Friday, October 31, 2008

malaysiakini and the FAILURE of KETUANAN MELAYU

No nation in the world has succeeded in a policy such as "Ketuanan Melayu" and therefore it is not surprising that Malaysia too has failed.
According to this malaysiakini article Zaid: Ketuanan Melayu has failed, such a policy
"It has resulted in waste of crucial resources, energy and time and has distracted from the real issues confronting the country,"
Strong words indeed from a prominent lawyer who a few months ago was the Law Minister in charge of judicial reforms.

But even as the UMNO party elections draws close, we can still hear strident voices that Umno must dictate government policy. Those who want a dictatorship for Malaysia now know where the truth lies.

UMNO has been the architect of "ketuanan melayu" and it has been the controlling party for the past 50 odd years. If this is still the philosophy of the party, voters should consider very seriously if they want to support such a party.

I salute Zaid for only if all Malaysians realise the dangers facing the nation, we cannot progress further. Instead we will definitely slide backwards.

malaysiakini Reader Proves How WE are SUBSIDISING the GOVERNMENT

The new age of transparency in government can be embarrassing as the citizens can easily tell when the emperor is wearing no clothes.
Maybe someone should pass a law stating the government cannot be naked?
This letter in malaysiakini Have we forgotten world crude oil prices have dropped?explains how oil prices have halved since that panicky day when fuel prices were drastically hiked in June 2008; barely five months ago.
Of course logically the price could be halved now but the government will face enormous budget difficulties like buying helicopters without opening the wrappers.
I suggest the Finance Ministry should create a special account for the surplus the government is collecting for the expensive fuel we are now paying for. Since the Consumer Minister wants to maintain fuel prices within a price band like say RM1.80 to RM2.20, the surplus should be channelled towards special projects in public transport and upgrading bus companies etc.
I am sure the public would not mind to buy a few helicopters later if they can enjoy better public transport.

malaysiakini and the EUROCOPTER Test Flight

According to this malaysiakini article Wrong Eurocopter price now 'academic' the PM has apologised for the mistake in "rounding up" the Eurocopter deal and that admission is welcomed.
However the "academic" nature of the deal is not palatable as it is important for a responsible government to follow the proper procedures when committing the nation to such expensive purchases, especially when the security of the nation is at stake.
Hitching a joy-ride on a Eurocopter hardly qualifies as testing out the machine and I don't believe that even so-called experts can say much in 5 days about how the helicopter performs.
I watched a program on the Apaches and how the SAF spend months training their pilots in the USA.

Thanks to You Tube. Just like NURIs, EUROCOPTERS too cannot defy gravity

Thursday, October 30, 2008

malaysiakini on How We Bought the EUROCOPTERS?

The Internet is a wonderful tool and buying goods on-line is now a multi-billion dollar business.
So it is not too surprising to read in this malaysiakini article that No inspection done on choppers before the decision was made to purchase the EUROCOPTERS.
So what did the investigating team do on their study tour of the suppliers factory or testing ground?
Sorry they could not wait to get security clearance and besides there were more interesting things to do in Europe than look at helicopters.
After all, they all look alike - see that kit from TOYS R US looks just like what we are getting; only ours cost a few million ringgit more.

Photo: Thanks to

malaysiakini : The FAILURE of the NEP

There are two articles in malaysiakini that indicate the failure of the NEP.
The first article PKNS - 'Get the best person for the job' gives the reactions of ordinary folks who are upset that the staff associations of PKNS do not want a Chinese to head the organisation.
The second article PAS Youth warns MCA not to harp on NEP is interesting that an opposition group still harps on the NEP that has not really benefitted the poor.
The NEP ended in 1990 but was not buried by the BN government - they just changed the name and rebranded it to continue with their cronyism so that the ruling elites gained at the expense of the really poor and marginalised.

To me a policy like the NEP should have been used for 15 years tops. During those 15 years, a program to ensure that every Malaysian family produced at least one graduate in a useful/needed occupation would have eradicated poverty and built vital manpower.
But because the NEP deviated from its intended purpose, we now have thousands of unemployable graduates who still clamour "Give us MORE!"

malaysiakini and the PKFZ SCANDAL....

It is good that the PKFZ Scandal is being investigated but the terms of reference leaves some doubt about the findings being pursued to the ultimate end of bringing the culprits to book.
According to this malaysiakini article, Audit underway into PKFZ scandal it will be "up to the Transport Ministry to reveal findings".
That smacks of damage control and it is preferable that such an audit should be published for all taxpayers to see.
Given the amount of money involved, a public inquiry would have been more appopriate to delve into the wheelings and dealing for such mega-projects.
I have no doubt this is another case of land speculation involving power brokers and connected political cronies.
It is the simplest of deals. Someone in authority decides the authority wants to start a mega-project that requires land and then the gravy train starts.
The land is passed through a few exchanges with each party getting a share of the transactions as the value escalates untill the taxpayers foot the ultimate bill.
In the good old days the government will acquire your land for a public purpose and pay you the unconverted land price of say RM2 per square foot. Now it will pass through various connections and the land will passed through a few deals and will "appreciate" from RM2 to RM15 to RM50.
As long as the deal is underwritten by the authorities, it does not take much genius or effort to churn out multi-millionaires.
Of course politicians do need lots of dinero to survive party polls.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

malaysiakini and the MELAMINE Warning

There is an article in malaysiakini Ministry: Check website for info on melamine-tainted products that tells consumers to stop buying "biscuits sold in night markets, pasar tani and elsewhere which does not have labels".

Furthermore the advice goes on:

“Consumers are advised to always read labels on food packaging before buying it,” read the statement.

Excuse me but do you think the suppliers are going to on their packaging "melamine enriched"?
Those cheap biscuits are bought by poorer folks who prefer not to buy branded good as they can avoid the high costs of advertising, promotions and packaging.
I think that the rural folks also have little access to the Internet and the Health Ministry has to go to the ground to educate the poorer folks.

In fact the Health Ministry should work more closely with local authorities and MITTI to inspect those smaller factories to ensure all food produced is wholesome.

malaysiakini and the Latest on EUROCOPTERS...

The latest news on the EUROCOPTERS is that the deal will be deferred untill the economy improves and that could be about 2 years time if all the financial measures being implemented on a global basis take hold.
According to this malaysiakini article Billion-ringgit chopper deal 'put off' , the deal is now worth RM1.6bil and not the RM2.3bil that was earlier reported.
Now according to the first MINDEF statement, the EUROCOPTERS were supposed to cost RM1.1bil as per tender offered.
If the price is now RM1.6bil, that represents an increase of RM500mil or almost 45% extra over the tendered contract.

The PAC should examine the whole procedure on how the specs were so haphazardly drawn up that we can have so much extras even before the purchase order is placed. If the variation is less than 5% it would be reasonable if you now opt for some additional features.
But 45% indicates serious flaws in the tender.

I Hope malaysiakini GOT THIS WRONG....

Selangor is considered the most advanced state in Malaysia, though Penang may want to contest that claim.
So this malaysiakini article is rather unexpected Chinese heads PKNS: Staff say 'No' .
When did the PKNS become a "Malay only" organisation?
All those millions spent on staff training seminars etc seem to have been wasted when those who should know better adopt such a racist attitude.
I guess it shows the "success" of the BTN program that is run by the BN government.
I hope the Selangor MB will be able to put things right and not allow such an attitude to derail his progressive and unbiased ideas.
Otherwise the future of Malaysia is really bleak.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

malaysiakini and Malaysia's SICK Judiciary..

This case is a good indicator of what ails the Malaysian Judiciary.
The malaysiakini article Court documents 'incomprehensible', appeal put off suggests that the trial judge wrote notes that cannot be read or understood by anyone.
Already this case would probably qualify in the Malaysian Book of Records as the longest delayed appeal - since the first case was held 13 years ago.
The state can delay for many more years at taxpayers' costs but the individual has to put up with the inconvenience, costs and time wasted.
May I suggest that it is possible for the Appeals Judge to find for this gutsy lady and award her costs.

Monday, October 27, 2008

EUROCOPTER DOWN! malaysiakini Yet to Report This

According to the Malaysian Insider the controversial Eurocopter deal is being cancelled on account of the economic crisis.
I believe the PAC shoud carry on into the decision-making process of the Defence Ministry as the critical decision was made well into the global financial meltdown and Malaysia's falling revenues from oil and palm oil.
In fact the LOI was signed a few days before the ministry swapped hands.

I wonder if the following scenario is apt:
Two guys plan to rob a bank. On the way there the police catch them and they claim innocence even though they are carrying some suspicious tools. Can they claim they did not mean to rob the bank that day?

Instead of cancelling this important equipment for our troops, why are we not paying competitive rates? Surely we don't want more NURI crashes?
I think the PAC should also look at the state of readiness of the Nuris together with this Eurocopter deal.

malaysiakini on the BULLY BOYS of the BN

I wonder who should castigated more - the big bullies or those who allow themselves to be bullied?
According to this malaysiakini article PRS: Umno is a bully, so is PBB the Sarawak party claims that the big parties of the BN bully them.
Someone should educate them that the BN still runs the government because they still support such bully parties.
We have been told that Badawi is stepping down in March 2009 to take the blame for the election losses even though they still control enough seats to govern untill the next elections.
In a proper Parliamentary democracy, when the PM steps down, anyone who wants to be PM must get the vote of confidence of the majority of MPs but Malaysia sidetracks the issue by assuming that the PM can transfer his office to the DPM. This is wrong and we are accepting such a "pretender PM".
In fact when the PM resigns/retires the entire Cabinet should also resign to give the new PM the best chance to implement his policies.
Maybe we should send some MPs to Israel to study how the new leader of the Kadima party,Livni has to call for snap polls as she could not work out a compromise among her coalition partners.
It is time that Malaysians insist that our MPs are held to a higher standard of Parliamentary democracy and demand a vote of confidence in the person "ordained" to be the new PM.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

malaysiakini Receives FEEDBACK on VALUECAP

The government recently announced a scheme for the EPF to lend RM5bil to ValueCap supposedly to buy shares in "undervalued companies"
Of course many EPF members are angry that the EPF is perceived to be bailing out important shareholders in a falling market as indicated in this malaysiakini article VoxPop: Economy - no point covering up .
As the EPF has strict guidelines on investments which they appear to bypass in some cases, it seems that ValueCap is being used to do what the fund cannot do like buy up a larger percentage of any company.
Most funds are not permitted to buy more than 10% shares or some other defined amount in any company but I think EPF did take a majority stake in RHB group for a while before disposing to foreign interests.
The Finance Ministry did not reassure EPF members about the terms of the loan and that is why many are upset.

They should have informed the details of the loan like 8% for 10 years and guaranteed by the government.
After all no details of ValueCap's operations are published and the type of profits they make.
I suggest to malaysiakini that there should be an interesting story there.

Especially for malaysiakini and MalaysiaWatch Readers...

Wishing all Hindus a Happy Deepavali and a Brighter Future.
May the light shine on you and your loved ones so that you will be inspired to help make Malaysia a better place.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Syed Hamid, I DON'T UNDERSTAND How Cops Can Be SO STOOPID.....

They say if you don't succeed try and try again.
The Home Minister who is in charge of the police seeks our understanding as indicated in this malaysiakini article Q&A: I don't need sympathy, I need understanding and looking at some of the people under his command, I can feel a little sorry for him.
So finally Thieves blast into bank, escape with RM30,000 and this appears to be a second attempt that has yielded returns.
Nothing much to crow about in such poor economic times and there are many out there who are looking for a fast buck.
What really upsets me is this DCP Khalid has divulged vital information on how the thieves were able to place explosives into the CDMs(Cash Deposit Machines).
CIMB and other banks with similar CDMs must now change the deposit program so that those CDMs will not open without some identification procedure.
I thought cops were smart enough not to encourage "copycat criminals"?

malaysiakini on Strengthening ISLAM....

No I am not going to write a lot about the problems of Muslims or Islam in Malaysia.
I believe that most major religions encourage good behaviour and positive values as it is.
So I wonder why this article in malaysiakini Zulkifli: We must strengthen Islam suggests that there is some weakness in Islam - otherwise why is there any need to make it stronger?
The most common weakness in many religions is that of the human kind - many religious leaders do not set a good example themselves and therefore demand more and more power to control others.
Even the concept of controlling others appears to be against one of the basic tenets of Islam -
"There is no compulsion........"

malaysiakini on ANWAR'S Stalled TAKEOVER

As UMNO struggles to cope with a major makeover and a leadership change, the world is undergoing a global financial crisis that even the experts are bamboozled on how to avert an economic meltdown.
For UMNO with so many years of excesses with the latest being money politics, it probably has to undergo this drastic procedure in order to survive the next polls.
To me, Anwar's decision not to overturn the government is a good strategy. This malaysiakini article Anwar now 'in no hurry' to topple BN gives some details but I believe it is not the best time to run the country especially since many Malaysians still hold the view that the general elections is the best avenue for this and not the cross-overs.
The more compelling reason is that the BN is going to have a tough job to meet the objectives of the next two budgets especially with oil and commodity prices at such low levels.
Anwar should spend his time mentoring the younger leaders so that the struggle for freedom can continue even if he loses his sodomy case. The next two years are going to be tough for Malaysia and if the government does not deliver the goodies, you can be sure it will not win the next general elections.
So why start a revolution when the global economy is working in your favour?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

GREAT NEWS from malaysiakini! Soon We Can OVERTAKE SINGAPORE

I am sure we are all tired of hearing how good Singapore is in so many fields.
After whacking our team over Pedro Branca and constantly outranking us in the top 200universities, putting our public transport to shame with their integrated public transport system - you name it and they are so much better than us.
Never mind that they are using Malaysian brains to achieve their success - these people would be left to waste if they did not go to work in Singapore.
So what is this rant about?
Based on the latest RSF(Reporters sans frontières) ranking we are fast catching up with Singapore.
While the latter has been rather stagnant or quite consistent with their treatment of press matters, we have improved by leaps and bounds. In fact our cyber-troopers of the government go where no cops have gone - to Cyberspace.
That could explain our drastic improvement in scores from 92 to 132 within 3 years. At this rate we will easily overtake Singapore in 2 years.
Did someone whisper that's a bad sign?
You mean a high score in this RSF is not good?
GOOD GRIEF! Where's that RSF fellow? Let's dunk him in the Tebrau Straits!

malaysiakini Does Not Report This EUROCOPTER Weakest LINK

This has been a strategic weakness of Malaysia's defense system.
We can see that most defence contracts are packaged with the basic supply of equipment and then a local company gets a nice deal to provide services for 20 odd years.
This works OK during peacetime but if a conflict erupts with another country, it won't be long before your defense contractor is going to disappear and your sophisticated equipment is going to be left stranded without maintenance and spare parts.
It also makes the defence force vulnerable to external forces when they cannot deploy unworkable equipment that has to be abandoned.
So buying the most sophisticated weaponry will not work unless anyone using it can keep the thing going with some basic maintenance skills.
Just look at the AK-47 rifle. Considered the preferred weapon of most rebel armies, its rugged design allows most users to carry on with the most basic skills.
I would guess that our defense readiness is more for fly-past drills and flood evacuation.
My contention is that the Armed Forces should be responsible for the maintenance of its own equipment. In fact having a third party contractor will make the nation vulnerable to blackmail and bribes. That is the weakest link.

malaysiakini and the EUROCOPTERS....Which PAPER is Reporting the TRUTH?

The amounts spent on defense is no peanuts and there is now a contoversy about the latest Eurocopter deal.
According to this malaysiakini article 'Suspend chopper deal until after parliamentary probe' the agreement is for a "RM2.3 billion military helicopter deal".
But Mindef explains Eurocopter purchase with the summary of the tenders as detailed below:

"The tender offers received were as such:

T521/07/A/001 - £341.88mil (RM2.08bil)
T521/07/A/002 - RM663.1mil
T521/07/A/003 - €104.6mil (RM494.9mil)
T521/07/A/004 - US$220.5mil (RM777.45mil)
T521/07/A/005 - US$708.3mil; (RM2.49bil)
T521/07/A/006 (Eurocopter) - €233.24mil (RM1.1bil)
T521/07/A/007 - US$348.17mil (RM1.22bil)"

While it is good that 7 offers were received the summary should have included the names of the companies with the offer and here only Eurocopter was highlighted.
If one looks at the basic pricing, Eurocopter is the fourth highest offer and three other deals were at least 20% cheaper.
I wonder if MINDEF prepares tender documents with the necessary minimum specifications and then adds on "nice to have" options? Otherwise why would unqualified contractors bother to bid?
Private companies use the pay to bid system where intending bidders have to purchase the tender documents so that only serious companies will apply. Then you need to include a insurance guarantee for specific performance.
Maybe for defense contracts, companies pay in other ways?

According to the Star, the tender is for RM1.1bil but malaysiakini reports it as RM2.3bil and that is a difference of RM1.2bil.
It looks as if the PAC has a serious task ahead of it. But don't be surprised if that RM1.2bil is a service contract for someone to provide maintenance to MINDEF for the helicopters for 25 years.
This is a brilliant concept and basically creates wealth for some people on a basis of one for one. EUROCOPTER makes RM1.1bil to supply helicopters but we are able to create another RM1.2bil. Truly MALAYSIA BOLEH!

PHOTO: Thanks to

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Good that NAJIB has Accepted malaysiakini APOLOGY But.....

malaysiakini has apologised to the DPM and the writer has resigned to accept responsibility for a major error in journalism.
Najib has been gracious enough to accept the apology and even praised the reporter for taking the appropriate action.

However the DPM could have taken an even more positive action to show that he has forgiven and also magnaminous in the case. He should have instructed all parties concerned that he would not welcome any police reports etc and close the matter. Instead he could request malaysiakini to donate an undisclosed sum like RM10k to his favourite charity.

I Wonder if malaysiakini Got This RIGHT about the "social contract"?

This malaysiakini article headed Muhyiddin: No one can question social contract suggests that the so-called "social contract" is a clearly defined article like the Federal Constitution that cannot be discussed or questioned.
As citizens who are quite capable of critical thinking, we should not be denied the right to discuss problems that exist in our quest for nation-building.
In the face of global competition, it is important that Malaysia can unite its people to work together for the common good in the spirit of "give and take" and in a peaceful environment where the rights of all its peoples are recognised and no one is left behind.
So the minister now suggests that university students be given a dose of instruction in the "social contract" as if it is a document cast in stone.
It seems that some people are caught in a time-warp and their clock reads "00:00hours 1957".
It is a major mistake to believe that circumstances 51 years after independence are the same as before. Malaya was granted independence by the British after the various races agreed to the Constitution of the F of M.
That defined the rights and duties of the various groups who had a vested interest in the new nation.
During the years since 1957, so many changes were made to the Constitution that it is almost unrecognisable today; largely as a result of the overwhelming majority of the ruling parties - first the Alliance and then the BN.
After the May13 incident, the NEP was introduced and that provided a major boost to the Bumis and created thousands of graduates in various fields. The NEP had a definite life-span as it required more sacrifices from the non-Bumis who paid most of the taxes but were deprived of equal opportunities in education, jobs and contracts.
Maybe this extra burden was accepted as a cost for peace and harmony in Malaysia. How dare anyone suggest Malaysians should not question the so-called social contract? We have seen billions wasted in unjustified mega-projects and the poor Bumis still struggle but the rich cronies wallow in their ill-gotten gains.
Because of the abuses that have created an extensive web of corruption, even UMNO cannot hold party elections without money politics.
Let us not be afraid to discuss this social contract if we want the truth to set us free. Only then will we be able to help Malaysia progress further. Let us not be like the detractors of Copernicus hundreds of years ago who were opposed to the idea that the earth is not the centre of the universe.

malaysiakini and the PROBLEM with UNELECTED OFFICIALS

As Malaysians are denied the basic right of electing local government officals like city mayors, we are a good example of "taxation without representation".
This malaysiakini article KL mayor the 'frequent flyer' indicates the nature of the problem.
According to the story, the KL mayor incurred costs of RM1.329mil on overseas trips. There are few details on how the costs were incurred but if we assume each trip costs say RM20,000, he would have made 68 trips.
If we take his term to be 4 years that works out to be 17 tours each year or more than one trip a month.
What on earth is a mayor doing on so many overseas trips? Even if he is an elected official, City Hall should justify such trips. No wonder they come out with such silly programs like renaming roads when there are more urgent matters like:

1.The police beat that was considered "dangerous" by the Home Minister and had to be moved to a safer place.
2.Poorly maintained drainage that turn some roads into rivers when there are sudden thunderstorms. How about renaming such a road as "Jalan Jadi Sungei". That could turn out to be a major tourist attraction.

The City Mayor is a post that could justify perhaps 3 or 4 overseas trips provided the budget is in surplus.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

malaysiakini COMMITS a GRAVE ERROR

I didn't go to journalist school but I reckon that one of the basic rules is that you must verify your source so that your report can stand the test of responsible reporting.
You would have heard about the malaysiakini article that alleged the DPM had an extremist manifesto.
The writer resigned and malaysiakini has apologised for its error.
I suggest the editorial staff should implement a system with a checklist before stories are published.
On-line news is fast but it should also be accurate.

malaysiakini and the EUROCOPTERS DEAL

Arms deals usually raise suspicions among ordinary folks and that may be caused by the movies that are full of shady characters and huge payouts.
Maybe someone should do an analysis of which requires more dirty money - arms deals or UMNO party elections?
The MINDEF folks have come out with their "one letter covers all" version and even some malaysiakini readers have explained the deal more satisfactorily.
Some even refer to the Brazil Eurocopter deal but that deal too has a few critics - of course the person has to be an ex-military type.
This article Brazil-France Defence Pact Wrong Choice say Analysts details the type of deal that Brazil made. They are going to build the Eurocopters and so that is one reason why the cost is cheaper.
I wonder why Malaysia did not ask to build the Helicopters as that could lower costs - no maybe not such a good idea, we crash enough of the damn things without building them.
I still think that Parliamentary Select Committees should be the way to decide such important issues and not a few unknown and unseen officials.

malaysiakini- MONEY POLITICS Thrives in UMNO?

This is a most startling claim from a veteran leader, the Foreign Minister in this malaysiakini article Rais: I've been asked to pay for my votes and indicates the extent to which some people are prepared to go to secure high office in UMNO.
It seems that such a practice has been going on for many years and he warns that this would destroy the organisation.
Money politics is one game that follows the rule
"If you can't beat them, join them."

The UMNO disciplinary board is a bit similar to the police as far as crime is concerned - maybe they catch 10% of all the crooked politicians that practise money politics and then only those out of favour with the top leaders.

In the good old days, it was difficult to get people to run for high positions as it involved great sacrifice and few benefits but see how the perception has now changed. People now see that leaders are linked to lucrative deals and can set up their families for life.

So money politics will be the bane of Malaysia untill voters reject such political parties.
On a practical note the long campaign period makes money politics easier as those vying can actually visit many key branches. Maybe that was what people were complaining about :
long campaign = more expensive votes!
How do we solve the problem?
Maybe as Rais says the party will be destroyed - that will happen when voters decide that like a malignant cancer, the party cannot be saved. It would be interesting to see if the next General Elections will bring about its demise.
It will then be the duty of the idealists like Rais to redeem the party when they sit in the Opposition.
I have no doubt that such an UMNO will be required as part of the BN to be the check and balance to the PAKATAN government.

Hopefully all those who backed the wrong horses would have lost their shirts off their backs and maybe more.
This is no more a problem for UMNO but for all Malaysians to ponder and resolve.

Monday, October 20, 2008

malaysiakini on the PM's Latest BLOOPER

I guess every nation's leaders do make such mistakes from time to time and maybe we should enjoy it while it lasts.
Come November the USA President George Bush will be out of the White House and with him goes a source of very brain-challenged comments. Just watch some of the US talk shows like Jay Leno.
We too have a similar speaker in our PM and half of the time, he does not seem to comprehend the speech he is delivering.
This article is from malaysiakini PM's 'rifle' comments pounced on.
How simplistic it is to refer to the Finance Ministry as a repository (for cash) and the Defence Ministry as a rifle.
Hopefully the future PM will be more articulate and not make such crass remarks.

malaysiakini and the Brave MP from BN

I usually do not have much good to write about BN MPs but this guy is an exception - we need more people like him in Parliament to reduce and reverse the many bad amendments we have made to our laws.
So this article in malaysiakini
BN backbencher joins chorus for independent ACA
indicates that there could be a few more BN members who want to see the ACA report to Parliament.
These MPs should make their views heard as I am sure most voters believe too that the ACA should report to Parliament and not to the PM's department.

malaysiakini on How WANITA UMNO Can Lead the MEN

In Malaysia the women are leading the way in how society can be reformed.
Already we are quite advanced in the way women have made better use of educational opportunities and I guess girls now outnumber boys in tertiary institutions by a ratio of about 65/35 or maybe even 70/30.
Maybe that is why even in the UMNO elections, the women can teach the men a thing or two about electing leaders.
According to this malaysiakini article Battle royale to be Wanita chief the Deputy Chief now has enough votes to contest for the top post but the incumbent prefers the post to be uncontested so that she can hand power to her Deputy when she retires in March like the UMNO President.
As Shahrizat lost her seat in the general elections, it is important for her to win the UMNO elections to be a strong leader lest her detractors claim in future that she was not duly elected to the top post.
Let's hope Wanita UMNO can show the big boys how leadership contests can be properly contested. After all, Rafidah did mention she would not have stood for the March elections if the PM had told her she was not going to be in Cabinet - she should retire gracefully from the Wanita UMNO contest and instead encourage others to contest for the top post.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

malaysiakini and SATISFYING MCA's DEMANDS

The MCA has seen a drastic leadership change with the President retiring and two candidates contesting for the President's post.
Competition for the top post is good and it creates the chance for aspiring leaders to learn the art of compromise and consensus building as after the elections, the leader needs to mend damaged "bridges".
It is also interesting that the MCA delegates were able to discuss ways to improve the BN as the coalition has still not recovered from the March elections tsunami.
However the manner in which they are making their requests is doomed to failure.
You can read their demands in these malaysiakini articles We want DPM post: MCA delegates and MCA to keep pushing for ISA review.
I believe the latter is easier to achieve as many BN MPs too think that a review would be justified, though the PM has not supported such a review.
As for the DPM's post, it will remain a non-issue unless the other BN component parties can create a unified front that the DPM should come from one of their parties.
The MCA by itself will not succeed in this unless the other BN parties support it. Of course there is also a case for a second or third DPM to came from Sabah or Sarawak?
Perhaps the problem will be settled if we do away with the DPM's position and create 3 Senior Ministers posts - that way no one can assume he/she is going to be the PM-in-waiting.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

malaysiakini and DEALING with BULLIES

There is an interesting discussion among the BN parties as to whether UMNO has been a bully.
Thus far only Lim Keng Yaik and the outgoing MCA President claim that the UMNO President's denial is inaccurate ...but MCA says Umno dominates BN .
Before the last GE, UMNO was the most dominant political force in Malaysia and it is only natural that they would wield the most power.
Today UMNO cannot even form the government unless all the other BN component parties support it.
However it seems that UMNO still has not learned its bitter lesson but seeks to still dominate the rest. Such a domineering attitude does not augur well for its own members and perhaps it is really necessary for UMNO to taste life as an opposition party before it will really reform and work for all Malaysians.
I eagerly look forward to that day which will happen in the 13th GE.

malaysiakini SUGGESTS UMNO is a BULLY...

This article in malaysiakini has the PM defending UMNO Abdullah: Umno is not a bully after it was claimed at the MCA General Assembly that UMNO is a big bully.
While it is believable when the PM claims that "I don’t know how to bully, actually" the same cannot be said of some government agencies.
Just see how they have banned Hindraf and arrested that girl in JB - all traits of a bullying mind-set.
Our poor PM - his own party leaders have stabbed him in the back so many times he cannot articulate properly on account of too much blood loss.
Of course UMNO practises power-sharing - whatever posts they do not want they share among the other 12 BN parties. At one time, the Finance Ministry was held by the MCA - nowadays the highest is the Transport Ministry.

malaysiakini and the ABUSE of the ISA ...

How easy it is for the police to use the ISA whenever they are too busy to do proper police work.
According to this malaysiakini article Johor activist arrested under ISA the woman lodged a police report accusing the police of abuse of power.
Now we all know the government has been 3 years too slow in implementing the IPCMC that was supposed to bring the PDRM under some control and this latest ISA arrest shows how a security force can become a peaceful citizen's worst nightmare.
Is the PDRM warning citizens they cannot lodge complaints against them?
God help us all when citizens become victimised by evil politicians and conniving cops.

Friday, October 17, 2008

malaysiakini on the ABORTED JUDICIAL REFORMS...

A month ago the UK's Gordon Brown's position as the PM was under great threat and his own party was beginning to take measures to oust him. But his expertise to help stabilise the UK's financial crisis, the model of which has been adopted by the USA who introduced the earlier stop-gap measure has raised him to some prominence in global markets.
There is a saying,"Cometh the moment, cometh the man."
The idea behind this saying is that a crisis usually brings out the best in a person.
But this malaysiakini article Poof! There goes judicial reform implies that he appointment of the new CJ spells the end of the judicial reforms, especially since Zaid Ibrahim resigned his post.
I think the Opposition should be allowed their debate and I think the US system is good for vetting such appointments before being recommended to the Rulers.
If only our own PM had completed any one of his reforms before he announced his intention to step down. In a way, he is in a weaker position compared to the US President who is allowed to complete his full term - here the PM is being kicked out by his own party just because his party did badly in the polls.
I am sure if any major reforms had been completed he could have harnessed public opinion to stay in office.

malaysiakini on the BANNING of HINDRAF

It is a problem that is not going to vanish with the magic wand of the Home Minister.
Just ban Hindraf as an illegal organisation and all the fears, hopes of the Indian community in Malaysia can be taken care of?
Some people think that such a ban actually refocuses the lack of imagination of the government to help the marginalised Indians as suggested in this malaysiakini article New lease of life for banned movement?.
By making the ban official and keeping the Hindraf leaders under the ISA, the government is forcing most of the Indian community into the waiting arms of the Opposition.
Why does Malaysia have such people in charge of a vital ministry like the Home Ministry. Losing a tiny offshore island is just a little loss of face but now this stern action against peaceful protests is an insult to all Malaysians.
I believe an action group like Hindraf can be useful if one thinks carefully on how to handle their genuine grievances.

malaysiakini on the PURSUIT of JUSTICE

malaysiakini reports on the ongoing debate in Parliament where the veteran Opposition MP Lim Kit Siang claims that the Attorney-General has been found to have abused his powers about 10 years ago Kit Siang stands by 'meddling AG' claim.
So far the AG has been keeping quiet and so perhaps he has taken the view that LKS is speaking in Parliament and no action is required.
That is the advantage of holding a high position - just ignore or deny and hope the problems will go away or pray the newspapers will not highlight the problem. That used to work well when the MSM is controlled but nowadays with the Internet, it is not possible for such a story to fade away.
I remember the prominent lawyer the late Christopher Fernando who was recorded on ChannelNewsAsia some years back making the same charges of "tampering with evidence".
LKS even criticises the IGP for the RM20bil contract to rent helicopters for 30 years - you can read more and hear LKS speak at his blog.
There is another story that should create some concern about how justice is administered in Malaysia.
Cop arrested for drug trafficking indicates that the police have a "preferred treatment scheme" for their own who break the law. According to the article, "after several months of investigations" the suspect was picked up but instead of charging him for drug trafficking that carries the mandatory death sentence, they have given him the soft option by arresting him under the Special Preventive Laws and sent him to the Simpang Renggam rehabilitation centre in Johor.
I just wonder how the State police chief can claim that all policemen were subjected to the same laws as everyone - if they commit a crime, they would have to pay for it.
By using such a soft option, the Home Minister has sent a strong message to all cops. "Don't worry, be corrupt. If you do get caught you will be sent for rehab."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

malaysiakini Missed this SHADY DEAL

It also involves helicopters but these are not the Eurocopters described in the malaysiakini article Copter fiasco: PM to meet Mindef sec-gen.
Even the PAC wants to look at the details of the Eurocopter deal that was hurriedly signed just before the PM changed departments with his DPM.
To me a good means to check deals before anything is signed is for a Parliamentary Committee that specialises in various ministries to vet any agreement that is more than say RM500mil.

The other helicopter controversy that is even more mind-boggling is that the PDRM was allowed to sign a 30-year deal to hire 34 helicopters for a contract of RM20bil. You can read the details in Lim Kit Siang's blog.

That surely is the mother of all contracts and really takes the prize for financial mismanagement.
1.How can the government make such a long term commitment? I suggest such deals should not be more than 5 years plus another 5 year option.
2.Why commit to such technology that can be outdated within 10 years?
3.What is the financial controls placed on such an open-ended deal?

I suggest the PAC should also look at this deal as it seems rather shady.

malaysiakini on SHADY ARMS DEALS

Even as the Altantuuya murder case drags on, another questionable arms contract is in the headlines.
This malaysiakini article Copter deal: Back up purchase with facts shows that people are more critical of how the government's prudence or lack of it is coming under greater scrutiny.
In Malaysia's arms purchases as the contracts are usually not government to government, the amounts paid are usually far in excess of a deal at arms length.
If you google under "French arms scandals" you can read how arms deals usually have many elements of corruption and nearly always involve important VIPs.
Much as one deplores the murder of a young woman like Altantuuya, to the arms dealers she would be merely considered as collateral damage.

Just a word on open tenders and such less corrupted deals.
Merely having open tenders is not good enough if there are corrupt people preparing the tender specification.
For example:
Suppose one takes this helicopter deal and specifies the minimum operating range (mor) as a vital spec. The person/s designing the tender can ask around and then fix the mor based on his preferred contractor who has the highest mor and that gives them the advantage.
I suggest defense contracts should be reviewed by a Parliamentary Defense Committee. But then if ministers do not bother to turn up for Parliamentary sittings, why would they even bother about such committees?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Even the Government is so SLOW to Cut PRICES...

So WHAT if the Gov't cuts petrol, diesel prices by 6.1%? as reported in this malaysiakini article.
Many will consider this too little, too late as prices have already been raised by the private sector and will never come down to past levels.
Even the public transport now charges 30% more and together with a 20 to 30% increase in hawker fares, the ordinary folks now have to scrape to make ends meet.
Don't expect those petty traders to reduce their prices as the government did all of them a huge favour with the steep petrol hikes.

malaysiakini on BACKUP...What BACKUP?

This article in malaysiakini asks Shares rise 1.8%, but what's the backup plan?.
First of all, I will not enter this market for at least another 6 to 9 months and I will only buy shares in companies that have negligible debt and good management.
The government did not have a good plan in the first place - just opening mega-longkangs (oops corriders!) and most of it is based on major foreign investors having to dump billions in expensive property development.
Oil prices will take a few years to get over US$100 and palm oil prices are also down - so how will the government raise revenue for its expensive budget?
Be prepared for a hard landing - sorry, only GLCs qualify for bail-outs. Just see how they spent billions on a wasting asset ala BII where Maybank has already lost millions of US$.

malaysiakini: CORRUPTION is in the AIR?

There is the ongoing murder case that is linked to corrupt deals on the submarine deals.
Now malaysiakini runs this story that possibly corruption is also in the air regarding the purchase of the helicopters Letter questions 'shady' chopper deal.
The MO of such deals is that it usually involves the intermediary company and consultants who are also the front men and often the days of wine, women and song are featured.
The intermediary company is usually favoured with a long term contract to provide spare parts, services and training all at inflated prices so that all those in the food chain get their dues.
You do recall that TDM did mention that corruption is no more "under table"? Maybe this could be a case of corruption in the air.

malaysiakini on the PM's CALL to Have FAITH?

I watched Badawi on channelNewsAsia when he asked people to support Najib and he was asked a question related to the malaysiakini article Have faith in Najib, ignore Altantuya allegations: PM.
The PM's body language was really pathetic - eyes shifting all over the place and looking down and he spoke with hardly any conviction when declaring that Najib "would be a good person" etc.
When he spoke on the economy, it was no different - just harping on the high savings rate and little else. No reasoning on high the steep falls in 2 major exports will be impact the government's revenue and nothing on how they will reduce their profligate spending.
Maybe someone should ask him today why he was absent from Parliament yesterday and no government ministers attended. Surely he is not busy campaigning for the UMNO elections? Isn't attendance in Parliament more important at this critical time?

Monday, October 13, 2008

malaysiakini and the PM's Comment on the Altantuya Allegations

I thought the case is still ongoing and so I will only touch on the PM's remarks as reported in the malaysiakini article headed Have faith in Najib, ignore Altantuya allegations: PM.
As far as any case is concerned, many Malaysians believe that justice is not served in the courts as the Executive has seriously damaged the Judiciary and tarnished its reputation.

As far as the trial is concerned, so far nothing has been reported as to the motive/s of the two "masked cops" for murdering the victim.
The other multi-million ringgit question is how were the immigration records erased and who authorised it.
As far as the PM singing praises of his intended successor, we know what happened the last time. The PM is not really the most qualified person to name his successor -indeed he really has no authority to do so.

malaysiakini and the NEED for a NEW BUDGET

malaysiakini has an article headed Anwar calls for a fresh budget as the old budget was presented when oil was more than US$120 a barrel.
With the global slowdown and almost shutdown, it appears prudent for the government to revise its budget as PETRONAS contributes more than 60% OF Malaysia's GDP.
It means that the government's deficit is going to be much more than the budget that was tabled some months ago.
I also hope some MPs will question the MayBank deal in Indonesia that will probably lose the bank more than US$2bil during the next 3 months. As Maybank is an NEP component, those who control and manage it have to be more stringently supervised. This deal if considered like football game has the result Khazanah 0, Temasek 2.

photo:thanks to malaysiakini

Saturday, October 11, 2008

malaysiakini on the New BN Party?

It seems that this is not a new idea as Gerakan was recently reported to have suggested this many years ago and perhaps it did not get much publicity before.
I also thought of this during one of my blogging sessions and came up with We Need an Alternative BN Government to Rescue Malaysia that was written in December 2006.
That would have been enough time for the BN to prepare for such a scheme for the March 2008 elections but at the time, no one expected the BN to lose so badly.

Now as the BN faces the prospect of maybe "not a single reform" before the next elections, the situation is right for such a direct BN party. Even if BN get the opposition role in 2012 such an entity would have a better chance of surviving.

malaysiakini and WHY Badawi Cannot Achieve REFORMS

There is this malaysiakini article entitled PM: I cannot implement all reforms.
Based on the PM's last 5 years of talking a lot but achieving few actual results, to me the article should be headed "I cannot implement any reform" and that would be a more accurate report.
The best time to have started any reform was soon after the 2004 elections but he did not take the public into his confidence to untangle the web of corruption that engulfs government agencies and across different agencies.
Even as the public welcomed the findings to recommend the IPCMC, there was hope that finally something would be done to reverse the nation's slide towards institutionalised corruption.

Thus far it has been all talk and think-tanks and super committees but very few important kingpins of corruption have been convicted. It seems that there is a "black hole" in the AG's department where cases are treated based on political connectivity.

My biggest regret was to write a letter to malaysiakini before the 2004 elections urging voters that the PM needed more time to achieve reforms.
So it is with great disappointment to note that he is now behaving just like a baker who has put cakes in the oven and then resigns without making sure the products come out right.
So don't expect any reform to be completed to any satisfactory standard but it will be a wishy-washy affair.

Friday, October 10, 2008

malaysiakini on NAJIB'S Running Mate.

malaysiakini writes about Najib to decide later on running mate.
So it appears Najib is trying to influence MY to become more supportive of his quest for the top post.
It is a delicate balancing act for TR may be able to get enough nominations though I think he has been out of the mainstream for too long. AAB's decision not to contest gives Najib a very strong boost and that is why MY decided to ask all divisions to give their support to Najib.
Of course politics is always a game of deception and smoke and mirrors. What one says in public may not be in sync with what goes on in private deals.
Meanwhile Najib has a surprise supporter in the form of the Penang Chief Minister who wants to Give Najib chance to deliver promises, says Guan Eng.
That is a sign of political maturity of the Penang CM as he will need to deal with the new PM after March 2009.

malaysiakini Should Ask WHY AG Not Asked to Take Leave....

As Anwar's sodomy trial unfolds this malaysiakini report that Ex-cop: How AG interfered in 'black eye' case shows how our system of justice has been compromised with the AG's officers acting in cahoots with the Police to suppress or delay investigations.
It is really a most serious charge of a former senior police officerMat Zain alleges Gani hid 'black eye' facts from superiors as reported in the NST.
I suggest that the PM orders the AG to go on long leave untill the matter is properly investigated.

malaysiakini Reader's Response to NAJIB's Outburst

Anyone who watched Najib's performance on TV when he opened the horse endurance race recently would have noticed he was very upset - he appeared to be blowing a fuse when he ranted at the Hindraf supporters' crashing the open house at PWTC.
As this reader from malaysiakini writes 'You respect us first Najib, not we you', the future(?) PM should realise that respect must be earned and not demanded.
Just because you are the Prime Minister does not mean the people respect you. Of course they will give due respect to the position you hold.
The Deputy Home Minister was reported to be taking action against the Hindraf supporters who went for the "open house".
To me the organisers are to be blamed for allowing such a group to congregate in the first place. The police should have known their plans and then allowed then to proceed but break them up into groups of 3 or 4 and separate them so that when they enter the reception hall, there should be no problems controlling a few people and just keep them moving along to the food area. In fact, security should be stepped up so that bags are discouraged and those who bring them should be searched.
Already the Home Ministry has scored no home runs with the ISA arrests and the MyKad scandals in Sabah and charging those rude Hindraf supporters will only blacken the ministry's record further.
I suggest a more conciliatory approach - send them a letter telling them that their behaviour at the Open house was not appropriate but that no further action is being taken against them.

malaysiakini on Muhyiddin's SAFE POLITICS

This malaysiakini article Muhyiddin checks in for No 2 spot confirms that Muhyiddin Yassin is gunning for the Deputy President of UMNO post.
I guess he is playing it safe and hopes to become the next Deputy Prime Minister.
At 61 years of age, his chances of becoming PM is quite remote as it is quite unlikely that Najib who is 6 years younger will retire before him.
Unless we have a law limiting the term of PM to 8 years or the PM has to resign for whatever reasons.
The other factor that could affect his appointment as the Deputy PM is if the other BN components decided the DPM's post is not the exclusive right of UMNO.
In my opinion we should remove the connection between party posts and ministerial posts. Whoever is appointed as the Prime Minister should exercise a free hand to appoint his own team of ministers and hold them responsible for job performance.
In that way a PM can sack a minister even if he holds an important party post or the person can also resign if he disagrees with the leadership.

Photo: thanks to malaysiakini

Thursday, October 9, 2008

malaysiakini and Malaysia's Universities' FREE FALL

It should surprise no one that our universities have again failed to make it into the list of the top 200 Universities in the world.
According to the malaysiakini article M'sian varsities out of Top 200 again, it seems that our universities have become too engrossed with space tourism and have "gone into 'black hole'".
The basic reason for the continuous decline over the past 20 years is that we have allowed politics and a lack of meritocracy to become a culture in the education system; from the method of appointing and promoting academic staff to the way we operate our school systems.
This is a practical solution to avoid this annual criticism by the concerned citizens - we must ban such reports unless they write more favourable reports about our universities.
After all we are a third-world nation at heart - how can any sane person expect us to compete with the developed nations?
Let's aim to be among the top 300 universities just to make sure our universities do not become relegated to degree mills status.
That is why I encourage more Malaysians to try to transfer to the Singapore school system where the target is for about 40% to enter university.

malaysiakini and Badawi's TO DO List

One thing I observed about his expression during the press conference was that he looked quite rested, unlike the haggard weary-lined face we have gotten used to.
Being the PM in a nation like ours is a heavy burden especially when so many in your own Cabinet are ever ready to stab you in the back.
According to this malaysikini article 'I plan to complete my mission' among the tasks he has numbered are:

1.ESTABLISHING the Judicial Appointments Commission to enhance the stature of the judiciary.
2.ESTABLISHING the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission with greater powers of investigation and enforcement.
3.ESTABLISHING the Special Complaints Commission to enhance the integrity and effectiveness of enforcement agencies.
4.STRENGTHENING and enlarging the Social Safety Net to ensure aid to all, regardless of race and religion.
5.HOLDING a Barisan Nasional convention to improve inter-racial and inter-religious relations.

It all looks good in the Star newspapers but my reaction is as follows; according to the same numbers.

1.What is the definition of "ESTABLISHING"? Sending bills for debate in Parliament is not enough. We should have more positive actions on the findings of the Lingam Commision Inquiry and not drag the matter for months.
2.We should have enough evidence to bring to court a few of the VVIP cases. See how easy it was to try Anwar on sodomy charges?
3.Do the IPCMC first and bring the police under proper control - 3 years overdue and these guys can still use the ISA on anyone.
4.Good initiative but suggest the mechanisms should be not linked to political parties.
5.This is not government business and taxpayers' monies should not be used. If BN provides the right framework, they may win the next elections.

Photo: Thanks to the Star

malaysiakini on FAT CAT Political Parties

malaysiakini has this interesting article on one rich BN political party Squabble over MCA's RM1.5 bil assets .
It would be a revelation to discover how this party managed to acquire so much wealth. Now MCA is the second most important party in BN after UMNO which probably will rate 7 out of 10 compared to MCA's 4/10.
Now if MCA has RM1.5bil assets one would expect UMNO to own about RM4bil. Do UMNO assets get to be included in the NEP equity calculations or is that considered a private asset?
If I use the term "Top Dog" some people will get offended. "Fat Cat" sounds more pleasant.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

malaysiakini on the KLSE Downturn......

So far malaysiakini has not written many articles on the financial crisis - perhaps we were all too worried on the "reluctant Prime Minister" episodes that appears to have been resolved today.
This malaysiakini article on the KLSE Malaysian shares tumble 2.7 pct is just a start of the economic crisis that will engulf the world.
Surprisingly the KLSE appears to have escaped thus far the financial meltdown in world markets but the signs are that we could fall below 900 points in the next few weeks.
If you watch CNBC and CNN, you will find that the CEOs of the failed banks like Lehmann and AIG have to appear before Congress and explain their roles in the failed banks.
Over in Malaysia, Maybank has paid a hefty price for the BII acquisition and I guess their investment is worth at least 35% less today and it is simply considered a "normal business decision".
Maybank is obliged to take over the minority shares at 510rupiahs and the last market close was about 300 rupiah - that was before the Jakarta stock market had to stop trading after the shares plunged 10%. So the 300rupiah share would have fallen to 270rupiah if not for the 510rupiah guarantee or about 53%.
Maybank shares have also fallen to 5-year lowsand the investment turnaround could be at least 8 years.
Since Maybank is a component of the NEP equity calculations it should display much more prudence in its financial dealings as this Indonesian deal sucks.
For those who claim that the financial crisis happened only after they signed that dubious deal with Temasek, some people have been warning of this crisis as early as 2006.
But never mind lah. PNB has decided to support the Maybank price by recently purchasing about 7m shares while the EPF came in for about 2m shares. I wonder who sold the 9m shares?

malaysiakini on the LONG GOOD-BYE

I guess we could call Badawi an Accidental Prime Minister as he was carefully selected by his predecessor to be a "PM on strings" to be manipulated so that the latter could continue his control by proxy.
But surprisingly Badawi decided to do a few things his way and maybe the problems were simply too complex to unravel.
So most Malaysians will heave a sigh of relief that he has finally made the decision not to contest in the UMNO elections as described in this malaysiakini article PM not contesting, to quit in March.
It should be interesting to see if anyone else decides to contest the UMNO President's post as being the Deputy President is no guarantee that one will be automatically be given the DPM's post.
Nowadays UMNO will need to make more concessions to the other BN parties or it will not be able to form the government.
I guess this resignation is a victory of sorts for PAKATAN - this is the first time a Prime Minister has to retire early as a result of poor elections results.

malaysiakini Claims BADAWI Will Fight....

I believe this is what most ordinary Malaysians were hoping for as this is much more honourable way than the dubious "power transition" project that was announced earlier.
According to this malaysiakini article Umno leader: PM has decided to stay put Badawi will defend the UMNO President's post.
If he wins, no one will be able to challenge his authority untill at least the next GE and he can at least claim he won the position in a proper contest.
I don't think Najib is going to take up the challenge now but perhaps MY will decide to go for broke as he will appeal to those who want the top leadership posts to be renewed.
As this is not the official declaration, let's see what else happens in the next few hours. That BN meeting could throw up a few more surprises.

malaysiakini Plays the Music for Badawi

This letter in malaysiakini Now it is Pak Lah's turn to face the music shows that leaders should come and go but the well-being of the nation should be protected.
After all, no person is indispensable if we have proper systems in place.
UMNO too has not been spared the winds of change that now call for a more democratic change process, compared to their tradition of leaders seeking to extend their family interests through a alternate "mine and yours" power-sharing system that creates little opportunity for genuine change from outsiders.
For example if Najib wins the UMNO Presidency, it is likely that Hishamuddin's star will rise as they are cousins just as Khairy's shines when Badawi remains in office.
So it is a healthy development that more leaders have decided to contest the Deputy President's post.
If UMNO is really a democratic party that operates on sound policies there is no reason for avoiding leadership contests for it enables people to taste defeat and also savour victories. If you read the life story of Abraham Lincoln and his failures, no one thought he would ever become a President of the USA.

Top leadership positions should not be handed over on a silver platter but should be won after a tough competition. Muhyiddin Yassin should take a leader's stance and compete for the President's position if his ambition is to be the PM. As he is 6 years older than Najib, it is not likely that the latter will make way for him in the future unless he has a serious health problem and don't forget his cousin will be aiming for the top job too in about 10 years.

By throwing down a firm challenge, MY can offer UMNO grass-roots members an alternative as many may not be too happy with the "transition of power" project.
After any competition, it is the duty of the victors to offer a hand of friendship to the losers to rebuild party goodwill.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

malaysiakini Reports on the BN Farewell PARTY

I wonder if the BN parties will have a cake to celebrate the "leadership transition plan" or perhaps a show of fireworks as indicated in this malaysiakini article PM to brief BN leaders tomorrow .
Any BN component party leader worth his salt would be upset at such a late briefing -it is not even a discussion unless Badawi announces that he is making a last Herculean attempt to put things right for the BN coalition and at least needs their support to fight for the UMNO Presidency.

UMNO as it is is going down the tubes unless there is a major change in policies. By simply vacating his post, Badawi is acknowledging that his term of office has been a singular failure. No doubt some things were started but unless given time to fruition, many of the initiatives will be lost or reversed.

I hope some BN leaders will have the gumption to tell him they will leave the BN if he decides not to contest. After all, UMNO has the PM's and DPM's appointments only with the BN's coalition agreement in place.
Any change in leadership should be a good opportunity to revisit those concessions.

malaysiakini and the FINAL Decision of Badawi.....

Is it similar to the end of the world?
All over the world stock markets are crashing and yet the MSM including malaysiakini seem to be focussed more on how Abdullah to decide within two days whether or not to contest for the UMNO elections.
Already they have planned out the scheme by which the next Prime Minister will be moved in as if that is the exclusive preserve of UMNO ala NEP concession.
Based on our previous experience of his performance, it seems unlikely that Badawi is going to fight for his place in Malaysian history but sometimes if you observe nature and the animal kingdom, a smaller animal will sometimes beat off a larger one in order to survive.
So it is crunch time for Badawi - it seems he was not able to make use of the great demand for change by ordinary Malaysians who would have given him all the support he needed. Instead he decided to follow the old paths that have led to his present dilemma.
Looking at the future leaders put forward by UMNO I do not see how they will be able to follow the tune that ordinary Malaysians are now playing. Now we decide the tune and political leaders must follow and not the other way around.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Excellent "MUST READ" letter in malaysiakini

It seems to be the main headlines these days on who is contesting UMNO's leadership positions but this letter in malaysiakini explains the facts plainly and also comprehensively.
Abdullah PM not by virtue of being Umno president gives valid reasons why the PM's post should not be an automatic right of UMNO but must include the whole of the BN coalition.
Perhaps the official way to settle this is for the newly elected President of UMNO (if it is not Badawi) to get a vote of confidence passed in Parliament before getting the Agong to swear him in.
Badawi should in fact carry on in a caretaker role untill the new PM is properly appointed.

malaysiakini and the MyKad Scandal in Sabah - TRULY Astonishing

This article in malaysiakini of the Sapp: 'Loopholes' behind IC scam shows how a government department can be involved in the fake MyKad problem.
It is a national security concern for the state and even the nation when the officials may or may not be connected with syndicates.
A thorough probe should be conducted and the "loopholes" securely closed. As such documents like MyKad and Passport can affect the national security, those involved in syndicates should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
This problem with illegals getting MyKads has been around for many years and it is truly astonishing that nothing has been done so far.

Friday, October 3, 2008

malaysiakini and the GREAT Race in UMNO....

One thing for sure for anyone who wants to win the UMNO elections - Don't imagine it will be business as usual for you will have to deal with Malaysians who have now awakened from a 35-years of sleeping and hoping in vain that their elected leaders will do a good job of managing the nation.
So it is good that more UMNO leaders are throwing their hats into the ring to compete for the top positions.
According to this malaysiakini article Ali Rustam to contest for Umno No 2 post I haven't read much about him except that I remember he made a very public call for the PPP to "get lost" as UMNO did not need the party and he did it at the PPP congress.
It seems that Muhyiddin Yassin may be tempted to go for the top post and with a good running mate it may be workable if he gets the backing of Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who can be promised a Cabinet position if MY wins.
TRH may not have enough grass-roots support but can contribute invaluable advice in any Cabinet - so it is better if he does not have to contest.
As UMNO is now weaker in the BN coalition, there is also no guarantee that the Deputy President is automatically the Deputy Prime Minister.

malaysiakini and How to Lose Your RIGHTS.....

There was a movie a few years back called "The Net" wherein a woman became the victim of identity theft.
This malaysiakini story reflects that Citizen-turned-PR shows clear need for royal probe is an example of life imitating art. Just imagine that losing a MyKad can result in a denial of citizenship rights.
Just imagine a senior citizen being subject to such treatment since February 2007 as the according to malaysiakini
Sabah NRD would conduct a thorough investigation into the case and the complainant would be informed in due course.
What I cannot understand is why her bank accounts have been frozen too. Surely the banks will be able to make a positive identification with the red IC?
As for another Royal Commission - well, we are waiting for some action on the IPCMC(3 years now) and the Lingam Tapes Circus.
Maybe a RC may be good only after the BN leaves the seat of government.

malaysiakini and Bank Takeovers?

According to malaysiakini KL to discuss sensitive issues in US trade talks we could throw a lifeline to some of those struggling banks in the USA.
After all I am certain the USA will welcome a generous offer ala BII in times of financial crisis.
Don't forget that US$700bil rescue package will soon be passed.What compelling reason do we have to invest in US banks? Nothing really - did we have any for BII?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

malaysiakini - A Lesson in DEMOCRACY?

There is a fair amount of political uncertainty in Malaysia after the March elections with the PAKATAN Opposition being successful in causing the BN government to keep jumping at shadows for almost six months.
Already the PM can be considered a casualty as he had to announce his retirement plans.
We are really in unchartered political waters as the main BN party, UMNO wants to get a new president and then claim that the person has also the right to become the Prime Minister.
As we have never had this unique political problem before, maybe we should look at another country with many changes in coalition politics.

Of course the BN is also a coalition of many political parties but usually UMNO has been really dominant and did not really depend much on the rest except to say "Yes Sir!"
The March elections changed all that and if some of the BN components left, the government would collapse.
Just as the BN claim that their MPs were elected on party tickets and should remain loyal, BN components can claim they are in the coalition because they supported the leadership of Badawi as the Prime Minister - it is not just UMNO who decides on the Prime Minister's post.
Now if UMNO wants a different Prime Minister, it should get the approval of all the BN components before that person can legitimately claim the post.

It is a similar position to another democratic nation where the Israel PM announces resignation amid lingering turmoiland remains the caretaker for 6 weeks while the new leader in the party has to make deals with the other coalition partners. If Tzipi Livni fails, then Olmert will have to call for snap elections.

But in Malaysia the post of Prime Minister seems to be some sacred right that belongs to UMNO as suggested in this malaysiakini article Transition plan: PM to brief BN leaders after Raya

Abdullah also said he had conveyed the decision on the transition plan to some of the BN leaders informally when he met them.

However he stressed that a proper briefing for all BN leaders would be held after Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

What an insult to those who are helping keep UMNO in power.
This utter lack of respect of the other coalition could cost the BN dearly if some members now decide that "Enough is enough!"

malaysiakini - Just Change the Headline a Little?

malaysiakini has this article headed Indonesians in boat accident were duped and what struck me was that a similar headline could be written for the Maybank deal to purchase the BII stake.
I wrote about the deal that shows inadequate due diligence in the previous article. Now the bank and even the EPF has to bear the burden of a questionable take-over.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

malaysiakini - Did MAYBANK Play "Deal or No Deal" with RM480m?

If you read about how HSBC walked away from their GBP3.4bil offer for Korea Exchange Bank HSBC pulls out of KEB deal one cannot help but wonder how Maybank made the decision to commit RM480m non-refundable deposit without comprehensive clauses on the regulatory framework changes.

One would have imagined that any experienced advisor would have included such potential new regulations that governments impose to walk away from such deals without penalty.
Temasek was actually in a weak selling position as they had to get out of this bank and so some serious questions should aslo be asked how they arrived at the 4.6times book value that is considered rather high.

According to the Edge Bapepam rejects Maybank’s appeal on BII
Maybank stands to lose a RM480 million deposit it had paid to Singapore investment arm Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd, which had wanted to sell BII to meet Indonesia’s single-presence policy that prohibits foreign investors from owning stakes in more than one bank.

Maybank’s proposed acquisition in BII also did not sit well with investors, as the price paid for the stake was deemed too high. Maybank paid about 4.6 times book value to gain a foothold in the banking business of Southeast Asia’s largest economy.

So this article from malaysiakini Maybank pays RM4 bil for stake in Jakarta bank is not really a cause for much celebration. It is about a 20% discount from the original high price.

It's like going to the bazaar and bidding RM20 for a shirt that costs RM10. Then after bargaining you get it for RM15. But those con-sultants who arranged the deal are definitely laughing - all the way to the bank!

malaysiakini Post on MUSICAL CHAIRS - Will Someone Please STOP the MUSIC?

This malaysiakini article headed 'Musical chairs' in Umno transition plan tells us only about the plan/s that UMNO has in mind for the "great transition" where the Prime Minister is going to be replaced based entirely on the aspirations and ambitions of those in the UMNO supreme council.
I guess someone forgot to mention that the BN has many component parties and UMNO by itself does not have enough MPs to rule Malaysia.
Now if that is the case, surely the next PM should be first approved by the BN coalition partners and not the UMNO Supreme Council?

Well this article seems to be an after-thought and as they say "Better late than never". TRANSITION PLAN: Abdullah to brief BN leaders after Raya.

It seems a good opportunity for the other BN components to extract more deals to stay within the coalition. One very good request would be for the East Malaysians to demand the post of Deputy Prime Minister.
After all if the PM's post is reserved(?) for the UMNO President, why should the DPM's post be automatically be given to UMNO's Deputy President?
Of course if they all cannot stomach the "annointed" PM-in-waiting, they can all decide if the Opposition leader will make a better PM.

malaysiakini - BOAT TRAGEDY a BREACH of National Security?

Is Malaysia facing a security threat from unlicensed boats and undetected operators?
According to the malaysiakini article 12 dead in boat accident in Port Klanga spokesman told AFP

"We suspect the boat was overloaded. It is a wooden boat meant for carrying goods and not for ferrying people. But it is usually used to carry illegals," local marine police chief Marzuki Ismail told AFP.
How do they make the above conclusions unless they have prior knowledge? If so, why is the boat still allowed to operate in Malaysia?

Then there is this other report BARGE TRAGEDY: Victims recall tragic ride wherein one of the victims claimed
He said the agents claimed they had to pay off the police and Immigration officials

The ACA should be asked to investigate this human tragedy that involves the dangerous transport of illegals.
Moreover it really involves national security when boatloads of people (possibly terrorists) can enter and leave Malaysia with impunity.

Photo: Thanks to NST