Tuesday, July 30, 2019

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 ...

Monday, July 08, 2019

In New Malaysia, another journalist is sued over a Berlin course

Jalan Tangsi, 090719: In 2017, the Human Resources Development Fund approved a training program in Berlin, Germany for some 50 Malaysian journalists. The international course was organised by an award-winning local training company called K-Pintar, a "leading human capital development solutions provider and is given the 5-star rating by the HRDF" (Pintar is Malay for bright, smart, genius; not sure what the K stands for, though).  
The National Press Club Malaysia was brought in at the very start of the program by K-Pintar, through their PR consultant Alice George, an old friend of journalists, to encourage participation by the media companies. Which the NPC did brilliantly and without asking for a single sen from K-Pintar or HRDF or the journalists.  
The NPC was given two seats for the Berlin course and it decided to send its exco members Veera Pandiyan, a veteran journalist with The Star and a former deputy president of the NPC, and Joan Santini of the up-and-coming Bernama News Channel, who is now the acting secretary of the NPC.  
Veera attended the Berlin course in September 2017 and Ms Santini went for the one in December of the same year.  
Veera, whose column Along the Watchtower is one of the longest-running by a journalist in The Star, has been accused of fraud by the HRDF. In its writ of summons and claim, the HRDF claimed that in December last year (a year after the last participants had returned from the Berlin course) it discovered that Veera had misled it by claiming that he was an Editor with the National Press Club. The HRDF further claimed that Veera had forged the signature of one Datuk Wong Chun Wai, who was supposed to be the NPC's Executive Director! 
Any NPC member could have told you that the National Press Club does not hire an editor,  or executive director. We have a President, who is not paid by the Club, and an exco, who are elected every two years. The President and his Exco serve the Club on voluntary basis. 
The case HRDF vs Veera Pandiyan, which will be interesting (to say without malice),  will be heard from tomorrow at the Magistrate Court in Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur.   

Read also:
NPC clarifies journalists training trips overseas  
HRDF sues man for Berlin course while claiming to be journalist
Man sued by HRDF shows letters on journalist status

Monday, July 01, 2019

New trouble at the towers

Twin trouble, 010719: When you read an editorial like this one in the New Straits Times, which is still a fly on the wall in the real corridors of power, you sit up and take notice. And you get worried, even if you are not staff with the national oil company. I still have some friends there (at NST, too, last I checked) so I wish everybody all the best. If there's war, I hope it won't be too bloody. 
Nation first, New Malaysians.