Thursday, August 31, 2006

A Dubious Record For Jasin MP.

In what is probably a record of sorts, the Honourable Member of Parliament for Jasin, Datuk Mohd Said Yusof had a police report lodged against him by a civil servant for criminal intimidation under Section 506 of the Penal Code.

While most politicians aspire to have their names recorded in history for the good deeds they have done, our man from Jasin keeps accumulating more and more dirt, ever since this hitherto unknown lawmaker hit the headlines with the now infamous 'close one eye' episode. From then on it has been a long downhill trip for this 'Yang Berhormat.' He however seems unfazed by it all and remains as cocky and confident as ever. It's as if he has some secret weapon or backer whom he is sure will see him through any adversity.

What I can't understand however is the blind support afforded him by his rakan-rakan in the Dewan Rakyat. How can they demand that the public have respect for them if they have no respect for the law? When one of their kind has proven to be no good, what is the point of continuing to shield him? The shameful episode of the Back Benchers Club hoo-haa is still fresh in our minds. Instead of reprimanding him and ensuring that he at least stays on the right side of the law vis a vis the Customs Department, what did our esteemed parliamentarians do? They went on a fault-finding and threatening spree while the whole time cowering behind the immunity their office entitles them to. The Jasin MP further made allegations against the Customs Department regarding RM48 million spent on uniforms. And the other MPs castigated civil servants including the Chief Secretary, while brandishing their power of contempt of parliament as a deadly weapon.

Unfortunately these empty threats and their pathetic attempts at bravado did not impress the Customs Department, who apart from filing the police report against our Jasin man also hit back at the RM48 million allegation.

In the process of these skirmishes, errors of omission and commission and attempts at bullying and browbeating others, the biggest victim has been the hallowed institution of Parliament itself. In all honesty can any MP today expect the public to accord them the respect that was theirs say even ten years ago? Very unlikely. And who is to blame for this state of affairs? The list is indeed very long!

***** Read here the view of Kota Baru MP, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim: Privilege does not offer total immunity.

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MPAJ - The Evil Authority.

This morning Bernama released a report on the plight of squatters who are bona fide Malaysian citizens in Ulu Klang. On reading it I was reminded of the footages I've seen on CNN where Israeli tanks steamrolled into Palestinian territory destroying everything in sight and the unarmed, hapless population could only look on. The report tells us of the extreme cruelty of the Ampang Municipal Council (MPAJ) enforcement authorities, the partiality they practice towards non-citizens especially Indonesians who perhaps have bribed them outright, to be spared the demolishers' wrath and the indifference shown by their officers towards the suffering inflicted on fellow citizens. All because they are poor and have no recourse to anyone who will help them. Ironically this report was released on our 49th Merdeka Day!(August 31, 2006 00:50 AM) Read on.....

......Squatters in Batu 8 in Ulu Klang here, whose homes were demolished earlier this month to make way for development, want the government to keep its promise to provide them with alternative housing and monetary compensation. "We only want what is right and what has been promised to us. We are not against development or the government," said Khairuddin Mohamad, 44, who said that he spoke on behalf of the affected squatters.

Khairuddin, who said he represented some 100 squatters who had lived there, said the Ampang Municipal Council (MPAJ) had demolished their homes on Aug 1 without notice. He said that most of them were low-income earners and could not afford to rent houses elsewhere, prompting 15 families to raise tents in the area, while the others shifted elsewhere or stayed with their relatives.

He said that last Friday, MPAJ personnel again came and this time tore down their tents to get rid of them. Parts of the place were also blocked off using zinc fences. "They tore everything down without any regards to our things and equipment. It rained heavily that evening, so we raised our tents again as we have nowhere else to go. We have to live inside tents without electricity and water supply," he told Bernama when met at his family's tent there.

The retired soldier, who now works as a labourer, has lived there since the 1970's with his wife and three children aged 22, 18 and 14.

What amazed them was that other squatters, mostly Indonesians, living adjacent to their area were not disturbed by the local authorities.

"When we asked them (MPAJ) why the adjacent squatter area was not demolished, they replied that they do not know, and that they were just doing their jobs. We feel there is no justice," Khairuddin said.

He said the action to demolish their homes was made after the Shah Alam High Court on July 31 rejected their appeal to move only when their new homes were ready. "Under the agreement we made with the government in 2005, we were to move immediately when the low-cost houses, being built at Sungai Sering, Ukay Perdana, are completed in 2007. "The government had also promised to give RM400 a month compensation as rent for the new place for two years, and RM500 to rent a lorry for shifting expenses.

"The problem now is that the houses, being built since 2005, are not ready because of being abandoned. The construction work on them also seemed to have proceeded at a snail's pace as though on purpose, so much so that only a few percent of the project was done," he said.

Khairuddin said the land they were occupying was previously owned by the government, but between 2004 and 2005, it was bought over by a developer.

He hoped that the government and other relevant authorities would come and see their plight and discuss with them possible solutions to the issue.

"Since the demolition, none of MPAJ's representatives have come to see us and help find a solution to our problem. In fact, Ulu Klang Assemblyman Datuk Ahmad Bujang, has also never come to this place or is aware of our existence," he said, adding that MPAJ should send its representatives to hold a dialogue with them for not keeping its promises.

**** As you would have read by now, even the elected representative, the Yang Berhormat who fought tooth and nail to be elected to 'serve the people' could not be bothered. Why should he? These are not rich people, he's already got his mandatory Datuk title and has probably started 'saving' enough for a rainy day. The last thing he needs to hinder his 'struggle' for bangsa dan negara are these troublemakers.

Selamat Hari Merdeka everyone!!!

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Adopt practice of open tenders, PAS tells government.

From Harakah comes this report that PAS wants the government to practice transparency when it comes to the selection and award of tenders. It is to the credit of their leaders that they have spoken openly and to the point, without adding any religious flavour to their urging.

The use of "direct negotiation" and "restricted tender" system to award public projects to contractors must be avoided unless in cases of projects that require specific know-how.
Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS) deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa said the government must use "open tender" system when awarding projects to contractors as part of prudent budgetary practice.

In a press conference to unveil a 15 pages "alternative budget" for 2007 here today, Nasharuddin said other prudent budgetary practices include doing away with extravagant unnecessary spendings and to restricting the use of consultants.

He said the government must also take disciplinary or legal actions against any civil servants who flouted the tender system.

PAS youth chief Salahudin Ayub, MP for Kubang Kerian who was also present highlighted the fact that the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) building project was initially given on open tender basis but was "overruled" later by the Finance Ministry. "The Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Awang Adek (Hussin) admitted as much when he answered my question in parliament," he said.

He also revealed information on two new projects in Langkawi and Tanjung Pelepas in Johor, where the contractors were chosen on the basis of open tenders but later overruled.

"If this is the (fate of a) project and these haemorrhages continues to occur, I don't see the possibility of the objectives of the Ninth Malaysian being achieved," he said.

Also present at the press conference ahead of the tabling of the 2007 budget was PAS treasurer Mohd Hatta Ramli and economic bureau chairman Rosli Yaakob.[ES]

TMNet To Increase Broadband Capacity.

On paper this sounds like good news. But how the service will be or how much thought has been given to the pricing to accomodate the 'not so well-to-do,' I don't know. Increased bandwith will be a boon to many and the possibilities resulting from it are indeed exciting. The full report from Bernama here.....

Internet services provider, TMNet Sdn Bhd, plans to increase its broadband capacity to four megabit (MB) by year-end from existing two MB to cater to the emerging technological evolution trend of IPTV (Internet protocol television), broadband phone, video phone and online learning.

TMNet general manager (corporate strategy/services), Dr Fadhlullah Suhaimi Abdul Malek, said Malaysia was currently in the second phase of the broadband life cycle and to move to the third stage of the growing technology in IPTV and broadband phone it would need a greater bandwidth and infrastructure.

"Currently, we have 700,000 subscribers and we expect to increase them to 900,000 by year-end," he said at the inaugural Business & Technology Speakers' Series Forum entitled "Triple Play: Exploring Potentials and Monetising Opportunities" here Wednesday. The forum is organised by Malaysia Debt Ventures Bhd (MDV).

Another speaker, Andrew Chetham, research vice president (telecommunications) of Gartner, said IPTV would be essentially the future applications platform. "The IPTV market has a low price entry level. "Asia is leading the revolution and is the fastest-growing market for IPTV, followed by Europe and the US," he said.

Earlier, in his speech at the opening of the forum, MDV managing director/chief executive officer, Md Zubir Ansori Yahaya, said triple play deployment was surging ahead and in the next three years, 80 percent of the world's broadband subscribers would be in Asia. "The region is leading the broadband adoption to the home and mobile devices supported by a better infrastructure that can accept triple play," he said.

Zubir said trends towards triple play were already evolving with the recent announcement by the government to form a telecommunications infrastructure and management company. "Such efforts from the government will further spur the broadband penetration which stands at two percent in the first quarter of 2006," he said.

The forum aims to provide a platform for marketing, networking and knowledge-sharing within the industry players.

Penang Malays' Demands; Lim Keng Yaik's Forthright Reply.

Blame yourselves and not the Chief Minister, said the plainspoken Gerakan President Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik, in his usual straight-from-the-shoulder style.

His deputy and Penang Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon should not be blamed for the existence of several groups of backward Malays in the state. He said this was because some Malays residing in Penang chose not to accept modernisation and progress despite fair development undertaken by the existing administration.

"I can say that Malays in Penang have better living standards compared with those residing in other states," he said. Based on his observations since being at helm of the party for 26 years, Dr Lim said there were Malays who chose to maintain their traditional rural lifestyle. "So do not blame (Dr Koh) Tsu Koon if there are Malays in Penang who are backward," he added.

There is of course much truth in what he says, although we cannot generalise that all Malays do not prefer modernisation and refuse to budge from a rural lifestyle. In fact a rural lifestyle is in itself a good thing. More importantly the crux of his message is that the Penang Malays should not look for scapegoats and instead look at themselves and see where the real problem lies. Whether it is all the state government's fault or have they in a large measure contributed to their perceived 'backwardness' through their own shortcomings and defects?

Time and again many have questioned what the four Malay Exco members including the Deputy CM have done for their people? If they have done precious little, is it because they have tried and failed or they had never bothered about the Malays there at all? This is one aspect of the story that must be probed by those non-politicians who are genuinely interested and care for the future of their Penang kinfolk. To depend on the politicians in this matter is an utter waste of time because as seen in other places these political-types are more interested in feathering their own nests than helping the truly needy.

So if Penang Umno think they can consider and treat CM Koh as a whipping boy, don't forget Uncle Keng Yaik is round the corner looking out for them, ready to dish out singlehandedly, Robocop-style, swift retaliation against any further unsubstantiated attacks!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

4.3 Million Viewers Watched Siti's Wedding On TV.

The ratings results are out and RTM- Astro LOST. Read here the full report from Bernama.

Some 4.3 million viewers watched the fairy tale wedding reception of pop princess Datin Siti Nurhaliza Tarudin, 27 and businessman Datuk Khalid Mohamad Jiwa, 47 on television Monday night. The wedding, held at KLCC and attended by 2,500 guests including royalties and political leaders, was telecast live by private station TV3 for two hours from 9pm.

Citing figures compiled by AGB Neilsen Media Research, TV3 said the audience rating hit 4.3 million viewers or 70 per cent of the overnight viewership.

It said rival stations enjoyed an average of 1.6 million viewers or 22.5 per cent in overnight rating.

Government station Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) and satellite TV operator Astro jointly produced the "Mawi-Ina" reality talkshow which was telecast live over RTM1 and Astro Ria at 8.45 pm simultaneously.

The programme brought together popular artiste Asmawi Ani (Mawi), 25, and his ex-fiancee Nordiana Mohamed Naim (Ina), 22, at two separate studios at the Putrajaya Holdings Bhd auditorium.

Media Prima Bhd Television Network Corporate Communications General Manager Eliza Mohamed said: "We were right in our forecast... the programme was meticulously planned to satisfy the audience who have religiously watched Siti's progress as a star on TV3."

Earlier, the couple's engagement and solemnisation ceremony at the Federal Territory Kuala Lumpur Mosque on Aug 21 was beamed live over TV3, breaking a record with an average of 2.86 million day viewers.

Moral of the story: Don't potong jalan or gatecrash.

Related post: Siti Nurhaliza-Datuk K Wedding. Envious RTM Wants In.

MPs - Customs Department Spat. PM Steps In.

After watching from the sidelines the spectacle of elected representatives taking potshots at civil servants while hiding behind the privilege of immunity, the PM probably thought that enough is enough. Having much experience on both sides of the divide, he understands the Honourable Members' anger and grouses. At the same time he knows the anguish of the civil servants when they are up against a belligerent legislature.

It is perhaps taking all this into consideration that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced that he wants the issue involving the Customs and Excise Department and Members of Parliament (MPs) be stopped. He said if prolonged, it would certainly create negative reactions which would not be good either for the Customs or that certain quarters were probably not happy with some MPs. "On accusations hurled at each other, this is something that should not continue and should be stopped, that is my message to them as too many things have now been raised", he told reporters.

The Prime Minister said this when asked on the latest development which saw MPs questioning the Customs integrity during the Dewan Rakyat sitting. Abdullah is confident that the issue could be resolved given that Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed was now personally informed of the matter.

There is of course the strong possibilty that the Chief Secretary to the Government, the country's number one public servant, may have had a quiet word with Pak Lah. After all not many people have the kind of constant access to the Prime Minister that the Chief Secretary enjoys. And it is not easy even for the PM to ignore strong advice from him especially when it pertains to the interests of the civil service. Also keep in mind that the Yang Berhormat in their eagerness to condemn and 'lambast,' indirectly criticised the Chief Secretary, something not normally done, as courtesy demands that the highest respect is accorded to the head of the civil service. Public servants also won't take too kindly to see their boss being humiliated by MPs.

In any case it is better that Pak Lah ends any spat between these two pillars of the government machinery before things get ugly and the civil service retaliates. If that were to happen, apart from the MPs, it will be the ordinary citizen who will bear the brunt.

The Deputy Prime Miniter too has adviced the MPs: Air Grievances In A Decorous Manner, Najib Tells MPs.

Mawi-Ina Programme A Hit, Says Beaming Zam.

After shamelessly trying to potong jalan TV3's live telecast of the Datuk K-Siti Nurhaliza wedding reception with their own 'Mawi-Ina television special' over RTM 1 and Astro last night, Information Minister Datuk Zainuddin Maidin said that it was a hit and has proven to be an effective collaboration between the government-owned station and the satellite TV operator, as it attracted a large audience to the show from the beginning till the end.

How Zam, our Darth Vader of the information Darkside came to that conclusion, God knows, for in the very next sentence he said "however the rating for the programme which brought together last year's Akademi Fantasia champion Asmawi Ani and his ex-fiancee Nor Diana Naim, had yet to be obtained." Either he has incredibly accurate intuition or unparalleled optimism.

For good measure he also added, "the rating has not been received but based on outside rating and my own sentiments, I believe 99.9 per cent of Members of Parliament watched last night's programme over RTM!" Frankly no one cares if 99.9% of MPs watched Mawi-Ina or secretly viewed blue films. They may represent us in Parliament but they are definitely not representative of our viewing likes and dislikes.

Zam being Zam, he also gave the whole potong jalan episode a patriotic flavour when he said, "while showing the programme RTM had also inserted a message of independence and patriotism through visuals of national heroes who had perished during the war against the communists!!"

What else can I say? You simply can't beat this guy.

Bully Boy MPs Talk Big In Parliament.

BARISAN Nasional backbenchers at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday delivered a stern message to potential critics: That they had little time for those who took them on in public or who questioned their immunity from prosecution.

Anyone who crossed them would be savaged in the House. And this is what happened as they attacked the Customs and Excise Department like never before and took subtle digs at the Chief Secretary to the Government.(NST)

This reminds me of the bullies who lord it over the others in school and say that if the victims inform their parents or act tough outside, then they'll get savaged when they get back to school. For these bullies are gutsy and have balls, only when they are in their own territory.

The way that some of the MPs denigrated the Customs Department, the Chief Secretary and civil servants generally, speaks volumes of their low mentality and their propensity to be cruel to those who cannot reply in kind because these jokers enjoy immunity. They sneered at the service for not filling thousands of vacancies and even questioned the extension of service to retired senior officers.

If our parliamentarians, especially the loudmouths who spoke so scornfully yesterday had been equally enthusiastic and serious in the proceedings before, at least we can accept that they spoke sincerely. These fellas however have taken umpteen opportunities during this and previous parliamentary sessions to tell sick jokes, perpetuate stereotypes, pass sexual remarks to offend lady MPs and generally behave like comedians in a third-rate street show. They have no inkling about grace, magnanimity, chivalry, altruism or even plain decency. They poke fun at everyone and have no idea what humour is. ( For the few MPs I'm referring to, I quote James Thurber (1894-1961), U.S. humorist, illustrator - Humour does not include sarcasm, invalid irony, sardonicism, innuendo, or any other form of cruelty.)

For a detailed report of the antics of some of these goons read the NST

Wedding Reception Of Siti-Datuk K Steeped In Tradition.

Wedding of the Year? Indeed! The charming bride looked radiant in white while the bridegroom belied his age and looked youngish and very handsome. In fact where I watched the telecast from, everyone remarked that they looked very 'well-matched.' I liked the song she sang as well as K's 'killer' smile. The detailed report in Bernama here......

......The reception held in conjunction with the wedding of singer Datin Siti Nurhaliza Tarudin and Datuk Khalid Mohamad Jiwa was steeped in tradition with a garden concept, at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) here Monday.

The event began at 5.30 pm with Siti Nurhaliza, 27, attired in a white "Dewi Mustika" silk duchess satin gown created by Khoon Hooi, waved to about 1,000 of her fans from the third floor balcony on the west wing of the KLCC close to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. She was overcome with emotion and shed tears as she waved to the fans for about 10 minutes.

Siti Nurhaliza and businessman Datuk Khalid, fondly called Datuk K, were married at the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur Mosque on Aug 21. Monday's reception was telecast live by TV3 from 9 pm.

At 7.45 pm, Siti Nurhaliza and Datuk K, attired in traditional Malay costume and a "tengkolok" (headgear), posed for a photography session on the special dais that was created by consultant Kem Salleh. They spent almost an hour at the session before proceeding to the Exhibition Hall 1 & 2 of the KLCC.

At 9 pm, the bride and groom sat on the special dais, dubbed "Mahligai Asmara" (Palace of Love), that was created by Datuk Shah Rezza of Nusantara Gems, who was also the consultant for the wedding reception that cost RM500,000.

Some 2,500 guests, including members of the royalty and other VVIPs, were greeted on arrival by the fragrance of 2,500 flowers of various types imported from the Netherlands and China that adorned the reception hall.

Among the VVIPs were Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu, Sarawak Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Abang Barieng Mohammed Salahuddin, Melaka Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Khalil Yaakub, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Local and foreign artistes, including Kris Dayanti and Hetty Koes Endang, were also among the guests, who were entertained to gamelan music and dances and songs performed by artistes such as Ziana Zain, Ezlynn, Hijjaz, Datuk M. Daud Kilau, Nash Lefthanded and Uji Rashid.

Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang led the VVIPs and family members in sprinkling scented water on the bride and groom.

The couple also cut a multi-tiered cake called "Indah Percintaan" (The Beauty of Love) that cost RM12,000.

The wedding reception was also covered by more than 10 media representatives from Indonesia where Siti Nurhaliza has a large number of fans.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Don't Judge MPs Based On Media Reports, Says Zam.

Perhaps Lord Zam would like to tell us how else we are to make up our minds about the performance of these MPs? Even the PM has asked for a report from each MP about their activities. (A report card of sorts?) If even he needs to be told about what these Yang Berhormat are doing, how the devil are we to know unless we rely on the media and yes, the blogs?

The best gauge of their performance is during the Parliamentary sessions. And oh, how many Honourable monkeys the august House has! Offhand 3 of these male primates come to mind, whose only contribution is the mouthing off of racist, parochial, religious and antifeminist drivel. What a waste of taxpayers money. The price we have to pay to maintain the trappings of a true democracy! The entertainment provided by these distinguished members is probably equal to the quality one expects from a kindergarten kids' concert. And I'm being optimistic here.

According to Bernama our Zam, Darth Vader of the information Darkside, has asked the people not to judge Members of Parliament based on media reports of the issues they raise in the house. "It is not fair to label these MPs or accuse them of wasting Parliament's time by debating on petty issues," he said.

Public opinion of the MPs was largely shaped by the way the media had reported parliamentary proceedings, he said at the closing of the Smart Community debate here last night. He pointed out that it was the nature of the media to be "selective" in the issues that they wanted to report. "Therefore, the public should not judge the MPs based on news reports because the petty issues highlighted by the media are just a fraction of what is debated in Parliament.

Actually Zam should be grateful that the mainstream media has been restrained in its reporting of the antics of some of these wayward MPs. However the blogs recognise no such restraint and are in fact eye-openers to the real quality or lack of it, of the average 'honourable' Malaysian MP. Bloggers don't believe in 'closing one eye'.

Hishamuddin - The Arrogant Onn.

Not merely arrogant but a little thick-headed too. How else can one explain his recent statement that shows confused reasoning and dimwittedness?

According to the NST, Hishamuddin lambasted the MCA Youth for calling on his deputy, Khairy Jamaluddin to apologise for his remarks that Barisan Nasional component parties would take advantage of a weak Umno. What is so wrong in saying minta maaf, that you have to blow your top and 'lambast'? And then Hish comes out with this classic!! "We will join ranks and meet any challenge head-on for the sake of the party and Umno Youth." What the?!? Isn't this what we call disjointed thinking? And that too, coming from the Minister of Education? Good Lord! How he managed to 'reconfigure' a simple demand for an apology into a serious challenge and threat to Umno and its Youth wing, only he and his Psychiatrist (if he has one that is) will know. However if he needs any assistance on this I suggest he talks to this guy.

As for the rest of you, here is the full NST report.

"Do not challenge us."
Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein issued this warning as he lambasted the MCA Youth for calling on his deputy Khairy Jamaluddin to apologise for his remarks that Barisan Nasional component parties would take advantage of a weak Umno. "We will join ranks and meet any challenge head-on for the sake of the party and Umno Youth."

Hishammuddin said he was angry that MCA Youth was still harping on the issue despite the existence of channels where such issues could be raised and discussed. "Khairy had said he was misunderstood and that the matter would be raised at the BN Youth meeting. What more does MCA Youth want?"

Speaking at the Umno Kuala Selangor delegates' meeting yesterday, he said the issue of an apology should not be raised as it would inflame the grassroots. He said an apology was also not necessary as Khairy was misunderstood. "But if the misunderstanding had caused some confusion, then there is nothing wrong to apologise for the confusion."

He said he had received many text messages from Umno Youth members expressing their anger over the demand for Khairy to apologise.

He said BN Youth leaders should not get emotional, including questioning the issues of Malay rights raised at Umno meetings. Hishammuddin, who is BN Youth chief, said he would call for a meeting of BN Youth to settle the row. (NST)

Khairy Jamaluddin - Master Of Obfuscation.

An unrepentant Khairy Jamaluddin, first son-in-law of the nation and the numero uno Achilles' heel of Umno, opened his big mouth again yesterday and defiantly put both his feet in. It was a tight fit but he managed. In the process he amply demonstrated his mastery of that quintessential quality of the cunning politician - obfuscation.

The defiant brat said that he would not apologise for his remarks on Umno and Barisan Nasional, which offended certain parties. He said the statement was made to unite and strengthen Umno and BN component parties! How such a divisive posture and speech was meant to 'unite' was left unexplained.

"It has never crossed my mind to apologise to those who are hurt by what I said in Kedah last week. For me, if we truly fight for our race, one should not apologise. 'Fight for our race!' Who are you kidding Jack? The bloody idiot made unsubstantiated claims and derisive, racist comments about others. Period. The 'fight' for our bangsa is an afterthought, used before by other practitioners of obfuscation. It is really sad to know that there are sections of Malays who still fall for this 'fighting for the race' bluff employed by these cheats.

Being the Prime Minister's son-in-law, chances are that he will get away unscathed this time. However I think he is smart enough and therefore need not be reminded that politics is a long inning and people he hurts now will not easily forget. Payback time isn't too far off for Khairy, the self-appointed saviour and hero of the 'helpless and downtrodden' Malay masses.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Khairy Should Clarify 'Chinese' Remark Says Pak Lah.

The Prime Minister finally came out clearly on the side of accountability for one's actions, when he in no uncertain terms said that his son-in-law and Umno Youth deputy head Khairy Jamaluddin should himself clarify his statement that is said to have offended the Chinese community.

"The statement has been made. I do not know what he had actually said but this is a matter that Khairy himself has to respond to and clarify," he said. He added that Khairy could explain the actual meaning of his statement, which might differ from what had been reported in the media.

The PM also reminded BN leaders to exercise caution when making statements lest they give rise to misunderstanding. "A cautious approach is most important because in the BN we have parties that represent the various communities and when any sensitive statement is made they will surely react to such a statement," he said.

The foolish remarks in the speech made by Khairy is actually a blessing in disguise for the BN. The practice of playing to the gallery by politicians of most component parties, especially during party meetings, has now been brought into the open. It has been discussed by the parties concerned, the media and the public. The PM himself has said that caution should be exercised in these matters.

The upshot in all this is that politicians who have until now been carelessly playing the race and religion card would be extra careful in case their selfish ploy to garner support backfires. For Khairy Jamaluddin it should be a lesson that he will not easily forget. But there are a lot of trouble-makers in politician's clothings out there who are unlikely to heed the PM's caution, thinking that if they talk like heroes, their verbal slips will be overlooked. It is these misfits that the political leaders should pay attention to and swat, like the dirty flies they are in case they cross the line.

As for Khairy, you have made a mistake and like other human beings you are not infallible. Therefore don't consider this as an issue of pride or loss of face. There is no shame in apologising. It'll even increase your stock in the eyes of others who consider courage in the presence of adversity as a good quality. And please understand it takes much more moral courage to admit wrong and apologise than to hide, evade or talk big about unrelated subjects like 'maruah bangsa.' No one elected you to be a spokesman for maruah bangsa. It was you who took the decision to make an ass of yourself so don't link your idiocy to any fringe issues. No one is going to buy this story. Be a man and say sorry or be prepared to lose all support from very important components of the ruling party machinery, without which you will be history the day Pak Lah leaves the PM's chair.

Cease Raising Religious, Racial Issues, Says PM.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi reiterated his advice to all quarters to cease raising sensitive issues related to religion and race, such as Articles 11 and 121 of the Federal Constitution. The prime minister said raising such issues would agitate the people and lead to problems that would benefit nobody.

Abdullah, who is also Minister of Internal Security, said all quarters should exercise control and not raise such issues. "My advice to everyone is to stop (raising such issues). Do not create a situation that can lead to difficulties. Difficulties will make everyone apprehensive," he said when opening the MCA annual general assembly, here.

Abdullah, who is the Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman, said all problems would be resolved in the way of the BN government which has resolved various sensitive and other issues up to now.
Abdullah said the provisions in the Federal Constitution were drawn up following consultations among the far-sighted leaders of the past.

"Adhering to the articles will not create any problem. Discussing these articles again ... this will cause a storm if left unchecked. I have stated that there is no necessity to amend Article 121 ... there is no necessity to amend Article 11. These cause problems between one side and the other," he said.

Abdullah said there were people who asked why these articles could not be discussed. "They relate to matters sensitive to religion. Even in the developed countries such as the United States, there is sensitivity in matters related to religion and race," he said.


PM Unhappy Over Imbalance In Penang's Development. Penang CM's Nightmare Prolonged.

Penang Chief Minister Koh Tsu Koon must feel that he is in the midst of a never ending nightmare. Just as he was thinking that the Umno Youth rotation issue was about to blow over, Pak Lah dealt a devastating blow to any optimism he might have been harbouring that the good old days were back again.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi criticised the imbalance in the development of Penang, particularly on the island which is concentrated on certain areas only although Penang is renowned as a "Silicon Island" in the world.

The Prime Minister said several areas on the island were still lagging behind and left out of the mainstream of development, especially areas with Malay majority such as Balik Pulau compared to Georgetown and the northern parts of the island which had long been developed.
He said the state government must give consideration to these areas so that they did not remain undeveloped and neglected like "one's backyard".

"We don't want any area on the island to be `alienated' and undeveloped. Don't let it happen. We don't want these areas to appear like a backyard which is not developed and unhealthy...this can't be allowed to continue." he said.

"There were still many aspects involving the Malays which must be looked into. I will make a visit here (Penang) as Prime Minister to determine measures to be taken to develop the state...whatever criticism, advice and views can be forwarded so that they can be discussed and implemented," he said.

Man, that is some indictment of the Penang state government. If the PM tightens the screw further, then Koh's position as CM becomes shaky and untenable. It's not as if Gerakan is going to be shown the door, but there might be wisdom in seriously thinking of a replacement for Koh from within Gerakan, at least to assuage ruffled Umno feathers.

All said, Koh's future political career looks set to continue in a federal post in Putrajaya. Whether he'll be given a 'respectable' portfolio there or compelled to follow the path of a former MB of Perak who for a time was made to squirm in ignominy as a deputy minister, only time will tell.

Now Khir Toyo Plays The Special Rights And Religion Card.

Whenever Malay politicians are on a slippery slope, the one winning formula they seem to embrace with passion is suddenly becoming champions of Islam and the issue of special rights for the Malays. Like pied pipers they lead the innocent and uninvolved along a path of confrontation which is patently unnecessary. Not that many of them care about the poor layperson who believes, trusts and follows them. Behind the devious politician's mind is the strengthening of his support base usually in the midst of some crisis or other he is embroiled in.

This is exactly the motive and intention of Selangor MB and Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo, when he stirred the shit with the aforementioned tried and tested formula. In a true democracy he would by now be either sacked or at least be investigated prior to prosecution for corrupt practices. But here he is still roaming free, despite so many complaints, police reports and court cases against him. However the billboards scandal has taken on a new dimension and the calls for serious action against him is increasing. How long the authorities including the 'now you see it , now you don't' ACA is going to maintain a hands-off stance we don't know. But I feel that Toyo has seen the writing on the wall and he probably knows that he is in for a rough patch soon. So how does he prepare himself for the storm ahead? Simple. Use the formula!

And use it he did, in 'true and caring pemimpin Umno' style. The report in Bernama here.

Umno will be destroyed if the younger generation of Malays fail to defend their special rights and Islam, a member of the party Supreme Council Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo warned Saturday. He observed that the younger generation of Malays were gradually forgetting the Malay struggle to defend their special rights and Islam. "Those who were educated outside the country seem to have forgotten this ...they are more interested in values that oppose Umno struggle," he said.

Mohamad Khir, who is also Selangor Menteri Besar, later told reporters that a group outside the party were now questioning the Malay special rights and Islam. He said the group, which is currently active in Selangor, Johor and other states, had completely ignored Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's advice to stop raising sensitive issues that could jeopardize peace and stability in the country.

Touching on Umno's hope of recapturing Kelantan from PAS, he said Selangor Umno would go all out to convince the Kelantanese working in Selangor to vote for the Barisan Nasional in the general election due in 2008. "Umno failed to wrest back Kelantan in the last election because many Kelantan voters who are working outside the state did not return home to cast their votes," he said.

**** Has Khir Toyo said anything new in that report? Nothing! He's simply trying to sound like he's soooo caring about the Malays and their hak. Frankly I don't think the Kelantanese in Selangor will be too bothered about his attempts to curry favour with them in order to raise his own profile outside Selangor, and hopefully not many Malays will be taken in by this sort of dramatic, 'tugging at the heartstrings' speech designed more for his benefit and advantage than the ordinary citizen.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Khairy's 'Chinese' Remarks: Be Cautious MCA Youth.

MCA Youth wants Umno deputy Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin to apologise for his remark that Barisan component parties would take advantage of a weak Umno. Fine, he should do that.

MCA Youth delegate from Negri Sembilan, Siow Koi Voon, said that Khairy has not only hurt the MCA's feelings but also that of the Chinese community adding that he must also personally explain to MCA and the community his intention when he made his remark. Upto this point what has been demanded is fair and Khairy must respond favorably.

However MCA Youth or any similar grouping within MCA or Gerakan must exercise restraint and not indulge in sabre rattling or give in to excessive display of parochial histrionics, to the extent of giving the impression of humiliating Khairy. That may have the adverse effect of a backlash from Umno which no one really wants.

Once the lynch mob mentality sets in the tendency to go overboard in our statements is great. The same way that Khairy gave in to his emotions is not the path that MCA Youth and the others should follow. Be magnanimous now and confine your criticism to the contents of his speech and don't descend to the level of an eye for an eye kind of confrontation. It benefits no one. I'm not saying don't do anything. By all means record your displeasure but don't go overboard.

Ethnic politics is a strange 'animal'. If you keep your actions and words within an accepted limit everything will be fine but exceed it and things can go rapidly spiralling downwards. For the MCA Youth, to cross this limit is to make a hero out of Khairy in the eyes of his 'people'. So now that you have made your unhappiness known just wait for his response, and don't up the ante for the heck of it.

Finally in Malaysia, politicians of all parties, both oppositon and BN, are equally guilty as Khairy in speaking in racist tones. Fortunately or unfortunately Khairy got caught and his speech was publicised. If we were to apply the principle of 'let him who has not sinned cast the first stone,' I'm sure there will be be very few takers.

Secret Documents: I Am Surprised That The PM Is Surprised.

Secret documents are purportedly in the hands of the new government nemesis, Dr Mahathir, which he is apparently threatening to use to prove his accusations. And now Pak Lah seems to be taken aback by this revelation.

In fact Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Friday night expressed bewilderment as to how Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad could have obtained secret documents on Malaysia's offer to sell sand to Singapore as claimed by the former Prime Minister. "He has the secret documents? How could he have obtained them?" the Prime Minister asked.

Let us not forget that for 22 years Dr Mahathir had beem helming the government and his contacts deep within the heart of the present executive have obviously been nurtured and sustained by him until this very day. It is my assumption that if he really wanted, he could get hold of any document, no matter how 'super-secret' without much problem. For such is his all-pervasive influence even to this moment.

Of course Dr M now says that he has with him documents that would show that it was Malaysia which offered to sell sand to Singapore, but feared that action might be taken against him if he were to reveal them. What? He fears the Official Secrets Act (OSA)? Now that is rubbish. The worst thing the government can do is to make Mahathir a martyr by detaining him on an OSA charge. And Mahathir knows that.

So does Pak Lah. Abdullah said the government had no problem in accepting the evidence from Mahathir if it was proven that the latter indeed had it."If he wants to hand it over, we don't have any problems with that. Why should we charge him under the OSA?" Good question Prime Minister.

So Mahathir can go on accusing the government and claiming he has this and that document. If he's bluffing the PM has called his bluff by publicly stating that no action under the OSA will be instituted. My personal opinion is that Dr Mahathir must be having some important documents. And I also think that Pak Lah is feigning surprise at this revelation.

**** An interesting read, if you still have not: Is Mahathir Presiding Over A Government Within The Government?

Zainuddin Maidin Urges Transparency!!

I couldn't believe my eyes when I read the title of the report. I thought I must be having a pleasant dream. Datuk Zam of all people was asking for transparency! The same man who a few weeks ago chided the media for being too transparent in their reports and ordered them to 'tone down' coverage of crime in the country. Then I read the details and hey, I instantly realised that a leopard cannot change its spots.

What got Lord Zam all heated up was that an agency which carried out the ratings system for television programmes in the country, gave RTM the thumbs-down. That's all. Our man flew into a rage, castigated the agency for unfair practices, favoritism and said that it "did not present the true picture when publishing the ratings report on television programmes in the country. Although RTM (Radio and Television Malaysia) has made various changes, what we get from the ratings report is most disappointing. I feel the report presented only favoured certain quarters and was not fair to RTM."

In the first place no ratings agency would dare to discriminate RTM or openly be biased towards anyone else. Apart from risk to its credibility, the agency would have to face the wrath of the government if it is not honest in its findings. Therefore there can be no question of fiddling data and presenting a wrong picture. What Lord Zam does not want to accept is that RTM, despite all the superficial changes it has made, is simply not up to par. That is the honest truth.

And how does our Darth Vader of the information Darkside propose to overcome this 'problem' with ratings? True to form in the impatient, dictatorial fashion of the previous era he demanded a reorganisation and merger of the different associations and agencies, which ostensibly would give a more 'favourable' and semuanya ok type of report. The associations are the Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies, Advertising Association and the Media Specialist Association.

As such, the minister proposed that the three major advertising associations in the country be merged to form their own ratings agency. Zainuddin said this was to enable the ratings system to be more transparent, to provide a 'check and balance' and to maintain neutrality. "I believe such an agency would receive more recognition from the advertisers for its reports as it came from the association itself and done for their own good. I will give appropriate assistance for the purpose and RTM will be its first client if the setting up of the agency became a reality," he said.

In essence what Lord Zam is saying is "you chaps had better change, configure and merge, and in the process close-out the 'dishonest' agency which gave that biased report. In future all ratings should be 'transparent' and it should show that RTM is tops. Do this and I'll be the first to make sure that it is worth your while. You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours."

Welcome to the world of transparency, Lord Zam style!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Tun Salleh Abbas, Stop Speaking Out Says Nazri.

Former Lord President Tun Salleh Abbas has been told to stop speaking out about his sacking from the judiciary in 1988. Minister in Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohd Nazri Aziz said Salleh should not keep raising the "old issue" as it could undermine the judiciary.

As former head of the judiciary, Salleh should be able to know whether the issue was of public interest or otherwise. "I am not saying something that does not make any sense. The public must have faith in the judiciary. He (Mohd Salleh) should stop making public statements on this matter," he said.

Mohd Nazri reiterated that the sacking of Salleh and two Supreme Court judges would not be reviewed. "The government decision on the matter is final... there is no reason to reopen the case," he said.

Recently, Salleh said he concurred with the Malaysian Bar Council president Yeo Yang Poh that the 1988 crisis in the judiciary should be reviewed. He was also quoted as saying that his sacking and that of two other judges was wrong. He also said the crisis was triggered by the late judge Datuk Harun Hashim's strong comment against the government which cancelled the visa of two journalists from the Asian Wall Street Journals.

**** Firstly it is not Nazri's place to advice the man who suffered most in the 1988 judicial crisis. Tun Salleh Abbas was publicly humiliated with trumped-up charges that involved the highest officials of the land and even unnecessarily linking the Istana into the picture. Nazri convinces no one when he says that the issue is 'old' and why raise it now? And who says it is not of public interest? From the very day plans to sack Tun Abbas were implemented to this very moment, the public interest in the black period of our judiciary has not waned.

In fact now is the opportune time to discuss without any preconditions, Dr Mahathir's exercise of raw, brute executive power to bludgeon the then judiciary into submission. In the process the former PM made examples of the few brave men who stood up to the injustices perpetrated then. And this budak, Nazri has the gumption to advice the one-time highest judge in the country!

Please do carry on Tun Abbas, let the whole world know about the massacre of the judiciary in 1988 and why we should review those decisions taken at the behest of a tyrant.

Siti Nurhaliza-Datuk K Wedding. Envious RTM Wants In.

Information Minister Datuk Zainuddin Maidin, Darth Vader of the information Darkside, denied that RTM was trying to elbow aside TV3 and grab a little of the action from them, by telecasting a special programme when the private channel would show the "bersanding" ceremony of singer Siti Nurhaliza Tarudin and businessman Datuk Mohamad Khalid Jiwa.

Both the "Rancangan Khas ... Ina" and the "bersanding" ceremony are scheduled for telecast at 8.45 pm on Monday.

Zainuddin said it was a coincidence that the date and time of the programmes clashed(!?!) because plans for the RTM programme were made even before Siti Nurhaliza had announced her wedding date. (Maybe Lord Zam had planned for it even before Siti had decided to get married!)

"We do not consider TV3 as our rival. We have our respective programmes and we provide different programmes for different viewers. The government does not prohibit anyone from coming up with programmes. (How nice of Lord Zam to be so magnanimous and charitable to others including TV3, which has pipped RTM on many occasions.)

The real story probably is that after the runaway success of the wedding's coverage by TV3, RTM as usual belatedly hit on the idea of getting a little mileage by conducting a "rancangan khas" since they did not have a share of the exclusive rights. Therefore they have planned a gala, grand rival programme hoping to attract some viewers at least.

The "Rancangan Khas ... Ina" (Ina ... Special Programme) is a live telecast coordinated with Astro Ria and comprises conversation between Akademi Fantasia Tiga (AF3) winner Asmawi Ani or Mawi with his former fiancee Nordiana Mohd Naim (Ina). Zainuddin said the selection of Ina for the programme was based on her talent and not because Ina was the former fiancee of Mawi. He said the discussions between RTM and Ina to run the programme had begun some time ago but were deferred after Ina decided to return to her village.The discussions resumed after Ina decided to work in Kuala Lumpur, he added.

Wow! The lengths that RTM and Zam will go to get a chunky piece of the action, without the main people, Siti and Datuk K being there!.

Up The Production Of Coarse Sugar Or Face Government Wrath.

Sugar producers, the greedy SOBs they are, employed a simple plan to make huge profits from the people's misery. Lower the production of coarse sugar, create an artificial shortage thereby forcing the public to buy fine sugar, then up production of fine or castor sugar and smile sweetly all the way to the bank.

It worked for a time as the avaricious sugar barons gave all kinds of excuses and explanations to justify the shortage, and even the minister concerned danced the Tango with them, until some ministry chap belatedly found out the ploy. Now after they have made good and easy money, the authorities are screaming unfair and have issued threats. Either produce more coarse sugar or else fine sugar becomes a controlled item. And they have 2 weeks to comply.

The profits are immense. The price of castor sugar which is not a controlled item, is currently sold from RM1.90 to RM2.50 per kg while coarse sugar is sold at RM1.40 per kg. So now you can understand why these crooks are happy with the situation while we suffer.

DPM Najib understandably is hopping mad and indeed was the one who issued the ultimatum. In June I had blogged about this very subject and it would make interesting reading now that the cat is out the bag. I had then called the whole thing a charade. You can read about it below.

Sugar Price Hike Imminent? The Charade Starts.

A Truly Patriotic, Malaysian Family.

With our National Day around the corner, Bernama has in one of its reports narrated the story of a family in Sabah - a truly patriotic Malaysian family. That report here........

......While names are largely identified with races and religious background, some people choose to have their own way in naming their children. For four children of a family in Sipadan here, they got their names from a fervent wish of their late father. Kariadi Parman was a prisoner of war during the Japanese occupation. While in captivity, he made a vow that should he be freed, he would name his children after the historical landmarks of the nation.

"That was how I got my name," said Malaysia Kariadi, 40, adding that his late father also named his brothers, Sabah, 41, Berjaya, 38, and Merdeka, 34. The four were among 14 children from Kariadi's marriage with his third wife, Bainiol Summarani, 64. He did not have any children from his marriage with his first and second wives.

Malaysia who now resides in Kampung Bangau-Bangau here said his father was 19 when he was captured by the Japanese while working in a paddy field in central Java, Indonesia. Kariadi who sailed in a Japanese vessel managed to make a gateaway with a few other prisoners when they were asked to buy rice in Sandakan.

Malaysia, a religious teacher, said his father had worked in logging camps in Sandakan before moving to Kunak and finally settled down in Semporna. Asked whether he and his brothers were happy with their names, Malaysia said when they were young their friends liked to tease them. "At times we felt so depressed, but later on when we realised the significance of our names we were very pleased with them.

"The names invoke patriotism and we are very proud come national day. We share the joy with our children," said Malaysia who has five children including two daughters aged between nine and one-year-old. On the contrary, Malaysia's parents had to change Sabah's name for he was sickly when he was small. However, the villagers continued to call him Sabah who has nine children including four daughters aged between 20 years and 15 months. His house is a stone's throw from Malaysia's.

Malaysia did not know of his relatives in central Java for his father had never visited them after settling down in Sabah.

Should State Assemblymen Explain Their Allocated Spending?

The various state governments allocate millions of ringgit for their assemblymen, which they are entrusted to use for the benefit of the rakyat. How many actually do spend it on the intended purposes? How much of the allocation finds its way into their own pockets and proxy accounts? Are these Yang Berhormat answerable to anyone regarding this large amount of cash? Has any overseeing authority ever bothered to make them accountable for every sen spent in the name of the citizens of the state? I wonder. Please read this NST report about the hoo haa in the Perak State Assembly on this very subject. It'll help you decide on how our money is being spent.....

......SHOULD all 59 state assemblyman declare the expenditure for their total annual allocation of over RM5.3 million? The answer was a resounding "no" when DAP State Assemblyman for Pantai Remis Nga Kor Ming brought it up yesterday.

Nga had alleged that some Barisan Nasional assemblymen had misused the development fund to sponsor party activities instead of spending it on the people. BN assemblymen were instead upset with his allegations. Such allegations should be supported with proof, said Datuk Tajuddin Rahman (BN- Kampong Gajah), prompting Hasbullah Osman (BN- Temenggor) to insist that the allegation be withdrawn. Datuk Chang Kon You (BN-Chenderiang) said the DAP was jealous and acting irresponsibly. State Urban and Local Government Committee chairman Datuk Chang Ko Youn also challenged Nga to repeat his allegations outside the State Assembly.

Nga had filed a motion that "all allocations through state executive councillors, state assemblymen and officers in civil service be handled transparently and disclosed to the State Assembly to avoid potential abuse and corruption".

He said each assemblyman received a yearly allocation of RM75,000, with executive councillors allotted an additional RM100,000. Excluding the share given to the Menteri Besar, the allocations amounted to RM5.3 million, he said.

He claimed there were state assemblymen who were getting "commission" from their allocation as a wakil rakyat. He alleged that a former state assemblyman who gave RM8,000 of his allocation to a SJK (C) Chong Tek in Kampung Simee was given a "rebate" of RM2,000, as recorded by the school’s accounts.

He claimed that the allocation given by a wakil rakyat for a bridge in Sungai Batu had gone through so many layers of subcontractors that it collapsed soon after it was built.

There were also complaints of state assemblymen using their allocations to sponsor "study trips" to Thailand, attended by members from their party branches, he claimed.

Nga urged all state assemblymen to present detailed accounts and offered to apologise if proven wrong. (NST)

**** Well what have you to say? Either the DAP man is a pathological liar or the Perak State Assembly has distinguished members who accept commissions from their own state allocated donations, take leisurely lawatan sambil belajar with partymen and women(?) to Thailand and have contributed to collapsing bridges. They are also supremely confident that no one can trace their financial mismanagement when they scream "mana bukti bradder?" and challenge the DAP man to repeat the allegation outside the Assembly.

What a total loss. The financial allocations that is. And the Yang Berhormats too.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Legal Action Against 19,491 National Service Shirkers.

Legal action will be taken against 19,491 National Service shirkers. National Service Department Director-General Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid said the absentees were from the 2004 series (3,933 trainees), 2005 series (7,941 trainees) and 2006 series (7,617 trainees). "We have met with the police and the Attorney-General's Chamber this morning, and all felt that a separate police report is needed for each shirker," he told reporters.

He said this was to make it easier for the police to investigate, and speedier for the AG's Chamber to initiate prosecution. To date, the department had completed 939 files on the shirkers for the police report so that they could be prosecuted under the National Service Act, he added.

Abdul Halim said the department would first take action against National Service non-excused shirkers who returned their reply cards to the department. There were 7,803 of them. He said action against 12,305 trainees whose draft letters were returned by Pos Malaysia due to incomplete postal address had to be postponed. "We find it difficult to track them down, so we focussed on those with valid addresses," he said.

He said the department had filed police reports against the National Service shirkers on Aug 9 2004, and a total of 2,814 trainees had been investigated. Abdul Halim said the department was currently updating its postponement and exemption data of NS trainees whose letters were returned back by Pos Malaysia.

**** By right none of these shirkers should complain, as the authorities have been extremely patient and have given them many notices and reminders as well as ample time to respond. Of course by the time the cases are prepared and taken to court and prosecution effected, most of these shirkers would probably have retired and looking after their grandchildren.

Do You Believe This Khir Toyo Explanation?

Khir Toyo says: "No state officer will be held accountable for the signing away of outdoor advertising rights in Selangor because the agreement was “technically right” even though it was “morally wrong.”

“I have investigated the matter. There was no malice on the part of the state officers when they signed the agreement giving advertising rights to a private company called Bernam Jaya. The agreement signed last year was technically correct and even vetted by the state legal department."

When the agreement reached his attention early this year, he realised it was “morally wrong” because it granted monopoly rights to Bernam Jaya. “It is morally wrong to give monopoly to one company. We are in discussion with the company, but we will not be paying compensation,” he said. “We still want them to build pedestrian bridges as was our original intention.”

Asked how the state officers could have signed such a lopsided agreement, Dr Khir replied: “The officers acted in good faith, in wanting to sign the agreement fast to speed up the projects because we really needed those pedestrian bridges.

“During the discussions, the company representatives proposed that they be given the outdoor advertising rights to help them build the bridges faster. “This proposal was then included in the agreement. When I found out about it, I suspended the agreement. There will be no monopoly; that is our stand,” said Dr Khir.

Asked what lesson could be learnt from this incident, Dr Khir said it would mean the state executive council had to go through all agreements before they were signed.

**** What a saint Toyo is!!! He found out about the 'morally wrong' decision taken by his dedicated officers whose only intention was to get the bridges built faster so that the public will enjoy the benefits earlier. Then after finding out, Toyo perhaps spent the better part of half a year pondering on the moral aspect, for nothing was done to halt the tainted deal. And coincidentally, just when he was about to explain to his officers the difference between moral and theoretical 'wrongs' and perhaps cancel the agreement, the media, especially that nemesis of the state government, R. Nadeswaran revealed the scandalous details and all hell broke loose.

Now the all-forgiving Toyo, having full trust in his totally committed staff and knowing the 'good faith' with which they signed the deal without his knowledge (or so he says), is not planning any action at all. Not even a 'tut-tut.' How can he discipline them? After all they 'acted in good faith' even though they were morally wrong!!

Our Selangor MB should start writing novels, preferably fiction. He'll do very well. He's got great talent. Who knows we may have in our midst another Tolstoyo, oops, Tolstoy.

Why Is Malaysia So Keen To Commit Our Armed Forces In Lebanon?

Israel has objected to Malaysia sending its army for the peacekeeping mission in Lebanon on grounds that there was no diplomatic relations between Kuala Lumpur and Tel Aviv. However Malaysia does not want to take no for an answer, arguing that Lebanon wanted our army in the peacekeeping force. In fact, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had even contacted UN Secretary General Kofi Annan yesterday to express Malaysia's wish to be in the UN's team.

Given the opposition by the Israelis, wouldn't insistence on sending our army there, amount to exposing our troops to more danger than that which already exists for UN peacekeepers? What is to prevent the Israelis from unfairly targeting our men in blue, as they would the Hezbollah, since our presence was not welcomed by them from the beginning? Remember that they have an awesome, sophisticated arsenal. Therefore it would be a reasonable assumption that there will be many body bags returning home if we still insist on travelling this path.

Now comes the larger question; why are we so keen to enter Lebanon? Is it to establish our Islamic credentials? Are we desperate to show the world that we are as Muslim as the true Muslim majority countries like those in West Asia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and our giant neighbour Indonesia? Frankly there is no shame in being an 'Islamic' country where a little less than half of the population is non-Muslim. (Unless you wish to believe our Census Board who'll probably put that figure at less than 20%!)

Or perhaps as the current Chairperson of the OIC, the Prime Minister feels that we have to be seen to make a bid to get our men into the peacekeeping force? Of course the best way is for us to make a couple of attempts and then throw up our hands and say "guys, we tried. But the bloody Israelis won't have us and the cowardly UN is no help either. However we shall keep at it. Cheers."

However if the government is hell-bent (pun intended) to send our military in, then one way to convince the Israelis would be to assure the UN that we shall send only non-Muslim troops. I don't think they should have any objections. (I wonder if our chaps would have any objections to that though!!) After all what reasons can the Israelis give for refusing UN peacekeepers who are Malaysian Buddhists, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs? Our military forces are disciplined professionals, irrespective of their ethnic group or religion, and if sending non-Muslims is the only way to fulfil our government's desire for our army to serve in Lebanon, so be it.

Also please read: Annan to decide on Malaysian peacekeeping mission

Who Will Pay For This Young Boy's Murder?

How is it possible that a mentally retarded boy who happened to be picked up in a dadah raid end up dead in a drug rehabilitaion centre? Where are the checks and balances that must surely be in place to ensure that such a cruel thing does not occur? Who is going to be held responsible for the unnecessary loss of a young and precious life? What wrong can a mentally retarded child do that could have caused him to be battered to death?

Someone must answer all these questions and one or more culpable persons should be severely punished for allowing this gruesome murder to take place. Are we such a lawless country now, that incidents like this can occur and everyone directly and indirectly responsible for it can get away scot-free? Not only the drug rehab inmates who committed the murder but also those officials responsible for placing the boy in the centre should be meted out punishment. At least Suhakam is in the picture now and hopefully the family of this poor retarded boy may yet get justice for their loss. Please read this report in the NST today.......

The murder of a mentally-challenged teenager at a drug rehabilitation centre has prompted a probe as authorities are left baffled over what he was doing there in the first place. The possibility of a lackadaisical approach in handling this case is among questions the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) is seeking answers to in determining whether the 16-year- old was sent to the right treatment facility.

"Police have investigated the murder incident, but what we are perturbed about is whether there was a breakdown in handling treatment of suspected dadah addicts," Suhakam commissioner Datuk N. Siva Subramaniam told the New Straits Times. "When the teenager was picked up, how come no one noticed his psychological disability? This is pertinent."

Checks revealed that M.E. Kathiravan, from Klang, was picked up during a police narcotics operation in July last year. After a two-week detention, he was ordered to be held at the Tiang Dua drug rehabilitation centre in Malacca. On April 27, Kathiravan’s family was told that the teen- ager was admitted to Malacca Hospital and his condition was serious.

He died the same day, and an autopsy done the following day revealed bone fractures. A second autopsy was performed at Seremban Hospital on the request of family members. Police investigations led to the arrest of several individuals undergoing treatment at the drug rehabilitation facility. Four people have since been charged.

**** What would have gone on in the mind of that poor mentally retarded boy when he was being battered by the murderers? Would he have felt frightened or would he have laughed, not knowing what fear is, or would he have suffered in agony, since he probably would have felt the terrible pain as 'normal' people like us do? It is indeed very, very sad that such horrible things happen in Malaysia too.

Siti Nurhaliza's Wedding: Lipis and Jerantut Hotels Rejoice!

Hotels and rest houses in the Lipis and Jerantut districts have never had it so good. While hotels in parts of the country have been experiencing low occupancy rates for quite a while, here they have been booked from Sept 1 to 3 in conjunction with the wedding reception of Siti Nurhaliza and Datuk Khalid Mohd Jiwa at Dataran Lipis here on Sept 3.

At Lipis Plaza Hotel for example, all 51 rooms in the hotel have been booked for the three days and people were still calling in for accommodation! Similarly most hotels in Jerantut, about 60 km from Lipis, were also almost fully booked.

Among those who booked rooms in Lipis were journalists, including from television stations in the country. A spokesman for Centre Point Hotel in Lipis said all the rooms at the hotel were booked for the three days last month itself.

Therefore all roads lead will to Lipis for the duration of those few days. The one-woman industry that Siti is now, has brightened and brought a smile to many faces in so many sectors. The honeymoon is not only for her but for these happy people too.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Lina Joy's Case - CJ Asks For Time.

Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim said the Federal Court needed some time to deliver the judgement in Lina Joy's case which is considered sensitive.

He said the quorum headed by him had to carefully look at the submissions given by so many parties including the non-governmental organisations in the appeal which was heard early July this year. "Coming soon (the decision) we have to have some time. We cannot rush this thing. You must also remember that there were three judges who heard the appeal," he said. The Chief Justice said more time was also needed to enable the quorum to write their reasons.

Ahmad Fairuz was responding to questions that there were rumours being spread via the short messaging service (sms) giving a specific date that the court would deliver their decision, as well as, rumours that the Federal Court had decided in favour of Lina Joy. The court had reserved their decision on July 4 after hearing submissions from parties in the appeal.

Lina, 42, whose birth name is Azlina Jailani, is appealing against the Court of Appeal's dismissal of her application to delete the word "Islam" from her identity card.

Her appeal to the Court of Appeal was rejected on Sept 19, last year, in a 2-1 majority decision, to reverse the High Court decision disallowing her application to delete the word "Islam" from her identity card on the grounds that her renunciation of Islam was not confirmed by the Syariah Court or any other Islamic religious authority. On April 23 2001,the High Court had ruled that being a Muslim, Lina, could not renounce Islam and that the issue should be decided by the Syariah Court.

In the suit, Lina named the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Council, the Malaysian Government and the National Registration Department (NRD) Director-General Datuk Wan Ibrahim Wan Ahmad as respondents.

On Feb 2 1997, Lina had applied to the NRD to change her name on the grounds that she no longer professed Islam and had accepted the Christian faith. The application was rejected by the NRD on Aug 11 1997. Her second application to the NRD to change her name to Lina Joy was approved and the NRD asked her to apply for a new IC.


New Petaling Jaya Mayor Appointed.

After a period of guessing and I suppose, intense lobbying, the Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamed Khir Toyo finally made the announcement today. When the former Mayor Datuk Ahmad Termizi Puteh was quietly eased out when his contract was not renewed, there was naturally a lot of speculation why he was shown the door so quickly in his tenure. Also there had been some discussion as to the person who will succeed him.

Now it tranpires that the man selected to occupy the hotseat is Mohamad Roslan Sakiman, the former Hulu Langat District Officer. Why he was chosen and the criteria employed in the selection is not known at this time. Suffice to note that if Khir Toyo had a major say, then our new man needs a little extra watching to see how he 'performs.' In any case I'm sure there will surely be 'lots of eyes' watching the new mayor. Over the next few weeks and months things should become more clear regarding the reasons for his selection. Then of course we'll know won't we?

Related post: New PJ Mayor To Be Named Soon.

A Finality Of Sorts For Luke Ling's Family.

This is the type of uncertainty that no one, friend or enemy, should be subjected to. Luke Ling Lee Kong would have been 42 years old this year. But he never got this far. You see, he disappeared in Australia in 1988 at the age of 24. Recently the Australian police managed to make a positive DNA match with a jawbone found in 1994!

The discovery has at least resolved one question, albeit tragically for Luke's family, and that is he is confirmed dead. There is no more uncertainty hanging over their heads on this point. However now comes the other and more pertinent question - what exactly did happen to poor Luke Ling? The full report here...........

....A human jaw bone discovered more than a decade ago in a Queensland paddock belongs to a Malaysian, DNA tests have revealed. Luke Ling Lee Kong, came from Sibu, Sarawak to study at the elite Peninsula (Boarding) School at Mt Eliza in the Mornington Peninsular near here and completed Year 12 in 1981. He was 24 when he disappeared in 1988.

After his tertiary education in Brisbane and Toowoomba in Queensland, Ling took up bodybuilding on the Gold Coast, Det Sen-Sgt Roger Lowe, of the Queensland Police Service, said in a media statement. "He got involved in bodybuilding, then he travelled a bit and then got involved in the security industry," Det Sen-Sgt Lowe said. Ling worked in Mackay nightclubs, north of Brisbane, in the 1980s.

Ling's sister, Brisbane-based Fiona Ling, had irregular contact with her brother after he left school, but remembered how he was always fit and healthy, and loved bodybuilding. Fiona was in Mackay last week to make a public plea for information about her brother. "On behalf of our family, we need to know what happened to him," she told the Brisbane Courier-Mail newspaper. Fiona said although the discovery had devastated her family, there was still an element of relief. "It's been upsetting for our family because we hoped that we would find Luke alive, but I guess we at least now know what happened to him," she said.

Fiona said she had not heard from her brother since he telephoned her in November 1987. "He was drifting a lot, moving between Sydney and the Gold Coast and I never really knew where he was until he called," she said.

She said the family was trying to come to grips with Luke's death and it was especially difficult for their mother. The family moved to Australia from Malaysia when the children - Fiona, Luke and two other brothers - were young. The two brothers are believed to be in Malaysia.

The jaw bone was found in a paddock in Oakenden, south of Mackay, in May 1994, when the property owner stumbled across it. Investigations were conducted at the time, but were exhausted in 1995. Tests revealed he died in suspicious circumstances in the late 1980s or early 1990s.

Mackay Criminal Investigation Branch reopened the case in 2002 and recent advances in DNA technology enabled Queensland Health Pathology to identify the jaw bone as belonging to Ling. "The recent discovery of the link between the missing person investigation into Luke Ling and the DNA match from the jaw bone is a major breakthrough, linking two unsolved matters," Det-Insp Mick Niland said.

The police investigation, named Operation Mascot, into Ling's death was continuing with homicide detectives joining Mackay detectives in scouring the Oakenden property. Det-Insp Niland said ground-penetrating radar technology would be used to find any further skeletal remains.

**** Our sympathies to the family of Luke and may they have the continued strength to face the challenges ahead.

UMW Toyota To Launch Lexus By Year-end.

A very brief report on the new product for car lovers.

UMW Toyota Motor Sdn Bhd expects to launch the Lexus and open its new facility currently being constructed in Mutiara Damansara by year-end.

In a statement here Wednesday, its managing director, David Chen, said the company was passionate about delivering quality in both products and services.

"Lexus is the Number One selling luxury brand in North America. Since its introduction, it has steadily progressed as a top quality luxurious make," he said. Chen said the new Lexus facility would be one of the finest outlets in the country. "The five-storey outlet will allow discerning individuals to experience a one-stop vehicle showroom, after-sales centre as well as other customer-friendly facilities," he said.

**** So all you Lexus fans, please exercise a little patience as the year-end is not too far off. As for me I shall as usual admire these vehicles from a distance because although the heart is willing the wallet is 'weak'.

Illegal Citizenship - Let The Investigations Begin, Says Suhakam.

There have been numerous allegations over the years that many non citizens had fraudulently obtained the Malaysian Identification Card (IC). This is especially so in Sabah.

Saying "enough is enough," The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) wants the Home Affairs Ministry to carry out an immediate investigation. Suhakam chairman for complaints and enquiries working group Datuk Choo Siew Kioh said if the allegation was not checked, it might affect the political stability and security of the country. "The names of the non-citizens who had Malaysian ICs will also appear in the electoral rolls, and they are likely to exercise their rights to vote," he said.

He said Suhakam would be submitting a report on their investigation on illegal immigrants and citizenship in Sabah to the Home Affairs Ministry by end of September, and was currently finalising the report. Choo said there was an urgent need for the government to take an immediate action on these illegal immigrants and citizenship problems in Sabah.

In the Sabah context, the problems were associated with refugees, illegal immigrants, stateless and undocumented people, and their presence in large numbers, had a great impact on the state's economic, social, cultural and political stability, he said. "Many Malaysians living in Sabah felt threatened and insecure as the number of foreigners keeps increasing although no one really knows the exact figures," he said.

Choo hoped that the government would also investigate and resolve the complaints by some Sabahans that they were not able to obtain their ICs due to lack of documentation and various other reasons.

**** Sometimes I wonder why there seems to be a lack of political will to once and for all settle this nagging problem? There have been insinuations that the government is using these illegal immigrants as a vote bank to 'offset' any anti-Malay tilt in the voting habits of the Sabahans. With a large Christian population to contend with, who are probably watching with apprehension the increasingly strident pro-Islamic leanings of the federal government, Umno would not take chances on expecting the Kadazan based parties to deliver the votes.

The KL(Putrajaya) government is well aware of the mess that Salleh earlier and Musa Aman now have made and even the Malays and others of the rumpun Melayu there are not exactly enamoured by them. Also after Joseph Pairin Kitingan's ill-fated attempts at Kadazan unity and ketuanan, no Kadazan party will be ever fully trusted by Umno. Therefore there is wisdom, no matter how unconstitutional, in maintaining a 'safety-valve' of sorts, in case push comes to shove. Whether these illegal immigrant 'voters' will deliver on election day is another story.

I must emphasise here that all of the above is, as I had mentioned earlier, merely insinuation and there may not even be an iota of truth to it. However I leave it to each and everyone of you to come to your own conclusions why there still should be so many illegal immigrants proudly walking round the country carrying Malaysian ICs.

Civil Courts Will Not Usurp Syariah Court's Functions - Chief Justice.

In a statement that must come as a relief to concerned Muslims, the Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim has assured the public that the civil courts will not usurp the functions of the syariah court. He said that since the amendment to the Federal Constitution, the civil courts had never interfered with Islamic laws.

"We do not give interpretation on syariah law. What we are construing in our judgments are always interpretations to be given to the constitutional provisions. Members of the public should not fear that we will usurp the functions of the Syariah court."

He added that if the civil courts were to express any views on syariah matters, it was just obiter according to the civil court's jurisprudence. The civil court only decided on whether or not it could deal with matters touching on Islamic laws according to the Federal Constitution. "If the Constitution says it should be within the civil court's jurisdiction, we will be willing (to deal with it) but if it is something in the Syariah Court, we won't deal with it but will just say that it is within the jurisdiction of the syariah court.

"We are just interpreters of the Constitution. So we interpret the Constitution according to what it should be interpreted and what are the arguments before us. I don't know why the public can be confused," he said.

**** This comprehensive and convincing explanation by the CJ should put to rest any uneasiness among the Muslims regarding the role and intentions of the civil courts. Now if someone could do the same for the non-Muslims, how nice it would be! Alas, perhaps we ask for too much?

Cabinet Committee To Hold Discussions On Sepaktakraw Development.

Sepaktakraw - A one time pride of the nation. A game in which we could take on the whole world and come out tops; Malaysia's equivalent of the US 'Dream Team.'

Then things started to go awry. Management became top-heavy and every VIP, including and especially politicians, demanded and got a piece of the action while basking in the reflected glory of its success. Players were sidelined and left to their own devices as long as they produced results. This they did at first. Then the twin scourges of drugs and indiscipline crept in, first unnoticed and later for all the world to see. We lost the title to the 'new kids on the block' Thailand who are now reigning supreme. What an insult!

How were these problems handled by the management? Every issue that affected sepaktakraw was swept under the carpet and denial after denial was issued regarding the sinister entry of drugs into the game. Politics took centre-stage and like many other worthy enterprises where politicians got their paws in, sepaktakraw slowly went to the dogs. Now it is yelping like a sick puppy and the Cabinet Committee on Sports Development's intervention although late in the day is most welcome.

Read about the Cabinet plans for sepaktakraw HERE

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Non-Chinese Media - "Naughty, Naughty" Says Rais Yatim.

Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim Tuesday commended Chinese newspapers in the country for giving extensive coverage on the Merdeka celebrations but ticked off other media for not doing the same.

"I congratulate the Chinese press for their extensive coverage on the Merdeka celebrations as well as running stories on our nationhood," he said. On the hand, he said, non-Chinese media preferred to highlight sensational news rather than the 49th Merdeka Day celebrations.

"Some of them don't seemed to be bothered about Merdeka. This is an injustice to the country which has given a lot of facilities and goodwill to media practitioners. However, to a handful of them Merdeka Day seems just like any other day. "On the contrary, stories on divorces, wedding bashes suddenly are bigger news than the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Prime Minister," he told reporters.

Of course he's got a point there. The Siti-Datuk K wedding was live telecasted by TV3 and except probably for a handful of leaders like Rais and the other flag waving patriot, Datuk Zainuddin Maidin, the rest of the normal population were either preoccupied with details of the wedding ceremony or involved in the less glamorous routine of their daily work.

We the ordinary citizens of the country don't have the luxury or the time to ponder why certain media like to highlight certain issues. We've always thought it had to do with what the public wants. But perhaps to please leaders like Rais and 'tone down crime' advocates like Zam, media practitioners should give the public what the ministers want. Of course then we should not be blamed if the media which comply go bankrupt.

Ultimately it is a matter of choice which the member of the public still has the privilege to exercise. We read, what we wish to read and watch, what we like to watch. No minister is going to dictate to us on that private matter.

Change In Education System Needed - Dr Mahathir. Rather Late Realisation Isn't It?

Our former PM and one time education minister, Dr M has finally spoken out in public about what everybody else knew for a long, long while, that the time has come for the country to amend the education system as the present system does not infuse the acquisition of knowledge and the application of the knowledge gained. Better late than never is the only consolation that I have.

"We have to change the system. The present system of acquiring knowledge alone is not enough. We need people to acquire knowledge and at the same time know how to apply this knowledge. We need a system which would be a marriage of the two. We have to seriously think about this if we want to progress further. Education did not just mean acquiring knowledge but also knowing how to apply this knowledge as "it would be worthless for someone to acquire knowledge but not know how to apply the knowledge learnt," he said.

Aaaahh, this is indeed sweet music to my ears and I'm sure to those who have worried about our increasingly obsolete education system. But why does this have to come from a politician who is out of power and whose every word and motive will be questioned by the government? The real irony is that he is absolutely right in what he says.

For example on the British education system, he says: "The British education system followed by Malaysia placed emphasis on gaining knowledge, while other education systems such as those practised in Japan and Germany not only stressed knowledge gain but also applying it.This is why the British are now considered backward compared to the Germans and the Japanese."

On the English language he opines that that the usage of English to gain knowledge did not at all degrade the national language as "a true nationalist is someone who can acquire knowledge, no matter how" and with knowledge mostly documented in English, it would be foolish for someone not to learn English, which was regarded as an universal language.

Who can disagree with him on these points? However didn't he know or realise this when he was in power? At least in the latter years? It would of course have taken a lot of political sacrifice to have dared to change to a system that actually requires our students to think! And the implications of a switch in the medium of instruction or at the very least a much greater emphasis on English would have been serious for a political leader no matter how powerful. Still he should have gone ahead and implemented whatever he is preaching now. The nation would have been grateful to him.

In the present situation, I doubt that Pak Lah has the strength, Hishamuddin has the guts or the Malay cabinet ministers have the desire to see this through. The consequences of further disadvantaging rural and bumi students is something they probably don't want to even think about. Too bad. Mahathir made a lot of sense this time.

**** Pak Lah's latest opinion on education, etc: Education And Training System Must Be Focused

World's Biggest Lawn Bowls Stadium. Malaysia Boleh!

Malaysia earned a name in the annals of sports when the world's biggest indoor lawn bowls stadium and the first such facility in South-East-Asia was officially opened Monday. The RM6-million complex is a gift from plantation giant Golden Hope Plantations Bhd to Malaysians. Construction on it which began in October last year was completed last week.

President of the Malaysian Lawn Bowls Federation (MLBF), Tan Sri Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid, who opened the complex, said Malaysian lawn bowls was certain of achieving greater heights following the two-gold win at the Commonwealth Games in Australia in March with the availability of this new stadium.

The stadium will first open its doors for the Inaugural Malaysian Indoor Lawn Bowls Competition that starts Tuesday and ends on Friday. The stadium built on a 5-hectare site has eight rinks measuring 40 metres x 40 metres and can accommodate about 500 spectators.

Ahmad Sarji, who is also the Group Chief Executive of Golden Hope Plantations, said that the company would also build a lawn bowls academy near the stadium that could accommodate 100 people on a twin-sharing basis to be trained as professional players.

This is how and where stadiums and sports centres should be built, and not our Sports Minister's style of blowing up half a billion ringgit of taxpayer's money building one in a foreign land, giving all sorts of untenable reasons and excuses to justify it. Are Najib and Azalina listening? Latest update on the London sports centre scam here.
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