Thursday, May 30, 2019

Lynas to stay, says Dr M

Dr M: Malaysia to let Lynas continue running rare earth plant

TOKYO: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said on Thursday that Malaysia will allow Australian rare earths producer Lynas Corp to keep operating a processing plant in the country.
“We think we’ll have to renew the license,” Mahathir told reporters at a press conference in Tokyo.
Lynas operates an US$800 million plant in Malaysia that refines ore from a rare earths mine in Australia, but the facility’s future was unclear as Mahathir’s government had halted the process for renewing its licence because of waste disposal concerns.I think this is where Yeo Bee Yin, Zuraida Kamaruddin and Wong Tack tender their resignation to the Prime Minister.

Oh merde! I think this is where Yeo Bee Yin, Zuraida "mutant" Kamaruddin, and Wong Tack tender their resignation to the PM.

What we've got here is failure to communicate, stupid - Daim Zainuddin

Pavilion, 29 May: Do you think Daim Zainuddin is talking about Lim Guan Eng again? Some people are absolutely sure it's the Finance Minister that Daim is referring to. "This is a direct hit," one seasoned journey told me. 
Daim, Malaysia's Finance Minister in the 80s and 90s, has been taking quite a few potshots at Guan Eng lately. The Prime Minister's most right right-hand man has been hinting that our economic woes, including the ringgit's predicament, are due to one Minister's inept.

"If you want to make a statement, discuss first what is the effect, discuss with your officers and then discuss between ministers. Not make statements for fun ...If it is positive you come out with a statement, if it is negative do not come up with a statement, if you want to announce it even if its negative, then that is stupid.”

In their 1990 hit Civil Wars, rock legends Guns and Roses were singing about how failure to communicate has always resulted in wars.  

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Why, a journalist should lead the Media Council, of course! Interview with Bernama News Channel

KL, 29 May: I hope I've managed to raise some useful points and done some justice to the 30 mins of Bernama News Channel's precious airtime to discuss the proposed Malaysian Media Council. Felt really rusty (can't remember the last time I appeared on a tv talk show), so am thankful to the skilled navigation skills of my host Elane Nor Abdullah. 

Some of the things I said today:

1. The government should just go ahead and repeal the Printing Presses and Publication Act if that's a stumbling block to the formation of the Malaysian Media Council. It doesn't make sense to hang on to archaic law when the government has even abolished the ISA, that mother of all draconian laws. Many journalists were detained without trial. The longest detention record belongs to a journalist and journalism laureate A. Samad Ismail was detained thrice under the ISA - by British, Singaporean and Malaysian governments. 
2. A journalist should lead the Malaysian Media Council. The Malaysian Press Institute is led by a journalist. The National Press Club, which celebrates its 71st anniversary next month, has always led by a journalist. Can you imagine the National Union of Journalists NOT being led by a journalist but by, er, their lawyer? 
3. The BIG media - The Star, Media Prime, the Edge, etc - must be committed to the setting up of the Media Council. They are going to finance the operations. [I have no issue with some funding coming from the Government and the Corporate sector. The Council doesn't have to feel obligated receiving their money, consider it as their commitment to uphold press freedom]. 
4. Include the major players from the industry. Including the NPC, whose views have not been consulted (except by Bernama). 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

So, is it Hawana tomorrow?

May 28: But it sure doesn't look or feel to me like anyone is celebrating the so-called Hawana [which is short for Hari Wartawan Nasional or National Journalists Day] tomorrow. Why not? I don't know. Has it been moved by the PH government to another day? I don't know. I asked several editors from the mainstream media, they also don't know.

The announcement on Hawana to be celebrated on May 29 starting this year was made by Najib Razak. He was the caretaker Prime Minister when he made the declaration last year (the event was held less than a month before the May 9 general election). Najib and Salleh Keruak, who was the Communications and Multimedia, are no longer in government so we can't ask them. 

But some of the top journalists who were pushing for Hawana are still around. They should speak out. It is, after all, a noble idea ...

The following is the declaration issued in conjunction with the inaugural celebration of the National Journalists' Day (Hawana) 2017/2018 held today (April 11, 2018). 
The declaration ... came about following discussions between the local media practitioners at a session held .. at the Exhibition and Convention Hall of the Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade).

Declaration National Journalists' Day 2017/2018 
We, journalists who strongly uphold the principles of Rukun Negara and Journalism Ethics, realise that on our shoulders lie the responsibility as one of the pillars of the practice of Democracy based on Constitutional Monarchy which had been practised since Independence by this beloved nation, Malaysia. 
2. We accept as our main responsibility to create awareness on the people regarding the noble practice of democracy, to drive the involvement of every level of society in the development process towards progress and tolerance in preserving national peace and prosperity. 
3. For the sake of our beloved Malaysia, we hereby pledge to continue to shoulder the task and trust with full responsibility and integrity. We hereby pledge: 
i. We will implement the task of providing information to the people with purely truthful news based on crystal clear facts and data in full trust. 
ii. We will fight all out any fake news created that jeopardised national peace, prosperity and sovereignty. 
iii. We strongly uphold the Journalism Ethics, based on the Rukun Negara and Malaysian Constitution, uphold religious teachings and preserve social values and culture. 
4. We are united and agreed to discuss the formation of the Malaysian Media Council to ensure that we constantly comply with and respect the rights of every Malaysian citizen as enshrined in the Federal Constitution throughout making news reports and coverage. 
5. We are united and agreed to fix May 29 as the date for celebrating the National Journalists' Day each year. At the same time. this auspicious day will always remind us of the pledge that has been instilled in our hearts. 
"Journalists Champion the Race, Build the Nation"

Read also:
Hawana 2018 to be catalyst for the setting up of a Malaysian Media Council - 4 April 2018

Sunday, May 26, 2019

The PM knows about that controversial land deal in Melaka

Puchong, 26 May: Sime Darby Plantation, a government-linked company rich in landbank, turned to the Prime Minister two months ago for help to stave off an attempt by a Singaporean party claiming to represent a former Yang diPertuan Agong to acquire its land in Melaka. 
SDP group chief executive Mohd Bakke Salleh wrote to Dr M on March 25 to bring the alleged land grab matter to the PM's attention.  

The alleged involvement of the Melaka state government and its Chief Minister (the current one, not the previous admin) has raised more than just eyebrows. It could, potentially, bring down some people in high places as The Mole claims in its latest exclusive that money had actually changed hands and that some panicky authorities were still trying to push through the acquisition despite a pending judicial review the High Court has granted the GLC.  

p.s. Readers who are not familiar with Bakke may read 1MDB duo quit over rushed deal with Petro Saudi to have an idea of what kind of a person he is.

Me, I didn't know the name of the Melaka CM until this land acquisition issue. Adly Zahari is not a stranger to controversies, though. Read: Melaka CM says island negotiation claim slanderous and Melaka CM says appointment of Exco's wife in state agency empowers women 

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Maszlee gains friends in Cabinet, but not so for Khalid

TTDI, 23 May: Beleaguered Maszlee Malik does have friends in the Cabinet, after all.  
After weeks of coming under so-called friendly fire, which aggravated to angry demands for the PM sack Maszlee and get a new Education Minister, the Pribumi man is finally getting some support from his Cabinet colleagues, even if they are from fellow "newbies". Syed Saddiq, a first-time minister and Youth leader of Mahathir's Pribumi party, has lashed out at his counterparts in DAP, telling them to respect the Cabinet's decision. 
“Such matters should be discussed in the Cabinet because we are now in the government, we are not opposition parties ... and should not be accusing and attacking each other," he said.  
Another newbie Rina Harun, also from Pribumi, said Mazlee should not give in to demands by certain quarters, including the DAP. "He knows better, it's his ministry .. he does not need to apologise ," the Rural Development Minister said. 
Lucky Maszlee. 
I can't say the same for Khalid Samad. So far, none of his Cabinet colleagues have come out in the open to publicly support the FT Minister against DAP's Hannah Yeoh. Hannah Yeoh, the Deputy Mnister  for Women, Family and Community Development, has the support of some "pushy" people, including 99.9% of TTDI residents and the likes of Ambiga and Cynthia Gabriel over the Rimba Kiara issue. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Why I wouldn't sign the petition asking the PM to sack Maszlee

Certain quarters want Mazlee out as Education Minister ..

"We are concerned that the Pakatan Harapan government will lose many of its votes because of this minister that you have appointed." - Tun, please replace Minister o Education Mazlee Malik

TTDI-Plaza, 21/5: I may have frowned and lolled at some of the things that Education Minister Maszlee Malik has tried to do in the past year, but he's definitely NOT the reason why this Government has lost it so soon after the GE14. Sacking him may serve the narrow agenda of some parties (within PH itself, but not DAP, so says Kit Siang :) but it won't bring back Dr Mahathir Mohamad's vanishing charm and diminishing popularity.

Come on, which one of Mazlee's policies (listed by the petition) do you think have damaged the PM and this government's reputation:

1. black shoes and black socks?
2. go cashless at schools?
3. petrol kiosks on varsity grounds?
4. swimming as an extra curriculum activity in schools?

I may not get Mazlee's point about the black shoes and socks but swimming as an ECA is something I, as a parent, would support 100%. It's a healthy activity, it can be a life-saving skill, and it means, I hope, more public pools and even swimming pools in learning institutions in future. 

Go cashless in schools? Aren't societies in this modern world going that way? Aren't we as a society heading that way, too?

And I don't think petrol kiosks anywhere is the issue here. The issue is the price of petrol. Or, rather, PH's unfulfilled promise that petrol price will be so cheap when they come into power.

What's wrong with these petitioners?

Oh, I see. They want him sacked because he said the job market is still unfair to Bumiputeras? 

“If we want to change this, saying we are in the new Malaysia and that we do not need the quota system, then we must also ensure that job opportunities for Bumiputeras are not denied.”

Is that it?

If so, these so-called supporters of PH are worse than I thought. They can't face the truth. They'd rather kill the messenger. You guys should ask Dr Muhammed Abdul Khalid, the economic advisor to Dr Mahathir and author of The Colour of Inequality, to step down. And Muhyiddin Yassin needs to go, too. In 2014, he said the Bumiputera continued to be treated unfairly in the private sector.

“A study carried out by Dr Lee Hwok Aun and Dr. Muhammed Abdul Khalid (pic) in 2012 found that for every Malay graduate called for an interview in the private sector, an average of 5.3 Chinese graduates was interviewed, although they all had the same qualification.


“The official data also shows a high unemployment rate among the bumiputera workforce, which is 70.3 per cent, including unemployed graduates of 66.9 per cent,” he added.

Muhyiddin said based on a study by economic experts, the bumiputera workers received a salary of 20 to 40 per cent lower than the non-bumiputera in the private sector.
“A study carried out by Dr Lee Hwok Aun and Dr. Muhammed Abdul Khalid in 2012 found that for every Malay graduate called for an interview in the private sector, an average of 5.3 Chinese graduates was interviewed, although they all had the same qualification." - Muhyiddin, Malaysia needs an equitable economic model, 25 Nov 2014

p.s If there's a petition to remove the minister responsible for our economic woes and for increasing the nation's debts to over a trillion ringgit and scaring the investors away, I may support. 

Monday, May 20, 2019

FT Minister's "conflict of interest" in Rimba Kiara: MACC's probe "reopened, in final stages"

Puchong, 20 May: I, too, would like to commend Hannah Yeoh for choosing her constituents and Rimba Kiara over a "friend" like Khalid Samad. She shouldn't have waited so long or given so much rope for Khalid to hang himself but, as they say, better late than never. And better Khalid than the park the "pushy" people of TTDI are trying to save. 
But the way she handled our anti-graft people from the MACC leaves much to be desired. One gets a whiff right away of that distrust of civil servants that Daim Zainuddin has been talking about. Maybe Hannah Yeoh had a bad experience with the MACC when she was in the Opposition but, come on, this is Malaysia Baharu, is it not? And she's not in the Opposition anymore and may stop acting like one, like asking the MACC to close shop if she and friends don't get what they want.
We all want the park to be preserved but it is important that the MACC does not do its job just because of political pressure and politicians' tantrums. 

Probe was never closed, says MACC No 2

In any case, in view of the latest developments, maybe Khalid Samad, the FT Minister, should resign from Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan to facilitate the probe ...

Friday, May 17, 2019

Residents may get Capt Marvel's help in war to save Rimba Kiara

Rimba Kiara, 12 Ramadan/17 May: After a year of silently hoping that YB Khalid Samad would do the right thing by the TTDI residents over the long-drawn Rimba Kiara issue, YB Hannah Yeoh is now on full combat mode. Ironically, she will be at war with a "friendly party", as she and Khalid are politically on the same side - the Pakatan Harapan government side. Khalid is Federal Territory Minister while she is Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development.  
Hannah is also the MP of Segambut, a FT constituency. Rimba Kiara, one of the few green lungs left in the city, is right smack in her constituency, so she has a direct interest on the matter. 
Khalid is chairman of Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan, which stands to benefit handsomely from the controversial mega project on Rimba Kiara. Some people call this a blatant conflict of interest but Khalid thinks "Conflict of interest" accusation just to delay Rimba Kiara project). 
The two PH leaders have been throwing barbs at one another on social media like there's no tomorrow. 

"If I can save baby, why kill baby?"

Hannah is seeing the residents again tomorrow. Her latest on Twitter:

"They (TTDI residents) can be very pushy, and they act like they own the park." - Very disappointed" Khalid tells Hannah to speak to him instead of media - The Star, 16 May 
"It's not personal. Just doing my duty." - Just speaking up for the people, says Hannah on Rimba Kiara tiff with Khalid -The Star, 17 May

 Read also:

p.s. The Opposition are mere spectators as far as this Rimba Kiara is concerned, perhaps because the proposed controversial project happened when they were the Government. It's hard to miss this latest twitter posting by the Umno deputy Youth leader, though. Is Khalid's head too big for his own good?: 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Anwar, a year after freedom

16 May 2018

TTDI, May 16/Ramadan 11: I may be wrong but I don't remember Anwar Ibrahim openly disagreeing with PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad on anything since he got out of prison exactly a year ago after he and Dr M (well, more Mahathir than Anwar, actually) had led Pakatan Harapan to the trouncing of BN at the general elections on May 9.  
Until now, that is.

You think I'm reading too much into it?
Well, blame it on paranoia. I was there in 1998 when the two giants clashed. I don't think the nation should swim in the same mud and slime again.  
Selamat berbuka puasa.

For context, read:

"Give integrity a chance"

Puchong, 11 Ramadan: If you read only one newspaper article this Ramadan, read this one: Integrity - the core quality we need, penned by Mohamed Tawfik Ismail. In this piece, Tawfik seems to have softened his stand on Jakim but perhaps by too little to appease supporters of the religious authority. But that's Tawfiq, he doesn't pretend to be what he's not. He is the son of the man widely touted as "the best PM Malaysia never had" and "the man who saved Malaysia".

Integrity – the core quality we need

IN 1968, the commandant of the Royal Military College wrote to a former Cabinet member and serving MP to say that there was only so much the armed forces could do for his son which did not extend to keeping him in the college that ill-suited the youngster’s rebellious, non-conformist temperament.

That boy was me and the ex-minister was my father Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman.

In acknowledging the setback to his first-born, my father kept his integrity by acknowledging the truth of the situation and did not use his considerable influence to keep me in an institution against that institution’s guardians’ better judgement.

Instead, he made life a little more interesting for me by reducing my status from privileged big-headed elite scion to minority Asian student in a land of socialist equality, Australia.

These events of more than 50 years ago got me thinking about the issue of integrity, which is arguably one of most important core values around which other desirable ends are built, such as the integration of our society into a cohesive, inclusive community.

In the current political scenario, it isn’t the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal that challenges our belief or disbelief, it is the conditions under which it occurred that bring to focus earlier 1MDB-type events that had shocked us before.

How many of us remember the Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF) scandal that led to the murder of assistant general manager Jalil Ibrahim, who incidentally was an RMC alumnus?

Who among us recall the number of times Bank Bumiputera, the pride of the Malays, was bailed out and at what cost?

Amidst all the noise by PAS about RU355 in the previous Parliament, who should Muslims believe? Would they sacrifice their personal freedoms under the Federal Constitution for harsher punishment in the Syariah courts? More important, are those casting the first stone without sin?

Have they asked permission from the sultans of the Malay States before seeking amendments to their royal powers under the Constitution? Where is the integrity in all these actions?

Every person with an Internet connection is a broadcaster, news commentator and opinion maker. This individualism challenges efforts at intellectual, religious and political integrity.

Look at how our youth communicate with each other, each in their own virtual reality. In contrast, look at the villages or small towns where people still see and talk to each other. Look at the different attitudes towards religion in Peninsular Malaysia and in Sabah and Sarawak.

So what are the ways towards national integration with integrity? To paraphrase a Malay saying, when you are lost, go back to the beginning and start afresh.

First is accepting the Constitution as envisioned by the nation’s founding fathers, minus all the amendments from the 1980s. How to do this, I leave it to our finest legal minds to work out and inform us. The result would be a strengthening of the institutions like the judiciary and Parliament that would make another 1MDB and BMF unlikely.

Second, leave religion out of our discourse. The Constitution is as Islamic as it can be because the founding fathers were devout Muslims and would not wish anything bad for the nation they had built.

Religion is used by our politicians to divide and upset us. Give back to the rulers the power of religion. The Federal Government has no business other than making business smooth and transparent, establishing commerce and strong trade externally to assist our farmers and working class, and providing effective defence against external threats.

Redeploy the people in Jakim (the Malaysian Islamic Development Department) to a Department of Social Reengineering to tackle the rempit problem.

Third, improve and expand our infrastructure so that we can meet each other more often, do business efficiently and cheaply, and bring the countryside to the cities and vice versa. And don’t forget the infrastructure in high-rise low-cost buildings, where our youth live, otherwise they’d be reluctant to go home and rempit instead.

Four, decide once and for all, an education policy that serves the needs of our people. In the case of the Malays, encourage them to study practical subjects that would enhance their lives, by making specialist jobs highly paid ones by providing the right conditions. We don’t need so many religious scholars.

Five, reduce the size of the government. Why do we need so many ministers and deputy ministers? What do they do, really?

Six, have faith in our youth and give them all the support they need to lead. Guess how old our founding fathers were when they were given leadership roles in 1955? Tunku Abdul Rahman was 52 and Tun H.S. Lee was 55 but Tun Abdul Razak was 33, my father was 40, Tun Sardon Jubir was 38, Tan Sri Khir Johari was 32 and Tun V.T. Sambanthan was 36. We expect our young to defend and die for us but we baulk at giving them power to lead.

Seven, preserve and contribute to our history and shared cultural practices and beliefs that define us as a nation, such as our fashion, our food, our art, our poetry, our creations inspired by our times. Every Malaysian has a memory worth sharing and social media is there for our use.

As a history buff, I do like it when the past is remembered as a pointer to where we should be, and explains why we are, where we are.

As far as integration at the personal level is concerned, I can share with you the reality I was brought up in.

Before the RMC, my sister and I were educated in the English language by an Indian lady called Mrs Diaz in a kindergarten in Ampang Hilir, Kuala Lumpur, where the children I grew up with were mainly expatriates. I lived in Federal Hill, then Jalan Bukit Menteri Selatan in Petaling Jaya, before travelling to the United States with my parents in 1956.

My childhood exposure was therefore international and my household was multicultural. I can move easily between the different races and different nationalities.

When we returned from the US, I was schooled in St John’s Institution in Kuala Lumpur, where the Malays were not in the top classes, because on merit, we were far behind the Chinese and the Indian students.

Religion was taught in the worst way possible. I knew how to bathe and prepare a body for burial before I was even taught the principles and theology of Islam.

But how to blame the ustaz who came straight from the rural areas to teach at a Catholic School under government instruction?

I joined the 8th KL Scout Troop at St John’s because I wanted to mix around with the other boys and learn useful stuff. With its good racial mix, scouting is a great leveller.

Even in the 1970s, KL was more culturally diverse and the unity was strong among the races because of one strong element that seems lacking today: trust among the womenfolk from different races, when it came to food, drink, and entertainment. I think this strong moral streak provided by the women was what bound the nation together.

Tunku, our beloved first prime minister, made it a practice that once a week a minister would host lunch for the others that included the wives, so there was solid bonding among Cabinet ministers.

He would also hold parties at the Residency with diplomats and the Cabinet to expose the foreign and local people to each other.

One year, he took the Cabinet, their families and some diplomats and business people for a four-night cruise from Klang to Langkawi and back. Every day he would spend time with the children on board and tell them stories from Malay mythology and legends, especially those of Langkawi, where the central character was a woman named Mahsuri.

In Malaysian politics, the party that commands the support of the women is the party that will form the government. Which is why religion mixed with misogyny is a threat to integration. By instilling fear over halal and haram, it has planted the seed of doubt among women as to whether they can trust one another.

I mentioned history as a guide to the future and as a force for integration. The history revisionists, however, are making it difficult for this, as they pick and choose events for textbooks that suit whatever the daily political agenda is.

Felda is seen today as someone’s legacy but look at the history and the legislation behind its establishment, and the so-called facts in the textbooks are in fact myths.

When I collaborated with Singapore’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) in 2010 on my father’s biography, The Reluctant Politician, I was gratified by the response. It seemed to slake the thirst that was felt by many Malaysians of my generation for a paradigm of leadership forgotten for more than 30 years.

But I was also blasted for publishing it outside and giving the primary documents to the neighbouring country. How could I not, when the National Archives could not even find, let alone display the taped conversations my father had with fellow leaders and foreign governments, nor the numerous films on 8mm and photographs he personally shot for posterity to cherish?

The preservation of history and culture and other remembrances of the past calls for the highest integrity by its custodians, and in my father’s case, they have failed our family and by extension Malaysia.

I’ve given the above perspective from the point of view of a Malay that’s seen and experienced more than most other Malaysians, and from a privileged place as the son of a founding father and grandson of one of the signatories of independence.

I have experienced success and I have overcome failure, because through life there are two skills I carried with me from my brief stay in RMC and my scouting days: resilience and adaptability to the people and the environment around me.

Beyond that, I must add two more values – integrity and empathy – learned from my father, who always believed that Malaysia is its greatest as a sum of all its parts.

Tawfik and dad
[The Star] Editor’s note: Tun Dr Ismail, who retired from active politics in 1967 due to ill health, was persuaded to return to Cabinet as Home Affairs Minister after the May 13, 1969, race riots and was appointed Deputy Prime Minister in 1970. He died in 1973 from a heart attack. He has been credited as the “man who saved Malaysia” and described as the “best PM Malaysia never had”.

Read also:

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

After pissing off MAHB, Mavcom is sued by two airlines

Judicial review against Mavcom catches two-term former MP Jeff Ooi's attention

Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 10 Ramadan: Come to think of it, the Malaysian Aviation Commission's decision to turn a blind eye on the Air Asia-MAHB's RM480 million dispute does seem odd. 

Mavcom is the country's civil aviation regulator so how could it refuse an opportunity - and obligation, some might say - to bring two feuding customers together? It would surely be in the interest of the industry, no? 

But it was Mavcom executive chairman Nungsari Ahmad Radhi who had said in Mavcom won't intervene in MAHB-Air Asia spat that: 

“We are here to spur the regulations and we are also the competition regulator. We will not let this affect our operations at Mavcom. We have our issues but right now, to us business is as usual.” - Nungsari on Air Asia-MAHB spat

Well, it won't be business as usual now. Air Asia and AAX have filed for a judicial review against the Commission for doing nothing to help resolve the issue. Mavcom, they contend,  has a statutory duty to decide on a dispute once mediation between the parties have failed or is deemed to have failed. Mavcom's failure to act in their dispute with MAHB is contrary to Sections 74-78 of the Mavcom Act.

The Commission has responded. Well, kind of: Mavcom aware of judicial review application by Air Asia, AAX.  But as Jeff Ooi pointed out, has Mavcom outlived its usefulness?

This isn't the first time Mavcom has gotten itself tangled up in the wrong kind of publicity. On Labour Day, Nungsari rile the MAHB people by publicly saying that Malaysia's aviation industry (is) losing out due to the single airport operator system.

Read also:

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

So, is Guan Eng the one pissing Daim off?

Mid Valley, Ramadan 8: I wrote the posting Who's Daim so peeved at? the other day because I got really curious after reading the former Finance Minister's interview in conjunction with the PH government's first anniversary in power. It was clear that Daim Zainuddin was annoyed big time with some of the Cabinet ministers. 

I have my suspects and have been hearing stories about their' "shenanigans", but I won't be able to prove anything if I were to think aloud.

But blogger Life of Annie seems so sure who it is that has been the subject of Daim's great annoyance. 

You can read her posting The One that Daim can't stand.

Well, that's one advantage of being an "anonymous" blogger, I must say. Publish and fear not of being damned. But having said that, I must add that Life of Annie has been around for quite a while on blogosphere and is one of the few enduring Malaysian socio-political bloggers, with an army of "followers" [read "haters"] to boot. What this means is that as a blogger she has credibility, having earned it by getting it right with many, if not most, of her speculations, theories and analyses.

I might have been tempted to name Lim Guan Eng in my original posting but if had done so I could easily be wrong and Guan Eng, who is fond of suing people including journalists, may sue my ass off. Best to ask Daim if the Finance Minister is the one. 

That is something I'm hoping our more free mainstream media would do ...

In any case, Daim's point about the long string of political appointees those unidentified Ministers are bringing to their ministries to take over the role of the civil servants is spot on, according to Cuepacs, the umbrella trade union representing workers in the government sector:

Read also:
Cuepacs confirms Daim's claim on political appointees
Cuepacs still receives complaints of political interference post-GE14

Monday, May 13, 2019

Nungsari's "single operator" poser and Malaysia Airport's deafening silence

TTDI, 13 May/8 Ramadan: On May 1, Mavcom chief Nungsari's interview headlined Malaysia's aviation industry losing out due to single airport operator system was published in the local papers. The people at Malaysian Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) were incensed by it. Nungsari, drawing comparisons between our airports and the likes of Dubai and Changi, concluded that:
... the current single operator system, which means that there is no competition, (makes) the sector lull and unattactive. “Malaysian airports, especially our gateway hubs, do not operate 24 hours a day, which may be a reflection of the fact that airlines don’t find them attractive. This, in turn, implies that competition may be an issue.”
Only an idiot would believe that it was coincidence that the interview had taken place on the eve of the Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad's AGM (May 2).

Everyone expected MAHB to defend itself fiercely against Nungsari's assertions. 

But the next day after the AGM, neither the MAHB chairman nor its CEO responded. The following day, no statement was issued to challenge Nungsari. And now nearly two weeks later, there has just been deafening silence from MAHB.

So does silence mean consent? 

While you ponder that, Changi is wooing us to come and pay its Jewel a visit:

Read also:

Sunday, May 12, 2019

So who's Daim so peeved at?

Is that 4-0 or 5-0 political appointees, Tun?

KL, 7 Ramadan: In his most recent interview, Daim Zainuddin took a swipe at Cabinet ministers who bring in their own people (political appointees) to take the place of civil servants. [After grouses about civil service, Daim tells ministers that trust is a two-way street, The Malay Mail]

I was wondering how long it would take the "quiet one" to break his silence on this sheer stupidity. The first anniversary of PH rule seemed like a good time to do that. Daim fell short, however, of naming these Ministers. Which to me suggests that those errant Ministers and their "people" are quite a formidable force in today's government (which Daim is not officially part of, by the way). 

Friends told me Daim is actually pissed off with one particular Cabinet minister, not "ministers" as reported (although the use of political appointees is not confined to that one minister). This particular Minister, it is said, has brought in 40 of his own people and placed them in key posts within his ministry, effectively taking over the roles (and posts and perks) that have always been meant for the civil servants.

Daim said civil servants have complained to him that political appointees appeared to hold the reins to some ministries, which he said was further alienating the public workers. 

Wait a minute. 40 political appointees?! I thought after May 9 last year we were not going to see any more of these so-called political appointees? In fact, one of the first things the PH government did after winning GE14 and becoming the government was to end the contracts of so-called political appointees!

But that's not the only reason why Daim's mad ...

Friday, May 10, 2019

Man who called me Fatty (and got away with it).

Brew Stage, Day 5 Ramadan: We would hear Maman before we'd see him. He was loud. No, he was booming. But always a cheerful kind of thunder. A wise-ass, ex-fatty (he had a 48-inch waistline before shrinking it to a 34 just by walking up and down the steps at Lake Gardens in KL for a couple of years) who was a hippie in his younger days and a PR guru as he greyed. If fate had wanted it, he might have been the President of Indonesia instead of Probowo. But his destiny was here in Malaysia, where he breathed his last yesterday. Those who knew Maman would not get over the fact for the man is quite unforgettable. I know I will remember his laughter for as long as the sun shines.


Farewell, Man.

Circa 1972. Maman (left) with friends
He tried to make me dress as sharp as his Lordship (2010) 

Read also:
A tribute to a star in communications - Kamarazalman Tambu - The Mole
A Malaysian (publisher) in Cambodia in the early 90s - Los Angeles Times