Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Pas de probleme over Timah


PAS DE PROBLEME is an informal expression that can be used to shrug off an apology or a potential problem. It is also the name of a "casual, affordable and highly drinkable" pinot noir sourced from vineyards in the Languedoc region, just minutes away from the Mediterranean Sea. Despite its name, this wine has absolutely nothing to do with PAS, Malaysia's political party that claims to be Islamic. Can't say the same about the on-going controversy over Timah, though. PAS lawmaker Idris Ahmad, who is Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, has wasted no time to distil himself as the toast of PAS and the legions of the PAS-minded in this country. He's still at it: Minister fears provocative Timah whiskey aimed at normalising drinking among Muslims.

The probleme is PAS politicians are not the only ones proving to be holier than they really are. Amir Hafizi, the columnist with The Mole, sees it as politicians trying hard to out-stupid one another. In his latest article Storm in a Timah cup, he observes that "not a single one of these people were up in arms when there is a thing called Kacip Fatimah which I believe drags the name ‘Fatimah’ clearly into the lower trenches".

This (Kacip Fatimiah) is a herb that was often sold as a ‘sex tonic’ of sorts to women, the word ‘kacip’ implying the bestowing of a vice-like grip to the vagina or cervix or whatever it is that has muscles down there. Kacip Fatimah is the counterpart to the Tongkat Ali, with ‘tongkat’ implying the length and hardness of the man’s answer to the vagina. Ali and Fatimah hold significance for Muslims because Ali was the fourth rightly guided caliph and the cousin to Muhammad, while Fatimah, daughter of Muhammad, was his wife.

I don't know what Amir's drinking but he is absolutely right!

Would any Muslim, upon seeing the word ‘Timah’ on the bottle, be instantly reminded of our relatives named Fatimah, like my grandmother? And be compelled to drink it, buoyed by thoughts of Middle-Eastern women – or young boys – serving some sort of halal fermented drinks?

PAS needs to sober up. You can only out-stupid morons and the Malay-Muslims aren't stupid. As it is, anyone working with this so-called Islamic party during the next general election won't be getting my vote. They don't deserve to be in government.

Thursday, October 07, 2021

Passenger arrivals down 78% and you want to upgrade airports, for what?

Or, rather, for whom? Well, Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong's response his predecessor Loke Siew Fook got me wondering. 

According to Wee, the number of passengers that arrived at Malaysian airports under MAHB had dropped to 26 million in 2020 from 109 million in 2019. But it still had to cough up RM140 million a month to maintain the 39 airports, even during the pandemic. The aviation sector is expected to recover fully only in 2025 (Airport upgrades, construction out on hold)

It's a timely response from the Minister to Anthony Loke's call to delist MAHB "so that all the nation's airports can be upgraded". He had argued that although the aviation industry is experiencing a decline due to low demand, there'll be an increase in demand post-pandemic. "Surely when this happens the needs for airports will increase; thus, we must plan for the future given that upgrading works at airports will take time." (Delist MAHB so that nation's airports can be upgraded: Loke). 

Interestingly, Loke also said that private companies are ready with initiatives to work on these airports. We know who some of these private companies are but it be nice if Wee could get from Loke the official full list so the ministry will know who to call, if you know what I mean.

So related: Why Loke's "delisting" proposal is a bad idea 

Monday, October 04, 2021

Why Loke's "delisting" proposal is a bad idea

I FIND YB Anthony Loke's suggestion to delist Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad on the pretext that "all the nation's airports can be upgraded" shallow. I might add it stinks of vested interest but I'd be careful to go there, of course. As a former Transport Minister, Loke would surely be aware that there's not much of an issue with 'upgrading' airports in the country. MAHB has been doing quite a decent job in that department for years before Loke joined the Cabinet in 2018. And then the pandemic hit us and everything slowed down. Even then, plans to upgrade KLIA are ongoing, even during Loke's tenure as Minister. MAHB has also done a good job managing several airports outside Malaysia.

The issue, as I see it, is unrelated parties wanting to take over the building and running of airports in the country. Tycoon Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary took over the airport in JB (and what happened to wanting Senai to compete with Changi?), Tony Fernandes fought to have his own airport in Labu, Negri Sembilan and, most recently, the government of Kedah wanted its own airport even thought Penang's Bayan Lepas is more than capable to serving the traffic up north. And, of course, the attempt to "upgrade" the Subang airport by a property giant, something Loke must be very familiar with.

Not all airports in the country are profitable. The MAHB operates and maintains all of them by having to keep that delicate balance between the need to make money and serve the interest of the population, including those in the rural areas. Something no private entity, which is concerned only with its bottomline, would be too excited to undertake, I'm sure. And there's the question of national security, too.

If Loke wants to pursue delisting of GLCs, start with our utilities. Tenaga Nasional, for example, has become way too profit-oriented (especially after the IPPs came into the picture), making electricity ridiculously expensive, which erodes our competitiveness and affects quality of life.