Saturday, March 27, 2021

Umno-PKR, why not? As long as it’s not the devil

Updated: An advisor to the Umno president hints at an Umno-PKR collaboration happening AFTER, not before, GE15. Read What I expect from Zahid's speech

Original post

KL, 27 March: Annuar Musa sure knows how to put his own party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in a spot. And the seasoned Kelantanese politician does it with amazing regularity these days. Latest, he matter-of-factly urged his boss to use the Umno general assembly, which starts today, to explain the Umno-PKR cooperation, a subject that has raised lots of questions about the president as well as former president and ex-PM Najib Razak's intentions.

"There have been speculations, questions and contradicting news repots (on the cooperation). Some say that the president discussed with PKR; some say there was a letter with signature supporting [PKR president} Anwar Ibrahim. Anwar was also reported as saying that there were discussions, but not cooperation. PKR sec-gen Saifudin Nasution Ismail said they were just normal meetings." - Annuar Musa, speaking to reporters after an event graced by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin today.

People tend to think that Annuar Musa is doing this because he has little to lose, especially after he had lost his secretary-general post in Barisan Nasional in January for his regular taunts aimed at the president. But I believe Annuar is simply asking Zahid to come clean: if Umno is to work with Anwar Ibrahim's PKR, the party must be allowed to decide; it cannot be left to individuals within Umno, not even Zahid or former president and PM Najib Razak, 

And I think he's right. If the General Assembly decides tomorrow to formally end Umno's ties with PM Muhyiddin Yasin's ruling Bersatu, it will need a winning path from now until the general election, which must happen by 2023, or die. 

Zahid's people fear that coming clean on the PKR matter could cost him the presidency at Umno elections in August (and the more suspicious ones suspect that Annuar Musa is eying for Zahid's seat because he has nothing to lose). But if Zahid and the immensely popular Najib both think that PKR and Anwar Ibrahim are the way to go, they really should just explain why. If Mahathir Mohamad's worst enemies could be persuaded to accept the Tun as PM for the second time in 2018, how hard would it be to cajole Umno into working with Anwar Ibrahim? 

No permanent friends or foes in politics, remember? In Ku Li's words, Umno may work with anyone ...  anyone but the Devil

READ also Umno PAU-wow: Future in Perikatan for GE15  tops agenda by The Vibes Mat Hassan sees Umno winning at least 70 seats on its ow, without PAS by The Mole PAU2020: Masa untuk Umno  bukti kemampuan diri by Getaran

Thursday, March 18, 2021

What's really bugging RUM - Peja, the Transport Minister, or the prospect of KTMB going to China?

: Prasarana, the government-owned public transportation company, sacks its president and CEO.  When politicians run corporations, things can go wrong very quickly ... 

Original posting:

There seems to be a lot going on at KTM Berhad in spite of the pandemic. The story that has been making its rounds lately is that the workers' union in the government-linked rail company is up in arms as KTMB awaits new chairman (March 14). 

[The new chairman, Peja]  will also have to contend with RUM, a union known for being aggressive but short of militant. The union is vehemently opposed to the new CEO appointed by (Transport) Minister Dato Dr Wee Ka Siong, against Destini-KTMB JV to do MRO, and up in arms with MoT's preference for China's CRRC
Those who know the history of RUM would readily cite the big strike of 1962 - The days when Malaya's railwaymen went off the rails. But that's history. Trade unions of today are nowhere near as militant and RUM is no different. But we also rarely hear of a trade union that's against almost everything that the management is trying to do. And that is what's exactly happening at KTMB now.

Talk that the recently ousted Perak Menteri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu, 51, affectionately known as Peja, who is also the deputy president of the ruling Muhyiddin-led party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, will be appointed chairman of KTMB isn't helping with matters.  

RUM president

If RUM president Abdul Razak Mohd Hassan hasn't made an appointment to meet with Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong to trash out the issues at hand, I suggest he makes one. 

But if it's true that the union has lost faith in the Minister over the recent appointment of KTMB's chief executive officer, or it fears a China takeover, and maybe like most of us is NOT in favour of a politician like Peja helming KTMB, Razak should ask to meet the Prime Minister himself.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

RM10k fine for breaking SOP: Law Minister's admission too little, too late

KL, 16 March: Takiyuddin Hassan's admission that the RM10,000 compound  "wouldn't be appropriate for minor violations such as not wearing a face mask" [read Gtovt to spell out offences for RM10,000 compound] is so welcomed. Like rain on a hot day. Alas, the Law Minister's statement can do nothing to wash away the mud and the dirt and the sumpah-seranah that the people have been slinging at Muhyiddin Yassin's Government for coming up with the ridiculous compound in the first place. It  was an ordinance passed unilaterally by lawmakers like Takiyuddin himself as Parliament has been suspended because of the state of Darurat that the King, on the advice of the Prime Minister, had proclaimed in January. 

If anything, the admission confirms the fact that this Government doesn't really know what it's doing most of the times. 

That it is, indeed, uncaring and out of touch.

Same thing with the preposterous RM100,000 fine for so-called fake news on Covid-19. What were they thinking, eh, YB Takiyuddin?

Read also: Confusion over ways to appeal RM10k fine. Everyone's confused, even the health state authorities that are said to be the ones you see if you're appealing :) DAP, PKR to anyone issued RM10k compound ,,, One thing this Government is good at: making the Opposition look good :) 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Foundation for jobless journalists: How about you (also) help us end the long, long wait for a Malaysian Media Council before that?

I am 100 per cent with the Malaysian Press Institute in lauding Communications and Multimedia Deputy Minister Zahidi Zainul Abidin's suggestion on a new foundation to help media industry practitioners who have lost their jobs. It's okay if the initiative came a little late in the game. Better late than never, as the cliché goes. 

But we the media are so aware of the late and the never. Oh yes we are. Take for example the proposal to set up the Malaysian Media Council, or Press Council when it was mooted. Zahidi's ministry has been sitting on this for at least 40 years now!  Many of the original champions of the MMC (or Press Council when it was first mooted) have retired or died. When Gobind Singh was made Comms and Multimedia Minister under PH rule, the Cabinet agreed to the setting up of the MMC and the ministry helped journalists to come together and rework the MMC idea to suit the dawn of a new era. A protem committee was set up, of which I was a small part, and a comprehensive final report submitted after months of deliberation. Then came another change of government. Gobind's successor Saifuddin Abdullah, we believe, has gone through the report. He couldn't have been too busy. In fact, I believe Saifuddin would have tabled the MMC bill in Parliament if not for the Darurat that was declared last January that prohibited Parliament to be in session until August.

So, yes, I support Zahidi's idea to set up a foundation for journalists who lost their jobs during the Covid-19. You'll never know when the next pandemic will hit us.

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Why hasn't a single Malaysian journalist been vaccinated? And other questions that popped up during the Pop Meals press conference this morning

updated: Three journos among frontliners to get jabs

10 March: Readers pointed out to me after this posting yesterday that the Sarawak government included journalists in their first phase of vaccination. 13 veteran journalists were picked, according to reports. Hats off to Abang Jo

Original posting:

It's nice when someone acknowledges your existence. Better still, if whatever it is you're doing is recognized, praised, remembered. Pop Meals, a popular local fast-food name, made us at the National Press Club of Malaysia feel very appreciated today: they have offered to donate RM5k from their proceeds to our Journalists Welfare Fund to help reporters and photographers in need during the pandemic. We have to do a bit of work to get that money, though, so if you'd like to help, click HERE  (pls come back later).

At the press conference in Cyberjaya, I thanked Cik Nurul Jamaludin, the Comms boss for Pop Meals, for having us journalists/NPC/JWF in mind. It helped because Mr KH Lim, Pop Meal's PR agency, was a long-time journalist himself. In the last one year, hundreds of journalists have lost jobs as newspaper companies and news sites buckled under the economic slowdown. The thing about us at the NPC is that we are so shy about asking for help.  "Journalists would be so loud when we champion a cause but when it comes to our own predicament, we tend to suffer quietly," I said. Which is why we cherish friends like Pop Meals. They paused to ask if we needed help.

Last year, the Petra Group (before it launched The Vibes in September and then their Bahasa Melayu news site Getaran) approached the NPC and offered to help journalists during the pandemic. Hong Leong Bank also came forth to donate much-needed funds. Since 2006, the Journalists Welfare Fund has helped some 150 journalists, including a Bernama journo who was killed on duty in Somalia. 

We at the NPC don't make it a habit to ask the Government for handouts but, I told the press conference, it would be nice if YB Khairy Jamaluddin, our de facto vaccine minister, would recognize the role of journalists as frontliners in the war against Covid-19 and make us part of the priority group for vaccination.  

As of March 8, according to the Health DG, over 166k have received jabs for Covid-19, says DG)  I don't know of any journalist among those 166,363 people.

Monday, March 08, 2021

Vaccine race: 400 questions (and counting) on why Russia's 92% Sputnik V is still not in Malaysia

MALAYSIA signed a deal with Russia for the Sputnik V in January. The agreement, witnessed by our Health Minister Adham Baba, was a "first step in establishing full-fledged bilateral cooperation which does not just include shipments of the Russian vaccine but also creates Malaysia's own scientific and research base to produce 9it in the country". 

Sounds great, right?  Except, nothing has come out of it. Representatives of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) have been heard complaining that they have been given the run around. We've heard jokes about Russian spies interrogating and torturing their enemies but in the case of trying to supplying the vaccines to Malaysia, it is the Russians who are the subject of interrogation (and, presumably, torture). 

KJ: It's all about "efficacy and safety"

De facto minister for vaccination Khairy Jamaluddin's tongue-in-cheek, when he mentioned the NPRA's asking "300 questions at one go" in a statement recently, is not lost as the industry has been talking about those nerds upping the ante ever since with over 400 questions - and counting!

The question is, how many questions - and how much longer - do you need to determine the efficacy and safety of a vaccine? Refer BBC's report on Sputnik V's 92% efficacy in Feb.

While Malaysia makes it utterly difficult for the Russians to supply them their vaccines, some countries will have to wait longer than expected for their Sputnik V as Moscow struggles to meet orders from over 50 countries from Latin America, Europe and West Asia. 

Monday, March 01, 2021

Meet the three biggest Darurat offenders

In January, when the Agong finally granted PM Muhyiddin Yasin his wish for Emergency rule, purportedly to help contain the rising Covid-19 cases, there were those among us who were skeptical and those who chose to believe what they were told: that this was a "political Darurat". To allow Muhyiddin to focus on saving our lives, he needed the political Darurat so that his position as PM is secured and not threatened by political threats. Talks of no-confidence vote in Parliament must not be allowed. 

And so, in the name of God, Parliament would not sit until a time set by the King. (read the PM's full speech on 12 Jan, the day after Darurat took effect, here). 

Some excerpts:

24. Of late, there have been parties urging for elections to be held. I never have the intention to not have the elections. The main thing that prevented me from advising His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to dissolve Parliament to enable the General Election to be held is the COVID-19 pandemic.

25. The decision not to hold elections amidst the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic is in line with one of the five principles of Maqasid Syariah which is to take care of life or hifz al-nafs. In this context, it is my duty as the Head of Government to take care of the lives of the people by protecting you all from COVID-19 infections. This is the most important task as enshrined and propagated in Islam.

26. Therefore, I want to give my firm commitment here that the General Election will be held as soon as the Independent Special Committee acknowledges that the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided or fully recovered and elections are safe to be held. At that time, it is up to the people to choose which government is capable and would be given the mandate to govern this country and take care of the welfare of the people. Trust me, this is my commitment and pledge which I will fulfill, God willing.

27. For me, in a situation where the country and people are facing great harm, it is very important that all politicians set aside their political differences and stand in solidarity with the people. When it comes to time for politicking, then do so, with responsibility.

It's been nearly two months. The Darurat is still in effect, with no sign of it being lifted (except for the King's rather queer statement the other day that Parliament can sit despite Emergency.) 

Since the Emergency took effect on Jan 11, there has been no talk of a no-confidence vote and no claim by Anwar Ibrahim or anyone else of having majority in Parliament. The Opposition even decided to take part in the bi-partisan committee to advise the King on the Darurat.

The ones who have shown no regards for the political Darurat are the three Berhormats in the photograph above. 

Muhyiddin and  his the new political asses he had just acquired not only defied the principles of the political Darurat, they did it with no qualms whatsoever. After all, there are those who will believe whatever the PM and his new political assets tell them ....

... like when the PM says the defections would certainly help in the fight against Covid-19 :) Read here; excerpts: 

Muhyiddin, in a post on his official Facebook account, said the SDs were handed over to him by Julau MP Larry Sng Wei Shien and Tebrau MP Steven Choong Shiau Yoon.

"The SDs were signed and handed over to me after the retreat of the Cabinet members in conjunction with the one-year anniversary of the PN administration in Putrajaya," he said.

Muhyiddin expressed his gratitude as the support would certainly strengthen the PN government in its efforts and plans to manage the Covid-19 pandemic and the country's economic recovery. 

Or when Larry Sng tells you that he quits PKR to support Muhyiddin because of  the country's political instability