Saturday, November 28, 2020

By remaining seated, Anwar Ibrahim stood up as the Opposition leader on Thursday

Latest: The Opposition leader talks to The Vibes 

“A week earlier, I issued a statement. If our concessions are not met, we will opt to reject Budget 2021 in total. What happened (on Thursday) was that the finance minister made major concessions.” - Anwar: Government conceded to Opposition demands, 29 Nov 2020

Original article 

Bangsar, 28 Nov: I haven't agreed with Anwar Ibrahim in ages. But I’m inclined to agree with the Opposition Leader’s decision last Thursday to not shoot down the Budget 2021.
Anwar had instructed Opposition MPs to not bloc vote against the Budget and all but 13 did  as told. The 13 - a dozen of Mahathir-Mat Sabu's men and a lone PKR MP who claimed he did not get the memo - stood up to demand a bloc vote. But 15 were needed and because the Opposition was two MPs short, the Budget was passed ‘at policy level’.
Over tea yesterday, the pro-Umno blogger Big Dog asked me how I would interpret Anwar's action. I said, more or less:

Firstly, it shows that Anwar has the confidence of the majority of the Opposition MPs. Even the DAP, which was so enamoured of Mahathir after Lim Guan Eng was made Finance Minister (short lived, alas), had stood (or, rather, sat) solidly behind Anwar. Not Mahathir.

Secondly, Anwar decided to let Tunku Zafrul's Budget live on after the Finance Minister had granted last-minute concessions that fulfilled not just Pakatan Harapan's demands but also those of Umno's. One MP told me there were so many concessions it was as if Zafrul had tabled a totally different Budget from the original one. What does this show? It means there is actually still hope that this government can be schooled to give more to people who need, like extend the moratorium till March. Because the Budget survived Thursday, MPs will now discuss it at committee level from this week until the crucial 3rd reading on Dec 15.
Thirdly, it shows that Anwar is loyal to the King. Unlike the 13.

Finally, and Anwar may not admit it, I think he aimed to rile Tun Mahathir. And the Old Man was absolutely peeved, said the Opposition leader's ‘maneuvering’ was a sell-out and akin to legitimizing Muhyiddin's 'backdoor' government. He was also terribly annoyed because Anwar's move had exposed him for the very negligible support that he commanded.  Amanah president Mat Sabu’s statement earlier today -   Stand firm behind Anwar, PH, says Mat Sabu - means Mahathir may have zilch. 

Monday, November 23, 2020

With boycott by Ku LI, the PM, his Cabinet and the Budget 2021are all doomed, are they not?

Ku Li: Reckless, hypocrite or hero?

Kuala Lumpur, 23 Nov:  Ku Li can rant all day about "political corruption" for all we care. At the end of the day, the MP for Gua Musang, like most politicians out there, probably has a vested interest for wanting to ditch this week's crucial debate on the Supply Bill. He probably just wants PM Muhyiddin Yasin out of sight. 

The thing going for Ku Li, the man who's been wanting to be PM himself for the longest of time, is this: so many other MPs share that same vested interest. 

But as a voter, I totally disagree with Ku Li's decision to boycott Parliament during the debate of the Budget 2021. As MP, it is his duty to attend, if not to take active part, in the debates of the Dewan Rakyat. To boycott the Parliament just because the Speaker disagreed with him on how a vote of no confidence should be carried out is reckless. To claim he's doing so to fight "political corruption" is hypocritical. 

And who is Ku Li to call the government appointed by the Yang DiPertuan Agong, as provided for under the Constitution, a "backdoor government"?

Ku Li must retract his letter to the Speaker (which, by the way, was sent on Saturday, an off day, I believe, and was all over the media on Sunday, still an off day, therefore not giving the Speaker any chance to respond, that is if Ku Li had wanted one, in the first place). 

The MP must carry out his moral duty as an MP, which is to be in Parliament. He is paid good taxpayers' money and accorded great perks to do at least that.

Don't vote for the Budget 2021 if you think that will be the right thing to do. There will be more than a hundred other MPs who will do that, so what's the big deal? Ku Li's vote is just one of them but crucial nonetheless. So debate and vote. Boycotting is cowardly.

If the Budget doesn't get the number of votes from MPs it requires this Thursday 26 Nov, PM Muhyiddin will have to go. We will either face a general election or we will leave it to the wisdom of His Majesty's once again to appoint a Prime Minister whom he thinks commands the majority of support from the MPs. 

If the King decides against a general election and uses the provisions under Article 43 and appoints someone else but not you as PM, please don't you go around calling it a "backdoor government" again, Ku Li. Show respect for the royal institution that you yourself come from.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The unfinished business between BC Sekhar, Mahathir Mohamad and Daim Zainuddin


The called him Mr Natural Rubber

BSC, Nov 18: In Legacies for Generations, a tribute to his father BC Sekhar, the good capitalist Datuk Vinod B Sekhar tells us of how former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Daim Zainuddin had forced the man who modernised Malaysia's rubber industry to leave the country in search for a living abroad.

They forced the man that created and implemented SMR (Standard Malaysian Rubber) and had saved the Malaysian economy – giving it the backbone and footing that would allow the Mahathir administration to make her The Tiger economy – to leave the country and accept a position in London, just so he could make a living and take care of his family. 
It broke his heart, as he loved his country so much.

Vinod, the chairman of the Petra Group, wrote the article in memory of his late dad, who would have turned 91 yesterday.

I hope Mahathir and Daim, in their old age, have a sense of remorse and regret for how they treated the great sons and daughters of Malaysia. Because my father was not alone. His was a generation of great nation builders. Country first. We sadly don’t really have many of those anymore.

I am sure Tun M, 95, if he's not in his I don't remember mode, will tell us that he had his 'reasons' for doing what he allegedly did to BC Sekhar. Just as he had his reasons for putting out to pasture judges Tun Salleh Abas, 91, and Datuk Syed Ahmad Idid, 82, among others. But I'm not sure people would believe him. In fact, I'm quite sure a lot of people have stopped believing whatever he says these days.

But I don't really care about that. I'd say, forget about Mahathir or Daim. I'd rather focus on the point Vinod is making in his article about our nation builders. It is true, we don't really have many of those anymore. We need to do something about that.

Former Health Minister tweets about BC Sekhar

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

A Budget that unites, but not as planned

United! United! Hell, yes. But instead of getting everyone - the MPs, detractors, and the hopeful people - to rally behind him, which was the plan, Prime Minister Muhyiddin's Budget 2021 have united them against his Government, instead.

Dr M: 'I will support budget only if it's realistic'; Anwar: Budget 'unrealistic'

Kuala Lumpur, 9 Nov:  The theme of the Budget 2021 is STAND UNITED, WE SHALL PREVAIL Teguh Kita, Menang Bersama. Won't blame you if it sounds to you like an election manifesto because it does sound to me like a good general election manifesto. 

Here are the first two pages of the Budget :

But what could have been a walk in the park for Muhyiddin and Co is now a painful swim in mud and sludge. Where did the Budget go wrong? Was it the RM85 million for JASA? Was it the unjustifiable, nearly RM4 billion more for the Prime Minister's Department? The record amount of debts the Government will accrue just to keep paying their high salaries and service their debts?

It may be all of that and the fact that the people are not stupid anymore, which means it's not possible to even fool some people some of the time. Some people are pleased with it but everyone has something in the Budget to bitch about, from healthcare spending 'cuts' to unreal tax revenue forecast for next year and the absence of a real, long term plan to help the increasing number of poorer and jobless Malaysians.

Stop thinking like a banker, Zafrul told

But, most of all, I think the Budget is a victim of a Government losing the trust of the people, especially since its botched attempt to impose the Emergency on all of us. And, believe it or not, there are still Ministers in Muhyiddin's Cabinet who are still threatening us with it, even after the King has said NO to it.  This alone has convinced me that even if Tengku Zafrul Tengku Aziz, the Finance Minister, had tabled last Friday a different Budget, the best Malaysian Budget ever, he would still find us standing united against him, the Budget, Muhyiddin's government. 

I won't be surprised if Zafrul's first Budget will also be his last. I will be surprised if this Budget is passed.


A Budget negating the need for an Emergency - The Mole

Msian govt prepared to return to King, ask for state of Emergency if necessary - Today

Saturday, November 07, 2020

Malaysia's underpaid, under appreciated, and under quarantine cops and still nothing in store for them in the Budget

Budget 2021's Winners and Losers

Cops to continue singing the blues

Puchong, 7 Nov: Tengku Zafrul's maiden Budget bears many "gifts" for poorer Malaysians hit hardest by the pandemic and the economic woes caused by it but, and it's a big BUT, the Minister of Finance may have overlooked our overworked, underpaid cops. Sure, there's that RM17 billion to beef up national security but that money won't reach the regular police officer, who will therefore have very little to look forward to next year. And if you sit down and think of the money for nothing that some folks will be getting (for eg Jasa get RM81 mil revival), that's downright depressing for these cops.

Sadder, nobody seems to really care. Former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad did refer to the shocking fact that 10 thousand of ours cops were under quarantine (that's about 10 per cent of our police force) but the only reason he mentioned it, seems to me, was to convince people of this Government's evil intention to push for a state of Emergency.

"I've been made to understand that the government is still trying to declare and Emergency for this beloved country. Going by their arguments, this nation is supposed to be in crisis, with 10,000 police personnel hit by Covid-19, one million foreigners having flocked the country and if Emergency is not declared by Monday, 2 November, the stock market would come crashing down". (as loosely translated from Chedet's posting Darurat)

The cyber NGO that call themselves Marah* is one of the few who have expressed disappointment (I hope the police top brass and the minister in charge are disappointed, too, even if they don't or can't express it openly). Marah founder Dave Avran said while he's happy with the Budget, generally, "what we feel is lacking is upgrading the housing, salaries and equipment of the rank and file of the defence and PDRM officers who are crucial touch point with the public". 

If I were the Minister of Finance, I'd take a little of the money I've allocated to Jasa, for which I'm getting so much unnecessary flak, and spend it on the cops and their families. And a huge chuck off the Prime Minister's Department. I mean, come on, why does the PM's Department need nearly RM4 billion more (from RM7.9 bil to RM11.7 bil)?

* MARAH is Malaysians Against Rape, Assault and SnatcH Theft, a self-funding cyber NGO, which gets worse than nothing under the Budget 

Read also, for free:

P. Gunasegaram's Giveaway Budget but dangers lie ahead

Friday, November 06, 2020

Syed Saddiq's wishlist, random Budget thots, and the precious option that Lim Guan Eng had destroyed

BSC, 6 Nov: I decided, when he broke away from Dr M's safety harness to form his own party, that Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman was not the fool his detractors had made him out to be. His latest words on the move to allow only 80 MPs into Parliament from today - MPs not paid to sit in front of TVB, says Syed Saddiq of Dewan limit - has just reinforced my renewed view of this young man.

MUDA's wishlist for the Budget 2021, which will be tabled this afternoon, makes perfect sense, too. I hope, for this government's sake, that Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul is going to be extra generous with most if not all those items.

Now, all that's left is for Syed Saddiq to keep his head on his shoulders and stay away from drama.

p.s. Re Budget 2021. Quotes from some of my own not-so-muda sources:

"There are very limited options available for the Government. They have used all the options available since the Covid pandemic started in March. For now revenues are declining and debts increasing. The only answer is to continue borrowing to keep the economy moving. To try and find any other means of increasing the government's coffer is tough. GST was a good system but Lim Guan Eng had destroyed that." 

"I don't expect to be disappointed by the Budget simply because there is no room for Zafrul to disappoint. If he does - like not extending the moratorium, not giving loads to the B40 and rewarding the front liners, and these are just the basics - this government will go sooner than later (AND this is one government that wants to stay in power badly!). Question is, how does he plan to fire up the economy given the limitations. Zafrul said in one interview he planned to defy Econs 101. Interesting to me because Zafrul is not known to be defiant."

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

The story of Bukit Kiara: From green lung to federal park to green lung to ...

Bukit Kiara: Popular hiking and cycling haven

Headlines can make your head spin, really.

In December last year, the then FT Minister Khalid Samad announced that

Today Hannah Yeoh, the MP for Segambut, announced that

I know, kan? 

It was back in '94 when residents of Taman Tun Dr Ismail, many of whom have passed on, petitioned the government to gazette Bukit Kiara as a "green lung". Yeoh was just a 15-year old school girl then and Khalid wasn't even an MP when the people took on the Mahathir administration (read Bukit Kiara fiasco: 40-year betrayal of trust). But, really, I don't mind if both Yeoh and Khalid get some credit for the Bukit Kiara victory, as long as it spurs them on to help the people with their next battle: Save Rimba Kiara.

Of course, FT Minister Annuar Musa can save us the trouble and help us  win this war. Gazette it as federal park or gazette the federal park into a green lung for all we care, just keep Rimba Kiara far, far away from those greedy developers and their corrupt collaborators in government.

p.s. Moral of the story? Don't just read the headlines. 

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

The continuing quest to shove the Emergency down our throats


KUALA LUMPUR – Lawyer Syed Iskandar Syed Jaafar today said he is seeking legal action against his detractors after it was reported last Friday that he was “suing” the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. [Read the full story in The Vibes, for free]

Bangsar, 3 Nov: Good thing this guy wanted to explain himself. That he's not suing the Yang DiPertuan Agong. That, on the contrary, he is on the King's side where the Emergency controversy is concerned. 

Well, well. The fact that Syed Iskandar Syed Jaafar had to clarify his action is proof that his intention wasn't clear, right? In fact, it's still not clear to some. A hot shot lawyer I spoke to after Syed Iskandar's article was published in The Vibes earlier today thought of it as hogwash, "Who is he trying to fool? His action amounts to an attack on the Agong!".

In any case, it's good to know that this lawyer Syed wasn't acting on the behest of any politician or political party. Hard to believe, yes, but I say we should give him the benefit of the doubt. 

On the other hand, very little doubt who this Cabinet minister is speaking for or against:

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 3, 2020: The government prefers the option of invoking a proclamation of emergency rather than trying to introduce a law or amend the constitution in order to hold off elections due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

De facto law minister Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan stated this today in a written reply to Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid (BN-Padang Terap).

He stated that creating a legislation to postpone an election during the pandemic is against the constitution.

“The creation of a Bill to postpone an election during Covid-19 pandemic is against and inconsistent with the Federal Constitution, while to amend the Federal Constitution, the support of two-thirds  MPs (members of parliament) is required.

“The government may propose to postpone an election if this pandemic is deemed to be declared an emergency as provided under Article 150 (1) of the Federal Constitution,” he said.

The government had previously raised the emergency proclamation but it was rejected by the Yang Di Pertuan Agong on Oct 25.

The government’s move has led many quarters to accuse it of resorting to an emergency declaration to avoid Budget 2021, which is scheduled to be tabled on Friday, being defeated in parliament.

Is willing-to-die Shafie Afdal willing to do the right thing in Batu Sapi?

Sabahkini says former CM owes it to the people of Sabah to pull Warisan out of by-election

It's in the red zone area

KL, 3 Nov: In the hope of containing the contagion in Sabah after September's state elections, several political parties have agreed not to contest the Batu Sapi  by-election (Dec 6). Former Umno president Najib Razak even went on to suggest that the seat, which was left vacant after the death of Datuk VK Liew, be returned to the incumbent party, ie Warisan. 

Sabahkini, arguably the state's most vocal news portal, begs to differ. Its editorial  yesterday said if any party should pull out of Batu Sapi by-election, it should be Warisan.

The portal blames willing-to-die Shafie Afdal, the Warisan chief, for Sabahan's current predicament. It said Shafie should now be willing to let go of Batu Sapi without contesting it. Batu Sapi is best given to the ruling coalition, Gabungan Rakyat Sabah,, which will be in a better position to manage the Covid-19 and the welfare of the people in the constituent, according to the editorial.

On July 29,  instead of resigning as Chief Minister after obviously losing the majority support of the state's assemblymen, Shafie opted to dissolve the assembly and forced a snap election on the whole of Sabah. On Sept 26, amid fears of a major spike in Covid-19 cases as a result of the intense campaigning, Sabahans voted out Shafie's Warisan from the government. Since then, Sabah has averaged 500-600 new coronavirus cases, making it the worst hit in the whole of Malaysia.

Monday, November 02, 2020

Most hated politicians in Malaysia: Where's the Dynamic Duo?

KL, Nov 2: The joke is that it should stand for KL School of Anwar Ibrahim. :) but to be fair to those chaps at KLSAI, any survey on the country's least popular persons (not just politicians) would probably churn more or less the same result. Maybe Azmin Ali won't always be ahead of Muhyiddin Yasin and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. 

I don't have any issue with what KLSAI stands for (eh sai, which means can, buay sai, cannot, or pang sai, to shit) but I wonder why the dynamic duo from DAP did not make the list. Not even for honourable mention.

Many still hold Lim Guan Eng and Tony Pua responsible for the massive and quick decline - and the eventual fall - of Mahathir's PH government earlier this year. You may or may not agree, but I've been told that if the two are no longer in DAP, even the staunchly anti-DAP Hishammuddin Hussein would be prepared to reconsider his stand about not ever working with that party.

Read also:

Azmin tops list of least popular politicians, says find - The Vibes

Tony Pua is hating Najib but not exactly loving Anwar Ibrahim? - The Mole

How to unite - Ditch Azmin? - Sarawak Report