Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Mahathir's betrayal & insincerity way too extreme


No more, Dr Mahathir, just don't tempt karma!

by Stephen Tan


No more will I ever believe in Dr Mahathir Mohamad. It's La Paloma, from me, No More. You will be remembered by many Malaysians for the lackadaisical way you regarded the popular mandate of GE14 on May 9, 2018.

Your betrayal and your insincerity are way too extreme and far too rich for me. You do not have a sense of gratitude. Imagine, the PKR, the DAP and Amanah reposed their trust in you and you sold all of them out. Your ingratitude is unacceptable. Your contempt for the Others can be elevated into either a metaphor or a proverb.

Anwar, then in jail, accepted you as the PM-in-waiting, and accepted you as the PM after GE14. Having sat as the PM for nearly two years, you turned around and said you never liked Anwar.

In many ways, you also rode to victory on the back of the DAP. And you now say you do not like the DAP after such a magnificent comeback.

You may have thought that at the age of 94, 95 and 96, no karma can ever overtake you. Think of your children and grandchildren, Dr M.

Despite the aforesaid, I wish you and your descendants well. Please retire before you pull more taunts and challenges against karma, Dr M.

Just retire. You have had more than your fair share of the political spoils while in office in this land of Mahsuri's curse for more than 24 years!

Dei Nancy Pelosi, beautiful sights to behold in your neighbourhood


It’s Payback Time – China Trolls Trump To Stop “Hiding”, Mocks “Beautiful Sight” Of Looting & Burning In America

As riots continue, Gov. Tim Walz says state of Minnesota is ...

Riots – WCCO | CBS Minnesota

Man arrested for bringing bombs to Minneapolis riots over racism ...

When Hong Kong was plagued with a series of protests last year, which were triggered by the introduction of the Fugitive Offenders Amendment Bill, it attracted the attention from superpower United States – the champion of human rights, freedom of speech and democracy. First started in mid March 2019, the ongoing protests took a short break due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Demonstrations in Hong Kong were mostly peaceful – until last year. After months of taking to the streets, the supposedly peaceful protests promoted by the pro-democracy movement turned violent after some hardcore activists clashed with the police. A government’s ban on face masks and police brutality sparked a further escalation of the already tension situation.

Even after the controversial extradition bill was dropped, the anger continued as protesters shifted focus to police abuses, including teenagers being shot by the authorities. Marches quickly morphed into pitched battles, as demonstrators blocked roads, threw bricks, set fires and vandalized subway stations or stores or any properties that they perceived to be pro-Beijing.

Still engaged in a trade war with China, U.S. President Donald Trump deliberately chose to add fuel to the fire when he signed into law a bill that supports pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. The Human Rights and Democracy Act mandates an annual review – to check if Hong Kong has enough autonomy to justify its special trading status with the United States.

While Beijing was furious at Trump’s interference in the internal affairs of Hong Kong, hundreds of protesters carried Amerian flags as they marched to the United States consulate in the former British colony to express gratitude for the legislation aimed at protecting human rights in Hong Kong. China has claimed the U.S. as the “black hand” in instigating the anti-government protests.

But it didn’t take long for Donald Trump to taste his own medicine. Now, the U.S. is experiencing the same Hong Kong violent protests in its own backyard. Chaotic scenes erupted as peaceful protesters turned violent across major cities in America after the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American who died in Minneapolis police custody.

Apparently, George Floyd was killed last Monday (25 May), after a 44-year-old white police officer – Derek Chauvin – knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, despite Floyd pleading that he could not breathe. Floyd was arrested after he was suspected of trying to purchase cigarettes with a US$20 counterfeit bill. Mr Chauvin has since been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

In a country with history where a single death can spark a revolution, the death of George Floyd couldn’t come at a worse time, especially to President Trump. It was already bad that the black man had lost his job as a security guard because of layoffs in the COVID-19 pandemic. He didn’t just die, but the way he died in what critics said was caused by police brutality.

Pleading for his life, the way Floyd died was captured on video and triggered angry people into the streets across the country – from Minneapolis to Detroit to New York to Atlanta, and from Los Angeles to Kansas City to Las Vegas and other cities. Clearly the nationwide violent protests are more massive than Hong Kong’s. And China happily seized the opportunity.

Comparing the widespread unrest in the U.S. to the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, Chinese officials have accused Washington of hypocrisy. Foreign ministry spokesman, Lijian Zhao, criticized – “Why does the U.S. beautifies the so-called Hong Kong independence and violent elements as heroes and fighters while it calls its own people protesting against racial discrimination ‘rioters’?”

Zhao continued – “Why does the U.S. point fingers at the constrained law enforcement by Hong Kong police, but turn a blind eye to what happens at home while using shooting and even the National Guard against the protesters?” Lecturing American politicians, he told the U.S. to eliminate racial discrimination and protect the lawful rights of minorities. But the mocking has just begun.

In 2019, House Speaker Nancy Peloci called pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong “a beautiful sight to behold”. But over the weekend, the same phrase – “beautiful sight” – was trending on Chinese social media, but over the looting and burning of American buildings. China’s Global Times newspaper, ran an editorial entitled – “Watch out! ‘Beautiful sight’ in HK is spreading across the U.S.”

Global Times mocked and ridiculed American politicians’ reaction to Hong Kong protests last year – “Obviously, they didn’t expect such a beautiful sight to expand so fast that it could be seen now from their own windows. The protests in the U.S. are like a mirror that reflects the shame and disgrace of U.S. politicians as well as the deep-rooted political dysfunction and chaotic values in the U.S.”

Editor Hu Xijin sarcastically wrote – “I highly suspect that Hong Kong rioters have infiltrated American states. Attacking police stations, smashing shops, blocking roads, breaking public facilities, these are all routine in their protests. Vicious HK rioters obviously are masterminds of violent protests across the U.S. Let’s wait and see which country will encounter more chaos.”

But the mocking and ridiculing didn’t stop there. In response to Trump’s tweets about the Secret Service protecting the White House (and rushed him to bunkers) as protests spread to the official residence of the U.S. president, Mr. Hu tweeted – “Mr. President, don’t hide behind the Secret Service. Go to talk to demonstrators seriously. Negotiate with them, just like you urged Beijing to talk to Hong Kong rioters.”

“I can’t breathe,” – wrote Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry, in a tweet on Saturday – a reference to the final words uttered repeatedly by a handcuffed George Floyd while gasping for air as white Police Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck. Her tweet was in retaliation at her U.S. counterpart, State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus.

Morgan Ortagus had earlier posted a tweet condemning Beijing’s plan to impose a national security law on Hong Kong – “This is a pivotal moment for the world. It will go down in history. Freedom loving people around the world must stand with the rule of law and hold to account the Chinese Communist Party, which has flagrantly broken its promises to the people of Hong Kong.”

Trump has announced that he would strip Hong Kong of its special privileges over the Hong Kong security law. But with protests in at least 140 cities across the U.S., China Daily said – “Better give up that dream and come back to reality. Violence is spreading across the US … US politicians should do their jobs and help solve problems in the US, instead of trying to create new problems and troubles in other countries.”

Joining the party were Russia and Iran. Hitting back at the U.S. who often criticises Russian deplorable human rights, Dmitry Polyanskiy, a Russian diplomat at the U.N. in New York, has accused America of double standard – “Why US denies China’s right to restore peace and order in HK while brutally dispersing crowds at home?”

Similarly, Iran also highlighted the U.S.’ hypocrisy. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, posted to Twitter an edited screenshot of a 2018 statement by American officials criticizing the country’s protests – “Some don’t think #BlackLivesMatter. To those of us who do: it is long overdue for the entire world to wage war against racism. Time for a #WorldAgainstRacism”.

Atuk-rised bisa-diatur kowtim beres Administration


Firm controlled by tycoon Syed Mokhtar among recipients of 5G spectrum

Business tycoon Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary

PETALING JAYA: The government has awarded the 5G telecommunications spectrum to several firms including one called Altel, which is controlled by tycoon Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary.

The Straits Times (ST) reported that the May 15 decision, “seemingly without an open tender”, was signed off by Communications and Multimedia Minister Saifuddin Abdullah. The decision was also unannounced.

A source confirmed the report’s claim to FMT, acknowledging that the award had been made.

In January, Bloomberg reported that Malaysia was offering airwaves for 5G networks at little cost to carriers to reduce the investment needed for the speedier wireless service.

The government – then under Pakatan Harapan – would forgo revenue from spectrum auctions and instead allocate airwaves to a consortium of carriers via a tender starting after April.

But ST said a check of the MCMC website found that no tenders were called.

Executives from various telecom firms also told the Singapore daily they were unaware of any invitations to bid for the spectrum.

“It is strange because some of the companies that were awarded are public listed. They would have to announce it to the stock exchange once they are aware as there are also hundreds of millions in fees involved,” an executive who spoke on condition of anonymity was quoted as saying.

According to ST, Maxis, Celcom and DiGi were awarded two bands of 10 megahertz (2x10MHz).

Altel, a subsidiary of Syed Mokhtar’s Puncak Semangat, was given 2x5MHz “despite being a minor player.

Telekom Malaysia was also allocated 2x5MHz.

FMT has contacted Saifuddin and is awaiting a response.

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Bersatu, Berdua, Berkosong?

Extracts from Malaysiakini - Bersatu, Berdua, Berkosong?

by Bridget Welsh


Mahathir apparently had grand ambitions for the party – believing the party could replace Umno. Bersatu was supposed to be the party to capture Malay support. He disproportionately gave Bersatu leaders higher numbers of cabinet seats and control of multiple state governments, despite its lower performance in terms of seats in GE14.

These ambitions to be a new mass-based party did not materialise. Bersatu’s efforts to build its party machinery never gained ground, as member numbers remain low. This was shaped in part by the fact that many Bersatu members themselves were more committed to securing their own position rather than building the party. Umno’s post GE14 revitalisation – albeit uneven and nowhere near its earlier years – also undercut Bersatu’s outreach. The competition for the Malay electorate is a crowded field, with PAS and other Harapan contenders as well.

One of the most important issues was that Mahathir-led Harapan was never a ‘Malay government’ despite efforts by Bersatu to project his image as a ‘protector’ of the Malays. In Mahathir 2.0 as Malaysia’s ‘saviour’, Mahathir never held this mantle due to the fact that Bersatu’s level of support among Malays (a quarter of the community in GE14) was always less than its Malay-based competitors – Umno and PAS.

Harapan’s policies, communication weaknesses and Bersatu’s minimalist outreach did not alter this status. In fact, Malay support steadily eroded as the more Bersatu and Harapan reached out to Malays, the more of its base left.

Mahathir also miscalculated in assuming that the Malays who in fact voted for Harapan were mainly interested in ‘Malay’ issues rather than overall economic performance and reform. The outdated lens to see Malays as all alike – a unified voting bloc with a similar vision – is blind to the varied realities and ideals among different generations of the community at large. Mahathir also mistakenly assumed the Malay support given to Harapan was for him, rather than for the broader cause of change or other leaders in Harapan, notably Anwar Ibrahim.

Freed Anwar Ibrahim pledges 'complete support' to Mahathir Mohamad ...

Muhyiddin is making the same mistake of misreading Malay support as unified as he touts the need for political stability and Malay protection but faces serious worries about how his government is (or is not) able to manage the economy and Covid-19 challenges. The focus of many is on deliverables and livelihoods across races.

Eroding electoral base

To address the inability to grow Bersatu through mass membership, Mahathir took another route. This was the route of accepting defectors. This has been a fatal mistake for Bersatu’s future and is playing a large role in the ongoing battle inside the party.

Maybe the princess kissed the frog because of ranavirus?

There are two groups in the party – the original 13 who were elected to parliament – all of which, including Mahathir and Muhyiddin, got into office riding on the idea of reform and accountability for 1MDB. All contested in three-corner contests that split the vote.

Only one leader won the most Malays in his constituency – Mahathir. Using polling station results of Langkawi, it is estimated Mahathir won 53% of Malay support. He secured the majority of non-Malay support in this seat, an estimated 92% Chinese, 53% of Indian, and 66% of Other voters.

Only three won a clear majority of the overall vote – Muhyiddin (Pagoh), Mahathir (Langkawi) and Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (Muar), but these were not large majorities. All the other seats won were by very slim majorities of pluralities, winning the most votes in three-cornered contests. The chart below shows the best-performing seats for the party in GE14 and the share of the Malay electorate in these seats.

To keep these electoral results in mind, the level of support for Bersatu nationally was small – 6% of the popular vote – and shaped by the context. Bersatu does not have a base of voters to rely on. More often than not in GE14, they were spoilers affecting the fortune of Umno and PAS rather than victors.

The party’s decisive support came from multi-ethnic support, especially in Johor and even in Kedah, among younger voters and in some seats lower-class voters. As the post-GE14 by-elections show, especially Tanjung Piai last November, they have lost ground among these voters.

Congrats Mahathir - PPBM Humiliated And Lost Tanjung Piai After ...

It is important that among those openly loyal to Mahathir in the Bersatu party contest are among the original 13 and others who joined the party when it was first formed but did not get elected. All of these 13 originals elected representatives face the prospect of losing an election if polls are called, including Mahathir and Muhyiddin. This underscores the intensity of the elite party fight – and also suggests that they do indeed face an uphill struggle to keep the party electorally viable.

Real Bersatu? Real loyalties?

It is important to appreciate that Bersatu in parliament is now not the party was elected in 2018. Bersatu now claims to have over 30 MPs through two waves of defection – from Umno and from the Sheraton Move power grab, largely from PKR. The exact status of some of these MPs in the party is not certain, due to ambiguity around their membership and, for some, their loyalties. Rather than build the party through membership, the route was elite inducements.

New Bersatu MP? or "DiperSATUkan", wakakaka 

Among these numbers of new entrants in Bersatu are Umno MPs – many not closely tied to Mahathir, but joined the party nevertheless. Many of these new entrants now hold key leadership positions in Muhyiddin’s cabinet and in Bersatu itself. It is however not clear whether their loyalties are to Bersatu or Umno or to themselves. The ambiguity of loyalty extends more broadly than inside Bersatu itself.

Be assured that those loyal to Umno recognise Bersatu as a threat to the electoral fortunes of their 'first' party and the fortunes of leaders in that party who they may or may not still be loyal to. There remains considerable resentment in some quarters in Umno over Bersatu in GE14 and the positions they still hold, as they continue to hold large shares of the cabinet. There is even more resentment of the new PKR entrants coming into (although not finalised) the Bersatu fold.

Monday, June 01, 2020

How Western media would cover Minneapolis if it happened in another country

Washington Post:

Global Opinions

How Western media would cover Minneapolis if it happened in another country

Minneapolis cop who knelt on handcuffed black man arrested - News ...

A protester stands on a platform in front of a fire at a restaurant early Friday in Minneapolis. Protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody Monday, broke out in Minneapolis for a third straight night

(Julio Cortez/AP)

Karen Attiah
Global Opinions editor
May 30, 2020 at 6:57 a.m. GMT+10

If we talked about what is happening in Minneapolis the same way we talk about events in a foreign country, here’s how the Western media would cover it. The quotes and those “quoted” in the piece below are fictional.

In recent years, the international community has sounded the alarm on the deteriorating political and human rights situation in the United States under the regime of Donald Trump. Now, as the country marks 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic, the former British colony finds itself in a downward spiral of ethnic violence. The fatigue and paralysis of the international community are evident in its silence, America experts say.

The country has been rocked by several viral videos depicting extrajudicial executions of black ethnic minorities by state security forces. Uprisings erupted in the northern city of Minneapolis after a video circulated online of the killing of a black man, George Floyd, after being attacked by a security force agent. Trump took to Twitter, calling black protesters “THUGS”’ and threatening to send in military force. “When the looting starts, the shooting starts!” he declared.

“Sure, we get it that black people are angry about decades of abuse and impunity,” said G. Scott Fitz, a Minnesotan and member of the white ethnic majority. “But going after a Target crosses the line. Can’t they find a more peaceful way, like kneeling in silence?”

Ethnic violence has plagued the country for generations, and decades ago it captured the attention of the world, but recently the news coverage and concern are waning as there seems to be no end in sight to the oppression. “These are ancient, inexplicable hatreds fueling these ethnic conflicts and inequality," said Andreja Dulic, a foreign correspondent whose knowledge of American English consists of a semester course in college and the occasional session on the Duolingo app. When told the United States is only several hundred years old, he shrugged and said, “In my country, we have structures still from the Roman empire. In their culture, Americans think that a 150-year-old building is ancient history.”

Britain usually takes an acute interest in the affairs of its former colony, but it has also been affected by the novel coronavirus. “We’ve seen some setbacks with the virus, but some Brits see the rising disease, staggering unemployment and violence in the States and feel as if America was never ready to govern itself properly, that it would resort to tribal politics,” said Andrew Darcy Morthington, a London-based America expert. During the interview, a news alert informed that out of the nearly 40,000 coronavirus deaths in the United Kingdom, 61 percent of the health-care workers who have died were black and or have Middle Eastern backgrounds. Morthington didn’t seem to notice. “Like I was saying, we don’t have those American racism issues here.”

Trump, a former reality-TV host, beauty pageant organizer and businessman, once called African nations “shithole countries." But he is now taking a page from African dictators who spread bogus health remedies, like Yahya Jammeh of Gambia, who claimed he could cure AIDS with bananas and herbal potions and pushed his treatments onto the population, resulting in deaths. Trump appeared to suggest injecting bleach and using sunlight to kill the coronavirus. He has also said he has taken hydroxycholoroquine, a drug derived from quinine, a long-known jungle remedy for malaria. Doctors have advised against using the treatment to prevent or treat the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Americans desperate to flee will face steep challenges to cross borders, as mismanagement of the coronavirus and ethnic tensions in the country have made them undesirable visitors. But some struggling American retailers, like Neiman Marcus, are hoping to lure shoppers with traditional 19th-century colonial travel fantasies through neutral khakis and cargo shorts as part of a “Modern Safari” collection. “Utilitarian details & muted tones meet classic femininity,” reads a caption under the photograph of a white woman. Pith helmets were not included in the accessory lineup.

Some nations are considering offering black Americans special asylum. “Members of the white ethnic majority are forming armed militia groups, demanding their freedom to go back to work for the wealthy class who refer to workers as ‘human capital stock,’ despite the huge risk to workers,” said Mustapha Okango, a Nairobi-based anthropologist. “This is a throwback to the days when slavery was the backbone of the American economy. Black slaves were the original essential workers, and they were treated as non-human stock.”

Africa could be an ideal asylum destination, as several African countries have managed to contain the coronavirus outbreak through aggressive early measures and innovations in testing kits. Senegal, a nation of 16 million, has only seen 41 deaths. “Everyone predicted Africa would fall into chaos,” Okango said. “It is proof that being a black person in this world doesn’t kill you, but being a black person in America clearly can.” The African Union did not respond to requests for comment, but it released a statement that said “we believe in American solutions for American problems.”

Around the world, grass-roots organizations, celebrities, human rights activists and even students are doing what they can to raise money and awareness about the dire situation in America.

“It’s sad that the Americans don’t have a government that can get them coronavirus tests or even monthly checks to be able to feed their families,” said Charlotte Johnson, a 18-year-old Liberian student activist, who survived the Ebola pandemic. “100,000 people are dead, cities are burning, and the country hasn’t had a day of mourning? Lives don’t matter, especially not black lives. It’s like they’re living in a failing state.”