Tuesday, March 30, 2010

US$7000 to US$15000 in 10 years - realistic!

It is not a political mimic. Setting a target of elevating the annual per capita income from US$7000 to US$15000 in ten years sounds like what Mat Jenin has dream of but going through the thrust of the New Economic Model (NEM), it is within reach should all plans are engineered to accordingly. Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak who himself is an economist did not simply emulate the policy on simple calculations but one which has taken into account all aspects of the economic development.

Announcing the NEM today, the premier said the Model has taken into consideration the achievement of all races in Malaysia as not to allow any over-zealous implementation to flaw the 1Malaysia concept. The time has come for all sectors of the economy, every section of the community and all political parties to take part and support its implementation if the objectives are to be attained.

To create a highly-income nation (read Benama here), all government agencies and its implementing arms will have additional roles to play in assisting the GLCs, the private sector and foreign investors to deal with the grueling world economic situation. The rakyat, too will be provided with ample support in enabling them to participate in any kind of economic activities, not only to support their families but to boost the government effort in eradicating poverty, improving their income and enhancing their yield per investment.

He said that creating a high-income nation will mean higher wages throughout the economy as growth is derived not only from capital, but from greater productivity through the use of skills and innovation, improved coordination, stronger branding and compliance with international standards and intellectual property rights.

Najib lamented that 80 per cent of the workforce today have education only up to SPM qualification -- Malaysia's equivalent of the O-levels, which "is not in line with the high income economy that Malaysia aspires to be."

While the NEP's original policies are still relevant, it is time to review its implementation. "We will chase the same goals but transform the way we do things," he said.

The renewed affirmation action policy will be market-friendly, merit-based, transparent and needs-based. A notable point under the NEM was that a competitive and transparent tender process with set and clear rules for the whole Bumiputera community made up of both Malay and other indigenous groups was developed.

Thumbs up, Najib!

Also read NEM Proposes Malaysia lead Global Green Revolution
Also a commentary by BusinessWeek

Wisma Putra 'KUAT TIDUR!'

I dont know what is wrong with our Foreign Minister and his diplomats at the Wisma Putra. I am also not sure whether Anifah Aman is fit to be a foreign minister. If he really is the man for the job, he shouldnt let our foreign policy looks so loose and incompetent.

I am not a diplomat but when I was with the Business Times, I had my weekly column 'Diplomatically Writing'. I browsed well with the diplomatic circle in Malaysia and I knew all ambassadors, high commissioners and most of their diplomats. Rockybru was my editor then. I even took some of them to the National Press Club to mingle with our media reps. I remember US Ambassador then Lynn Pascoe (now UN deputy sec-gen for political affairs) calling me 'ambassador at-large' for being so attentive to any world issue. I enjoyed the job as I had the privilege to call them anytime, even after midnight, for comments.

And here we are, having a foreign minister whom I think only acts on advice from his officers. Or does he need to refer to the Prime Minister each time Wisma Putra wants to issue any statement on global issues? Then, may as well we abolish the FM portfolio.

When Israel announced on March 10 that it would build new Jewish settlements in the West Bank, most Islamic countries and others, including the United Nations issued statements objecting and condemning it. I waited and hoped for similar action from our government.

Finally, it came... 20 days later when Anifah issued a statement that Malaysia condemns the Israeli plan. It came when US President Barack Obama avowed his objection to visiting Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week, which soured US-Israel relations for the first time.

I dont understand how our foreign policy comes into effect and how Wisma Putra executes it. We were always late in reacting to any major global issues. Our statement on Israel atrocities on Gaza last year came three days later, and so was our statement on the earthquake in Haiti.

Maybe I understand why yesterday's statement 'had to be issued' - because Rosmah Mansor had earlier in the day announced our medical aids to the Palestinians! Or am I wrong? Or do we need to wait for Najib or Rosmah to comment first before we are allowed to issue an official statement?

Remember when more than 50 Australian MPs protested against Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy trial? Wisma Putra reacted a few days after I blogged suggesting Malaysians to protest at the Aussie High Commission!

I still have high regards for Tun Dr Mahathir's foreign policy, especially when Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was his foreign minister. We were fast in reacting to any world issue and Malaysia gained respect at the UN for speaking for the developing countries, the Palestinians and others. Our voice was heard! Remember TDM speech at the UN Security Council?

We were once the chairman of the OIC, the champion of the G77 and also the South-South cooperation. What happened after that is history.

Najib should address the weakness at Wisma Putra, notably with regard to boiling and running international issues. We are the friends of many and many are our friends. If our foreign policy is just a set of signatures in the guest book, may as well we close it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Israel officials brand Brits 'dogs'

When Hamas freedom fighter Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was murdered in his Dubai hotel room on Jan 19 this year, the whole world pointed at some 'British and American agents' for the job, not knowing that Israel was actually the mastermind. Israel had stolen thousands of British and US passports in the past and used it on its agents, notably Mossad.

So, when the British immigration decided to expel one of Israeli diplomats whose passport was used by one of the suspects in Mahmoud murder case, Tel Aviv started to brand the Brits as DOGS (read here).

Aryeh Eldad (Israel National Union) doesn’t show much respect to the Brits whom he compares to dogs: "I think [the] British are behaving hypocritically and I don't want to offend dogs on this issue, since some dogs are utterly loyal," Eldad told Sky News.

Another MP Michael Ben-Ari took it one step further. "The British may be dogs, but they are not loyal to us, but rather to an anti-Semitic system..”

Denying any involvement in the assassination, Israel were quick to blame it on Hamas radicals in the Palestine, saying opposing factions within Hamas were behind it. However, the discovery of British stolen passports from an Israel agent recently revealed everything.

Twelve of the assassins carried British passports in the names of individuals living in Israel. The other forged passports used were from France, Germany, Ireland and Australia.

A common link to Israel among the forged passports is what made the Dubai police 99% certain from the start that Israel was behind the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh (read here).

Britons better grasp that Israel was using no less than 15 forged British passports. The Israelis were obviously confident that they could get away with it. The Mossad had a good reason to believe that Britain’s politics is in its pockets.

This row also indicates how Israel too would ask its agents using foreign passports to kill its own people, just to put the blame on others.

I wonder if they would one day use Singapore passports, too... and do remember that Mossad provide trainings to the Republic's intelligent agents.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Its Chua Soi Lek & Liow Tiong Lai

MCA members today chose Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek as their new president, leaving incumbent Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat without any party position while former president Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting got nothing to lose.

Congratulations to our former Health Minister... and may his victory augur well in bringing about unity to the party and stability to BN (read Bernama h e r e).

Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Chua's strongest ally is deputy president. Vice presidents are Yen Yen, Donald Lim, Chor Chee Heung and Gan Ping Sieu.

Who is the ULTRA here...?

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad officiated the Perkasa AGM Saturday, which was attended by about 10,000 people, as grand as any Umno general assembly. TDM is an Umno member while Ibrahim Ali is an ex. The objectives of Perkasa, among which is to uphold the rights of the Malays (including 'ketuanan Melayu' and the role of the Malay Rulers) is not only a challenge to Umno under the presidency of Najib Tun Razak but a rivalry to that of any other similar organisations.

Lim Kit Siang was fast to lament the gathering, calling TDM an ultra-nationalist (read h e r e) and labeling Ibrahim as building Perkasa on stilts of lies when he accused the DAP's 'Malaysian Malaysia' as the main cause for the May 13, 1969 riot.

TDM, according to LKS has come full circle, starting 'as an ultra and back to an ultra-nationalist' for throwing his support for Perkasa.

"Its a lie that DAP and the Malaysian Malaysia slogan were among the main factors that caused the May 13 riots”, he said questioning the Pasir Mas MP for taking 41 years after the 1969 riots to make the 'discovery'.

“If DAP and Malaysian Malaysia were the causes of May 13 in 1969, DAP would have been banned long ago and DAP leaders would have languished in jail and unable to participate in Malaysian electoral politics in the past nine general elections. Or is Ibrahim suggesting that the Special Branch and the past five prime ministers had been remiss in their national duties in failing to take action against DAP, which he alleged as a threat to national security and perpetrator of May 13 riots?”

No comment but I believe what Kit Siang was trying to say is, Ibrahim who once sought his help when the latter was under detention, is now turning his back on his 'old friends' in effort to elevate his politics.

And I personally dont label anyone as 'ultra' for reasons like that. Ibrahim formed Perkasa on the ground that Umno is getting weaker (read Rockybru) and was not able to protect the interest of the Malays as it used to be. Is Umno really weak now? Najib got to answer that.

Again, Ibrahim wouldnt have mooted the idea if Umno really is in its original position... or is it anything to do with 'the Malays being deprived under 1Malaysia' ?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Say NO to Tony Blair The Liar!


Calling on level-headed Malaysians to join hands with the Perdana Global Peace Organisation in protesting against the scheduled visit of former British premier Tony 'War Criminal' Blair to Malaysia on 23-25 April 2010. Our former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has written about his disgust over it much earlier (read h e r e...).

We cannot simply allow someone whose lies has led to the war against Iraq and Afghanistan to set foot on our land. Both countries succumbed to the US-led military assault in 2003 just because Blair created stories about the Iraqis in possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

His blatant lies has permitted and legalise the killings of Iraqi leaders and citizens, totally crippling its economy which, during the 1980s, was among the strongest in the Middle East (one Iraqi dinar then was valued at USD2.5 compared to 3,000 dinar to a dolar today).

So, sign up h e r e to avow how disgusted we are at Blair and his war general former US President George 'Who Hide Behind The' Bush for all the devastation in Iraq and Afghanistan.

All NGOs and members are encouraged to join this 'petition' to symbolise our 1Malaysia against any form or war, aggression and illegal cross-border military activities.

Malaysians dont welcome this war criminal to step foot on its soil!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Yes, they are selfish politicians... but Sin Chew, mind your words!

While Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is overseas, trying to woo foreign investors to Malaysia, most of our leaders are too busy hammering each other, bickering over personal issues when they are suppose to help build the nation.

Selfish politicians! I totally agree with Sin Chew... h e r e.

''Foreign investors are still observing the condition of Malaysia. The government must now take the second step towards liberalisation, and it must be a major opening up in order to convince the foreigners. We must prove that we have completely understood that we must set aside racism and pan-politicisation, as well as truly improve operational efficiency in order to fight economy.

Unfortunately, politicians of both the ruling and opposition parties are not aware of it. They are still busy playing the live and death political game. Former PKR MP Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohd Hashim claimed that opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's plan of "916 regime change" was a hoax. Later, UMNO Youth in different states lodged police reports against Anwar over his alleged intended takeover of the federal government on 16 Sept 2008. Anwar has been investigated under the Sedition Act. Anwar has also been given a week to explain the statement he made that the 1Malaysia concept mooted by Najib is a carbon copy of a slogan called "One Israel". If Anwar fails to do so, he may be referred to the Dewan Rakyat's Rights and Privileges Committee.

In addition to tin for tat and making noises, Dewan Rakyat has also become a racial forum, particularly when UMNO MPs, who are unable to get rid of racial mindset, speak...''

True indeed. Our Parliament, which is meant to debate national issues is now a playground of monkeys and clowns. Its turning into a political battlefield. The interest of the rakyat seems to be sidelined...

However, Sin Chew, the paragraph in red bold is also drawing some comments from readers.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Penambahan anggota PDRM memang wajar

Rancangan mengambil 60,000 lagi anggota polis pelbagai pangkat adalah sejajar dengan syor yang terkandung di dalam Laporan Suruhanjaya Diraja Mengenai Penambahbaikan Perkhidmatan Polis pada 2004, di mana saya sendiri adalah antara yang terbabit membuat semakan terakhir sebelum ia dibentangkan di Dewan Rakyat oleh Perdana Menteri ketika itu, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Penambahan anggota ini sememangnya diiktiraf oleh laporan itu sebagai salah satu usaha meningkatkan mutu perkhidmatan kepada rakyat, menyamatarafkan kedudukan Polis Di-Raja Malaysia (PDRM) dengan angkatan negara maju dan membangun lain seperti Jepun, Korea Selatan, Australia dan India, di samping memperbaiki imej pasukan polis yang selama ini terjejas oleh pelbagai masalah seperti lewat bertindak, kekurangan anggota dan kepincangan lain.

Pasukan polis berfungsi besar dalam menegakkan undang-undang negara dan memelihara keselamatan awam agar sentiasa terlindung daripada perkara yang tidak diingini seperti samun, peras ugut, bunuh dan pelbagai jenayah lain.

Fungsi mereka dalam membentuk masyarakat yang lebih bertanggungjawab juga terhasil daripada pemantauan berterusan ke atas kegiatan tidak bermoral membabitkan belia kita hari ini seperti lepak, rempit, dadah dan sebagainya. Pembanterasan yang dibuat dari semasa ke semasa lambat laun akan mewujudkan satu masyarakat Malaysia yang kurang terdedah kepada jenayah serta mengukuhkan keyakinan dan meningkatkan rasa hormat orang ramai terhadap PDRM.

Saya masih ingat pada tahun 2004 apabila semua anggota polis diwajibkan memakai lencana 'Saya Anti Rasuah' sedangkan Laporan Suruhanjaya Diraja meletakkan pasukan polis di tempat ke-4 atau ke-5 di segi amalan rasuah.

Saya, yang ketika itu tidak setuju langsung dengan pemakaian lencana sedemikian, pernah mengutus surat kepada Pak Lah, dengan alasan jika anggota polis diwajibkan memakainya, maka semua kakitangan awam dari Perdana Menteri hingga ke pencari fail mestilah memakainya.

Laporan Suruhanjaya Diraja menyebut (jika saya tidak terlalu silap) perkhidmatan perubatan, pendidikan dan kastam adalah tiga kategori paling atas di segi berlakunya rasuah yang ketara. Malangnya, anggota polis sering dijadikan ukuran untuk menghentam PDRM sebagai bidang perkhidmatan yang paling buruk laku di segi rasuah.

Pemakaian lencana 'anti rasuah' itu memburukkan lagi nama baik PDRM kerana ia mendorong kepada tertanamnya satu imej paling aib anggotanya di mata orang awam. Rakyat yang kurang tahu mengenai kedudukan 'indeks rasuah' negara dengan mudah menuding jari ke arah mana-mana anggota polis yang meronda di kawasan mereka sebagai 'cari makan' .

Tanggapan inilah yang menyenangkan pesalah lalulintas dan kesalahan kecil lain menganggap amat mudah untuk 'membeli' seorang anggota polis dengan harga menyogoknya RM5 atau RM10 bagi kesalahan trafik misalnya atau RM100 bagi kesalahan kecil dadah. Pemakaian lencana itu turut meruntuhkan moral sebahagian besar anggota PDRM kerana sering dipandang serong di mana-mana pun mereka bertugas.

Kekurangan anggota juga memaksa PDRM melalui Kementerian Dalam Negeri tidak dapat menyusun agihan anggota di semua negeri, terutamanya Sabah dan Sarawak serta kawasan pedalaman Semenanjung. Penempatan pegawai dan anggota yang ramai biasanya tertumpu di kawasan bandar dan kawasan berisiko tinggi, menyebabkan rakyat pedalaman kurang dinaungi.

Dengan rancangan penambahan anggota ini, PDRM akan perkuatkan juga dengan penambahan pegawai pangkat inspektor ke atas di semua negeri. Adalah diharapkan, kerajaan turut menimbang meletakkan seorang inspektor sekurang-kurangnya bagi setiap balai kecil daerah, daripada seorang sarjan sekarang.

Penambahan anggota juga mestilah sejajar dengan program meningkatkan skim perumahan polis, kajian semula tangga gaji anggota serta elaun, dan meningkatkan mutu persenjataan PDRM. Pembesaran pasukan mestilah mengambil kira jenis senjata yang digunakan dengan mengambil kira cabaran masa kini dan semasa, di samping jenayah berat yang makin membabitkan persenjataan lebih canggih.

Ketika melawat pasukan polis marin di Pengkalan Kubor, Kelantan tidak berapa lama dahulu, saya sempat berjaya seorang pegawainya mengenai bot peronda yang memiliki dua dan tiga enjin.

Jawapannya lucu tetapi lojik. "Dua enjin untuk kejar penyeludup. Tiga enjin untuk lari dari lanun...!"

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The boy who cried werewolf

I bet all of you still remember the short story about 'The Boy Who Cried Werewolf'. Most of us read it during our childhood days. I did when I was in Standard Five at Masjid Tanah English School.

It was about a boy and his herd of sheep. Lazy and full of tricks but was always lonely. Once, he shouted for help, that some werewolf attacked his sheep. It attracted a lot of people in his neighborhood who came to help... but they found none. He did it again for the second time, and only a few turned up.

At his third attempt when the werewolf really came, nobody came although he shouted at the peak of his voice... and he lost all the sheep.

And that boy grew up to be just like Anwar Ibrahim, our Opposition Leader.

At the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday, his ex-right hand man Zahrain blasted him for all his lies, about how some Pakatan Rakyat's Members of Parliament went to Taiwan to woo their BN counterparts, about how Anwar claimed victory for his Sept 16 'tookover of Putrajaya' and how they were cheated on so many things.

They were forced to believe that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has consented Anwar as the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia, the lie that managed to suck all PR MPs to believe that their plan has worked well enough.

Even Anwar lied to them that the Chief of Armed Forces was throwing his full support for him to be installed as the new PM.

All this lies has led to Anwar losing one MP after another. His Parti Keadilan Rakyat is now embattled with serious 'level of confidence' about his leadership. Rumors that more PKR MPs are planning to leave or defect, indicates how severe damage his lies has brought to the party and to PR in general.

Zahrain also revealed how Anwar called his partner in PR, Kelantan MB Nik Aziz as a 'terompah', symbolising how low the Tok Guru is in his eyes.

And of course, after he walked out of the Dewan while Zahrain was talking, he told the media that what the Bayan Baru MP (now an Independent) said was 'the job of Umno'.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Alamak, Hisham!

It was a farce! Less than 36 hours after denying the resignation of IGP Musa Hassan, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said at the Parliament today that the IGP will be replaced when his contract expires in September, and that there will also be changes to the police top brass (read Malaysian Insider).

Yes, the truth is Musa did not resign as reported by the China Press. The terminology 'resign' prompted the Ministry to issue a show cause letter to the newspaper, which also made Hisham so uptight.

I did blame the China Press for such a speculative story but I am of the standpoint that they shouldnt use the word 'resign'. Otherwise, they will be on the save side. I will be, too!

Here are some information I gathered today pertaining to the IGP and the 'resignation' issues.

First of all, it was Hisham who extended Musa's contract for another year in September 2009. At that time, Datuk Najib was already the Prime Minister. It has been a tradition that a new PM would want a new administrative team, which includes the police force.

What prompted Hisham to make such a sudden announcement today? Was he under pressure for extending Musa's contract as the Inspector-general of Police? Did he go against Najib's 'choice of IGP'? Or is there a possibility that Najib doesnt like Musa that much...?

Or maybe Najib has a plan for Musa... an ambassador, perhaps? Where to?

Hisham shouldnt have waited for the China Press to break the silent with its speculation. They could have gotten it from Bukit Aman or from the Home Ministry. We cannot discount the fact that 'secrets' like this can easily find its way to the Press. In this regard, I dont blame the China Press although they applied a wrong terminology.

Just wondering what's on Hisham's mind, actually...

Read also China Press given show cause letter, Utusan got the congrats letter.

Expect more excitement from the Parliament...

Yang di-Pertuan Agong opens the first meeting of the third term of the 12th Parliament today. Seating arrangements were finalised much earlier to accommodate changes resulting from few defections of the PKR MPs.

Things to observe this time around are:

1. Will Anwar Ibrahim remains as the Opposition Leader since the party no longer holds majority on the Opposition bench? DAP has 28 seats now compared to PKR's 26 and PAS' 23. Although DAP and PAS said Anwar may continue, there was already some pressure for him to handover the baton to Lim Kit Siang.

2. As the number of Independents rose from 1 to 7, will they bring impact on the debates to take place? Will they lean towards the government or the other side?

3. Should there be more defections by any of the Opposition MPs, what will be the outcome of the Dewan Rakyat session when a 'defector' who opposes a Bill suddenly says yes the very next day? Rumors are rife about 10 more potential defects.

4. Will former premier Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi turns up as he is still the legitimate MP for Kepala Batas? What about Rafidah Aziz and other MPs dropped from Najib's lineup?

5. Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, suspended for 12 months in March last year will be back. Will he create 'troubles' again?

6. The much said ISA amendment is ready. Will the Bill pass through to the Dewan Negara with the help of Barisan Nasional MPs. Remember when they almost lost the Budget when most of them failed to turn up last year?

7. How many of the 222 MPs will 'ponteng' most without any valid reason?

8. Problems in the PKR will get to the Parliament. Will there also be another move to push a motion for Anwar's trial be canceled and all charges dropped?

9. Will Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia and his deputies able to control the seatings without much hiccups like last year?

10. How fast and successful will the Parliament pass and adopt any new Bills and Laws this time around without having to go for extra time?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

China Press may face suspension...

Today, they published news that the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan has tendered his resignation letter. Tomorrow, other newspapers might come up with headlines such as 'Najib resigns!' or 'Anwar screws his driver' or 'Muhyidin asks Najib to step down' or things like that.

Soon, they will get daring enough with headlines 'The King asks Najib to quit' or 'Hisham to challenge Muhyidin in next Umno elections' or 'Malaysia plans to attack Singapore' or 'Maybank to close shop'.

If we allow them to go overboard, the whole country will be upside down. However, when we told them to stop, they said the government is very tolerance and takes up whatever the newspapers published, although it was based on their unfounded evidence.

So, if I am the Home Minister, I will either revoke the China Press printing permit or suspend its publication indefinitely (read h e r e). Why? I wont let such speculative news to jeopardise the dignity of the person, the police force and the government. It will also lead to bad implication among foreign Press that the Malaysian government can hire and fire whoever they wish, anytime, anywhere.

And I personally believe the Home Minister is considering a tough action against the newspaper. He got to set a precedent here as some editors of the local newspapers are finding a 'reporting leeway' under Najib's administration. Remember The Star and Al Islam?

I dont know what has been the China Press motive but of late, the newspaper seems to get more discontented with the government. Maybe they dont like Musa, Najib, Hisham or the government. Whatever it is, its up to its editor-in-chief to answer KDN sec-gen Mahmood Adam.

The Star used to be suspended in the 1980s. I forgot the exact date but it was something about this also laaaa....(Also read what Big Dog comments).

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Someone's asking for an envoy job

The new Dewan Rakyat session convenes next Monday, March 15. It would be an interesting 'new scenario' that our sole Independent Member of Parliament Ibrahim Ali will have 5 new members, all of whom were PKR MPs who defected recently. We all know who they are.

However, I would like to see whether former premier and MP for Kepala Batas Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Kuala Kangsar's Rafidah Aziz and a few more who were absent most of the time in the previous seatings, attend it this time.

Also, the seating arrangement for Ibrahim and his new team mates.

Most interesting is whether a former senior Cabinet minister will attend to his/her seat. Rumors are rife that the person has been applying pressure on Prime Minister Najib Razak to appoint him/her as an ambassador to any part of Europe.

I think I've read somewhere about this recently. And I also think the MP will not stop until the job is his/hers, just like Rompin MP Jamaluddin Jarjis or JJ who is now Malaysia's ambassador to the United States.

This ''someone'' had last year lost a bid to defend a party post. Many believe he/she is not anymore keen to serve as an MP and would like to 'escape' the humiliation by becoming an envoy.

The excuse - if Najib can appoint JJ, why not make another ambassador from among the MPs? Wow......

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Do we still need Jambatan Bengkok?

The Sultan of Johore wants the new bridge linking Malaysia and Singapore to be built (read h e r e). How now? It was canceled during Pak Lah's administration on grounds that it was too costly and the government didnt have much money then.

Mooted by former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the so-called 'Jambatan Bengkok' or crooked bridge was suppose to replace the ageing and congested Causeway.

The idea was also to ensure a clear passage for Selat Tebrau waterway, thus enabling local fishermen to benefit from a cleaner and heathier environment. The Straits too may cater small fishing and leisure boats and yachts.

Singapore, then under premier Goh Chok Tong refused to build its portion of the bridge, citing it as not economical and would only benefit Malaysia. However, the Republic did not object to Malaysia erecting in on its side.

And now that Sultan Ibrahim ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar has good and solid reasons for it, will Prime Minister Najib willing to re-open the file?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Anwar's sacking in 1998 is lawful

Sept 2, 2008 was a Friday, if I'm not mistaken. Two days earlier, I was in Penang to cover an event officiated by Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Anwar Ibrahim, Koh Tsu Koon, Ibrahim Saad and other BN leaders attended. The premier and his deputy were seen in a cheerful mood.

That particular Friday, there was another function in the morning. Anwar was talking something to Daim, which made the photographers busy.

After the Friday prayer, around 4pm, Business Times editor Hardev Kaur, her associate Rocky and the news desk were busy preparing our front page when the news came in: Anwar has been sacked from the Cabinet!

I believe each and every media player was shocked. It was a tough job to fill-up our main pages with the news. Many people were pointing their fingers at Dr Mahathir, accusing him of removing his deputy deliberately.

The actual story is, Dr M called for an emergency Cabinet meeting. Mostly every minister attended. Anwar too... and they voted against him. Well... that was 12 years ago.

And today, the Federal Court ruled that the sacking was valid (read Bernama h e r e), thus putting Anwar's bid to challenge Dr Mr, to and end. It also provides him with no more rooms to manouvre his sodomy case, either to prolong it or to find counter-evidence to put his defense beyond doubt.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Golf for the rakyat

I am not a golfer. I dont play golf although I know how the game is played. Golf sets are not cheap. Golf club membership fee too is exorbitant. Had I got the money, I would love to join. As a member, I enjoy other privileges at the club house, including its jackpot room.

I am glad that the government has waived import duty for golf buggies. This will encourage more people to engage themselves in the sport, or at least enjoy being looked at as being a member of the inner circle... the rich and famous. Otherwise, we can only enjoy the aroma of Famous Amos!

Am I glad! It will also boost our sports-tourism industry. More golf clubs can be opened, more greens, more buggies, more job opportunities, more tournaments and things like that. We will become a regional center for golf.

Its a good thing that the import duty is waived. How much is a buggy costs? Between Rm20,000 to RM30,000 maybe? It will be 50 per cent cheaper after this, which is affordable to the lowest income bracket. Currently, even the cheapest car on the road is still considerably expensive to them. Now they can purchase the buggy for everyday life, like going to work, going to the market, tapping rubber and so on.

Traffic in the city is always at a crawl, almost daily. Buggy will be ideal, I suppose. The road-tax and insurance will be very, very low too. Hope the government will regulate for cheaper golf sets and club membership, too.

Thumbs up!

US-Turkey relations at risk

Turkey-US relations are on the brink of collapse after the Congressional votes labeled the World War One-era massacre of Armenians by Turkish forces as genocide. Prime Minister Erdogan (pic) has issued a warning that relations between the two countries was at stake.

US, which has a major military airbase in Turkey, are also being pressured by some legislators to withdraw the decision, which has also jeopardised Turkish-Armenian good relations. Some political groups in Turkey have condemned Washington, labeling the Americans as the propagator of another war in Europe.

And the force behind the vote was the Jewish. Why? Pro-Israel lobbyists had previously backed Turkey on the issue but changed tack in retaliation for Turkish condemnation of Israel's policies in the Gaza Strip (read h e r e).

Ankara has on Friday called home its ambassador to the US to get a clearer picture ot the Congress resolution, described by Turkish people as a 'deliberate act to incite confrontation between two neighbours.

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said the vote was a boost for human rights.

The vote calls on President Barack Obama to ensure U.S. policy formally refers to the massacre as genocide, putting him in a tight spot.

FOOTNOTE: I agree with the opinion that the US are the propagator of world crisis. After the Korea Peninsular, they put two Vietnams at war, then Iraq, Afghanistan, Nicaragua and now planning an attacks on Iran. They are worse than the Nazi!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Anwar admits problems

Latest: PKR sacks Zulkili Noordin

PKR disciplinary commitee today expels Kulim Bandar Baharu MP Zulkifli Noordin.... and Zul says he feels shameful to Allah, the Malays and Malaysians....

At least Anwar is being frank about problems plaguing his PKR, that the party is losing its strong footing since the departure of his three strongmen within a month. The spate of defection is expected to continue. Rumors are rife that another group of 12 MPs is also planning to leave.

The only thing Anwar failed to mention is the fact that he was part of the reasons why they left and why they plan to leave (read Bernama h e r e). Maybe he didnt realise that his sodomy trial, which he drags and prolongs, has been the subject of contention among party members and also associates in the Pakatan Rakyat pact.

And now that the number of PKR MPs in the Dewan Rakyat has been trimmed down, many say the DAP should take cue from him as the Opposition Leader.

While Lim Kit Siang and a few DAP leaders were being polite about it in allowing Anwar to continue his duty, there are already talks and suggestion for him to relinquish his position to enable someone from the DAP to take over.

Information, Communication and Culture Minister Rais Yatim said recently that the PKR may fold up ''in a matter of time'', citing problems in the party were actually stemming out from dissatisaction over Anwar's family dictation on PKR.

Lets wait and see...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Yes, Al-Islam must apologise

As a journalist and blogger, I cant help but feel obliged to answer some burning questions from friends and readers about the issue involving two Al-Islam journalists. More people are talking about it. More bloggers are writing about it too and the foreign media is not excluded.

Yes, I believe the magazine should apologise to the Catholics for desecrating the Eucharist. As much as we want others who 'intimidated' Malaysian Muslims to do so, the Utusan-owned Al-Islam must not treat the issue as frivolous. This is a well-balanced Muslim and non-Muslim society where respecting each others' religion has been the pillar for unity and understanding.

When I posted similar comments on an article written by The Star managing editor P Gunasegaram last month, many demanded similar apology. If I am being senseless about the conduct of the two Al-Islam journalists, then I will be bias. I dont want to be bias as I am not as such.

I did write that Guna has not knowledge whatsoever about Islam and the Syariah Law when he wrote his article. The same applies to the two reporters from Al-Islam. They, too were so naive about Christianty. What they did (h e r e) was uncalled for.

Archbishop Murphy Pakiam said that the Church was willing to forgive the journalists, and would not pursue any legal action, if Al Islam merely apologized for the episode. But he said that the government's failure to intervene 'would appear to legitimise' the reporters' behavior.

Most of us tend to forget that this is a multi-racial and multi-religious Malaysia. Even if you live in a one-race, one-religion dominant country, you still dont deserve to belittle other peoples' race, religion and colors.

If you dont know how to respect others, dont expect others to reciprocate!

On Wednesday, the Star has refused to publish Marina Mahathir's column on the caning of three Muslim women, weeks after it got into trouble with the government over a similar article by one of its editors. It spiked her weekly column because of concerns that such sensitive articles could jeopardise its annual printing permit (h e r e).

Now that there are calls by various parties for Al-Islam to take up responsibility over the actions of its journalists, they should apologise in the spirit of 1Malaysia. Yes, our AG has defended the two as being 'ignorance' while the Home Ministry did not take any actions at his advise.

Let's not prolong this. Apologise, and it will be over. What The Star did is commendable.

A few years ago, Dewan Ulama Pas had called for the boycott of Al-Islam for publishing an article titled ''Ulama Jangan Merapu'' (h e r e).

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Chua Soi Lek quits as deputy president

MCA deputy president Chua Soi Lek quits his position today on the eve of the Central Committe meeting tomorow. Seven CC members also join him to 'pave' the way for the party fresh elections within one month.

As 21 of the 31 CC members have resigned, re-elections must be held according to provision of the party constitution. Which also means that Ong Tee Keat position as party president will be decided once again (read Bernama h e r e).

Ong was not informed of Chua's decision which took place a few hours after the president talk about party unity and plans for next general election during an interview with the government news agency.

Chua's decision is his, of course but will it augur well in stabilising the party which has saw some unpleasant incidents occured in the last few months? As one of Barisan Nasional's major parties, can MCA win back the hearts of its members who are almost equally divided?

The seven CC members who quit are vice-president Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha, who is Housing and Local Government Minister, Datuk Gan Tian Loo, Dr Por Choo Chor, Datuk Seri Tan Chai Ho, Tee Siew Keong, Datuk Chong Itt Chiew and Loh Seng Kok.

Let's hope the best for MCA.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

More defections?

Pakatan Keadilan Rakyat is being hit with a spate of defections. Rumors that another 10 MPs will leave the party to join the Independents are rife amid the 'declaration' by its 12 Members of Parliament today to continue supporting the party and its leadership.

Minister of Information, Communication and Culture Rais Yatim was convinced that PKR will just 'fold up' in a matter of time. And that will leave to archrivals DAP and Pas in Pakatan Rakyat - an odd partnership. If that happens, they will have to go back to status quo.

The PKR today lost another elected representative when the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bagan Serai, Mohsin Fadzli Samsuri, announced that he was leaving the party (read h e r e), citing his lost of confidence in the struggles and political objective of the PKR and the Opposition Pact.

He was following the footsteps of the Bayan Baru MP, Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohamed Hashim, and the MP for Nibong Tebal, Tan Tee Beng, as well as former Penang deputy chief minister I, Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin, who had left the party.

The burning question here - how long will PKR survive... and what will happen to the PR pact?

Lim Guan Eng should go...

I used to have some pride when Lim Guan Eng was made Chief Minister of Penang more than a year ago. Someone from Melaka ruling another state! It didnt matter then that he's from DAP. I am also of the opinion that why must the Yang Dipertua Negeri of Melaka were those chosen from Kedah, Perak and other states! Isn't there any qualified candidate from the state itself? Sounds very territorial, uh?

However, its a different scenario. LGE was elected by means of politics while the Federal Government appoints Yang Dipertua Negeri or Governor with the full consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. LGE was the choice of his party that won the general elections, and that makes it very special.

Unfortunately, administering a state government is not as easy as becoming a governor. He's lucky that Penang doesnt have a sultan. Otherwise, he would become another Nizar who was involved in a royal battle with the Istana.

And that is why Ali Rustam heads Melaka, Khalid Ibrahim leads Selangor, Nik Aziz rules Kelantan, Ahmad Said administers Terengganu while Musa Aman takes care of Sabah. Why? They are local boys who are masters of their own territory. What if Ali and Nik Aziz swap places?

This means, every state needs a local leader who knows the characteristic of his own people, their problems, demands, and so on. When Pakatan Rakyat selected LGE, not only the Malay in Penang were discontented but the Chinese and Indians too. How well does LGE know Penang?

An election candidate may hope or change places but to head the state government where he himself is not a Penangite, problems will arise and keep on multiplying. From day 1 he took office, many discomforts befalled him. Even his partners from PKR were puzzled at the way he was managing the state. Not that he's a Chinese or a Malay but Penangites did not welcome him wholeheartedly.

The saga of Kg Buah Pala, the resignation of his deputy, the Malay problems, bickering within Pakatan Rakyat leaders, the withdrawal of three PKR Aduns namely Zahrain, Tee Beng and Fairuz, his decision to make his office an out of bound for all, and the added provision to government's tender forms, are signs indicators that LGE cant lead. He is only (maybe) good as an Opposition representative at either State of National levels.

I am also of the opinion that Pakatan Rakyat had no experience in state administration. Yes, they are good at bashing BN representatives at the Dewan Rakyat (in the sense that they know everything) but when they are given the opportunity, the just simply cant do it. Anwar has a lot of experience, no doubt about it but he alone cant charter it for his friends.

And now that the Penang state government is being hammered from all sides, LGE is choking. He cant take criticism and he wont share it with his friends from the PKR or Pas. To him, Pas is only another liability, just like Zahrain, Tee Beng and Fairuz. Not having Pas in the state administrative will be much better and easier for him and the DAP.

He doesnt know Penang much. Although he is supposed to get sufficient support from his colleagues, the truth is that, they are not very cooperative. They chose not to because they themselves thought that LGE is not a suitable chief minister for the state.

Again, territorial politics do rule, just like what we observe in Kelantan. No matter how much funds are given out by the Federal, most Kelantanese still have a high level of respect for the Tok Guru.

Penang state government is losing its credibility and accountability. With more PR Aduns are expected to resign and withdraw soon, LGE days are numbered. The best thing for him to do now is consider resigning. If the PR state government survives, they will choose a Penangite as a leader, not an outsider.

As for Melaka, I am quite okay with Tun Khalil and former Yang Dipertua Negeri. An ''anak Melaka'' still heads the state.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Will they strip for Anwar as well?

More than 5,000 people posed naked at the Sydney Opera House today, for the sake of art (read h e r e).

People of all ages, shapes and sizes assembled on the shell-shaped building's steps before dawn for renowned American artist Spencer Tunick, who photographed them with hands raised, lying down and embracing.

The event, titled "The Base", drew double the expected turnout and was timed to coincide with Sydney's annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade on Saturday.

So, this is how the OZs appreciate art. I wonder why didnt their prime minister take part.

I also wonder if the 56 Members of Parliament who support Anwar Ibrahim are willing to do this? I think they should as their leader Danby supports homosexuals and lesbians.