Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Anwar ends a year of overseas trips on high note but …

This post is published here after it has appeared in scoop.my earlier today 19 Dec 2023 - Rockybru. 

Tokyo, 18 Dec: Every time he’s abroad for work, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim will make time to. meet with the Malaysian diaspora.

Usually, this meet-and-greet with Malaysians living, working or studying abroad takes place at the hotel where he stays and involved hundreds of people, under the watch of the host country’s security detail. 

Usually, it’s over dinner. In the case of the 392 Malaysians in Japan who converged on the the Imperial Hotel yesterday (the furthest had traveled from Hiroshima, according to the organisers), it was high tea. 

Usually, the PM doesn’t really get to eat. Yesterday, stuck on the stage with the moderator, he asked on loud speakers if he could please have a cup of coffee. 

In New York (September), San Francisco (Oct) and Tokyo yesterday, three most recent assignments the Scoop had me cover, it was the same: he arrives, make a short speech, and stays on the stage till the end of the designated time answering questions from the floor. 

“I’ll answer the easy ones. The hard questions, you ask Tengku Zafrul and Tok Mat,” he told the Malaysian diaspora in Tokyo,  referring to the two accompanying Cabinet ministers. 

As the case was in New York and San Francisco, a primary concern of the Tokyo diaspora is the right to Malaysian citizenship for children of Malaysians married to foreigners. 

Another is, can they not be made to travel all the way to our Embassy in Tokyo just to renew their visas? It is a long journey …

In San Francisco, Anwar said he liked the idea of Malaysian students gaining some work experience after graduation by working in their host countries.

This will help them serve the country better when they do return. And if they somehow decide to stay back longer or not come back at all, “Just make sure you send a lot of money home.”

The Malaysian diaspora, of course, find Anwar’s views refreshing, even liberating. “Don’t be afraid to use race and religion .. to forge greater unity among ourselves.”

But some students - and their parents -  are finding out that things are easier said than done. Anwar may be supportive of our students gaining job experience abroad but the relevant authorities, such as MARA, which give out study loans and scholarships, may have other ideas.

“The PM says one thing but the relevant authorities say they have not received the memo from the PM. So nothing has changed,” said a frustrated dad. 

Anwar said the rights to Malaysian citizenship for diaspora babies will be taken up, presumably in Parliament, in the first quarter of 2024. 

Follow-through will determine that the diaspora’s issues and other gains made during Anwar’s trips are properly executed and realised. 

These include the international stature that the country has managed to regain as a result of Anwar’s “fiercely independent” but non-combating stand on Gaza, US-China’s ties, rules-based xxx, climate change and ASEAN. 

New Foreign Minister Mohamad Hassan has already gotten a taste of what’s in store. Since his appointment, he has not even had time to report for duty at Wisma Putra. “Straight to the deep end,” Tok Mat told reporters covering the Tokyo visit. 

And there’s the potential FDI that all those overseas trips have garnered. Keyword here is potential. 

“Tengku Zafrul banyak berjasa membawa pelaburan besar ke negara kita,” Anwar had told the Tokyo diaspora. 

That’s a fact. From all those overseas trips that he made in 2023, with and without the PM, the Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Tengku Zafrul Aziz got companies from Germany to Japan to commit to RM353.6 billion worth of potential investments (including Tokyo’s latest tally of RM6.6 billion, which are mostly for expansion).  

These are FDI that the Malaysian economy sorely needs. 

But if not realised, potential investments will amount to nothing. 

To make sure that those companies actually invest, all the infrastructure, resources, and ease of doing business that have been promised to them by Anwar, Zafrul and Tok Mat during all those trips must be realised and delivered. 

And everyone - ministry, department, chamber of commerce,  GLC, trade union, and right down to the media - must get the same memo. 


Rocky’s Bru is Datuk Ahirudin Attan, the Scoops’ blah blah blah. In Tokyo he discovers chimaki, a rice cake covered with sweet soy flour from the mountain region of Uonuma, probably the best desserts in the world after kueh lopes. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The case of the missing trees in Taman Tun Dr Ismail


TTDI, 29 Nov: They are cutting the trees again in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, once one of the greenest housing estates in KL. 

Well, it probably STILL is but at the rate City Hall has been making some huge, old trees dissapear while residents were in bed watching Netflix or HBO, or simply passing out, TTDI won’t stay as green for long. Resident Dr V. Sivapalan alerted the neighbourhood of the missing trees two days ago on TTDI’s 17k-strong Facebook page. “I don’t know if you realise it but we have been losing a lot of large trees in TTDI over the last few months. These are perfectly healthy trees that are 20-30 years old.” 

Dr Sivalapan said “they” started cutting trees along Persiaran Openg “purportedly to put up new pavements”, followed by trees along Jalan Datuk Sulaiman and now “they” have cut the trees at the Kiara Park entrance and along Jalan Rahim Kajai.

“TTDI is know for its trees but they have stealthily cut down those trees and no one has protested. If we continue to keep quiet, soon we will lose all the trees along all our road just because they want to build pavements … It is time we spoke against this madness,” he said in the FB posting.

What Dr Sivapalan said is true. Taman Tun is beginning to look like Legoland in JB when it opened a few years ago: botak and barren. The sad thing is that residents who responded to the news of the fallen trees were mostly unsympathetic. 

“I’m sure DBKL has a good reason for that. No one cuts down trees without a valid reason,” one wrote back.

DBKL, or the City Hall, is who Dr Sivapalan refers to as “they” in his FB posting on the missing trees. And how anyone who lives in TTDI can still blindly trust DBKL, heats the hell out of me. Most residents would remember how TTDI nearly lost an entire precious park to a massive condominium project that DBKL tried to force upon them just a couple of years before the pandemic!

I’m with Dr Sivalapan and likeminded residents in calling the RA to wake up from their slumber and nudge the relevant Member of Parliament into action. Stop this three-killing madness. Let’s do out bit for Mother Nature.

P.S. DBKL should take a leaf out of Kuala Kubu Baru’s book: KKB Council to track condition of the town’s iconic trees 

Saturday, November 18, 2023

It pays to annoy: How Malaysia got Gaza to be heard in San Francisco

San Francisco, Nov 17: PM Anwar Ibrahim should be delighted with the outcome of the APEC meetings which ended today but he said he was only “quite happy”.

“I regretted that we (the leaders) were unable to reach justice a consensus on Gaza,” he said at the conclusion of the 30th APEC leaders meeting here. 

“I am grateful for the opportunity to bring the Palestine issue out into the open and in not a combative way.

“But I wish (the US), which has been at the forefront of humanitarian issues, had been more consistent when it came to Gaza. 

“Like I said in front of President (Joe) Biden earlier this afternoon, each day delayed means hundreds maybe thousand of Palestinian lives, including children and women,” he said. 

The PM spoke to Malaysian journalists after a dinner with the Malaysian diaspora, which was the last official event in his packed schedule that started last Monday. 

Foreign Minister Zambry Abdul Kadie, MITI minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz, and KKD Minister, along with Malaysian envoy to the US, Nazri, accompanied Anwar at the press conference. 

Throughout the APEC meetings, Anwar had been a thorn in the flesh for host the US, which has
ruled out a ceasefire for Gaza. 

With the staunch support of his counterparts from Indonesia and Brunei, Zambry insisted ni that if APEC wouldn’t support Gaza, it should not be making any geopolitical statement at all that support, say, Ukraine. 

“Any geopolitical statement to be issued must be fair and not hypocritical,” Zambry said. 

And as a result of Malaysia’s protests, the APAC  leadership summit was able only to include economic issues the Badr morning f. Mto go back to its geoeconomic roots. 

Anwar praised Brunei and Indonesia for backing up Malaysia. The three countries issued  a joint statement on Palestine not related to Bangsar. (Chia, Please provide the link to the Bernama article here)

On the economic front, Anwar appeared  more than quite happy. His delegation secured more than RM63 billion of new proposed investments by Microsoft, TikTok, Inovix, Google, and TPG). 

This amount does not include the deal signed by the MCMC under Fahmi’s ministry with BlackBerry. Among other things BlackBerry will set up a Cybersecurity Centre of Ezcellence in Malaysia. 

Zafrul said he has gotten Cabinet approval to create a Malaysian Investmenr Facilitation Centre to cut red tape and hasten approval of new investments.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Anwar calls for end of Cold War mindset after Jo Biden-Xi Jinping meet

San Francisco, Nov 15: For the last one year PM Anwar Ibrahim has consistently called for the US and China to engage each other and not force others around them, Malaysia included, to ally to one or the other. 

This morning, as President Biden and President Xi finally held a historic four-eyed meeting at the onset of the APEC Summit, Anwar applauded it as “critical” and called for an end of  “the Cold War mind set “.

“To me, the meeting between President Biden and President Xi is critical because it should give a message that we are able to work together and trust each other, to resolve serious problems and issues like climate change, Ukranian or Gaza. There are too many contentious issues in the world and we must try and engage.

“Accept the fact that you may not achieve all the desired results but this engagement is important to try and establish areas that we can work together,” he said at the APEC 2023 CEO Summit here.

APEC comprises 21 nations including the US, China, ASEAN, South Korea, Japan and the Oceania. These leaders’ Summit is preceded by a week of meetings involving the CEOs, the APEC economic ministers (AEM) and foreign ministers (AMM). 

Anwar has always been against attempts to force Malaysia to take sides in the US-China conundrum. He repeated this stand to the CEOs. 

“Why put us in a fix in a zero-sum game? For the benefit of the emerging economes and also for the West and the East, I believe that the solution is, of course, greater collaboration.

“This Cold War mindset must end because the world in the post-normal times is more chaotic, more complex and full of contraditions that only wise leaders with vision and commitment and shared idealis will be able to resolve effectively.”

Yesterday, in his special lecture at the UC Berkeley yesterday, Anwar had described how both these countries are equally important to Malaysia. 

He cited as example the case of his government’s decision to open up Malaysia’s 5G development to China’s Huawei.

“When it comes to 5G, our earlier decision was to go with Ericsson (but) then we also see this very impressive advanced technological transformations by Huawei. So we choose what we consider the best for the country. It is not a question of whether we like the United States or China, it is what’s critically important for Malaysia,” he had told the students.

Last September at the UN General Assembly, the Malaysian PM had also sent a similar message to the US and China. 

He repeated this to the APEC CEOs: “The US and the West remain a very important ally to us and China is a very important, trusted neighbour tht will help in our attempt to propel the economy and ensure a peaceful and vibrant regional economy.”

Anwar also challenged the business leaders to be more accountable and help promote the new dynamics. “You can’t depend only on the political leaders because they have been entrusted and to some extent they have succeeded, but they have also failed miserably. So we need now a new configuration where the private sector should play a more dominant role.”

At the same time, he added, the business leaders must have the humility to accept that things have changed and to acknowlege that we have limitations. The 1MDB, for example, would not have happened without the complicity of some international financial institutions, in this case Goldman Sachs. “Accountability is not just among politial leaders but also business leaders and civil society leaders,” he added.

Anwar is scheduled to have a series of discussions with CEOs of some of the biggest corporations based in San Francisco, including Google and Microsoft, and several bilateral meetings with his counterparts, including from Canada and Peru, which is hosting next year’s APEC.

At the end of the 30th APEC summit on Saturday, the leaders will adopt a Golden Gate Declaration that will set the tone for economic collaborations among the member countries in the coming year. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

On the fringes of APEC, Anwar continues his condemnation of the brutal, blatant killings of innocents in Gaza



This is a time of profound disruption across all facets of international relations. As information technology reshapes societies everywhere, we have reached an unprecedented intersection between opportunity and risk. While its utilitarian benefits are well known, social media also facilitates the spread of harmful misinformation and falsehoods at unmatched speed and scale, endangering the informed citizenry essential to healthy democracies. 


Malaysia has long been heralded as a beacon of moderation, demonstrating a harmonious balance between its rich Islamic heritage and modernity. Historically, Malaysia has navigated the complex waters of religious expression with a deft hand, allowing for a pluralistic society where different faiths coexist peacefully under the umbrella of a predominantly Muslim population.


However, the ubiquity of social media platforms has ushered in new challenges. The digital age has allowed for the rapid dissemination of information, but it has also become a conduit for more intolerant ideologies to seep into the Malaysian discourse. These strains of thought, often rooted in a more rigid interpretation of Islam, have found fertile ground in the unregulated expanses of the online world. The phenomenon is not unique to Malaysia; it mirrors the rise of fascist right-wing elements in Europe and beyond - I’m careful not to mention the US -, where misinformation campaigns have successfully amplified fringe views into mainstream consciousness.


In the process, falsehood trumps truth, providing fodder to spin narratives founded on lies and deceit. Take the case of the web of duplicity and disinformation spun around the narrative on Malaysia’s position on the current Palestinian-Israeli conflictThat in calling for a ceasefire and a stop to the incessant bombing of Gaza, Malaysia somehow condones acts of terrorism


As I had declared in the Malaysian Parliament, there are no two ways about it. We condemn terrorism, in all its forms, and we categorically condemn the actions of killing innocent lives and taking women and children as hostages. Likewise, we unequivocally condemn the bombing of civilians, of homes and hospitals and the consequential atrocities against innocent lives, children, women, and men being carried out day and night in Gaza with impunity. These are blatant violations of international law. 


Malaysia views this as a humanitarian crisis precipitated by a brutal and indiscriminate war. Ultimately, this isn’t about which God we pray to. After all, the more than 11,000 victims in Gaza comprise Muslims and Christians as well as nationalities of various countries. This is about preventing more deaths, more suffering and more hate. Proponents of the Palestinian cause are neither purveyors of hate speech nor supporters of terrorism. 


What’s happening today in Palestine will affect us all. The implications of this strife are significant and long-lasting. It is poised to affect not just Palestine or the broader Middle East, but also leave an imprint on global relations for many years to come.


Sunday, November 12, 2023

Anwar whacks Israel atrocities, harder yet again, days before meeting with Biden







11 NOVEMBER 2023



Your Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud,

Crown Prince and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,


Your Majesties, Excellencies,

May the blessings and peace of Allah SWT be upon you.


1. There are moments in history that shake us to our core and challenge our collective conscience. Moments that compel us to ask if our humanity still flickers; if we have the courage and wisdom to act. Such a moment has come with an ongoing Israeli onslaught on Palestine. Such a moment is now.




2. I therefore applaud the initiative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to convene thisExtraordinary Arab and Islamic Summit. And commend Your Highness for settingthe tone of unequivocal support for the Palestinians cause and for your condemnation of the colonisation and atrocities committed by Israel. I wish to also thank President Fattah El-Sisi of Egypt for facilitating the humanitarian aid.


3. For over a month, the besieged people of Gaza have been subjected to the barbaric cruelties and genocide by the Israeli forces, indiscriminately targeting men, women and children alike. Gaza has become a graveyard of martyr innocents, mostly children of PalestineNeither homes, hospitals, nor religious sanctuaries, Muslim or Christian, are safe from Israel’s indiscriminate attacks.


4. This continuation of the politics of dispossession of the Palestinians is not taking place in the dead of the night; it is being perpetrated in full view of the world in a flagrant breach of international law. 


5. The political class of western nationsexhibit a selective myopia toward the turmoil in Palestine. Yet, we salute the collective and the awakening conscience of their peopleA sea change inawareness has taken root, as shown in mass demonstrations of unprecedented proportion throughout the world, including the western world, in support of Palestine. 


6. Ironically, in these capitals that herald free speech and human rights as sacrosanct rights, some authorities have denounced proponents of the Palestinian cause, maligning them as purveyors of hate speech and supporters of terrorism. This is perverse double standards writ large.


7. In this pivotal moment, Arabs and Muslims collective voice is crucial. We stand stronger when we champion a shared purpose and freedom of all people.  Believe me, thummah and the international community expect tangible actions.


8. With due humility, I call upon each of us to strategically employ our diplomatic channels and networks. In every dialogue and on every stage – be it bilateral or multilateral, regional or international – let us consistently and assertively call for thefollowing in a concerted diplomatic campaign:


• Institute an immediate ceasefire; increase and expedite humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza.


• halt all Israeli settlement activity and settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank.


• immediately cease the forced displacement of civilians.


• investigate and prosecute all breaches of international law, including war crimes, through international judicial institutions.


• support the Arab Peace Initiative and facilitate negotiations with reputable mediators to advance the Two-State Solution (with a recognition of an independent State of Palestine based on the pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital); and


• combat the global rise in Islamophobia while safeguarding the right to peaceful expressions of support for the Palestinian cause.


9. It is imperative that we unite our voices in chorus so that our message stands a much greater chance of resonating and being heard.


10. In closing, allow me to reaffirm Malaysia's ironclad commitment to the Palestinian cause. 


Thank you.

Thursday, November 09, 2023

Cabinet or Badminton? Zafrul can’t have his cake and eat it too


KL 8 Nov: The blog called nuclearmanbursa is saying what’s on the minds of many: why is the leadership of BAM, the main body for the country’s badminton, being passed from one politician to another as if it’s the birthright of politicians and only politicians to head BAM?

I’m reproducing nuclearmanbursa’s entire posting here because Netizens can no longer assess his blog. The MCMC, the institution that regulates blogs and social media in this country, recently decided to block nuclearmanbursa for reasons best known to themselves. Something for another posting another day. 

For now, here is the full nuclearmanbursa’s article on the boarding of positions in the Badminton Association of Malaysian. (I have dropped the last para of his posting to protect myself against potential lawsuits). 

Of course I’ve got something mroe to say about this, immediately below this posting.

Monday, 6 November 2023
Badminton Association of Malaysia, the house of un electable politicians

BACK in early 2023, Ganjar Pranowo looked all set to be the shoe in candidate to win next year's election and assume the presidency of Indonesia. READ :  Ganjar Pranowo is the most popular candidate to replace Jokowi as the next President of Indonesia.

AND then just like that, the most popular active politician in Indonesia,  saw his popularity go down the drain when  he poked his nose in the world of sports, causing Indonesia to lose the opportunity  to host the 2023 Under 20 FIFA World Cup.  
READ :  Ganjarer , Koster made into pariahs over U-20 cancellation.

The moral of the story is politicians should keep their nose out of sports, because the underlying feeling is that they are out to use and abuse sporting associations for their own politicial use, ie to bolster their own political standing.

Take, for instance, Tengku Zafrul's recent coup in
 being annoited  READ : as the next Badminton Association of Malaysia President, taking over from the failed politician Norza Zakaria.

We all know Tengku Zafrul as a Liverpool loving football fan, and not as somebody who has the well being of Badminton in the country at heart.

Tengku Zafrul has too much on his plate already as the minister in charge of MITI and too many issues that could blow up on his face and embarrass Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, for him to even remotely be the ideal choice to lead badminton to a new era.

ROCKY’s BRU comments:

Totally agree with nuclearmanbursa. Tengku Zafrul is hardly in the country because he has a big responsibility to Anwar Ibrahim’s government and to this country. Humongous responsibility to bring in the investment that will create jobs and wealth and spur the economy. Right now he is in San Francisco, or on the way there, to attend the ministerial meeting of APEC, ahead of PM Anwar Ibrahim’s participation in the grouping’s Summit on 15-17 Nov. 

You can count how many days in a month Zafrul is in the country. How can he possibly take on another huge responsibility which could take up even more time than his MITI portfolio? 

What was he thinking when he accepted outgoing BAM President Norza Zakaria’s appointment?

And what was Norza thinking? His tenure as BAM chief may have been smashing, or not, depending on who you’re talking to. I’m not qualified to judge. But I can say with some certainty that Norza did neither BAM nor Zafrul any favour by ‘anointing’ the MITI Minister as his successor. 

I am not saying that ALL politicians should be denied or deprived the chance to lead sporting bodies. But serving MPs and Cabinet Ministers should say NO. They have enough on their plates. 

 In Zafrul’s case, his job as MITI Minister is too important and too big for the wellbeing of our economy for him to even entertain Norza’s suggestion that he was the right man for the BAM job. 

Stop kidding us. Stop kidding yourselves. BAM needs someone who can give 100 percent of his or her time and energy to the further development of badminton and its never-ending politics and polemics. 

The only way Zafrul can be that someone is if he decides to quit Anwar Ibrahim’s Cabinet.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Anwar at UNGA

This article has been edited for  scoop.my

Heading: Anwar Ibrahim’s much-awaited UN General Assembly debut

Sub: Between his address to over 100 world leaders and a rare khutbah at New York’s oldest mosque, the PM will attempt to make Malaysia’s “rightful claim” as global middle power


New York: Malaysia’s flamboyant ambassador to the US Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz describes his job as “an easy one”. “I’m lucky. My job is made easy and it’s because of who the Prime Minister (of Malaysia) is and how he is perceived.”

I had just asked him if he had managed to change how the Americans view Malaysia after taking up the job in February.We were at Malaysia’s Permanent Mission in New York after a briefing for Malaysian journalists by Foreign Minister Zambry Kadir, who is in New York ahead of PM Anwar Ibrahim’s maiden address to the 78th UN General Assembly. 

Nazri, 69, has a long Cabinet career, having served several PMs, notably as the de facto Minister of Law when in Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Cabinet. But since Anwar became PM in November last year, Nazri said the perception of Malaysia, especially in the US, has changed and changed for the better.

“Largely, Anwar is perceived by the Americans as a leader who upholds democracy, the rule of law and transparency,” he added.

Anwar, who arrives in New York today, will not only be addressing (over 100) world leaders attending the UNGA (Friday 10 pm Msian time). He is also being accorded the singular honour as the first world leader to deliver a Friday sermon at the Islamic Cultural Centre here.

Zambry, underscoring the importance of the khutbah Jumaat the PM is delivering this Friday, said the growing divide between the global South and developed North and the rise of Islamophobia mean there was a need to bridge the various gaps of priorities and principles.

The former Perak Menteri Besar has been busier than usual in the weeks leading to the General Assembly, traveling from one time zone to another to spread the word on Malaysia’s new foreign policies under Anwar’s madani. 

Last week, for example, he was in Havana, Cuba attending the G77+China Summit where he urged the South to stop indulging in self-pity and blaming others. Before that, in Jakarta for the ASEAN leaders’ meeting, he articulated a rare, strongly-worded warning against Myanmar. And last month when in Tehran to re-establish ties with Iran, Zambry condemned the US for prolonged sanctions on the Muslim country.

Zambry has assimilated quite a team to support Anwar at UN, which include four Members of Parliament, the deputy chief ministers of Sabah and Sarawak. Bursa Malaysia CEO Umar Swift and Khazanah Nasional Berhad managing director Amirul Feisal Wan Zahir are also in the delegation to lay the groundwork for the PM in matters related to investment and business.

MITI Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz got in late yesterday and, following a blitzkrieg of meetings with CEOs, quickly announced foreign direct investments into Malaysia involving American interests valued at some RM2 billion. 

“My job has also been made easier. It’s easy to ‘sell’ the (Anwar) brand to these investors. Of course, we have to work hard and act quickly as the windows of oppotunity don’t stay open for long periods of time, but we’re on it,” Zafrul said at a meeting with Malaysian journalists at Conrad Hotel on West 54th, where the PM and official delegation are staying. 

Interestingly, in trade as with politics, Malaysia finds itself in the middle. Zafrul spoke of a “trade war’ involving the US and China and how American corporate entities, notably in the semiconductor, are leaving China for Malaysia. Asked by the Group Editor-in-Chief of The Scoop, Terence Fernandez, if he was not worried of getting in the way of the two feuding powers, Zafrul said both the US and China are Malaysia’s largest trading partners. 

“Sometimes we have to behave like opportunists, but the windows (of opportunity) don’t stay open forever. Moreover, we still have to compete with others in the region, especially Vietnam,” he said.

Zambry, meanwhile, said Anwar has agreed to be interviewed by CNN and Bloomberg in between his meetings with chief execs from Fortune 500 Companies and closed-door meetings with heads of governments, among others, President Erdogan of Turkiye, a key Malaysian ally in combating Islamophobia and in fighting for the rights of Palestine.

Howard Lee Chuan How, the MP for Ipoh Timur, who is one of the young politcians Zambry has selected to be in Team Malaysia, said Anwar should be leaving a huge impact on the US with his UNGA, the New York khutbah Jumaat and everything else in between.

“Anwar’s commitment in New York and the UNGA as well as the size of the delegation that Wisma Putra has sent here is indicative of Malaysia’s seriousness in assuming our rightful place in the world as a global middle power,” he said.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Ah, Wong Chun Wai!

Wong Chun Wai, the former editor-in-chief of The Star, will be made this afternoon the new chairman of Bernama, the national  news agency, sources said. If I’m not mistaken, he’ll the first non-Malay to be appointed to the post. Wong has never served Bernama as a reporter but that has never been a pre-requisite; his predecessor Ras Adibah Radzi, who joined the Opposition a little too hastily (I thought) after the end of her tenure as Bernama chairman (and senator) earlier this year, was also never a Bernama employee. Chun Wai has been a journalist for about 40 years and the circumstances surrounding his appointment to Bernama had been much talked about. With his vast experience as editor and non-editorial executive of one of the most profitable newspapers in the country, Chun Wai is expected to turn Bernama into a financially self-sustainable entity, for once. 

The 62-year old was not the first choice, apparently. The post had been offered to Meor Kamarulbaid Mior Shahid, the former Berita Harian editor, but they discovered that Meor was past 70 and, therefore, overaged. 

Monday, August 14, 2023

The best analysis on the 3:3 outcome of the State Elections goes to …

Damansara, 14 Aug (a public holiday in Selangor): Of all the analyses on the outcome of the six-state elections, I like one dished out by Liyana Marzuki the most. The Scoop has the story: Mereka bukan menang besar, mereka hanya sembang besar [They didn’t win big, they only talked big]

The self-confessed Unity Government advocate didn’t mince her words in her analysis, reminding the people of how cocky Muhyiddin Yasin and Dr Mahathir Mohamad were in their prophecy of a landslide defeat for Anwar Ibrahim’s UG (the Bersatu president said Perikatan Nasional could win all 6 states if Malay voter turnout exceeded 90% while Dr M predicted a 1-5 defeat for Anwar). 

She even made fun of Muhyiddin’s call for Anwar to step down after the state elections results were announced. (Read her FB at the end of this posting)

Pakatan Harapan retained Selangor, Penang and Negri Sembilan in the state elections while Perikatan Nasional got to keep Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu. The outcome of the elections, one analyst told Bernama, “… will help clear up uncertainties in the local political scene, and will attract more foreign investors to the Malaysian stock market.” 

Additionally, we can expect the overall outlook in the midterm to be positive buoyed by improving economic conditions, the same analyst said. 

The outlook would have been grim if Mahathir or Muhyiddin’s prophecies had come true: the KLSE index and the Ringgit would have plumetted today and FDI would just go elsewhere (and not Kelantan, Kedah or Terengganu, for sure).

Liyana Marzuki’s analysis taken from her Facebook: 

TSMY punya bongkak sebelum PRN ini. Katanya dia cukup yakin PN akan tawan semua 6 negeri.
Tun M jangkakan mereka akan dapat skor 5-1. Selangor dan Negeri Sembilan akan jatuh.
TGHH juga kata, kalau ini berlaku mereka akan buat gerakan menebuk atap sekali lagi. Tiada siapa termasuk pihak Istana, boleh menghalang.
Hakikatnya, mereka jauh tersasar. Mereka bukan menang besar, mereka hanya SEMBANG BESAR.
Negeri Sembilan kononnya PN boleh rampas, kecundang pula. PHBN siap dapat 2/3.
Selangor lagi kan pula, siap PN kata boleh dapat 2/3, kalah juga! Walaupun pelbagai janji ditabur dan bulan bintang hendak diberi. Orang Selangor cerdik lagi.
Saya jangkakan Kelantan akan beri telur ayam. Still UMNO menang di sana. Dan di Kedah DAP dan PKR boleh menang kerusi.
Mana cerita MENANG BESAR itu tadi?
Sebenarnya Presiden PN ni sudah terciduk. Terkantoi over confident pada mulanya.
Tu sebab jangan bongkak dan sembang deras mula2.
Sembang deras itu hanya boleh makan Taksuber.
Untuk GAP dan fence sitters, we can see through you, your true colours.
Sekarang, dia buat statement, PMX kena resign dan retire. Sebab PN sudah “menang besar”. Yang saya nampak “sembang besar” saja.
Masa PH 1.0 22 bulan dan zaman 33 bulan, setiap PRK dan PRN , PPBM kalah. Ingat PRN Johor dan Melaka? Patut masa tu TSMY pun retire! Gagal banyak benda. Kalau bukan sebab PAS, PRU15 pun terciduk juga.
Not my kinda of PM. Kalau PN nak berjaya, elok lah ditukar lain pula. Ni dah level dinosaur. Tambah Kluster Mahkamah Jana Wibawa. Sudah basi jua.
Salam hormat,

Liyana Marzuki. 



Saturday, August 12, 2023

Chief Tyrant Officer rules EPF and that’s not OK, say workers

Amir Hamzah
AMIR Hamzah Azizan has helmed nearly a dozen companies, including GLC giant Tenaga Nasional, and in all those years at the top has probably never been called a “tyrant” before. 

But now the generally timid trade unions of the Employee Provident Fund, where he has been CEO since March 2021 (when Muhyiddin Yasin was PM), are calling Amir Hamzah’s management zalim, which is Malay for tyrannical, a title accorded to Firaun in biblical times and, in more recent times, to Dr Mahathir. Surely, something any CEO can do without especially if he or she harbours any ambition to climb to the highest rung of the GLC ladder. 

The trade unions are sore with Amir’s administration for allowing a pay gap cancer to permeate and give birth to a “caste system” between EPF’s top managers earning fat pay checks and ordinary workers who take home crumbs. 

Worse, the workers seem to have closed the door for discussions with the management, tired of being ignored time and again by the management, they claimed. They are now demanding that the Prime Minister steps in to help resolve the dispute.

I don’t know how big the salary disparity in the EPF is or how much Amir Hamzah takes home compared with the salary he pays, say, Ahmad Hamzah the trade union leader. I’m sure Malaysians in general are not bothered how much Amir is paid or how generous he is with his top managers or how much the Minister of Finance (who is also the PMX) allows the directors of EPF to reward themselves. But so often we see low-income workers in this country getting poorer and poorer compared with their bosses and that is something we (ie the employers) need to consciously address if we truly aspire for a more just and equitable society. 

The EPF, which was the 4th largest pensions fund in Asia in 2020 and 7th in the world before the pandemic (its income in the first quarter of 2023 was RM16 billion, 3 per cent more than the corresponding quarter of 2022), is the body entrusted to safeguard the interests of 15 million workers in the private sector who mandatorily contribute 12 per cent of their income to it. 

As I see it, the EPF can’t be doing a great job (for the millions of contributing workers) if it can’t even rein in - or please - its own 5,700 workers.