Thursday, April 30, 2020

Roasted for Air Asia must die remarks (Happy birthday, Tony)

#stayathome April 30: Former civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman has come under fire for remarks he made on Air Asia. In Air Asia won't be missed, Azharuddin suggested that low cost travel would largely be unaffected if Air Asia were to cease operations. In other words, if Air Asia dies, we won't cry. 

MP for Bintulu YB Tiong King Sing, recently appointed Malaysia's envoy to China, isn't impressed. He describes Azharuddin's statement as "sorely lacking in sensitivity"

"If his theory of AirAsia shutting down comes true, does he realise that it would impact the lives of thousands of AirAsia employees, crew and ground staff, not just in mass unemployment?

“How many families would lose their source of income, unable to make ends meet?
"Has he thought about those employees before making his statements? What makes it even more doubtful is whether ‘other airlines’ have inspired such a statement due to their own interests?”

The MP advises Azharuddin to use his expertise to help the country's airlines weather the global crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Or shut up if he doesn't have anything constructive to say. The Government, Tiong says, is committed to helping airlines face the economic fallout.

“(Airlines) have been affected to some degree. Without them, our economic growth would be curtailed too as they provide interconnectivity to encourage business and commerce.

“So, the airlines need the help to overcome the prevent difficulties too."

Read the rest of the story: Insensitive to make light of Asia Asia's possible demise, says Bintulu MP

Air Asia's Tony Fernandes and Azharuddin when he was fab.
Original pic Astro Awani

I have no idea why Azharuddin said what he said. Another Barlotelli seizure, perhaps? [Malaysian aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman the butt of criticism - South China Morning Post, 16/3/2014]. Some of the baddest Air Asia critics known to me personally have nothing against the airline, actually.  It's Tony Fernandes that's making them feel the way they do ... 

Well, as the song goes, you can't always have what you want, Tony. But here's wishing you a very happy birthday

See also:

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Anti-Lynas politician to be charged with spreading fake news

updated 30 April:
MCO: High Court replaces single mom's jail sentence with RM1k fine 
Fuziah pleads not guilty - NST

Original posting

#stayathome 28 April: This dude Dinesh Nair is right, you know. Justice is not only being done, it's being seen to be done! So many Malaysians were talking about double standards, cocksure the authorities would not take action against a Deputy Minister for defying the Movement Control Order (MCO). Well, what do you know? They've got two for the price of one!


Will he get to keep his job?

She thinks it's political in nature

The case against the Deputy Health Minister was open-and-shut, he paid his fine and will now wait if he gets to keep his job. But Fuziah, the former deputy minister in the PM's department, claims the charges made against her might be political in nature. Admittedly, it would be harder for the prosecution in her case to prove their case. But Fuziah has a history with the making of fantastic allegations, followers of Malaysian politics and, especially, the Lynas issue, will testify.  
But that's besides the point. The point here is, we should celebrate the occasion(s), like Mr Dinesh Nair said. Shall we? 


MP Kuantan minta maaf sebar video palsu (MP Kuantan says sorry for viral fake video)

Sunday, April 26, 2020

"So, you think PH didn't steal and was not corrupt"

Who lobbied for DAP chairman to be special envoy to China? 

3 Ramadan 1441: It was just a line from an FB response to a reader by the Communications and Multimedia Minister but Malaysiakini did well to catch it [Saifuddin ulas netizen: Adakah kamu yakin PH tak rompak?] and now wants Saifuddin Abdullah to clarify. If you ask me, the Minister should go into all the gory details, not just on who the hell lobbied for DAP chairman Tan Kok Wai to be made special envoy to China in 2018 despite Pakatan Harapan's promise to voters during the GE14 about political appointments (and did it behind his - the Foreign Minister's - back, too!), but on other corrupt practices and thievery, as well.

But if Saifuddin won't, we'd understand. He was part of that PH government that he helped topple.


“If he (Saifuddin) doesn’t know, he can clarify with the PM or with me. I’m just a phone call away. I forgive his (Saifuddin’s) innocence. I hope he can do the appropriate clarification.” - Tan Kok Wai

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Crisis at Petronas?

26 April udpates:
If you could not find the link to Syed Akbar Ali's posting below, you're not alone. But, for the record, Petronas did deny the shutdown, says all 18 oil rigs are in operation.

Updated midnight:
Syed Akbar Ali did a quick posting Petronas denies shutting down oil rigs after Terawih just now, with the alluring promise: "Will follow up tomorrow morning."
The blogger Big Dog said the same to me earlier in the day. His sources at the national oil corporation had told him the NST sources' piece Petronas shuts down 14 projects until oil prices recover was not factual. Planted or devious, he couldn't establish.
See Big Dog's Pumping the Petrol.
Question is, is this part of the 'crisis' in Petronas that Matthias Chang was alerting the Prime Minister about in his open letter?
We'll know more tomorrow, for sure.

Original posting
Former Dr M aide tells Muhyiddin to look into the national oil corporation, urgently
"... you must on an urgent basis, be hands-on to resolve the crisis that has engulfed Petronas. Please direct your Finance Minister and an independent expert in the oil industry to advise you on the current challenges faced by all oil producers." - Matthias Chang, Open Letter to the Prime Minister
Puchong, 25 April: Matthais Chang was a Mahathir insider and loyalist for as long as I have been blogging. He was privy to a lot of things that were going on in the corridors of power when the Tun was PM, Khazanah chairman and Petronas advisor. A couple of months back, MC started to 'go his own way" and openly criticise and ridicule some of the advisors to the two-time PM. If you, Dear Readers, have not come across any posting or article related to these attacks, it is probably because of the "colourful" language MC dishes out against his rivals. The lawyer saves his good manners and polite rantings only for those who has his respect. 

His open letter (dated today)published by The Mole warns the Prime Minister of plotters, double crossers, race baiters and bigots that lurk in every corner he turns. Clearly, these lurkers are from Muhyiddin's own party/coalition and from the fallen Pakatan Harapan government, which MC himself had briefly supported .

"These bunch of plotters are driven by jealousies, anger and frustration. If truth be told, you were never in their equations and calculations which reflect their arrogance and contempt.

Karma has wrought a heavy price – one horse peed at the “Starters Gate” and another was confused as to which race to run. The Jockey, undecided as to which horse to ride, was left high and dry with no horses to ride before the race took off. 

It was pathetic. And what a comedy of errors!"

Politics aside - and this is why I thought Matthias' open letter deserves sharing on this blog  - the lawyer has asked the PM to urgently resolve the crisis that has engulfed the national oil corporation, Petronas. 

Is Petronas in dire straits?  MC thinks so and said Muhyiddin should get his Minister of Finance, Tengku Zafrul Aziz, and appoint an independent expert to advise him. In other words, Matthias is telling the PM to make changes at the oil company now, to bring in new blood, people who really know the industry. Against talk that Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah may be brought in as Petronas advisor, this makes sense, especially since the PM has been sacking bosses of lesser GLCs and replacing them with his own candidates.

Remember that Petronas is the Crown Jewel of our economy, specifically the
Bumiputera economy. This is the reality. 
Ignore and turn your back on race baiters and bigots. Please stay focus and equip yourself about Petronas and the oil industry. Our country’s fate in more ways than one is hanging on this delicate balance.

Blogger: Matthias Change is consistent

Friday, April 24, 2020

So, is Tony F in your good books or bad?

#StayIn MCOday#37 1st Ramadan 1441: Looks like you either love him or you hate him. That is how far Tony Fernandes has come since he co-founded Air Asia at the turn of the millennium and turned it into a world's best. His aura is such that when we Malaysians learned that he was spending some of his MCO time reading about the life of the beloved Prophet Muhammad (saw), we instantly loved him more for it or we hated him so.

Well, I don't quite care what you think of Tony but the "amazing book" he's reading has detained my interest. Perhaps it's the spirit of the holy month of Ramadan. In 2014, at the Quba mosque in Medina, I was given this book A Day in the Life of Muhammad: A study in the Prophet's daily programme. It's not Syama'il Muhammadiyyah, the book Tony is reading, which is a collection of hadiths regarding the intricate  details of the Prophet's appearance, belongings, manners, but A Day in the Life of Muhammad is an amazing book all the same.

Random excerpts from the book by Abd al-Wahhab b Nassir al-Turayri:

At times he might use a drawing to illustrate his meaning. He once drew a square, with a horizontal line in the middle of it, going through one line to extend beyond the square. He added short lines perpendicular to the line in the middle. He then asked his companions: "Do you know what this is?" They said: "God and his messenger know better". He said: "This horizontal line in the middle represents man, and these short lines around it are the adversities that occur to him. They come at him from all sides. If this one misses him, the other will attack him. This square is the end of life which will eventually catch up with him. This line that goes beyond the square is his hope. He hopes for things that go beyond his life while death will come sooner."

Ramadan Kareem, dear Readers, whatever it is you're reading or not reading. Just keep safe during this pandemic, just stay at home and stay positive, and have a blessed month.

Air Asia's Tony Fernandes spends spare time during MCO reading Prophet Muhammad's biography 

Thursday, April 23, 2020

The Malaysian Press free-est in region ... again!??

Press Freedom Index 2020, ASEAN. Source RSF

Puchong, 23 April: Excuse me for the question marks in the headline. For when it comes to the RSF, I shall remain a little bit cautious and a little bit skeptical. Still can't get over their Freedom Index 2013, when they ranked Brunei media as the free-est in the whole of Asean. 

This is the second year running the RSF has ranked Malaysia above Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia, Brunei, Singapore, Laos and Vietnam. How did our media do so well so suddenly after languishing near the bottom all these years?

Very simple, actually, by RSF logic:

"Press freedom is receiving breath of fresh air after PM Najib Razak's ruling coalition suffered a surprising defeat in the May 2019 (sic) general elections ..." Read on:

In its report, the RSF didn't get to take into account the sudden demise of the PH government by the PH's own making. When they include this in their report and rankings for 2021, we can expect Malaysia's freedom index to fall, too. 

But will it matter as much if journalists in this country continue to lose jobs and face dismal prospects? Over the last two years, when our press was said to be the most free in the region, thousands of journalists and media workers were retrenched as newspapers closed down or new owners were brought in by the new government.  Hours before the RSF came out with its report, one of the biggest media barons in Malaysia closed down one of this two newspapers, resulting in all his contract staff, including seasoned journalists, to lose their jobs. Those who got to keep their jobs were 'encouraged' to take a pay-cut. 

With Covid-19 likely to stick around and the economy expected to dip to unprecedented lows,  journalists, like everyone else, will be worrying more about putting food on the table as the media owners, especially the small ones, try to stay afloat for as long as they possibly can. 


Wednesday, April 22, 2020

No mask, no fly?

#stayin MCO Day 34: Senior Minister Ismail Sabri yesterday said the Government has already distributed face masks to 23.4 million householdsThat's 69% of the total 32.4 million face masks the government is distributing to the whole country to help the people get by during the pandemic. The remaining 9 million face masks will go out this week, he said.

Just checking if you've got yours already...

Because Malaysia Airlines is making wearing/having a mask mandatory for all passengers (except infants), effective tomorrow (23 April). So if you don't have a mask, you don't get to fly. You won't be allowed to check in, let alone board your flight.

MAS won't accept pax sans masks at check-in/boarding

Interestingly,  just last week Ismail Sabri was saying:  Face masks not mandatory, people shouldn't be arrested for not wearing one.

"So, we can't be enforcing this law against anyone who is not wearning a face mask and detain or arrest them and such. This is the same scenario when a shopping centre guard stopped an individual from entering the premises to purchase food because he was not wearing a mask This goes beyond the law and the Act. This goes beyond what is need ed and what is necessary. It is not an offence if you are not wearing the face mask."

Malaysians have been cheated up to RM4.2m in face mask sales fraud

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Time for Malaysia to get Facebook, Google to share some love

[updates on The Edge Financial Daily calling it a day at the end of this article]

#stayin 21 April 2020: Australia is trying to make Facebook and Google pay for content they take from media companies in their country. I think it's something for our Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul  Aziz and Minister for Communications and Multimedia Saifuddin Abdullah to seriously consider. Yessir, journalism costs money to produce and we can't continue to let third parties pass off our hard work as their own and make a fortune from our blood, sweat and tears. Local media companies are already struggling as it is; Covid-19 is just making it a lot worse.

The Edge Financial Daily went to print for the last time today (read FD says goodbye after 13 years). I believe it's just a matter of time before the Malaysian Reserve, now the only daily business newspaper remaining, will follow suit and go 100% digital.

TWENTYTWO13 has the story on the Aussies vs FB/Google:

Come together now: Not the time for social distancing 

ustralia’s move to get tech companies to pay for news content on its platforms has sparked interest among media practitioners in Malaysia. 
However, the National Press Club of Malaysia (NPC) believes there must be a collective effort among nations to see this through. 
NPC president Datuk Ahirudin Attan said the least the Malaysian government can do is to get in touch with its Australian counterpart and see if they can work together. 
“We know Facebook and Google are bigger and richer than many governments. Australia is bold to do so. The country is home to media tycoons and has a big media legacy which has been affected by Facebook and Google’s beneficial vantage point over the years,” said Ahirudin, who also runs news website The Mole. 
“It also affects us, including the smaller media organisations, and the move by Australia is a cue for us to follow suit.” 
Ahirudin said perhaps it is also wise to join forces with other Southeast Asian nations in getting online technology companies to pay for content that appears on their platforms.  
When you do this in silo, it could be difficult to break through. Thus, there must be a collective effort involving as many governments as possible,” he added. 
Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher were quoted as saying that a mandatory code on digital platforms will be finalised by July. 
Fletcher went on to say the reforms were important to protect Australian journalism describing journalism as “vital in a democracy” and that “journalism costs money to produce”. News organisations around the world, and even in Malaysia, have taken a massive beating in recent years as content is being posted and advertising revenues focused on these third party platforms which claim ownership on the content posted. 
Spain and France had made similar moves in the past but were deemed unsuccessful. Spain made payments to publishers mandatory, prompting Google to withdraw its Google News service there. French competition regulators were forced to order tech giants to negotiate after Facebook and Google refused to pay for users clicking on news sites. 
In responding to Australia’s move, Facebook said it was “disappointed” but a defiant Frydenberg was yesterday quoted as saying his government will not bow to threats from technology giants not to show local content, adding it was a “battle worth fighting”. -


Such is the impact of Covid-19 that even media taikor Tong Kooi Ong had to take stock of his media empire and close down The Edge Financial Daily.  Of course, Tong could afford to continue printing the business newspaper for another 13 years if he wanted to but it's time to cut losses and save jobs. Still, his contract workers (mostly retired subs and freelancers) will have to go, as a result. Permanent staff who earn more than RM6k a month are encouraged to take a pay cut for the rest of year.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

After Bursa's Shireen, who's next?

#stayathome, 18 April: On March 8, I asked Will we see PH-style 'execution' of GLC leaders? The photograph I used for the posting is of Abdul Wahid Omar, the first good man from the Barisan Nasional era who had to make away after Pakatan Harapan came into power in May 2018. Almost all GLC bosses were removed or resigned in the months that ensued the 'Malaysia Baharu' euphoria. Many were discredited while some were even accused of mismanagement though nobody was ever charged in court for any crime.
Now, under Perikatan Nasional, the GLC bosses appointed by Pakatan Harapan are being removed one by one. Yesterday, nearly two years after he had to resign as the PNB chairman (and replaced by Zeti Akhtar Aziz, one of Dr Mahahtir's five Eminent Persons, who is still there, by the way), Abdul Wahid was officially appointed as chairman of Bursa Malaysia. 
Back in the driver's seat, different vehicle
Reception to Wahid's return has been generally positive, but it's not without controversy. Shireen Ann Zaharah Muhiuddeen, the PH-appointed chairman, had been told to vacate her post over what the Securities Commission Malaysia called "governance issues". 
What governance issues? And is Wahid the best person to lead the Bursa, asks Focus Three questions over Bursa chairperson change?
Malaysia in its latest editorial 
And why the hell is Shireen keeping quiet?  
In this case, silence is not golden. Given the potentially defamatory remarks made against her, Shireen has to come out and defend herself, because she runs an asset management company, Corston-Smith Asset Management Sdn Bhd.
While she did resign as a director of the company, in compliance with CMSA requirements, she remained a controlling shareholder. Did she benefit from insider trading? We don’t know.
Also, she was supposed to be on the board of sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd while holding onto her chairmanship at Bursa. Seemingly it was put on hold. Why?
Shireen has to come out publicly given her reputation for being a corporate governance expert and an activist investor.
People in the know doubt if Shireen would want to prolong the issue. After all the article itself has established at the onset the fact that replacing GLC bosses is normal as there is a new government. Also, a banker told me, she wouldn't want to risk forcing the SC's hand to tell all ...
As I see it, somewhere there lies the difference in the way Muhyiddin and his Minister of Finance have so far dealt with the need to put the right people in the GLCs. They don't go out of their way to cast aspersions on the individuals who had been put there by Dr Mahathir, Daim Zainuddin or Lim Guan Eng. 
While it doesn't make the sackings and removals less brutal, they are being carried out more openly and professionally. Outgoing GLC leaders can, at the very least, leave feeling dignified.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

The war against Covid-19: Triumphs, tragedies and Trump

Updated 17 April:
Gates Foundation ups pandemic funds to US$250 m, says Trump WHO move makes no sense

Original article 16 April
Phase 3 MCO #Day1: If you're looking for good news, no need to go far. Try Perlis. There hasn't been any new Covid-19 case in Perlis for more than 20 days now. Or to Kedah, where seven of the state's districts have been coronavirus-free for over two weeks, writes Dr Mohamed Rafick Khan in the Malay Mail [Movement Control Order: What's the end game?].  
If you're looking for hope, light at the end of the tunnel, there's Wuhan, where it all started. After more than 70 days, the Chinese city lifted its lockdown last week. More than 50,000 people in Wuhan had caught the disease and some 2,500 died of it but now the 11 million people who call the city home have gotten their lives back. 
But if you're looking for rotten news and hopelessness, there's no end to it. 
And there's Trump who, in the middle of this pandemic, has just made good his earlier threats to end US funding to the World Health Organisation. The US President did that because he blamed China and WHO for the Covid-19. 
Surprisingly, a lot of people including Malaysians are buying into it. Me, if I want to look for troubled thoughts, I'd think of atomic bombs, Vietnam War, Palestine, Dessert Storm, 911 and WMD, among other things, and now the US President's move to stop funding WHO, the organisation responsible of putting an end to smallpox, polio, Ebola, etc and I will have to conclude that there is only one government in this world capable of manufacturing a pandemic, if it is at all possible.

Read: WHO funding cut - What does it really mean? 

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

This may not be the government you voted for but ...

Updated 16 April: 
If you didn't know why PM Muhyiddin did not thank the previous government ..

Read Fitnah 1MDB PH terhadap DS Najib dijawab sendiri oleh DOJ
also Mistakes, regime change snag recovery of 1MDB funds

Original article:
Puchong, 15 April: Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has thanked the US government for returning the misappropriated 1MDB money. He also thanked the Ministry of Finance and the AG's Chamber for their roles in the negotiation process. 
He's looking sharper by the day, the Prime Minister.
And happier.
He should be. 
The people are behind him in the battle against Covid-19. 
The Movement Control Order is showing positive results.
And this repatriation of 1MDB money will be viewed as the US government's tacit recognition of his so-called "backdoor government". 

U.S. Repatriates $300 Million to Malaysia in Proceeds of Funds Misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Berhad 

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

Tuesday, April 14, 2020 
The Department of Justice announced today that it has repatriated to Malaysia approximately $300 million (RM 1.292 billion) in additional funds misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), Malaysia’s investment development fund, and laundered through financial institutions in several jurisdictions, including the United States, Switzerland, Singapore and Luxembourg.
Combined with other funds that the department previously returned to Malaysia in May 2019, the United States has returned or assisted Malaysia in recovering over $600 million (RM 2.6 billion) of funds misappropriated from 1MDB.  The department’s efforts to recover funds misappropriated from 1MDB are continuing.
In 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California entered judgments forfeiting more than $700 million in assets acquired by Low Taek Jho, aka Jho Low, and his family located in the United States, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.  - Read all HERE.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Please help this Dog by donating blood

18 April: For as long as I've known him, the blogger Mohamed Zakhir Mohamed has been a faithful supporter of blood donation efforts. It was this passion of his that made me associate him with Mukhriz bin Mahathir, the son of the two-time Prime Minister of Malaysia. The duo, bosom buddies then and fellow leaders of Ansara, the MRSM alumni, used to run pre-Ramadan blood donation campaigns annually, without fail. Back then, Big Dog  (Zakhir's blog handle) would get the blogging community to rally behind Mukhriz and Ansara each time the campaign took place. 
That was until the great Melayu fallout of 2015, when best friends discarded one another in the name of politics. Blood is thicker than water. 
But right now blood is also dangerously in short supply at our National Blood Bank. Donors are trickling in to donate due to fear of the Covid-19 and restrictions under the Movement Control Order. Collection for March was a blood curdling 40 per cent lower than the previous year, according to the National Blood Centre. Big Dog is worried. "Bro, we need to help run, very urgently, a blood donation campaign." 
He didn't mention Mukhriz so I suppose that's water under the bridge.
While Big Dog works on his campaign, please refer to his posting Blood in Dire to find out how you can make all the difference right away and why it is SAFE to donate blood during the pandemic.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

So who's Azmin's barber, again?

I published So who's Azmin's barber? this morning. This one deserves one on its own:

Puchong: Azmin Ali's officer Dr Afif Bahardin was quoted to have said that the decision to let the barbers out during Phase 3 of the MCO was taken in the interest of helping the people manage their blood pressure levels. 

A medical doctor, according to this report, Afif should, therefore, know what he's talking about, right? But here's the thing: on Feb 28, another doctor wrote that long hair was actually good for blood pressure! Rambut panjang cegah darah tinggi, said Dr Ir Muhidin Arifin. So how? I can feel a headache brewing. Is that my blood pressure?

So who's Azmin's barber?

Recently, in the US: Barber dies from Covid-19 after continuing to accept customers during the pandemic

Puchong, 12 April: With the plan to let out the barbers, PM Muhyiddin Yassin may have tripped over for the first time in his otherwise suave handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and Movement Control Order (MCO). It's no big deal, really, I wouldn't even call it a blunder, but the barber move does make you wonder if everyone on Abang Din's advisory team is of sound of mind, body and spirit. 
Most people just don't see the logic of the idea but they have been polite about it in their social media (which, I think, is a reflection of the respect the Rakyat have for this PM). Take this cute take from one of my favourite tweeters:

I'm not sure whose idea it was, but some razors point at Senior Minister Azmin Ali.

"So Azmin Ali, do the nation a favour and listen to Dua Lipa"

One piece of knowledge the PM would have gained from this unfortunate snag is the curious fact that some of his economic advisors had not deem it necessary to consult with the health experts when they came out with the latest ideas. 

Best to delay (haircut) for the time being, says DG

I agree with DG Dr Noor Hisham. Let's get our priorities right. 

Related listening:

Sunday, April 05, 2020

The beautiful Malaysians

Covid-19: Malaysian corporate citizens are coming forward to help 

Puchong, 5 April: There will always be one or two ugly Malaysians, even now as our nation - and the whole wide world - grapple with this deadly pandemic. But you'd agree with me, Dear Readers, that there are a hell of a lot more beautiful Malaysians who have stood up to be counted since the outbreak. The people at Air Asia are not the first and won't be the last to do so but it's worth noting that they're doing it despite the airline facing the worst turbulence in its history. Apart from its donation drive for vulnerable communities, the low-fare airline has launched SOS - or Save Our Shops - to help the small merchants. 

Advertising revenues, like oil prices, have slumped to ridiculous levels but The Edge still managed to bring together donations worth more than RM21 million to equip our tireless front liners. Tycoon Lee Kim Yew chartered a whole plane to fly in 1.5 million pieces of surgical masks and personal protective equipment (PPEs) for our medical teams dealing directly with Covid-19 cases.

Naza for Tabung Covid-19
Car sales and the property market will continue to fare poorly for the whole year because of the Covid-19 but Naza still came forward to help boost a national donation drive. 

And even before the Government unveiled its RM250 billion stimulus package, Axiata and its subsidiary Celcom had launched a RM150 million cash fund to help micro-SMEs

These are just some of the wonderful deeds of our fellow Malaysians that I can cite, off hand. There are many, many more. Most don't even want to be known. 

A prominent businessman asked me one day how my fellow journalists were keeping with the Movement Control Order (MCO). Y'know, the reporters, photographers, editors, sub-editors, production crew, and the other front-liners who have to go to work because somebody has to gather the news about the pandemic. At the end of the conversation, he offered some money for the Journalist Welfare Fund under the National Press Club of Malaysia to help out journalists and our members in whichever way we can during the MCO period. I said it was very kind of him, and this was what he said:
"Bro, it's at time like this that we really need to stand and be counted. Not for publicity or applause but because those of us who can, must. This is when we must."
The NPC has been reaching out to journalists in need during this period. It's not much but we hope it can still make a difference. At the very least, we're letting the journalists know that there are those who are thinking of them during this difficult period.

Read also:

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Reluctant Muhyiddin replaces Dr Mahathir at Khazanah

Updated #17: Muhyiddin is my PM by Annie
The winner takes it all

The loser standing small
Beside the victory
That's her destiny
- Abba

Puchong Day#16: For a reluctant* prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin sure understands the scope and power of the incumbent. In the short time since his "backdoor" appointment as Malaysia's 8th Prime Minister, he has shown that he has the speed and the will. He was quick to place the whole nation under a Movement Control Order to stem the spread of Covid-19 and surefooted about who needed the government's help most during this terrible period with his RM250 billion stimulus package. But if those were more or less expected of an incumbent government, the quietly brutal way in which Abang Din brings down the sword on his political enemies surprises many, and delights not a few.

Yesterday, on April Fool's Day, he quietly replaced Dr Mahathir Mohamad as Khazanah chairman, bringing along with him Azlan Hashim, who had to leave after Pakatan Harapan's  victory in the general election in May 2018. 

Mohammed Azlan's appointment marks his return to Khazanah after nearly two years. In July 2018, Mohammed Azlan, former Khazanah managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar and seven other directors had tendered their resignations after reaching a unanimous decision that Mahathir's Pakatan Harapan coalition government, which won the May 9 2018 general election, should determine the fund's new leadership structure.
The others were Tan Sri Raja Arshad Raja Uda, Tan Sri Andrew Sheng Len Tao, Datuk Seri Nazir Razak, Datuk Dr Nirmala Menon and Yeo Kar Peng.
Mahathir had previously lamented that Khazanah, the strategic investment fund of the Malaysian Government, which he set up in 1994 when he was prime minister for the first time, had deviated from its original intention of holding shares for bumiputras.
He claimed that instead, Khazanah had become a convenient vehicle for the previous government to reward politicians and non-professionals with positions and lucrative compensation packages.

The change of guards at Khazanah followed a series of changes and overhauls (ie sackings) at key institutions under various ministries, including the country's largest statutory body MARA and the Yayasan Kebajikan Negara. Read Mara chairman, council members sacked and Syed Azmi temporarily recalled after sacking. Yesterday, Noor Farida Ariffin, the chairman of the Human Resources Development Fund, confirmed the marching orders, Her contract was supposed to run until Jan 2021. Read G25's Noor Farida, CEO and Board members removed from HRDF with immediate effect. 

Noor Farida had been brought in Jan 2019 to "clean up" the HRDF. 

Last month, I posted Will we see PH-stule 'execution' of GLC leaders? Well, it does look like it's going to happen. As the song goes:
The game is on again

A lover or a friend
A big thing or a small
The winner takes it all

p.s I must put on record that under Noor Farida's watch, two prominent journalists were charged for allegedly misleading the HRDF. Both cases were linked to an overseas training program involving the National Press Club of Malaysia and conducted under the auspices of the HRDF before Noor Farida was appointed. The case against Veera Pandiyan was  struck out by the magistrate while in the case against journalist and author M. Krishnamoorthy, the HRDF had offered to withdraw its lawsuit.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

When a joke may land you in jail

Rina Harun's ministry says sorry over 'Doraemon' joke 


LONDON (THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION) - From Thailand to India, countries have told people not to make April Fools' Day pranks related to coronavirus, with some threatening jail time as they seek to prevent the spread of rumours which could put lives at risk.
Tech giant Google, which is famous for its annual spoofs, has cancelled the tradition because of the pandemic which has killed about 40,000 people worldwide.
Thailand said on Tuesday (March 31) that April Fool's Day jokes about the virus could be punished under a law carrying a sentence of up to five years in prison.
"It's against the law to fake having Covid-19 this April Fools' Day," the government said on Twitter.
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen took to Facebook to tell people not to prank about the virus, adding that anyone spreading rumours or false information could face up to three years in jail and/or a fine of up to NT$3 million (S$141,500).
In India, Maharashtra state's cyber security unit said it would take legal action against anyone spreading fake news on April Fools' Day.
"The state govt won't allow anyone to spread rumours/panic on #Corona," Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh tweeted, adding that he had instructed the authorities to "act swiftly & strongly (against) such miscreants".
Under the heading "Corona is no joke", Germany's health ministry also urged the public not to make up stories related to the virus.
With people relying on the Internet and media for vital information about coronavirus, there are fears that jokes could fan the spread of misinformation.
From drinking cow urine to sleeping by chopped onions, myths about how people can catch and cure Covid-19 are already widely circulating.
The World Health Organisation has described it as an"infodemic", which could increase the spread of the virus among vulnerable people.
Google said it had suspended its annual April Fools'tradition "out of respect for all those fighting the Covid-19 pandemic".
"Our highest goal right now is to be helpful to people, so let's save the jokes for next April, which will undoubtedly be a whole lot brighter than this one," it said in an internal e-mail to staff.
In previous years Google has advertised fictitious jobs at a new research centre on the moon, turned Google Maps into a game of Where's Waldo - also known as Where's Wally - and claimed its search technology uses trained pigeons to rank pages.
Taylor Herring, a British PR agency whose clients include TV channels and international brands, advised all companies to ditch the jokes this year.
"Tip for any brands planning an April Fool's Day stunt.
Just. Don't," it said on social media.