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:

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.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Mavcom is doing just "fine", thank you very much

 Some of the finest jobs in the aviation sector are at Mavcom, some may say ...

Puchong, Sept 11:  Set up to regulate economic and commercial matters relating to civil aviation, Mavcom is doing a fine job. Literally!

Read the full Malaysiakini story here, or subscribe

Of course, Mavcom doesn't just punish and penalise its golden geese. It also has to ensure airlines like Air Asia and AAX collect RM1 in regulatory service charge from every passenger that departs the country's airports (KLIA, KLIA2 and Senai, the only airport not under the MAHB). The RSC is meant solely for Mavcom to finance its day-to-day operations (read the FAQ about Mavcom to know what else it does other than fine and charge RSC). 
How the "fine" money is spent, I'm not sure. But here's the thing: for non-compliance, Mavcom can impose financial penalties "not more than 5 per cent of a corporate firm's annual turnover for the preceding financial year."' MAHB (RM4.85 billion revenues in 2018) can, therefore, count itself lucky for getting away with only RM1.18 million in fine this time. 
Air Asia and AAX were not as lucky. They were each slapped the maximum RM200k for their respective first-time violations. 
Perhaps Tony Fernandes should start praising the Mavcom people sky-high instead of saying it as it is ...

Read also:
Mavcom has failed Malaysia's aviation sector,  says Tony Fernandes
Loke distances himself from AirAsia-Mavcom spat
7 sebab Mavcom gagal majukan sektor penerbangan awam, kata Tony Fernandes

Friday, September 06, 2019

Be a sport, Mr Mayor of KL

TTDI, Friday: The Residents' Association of Taman Tun Dr Ismail has been a pain for DBKL in recent times. It has  taken the City Hall to court over a massive condo project because it was going to eat into their Kiara Rimba park, forced the authorities to scrap a proposed multimillion ringgit six-lane highway across the neighbourhood, prevented the MRT  from building a pedestrian bridge that would connect TTDI with a station outside the residential estate. The RA gave former FT Minister Ku Nan for defending the condo project and is giving current FT Minister Khalid Samad a hard time for defending Ku Nan's actions (DBKL comes directly under the FT Ministry). If the Mayor of Kuala Lumpur does not love the RA because of these antics and because it seems interested only in giving him a harrowing time, perfectly understandable. But don't take it out on the Zumba ladies lah, Datuk Bandar ... 
The Mole, which is based in TTDI, has the story:

Who are DBKL's "Top Management"?
Click H E R E

Read also:

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Now, with lower PSC, maybe everyone can fly again

"That is a fight for another day." - Tony Fernandes, Air Asia co-founder, on the airport departure levy that passengers using KLIA may have to pay.  (AirAsia celebrates Merdeka with lowered PSC)

KL, Sept 2: Some of us were happy to vilify Tony F over Air Asia's stubbornness in not wanting to collect from its outbound passengers the RM73 passenger service charge that it was supposed to. It was supposed to because Mavcom, the country's regulator, said so. The money collected is meant wholly for  Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad, the already-profitable airport operator. Air Asia argued that because it was a low-cost carrier and also because its passengers were using inferior facilities at KLIA2 (compared with the facilities at the main terminal KLIA), they shouldn't be made to pay the same amount passengers or other airlines at KLIA were paying. So Air Asia started collecting only RM50 from its passengers instead of RM73. The jaws of some of us, including bloggers, dropped to the floor, and we exclaimed: "Who the duck does he think he is?!" And so we lambasted him. Tony's new CEO Riad Asmat decided to join the fight for lower PSC for his pax and was quickly taken to court to shut him up (MAHB suit against Air Asia over defamatory statements to be heard this Friday/Sept 6). 


But then you can't shut up the Old Man, can you? Can't sue him, either, for stating the obvious:

".. Obviously, if they (airlines) are charging passengers low fare and the Government charges such passengers the same exit tax with those in high-end flights, it is not fair." - Dr M: Government may review departure levy, Aug 16

Now that it's done, quite obviously some of us owe Tony Fernandes an apology for unfairly judging him when he was championing that cause for fairness. Also, perhaps MAHB may want to drop the lawsuits against AA - what purpose will they serve now, really? And, after the PSC, maybe we will all be more circumspect and start making the right noise about other unreasonable, unfair tax regimes. We can start with that other tax against passengers, the airport departure levy. The one Tony said he may fight another day.

Read also, my two previous articles on the levy:
Now, can everyone still fly? - July 22
Countdown to a potentially ill-fated VMY2020 Part ll, July 23
Related article:
Mavcom: New PSC rates in Jan 2020 will be more equitable - Aug 12

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Lynas: Now to weed out the real parias

Read Mahathir does not want Lynas treated like an outcast


Dirty Dozen, 27 Aug: Clearly, this message by the Prime Minister is meant primarily for his 12 ministers who signed last year the akujanji on Lynas, promising to shut down the RM1.7 billion rare earth plant in Gebeng, Pahang if they win the 14th general election and take over Putrajaya. They included the Deputy Prime Minister and the bungling Finance Minister. 
Recognise this one?
None of the Dirty Dozen turned up at the last illegal protest organised in Kuantan by dubious NGOs that are curiously still against Lynas despite all the scientific findings and export reports on the safety of the plant but Lim Guan Eng has pledged to continue to try and persuade the Prime Minister "to understand the genuine concerns of the environmentalists". Last week, immediately after the illegal protest, Anwar Ibrahim decided to differ from Mahathir on the Lynas issue ( Anwar backs calls to review Lynas' licence renewal) but,  not surprisingly, until yesterday the so-called PM-in-waitng has made no formal proposal on the matter (No proposal on Anwar on Lynas' license renewal, says Gobind). 
In other words, while Dr M is trying to get the investors to come and stop the economy from sliding further, those around him continue to undermine his efforts to score a few political points more. Because, maaf kata, that's all they were, are and will always be good for. 
But of course the Old Man knew that.

Monday, August 26, 2019

After the glitch, even darker days ahead for KLIA unless ...

Taman Tun, Aug 26: I'm happy to hear that things at the KL International Airport are back to normal after the four-day glitch. Honestly, I was sick, sad and tired of the things said about our airport and about MAHB, the people running our airports. The fact is, computer glitches happen to the best of airports. The KLIA even started off in 1998 with a glorious glitch, just like airports in Hong Kong, Thailand, Denver did [read Other airports' rocky start]. 

The important thing is, did we handle the crisis well? Some said yes (.. praise for MAHB handling of glitch); others are not too convinced (When an airport loses its value). Yet some others may agree with Senyum Kambing that the reputation of KLIA is now completely in tatters, destroyed!

I certainly do not share Kambing's view for I still believe that KLIA can still fulfil its potential and promises. But the Malaysia Airports Holding Berhad people need to go back to basic. And that means putting passengers first (again) instead of minding petty squabbles and suing the client because their CEO was too critical for the MAHB's liking!

Even the Prime Minsiter has raised concerns about unfair charges that passengers are being made to pay at the KLIA. Not to mention the potentially-disastrous airport departure levy that will take effect on Sept 1. 

It is the MAHB - not the airlines - that should be championing such causes for passengers. For a start, it can take the cue from Dr Mahathir and bring the levy up with the Ministry of Finance and talk to MAVCOM about the "unfair" Passenger Service Charge (PSC). 

Before the four-day computer glitch, some people were already asking why they needed to pay both the levy and PSC when they fly Malaysia and KLIA. After the glitch, we might want to ask why anyone would want to fly here at all ...

Sunday, August 25, 2019

From deportation to dinner (The rise and fall of Syed Saddiq)

A commenter responds to Syed Saddiq's tweet

Puchong, Sun: Continuing from my last posting Zakir Naik responds to haters, fake news and (maybe) challenges Syed Saddiq to a debate on Aug 18 ... Youth and Sports Minister who said Enough is enough, deport Zakir Naik is still drawing so much flak on socmed for telling the ZN-haters to "Let's move on" - SS says after hosting dinner for Zakir Naik". 
Ambiga S. Sreevanan won't be healed. "You're (were?) one of my favourite ministers and this is dissapointing," she said h e r e.

Another angry commenter
Me, I am Malay and a Malay is known to be forgiving. Sometimes too forgiving. But I shall not add fuel to fire. I will just heed to Syed Saddiq's call and move on to another blog posting ....

Friday, August 16, 2019

Zakir Naik responds to haters, fake news and (maybe) challenges Syed Saddiq to a debate

Zakir Naik Replies To Fake News On What He Allegedly Said

TTDI, Jumaat: Gee, I really should have followed my gut feeling and skirted the Zakir Naik issue. I knew something was not right when I read the news accusing him of making racist/racial remarks against our Malaysian brothers and sisters (and everything in between) of Chinese and Indian origins. It just wasn't like Zakir Naik. It was out of character, not the Zakir Naik I know of through the You Tube clips of the man I've watched. 
But, what to do? A friend - a good Chinese buddy - was chiding me for not writing anything on my blog about the Indian preacher, who was given refuge by the previous government and continues to enjoy the hospitality - and protection - of the government of Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Chinese buddy: Bro, you're not defending good Malaysians like us ke? Zakir Naik ask me to go back to China! 
Me: Wakaka. I'm interested in zakar naik . He's our PM's bff lah, untouchable 
 Chinese buddy: Time to write something in the blog, perhaps? I'm looking forward bro! 

So I must have felt obliged to write something because my Chinese friend was honestly slighted by Zakir Naik's alleged remarks. Read my previous posting h e r e. But even then, the one thing I couldn't do was to vilify the preacher over something that he might or might not have said. I'm glad I didn't because as it turns out, his remarks had been taken grossly out of context by his "haters". 

Zakir Naik: "It's being said that I said the Chinese should go back to their country, One of the headlines even said, 'Outrage in Malaysia as Zakir Naik suggests Chinese expulsion'. If this was really true, why did it take the media 5 days to bring it up? (Because) it's not true. 
"This is what I said, in full context ..." 

Read what Zakir Naik said he really said h e r e.

p.s. You guessed it: that bit about Zakir Naik challenging Syed Saddiq to a debate in my heading is NOT true. But a Mahathir die-hard was so upset with the young politician's hasty defiance of the PM (Enough is enough, deport Zakir Naik, says Minister) that he suggested on social media that SS challenge ZN to a debate since debating seems to be the only thing SS can do. But then again, maybe Syed Saddiq didn't say it in the first place. For it was quite out of character for someone who kisses the ground Mahathir walks on ...

Thursday, August 15, 2019

After Khat "defeat", Zakir Naik is next?

Bangsar, 15 Aug: Annie says the "racist" Dong Zong trumped the Old Man over the Khat issue (Dong Zong wins ... DAP too). A lot of ordinary folks would agree with Annie. 
Generally, people think Dr M is not the man he used to be. He's got the same fire in his guts but he doesn't have the same kind of generals and soldiers he once commanded. At the height of his power, Mahathir would have pushed through the khat issue with one eye shut. Today, Dong Zong beat the Old Man quite easily. The two-time Prime Minister has been coming under fire over not just the khat issue but also the controversial preacher Zakir Naik and Lynas. He used to thrive on crisis but these days you can almost see him buckling under the weight of relatively small but never-ending problems this Administration has left for him to resolve. 


Some ordinary folks are wondering if he wouldn't actually throw the controversial preacher Zakir Naik under the bus after this, especially after his own daughter Marina and blue-eye boy-minister Syed Saddiq have started attacking Zakir. I hope not but I can't help but wonder, too. 
Oh, anyway, when I say "I hope not" it doesn't mean I am a fan of Zakir Naik. I have watched some of his sessions on You Tube and I think he is really good at what he does but I also think there has been too much hype and I really couldn't care less if he stays or if he goes. This country has taken in so many people for centuries - and is still doing so. Therefore, one more pendatang or guest will not make it poorer. On the contrary, we are today richer for it. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

RM6 billion of cigarette revenues up in smoke (and the government does nothing?)

"The reality is that Malaysia is in the grips of corruption and many institutions are failing and this is leading to a huge problem with illegal cigarettes and illegal alcohol." - Cormac O'Rourke, managing director JTI International Malaysia

Bangsar, 14 Aug: We get it, O'Rourke (pic) is angry/frustrated.

His employers, JTI International, Japan's largest tobacco company, has been at the receiving end of syndicates who have made Malaysia the haven for contraband cigarette (see the Malay Mail's report Illegal smokes, vape could cost Treasury RM6 billion annually, says tobacco maker). JTI's profits are falling and O'Rourke may have to forgo his fat bonuses this year. 

But JTI isn't the only victim of these syndicates. The other tobacco players have been hurt, too. The difference is, they don' trash the authorities and officials. They have continued to lobby the government for greater enforcement to fight the syndicates while pursuing for greater awareness among the people about the enormity of the illicit cigarette trade. They even encourage people to switch from cigarettes to alternatives, such as those heat-not-burn cigarettes, while lobbying governments - including our government - to regulate the e-cig business and declare these alternatives as less dangerous than traditional cigarettes.

None have been so callous as to call their host country corrupt!

"Why is the (Malaysian) government not acting?" O'Rourke demanded publicly last week. "In the cigarette industry alone, they are losing RM5 billion annually and yet we haven't seen any sort of proper enforcement action taken."  

I'm not trying to defend our Customs or Immigration people, or the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the other authorities involved, but I just don't think that statement by O'Rourke is a fair one at all. 

I'm sure corruption helps the growth of the illicit cigarette industry (To curb illicit cigarette trade, fight corruption first - Akhbar Sattar, former president of Transparency International Malaysia). 

But "failing institutions", where does that come from? What have you been smoking, MR O'Rourke?

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The passing of a Malaysian icon in London

Puchong, 13 Aug: Ashraf Abdullah wrote on his FB a wonderful piece in memory of Dato Yunus, who passed away peacefully on Hari Raya Haji at the age of 85. The article was picked up by several media outlets in Malaysia, including The Mole. The passing of a Malaysian icon, indeed. Like Ashraf, I got to know Dato Yunus when I was the NST Correspondent in London in 1992-93. Haliza Hashim, the former TV3 journalist who has made the UK her base for over 25 years now, has had the privilege of being closer to the man, and remembers him in her Instagram: "... a distinguished man among the Malaysian and British community in London, a respected educationist, extremely learned, a fantastic storyteller, a great teacher, and a mentor to many of us. Anyone who knew him would agree that he is ever so generous, a real gentleman, dressed well, and incredibly cultured." 
I also remember Dato Yunus and I talking cock - about how a scar on his face - and mine -  would have served us well. Because we looked a little too pretty, he said. A small scar just above an eyebrow would make me look more macho. Maybe even more desirable to the ladies! I can't remember why we were talking about scars that day but that's Dato Yunus, never a dull moment.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

A sad, bordering angry, Raya Haji

Puchong, 11 Aug: A dear friend lost her son to a road rage incident on the North South Expressway yesterday. A mother's worst nightmare. The young man was alone in his little car, perhaps looking forward to seeing his 4-month old baby at home and celebrating today's Aidiladha, when he got into an altercation with another motorist. There were eyewitnesses. Someone recorded the incident on the mobile, and the video has gone viral, creating a wave of anger.  When and how did we become so mad, so suddenly?

Police reveal what happened in deadly road rage incident ...
couple involved remanded for seven days, nonetheless

Unhappily, some of my fellow scribes at Utusan Malaysia could not celebrate Raya. According to the National Union of Journalists, its members at the Malay daily have not been paid salaries for months and have had to resort to Ah Longs (Sherlocks, money lenders) to get by. But we all know Utusan has not been facing well even before last year's general election. Long before, in fact. Umno, the newspaper's main owner then, had to step in all the time to help finance the paper's operations, including paying its journalists' salaries. It was a well know fact, perhaps not to NUJ, that corporations - including the government-linked companies - simply wouldn't advertise in Utusan, even when Umno-BN was the government. We put it down to an inherent bias on the part of advertisers. 

And after the GE14, things just went downhill very quickly for Utusan.

Umno is no longer the "owner" of Utusan but the NUJ insists that the political party still is, via Aziz Sheikh Fadzir, the chairman, as proxy. And because that is how the NUJ sees it, it demands that Umno steps in to help the journalists. The NUJ even suggested that Aziz dispose of his shares and Umno sell off Utusan's assets to pay its members the wages due to them.  But the real issue here is: how can the union help its members and the employees of Utusan, "since Umno seems to be neglecting their needs"?  Setting up a fund to help the journalists tide over the short term won't be enough. What is the union's plan to help save their jobs? 

Media mogul, pic by The Edge
The NUJ leaders should seek a meeting with the other major owner of the newspaper if it is not too keen o Aziz.  Syed Mokhtar AlBukhary is one of the richest Malaysians and a benevolent soul, a philanthropist, and a long-time major shareholder of Utusan (accused of holding the shares for Umno in the past). Syed Mokhtar, who also owns a huge chunk of Media Prima (after GE14) and The Malaysian Reserve (before GE14), among other media (read Syed Mokhtar, new media mogul), wouldn't allow his journalists at Utusan to wither, not under his watch, for sure! Or should we insist that Syed Mokhtar also dispose off his shares?

My friends at Bernama are not represented by the NUJ, which is a shame because the union would have demanded that the Minister of Finance quit over the latest fiasco at the national news agency. Read Guan Eng orders probe into Bernama or Bernama to extend full cooperation for MOF probe or (I won't recommend this for fear you may feel queasy, especially with the last paragraph) read the press statement issued by the Minister himself ... 

Expect a scapegoat at Bernama to be found, blamed and in the spirit of the Hari Raya Korban, sacrificed!

Read feedback on Twitter here

p.s In any case, I hope it's not too late to wish my Dear Readers, Selamat Hari Raya Haji. Maaf Zahir Batin. Alfatheh, Syed Muhammed Danial Syed Syakir.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Dr M is right, someone IS undermining his government's economic recovery efforts and it's ...

First, read the MalayMail's story for context h e r e

"So the question must be asked — why is Lynas Malaysia being targeted by a small group of activists when the company has repeatedly been shown to have met all of its health, safety and environmental obligations?" - Mashal Ahmad

KL, 29 July: You'd think that when the Prime Minister of this country told the international media in May that Lynas can stay, his "people" within the PH government would respect that call. Nope, that hasn't been the case. The anti-Lynas movement, which we all know is led by some quarters in DAP and PKR, is not budging an inch. On the contrary, they are intensifying efforts to put the pressure on Lynas - and on Dr Mahathir himself - to kneel before them and give in to their demands.

There has been speculation that these people are backed by China, that big, big Renminbi is involved. Sounds incredulous to you? Not when you consider how really big the potential of the business in Malaysia is (RM732 billion, says Xavior Jayakumar - 18 July) and the fact that on the global front, the Aussies and the Americans are teaming up, according to Nikkei Asian Review, against China's dominance in rare earths.

We - Malaysia - happen to be in the picture because we decided, in 2012 to let Lynas set up its rare earth plant in Gebeng. Since then, Lynas (and the mutants it's supposed to turn the locals into) has been featured prominently in two general elections and catapulted several politicians to otherwise unlikely election victories and, subsequently, top positions in Dr Mahathir's government.

His own Energy, Science, Technology and Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin is a diehard opponent of Lynas.  The day after the PM made his mind up about Lynas in Tokyo, she would clarify Dr Mahathir's statement and say: "I think this will have to wait for me to come back from Australia ..." (Yeo clarified Dr M's remarks, stresses that waste must be shipped out - 31 May). 

She never did make that trip to Australia.

As I see it, Lynas is proof that Dr Mahathir is right - his government's economic recovery efforts are, indeed, being undermined. But right now he's pointing his fingers at the wrong direction. 

The PM needs only to look within his own coalition and government for the culprits.

Latest on Lynas:

An open letter to the people and the Government of Malaysia from Lynas
JULY 28 — Salam Sejahtera, 
I am the Managing Director of Lynas Malaysia and I’m writing to you on behalf of our employees and contractors and their families. 
In recent weeks you may have seen a campaign of false information by anti-Lynas activists. We have always welcomed informed debate, however, the spreading of false allegations and misinformation is unacceptable. 
We cannot allow lies to stand unchallenged and we will not hesitate to take legal action against those who persist in defaming our people and our company. 
Lynas Malaysia is a law-abiding company. The Pakatan Harapan government’s Executive Review Committee report, released in December 2018, was the latest of four national and international reviews to have found our operations to be low risk and compliant with laws and regulations. This view is supported by Malaysia’s eminent scientists. 
We are proud of our outstanding employment, health, safety and environmental record. So the question must be asked – why is Lynas Malaysia being targeted by a small group of activists when the company has repeatedly been shown to have met all of its health, safety and environmental obligations? 
Lynas Malaysia is accredited to international ISO standards and we have been recognised with many Malaysian and international awards for our health, safety and environmental practices. Recent independent and government audits of our operations, undertaken as part of regulatory oversight, confirm we are not only compliant but implementing best practice management, 
Our many supporters know the truth about Luynas and today we are proud to share the truth with you. On behalf of the Lynas Malaysia Team, Terima kasih.

* Datuk Mashal Ahmad is the VP & Managing Director of Lynas Malaysia.

Read also:
Lynas will sue those who defame it - The Mole, 29 July 2019
Lynas CEO open letter - FMT, 2 October 2018
Yeo Bee Yin: My reply to Lynas employees - Malaysiakini, 13 Dec 2018
About Yeo's condescending letter - Life of Annie, 14 Dec 2018

Thursday, July 25, 2019

"Convenient" bomb threat at Najib's trial

Taman Tun, 25 July: Like any good Malaysian, I dutifully shared with my contacts via mobile and the social media the news about the so-called bomb threat at the KL court complex, where Najib Razak's trial had entered its 44th day. At the same time, scores of other good citizens were doing the same, as I received as many as I sent out, if not more.

Immediate clear out ordered at 12.30 pm 

Despite the fact that the news was being sent out by all the mainstream media, many thought it was faked news. Or an empty threat. Some believed the news was real but the bomb threat was "staged"! A friend who has seen a fair share of the nation's trials and tribulations since the 90s, in response to a link to the Star's article headlined Najib's SRC trial postponed after bomb threat at court complex that I sent, wrote: 

"Seriously? How convenient, huh?"

Malaysians, in general, have become so skeptical. 

But the "bombs" that have been dropped on the judiciary, and on the SRC trial in particular, in the last few days are very real if you go with the alternative - and very cynical -  NewMalaysiaHerald portal:

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Countdown to a potentially ill-fated VMY2020 Part 2

Cont'd from Now can everyone still fly? (Countdown to a potentially ill-fated VMY2020)
Visit New Malaysia 2020 would have been alright, no?

Kuala Lumpur (capital of Truly Asia), July 23: If you are like most people, you probably like the look of the new logo (above) better than the last (below). But not by much, I guess. So far, I read a lot of complaints about the tongue-twisting tagline. One commenter said: "For a moment I thought there's a new chicken rice shop in town ... pekk .. pekk .. pekk ... " 
Personally, I kinda like the cute Oakley-ed monkeys and penyu on the old one ..

Suddenly, it's not as bad as we thought it was

In any case, the design of the logo or the grammatically suspect tagline isn't the reason why the nation's effortS to attract 30 million international tourists in 2020 are headed for doom. 
Read Annie's Not right to treat our airlines like enemies for about of the whys this is a potentially ill-fated VTAMY2020. 

To be cont'd some more ...

Monday, July 22, 2019

Now can everyone still fly? (Countdown to a potentially ill-fated VMY2020)

You can check in anytime you like           But you can never leave* (without paying your levy)

KL 22 July: The Prime Minister unveils the new Visit Malaysia Year 2020 logo today.
I have no doubt the new logo would be better looking than the old, "odd" one (Dr M makes a monkey out of VMY2020 logo, 30 Jan 2018) and good enough to at least not turn away the foreign tourists.  
But while the Old Man does his bid to try and help the government woo the tourists, his own Ministry of Finance and the various airport authorities don't seem to be helping. 
The MOF, for example, wants to introduce a new airport departure levy that will make Malaysia the first and only country in Asean to charge every passenger leaving its airports. Does that sound like a tourist attraction to you? Of course not but there you are! 
Even the Tourism Minister, who is not known for great sound bytes, has gone on record to say that this would be counter-productive for tourism, particularly for VMY2020. Last week the Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association urged the Government to defer the levy "to until after VMY2020". The impact of the levy on the government's aim to attract 30 million tourists during the VMY campaign, said the association's chief activist Datuk Nadzim Johan, is just "too obvious (amat ketara)".  
On top of the levy, those flying Malaysia will still have to cough up $$$ in passenger service charge (PSC), which goes to the kitty of Malaysia Airports Holding Berhad, the government-linked company that runs all but one of the country's airports. Air Asia, the Malaysian-born leading global low-fare airline, has refused to collect the full RM73 per pax that Malaysia Airports charge in PSC (its boss Tony Fernandes says it's "like saying a budget should charge the same as a 5-star hotel"). 
To be cont'd ...

*With apologies to The Eagles 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Malaysian politics: Mirror, mirror on the (crumbling) wall ...

Lawan tetap lawan, 180719: A favourite pastime of unpaid Malaysian political observers (ie mostly all of us) is to speculate on when (not if) Anwar Ibrahim and Dr Mahathir Mohamad will engage in an open bloody fight like they did in 1998. Well, looks like the pundits will have to wait a little longer, at least until this unexpected confrontation between an ex Sifu and his favourite Disciple, between a freed Slave and his former, beloved Master boils over ... 
(p.s. There's only one winner, for you information, and that's neither Anwar nor Azmin).

One pundit sent me this: 
"Bila Anwar tengok sendiri dalam itu cermin ..."

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

"Brains behind sex clips": Since when was this a crime?

To read the full story, subscribe to The Malaysian Insight 

Can't brain this, July 17: Masterminds in Malaysia's video sex clips are never small fries, just like the actors in those video clips are never puny. 
Rahim Thamby Chik, for example. He was established as one-third of the "brains" behind Anwar Ibrahim's 2011 sex clip (or, in today's new media parlance, sex clip of someone who resembled Anwar Ibrahim). Rahim was former Melaka Chief Minister and Umno Youth leader, a VVIP all his life. If fate hadn't intervened, he might even be Prime Minister of Malaysia today instead of Dr Mahathir, or Najib for that matter.
If you ask him, he would probably maintain he did nothing wrong or criminal in relations to the 2011 sex clip. Semuanya demi bangsa dan negara. 

Read and watch: In pleading guilty, Rahim Thamby Chik claims moral victory - Malaysiakini

p.s. Rahim was fined RM1,000 for his part in screening the 2011 sex clip to selected members of the media at Carcosa [Read here]

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Toyol and billions of "dirompak" GST money that wasn't stolen after all!

Lawyers tell AG to read GST law in full (and Pakatan politicians to stop drama) - The Mole, 16 July
Guan Eng's "lies" burdening the people - The Malaysia Gazette, 17 July
The Dr M forced to come to his Finance Minister's rescue, yet again - Life of Annie, 16 July

Original Posting

KL, 16 July: Don't ask me why this rather funny story here about the boy toyol in West Java makes me reflect on Lim Guan Eng's situation over his GST claim. 
But for sure, I'm not the only one going awe-awe-awe. Almost all the major mainstream newspapers gave our Minister of Finance the "cover" treatment for the GST "lie" over the last 24 hours:

Here's Lim Guan Eng's "rompak" claim from August 2018:

GST refund shortfall at RM19.3 billion, bigger than
previously stated, says Guan Eng 

It took the PAC one year to get everyone to start scolding Guan Eng for his rompak allegation but better late than never, kan?

Same reporter, same paper, different tales

For the record, YB Khairy Jamaluddin had a lot to do with provoking Guan Eng into committing the grave mistake. But I find it (again) funny that Tok Pa was defending the previous government over the issue. This, of course, was shortly before the former Umno man crossed over to Guan Eng's side. And what has that got to do with the toyol mentioned at the start of this posting? I suppose I'm convinced that toyols do exist ...