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.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Latest US court decision on Jho Low's Equanimity - What it really means, according to 3 Malaysian ex-Judges

US Court's approval shows that Jho Low is innocent: Lawyers
It doesn't prove that Jho Low is innocent: Lawyers

Jan 3: As usual, the warring parties - or their lawyers, rather - claim that victory is theirs. I know of some angels dressed as lawyers but that doesn't mean I trust any of them absolutely. Certainly not with this particular case. So I asked three of Malaysia's former judges what the court ruling involving DoJ and the yacht called Equanimity really means.

The following are their comments (I'm not naming these contacts of mine, although I'm sure they won't really mind if I did. What I've done is to arrange their whatsapp comments by order of their seniority when they were in service as our Yang Ariffs):

Judge 1: Looks like the US court released because DoJ is no longer interested (in recovering Equanimity) because perhaps Malaysia has taken over the yacht. 
Judge 2: It means Jho Low is feeling high as he wins (this round). And that the DoJ agrees Malaysia should not have brazenly seized that sampan. This is a complicated case. They should get me to advise them but (the problem is)  they are too clever by half.
Judge 3: It means that DOJ will drop the claim that the offence included the procurement of Equanimity, which is now being disposed off by the Government of Malaysia. In other words, the DOJ will not pursue to recover Equanimity. (As for the claim of innocence) itu cerita sensasi fantasi Jho Low & peguam penipu dia.

Read also:
Jho Low: US court granted DoJ motion to dismiss forfeiture of Equanimity 

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

A non-smoking start to 2019

Updated Jan 3:
Told you our government wants to outdo the Singaporeans. Emboldened by its own courage, the Ministry of Health has vowed to widen the ban to include public laundrettes and hotels. The laundry owners are saying no need lah but like the eatery owners before them, the Ministry is expected to turn down their invitation to discuss the matter like grown-ups and implement the ban unilaterally. 

Original posting Jan 2

Can't help it, but the smoking ban at all restaurants including open-air eateries reminds me of Singapore's chewing gum ban. For you kiddies out there, the infamous gum ban was imposed by the government on its citizens in 1992 and lasted more than 10 years. I'm not sure if anyone was actually fined $100,000 or jailed two years, the maximum possible penalties for the offence, but an American and two Germans were sentenced to a number of strokes of the rotan by the Singapore court for vandalism in 1994 and 2015, respectively. For these and other kiasuness (try 16 Odd Things That Are Illegal in Singapore), we were able to poke fun at the Singaporeans, But the way our government's pushing for this latest and supposedly very crucial no-smoking rule, I feel that we are about to outdo our neighbours.

My quarrel with this new ruling is simple: smokers and non-smokers at Malaysian restaurants have co-existed peacefully for a long time. Everyone understood that air-con meant strictly no smoking. If you wanted to smoke, go sit outside under the kipas (if there is an "outside" because many restaurants are fully air-conditioned). I wrote in FB h e r e "if the minister really sincerely wants to make this country cigarette-free, BAN cigarettes (and vape, e-fags, Iqos, etc) and forsake the over RM1 billion the government collects yearly in smoking taxes"

Otherwise, this is just another exercise of hypocrisy at the expense of not just the smokers but also the eatery owners, who are mostly small business people.

I just don't think the latest ban is going to deter people from smoking by much, it at all.