUALA LUMPUR – January 2, 2019: They were repeatedly assured that they will not be jobless after new year’s eve but today, the first working day of the year, some 283 staff of the now-defunct Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) woke up to everything but a job.
This is because the Transport Ministry had failed to relocate all 967 of them following the agency’s decommissioning last Monday, which means that minister Anthony Loke had failed to keep his promise.
Uncertainty over the employment of the staff began when the decommissioning was announced in May 2018, soon after Pakatan Harapan won the general elections to form the federal government.
“There were married couples with SPAD and now both husbands and wives are jobless. How are they going to cope with life? Why do we have to be the sacrificial lamb in a political move,” lamented a former staff.
“January is when our children start schooling and any parent will know how much money this requires. It is sad that our welfare is not considered…. it’s almost as though we are being punished.”
While the ministry recently stated that it will assist staff to find new jobs at government-linked companies, the majority said they are disillusioned with such an assurance.
Their distrust with the ministry MOT is understandable, given that it was only two weeks ago that it told them some will not be transferred to other departments.
Those lucky enough to be re-employed are also bemoaning the fact that they have to take quite a big pay-cut.
“You have a Masters (degree) but suddenly find yourself being given a post junior to the one you held previously and with a lower salary. Is this fair?” asked one.