Monday, June 30, 2008

Agriculture: Improve our rice production; dont just TALK and TALK and SIGN and SIGN!



I was reading Bernama reports that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today urges Malaysia and Bosnia-Herzegovina to jointly develop their agricultural sector amid surging food prices worldwide.

That's one thing good about our government. From time to time, we sign MOUs with many countries in various fields - agriculture, science and technology, trade, etc. When it comes to attending local requirements, we still limp around.

We are still far from becoming self-sufficient in producing our own food, especially rice.

Our government should look into this aspect. Many ways can be done to achieve self-sufficiency if we subscribe to prudent and proper planning.

Cooperating with foreign countries is good, at least at our diplomatic level. However, after hundreds of memorandum of understanding (MoU) and other papers, we still cannot address our rice production. The best way so far was to import.

Now that imported rice is getting more expensive, the only way to go (if the government is serious about it) is to re-cultivate our padi fields.

Look! There are about 1.7 million acres of abandoned padi fields throughout the country. By logic, we should be self-sufficient enough in our rice production.

Let's not talk about the past and who to blame. We should find a way to improve our production, instead.

Now, the government has allocated RM3 billion for food and its subsidy. That's a lot of money. If we utilise just RM2b of it, almost half of our abandoned padi fields can be planted again. Our farmers can get the benefit, the rakyat can purchase rice at lower price while the government could save a lot by reducing its imports.

First, turn all padi fields into a big estate, put it under a caretaker company appointed either by the Federal or State Governments. In this regard, maybe, one government company or agency is enough to monitor progress of re-cultivating the estate.

Prepare a fund or grant or insentive for landowners. By applying modern technology in cultivating, planting and harvesting, the government can consider a quantum to landowners upon harvesting, depending on their acreage. At the same time, this landowners can earn extra income if they, too, work in their padi fields.

Since the younger generation are no more interested to work as farmers, technology may change their perception. At state level, they may be employed by the government agency as supervisors for the projects.

This is where Lembaga Padi and Beras Negara (LPN) can play a pivotal role. Any amount of padi harvested from this estate will be sent to LPN mills for skinning and gradings.

However, all this must be free of politics. Regardless of political parties, the government and the rakyat must work alongside to achieve its objective.

Even the government agencies, especially those managing it, must not treat this as a mean to make easy money by 'squeezing' the landowners with their own set of stipulated conditions.

For instance, if the Federal Government approves a fund RM100 million for Melaka State Government, a monitoring body must be appointed to ensure that each and every single sen is disbursed for that purpose, not to flow into the pockets of ministers, senior government officers, director of agency, etc.

Now, we only need Pak Lah to discuss it with his Cabinet members. Dato Mustapa Mohamed who is in-charge of our agriculture, should take a closer look at this.

If we can discourage Malaysians to go abroad for vacation (as we have everything in our own compound), we can tell Bernas to reduce rice imports by giving their fullest cooperation in this idea. I may not be the right agriculture expert but I have been to many agriculture-based countries. I have observed how they worked.


Who is shifting to Jln Bellamy?


Bloggers and friends. Please check this out.

The news is - some lorries were seen ferrying sofas and other furnitures from an official residence of a high-ranking leader in Putrajaya, to a government banglo-quarters in Jalan Bellamy, behind Istana Negara.

This started about a week ago.

"Obviously they are not buying new furnitures. The directive was to shift... bit by bit...," says an official who is one the leader's special officers.

Please dont ask me who laaaar!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Good move Ong Ka Ting, Chan Kong Choy

MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting and deputy Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy will not defend their posts at the party's elections later this year.

Let's not discuss who will take over. Talk about possibilities, instead.

After a poor showings in the 12th general elections, Ong took up full responsibility by turning down any Cabinet position. Such a gentleman!

The latest decision may trigger alarm in the Barisan Nasional. Ong and Chan may have anticipated more problems if Pak Lah's government continues to loose footing. The challenges from the Opposition is getting more ferocious.

Should they stay as party leaders, they will be answerable again if the 13th general elections turn out to be more destructive for BN.

MCA is BN's strongest ally, next to Umno. If Umno and its leaders are getting weaker in the sense that more discontentment is brought up every now and then, may as well just leave it to Pak Lah and his team to manage as long as the thin ice doesnt melt.

Or, is something not right about MCA team-up in BN?

How much, Saiful?



The Corus Hotel in Jalan Ampang is my favourite spot to meet up and chat with politicians, local and foreign journalists, diplomats and friends.

Upon hearing the latest news about Anwar Ibrahim, I dashed over there and as usual, these lots were waiting.

"How much do you think they paid Saiful to come up with such stories," they asked.

Who are THEY?

"We believe Anwar is not a sodomite. Who paid that boy? We know that Anwar has promised to take over the government sometimes in July.

"The motive is very clear... to eliminate him totally."

But again, if its true that it was a political set-up, who is or are behind Saiful?

IMPOSE A BLACKOUT ON NAZRI AZIZ!

Datuk Najib has advised Datuk Nazri Aziz and members of the BBC to stop bickering over the media issue.

However, Nazri was 'not very nice' when he described as 'an act of gangsterism' those (BBC members) who removed 'barricades' which shooed away members of the Press at the Parliament lobby on Tuesday.

Calling it a 'minor issue', Najib said it was not healthy that members of the ruling BN had to argue over nothing.

It was nothing, alright, that the Press almost called it a boycott.

Let's make easier this time, folks. Dont shy away from the lobby. The only thing that you guys need to do (in concensus) is to impose a blackout on Nazri.

We dont honour stuck-up politicians who only acknowledge the significant of the Press when it comes to protecting their interest or during elections.

Anything that he wants to tell the public, let him write-in from now on. Even that, its up to the editors to decide.

We did that during the 80's on a senior minister...

Sodomy? Not another one, please!

An aide of Datuk Seri Anwar lodged a report at Jalan Travers Police Station yesterday that a top opposition leader sodomised him at a Damansara apartment.

Now, as Rockybru says dont listen to rumours.

However, there must be a motive as to why Saiful Bahri made such accusations.

Let's listen to what Sdr Anwar has got to say later today.

p/s dont bring matresses to court this time...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Our beautiful, fragile world...

Here's something for us to appreciate on the weekend...

Khalid sacks Unisel VC

Now, what's wrong with Selangor State Government?

Menteri Besar, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim yesterday sacked Universiti Industri Selangor (Unisel) VC, Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Razali Agus with effect from July 31.

Razali, 52, said he was issued the letter at 4pm. However, it carried no official letterhead from the MB office.

No reason was given for the sacking, except a directive for him to take leave with immediate effect.

Why, Khalid?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Which project is our top priority?


Development projects will have to be reprioritized, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi when presenting the mid-term review of the 9th Malaysia Plan at the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday.

He, however, denied allegations that projects such as the monorail and the outer-ring road in Penang will be scrapped. “We will shelve it temporarily,” he said after announcing an additional injection of RM30 billion for development programs.

Both Penang projects are expected to cost RM3.3 billion. Plus another project in Kuala Lumpur, the sum to be saved is about RM3.8 billion.

This decision was lamented by the oppositions as 'a punishment' to the Penangites for chosing Pakatan Rakyat as their new government in the 12th general elections in March.

EPU director-general Sulaiman Mahbob said the government will spend RM230 billion on roads, bridges and other works in the 2006-to-2010 period, which is 15 per cent more than the original forecast, due to the hike in building material prices.

So, it looks like Scomi Engineering will have to wait until the project is clear for bidding. Other parties also eyeing for it are Malaysian Resources Corp. and Melewar Industrial Group Bhd.

The government will, instead, spend an additional RM1 billion each for Sarawak and Sabah.

An additional RM10 billion is for five special investment zones (which many say will only affordable to foreigners, deprive the Bumiputeras of the lands and will lead to the influx of foreign workers), RM3 billion for food security programs and RM3 billion for a strategic investment fund.

At the same time, spending on low-cost housing, rural infrastructure and public transport will increase.

However, there was no explanation as to why projects like the electrified double-tracking rail development led by Gamuda and MMC in Perak, and another one to be built by Ircon Intl in Johor will proceed.

As for a project to transfer water from Pahang to Selangor, it is a necessity to meet the rising demand of clean water for the booming region.

Bank Negara said in March that the budget deficit is seen to narrow to 3.2 per cent of GDP by 2010 from 3.6 per cent in 2005, compared with the 3.4 per cent estimated earlier. This will total RM21.6 billion this year or about 3.1 per cent of GDP.

Deputy premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the additional spending will be funded by savings totaling RM13 billion from a revamp of the government's fuel subsidies, and possible ‘external loans’.

What ‘external loans’, he refused to elaborate.


Ezam will have to wait


Umno Supreme Council meeting late yesterday decided NOT to allow former Keadilan Youth Chief Ezam Mohd Nor to contest any position at the party's election in December.

Seen as a good move, dont you think so?

When he rejoined Umno on May 28, many expected he will contest Umno Youth no.2 post if Rembau Member of Parliament Khairy Jamaludin goes for top spot.

W dont know if Ezam, ex-political secretary of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, was taken aback by the decision although he told Pressmen that he would abide by the ruling.

Not so fast, Ezam!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Kuan Yew can't take opposition

LEE Kuan Yew said Singapore opposition would ruin the wealthy city-state's achievements in five years if they ever gained power, according to reports.

The republic's founding father, now 84, also warned Singapore voters against putting the opposition at the helm of government 'in a moment of fickleness or just sheer madness' when they get bored at some point in the future.

Should this happen, "I think all bets are off because in five years they (opposition) can ruin this place," he told delegates at an international forum in Singapore late Wednesday.

He stressed that, unlike many other countries, Singapore did not have natural resources such as oil, gas, forests, timber and aluminium.

Why worry? Singapore has got only two seats in a parliament .
His PAP is one of the most successive ruling parties in the world and was never confronted with any street protests like Malaysia.

The Minister Mentor, too, should not worry if such an event takes place in the country. Just across the Johor Straits, some of his good friends are not only willing to listen but to share their wealth with the Republic.

This friendly nation is also rich with natural resources like rubber, palm oil and petroleum. Why not?

Afterall, that's what friends are for... sharing... and have ears for each other.

The next thing we know, the people across the Straits will also be called Singaporeans. What's wrong with that!

Another Malay organisation


I received an SMS from Member of Parliament for Pasir Mas, Dato' Ibrahim Ali yesterday. It reads:

"Demi perjuangan bangsa Melayu kita, dengan hormatnya dijemput ke mesyuarat penaja bagi PERTUBUHAN PRIBUMI PRIHATIN MALAYSIA pada hari Ahad, 29 Jun 2008 jam 4 ptg, di restoran Pha Pha Garden, Klang Gate Baru, Taman Melawati, Ulu Klang.

Semoga dapat datang dan ajaklah kawan-kawan yang bersemangat untuk membela Melayu yang kian terpinggir dan tertindas di bumi sendiri.

Ikhlas,
Dato' Ibrahim Ali, MP Pasir Mas

I didnt have any idea what this 'pertubuhan' is going to be. Obviously it is non-political. Could it be like any other 'hardcore' organisations speaking for the Malays, Chinese, Indians, Dayaks and Kadazans?

Be there, if you are concern and sensitive enough for the Malays' plight.

With or without SAPP

Barisan Nasional will decide later today whether to expel or retain Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP).

At this juncture, many would like to see BN's chairman Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to take stiff action against the party and chairman, Datuk Yong Teik Lee.

However, SAPP (some put it as 'Saudara Anwar Punya Pasal') is said to have prepared for the worst.

Afterall, BN is not the only coalition now...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Eric Chia was a saviour

Tan Sri Eric Chia, 74, passed away on June 24 after winning his court case about a year ago.

I am sure many will visit and pay their last respect to this man, who deserves it better than anybody else during his time.

From nothing, he became the CEO of UMW and took over the ailing Perwaja in 1988. Tun Mahathir's government made the right choice by choosing him then as no Bumiputera businessmen had the passion and guts to turnaround the loss-making steel conglomerate.

The late Eric Chia may have had his good and bad days at Perwaja but Malaysians could, at least, thank him for what he has done to the government entity.

Rest in peace, Eric.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

100b for Pulau Batu Putih?


I was talking to few friends - senior journalists, politicians and legislators - in Ampang last nite.

They said Pulau Batu Putih has got a price - 100 billion. RM or S$, I dont know.

This is what they said, NOT ME.

Of course I'm confused. Is it what we got or what we have to bid to get back the island. As the Sultan of Johor said, 'we can get it back...'

No further comment....


RM142b left the country!

Malaysian investors took out about RM142 billion, mostly parked or invested in countries like Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Kuwait and India over the last 4 years.

According to diplomatic and corporate sources, Singapore and the Gulf States accounted for more than 60 per cent of that figure.

WOW! That's huge, man! But why?

Is it due to the poor economic environment locally or the offers by foreign banking institutions are much better that what we have here?

Or perhaps, our entrepreneurs are getting more excited over the abundant of opportunities abroad. Are there not enough projects in our own backyard? Plenty, it seems but as the saying goes, 'only those well-associated with the leaders will get it'.

Does Bank Negara keep track of the transaction taking place? How about our local banks?

Now that the Government has introduced that and this development corridoors, whay arent they staying put in the country?

Dr Mahathir used to say that many local businessmen, especially the Bumiputeras, are looking abroad to seek for projects as they seemed 'to be sidelined' by the government agencies.

Dunno what else to say. If such is the amount of capital outflow, it will adversely affect our economy in the long run.

If they dont invest abroad, why are keeping their money there?

p/s any idea who park most of their cash in Singapore?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Solid backing

Pak Lah received a solid backing from the Barisan Nasional MPs over the government decision to hike up the prices of fuel about two weeks ago.

A motion, moved by Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Samad secured 129 votes of support against 78 opposing it.

Another motion to move a vote of no-confidence against the premier didnt materialise at all, on 'technical error', said one opposition MP.

Its a good sign for Pak Lah, now wrestled with calls to quit his post ever since BN lost 6 states, including Federal Territory Kuala Lumpur in the last general elections.

The question now, how long can the present Cabinet can hold to the stronger push, not only from the opposition but also from BN's component party and some of their leaders.

Latest economic figure inducates that the country's annual inflation rate has hit a 22-month high of 3.8 per cent in May.

Many believe it is set to rise further after the recent steep hike in fuel prices that saw mostly every consumer item to spiral beyond control.

Simultaneously, poverty rate is expected to hit 4.1 per cent by year end (currently 1.6 per cent by government figure) should not efforts are taken to improve the people's purchasing power.

Nuclear energy

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said Malaysia might consider switching to nuclear energy generation to meet its long-term energy demand amid surging global oil prices.

How much will it cost? Few billion ringgit, I suppose.

If everything is OK, who will get the contract? The same pool of Government's 'sweethearts'?

Anyway, will it help reduce electricity tariff?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sorry to GLC bosses, Sabah 4x4 & bsnes for Govt servant...

Sorry to GLC bosses
Prime Minister said the Government did not agree with the proposed 100 per cent pay rise for top guns of its GLC.

OK what! What would be their basic salary now, minus allowances and other extras? RM15,000? RM20,000? or RM25,000

They deserve the pay rise, all right but at this time around - when 80 per cent of their staff and the rest or the Malaysians are getting poorer due to the hike in fuel prices and daily goods, 5-10 per cent should be reasonable (maybe).

Face the fact. When the MPs are being imposed a 10pc cuts to their allowances, why should you get so much, just because the Government appointed you there.

Please remember this. You lots are political appointees (this include group editors, editor-in-chief and chairman of the local newspapers).

P/S... wonder why Dr Zety left this lots?


Sabah 4 x 4
The Government said the rebates for fuel will be extended to owners of 4x4 in Sabah and Sarawak.

Such vehicles with up to 3000cc are eligible for rebate-for-oil.

Why now? Just because SAPP (BN's component in Sabah) is causing a stir to the coalition? Hope not!

Excuse me...


Business for Government servants
It was a good announcement, indeed, that Government servants, in particular those of the low income group, can now do business as an avenue to earn extras.

We laud this move. However, is there a guarantee that those of the super-scale grades will not also take up this opportunity?

We have heard much about some senior government officials, including Datuks, were awarded low-cost houses under DBKL and other local councils.

And what about those outside the civil and private payrolls, especially those who have applied licences from the local councils? Many applications are still pending and many were rejected.

Talk about being impartial. Are we sure that our hardcore poor rate is below 3 per cent? Could it be more after all these gruelsome predicament the rakyat gotta face?

Our petty traders are finding it difficult to survive in this kind of environment. If we let, say... about 300,000 low-income members of the public sector to join them, BOLEH PENGSAN BEB!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Rais, please comment!

Malaysia is among the world's 10 worst vialotars of refugees rights, says a report yesterday in conjunction with World's Refugees Day.

We are together with India, Bangladesh, Europe, Sudan, Kenya, China, Thailand and few more which violated most of refugees rights'.

Are we such? Embarassing!

Datuk Seri Rais Yatim, I believe, has got the answer

Samy OK, Palani a bit overboard!

I lift my hat to Datuk Seri Samy Vellu for his statements yesterday about Tun Dr Mahathir, whom many accused of making racist remarks about the Indians in Malaysia.

Samy spoke with candor when reporters asked him about Dr Mahathir.

Unfortunately, his deputy Palanivel was hitting out at Dr M, 'reminding' him about his 'roots' and labelling him with unnecessary words.

We are all Malaysians. Maybe Palani has forgotten how he has risen to where he is today. If Samy can still attribute the country's development to the former premier, at least Palani can appreciate him as a former statesman whom he used to shake hands with and endorsed his capability in BN.

Yes, we can be critical over some issues. We can hammer someone if we are on the right track to do so. But to belittle a person whom we had work for and with, is really uncalled for!

Thank you, ASP Natirah


I would like to express my sincere gratitude to ASP Siti Natirah, the SIO (senior investigating officer) of Ibupejabat Polis Ampang for releasing my 21-year old nephew on police bail, yesterday evening.

This boy was involved in a brawl (just threw 2 or 3 punches) at his yourger sister's 'boyfriend' whom she just knew for 2 months. This 'abang' didnt want her to get sucked into unhealthy activities as her 'boyfriend' refuses to tell what he does and where he stays. Afterall, the kind of friends around him are not the types we approved.

When I was involved in preparing reports for 'Suruhanjaya Diraja Mengenai Penambahbaikan Perkhidmatan Polis' about 4 years ago, among the contents and suggestions were for police officers to use their discretion in handling cases similar to this one.

Police officers must be fair, attentive and wise in dealing with youths involved in minor crimes as they have many more years ahead of them to improve and becoming good citizens.

Although Natirah locked him up for 2 nights in Ampang (a good lesson for Hafiz), she finally 'agreed' that this boy must have his own solid reason to do so. The other party who lodged the police report, too, is believed to be carried away by emotions.

We need many more officers like ASP Natirah of Ampang (whom I met at Pandan Indah Police Station) on Wednesday. Crime is common but we cannot make someone as a criminal for a minor and silly mistake he commits.

For ASP Natirah, thanks again.

Friday, June 20, 2008

BN still need SAPP... and Mukhriz

SAPP will remain in Barisan Nasional. That's
what Pak Lah said after chairing the ruling party's
special meeting yesterday.

The component party will not 'be punished' for
wanting to move a vote of no confidence
against the Prime Minister at the Dewan Rakyat
next Monday.

SAPP president Datuk Yong Teck Lee will, instead,
face disciplinary actions (not amounting to
sacking or suspension?) by the BN
supreme council.

Yong made a mistake here.

Why? Dewan Rakyat speaker Datuk Pandikar Amin Mulia
will not allow such a motion to take place on
Monday.

Rather than announcing SAPP's plan to move
that vote of no confidence, may as well he calls
for a press conference to announce his party's
decision to QUIT Barisan Nasional.

And on Pak Lah's side, why cant they just accept
the fact that SAPP no longer fit to be one
of its 14 components?

If someone already avows that he doesn't trust
your leadership, why must you keep him? Dont you
think this will become a DURI DALAM DAGING in BN?

SAPP is not 'very contributing' to BN, anyway.
Getting rid of it will cause BN no harm.

Or is it difficult to take action against Yong,
just like Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir case?

No guts, maybe. Or BN still need these people
around for 'special reasons'.

Afterall, its your call!

Makal Sakthi to rally June 22

The Makal Sakthi movement of Hindraf plans
another public rally on Sunday June 22, 9am at
the MIC headquarters in KL.

Announcement or invitation was made via SMS to the public,
saying that all Malaysians were invited, regardless
of race and religions.

The SMS reads "On the 22nd June (Sunday) at 9am,
Makal Sakhthi is gathering at our MIC building to change the leadership
because we have lost UAB Bank, Bank Buruh, Vanto
(Academy), Tumbuk Estate, Maika Shares, South
Indian Labour Fund and also may lose AIMST
College Pacific Oriental Ins.

"All this took place during the present MIC leadership.
Do we still need this type of leaders? Enough!"

It did not add TAFE College, one of the most sensitive
issue to the Malaysian Indians, in respect to its land
status. In other words, the land ownership is one of
many issues yet to be addressed by the leadership,
including Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu.

Another issue, who killed state assemblyman Datuk
S Krishnasamy? Is the hitman also related to
MIC top figures?

The rally, they said, will go on, with or without
police permit.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Do you really care, anyway?

They say Pak Lah's days are numbered. You think so?

You think SAPP decision to push a vote of no
confidence against him next week will change
the country's political scenario?

When Pairin Kitingan took PBS out of BN in early 90s,
was there a change of 'heart' among the BN leaders?

Anwar wants to be a Prime Minister too. If
he contest the Bandar Tun Razak parliamentary
constituency (to be vacated by Tan Sri Khalid
Ibrahim), what's his possibility of winning?
If he lose, what's next for the Pakatan Rakyat
dream to rule the country?

Now that the rakyat is feeling 'depressed' by
the hike in oil and consumer items prices,
you think they care much about what's gonna
happen at the top?

They are too busy making ends meet, bro,
trying to earn extra RM to survive.

Maybe Pak Lah is getting unpopular for his
decision to increase fuel prices but he
is still the legitimate premier. He still
get strong support.

Anwar is strong too, in his own style and
domain but until he sharpens his tools,
nothing is gonna happen.

The rakyat dont feel the burden if the
government change hands. Their only concern
is how and what to feed their families.
Nobody will come to their rescue if their
babies cry all-night long for a bottle
of milk.

You think, they really care about the
political tussle? How about you, bro?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Journalist at war and war journalism

Friends have been asking questions about my experience during the Iran-Iraq War in the early 80s (which led to my first interview with Saddam Hussein) and my other similar encounters.

Some even asked as to why some of my interviews were not published by my editor then.

I would love to relate all that. However, I need to start with a small mission - finding old pals whom I used to work with and for.

Names like Kak Shidah (Rashidah Ismail, sub-editor BH, foreign desk, 1981), Abu Bakar Ismail (editor, BH, foreign desk, 1983), Ben D Cunha (senior writer NST, 1985) and Kak Sal (Salmiah Rahman, senior journalist BH, 1982).

Where are they now, I wonder...

I managed to locate Kadri Taib (senior sub-editor, foreign desk BH, 1984) who is now one of the directors at Coca-Cola and Khairuddin Othman (senior sub-editor, foreign desk, BH), now a senior lecturer at UiTM Shah Alam.

This people were very sentimental in supporting my 'odd assignments' then because I had to go overseas on unpaid leave and own pocket money, just to get those stories.

Besides A Kadir Jasin (group editor NST then), the other person whom I owe much gratitude is Pak Samad Ismail (Tan Sri). On a few occasions, he helped me dealt with 2 senior officers from Bukit Aman (one name I remember is Inspektor Fadzil, the other I've forgotten).

These officers were at my neck each time I came back from Iraq, Iraq, Nigeria, Lebanon or Libya, waiting for me at Subang Airport, going through the books I brought home and asking tonnes of questions.

To some extent, they came over to my house as they wished, twice or thrice a day, 10pm, 1am or 3am. They thought I was becoming a socialist like the Baath Party of Iraq. Or they may have thought I was inclining towards the Shiite teaching of Iran.

So, such was the perception when a Malaysian, including journalist, went to these countries. Not only your editor found it difficult to publish you stories, our security system was also a bit passive then.

No wonder no local journalists (correct me if I'm wrong) were involved in making reports or taking photoshots of the 2nd World War which affected Malaysia then. Only the army personnels did that. Or, there wasnt any printed media at that particular time.

War journalism was only introduced and encouraged by our local media practitioners in 1990 when the Americans invaded Iraq under Operation Desert Storm. Even that, Malaysian journalists were sent to save places, reporting from hotel lobbies and army camps located nowhere near the battlefields.

Do I have to tell you how I met Peter Arnett, the CNN senior journalist whose reports were internationally-known during Operation Desert Storm? I will.... later.

The only thing I can say about him now is that, he too, compiled reports from hotel lobbies.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Minister and his non-MP party president...

I went to Parcel D, Putrajaya at 8am today for an appointment with a Minister. With me was a friend wanting to get a letter of support for his business proposal.

We met the same minister at the Parliament during Dewan Rakyat seatings last three weeks. We were told that he would look into the matter before coming out with such a letter.

Actually, the proposal didnt ask any sen from the government. In fact, the previous minister and deputy were very supportive of it as it was meant to assist the Federal Government in developing Iskandar Malaysia in Johor.

So, this new minister, I suppose, should be able to continue what his predecessor had done. Afterall, its a PFI (private funding initiative) project.

And today, after waiting for 40 minutes, his political-secretary told us that his boss was engaged in an official function.

Fine... but what about the letter he promised us at the Parliament?

"Sorry, he has referred it to Datuk Seri &838(*&*@*!!!..., our party president for approval. You have to wait until next week," he said.

WHAT?!

His party president is no longer a Member of Parliament or as a member of the Cabinet. What has he gotta do with ministerial decisions?

Even the president's former press-secretary (when he was a senior minister) is now serving this new minister and at the same time has to shuttle between the ministry and the party HQ to attend to the president's orders.

Now Datuk! You are a minister. If you think your president dictates you, may as well you step down, ask Pak Lah to make your president a senator and give away the job to him.

If you cannot decide on small matters, including non-legal binding letter of support, you better resign from office. Your press-sec can run it for you.

As for the party president, we understand how difficult it is to stay on top without holding a Cabinet portfolio since your have been there for so many years.

My advise to the president, you better start something new. You cant be there forever. You are actually finished after the 12th general elections. What else do you want in life as you are already filthy rich.

Go buy yourself an island, build a castle...and rot there!



Monday, June 16, 2008

Rebates... rebates.... rebates!

Isnt it nice to see long queues at the postal offices nationwide? The last time we observed such a scenario was at the National Registration Office, more than a year ago.

Now, they queue-up for that rebate-for-fuel - RM625 and RM150. By simple calculation, a private car owner gets about RM50 per month (pls note that a Kancil needs RM88 for a full tank. If you stay in Keramat and work in PJ, it will dry up in 4-5 days)

I was talking to a few friends at the Corus Hotel, Ampang, last nite, of whom 2 are bankers.

Lemme put it this way.

If the government has to park RM4 billion (some say its gonna be RM8b) at the Postal Dept as a method to disburse that rebates to the rakyat, who will get the benefit out of it?

With that 4b, my bankers friends say they can easily chalk up RM4-6 million daily on inside tradings.

Just make it an average RM5m per day.
RM5m x 20 (average 20 working days p/mnth) = 100m p/mnth
RM100m x 12 mnths = RM1.2 billion

Gosh... that's a lot of money, enough for someone's retirement.

Unfortunately, its not ours anyway.

Pssssst! (who got the largest interest in the Postal Dept?) U got the answer, friends?


Which one, Ku Li?

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said a component party of Barisan Nasional will pullout from the pact later this month.

Which one, Ku Li? They've got 14. If its not from Semenanjung, it must be from Sabah or Sarawak.

Going by history, never had a party in Sarawak deserted BN.

Sabah? Got laaaarr!

Ku Li, did u mean 'this' particular party?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Rocky bro... you are the best'est'!


rocky,

thanks for that promo. wonder if i could just let u steamroll me on that '147' arena!

i didnt wanna join this bandwagon in the first place but maybe...maybe there's something all of us can share on the Net.

journalism in the 1980s was not exposed to such challenges. i had a kadir jasin then to support me but he was more on managing the english newspapers.

will relate that later on...

thanks again.

p/s... r u game for...?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Do you really need an agreement?

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he has reached an agreement with his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Razak that the latter will take over the premiership when the time comes.

As to when Najib will take on the baton, nobody knows.

Which means, Pak Lah will hand over the Umno Presidency seat to Najib first, prior to making him the next prime minister.

But what agreement has taken place between this two? Does Najib need such an 'agreement' before taking over as head of party and government?

Is it similar to what Tun Mahathir and Pak Lah agreed upon in late 2003 before the switchover? Let's not elaborate on this as only Tun and Pak Lah have got the answer.

In return, what will Pak Lah get? A chairmanship in Petronas? Or Proton? Or as an adviser to the government?

Come what may...

Protest... protest... protest!

People in many countries are already taking to the streets to protest soaring oil prices, spiraling prices of consumers items, shortages in food supply and low wages. You see them on TV, the Internet and reading about it in the newspapers.

Malaysia is lucky to have citizens who do not really show off their discontentment by taking to the streets. They normally vent their anger and dissatisfaction by producing letters of protest to the wakil rakyat, consumers association or choose the Press.

Only a small faction chose to demonstrate in the streets of Kuala Lumpur or Penang. No untoward incidents took place. Only a few will be detained and then released on police bail.

In other countries, the demonstrators costs millions of dollar in terms of damaged properties. So often, such a protest turned ugly and claimed innocent life.

Even in Indonesia - a member of the OPEC cartel - an announcement by the government to hike up oil prices was met with clashes in the streets between the police and protesters, most of them university students. At about 6000 rupiah per liter (less than RM2), the rate is still seen as burdensome to the Indonesians, whom 70 per cent of them depend much on agriculture to survive.

In India - where its disparity gap is among the widest in the world - such an announcement also ignited protests all over the country. It claimed some life and left many injured.

We are still lucky. Pak Lah's government is still very fortunate not to be confronted with such a scenario.

Although some peace gatherings are too common nowadays, the atmosphere is still under control.

Malaysians do not like bloodshed, neither do they want to live in hardship. But how long can they hold on to such a pressure? With the hike up of fuel prices, followed by other consumer items, does the government realise that time-bombs are ticking everywhere in the country?

We cannot afford to face a situation like Indonesia, India, South Korea, the Philippines or Belgium. But should such events occur, how would the government attend to it?

Does Pak Lah, Najib, Shahrir and the rest of our leaders really know what is going on in the hypermarkets, 'pasar' and retail outlets around the country? How many enforcement officers are there now to monitor the situation?

Even the mid-income group is already choking. What about the lower income group then?

Of course our leaders can make do with the 10 per cent cut in their allowances as they can still afford to reach out for anything they want in life.

But imagine this - what can they do with... lets say, a RM1,500 monthly income (no extras), with a house to pay, a cheapest car, a wife, 2 kids aged 10-16, and water and electricity bills to pay? Even a Kancil owner, who now pays RM88 for a full-tank (previously RM60) should sell-off his car in order to survive.

What about those earning less than that? RM1000 or RM800 per month? MAKAN CICAK LAAA!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Out of control



The prices of fuel went up only last week. Immediately, the selling tags of other consumers' items began to spiral.

Everybody is feeling the pinch. Before the price hike of petrol, my full tank costs me only a little bit less than RM100. Now, its about RM145. For a 2-liter car which is supposed to get a rebate of RM625 from the government (average RM50 per month), it is TOOOOOOOOO much!

Shahrir Samad, our Domestic Trade and Consumers' Affair Minister - in playing numb to his stupid statement last Tuesday evening - has issued out stern warnings to manufacturers, operators and traders not to increase prices at their own wish.

Blast you! Even the government did not consult any consumers' association, the NGOs and related parties before announcing the new prices of fuel.

Why should you tell those manufacturers and traders not to do so when they are already feeling the heat? Leaving them with no choice, they are now choking the consumers?

Who to blame? The Yankees who invaded Iraq?

Blimmey... we are a net exporter of petroleum. Had the increased been minimal, it would be comforting for everybody.

Now Shahrir, how can you ensure that the consumers will be protected from these errant traders? You got enough enforcement officers? Or you expect the public to make calls every now and then to your respectives agencies complaining about 'naik harga'.

Malaysians are living on tight budgets, Datuk Shahrir. You should go to any wet markets in the Klang Valley, explore for yourself the agony of 'trying to save a sen' now being experienced by our laymen.

No... we dont think so. Pak Lah, Shahrir, Najib, Hishamuddin and maybe the rest of the Cabinet members dont go to 'pasar ikan'. They've got their own 'machai' doing it for them.

No matter how expensive it is, do they really care?

They dont care at all! Why? Because our leaders are all well-off. Most of them are already rich before joining the Cabinet. They are sons of ex-premier, ex-party leaders, ex-high-ranking government officials, tycoons, etc.

There is no more 'pemimpin berjiwa rakyat' in Malaysia. They never went through what others had - not enough to eat and wear'.

Remember Lobo's song 'Armstrong'?
Like a boy in Chicago
Playing in the streets
Not enough to wear
Not mere enough to eat
But dont u know he heard it
On that July afternoon
That a man named Armstrong
Walked upon the moon.

The US then was busy with its moon and space expedition, leaving most of the blacks in hardship. No matter how much the government spent on such a program, the people had got nothing much to say... just watch.

Now that Malaysia, too, is busy with its development programs, its corridors, space venture, etc.

Price increase is becoming an asset to attain the status of a developed nation, right? Suit yourself and face the consequences then...

Friday, June 6, 2008

GOD SAVES OUR AGONG!


Its gonna be Yang di-Pertuan Agong's birthday tomorow. Being young, well brought up, impartial and dynamic, we'll pray for his wellbeing.

Malaysians are truly proud of him, especially his fullest determination to rule the country which is now plagued with some serious challenges.

Politically, economically and socially, Malaysia will have to depend more on His Majesty's wisdom, rather than that of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet members.

Why? Everyone got the answer.

DAULAT TUANKU! DAULAT TUANKU! DAULAT TUANKU!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

LU CAKAP APA, SHAHRIR?!


What rubbish did Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister, Datuk Shahrir Samad say on TV3 last nite that the hike in fuel prices will not necessarily push up prices of other goods.

Tarak sekolah ka apa? Can he guarantee that a lorry ferrying vegetables from Cameron Highlands to Kuala Lumpur will not impose extra charges to wholesalers in Pudu market, for instance.... and this wholesalers will sell their products to the retailers at the same price?

Use your common sense la, Shahrir. You are a well-educated person. Dont act stupid just because Pak Lah made you a minister and you have to nod or say 'yes' to everything he says.

When you were a laundryman, how many times that you DID NOT hike up your charges on customers each time when there was a hike in fuel price?

The rakyat is not that BODOH anymore, Datuk. Since this is not the first time that the government announced such a price hike, they are well aware of the consequences. In other words, they have learnt a lot from such announcements.

To say that other consumer items will not be affected - just because some get government subsidies - is totally rubbish.

What about the cost of transportation, oil-based manufacturing and other services? And what about the new electricity tariff?

Apa la lu!!!!