Saturday, March 31, 2012

Umno leaders and Hang Nadim...

I remember reading the legendary book on 'Singapura dilanggar todak' (Singapore attacked by todak) - a swordfish family known by its scientific name 'xiphias gladius'. I had my first encounter with it while fishing under the Penang Bridge some years ago when it 'jumped' on our boat. About half a meter long.

The book narrates about a seven year old boy, Hang Nadim who 'rescued' the Singapore sultanate from ferocious attacks by the fish. However, the Malay Sultan ordered for his kill, afraid that if they boy grow up, he would be smarter than the Sultan.

Whether its true or not, the story has lots to do with the Malays and Umno, and what was said by former Prime Minister and former Umno President Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

For generations, the Malays place significant preference to their leaders, those who lead and the ones elected to become 'ketua kampung' or 'penghulu'. Anything that comes from the leaders would be deemed right and should be respected.

In Umno, it is still very much in practice. Those elected to the higher positions are seen as a pool of perfectionist that nobody should contest whatever decision that is passed down. The officers around their waist will go around telling the grassroot members that since these people are elected, they must be obeyed.

And for members to give fresh idea or opinion, they will find themselves being stopped at the officers level, no chance to get any closer to any of the leaders.

Fifty-years after Independence and 64 years of Umno, this has not changed much. While more Malays are becoming professionals - doctors, engineers, lawyers, journalists, pilots, etc - the demand and calls for Umno leadership to improve the party and its approach, gets louder.

Many have joined the party, especially during the 1980s when the nation laid a strong foundation for modernisation. Some made it successfully at various levels of the party leadership - from division heads to State Assemblymen and Members of Parliament and also as ministers and others.

In the present day, if you are not holding any professional job, you will find it difficult to compete for such party positions. You need a little bit of luck, of course.

Part of the reasons why they joined Umno is to help the top leadership formulate a new approach as to how they could steer the party towards a better direction. While Umno is seen as a party to 'tolong Melayu', it also bears the responsibility to assist other parties in Barisan Nasional in administering the government.

But since the mid-2005, the number of professionals in Umno has dropped significantly. While some left the party, the new ones chose to become members of the Opposition. Not that they didn't want to join Umno but their application was rejected.

Dr Mahathir said, Umno divisional and branch leaders should open wide the door for professionals and intellectuals to join the party and then field them as candidates for the general election.

Umno, he said was facing a dearth of capable leaders as the leadership at the divisional and branch levels were hampering their entry into the party.

For decades Umno has ‘not allowed’ the smart ones to join the party. That is why many doctors have joined PAS. This ultimately makes it difficult for Umno to find suitable candidates in ensuring victory in the elections.

Umno must practise meritocracy in choosing candidates to contest in the general election including from outside the party and not only from among the top leaders in the divisions. Umno needs more talented and qualified people to form a capable government.

However, Umno top leadership is still not widely open for good suggestion and positive minds. To some, those trying to 'teach' them how to run the party are the ones who would threaten their position should their political march advances.

And there are leaders who swallow anything given by their subordinates at the State level, with the belief that everything is fine and in order. No need to name them but I think many Umno members and those in Putrajaya know who they are.

And just because they hold key position in the Cabinet, they commit no mistake. When someone tells or points out their mistake, that someone will eventually find himself in a cold storage.

Umno leadership must realise that BN’s victory in a general election was determined together by voters who were non-Umno members as votes from Umno members alone were not enough to win seats.

The party leadership should realise that they will not be clinging on to their position for life. New leaders will take over when the time comes. And to ensure that the party gets good and quality leaders, Umno must open its door widely and wisely to the professional Malays.

The leaders must be willing to listen to the masses. There are many who cannot lead a party or a government but they acquire the right idea and knowledge to solve major problems. If we keep on 'killing these Hang Nadim', Umno would one day become irrelevant.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Shooting down The Star

Despite The Star suspending indefinitely two senior editors earlier this month over the Erykah Badu issue, pressure is mounting for the government to come down harder on the English publication.

Up to yesterday, I still received text messages from some bloggers and reps from several Muslim NGOs voicing out their disappointment that Home Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein was being 'too lenient' with them.

What else do they want? Star2 senior editor Lim Cheng Hoe and assistant editor Daryl Goh who approved Badu's photo to be published last month, are already on holiday. Its as good as losing the job for them.

Close down The Star? Is this what Perkasa, pro-Umno bloggers and the Muslim NGOs want?

Its editorial boss Wong Chun Wai has replied the 'show cause' letter sent by the Home Ministry. Plans were introduced to enhance the level of understanding among The Star's non-Muslim staff about the 'sensitivities of Islam', including other measures to ensure that such a 'stupid mistake' will not be repeated.

However, as much as the Muslims want others to understand and respect Islam, how many Muslims have made the move to understand and respect other religions? While we want the non-Muslims to identify and 'learn' the Arabic characters for Allah and Muhammad, are we sensitive enough to learn about theirs?

The two non-Muslim editors have been made victims of extreme minds. But are we suppose to blame the non-Muslims when we the Muslims too are not interested to understand the characters of other religions?

While the Muslims were outraged by scattered incidents deemed to insult the religion, the non-Muslims in Malaysia usually have to stage a silent protest when some Bibles and holy books of other religions were subjected to ill-treatment by some 'nasty' Muslims.

Perkasa, the pro-govt Malay NGO has been so loud in demanding stringent action on the Star. The Home Ministry came under tremendous pressure to suspend the newspaper, and worst to the extend of revoking its printing permit or close it down.

The leaders of Perkasa have forgotten that it was The Star who came to their rescue over the 'white ang pow' by coming up with a defensive article that 'the red ang pow ran out on that particular day'.

I am not defending The Star for such an error. The fact that its editorial did not have a specialist to monitor the photo before it goes to print, cannot be accepted. But the fact that other newspapers that made similar or more or less the same mistake as The Star and then got away with only a minor 'show cause' letter by the ministry, made The Star a perfect platform for individual politics.

Sadly, even some Umno leaders rode on the issue by condemning the newspaper as racist and anti-Islam.

Is The Star as such? Being a pro-government newspaper and has shown undivided support for Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, is it fair to label it as anti-Malays or anti-Islam?

And is it fair to blame Hishamuddin for not imposing a 'death penalty' on The Star? Did the duo or bosses at The Star simply committed the mistake for some reasons? Personally, I don't see any ill-intention here as they know very well the consequences awaiting them.

If I am in Hisham's shoes, firstly I will take up the case as a serious. Issue a show cause letter to The Star, get them to explain the mistake and the course of action to be taken in order to avoid its recurrence.

However, after series of similar errors, The Star deserves to be suspended but such a decision will not only affect the life of its 4,000 staff but will also subject the government to the Opposition's criticism.

Secondly, Hisham could be weighing the political impact on Barisan Nasional should The Star is punished severely. As the newspaper belongs to MCA, the BN component party will not be at ease should the publication is suspended. In BN, even Umno needs MCA and this means, anything that shaken MCA interest will have a direct impact on the ruling party.

And finally, Hisham could also use the proper channels to defuse public anger and outrage over the issue. The Malays and Muslims need to be told that despite the error was unintentionally committed by the respective Star personnel, the ministry has taken a fair action against it.

But still, we can't avoid those extreme minds from mind-boggling Najib or Hisham. In a multi-racial and multi-religious Malaysia, we need moderate minds to bring our rakyat together.

The Malays in Umno must be aware that Umno cannot form the government by its own without MCA, MIC and other component parties. With the Opposition onslaught gets more mean, are we suppose to sacrifice the hope of millions of voters for BN to win the next general election, just to boost our ego for things like this?

Enough lar!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Just visit Myanmar, no need bring Suu Kyi to KL!

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak will be on a two-day official visit to Myanmar beginning tomorrow. Together with wife Rosmah, Foreign Minister Anifah Aman and several ministers, it marks a new era of diplomatic and political relation between the two Asean members.

So, its part of the job of any leaders to find ways in fostering good understanding and cooperation between nations and governments. Nothing to shout about.

However, weeks before the scheduled visit, news from the PMO was rather alarming.

Someone claiming to be a close aide of Najib was contemplating on arranging a visit to Kuala Lumpur for Burmese democratic icon Aung San Suu Kyi.

What a rotten idea it is.

Bringing Suu Kyi to Malaysia will not augur well in cementing our ties with Myanmar since it was established in 1957. And I dont think Yangoon would like to see us interfering in its domestic affairs.

But the officer was so proud and convinced that such a move will make Malaysia 'rise on the occassion' as the one promoting democracy and stability to the region. And of course, its a boost for Najib.

What a load of craps!

My words to this young Dato - you dont know what you are doing. Its not part of your area of responsibility. If you know nothing about foreign policy and the wisdom of maintaining good diplomatic tools, better leave it to the experts.

By the way, do you know who will benefit most if Suu Kyi comes to Malaysia? The Opposition, of course! Anwar Ibrahim, who all this while claims of equating the credentials of Suu Kyi and Jose Rizal, will lucre from it.

So, just stay where you are...


Sunday, March 25, 2012

A tumor in Umno...

There was more than just comments and reactions to my earlier posting Daim's prophecy on the next general election.

While some were generously in support of Daim, one or two gave a 'true insight' of the actual situation in BN, especially Umno that might lead the ruling party to a more disastrous result than 2008 national poll.

I believe the writer is a politician or someone used to be with Umno inner circle as the way he posted his comment did not reflect him/her as a novice in domestic politics. And what he penned also speaks for many disgruntled Umno members who found themselves confined and locked from having their voice heard by the party leadership.

JR (a reference to Just Read):

Since u r so in the know with PM Najib's key people- here's a message for them. Daim is right. You r also right that Badawi did not chose to listen to voices on the ground. Because there was no voice. PM Najib too overlooking the same thing. The enemy is in UMNO

Its not about just listening to news from your people. You must have all sources covered and counter checked, as- more often - they give you news PM, Ministers and UMNO key leaders want to hear- and they in turn are fed with news that they want to hear.

Why? Because people on the ground know you wont counter check them. They know this routine so well. If they talk to 10 people they will say 100 people. After all if AC Nielson can do that why not them la.

Najib is still keeping mistakes the dishonest pimps called the Ketua Bahagian, you know that animal?

These r animals who keep their postions by paying for favours to get re-elected and keeping people who will back them on a leash - with money and promise of projects. They are marking time - waiting for election money and campaign funds to POUR in. These are not passed down to the members and party workers.

The hard up useless Umno leaders on their payroll will be happy with the little they get, the big pie is reserved for the ketua bahagian and the one person above them who make sure money is passed to them. So these group of dishonest people will turn bad news into good news, or a middle view. The ketua bahagian will inform bosses, the PM - 'everything ok boss'.

Come campaign funds day. The Ketua Bahagian hoards the money. Why because they have plans. There's always Umno elections after general elections. So keep the money for that. In reality like 2008 things will turn bad and ugly - when money and expenses are not passed down to party workers on the ground. In 2008, it was obvious PKR and DAP had more money to spend for elections - from party workers comparing notes.

So 2008, while the ketua keep the funds for themselves and their future politics, many workers and others abandoned UMNO. They stay at home or if angry enough, they vote opposition.

So yes. The enemy you cant see today - are the KETUA BAHAGIAN. They are the scumb bags who sold UMNO and the country in the last electons. Some are stillaround like in Selangor.

Today some call themselvels Najib's chosen men. Remember the story of several ketua bahagian under the State number 1 man's protection, were seen slogging to remove bags of cash from the MB's election office, after the state was lost?

That was not just a story. That was reality check.

They expected the rest of us to use our money first - which we will never get back. AND have never gotten back.

Our message to you since you are showing off about being so close to PM's aides, you can tell them - if they really care for the PM, the country, dirty your pants and get to the ground, counter check your sources, esp if u r getting smoke signals from someone like Daim.

If you dont - for the same above reason - you will lose Selangor and Daim is right because he knows about these immoral activites in most states under UMNO. Of course he should know.

I feel sorry for the many hardworking ordinary UMNO men and women who are working so hard for the party. Because they love and believe in the PM and the country - and will do it for the Malays.

But the small time leaders they are working for are nothing but typical UMNO mafias, (some even get to sit on board of anti corruption bodies). If their own members are disgusted with them, do you think the ordinary people will believe them to vote UMNO BN?

So don't be too cocky that you have covered all corners.

BETRAYED

NOTE: During Umno General Assembly last year, I did mention things like these in three postings in a row. As an Umno member, I do love Umno and will always support BN but if the grassroot voice is not heard, Umno will gradually lose ground in Malaysian politics. Think about it!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Daim's prophecy

Former Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin rang an alarm by predicting BN will only find an easy passage in Johore, Malacca and Pahang in the next general election. As for other States, competition is expected to be very, very stiff.

The Umno veteran - who seldom spoke to the Press when he was a minister - told Nanyang Siang Pau that PM Najib must cut out the deadwood to ensure the ruling party gains more support from the voters.

A year before the 12th general election, the former Umno treasurer issued a warning that BN would lose Penang, Selangor and Kedah. His 'prophecy' came true when BN lost five states on March 8, 2008 and its two-third majority in Parliament.

I would rather say that Daim was a bit pessimistic.

Why? A few hours before his interview with the Chinese paper, I was with two Najib's senior aides, talked general election over a cup of coffee. The two Datuks gave another version of the story, an optimistic one.

"Our PM is convinced that BN will take back Selangor and Kedah from the Opposition. He received encouraging reports from all component parties, including Umno's Mentri Besar and Chief Minister. Everything points to success," according to one of them.

"Bro. Every corner is being covered now. So, there is no need to worry. The Opposition will be wiped out!"

Waaaah! So confident.

But what kind of reports did Najib get from each and every State? That everything is in order, and that Umno is in a perfect condition to stand up for the general election?

Former PM Pak Lah was also very confident in 2008. He didn't listen to Daim and neither did he seek advise from others. The most damaging part was, most of the reports from Umno State liaison officers were far from the actual situation.

I know at least three Cabinet ministers who only want 'good news' from their officers in their respective constituency. Any bad news will be up to the officers to attend.

So, I am not sure if Najib prefers the bad news first or the good news. Or did he deploy some party agents to check on the reports and verify that what stated on the paper really reflected the actual situation in the respective State?

As how Daim put it - Najib is a good general but the soldiers around him are not fighting the war with him... they are fighting for their own survival!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pensioners mad over SPBA extra cash

Pensioners uproar!

When the Public Service Dept paid them the extras for two months (January and February) under the recently scrapped Public Service New Remuneration Scheme (SPBA) adjustment, little did the recipients knew that it would be withdrawn.

And worst still, they have to pay back the amount to the government!

So, some pensioners went to the bank today. To their disappointment, 'insufficient balance' was all they got from the teller or ATM machines. Those who enjoyed the extras (between RM800 and RM3,000 per month) previously, ended up in despair.

After some deductions for house loan, car and others, some are left with nothing.

"Come on! The government made the mistake. Its their fault. Those responsible for the scheme must answer this.

"Had we used up the money, it was ours since the government had paid for it before (Prime Minister) Najib scrapped it.

"If they want it back, they should have worked out a plan to retrieve the money, at least by three of four installments. As pensioners, we depend solely on our monthly pension.

"Is this our fault? We want to ask Najib - is this a benevolent government as he claimed? Those who are still in service too are having difficulty when their end-March pay is deducted for that payback.

"You want our vote in the coming general election?"

Yes, they were frustrated and in anguish.

Well... who should be blamed? I believe our Chief Secretary to the Government must answer this!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A book on PwC wrongdoing

Many people write good books, I mean about good leaders, successful companies and great inventions. Also, some on wars and conflicts.

However, not a handful would write about misconduct, wrongdoing and scandals like Watergate or Irangate, let alone about blunders by world leaders.

In Malaysia, one of two authors had written political books about why Anwar and KJ cannot become PM and Umno Youth chief. It sold a few before it got cold.

But this planned 'book' on corporate wrongdoings would probably sell, especially when it involves an international company with operations in Malaysia. Those at the top are already feeling the heat and by the time it is in circulation, it will definitely draw some political attention.

PwC Malaysia is under international scrutiny for some of its 'mishandling'. With a court case still pending and some irregularities began to make it more ugly, its parent company in the US is said to have dispatched a senior official to conduct investigation.

Several publishers both in the United States and in Europe have expressed interest in publishing this book. It is expected to be ready this year.

This book will center around PwC's hidden documents, internal emails, false witness statements and affidavits.

As way back as 2003, PwC's General Counsel knew about this case, and Andrew Plunkett from the General Counsel's office told the enquirers to refer to the Malaysian office, while all the damaging emails were sitting in PwC global servers.

I have not heard anything from Chin Kwai Fatt and Johan Raslan. As the commanders of PwC, they should take this matter lightly.

Read more...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

We are so hard up for Indon maids!

Indonesia asked RM700 per month for their maids. Like it or not, we need to haggle. However, I believe we are going to lose. Why? We are so hard up for them!

To Human Resource Minister, why don't you and your officers find other avenues to solve this 'maids' problem, rather than having to play beggar to Indonesia.

What is the role of 'Jabatan Tenaga Manusia' or JTM under the ministry? At the same time, we have so many learning institutes to provide local students with training in various disciplines, especially technical and services.

Why can't we consider setting up a special academy to train locals as maids? We won't regret having to pay them between RM700 and RM1000 per month.

Introduce a special course under your 'hospitality' arm. After all, those who work at hotels, clubs and restaurants are not called 'maids' although they do maids' work such as making up the bed, cleaning the hotel rooms, etc.

Give it a special name. Hospitality is becoming an asset to certain industries. Some colleges do offer hospitality courses for locals and foreign students. The Segi College, for example.

Its better to give a higher salary to our locals because they are familiar with our surrounding. The also speak the same language and understand local cultures.

And the best part is, we know where they came from. So, its easy to tackle them should they 'escape'. Employers too will find it comfortable having a local and professionally-trained maid in their house.

Besides, we will be able to save millions of ringgit from leaving the country.

The Indonesian government is playing hard to get, actually. As our priority and preference are the Indonesian maids, we are bound to agree to whatever conditions they put forth.

So, Mr Minister, this is not a dead end. We have options here. The only problem is, some people make big bucks from importing the maids. Among them are politicians. And when politic is added to the matter, it becomes a MUST business.

Think about it, will you?

Come on lar... 54 years after Independence, we still need to import toothpicks?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

To this officer, I AM WATCHING YOU!

This 'special officer' to a senior minister is getting to my nerves! Some believe he decides everything for his boss.

Every since joining the ministry's media team a couple of months back, he seems to mess around with all departments, dictating others, including the seniors. He even caused someone to 'lose' his job.

So powerful he is that even the press secretary, the political secretary and senior private secretary have to listen to him, bow to him and become yes-men to him.

The way this special officer carries himself around make others blase! He even calls and presides meetings on new media just to present rubbish to them.

And he himself is a non-performer. The minister did not notice this because as he boss, he likes anyone who scrubs his balls. A performer or not, what's important is to have a pool of good 'macai' around his waist all the time.

I think that's why the minister hires him, not for his performance but for being an a**h**e! But sooner or later, people like this will bring the boss down.

I am watching you, bro... and your boss too! So, stop fooling around with me!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

30 years since Look East policy...

When Dr Mahathir launched the 'Look East Policy' in 1982, he caught the West by surprise. Not that he was against the developed US and Europe but the values and work ethic of the Japanese and Koreans were more suitable for a new economy like Malaysia.

While his 'Buy British Last' did caused minor diplomatic collision with the UK, his approach in dealing with the capitalist did gain recognition world over, especially among the developing and the non-aligned groups.

The South-South Commission and the Langkawi International Dialogue and the South African International Dialogue, among others that he initiated, were deemed by the West as a premier challenge to their world economic dominant.

While Japan and South Korea were also emerging as the new economic power horse, the more developed West were at their very best to contain such an emergence from getting so much closer to their standard. However, it was the work values of the Japanese and Koreans that steered them to a point beyond the expectation of the West.

And today, such values are still very much in practice - not only in the two countries but in many, including Malaysia.

It has been 30 years since the Look East Policy was introduced. Malaysia has benefited well from it. And thanks to Prime Minister Najib and his Japanese counterpart Mr Yoshihiko Noda who acknowledged Dr Mahathir's policy as the driving force behind our achievement today.

And the policy continues to open up more doors to rapid development of the country.

I remember what Dr Mahathir said when addressing the Third Langkawi Islamic Finance and Economics International Conference (LIFE3) in October last year that Malaysia and other Islamic countries should look to other Eastern countries and not the West as a model for their development.

He said he believed of making the right decision in introducing the Look East Policy of emulating work ethics and business techniques from Japan and South Korea during his tenure as the prime minister

"Right now, there are so many problems with Western countries. The problem in the West is that they have borrowed too much and cannot repay. You cannot have that kind of a country as a model. If you see countries like (South) Korea, Japan and China in the East... China has US$3.2 trillion in reserves. They are swimming in money. Korea can come up with major products better than that produced by companies in the West.

"Japan, as you know, is a country which lost a war... totally destroyed but as it rebuilt itself, it become the second biggest economy in the world. If you want to copy or learn something, learn from the successful people, not from the failures," he said.

True enough. One could not learn much from the West because it was a total failure, and as such we should continue to look to the East and not to the West.

"The West is going bankrupt," Dr Mahathir said.

However, Malaysia will not go bankrupt. The Opposition's claim that the economy would burst and gets overheated by the year 2020 was a political gimmick to attract attention. Anwar Ibrahim actually knows the actual situation of our economy but he has to politically ride it.

If he (Anwar) gets to Putrajaya after the next general election, I don't think he will scrap the policy. He will pursue it...or is there anything better than that?

Monday, March 12, 2012

So, Najib is 'chief of criminals'?

I tend to agree that when low-ranking policemen commit a crime or mistake, their bosses would spare no time in taking action. If there is a need to suspend, sack or send them to jail, it will be done without prejudice as 'the law must be upheld'.

However, when senior police officials are involved in wrongdoings, including graft, their subordinates and top brass are bound to provide them with cover ups. Although a few big cases were leaked out and ended up in courts, I (and many others) believe the 'devils' are still at large.

The police force is also plagued with politics, internal politics. When favoritism is at its thickness, personal feud among top personnel cannot be avoided. Adverse reports and poison-pen letters become a common avenue for back-stabbing.

But its even more ugly when retired senior police officers began to make open statements to the media about others, including the government and the Prime Minister. It is well understood why they took such an opportunity in retirement to say such things. Had they did it during service, for sure they would end up in cold storage.

Its becoming a trend of late. I have seen and heard ex-senior policemen, former Members of Parliament and retired judges and top-ranking government officials making derogatory remarks about almost anything - from politics to the manner PM administers the government and the country.

I have seen some retired top brass government officers joining the opposition immediately after retiring. Had they done it while in service, their chance to elevate their position would possibly put to a halt.

And they still enjoy getting government pension.

Back to this police melodrama. I was having coffee with a few friends at a hotel in PJ last night when a text message came in. It reads: "Ramli Yusof (ex-CCID chief) says Musa Hassan (ex-IGP) provided protection to Johor kingpin Goh Cheng Poh aka Tengku Goh. Former KL CID boss Mat Zain Ibrahim also asked the govt to reopen investitagion into the murder of Altantuya..."

I immediately showed it to my friends, one of whom is a diplomat who had a good laugh. He said: "We don't trust people like this, Jay (he's fond of calling me by that name). Listening to them is wasting time. And when they are on the opposition bench, better not listen at all.

"If they are honest, they wouldn't be caring too much about their position and opportunity to rise when they were still in service. They should have made such exposure there and then and not wait until retirement."

Good points.

So, that's why Malaysiakini and its in-house commentators were fast in hammering at the government and the police force when the duo came up with such statements. If you read the comments, all came in similar or 'more or less' the same tempo, which reflects those who left comments are the ones 'inside' Mkini.

I am also of the opinion that Ramli and Musa are having personal vendetta. Those at Bukit Aman and the media (even the public who have been following Ramli's case) are aware of it. So, no excitement about it.

And from what I heard, the former KL CID chief is (or has he?) joining the Opposition. Of course, Mkini like going hunting for people like these to help sensationalise their stories.

But Mkini aside, I think the respective authorities still need to take a look at it. We don't want to be accused of being ignorant, right? Unless we like Mkini heading "Our country is run by criminals".

Saturday, March 10, 2012

All ears and eyes on Shahrizat

Let's listen to what Shahrizat Jalil has to say. The blogger was tipped off that she will make an announcement either later today or tomorrow.

Whether she will resign as a Cabinet minister or relinquish all positions, its up to her to decide. However, pressure is mounting for her to leave the Cabinet over the National Feedlot issue.

But still, its also up to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak whether to accept her resignation or not. After all, the PM was the one who appointed her a Senator after losing the Lembah Pantai parliamentary seat to Nurul Izzah of PKR in 2008.

The NFC has put the Wanita Umno chief in a dilemma. Although she denied of having any involvement in the project managed by her husband, the rule of logic still points to her having some kind of a 'hands on' in it.

And as general election is coming, Najib too has to reconsider her position and the impacts on Barisan Nasional.

Since the issue errupted late last year, Shahrizat and the government got continuous bashing both from the Opposition and BN lawmakers.

Let's see what happens after this...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

We need a better KTM

On Tuesday, Express Wau of Keretapi Tanah Melayu 'chooed off' from KL Sentral Station at around 8.30pm for Tumpat in Kelantan. It went south to Gemas before changing its engine (locomotive) to north.

The journey usually takes between 14 to 15 hours, depending on the weather and rail traffic. For regulars, it is normal to reach Wakaf Baru Station at 9.30am or 10.30am while travelers to Tumpat will take an extra 20-30 minutes.

However, on Wednesday, Wau Express reached Wakaf Baru at around 3.30pm, much to the disappointment of the passengers. The reason given was 'technical problem'.

Such a problem is getting more acute of late. Not once but a few times already. Complaints were lodged to KTM headquarters in Kuala Lumpur but no 'real' action was taken.

While KTM is proud to have a modern fleet of coaches and engines for its KTM Komuter service and north and south bound express, little attention was given to the East Coast sector. In some stretches between Lipis-Merapoh-Gua Musang, the train has to be at a low speed to negotiate with the instability of the track.

I like traveling on trains - in Malaysia, India, South Korea, Netherlands and other countries. It gives you total freedom and the feeling of well-secured.

KTM has undergo a period of modernisation since 1998 which saw it adding new locomotives and coaches to its fleet. The number of passengers has also multiplied ever since. And today, we are proud of its achievement.

However, I do hope KTM will enhance its service quality to the East Coast. Many tourists go to Kelantan from KL and from Thailand. An improved service will not only attract more passengers but will provide KTM with a good image.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Appreciate the peace and security

We should be glad and proud. Being the most safest country in Southeast Asia and 19th in the world puts Malaysia at the envy of many. To the eyes of foreigners, its a warranty of security - from betting their money on our booming economy to the fearless mind of walking alone to any part of the country.

I personally would like to congratulate the government of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, the Home Ministry, the police, armed forces and other related agencies for contributing to such a high mark.

The news came when I was with Home Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein in his visit to the new immigration complex in Setia Tropika, Kempas, Johor Bahru yesterday (picture). I saw him smile on the news but what crossed his mind then was his personal domain.

He could be happy about it but he knew its not an easy task to lead a ministry in charge of national security. While the media and the opposition often threw tantrums at him over specific issues, he overturned it in a very moderate way.

The Opposition and those who have been trying to promote politics of extremism should take this as a reminder - that there is no discount on national security. It takes a concerted effort to achieve such a benchmark and any effort to stir it will not augur well for the people, the economy and any faces of politics.

National peace, stability and security cannot be achieved overnight. We have been through numerous turmoils that saw our unity been ripped apart. There was a time when we looked at each other with askance. We were afraid to walk alone and talk to strangers.

We should be thankful to all policies introduced by the ruling party in promoting greater inter-racial understanding. We must be grateful to the security forces for carrying out their duty without prejudice although a minor error will be deemed as a disaster to the opposition.

This is a country for everybody. We are not alone. There are about 7 million foreigners living in the country, a testament that we not only offer them work, good salary and a hefty returns from their investment but a level of security that their own respective countries cannot provide.

Tell me - as Malaysians - where on earth would you like to go and migrate for no reason? I believe the Opposition should answer this.

I have been to many countries and regions - from the most hostile to the most peaceful. I have seen people being killed in Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Eritrea and Lebanon; and I have felt the soothing calm of Luxembourg, Norway and Botswana. But these are one-race nations. And I still can't find another peaceful multiracial Malaysia.

A progressive, peaceful and stable nation is based on its good politics and level-headed leaders. Managing a country like Malaysia needs full tolerance and mutual respect. But if politics of bipartisan and extremism take to the minds of its leaders, then the whole country would collapse.

The new immigration complex in Setia Tropika is yet another effort undertaken by the government to beef up our security level, especially from abroad.

So much money was allocated to provide Malaysians and foreigners with a higher level of security. So, appreciate it. Unless you are more comfortable to live with street demonstrations, racial unrest, looting and uncontrolled crime...

Monday, March 5, 2012

Pakatan should learn from Daim

Tun Daim Zainuddin is not a person who lies about what he feels. He also does not simply shower other people with words of compliments, and neither will he hide his sentiments over anything.

The former Finance Minister and Economic Adviser to the Government (during Tun Dr Mahathir's era) was honest when lauding Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib's administration, that the latter is ready to charge Malaysia forward.

"If you differentiate the characteristics of the two leaders, Anwar (the Opposition Leader) and Najib, you will be inclined to give higher marks to Najib, how in my view, has benefited a lot as a son of Tun Razak," he told Mingguan Malaysia yesterday.

As a leader, he described Najib as having a sharp mind in everything, and that gives give him the advantage against Anwar, who joined the Umno Youth long after Najib.

I agree. Just like Mukhriz, Najib has been observing how his father administered the government. Fast learning from it, he has developed his own capability to improve what his father and the prime ministers before him did.

Daim also shot down suggestions that Malaysia (under Najib) will go bankrupt by 2020 over its huge foreign debts.

The country's debt is manageable, Daim said, adding that the government is taking the prudent approach in managing its debt and in ensuring the economy stays vibrant.

It was a downright statement from a former Finance Minister.

I think Anwar and his team should learn from Daim. Although he was also a Finance Minister, Daim's economic management comes second to nothing. Anwar was just taking feeds from his aides then.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

When PM adviser says bloggers are nuisance...!

During an 'off course' Cabinet meeting late last year, Prime Minister Najib Razak issued a directive to all ministries to set up a new media network to be managed by their respective capable staff or outsiders with good background.

His deputy Muhyiddin Yassin has been seeing bloggers on a few occasions. Zahid Hamidi, Shafie Apdal and a few more are in strong engagement with bloggers and news portal owners. Hishammuddin, once said he didn't trust bloggers, is having a change of mind and has already met bloggers at two meetings.

Rais Yatim is perhaps the best minister when it comes to engaging new media personnel. I am not sure how many but they are really helping the ministry and the government in their 'psy-war' against the Opposition.

Others, I am not so sure.

This posting is referring to a Cabinet briefing on February 22 on 'social media network'. Yes, the one which PM's junior officer Amhari briefed (many questioned why a rookie was engaged for such an assignment).

What drew my attention was not Amhari. It was a 'big gun' from the Media Prima group of companies, a Dato' Seri. Shall I mention his name? No need la, how many DS (Dato' Seri) are there at the media group, anyway!

This DS condemned new media such as blogs, news portals and twitters as 'being irrelevant and do not have any significant impact on readers'. Even pro-Umno and pro-BN bloggers, he said (as I was told by a minister who attended the briefing) are not helping the government at all, especially Umno.

And as such, he said the government and rakyat should stay tuned to the mainstream media and don't pay any attention to the new social media. In other words, he looks at blogs, news portals and twitters as a bunch of nuisance!

That's his perception. I don't blame him. Being a non-blogger himself and with no basic knowledge about new media (I don't know why he was appointed to that position), he should take care of the interest of mainstream media, especially the one he leads.

But to belittle business rival Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture did not reflect him as being pro-government either. Condemning any government ministry and agency is tantamount to undermining the whole administrative system as a whole.

However, many believe he was attacking the minister in charge. Rumors are rife that this DS was vying for a senatorship under Najib's next Cabinet lineup, as a ticket to replace the minister.

No wonder he got a special parking lot at the PM Dept...

And I also wonder why PM made him a special media person (media adviser?) to assist the government when this DS can be best described (pepatah Melayu) as 'api dalam sekam'.

If he speaks, obviously he speaks for the PM as well...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Enough laaar!

If we take into account all 'racial and religious' sentiments committed by the newspapers, I think almost each and every publication deserves some kind of actions from the Home Ministry.

Not only The Star. Utusan Malaysia, NST, China Press and others should face the music for playing up such sensitive tunes. The Opposition-owned publications too should face the axe from the ministry. And what about pamphlets and other printed material by religious sects all over the country that belittles each other.

Also, may as well we tell the MCMC to screen and censor all similar elements on the Internet so that is won't reach our eyes and mind.

At the same time, ask the government to regulate a much harsher punishment to those involved. Send them to jail, if ours can accommodate them. Our jails would probably be full of journalists, writers, editors, politicians, lawyers and other professionals. Other criminals should spare the space for them.

Come on la bro!

A silly unintentional error does not reflect the mistake of the whole organisation. If an accountant errs in his calculation, we don't need to close the whole bank! The accountant should be put to task instead - issue him a warning or remove him.

I personally don't like the err committed by The Star the other day but to put the publication on suspension will eventually turn out to be a more disastrous decision. The Home Ministry has already issued out a show cause letter to the respective bosses, and I believe that's good enough.

The Star has already taken action against the sub-editor and personnel who made that mistake. An apology was published and that was sufficient enough. To err is human, and I was told the person who chose the picture was not aware of such tattoos on Erykah Badu.

Yes, this is a country that takes Islam as its official religion. However, the Muslims share the country with other faiths - Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. As Muslims, we have to admit that we sometimes make derogatory remarks about other religions too.

So, let's not be carried away by emotion. If we keep asking for 'capital punishment' to be taken each time when such a mistake happens, then we should be willing to take up the punishment ourselves.

Its also no point to cling on to our sentiment for the sake of the party or organisation we lead. If we keep on with such an approach, sooner or later the whole nation will fall apart. There are plenty of ways to settle such disputes in a multiracial Malaysia!

Unless we want to politicise the issue for personal gain or throw it out of proportion.